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When will this be over? That was my mother's question this morning. We talk as I walk the dog. She walks to her Sunday morning meeting, I walk in circles picking up poop as I go. We talk and her question was simple...when would we be back to normal. She admitted to having a craving for take out food. I told her that we take out regularly and that in some ways take out is fun without ever having to leave your car in some cases. But I couldn't answer her questions. I thought of life a bit through her lens and while it's certainly made shopping harder and interrupted a number of the "quality" elements of her life, frankly the impact on her is less than many. There's no significant impact to her income. She spends a lot of time hanging around the house anyway. Her main activity is walking and she can still do this safely. Her meetings have moved on line, but her teaching (she teaches teachers) and her square dancing have been curtailed. I don't see senior square dancing coming back any time soon. The average age is well into the danger zone and dancing by definition cannot be protected by facemasks. As my mind started checking through the things she cared about like movies and restaurants will certainly be impacted and then it dawned on me. Her favorite (and most frequented) restaurant is the Soup Plantation in Los Angeles which is at its heart, a buffet, and I just don't see how this format survives. When will it end? I read a credible article that says 3 years but even then, life will look different. Events like the 9/11 attacks changed our lives forever and brought a level of security to our lives that no one wanted. We have a new normal. I started to answer her question, not knowing how best to answer her question when she added, "When will be done with Trump?" Oh, that's an easy question, January 20, 2021.


Quick Takes:



Money Heist. This is a TV show that originated in Spain. We watched four seasons on Netflix over the past few weeks and found it thoroughly captivating despite the awkward dubbing of the original Spanish. We finished season 4 last night but the story didn't wrap up. This is not unusual in episodic television, but with the next season tentatively scheduled for 2021 the emptiness left by the end of this good friend seems more pronounced than other TV shows that have closed a season with a cliff hanger. Spoiler alert: mourning the next season without Nairobi. The negotiations for the next family binge begins.


No Particular Place To Go. This is the title of a favorite George Thorogood song about driving around. Yesterday was Day 52 and I think it was the first time that I found myself nothing particular to do. I'm an expert at staying busy. I'm happy when I'm busy. I'm a little crazy when I'm bored. Yesterday I walked the dog, made an elaborate breakfast, washed the dog, sharpened the nice, checked the tire pressure in the cars, and found a myriad of tiny little chores to do. I sat down and was surprised to see that it was only 1pm. What was next? Read a book? Watch TV? Nothing? I donned my noise cancelling headphones and listened to the 1969 recording of Elivs Presley live from Las Vegas and enjoyed it thoroughly. I switched to a Bluegrass station and enjoyed listening to some fine banjo picking. Neither of these genres are my music of choice. And yet it felt right yesterday. At 3pm I walked downstairs to walk the dog only to be told that Eve just returned from a dog walk. That was a disaster. What would I do now?! I looked at my list (always have lists) and found nothing inspiring nor urgent. Except there was this one thing. It was one thing I hated. Tech Support for my mother. My mother told me that her laptop was broken. When I tried to get more precise we concluded that the only issue was how it "looked" not how it operated. To fix it, all I had to do was to get her to install a program that would allow me to take control of her computer. It's impossible to do this without shouting at my mother. I think it's just impossible. I would love to see my way-too-patient-kindergarten-teaching brother do any better! I sent her an email with a link she had to click and then I could take her through the instructions. Getting to that email (that she had already read) was enough to kill me. We succeeded. I told her to leave the computer on while I worked on it remotely. But I couldn't figure out the problem. I was seeing options that were not normal. I Googled and re-Googled but was struggling to find instructions that matched what I was seeing. Finally, I found a YouTube video that figured out what her problem was and something difficult to discern remotely: she unknowingly switched to Tablet mode. I switched back and was able to get her back to what she had. It took an hour and a half. And I couldn't have been happier having found something to accomplish. Thank god Sunday is over.


Lenders vs. Borrowers. At the moment the borrowers are expected to eat the financial impact of the virus. The lenders have a posture that suggests that they expect to never miss an earnings beat. In the Lender's minds, the borrower made a commitment and the lenders, for the most part, are expecting every last dime. I think it's fair to say that the value of the resource loaned has declined and while the contract makes no mention of a pandemic, I don't think this will work if responsibility is firmly on the shoulders of the Borrowers. It's as simple as the landlord who expects this month's rent. Sure the landlord provided everything they were supposed to but the value of the house is clearly less if the occupants can't live their life and work at their jobs. So why do the lenders go unscathed? There are lots of types of Lenders and I don't have all the answers, but it seems clear that Borrowers and Lenders are typically in very different classes of society where the lenders generally have more resources and borrowers lack them. The Lenders would be wise do something other than offer to lend more. There are more Borrowers than Lenders. The only thing that protects Lenders from the Borrowers are laws and if the Borrowers get too cranky they might wrestle control of those laws. The Lenders would be smart....


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