Group of quarantined musicians do a spot-on cover of Fagen's "New Frontier"

A few months ago, I posted the video for Donald Fagen's 1982 now-classic track, "New Frontier." At the time, I said that I couldn't get this tune out of my head. It hasn't left.

Here is a group of quarantined musicians doing a wonderful cover of it.

[H/t Steve Silberman]

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The suicide rate in Colorado has dropped 40% during COVID quarantine

From the Denver Post:

Colorado recorded a 40% decrease in suicides in March and April as social-distancing policies aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus kept residents home, according to provisional death-certificate data from the state health department.

The data helps paint a complex picture of the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicides are down from 2019 levels, Colorado Crisis Services saw an almost 48% increase calls in March and April compared to last year, with most callers seeking help for anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation.

Donald Trump (and all of his parrot pundits, by extension) have shamelessly exploited the threat of increased suicides as a reason to "re-open the economy" sooner. This rang hollow before, as it was an excuse often given by people who had never seemed overly concerned about suicide, addiction, or mental health beyond the generic self-serving platitudes that virtue-signal their bare-minimum humanity. Now, it seems like an even more disgusting excuse to profit on the back of human lives.

The Denver Post article does quote from a few experts, who share their possible theories on why this might be happening. Anxieties are, of course, running high, as evidenced by the jump in calls to crisis hotlines. But some people think that this unprecedented crisis may actually be helping to create a sense of community; seeing so many other people so visibly struggling might put things into perspective for some people. Another theory is that people at risk for suicide might be too overwhelmed by the adrenaline of day-to-day survival — figuring out the logistics of simply things like groceries — that it might be temporarily suppressing their emotional pain. Read the rest

A bleakly touching webcomic compares our apocalyptic fantasies to the real experience of coronavirus quarantine

Nate Powell is the writer and artist behind About Face, a brilliant webcomic about America's obsession with fascist fashion. His latest comic, Hide Out, is less of a macro-scale political analysis, and more of a quiet, reflective, internal piece about life in apocalyptic scenarios — but it's just as powerful, and just as much worth reading.

 

This Isn’t My Fantasy Apocalypse [Nate Powell / The Nib] Read the rest

A touring Bolivian orchestra is stranded in a German castle surrounded by 23 packs of wolves

Earlier this spring, more than 20 members of Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos pan flute orchestra left their homes in Bolivia and embarked on a European tour. They arrived in Germany on March 10, right as that country's government imposed a ban on large gatherings to fight the spread of coronavirus. Within days, their bus had broken down, and all of their performances had been cancelled, and their own government back home in Bolivia announced that it would close its own borders, leaving the orchestra stranded. Read the rest

'How I built my dowel table'

This is an awesome woodworking project gallery -- making a table out of dowel rods. You can follow the creator Make Things on YouTube and IMGUR. Read the rest

'My Isolation Station,' home-built bar and spirits library with 4,000 bottles

Some people take their libations and isolations very seriously. Read the rest

How a children's book about a mouse is keeping me motivated in quarantine

When I was a teenager, I worked at the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut — which, as far as teenage work went, was pretty formative and fantastic. While the campus is based in Eli Whitney's original factory, the museum itself is more of an experimental learning workshop that uses alternative teaching methods to celebrate and explore the intersections of engineering, design, and innovation. And yes, that man above was my boss, who hopes to enjoy his well-deserved retirement soon, depending on how this pandemic plays out.

On the weekends, we'd host birthday parties at the museum for younger kids, where they'd get to do some hands-on woodworking projects that also introduced them to simple machines or electricity (like a single Christmas light and a battery; we weren't monsters). We had a series of projects loosely based on the books of Leo Lionni, including one very simple project for 5-year olds that was based on the story of Frederick the Mouse. The basic idea of the story is that all the other mice accuse Frederick of being lazy while the rest of them are busy getting ready for the winter. They're all gathering wood and straw and nuts and stone so they can hide away in comfort when it gets cold out — and Frederick just sits there, insisting that he, too, is collecting things like colors and stories and sounds.

This, understandably, irritates all the other hard-working mice. But when the winter finally comes, and they're all trapped in the cave together, going out of their little mouse minds, that's when Frederick finally pulls his weight. Read the rest

Updating Hemingway's saddest shortest story for the pandemic age

Top image: JD Hancock / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Here are some songs about unions and workers' rights, to raise money for COVID-19 relief funds

I've had a busy few weeks of moving and renovating my home in the middle of a pandemic while also trying to work a full-time. So naturally, I decided to relax by … making a 4-song live EP of protest songs about unions and workers, to raise money for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund for essential workers. Today in particular is not only International Worker's Day, but the music site BandCamp is also waiving their fees their day — so 100% of money you send my way for this pay-what-you-want album will go directly to workers in need.

There are worse ways to celebrate May Day, in my humble opinion.

Essential Songs for Essential Workers — Live From Quarantine [Thom Dunn / BandCamp]

Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund

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Quarantine food fun: 'I made all the serving suggestions on the Ritz box'

“So how were they? Not bad. Some of them were kind of dry, but for the most part they tasted how you'd expect.” Read the rest

‘I’m not going to be ruled by commonsense precautions’ — comedian Brent Terhune spoofs MAGA 'rona ralliers

“They want us to where a face mask??? I DONT THANK SO.”

“I'm not gonna be ruled by common sense precautions to keep everyone safe and healthy!”

Brent Terhune does a very good Southern Redneck Guy Who Watches Fox News, and he's recently taken on the MAGA/White Nationalist/???? types gathering in weird astroturfy rallies around the U.S., which may or may not be funded by some political group or something. Read the rest

This Zoidberg 'Futurama' quarantine cosplay is pretty great

Hey, when life hands you virii, make cosplay. Zoidberg cosplay. Read the rest

Husband builds 'accessible' Nintendo Switch battle station for wife with aggressive MS

All for the love of Animal Crossing in the coronavirus pandemic. Read the rest

Quarantined family re-creates 1981 Journey video shot by shot

Zero reason to be "bored" out there, people. Take inspiration from the Heller family who made --in their "spare time" -- a shot-by-shot recreation of Journey's "Separate Ways" music video! It's SO GOOD. Read the rest

'How to build a Nintendo Switch' for coronavirus #StayAtHome gaming

Wow, man. Some of us take on more extreme projects during the Great Coronavirus Quarantine than others. Read the rest

Pot use was super high in March, as were many coronavirus stay-at-homes

Cannabis use in America reportedly reached an all-time high in March, 2020, as lockdown measures aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus went into effect in many communities throughout the country. Read the rest

Radiohead to stream concerts for shut-ins

I'm a lifelong fan of Radiohead, and I feel like so much of their music foresaw the emotional tone of the moment we're in now. Read the rest

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