‘Love and free food’: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner share the secrets of their 70-year friendship

Reiner and Brooks’ evening routine never changes: they sit and talk “about everything”, then have dinner in front of Reiner’s massive TV while they watch Jeopardy!. It seems like a pretty great life, and it is.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a better friend than Carl,” says Brooks.

“My God, the thought of being without him – the world would be too bleak!” says Reiner, and Brooks’ face falls a little, as if he is envisaging all too clearly a world without Reiner.

“Now, come on, Carl, let her ask some questions,” he says.

I tell them I just like listening to them talk to one another.

“But you might want to ask about something specific, and Carl will be ready, willing and able to answer anything,” says Brooks, buoying them both along.

Reiner puts his hand on top of Brooks’. “Always,” he says.

‘Love and free food’: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner share the secrets of their 70-year friendship

Carl Reiner has died at the age of 98.

On Recent History

There have been multiple days of demonstrations and riots throughout the United States in response to the death of George Floyd. There’s a lot to be said, but it’s tough to approach the right way. Noting it here, maybe for posterity, maybe to come back to with clearer thoughts in the near future.

What I can say now is that I do understand that my place as a white male who grew up in the suburbs gives me a very limited, very different, very sheltered perspective. I can tell myself it’s an objective view, but it’s tainted by my experiences that, while not invalid, are significantly less relevant than so many others impacted and involved.

Just stay safe, everyone. And respect each other.

Uber Eats at profits and don’t let the Doordash hit you on the way out (and other terrible puns about delivery services, I’m so sorry)

Maybe I’m in a bubble. But I see plenty of people looking at these Uber-Grubhub-Doordash delivery services and seeing, well, a bubble, and calling it out as not just a failing business model but one that’s ultimately bad – yet they’re still wildly successful.

Ranjan Roy has a good deep dive on some of their business practices but this part really sums up the long term concerns:

You have insanely large pools of capital creating an incredibly inefficient money-losing business model. It’s used to subsidize an untenable customer expectation. You leverage a broken workforce to minimize your genuine labor expenses. The companies unload their capital cannons on customer acquisition, while this week’s Uber-Grubhub news reminds us, the only viable endgame is a promise of monopoly concentration and increased prices. But is that even viable?

All these models rely on losing a boatload of money to push everyone else out of the market so they can then jack up prices to start breaking even or become profitable. And this isn’t unique to delivery services, look at stuff like WeWork or the grocery delivery models as well.

The problem is, despite paying meh wages, shady business practices, and deals with restaurants that suck the lifeblood out of already thin profit margins, these things are STILL losing money. So any price hikes that come post monopolization are solely to prop up their bottom line or repay investors, not actually increase pay for their contract employees or create better deals for restaurants.

Solution? Call your favorite restaurants directly. If they offer their own delivery, do that and tip for the service. If they use another service or don’t offer delivery, consider curbside pickup if they offer it.

Missed this, but Uber floated a proposed takeover of Grubhub last week.

Is it too much to ask for some consistency in the quality of tin foil for my hat?

So the same audiences pushing the theory that COVID originated in a Wuhan lab are now pushing a video with an anti-vax doc who says it’s caused by a bad flu vaccine.

Sure we’re getting some conflicting messages from the government, but c’mon, conspiracy theorists, be consistent!

It’s absurd that the same folks who “question the Deep State” don’t question the myriad of crazy theories that outright contradict each other in an effort to find whatever they can to support their hypothesis.

If you supposedly care about the TRUTH and accuracy so much that you’re not taking doctors and government at face value, apply the same metric to the dude running data they got via an anti-vax Facebook group through an Excel spreadsheet to share on their YouTube channel.

“Think about who the ‘you’ in this quote is…”

If you aren’t subscribed to Ross Catrow‘s Good Morning, RVA you really should be. It’s a great daily recap of significant RVA news and insights from a dude who’s paying attention.

Today’s issue captures a lot of my thoughts and head scratching as Northam tries to steer Virginia toward Phase 1 of reopening on May 15th:

 This is incredibly frustrating. What was the point of announcing all of those data-based guidelines if Northam just had his sights set on May 15th anyway? What happens if the data don’t cooperate and get in line for his new two-week deadline? Northam’s also switching his messaging to “safer at home” instead of “stay at home,” but, as always, safer at home for whom? Phase One sends employees at “restaurants, recreation, and personal care business such as hair salons and spas”—mostly working-class people—back to work. Folks who are privileged enough to have good insurance and can work from home are encouraged to continue doing so. Here’s a quote from the Governor, take a second and think about who the “you” in this quote is: “Here’s the bottom line…You’ll be able to get your hair cut, but you’ll need an appointment. It means you can go out to eat again, but restaurants will use less of their seating to spread people out. Phase One means more retail establishments can be open, but they’ll have to operate at lower capacity.”

“Think about who the ‘you’ in this quote is…”

These aren’t high paying jobs with great insurance benefits that are opening up.

There is also the issue of, sure, things are open, but where are the kids going to go?

Carberry can’t work because there’s no one to watch her 4-year-old son, Robbie. Robbie’s child care center is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Carberry’s family lives far away. Carberry is a single mother with less than a dollar in the bank.

“I get the emails to see if I’m available. I told them, if I had child care, I’d be there,” Carberry told HuffPost. Before COVID-19, in a pinch, Carberry could find someone in the neighborhood to watch Robbie. Now, with social distancing, that’s just not possible. “It’s not like I can reach out to the church and find some ladies to fill in,” she said. “Nobody wants to get their family infected.”

In Virginia, daycare facilities remain open, but are bound by the state’s social distancing guidelines and restrictions on groups larger than 10 people. Classrooms that used to hold 30 children can now only hold 8 and two caregivers. Facilities that used to have 140 children are now at 40 and hard pressed to open to more due to spacing restrictions.

This is going to hurt people who are being told to come back to work but simply can’t due to lack of childcare – potentially impacting unemployment benefits.

The solution isn’t to just throw open the doors of schools and daycares (see reaction to Dr. Oz for more on that…) but policy wonks are going to have to figure out how to structure these Phases in a way that doesn’t leave families with children on the outside looking in.