Daily Archives: March 20, 2020

Good News Friday: A distillery in Minnesota switches from making beer to sanitizer, and gives it away for free. Got a craving for sports? Have you seen marble racing? And music, sweet music, helps people cope

Yeah this sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks.

Sucks for all of us stuck at home except for rare trips to the grocery store. Sucks for people in all walks of life, those unable to work, those incredibly brave first responders like doctors and hospital workers, all of us (My friend Oakland, a man with a huge heart, put it best to me when he said “All I want to do is hug all my friends during this, and I can’t even do that.”)

I don’t have many encouraging words to share, although Lord knows I’ll have more humorous stories than usual from the home front, since the big guy is out of school for at least a month, and the 2.5 year old is a handful and a half (Thursday, during their usual brotherly hijinks, I actually thought to myself “If I snuck out now, how long till they’d notice?”)

But as always here on Fridays, I’m going to try to lift your spirits. And speaking of spirits, our first story today is about a distillery in Minnesota (OK that was a lame segue attempt, sorry.)

The good folks at Vikre Distillery have converted their factory of beer-making into a hand sanitizer factory. And instead of selling it, they’re giving it away for free.

“We know it’s hard to get your hands on sanitizer (pun intended, maybe?) right now,” the distillery announced earlier this week, according to this story.

“Because we produce the main ingredients in sanitizer in the distilling process, we are making our own sanitizing spray for our own use and we wanted to make some available to the public for those who need it.”

The sanitizer is sprayable and contains 70 percent denatured alcohol, which is the level needed to kill the coronavirus bug.

The distillery has been giving it away to anyone who needs it, with residents able to bring a container of up to 16 oz. in size that can be filled with the sanitizer.

It’s also making gallon-size pails available for businesses who call ahead.

Demand has been huge, the distillery said, especially from nursing homes and hospitals.

I love these kinds of stories in a major crisis because it emphasized who we are ALL in this together, and good people helping others is the best of what America is all about.

Next up today, this is exactly the kind of sports diversion that people are discovering these days, as practically no live actual sports are going on (Man, Thursday, which was supposed to be the first day of the NCAA Tournament,w as rough. That’s like a national holiday in my life.)

Have you ever heard of competitive marble racing? Until a few days ago, I hadn’t. But there’s actually a “league” called Marbula One Racing, and Marble racing.

According to this Time.com story, YouTubers Jelle and Dion Bakker, who started the popular YouTube channel Jelle’s Marble Runs, founded the Marble League in 2016 and have since created a number of other marble racing events, including Marbula One (Formula 1 for marbles) and Marble Rally (marble racing on sand tracks). The 2020 season of Marbula One is currently ongoing. The competitions have also surged in popularity on the live streaming platform Twitch.

I watched the clip above and laughed and also started rooting for one marble over the other.

Hey, it’s something competitive to watch! Very, very cool.

**And finally today, one of the only good things to come out of this horrible CoVID-19 epidemic is the incredible outpouring of music, everywhere, to try to cheer people up.

From online live stream concerts by people like John Legend, the Indigo Girls and Willie Nelson, to spontaneous demonstrations by people in streets and out balcony windos, there has been music filling the world.

Two clips I wanted to share that I really enjoyed this week. First, Lauren Lugo (above), a young opera student from Laguna Beach, Calif., is studying her craft in Rome. And this week, she stepped outside her apartment onto her balcony, in a bathrobe, and belted out this exquisite number. Just gorgeous.

And then (below), the legendary Broadway composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is responsible for “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats” and a million other shows, playing one of his best songs, “All I Ask of You,” on the piano for a few minutes.

Simple, beautiful music that makes us forget about all the horrible-ness going on right now. Stay safe, y’all.