The White House announced $5.8 billion in funding for water infrastructure. It’s nice to have an administration make real, tangible improvements to our country.
The Biden administration has forgiven more student loans. Student loan forgiveness is not a long-term solution. The system needs to change so predatory student loans do not exist.
West Virginia wants to prosecute librarians for sharing obscene books. This is the kind of thing Bradbury and Orwell were writing about.
It looks as if the Coyote Vs. Acme movie is going to be deleted forever. My heart goes out to the creators who have to watch their hard work be destroyed. I agree with calls to rewrite the tax law loophole.
I wholly support the movement to rewild golf courses. Do cemeteries next, please.
Cars are responsible for 1 in 34 deaths. Trains, buses, and bike lanes fix this.
Cities across the United States are changing zoning rules to build more housing. It’s great to see. We need more mixed-used zoning and fewer parking minimums.
The new Major League Baseball uniforms look like cheap knock-offs. The pants are entirely see-through. Between increased ticket prices, streaming blackouts, ad proliferation, gambling proliferation, and relocation extortion, team owners and their lackey, Rob Manfred, are doing everything they can to bilk every last dollar from the public.
Flashcards in a private podcast feed https://flashcasts.com/
A multilingual urban dictionary https://untranslatable.co/
A curated list of documentaries worth watching https://ihavenotv.com/
A time and place guessing game https://timeguessr.com/
Global freedom scores https://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores
The quietest places in the world’s loudest cities https://earth.fm/the-quietest-places-in-the-worlds-loudest-cities/
Daily AI-created poems inspired by New York Times headlines https://newspoetry.kaplich.me/
My thoughts on the books I read in January 2024:
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
Like many Christie novels, I guessed the gist of the mystery without placing all the smaller details perfectly. This novel reaffirms my theory that while the best Poirots might be better than the best Marples, the Marples are overall more consistent in their quality.
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
My first time reading a Bukowski novel, and I loved it. The main character is Henry Chinaski, an alcoholic misanthrope with a brilliant intellect and no drive. I think we all have known a Chinaski at some point—someone who can be fun to be around, but whose demons ultimately bring everyone down.
The Only One Left by Riley Sager
This book is infuriating. Excessive descriptions of mundane details do not add suspense. Withholding information that is commonly known and referenced by every character does not make for a good reveal. Stop beating around the bush and just tell us. The only saving grace is how self-aware the novel becomes by the end by leaning into the laughable and gratuitous twists.
I did some cooking this past month. Here are some new recipes I tried:
Homemade Soft Pretzels
I had yeast and flour I wanted to use, so I googled for a recipe, and soft pretzels are what popped up. It was my first time making the pastry, and I found the process quite fun. I made half plain salted and the other half cinnamon. The cinnamon left something to be desired, so I melted some dark chocolate and covered the pretzels. Much better.
Eggless Oatmeal Cookies
I wanted to bake cookies but didn’t have eggs or butter, so this was the recipe I found. I substituted olive oil for vegetable oil and added peanut butter and honey. Turned out great.
Baking Powder Drop Biscuits
I had to find a biscuit recipe that didn’t use butter. I substituted olive oil for vegetable oil. Turned out as well as can be expected. Butter still reigns supreme.
This was my first time making biscuits and gravy. I went with the most basic recipe I could find, and it worked great. I used spicy pork sausage. In my opinion, a good biscuit and gravy dish requires a little kick. All that milk in the gravy balances the heat well.
Just your basic French toast recipe. Two notes on making French toast: 1) Always use thick-cut bread. 2) Don’t skimp on syrup quality.
Some of the movies and TV I watched in January of 2024:
Hereditary traumatized me, so I was preparing for the worst with Midsommar. It didn’t live up to my lofty expectations. The shocking moments didn’t land like Hereditary.
The Boys (2019– )
I finally caught up on the first three seasons. The show is (unfortunately) a much more plausible depiction of a world in which superhumans exist than anything Marvel or DC makes.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
This is an entertaining and smart film. They know exactly how much information the audience needs to stay engaged with each repeated day. Tom Cruise is the action star of his generation.
Fargo (2014–2024), season 5
Season 3 was not good, and I didn’t even try to watch season 4 because of the bad reviews. Season 5 is a return to form. I love how they took elements from the movie (i.e. the kidnapping) and turned everything on its head. Juno Temple is amazing.
I’ve watched this now classic a handful of times. Top to bottom, a perfect film.
I love this movie and am disappointed by its lack of representation at the Oscars. What a wild ride. Beautifully shot. Some shocking scenes, but never out of character. Barry Keoghan is a star (of course that was already obvious to anyone who has seen Banshees of Inisherin).
Season 2 is rushed due to the show’s early cancellation, but they pull it off well. By the show’s end, the writers pulled back on Vorenus and Pullo being total assholes, which was much needed. Antony is fantastic throughout. Octavian needed to be fleshed out more, but I imagine the abrupt cancellation put a damper on those plans.