Intro / Preface / Extra Words
I love this song and I love this tiktok person's tiktok uhhhhh channel? Stream? Page? Tlog? -B
Search Engines are Totally Useless Now
This is about 10 minutes and is a little Gen-Xer yells at clouds to get off their lawn but also I'm pretty sure I've more or less delivered the same diatribe after a Tito's soda or two. Is the internet getting worse? Everything is inside of Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and all of those are accessed through algorithms. The lonely blogger or passionate hobbyist with a web page is dead. Or if it isn't dead you certainly can't find that goodness through the algorithm of the search engine which just kicks you right back into the algorithmic maw of Facebook and Twitter and Reddit. -B
Where Andrew Zimmern eats when he comes to Birmingham
Having moved to the 'ham a couple years ago I can say that the restaurant scene is phenomenal. Andrew (who I waited in line behind once at Epcot) comes to town a bunch. Here's where he eats. And anyone that wants to come visit and try out the list hit me up! -B
Get that man to Hero Donuts! -C
Popeyes is Perfect and you are the Problem
I eat at my favorite restaurant once, maybe twice a year. It is kind of like going to church for me. I want to make sure it is a meaningful experience, so I moderate myself throughout the year to ensure I extract maximum fulfillment from the time I do spend there.
Popeyes is my favorite restaurant. This article may not explain why, but like going to church, will help explain what a spiritual experience should be like.
The person that wrote the article is one of the smartest sports writers there is. He is nationally acclaimed. And this is his finest work. Which has absolutely nothing to do with sports.
The root of the labor problem
Whenever a new entry into the lexicon of social media begins to transform into a mantra–or is it a meme?–I get curious. Mainly because things are not usually simple, or not usually the fault of one person or type of person, or not political and yet the simple, the damning, and the overtly political explanations are always most popular.
So AnYwAyZ the fav phrase of 2021 was some version of 'no one wants to work anymore' and depending on your political leanings that was either because working conditions are sooo horrible or because our government was giving people too much money. Here's a different reason, offered from the perspective of a publication about restaurants and based on a recent study done by a bank. -C
The Waffle House Index
Brian has a brilliant mind for business. The one common theme he always goes back to is value. If you don't do anything else, add value for your customer.
Waffle House has added immense value to my life. I have sheltered there during a tornado. I've spent more hours studying for exams at a Waffle House than I did at any library or apartment I lived in. And I've cured so many hangovers at a Waffle House that I now feel guilty about the paltry value of tips I have provided in return. A sin I will rectify soon.
But beyond a 24/7 restaurant with a limitless supply of hashbrowns and maple syrup stands a 2,000+ location franchise that provides value well beyond the things that are apparent. Waffle House is so good at staying open 24/7/365, that they have become a key metric for the severity of a storm or natural disaster. If the Waffle House near you is open, everything is okay. If it's not, well things are probably not good.
Not too many places can provide equal value to a drunk college student as it can FEMA. -Michael H.
The opulent Nile cruise that evokes Agatha Christie's Egypt
Tonight I'll be watching Death on the Nile, which is already on HBO Max if you didn't know, and imagining my own trip to Egypt. I've always wanted to go visit the pyramids, and have been off-and-on obsessed with Egyptology as long as I can remember. But until I read this lovely account of a river cruise, I'd never considered that my Egypt adventure could also be relaxing and fancy. -C
Why Can't We Build Anything?
I feel strongly about this. I've written extensively on it in previous issues. I have no idea how we fix it. -B
_______ is not real life
Stan Van Gundy and the Boomer Doomer Phenomenon as Case of Trust
Some of the older NBA coaches are now publicly commenting (preaching? pontificating?) about politics and such like. The smugness of some of these types of things is one of a multitude of reasons I don't follow sports nearly as much as I did in years past even if I often don't disagree with the message. Maybe it is a Gen X thing but smugly telling me what to think almost guarantees I'll tune you out.
Smug. Smugly. Smugish. The Smuginator if you aren't into the whole brevity thing.
This is a great blog post dissecting some of these dynamics and trying to explain why amongst other things Joe Rogan is so polarizing. Rogan is extremely not smug or preachy and seems to have a genuinely open and truth seeking brain even if he often gets it wrong. We all often get it wrong. Probably we should all be a lot less smug. -B
This post is definitely worth the read, so do that, but I have to link out to the little gold nugget buried halfway through. This is a stand-up comic I'd never heard riffing on the "Fox News Dad" and it's v funny. -C
Best Love Letter Ever Written
This is not a love letter. It is a letter, from an uncle to a celebrity, pleading for an autographed picture for his nephew. But it is from John Steinbeck. And to Marilyn Monroe.
And if I were going to write a love letter to someone, this is how I would do it.
Editor's note: neither Brian or I can remember who wrote the above so that's a fun little mystery...
Things We Seen
Caitlin has created a delightful list of show recommendations, and I think there are several that would be enjoyed by our lovely MaR readers. -C
Dark - Netflix. German show about time travel. One of the best time travel stories I’ve ever seen, it has a really great mystery/drama spin. Watch with subtitles.
Expanse - Amazon Prime. Space opera that feels like Game of Thrones meets Battlestar Galactica. Took me a while to get into this one, but once I did I was hooked. They handle the space setting in a great way.
Loki - Disney+. Surprise hit for me; Marvel show featuring the Loki character. More time travel goodness. If you like any of the Marvel stuff, check this out.
The Orville - Hulu. This is Star Trek with a parody spin. Some of it is pretty silly, but it doesn’t lose the strong sci fi theme. Is great after it finds its footing. It feels a lot like TNG in tone, relatively episodic with light space-related drama.
Chernobyl - HBO. Miniseries, historical drama about the Chernobyl disaster. I found it way more engaging that I expected it was going to be.
Station Eleven - HBO. Another miniseries, came out a few months ago. It follows the stories of a few characters after a pandemic wipes out most of civilization. It feels a little too close to home to start, but it evolves into great story about hope.
Good Omens - Amazon Prime. Based on the Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachett novel from the 90s. It’s a lighthearted story about an angel and a demon trying to prevent the apocalypse. (It has a second season on the way, but the first season is totally complete in story.)
The Good Place - Netflix. Just watch it.
Taskmaster - YouTube. British show where a panel of guests, usually comedians, perform a series of various tasks. The show itself is a live taping of showing primarily pre-recorded tasks, where the Taskmaster then judges and awards points based on how well the task was performed. Tasks range from all sorts of things like “Eat as much watermelon as you can in one minute. Most wins.” or “Camouflage yourself as well as possible.” I find it consistently hilarious, and really enjoy getting to know certain personalities and seeing how they decide to approach tasks. I have a hard time explaining this in any sort of way that sounds appealing, so you’ll just have to try an episode yourself. Thankfully, most of them exist on Youtube! Here’s one.
Only Murders in the Building - Hulu. Cute comedy by Steve Martin and Martin Short. About true crime podcast super fans who try to solve their own crime.