What you can’t measure, you can’t improve.
This is one reason the alcohol lobby is fighting so hard against instituting a common definition of “a drink” on its bottles. If that happened, people would know how much alcohol is in their glass of wine or bottle of beer.
The drinks industry is reeling. In the US last year, 20% of drinking-age Americans took part in Dry January. This year, it’s 35%. No wonder Tito’s Vodka hired Martha Stewart to create off-label ways to consume vodka. The “dry” movement is also spreading: yesterday I got an email from the Canadian Cancer Society urging me to sign up for Dry February.
To foretell the liquor lobby’s fight-back tactics, check out the following playbooks from the past: tobacco, sugar, opioids, fossil fuels and long ago, seatbelts.
1. The Montreal Mafia Murders. It’s not often Canadian mobsters make it into the pages of Vanity Fair. But it seems the Calabrians and the Sicilians view Montreal as the gateway to North America. The opening sentence says it all: "On the morning they were arrested for allegedly burning bodies as part of a series of Mafia murders, Marie-Josée Viau and Guy Dion had already finished breakfast and packed their daughter off to elementary school."
2. Let’s just quit. A lovely 9-minute movie about leaving the office and setting out on your own.
3. Seals, toads and mooses. First, rare footage of a moose shedding its antlers. Again, rare, the birth of seal pups. Finally, a giant cane toad.
4. Wonder why your Netflix fees are rising? The streaming service is paying $385,000 for a flight attendant on its corporate jet.
5. Letters you don’t want to be the subject of. This week, Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired Nadhim Zahawi, the Conservative Party Chairman and Chancellor of the Exchequer under Boris Johnson. It seems Zahawi was being investigated by the tax department, which reported to him when he was Chancellor, without mentioning the investigation to anyone and denying it when asked. This letter to the PM from his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnus, lays out the cringeworthy case against Zahawi.
6. Relationships, love, divorce, loneliness, love again. Here are more facts on all of these realities than you could possibly absorb at once.
7. Notes on The End. First, the odds that you’ll die accidentally (don’t drive your car!). Next, a microscopic view of death, how microbes are born, live and die. Finally, blogs from the edge of death. Last Christmas, on holiday in Rome, British novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi suddenly collapsed onto the pavement, twisted his neck, lost the use of his arms and legs and is now in a special rehab hospital. But from the outset he has been dictating blog posts like this one to his son Carlo. They’re worth reading – and not just at The End.
8. ‘Pre-colonial’ does not describe an Indigenous paradise. Says Georgetown University’s Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò. It's vacuous, racist and plain wrong, especially about Africa.
9. “Don’t invite your thoughts to tea.” The clearest-headed way to keep discouragement away.
10. Big numbers. Here are 50 movies that turn 50 this year – and are worth a re-watch, from #1 The Sting, to #50, The Way We Were. Plus 10,000 Japanese sing Beethoven’s 9th.