in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: June 28, 2024

A vintage metal box labeled "Odds & Ends" with a blurred background, photographed on April 14, 2023.

The Federalist Papers. With Independence Day in the U.S. being next week, I thought it would be a good time to revisit some civically-minded founding documents. So I picked up a cheap copy of The Federalist Papers and gave it a read. The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay between 1787 and 1788 to support the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The Federalist Papers argue for a strong central government to replace the weaker Articles of Confederation, emphasizing the need for a unified nation capable of managing defense, trade, and other national interests. My favorite parts of the essays were when the authors delved into group psychology and how to best deal with “factions.” They concluded that you can’t stop factions, but you can at least mitigate the potential damage they can cause. The Federalist Papers is surprisingly readable despite the dense political philosophy and sometimes archaic 18th-century language. If you’re an American, pick up a copy and read it this week. It will give you a better understanding of the Constitution. 

Hitch Hair Clay. One of the issues I’ve run into with growing my hair out long is that it can get really poofy and frizzy. I’ve used a few drugstore products with some success, but none of them hold a candle to Hitch Pomade. Hitch was developed by barber Thad Forrester. If you’ve been following AoM for a while, you know Thad from way back when I did some YouTube videos with him on how to talk to your barber. I’ve been one of Thad’s beta testers for Hitch for the past few years, and he’s finally released it to the public. What I love about Hitch is that it gives my hair some hold, while still maintaining its laid-back flow. And because it adds a bit of moisture, Hitch also reduces the frizz. My favorite is the All Day Clay. Pick yourself up a jar. 

The Fall Guy. Our family recently watched The Fall Guy and enjoyed it. Ryan Gosling plays a stuntman who has to track down the movie star he stunt doubles for who’s gone missing. The whole plot of the movie basically exists as a premise for setting up awesome stunts. The film is funny and action-packed, and the on-screen chemistry between Gosling and Emily Blunt is great. There’s no heady message with this movie. It’s just fun. It feels like a throwback to the popcorn-y summer action movies of the 80s and 90s. We need more of that. 

No evidence sperm counts are dropping, researchers find. In the past decade or so, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing and alarmism about declining sperm counts among Western men. Books have been written about how it will doom the human race. What’s funny is that I’ve come across articles in issues of Esquire from the 1970s saying the same thing, along with predictions that by the 2000s we’d be living in Children of Men. Well, a new research paper challenges the widely held belief that sperm counts in men are declining globally. Analyzing data from 6,758 men who applied to be sperm donors between 2017 and 2022, the researchers found no significant change in sperm concentration over this period. However, they did observe a decline in motile (swimming) sperm from 2019 onwards, possibly linked to lifestyle changes during COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Quote of the Week

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make a good use of it.

—John Quincy Adams

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