The Daily Valet. - 12/15/23, Friday

✔️ The Year Online

A programming note ... This is our last daily newsletter of 2023. We will be sending a few long reads for your enjoyment over the break, but will return to our regularly scheduled newslettering on Tuesday January 2nd, 2024.

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Friday, December 15th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

I just want to thank each and every one of you for opening and reading this newsletter. We’ve got exciting things planned for 2024.

Today’s Big Story

The Year Online

The best internet moments and memes of 2023

2023 online

We've probably been saying this for a while, but 2023 was one heck of a year on the internet. Whether we were eating our girl dinners or dreaming up something via ChapGPT, this year was jam-packed with memes and online moments that captivated us even harder than the Roman Empire. Of course, the internet moves fast so you might've forgotten (or plain missed out on) some. Which is why everyone is looking back this week.Mashable and Rolling Stone both cataloged the most memorable memes of the past 12 months—everything from big red boots and spy balloons to Succession. Of course, everyone was Barbie ... unless you're just Ken (or maybe Kevin James from King of Queens). Speaking of silly men, the long-awaited coronation of Britain's King Charles was obvious internet fodder, and it didn't disappoint. Put an old man in fussy, ostentatious outfits and, without a doubt, you're going to get some good memes.A lot of this happened on X, spiritually still known as Twitter, where a particular breed of niche drama flourishes. Even with the death of the blue check—just one more joke in the comedy of errors that has been Elon Musk's reign over the platform. But, Vulture, points out, there was still plenty happening on other social-media apps and deep in the most obscure Reddit forums. What their reporters noticed was that 2023 became the year of “eras” (I'm sure Taylor Swift is owed some credit here). They say the “only way to make sense of time anymore is to categorize our life into neurotically specific categories.” Going for a walk? That's me in my athlete era. Taking a shower? That's me in my cleanliness era.It felt like for a minute, everyone was in a Wednesday era. Netflix's Addams Family spinoff inspired everyone to indulge their inner weirdo, online and off. The titular character's kooky dance sequence became a TikTok sensation, Wednesday-themed storytelling popped up everywhere from Roblox to ASMR, and the show transformed star Jenna Ortega into the It girl of the moment, with appearances on late-night shows and Hot Ones.And we couldn't talk about 2023 and not dive headfirst into artificial intelligence, right? Perhaps one of the wildest creations was an image of Pope Francis in a street-chic white puffer coat. It instantly blew up on social media back in March because, hey, the guy looked pretty good in that kind of drip. But the photo, along with several others that showed the Pope in various other states of higher fashion, was revealed to be a fake created in AI image-generator Midjourney by Chicagoan Pablo Xavier while he was high on shrooms.

Artistic Take:

From the Super Bowl to a Schiaparelli fashion show, pop culture yielded all the visual richness of artworks from past eras.

E.U. Agrees to Start Membership Talks With Ukraine

The Move marks a win for Zelensky after setback in Washington, but E.U. talks could take years

In a major political victory for embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the European Union agreed to start membership talks with the country ravaged by almost two years of war with Russia. The boost for Zelensky comes two days after he left Washington without pledges of fresh military support, which Ukraine urgently needs.According to the Washington Post, Ukraine has pushed for years to join the bloc—to bind it closer to its allies in Europe, bolster its economy and give its citizens the right to live, work and travel freely across the continent. Even though accession in the E.U. will take years, the announcement on Thursday was a symbolic win that was likely to rile Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has decried Ukraine's European ambitions as a form of aggression.While experts caution that some fundamental obstacles still stand in the way of Ukraine joining the bloc, Thursday's decision was hailed as a milestone by various European leaders. The Union also approved accession talks for Moldova, the impoverished neighbor to Ukraine's south that is also threatened by Russia. Both nations have struggled to overcome entrenched corruption, which has hindered progress toward E.U. membership.


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he planned to veto an official opening of Ukrainian accession talks, and appears to have abstained from the decision to let the talks begin.

Kick off 2024 in style with a free trip to an all-new Mexican resort in San Miguel de Allende. Enter now for your chance to win.

Tip Your Amazon Driver ... for Free

An Easy way to Show Those drivers some appreciation

How often does an Amazon package make its way to your home? According to CNBC, customers who aren't Amazon Prime members spend an average of $38 per month, but members of the subscription shopping service spend an average of $110 per month, or around $1,320 a year. Well, if Amazon did an end-of-the-year Wrapped, I think I'd be in the top 5% because I'm pretty sure I blow past that average. Apparently, you can find out how much you spend on the site in a year, but I don't want to know that number.But one thing I do want to do is tip the hardworking drivers responsible for getting those Prime deliveries to us in time. Amazon is reviving an initiative to show its delivery drivers some gratitude and a little extra cash. For the second year in a row, saying “Alexa, thank my driver,” will pass on your gratitude and, if they're one of the first two million to receive thanks this way, they'll also get a $5 bonus from the company. You can also type “Thank my driver” into the search bar on the site to do the same. It costs you nothing, but could mean a lot of extra holiday cash for a driver.It's already been so successful that by Thursday afternoon, they'd already reached 2 million "thank yous", so the company announced additional rewards. Here's what Amazon is offering: $100 each for the 1,000 most-thanked drivers each day through the rest of December; $10,000 for the five top-thanked drivers each week until the end of December (once, from December 18-24 and again from December 25-31). 

Dig Deeper:

During the holiday season, Amazon drivers' shifts can be as long as 10 hours and a serious workout.

Doritos Gives Us What No One Asked for

The addictive Chips Brand Just Launched a Nacho Cheese-Flavored Spirit

“Babe, you okay? You've barely touched your spicy nacho cheese-flavored alcohol” ... What sensation do you immediately feel in the pit of your stomach, when you see the words “Doritos-infused liquor” on the screen before you? Is there a flutter of excitement, perhaps? Maybe a twist of revulsion? The one thing I can't imagine is a lack of reaction, as Paste puts it, the concept of nacho hooch seems hardwired into our human DNA to provoke something visceral and primal. And yet, here we are.Nacho Cheese Doritos have been a staple of the snack food aisle for nearly half a century. But in a most unconventional crossover, the beloved tortilla chip brand has partnered with Empirical Spirits to release an 84-proof clear liquor that actually smells and tastes like the real thing—sans the signature crunch and dustry orange fingertips.But really, what's it taste like? According to Food & Wine, the “bouquet is brimming with the unmistakable tang of cheese dust. But in the sip, it’s all about cornier elements.” It leaves your palate with a drying note, akin to what accumulates on your tongue after you've crushed a sizable bag of corn chips. “In other words, it's maybe more Fritos than Doritos.”


The limited-edition Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit is available for pre-order now and will be available in select markets next month at a suggested retail price of $65.

In Other News

U.S. Terrorist Watchlist

It nearly doubled in six years to 2 million people.

Have you heard about ...

Home Alone house

A Weekend Pairing

‘Reacher’ + a Seasonal Lager


After establishing Jack Reacher's skull-crushing credentials by adapting author Lee Child's 1997 debut novel, Killing Floor, for season 1, Prime Video's Reacher leaps forward through the former military cop's long-running catalogue of crime solving for its sophomore year. Taking on the 11th Reacher book, Bad Luck and Trouble, is a smart move, says IGN. “Not only is it one of the strongest stories in the series, but it's also the perfect way to surround Reacher with old peers who are immediately on board with his particular brand of vigilante justice.”Alan Ritchson returns as the hulking, nomadic Reacher. As with the first season, this latest round combines fisticuffs and shootouts with scenes of friends and strangers alike marveling at the eccentricities and capabilities of the stoic hero. The Daily Beast calls it “Peak Dad TV,” as in the kind of show your Dad would love. And honestly, that tracks. The show is a brawny, at times gruesome, over-the-top delight. “It's an upgrade cast in an '80s-'90s action cinema mold, and it solidifies Ritchson as both a perfect Reacher and the moment's reigning He-Man.”

Pair It With

Samuel Adams Seasonal Lager

This is the kind of show you want to kick back and watch with a beer. Nothing fancy, but it being the holidays, I'm recommending Samuel Adams' Seasonal Lager. The smooth bock beer has spices of cinnamon and ginger, with orange peel. The spices hit just right with the toasty malt flavors and formidable alcoholic strength to capture the flavors of the season.

Also Worth a Watch:

Slow Horses,’ season 3 on Apple TV+; ‘The Crown,’ season 6, part 2 on Netflix


What We’re Buying

A travel-friendly holiday fit

Travel outfit

Where are you headed for the holidays? Jetting off to a remote cabin in the mountains somewhere? Skipping town and swapping the seasonal stress for some much needed beach time? Or simply going to see family and far-flung friends? The holidays are peak travel time. In fact, in its annual end-of-year forecast, the AAA is projecting that more than 115.2 million Americans will be on the move over holiday travel period—setting airports up to become the “busiest they've ever been” in the last two decades.Flying may typically be the quickest way to travel, but between cramped seats, dry air and bumpy turbulence, a commercial airliner isn't always a joy to ride in. Sometimes, traveling by car is worth the extra time. However you plan to travel, the right clothes will make the whole experience much more bearable. First off, don't slouch on the style just because you're in transit. You'll never regret being put-together and there's still plenty you can wear to keep things relaxed. Our choice at the moment is a well-worn pair of jeans and some winterized slip-on sneakers. Top that with a cushy cashmere sweater that's been cut like a vintage raglan-sleeve sweatshirt and a military-style jacket that doubles as a nice blanket to keep the chilly air off you while you doze off. Other essentials include a refillable water bottle and a multi-purpose moisturizer, because wherever you're headed, you'll want to show up looking and feeling healthy and hydrated.

The looK:

Morning Motto

Make big plans for next year.

2024 is my season. Better life. Inner peace. Financial freedom. Prosperity.


Share today’s motto: