The Daily Valet. - 1/3/24, Wednesday

✔️ Are You Participating This Year?

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Wednesday, January 3rd Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

I might cut back to focus on my health, but I'm not really the Dry January type.

Today’s Big Story

Dry January Is Back

The sobriety challenge is bigger than ever as more people kick off the new year by kicking alcohol for a month

Dry January

Are you doing Dry January this year? After indulging over the holidays and likely drinking a little too much on New Year's Eve (not that I know anything about that) it makes sense as the perfect time to reset and give your body a break. And as the sober curious movement gains traction, with more people reassessing their relationship to alcohol, experts say they expect to see even more participants this year.“This year, it's actually becoming even more popular for people to engage in (Dry January)—people are thinking about taking a break from drinking either before or after the holidays,” one clinical psychologist told CBS News. “In the past, this might have caused anxiety, but it's much more socially acceptable and people are more aware of this movement, planning for it and discussing it in their social circles.”This is especially true among younger populations like Gen Z who have a better understanding of the negative health impacts of alcohol. A Gallup poll from earlier this year found 39% of Americans view moderate drinking as unhealthy, an 11-percentage-point increase since 2018. Surveys also indicate today's teens and young adults are drinking less than in previous generations, which experts view as the result of an overall focus shift on health and well-being following the height of the COVID pandemic.Sales of booze-free spirits and low-to-no-alcohol beers are soaring lately. The explosive growth is pegged to a combination of healthier lifestyles, more choices and improved quality and taste of non-alcoholic options. NA beverage sales, which totaled about $524.3 million over the past 52 weeks, are up, but still account for only a fraction of total alcoholic beverage sales of $67.6 billion, which increased 1% the past 52 weeks, according to USA Today.Me? While I doubt that I'll be dry the entire month, I am trying to ease off the sauce a bit while I refocus on my health. And I will say that Recess's popular canned margarita mocktail, which combines broad-spectrum hemp and balancing adaptogens with a heavy hit of fresh lime, is pretty damn satisfying. So if you're looking for a gateway beverage to a dry happy hour, that's the one. 

Dig Deeper:

There are some real benefits to taking a break, if only for a few weeks. Here’s the science behind what happens to your new alcohol-free body.

Hamas Leader Killed in Beirut Blast

The deputy head of Hamas and two leaders of its armed wing were killed in an explosion in Lebanon 

Hamas said Tuesday that one of its senior leaders has been killed in an attack in the south of the Lebanese capital Beirut. The fact Saleh al-Arouri was killed in a drone strike likely didn't surprise many. The 57-year-old was one of the most wanted men in the Middle East, with close ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia. But CNN reports that it's raising fears of a potential escalation in fighting in the region.Israel has not taken responsibility for the attack. But one Israeli and two U.S. officials confirmed Israel was behind the attack. If later confirmed, it would be the country's first assassination of a top Hamas official since the start of the war in Gaza in October. Hezbollah, backed by Iran, said if Israel did kill Hamas leaders, it would retaliate.For nearly three months, tit-for-tat fighting between Israel's military and Hezbollah has largely stayed within a roughly four-kilometer range of the border region, with Hezbollah striking Israel while Israel struck Lebanon. The fighting has raised fears among the U.S. and other Western countries that a full-scale war could break out, but those fears have so far failed to materialize. Now, this blast in Beirut has fueled concerns about the potential for escalation as Israel prepares for retaliation.

U.S. National Debt Hits Record $34 Trillion 

The changing economy has made federal debt a bigger problem

The U.S. national debt has eclipsed $34 trillion for the first time, the Treasury Department said Tuesday, as persistently large annual deficits continue to add to the federal tab. According to the Associated Press, the astronomical number foreshadows the coming political and economic challenges to improve America's balance sheet in the coming years.The Washington Post reports that government borrowing costs have increased due to the Federal Reserve's campaign to raise interest rates, while spending has remained above pre-covid levels, and tax receipts dropped last year—all worsening the nation's fiscal outlook. The New York Times says both parties have contributed to the situation. “Republicans have passed large tax cuts. Democrats have enacted ambitious climate and health care initiatives. Both funneled money to Americans in response to the COVID pandemic.”However, economists are sharply divided over the danger posed by the federal debt. Some experts argue the tide of red ink poses a threat to the nation's overall fiscal health, while others maintain the federal government has plenty of capacity to borrow without risking an economic crisis. The economy has been growing at a rapid clip in recent quarters, which makes the increase in debt less significant because the borrowed money represents a smaller share of the nation's economic output. The solution remains unclear. But the economy may be able to continue growing at a steady clip for years despite the debt.


In November, the financial firm Moody’s lowered its outlook on U.S. debt from “stable” to “negative.”

Has Streaming Gotten Too Expensive?

Streamers are turning to bundles, discounts and ad-supported plans as customer defections rise

Apparently, it's getting a lot harder for streaming services to hold on to their customers. I know I've dropped a few recently once I realized that I wasn't using them enough to warrant the price. According to the latest data, about one-quarter of U.S. subscribers to major streaming services—a group that includes Apple TV+, Discovery+, Disney+, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Paramount+, Peacock and Starz—have canceled at least three of them. Two years ago, that number stood at 15%.The Wall Street Journal says it's a clear sign that streaming users are becoming increasingly fickle. Streamers are now under increasing pressure to improve profitability to offset the high costs of creating and licensing content without having to reacquire users. They have tried a range of tactics to keep customers, including launching lower-cost ad-supported tiers, teaming up with rivals on bundled deals and providing discounts or free months of service.Sadly, even as many of these services add advertisements to their platforms, they're still charging more. The Verge recently lamented, “Death. Taxes. All your streaming services getting a little more expensive all the time. These are the new certainties in life, it seems.” They're now tracking all the price increases and other changes from streaming services to help their audience make sure they're only paying for what they want. To help you make a choice for the new year, the New York Times also charted what some of the main streaming services will cost and what they will offer. 


LG just announced a new 4K laser projector that the company says doubles as a “stylish art object” and they're not wrong.

In Other News

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How one hearing brought down two Ivy League presidents.

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31 Days

How to Calm Someone Down

A gentleman always takes control of a situation

Calm Someone Down

It’s not exactly a pleasant experience, encountering someone who’s basically having a meltdown. Maybe they're justifiably angry or only mildly upset or perhaps even in the throes of a panic attack. But a gentleman always takes control of a situation.It might not be your job, but everyone will be better off if you help calm them down. Knowing how to soothe someone and walk them back from the proverbial edge in these sorts of situations requires empathy and some know-how, but will benefit everyone involved. Consider it a life skill worth learning.



What We’re Buying

Fitness gear on sale

Nike Sportswear RPM backpack

Updating your workout wardrobe is an excellent way to stay motivated, especially in the throes of winter when it's not always easy to get to the gym. Remember to prioritize comfort, functionality and personal style when revising your fitness fits. And thankfully, there are plenty of sales to free up cash for the good protein powder.

Get It:

RPM backpack, $92 / $78.97 by Nike Sportswear

Morning Motto

Set that alarm.

Getting up very early greatly improves focus and productivity.


Share today’s motto: