Pretty much have to agree about Winston Churchill, though.
I agree to a certain extent especially since I'm old enough to recall the pre-Internet era. Anything is what you choose to make of it. But most people aren't encourage to make that choice -- they are supposed to just be passive consumers of the latest thing. What really bothers me is the reification, if you will, of things that used to be available for free and were merely part of ordinary life -- these things are now sold to us by a corporate entity under the guise of "connect with friends" "live a better life." By implication, any time not spent on the Net is valueless because it's of benefit to no one since no profit can be made off it.
I became a vegetarian when it was still a sort of hippie thing to do and semi-cool. The coolness factor was gradually overtaken by the foodie movement, as you describe. I try not to let it bother me, though. More than 20 years and still no desire to go back to meat.
You know you're in trouble when even the BYU kids are using Adderall.
There is an almost foolproof method I use for relaxing myself to sleep. You listen for 5 sounds (your breathing, your partner's breathing, a noise in the street, etc), then you count 5 separate sensations (pillow against your cheek, blanket on your shoulder, your legs, etc), then take 5 deep breaths. Do the same for 4, 3, 2, 1. I rarely get beyond 3. Even if it doesn't put me entirely to sleep it relaxes me. This is related to the practice of mindfulness and the concept of living in the here and now and not worrying so much about things you can't control. That being said, the fact that you are worrying about your place in the universe might indicate you have spiritual longings that you deny having. It wouldn't hurt to read and explore in this direction if you feel comfortable doing so. What you are worrying about it basically what many thinkers and philosphers have worried about for centuries. MOst of them eventually found answers of some sort.
Those illustrations are making me swoon slightly because they're very Thurberesque.
About 5 years ago it hit me that the purpose of those CSI, NCIS etc shows is to make women scared to go out of the house. Or scared to be in the house alone. Or just plain scared.
I never knew "the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots" was meant literally.
The only thing I know about awls is that's what Louis Braille poked his eye out with.
I admit I often read (or skim) acknowledgements, looking for people I've heard of, especially in British bios or works of history. The ultimate acknowledgement in this category is probably "Thanks to H.M. the Queen for permission to use..."
It's also particularly fun when someone who has blurbed the book on the back shows up in the acknowledgements.