A Calendar Reform Proposal

In our modern world of global telecommunication, the Gregorian calendar has become a universal standard. To be fair, it is a very solid calendar, but I think we can all agree that it could use some improvement. For example, it is ridiculous that February has only 28 days when other months have up to 31! Obviously, a better system would allot 31 days to 5 of the months (6 in leap years) and 30 to the rest. BUT why stop there? Why not give equal day counts to ALL the months?

The solution, fellow calendar reformist, is called Gloumbes.

Calendar System Pros and Cons

Gregorian Calendar


The Enduring Triumph in Turmoil of Red Velvet’s “Psycho”

As another December draws to a close, the year-in-review pop culture listicles file in, inevitable as the march of time itself. Yes, even in 2020 — whether that feels frivolous in light of this year’s grim events, macabre given the pandemic’s effect on the entertainment industry, or essential as a way of combating all that. (Or maybe perfunctory since you can just throw Folklore and Evermore in the top spot and call it a day.) …

I Walk Now in the Light of Red Velvet’s Layered Masterpiece

Every year, as August slips away into September, it’s natural to reminisce about the summer that is ending and romanticize what was (or could have been). But as with many previously normal activities, the events of 2020 have turned this banal seasonal nostalgia into an uncanny, mind-warping exercise. Of course, for me the idea of summer being in any way special died long ago, when I entered the workforce and a three-month break became “the same as the rest of the year, only sweaty.” And surely, no summer in recent memory has felt less special, with days once reserved for…

Find out if you’re a daughter of Arendelle on a quest of self-discovery to the heart of a sacred glacier by answering these simple questions!

Frozen II is finally available on home video, and by now you’re doubtless familiar with “Show Yourself,” Elsa’s rapturous emotional turning point and clear successor to “Let It Go.” Or maybe you’re not, in which case I have a pretty strong sense of what your results on this quiz will be! Either way, there’s only one way to determine whether you’re searching a cavernous plateau of ice for the unseen force that has beckoned you north. Let’s find out!

The Quiz

1. At the beginning of this quiz, how much of you is trembling?

A) Every inch, but not from the cold. B) Every inch, and it’s definitely from the cold. C) Some portion of…

Spoiler alert, I guess? But also, does it matter?

Okay, here it is: I think Cats the movie might be Good.

white cat dancing, arms outstretched
white cat dancing, arms outstretched

I KNOW. I know the critics (PEOPLE OF WIDELY ESTABLISHED WRONGNESS, SO IDK WHY YOU LISTENED TO THEM) all told you it was bad, and had a field day doing so. BUT. What if, actually, Cats is… Good?

Hear me out. Let us discuss some of the things that happen in Cats, which is itself mostly a succession of cats saying “let us discuss some of the things that happen involving cats.” In keeping with the spirit of Cats, there will be no real order to these thoughts…

Your Latest Official Tiering of Every Taylor Swift Song

Taylor Swift looks coyly aside before a neutral background, wearing a fringey denim top with star patches
Taylor Swift looks coyly aside before a neutral background, wearing a fringey denim top with star patches

Fanboys gonna fan fan fan fan fan! I’ve sat with the exquisite Lover long enough now that I can live with the opinions I’m going to offer here — at least until TS8 — so it’s time to update one of my least controversial tierings. At this point, it’s tradition.

Feel free to revisit the Reputation-era tiering and the original version. As always, passing time may bring recalculations.

TIER I: It’s Golden

The Queen, the Goddess, my Inspiration.

Our Song, Fearless, Love Story, You Belong with Me, Forever and Always, Back to December, Dear John, Enchanted, Red, Treacherous, All Too Well, Blank Space, All…

Like Thanos, I Am the Only One Willing to Face Hard Truths

You’re going to get angry when you read this. So Dr. Banner, you should maybe close this tab now; as for the rest of you, perhaps your anger will be mitigated by the knowledge that, when it comes to the MCU, I am a bandwagon newb.

In late 2017, I had seen exactly 50% of the 16 Marvel movies released to that point, and mostly because I tagged along with friends. I was neither very tapped in to nerd culture nor much of a moviegoer at the time. The meta-narrative of the Marvel universe was barely on my radar.


(Only the Ones I’ve Seen; Don’t @ Me)

If you know me, you know that I love two things:

So here is my holiday gift to all of you. For my purposes, a “Christmas movie” is defined as “any motion picture of any length including as a significant element the celebration of a winter holiday.” I’m only evaluating the examples I personally have seen, so don’t come in here whining about how could I leave out Die Hard or The Nightmare Before Christmas, because I haven’t seen them!

Tier I: Joy to the World

The following films are inarguable classics. Required viewing every December…

Your Burning Birding Questions Answered by a Total Non-Expert

There is a type of bird called a brood parasite, which as a reproductive strategy lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and leaves them to do the parenting. Thus some unsuspecting sparrows or warblers end up raising a conspicuously large cowbird or cuckoo (whence comes cuckold), usually at the expense of the host birds’ own offspring.

a Wilson’s Warbler feeds its large adult son (a Brown-Headed Cowbird)

I, too, am an impostor. I have walked among the hardcore birders and been accepted as one of their own, despite my oversized lack of knowledge and clashing plumage of inexperience. “Anything good today?” a bebinoculared stranger asked me recently on…

A Deeply Scientific and Utterly Necessary Survey

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally posted in 2018. It has been (and will continue to be) updated to reflect subsequent releases.

Recently, I finally saw the queen, the goddess, my inspiration herself in concert, and I’ve been looking for ways to celebrate the fact that I am now forever changed. Given that I had prepared for the show by listening to her entire catalog on shuffle, I’ve had a lot of her bons mots echoing around my brain, and this seemed like a fitting exercise.

I was going to offer “The Best Lyric from Every Taylor Swift Song,” but…

Brandon Michael Lowden

musical theater writer • mostly songs about robots

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