1. “Altai” (Wu Ming) - As a fan of historical fiction, I’ve searched high and low for less Hollywood than the Baroque Cycle and better written than most historians taking a stab at fiction because money, but not found much that could match the glory of “Sudden Death.” “Altai” comes correct, roaming from Venice to Constantinople, to Yemen to Cyprus and beyond in a tangled web of religions, proto-zionists, pogroms, refugees and subterfuge. The backstory of the group behind it is even more insane.
  2. Saxon “Denim and Leather” - We all wonder just what is good and just in the world anymore these days. Sometimes we need to look to the past to remember what matters and how to set our spirits free, like you totally could all the time during the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.
  3. November Coming Fire “Providence” is quite possibly the most exquisite hardcore song recorded this century. I’m saying it.
  4. This book review is better than most books I’ve read on religion.
  5. I still can’t entirely figure out this Beau Miles guy, and of course maybe I shouldn’t even be concerned about that, but I love him and this triathlon to work
  6. Oh, so you wake up like me today, and just not feeling it at all. You haven’t seen the sun for days, if not weeks, your fingers and toes ache from cold. But then this banger from Kim Wilde slips into your head and you’re ready to conquer entire planets, whether they are in the 80’s or not.
  7. Metallica - Anything and everything up until and including “…And Justice for All” (1988)
  8. British cheddar - As a self-imposed exile from the Crown lands and in particular Brexit, I have a difficult, storied and onerous relationship with all things British. Dairy products are one exception to this and come to me with charm, razor sharp wit and a welcome you can only get in a warm pub with a fire place on a cold, wet day.
  9. Advent calendars - Imagine, in this day and age, you had to actually wait for something. You knew it was there and you knew it was in contrast to most things in your life, of little to no consequence, let’s say a tiny piece of shit chocolate. But you wait. It has a number. It taunts you a little bit, sitting there on the credenza or on the window sill, but in a nicely goading way that your mom might.
  10. Graz, Austria - Who would have known that the capital of Styria (Steiermark) and Austria’s second largest city was so damn cool. Despite driving in this small city being one of the most stressful experiences ever, the former European capital of culture has loads to do in a totally walkable format and multiple Christmas markets for every walk of person.