Oil Greasing the Wheels: “The dictionary defines ‘realpolitik’ as ‘policy based on power rather than ideals or principles.’ We are about to see a version of this in action when President Biden visits Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia.” In WaPo, David Ignatius explains why MBS stands on the verge of getting what he wants.

+ I’m OK, You Suck: “In early 2022, Gallup found that Americans’ satisfaction with ‘the way things are going in personal life’ neared a 40-year high, even as their satisfaction with ‘the way things are going in the U.S.’ neared a 40-year low. On top of the old and global tendency to assume most people are doing worse than they say they are is a growing American tendency to be catastrophically gloomy about the direction of this country, even as we’re resiliently sunny about our own household’s future.” Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: Everything Is Terrible, but I’m Fine.

+ Home Schooling: “If you live in this community, you see a bigger picture than what people see when they just look in, from the outside. I help people out when I can. I want to give back. I took psychology courses in college, and it’s pretty clear a lot of people around here need help. I’ve taken seven women to the rape crisis center, and I’m looking forward to cleaning this place up and making it look nicer than it did before — in appreciation for letting me stay here.” LA Times: Profiles of people living in homeless encampments. It’s rarely what you’d expect.

+ Whacky Weed: NYT: The World’s Largest Plant Is a Self-Cloning Sea Grass in Australia. “The species is called Poseidon’s ribbon weed, and researchers say it has spread to cover an area the size of Cincinnati over the past 4,500 years.” (This is a job for my water bong.)

+ Can You Dig It? “According to Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the find includes 250 painted sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies inside, as well as 150 bronze statues of ancient deities and bronze vessels used in rituals of Isis, the goddess of fertility in ancient Egyptian mythology, all from the Late Period, about 500 B.C.” Egypt displays trove of newly discovered ancient artifacts.

+ Heard it Through the Grapevine: For those who care, the verdict is in. Johnny Depp has won his libel lawsuit against Amber Heard. We’ll see what this verdict means for media and op-eds more broadly (probably nothing good). At one point, the judge clarified for the jury that the case comes down the headline in Heard’s op-ed (even though editors usually write those). “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” (Apparently, it hasn’t.) The verdict on America’s obsession with this case was already in. We’re idiots.