My friends, it is once again that time of year, when temperatures plummet, festive music blares from every available speaker, and journalists clamour to prove both their expertise and their proficiency with numbers by offering you an array of best-of lists. Now, a confession: I hate cold weather — give me a hazy, humid August scorcher any day. And, with apologies to our resident crafter and Christmas fanatic Katie Dupuis, I really dislike festive music. However, I adore a good best-of list. I like them for all the terrible, obvious reasons — here’s some order in our chaotic world! hey, I loved that movie, too! gee, that was easily digestible! So shoot me. I know I’m not alone on this one.
It is in that spirit — get ready to wrap your mind around the meta! — that I present to you my best-of the best-of lists. Like all true best-of lists, it is entirely arbitrary, based on what I happen to enjoy and what I happen to have happened upon, after a fair-but-by-no-means-exhaustive amount of Internet clicking. It is also a tad premature, given that all sorts of media outlets (I’m looking at you, Globe and Mail) have yet to release their best-of lists. But no matter! Let’s call it a work in progress, and let’s begin:
This is the list that kickstarted the blog post, and you’ve got to give Time points for sheer comprehensiveness — when they say everything, they mean everything, with 50 very specific lists over 4 broad categories. My favourite, though, has to be the Top 10 T-shirt-Worthy Slogans, mainly because I am a child and I find Kayne’s “Imma let you finish” endlessly amusing.
The New Yorker’s Judith Thurman is bang-on with her choices, though it is criminal — CRIMINAL — that this came in at number 7, rather than number 1.
You may have caught wind of the fact that we’re not merely counting down the year — we’re counting down a decade, folks. New York magazine has therefore put out its issue of the aughts, which includes a look at the last ten years in culture. Critic Sam Anderson’s essay on the decade’s defining literature is well worth a read, not least because it devotes considerable space to Junot Díaz’s phenomenal novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which several best-of-the-decade book lists failed to do. (Seriously, if you or anyone you know hasn’t yet read Oscar Wao, please go pick it up. Look, it’s available on Amazon! And if you order now, it’ll even ship by Christmas!) But I digress. While all the essays boast interesting stuff, my heart belongs to the slideshow Rust in Peace, about everyday items rendered obsolete by the passing decade. So long, answering machine! Fare thee well, paid pornography! Nice knowing you…Hydrox, precursor to the Oreo? Apparently so.
Oh, man, remember when that doctor from Moosejaw posted all ten ink blots on Wikipedia, along with the most popular responses? And then remember how the entire medical community went nuts? And remember how this happened in July, when the sun was shining and the weather was sweet and life seemed generally more manageable? I miss those times. Sorry, wait, what was I talking about?
Ah, that’s better. Book design prettiness.
Tip: Don’t buy a Cadillac Escalade, or else suffer the consequences.
Tip: Don’t actually read this list, or else suffer having Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” stuck in your head FOREVER.
And, finally, I’d just like to wish all our Jewish readers a very happy first night of Hanukkah (however you choose to spell it). A brief personal aside: As a half-Jewish girl growing up in an all-Jewish neighbourhood, I — much like those Gosselin kids — learned early on that Santa was not real. It’s a cruel and sobering moment for a child, but happily, children can be distracted from their pain quite quickly by the promise of fried food. And it is in that spirit, my friends, that I leave you with my top three latkes recipes. Sevivon, sov sov sov — and enjoy the potatoes.
Chatelaine’s lacy latkes
Gourmet’s potato latkes
Mark Bittman’s guide to potato pancakes, complete with video.
— Danielle Groen