Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Best and Worst of Times

So I guess it is that time of year again. And no, I don't mean hitting the big box stores and getting crushed to death in a mad scramble to save two bucks on the latest gizmo. No I am talkin' year end lists. That's right baby, the best and worst of 2011 are rolling in as we speak. The big one, Time Magazine's Person of the Year, has not yet been announced, but you gotta figure Steve Jobs has that one all sewn up. Besides his enormous accomplishments and dying way too young, checking out late in the year like that always sits well with the judges. Either way, having gone with Mark Zuckerberg last year, they've got nowhere to go but up.

Of course there are still three weeks left in the year, which is plenty of time for Charlie Sheen or Donald Trump to do something epically stupid and shake things up a bit. But here are some highlights from Time that caught my eye:

The Top 10 Buzzwords includes Arab Spring, Winning, and Man as Prefix. The first one was an obvious, world changing event, and belongs on all sorts of 2011 lists. The second one of course is from our aforementioned friend Mr. Sheen, who by the way, cost me $500 in the office death pool. Yeah, my bracket came down to Gaddafi vs. Mr. Winning. And while Sheen is the younger man, I really thought old Muammar would stick around long enough to see him into an early grave. My bad. The last one, of course, refers to things like mancave, mankini, and of course mancations. Mancations are all the rage in mantravel (see what I did there?), and I saw it as my obligation to round up a crew and head out on one of my own earlier this year. Think "The Hangover" meets "Bachelor Party", only with a bunch of old geezers an no nudity (thank God).

The Top 10 Gadgets has the Apple iPad 2 sitting at #1, which should surprise absolutely no one. In fact, the list is dominated by Apple products or Apple wanna-be products. The exceptions being gaming systems, which I will never understand, and something called the Roku. From what I gather it is a device about the size of the palm of your hand, which enables you to stream digital movies from places like Hulu and Netflix, directly to your TV. I get the feeling BetaMax just isn't coming back, and I ought to break down and have a look at one of these things in '12.

Top 10 Comebacks has congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at #1 with her truly miraculous recovery from gunshot wounds. The rest of the list, however, was almost exclusively people I have never heard of, which begs two questions: did they really come back, and if so, from what? Of course the entry that caused me to nearly fall out of my chair was New Kids on the Block and the Back Street Boys uniting to form one huge boy-band, nostalgia group. Now I know I am no spring chicken, but aren't these "boys" like 40 years old at this point? At least with Menudo they kicked you out when you turned 18, sparing you any such embarrassment later in life. Oh well, I guess it is just the year of the manboy (did it again).

Of course, I am a cinephile at heart, and it is the best- and worst-of movie lists that always get my attention. Now to say that 2011 was not a good movie year, is sort of like saying Donald Trump has issues with his hair. But The Artist as the #1 best film? Really? In case you missed it- and you were not alone - this film is black-and-white and silent. That's right, the actors speak their lines, which then appear on screen using inter-titles just like back in the '20s. Maybe I'll hold onto that BetaMax after all. Of course the only problem with the worst-of list is that you only get ten places. But to have any other film besides Adam Sandler's Jack and Jill as the worst would be a travesty. This movie is so bad it will actually stink up your house if you bring it in on DVD. If you must watch it, stream it to one of those Roku thingys and have a clothespin handy for your nose.

But if you want a really great list to ponder, check out RedWeek's Top 25 Timeshare Rental Resorts. No boy-bands, winning, or doomsday predictions here. Just honest results from real travelers, just like you and me. Well, I am off to hit the pool at my Maui timeshare rental. I wonder if I'm supposed to step into this mankini, or pull it over my head?

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