Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in review: The very best that 2013 could do ... or so it says

Well, it’s Dec. 30.
For those of us on the Gregorian Calendar, that means while 2013 isn’t completely dead and buried, it is mostly dead and it is in the coffin and the coffin has been placed in the earth and a team of elderly cemetery employees are, as we speak, slowly shoveling dirt on top of it.  
                This could take a while, folks.
                So while that’s going on and before most of the free world drinks itself into a Ryan Seacrest-fueled mania, how’s about a look back at the year we all just endured and hopefully emerged from unscathed? That dark and spider-infested year of our Lord 2013.    
                Here they are, the things that ruled the world in 2013.

Best Movie: "Pacific Rim." Giant Godzilla-esque monsters fighting giant robots and Michael Bay is nowhere in sight? Sounds like and was, the recipe for cinematic heaven.  

Best Song: “Chocolate,” by The 1975. I went from zero to seeing them live in about two months thanks to how awesome this song is. The song is dark and poppy, the band members have interesting accents and weird hair. In a word: British.  

Best TV Show: "Game of Thrones." It takes a lot to get me to follow an hour-long TV drama. It takes even more to get me to follow an hour-long drama on a network I don’t actually have legal access to. “Game of Thrones” overcame those odds, leaving behind hundreds of shows that I’ll always hear are great but will never watch. Sorry “Sopranos.”

Best Book: “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King. I think I read two books that were released during the calendar year of 2013, this one and “NOS4A2,” by Joe Hill, King’s son. The rest of the books I read were from scattered periods of time. Both were very good, “Doctor Sleep” was better.

Best Food: Sushi. I’m not sure when my nonsensical love affair with sushi began, but it intensified during 2013. I don’t like most fish or really anything that lives in the sea, but man sushi is tremendous. Here’s to many more years together, my tempura-battered – or not – friend.  

Best Country: U.K. “Game of Thrones” has what seems like a decent amount of Brits in it. “Top Gear” is still one of the best shows on TV. I started watching “Doctor Who” and reading/listening to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” books. Not since those bowl cut-enthusiasts from Liverpool showed up on America’s shores has this great land been so under The Queen’s control.

Best Athlete: Simon Gagne. The prodigal son returned to Philadelphia after a brief but fruitful stay abroad in Tampa and then Los Angeles. In 27 games with the team, he scored five goals and six assists for eleven total points. And those five goals and six assists for eleven total points so overshadowed everything else that took place in the world of sports this past year that the rest might as well have all shut down. All your championships, all of your records, they're all meaningless in comparison to #12 donning the orange and black once again.

Best Podcast: Harmontown. Perhaps the most highly contested category of them all, but Mayor Dan Harmon and his lovable gang of nerds edged out the boys from Bloody Good Horror by the slenderest of noses. The blend of laughs and soul-touching moments, the rise of Spencer Crittenden and the Harmon Country tour featuring the slow-build-indie-rock song to end all slow-build-indie-rock songs was just too much to ignore.   

Best Condiment: Cocktail Sauce. I will eat this on literally anything. On 2013, I added salad to that mix. Cocktail sauce and lettuce. A match made right at the top of 2013’s food pyramid.

Best Animal: Cat. They remain the most interesting and fun four – or three – or less – legged critters around. We’ve got similar, standoffish temperaments and we’re both very OCD about keeping our paws clean. 

And finally:

Saddest moment. Now, I could just play this thing safe and say, “Oh Nelson Mandela dying, that was terrible.” And it was terrible. He was a fantastic man and so forth, but in terms of my immediate day-to-day life … I’m going to trail off there to avoid inciting the internet to hunt me down with torches and pitchforks. Instead, let’s get right to the year’s saddest moment: The break-up of My Chemical Romance was a gut-punch I never saw coming. Perhaps my second favorite band of all time and one I felt more and more attached to in recent years. Those fun-loving nerds in costumes got me through a lot. When something is bothering me, this is the band I turn to and will continue to turn to for consolation for years to come. There is no finer cure for the blues than cranking “I’m Not OK” alone in the car and screaming it at the top of your lungs. I’m eternally greatly to this band for what they’ve given me. And I look forward to what I can only hope is their eventually reunion very soon.  

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