Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fifth Annual Ralphies

Oh yeah, the Ralphies. Even more than last year, I have been out of touch with popular culture. In fact, since around August, when we moved to the DC area, I've been busy in the academic life and haven't bought a CD, gone to a movie, or read a ... no, actually, I've read plenty of books, so never mind that. I've also watched some TV. But generally I feel like I've been away.

And I haven't been blogging that much, either, and I've paid the price for that, in that very few people stop by here anymore. Such is life. But despite it all, I shall award Ralphies, as I do every year, for my own sake, if not for yours.

BEST MOVIE: As I say, I haven't seen a movie since the summer. I never got to see The Dark Knight (unlike every other living human) or Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D, which I really wanted to see. In fact, all I remember going to see was WALL*E and Hellboy II, both of them excellent. Since WALL*E is the politically correct choice in this politically correct year, I shall award the Ralphie to ... Hellboy II.

BEST RECORD: Uhhh .... I really haven't been listening to much music lately. Did I even buy a CD this year? If I did, I can't remember what it was. But I hereby choose to define "record" quite loosely, so I award the Ralphie to a melancholy song I downloaded that went to the top of my iTunes playlist: Pull of the Pint, by Bill Coleman.

BEST BOOK (FICTION): I had a couple of good reads this year. During the whole move (which was not a moving experience, if you get me), I beguiled the time by reading Stephen King's Dark Tower sequence, which I would recommend only if you are a big King fan already. Otherwise, skip it. I also enjoyed The Tin Roof Blowdown, by James Lee Burke. But I give the Ralphie to a book that I actually read last December too late for the 4th Ralphies: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz. Highly recommended.

BEST BOOK (NONFICTION): I've read a ton of non-fiction lately, but mainly in connection with my work, and none of those books are of recent vintage. I will award the Ralphie to a non-academic work, though, that gave me much to think about: James Martin's My Life with the Saints.

BEST TV SHOW: Lost is, and will continue to be, the TV show for me, and the 4th season was as great as ever. But it was cut short by the writers' strike and somehow it feels like the Ralphie should go to something that is around more. The Office is just not worth watching anymore, and The Simpsons is far gone from its glory days. I award the Ralphie this year to House, which is compulsively watchable, fun, thought-provoking, and on practically 5 nights a week in syndication. Can't beat that.

That's all, folks! Have a fantabulous Christmas and an ecstatic New Year! See you next year!