Monday, December 26, 2011

Eighth Annual Ralphies

Before I begin the long-awaited Ralphies, I would like to congratulate myself on keeping "Ralph" going. Way to go, buddy! By the way, if anyone is interested in knowing how many hits are produced by a mention in the New York Times -- the answer is zero. Not one. This is because the clueless NYT doesn't provide click-through links for blogs mentioned in its august pages (on-line edition), and its readers don't really think about looking anything up for themselves. Thanks a lot, Gray Lady.

All right, enough self-serving patter. The question is, Who gets the awards? As in past years, the answers don't come easily.

Music: This year I paid a bit more attention to music than in the past, partly due to the Sirius satellite radio installed in the new car. This provides not only a steady stream of old favorites (like the Electric Prunes), but also an introduction to new (Real Estate) and semi-newish (Metric) bands. Hello, world! The Song of the Year Ralphie goes, as it did last year, to the one song that annoyingly got stuck on repeat play in my brain and wouldn't go away for weeks: Pumped-Up Kicks by Foster the People. The Album of the Year goes to a group who returned after a long hiatus, and were still awesome: Gillian Welch, with The Harrow and the Harvest.

Books (FIction): I actually read a couple of fairly new books in the fiction category this year. Unfortunately, they won't get a Ralphie. I read Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk, based on a rave review in the Washington Post. It was a reasonably good read, but not really in the same league as Conan Doyle. I also read Tana French's Faithful Place. One of these day, she is going to write a great novel -- she's got it in her -- but she hasn't yet. All of her books are page-turners, but have some fatal flaw. In the Woods neglects to tie up a big loose end; The premise of The Likeness is just too unbelievable; and now Faithful Place telegraphs the ending from a mile away. No, the best fiction I read this year was graphic: David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp, Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds, and Brian Michael Bendis's Alias series. The Ralphie goes to the last named, by a hair.

Books (Non-fiction): Wow, I don't even know where to begin. I read a lot of stuff this year. I'm going to give the Ralphie to Nick Riemer's Introducing Semantics, for getting a whole lot of ideas going in my brain, although as a textbook I'm not sure that John Saeed's Semantics is not better for students than Riemer.

Television: Television took a big back seat this year, as did Movies. The only show I consistently have to watch is Fringe. which is still the best thing out there, although it has yet to catch fire in Season 4. I also found myself watching, although not compulsively, Game of Thrones and Homeland. The latter was enjoyable, but suffered in comparison with the similar but much superior series on AMC, the much-lamented Rubicon. But Fringe gets the Ralphie.

Movies: Didn't see that many. We went to see the last Harry Potter movie, and my reaction was the same one that I had for all the others: OK, but so what? Much better was Super 8, which gets the Ralphie. But I'm sure there were good movies out there; I just didn't see them.

All right kids, be sure and write in to tell me what your favorites are! The best response gets a free lifetime subscription to "Ralph." Cheers!

1 comment:

j. morris said...

Hi -- I've just discovered your blog thanks to a reference in Yaffe's new Dylan book. The site looks very interesting so far, but I particularly wanted to follow up on the Dylan stuff, which I daresay is old hat to you by now, but new to me.

I think the plagiarism in Chronicles, as ably documented by you and your colleagues, is outrageous and inexcusable. I'd like to know whether you're aware of any movement to strip Dylan of his National Book Award nomination. To my mind, this should be merely routine when any nominee is proved to be a thief.


J. Morris