Sunday, December 31, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #190

I'm something of an addict to year-end lists. They crystalize for me the importance of events during the year, shed light on the things, especially in the arts, that i may have missed (thank you Rolling Stone for the best of music), and clue me in on big things that i somehow missed altogether.

This being a year in which i came within hours of dying myself, there were quite a few things i missed because of being zoned out on morphine for a month, especially in the way of friends and the famous who passed on. While i tried to keep up by posting obits here, there were long stretches where i utterly failed. So there were some surprises on the list. I've come to that time in life too where many of those who influenced me in my growth, and thus were at least a little bit older, are beginning to pass on in numbers. So while i would have said that it was an especially morbid year, maybe that's just a function of the times for me.

While i'm here let me deal with a pet peeve. While it's one thing for an end-of-the-year best music or movies list to come out well before the end of the year, it's a whole different issue in other categories. These lists tend to come out just before Christmas, over a week before the actual end of the year. And so a list of those who passed on (the one i relied on came out Christmas Eve) often miss important deaths, ones which then aren't picked up on the following year. This year, there were three major deaths that would have featured prominently in any list, had it come out at the actual end of the year -- James Brown, Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein. How silly is it to have such a list missing those three. And so what's the harm in issuing a list on New Year's Day?

Anyway, here's my own personal list of folks, friends or otherwise, who i feel like had some kind of impact on my life, however distant or indirect. R.I.P.

Wilson Pickett, Al Lewis, Dennis Weaver, Don Knotts, Ali Farka Toure, Maureen Stapleton, Buck Owens, Katherine Dunham, Billy Preston, Syd Barrett, Red Buttons, Maynard Ferguson, Naguib Mahfouz, Oriana Fallaci, Eddie Albert, Jane Wyatt, William Styron, Ed Bradley, Jack Palance, Robert Altman, Robert Lockwood Jr, Peter Boyle, Ahmet Ertegun, James Brown, Lamar Hunt, Freddy Fender, Trinidad Sanchez Jr., Cody Brown

The 16th Circus of the Spineless is up at The force that through . . . Check it out here. Congrats to Paul DeCelles for another fine, fine version of our favorite blog anthology.

I will be posting my 2007 Worthy Award Winner shortly. These are organizations that i feel deserve greater support, that depend on public donations to function, and whose mission is to make the world in which we live better through cultural awareness, defending rights of the oppressed, or by education. I have given these awards out since 2000.

I hope to be doing some year end best of lists for film, theatre and music. And a synopsis of the year.

Because work and my film projects have been swamping me the last few months, i have a backlog of links and interesting tidbots that i'd like to post. Most of the cool links i get are swiped fromWill Femia's Clicked, the MSNBC blog. It's a great daily read.

This is an annual list of "Things We Didn't Know Last Year" from the UK. In addition to making some nods towards some great discoveries, it's worth a laugh now and then. Confusing is that one would think these are tidbits of NEW information. Some are not, some are merely things that came to widespread public light. To say "we" in the global sense didn't know these things before this year waaaay stratches the truth. For example: that the Lion in the Wizard of Oz's costume was made of real lion skins wasn't known until this year? How could we have not known since at least the time the costumes were made? Oh well.

Among the highlihgts are that: two and a half million households in the UK own rodents; and this tidbit that i'll use repeatedly in my never-ending battle for "bad" kids really being "good" kids: "Goths are likely to grow up to be doctors, lawyers or architects, the study by Sussex University says. They are refined and sensitive, keen on poetry and books, not big on drugs or anti-social behaviour. They are also likely to carry on being goths into their adult life. They have an ability to express their feelings and are believers in romance rather than one-night stands, it says. In fact, the only things dark about them are their clothing and their sarcastic sense of humour. " Amen.

The ever-scarier, ever-more-racist, ever-creepier NRA is at it again. I used to be a member. I think this is one of those things that comes back to haunt you later in life.

Curse of the Golden Flower

Rise of the Silver Surfer

Addicting Flash Games

History of Religion

Classic Jonny Lang -- Lie To Me

The kind of scared that hurts

The Lone Ranger rides again

The Best of Borat from Ali G

The worst album covers ever

The most disgusting, funniest video in fuuuuurever

Names of things you didn't know had names -- i actually knew seven of these.

Quite a few videos out there of this mountain bike kid, but i like this one best.

I look at a lot of music videos out there, and sometimes see amazing things. Here's a couple from the same kid. One. Two.

Cunningham Portal

Pencil Art

The greatest commercials of the 80s

The top ten viewed YouTube videos

The big execution has me baffled at how we are somehow supposed to see this as justice. If so, as the vegetable-in-chief has told us, then we have fooled ourselves more than i guessed. I don't hear any of the rejoicing that the media seems to be trying to incite. I see just another death, and more of our boys dead today, and no telling how long the list is of innocent Iraqis dead. And yet somehow we have brought justice to Iraq? As harsh as his reign may have been i fail to see how his hand could have done more damage to Iraq in the last three years than we have done by our own judicious hand. That to me is the central argument, not whether he was a tyrant, not whether we should win or abandon the country, not whether Iraq should or will accept democracy, but whether there are lives snuffed now that would have survived absent our intervention. Here's another view from inside the country.

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