Thursday, December 20

Ten Things That Have Entertained Me In 2007

Presented for no particular reason, and presented in no particular order.

1. "The Simpsons Movie"

It's a gift from the comedy gods. I saw it in the theater more times than I care to confess. Now that it's out on DVD, I am worried about wearing out the disc.

2. The Dresden Dolls

Complementary Spouse Britt Shirley and I discovered this band on the True Colors tour in Dallas. In an earlier blog post, I wrote: "If I had to describe this Boston-based duo in just a few words, I'd say they remind me of Tori Amos, but with a sense of humor. They describe themselves as Brechtian punk cabaret, which is a concept so bizarre and painfully obtuse that it just makes me admire them more."

If you're not immediately hooked on the Dresden Dolls after hearing their music, you will be after seeing this video for "Shores of California" -- a nearly flawless shot-for-shot shout-out to David Lee Roth's video for "Californian Girls":

3. The "Here It Goes Again" video by OK Go

This is the most brilliant bit of choreography I have seen in a long time. The song is great too.

4. "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

I am insanely jealous that I did not write this novel.

5. "Back to Black," by Amy Winehouse

After hearing "Rehab" a few times on Sirius radio, I grabbed this CD for £10 -- nearly $18 at the time -- in the International departures hall at Heathrow in March, as Britt and I were making our way back from Central Europe. I didn't mind paying the huge mark-up because I knew the album wasn't available in the United States. What I didn't know is that the album would be released in the States one week after we returned. In fact, Best Buy had it for $7.99.

6. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

Each of the characters on this show make Eric Cartman look like Mother Theresa. There's not a single redeeming quality to be found among the lot of them!

7. "Ratatouille"

Storytelling genius. Even though I adore everything about this movie, I'm not sure it has made me any more enamored of French cuisine. Also, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a McDonald's tie-in. I mean, c'mon, how much fun would that have been!

8. "Hairspray"

I dare anyone to sit through this movie and not smile when it's over. I still have mixed feelings about John Travolta stepping into Divine's divine shoes, but I can't deny I enjoyed it when Travolta paid homage to "Pulp Fiction" with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it hand gesture. And speaking of blink-and-you'll-miss-it moments, I loved John Waters' cameo.

9. "300"

Actually, I kind of liked it. Sure, it managed to be both homophobic and homoerotic -- but, visually, it was stunning. It brought the two-dimensional art of graphic novels to life.

10. "Torchwood" on BBC America

Here's what I wrote earlier this year, after seeing the first episode: "I finally saw the premiere of "Torchwood" on BBC America today. The show appears to be a hybrid of "Doctor Who" and "Men in Black." I can't figure out why the lead character is an American, but I was delighted to see the series is set in Cardiff. In fact, the Torchwood team -- the top-secret group that hunts down aliens -- has its headquarters underneath Mermaid Quay and the Wales Millennium Centre, just a two-minute walk from where my parents lived last year."

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