Every year I think I’m going to write some kind of end-of-the-year summary, and every year I don’t, in part because they’re trite and uninteresting, in part because there is just too much that happens in the course of a year to really make a meaningful summary. So why am I doing it this year? No idea. And now, in no particular order, the best of 2008. Let’s go.
- Best movie of 2008 – Iron Man was the best movie I saw in a theater this year. Iron Man was also the only movie I saw in a theater this year.
- Best song of 2008 – I’m sure that many musicians put out some great work in 2008, including favorites like Aimee Mann. But the best song of the year, for me, was the rediscovered “Dead Flowers” from the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers. That it was released in 1971 does not diminish its place in this year’s pantheon one bit.
- Best concert of 2008 – This one was tougher, as we actually saw as many as three bands in concert this year, but Aimee Mann has to take this one (over the Cowboy Junkies and the Mothertruckers), because she’s Aimee Mann.
- Best TV Show of 2008 – much tougher. We don’t get out much, but we do watch us some TV. TruTV was the gift that kept on giving with ever-more specialized variations on Cops, including Ocean Force, Ski Patrol and the absolutely wonderful Principal’s Office. And Attack of the Show and DVR’d episodes of Jeopardy provided the need for daily continuity. The Bionic Woman and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles reminded us of what it was like when TV shows had scripts, plots and even a point. But the absolute best show, hands down: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Not for its exploitive value, but for its honest portrayals of people with serious problems, out of control, and for Dr. Drew, who seems to be an exceptionally sharp guy who has seen it all before but somehow hasn’t gotten jaded by it.
- Best new food of 2008 – Homemade pretzels. Just yum.
- Best activity of 2008 – when circumstances conspire to give me my first chance ever to do 120-mile weeks on my bike, don’t think I’m going to miss that chance. I got to know the backroads of Rensselaer County like never before, regularly climbing hills that had wiped me out in previous years, getting lean and happy. We got the boats out a number of times, we went camping and hiking and swimming and had a good time, but that every-other-day rhythm of saddling up and getting out there made for an extraordinary summer.