welcome to 39th.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Remembering 2011: The Things We Loved

Welcome to the last year of the entire world. Maybe. If I were a betting man, I would wager that there’s not a single day this year that the History Channel will not run some “Nostradamus mastermind” or “end of the world, Mayan style” piece. The world will be blazing in a giant inferno and History Channel suits will be high-fiving and screaming “boo-ya!” the whole way down.  Heck, if the world doesn’t end, they may be setting some random fires in public places just so they didn’t waste an entire year of programming. Of course, this is a complete dramatization. 

In our final days, what better way to move on to accepting our fate than reflecting on yesteryear and our favorite things, which now seem meaningless with eminent doom waiting on the screen-in patio (rather dark intro to what I thought would be a fun piece…o well, maybe after the jump).

2011. What a strange year. Through all the stagnation of politics and economic turmoil, we turn to those who make us smile and say “thank you.” These selections are my own personal salutations. Please feel free to respond in kind with yours, in the comments below.  Let us begin.

Favorite Album of the Year – “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars

Truly a COMPLETE album. Every song is desirable. Highlighted by the title track “Barton Hollow” and “Father’s Father,” Joy Williams and John Paul White flex their vocal aptitude to entrance their listeners. While the music industry is flooded with in-your-face beats, lasers and self-absorbed lyrics, The Civil Wars focus on simplicity and emotion. A feeling best described as peace arises within like you’re in the scene in Gladiator when he’s dying walking through the fields of Elysium. You’re home.

Favorite Athlete of the Year – Kevin Durant (tie), Tim Tebow (tie)

I have a hard time not using bias in sports writing, so it is ironic for me to pick Kevin Durant, the man who played a large role in eliminating the Cinderella Memphis Grizzlies, my favorite team. However, Durant is currently, pound-for-pound, the best professional athlete in sports and the most fun to watch. No one performs with such skill, grace and ease to dominate like Durant (Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are close seconds). Driven by passion and hard work, he is my front-runner for NBA MVP in 2012. (Sidebar: some girl claimed he was the sexiest guy of 2011 on Dick Clark's New Year's Special last night. This is not that award.)

How can Mr. Tebow not be on this list? After completely changing the landscape of the NCAA, Tebow is quite possibly the most controversial figure in sports. Haters point to his inabilities. Admirers point to his heart. Haters mock his religious comments. Admirers admonish his boldness. Haters wish he’d go away. Admirers pray he wins EVERYTHING. I can’t help it. When either side brings him up, I smile, because I know what’s coming: A fight or a candlelight service. 

Favorite TV Show of the YearCommunity, NBC

In a year of new comedies and few exciting staple shows (i.e. Lost, 24), Community gathered a cult following. Kicking off NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup, the uniquely written, appropriately diverse comedy revolves around a collection of Greendale Community College students who are all in the same study group. Starring The Soup’s Joel McHale and legendary funnyman Chevy Chase, the cast is crafted and complimented by a host of rising stars. The study group's heartthrob, Annie (Alison Brie) and its political activist, Britta (Gillian Jacobs), offer a combination of sweet innocent laughs with radical, ignorant rants, not to mention their understated flings with Jeff (McHale). The show’s dynamic friend duo, Troy and Abed, Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, are two imaginative best friends reminiscent of sandbox buddies, in interest and maturity. Abed, Community’s most popular character is the catalyst behind the passionate fanbase. Quoting and living out movie plots, struggling through social standards and having less emotion that a dead alpaca, Abed drives the “slightly-fiction” storylines and is an inspiration to those who consider “the force” a way of life. To nerds across America and to comedic television, last year was “The Year of Abed.”

(Community has been benched for the start of 2012 for the restart of 30 Rock. Speculation is that it will return in the summer of 2012.)

Favorite Sports Team of the Year – U.S. Women’s Soccer National Team

Funny to read that myself. No offense to women’s sports but they are simply not good, but this U.S. national team was incredible. Granted, I removed my favorite teams from consideration (Braves, Grizzlies, Cowboys), but other than those, there wasn’t a collection of players I enjoyed watching more. Even now I cant believe I chose them because they failed. Utterly. Large favorites throughout the entire FIFA World Cup, their struggles started in pool play with a 2-1 loss to Sweden matching them up against Brazil in the quarterfinals. After beating Brazil on one of the most amazing moments of the year (more on this later) and then France, the Americans were set with one of their “easier” matchups. And they tanked, but they never quit. After veteran leader Heather O’Reilly was injured, team superstars Hope Solo and Abby Wambach rose to the occasion. Intricate role players, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan proved their worth time and time again all across the pitch. What set this team apart was the Wambach goal against Brazil. Everything was perfectly aligned for the monumental header. The pace. The anticipation. Brazil dribbling around and taking their time waiting for the referee to end the match. The Rapinoe cross. The goalie’s mere miss. The gasp. It was all in slow motion. That one moment will define that team in history as being the biggest moment in women’s sports since Brandi Chastain’s penalty kick.

(Runner up: OKC Thunder…Westbrook ruined it)

Favorite Brand of the Year – Gant, New York

Gant was founded in 1917 in New Haven, Conn. as a shirt manufacturing company. Their oxford shirts became a staple in the youth of America. Today they have pieces for your entire wardrobe and combine everything I love in fashion. Two key elements dominate their design: high-end, European trends and traditional American prep. With sleek cuts, perfect for guys with a slender build, Gant has three different inspired lines (Gant, Gant Rugger, Gant by Michael Bastain) each with their own unique character. Featuring great plaids and patterns, the sweaters and oxfords are a perfect pairing with their trendy suiting. Check out their website GANT

Favorite Movie of the Year - "Moneyball"

Easy choice in a year where I didn't see too many movies. I haven't seen a majority of this year's "award season" films so I will keep this one short. Brad Pitt is simply incredible in this film. Playing Oakland Athletics' GM, Billy Beane, he attempts to put a quality team on the field with limited resources. Experimenting in "sabermetrics," Beane was a pioneer in using advanced statistics to evaluate players. A true feel good story, Moneyball was a true winners and will forever imprint in my mind images of Brad Pitt running a baseball team. 

Favorite Idiot of the Year - Former Coastal Carolina Head Football Coach David Bennett gives the media a rundown of his pep talk for his players. Wish I were in that locker room. 

Favorite Song of the Year - "Houdini" by Foster the People

Forget "Pumped Up Kicks," and "focus on your ability" or that's atleast what "Houdini" encourages you to do. Several people, myself included, might have got the wrong impression about this band when they heard their radio (repetitive) hit. However, the rest of their album features some exceptional songs including Houdini. If you really want to see Houdini at its finest, find their performance on SNL. Two words: Kenny. G.


Favorite App  - Temple Run
Favorite Media Personality - Scott Van Pelt (ESPN)
Favorite Website - www.selectism.com
Favorite Place I Visited - "The Bean" in Chicago's Centennial Park
Favorite Fake Dog Name - Bark Obama
Favorite Person Who Hasn't Done Much Lately - David Duvall
Favorite Restaurant - Blue Fin, On Main St. in Memphis, TN
Favorite New Discovery - Lana Del Rey (singer), Woolen Woolrich Mills Wool Socks (socks)

Hope you enjoyed reading my favorite things of 2011. Feel free to share your own. Here's to a great 2012!

What I am listening to: "Video Games" by Lana Del Rey
What I am wearing: 484 Slim Dark Wash Jeans, Grey Tweed Jacket, Wine Wingtips

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