Archive for religion

On Anti-Fascism, Veganism, Church-Going

Posted in Rant/ Rave, real life with tags , , , , , , , on April 2, 2017 by sethdellinger
There are certainly plenty of words out there in the world right now about the current state of our country, and our president, and protesting, and on and on. I realize there’s not a whole lot of original thought I can add to the mix, especially since I am far from an expert on these matters. But I feel as though I should at least take a brief moment here to elucidate exactly where I stand. So here is my elucidation: free speech is an awesome thing. It is one of the truly great things about America. An open and fair exchange of ideas is crucial to maintaining an evolving culture free of dictatorship. However, many folks have pinned this down as the absolute unchangeable linchpin of America, and believe it to be boundless and without exception. And, to the letter of the law, they’re mostly right. The Westboro Baptist assholes have the right to their hate-mongering, and Free Speech lovers like to say things like, “I hate what they’re saying, but I’d fight to the death for their right to say it.”
See, the thing is, some ideas don’t need room to breathe. I grant you that these ideas must be limited to very few, otherwise “free speech” as we know it ends. But ideas that espouse the denial of basic human rights to other citizens DO NOT NEED PROTECTION. Your precious “free exchange of ideas” does not have to extend to Nazism, white nationalism, or other hate rhetoric which, once given any sort of official platform, becomes normalized. The word “Nazi” is getting thrown around a lot in the media today, but only with the pallor of the Holocaust implied. It’s time we said it out loud: we need to take every pain we can to prevent anything even CLOSE to the wholesale murder of citizens from happening again. And it starts with labeling groups, sanctioning hate, rounding people up. This sort of activity has begun in this country. And we can no longer sanction speech that furthers these ideas. I’m not suggesting we outlaw it—that would be tricky—but the citizen policing of this vile threat is perfectly fine by me. Well beyond “punching Nazis”—WHATEVER IT TAKES.
We have seen how these kinds of things end.
On a similar but totally separate topic, allow me to wax whimsical for a little while on the topic of veganism.  I’ve addressed it a little bit previously in the blog but on the whole, not nearly as much as I’d like.  I’ll try to be really gentle about this.
See, I totally get why you non-vegans get really touchy about us vegans.  Veganism–and animal activism–is really the only philosophy I can think of where, by virtue of subscribing to it, you thereby indict literally everyone else who isn’t following it.  Non-vegans sense this (usually unspoken) friction just by someone announcing they are a vegan and become defensive despite a vegan not even directly addressing them on the topic.  This is understandable; as I said, the non-vegan (henceforth referred to in this blog as carnists) senses that their very status as a meat eater means they are at odds with my worldview.  This is not incorrect.
Like any group of people, vegans come with many nuanced views and philosophies.  Many believe that we should be gentle, encouraging, non-confrontational, educational.  Some believe we should work as hard as we can to disrupt the status quo and that by causing loud friction within the world, we do the most to help animals.  Still others just want to be vegan–eat no animal products–and leave it at that.  Obviously, I mostly adhere to the disruption school, but on the whole, I say if you’re a vegan, I’m not overthinking how YOU want to do it.  But my belief that animals are our moral and ethical equals forces me to try to change their plight as quickly as possible.
If you’re a carnist, you have to understand that I don’t think you’re a bad person or an idiot.  How could I? I ate meat until I was 38 years old!  And I fully understand the ways in which our modern culture raises all of us to have blinders on when it comes to the misery the meat, dairy, and egg industry causes, but even more than that, the way our society ingrains in us the belief that we are superior to animals–so superior that we can actually create FACTORY FARMS of them.  The mechanism that can make us all blind to this is powerful.  It isn’t your fault that you don’t see it.
But see, it’s my job to try to wake you up.  And this is where I fail.  On social media, in “real life” interactions with friends and family, I still care more about your comfort and “keeping the peace” than the animal who suffers so terribly so that you don’t have to change.  Many, many people think that since I’ve become a vegan, I’ve changed, become “smug” or “judgmental”–but the problem is, I’m not even doing nearly enough.
For fuck’s sake, they’re out there right now–in the damp cold, in tiny stalls, being force fed, they can’t even turn around, they’re covered in their shit, and they know–those poor, poor animals, they know.  
And I’m not saying or doing enough to help them, just so I don’t rock the boat.  What monsters we are!
3.  Check out this masterpiece Philip Larkin poem:
“Church Going”
by Philip Larkin

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation – marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these – for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

It’s My Thought That Counts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 15, 2013 by sethdellinger

It occurs to me with no lack of regularity that, because of my persistent status as single and childless, that I have significantly fewer opportunities to receive presents as the rest of you romantic and procreating beasts.  And hey, listen, I’m gonna admit something most people avoid saying out loud:  I would like more presents!

So recently, I was thinking, maybe it’s not just the lack of Valentines, Father’s Day, and anniversary (as well as the extra gifts one gets at Christmas and birthdays etc, from your significant other and children) that are preventing me from getting a significant amount of free goods.  Perhaps part of the problem is, when gifting times roll around, many of you potential gifters think my interests are limited to just a few things, like pompous music, post-1930s American and British poetry, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, and you just don’t know how to buy presents for a guy like that!  And, while it is true that I really love those things, the fact of the matter is, I have literally hundreds of interests, and with the advent of the internet, there is nearly no shortage of ways you can spend money on me! And the internet also means it is very easy for me to re-sell something you may accidentally get me that I already have!

So, in case you have just been hankering to buy a gift for a guy but don’t know who the hell Philip Larkin is, I will here lay out for you a massive list of interests I rarely talk about, but I assure you I am just crazy for!

1.  Soundtracks to movies made before 1980 on vinyl records

2.  Anything to do with early thought on city planning, especially dealing with pioneer Jane Jacobs

3.  I like hats

4.  I like notebooks to write in, but not one with Hallmark-y or sentimental messages printed on the cover

5.  Corduroy clothing

6.  I collect old postcards, preferably with messages written on them, preferably from 1915 and earlier

7.  Single-issue Marvel comics (any title) from between 1993-1997 are usually a good bet

8.  Anything celebrating the state of Pennsylvania, especially including its coat of arms

9.  Back-issues of Discover magazine, pre-2005.

10.  Post-it notes, white-out, index cards, legal pads, mechanical pencils

11.  Owls

12.  Games for the original Game Boy (original only, no Game Boy color!)

13.  First edition of any book by Orson Scott Card, Dave Eggers, Flannery O’Connor, or John Updike

14.  Hoodies or winter coats ordered from the websites of any of my favorite bands.

15.  Anything that you see on this list, if you can find a mousepad that in some way depicts or deals with it, I would like to own that mousepad

16.  I have a genuine interest in the Johnstown Flood.  Aside from the famous book by David McCullough, I own nothing about it.

17.  Aside from the DVDs, any merchandise or materials related to the film “Labyrinth” would be a home run.

18.  I have a high interest in the European particle accelerator known as the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC (sometimes also called CERN).  Yes, there is merchandise.

19.  I love Grey Flannel cologne but haven’t owned any in years.

20.  Any DVD that says it is part of the “Criterion Collection”…you can buy me that.

21.  I am a big fan of motorized inclined planes, or “funiculars“.

22.  I love backscratchers.  It is not possible for me to own too many of them.

23.  Books or materials about early American filmmaking are always great (post 1910 and D.W. Griffiths only, I have no interest in Edison’s important but dreadfully boring experiments).

24.  Dr. Strange is my favorite comic book character.  I have plenty of stuff but feel free to take a leap of faith, there’s a lot out there.  Statues, figures, and busts are especially desired.

25.  The easiest thing on the list:  I love all Philadelphia sports teams.

26.  I have an interest in Quantum Physics.  There are tons of books and DVDs on the subject.  I will read and watch them all.

27.  John Sloan, the painter.  That man painted my soul.

28.  I am intrigued by the lost colony of Roanoke and would love to learn more about it.

29.  Post-Revolution, my favorite historical figure is Aaron Burr.

30.  I could always use a new (good) digital camera.

31.  I have an interest in but have not read much about behavioral psychologist BF Skinner.

32.  I am a major evangelist for Dr. Pepper, and even more specifically Diet Dr. Pepper, and I will, without irony, wear, brandish, or otherwise use merchandise imprinted with this soda’s logo.

33.  I have always been smitten with now-deceased scientist Carl Sagan, and any of his books are welcome.  Likewise, his television series, “Cosmos”, and any materials related to it, are high on my love list.

34.  In the realm of living scientists, I have a bona fide man-crush on Neil DeGrasse Tyson and will gladly accept his books, DVDs, or tickets to see him speak somewhere.

35.  I get weak in the knees for Ben and Jerry’s “Late Night Snack”.

36.  Art Spiegelman’s masterpiece of graphic novel literature, “Maus”, is an all-time fave, but is always priced just out of reach.

37.  Toblerones.

38.  Coffee-table sized books featuring the art of Henri Rousseau, and/or merchandise featuring his paintings “The Dream” or “The Snake Charmer“.  If I listed all of these items in order by what I’m interested in right now, this one might be #1.

39.  I have an odd interest in the history of the Mormon religion, specifically the handcart disaster, the Mountain Meadows massacre, and the early life and “visions” of founder Joseph Smith.

40.  I’d love a Polaroid camera.

41.  I love coffee, of course, and there are a few things I still need, primarily a pour-over set for iced coffee and a French Press.

42.  If I hit the lottery tomorrow, two of the first purchases I’d make would be the complete series of “The Fraggles” and “24” on DVD.  Don’t judge me.

43.  My favorite living poet is Billy Collins.  I have all his books.  See what else you can do.

44.  I love riding my bike.  But I’m not a serious biker, like, wearing spandex, etc.  I do it just to cruise around.  But I could use a new lock, gel seat cover, or other biking stuff you might think of.  I could also use a new bike, but if you want to go that far, we should probably collaborate on that.

45.  Anything relating to the old TV shows “Northern Exposure“, “Twin Peaks“, or “Picket Fences“.  I own the entire series of “Northern Exposure”, but other than that, it’s open season.

46.  I find the Donner party very interesting.  I have read this book on it, but nothing else.

47.  I like to use caramel coffee syrup in my coffee and oatmeal.  I can never have too much of it.

48.  I love newspapers, but it’s not easy to find merchandise regarding them, such as hats, shirts, etc.  My favorite newspapers are The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today.

49.  Museum memberships.  Any kind of museum.  Art, history, whatever.  I can’t imagine a gift I would love much more than a membership to just about any museum.  Currently, I am a member of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but no other museums.

50.  Old coinage, pre-1900, from early America or other countries.  Confederate money would be very cool.

My YouTube videos with over 1,000 views

Posted in Snippet, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by sethdellinger

As I was laboriously and tediously uploading yet another pretentious video to YouTube this morning, I thought for the first time in a long time to take stock of how many folks have viewed my large and eclectic library of uploads.  Turns out, there’s not many surprises.  Most of my videos don’t get seen more than the few dozen times they get clicked on when I initially post and “advertise” them on social media.  But a select few have gained some traction and are being seen by strangers on at least a semi-regular basis.  Now, most of these “successful” videos are music-related and of interest to only the target audience.  And it’s pretty easy to get views this way.  Some of them I knew would be of use to a fan base, because I made them because I personally noticed their absence on YouTube.  But a few of these were genuine surprises.  Here they are, in ascending order:

1.  “Two-Fifty” by Chris Walla
Views:  1,021

By far my favorite song by the lead guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie’s solo work, I slapped this little video together when I noticed almost none of his solo songs were on YouTube.  If you dig it (or are curious about my photograph selection) sit tight…it just might be making an appearance soon on my 100 Songs list.

2.  “Black Friday in Erie”

This was one of the two larger surprises for me.  But history has taught me one thing:  videos with the word “Black Friday” and a specific town in them are recipes for getting hits from searches.

3.  “Knot Comes Loose” by My Morning Jacket

Views:  1,316

I knew exactly what I was doing when I chose this song to record at this concert.  You may have guessed that I am the type of man who watches A LOT of video of his favorite bands performing live.  So I just happened to know that there was ZERO video of My Morning Jacket playing “Knot Comes Loose”, as far as I knew, anywhere on the internet.  That is because it is a very rare live song.  So when I recognized the first few chords, I started taping.  And this is still the only video of it to have surfaced, although the sound quality is regrettably sub-par (most amateur recording devices don’t like being so close to enormous speakers), I anticipate this one to keep gaining a few hundred views a month for the foreseeable future, as any YouTube search for the song live results in my video being the top return.

4.  “A Walk Across the McBride Viaduct”

Views:  1,561

This was BY FAR my biggest surprise.  I had watched the view count for awhile after originally posting it (following this blog entry…and I’ll now offer an unspecified prize for anyone who can identify what movie the quote in the song I use comes from…NO GOOGLING, we’re on the honor system here, folks), as I was aware there was no other video online of the viaduct post-closure, and it being such a hot-button topic in this city, I thought some folks might be looking for some video.  But in the weeks following it’s posting, it hovered at about 20 views, and I never looked again, until now.  Now mind you, in the YouTube universe, all these numbers are TINY, but 1.500 is a lot bigger than 20.  The viaduct pops up as headline news about once every three months, so I imagine searches for it come in spurts.

5.  “St. Peter’s Cathedral” by Death Cab For Cutie

Views:  2,667

This one was a no-brainer.  I posted it shortly after their newest album came out.  There were already plenty of posted versions of the studio track, but none had scrolling lyrics like mine does.  As per usual, I didn’t post this to try to get views or win some sort of popularity contest, it’s just the video I wanted and nobody had made it yet.  Videos like this are not any sort of “artistic endeavor”, you can slap one together in 20 minutes (I do try to make the lyric scrolling pace with the music and be visually appealing without being obnoxious, which is more than I can say for lots of the practitioners of the form.)  This one’s view count will keep climbing, pretty much forever.

6.  “Black Friday ’09, Wal-Mart, 5am”

Views:  6,348

I knew this one was huge, because I watched it take off in the few days after I first posted it.  I got about 2,000 hits that week, and gets about 2,000 hits every year now, the week or two following Black Friday.  It’s certainly not because of how awesome the video is, it’s just because a YouTube search for “Black Friday Carlisle” turns this up in the top 3 or 4 results.  And while Carlisle, PA is not metropolis, I imagine lots of people, following the big day, do searches for their specific area.  A YouTube search for “Black Friday Carlisle Wal Mart” returns my video as the #1 result.  My buddy Burke makes a nice appearance here.

Audio Poem: “Attendance”

Posted in My Poetry with tags , , , , on March 6, 2011 by sethdellinger

Year written: 2006
Collection:  The Salt Flats

Click the gray arrow to hear the audio version


The minister in silent thought
among the stone markers
on the misty morning
frowns his face,
surveys the flock.

Three years, four years,
I know you still.

Shuffling gently now down
the weedgrown path
his moving hand brushes
the obelisks, the mausoleums,
the taller-than-they-weres.

Ten years, twelve years,
have you found yet a home?

Pausing at the gate
turning ‘round,
the elms at the edge of the clearing
shimmer with Northern wind,
the load of winter
promised the branches.

Twenty-five years,
I wait still to join you.

Her stone is tilted to a wavering angle,
watersluiced and mosswearing.
The world recedes in the blackness of memory.

50 More Things from 2010

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2010 by sethdellinger

Due to the severe limitations of “top ten lists”, as well as the sheer amount of crap I love each year, I’ve decided to institute this general list of 50 things I plain-old loved in 2010.  Most will be things that did not appear on my music or movies list, as well as things created, released, or performed in 2010, but I’m not going to limit myself with actual ground rules.  Here are, quite simply, in no particular order, 50 things I loved in 2010:

50.  The New York Times

Hear hear for a newspaper that still dares to have sections devoted to important things like science, business, and art.  I’ve found it difficult to spend less than two hours on a copy—even on a day like Tuesday.

49.  Red Bull Cola

It will probably be a short-lived experiment, but the delicious and almost-natural cola from Red Bull was a tasty shot of adrenaline (even if it was overpriced).

48Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson in “The Other Guys”. 

The movie itself may have been lacking, but these two good sports’ 5 minutes of screen time made the enterprise worth the price of admission.

47.  “Dancing with the Stars”

For awhile, I hated myself for this guilty pleasure, until I realized it was actually genuinely compelling television.  Cynical hipster naysayers need to actually watch a season (I should know–I am a cynical hipster naysayer)

46.  The segment on NPR’s “Whad’Ya Know? with Michael Feldman” where they listed fake WikiLeaks

Far and away the most I’ve ever laughed at the radio.

45.  The new Ansel Adams photographs

Whether or not they are actually Ansel Adams’ is still in dispute—but they’re terrific photographs anyway

44.  This.

43.  “8: The Mormon Proposition”

The documentary that reveals (gasp!) how Prop 8 was engineered by the institution of the Mormon church.  Enraging, and engaging.

42.  VEVO on YouTube

Sure, this music channel on YouTube is 100% a corporate whore, but my year has been exponentially enhanced by concert footage of my favorite bands not shot by a drunk frat boy with a first generation iPhone.

41.  James Franco’s “Palo Alto”

Franco’s collection of short stories is good—real good.

40.  James Franco on “General Hospital”

Yeah, it’s on before I leave for work, so sue me if I watch it every now and then!  Franco’s performance as–ahem–Franco was an over-the-top piece of performance art so nuanced (with nods to the real-world oddity of James Franco being on a soap opera) that I often found myself stunned something so lovely and sophisticated was happening on American daytime television.

39.  James Franco in “127 Hours”

Portraying a not-so-likeable man within a bare-bones script who also has to cut off his own arm, Franco manages to make us like him, and makes us want to be better people, too.

38.  James Franco’s art opening in New York

James Franco opened a gallery exhibit of his art in New York this year, and although not all of it is great, some of it is incredible, and it’s all very valid.  To imagine a Hollywood star opening an art show he says–out loud–is about the “sexual confusion of adolescence” makes me think we may be living in a culture with, well…culture.  See some of the art here

37.  James Franco in “Howl”

So, the movie kinda stinks, but Franco hits an underappreciated home run as the poet Allen Ginsburg, an unlikeable, grizzly gay man with so many conflicting character traits, it’s an amazing juggling act Franco had to do–and a bona fide joy to see.  Also, John Hamm is in the movie, too!

36.  Salvation Army Stores

Thanks to this discovery, the visual palette that is me (it seems absurd to call what I have a “fashion sense”) is evolving for the first time in a decade.  (read: more sweaters)

35.  Joel Stein’s column in TIME magazine

The most self-absorbed man in the newsmagazine business continues to get funnier, even as his subjects get more serious.  Every week, I’m sure he’ll be arrested.

34.  The Mac Wrap at McDonalds

I seem to be the only human alive not disgusted by this, either literally, morally, or some other, more etheral way.  But I’m not disgusted.  I’m delighted.

33.  “Gimme Shelter” performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony by U2, Mick Jagger, and Fergie.

Rock and roll heaven.  An absolute orgasm.  And I don’t even like U2!

32.  The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Because even republicans want to get into Heaven.

31.  Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom”

Franzen is this generation’s Hemingway.  And “Freedom” is his “A Farewell to Arms”.  Read it.  Just do it.

30.  The March to Restore Sanity

I wasn’t there, and I didn’t see a lot of it, but I love it anyway.

29.  The “LOST” finale

It’s much debated, but I was never an “I need answers to X, Y, and Z, and I need them freaking spelled out for me” kinda guy.  I didn’t have LOST theories.  I work more by “feel”.  And the finale certainly felt right.  I still cry, every time.

28.  The “twist” ending of “Remember Me”

Everybody hates it.  I love it.  What’s new?

27.  The Chilean miners

Seriously?  This story was too good to be true.  If they made this movie and it was fictional, you’d be all like “No way this would happen like this.”  Just an unbelievable story.  The rare event of real news being real entertaining–and then uplifting.

26.  John Updike’s “Endpoint”

Sadly, this posthumous collection is the last poetry that will ever be released by Mr. Updike.  Luckily, it’s amazing (but, also, terribly terribly sad.)

25.  “The Good Wife” on CBS

I’ve just discovered it, so I have to get caught up, but it is tickling me.

24.  Seeing Art Speigelman give a talk at Dickinson University

Seeing the legendary literary graphic novelist give a highly entertaining and informative talk was one of the live event highlights of my year, and nobody had a guitar.

23.  My super-secret crush, The View‘s Sherri Shepard.

I will do unspeakble things to this woman.  In the good way.

22.  Mila Kunis and–yes–James Franco in “Date Night”

See #48 and substitute these actor’s names.

21.  The comeback of The Atlantic

One of the oldest and most respected magazines in the world revamps itself and somehow does not end up sucking.  In fact, it’s now better than ever, and just announced a profit for the first time in a decade.  And thankfully, it is somehow still completely pompous.

20.  Michael Vick

I sure know when to get back into Philadelphia sports, don’t I???  I simply love this real-life tale of redemption; if I didn’t believe in second chances, my own life would probably look a little bit different.

19.  This.

18.  TurningArt

The Netflix-like service provides you with rotating art prints (and a neato frame).  Sure, they don’t do much but hang there, but it’s a great way to explore what you like and don’t like about art.  It’s interesting to find how your relationship with a piece of art changes as it hangs in your home; much different than seeing it for 5 minutes in a gallery.

17.  Dogs

Still the best thing going.

16.  “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”

Fallon has really hit a stride that is pure magic.  Sure, he’s not breaking new ground like his competition Craig Ferguson (who’s got a bit of briliiance working, as well), but Fallon’s show works miracles within a formula.  Delicious.

15.  The Fusco Brothers

The smartest, funniest comic strip in (or probably NOT in) your local newspaper just keeps getting funnier.  And smarter.  And harder to find.

14.  BuyBack$

A store that is just cheap, used DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Rays?  Yeah.  I’m kinda all over that.

13.  The re-release of new-age symhony In C.

Composer Terry Riley’s experimental, semi-electronic classical piece In C was re-released on CD this year, and it is just as addictive as when I first owned it back in high school.  Shades of just about all my current favorite artists can be heard in this breakthrough work.

12.  Cherry Crush

Because it’s fucking delicious.

11.  “What Up With That?” sketches on Saturday Night Live

This is by far the most enjoyable recurring sketch on SNL I’ve seen in years.  It has a concrete element of the absurd, and a perfect setting for uproarious celebrity cameos.  And Keenan Thompson is a genius, I don’t care what you say!  Click here for a selection of this year’s What Up With That’s on Hulu.

10.  Roles For Women

There’s still not nearly enough meaty roles for women in movies—Hollywood, indie, or otherwise—but this year saw a few choicer roles than before, thanks to dandy’s like “The Kids Are All Right”, “Please Give”, and “Secretariat”.

9.  Dan Simmons’ “The Terror”

One of the most interesting, and also more difficult, novels I’ve ever read.  Simmons’ explorers-trapped-in-icelocked-ships-being-terrorized-by-unseen-monsters-yet-also-slightly-based-on-historical-fact-of-Franklin’s-lost-expedition has got to be the world’s first historical fiction gothic horror novel.  And it scared the shit out of me.

8.  Cleveland

It really does rock.


The one-time almost-sad story of an great website gone bad is now a must-read internet newsmagazine.  I have it set as my homepage.

6.  Blu-Ray discs in Reboxes

Hey thanks.

5.  The first fight scene in “The Book of Eli”, where Denzel cuts that dude’s hand off.

OK, so the rest of the movie is kinda hum-drum, but that knife scene by the underpass with above-mentioned amputation is pure badass movie magic.

4.  Free concerts in the square in downtown Buffalo

I got a free front-row Ed Kowalczyk show, courtesy of the city of Buffalo, in a very attractive, quaint little square with a big statue of some dude (Mr. Buffalo?) in the center.  Can’t wait to see next year’s schedule!

3.  Katie Couric doing CBS’s Evening News

I just plain trust her.  A throwback to old-school news.

2.  The poster for The National’s album “High Violet”.

Good art and good music, all affordable?  Sign me up.  Check out the poster here.

1.  “The Expendables”

The movie was pretty bad, but I’d watch these guys pop popcorn.


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