BEST BOOKS. My favorite novels this year were probably Tom McCarthy's Remainder (in the lit category) and (in crime, my other big genre) Tana French's excellent In The Woods and The Likeness. In poetry I continued to hopelessly dig Frederick Seidel. In photography, my favorite this year was Jonas Bendiksen's The Places We Live, and in humor I loved Ian Frazier's Lamentations of the Father.
BEST ALBUMS. Honestly? I hardly paid any attention to music this year. I mean, I listened to it a lot, in shuffle mode, and I played a fair amount myself. But I seem to have at last lost the thread of contemporary music. The new records from Radiohead, Steve Malkmus, Vampire Weekend, and Electric President were good, but I didn't memorize entire albums' worth of lyrics as I once did. Alas. Or perhaps not alas, I haven't decided yet.
BEST MOVIE. This year, it was all about The Natural History of the Chicken.
BEST STUFF. Pentax cameras, Canon rangefinder lenses, Eastman 5222-XX film, Ubuntu Linux, the grass-fed steer portion (1/4 of one) that Rhian bought and which we're slowly devouring our way through, goldtop Tokai Love Rock guitar, packing peanuts made from cornstarch, TCHO chocolates, Blacet and Doepfer modular synthesizer products, waxed shoelaces, Cockos Reaper digital audio workstation, Buffalo Trace bourbon, New Balance cross-trainers, Golden Comet chickens, Adobe Lightroom, Tom Thumb 61-key upright piano ($100!), Fage yogurt, Netflix "Watch Instantly."
WORST WORD. The worst word of 2008 is "folks." The presidential campaign has ruined it forever. During one of the debates, Obama actually referred to terrorists as "folks." Et tu, Barack?
BEST MOMENT. Speaking of Obama, I was on the edge of my seat election night along with everyone else, and boy was I happy when he won. But it didn't move me the way I expected it to. That happened a couple of weeks later, at his first press conference as president-elect. The presser was utterly boring. Obama said nothing of substance (at least nothing new), and reporters didn't ask him anything that would have allowed him to show his stuff. But I actually wept. It was so normal, so uncontentious. It reminded me of the old days, when I didn't have to think about how awful the president was day in and day out. I still can't believe Obama is going to be president in a few weeks.
BEST LINGUISTIC PHENOMENON. LOLcats. I shit you not. I don't know why I love the stuff so much, but I do.
OTHER BEST LINGUISTIC PHENOMENON. The introduction of internet slang into actual speech. I have heard about half a dozen people say "teh" this year, and overheard a girl at the mall the other day shout, "EPIC FAIL!" I myself have actually, in lieu of laughing in response to a joke, merely said "lolz."
WORST LINGUISTIC PHENOMENON. The persistence of "Git 'r' done!"
BEST YOUTUBE. One of the most beautiful things I've seen or heard all year:
WORST YOUTUBE. Duh. Swinging baby.
Please feel free to join in, in the comments...