Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Best 10 Best

No, that's not a misprint. It's just that for a column that will be published on the last day of the year, I feel a certain responsibility. It's not to round up the top news stories, or showcase the best music, or even highlight the films that I think you shouldn't have missed over this past year. Rather, herewith for 2010 is my own best 10 best lists. Hardly the most mainstream, they give you a taste for all that other stuff you might have missed.

The Top Ten Dead Celebrity Homes For Sale. As of November, all were still available. And while there's no guarantee that should you buy it, Groucho Marx's ghost would be in residence telling jokes, or Frank Sinatra's spirit will be "Do-Be-Do-Be-Doing" in the attic, one of these may be the ultimate trophy home. Number one on the list is just down the road: George C. Scott's estate has 5 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, comes in at over 14,000 square feet and is priced to move at $36.5 million.

The Top Ten Party Schools. Work hard, party harder is the motto at these institutions of higher learning. While most also have top ranked academic programs in specific areas, a survey by the Princeton Review of 122,000 students also said that if you think your kid is spending his or her tuition holed up in the library working on the F. Scott Fitzgerald paper at one of these schools, you just might be fooling yourself. Penn State, Ole Miss and the Mountaineers of West Virginia all made the cut. Tops on the list? That would be the University of Georgia, which, according to Coed Magazine, has "the hottest sorority girls on the planet."

The Top 10 Places To Run A Marathon. New York? Boston? London? Anybody can do that. If you really want to wow the flat arches crowd, you need to pick a more exotic destination. There's the Easter Island Marathon in Chile, which is restricted to just 150 runners. At the Reggae Marathon in Jamaica, the locals line the route with their sound systems, pumping out Bob Marley to help you keep pace. And at the Big Five Marathon on South Africa, armed rangers patrol the route, ensuring you aren't forced to outrun a leopard. But if you really want a challenge, sign up for the Great Wall Marathon in Tanjin, China, where you also have to climb 5164 steps along the route.

The Top Ten Google Searches. Just what did we care about this past year? Probably no better canary in a coal mine than what we collectively tapped into Google. The searches that gained the most traction? Lady Gaga was up 60%, Netflix was up 80% and Justin Bieber was up a whopping 850%. But if there's a toy we all want, it has to be an iPad. Google lists it as "breakout," which it defines as a search term that "has experienced a change in growth greater than 5000%."

The Top Ten Apologies. So many stupid moves, so little time to say "I'm sorry." There's Helen Thomas to Jews. There's Mark McGwire to his fans. And there's Kanye West to Taylor Swift and President Bush, sort of. But the top apology has to be to Tiger Woods to everyone, for cheating on his wife, and for teaching her how to use a nine-iron on his back window.

The Top Ten Overreported Stories. Why didn't they just go away? Or more to the point, why won't the media just let them go away? To be sure, stories like the BP spill had legs, and deserved continual updates. But did we really need to have a TV special on LeBron James' career moves, breathless interviews with locals who might have seen Chelsea Clinton enroute to her wedding, or anything to do with bedbugs? But the winner... or loser, depending on whether it's them or us... has to be all things Palin, whether they be dancing or Tweeting.

The Top Ten Buzzwords. It's good that our language is a dynamic thing. This year we all learned about the intricacies of deep sea drilling (Top Kill, Junk Shot), more about Iceland's geography (the Eyjafjallajokull volcano) and far more about fiscal policy than we ever picked up in Econ 101 (Quantitative Easing). But if there was one word that was on everyone's lips, regardless of where they were from, it was this: Vuvuzela.

So as we cross into January, what will be top next year's lists? Not restaurant or club or fashion trend. Rather, check back here 12 months hence at this same time, and let's see if we can round up the 10 Best Political Feuds for 2011. I think we're in for a bumper crop.


Marc Wollin of Bedford will have more to say in 2011. Adn you'll find it here every week, and in The Record-Review and The Scarsdale Inquirer.

1 comment:

ReggaeMarathon said...

Loved your article. Especially about our favourite marathon, the Reggae Marathon.