Every year begs to be reviewed. As arbitrary as yearly events are, their placement in a 365-day box has been something that always fascinates us and makes the December weekend newspapers a bit more interesting. Top X [where X=5, or is divisible by] lists spout either a particular reviewer’s or a collection of reviewers’ primary picks in entertainment, sports, business, politics, etc. As handy as they are, lists have a short shelf life and are interesting for about the time it takes to read them. The main reason being that most of what ends up on these lists is forgotten by the following February, rarely to the end of the following year. (Unless, of course, it is a Grammy-nominated record and ends up somehow being relevant 18 months later.)
Eschewing a list of music releases for now, there are some things that stand out for me in 2007. A smattering of concerts, such as Wilco at the Greek Theatre, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the LA Sports Arena. Both Wilco and Springsteen, totally different points on the musical compass, are comparable in that they are so squarely in their performance comfort zones that their shows are nothing short of sublime.
For online music and downloads, I’ve grown to love Wolfgang’s Vault. A site that a few of us ‘Lopers, from around 1976 on, would have killed for. The very idea of being able to listen, on demand, to what are essentially live bootlegs
— in the sense that they were never released commercially on record but sometimes broadcast on radio — was not even imaginable back then. I’m talkin’ not even in our wildest sci-fi wish lists of cool future ideas, like the hovercar. That seemed more real than on-demand music.
For next year, there are some things I look forward to, but his is not a list! They are merely suggestions for making it more tolerable.
Number 1 on many Americans’ list is finally being able to vote out of office the Worst President Ever. No need to drag out the laundry list. I just can’t wait for him to return to Texas, crack open a bottle of Jack Daniels and go back to what he was good at — being a goddamn drunk. And maybe, just maybe, America can get off its crack-like addiction to fear by not voting in Giuliani.
Guitar Hero for Wii is happening, I just know Santa is gonna deliver on this one. And I, for one, cannot wait to absolutely shred Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas. I know I will have to play endless Ramones songs first before I graduate to that level, but the challenge is the thing. And I can never get tired of the Ramones.
Getting a job! OK, maybe this should be my top priority, but I am not letting a faceless corporate layoff ruin my Christmas holidays. (There, I said “Christmas” Bill. As a “secular progressive” can I get a shout out?) I hear the internet is a good place to network. I am going to investigate.
And while we are on the subject, please God let us continue the conversation about America’s (Europe is already pretty much there) sudden enlightenment as witnessed by the steady stream of atheistic tomes by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Read these books, and listen to an astutely observed audio book by Julia Sweeney “Letting Go of God” and then let’s talk. It is amazing to me that at this point in our development we even need to have this conversation, but I will have it with anyone who wishes to talk about religion. I do not subscribe to the idea that you can’t talk about religion with friends or family. That seems to work in religion’s favor.
Pro Sports? There is an undeniable disappointment, disenchantment, disenfranchisement, just dis-everything that I have with pro sports right now. From the steroids to the outlandish contracts which we subsidize with our slavish devotion to our favorite sports teams, to athletes grandstanding when they make a tackle or a basket, it all just doesn’t sit well with me at the moment. I’m hoping that something happens in 2008 that restores my faith in sports as great entertainment and not tabloid or newspaper fodder for all the wrong reasons. When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, after beating the Yankees in the AL Championship series after being down 3 games to nil, that was magic. Since then, not much that I can point to. Maybe I should try NASCAR or Formula One?
The last thing I look for in 2008 is some semblance of order to the whole video download thing. This is a major clusterf*ck where all the studios seem to want their own store delivery system. I don’t. I want one or two places, like Amazon.com or iTunes, where I can get digital media for my iPod or computer should I desire it. Joost, Hulu, and whatever else is set to be the NBT (Next Big Thing) simply will not be. I feel safe in that prediction.