Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Top 10 People Who Helped Keep Us Sane in 2009

After last year, we thought 2009 would be a cake walk in terms of keeping our sanity. After all, the election was over and we figured we'd have at least one year of good will. I mean, surely, even if things were tough for a year, we'd remember that things went to hell in 2008, right? The DMS household was done for the baby phase (now, and forevermore). The Browns had a surprisingly bad record in 2008, there's no way they could be worse in 2009. And besides, they had the #5 pick! Sure to be a play maker at $5! And, as the ball fell on 2008, the Cavs had the best record in the NBA and we're becoming one of the funnest teams to watch ever.

It all went to shit in 2009. 2009 was probably worse than 2008. The goodwill towards our first black president was over from the moment John Roberts fucked up the swearing in. And to be perfectly honest, Obama hasn't earned a ton of points on actually, you know, getting things done. As for Cleveland sports, the Cavs suffered the most prolific punch to the gut in sports history, and causing a full-scale DMS meltdown. The Browns are somehow worse. And the Indians traded away their two best players for pennies on the dollar. Oh, and for bonus points, Sabathia and Cliff Lee faced off in Game 1 of the World Series! Hey, I remember those guys! I loved those guys!

Tea Parties, Death Panels, Rashard Lewis, hacked climate emails, the Birthers. It's all we could do without wanting to run into oncoming traffic. As with last year, there were a few (hey! Ten! Whaddya know!) distinct persons who made 2009 just bearable enough so as to not lie down in the snow and take a nap that lasts forever. These are those ten people.

10. Zooey Deschanel. Was this the year of Zooey Deschanel? It's hard to argue. After collaborating with M. Ward via She & Him, she loaned her talents to M. Ward on Hold Time on the song "Never Had Nobody Like You." She married Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, evoking the classic Costanza-ism, "you could have done a lot better that this guy!" She even abducted Shane Botwin. At the beginning of 2009, I did not know who this girl was. Now she's a part of every facet of my life. Actually, it's at the precipice now, chances are three months into 2010 and we'll all be sick of her.

9. J. E. Skeets. Author of the brilliant blog Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo! sports. It's probably the best actual sports blog out there. It's the first place I go to check the box scores (or, rather, to go behind the box scores). In addition, Skeets is a great Tweeter. Don't diminish the importance and the difficulty of being a good Tweeter.

8. Beirut. The band, not the place. Like Zooey, I didn't know much about Beirut at the beginning of the year, but by the year's end, Beirut's constantly streaming from my work computer, repeating all three of their albums. Also, they had a frigging fantastic "Takeaway Show" on La Blogotheque.

7. Tor. Who is Tor? We're not totally sure. But we do know that he mashed up Sufjan Stevens songs with rap songs to make one of the coolest albums you'll ever listen to. And he (?) put it up online for everyone to download for free. It's a simply amazing project. Like Beirut, Tor's mash-up album Illinoize was a constant in the DMS office this year. Beirut and mash-up rap. It was a fun year for music.

6. Drew Magary. Being one of the editors on the psuedo-NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber was and is apparently only the tip of the iceberg for a man once dubbed "Big Daddy Balls" by the author of Friday Night Lights. Now he's a regular at Deadspin, he's got another book coming out, and was even a guest on our third favorite podcast. He's also got great parenting and marital advice as part of his "Father Knows Shit" series, once a blog. A must follow for sports fans, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers, or if you simply wish to be any of those things. Not children though. Definitely not for children.

5. Josh Cribbs. So the story goes that in 2008 (remember those halcyon days??) Browns' kick returner was promised a better contract than the bottom feeding one he's got right now. Then the Browns cleaned house and brought a bunch of douchebags in (ok, one douchebag). Now the head douchebag is going back on the promise that was made to Cribbs (shown below, earning my undying respect). You'd think that Cribbs would throw a temper tantrum seeing as he's the Browns' only offensive weapon. I would have thrown a temper tantrum for sure. But instead, Cribbs isn't making waves and going out and doing another kickass job of returning kicks. In a dreary Browns season, he's one bright spot.

4. Ken Tremendous (aka. "Michael Schur"). When our favorite blog of all time, Fire Joe Morgan, shut down, I was crushed. Of course, Michael Schur went on to write for the Office and now is a writer for one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation. And now, Ken Tremendous is back, in Twitter form! It's like a blog, but way shorter! And you have to constantly be on it! Anyway, we're happy to have Ken Tremendous back in our lives in any medium. His account of his time in front of his Death Panel was one of my favorite hours of the Internet ever.

3. Emily Bazelon. I forgot to mention in my tirade of Things That Would Have Made Me Go Insane If It Weren't For These People the parade of all these rich, which Senators lecturing a woman who is much smarter than them on the Constitution. Imagine! A Hispanic woman might have a different ("better?") outlook on discrimination cases than a white male? The devil you say! As a white male, I feel like I'm perfectly justified in all my decisions about race and sex discrimination. I also would like to send my blueprints to NASA to show them how to make their space ships cooler looking. And I called up Richard Branson to sell him a few stock tips, SINCE I'M THE BEST JUDGE OF ALL THOSE THINGS.

Even if it's backed up by published papers with evidence and what not, Sonya Sotomayor predictably had to walk back that sentence. Anyway, during this ridiculous charade, we had the spectre of the New Haven firefighters case and EVERYONE HAD AN OPINION even though they knew nothing about what the case was actually about. Pretty soon everyone just started calling each other "racists" and Democracy was achieved. But Emily Bazelon, a regular on our 7th and 4th favorite podcasts, co-authored a seminal article about the case and all its nuances. Bazelon is a Supreme Court junkie like few others, and somehow manages to make the cases seem interesting. In fact, he makes even the legal arguments seem interesting. When I'm president, Bazelon will be my first nominee to the Supreme Court. Even if I have to pack it.

2. Jon Stewart. Last year, I lumped Stewart and Colbert together since they had both elevated their games to such a high level. I'm not saying the Colbert has slipped, but Jon Stewart has become the best media watchdog alive, in addition to being incredibly funny. This year Stewart caught Sean Hannity blatantly doctoring videotape and handed Jim Cramer his own ass on a platter to the point where I was feeling sorry for Cramer. It's pretty telling that his conversations with politicians and political minds, which last maybe six minutes, are lengthier and more in-depth than you'll find on 24 hours of cable news. It's probably not a good thing that Jon Stewart is our most trusted newscaster, but he is.

1. Alton Brown. Mrs. Supercomputer thought this guy was ridiculous at first. And it's hard to blame her. He's like Bill Nye the Science Guy, but with food. His show Good Eats on The Food Network is overproduced and hacky. But then she started tasting some of his recipes. Now, AB inspired cuisine is a staple in the Supercomputer household. It's not so much the recipes, but the technique. AB teaches us the "how and why" as much as the "what" and that allows us to be a better cook across the board. Now, we make incredible omelets, french toast, and fish 'n chips, among other things. But the thing that really sold Mrs. Supercomputer? His Chocolate "No-Moo"-usse Pie.

Thanks to everyone on this list. You helped me make it to 2010 alive and free of a straight jacket.

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