The Ralphies. "Are they still around?" Yes, they are, VIrginia. And you get to read them.
Most of the year my mind was on my work, for a change, and therefore I kind of lost touch with the outside world – which, as far as I can tell, is not a bad thing. But still, no one can totally cut themselves off. So, without more ado, here are the awards for ...
Best TV Show: It's Lost, OK? Lost, Lost, Lost, Lost, Lost! Only one more year to go, and I expect it to be good. I also very much like Fringe, and Walter Bishop is my new role model.
Best Movie: Ummmmmm, didn't see many movies this year. I saw a couple of blockbusters – Harry Potter and (on DVD) Star Trek. Not bad, I guess, but not great. Am I getting too old for this fanboy stuff? Gee, I hope not. But the movie I liked best (although I think it dates to 2008) was Gran Torino.
Best Record: Oh gee, here's another category I've lost touch with. Most of what I hear is unsystematically gleaned from the radio, not from buying records or downloading tracks. Via the radio I have to admit I always tapped my toe, or some other appendage, whenever Katy Perry's "Hot n Cold" came on. Another guilty pleasure was John Mayer, whose "Gravity" I first heard on an episode of House, loved it, and then was red-faced when I found out it was the work of that poseur. But the Ralphie goes to the recordings of a Washington state bluegrass group, Molly & Tenbrooks. Highly recommended.
Best Non-FIction Book: I read a ton of stuff for work, but I don't know what to pick out of that stack for higher praise than anything else. So this will have to lie fallow this year.
Best Fiction Book: Not a lot of new stuff came through; this year, the pleasure reading mostly was confined to old favorites. In London I bought a paperback copy of Stephen King's Under the Dome, which reinforced my impression that, although King knows how to start a story, he doesn't know how to end one. No, the best fiction book I read, though it was not new, was The Annotated Innocence of Father Brown, by G. K. Chesterton, with notes by Martin Gardner. Although Gardner is not completely in sympathy with Chesterton's worldview, he does provide a lot of interesting information in his annotations.
Best Blog: I just wanted to tip my hat to a blog that everyone who is interested in Hebrew studies should read regularly, John Hobbins's Ancient Hebrew Poetry. I bet this guy preaches some interesting sermons.
OK, boys and girls! That's it for this year! Be very, very good and there will be more Ralphies in the years to come!