Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006: Things You Loved (Part Six)

OK, I think this wraps things up. Many thanks to all who participated. In addition to some very high-quality writing, you turned me on to several great things I hadn't known of before, including Jay Dee's Donuts, the song "Mardy Bum" by Arctic Monkeys (I'd previously dismissed them, but this song is incredibly catchy), and the comic strip site written about below by Ms. Larson.

Be Near Me and "The Wire"

I didn't love all that much this year and haven't read a lot of contemporary fiction, but I admired Andrew O'Hagan's Be Near Me. It's a terrific book that holds its nerve and tone quite brilliantly. I also loved the first series of "The Wire" on DVD. And Green & Black's Organic Butterscotch Chocolate, which I'm sure you don't get over there.
Nick Laird


A timeless record, a new movie, and good food

Best album of the year: As it has been, so it shall be: Horses by Patti Smith. This album makes me want to do everything physically possible, and all at the same time. Like jumping and laying down, or having sex while drinking a cup of coffee and running. Binaries merge for Patti Smith.

Best movie of the year: Mutual Appreciation by Andrew Bujalski. Ostensibly this is the story of a love triangle, but I think to call it a mere love story would be as reductive as defining National Velvet as a story about a horse, when in fact we all know that National Velvet is about the young Liz Taylor’s undying love for a piebald gelding, as well as one young woman’s struggle to hold her own and triumph in a male-dominated sport. Mutual Appreciation is everything I want in a movie: simple, beautiful, well-acted, funny, heartbreaking.

Best things I ate this year: The big plate at Punjab on 1st Street and Ave. A, the house salad at Blue Ribbon Sushi in Park Slope, LEO (Lox, Eggs, and Onions) at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side, pigtails at Momofuku in the East Village, fresh ramen from any number of places.

Best season in New York over the course of the last 12 months: Spring.
Sarah Whitman-Salkin


The Comics Curmudgeon

If you're like me, there's a part of you, left over from childhood, that still cares about the daily comics. It's reassuring that Peanuts, Blondie, Hagar the Horrible, and Doonesbury are still doing their thing; it's somehow satisfying to be enraged all over again by the lameness of Cathy, Garfield, and The Family Circus; it's fun to revel in your total lack of connection to Pluggers, Mallard Fillmore, Rose Is Rose, and For Better or For Worse. I used to share my love and hatred of the daily comics with my mother, who read them at the breakfast table with me. When I was in college, she alerted me to some radical changes happening in Rex Morgan, M.D.: the creator died, and his successor immediately had Rex passionately declare himself to his long-suffering office manager, June. Mom mailed me the strip. We were both giddy.

In New York, you have to go out of your way to get a comics fix, and there aren't many people in my daily life who share Mom's enthusiasm for their particular brand of pleasure. Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered The Comics Curmudgeon, a two-year-old blog that appreciates the insane goings on in Mary Worth and the unfunniness of Curtis even more than I do. It's scathing, impassioned, and much funnier than the comics themselves. Check out the archives of the Curmudgeon's coverage of Mary Worth from July, in which Mary is stalked by a hard-drinking Captain Kangaroo lookalike named Aldo Kelrast. Good stuff.
Sarah Larson


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