December 30, 2010

The Best and Worst of 2010

Just what the world needs- another "Best of 2010" list. But indulge me here as I look at some of the best and worst discoveries of the year. They won't all be from 2010, but rather from my discoveries this year. Let's start in music, shall we?

"California Gurls" - Katy Perry
This is the song I hate to love! As I was sweating it off at the gym one day, this tune came on the overhead speakers, and I was hooked. Not having Shazam or one of those apps- or even an iphone- of course, I got home and described it to my kids. They laughed hysterically as they knew what song I meant and know I do not listen to songs with suggestive lyrics. Then they googled the lyrics for me. Really?! How about a "clean" version for us old school types. Yet, with fake apologies to Kylie Minogue, it is the song I cannot get out of my head. Granted the visuals from googling this image for the post were more than enough...

"October Sky" - Vanessa Williams and Javier Colon
Now here's a song I love to love. Not a 2010 release, but probably my favorite discovery of the year. Vanessa's Real Thing album is a delight. This song is elegant in both arrangement, lyrics, and performance. Stunning and timeless.

"Symphonicity", Live at Red Rocks - Sting
What a concert, and what an album! While some may say he is past his prime, I find Sting more interesting as he ages. No longer is he defined by the rock critics or media darlings of what's supposed to be cool. He does what he wants- and I happen to love his new found freedom. To hear Roxanne and I Hung My Head with new arrangements- just amazing.

"Breathless" - Corrine Bailey Rae
Why it took me years to hear this, I do not know. Every once in awhile, a new "our song" comes along- and this is it. Makes me fall in love with my wife all over again.

Not a banner year, but Tangled is great fun and worth a second viewing. Toy Story 3 had a better story than I expected, a great way to end the trilogy. Both prove Disney and Pixar still have years of life in them. I'm a sucker for the beautiful Katherine Heigl, but I have to well, watch what I watch, so most of her films are off limits by my choice. Thankfully, her pairing with Ashton Kutcher, Killers was a film that made me laugh all the way through the stunts and chase scenes. As for the poorer films of the year, there are sadly too many to name.

For the Disneyphile, Jim Korkis' Vault of Walt is hard to beat. I've read many Disney related books over the years, yet there are many facts and stories new to me in this tome. Randy Schimdt has come up with a winning biography of the beautiful and talented Karen Carpenter. In spite of the stories claiming otherwise, Little Girl Blue aptly describes the life of this woman with the golden voice. It's heartbreaking and shocking and somewhat reverent all at once. Speaking of reverence, I am once again engrossed with the book of Psalms. From pain to joy to shame and encouragement, this book covers the range of human emotions, reminding me I serve a God who loves me in spite of myself and my shortcomings- He loves you, too, for that matter.

The vast wasteland known as television and cable had a few bright spots: Castle and Criminal Minds. Although I was busy catching up on previous seasons of Criminal Minds, I found the new season's episodes to be just as powerful. Thomas Gibson continues to show the depth of his acting skills, proving he could have a career in film if he wanted it. On the down and out, I cannot help but wonder what happened to the Travel Channel (ghost stories and poker and food binging but no travel) or why the "Big Three" network news shows seem more and more like Entertainment Tonight.

Live Entertainment
To see Mary Poppins live on stage was a treat. The cast couldn't have been better. We walked out of the place believing in live theater once again. Following that up with Sting a few months later reminded me that few things can beat a live performance. California Adventure's World of Color was a noticeable addition this year. I had heard all the hype. The show actually surprised me by being better than I had expected and almost as good as its stellar reviews. Due to our daughter's wedding and a trip out of the country, we missed the Colorado Rockies playing this season. Maybe next year. We ended our entertainment year with a visit to the Denver Botanical Gardens and its Blossoms of Light. Our zoo here is terrific, but I look forward to an evening of walking hand in hand with my wife admiring the millions of decorations lighting up the gardens.

Guess that wraps up 2010. What surprises and disappointments await me in 2011? Who knows- but I'm looking forward to the year ahead.

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