Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Presenting my best of 2007!


What a year this was, huh? And by "What a year," I mean, "What a bad year." Even though I now burn the bulk of my creative energy on more fruitful pursuits, I still managed to tick off quite a few gems here on Not Right About Anything. Below, enjoy some of my favorite pieces from the year 2007, along with some never-before-seen material. Eat all you want; I'll make more! Happy New Year!

NEW ORLEANS
Hate New Orleans? Read this! (1/25/07)
This was probably the best thing I wrote all year, so it figures I wrote it in January.

FOOTBALL
Kicking football footage off the air (1/18/07)
The NFL made YouTube jettison all of its fan videos. I throw a flag.
I'm not a Patriot (11/26/07)
Even the most perfect examples of America are so, so wrong.

NEW ORLEANS FOOTBALL
The N-word, the F-word and the C-word (1/22/07)
A breakdown of my breakdown following the Saints' loss to the Bears in the NFC Championship Game.
My run-in with Bowl-bound Bears fans (2/4/07)
While in the Atlanta airport, I found myself sharing a transit train with some Bears fans flying to the Super Bowl. There was a lot less bloodshed than there could have been.
Joe Horn joins Falcons, FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers (3/10/07)
Reeling from the news of Joe Horn's release from the Saints, I wrote an Onion-style article about how much he was willing to turn his back on New Orleans. To his credit, Horn's still campaigning for the Big Easy, which means I probably should have done this instead for Aaron "I put New Orleans out of my mind" Brooks.
Doodles inspired by the Saints (10/8/07)
Cartoons that are, unfortunately, still prevalent.
Now appearing on clipboards across the NFL (11/19/07)
Ditto the above.

UNPUBLISHED! From an 11/30/07 draft on the murder of Redskins safety Sean Taylor:

How can you gauge a killer's motivations when you don't even know who that person is? Oh, I know how: Rich, flamboyant black man gets shot in his house. Well, that's all anyone needs to know, isn't it? It's obviously the degrading influences of hip-hop and too much money in a black man's uppity hands!

Hip-hop music did not kill Sean Taylor. If you want to talk about violence among black males in America, fine. It's a very relevant, valid topic. Too valid, in fact, to be reduced to scapegoating a form of entertainment, regardless of how profane self-righteous people find it.

MC Hammer devoted most of the liner notes in "Too Legit to Quit" to saying, "The white man isn't killing us anymore. We're killing each other." Seems to me that that message would have resonated, given that the album was a major seller at the time and hip-hop is apparently a music strong enough to move mountains. Guess not.

Black-on-black violence is caused by poverty, feelings of hopelessness and decades of conditioning. That existed well before Wu-Tang and would continue to exist if the censors among us permanently shut up all "objectionable" artists.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THINGS
Musings on age, nostalgia and, uh, size (3/5/07)
Why are the oldest and biggest things always considered the best? I say they aren't.
In defense of independence (6/22/07)
Louisiana vs. Missouri! And the winner is...education!
Uniforms are for teams and gangs (8/13/07)
Probably my best essay yet against school uniforms. Hey, I've been practicing for years.
Human monkeys and talking snakes have it out (8/15/07)
Did you know I don't believe in evolution? Nope. Because it's a theory, not a belief.
Thoughts spurred by random discussion boards (9/18/07)
The two cents I would given on several then-active opinion threads if I was a glutton for unnecessary punishment.
Front-running is making America wheeze (9/27/07)
Success can be a good thing, but it shouldn't be the only thing. Especially since its fans are mostly fair-weather.
The power of perseverance (cynical edition) (10/9/07)
Inspired by the Saints' 0-4 record, this post is really about how unrelated success often is to merit. Or so it seems much of the time.
Serve with pride...er, fear of jail time (10/30/07)
My argument against mandatory national service. I'm surprised there even was one, but it turned out to be a strong one.
Give this word up (11/5/07)
An African-American friend asked me how I felt about the N-word. This post is my answer. He approved heartily.
How I feel about certain things (12/1/07)
This entry explains how I feel about certain things.

UNPUBLISHED! From a 12/4/07 draft on the meaning of Christmas:

The materialism of Christmas gets on my nerves. As non-religious as I am, I am just about ready to join the chorus of, "Jesus is the reason for the season!"

I'll admit that, as a child (and even into my teens), Christmas was my favorite holiday because of the toys. At least, that's what I thought at the time. But even then, I slowly began to realize that the family gatherings, the meals, the sights and the smells were also a tremendous part. So tremendous, in fact, that I can distinctly remember at least one sensory aspect of every Christmas as far back as 1981, when I was one. Think I'm kidding? I'm not.

In some cases, the presents are almost incidental. Even my most fond gifts - such as a pedal-powered Corvette I got in 1984 - didn't last through the next summer. But I can still remember exactly where the tree was positioned in my house that year, that it had twinkling lights and that a star was on top of it. I also remember a bevy of relatives visiting my house and myself waking up in the middle of the night for the first time in my life (rebel).

1983 - Got a Fisher-Price gas pump. You cranked it up and the numbers would fly by at rapid speed. Just like today!

I mention all of this because I'm sick of the blitz of jewelry and Lexus-esque ads that seem to grow like Kudzu every year. At this point, I'm ready to petition for the word "Kiss" to no longer begin with Kay.

STUFF THAT GNAWS AT ME
Stuff that gnaws at me (7/9/07)
As if you didn't see THAT coming...
Ooh, that spell... (1/29/07)
Please! "Enough" with the incorrect spelling's and unnece'ssary apostrophe's!
God! The radio! And diamonds! (4/9/07)
I talk about the radio, God and diamonds. Not necessarily in that order.
Top 10 trends that deserve assisted suicide (5/26/07)
I could probably think of 20 more by now.
A.M. lunacy of the non-talk-radio kind (6/26/07)
My inspired rant against morning people.

UNPUBLISHED! From a 11/12/07 list of stuff that also gnaws at me:

People who take the time to answer and send Internet memes, but who answer every other question with "dk."

Phil Hartman's wife. What she did was so evil that, even though she killed herself too, she should still have her ashes thrown in jail.

Sarkozy in every headline. So this guy was elected president in France. Does that mean he has to lead tributes to Norman Mailer in addition to fellating Bush at every opportunity? I think Mailer himself would probably have not liked that.

Blogs that require invitation. An art opening in a Manhattan hipster's loft is less elitist than this shit. Isn't the whole point of having a blog to whore out your views because no one wants to listen to or pay for them? So I'm told? No famous blog I'm aware of feels the need to do this. If your secrets are that secret, then maybe you should spill them someplace else...

Republicans. Because you know they'd be exactly the same without terrorism.

Guys who refer to their spouse as "the wife." What is this, 1945?

SICK, SAD WORLD
Triggering a frenzy for guns (4/17/07)
One good thing about the V-Tech shooting (4/20/07)
Paying attention is easier than paying with your life (4/23/07)
These posts examine the Virginia Tech shooting in April, the first two arguing against more guns in school and how heroism is overrated, respectively. The third also takes into account the shooting at NASA and how each of the killers' profiles were over-analyzed in a way that unnecessarily stigmatizes single men.
Sarkasm (5/10/07)
Despite everything that's happened in the past few years, French voters still saw fit to elect a relentlessly pro-U.S. (meaning, pro-Bush and pro-idiocy) president. How?
Now that Jerry Falwell is dead... (5/16/07)
An unloving obituary for a real piece of work.
Drive like the divine (6/20/07)
After the Catholic Church issued a new Ten Commandments for drivers, I revised them...twice. Can't wait to see the Protestant and Jewish versions!
Plausible alibis for David Vitter (7/11/07)
Oops! I crapped my pants!
Thoughts on the YouTube debate (7/24/07)
After watching the first Democrat YouTube debate and taking notes, I carefully weighed the pros and cons of each candidate. Obama wins.
Clinton would have been impeached over the initials alone (10/22/07)
Republican Bobby Jindal became the first-ever Indian-American to win a governor's seat. He did it in Louisiana, which says a lot about the man's beliefs.
My WGA strike video (11/13/07):

A video in which I said nothing, which explains its popularity on YouTube.

UNPUBLISHED! From the 9/20/07 draft, "An open letter to Jena, Louisiana":

Many Louisiana towns are like your grandmother's closet: you can find some unbelievable touchstones of past eras that you didn't even know existed anymore, but there also might be those racist blackface figurines. You see these things and don't want to equate them to your sweet, beloved relative, dismissing such thought as a product of its time. At the same time, however, you're afraid to ask her how she feels about them now, knowing that she might not have changed her opinion that much.

Now you have the attention of the whole world on you in 2007, for something straight out of 1957. Al Sharpton is marching in Alexandria. David Bowie donated $100,000 to the Jena Six legal fund. And in what has to be a sadly ironic twist, Jesse Jackson is decrying Barack Obama for perceived lack of action regarding the case. Race issues tear everyone apart.

STORIES FROM MY OWN LIFE
My train of thought at Chili's (2/27/07)
A mental transcript for a bad night out.
Erin go blahhhh (3/17/07)
Why St. Patrick's Day is not my cup of ale.
"I was addicted to oxygen" (3/20/07)
A satirical article I wrote in 1999 as part of a pagination project.
This one's for the girls (3/25/07)
Three not-at-all sarcastic odes to people who made my day difficult.
"A little off the top and sides, and stab me in the back" (5/3/07)
More fun with people who would prefer I was out of town.
Watching Paint Dry (10/5/07)
One of my friends said that she'd probably be riveted if I wrote about watching paint dry. I took her up on her dare. She loved it.
How to bury the language barrier (10/15/07)
A true story of the effects of linguistic hurdles. That was one long and awkward trip to the supermarket!
Things I learned (or recalled) during my week in Louisiana (12/19/07)
Would you believe this post has nothing to do with its title? Well, you'd be wrong.
This is what I get for trying to be Al Gore (12/20/07)
My heating bill doubled, because I was cold. A losing fight with the utility from the beginning.

UNPUBLISHED! From the 12/19/07 draft, "Proof I'm not hip, part 8,185":

Out of Rolling Stone's Top 100 songs of 2007, I've only heard of six. And of those six, I've actually heard maybe four.

Factor into this that I had subscriptions to both Rolling Stone and Blender this year, and listened to several pop/rock radio stations. Not that I'm ever on the cutting edge of music - my taste gelled permanently in about 1995 or so - but this year leaves me genuinely confused.

And finally, to top off this annual compendium of literary flamethrowing, here's a video of a fire I saw while driving in Louisiana:

Happy 2008!

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