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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some Superlatives

It seems to be obligatory to make end-of-year lists. This obligation is only increased by the fact that today brings both a year and a decade to a close. To be the proprietor of a blog and fail to issue some sort of list would be a dereliction of duty. I feel unqualified to make lists in most aspects of culture, but I think I can narrow this past decade of life to superlatives in three key areas: music, movies, and doughnuts.

Top 15 Albums of the Decade
1) Modest Mouse - The Moon and Antarctica
2) Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
3) Lateduster - 5 Easy Pieces
4) The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
5) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
6) LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
7) Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
8) The Arcade Fire - Funeral
9) Ugly Casanova - Sharpen Your Teeth
10) The Weakerthans - Reconstruction Site
11) The Avalanches - Since I Left You
12) Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
13) Radiohead - In Rainbows
14) The National - Boxer
15) Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It in People

Top 10 Movies of the Decade
1) Mutual Appreciation
2) Grizzly Man
3) A Serious Man
4) Mulholland Drive
5) Sideways
6) Capturing the Friedmans
7) Beeswax
8) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
9) The Fog of War
10) Donnie Darko

Top 5 Doughnuts of the Decade
1) Granulated sugar coating, custard filling (Lisbon, Portugal)
2) Pumpkin glazed (Doughnut Plant, NYC)
3) Vanilla glazed with plum jam filling (Doughnut Plant, NYC)
4) Coconut glazed with coconut cream filling (Doughnut Plant, NYC)
5) Glazed (Hoehn's Bakery, Baltimore)

Regarding the doughnut rankings, I would allow that the spectacular and atmospheric setting in which I encountered the custard-filled doughnut at a small bakery on a hillside in Lisbon might have made its memory more delicious. But it was one tasty doughnut -- I think the shock of how good real custard could be in a doughnut was a big part of its success. And the doughnuts from Hoehn's earn their 5th place rank because even though they're not quite as good as Doughnut Plant, they cost 70 cents (or at least used to) and the old ladies behind the counter are lovely.

Anyway, off to the New Year's revelry, which is almost as obligatory as lists. Happy New Year!

5 comments:

Doug said...

Methinks you need to come back to Minneapolis to re-sample the basic cake doughnuts at A Baker's Wife's Pastry Shop, which should clearly--clearly--be on the list. 50 cents!

(Also, my word verification thing is "emobust," which may be a commentary on the music of the '00s.)

lj said...

I was going to put in a plug for the plain doughnuts at A Baker's Wife, but DM has beat me to it. There is something wonderfully elemental about them--nothing fancy, just the essence of doughnut. Not that there's anything wrong with fancy doughnuts. It's like with burgers: all of the gourmet/fusion burgers out there are often delicious, but it's sometimes really satisfying to remind oneself how good a simple, meat-on-bun burger can be.

Also, I just made myself feel very old: I was going to say that I'd be interested to hear why you picked that Radiohead album. But then I looked and realized that "OK Computer" is from the *previous* decade (1997), and "Kid A" is on the cusp (2000). Sigh.

Happy New Year!

eric said...

Nice lists. Glad to see you had 3 documentaries in your top 10! My top 10 had 4 (see it here

Anonymous said...

Of your top ten movies, you and I saw five together in the theater! Holy moly!

-Alex

teague said...

DM and LJ -- I do agree that A Baker's Wife's doughnuts are great, and represent the very essence of doughnutness. I think that Hoehn's beat them out because of my preference for the raised variety and the fact that I've had them more recently. But I intend to visit Minneapolis sometime this summer, and a trip to the bakery will certainly be in order.

LJ, I had the same experience re: Radiohead. OK Computer is better than In Rainbows, and it made me feel old to realize it came out 13 years ago. (I actually have a very specific memory of studying for the AP Bio exam and hearing Karma Police on the radio for the first time.)

Eric -- great list...because lists are such comment bait, I'm going to go leave my thoughts on yours...

Alex -- it's because of your impeccable taste!