Good morning, Ladies and Gentleman. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday; if you didn't, I hope you can find solace in the fact that it's over. Either way.
This time of year, I always love all of the year end lists that come up, on the radio, in periodicals, on television, everywhere. I'm a big supporter of feeling nostalgic for things that happened too recently to inspire nostalgia; I'm not sure if it's a generational thing or just my own personality. All the baseball teams are taking a break at the moment, nothing's happening, and I haven't started really putting together any thing substantial on the roster constructions yet. So, I thought I would just throw out a few of my favourites from the year that's ending, and we could all look back and feel a little nostalgic for another year of our lives that's quickly receding into the black.
My favourite Cardinal moments of the year:
Rick Ankiel's home run in his first game back with the big club. At that moment, I believed that there was no way the Cardinals were going to do anything but repeat as World Champions. The power of Roy Hobbs' return would propel us all into the promised land once again! I immediately began looking everywhere to find the theme from the Natural as a ringtone for my cell phone; sadly, it didn't work out as well as my "Dream Weaver" ringtone from a year earlier. Still, the best story and moment of the year, HGH be damned.
Albert getting his 30th home run, and his 100th RBI. The legend lives on. Even in this train wreck of a year, the Mang continued to show us how lucky we are to witness his career.
Joel Pineiro ruining the Metropolitan's season. Yes, I realise that wasn't the only game they lost; but I really do believe that game was the one that broke their spirits. That's right, two years in a row, the St. Louis Cardinals and the last player you expected have ruined your year. I know it's kind of shoddy to take this kind of joy in another's misery, but it's the Mets. I can't help it.
Brad Thompson giving his now infamous Puppy Kicker speech. There's just something about seeing a twelve year old absolutely imploding with rage that's so deliciously incongruous. Sort of like the Child's Play movies. I have to admit, I'll be a little sad if Brad ends up getting moved. If nothing else, he's pretty damned entertaining.
The return of Izzy. I admit, I was one of the loudest in the choir of people calling for his head when he was blowing saves left and right last year. To see him come back this year, healthy and effective, was really fantastic to witness. It's just a shame he didn't get the chance to pitch in the postseason.
That's all I can think of at the moment; I'm sure there were others, but it was kind of a thin year for great Cardinal moments. I think we sort of used them all up in 06. Eh, I'll take it.
My favourite records of the year:
The Arcade Fire- Neon Bible
Sunset Rubdown- Random Spirit Lover
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings- One Hundred Days
Betty LaVette- Scene of the Crime
Interpol- Our Love to Admire
LCD Soundsystem- The Sound of Silver
The Good Life- Help Wanted Nights
U.N.K.L.E.- War Stories
Favourite new Television show:
A tie between Chuck, on NBC, and Pushing Daisies, on ABC. I expected absolutely nothing from either show, and was taken completely by surprise by both. If the writer's strike kills either of these off, I will destroy Hollywood with my fearsome wrath. I've done it before; don't doubt me.
Thank the Good Lord that it looks like tweed is going to be in style for a bit longer. I love tweed.
Favourite waffle topping: Chocolate Syrup. Try making your own; cocoa, butter, and sugar. It's ridiculously delicious.
Favourite non Cardinal pitcher to watch on the Tube: Johan Santana. I try not to miss any of his games; always worth the price of admission.
Favourite sports caster: It sounds cliched, but I've got to go with Joe Buck. Seriously, has the industry ever been this much of a wasteland before, outside of one or two bright spots?
Favourite radio station: 88.1, KDHX. One of our cultural treasures.
Special mention to Mr. Rob Levy, host of Juxtaposition, every Wednesday evening from 8-10 pm on the aforementioned station. Kudos, Rob.
Favourite local beer: O'Fallon brewery's seasonal Pumpkin Ale. Ambrosia tastes like crap next to this stuff.
Honourable beer mention: St. Louis peach. It's actually made by a brewery in Belgium; I have no idea what connection, if any, it has to either the city or the person St. Louis. You can get it at Cicero's in the Loop; highly recommended.
Favourite restaurant: A three way tie, between the Juniper Grill and the Sydney Street Cafe, both in Soulard, and Riddles Penultimate Cafe and wine bar, in the University City Loop. I've run out of superlatives already, so I'll just say they're all really, really good.
Honourable mentions here I think need to go to both the Square One Brewery in Lafayette, and the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood. Both are prime examples of both micro brewing at it's finest and New American style, local ingredient focused cuisine. Fantastic.
And last, but not least, my favourite website of 2007:
Oh come on, you know what I'm going to say here. I'm not above pandering to a crowd. Cheers to everyone who has had a hand in making this site such a joy to visit and be a part of.
All right, that's enough of my River Front Times impression. Again, I hope everyone's enjoying their Holiday season. Stay safe, and we'll all go back to worrying about our baseball team in another week or two. See you all in the new year.