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A Few of My Favourite Things, 2011 Edition

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Author Edit: As you can all see by this point, I managed to screw up while scheduling this post. Thus, it did not go live this morning as I had intended, and I was very puzzled when I logged on this afternoon to see what traffic was like today. Thanks to bgh for making sure there was a thread up for everyone to use, and my apologies to you all for my apparent complete lack of technical skill. Happy New Year. -- RB

Howdy, folks. I actually wasn't planning on doing a full favourite things post this year; I was going to just let my games of the year post stand as is. However, our Glorious Leader is currently out of the loop today, visiting Japan -- or Japan is visiting him, or something; I can never keep track -- and asked if anyone could fill in. Since there isn't much new in the way of baseball news, I thought I would go ahead and toss together a bit of a retrospective.

It's mostly records, as you might imagine, but not entirely. At the very least it should get us all through the last Friday of the year, unless everybody decides to get chatty and put up 1500 comments instead of actually getting some work done or spending time with family or friends -- I know, shocking I would even consider such a thing from the denizens of El Vivi Birders -- in which case I can only hope one of my fellow mods will be nice enough to throw up an overflow of some sort.

So without further ado, let's talk about a bunch of stuff that happened this year, shall we?

My 4 Favourite Cardinals of 2011

Lance Berkman

Because? -- Because it was a joy to finally see a man so hated (and feared, and respected), wearing the Birds on the Bat. Plus, he gives the best soundbites.

Jaime Garcia

Because? -- Because at his best the only pitcher he really reminds me of is Greg Maddux and he shaves with a satellite-guided laser system.

Chris Carpenter

Because? -- Because he doesn't give a fuck about this list or the fact he's on it.

Eduardo Sanchez

Because? -- Because he's the size of a Chinese acrobat, hits 97 regularly, and throws one of the best breaking balls I've ever seen.

Five Favourite Movies (in no particular order)


Because? -- Because it was a baseball movie only partially about baseball, much like my very favourite baseball movie ever, Eight Men Out.


Because? -- Because it didn't try too hard, but still ended up the perfect version of what it was.

A Separation

Because? -- Because it cuts. Don't ignore it just because it's foreign.

The Muppets

Because? -- Because I love Muppets, and I love Neil Patrick Harris. And I love Amy Adams, but in a totally different way.

X-Men: First Class

Because? -- Because it was so good it actually made me forget about The Last Stand.

Honourary Mention -- Hugo

Because I'm fairly certain it was one of the best things I saw all year, but I had to leave halfway through due to a monstrous headache. (3D almost always does that to me; something about my eyes.) I'm hoping to see it in a normal two-dimensional format soon to make up my mind.

Two Favourite New Anime Series


Because? -- Because it's a martial arts combat show about people trying to win half-priced lunch. If that doesn't sound awesome to you then I just don't know what to tell you.

Guilty Crown

Because? -- Because it's really too good to describe, though there's quite a bit of Eureka 7 in there for starters. Though, the fact there isn't another episode releasing until the 13th of January has sent me into a complete rage.

Favourite Sneakers I Bought This Year (High Top Division)

adiZero Crazy Light

Because? -- Because I liked them so much I had to buy three colours -- green, black/supercyan, and the neon green that apparently only I bought because they did not stick around very long.

Favourite Sneakers I Bought This Year (Low Top Division)

Nike Air Max 2011 (Grey/Volt)

Because? -- Did you see that colour? Enough said. (I also bought the dark blue ones, too.)

Nine Favourite Records (In no particular order)

Veronica Falls -- Veronica Falls

Because? -- Because I'm a sucker for girl singers and reverb. Also, the title track manages the rare trifecta; Veronica Falls by Veronica Falls off the album Veronica Falls. Brilliant.

Kaputt -- Destroyer

Because? -- Because if you had asked me at this time last year, "Hey, how long do you think it'll be before someone manages to make Avalon-era Roxy Music sound really cool again?" I'm relatively certain my answer would not have been, "Um, about a month, give or take."

Raven in The Grave -- The Raveonettes

Because? -- Because it's a fucking Raveonettes record, that's why. Want a better reason? Fine. Because it might be the best Raveonettes record. How's that?

Digital Lows -- Cities Aviv

Because? -- Because while Kanye and Jay-Z were taking a shit in a Cartier box and then selling it as diamonds, an unknown dude from Memphis was putting out a record (and half a dozen EP releases), with a unique aesthetic and artful construction that actually showed what hip-hop can be when an artist cares enough to get it right.

Sleep Talk -- Shannon and the Clams

Because? -- Because it's the best unlabeled yard sale 45 you've ever heard. Also, remember that thing I said earlier about girl singers and reverb? Yeah.

The King is Dead -- The Decemberists

Because? -- Because after making two records that so often covered up their best traits with proggy keyboard suites and goofy concept jams, the Decemberists got it so right with a simple, cut to the bone country record that puts Colin Meloy's delicate vocals and brilliant, idiorsyncratic storytelling front and center. Also, "June Hymn" may be the single prettiest song of the year.

Parallax -- Atlas Sound

Because? -- Because it's hard to believe the dude in Deerhunter is actually keeping his best songs for himself, but here you have it.

Yuck -- Yuck

Because? -- Because it's the best Sonic Youth record I've heard since Daydream Nation. Or maybe the best Pavement record I've heard since Crooked Rain. You get the idea. "Get Away" may have been the best single released all year.

Smoke Ring for My Halo -- Kurt Vile

Because? -- Because he writes better songs eating a bowl of cereal (and occasionally about eating a bowl of cereal), than pretty much anyone else does their whole day.

Twelve Favourite Songs (click for 8tracks)

Get Away" - Yuck

"June Hymn" - the Decemberists

"Float On" - Cities Aviv

"New Year's Eve" - Tom Waits

"All the Sand in the Sea" - Devotchka

"Hold Your Hand" - Dum Dum Girls

"All I Ask" - Theodore

"Recharge and Revolt" - the Raveonettes

"Baby Missiles" - The War on Drugs

"Post Break-up Sex" - The Vaccines

"Perth" - Bon Iver

"Beachy Head" - Veronica Falls