Sunday, February 01, 2009

The 100 Coolest Things of 2008... 20 thru 11

The Super Bowl was awesome this year... scroll down or click here to read the annual running diary...

One more note... if you are on Facebook, the numerous videos are not going to show up. Click on over to Clouds in My Coffee, then bookmark the page. Then check it daily. You never know what might pop up.

The Introduction and Recap
The 100th thru 91st Coolest Things of 2008
The 90th thru 81st Coolest Things of 2008
The 80th thru 71st Coolest Things of 2008
The 70th thru 61st Coolest Things of 2008
The 60th thru 51st Coolest Things of 2008
The 50th thru 41st Coolest Things of 2008
The 40th thru 31st Coolest Things of 2008
The 30th thru 21st Coolest Things of 2008

20. Rhett Barnette
He's this guy I know in KidStuf, the children's theater program at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship). He's married to Amarylis, he's got a daughter named Catalina, and Rhett, without going on and on, gets the title for Funniest. Guy. Of the Year.

He's dry, he's a hick kinda guy, he's just hilarious in a room. He's the kind of guy that, when watching The Jesus Painter, stood and made quiet jokes about the program while many were in deep worship. Seriously, funniest guy of the year.

And somehow, this picture fits him perfectly

19. ESPN's Pardon the Interruption Podcast
Pardon the interruption, but I'm Mike Wilbon... Tony... the Celtics just won the world champion over the Lakers! How hard did party and who did you party with?

Oh, I partied alone... unless you count that tryist with Bea Arthur!

So begins an episode of ESPN's PTI, via podcast. Typically, the hosts--Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser--start off bantering back and forth on the hot topics of the day, mostly sports but sometimes will dive off into other topics of the day. They will spend about 1:30 on each one, but may go over or under. The topics are listed on a scroll on the side of the screen.

Mike and Tony, discussing the woman who tried to use a fake One Million Dollar Bill at Wal-Mart

Next, they'll usually do "Five Good Minutes" with a guest, or they'll just keep talking sports, but in the middle of the show is my favorite. They'll do various bits weekly, sometimes Over/Under (they predict the over/under of a certain number like "Over/Under on the number of home runs Pujols will hit this season") or they'll do Oddsmakers (guessing the percentages of a certain event happening, like "chances that Roger Federer will win two or more Grand Slams before he retires") or my personal favorite, Role Play... they'll play a few beats of what can only be described as "porn music" and one will assume the role of a sports figure--Mike will "be Aaron Rodgers" and Tony will say, "Aaron, how mad are you that you were booed off the field this week at Lambeau?"

I downloaded it every day, missing very few episodes, and would sometimes go back and listen to a day or so old episode in case I missed something. You can get it on iTunes via a podcast... in fact, I very seldom every actually watch the show. Its always on iTunes.

18. "The Dark Knight"
Much to the dismay of my friend Lori Land, there are a couple of films I hold in higher regard than this one, but finishing the 18th coolest thing of 2008 is not too bad.

This was an amazing movie. You've heard the hype, you've heard about Heath Ledger's performance, and you've probably heard the mystique surrounding the film. And I am here to say... its all true and its all deserved.

"Batman Begins" was a re-start of the Batman franchise that succeeded on so many levels, and so the anticipation for "The Dark Knight" was only building to crazy heights. When Heath Ledger died in January of 2008, it only further fueled the anticipation for the movie. And the entire time, I was enthralled by what I was watching.

Ledger's portrayal of The Joker is absolutely brilliant. No attempt is made to really discover where he came from, he's just The Joker, a super villain to Batman. If I had any complaints about the movie at all, it is first that I think the Harvey Dent-into-Two-Face story was rushed... I think he would have been a great villain alone, but he did compliment The Joker well. Secondly, that Rachel Dawes met the fate she met. I mean, its Maggie Gyllenhaal... she's awesome!

Maggie rocks

Did you know that Katie Holmes was set to reprise the role of Rachel, a role she did well in in "Batman Begins"... but she dropped out to make... "Mad Money" with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. Yes, Katie, how'd that work out for ya?

Anyway, I'm going on the assumption that just about everyone reading this has seen the movie, so I don't much to add to it, other than it was a slambang awesome film, and Ledger is an incredible Joker.

17. FaceBook Connections
I wrote about this not too long ago.. well, it was July of last year... and I said simply, "So, on Facebook, somehow I've managed to find almost everyone that I ever met. Well, actually, I've met a ton of people, so the 508 people whom I call friend on Facebook probably doesn't come close to the amount of people I've met in real life."

Well, since that time, 508 has turned into 774 friends, and just when I think that there can't be many more, another one sends me a friend request. I have now decided that I just don't send friend requests anymore, they can find me...

Over the year, as mentioned in the note from July, I've managed to find The Official Clouds in My Coffee Troy State Crush Tiffany Abbott, The Angel (click to read The Angel Mud Boxer Story), Blair Andress, Dixon Brock, Dayla Ellison, Spring Tolson (also click to read The Spring Tolson Moment) and even more, and though the bigger "friend" news lately is the addition of The Official Clouds in My Coffee Samson High School Crush Julie Wise, that didn't happen until about a week or so ago, so it will be mentioned on The Coolest Things of 2009.

But there's more than that. This seemed to be the year Facebook just exploded, at least to me, from my perspective. More local friends joined--Cindy Warner, Melissa Clark, Emmy & Jason Turnbow--and more Troy friends joined--Amanda Hawkins Casey for one--and more Samson Friends joined--Claudia Sorrells, Jennifer Lambert... Jennifer Herdon--and then there was the Great Rejection of 2008, that being Angiejay, who told me after knowing me for 20 years, "I can't accept your friend request, because I don't know you very well". But I'm not bitter.

However, therein lies the danger, as mentioned last week... I will have to make some slight changes to some previous posts, as now I'm aware of who's on the site.

Also have to say a big hello to Mindy D'A, this incredibly cute and at the time unapproachable Alpha Delta Pi at Troy State, who I had spoken about two words to ever... and now she's a Coffee Drinker. Who knew?

17A. The Official Clouds in My Coffee Troy State Crush Tiffany Abbott McCauley
She rocks. Through Facebook, not only have I been able to chat with The Official Clouds in My Coffee Troy State Crush Tiffany Abbott, we were able to have lunch a couple of times as she came through town. She's just as short as I remember, just as cute as I remember, and just another reminder of Garth Brooks' "Unanswered Prayers" song. Anyway, she was worth mentioning. Hope to see you again soon, one day to meet The Lovely Steph Leann.

Found this adorable pic of The Official Clouds In My Coffee Troy State Crush Tiffany Abbott, though it was before I really knew her.

16. ESPN's College Football Podcast
Like the PTI podcast mentioned at #19, this was also one I listened to daily. A 30 minute show hosted by Andy Gresh, it gave a rundown of the college football headlines and news to know after a weekend's worth of games, and leading up to more games the next weekend.

The show would start with "The Playbook", which was a report from different ESPN bloggers, each giving news of the six major BCS conferences--SEC, Big XII, Big 10, Pac 10, Big East and ACC--and one blogger, Graham Watson, talking about The Independents & More, which mostly, at least this season, gave news on the sorry state of Notre Dame football and the rise of the Mountain West's Utah, BYU and TCU's programs.

Andy Gresh would have different guests on certain days, like Bruce Feldman on Mondays, Ivan Maisel on Tuesdays, Todd McShay on Thursdays and Mel Kiper Jr on Fridays. On Wednesdays, the show would be hosted by Ivan Maisel and would feature the Dean of College Football, Beano Cook. Personally, though I enjoy Ivan and Beano's take on the games and appreciate their love of the history of the games, I liked Andy hosting much better.

It makes me sad, though, that Andy Gresh left the podcast after this past season and will join Sirius Radio's NFL channel for a new show. You will be missed.

The podcast continues even in the off season--it is available for download every other Wednesday all the way through the spring and summer, to pick back up for daily podcasts in August--presumably with a new host. I'm rooting for Todd McShay.

15. Rush Limbaugh
Ya know, I'm not going to do into detail on this one. I don't feel like defending him. I know he's right, and I agree with about 98% of what he says. He's critical of just as many Republicans as he is Democrats. He plays the audio of who you need to hear, he gives you the resources to listen to the entire bite, and honestly, listening to three minutes of his show isn't enough. You've got to listen to it regularly. Only then will you get the humor, only then will you understand what conservatism is, only then will you figure out that really, liberalism fails.

And then you'll be free. You won't be a mind numbed, believe everything the media tells you, if its written in the NYTime or if Keith Olbermann says it it must be true, robot. You'll get it. And we need as many people to "get it" as possible.

14. WalkAbout Dinner Theater
During the 2006-2007 season, I was highly disappointed that the dinner theater we had planned for that June. I was losing talent like Courtney Maddox and Jess Heckman, and I felt not only defeated, but like a failure.

By that time, I had been doing middle school drama for about 8 years, and we had pulled off 5 dinner theater performances. The reason we didn't do the other 3 years is because either I couldn't, or was not doing drama that summer. Some of the kids grumbled, some of the kids understood, but either way, I had no confidence in our team. We cancelled it because really, many of the kids didn't learn their lines on time.

So, when the new team came around, my "seniors" this time were Hannah Robillard, J Pinky, Grace Mintz, Erin Taliaferro, Davis Reynolds, Grant Adams and Emily Griner... one of the strongest line ups we've had since the murderer's row of Scotty Latta, Jana Blackwell, Laura Posey and the like.

We had a great year, and planned for our dinner theater, entitled "By Faith", in July. And it was masterful. It was a one-night-only affair, done in our middle school area known as "the Big Room", and we had a completely sold out audience. Some of our drama moms, including WalkAbout Mom of the Year Melissa Robillard, helped put dinner together, while the WalkAbout Asst Director and Mom of the Year in 2007, Paula Maddox, helped get the show done.

Awesome. Grace Mintz did this monologue called "Unafraid", and brought the audience to tears, but strangely, I think the skit of the show was a little ditty called "Debbie Gibson & the Foolish Chick", based on the parable of building your house on rock and sand. Starring Kimmy Hasha, Hannah, Emily and a special appearance by Matt McG and Algore, it brought the house down.

14A. Paula Maddox
She's was given the 20th Coolest of 2007 rank last year, and I went back and forth as to whether have her appear on this list or not... after all, she did get a rank last year. She was on the list of possible nominees for a Hannah Pruitt Cool Award as well, but I went differently with that.

Here's Paula, singing with a very waxy Celine

Anyway, she's awesome. She was totally my lean-on during the WalkAbout season, and my venting post as well (as she vented to me her own thoughts). I'm proud to call Paula my friend and if WalkAbout opens up to high school as well, as we are discussing, I am excited that she'll be back to help out. Well, she and Melissa Robillard.

13. "American Girl" by Estelle, feat. Kanye West
Take me on a trip I'd like to go someday... take me to New York I'd love to see LA... I really want to come kick it with you, you'll be my American Boy, American Boy.

I really don't care for Kanye West all that much... and whoever Estelle is, I'm not really sure I'll dig on her music all the much either. But this song? Love it? Got played a ton on my iPod this year, and its just cool. Here's the Wiki on it.

12. "Ironman"
Yes, yes, I thought "The Dark Knight" was great. But I am a Marvel fan through and through, so when I found out that Tony Stark would be played by Robert Downey Jr, I was sold. I was eagerly anticipating the film, and was not disappointed at all.

Its got a perfect mix of humor and action, with a great story and effects, and never gets dark and brooding like "The Dark Knight" was. As a matter of fact, I think I liked just about everything about this movie.

In case you didn't stick around after the credits, here's what you missed. Any comic book fan will be elated at this 35 second scene.

Haven't seen the movie? Here's the rundown...
Tony Stark gambles at a Las Vegas casino, leaving his deceased father's friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) to accept a prestigious award for him. As Stark leaves the casino with his entourage, he is approached by reporter Christine Everhart (Leslie Bibb), whom he charms into a one-night stand at his Malibu house. When she awakens the next morning, she is asked to leave by Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Stark's personal assistant.

Stark flies off to Afghanistan with his friend and company military liaison, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes (Terrence Howard), for a demonstration of Stark Industries' new weapon, the "Jericho" cluster missile. On the way back, however, his military convoy is attacked. In the ensuing firefight, his escort is wiped out and Stark himself is knocked unconscious by one of his own company's bombs.

Waking up hours later in an Afghan cave, he discovers an electromagnet embedded in his chest, placed there by fellow captive Dr. Yinsen (Shaun Toub). It is powered by a car battery and keeps shrapnel from working its way to his heart and killing him. Stark has been captured by a terrorist group known as the Ten Rings, whose leader orders him to build a Jericho missile for him.

Instead, during the three months of his captivity, he and Yinsen begin secretly building a crude suit of power armor, powered by a miniature "arc reactor" invented by Tony's father, Howard. Finally, the terrorists grow impatient and give Stark 24 hours to finish. Unfortunately, the armor isn't quite activated when the deadline expires, so Yinsen makes a suicidal attack in a desperate bid to buy time. Once the armor is ready, Stark charges through the caves. Near the entrance, he comes across a dying Yinsen, who tells him not to waste his life. Forever grateful to Yinsen, Stark burns all the munitions the terrorists have accumulated and then flies away, only to crash in the desert. Stark survives, but his suit is in pieces. After being rescued by Rhodes, Stark declares at a press conference that his company will no longer manufacture weapons. Stane tells him shortly thereafter that his decision is being blocked by the board of directors of Stark Industries.

Stark focuses his energies on building an improved version of his power suit, while making an improved arc reactor for his chest. Potts gives Stark a gift: his first miniature reactor encased in glass and bearing the inscription, "Proof that Tony Stark has a heart". (courtesy of the interweb)

See this movie!

11. Joining the VCM
Way back in the day, Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) had an awesome college ministry. It was called Common Ground, and there were, on any given Sunday morning or a typical Monday Bible study night, anywhere from 25 to 40, maybe more, college and career minded folks. This is the place where I met some of my best friends and most cherish people, like McQ, Valdmanis, Shawn Sharp, Jenn Adams, The Good Doctor Earl, Amy McL and so on...

But over time, and a few various events, things happened here, things happened there, and Common Ground was no more. The subsequent attempt at the college ministry following Common Ground wasn't successful, and for years, our church languished without it. You could go all the way through preschool, grade, middle and high school and have a ton of groups and activities to be involved in. When you are in your 20s and single, or "young married" or beyond, you have tons of things to do. But the gap between high school graduation and your single mid-20s, nothing.

So it was exciting when Philip and Jill Waters, Jillip, was going to re-start the college ministry. The Lovely Steph Leann and I had been reading in our church bulletin that it might be starting up, so in service, I looked over and asked her, "Do you want to help? Should we get involved?"

Sometimes, The Lovely Steph Leann gets excited, sometimes she doesn't, but usually when she is excited, it usually involves choir or singing. Imagine my surprise when she says, "Yes. I think we should go!"

We walked down to the new college ministry room, and were excited a few of the kids there already, along with Jillip, who expressed excitement that we were there.

The Lovely Steph Leann and I talked with the group, and just told how much the ministry had impacted our lives--heck, we met there--and how we wanted it to impact their lives too. Over Christmas, we saw attendence leap up to over 20 per Sunday, and the word was spreading of the fact that Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) had invested in the college groups.

And so The Lovely Steph Leann and I are here now, in the VCM (Valleydale College Ministry). Its a little sad that we have left the Turnbow class on Sunday mornings, because of how many people there we just love, but we're happy to at least be helping in something that we know is going to grow and make a huge impact! Yay God!

So that leaves 10 more spots. And several events that rank among them... find out the Top 10 Coolest Things of 2008...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I agree with you about Iron Man. I was very pleasantly surprised to LOVE the performance from RD, Jr. I also agree that it ranks higher than Dark Knight, which has gotten so much more press. I am suspicious of Iron Man 2 though. :)


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