by Peggy Robin
It’s that time of year. Everyone’s compiling their Ten-Best lists. It’s a standard thing to do around now, although some like to mix it up a bit, like book critic Maureen Corrigan, who crammed twelve books into her version of the "roundup the usual ten": http://n.pr/1x7cTvr. The stodgy old New York Times stuck to the traditional number: http://nyti.ms/1zIvCv6. One of the best of the "Best" lists I’ve run across doesn't even have a number of entries; it's this montage from Time Magazine of the Best Viral Videos of 2014 – seven minutes of Wow! without counting the separate pieces: http://time.com/3634308/viral-videos-2014/
Of course, “best” lists can cover more than the old standbys of books, movies, plays, videos, and music. The New Yorker did a quirky little compilation of the 12 Best Tech Quotes of 2014, a few of which are gems that will surely be re-quoted far into the future: http://nyr.kr/1ARcpXw .
Without any hard-and-fast rules about number or subject or method of arrangement, this seems to be a game anyone can play, so I’m inclined to take a stab at it. I have come up with my own version of a best-of-the-year list: The Ten Best Things I Happened to Stumble Upon in 2014 While Wasting Time on the Internet. (Note that I did not say that any of these things had to be new on the internet for 2014. A few of them have been around forever and I just happened to click on them this year.) Being a list of random, unrelated things, they are listed in no particular order.
1. Houses in Lonely Places:
2. Funniest Flying Fairy Ever:
(Note: No real fairies were harmed in the making of this video.)
3. Honest Movie Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL86F4D497FD3CACCE
Every one of these is spot-on and wickedly funny —but if you are going to waste time on just one fake movie trailer, I’d steer you toward the take-down of that recent holiday classic, “Love, Actually”:
4. Best website for misheard song lyrics (“mondegreens”). There are quite a few sites on the internet devoted to this type of blooper, but what makes this particular one so great is that it give you a little written intro to the song telling you the lyrics you can expect to hear, and then when you play the video, you will find yourself incapable of hearing the song the real way, ever again. http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2014/sep/23/misheard-lyrics-under-threat-i-stir-the-cocoa
5. Five Questions That You Should Be Able to Get Right If You Are a DC Native:
6. What Americans Think of British snacks/What British People Think of American Snacks:
Okay, that’s two sites -- but it’s still one concept. And I’ll throw in a third: What Americans Think of Australian Snackshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru6wri23Ljk – worth it just to see the faces they make as that first bite of Vegemite hits the tastebuds:
7. If Asians Said the Kinds of Stuff White People Say:
8. The History of English in 10 Minutes:
9. Excited Mongooses Playing in a Kiddie Pool Filled with Colorful Balls:
10. I have saved the most seasonally appropriate for last:
Best Holiday Card Outtakes:
Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.