Happy New Year! Wow, have these twelve months gone by quicker than a Rick Perry presidential run or what?! I guess it’s true what they say: Time flies when you can’t remember. Hence, what follows is my tippy-top Timmy picks for the past year, which I relate as part archival documentation, part suggestive recommendation, part award-winning compilation, and part Tom Cruise starring in Rogue Nation. So sans additional adieu, I give you the third annual
Best of TIM’s Best of 2016 (with pictures and everything)
And the winners are (in no particular order except alphabetical)…
Best Blog Post: “The Easter Story…As Told By Mr. Donald J. Trump”. In years past, my (subjectively analyzed) best post has not necessarily been my most popular, but I will admit that this year it is the case that they are one in the same. While it didn’t quite go viral, it definitely had the sniffles as it is the most viewed, most shared, and most praised writing I have done to date. Thank you. Also irregularly popular but a distant second was my very personal announcement, “Shocking News, Friends: I’m Coming Out”. If you missed them, click on the links craftily embedded in this paragraph.
Best Culinary Experience: The Smoked Salmon Lasagna at Pangas Beach Club in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. So The Queen Mother and I went to Costa Rica last January as a temporary respite from the Mars-like temperatures of Minnesota where we did little more than sit on the beach and eat seafood, which is a significantly better option than sitting on seafood and eating the beach. Our first night there we went to Pangas (named for a type of fishing boat, but when translated from Estonian, means ‘the bank’) and it was so good we had to go again before heading back home to freeze our guanacastes . It was this second time that I ordered the Smoked Salmon Lasagna (served with a physics-defying cylindrical-shaped hearts-of-palm salad). I’m not sure it was the best meal I had all year, but I’ll always remember it being remembered as the most memorable meal I had in this memorable setting:
Definitely NOT Minnesota.
Best Family Outing: Dinner at Travail Kitchen & Amusements in Robbinsdale, Minnesota to celebrate Thing 2’s eighteenth birthday. So a little over eighteen years ago, The Queen Mother and I decided to have a second child in order to have an excuse to go to Travail. Totally worth it. Travail is a bohemian food adventure of about 20 courses that is more fun and more delicious than watching the Clintons go away—that is, except the chicken liver-pop wrapped in raisin leather. That was just weird. Pictured are just a sampling of some of the stuff I’ve never eaten before nor ever will again to include plum flambé and Dippin’ Dots, tomato with basil and pork jowl, couscous carbonara with English pea foam, and smoked sturgeon and hominy soup, a dish that reminds me of one of my favorite grade-school songs: “Hominy, hominy, let’s all sing in hominy…”
Get your tickets at travailkitchen.com and try not to be shocked at the Third World GDP you have to fork over.
Best Golf Course Played: Coyote Springs Golf Club in Coyote Springs, NV. Also part of my evil plan to avoid as much of the Minnesota winter as possible, in addition to Costa Rica I ventured on a golf trip to Vega$, Baby where much outdoor warmth was consumed and absurd amounts of red meat was ingested. The best course played by far was Coyote Springs, a striking Jack Nicklaus design carved out of the middle of nowhere and entirely worth the hour drive north of civilization. I will go so far as to say this is the second best course I have ever played (behind Pinehurst #2), although I will admit that one reason I enjoyed it so is that I was luckier than seven four-leafed leprechauns with rabbit’s feet that day–which sent Player 2 into any number of tizzies and eventual financial indebtedness. Sukka!
Best Reads Read, Fiction: House of Cards by Michael Dobbs. Dobbs was a British politician who wrote a fictional(?) story of how political manipulation and a general air of naughtiness could result in gaining the office of British Prime Minister. This was then turned into an excellent British television event, which in turn was appropriately infused with gratuitous sex, violence, and bad language for American audiences. I like the show despite its occasional melodramatic disgust factor and so I checked out the book (literally, from my local library) and was entertained for about 300 pages. Not a great book, but I haven’t read anything great for going on two years now which is resulting in an overall feeling of fictional Malaysia.
Non: The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer. Since I am such a geeky sociology-interested nerd, this book has been on my Want to Read list for a while and between golf outings and motorcycle trips last spring I finally found the time. It’s about how the fast-food industry has influenced Western culture such that what used to be the means to the ends are now seen as ends in themselves. Characteristics like efficiency, predictability, quantification and control are seen as worthy goals rather than as means to attain more appropriate aims. This results in dehumanization and ironically, irrationality as quantity replaces quality and things like creativity and personality are discouraged—a phenomena predicted over a century ago by one of the Marx brothers. It’s a good read that’s almost as fascinating as watching the media try to explain this year’s election results.
Best Movie Viewed: Zero Dark Thirty. This is the award-winning R-rated almost but not really true story of how Jessica Chastain almost single-handedly found Osama bin Laden through the use of her tremendous acting skills and fiery red hair. She was eventually joined by Chris Pratt who quit his parks and rec job to fight dinosaurs and join the navy seals. Admittedly, I saw it on video as it originally came out about four years ago. This is due to my obsessive penny-pinching cheapness and regular disenchantment at spending $10 to sit in a theater and be disappointed. I can usually wait, as I have better things to do—like write out ‘Best of…’ lists. You’re welcome.
As always, recommendations (and donations) in regards to the above categories are welcomed and eagerly accepted. Have a blessed New Year and thanks for reading. Good night and good luck. And that’s the way it is. We’re in touch so you be in touch. Good night, Mrs. Calabash…wherever you are. I’m Paul Harvey…good day.