Just think of all the technological advances we've had since the beginning of the decade. Some good. Some that make you want to go insane....incredibly insane.Â They weren't here when the decade started, but they're part of your life now.
With the aid of our Engineer Tony, I've complied a list of some of the greatest tech advancements we now consider standard. Maybe they've revolutionized the world. Maybe they've just given us a larger headache. You decide.
Is it the 1984 that Orwell predicted? Probably not. Then again, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs told me to say that.
10. YouTube (2005) - A great tool for people around the world to share their opinions. That, and a great place to see videos of dogs & cats doing crazy things, people injuring themselves and countless celebrity flubs.
9. Text Speak (2000-09) - Text speak helped us quickly convey a short message.Â Now, text speak is showing up in email and has made its way into other written communication.Â College students are turning papers in that say "u" instead ofÂ "you."Â Ooops, time to rewrite the dictionary.
8. Wi-Fi (2000-09) Ooooh.Â Internet where ever we go.Â Remember, stealing it from your neighbor is wrong...unless you don't get caught.
7. Smart Phones (2005) - Internet, email, phone, text, apps.Â All at your fingertips, all the time.Â Hmmmm... is there a single device that's made us more ADD?
6. Bluetooth Technology (2000-09) - The phone without holding the phone.Â Good for driving?Â The studies say probably not.Â Good for walking around and multitasking?Â I guess, if you don't mind being the jerk in a crowd who looks insane and talking to themselves?Â Good for fashion?Â Nope.
5.The Stupid Orange Button (2005) - Players of Guitar Hero or Rock Band know.Â These highly addictive games highlight the massive explosion of the gaming industry.Â Yeah, less social interaction...more war game training.Â Â BTW...the orange button is the "5th finger" button on a Guitar Hero or Rock Band guitar.Â Very hard to reach.
4. Customizable Ringtones (early 2000s) - Fun new toys for your new toys.Â Didn't you love sitting at a restaurant for dinner then hearing that stupid screaming frog ringtone?Â Truly deserving of a punch in the face.
3. iPods/MP3 Players (2000) - Your own personal music selection.Â You can now carry around your entire music library in your pocket.Â Use those fancy matching earbud headphones and you're on the fast track to becoming deaf.
2. HDTV (2009) - Nice resolution eh!Â Nobody's really complaining about the switchover, but what a headache it was to do.Â They sure led to a funny YouTube video of the old lady trying to plug her black and white TV into her toaster.
1. Facebook/Twitter (2004) - Instant access to and for everyone.Â They didn't catch on until later on in the decade, but man, do they rule our worlds now.Â Social networking brings us all that much closer.Â It also lets your old weird high school classmates; your mother; your boss; your future boss; the police; probably the FBI and maybe Osama bin Laden keep tabs on your boring life.
By the way, of course I want to know that you're: sitting in your living room; watching TV; eating Cheerios for dinner; playing with the cat; had an awesome time last night; looking forward to Friday; reciting rock lyrics; sharing gossip; bummed that its cold outside or need a plowing on Farmville.Â What could be more intersteing?
Enjoy the 2010's.Â I can't wait to see what's next.
Weird stuff goes on out there.Â Really weird stuff.
It especially happens in Wisconsin, so I thought I'd compile a list of the Top 10 Weirdest news stories from this year.
10. Wiscosin Toll Roads - (February)The idea didn't make it very far, but there was some discussion about it.
9. Danny Gokey - (May) The Milwaukee crooner makes the top three of American Idol.Â Seems more real when they're from our home.
8.Â Snow Shuts Down Wisconsin - (December) Sure we got a lot of snow on December 9th, but remember we live in Wisconsin.Â State Government, Madison schools and the UW all shut it down.Â Baby says: waaa-waaah.
7. Live Like You Mean It - (March) Wisconsin's new tourism slogan and cartwheeling character logo is not so original.Â Bacardi Rum used the exact same phrase in a previous ad campaign.
6. Peanuts On The Square - (April) Somebody freaked out about feeding peanuts to Squirrels around the Capitol Square. They thought it might harm potential visitors who might encounter them.Â Sounds like a lot of maybes.
5. Raising The Beer or Alcohol Tax - (Summertime)Don't you dare touch my beer.Â Come on, would anyone really support this idea?
4.Â Oregon's Jeff Skiles - Sully's Co-Pilot - (February) He didn't get all the credit that Chesley Sullenberger got, but he was right there with him in the cockpit.Â Cool as a cucumber and also in the Hudson.
3. Four Women Glue Man's Privates To Himself (August)- OK...this was some weird love triangle thing and the Milwaukee area guy wronged all the women involved.Â Still Crazy gluing his junk to his stomach.Â Yikes!
2.Â Pilots Miss Minneapolis, Figure It Out Over Wisconsin (October)- Oh boy.Â Take the laptops away from the pilots.
1. Brett Favre goes to the Minnesota Vikings. (June) I swear there was a week or so when it seemed like the opposite of everything I believed was coming true.
Plenty of clips piqued our interest this year but one was far and away the winner. Was it David After Dentist? You remember, the kid who was goofy from laughing gas and was talking nonsense. How about the wedding entrance where the wedding party danced down the aisle?
Nope, the biggest viral video of the year was none other than Susan Boyle, the singing sensation from across the pond. The video took on a life of it's own and led Miss Boyle (who did NOT win the talent competition the video is taken from, btw) to having one the biggest selling albums of the year. I bet she sure is glad now that she dreamed a dream!
When you really break it down and look at only Christmas moves that were made in the last decade, the list is not that long.
The list of those movies that were actually good is much shorter.
Just in time for Christmas, here's my Top 10 Best Christmas Movies of the 2000s:
10.Â Fred Claus - I wanted to shake Vince Vaughan and Paul Giamatti into submission for this one.Â Why? Why? Why? Santa's slacker brother Fred comes to the North Pole to live with Santa and nothing good happens.Â I really mean it.
9.Â The Santa Clause 2 & 3 - Tim Allen beats a dead reindeer a couple more times.Â Funny.Â I actually thought the first one was a novel idea.Â Not so much on the follow up.
8.Â Christmas With The Kranks - A god-awful attempt at comedy from Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis. It fits in the "What where they thinking" category. In it a family does a last minute Christmas when daughter decides to come home at the last minute. Non-comedy ensues.
7.Â Four Christmases - Vince Vaughan & Reese Witherspoon keep this boat from sinking in the egg nog, but just barely.Â Wacky things happen with dysfunctional family members get together.Â Hmmmm...maybe the familiarity was what I somewhat liked.
6.Â Love Actually - A bunch of couples deal with their love lives in London during the holidays.Â Its mildly entertaining for a chick flick.
5.Â A Christmas Carol (2009) - Jim Carrey likes Christmas.Â Disney does and over the top good job casting this old story in a new 3D light.
4.Â How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) - Jim Carrey does a mediocre job as The Grinch.Â You're still better off watching the shorter and more pleasing cartoon version they show on TV.
3 . The Polar Express - I still think the characters have dead eyes like sharks, but Polar gets credit for being visually stunning.
2. Bad Santa - Not for the kids, but maybe one of the most outlandish, dark and clever Christmas tales.
1. Elf - Will Ferrell has made what is probably closest to being considered a modern Christmas classic.
Maybe itsÂ crass to do a top ten list of celebrities that have died in 2009.
Then again, they were people that we knew and sometimes loved, so in a way we miss them.Â Consider this not an insult, but rather a way to remember their passing.
Celebrities that had some affect on my life that we said goodbye to in 2009:
10: Ed McMahon (3/6/1923-6/23/2009)- He never brought me that Publishers Clearing House check, but I still love and imitate that belly laugh of his.
9. Walter Cronkite (11/4/1916 - 7/17/2009) I didn't get to see him in his prime news days...too young. Everyone I know who watched him still holds him in high regard. As a kid, I thought he was Captain Kangaroo.
8. Paul Harvey (9/4/1918 - 2/28/2009) One of my first radio jobs was airing this nutjob's blibber-blather.
7. John Hughes (2/18/1950 - 8/6/2009) He wrote the films that made my generation sing.
6. Beatrice Arthur (5/13/1922 - 4/25/2009) I knew her as Bea from Golden Girls. Who woulda thought a grown man would admit to liking a show about grannies.
5. Ricardo Montalban (11/25/1920 - 1/14/2009) There was not a smoother senior out there. Adios mi amigo and I forgive you Kahn.
4. Farrah Fawcett (2/2/1947 - 6/25/2009) Respect to the pinup.
3. David Carradine (12/8/1936 - 6/4/2009) After Kill Bill, I start watching Kung-Fu and you up and leave.Â I am still the grasshopper.
2. Patrick Swayze (8/18/1952 - 9/14/2009) He's still like the wind. There may never be a greater movie than Roadhouse.
1. Michael Jackson (8/29/1958 - 6/25/2009) King of Pop. I also hope they remember the good things you tried to do in your life.
I didn't forget about you Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Ted Kennnedy, Billy Mays, Karl Malden. Les Paul, Dom Deluise or Brittany Murphy. R.I.P.
I gotta say, I like the horror movie genre.Â I've never been a dedicated fan though.
That changed just a little bit in the past decade.Â Some of the great movies I've seen in the past 10 years just happen to be scary ones.Â I'm not sure if the quality has improved since 2000, or if I'm just noticing them now.
Either way, they kept me entertained...and here's my list of the Best Horror Movies of the 2000s:
10. The Strangers - It strongly conveyed the fear of a killers who seek random targets.
9.Â Saw - Too many sequels now, but the original idea of punishing morally corrupt people was great.
8.Â Final Destination - A dumb teen's horror story, but aesthetically pleasing and fun.
7. Cloverfield - Blair Witch Project + Godzilla = much fun
6.Â Shaun Of The Dead / Zombieland - The funny zombie movies.Â Both make the cut of my personal movie collection
5.Â Dawn Of The Dead (2004) / Day Of The Dead (2008) - George Romero movies fill me with such a great sense of tragedy, I want more.
4. Paranormal Activity - Knocked the scare into me for at least a week after seeing it.
3. 28 Days/Weeks Later - Another pair that leaves you with a eerie sense that zombies are just a small virus mutation away.
2. The Mist - I'm not sure I felt the dread of a movie more than after watching this one.
1. Let The Right One In - The tale of the vampire.Â Sad, romantic and cold.Â Could your neighbor beÂ one of the undead?
Honorable mention also goes to: Open Water, The Descent, Bug, Drag Me To Hell & Jennifer's Body.
Feeling a little nostalgic today. I started thinking about the things that have gone away in Madison since 2000. Some of them I miss, some of them...not so much.
Here's my list of the more important things that no longer are....
10. My fly by night mortgage company. I was a first time buyer when they were handing out risky loans like candy. Luckily, I refinanced with a reputable bank and kept up on the payments. That mortgage company closed less than a month before I got out.
9. O'Cayz Corral - You burnt down on New Years Day 2001. I had a friend who played there often. You were very loud.
8. Madison Beaches - OK, they're still there, but they close so often that it's almost like they're not.
7. The Civic Center - I have many fond memories of seeing great artists there. Most notabally...Weird Al Yankovich.
6. Cafe Momartre' - Small, cramped, but my team won 2nd place in the first annual Madison Simpson's Trivia contest there.
5. The Madison Blues Fest - Pretty cool event on Lake Monona. The blues still live on.
4. Angelic Brewing - Don't tell anyone, but I nearly lost a fake ID at Angelic...ahhh memories.
3. J.T. Whitneys - I know you called a brat & mashed potatoes: Bangers and Mash, but I still like to dine in your halls.
2. Westgate & South Towne Cinema - I know they were kinda run down, but the more movie houses the better.
1. Smoking in Madison Restaurants & Bars - I don't actually miss it at all, but I like the building additions that people have added on so smokers can be sent into the cold.