As might be traditional if I actually did it every year here is a short list of things I think that are at best barely justifiable in any quantitative way. But they are true anyway. A good way to end the year.
Very few people know how to cook eggs correctly. This is a long standing beef I have. Go to 10 establishments where you can pay to have food cooked you and order an omelette. More than nine times out of ten you will get an overcooked, tasteless and vaguely rubbery pile of shit. I’ve had this happen at places that charge up to or more than $10 for the plate of eggs that they just fucked up for me. It seems to happen more in Western PA than other places in the country. I don’t know why. Which leads to:
There is some line in Central PA such that North and East of the line almost any random diner you go into will be good, but West/South of that line almost any random diner you go into will be bad.
Downloadable music is a great way to have already bought music, but the worst way to shop for music. Actually, it’s mostly fine for pop music (that is, all prevailing genres of popular music. I don’t have time to get into a lengthy semantic discussion over pop vs. rock vs. classic vs. grunge vs. house vs. dance vs. rap vs. funk vs. noise vs. whatever your favorite meaningless micro-genre is) but it’s completely awful for any artist with more than 40 years of history.
Specifically if the meta-data on the music requires more than just “Artist” and “Song title” you are screwed. Try looking at the available titles of early Duke Ellington if you want a good example of the insanity. Almost all of the relevant data that you might need to figure out if you have the right thing (original label, recording date, information about personnel, etc) are gone.
Things that might be dead, but will probably hold on: game consoles, blu-ray. Things that are clearly dead, but will keep shuffling along in zombie mode for a while: 3-d TV, point and shoot cameras, camcorders. Things that I really wish would just die already: TV channels, all the stupid contracts that keep you from being able to stream live sports on your iPad through the playoffs.
Any story whose premise is “X might not be dead because X it will make a comeback like vinyl” is too stupid to print. Oh wait it’s the New York Times. Never mind. Yes in 2014 I should stop reading the NYT.
Software that is unjustifiably sucky: blog editors. I actually broke a rule of mine when I started this site. I installed python software. I did this so I could edit pages using a plain old text editor and have a script just generate all the pages and feeds and shit and then let me upload the content to the actual site. This scheme is 115% better than writing the pages in a shitty web-based user interface. What is strange and confusing is that that shitty web-based user interface is better than every native blog editing client I’ve ever tried. These applications tend to package a text editor that is barely adequate with a posting workflow that is completely wrong (no drafts, no delayed posting, no clear way to edit posts by other authors, …). I’ll never figure out why this is so, but now I won’t have to because I have my plain old text editor.
Why is the non-fiction of Isaac Asimov mostly out of print? This is stupid.
It’s possible that commercial movies that are driven by dialog and character are not completely dead. American Hustle gets by mostly on these strengths. There appear to be a couple of other films this year that might be the same. Just as I let myself get a bit optimistic about the state of movies, I saw the trailers before The Hobbit, and realized that even with encouraging signs, this is not where the money is going. Oh well.
The Hobbit 2 really wasn’t much better than The Hobbit 1, but at least there weren’t any singing dwarves. Also, someone should take away Peter Jackson’s license to use camera moves that involve up and down and round and round motion. Letting him do that shit does no one any good.
There is no 10. Wait! This just in! This NPR story about an annual pop-music mashup exercise makes me sad. What is strange to me is how homogenous both the music and and video is in the piece. As we jump cut from performer to performer, how many actually stand out as recognizable individuals? I realize that this is just because I’m old.
There is no 11. Ok, really done now.