Open Thread: End-of-the-Year Lists, 2011

First Night ice scupture, Boston, Jan 1, 2012

The new year always brings with it lists of the most, the best, the worst of the previous year. And of course the lists of people who are no longer with us. Here’s a sampling of lists from around the internet.

There’s the NYT list of the top ten best books of 2011 based on their 100 notable books list.  First is The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, and second is Stephen King’s book on the Kennedy assassination, 11/22/63.

The New Yorker has a list of the best films of last year. They liked Scorsese’s children’s movie Hugo best. Here’s a list (very different) from Rotten Tomatoes. They also liked a children’s movie, The Muppets.

Here’s a list of some of the famous people who died in 2011 (compiled from various lists around the ‘net)

Anne Francis
Dana Wynter
Jack LaLanne
Jane Russell
Elizabeth Taylor
Sidney Lumet
Peter Yates
Jackie Cooper
Harmon Killebrew
Phoebe Snow
David Nelson

James Arness
Jeff Conaway
Arthur Laurents
Jack Kevorkian
Clarence Clemons
Gil Scott Heron
Randy Savage
Peter Falk
Amy Winehouse
Bubba Smith

Cliff Robertson
Andy Rooney
Anne McCaffrey
Ken Russell
Joe Frazier
Dorothy Rodham (Hillary’s mom)
Betty Ford
Harry Morgan
Vaclav Havel
Al Davis
Steve Jobs
Tim Hetherington (photographer, died in Libya)
Christopher Hitchens
Kim Jong-Il
Osama bin Laden

Who did I leave out?

What about the worst political gaffes of 2011? The Week has a list. Not surprisingly, Republican presidential candidates hold several places on the list. Number one was from Michele Bachmann:

1. Michele Bachmann: The Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery
In January, the Minnesota congresswoman said “we know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Then in June, Bachmann doubled down on her claim that the slave-owning authors of the Constitution worked to end slavery, citing the efforts of John Quincy Adams — who was 9 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. “I hate to be a stickler for reality,” said Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, but “to use the possible beliefs of a 9-year-old boy as evidence that the Founding Fathers ‘worked tirelessly to end slavery’ is simply absurd on its face.”

Which political gaffe was your favorite? I’d have to go with Herman Cain not knowing anything about Libya or Rick Perry not knowing the names of the cabinet posts he wants to eliminate.


At Wired, there’s a list of the top scientific discoveries of 2011. Number one, was faster-than-light neutrinos, a discovery that most scientists dismissed. Another biggie was learning that we all have Neanderthal DNA. And of course there was the possibly earth-like planet that could support life. Check them out!

I’ll end with this one. At the Daily Beast I learned that Boston was America’s drunkest city in 2011. They list the top 25. The number two drunkest city is also in Massachusetts–Guess which one, Pat? Springfield! Interestingly, most of the drunkest cities seem to be in cold-weather areas.

What interesting end-of-year lists have you seen over the past few days? Please share. Or talk about any old thing you want.


25 Comments on “Open Thread: End-of-the-Year Lists, 2011”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      The world war 2 generation is passing quickly. Amazing to see all these people still on screens every where and realize they’re no longer with us.

    • Outis says:

      I must say, I’m strangely passionate about Elizabeth Taylor. For all her faults, she was a saucy broad and I like that. And I could look at pictures of her forever. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Place in the Sun are my favorites!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    From Alternet: 10 pop monstrosities that almost destroyed our culture in 2011.

  3. Outis says:

    Just because I’ve seen it mentioned in the early morning threads, the Hollywood arsonist lit the building right behind my house on fire. He then jumped the fence and walked through our yard to the street. Our neighbors saw him and reported it to the police. I hope they catch this guy soon. It was very scary and we were all packing up our pets in case we had to get out of here in a hurry. But the fire department did a great job in responding and now they seem to have it under control.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh no. I hope they catch him. I’ll bet it’s more than one person though.

      • Outis says:

        I think it’s more than one guy too. It sort of reminds me of the days of the Night Stalker which I remember as a kid. You never knew where he was going to be and everyone was scared. I hope no one gets hurt and they catch him soon.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      @Outis, wow…I thought it was mostly just cars that were being lit on fire. That is scary…glad that you are okay.

    • djmm says:

      They have arrested two suspects — hope they got the right guys! Glad you and your neighbors are OK!


    • foxyladi14 says:

      update they got him.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    What can I say: I am so proud that my city of Springfield has been chosen as the second drunkenest one in the state!

    Obviously my efforts paid off!

    Just goes to show that hard work does pay off in the end.

  5. Great idea/post, BB!

    We lost Gerry Ferraro this year, too.

    And, in December…Indira Goswami… meant to link to this in my last roundup:

  6. northwestrain says:

    Michelle, Michelle — you can’t get your history strictly from movies — Just ’cause some actor played JQ Adams in a movie about Slaves — doesn’t mean he was in on writing the Declaration of Independence or Constitution.

    Here’s what I think she had in mind: “Adams became the only President elected to the US House in 1830 after serving as president. He served there 17 years. One key event during this time was his role in arguing before the Supreme Court to free the slave mutineers aboard the Amistad.”

  7. ralphb says:

    On the best books, I thought “11/22/63” was an awful plodding mess and it managed to be boring on top of it. Not an easy feat considering the subject matter.

  8. peggysue22 says:

    Just got a chance to read this, BB. Why [when looking at the political landscape] am I not surprised humans have Neanderthal DNA? I’m guessing it plays more strongly in some than others. :0). Good roundup though always a sad list when we read the number of notables who have died. We go from the young [Amy Winehouse] to the old. Happens to the best and worst, waits for us all. C’est la vie!