and I quote

right now

click for permalink December 29, 2015

The Last of the Best of 2015 List of Lists...

10 Best Movies of 2015

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max returned to the screen in 2015, 30 years after Beyond Thunderdome, which most people probably thought had nailed shut the coffin on the series for good. But George Miller's latest epic deservedly made almost every "best of" list by the year's end, cementing his status in the pantheon of action directors. In an era of endlessly "rebooted" Franken-franchises that no one is clamoring to see revived (Jurassic Park, Robocop, Demolition Man?!) and where mediocre sequels are often followed a few years later by a fresh new director's take and more mediocre sequels (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, etc.). To say nothing of the terrible and totally unnecessary remakes of perfectly decent movies (honestly, did Total Recall and Point Break need to be "re-imagined" just so they could have smart phones and 30% more CGI??). Today not even the well-preserved remains of great franchises can be allowed to rest in peace; e.g., Alien(s) fans have to be subjected to Prometheus, an experience not unlike the emotional pain of being reunited with a departed, fondly-remembered loved one only to discover that their body has been taken over by a malevolent force that spends the second half of the god-damned movie trying to kill you, all the while forcing you to look into the face you once loved above all others.

Um, yeah, so anyway... By the time Fury Road was released in 2015, no one was waiting around for a Mad Max sequel; in fact, an entire generation had grown to adulthood knowing only the heavily-edited late night TV version and an occasional Simpsons reference. So, it's hard to overstate what a revelation this movie was, and how insanely entertaining and well-crafted it is compared to the last decade's worth of action movies caught in the vortex of Michael Bay-esque formula hackery. I don't want to add too many drops to the ocean of hyperbolic praise that's already out there, but I will say this; it's all true. I watched the entire thing with a grin on my face as wide as the screen.

The action is masterfully choreographed. Every stunt makes visual sense, like an insanely intricate clockwork puzzle in four dimensions. It plays out in such contrast to what we've grown used to—the visual shorthand, camera angles and cutaway shots that trick the eye and CGI that's so all-pervasive but never quite succeeds in fooling the mind behind the eye. Fury Road is more like Cirque du Soleil on steroids—and speed—and acid. It's a gladiator ballet staged in an alternate universe where beauty and violence are conjoined twins.

Every movement, whether made by human, vehicle or camera, is perfectly executed and framed to show the audience everything—or to make us believe they are—and all at the breathless pace of a chaotic all-terrain chase. The plot is propelled forward by an impressive secondary cast of automobiles which serve not only as conveyance, but also as the characters' sole means of shelter and sustenance; semi-autonomous death machines in motion, they become equally formidable obstacles when stalled. Furthermore, the desert backdrop against which the action unfolds is one of such stark beauty that every shot looks like a work of art (in fact, there are already two coffee table books devoted to the art of the film).

Finally, there are the sublimely kinetic human performances; from Tom Hardy, who for nearly half the movie uses only his eyes to convey rage, terror, empathy, connivance and allegiance while masked and trussed up like a macabre maidenhead dangling over the hood of the car leading the villain's parade of painted, mutant soldiers. And Charlize Theron is even more riveting as both the film's moral center and the instigator who sets its plot in motion. In the midst of every insane, fiery tableau of gear-grinding destruction, it's her tormented eyes framed in oily black warpaint that anchor the audience to the human motivations underlying all the action.

  1. Her
  2. Gone Girl
  3. Ex Machina
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel / Moonrise Kingdom
  5. Safety Not Guaranteed
  6. Best of Enemies (+ Bonus Watch: Medium Cool)
  7. Twinsters
  8. Cowspiracy
  9. The Seven Five

Four More Really Good Shows we Watched in 2015

  1. Wayward Pines
  2. Master of None
  3. Bloodline
  4. Black Mirror

And Five Overrated Shows we Tried to Watch but Just Didn't Get

  1. How to Get Away With Murder
  2. Rectify
  3. Halt and Catch Fire
  4. Mr. Robot
  5. Jessica Jones (even though we did watch all of them—by episode 10, we were hate-watching)

Four Months of IMDB Searches in one jpg

To be specific, September-December 2015. (Click to see full image.)

Another Great List:

The 50 Best Podcast Episodes of 2015 (The Atlantic)

I've actually listened to 18 of their 50 (seven of their top 10), which is a lot if you think bout how many podcasts there are out there. I would strongly recommend at least these five:

1. "Belt Buckle" by Mystery Show
3. "The Living Room" by Love + Radio
4. "How to Become Batman" by Invisibilia
9. "DUSTWUN" by Serial
10. "The Problem We All Live With Parts 1 and 2" by This American Life

11 Funniest Google Searches in My Browser History (2nd Annual)

I enjoyed this list so much last year I've decided to make it a tradition. The searches without links, sadly, are the ones that did not result in me finding what I was looking for. :(

  1. fingerboard hedgehog
  2. joke difference between bass player and turtle was on his way to a gig
  3. pfeffernusse
  4. bad barbie art (sorta NSFW but not really because duh, they're just dolls)
  5. I am the Scandalous and the Magnificent one
  6. experiment ping pong balls cut in half over eyes
  7. painting braineater not alone
  8. creepiest octopus videos
  9. uncle touchy's basement (yes, as in, "uncle touchy's naked puzzle basement")
  10. rupaul supermodel graffiti art
  11. stephen harper kittens
    (Happily, since the recent election, I'll never have to search for this again, or send it to everyone I know outside of Canada to demonstrate what a creepy lizard-eyed troll he is. Oh, I know... sooner or later we'll be disillusioned by our cool, cute new prime minister and we'll be in the same boat as our neighbors to the south who elected a cool, pot-smoking senator from Hawaii who could smooth-talk circles around the competition only to find that he was spying on the world and droning more civilians in the Middle East than the previous president could have possibly done because he can't count past eleventy. Okay, so maybe it won't be that bad... I'm pretty sure Canada doesn't actually have any drones, but we're sure to be disappointed in Trudeau over something... Until then, 'scuse us while we revel.)

Six Scariest Stories of 2015 (Or Three More Random Things to Freak You Out)

By now you will have read about the overdue mega-earthquake after which, in the words of the FEMA official in charge of the region, "everything west of I-5 will be toast." You will have read about the alien megastructure possibly spotted around a not so distant star, and about the pending extinction of our species at the hands of a super-intelligent robot army. So that's three. Here are a few more you might have missed this year.

1. The sperm count has been decreasing steadily for many years in Western industrialized countries: Is there an endocrine basis for this decrease? by S. Dindyal

If the decrease in sperm counts were to continue at the rate that it is then in a few years we will witness widespread male infertility... If the general fall in sperm counts are a consequence of altered oestrogen exposure in utero, then they are preventable. But because of human ignorance it seems that for the luxuries of modern life we will have to accept increased outbreaks of cancers and the possible extinction of the human race due to the decrease in fertility of our male species.

2. SSRI use during pregnancy has been linked to autism. A recent study found an 87% increased risk when used in the second or third trimester. They've also been implicated in most of the mass shootings and school shootings that happened in the last 25 years. Here's an article about 35 recent high-profile school shooters (who) were under the influence of psychiatric drugs. It annoys the shit out of me when people respond to this information with what they think is a scientifically objective, "skeptical" position, saying, "if they were on psychiatric medication, they were obviously emotionally disturbed to begin with... maybe they were just too far gone for the drugs to help them." Or worse, they suggest that the drugs would have worked if taken as directed or taken longer/in higher doses. It's when they stopped, that caused them to "snap." The logical conclusion of course is that you should never go off your meds. If everyone would just do what their psychiatrists tell them, starting in elementary school when they can't sit still in class, and every day for the rest of their lives, there would be no more mass shootings or violent suicides, right?

Ugh. These people have obviously never read any personal accounts of people who have actually taken these drugs. In his 2002 report, The Lilly Suicides, Richard de Grandpre compiles many of their stories, and vivid, horrifying accounts of how, "...Prozac can produce a kind of psychological hijacking—a bizarre and nightmarish syndrome, unique to [SSRIs] the Prozac family of drugs , marked by suicidal thoughts, extreme agitation, emotional blunting, and a craving for death. [Lawyers in wrongful death suits against Eli Lilly, the makers of Prozac,] would also argue that the company knew of these risks and, instead of warning doctors to look out for them, worked vigilantly to sweep them under the rug." (Read more here.)

In related news, did you know that MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) has been conducting very promising research into treating veterans with PTSD, people with autism and people suffering from anxiety and depression with drugs like MDMA, LSD and marijuana among others? The recent MDMA study in particular reported extremely positive results, as summarized by Michael Mithoeffer, MD in the latest MAPS bulletin, Research Update: MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for PTSD:

"After 10 years of practicing emergency medicine followed by 25 years of practicing psychiatry with a focus on PTSD, I am well versed in a range of existing treatments. I have respect for treatment models developed in recent years that have been developed and researched by compassionate and committed psychologists and psychiatrists, and I know these treatments are effective for many people. However, millions of people with PTSD do not respond to existing treatments, and presently 26 veterans are committing suicide every day in the US alone. I have not encountered any other treatment approach to helping these people that is nearly as promising and compelling as MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, using a medicine only a few times in an optimal set and setting to catalyze profoundly healing, often life-changing, experiences."
(Read the full bulletin here. And if you're the charitable donation type, consider helping MAPS to make psychedelic therapy a legal treatment for PTSD.)

3. Radiation and the USS Ronald Reagan by Peter Lee is just one of many ominous and unsettling stories about damage caused by the release of massive amounts of radiation since the multiple-meltdown at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011. Here's one from the excellent and always terrifying Fukushima Diary: 5 Billion Bq of Strontium-90 flows to the sea every single day. And here's another: 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of Sr-90 detected in seawater of Fukushima plant port / Highest in recorded history and, just to mix things up a bit, here is an excerpt from Randall Monroe's radiation chart, which he posted on XKCD in 2011, showing what various levels of radiation exposure are considered to mean for human health:

The lowest dose of radiation "clearly linked" to an increased risk of cancer is 100 mSv (millisieverts), and from March 2011-March 2012, the estimated dose within five kilometers of the plant was around 500 mSv. However, according to this report (available on Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Agency website), several counties up to 30 km away from the plant had estimated exposures of around 100 mSv. They stopped reporting such readings after April 2012, but you can get up to the minute data from the JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) website, where the operating model seems to be that they will provide all the helpful, well-organized, frequently updated information you could want because chances are, you won't be able to make heads or tails of it anyway.


The Funniest Video of 2015

How the hell did I forget this? Quite possibly my favorite video of the whole year, without question. Most shared, most rewatched and definitely the single thing this year that gave me the most LULZ. I don't even watch Game of Thrones, but I know enough to find this hilarious. Dear readers, I give you (some of you, for the 2nd or 3rd time) Flula Borg.

The Truest Tweet of 2015

Yep, this will be me. I just know it...

And not just me... According to this CinemaBlend poll, Hannibal's cancellation was the most disappointing of 2015, garnering more votes than all the other cancelled shows combined (including the original CSI).


click for permalink December 21, 2015

The 2015 List of Lists Continues with...

The Best Lists of 2015

1. Life Advice from Werner Herzog

(Via On the back cover of Werner Herzog's Guide for the Perplexed, the legendary documentarian offers 24 pieces of life advice for filmmakers (but also for you). These are universal truths, most of which would make great badass motivational posters. My favorites are #9, 10 and 16, but the best thing about this list? It's impossible to read it without hearing Herzog's voice in your head (unless your head is somehow not equipped with sufficient source material from which to synthesize his iconic accent, in which case, might I recommend this brief video before we proceed?).

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don't be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

[Grizzly, man.]


2. 85 Years, 85 Ideas by Businessweek—a publication whose tagline should really be: The Economist for people who find big words intimidating. This is the strangest entry on the list of lists of 2015 (which, in the company of Star Trek and Werner Herzog, is saying something). Why 85, you ask? Because BusinessWeek is apparently 85 years old this year. Is 85 some kind of a milestone? Sure, for astrologers it usually marks the year of someone's third and generally final Uranus Return, an aspect that we associate with... but no, you're right. That's probably not what BusinessWeek was thinking about.

Unless they do this stupid list every year, in which case the name is even more mystifying. Why not call it "85 arbitrary things we're calling important until next year when we'll shuffle the order and toss in a surprise or two," leaving subscribers and antagonistic bloggers wondering, ooh, what will it be this year? Gay marriage? Marijuana legalization? The Selfie Stick? And the nauseating subtitle, "The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History," is awful not only for its narcissistic personal pronoun and endorsement of the most overused, inherently sociopathic "idea" of recent years, but mostly for casting the once-useful word "idea" into the same double-speak black hole of anti-meaning from whence we got "solutions" and "learnings" and the epidemic misuse of the word "leverage" as a verb.

So, on BusinessWeek's 85/85, we learn that an "idea" can mean just about anything from a patented technology (contact lenses, the white board, microchips) to a scientific discovery (DNA sequencing) to an observed phenomenon (global warming) to a legal statute (gay marriage, workplace safety, China's one child policy—these are all real examples, btw) to a corporate brand (Jeep, YouTube, Google, Twitter, Atari—again, all real examples) to a standalone commercial product (PowerPoint, Air Jordans, the AK-47, the birth control Pill... okay, I'll grant them that last one). It can be a fashion trend (designer jeans, "sportswear") or a random place (Singapore, in this case, singled out from every country in the world which, in the last 85 years probably saw more novel ideas in art, politics, economy and society than the 850 before that).

[Apple store rant, click to enlarge.]

There are some genuine ideas in there, too, as you or I would define the word, and most of them are generally regarded as bad ideas (junk bonds, shadow banking, high frequency trading and high fructose corn syrup are all on there, as is—coming in at #11 just under Apple—Al Qaeda. I don't even know where to begin with that one, except to say that I guess it depends on who they attribute the "idea" of Al Qaeda to, Osama bin Laden or, as the late UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook put it (four weeks before his suspicious death on a secluded Scottish mountaintop), "a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies." But I digress.

Finally, the 85/85 calls out many of the modern era's dodgiest business concepts, e.g., securitization, outsourcing, the Laffer curve, the cubicle, venture capital and (hilariously) credit, which I'm pretty sure predates 1930 by some millennia. Of course the 85/85 wouldn't be complete without the book from which the article takes its shitty subtitle, which is also the source of the aforementioned, now all-pervasive concept of "disruptive innovation." What other disruptive ideas did they leave off this list? Gender equality. Racial equality. Space travel. International law. Human rights! And what kind of a list of ideas includes Twitter, YouTube, Google and motherfucking Facebook but not WikiLeaks or even Wikipedia? (You keep using this word "disruptive" but I don't think it means what you think it does...) "The Manhattan Project" is #8 (I guess the cowards didn't want to just be all, Boom—nukes—now there's an idea worth celebrating! Eh, Japan? Right? Oh never mind, we can see you've got your hands full with that multiple-meltdown thing over there...). Other random things that are not on this list: Drone warfare, suicide bombers, terminator crops, Agent Orange, plastics and Fractional reserve banking.

It's not so much that this is a bad list, it's just like, wtf, why, you know? It's all well and good for a person—a blogger, let's say—to make a big production of writing up their big ol' pointless list of things they were thinking about that day, post in on the internet and pretend that anyone else is really going to give a shit, but when you're a published magazine, you've been around for 85 years and you're owned by a billionaire, people just expect a little more from you, that's all.

3. Top 50 most popular non-fiction podcasts in 2015 (Yep, this one's really more of a checklist.)

4. Equality of Opportunity

Research into the question, to what degree is geography destiny? The site tracks the "Causal Effects of Growing up in Different Counties on Earnings in Adulthood." Below are the top and bottom 10 US counties based on the percentage of earnings gained or lost for adults who moved there as children. (I'm not explaining it well, but it's really interesting research.)

5. Every Episode Of "Mad Men" Ranked, From Good To Perfect by Kate Aurthur

With so many of the best shows of the last ten years coming to an end, I'll have to come up with my "best series finales of all time" list one of these days. I'm not at all certain Mad Men's final episode would make the list, although it would probably be on my top 20. If nothing else, for the hilariously contentious, arguably anachronistic but undeniably satisfying final scene between Peggy and Stan, the only two characters to get an unironically happy ending. But of course it's a different iconic image that we'll associate with Peggy when we look back on this show that was most emphatically not about the sixties, but which probably defined how most people under 45 will always remember the most iconic decade we didn't live through.

6. Nine New Working Postures via The Atlantic
"Based on a study of 2,000 office workers, [office furniture brand] Steelcase identified nine new postures invented by our mobile devices."

  1. The Draw: leaning back while reading from a tablet.
  2. The Multi-Device: using a laptop and a phone at the same time.
  3. The Text: using a handheld device while sitting at your desk.
  4. The Cocoon: leaning back with your legs pulled up and knees bent, drawing your device close to your scrunched-up body.
  5. The Swipe: leaning over the desk directly over a tablet.
  6. The Smart Lean: checking your smartphone while retaining a bit of privacy (during a meeting).
  7. The Trance: slouching toward your computer with your arms on the desk.
  8. The Take It In: reclining in your chair, giving some distance between you and your big monitor.
  9. The Strunch*: stretching out and hunching at the same time, using your non-typing hand to prop you up.
    (*Also known around here as, "Honey, don't sit like that. It's bad for your back.")


7. Every Episode of Every "Star Trek" Series Ever, Ranked by Jordan Hoffman

At first you might think like I did, "woohoo, 'Spock's Brain' isn't ranked dead last—let's reclaim that shit!" But after skimming through all episodes of Every Star Trek Series Ever ranked below "Spock's Brain" (coming in almost outrageously high at #174), you may find yourself thinking maybe there weren't that many good episodes in the canon after all. Just a few entries after—which is to say better than—"Spock's Brain," you spot a video clip labelled Seven vs. The Rock and in this context, you know that can only mean one thing—and it's exactly what you hope it means.

If you trust the curator of this list (and when has Playboy ever led you astray?), only about 160 out of 695 episodes of Every Star Trek Series Ever, were actually any good at all, but even half-assed fans like me might get a nostalgic pang while skimming through the top 100 and remembering their favorites. Without further ado, a sub-list of my top ten:

Ms. Pink's Top 10 Star Trek Episodes Ever

  1. A Taste of Armageddon, Original Series, Season 3
  2. The Perfect Mate, The Next Generation, Season 5 (The caption reads, "Yeah, this one had a lingering effect as a kid." On you too, huh? I thought that might have been just a girl thing.)
  3. The Paradise Syndrome, The Original Series, Season 3
  4. Unification, The Next Generation, Season 5
  5. Ensign Ro, The Next Generation, Season 5 (In the 20 intervening years, Michelle Forbes has achieved true "Hey, it's that guy" status with appearances on dozens of hit shows, most notably perhaps, her performance as the unsettlingly inscrutable bereaved mother in Season 1 of "The Killing," but she'll always be Ensign Ro to us.)
  6. Hard Time, Deep Space Nine, Season 4
  7. The Best of Both Worlds, The Next Generation, Season 3-4
  8. Yesterday's Enterprise, The Next Generation, Season 3
  9. The City on the Edge of Forever, The Original Series, Season 1 (An obvious but unanimous inclusion.)
  10. Rejoined, Deep Space Nine, Season 4


2015 List of Gun Death Lists

This year, everyone's favorite kind of list to compile was the gun death tracker, and all manner of variations on this theme can be found. In November, President Obama responded to his fifteenth somber national address about a mass shooting by giving the press a homework assignment: show us the numbers. Americans killed by gun deaths vs. terrorism since 2001 [mic drop]. To some this might seem obvious—after every mass murder-suicide, don't we always see those sidebar lists tallying up every school shooter since Brenda "I don't like Mondays" Spencer (or at the very least Columbine's Trench Coat Mafia)? But if you thought, really, President Obama? Another redneck rampage and your demand is more data visualizations? Well, then you're probably not from around here.

Because, although we may feel like we've seen this all before, it's actually highly unusual for the major media to publish the really big numbers all in one place (or in one infographic, as the case may be) and there's a very specific reason for that, according to Dr. Fred Rivara, whose CDC-funded study in 1996 found that "having a gun in the home is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of a homicide." (I know you've all heard that one!) It was so well-reported, in fact, that we're still feeling the backlash 20 years later. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were effectively banned by Congress from publishing the results of their research into gun violence. "The NRA complained to Congress that the CDC was using the results of its research to essentially advocate for gun control. They called it propaganda... Congress slashed the CDC's funding by the exact amount that was used for gun-related public health research." (Read the full story here.)

And but so anyway, that was then and this is now and when the President says he wants infographics on the front page, the media says, how high? Or something like that. Here are my favorites, and by that I mean, oh hell you know what I mean. It probably shouldn't go without saying that these numbers are fucking horrifying. I've lived in Canada for almost as many years now as I lived in the US, and the perspective you get being even 30 minutes from the border is... surreal. People get shot here, too (newsflash!), but let's make this fun and do a little side-by-side. First, you have to understand that Canada only has 10% the population of the United States, so you have to multiply our numbers by ten if you want to be fair and balanced about it.

Gun-related homicides in the US in 2013: 11,208
Gun-related homicides in Canada in 2013: 1,310* (by which of course I actually mean 131*) (*and about which I'm not even kidding)

So, I'm not really a math person but that seems to work out something like this. The United States has ten times the population of Canada and around one hundred times the body count from guns every year? Interesting. Okay, that's enough—all this bragging is so un-Canadian of me. Let's look at some more data and let's award points for style and motive, just to make it extra-inappropriately glib, shall we?

American deaths in terrorism vs. gun violence in one graph CNN, the first name in 24-hour news (if we're going by seniority, that is) posted this graphic so quickly and uncritically in response to the President's directive that you have to wonder if they kind of wish their jobs were always this easy.

Gun Violence Archive The 538 of gun-related death counters, GVA is "an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 1,200 media, government and commercial sources daily," which although based in Washington, DC and obviously well-funded, is "not, by design an advocacy group." Whatever their motives or money sources may be (e.g., their links to "related websites" list seems conspicuously bipartisan), they appear to be doing it better than anyone else out there. (Style points: 9, Hearts in the right place: 9? Newsworthiness: 10)

But the GVA is probably doing something right if it causes a site like The Truth About Guns to be created in response to its, ahem, "biased" statistics. The TAG is a reactionary collection of editorials and firearm reviews, every page of which is peppered with banner ads selling guns. In a typical example, there's an article about how the Gun Violence Archive uses data from The New York Times, which classifies people aged 0-24 who were killed by guns as "children." The host of the Truth About Guns is named Nick Leghorn (yes, as in "Foghorn") (and yes, like the chicken), and he feels that the New York Times set the age range too high in a shameless attempt to scoop up "gang-related" deaths in their data (when everyone knows gang members shouldn't be counted at all because good riddance, right?). Leghorn is correct about one thing—24-year olds are not children—but not everyone will follow him to the logical conclusion in his next statement: "Personally, I would have set the cut-off for children at 15." To which he adds, "But then again I didn't have an agenda to push." Okeedokey... (Style points: 1, Hearts in the right place: 2, Newsworthiness: 2) Use of a cartoon character based on General Patton as your avatar? Priceless. If you're less about the info and more about the graphics, this site features dazzling, processor-intensive animations of outdated and highly speculative statistics, rendering firearm-related deaths in the US from 2010 to 2013 as a sunburst of golden lifelines that turn silver at the time of death, completing their arcs at the estimated endpoint of each person's assumed natural lifespan. Death tolls appear at one end of the parabola, "years stolen" at the other. (Style points: 10, Hearts in the right place: 9, Newsworthiness: 2)

Deaths by Cop A year-long study by The Washington Post compiled reports on every person shot and killed by a police officer in 2015 (944 with 10 days left to go). You can read the details of each incident or view the data by state, race, age, gender and weapon... or lack thereof. (Style points: 7, Hearts in the right place: 10, Newsworthiness: 9)

If you thought that last list was a little heavy, let's cleanse the palette with a look back at some of the good things firearms have brought us over the years.

The Ten Best Songs About Guns

  1. Happiness is a Warm Gun by The Beatles (also The Breeders version)
  2. Gold, Guns, Girls by Metric
  3. Bullet in the Head by Rage Against the Machine
  4. Hey Man, Nice Shot by Filter
  5. Paper Planes by M.I.A.
  6. Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
  7. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra
  8. Love Is Blind by Eve
  9. Cop Killer by Body Count
  10. Janie's Got a Gun by Aerosmith


click for permalink December 11, 2015

The 2015 List of Lists Continues with...

2015 Year in Pictures

1. Mars has water, people. (And animations, courtesy of Pixar!) Just kidding, of course I mean NASA. See also the closest-ever shots of Jupiter and Pluto.

2. Google's DeepDream algorithm takes in the digitized 2-D visual artifacts of our world and gives them back to us deranged with the nightmare visions of an infantile artificial intelligence. As Google explained, the psychedelic eyeballs, sky temples and pupplyslugs simply represent a stage in the learning process of an artificial neural network when the all-seeing eye tries to speak in the language of its visual cortex for the first time. We're basically foster parents to a fledgeling god now, and this is its first "look what I drew for you" moment. So stick it up on the fridge with some alphabet magnets and try to savor your superiority while you can. Hope this one doesn't grow up too fast.

3. New York at Night by Vincent Laforet

Amazing aerial photos of NYC like you've literally never seen it before. Vincent Laforet explains his technique and the technology used to get these extra long-exposure shots that make the Big Apple look like the world's biggest Lite Brite board. Laforet was also behind a surprisingly amazing collaborative film project called The Story Beyond the Still back in 2011, which I may have neglected to draw your attention to at the time. Go watch it now, but read the introduction first because it's one of those things that is far more interesting when you know how it was created.

4. Meteor over Banff, Canada by Brett Abernethy

5. Lost Highway: the Abandoned cars of Fukushima by Arkandiusz Podniesinski, courtesy of The Daily Mail.

6. From the same collection by Arkandiusz Podniesinski, this photo shows tens of thousands of black garbage bags, stacked with incredible precision and care at a dump site for contaminated soil collected in Fukushima prefecture.

7. Crowds celebrate the US Supreme Court marriage equality ruling in June. By Alex Wong

8. Old Masters at the Top of their Game Photographs by Erik Madigan Heck

Below: T. Boone Pickens and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (the Notorious R.B.G.)

10. Front page of the Toronto Star newspaper, December 10, 2015

Canada, I fucking love you.


Best Random Websites of 2015

Passport Index is an interactive tool that assembles all the passports of the world and shows you the collection in a variety of fun ways. You can sort 193 UN member countries and six territories by country, location, Power Rank (based on how many countries allow citizens of that country to visit without a visa or to obtain one upon arrival) or my personal, predictable favorite, by color.

Opt Out From Online Behavioral Advertising Excerpt: "Some of the ads you receive on web pages are customized based on predictions about your interests generated from your visits over time and across different websites. Using the tools on this page, you can opt out from receiving behavioral advertising from any, or all of the current participating companies listed on the tool, should you so choose."

DeepDreamr One of several websites that cropped up this summer to capitalize on the meme-of-the-moment after Google released a half-baked deviation from its image recognition project (which it's been developing for reasons no doubt far creepier than the surreal psycho/psychedelic photo-manipulations that sprang up all over). The resulting bizarreness also inspired the best new word of 2015: puppyslug.

[Click for full size.]

Trulia's Buyers-Diggs Quiz Although they seem to have taken it down, this quiz is a fun Myers-Briggs rip-off that gives your home-style a convenient 4-letter code you can use to screen future roommates and potential life partners for compatibility... or for grown-ups, just to go, yep—that's me in a nutshell before moving on to the next quiz.

I am apparently a UDSN—The Upscale Hedonist:

"You love to indulge in everything the city has to offer— culture, shopping, food.
You love having people over, but you also run a tight ship.
Those wine bottles will go in the recycling at the end of the night."

Okay, but don't expect me to meticulously rinse them out first. Mr. Pink will, unfailingly, but not me. Sometimes I just can't be bothered (although I do feel a teeny bit guilty when I don't). It's kind of funny to think I fall closer to the "1%" end of the spectrum on this quiz considering most of my furniture—and I mean, if we're going by weight, upwards of 70%—literally came from craigslist. But that's just because we'd rather spend $500 on a slightly used thing worth $1,000 than spend $1,000 on a brand-new thing that everyone else bought this year and give half of it to the banks/credit card companies/invisible hand of the economy. And I guess we just know how to work craigslist.

For some reason they no longer offer the actual quiz at Trulia, but all you really need to do is pick one from each of the four pairs of descriptors below:

  1. Urb or 'Burbs
  2. Deluxist or Frugalist
  3. Social Butterfly or Lone Wolf
  4. Neatfreak or Hot mess

Online Color Challenge This is all kinds of my kind of fun: "How well do you see color? FACT: 1 out of 255 women and 1 out of 12 men have some form of color vision deficiency. Take the online color challenge, based on the Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test."

Chromoscope View the visible universe in different light wavelengths. (Yes, that's all.)


click for permalink December 7, 2015

The 2015 List of Lists Continues with...

11 of the Best Videos of 2015

1. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
It's impossible to pick just one, so I'll go with a predictable favorite... but there are dozens more where that came from. If you can watch Jon Oliver take a supposedly abstract and complicated issue like government surveillance infringing on civil liberties and reframe it in terms that literally (abstractly) the lowest common denominator can understand, without feeling a tiny thrill of vicarious enlightenment, then I don't even know why you're still reading this. (Did I mention that he made Snowden blush, just a little?) Anyway, if trolling government overreach isn't your bag, baby, just check out his scathing takedown of FIFA or televangelists, the death penalty, net neutrality, the Miss America pageant, sex education or student debt. With little in the way of audience expectations, he's quickly proven himself to be the fake news' T2 to Jon Stewart's Terminator—and you know I don't throw that shit around lightly.


2. Rotem Shefy: No Diggity [Blacktreet cover]
You may remember Rotem Shefy from such awesome covers as Radiohead's Karma Police a few years ago.

3. What if Wes Anderson Directed X-Men?

4. 300 Women Who Kick Ass

4a. The Most Dramatic Women's Haircuts on TV and in the Movies

5. The Juice Media RAP NEWS (RIP)
After six years, the duo that brought us 35 episodes of wickedly witty, rapid-fire rhyming rants (meticulously subtitled no less) have decided it's time to move on. We want to thank Giordano Nanni and Hugo Farrant for their lyrical activism, their journalism and, most of all, for the full-on motherfuckin' LULZ. In case you're new around here, I recommend WHISTLEBLOWER - feat. Edward Snowden [RAP NEWS 19], The War on Journalism - with Julian Assange [RAP NEWS 5] and Israel vs. Palestine - feat. DAM & Norman Finkelstein [RAP NEWS 24],

6. Have Astronomers Discovered An Alien Megastructure?

Don't you love when journalists title their stories with a question... I don't know, have they?! You tell us! Answer: definitely maybe? Featuring that most excellent of theoretical physicists (who is not a Monsanto apologist), Michio Kaku.

7. Animation of Site of Seasonal Flows in Hale Crater, Mars
Oh yeah... This discovery got a little overshadowed by the subsequent alien megastructure thing, the first close-up pictures of Pluto, Paris terror attacks, mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting and the deepening reality that less than a year from now, a reality show host might actually be President... Hey everybody, Mars has liquid water! (No one but NASA ever doubted it.)

8. Cintra Wilson at Uptown Showdown - Childhood vs Adulthood

Cintra Wilson is sadly underrepresented on YouTube, although who can blame her? It's the sensible way to manage one's online presence, but after last year's hour-plus dialectic on fashion and human failings, who could blame us for craving more? Well, this is one of a very few videos of her out there, and it's short, but we can't complain because her long-awaited book finally dropped this year and it's #1 on our Books of 2015 list (unseating Dataclysm, btw, which had been the provisional #1 all year... If you had to choose just one, I'd say go with Fear & Clothing. Dataclysm spoiler alert: people are surprisingly racist when it comes to finding a mate, bisexuality is largely an illusion and men and women think so differently about aging, it's like we're a different species... That's probably the most depressing revelation in the book... but there are also some good tips on the best time of day to take a profile pic.)

9. Kevin Smith Q&A session after a screening of Red State

Whatever you think about his movies, you must admit that Kevin Smith has a gift for storytelling. This Q&A session took place after a screening of Red State, his... uh—wow, how to describe it? Cautionary, cult/camp gorefest meets Rapture-revenge fantasy(??) based on real-life run-ins with fundamentalist fanatics like the Westboro Baptist Church. Smith is a deep thinker with passionate convictions and a mesmerizing stage presence. His Q&A with the audience lasts longer than the movie itself and ranges from hilarious to horrifying before ending on an intense, inspiring note.

9a. Kevin Smith on Prince

10. Police Put Big Pharma CEOs on Blast

11. Deep Dreaming Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas: the Great San Francisco Acid Wave


Best Books of 2015

[Click for full size.]

  1. Fear and Clothing by Cintra Wilson
  2. Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder
  3. The Culture Code by Dr. Clotaire Rapaille
  4. Turn Around Bright Eyes: A Karaoke Love Story by Rob Sheffield
  5. Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobson
  6. Contagious by Scott Sigler
  7. Infected by Scott Sigler
  8. The Science Delusion: Freeing The Spirit Of Enquiry by Rupert Sheldrake
  9. A Wilderness of Error (the Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald) by Errol Morris
  10. Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr
  11. Frankenstein's Cat by Emily Anthes
  12. What If? by Randall Munroe
  13. Generations at Work by Ron Zemke, Bob Filipczak and Claire Raines
  14. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson
  15. Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson
  16. Quiet Influence: The Introvert's Guide to Making a Difference by Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, PhD
  17. Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs
  18. Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson
  19. Carsick by John Waters
  20. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton, Harold Koda, Tim Blanks

Which makes this an opportune time for the—eagerly-anticipated, I'm sure...

Best Shoes of 2015

Alexander McQueen Floral Wedge T-Strap Sandals

And the Alexander McQueen gown to match.


Best Graphic Novels Read in 2015

  1. The Walking Dead (Book Eleven); by Robert Kirkman
  2. Saga; writer, Brian K. Vaughan ; artist, Fiona Staples
  3. The Wake; writer, Scott Snyder; artist, Sean Murphy
  4. Elektra: Assassin; writer, Frank Miller; artist, Bill Sienkiewicz
  5. The Silver Cord by Kevin Kelly & Steve Masseroni (Read about the making of this story here.)
  6. The Massive; writer, Brian Wood
  7. The Last Zombie; writer, Brian Keene; artist, Joseph Wright

What's with all the comic writers named Brian?

Animated Gif of the Year

Do I even need to say it? I'm going to say it anyway...
Get away from her, you bitch!

(Source: loserstfu, via quotefrommanstabbed via ReturntoFleet)



click for permalink December 5, 2015

The 2015 List of Lists!

It's time once again for the annual accounting of all things quantifiable, linkable and excerpt-able, so without any further ado...

Best Articles of 2015

You know, it's always easy for us coastal types to survey the latest Midwestern town flattened in Tornado Alley and with all the sympathetic platitudes out of the way, mutter under our breath—well, what the fuck did you expect? That's what happens when you choose to live in a place nicknamed Tornado Alley. We assign their deaths and property damages their places on the sliding scale of tragedy somewhere between bungee jumpers and the Steve Irwins and Roy Horns of the world. After all, there are only so many times the universe will allow you to poke at poisonous snakes with a stick, or pry open the jaws of a full-grown tiger as the audience gasps and squirms in their seats, before the inevitable catches up with you. You live by the sword/ twister/ scenic yet unstable coastline with the understanding that you're likely to die by the sword/ twister/ scenic yet unstable coastline.

But 50 years of predictions, movies, jokes and songs about "the Big One" cleaving Los Angeles away from the continent proper in a great, cataclysmic rip along the well-perforated dotted line of the San Andreas fault hasn't dimmed the sunny glow of Malibu's beaches or the seedy glow of Hollywood's klieg lights. Neither do you see people getting all judgey about the tech moguls who live in flat-out denial just a few miles up the fault line outside San Francisco. And when Hurricane Sandy took down New York City's power grid in 2013, you didn't hear the nation collectively shaming its natives for continuing to live in a vertical city built on landfills 100 miles downstream of a nuclear reactor. You just heard the buzz of the city's millions of stakeholders working to strengthen their communities, emergency services and redundant supply lines so they'd be better prepared for the next one.

That's the nice thing about hurricanes, though—they respond reasonably well to human innovation. Seaside resorts where building foundations have been eroding into the sea little by little for decades, their quaintly dilapidated boardwalks crumbling and their sun-bleached midway attractions attracting a few less tourists with each passing year—these are ripe for the pruning when Mother Nature turns on her late-summer pressure washer. But advances in structural engineering have radically increased the survivability of urban landscapes. Steel-and-glass high rises can take a lot more pummeling by wind and water before their double-paned, double-glazed, impact-resistant windows give way. Add to that a populace educated in the arts of emergency preparedness, the hyper-vigilant media on the constant lookout for weakness and corruption to expose, and those all-pervasive communication networks we now enjoy—and expect, come hell, high water or a deadly combination thereof. All these have made east coast cities increasingly disaster-proof, capable of weathering anything short of weeks cut off from the power grid.

But earthquakes are another matter. I don't think I can preface this article any better than ol' who said: "HOLY GOD, this Kathryn Schulz piece about the already-overdue Pacific Northwest earthquake is terrific and terrifying." That goes double if you happen to live here.

1. The Really Big One by Kathryn Schulz

"When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater... The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA's Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, 'Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.'"

Well, sheee-it... You know, I'm actually fine with this plan. If you think all it takes is some apocalyptic prognostication to strike fear into the hearts of everyone in yoga pants country, so that when we look out at the skylines of Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and, sure, even that of Los Angeles (such as it is), we'll see the future shadows of our tombstones... well, you may be right. But on every one of those tombstones we will also see two words engraved: Fuck Cancer.


2. A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite by Adam Higginbotham

By three in the afternoon on Tuesday, the Nevada National Guard was enforcing a quarter-mile cordon around Harvey's... On the casino floor, the banks of slot machines silently winked their lights. Hands of cards, stacks of chips, and cash lay abandoned on the tables... The bomb team examined the device every way they could. They photographed it and dusted it for fingerprints, X-rayed it and scraped it for paint samples. They scanned it for radiation with a Geiger counter. And, using electronic listening devices and stethoscopes, they strained again and again to hear any sound coming from inside it. At first the task was almost impossible. The humming of the air-conditioning, the Muzak piped into every room of the building—even the offices—was just too loud... But late that night, it was quiet enough that, for the first time, they were able to pick up something coming from the lower box: an intermittent whirring noise... Somewhere inside the bomb, something was happening.


3. "an atlas of a specific luxury" (regarding five white male humans i witnessed swiping right repeatedly on the app "tinder" in californian-american public throughout the year 2014) by tim rogers

Tinder is a dating app for smartphones. Tinder shows you a picture of a person. You swipe right if you would want to meet (or have sex) with the person. If you swipe right on a person who already swiped right on you, a notification informs you that you can send them a message...
I saw a man swiping right on Tinder while walking through a revolving door. I saw a man swiping right on Tinder in a car stopped next to mine at a red light. I saw a man swiping right on Tinder while speeding down the Bay Bridge at three in the morning, alongside the shadow and skeleton of the old Bay Bridge. Workers were then (and now) dismantling that bridge. The skeleton of that shadow of a bridge stops in the middle of space. When we're asleep, some humans execute sweaty work in silence to dismantle the old world.

4. The Lost Will And Testament Of Javier Grillo-Marxuach

At the risk of extreme arrogance, I would put the first season of Lost alongside any accomplishment in television drama, including those of the idols who made me want to work in the medium...
Eleven years on, even with all the media coverage, pre- and post-mortem interviews, reviews, critiques, tributes, lookbacks, and "oral histories"... even though Lost might as well hold a record as the most over-documented series in the history of television, many still feel like a definitive version of how we made the show has yet to be told. This is not that.

5. The Secret Life of Passwords by Ian Urbina

Several years ago I began asking my friends and family to tell me their passwords... I understand why passwords are universally despised: the strains they put on our memory, the endless demand to update them, their sheer number. I hate them, too. But there is more to passwords than their annoyance. In our authorship of them, in the fact that we construct them so that we (and only we) will remember them, they take on secret lives. Many of our passwords are suffused with pathos, mischief, sometimes even poetry. Often they have rich back stories. A motivational mantra, a swipe at the boss, a hidden shrine to a lost love, an inside joke with ourselves, a defining emotional scar—these keepsake passwords, as I came to call them, are like tchotchkes of our inner lives. They derive from anything: Scripture, horoscopes, nicknames, lyrics, book passages. Like a tattoo on a private part of the body, they tend to be intimate, compact and expressive.

6. The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy by Ross Anderson

SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star's light pattern is consistent with a "swarm of megastructures," perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star... "I was fascinated by how crazy it looked," Wright told me. "Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build."

7. Just Checking In by Virginia Heffernan and Paul Ford

Virginia Heffernan and Paul Ford... started sending emails to see who could make the other person experience the most profound sense of dread and panic [from the subject line alone].

From: Virginia Heffernan
To: Paul Ford
Subject: can you give me a quick call by EOD?
Haha just kidding. That's my private horror anxiety message that I need a bot for.


8. Learning About Humanity on Public Transportation by Chris Gethard

New York subways are not the same as the PATH, which has an omnipresent feeling of despair about it. Subways in the city are used so heavily that they're not always fucked up—but when they are fucked up, they're really fucked up. I first realized this when I was in college... A group of teenagers descended upon the car, making noise, jumping onto seats, and just generally behaving like groups of teenagers did in 80s movies. One of the kids took out a matchbook and stuck it in between the laces of a passed out homeless guy's shoe.


9. Remembering Orson Welles by Gore Vidal

Five years later, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, I first beheld the relatively lean Orson Welles... On his arm was Rita Hayworth, his wife. He has it all, I remember thinking in a state of perfect awe untouched by pity. Little did I know—did he know?—that just as I was observing him in triumph, the great career was already going off the rails while the Gilda of all our dreams was being supplanted by the ever more beautiful Dolores del Rio. Well, Rita never had any luck. As for Welles...


10. 42 by Sarah Miller

When I woke up this morning to see... Tom Junod's essay, "In Praise of 42 Year Old Women," I felt a lot of things. First of all, I felt happy... I had been following Junod's career for many years, and so I've watched him begin so many articles with the word "You." And this piece began with "Let's face it," which was obviously progress. The next thing I felt was relief... Because according to Junod, I'm still hot—not like 42-year-old women used to be, back when they were super gross, like Anne Bancroft in The Graduate. And according to Junod... unlike other women who just haven't had all this time, I also finally figured out how to be sort of interesting.


Ten Best TED Talks of 2015

  1. Carl Safina: What are animals thinking and feeling?
  2. Andreas Ekstrom: The moral bias behind your search results
  3. Will Potter: The secret US prisons you've never heard of before
  4. Alyson McGregor: Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women
  5. Sarah Jones: One woman, five characters, and a sex lesson from the future
  6. Trevor Aaronson: How this FBI strategy is actually creating US-based terrorists
  7. Roman Mars: Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you've never noticed
  8. Abe Davis: New video technology that reveals an object's hidden properties
    1. And in case that one doesn't properly scare the shit out of you, try this one:
      Real-time Expression Transfer for Facial Reenactment
  9. Nick Bostrom: What happens when our computers get smarter than we are?
  10. Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions—in design and life


Best Television of 2015

Before we get into the top ten, let's have a moment of silence for three shows that left us this past year. The first of the three was taken tragically and too soon, but for all the suddenness of its ending, somehow the quite possibly last episode ever managed to stick a perfect landing. The unintended series finale stands as both cliffhanger and coup de grace, and was embraced almost unanimously by fans. The second show's slow glide into television history was executed with characteristic grace, a little bit past its prime but still possessing all its considerable charms—not the least of which was knowing when to leave us wanting more. The third ended in a bizarre blend of shock and entropy, a slow-motion disintegration starting at the season's apex and ending in an all-consuming conflagration that left nothing but scorched earth and bloodied ground behind when the credits rolled.

Hannibal (R-I-motherfucking-P)

Mad Men (RIP)

Hemlock Grove (RIP)

Top Ten TV Shows of 2015

1. Bates Motel—Between Bates Motel, Hannibal, Sherlock Holmes and Gotham (even, technically, Fear the Walking Dead) and of course the cinematic "reboots" of Star Wars and Star Trek: Generation Z editions, it's official. We are living in the era of the prequel. The acting on this show is so fucking great...

2. Suits—Sometimes you just want to see beautiful, impeccably dressed people striding around in Herman Miller showrooms dropping invectives like hand grenades and trading one-liners like Grand Slam tennis pros. Of course, some people subscribe to the "slash" theory to explain the undeniable drawing power behind this show, but that's ridiculous... I mean, maybe if they were serial killers.

3. The Walking Dead—The adaptation so popular it spawned a brand new form of spin-off, the concurrently-running prequel... (Okay technically, Star Trek had one (the Enterprise series overlapped with Voyager), but then the franchise also had the first-ever animated sequel series and a great many other "firsts" besides.)

3a. Fear the Walking Dead—The jury is still out... No, really, I mean it! Even if it is just The Walking Dead Lite: West Coast Edition (now with 30% fewer characters to mourn when they die!).

4. iZombie—The as-the-elevator-doors-close pitch? It's Veronica Mars with Zombies. SOLD.

5. Homeland—In a complete reversal of my previous protestations that Homeland was, ahem, the Banana-Strawberry-Kiwi smoothie of friend recommendations. See? First "Lost" and now "Homeland." I can admit when I'm wrong...

6. The Good Wife—Despite my lingering annoyance at the main character who often lacks both integrity and agency (which, given she's a lawyer and a political wife, is probably just a straight-up nod to reality), this show has slowly grown on me. I'm still not sure how I feel about how I feel about this show, but I enjoy watching it, even now that two of the most watchable characters are gone. Luckily, it doesn't get much more watchable than Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming and Juliana Margolis... in that order.

7. Daredevil—Finally a role where the intrinsic creepiness of Vincent D'Onofrio is perfectly matched to the creepiness of the character... So watchable! I'm beside myself with anticipation for Season 2 ever since they announced the casting of Elektra and the Punisher (that's right, Walking Dead fans, it's Shane!).

8. House of Cards / Blacklist (tied)

9. Sense8—With eight ("8") international characters psychically linked (i.e., through the senses), the Watchowskis' Netflix original series takes "character-driven" to an entirely new level. Narrative is arguably a distant afterthought, but with locations and characters this gorgeous, to say nothing of the exquisitely choreographed fight scenes (and equally impressive sex scenes), there's plenty of room in the backseat for plot. Greenlit for a second season!

10. Zoo—I don't know, but sometimes there's something to be said for a cast full of super-likeable characters; they quickly become a team and after that, there's no silly bullshit about not being friends. It's a little bit like the sadly short-lived Breakout Kings (which, okay, I can understand why it didn't last, but there was something genuinely endearing about that show and there's a whole world of shit out there that deserves to be on the air less than it did). After watching the first season of Zoo, I had a sudden craving to watch The Glades again (we took a mid-3rd season break over a year ago) only to find it had been jettisoned by Netflix. (Was it really taking up that much hard drive space?) I also picked up the graphic novel at the library but found it to be more or less an unmitigated piece of shit. Every change they made in adapting Zoo for television was an improvement, if not an absolute necessity.

I'll close out part one of my 2015 List of Lists with the immortal words of Will Graham:

You called us murder husbands.