Discovery of the Year: Wegmans. I’ve not yet blogged about Wegmans, the grocery store to end all grocery stores. You can keep your Kroger, your Trader Joe’s, and even your Pick ‘n Save. At Wegmans, you get the selection of a Whole Foods (too WI-specific?) with the prices of an Aldi. (Well, maybe not that low. But seriously.) Throw in more eat-in areas than you can shake a stick at (wokery, sushi bar, seafood counter, Indian buffet, sandwich shop, shall I go on?) and the tear-inducing sight of at least two dozen registers kept open on weekends, and we have a winner. I lost a great many things when I left the Midwest. But I gained a kickass grocer.
Media of the Year: Mad Men. As you may have gathered, I consumed a great deal of literature, film, and music this year. Same as every year. You may claim that lumping all these into a single category is cheating (“Apples to oranges, I say!”), please note that I’m comparing my response to these things. And in the same way that I respond similarly to apples and oranges (they make me wish I’d gotten a banana), I respond similarly to the effects of a good song or a captivating film. In 2010, I spent more time talking/thinking/critiquing/studying Mad Men than any other. Not necessarily solely because 13 hours of TV will require more work than a three minute song. I spent most of an evening reading analysis of Inception; almost as much time as I spent actually watching the film.
Person of the Year: Every man or woman who deals in America’s junk. A new genre of programming has emerged, with such shows as Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Auction Kings, Storage Wars, etc. It’s a sure sign of civilization’s decline when we get as much entertainment from watching junk get traded as we did from buying it in the first place. Whether set in a pawn shop, an auction house, or a storage unit, these shows fascinated me. My parents have nothing old or interesting; both sides of my family tree are relatively new to the U.S. and were poor for a long time. (Did your ancestors fight in the Civil War? Mine fished the Danzig River.) Yet I’m happy for every person whose dusty trinket turns out to be a treasure. Happier still for every person whose cache is actually crap. Schadenfreude ftw.