Once again here is my annual "Best List". While it's built from my experience, you may discover something to enjoy or explore in 2018.
I find most music pumped out by Christian artists today, inartistic. It seems they are all trying to make the newest boring song for Sunday mornings to earn ASCAP and BMI fee. They take a perfectly good hymn, ruin it, and add a crescendo. "Love and War and The Sea In Between" from Josh Garrels is a fantastic departure for what the industry is putting out. His unique voice added to creative lyrics and variant melodies provided a fresh album and experience. Thanks to my daughter Sarah for introducing me to the album. Download it today.
As Josh Garrels had the best album, it included what I think was the best song of 2017. As I sat watching the sun set on McAfee Knob in Virginia and looking up at mountains from Leadville the song Beyond the Blue was a perfect reflection. Listen to is now.
The best movie of 2017 was Hidden Figures. The film included, "biographies, following the struggles for recognition by the black women 'computers' at NASA – who manually calculated the complex equations necessary for early space exploration. Focusing on Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), engineer Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and NASA supervisor Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), this proved a fascinating – if slightly exaggerated – look at both the scientific and cultural advances of the era." A second, and in a completely different genre, was Wonder Woman.
Senator Ben Sasse gives us something rare, intelligent thought from a politician. As I sat spent a few days alone in France I read Sasse's book "The Vanishing American Adult". He offers solutions to the culture we have created where people fail to grow up, get a job, have kids, and contribute to society. He spends only a chapter discussing the problem and the rest of the book offering real world solutions to raising children. As I see so many thirty-something men failing to lead it provided hope for another generation. Buy it now.
Best TV Show
You may judge me, it is Game of Thrones. The show that seeks to offend also produces the most engaging and fantastical program on TV.
As the series sets up for its final six episodes it continues to surprise.
Best Short Film
Surfing in Iceland in the winter under the Northern Lights would be an incredible adventure, and Chris Burkhard caught it on film. Follow the journey with him and his crew as they catch an incredible moment. Watch the trailer below.
I judge lunches on the food and the experience that takes place with the meal. On The May Club this year we spent and afternoon at Rips on the Lake, 1917 Lakeshore Dr, Mandeville, LA 70448. The food was incredible and we laughed like we had no care in the world. My thanks to Gary Greene for succumbing to peer pressure and buying the meal. Go visit them.
Danae and I started dating thirty years ago this year. We visited Paris a few times in the past, but this trip was special. We strolled the streets and soaked in the history together as we contemplated the birth place of all modern ideas in science, theology, politics, literature, and philosophy. If you go, spend some time studying the great Parisians, it will give you so much more appreciation for the soil on which you stand.
Best New Experience
My wife said I would have more energy and feel better if I would spend three minutes in a tube at -275 degrees every few days. She was right. I am usually quick to dismiss my wife's witch doctor suggestions, but the cryo spa works. Go check it out.
Best New Product
I gave away my kayaks in 2017 and bought packrafts. Packrafts are inflatables that pack with paddles into a duffel bag. I could never take my kayaks anywhere, but now I have boats available no matter where I travel and the opportunity to enjoy so many places I'd never see otherwise. Buy you one.
I'd love to hear about your best lists.