Cold, dark, joyless – I hate January. Since I left the tropics (OVER NINE JANUARYS AGO!), I have really struggled to enjoy anything that happens in between, like, October and April. This year, my January has had an additional layer of existential blah blanketing the customary winter blues, like a lasagna. A lasagna of misery. And the outside world – which, lest we forget, continues to do stuff independent of this little blog – hasn’t fared much better, what with the airport bombings and the shootings of politicians and the Andy Murray losing the Australian Open again.
Buuuut life goes on. Even when it feels like your life belongs on www.ultraslo.com, things are still happening: TV shows are airing new episodes, movies are being released, websites are being updated daily (daily). So, without further ado, here are Five Good Things that happened this January.
1. Black Swan gets released here
I think I covered this pretty extensively the other day; but really, I had been soooooooo OMG EXCITE for so many months, and usually that’s the road to disappoint. For once, my stratospheric expectations were not only met but surpassed.
2. Parks & Recreation returns to TV
Somewhere in between its lackluster first season and its replacement in NBC’s fall lineup by Outsourced, P&R (or, as it’s been rather charmingly nicknamed, P-Rex) became a critical darling, rivaled among sitcoms only by Community. I think that in my own abundant outpouring of love for Community I sort of forgot how good P-Rex’s second season was, but the two episodes of season three that have aired thus far reminded me what a comic powerhouse this show is. Episode two, “The Flu”, was particularly good – I had to keep rewinding it to catch jokes I’d missed through laughing so hard at other jokes.
3. This interview with Udo Kier
What a journalistic tour de force. Udo Kier, deliverer of maybe the greatest line of dialogue in cinema history, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is quite bananas. "I cannot answer you, because it’s totally unknown to me what you just asked me, and also very boring"; “I knocked at [Pamela Anderson’s] trailer—which was enormous, as big as her breasts”; “you can put two grams of coke on top of the Bible, and you first take a line of coke and then you open the Bible. Because then you understand” – this interview is the gift that keeps on giving.
4. My original theme song for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia hits YouTube
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that I subtly linked this video earlier in the month, but subtlety does not get you noticed in this shallow, celebrity-obsessed, screechy-tabloid-headline culture of ours. I’ll be honest, this obscenely catchy little ditty has not been getting the attention it so richly deserves, and to redress this gross injustice I may have to sully my hands by (yeesh) promoting it. Until I get round to that, however, repeatedly linking it to my readership of four will have to suffice.
5. John Shore launches ThruWay Christians
John Shore is great, and you should be reading his blog already if you have any interest in forward-thinking Christianity, LGBT rights, or interfaith dialogue. This month he surpassed himself by launching ThruWay Christians, a hugely exciting new online community for “Christians who find conservative/right-wing Christianity too oppressive and exclusionary, and progressive/liberal Christianity too theologically tenuous.” John has long been a voice of reason crying out in the reactionary wilderness of mainstream (US) Christianity, and now he’s taking his exceptional blend of faith and level-headedness to the next level by spearheading a movement toward the full acceptance of marginalized people by the religion whose major selling point is its supposed inclusivity. I truly believe that future historians of Christianity, as they shake their heads in disbelief at twenty-first-century Christian attitudes toward LGBT people, will look on John Shore as a towering figure of 2011’s church.