2009 in Review

I already did the Top 10 News Stories of 2009, but that doesn't begin to cover what 2009 will really be remembered for!  Here's a more comprehensive list of the cultural highlights (and lowlights) of the year.
  1. Notable deaths: Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Walter Cronkite, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Patrick Swayze.
  2. Sports: The Pittsburgh Steelers won their 6th Superbowl, setting an NFL record; also, the New York Yankees won their 27th World Series. (Not exactly a year for upsets.)
  3. Television: Jay Leno tried to do a talk show at the 10am hour, but doesn't look like the experiment will last much longer. Oprah announced that she will retire from TV next year to focus on her new television network. Some long-running soaps ended, victims of lower advertising budgets. A homely British woman with a Broadway-quality voice made an international splash on Britain's Got Talent. Reality TV was HUGE: almost every celebrity seemed to be signing up to produce a peek-and-tell show, from Michael Jordan to Jon & Kate + 8 - the phenomenon eventually becoming so pervasive that one couple tried to market themselves by hoax (they claimed their 5yr old son was aloft in a home-made balloon), while another couple tried to market themselves by crashing a state dinner at the White House. Among the biggest television shows of the year were Mad Men (a cable show about advertising), dancing shows (So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars), and Glee.
  4. Movies: The biggest movies of the year were the 6th installment of the Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), New Moon (the first book in the Twilight series), and Star Trek, a movie that walked the characters back to their origin. Outside of theaters, most people chose to have their movies delivered to them via Netflix or cheap movie rental kiosks located in grocery stores and fast food restaurants.
  5. Technology: Twitter overtook iPhone as the hot technology of the year. Still, it was a little startling to see congressmen busily twittering as Obama addressed them during his State of the Union address! Iphone, Facebook, Youtube, Hulu, Google and Kindle (electronic book) were also significant technology players this year, while Blackberries became just the littlest bit "passe." There was great furor about banning texting while driving, after several high-profile accidents.
  6. Kids: When they weren't reading the latest installments of the hugely popular Wimpy Kid series of books by Jeff Kinney, little ones spent their time enthralled by the Webkins line of plush toys - you buy the toy, then oversee its virtual life on a webkins website.
  7. Books: The top 4 books on USA Today's list of 2009 Bestsellers were the four installments of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. #5 was Dan Brown's Lost Symbol, which failed to reclaim the magic of DaVinci Code but earned plenty of money anyway. Lots of people cried over The Last Lecture by Randy Paush, but Sarah Palin's autobiography made me cry more.
  8. Food: For some reason, 2009 was all about food! It was hard to flip channels without running across at least one cooking show (Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Paula Dean, Rachel Ray, etc.). Stores like "Dinner Zen" allowed folks to prepare their own meals utilizing proven recipes and pre-prepared ingredients, and much attention was devoted to the merits of organic produce.
  9. Fashion: Michelle Obama caused an international stir with her sleeveless dresses and blouses.
  10. Quote of the Year: "You lie."

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