If 2020 saw a dip in restaurant attendance, 2021 was the year restaurants came roaring back! From the finest steakhouses to the lowliest salad bars, in 2021 if you wanted to go out to eat, RESTAURANTS were your number-one choice for doing just that.

Restaurants are where we can come together to enjoy a meal — as well as each other’s company. Many restaurants specialize in food you may not feel comfortable preparing in your own home. They’re a great way to expand your palate and broaden your horizons of food. If something on the menu looks good, please order it! After all, “That’s what we’re here for” — Restaurants. (What’s this, a talking restaurant?! Okay that’s good for me.)

As this year comes to an end let’s book our reservation, enjoy some breadsticks, and feast on a divinely scrumptious list of the TOP TEN RESTAURANTS OF 2021:

10. Warm restaurants

9. Local restaurants

8. (TIE) Affordable restaurants / Restaurants with wine and beer flowing freely

7. Underground restaurants that redefined the possibilities of eating out for our age of destruction

6. “Hennnry!” “Yes, dear?” “RESTAURANTS ARE HERE TO STAY”

5. When you met your friends at the restaurant in 2021

4. Restaurants with large clean windows

3. Chain restaurants that feel like how momma used to make food

2. Restaurants that will surely stand the test of time

1. Top-ten restaurants

Best Of 2021: PASSWORDS

The last few years have seen an uptick in working from home and telecommuting. Our computers, phones, tablets, and other devices are now central to our professional and personal lives. These devices — and the apps and programs that run on them — all need passwords to be safe. This we all know.

2021 was an incredible year for passwords. Not only do our various streaming services and video-game services require passwords, but our email accounts — which we used more than ever — also require passwords. Some computer experts have estimated that 2021 saw more passwords than any year in history.

Is it any wonder that people may someday refer to 2021 as “The Year Of The Password?”

So let’s log on with our User IDs, type our passwords, click “Enter,” and celebrate the TOP TEN PASSWORDS OF 2021:

10. jo498w8fhnq;th23322

9. dl;kjt3939930002s

8. T0pSecretPassw0rd

7. FartFartFart_FART!!!@@@

6. cie938ulsliuh[wo*$&

5. Very tricky passwords

4. Passwords that summed up the spirit of 2021 while still being safe

3. *#jn29fn3339(@240sfnnd

2. Many of the finest passwords

1. Passwords of perfection

Best Of 2021: GUITAR SOLOS

This may be hard to believe, but as recently as a few years ago people were announcing the death of rock ‘n’ roll. “Rock,” they said, “is dead.” The music of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin … dead? It doesn’t seem possible! After all, that kind of music (rock) is really loud and enjoyable! And those three rock bands — although great — are far from the only bands playing and rocking. Indeed, there were (and currently are) thousands of rock bands. So yes, friends, the “Death of Rock” has been HIGHLY EXAGGERATED.

And what is the most important part of rock music? That’s right, the guitar solo. The guitar solo allows the musicians to shine as never before. If rock music is still alive, then guitar solos are the beating hearts that keep the blood of music pumpin’ hard and strong.

2021 was a great year for many reasons, but especially for guitar solos. From hard rock to pop rock, odds are if you were listening to rock ‘n’ roll in 2021, you were loving guitar solos! It might be because the events of 2021 were uniquely suited to being expressed via solo guitar, or it might be that guitarists had lots of time to practice and get better, so their guitar solos also became better. Regardless, we should be very happy about 2021.

Here are the TOP TEN GUITAR SOLOS OF 2021:

10. Ragin’ hot guitar solos

9. Rippin’ guitar solos that shredded

8. Delightful guitar solos

7. New England guitar solos

6. “Excuse me, it’s time for my guitar solo in 2021”

5. When they turn up the volume for the solo in 2021 and the solo is played by THE GUITAR

4. Pure 2021 guitar solos

3. Fender guitar solos

2. Twenty guitar solos at the same time at the Guitar Center

1. The world’s best guitar solos

Best Of 2021: BOOKS

As a wise poet once wrote, “I learned all there was to learn, and much besides, from the books in my library that I have.” Books may not be the latest form of technology, and they certainly may not be the sexiest, but their staying power is undeniable. From all corners of the globe it’s clear that BOOKS are here for the long haul.

Is it any wonder that during this sometimes scary, sometimes fun year known as 2021 we turned to books more than ever? The answer may not surprise you: It’s no wonder at all! For books, as always, remain our friends and companions, ready to comfort and entertain us as soon as we simply open their covers and look at their pages within. To read, as they say, is to learn. So let us learn no more, other than to read that the best teacher is a book.

It’s time for a quick trip to the library! Let’s check out the TOP TEN BOOKS OF 2021:

10. Textbooks

9. Softcover paperback books

8. Bookshelves gotta eat! (Eating books)

7. When you read a book in 2021

6. (TIE) Biographies of the rich and famous / A book with a nice cover

5. Downloaded books to be read electronically

4. Oh, books! “Yes, Henry.”

3. Books about dinosaurs

2. Error-free books

1. The art of the written word, never to be duplicated or seen

Best Of 2021: GOSSIP

Gossip is a tradition as old as mankind. It is human nature to gather in circles and whisper about the goings-on of one’s neighbors and movie stars. Such discussions are a way of establishing behavioral norms and reminding one’s community that slutty behavior will not be tolerated … for is it too far a stretch to imagine even a cavewoman being such?

Whispered realities of gossip at all times

In 2021, gossip was more central to our lives than ever before. From the biggest actors to the latest pop stars, from our co-workers to even our friends, when it came to gossip we laughed at their mixups — we cried at their breakups — we sighed at their bad decisions. Even as we socially distanced, there was nothing “socially distant” about the latest paparazzi photos or the hottest blind items we read and discussed over Zoom. Some people dismiss gossip as “just so much blah blah blah,” but the truth is, in 2021 gossip held us together and made us whole like never before. Gossip reminds us that even the most powerful, glamorous icons are subject to the same whims and foibles — and follies — that us “regular folks” experience. And it also reminds us that the misadventures of everyday people can be just as thrilling and wild as any Hollywood romance. If you ask me, that’s a message worth celebrating … a message of gossip!

So pull up a chair, whisper your voice, and let’s “spill the tea” about the BEST GOSSIP OF 2021:

10. Unbelievable gossip

9. Scandalous gossip that involved someone your cousin saw at the airport once

8. Uplifting gossip featuring your favorite co-worker

7. Sexy movie stars. Steamy gossip. There is simply nothing better.

6. Gossip that makes you glad you’re not a weirdo

5. (TIE) All-American gossip that could “only happen here in America” / Bowling gossip

4. Space gossip

3. Conspiracy theories

2. Pretty good gossip

1. Our heroes have feet of clay, American when did we lose our way with the gossip


Science is the art of using logic and research to make sense of our world. At its best, it leads to stunning new discoveries and cutting-edge results. At its worst, it leads to mistakes that must be corrected … using the even further applications of science.

We can use science to do many things

2021 was the year science took center stage, landing front and center in many major news stories. From high-tech rockets shooting for the stars, to rare new diseases that confused us, in 2021 if there was news you had to know about, it was probably science that called the shots.

Unfortunately, science can sometimes suffer from a bad reputation: “It’s too confusing,” some say. Others yell, “I don’t like science!” There are also people who don’t like how scientists always act like they know so much. But the cold, hard fact remains: Regardless of reputation, at the end of the day it’s SCIENCE that makes our modern world go ’round.

So as we end this remarkable year of 2021, let’s all take a long, last look through our technical microscopes at the BEST SCIENCE STORIES OF 2021:

10. Biology science stories

9. Science stories that inspired us

8. Stories about how the future of humanity lies in the use of science

7. Science = computation factor 362, baseline hypothesis is lookin’ good! (Thank you for science.)

6. Science stories from around the world

5. Headline-grabbing scientific breakthroughs

4. Charts, graphs, and other visual pictures of science

3. Peer-reviewed science

2. “Damn, I love science 24 hours per day and I cannot lie”

1. Scientific perfection

Best Of 2021: MOVIES

Movies can be enjoyed by all

2021 was a year that will be remembered as “The Year Where We Went To The Movies … Or Did We?” While some theaters were filled with people watching the latest offerings on the big screen, other theaters were empty because the movies weren’t very good.

If last year (2020) was defined by crowd-pleasing blockbusters that set new records and captivated our imaginations, this year’s cinematic legacy has yet to be decided. Could it be that soft movies and quiet movies were 2021’s answer to last year’s explosive spectacles? Or could it, instead, be that exciting movies were 2021’s answer to last year’s boring movies? This conversation will continue; only time will tell when it ends. (And truth be told, someone will probably make a movie about this very subject! It could be called “A Movie About Movies,” that would be fun.)

Anyway, what I wanted to say was that I saw many (if not most) of this year’s greatest movies. Whether on the silver screen, or sitting at home, it is true that I count myself among the nation’s most intense movie-goers. If you asked me in 2021 whether I saw some movie or other, the odds are certainly true that I would happily answer YES at the TOP of my LUNGS. (“Hey, stop yelling in the movie!”)

So let’s turn our cameras on, make sure everyone is on set, and say “ACTION!” as we celebrate the TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2021:

10. Pretty good movies

9. Really good movies

8. Movies that moved us and touched us deeply but also made us laugh (or chuckle in order to be quiet during the movie)

7. Thrilling movies of today

6. We go to the movies in 2021

5. Local movies

4. Movies that told a story

3. Movies that dazzled us as only movies can

2. Amazing movies, never to be forgotten

1. Simply the best movies


When all is said and done, 2021 will be remembered as an extraordinary year full of challenges, breakthroughs, and triumphs. From a very young age, we grow up to eventually understand many things about the world … including years. And we are taught that when a year comes to an end, it’s natural to look back and review all that has happened in that particular year. It is said that to remember is to recollect. This is so very true.  

How will history remember 2021? I don’t know and neither, frankly (and honestly, it must be said) do you. 2021 might well be considered “a good year,” or “a not-so-good year.” Its legacy will depend on many things, including what kinds of years follow in its wake. For now, in this moment, my job is to make lists of the many highlights of the year of 2021 before it ends forever. This is a job I take extremely seriously. Is it because I am the best at this job — this job of making lists? Yes.

And so, we begin an annual tradition unlike any other. A tradition that has stood the test of time only to come out stronger and braver than ever before. The tradition of which I speak has a humble name — it is called “MY LISTS.” But within that simple phrase (“my lists”) we will find countless riches that will inspire and delight us, just as the year 2021 — one of the greatest years ever — inspired and delighted us. I’m not a spiritual person necessarily, but there is magic in this elegant symmetry.

With no further ado, here is the first of my year-end lists …

Here are the TOP TEN GROCERY STORES OF 2021:

10. Stylish grocery stores

9. Funky grocery stores with local character

8. Contemporary grocery stores

7. Good grocery stores

6. The grocery stores we loved in 2021

5. Some of 2021’s best grocery stores

4. Edgy grocery stores with a hint of danger … and might we say elegance?

3. Fantasy grocery stores

2. Powerful grocery stores that redefined the shopping experience

1. The greatest grocery stores ever to have been witnessed by human minds

Let’s celebrate! My lists have begun once again!



Is it any surprise that this extraordinary year saw more world-class palindromes then any year in recent history? “2020” is almost a palindrome, after all. (This happens very rarely in years.) Palindromes, for those who don’t know, are words and phrases that read the same forwards and backwards — it has much to do with the way the letters are arranged. For instance, “DAD” is a palindrome, because whether you start at the beginning or end of the word (DAD) you will always get the same result, word-wise: You go from “D” to “A” and then to another “D.” And, of course, D-A-D always spells DAD. Amazingly, Dad’s partner (“MOM”) is another such palindrome. People should talk about this more often.

Now here’s where things get tricky: We have established that DAD and MOM are both palindromes. But what’s another word for “DAD and MOM?” That’s right, the word is PARENTS. But PARENTS is not a palindrome! What can we say to this but WOW. (WOW is a palindrome, so we’re right back where we started! It’s maddening, yes, but it’s also fun if you’re a “word nerd” in 2020. And I must say just one final thing: If you turn WOW upside down, what word appears? Correct! MOM! The wealth of secrets contained within our English language is a sight to behold — for those brave enough to investigate.)

Time, unlike palindromes, only moves in one direction. And so we find ourselves at the end of 2020, never again to return. Before we step forward into the new year of 2021, let’s say one final “WOW” in 2020 as we review the TOP TEN PALINDROMES OF 2020:

10. I, Fauci


8. “Mah ham!” (Southern lady mad about the ham)

7. THIS: Madam, I’m Karen, and I’m mad! Shit! (Oh helllll no)

6. 20/20 vision is in 2002 vis a vis 2020

5. Don Jr snorts coke, OK … strong RJ nod cocaine love

4. Melania mania, me? Ain’t I a woman

3. Biden won, sheesh, he’s edible now!

2. BB (gun)

1. Tenert

Thus concludes my 2020 Top Ten Lists. I wish you a healthy, happy new year and I’ll see you again soon on my lists!


music and spaghetti

As we conducted our way through the symphony of 2020, music was our compass and our map, always there to guide us to the next note as we played the instruments of our lives. The art of good music can be a comfort during difficult times, and music in 2020 was no different — in fact, music in 2020 was, indeed, very important to us!

What is music? Some say that from folk ballads to major songs, from hip-hop to country, music often gives voice to our feelings. That’s one of the defining characteristics of this art form … an art form just as important as any other mode of cultural expression. Perhaps one could say that music is the best of all art forms? (I know many musicians who would agree with this sentiment!) Think about the sayings “there’s a song in my heart,” or “I love that ol’ time rock ‘n’ roll,” or “music makes me feel like dancing” — such expressions are a reflection of the significance of music to the human spirit, and a testament to its enduring power. A world without music would be a very quiet world indeed.

Spaghetti’s importance in our culture is, of course, is self-evident. I will not debase this legendary pasta by trying to explain it.

Here, then, is the BEST MUSIC AND SPAGHETTI OF 2020:

10. Chart toppers and delicious spaghetti

9. Songs that healed us as we ate … SPAGHETTI

8. Music we listened to in our kitchens as pasta aromas provided a full sensory experience

7. Loud music! Yeah, turn it up!!! Let’s hear more notes of the music! SPAGHETTI AND COCAINE FOR BREAKFAST, I’M IN COLLEGE!!!

6. (TIE) Hard-rockin’ music or spaghetti / Meaningful music, the soundtrack to our spaghetti lives

5. Music in our headphones, spaghetti in our mouths, it’s all love

4. “Hennnry!” “Yes, dear?” “Have you heard the latest music?” “I think so and I’m eating the spaghetti.”

3. Quiet, reflective music … a way to hear the softer side of music, as soft as cooked noodles of spaghetti

2. Pretty good music (spaghetti)

1. When the spaghetti is perfectly cooked and the music is perfectly chosen and all is well in 2020