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10 Things We Should Expect to See in 2013

As you might know by now, today is the last day of the year. Take advantage of these few hours before midnight to review every “Best Of 2012″ list out there because their timeliness will soon be quelled by the imminent switch in our non-Mayan calendar. Once that clock strikes 12, mankind will turn the page on another year of existence, hitting “Refresh” on what we’ve digested over the past 365 days. That’s a lot of pressure.

Alas, 2012 was definitely a weird year (but, then again, aren’t they all?). From Mitt Romney to Honey Boo Boo, America flashed her freakish flares while we sat back and watched from behind a TV or computer screen. There’s no need to go over everything that happened; as mentioned before, that’s what the “Best Of 2012” lists are for, right?

With that being said, it’s never too early to reel out a few predictions for the New Year. And, of course, what better way to organize that crystal ball mentality than a list? Based off what we’ve witnessed since last January, there are a few solid calls we can make about 2013. Ten of them, actually. And here they are:

1. More politics as f***ing usual. Regardless of its outcome, the fiscal cliff crisis has taught us one extremely inconvenient truth: Gridlock is here to stay. Election Night didn’t change a damn thing: The House Republicans will sustain their anti-everything platform, the Senate Democrats will still cave to whomever, and President Obama will remain powerless in his bully-less pundit. Sorry, politickers, 2013 is going to be no different than the past two years in Washington. Then again, Mr. Obama doesn’t have to worry about re-election anymore. . .

2. More social media and tech nonsense. Facebook buys the eight-person-run Instagram for $1 billion. Facebook’s highly speculated IPO falls flat in Downtown Manhattan. Apple and Samsung bicker over billion-dollar patents. Google duels it out with Microsoft over search engine supremacy. Apple Maps replaces Google Maps. And, amid everything, millions of dollars are being poured into Snapchat. Overwhelmed yet? Get used to it, because we’re only just beginning to see what can happen when tech companies grow up.
3. The mayoral election of a lifetime. After 12 years in power, Bloomberg is out of the picture. That is all, New York.
4. The continued Manhattanization of Brooklyn. We’re sorry, the “hidden borough” you know and love died a long time ago. All eyes are on Kings County, as real estate developers carve out condos for the newly-discovered-but-always-there neighborhoods. And with catchy names, too: For example, do you know where ProCro and BoCoCa are? Neither do we! And, with rents skyrocketing to Manhattan levels, think of Brooklyn like one big Bleecker Street: A few decades ago, sure, it was the place to be. Now you’re lucky if you don’t have to pay a cover charge. Consider Barclays Center a subtle reminder of what’s to come.
5. The Supreme Court decision of a lifetime. After three years of appeal, the Nine will rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act. That is all, America.
6. More pot-legalization talk. Passing the vote by wide margins in Colorado and Washington, our War on Drugs conversation has finally gone mainstream, as more states (including New York) are considering efforts to significantly decriminalize and maximize profits off of marijuana; seven of which include full legalization. Why? It’s the fifth year straight of stagnant economic growth and crippled state budgets. Expect lawmakers to pull the whole “We’re still broke as hell” card. All power to you.
7. Less memes and GIFs. Sorry, BuzzFeed users and Redditors (myself included), but they’re gonna have to get old sometime.
8. Less Tea Party nonsense. Although the first installment on this list mentioned the continuity of obstructionism on the Hill, that doesn’t mean that these guys are leading the pack. After the 2010 midterm electoral shift, the fringe newcomers proved to America two things: that their inexperience means, duh, they have no idea what they’re doing and that their ideas are wildly unpopular with the majority of Americans. These political revelations were confirmed this Election Day, when idiots like Richard Murdock, Todd Akin, and Allen West were tossed out of office faster than you can say “socialized medicine.” Mostly because none of them could resist talking about rape and abortion. Good riddance.
9. More gun control talk. This is something we’ve mentioned a few times since the horrific events in Newtown. Like we see with pot legalization, a conversation that hasn’t been seriously held in decades is once again being rehashed. On Saturday, Democrats announced that a high-capacity magazine clip ban will be introduced to Congress on January 3, their first day back in Washington. And the signs of a policy showdown are everywhere: The NRA has begun its campaign to arm everyone; Bloomberg and other mayors are demanding reform; Governor Cuomo is proposing unprecedented legislation in Albany; President Obama has organized a team of lawmakers to create policy; and now, more than ever before, large numbers of Americans are calling for change to our views on firearms. Let the battle begin.
10. The Second Avenue Subway. Kidding.
Cheers.
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How Do We Remember Things That Happen In The Past Without ‘Best Of…’ Lists?

The minute December 1st was upon us, the Internet and print media alike began to fill its shelves and papers with content-heavy, link-heavy and rank-heavy lists, all of which give the reader some sort of guidance as to what actually happened over the past 365 days. Of course, we here at the Voice were guilty of it, too: we put together ‘Top 10 Films of 2012,‘ ‘Our Favorite Books Of 2012,’ and the like. And you should read every single one of them.

We love lists. They’re easy to digest, they’re manageable and they’re great for small talk. This is because you almost always disagree with them, making great conversation at parties – over this past weekend, my friends and I discussed for hours how Rolling Stone‘s ‘50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs Of All Time‘ was invalid due to a lack of Big L. And this is because they’re almost always written by an authoritarian writer, who hands you his or her opinions on what he or she thinks you should know about this Year In Culture. Authority leads to competition: If you haven’t seen all of New York Times‘s film critic A.O. Scott’s favorite movies this year, then we should probably/maybe stop talking.

Post-modernism aside, the headline of this piece is a very serious question. As the Internet expands like the universe, the lists are never-ending galaxies that exist for the sole reason of existing; this week, Vice Magazine put together ‘The 25 Best Lists Of The Year.’ Why? Because why not?

Can you imagine December without them? What would we do? How would we understand what humanity accomplished (or really messed up) if we cannot number them 1 through 10? Better yet, and this is what’s most important here, is there any way to remember things that happened in 2012 without ‘Best Of’ lists?

The future seems bleak.

It’s wholly inherent of Man to categorize before understanding. And we access the Internet to understand Everything: there are googolplexes of information out there, let alone in the Deep Web. Therefore, naturally, it will be a hotbed for lists. It’s our defense mechanism of assigning pieces of culture numbers from afar so we can look back at them and better piece together the national conscience.

It’s like a hyper-digital version of picking a dodgeball team in PE class – the kids stand in a clear line, deemed fit by strength and popularity, and we pick and choose from a distance who we know is good for the team. The last kid remaining is John Carter.

Speaking of John Carter, ‘Best Of…’ lists grow exponentially because each one is met with its shadow: ‘Worst Of..” lists. This is the bottom 1 Percent of culture and, if you like anything on that list, you feel this weird, unsettling emptiness inside your reputation. Like if someone on the subway actually spotted you liking Magic Mike, your entire worldview would be tarnished by this one individual event where you lost track of culture significance. Ugh, get with the times. Maybe we can solve this problem by doing what’s best for these ‘Worst Of…’ applicants: forgetting about them.

The only reason I bring this mind-numbing question up is because I’ve been endlessly reading ‘Best Of…’ lists for the past three weeks or so. I’ve gathered a few things from those: people really enjoyed Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar this year, I need to see The Master some time soon and, damn, we really like memes/GIFs. Add in the Election – result: infinite possibilities.  And, with extremely short attention spans, every December comes with a collective reset button; did anyone already add Great Gatsby or that upcoming Terrence Malick flick to a ‘Best Films Of 2013’ list that is hiding away in a folder on someone’s desktop somewhere?

I like writing lists. I’ve written a few for the Voice myself and do not regret writing them whatsoever. Just two days ago, I put together a list of ‘Instagram Photos I Would Not Mind Giving Away To Corporate America;’ it may not have been a nostalgic look back at everything between January 1st and December 31st but, regardless, it was a list. And I enjoyed writing it.

Aside from that, I think we need to start asking ourselves, “What are these lists doing to us?” or, “Are Years of Culture measured in significance by the glossy lists they produce?” I’ll give you a second or two to answer that last one. In the meantime, to get a bit more personal, “How do I remember what happened in my life in 2012?” I would pay someone a handful of quarters to write for me ‘The Best, Worst and Seemingly Awkward Moments Of My Life In 2012.’ I don’t remember them; please refresh my memory (by blogging about it or sharing me on a Google Doc).

Please let me know when we have answers to these questions. I’ll be busy watching The Master. But I will say this: if the world does end today, at least we went out on the most post-modern bang possible.

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The Last Year Of My Life, Brought To You By Facebook

On average, an ordinary, freedom-loving American spends about eight hours a month on Facebook. That’s sixteen minutes a day, seven day a week, ninety six hours a year. Simple math aside, Mark Zuckerberg has you under his watch for eight full days. And, if you have Facebook on your smartphone, well then…

Some might use that tidbit of information as viral proof that, yes, the Mayan calendar is definitely accurate. Others might attribute this social media addiction to an absence of interpersonal communication in the self-obsessed  digital age. And other others might just be on Facebook right now, too busy to care about those dumb statistics. But what do we Facebook-digest in those eight full days of the year?
Of course, we have cat photos, baby photos, last night photos, lyrics as Facebook statuses, funny articles to share, memes, gifs, jpegs, m4as, mp3s, blaring political statements, endless events, birthdays, declarations, proclamations, graduations and consolations on the stream of informational consciousness that is the “News Feed.” None of these items bare any repeating.
But, this year, the day-draining site’s engineers have taken it a step further to remind you how much time you’re living/wasting with their product. The bubble has been reinforced when Facebook rolled out the new “Best in 2012” feature yesterday. When I logged on in the morning, personal listicles of what the social network deemed ‘The Biggest Shit These People Have Done’ on and off of the computer screen popped up on the screen like acne.
I took a look at what my 2012 existence was worth in cold hard megabytes, according to Facebook’s logic. And, you know, I learned a lot about what I’ve been up to. But I still (nor never will) have no idea if I feel happy about myself.
I learned that I was in a bunch of blurry photos with people.
I learned that I have made exactly 153 new friends, many of which say ‘Happy Birthday’ on my wall once a year.
With that being said, 109 friends posted on my wall on July 15th, 2012. The rest of my friends who didn’t? Well, I don’t talk to them anymore so I wouldn’t know.
I learned that I went to Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, in mid-August. I don’t remember what happened that trip because I didn’t take any pictures. Facebook made sure that I would notice my mistake.
However, Facebook also reminded me that I went to Montreal in October and did take pictures. Lucky me!
I learned that, in November, I registered to be an organ donor as an attachment on my request to switch voting locations. It was done strictly for scientific purposes.
I learned that I started (and soon left) a blogging job for a separate company that I’m pretty sure was a mob front. Good grief.
I learned that I shot photos of street art and stickers. Nobody liked them.
I learned that a friend of mine once thought I looked like this guy:
I learned that I opened up a book once and found the following message. Also, I am still absolutely positive that this summarizes America’s discontent with their elected representatives more than anything else than exists on the World Wide Web:
I learned that many of my friends enjoy my post-graduation fears.
I learned that I started working at the Voice almost a year ago.
And I learned that 2012 has come to an end.
The “Best of 2012” feature is this uncomfortable satisfaction for us users as we edge our Internet heads into the new year – one abound with even more memes to dissect and GIFs to laugh at. It is Facebook’s way of telling you that you are a member of society. Just look at everything you’ve done! You went to North Carolina! You became an organ donor! And you told people about it! More collectively, you told Facebook about it!
It is this awkward shift in social media to further solidify your bond with everyone else around you, whether it’s a geotagged tweet, an Instagram of the beach, a check in on Foursquare or, in this case, a Facebook timeline of all the (mostly) great times you had with those people over the past few months. And, looking beyond 2012, you can always go to the end of your social network: last stop on the timeline – birth. Man, oh man, how the Internet and ourselves are transforming right in front of our eyes (read: monitor).
I’m getting too deep into this for my own good. I need to get back on Facebook. Onward into another year of stalking.
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Five Little Mysteries Based on the Food Section of the Voice Best Of Issue

This year’s Best Ramen?

Ready for a little quiz? Here are five questions concerning establishments FiTR writers have recommend in the Voice Best Ofs, which you can examine here. You can either read the items first, and then answer the questions, or you can read the questions first, and then go on a scavenger hunt in search of the answers. Actually, you can just read the questions and turn the page to get at the answers immediately, but that’s cheating!

THE QUESTIONS:

]

1. Which ancient bar famous for its clam pizza, and what famous Italian ice store, are the awardees that are the furthest south geographically from the Voice offices, and how far?

2. Where in Lower Manhattan can you get a dessert that features salted-caramel ice cream?

3. Here’s an easy one: What sort of flesh is being cooked at the rotisserie in Jackson Heights that we recommend, and what nationality is credited with introducing the spice rub to the South American nation the establishment represents?

4. What is the best cookbook store in the city? And what neighborhood is it in? For extra points, name its legendary proprietor.

5. What is the surprising choice of Best Ramen this year? And what celebrity hangs out at that establishment? What comedy TV show is that celebrity associated with?

Turn page for answers

[

Chinese chicken?

THE ANSWERS:

1. Denino’s Pizzeria and Ralph’s Ices, both in Staten Island, and approximately 7 miles from the Voice offices.

2. The revamped Great Jones restaurant Acme features a wonderful Danish dessert, a beer-and-bread porridge that’s topped with the desired flavor of ice cream.

3. Chicken. Indentured Chinese immigrants are often credited with inventing the spice combination rubbed into the chickens of Peru. The rotisserie is Casa del Pollo.

4. Kitchen Arts and Letters is located in the nosebleed section of the Upper East Side. Nach Waxman is the brains behind it.

5. Momofuku in the East Village. It’s one of Bill Hader’s favorite choices. TV show: Laugh In. (Sorry, just checking to see if you were still paying attention.

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A Leaked ‘Racist’ Obama Video Was Released on Fox News Last Night

Welcome to the month of October, where Election Day begins to make everyone go absolutely insane, especially those in the media. This will happen when one single narrative dominates the news for too long: Those involved get dizzy, latching on to anything out of the usual that will provide a worthwhile headline. For examples, just check in on all the premeditated debate talks and expectations and predictions and nonsense that have consumed the Internet the past few days.

Or check out what went down on Fox News last night.

It all started at around 3 p.m. today, when Matt Drudge, the man behind the conservative web blog the Drudge Report, send shock waves through the constantly shocked Twitter-sphere with this:

 

The “NOT from MOTHERJONES” label was a reference to the “47 Percent” video that has brought the Romney campaign to its knees, so the announcement by Mr. Drudge laid equal emphasis on how important this video would be, in terms of the election. And at 9 last night on Fox News, the video — an unseen outtake from then-senator Obama’s speech in 2007 with Reverend Jeremiah Wright by his side at Hampton University in Virginia — from The Daily Caller was released on the unsuspecting American public.

(For whatever the reason, the video’s embedding code will not work. So you can watch it on the Daily Caller here.)

In the video, the soon-to-be president kinda/sorta implies that the
federal government cared more about 9/11 and Hurricane Andrew victims
than the homeless New Orleaners after Katrina because of race (see:
Kanye West, 2006, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” It might be too extreme of comparison, but, wow, Mike Myer’s face never gets old). He then continues to ask why federal money is focused on the suburbs rather
than inner-city neighborhoods with lower-income residents.

According to Fox News, the tape contained a “racially charged” tone; host Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, who helped leak the video at The Daily Caller, nearly vomited in anger over how “divisive” this “other side” of Obama was. Although the way they were so baffled by its content reminded anyone watching of something else not so long ago.

If you can think back that far, Obama’s statements in this video harken
back to the whole “black liberation” controversy of early 2008. Factor in
Bill Ayers, ACORN, and whatever else was going on when Sarah Palin was a
VP nominee. It’s a controversy that’s overused and underwhelming four years later.

But, if that’s the case again, Hannity and Carlson need to remember one simple historic lesson: The racial undertones of that controversy didn’t sway voters away from Obama. It’s hard to push a social issue down unemployed citizens’ throats — hence the electoral apathy toward Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage a few months ago. Hate to admit it, but Marx was right about one thing: Economy trumps everything.

With only 35 days or so until the election, political talking heads become meth addicts, obsessively searching for short-term fixes that will get them through the day. The “47 Percent” Romney video, using that analogy, was Heisenberg’s blue. But what the Republican candidate said in that leak was strikingly different because it zeroed in on the underlying economic message that will determine this election; it reflected upon Romney’s largest electoral flaw: the stereotypical super-rich-guy mold that he cannot seem to escape.

Mr. Hannity and Mr. Carlson, you might be unbelievably distraught by the racial remarks, but most of America’s minds are elsewhere. This video, in terms of where national interests lie at the present moment, just isn’t cuttin’ it. And, also, who takes Tucker Carlson seriously after this.

To give you guys, at least this’ll make the debate a little more interesting.

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Live from New York… It’s Mitt Romney?

This has to happen. In what could be one of the most interesting Saturday Night Live episodes in recent memory, it has been reported that Lorne Michaels, the producer of the legendary sketch comedy show, has offered the Romney tent a chance for their candidate to show off his comedic flares in front of a live studio audience.

The proposal is still pending and, with two episodes left at the tail-end of the season that have no hosts assigned, we could have a match. That’s right: Mitt Romney could be an SNL host. Imagine that… it’s hard but try.

Now, the Massachusetts ex-Governor has provided us with a sense of humor already: in his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, he described himself (more accurate then anyone else has, actually) as “the guy in the picture that comes in your photo frame.” And we already know he has the awkward card nailed down and a singing bit akin to Ed Helms’ character, Andy Bernard, in “The Office.”

A Presidential candidate hasn’t hosted the show since 1996 – the last was mega-millionaire Steve Forbes, who ran as a Republican and didn’t even make it to the general election. This hosting gap in time could be attributed to the publicity risk the cherished position holds: not being funny in the eyes of the nation could sink one’s poll numbers.

But, it can also portray a much more human side to voters and Romney is in desperate need of one of those, especially with against a President who has established his comedic credentials once over.

After 2008, SNL set an extremely high bar for future political commentary surrounding an election cycle: Tina Fey’s infamous Sarah Palin impression was, at the time, the most-watched viral video on NBC’s website. It was a highly influential piece of political humor at the time – a point made in a scene in HBO’s “Game Change,” where pseudo-Palin Julianne Moore is seen sadly watching Fey play the part of the Alaskan ex-Governor on television.
Although 2012 has had Herman Cain and Rick Santorum for laughs, the staff recognizes that the election could be a snore-fest; as columnist Maureen Dowd at the Times writes, the Romney/Obama match-up is “a Tin-Man-versus-Spock race.” And Jason Sudeikis’s Romney impersonation is not close enough to the real thing.
Fingers crossed on the Romney tent’s willingness to laugh a little. At least we know one thing for sure: Kid Rock will be on the top of the list for possible musical guest.
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This Week’s Specials: Perfect Pork and Poisonous-Tasting Booze

And now, a look back at what was on the menu here at Fork in the Road this week.

Here, piggy, piggy!
Here, piggy, piggy!

Robert Sietsema warmly welcomes 2012 with a look back at the 11 Most Astonishing Dishes of 2011.

Lauren Shockey samples the small plates at Greenpoint newcomer Calyer and finds the tapas-style eatery passes her taste test.

Victoria Bekiempis samples bad bubbly, and finds that cheap cava is the better way to party on a budget this New Year’s Eve.

Lauren Bloomberg tells you what not to eat with a list of the grossest holiday recipes.

Robert Sietsema decides that dinner not only ends well at Allswell — every course achieves excellence.

Lauren Shockey buys Bigoli’s agnolotti and thinks they taste like “pockets of veal-y delight.”

Victoria Bekiempis tries Cossack Vodka and, somewhat miraculously, lives!