by Ryan Meehan
This year’s been a busy one here at First Order Historians. We’ve talked to some really cool people, and some of them have also been kind enough to share their favorite things with us for our annual year end list. This is the best and the worst from 2014, according to some of our guests and friends.
Los Angeles, California
Food/Drink Discovery: Coffee ice cubes changed my life
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Silicon Valley
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the new Kids Bop CD
Most Significant News Event: When the world found out Amanda Bynes lives off of gift cards from her parents just like the rest of us
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Baking gluten free cookies for at risk inner city kids with food allergies
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: The word ‘BAE’ and/or the samurai hipster look
Food/Drink Discovery: Jalapeno Bottle Caps
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: The Killing
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Film: Zero Theorem Album: The Haunted / Exit Wounds
Most Significant News Event: Disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Still I didn’t get rid of an old one… I start smoking when I drink.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Beanies with animal ears
Los Angeles, California / London, England
Food/Drink Discovery: This French place in Anterp is the very model of casual sophistication, De Kleine Zavel, Stoofstraat 2. Antwerpen. The charred octopus at Mama’s Fish House in Maui is to swim the sea for. Cafe Loup in New York is 70’s cool with groovy jazz.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: True Detective was everything a detective show should be, confounding, confusing, pretentious, funny and spooky. Matthew McConaughey’s detective Cohl is the ultimate existential maniac and Woody Harrelson murders it as the straight-guy asshole Marty. The ending is unsatisfying and the Michelle Monaghan gets the short end as the wife but all in all enthralling.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: I was going to see Planet of the Apes 12 or whatever, but I remembered I was cool. Guardians of the Galaxy was fun, but no Buckaroo Banzai. The Hobbit should be one movie, not three. I haven’t seen any of the math genius movies, and Interstellar seemed like a part-time job. I will say Grand Budapest Hotel. A lovely, charming quirky literate good time. Wes Anderson works one singular patch and I love his style. Nothing comes from outer space, blows up or has Jonah Hill in it.
Most Significant News Event: Ferguson I hope is a turning point in the understanding that we must change the police state. Women’s rights are being pushed back in a very destructive way.The Islamic State war shows our failed foreign policy has made a shambles of millions of innocent lives. Landing on a comet was a sci-fi dream come true for 1968 Greg. The hatred towards immigrants speaks to a cruelty I wish America would discard. The failure of the Federal Government to exist and operate in any real way is an urgent disaster. The fact that the icy control everything, and are selfish and venal is a good reason for revolution. The Giants won their third World Series in five years, heaven.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Loving Scandanavia. We went to Norway, Finland and Sweden this year and it is fantastic. We come from the land of the ice and snow…
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Get off your goddamn phone and converse.
Brooklyn, New York
Food/Drink Discovery: The Pickle Shack (http://www.pickleshacknyc.com/), an amazing vegetarian restaurant in Brooklyn that has, among other delicious things, the best handpies. Also, I discovered what a handpie is.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: There are so many great shows on right now. I just started watching Black Mirror, I really enjoy Justified, Key and Peele is wonderful, Brooklyn 99, Colbert, Parks and Rec, there are just too many… I couldn’t stop naming them. But if I had to pick one show that’s on right now that I’ve been enjoying consistently since it started several years ago (and I hope I don’t have to pick just one), and I might be forgetting some, a show that I look forward to EVERY week (that is also one of my mom’s favorite shows, and maybe the only thing we both love equally, a weird assignation) is The Good Wife. It’s so good. They should call it the… oh, they do. (Maybe The So Good Wife?)
Best Film and/or Album of the year: The most recent movie I saw that I loved and recommend to everyone is Whiplash. J.K. Simmons is one of my favorite actors to watch. He’s so good in everything, and this is part of everything. For albums, I probably listen to too many things to narrow it down meaningfully, but here are a few things I have loved recently: Nick Vatterott’s standup album “For Amusement Only,” Chris Gethard’s “My Comedy Album,” and “Dark Comedy” by Open Mike Eagle (a great hip-hop album, NOT a comedy album, but he’s funny too)… I also loved Chelsea Peretti’s special on Netflix, “One of the Greats.” It is. Enjoy!
Most Significant News Event: I’m not sure that I can really identify one news event as more significant than another. Certainly, there are some that are LESS significant, like celebrity news or sports scores or British royalty and entertainers meeting on a basketball court (or if those things are significant to you, please don’t let me detract from your enjoyment)… But it’s hard to say. The recent cases illuminating police violence are certainly salient in my mind and experience, and hopefully that will lead to reformation of the system in some meaningful way that isn’t evident right now, but I don’t even know if this is an “event,” let alone “news.” Injustice has been around for a while. Hopefully new light is being shed on it for more and more people so that eventually it will be news that it’s around LESS. I think it’s significant to think about and learn about. I certainly don’t know everything about it, or everything, or anything. Is that a good way to answer this question?
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. If something pleases me and doesn’t hurt anyone, I don’t feel bad about it. As for bad habits, I’m not sure if I developed new ones this year, but I bite my nails. Does that help?
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Negativity. Or unjustified, reactionary negativity, let’s say. Certainly there are some things to be negative about, like social injustices. But in pop culture, if you don’t like something, like a pop star who seems to be everywhere, instead of talking about how they’re everywhere (and making them actually be in more places), how about talking about the artists and entertainers you DO like? Or something else entirely! There are so many things to experience on Youtube, let alone in the real world outside of Youtube. Spending time on negativity seems unnecessary and irrelevant and impractical and unhelpful, to both the subject and object of the negativity. I don’t even like being this negative about negativity, but since the question was asked… I guess I hope questions like this question disappear. (And I don’t even hope that. To put a positive spin on it, and walk the walk that I’m talking the talk about, I really liked the questions where I was asked about my favorite things, the things that I love and recommend and think are great and important. Good work!)
San Francisco, California
Food/Drink Discovery: This year after some attempts at eliminating meat from my diet, I discovered the joys of Vegetarian cooking. I learned to love squash, lentils, eggplant. Unfortunately I can’t quite give up my love of some good smoked beast off of the bone.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: This year I became obsessed with Netflix’s revamp of House of Cards and Showtime’s Masters of Sex. Such flawless dialogue and ‘no-punches-pulled’ realism!
Best Film and/or Album of the year: This year I think Hollywood dropped the ball a bit. Guardians of the Galaxy was good fun, but I thought 2013 blew 2014 out of the water sadly. I’ve yet to see the latest Hobbit film though, fingers crossed!
Most Significant News Event: The uprising in Sevastopol and Crimea earlier this year was probably the most anxious I’ve seen the States in a good while. The tension there almost (and still could ) bring the US and Europe into a hostile ‘history repeats’ crisis. Vice did a really compelling job at documenting things on the ground. I found myself checking the YouTube channel daily!
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: This year I definitely went full-on bandwagon watching the World Series between my own SF Giants and the Royals. I haven’t been a huge fan of baseball since playing as a kid, but San Francisco absolutely comes alive during baseball season. I also may or may not have discovered one of Portland Oregon’s hidden gems that is Sassy’s on Morrison street…..basically any night/day of the week.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: White girls need to stop twerking on the internet…….Okay that’s totally a lie.
Manhattan, New York
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: The Killing (on Netflix). Nothing like murder after telling jokes all night.
Best Film: John Wick may not have been the absolute best of the year, but there was tons of action, it had the best puppy I’ve seen on film in a while, and Keanu Reeves didn’t talk much. And he’s 50 and still looks damn good. I didn’t check my phone more than once during the movie.
Most Significant News Event: The Silver Line – the new DC Metro Transit line opened this year – right next to my parent’s house. That might not sound like much but I’ve been hearing about this potential subway line opening for years and now it’s finally finished and running and I don’t ever have to hear about it again.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I watch most of my shows when I get home, which is anywhere between midnight at 2am. And since it’s so late and I get so tired, I have to stuff my face with ice cream just to stay awake.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: People using the word “epic”. It’s so not epic. It’s overused and it needs to die.
Rock Island, IL
Guilty pleasure: The Roth Show. Not a great singer, clever – but not brilliant, and he’s funny, yet not Louis C.K. funny. However when one combines those lesser strengths and funnels them into one show, fifty rides on the soul train turned on its tractor beam and mesmerized me for 25 minutes before I think I blinked.
Food discovery: My daily breakfast this year has consisted of an asiago cheese bagel, powdered Bravarian cream doughnut and a Mountain Dew. I’m 5’11”, weigh 159 lbs and I just turned 40. Suck it.
Favorite album of 2014: Either Judas Priest’s “Redeemer of Souls” or Mayhem’s “Esoteric Warfare”.
Trend I wish would go away: Duck Dynasty and/or redneck bullshit. There are seriously cool outlaws breaking rules and opening minds like Hank 3. Then there are jackasses who hate on you in the name of religious intolerance, and I’m kinda sick of that crap.
Best TV show: Game of Thrones. If Lord if the Rings were more true to the human spirit, you would without question end up in Westeros owning dragons and/or fucking your family.
Most important news story: Domestically I’d have to say the resistance against police brutality. Internationally, probably our 13 year long war against whomever it is this year that we’re fighting.
San Diego, California
Food/Drink Discovery: Whiskey. Yes, it took me this long. I don’t really drink hard alcohol.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Shark Tank.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Film: Cowspiracy Album: Bethlehem – Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea’s “Acting Like That” song. I like it.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Twerking
Them Som’ Bitches
Rock Island, IL
Food/Drink Discovery: I found myself eating more Thai food this year. Drink Discovery- Founders “Breakfast Stout”
TV show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: House of Cards
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Best Film- I don’t know…I didn’t watch a lot of movies this year. Best Album- Beck “Morning Phase”
Most Significant News Event: ISIS and Ebola
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Eating too much chips and salsa in one setting.
Pop Culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: People using social media as an outlet to talk trash about one another.
Los Angeles, California
Food/Drink Discovery: Almond milk lattes at Sweet Rose Creamery in LA
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: “Shark tank” and “Family guy” on Netflix
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Taylor Swift “1989” SORRY…WISH THIS WASN’T THE CASE
Most Significant News Event: Ebola in US
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Obsessively group texting
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Mom jeans – They ain’t for me.
Food and drink discovery: None. I’m at a point of cutting back the list on both. I started using Izze soda for mixing vodka. And I’m hoping the new year brings vapor tunities. Also raw spinach does not ruin a smoothie.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: True Detective wins hands down. That show had violence, religion, sex, action, drugs, good acting, great dialogue and a story involving sadistic child abuse. What’s not to love? Life is a 1 season circle.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Movies I watched a lot of forgettable red box spit outs. I just saw Exodus in 3D because it was the latest movie showing and I needed to kill three hours. Not enough Batman and I really expected the Jews to whine more. The Lance Armstrong documentary stop at nothing is pretty good. “Vice” because this show is more news than the news.
Most Significant News Event: CNN is like a bad comedy channel at times. The significant stories are the ongoing ones we tend to ignore the human cost of war, drone bombs, environmental changes, dwindling water supplies, government domestic spying, police brutality . We focus on what the news cycle throws at us to distract us from our eminent doom. I think the torture report is significant in what we’ve learned so far and what they’re still holding back. Definitely jihadists bulletin board material.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I’m really enjoying the Bill Cosby downfall. It’s always amazing watching this kind of human drama. A rapist wearing a ‘Hello Friends’ sweatshirt, victims crying, lawyers, cops. To quote Flounder “Boy, is this going to be great”. I also like “Bar Rescue” because it’s funny to watch the desperate get bullied. No new bad habits. Although Weed is almost legal in Oregon so I might get fat on pot crackers. The pop trend that I ignored was the ice bucket challenge. That was some annoying shit. Not once did I see people with that disease have a bucket of cold water dumped on their twisted bodies.
If you’re into war, earthquakes, race riots weather related crisis, terrorist attacks and mass shootings 2015 is going to be your year.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Food/Drink Discovery: I would say the only food discovery was Bryer’s chocolate Oreo cookie ice cream. Maybe the best ice cream of all time.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: I had a bunch of stuff I liked this year. I started Game of Thrones this year and watched all the seasons over a month or so with my Serena. Her and I watched Thrones, a couple more seasons of Sons of Anarchy and now our new favorite show is Gotham. By myself I have got into Newsroom, Homeland, and watched seasons 4-8 of Dexter. Other than that it’s mostly just Braves games and some football.
Best Film and/or Album of the year:
I am not qualified to answer that. My favorite Album this year has been Eminem’s. I have listened to that a lot. He really is funnier than most comedians on top of being incredible with words and speed and confidence. But I’m not a huge music guy.
Same with Movies- I don’t even remember which movies came out this year or which ones I loved… Just saw Interstellar. That was almost great.
Most Significant News Event: Ha- They all seem significant for the week that they are. In my profession it was probably Robin Williams killing himself. Initially there was all this talk about depression and comedians. I had a couple days of, “Well I must not be a great comedian because I have never wanted to kill myself”. You know how depressing that is? Then it turned out he had been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Such a terrible loss… If he’d have just battled for five more years he could have shaken his depression.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I am not aware of developing any. I have continued with previous bad habits of eating poorly and not running or working out, but I don’t think I’m going to be able afford my 80’s anyway. I also quit dipping. So, that’s a good thing.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: That would take me knowing what’s trending.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Food/Drink discovery: Talenti gelato
TV show: Key and Peele
Best Film of the Year: Under the skin
Most Significant News Event: Putin sending special forces across Ukraine in the middle of the night.
Bad Habit I developed: Thrift store shopping.
Pop culture trend I hope disappears in 2015: High school teachers dating students.
New York, New York
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: I have a few- Transparent, BoJack Horseman and Black Mirrors. All are on either Netflix or Amazon.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: I only went to the movies once (terrible, I know) and saw Obvious Child and liked it.
Most Significant News Event: Eric Gardner/Michael Brown/Tamir Rice stories- they have caused people to really speak up and demand change.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Checking social media on my iPhone as soon as I wake up. I stopped for a week and felt so much better. I vow to stop doing it starting tomorrow.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Saying “bae” instead of “babe.” It’s weird and it’s the Danish word for poop.
Food/Drink Discovery: Vegan burritos. Sorry, that’s confusing. I mean, burritos made out of people who were vegans.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: ISIS Presents: Bloopers, Boners, and Foul Ups
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Film: Epic Funny Cats 20 Minutes HD-Happy New Year 2014
Most Significant News Event: That video of Bill Cosby murdering a child with his bare hands.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Krokodil.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: The ceaseless and unending avalanche of lists.
Allen Strickland Williams
Los Angeles, California
Food/Drink Discovery: Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin. Best gin I’ve ever tasted. Made the best martini I’ve ever tasted.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Friday Night Lights. I slammed through all five seasons in a matter of weeks. My eyes are clear and my heart is full.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Ex Hex’s Rips for the album and Listen Up, Philip for the film.
Most Significant News Event: #YesAllWomen
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I own a vape and use it all the time.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Sex.
Kampen, The Netherlands
Food/Drink Discovery: Uuuuh! Don’t get me started on food!
– Pulpo (Spanish octopus with mashed potatoe and paprika powder)
– Frutti di Mare (a plate full of fish; only to be eaten off of a car-hood in South-Italy)
– Too many kinds of special beers, especially from Belgium
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: American Horror Story! And i’d have to go with the standard ‘Game of Thrones’. I’m sorry, I do. Managed to fight off watching The Walking Dead (got too boring) and also managed to avoid watching Breaking Bad. I know it will be awesome, but if I crack even one tiny bit, I can say to my social life goodbye!!
Best Film and/or Album of the year:
Film: Wolf of Wallstreet…. Awesome! And Lone Survivor 2013 (if I can add more)
Favourite album: Origin – Omnipresent
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Guilty Pleasure: Flamed Camembert straight out of the oven…… Dear lord. And to compensate: Powerlifting! Bad habit: Being late as always…But that’s not something I developed in 2014.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Twerking and Dubsmash. I beg you…… please stop it……
East Grand Rapids, Michigan
Food/Drink Discovery: Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch! Fucking Amazing.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: True Detective. Fucking Double Amazing.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Dare I say Gone Girl? I enjoyed it.
Most Significant News Event: Obviously Ferguson, Missouri. Fucking Cops.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: I started eating Sauerkraut on hot dogs and drinking Whiskey. Who the fuck am I?
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Hipsters and Taylor Swift
Food/Drink Discovery: Zombie Burger + Drink Lab entirely ridiculous burgers, the best but make sure a bed is nearby to rest after chowing down on one of these bastards!
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Rick Gervais’ show called ‘Derek’, he did a great job on that one.
Best Film and/or Album of the year: I have to say I think Child Bite ‘Strange Matter’ is the best record I have heard this year. They are an incredible band and wish them nothing but the best.
Most Significant News Event: I haven’t watched the news in a long long time. It’s not part of my reality and I don’t like being depressed.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Eating horrible food and drinking way too much coffee. I just can’t help myself on the road. I’m a pig.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: The jeans rolled half way up the shin that the kids are rocking these days looks pretty lame. That look should be banned.
Los Angeles, California
Food/Drink discovery: Bulletproof coffee. Simply life changing. If you don’t know what it is, it’s coffee that doesn’t allow bullets to penetrate it. No not really. It’s coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Gives you enough energy all day you’ll find you barely do cocaine anymore.
TV show: I can’t stop watching the Max and Ruby cartoon. I don’t like it, but if I turn it off two children yell and scream at me.
Best Film of the Year: Guardians of the Galaxy.
Most Significant News Event: Maybe this is just recency but I’m going to go with the Bill Cosby rape allegations. Who would have thought Dr. Huxtable could be capable of this? I’m not even sure he’s a real doctor, I think he may have just wanted to get his hands on some tits.
Bad Habit I developed: I can’t stop punching people that ask if things are gluten free. I also tried gluten free brownies recently and discovered that gluten is whatever makes brownies taste like brownies.
Pop culture trend I hope disappears: Wearing jeans everywhere instead of sweat pants. So annoying.
Them Som’ Bitches
Food/Drink Discovery: Bacon cheesecake.
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Hannibal. (Runner up: True Detective)
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Guardians Of The Galaxy (Runner up: Nightcrawler) & Broken Bells – After The Disco.
Most Significant News Event: Bundy Standoff (Runner up: Bill Cosby serves Jesus Juice)
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Reading through stupid comments on news articles.
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Police Brutality (Runner Up: Facebook)
Food/Drink Discovery: Ginger tea!
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Ugly Americans
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Morning Phase – Beck & Interstellar
Most Significant News Event: Life on Mars! Oh no sorry, this will happen next year 😉
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Not waking up at first alarm ring in the morning
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Gauged ears / giant earring plugs. Please stop it!
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Food/Drink Discovery: Raw Clams
Television show that I couldn’t stop watching in 2014: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Best Film and/or Album of the year: Earth – “Primitive and Deadly”
Most Significant News Event: Raising minimum wage in the state of RI to $9.
Guilty Pleasure or bad habit that I developed this calendar year: Eating raw clams
Pop culture trend that I hope disappears in 2015: Abandoning the 90s
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