Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Beyonce,

I may not be your biggest fan (except for the slightly manic 'crazy in love' and maybe 'No, no, no' with Destiny's Child and even those may be because of the rap interludes by Jay Z and Wyclef, but I digress)... So yes, I'm not the biggest fan. I've always thought you are very beautiful and talented no doubt, but a slightly too-loud singer who overdoes her songs and wears similarly glittery gowns all the time. And we won't even dwell on the robot glove.

But you left me ENCHANTED by this rendition of At Last. The moment, the Obama's dancing so sweetly, the rapturous crowds, the setting, Michelle's pretty gown, your pretty, understated gown...and your voice with real, true, honest emotion. Not one false note. It really was magical.

So thank you Beyonce. I will now try to forget 'single ladies..put a ring on it' and the robot glove (shudder).


And for the rest of you who may not have seen it, this is what I'm talking about.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Favorite Line

"we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

Indeed, these are not irreconcilable. In fact they are symbiotic. This might not have been the most grand or eloquent of his beautifully worded sentiments but this is the one that made me sigh and think 'ok, the madness has ended....'

A wonderful, moving, sobering day. Good luck Barack- if anyone can do it, you can...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Reasons to miss George Bush....

Ok, I'm going to get a little subversive on you and try to outline the top 5 reasons to miss George Bush. Serious appraisals of his legacy are being made all over the news media (AIDS in Africa, no child left behind, relations with India etc) but this is NOT that kind of list.

This is an attempt to see what, if anything, on a lighter level, I will miss about Dubya.

5. His willingness to laugh at himself. Whatever you say, I must admit it took a sense of humor to poke fun at his own goof ups, to shrug off the shoe-throwing incident and to sit through the excruciating roast done by Colbert, which actually made me sympathize with Bush. Not to mention his bumbling persona- with words, with doors, with his strange smirk- strangely, oddly endearing almost. Many people say that despite their great political differences with Bush, he came across as a friendly, nice guy on a personal level. Note how you could NEVER say that for Cheney (shudder). His cooperation with the Obama team during the transition seems to point to that notion.

This story sums it up for me: I was watching a TV show today where they were interviewing a photographer for National Geographic who was documenting the White House. One of his favorite pictures showed GW staring wistfully out of the windows of the Oval office, backlit by the sun. What was he thinking, the picture seemed to ask? Reflecting on his legacy? Pondering the burdens of the Presidency? The President, the photographer said, was looking for his dog, Barney.

Something about that story summed it up for me- a simple-minded, goofy person/ frat boy who was just in the WRONG job. ETA: Maybe that's being too naive and benign but I'm feeling charitable today.

4. Laura Bush:

I like her. You always got the feeling she was slightly embarrassed by George even though she loves him, she is dignified and slightly enigmatic, she was a gracious first lady by all accounts and inspired one of my favorite books of last year- American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld.

3. Barney the dog:

Watching Bush run after Barney the dog symbolized him in many ways. My sister and I once watched the Barney cam videos on the White House website in silent, horrified fascination.

2. Jokes and comedy at the expense of Bush: Reams have been written about how comics are stuck with little to make fun of about Obama. Indeed, we had such rich humor, even entire franchises, that came out of the Bush Administration.

Specifically I mourn the end of 'Great moments in Presidential Speeches' from David Letterman. That truly was one of my favorite segments on late night TV and now it is over....

To mark the end of this era, Letterman did a special compilation of the best moments from Dubya's speeches.....enjoy....

Wow, he sure was a funny and entertaining public speaker- albeit not always intentionally.

1. This is obvious, and linked to the point above, but the number one reason to miss Bush Jr. is Bushisms....ah, the beauty of Bushisms....always so resolute and so clear in its conviction and muddled in delivery. Oh.. the hours of laughter his speeches have inspired.... How could we fault a person who coined such words as 'misunderestimated'? Some of these Bushisms are so famous as to truly rank with great moments in Presidential speeches. We might never hear such inane, surreal and hilarious speeches again so we should take a moment to appreciate them...Here is the definitive collection of Bushisms for your reading pleasure and if you don't have a lot of time, the top 25 Bushisms as compiled by the chief collector of Bushsims- each one is a delight. Also check out the best of the video Bushisms).

Wow! That was tough but I found five things to miss...with a little stretching here and there.

I'm going to say goodbye to the craziness, sorrow and darkness of the past 8 years on the best note possible by leaving you you with my top 5 Bushisms:

5."I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."—discussing Tony Blair

4. "And so, in my State of the—my State of the Union—or state—my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation—I asked Americans to give 4,000 years—4,000 hours over the next—the rest of your life—of service to America. That's what I asked—4,000 hours."

3. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

2. "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"

And for no. 1 I have this tie funny, so sad, so true?

1. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."


1. "There's a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, 'I don't want you to let me down again.' "—Boston, Oct. 3, 2000

Hahaha......thanks for the laughs George. I think we'll all like you a lot better when you're making your hilarious speeches but are not making policy!

What are your fav Bushisms? And will you miss George Bush at all? Why? Weigh in below....

Friday, January 16, 2009

On Lasantha Wickramatunga

This is a remarkable letter, published posthumously after the killing in broad daylight of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga. He had written this statement, entitled "And then they came for me" to be published only in case he was assassinated, and as is often the case in Sri Lanka, his words proved sadly prescient. The SL government has its hands dirty as it allowed and fostered such vitriol against a journalist who exposed corruption and nepotism as well as highlighted the human cost of military 'solutions' to terrorism.

Important questions all, which have been made outside the purview of 'acceptable' public debate because that would be 'unpatriotic' and aiding and abetting the enemy. Sound familiar?

Really, the entire letter is worth reading- for its balance, courage (especially in the section where he calls out Mahinda Rajapaksa even while reflecting on their friendship) and the sheer dramatic quality of it all. I'll highlight two sections that I liked because I like that Wickramatunga also places the onus of political participation and courage on civilians:

The free media serve as a mirror in which the public can see itself sans mascara and styling gel. From us you learn the state of your nation, and especially its management by the people you elected to give your children a better future. Sometimes the image you see in that mirror is not a pleasant one. But while you may grumble in the privacy of your armchair, the journalists who hold the mirror up to you do so publicly and at great risk to themselves. That is our calling, and we do not shirk it.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: The Leader is there for you, be you Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, low-caste, homosexual, dissident or disabled. Its staff will fight on, unbowed and unafraid, with the courage to which you have become accustomed. Do not take that commitment for granted. Let there be no doubt that whatever sacrifices we journalists make, they are not made for our own glory or enrichment: they are made for you. Whether you deserve their sacrifice is another matter. As for me, God knows I tried.

So while at a macro-level, Wickramatunga's death reminds us of the need to defend journalistic freedom and free speech and spotlights the government of Sri Lanka for its increasingly undemocratic actions; at a micro-level, it reminds us of our duty as civilians to be citizens. It also targets our complacency and cynicism about such vital questions as what living in secular liberal democracy means and the institutions on which that rests. What is our role as citizens? How can we uphold these values? In the outrage against the impunity that the SL government seems to give itself that has followed this killing, we have another opportunity to reflect on these questions. So, what can I take away from this? Well, the first thing that come to my mind was to be more critical and open to criticism about things and issues that I take for granted, care about and defend. Indeed, whenever I flinch internally when colleagues or students take what I think are uncomfortable, even radical stances on politics or issues, I will try to keep in mind the value of having such spaces and the importance of dissenting voices. And I will resist the urge to instinctively label those I disagree with as 'radical', 'ignorant' etc. Though sometimes the shoe just fits!

On another level, the story makes me sad as so much of the news coming out of Lanka does. I love Sri Lanka, have many Sri Lankan friends and count my time there as amongst the happiest in my life. I am always saddened by the violence that devastates this lovely country. Here's hoping that peace will return to Sri Lanka during my lifetime.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gained in Translation

So I'm standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to take me to school on this snowy morning and what do I see?

Just a fellow-student waiting for the bus, right?

WRONG! I had just spotted an instance of 'engrish'!! Behold this wonderful sentiment on the student's backpack (I had to pretend to be taking pictures of the snow and then sneakily photograph him) ...

Ahhh...the joys of mistranslation!!

Wikipedia calls engrish 'non-standard variations of English often found in East Asian countries.' What started as a slightly politically incorrect documenting of funny mistakes in translation on instruction manuals or menus has now become a cottage industry of products (stationary, bags, t-shirts etc.) all with strange, quaint, oddly poetic examples of mis-translation.

Its hallmarks are cute (kawai), colorful, pop Japanese type motifs and designs juxtaposed with strangely worded, cheerful but oddly profound sentiments- all expressed on such important fora such as stationery, plastic containers, bags and dust bins. There's even a website devoted to all things engrish with some hilarious examples submitted by people all over.

I own quite a few 'engrish' products (lunchboxes, stationary, bags etc.) thanks to my trips to San Francisco (GREAT for Asian everything from food -dimsum, mochi and of course my beloved egg tarts which I have blogged about before- to clothes to Engrish products galore).

Now it's one thing to buy such products or look at them on the internet but quite another to make such a serendipitous find! I miss San Francisco terribly so it was nice to be reminded in such a fun way of all its little treasures...

I leave you hoping that you all have days like these and with this timeless tip. You're welcome.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

India, Indian, India, Indian....

I must be waaaay more patriotic/nationalistic than I thought because I just went totally nutso when A.R. Rahman won his golden a good way...

AND Shahrukh Khan is going to present? My cup runneth over...

(Edited to add: I love SRK because he is always charming, totally himself and he did not put on a weird accent- thus avoiding the sad affliction that strikes most Indian actors when they appear in Western media)

In the immortal words of my favorite 'Goodness Gracious Me' character: India! Indian! India!

(Thank you Youtube for allowing me to find this video from one of my favorite shows EVER)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the winner is...!!!!

People really DO win on lightlight's blog.... I am pleased to announce that the winner of the first annual Wandering through contest is.......

(Drumroll, fanfare, dimmed lights)

Chris M!!

Chris was the first person to submit an entry to the contest and the one to do it through fairly novel means- through facebook. So it is only fitting (in a cosmic sort of way) that he was randomly chosen from a little pink basket containing slips of paper with the names of the 18 lovely people who took part in the Wandering Through contest.

Congratulations Chris!! Thank you for taking part in my contest... a fun gift now awaits you. I'll update this post with what Chris got once we've worked out the financial stuff, contacted our lawyers and agents, figured out the taxes, ensured he is not a minor and scheduled the press conference etc.

Also we need to finalize the customs and other paperwork with Ferrari.

So, I was torn about how to decide the winner of this contest- on one hand I had my favorites amongst the entries but on the other, it didn't feel write to judge people on the basis of what was essentially their choices and opinions. So for the grand prize, I decided to go the lucky draw route.

But for the 4 runner up prizes, I decided to do a mix of 2 random lucky-draw selections and 2 'sentimental favorites' that I thought deserved to be recognized because I loved their entries. This is primarily because the runner-up prizes are super cheap haha!...

So the following people will receive mixed CD's with the best songs of 2008 according to everyone's responses to the contest (so breathe a sigh of relief - it won't be full of Mayer songs):

Lucky-draw runner ups: Vivek (whose wit and eclectic choices deserved to win) and Chanbong(whose answers are as cool as she is)

Lightlight's 'Sentimental Favorite' runner ups: Papa, Heather My dad's characteristic humor and way of putting things and Heather's lively and warm reflections sounded just like them. Those two entries made me smile throughout. (Papa, don't worry, the mixed CD is substitutable with other goods like Virginia peanuts or uni ball pens)

And now for the most important part: To all 18 of my lovely friends (Tulip, Mike, Chris, Heather, Chanbong, Rebekah, Eric, Daisycat, Claudia, Violet, Saffron, Bluebell, Kam, Pine Tree, Vivek, Vlad, Papa and Itenerant) who participated (some more willingly than others, ahem) a big, huge, heartfelt THANK YOU!! I now have so much sympathy for people that have to choose winners in contests because you truly want everyone to win. Alas, given my penurious circumstances that is not possible but you're all winners in my heart and you all rock!!! I had a great time looking through everyone's responses and I realized all over again what interesting, cool people I know. I LOVED reading all your entries and hopefully you will enjoy reading them too...

And now a stern word to those who failed to participate, despite my begging, cajoling or yes, threatening you. I will not say more but you know who you are, and most importantly I know who you are (I'm looking at you, mummy and BIL. You too Lotus). There's always next year to redeem yourself.

Jokes apart, thanks everyone- it was a blast!! And with that, I close the book on the First Wandering Through Contest.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Contest Results: (News Story and Buzzwords)

News Story of the year:

The news story and buzzwords of the year were the two categories with the most consensus..

There was really one HUGE story this year. Chris summed it up best in his simple 'OBAMA. Period.' Agreeing with Chris were Heather, Chanbong, Saffron, Pine tree and Tulip.

A surprise second was devoted to the (size 10) shoes being thrown at G.W. Eric, Claudia and my dad chose this as the story of the year, with my dad adding admitting that the story made him 'happy rather than sad'.

Rebekah pointed to 'any Tina Fey impersonation of Sarah Palin' while Kam had an entry after my own heart 'Sachin dedicating his 41st century and India dominating the cricket world' (yeah!!).

Heather in her inimitable style: "the parliamentary antics of Canada’s pre-x-mas near constitutional crisis where our prime minister proved himself to be the arrogant ideologue we all know him to be and the opposition actually grew a pair (however temporarily). Thanks to actions by our Governor General (since when does she act!?) the most exciting moment in Canadian political history in a good long while pittered out and will probably be largely forgotten." (Seriously, the girl needs to start her own blog)

Gloomy stories were also covered in The blast at the Indian Embassy at Kabul (Daisycat, a personally sad story for us), the recession (Pine tree), the bombay attacks (pine tree), and the war in Georgia (Vlad).

From bluebell, a very precise and detailed response to 'best news story' and a great read: "Newsweek The Long Siege (This is a in-depth look behind the scenes of the campaign)"

Itenerant was very honest: 'I am so out of news.'

But my picks of this category are the following three entries:

From Vivek a story that should make you think twice about the benefits of bananas and walking: In his own, funny, words:
" 1) Your smoothie's in big, big trouble. Contact me if require more information on the hapless Cavendish.
2) I feel vindicated."
(Having also picked up on the bus story, I will now stay put and wait for a bus- even in the snow. Thank you for this important public service message Vivek)

From Violet: "Is it lame to say the NPR story about Brent's dissertation project?" Answer: No, Violet, it is not at all lame. It doesn't get cooler than NPR doing a story on your husband's research!

And my vote for the funniest response of the contest:

Mike: Everyone's going to say Barack Obama, so I'm going to send some love in Eliot Spitzer's direction. wait...he's already had enough of that...


Buzz word/quote of the year:

Again, a lot of consensus. let's break it down by the themes:

The Recession: "Economic Downturn." (Chris) "credit crunch" or "subprime" (Eric) "Main street" (Tulip)

"YES WE CAN" (Eric, Heather, Mike, Saffron)

Elections 08: "hockey mom." (Chanbong), "Change" (Rebekah, Bluebel), " Obamarama" (Claudia)

Vivek: "What, no one said 'Maverick' yet?"

Corporate Speak: "Synergy" (Daisycat), Dynamic (Itenerant)

Heather: “Where’s your platform? Is it under that sweater?” [this is probably not funny without the context but trust me, it was hilarious! Picture the Canadian prime minister in a sweater vest attempting to be more “friendly”] (I guess you had to be there, Heather. Kidding!) Also Research project” (heh heh) and of course, THE word that should define my year but ain’t got a thing yet on the ‘Cuse: Hahvahd. (Absolutely Hahvahd Heather- not everyone gets to say that!)

Mysterious entries, I don't fully get Kam: ‘there is no cup’ and Papa: It could have happened only in America

My picks of this category:

Bluebell: Quote “Come on! Words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up.” (Barack Obama, Indiana, September 6, 2008, quoted from NYT, September 7)
(Great! Love the preciseness, details and of course appreciate the thought as a discourse analysis loving constructivist type)

Pine tree: ‘If you dream it, you can make it’

Contest Results: Most memorable Meal/Party (My favorite category)

Most memorable Meal/Party:

For some reason, the nicest answers were for the category about Best meal/party. I guess there's something revelatory about recalling good times and memories that happen at memorable meals and parties...and weddings apparently, given that 3 of the entries revolved around meals at weddings). I loved reading the very personal replies to this category, so I'll just share the entries as they were written:

Papa: At Lufthansa first class terminal at Frankfurt on December 25 Caviar on toast, thai soup, thai main dish with german wurst on the side, mix and match as i liked from a buffet spread, all alone in splendour on X mas day. I have to give a special award to my dad for managing to make 1. airport food and 2. eating alone, sound so pleasurable.

Chris: Too many good meals this year, and showing the evidence therein.(Oh don't we know it too well, Chris)

Chanbong: I guess it was Taylor's end-of-year party with lots of kids smelling like poop! But it might also be that SU Press reception which we sneaked into! (Chanbong, you get the prize for least appealing food related entry ever but amen on that SU press reception that we absolutely were not allowed at)

Rebekah: Most memorable meal was a lunch this summer with my best friend at Cafe Leopold, an Austrian restaurant in Georgetown off of M Street.

Eric: Democratic Party, but seriously, Katie and Mike's engagement party. (haha!)

Vivek: Chez Gladines, Paris - roast duck in a creamy sauce, salad, potatoes, cheese, and lots of wine.

Daisycat: Breakfast at the Taj, San Francisco, on my first day as Mrs. Toth. :) This one made me smile too.

Kam: aloo-purie (He's referring to Tulip's delectable aloo-purie which I heartily second)

Violet: had to be my brother's wedding... 5 bands/musical acts and an entire room full of desserts... pretty sure that could go down as the best meal/party of my life.

Heather: First, the multiple parties thrown in part or in full to acknowledge my (ahem, temporary) departure from Syracuse. I had a thoroughly good time at the H-House bash with new and old friends AND the Pastabilities dinner was so touching it brought me to tears (not to mention the message on the cake which I will always remember) AND as if that wasn’t enough to my utter and complete surprise (thanks Light Light...) a bunch of men (and a few more women too!) were waiting for us at Faegan’s- who knew so many people were that happy to see me go!? But seriously, all those people showing up to see me off absolutely made my year. I have the best friends ever, and nothing made me realize that more than having to leave to Syracuse.I also have to include my brother’s wedding which included THE most beautiful bride in the history of anything (nothing against Daisycat but the photos of my sister in law look like they are straight out of Vogue), the most heart melting tear jerking speech from my brother and so much to celebrate and feel good about it is ridiculous. Also the Martha Stewart inspired giant pom poms were pretty awesome and getting to be a bridesmaid and bonding with my new sister my dear brother and all their friends was hard to top. (Again, great entry)

Mike: haha choosing a favorite meal is always hard for me, but for a bunch of reasons I'll say this year's PSC holiday party. Followed closely by each Grube U. victory smorgasbord (Yes, the wings!!! Truly good times)

Tulip: A certain someone's 30th birthday party - 90s theme!

Vlad: jasmine rice (a choice that is almost Buddhist in simplicity and intriguing in concept)

Itenerant: ? (Also vaguely deep)

Bluebell: ID group pot luck

Pine Tree: "new years eve 2007: steak, cocktails, movie, good conversation with friends and a movie afterwards" (what's not to like?)

Saffron: Party at the H house the weekend after comps. It felt so good to relax! (Nothing is as good as that post-comps feeling!)

Contest Results: best book, music, blog, film

The first Wandering Through Contest is now done! I know you want to know who won but before that there is tons of stuff to discuss. So let's get to it shall we?

There were some great entries for almost every category in my contest and I think it is not only fun but absolutely imperative to share them. This way we can collectively marvel at the eclectic and interesting choices of our (or my) friends and also have a ready list of recommendations for our collective summer reading, listening and viewing pleasure.

Best Book: (A wide range of choices here with John le Carre being the only repeat).

Chris and Mike only read academic articles (Guys, stop making the rest of us feel guilty).
Tulip- Dewey the Library Cat Book (she does love this book, I was witness)
Bluebell chose Eat, Pray, Love! and my latest 'best book of the year':A most Wanted Man by John le Carre! This latter choice was seconded by my dad in the following way: 'the old master can still tell a tale and relate it to the mood `just now'.
Daisycat: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Claudia: Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials) series and Moazzam Begg's biography about being held in Guantánamo.
Eric: Wittgenstein's Poker
Pine-tree: Jane Goodall ‘Africa in my Blood’ consisting of Goodall's letters to her family from Kenya
Vlad: Shadow and Claw (fic); Recovered Roots (academic)

Vivek: The Great War for Civilization, Robert Fisk, Robert Heinlein's Citizen of The Galaxy
Kam: a 1918 book on symmetry. Also foundation series by Isaac Asimov
Violet: "Empire Falls"
Heather: “I’d Rather Teach Peace” by Colman McCarthy as much for the stories as for the dedication which reminded me to always remember the reason I started this whole grad school journey and never to let myself forget it...
Itenerant- Sea of Poppies
Chanbong: Nick Hornby, SLAM.
Rebekah: The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (John Zaller) (Special mention for most intimidating entry in this category)
Saffron: “The Grandmothers” a collection of short stories by Doris Lessing that I read early last year. I also really enjoyed the book “A Thousand Hills” on post-war Rwanda.

Best Album/Song/Musical Discovery: (This category saw the most wide range and detailed entries for albums, songs and styles. Coldplay, Duffy, Neko Case were mentioned more than once)

Chris: The Raconteurs; Runner up, Cold Play, "Viva la Vida"
Chanbongl: Interpol's latest album: Our Love to Admire
Re: Coldplay's Viva La Vida 2. the classic, John Mayer (we can call him a classic right?), who appears multiple times in my Top 25 Most Played songs on iTunes. (Brownie points from lightlight for mentioning JM)
Eric: Modern Guilt- Beck
Claudia: Day & Age, The Killers!!! Or The Weepies – Hideaway
Papa: Beethoven`s symphonies, this and every year
Vivek: Nujabes, Departure
Daisycat: Warwick Avenue, Duffy
Kam: always late baroque and classical style of music
Violet: Neko Case
Heather: Radiohead- In Rainbows, Bon Iver-For Emma, Forever Ago (my recent love for this album was aided by the concert I attended in December! I <3 Cambridge!) Best Song(s) Slow Show- The National (early this year and still hooked), Good Days-Fembots (Even though they are Canadian, this song is a the perfect anthem for November 2008 in America in my humble opinion!), My Body is a Cage-Arcade Fire, Kids-MGMT. Trading mixes/albums with my musically savvy friends. Note to self: do more of this in 2009. Amen on the last thought. See why her entries rocked?

Mike: old school alice in chains
Itenerant: Kailash-Kher (Saiyaan)
Tulip: Rediscovering my favorite soundtrack, Dil Se, and using Chaiya Chaiya to get my baby to sleep.

Vlad: John Dowland Complete Lute Music (Prize for most esoteric choice)
Asli- JT Chop me up, Damien Rice
Pine Tree: Soul’d Out- Japanese pop at its best
Saffron: My favorite new musical discovery is Neko Case, thanks to one Ms. Heather

Best Blog: (So, blogs are not a big thing with you guys. This was made obvious to me by the number of people that chose mine as their best blog! Not that I have any problems with that!)

Chris, Claudia, Saffron and Rebekah abstained on this.
Violet, Pine-tree, Bluebell, Kam and Tulip chose mine and mine alone (clearly they don't know too many blogs) while Heather and Dasiycat chose mine plus another, including Heather's brother's philosophy of science one with a rather interesting name
Chanbong: -click, drool, repeat
Eric: Duck of Minerva
Papa: Sepia Mutiny
Vivek: penny-whereimat, on blogspot.
Daisycat: and yours!
Mike: stuff white people like
Finally, itenerant chose an excellent blog (that he needs to update more hint hint)- his own.

Best Movie:

Ratatouille was the big winner here with Daisycat, my dad and Pine tree choosing the cutest rat but there are some other good suggestions too:

Chris: This is not a deep, profound, or thoughtful selection, but Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever; Quantum of Solace.
Chanbong: Burn After Reading (go Coens!)
Rebekah: Love Actually
Eric: Dark Knight
Claudia: erm... haven't seen any this year!
Vivek: The Boss of it all, After the Wedding, Downfall, Tekkonkinkreet.
Kam: Sherlock Holmes films protrayed by Jeremy Brett
Violet: Once - beautiful music!
Heather: Dark Knight (with honorable mention to Iron Man), also Slumdog Millionaire and Doubt but also There Will be Blood and SINGLES
Iternerant: Edge of Heaven
Mike: by the "best movie" is actually my "best blog"(Prize for strangest answer).
Tulip: Wall E
Vlad: Body of Lies
Bluebell: Lives of others
Pine Tree: Fanaa (yay for Bollywood)
Saffron: If I had to pick a most memorable, I would choose No Country for Old Men. But, perhaps it was very memorable because I had nightmares about the man in the film for weeks! Ok, it was also a very good movie.

Lots of stuff to catch up on next break!