Bye bye, Kim Jong Il. I'll miss your fashion sense, but not your weirdness. I'd like to think the world will be better off without you, but I'm a little scared of your successor. You've just given a 20-something the keys to the nukes. Hopefully he doesn't get confused while updating his Facebook page and push the wrong button... In all seriousness, succession in a country as titanically weird and messed up as North Korea is more than a little scary. If I were living in Seoul, I'd be practicing my evacuation drill.
I just rewatched The Wire, all five seasons, and I'm convinced more than ever that this is the best thing I've ever seen on TV. The scale, the complexity, the lack of sentimentality - all is quite breathtaking. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it (although I'll warn you that it won't leave you with a super warm and fuzzy feeling about people, politics, the police, the media, the criminals - really anyone except for the Average Joe and Jane struggling against large institutions).
I'm assembling my list of Top 50 Albums for 2011 and am almost finished. I'm actually ranking them this year (unlike last year), using a five part formula: 30% creative (a combination of artistic vision and creativity), 20% chops (musical ability), 20% head bobbing (melody and rhythm), 10% words, and 20% feel (a catch-all "sum of the parts" rating). Interesting to do it this way. The results so far roughly match what I would have done without the formula but there are definitely some surprises. Stay tuned!