December 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm


  • Browse Adam Groza’s year in review.
  • Browse Brent Thomas’ movies of the year.
  • Browse Brent Thomas’ books of the year.
  • Browse Brent Thomas’ music of the year.
  • Watch/Listen to Brent Thomas’ favorite sermon of the year.
  • Browse Mark Whiten’s music of the year.

Sermon of the Year: 2009

December 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm

My favorite sermon this year is from Matt Chandler, preaching at my Alma mater, Southern Seminary. No, I don’t think hell has frozen over, though Chandler himself makes a joking reference to the fact that he is preaching there at all. A powerful sermon made all the more so after subsequent revelations of Chandler’s cancer:

Mark Whiten’s Favorite Music of 2009

December 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm
  1. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead: The Century Of Self
  2. Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More
  3. The Black Atlantic: Reverence for Fallen Trees
  4. Akron/Family: Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free
  5. J. Tillman: Year in the Kingdom
  6. As Tall As Lions: You Can’t Rake It With You
  7. Karen O and the Kids: “Where the Wild Things Are” soundtrack
  8. Maupa: Run Run Sleep
  9. Cave Singers: Welcome Joy
  10. Paper Route: Absence 2009
  11. Deas Vail: Birds and Cages
  12. Silversun Pickups: Swoon
  13. David Thomas Owen IV: Solace My King
  14. Mewithoutyou: It’s all Crazy, It’s all False, It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright
  15. The Fray: Self Titled
  16. The Twilight Sad: Forget the Night Ahead
  17. Silver Starling: S/T
  18. Sleeping at Last: Storyboards
  19. The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You
  20. Sherwoord: Qu
  21. Swell Season: Strict Joy

Best Music of 2009

December 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I love music and I love to see/hear what music other people love. With that in mind, I love year-end lists. I know, I know, it’s always subjective to say that one album is “better” than another. What criteria do we use? Who sets the standard? How much of it is simply personal taste? A lot, to be honest.

So, when I set out to revisit a year, I create a giant playlist of all the albums that stood out to me the previous year, for whatever reason. And, truth be told, a list like this might be different if created on a different day. But more than anything, I try to think about what music “defined” the year for me, if that’s possible. So, without further ado, here is the music that has helped define 2009 for me:

Books Of The Year: 2009

December 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Movies of the Year: 2009

December 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm


Pixar continues their winning streak, this time with an unexpectedly sentimental tale about pursuing lost dreams (and family).


The Road

Bleak, heavy but infused with hope. Not for the faint of heart.


Where The Wild Things Are

A movie for adults about being a child and trying to understand and deal with life’s circumstances and emotions.

Adam Groza’s Year In Review

December 23, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Ok folks, here are my picks for the tops of 2009. By way of explanation: I went with songs rather than albums because, well, I think the album format is almost dead.


  • Community. For those of us who liked Joel McHale on E’s Talk Soup, this is a perfect venue for his humor. Good to see Chevy Chase on his game.
  • The Office. Yes, I think the dual-manager plot is tiring. However, these characters are so darn loveable that I keep looking forward to Thursday nights.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm. Ok, so I have to watch these on video since I don’t have HBO. But, without a doubt, this is brilliant television.


  • Something Is Squeezing My Skull by Morrissey:

Moz is over 50 and still rocking. Jesse Tobias (briefly with Red Hot Chili Peppers and formerly with Alanis Morissette) provides some deafening guitar, and the songs frank discussion about the mind-numbing effect of anti-depressant drugs is powerful, culminating in the refrain “don’t give me anymore, please don’t give me anymore.” Also, Morrissey believes in miracles!


  • I Am Weary With My Sighing by Doug Burr:

Denton’s own Doug Burr is the real deal. “Weary” is on Shawl, Burr’s 2009 album of Psalms. Yes, Psalms as in the Bible. What do you get when you add Burr’s twang, Bible verses, slide guitar, and great backing vocals? Brilliance.


  • Wrong by Depeche Mode:

Ok, so Depeche Mode has been putting out mediocre albums for over a decade. Each album has 1 or 2 good songs, and thanks to iTunes, fans are no longer subjugated to the crap. 2009’s Sound of the Universe is no exception. It is mostly forgettable, except for this catchy song


  • Crown on the Ground by Sleigh Bells:

A must-here song. It is loud and obnoxious but singer Alexis Krauss has an irresistible voice. This song has such a monstrous riff!


  • Always Like This by The Bombay Bicycle Club:

This is a song that has grown on me. Lead singer Jack Steadman’s wobbling voice is intriguing and the song has a great hook.


  • Island Is by Volcano Choir:

Justin Vernon gives us another great offering from his side project, Volcano Choir. Island, IS is an interesting combination of Vernon’s earthy tone and tripnotic beats.



  • I Love You Better by the Maccabees.
  • It’s a good song and the freeze frames are pretty cool:



  • Facebook, of course. There is no better social networking site. It is an internet party for the masses. But beware, new social site are first for the masses but quickly become elitist. We saw this with blogs. Remember when *everyone* had a blog? Well, I bet most of us did have now consolidated or stopped altogether. There is no way to monitor ALL those blogs. The same is true with Facebook friends, so be looking for some elitist level or jump to somehow distinguish popular face bookers with lollygaggers. It will be the internet version of Lettermen’s jackets.
  • Urbanspoon. Where to eat!?! Wonder no longer. Urbanspoon will help find the right joint and save you from wasting your money on less-than-stellar meals. Why is it great? Customer reviews, neighborhood searches, connectivity with facebook and MySpace, and search-ability (you want Indian food in Gary, Indiana? Just go to Urbanspoon and vuala!) make this the end-all site for dining out.