A new year, pop culture marches on . . .

Written by Sharon Eberson on .

San Diego BeachNew Year's Eve in Pittsburgh in the Benedum Center with bagpipers and then Johnny Angel and the Halos,  who introduced Porky Chedwick in the crowd. All in all, not a bad place to be.

If bowl games aren't your thing, there's a New Year's Eve Slay on the LOGO network with a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" marathon.

Some thoughts for the new year:

*  I wish the mail came today -- Entertainment Weekly usually arrives on Friday, and I know George Clooney and the women of "Up In the Air" are on the cover. He is, indeed, the movie star of the decade. "Men Who Stare at Goats" aside (and it wasn't as bad as some people say), he makes such quality choices, like voice work in "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," and spends a lot of precious time and energy fighting injustice around the world. And he seems to know how to have fun without getting married and divorced every few months, like so many Hollywood stars. Got to admire that.

* On the "Today" show yesterday, there was a report that the guy who asked David Letterman for money to not tell all would use has defense that Tiger Woods and others have paid off people for their silence, saying it's a mere business transaction. I actually talked back to the TV (I do that from time to time) and said, "Just because they chose to pay off the extortion money and Letterman chose not to, doesn't mean it's not extortion!" I mean, come on!

* Just watched the season 2 DVD extras (the DVD set comes out Tuesday; more on that later) and some previews of the first five episodes of "Chuck" (thank you, Rob Owen), and I resolve to try to watch them live anyway, even though I am not a Nielsen watcher. When "Lost" and "Friday Night Lights" are both back in prime time, all will be right with the world.

* Guilty pleasure I can't seem to give up: "Ace of Cakes" on the Food Network. Artists making fabulous cakes and having goofy fun. Duff, the owner of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, is my hero for his business model.

* A friend wrote to say that if you watched the Kennedy Center Honors and you didn't know much about Bruce Springsteen, the performances by John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge, et al. would have given you no idea about the most dynamic live concert performer of our lives. Seeing as how The Boss got the night's biggest ovation, and Ben Stiller kept interrupting his praise of Robert De Niro to declare his love for Bruce, I think most people know. I would recommend finding a replay of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anniversary concert on HBO if you want a small taste of The Boss onstage.

* Resolutions: To get to Phipps, the Warhol and the Mattress Factory more often this year. To eat at restaurants where the waitstaff doesn't know what I want before I do. To continue my run of not watching reality shows where participants don't create anything, and to give up on "Project Runway" if they don't pick up the pace to pre-Lifetime heights. To follow a comic book from beginning to end before the collected works come out. If my son and I return to Comic-Con in July, to do more live blogging and fewer long-term interviews -- and just once, spend a day at a San Diego beach.

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