Soapbox Philosophy: My Top 10 Top 10s of 2013
by Gregory R. Norfleet · Op-Ed · January 17, 2014

Hello, 2014. Please warm up just a bit more. Trying to remember less-cold days, I will take one last look back on 2013.

Gobs of news outlets and Web sites crank out their own Top Ten lists. Some are clever, some are noteworthy, some are funny, and others are none of the above.

And, as we will see, some do not always agree.

Here’s my list of “Top Ten Top Tens” of 2013:

10 — Forbes’ top 10 best value stars: 1. Emma Stone ($80.70 per $1) 2. Mila Kunis ($68.70 per $1) 3. Jennifer Lawrence ($68.60 per $1) 4. Natalie Portman ($31.30 per $1) 5. The Rock ($31.10 per $1) 6. Daniel Craig ($25.60 per $1) 7. Russell Crowe ($25.60 per $1) 8. Kristen Stewart ($25 per $1) 9. Robert Pattinson ($23.50 per $1) 10. Taylor Lautner ($21.40 per $1). I can’t help but wonder how Forbes credits a movie star alone for the success of his or her movies, as if the story of the movie does not deserve much of the credit. Typically, those A-listers don’t do a movie with a weak script. It is what draws those big directors, big actors and actresses and big budgets from movie producers.

9 — The Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions for 2014, based on a survey by the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology: 1. Lose Weight 2. Getting Organized 3. Spend Less, Save More 4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest 5. Staying Fit and Healthy 6. Learn Something Exciting 7. Quit Smoking 8. Help Others in Their Dreams 9. Fall in Love 10. Spend More Time with Family. Yep, yep and yep.

8 — The top 10 tech ‘fails’ of 2013, by CNN’s Doug Gross: 1. rollout, 2. Twitter Music, 3. BlackBerry’s free fall continues, 4. Microsoft’s Surface struggles, 5. While crowdsourcing, Reddit names wrong guys as suspects in Boston Marathon bombings, 6. Yahoo e-mail’s massive week-long outage, 7. Facebook’s ‘phone’ flop, 8. Smartwatches — too soon? 9. Web hoaxes, from fake Twitter feuds to less-than-truthful sob stories, 10. Social-media meltdowns by business owners

7 — Top 10 Best Smartphones of 2013 1. HTC One 2. iPhone 5s 3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 4. Sony Xperia Z1 5. Samsung Galaxy S4 6. LG G2 7. Nokia Lumia 1020 8. iPhone 5c 9. Motorola Moto X 10. BlackBerry Z10

Regarding the lists I’ve labeled No. 8 and No. 7. Both mention BlackBerry — one in a negative light, one in a positive light. Doug Gross is a tech reporter for CNN, while is a non-traditional news site that focuses on tech. Whom do you actually consider a more reliable source? Both are simply giving their opinions.

However, I’m going to guess that Gross probably is not only looking at hardware and software, but sales of BlackBerry products. On a personal note, I owned two BlackBerries in the past, loved them and saw impressive reviews for the Z10 when shopping for a new smartphone. But I switched to an Android-based phone because gobs more software companies were churning out apps for Android systems. When I mentioned this to a BlackBerry dealer, he sheepishly agreed.

6 — Top 10 Google Search Trends in 2013, according to Google: 1. Nelson Mandela, 2. Paul Walker, 3. iPhone 5S, 4. Cory Monteith, 5. Harlem Shake, 6. Boston Marathon, 7. Royal Baby, 8. Samsung Galaxy S4, 9. PlayStation 4, 10. North Korea. I wish there was a way to track WHY people searched a particular subject — a positive interest or support of the subject, a negative interest or opposition, or simply wanting to keep up to date on current events so as not to be left out of the conversation.

5 — The Top 10 ‘What Is’ Google Searches of 2013: 1. What is Twerking (a suggestive dance move) 2. What is Ricin (a poison) 3. What is DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), 4. What is Molly (a designer drug), 5. What is Gluten (a protein found in wheat) 6. What is sequestration (automatic budget cuts), 7. What is Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), 8. What is Lupus (a disease), 9. What is Snapchat (a photo messaging app), 10. What is Bitcoin (virtual currency). Most of these were items in the news or pop culture, but lupus? Go figure.

4 — The Top News Stories searched, according to Yahoo! 1. Jodi Arias trial, 2. Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), 3. Boston Marathon bombing, 4. Royal baby birth, 5. George Zimmerman trial, 6. Syria civil war, 7. North Korea missile threats, 8. Papal transition, 9. Death of Nelson Mandela, 10. Paula Deen lawsuit.

What I find fascinating about this list is what is NOT on it: The revelation that the U.S. government is spying on its own citizens through the National Security Administration collecting phone records and Web searches.

3 — Top Ten highest-grossing films: 1. Iron Man 3, 1.2 billion; 2. Despicable Me 2, $918.4 million; 3. Fast & Furious 6, $788.7 million; 4. Monsters University, $743.6 million; 5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, $738.3 million; 6. Man of Steel, $662.8 million; 7. Gravity, $642.5 million; 8. Thor: The Dark World, $621.6 million; 9. The Croods, $587.2 million; 10. World War Z, $540 million. Man, that’s a lot of money spent on one type of entertainment.

2 —’s Top 10 Most Viewed fact-checks of 2013: 1. ‘Dhimmitude’ on page 107 of the health care law exempts Muslims, claims chain email (False); 2. A closer look at a Facebook post on a man’s struggle with the Obamacare marketplace (False); 3. PBS commentator Mark Shields says more killed by guns since ‘68 than in all U.S. wars (True); 4. Obama says deficit is falling at the fastest rate in 60 years (True); 5. Harry Reid says 82 presidential nominees have been blocked under President Barack Obama, 86 blocked under all other presidents (Mostly true); 6. Ann Coulter says no doctors who went to an American medical school will be accepting Obamacare (False); 7. Al Sharpton defends Obama family vacation, saying George W. Bush spent more time away (Mostly true); 8. Sen. Ted Cruz says Obama ‘just granted all of Congress an exception’ to Obamacare (False); 9. Obama says Reagan raised debt ceiling 18 times; George W. Bush seven times (True); 10. Barack Obama says the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ‘is transparent’ (False). The interesting ones have grey areas, like “mostly true” which leave us arguing over the importance of the “untrue” part.

1 — YouVersion, the Bible app, recorded the Top Ten most-shared Bible verses: Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 2. Isaiah 40:31, 3. Matthew 6:13, 4. Joshua 1:9, 5. Philippians 4:6. 6. Hebrews 4:15, 7. Ephesians 5:25-26, 8. Joshua 1:9, 9. 2 Timothy 1:7, 10. Psalm 18:2. Yep, no John 3:16 in the list. Guess it’s just too well-known.

So there you go. Now let’s see what 2014 has to offer.

Besides intense cold.

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