Part One: The Gentlemen of 2011
Part Two: The Moments of 2011

Part Three: Our Favorite Things
We were waiting to board a cross-country Delta flight last week when the flight attendant informed us that the overhead storage compartments were full. She apologized and asked everyone to remove whatever they liked from their carry-on bags before placing them on the jetway to be checked.

A six-year-old girl ahead of us replied, “But I like everything in my carry-on bag. That’s why I’m carrying them.” We all felt the same way.

Ah, things. What would we do without them?

Today, our year-end award-less awards ceremony continues with a look back on some of our favorite things of 2011.

Though we begin with our least favorite…


Worst Thing of the Year
The Thuggie
Is it a snuggie knockoff? A parody of inner-city style circa Criss Cross? Why is one of the cuffs a different color? Is it actually a dress? Is it for wizards? Is it related to the South Asian criminal tradition of thuggee? How are you supposed to walk? So many questions.

Noel Gallagher

Best Endorsement Photo
Noel Gallagher, Adidas
It speaks for itself.

Thank You

Stationer Item of the Year
Thank You Cards
We’re across-the-board fans of old-school etiquette, but the Thank You card in particular deserves more credit than it gets. Our gameplan: keep it short, and let the stationery do the talking.

Barber Book

The Best Book about Barbershops
Jay Seldin’s The Barbershop Book
It’s a sort of No Reservations-style look at barbershops in some of the most remote corners of India, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Haiti and Cuba. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Seldin about his book in October. Read more here…


Best Youtube Video Adapted Into a Script
The George Brett Story
In the moments leading up to a 2005 Kansas City Royals’ spring training game, Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett imparted two rookie catchers a harrowing tale of steady composure in the face of unthinkable adversity. There’s a good chance you’ve seen this video – it was an instant classic when leaked in 2009. We’ve prepared this accompanying script.


Best Watchmaker
This New York shop makes all their merchandise in the store, so if you’ve never seen the guts of a watch factory before, that makes for quite an education. See more here.

Jazz Age

Best Vintage Vernacular
Jazz Age Slang
In search of a replacement for the word “cougar,” we came upon the Jazz Age slang term “bearcat,” used throughout the 1920’s and ‘30s to fondly describe “fiery, experienced woman.” Score one for 20s slang.

Blackwing 602

Best Pencil
Blackwing 602
It’s not just a pencil; it’s a lead paintbrush. For those who are extremely, embarrassingly serious about pencils, there’s a clear favorite: the Palomino Blackwing 602, a legendary soft-wax model tragically discontinued in 1998, and sorely missed ever since. Devotees included everyone from John Steinbeck to Stephen Sondheim, and in the 13 years since they stopped being made, 602s have built up a sturdy cult following and no small eBay presence. And now, they’re back. The appeal can be a bit confusing to non-pencil snobs, but the slogan says it all: “Half the pressure, twice the speed.”

Panama Hat

Best Hat
The Ecuadorian Panama
It’s the perfect tropical accomplice, a mesh of finely woven straw designed to protect you from the sun without interfering with any nearby breezes. Obsessives have been known to drop up to 35 grand for the perfect one, but just finding it takes a good deal of legwork. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Jimmy Hoffa

Best Obscene Gesture
Jimmy Hoffa’s Finger
This one came from our illustrated tour of five of the most amusing and/or offensive gestures the world has to offer. Jimmy Hoffa: discreet as always.

-R.B. & C.B.S.


  • Russell Brandom
  • C. Brian Smith