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My Top 10 Top 10 Lists of 2008

It's that time of year again, when magazines and bloggers compose top 10 lists for just about everything. Why? Because they're fun to read, fun to write, and you can run them during the holidays so overworked writers and editors can take some time off. Here are my favorite top 10 (or 12, or 20) lists for 2008.

10. The 10 worst political ads of the season. Ryan Grim and Glenn Thrush at the Politico blog wrangle 10 ads named by professional pols as the worst of the worst: from campaign jingles gone bad to candidates scooping poop (which at least is a nice change from throwing it).

9. Top 12 tech embarrassments in 2008. TechCult's J.R. Raphael puts together a really good list of things tech companies did this year they should be ashamed of (but probably aren't). Like Microsoft trying to bribe people to use Live Search, or Bloomberg mistakenly reporting the demise of Steve Jobs. Think of it as a top 10 plus 2.

8. Top 10 sci-tech books for 2008. For geeks who still read pulp, Booklist Online's Donna Seamon has put together a year's worth of bedtime entertainment. First on her list: The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. Apparently, it's been a very poopy year.

7. 10 worst employees of 2008. Real people doing really stupid things at real jobs. Like the architect in Florida who destroyed $2.5 million in computer files because she thought she was going to get fired -- and got arrested instead; the coroner in Georgia who stole gift cards from a corpse; and the bartender in Illinois who showed up for work one day sans clothing (some people will do anything for a bigger tip). A very funny list, courtesy of CareerBuilder's Rachel Zupek.

6. 10 worst corporations of 2008. Robert Weissman at Multinational Monitor serves up a sobering list of malfeasance, corruption, and criminal behavior in the boardrooms of some of the planet's biggest companies, including AIG, Chevron, GE, Philip Morris International, and Roche. When did CEO become shorthand for "Chief Evil Officer"?

5. Top 10 magazine covers of 2008. Time's Arthur Hochstein captures the best of what is rapidly becoming an endangered species: the magazine cover. On the list: the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and New York magazine's brilliant take on Eliot Spitzer. Not on the list: The controversial New Yorker cover of the Obamas as Osama Bin Laden and Angela Davis (though Entertainment Weekly's satire of that cover is on Time's list).

4. Top 10 cocktail recipes. Maybe it's just because New Years is around the corner, but this list from the Yumsugar blog really appeals. Cranberry Amaretto Kiss, anyone? How about a Ruby Chai Appletini?

3. Top 10 coolest designer gadgets. The problem with most top 10 gadget lists is that they're totally predictable (Apple iPhone 3G? Gosh, what a shocker.) But not this list from the editors at the TecheBlog. My faves? The Transparent Toaster (so you can watch the bread go brown) and a desk fashioned from the actual chassis of a Mini Cooper sports coupe.

2. Lifehacker's top 20 top 10 lists. Yes, a list of lists compiled from Lifehacker, including 10 harmless geek pranks, 10 things you forgot your Mac could do, and top 10 conversation hacks (like how to feign sincerity). The only thing missing from their list: How to create top 10 lists.

1. Top 10 tech embarrassments you'll want to avoid. An amusing collection of things you should try not to do: like leaving your wireless mic turned on when you visit the bathroom or using your iPhone on (and ultimately in) the toilet. Written by -- yes -- yours truly, thus leading to an 11th embarrassment: Shamelessly promoting your own list on your own list.

This article originally appeared in a blog on our sister site, Computerworld.com.

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