What I Loved About 2011

1. Both Sun TV and Sun TV News are no longer available on my cable service.  (Good riddance, Bloaty McFatAss.)

2. Glenn Beck left Fox News and immediately became irrelevant.

3. The Strokes returned after a five-year absence with the wonderful Angles CD.  Ten killer tracks in just 34 minutes.

4. The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire unexpectedly won the Album Of The Year Grammy.  Totally deserved.  It’s an amazing record, the Pet Sounds of the 21st Century.

5. After putting it off for nearly two years, I finally joined The Writer’s Digest Community this past April.  A Facebook for scribblers, it’s mostly a welcoming, encouraging place for anyone who aspires to see their creativity in print.  Some of the nicest comments I received for my blog this year came from fellow WDC members.

6. For the first time ever, The Writings Of Dennis Earl achieved more than 20000 hits in a single year, thanks to all those Gene Simmons Family Jewels pieces.

7. Storage Wars, one of the most entertaining and fascinating reality shows I’ve ever seen.  Strangely addicting.

8. The spectacular fall of Rupert Murdoch.  Couldn’t happen to a bigger asshole.

9. The Arab Spring and The Occupy Wall Street protests.  Ordinary citizens demonstrating incredible courage and conviction in the face of so much derision, oppression and resistence.  May their movements lead to actual positive political change worldwide.

10. The inspiring recovery of Representative Gabrielle Giffords.  Severely wounded by a mentally ill college student in January, despite incredible odds, she is slowly starting to speak again and gradually returning to a normal life.  Whether she actually goes back to her job, though, remains to be seen.

11. Conrad Black returned to prison.

12. The return of Beavis & Butt-Head.  It’s funnier than ever.

13. The return of Pop-Up Video.  Still the most enlightening and cheeky way to watch mostly forgettable videos.

14. The balls of The Roots to play Fishbone’s Lyin’ Ass Bitch while Republican Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann walked onto the set of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

15. CM Punk’s astoundingly believable promo in June that ended his heel run and transformed him into the most outspoken babyface since Rowdy Roddy Piper and Bret Hart.  That moment at the end of Raw Roulette made wrestling exciting again.  Temporarily.

16. CM Punk was finally pushed for the WWE title.  Twice.  Hopefully, this second run will last longer than the first.

17. The Muppets on Raw.  Hilariously nostalgic and a perfect fit for the kid-friendly WWE.

18. After seven years, I finally completed the long process of going through my magazine collection.  Clipped out the articles and ads I wanted to save as well as complete issues and recycled all the rest.  Sanity has returned.

19. Christian vs. Randy Orton.  They put on some of the best matches on pay-per-view this year.

20. Earned a couple hundred of bucks working as a poll clerk in the recent Ontario Provincial Election.

21. Jon Stewart’s pitch perfect takedown of Jerry Sandusky’s pitiful interview with Bob Costas on The Daily Show.

22. Japan upsetting the Americans in the surprisingly exciting Women’s World Cup Final.  Female soccer has finally reached prime time.

23. England redeeming themselves by qualifying for next year’s Euro.

24. R-Truth and Mark Henry’s heel turns in the WWE, both completely unexpected and long overdue.  Truth’s mic work has remarkably improved (his constant reference to the fans as “little Jimmies” always slays me) and Henry’s old-school monster character made him a worthy choice for World Heavyweight Champion.  Long live the Hall of Pain.

25. Zack Ryder’s surprising popularity.  Once just a lackey for Edge during one of his many World Title runs as a bad guy, he was once best known for sporting eccentric wrestling gear (tights that only covered one leg).  But after posting a series of short videos under the title, Z! True Long Island Story (a goof on the old E! True Hollywood Story show), on YouTube, he could no longer be a villain.  Soon, fans were chanting “We want Ryder” so loud and so often the WWE had little choice but to give Ryder a push.  Now he’s the United States Champion.  Long may he reign.

26. Glenn Greenwald’s blog on Salon.com.  Probably the best Obama critic and political writer in North America right now.

27. Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were finally freed after being wrongly convicted of rape and murder.  Sadly, they lost four years and a budding romance out of the whole ordeal.

28. Santino Marella finally lost his unibrow.

29. Ashton Kutcher blew it with Demi Moore.  She can do better.

30. Celebrity Rehab 5.

31. The hot Chicago crowd during the main event at Money In The Bank 2011.  Even watching it on DVD made you feel like it was happening for the first time.  Amazing energy.

32. R.E.M.’s final studio album, Collapse Into Now, a cross between Accelerate and Out Of Time.

33. The eighth season of One Tree Hill finally started airing on MuchMusic.  It’s past its prime now but the show still manages to offer some funny and moving episodes.  And I still swoon for all the female characters.

34. Megan Fox didn’t appear in a commercially released movie.

35. Radiohead’s Separator, the final cut from the flawed but soulful King Of Limbs CD.  The best song I heard all year.

36. Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream CD, the standard version.  Finally heard it and now understand why it’s so popular.  Terrific stuff.  Even my Dad’s a fan.

37. All the bra infomericals.  Gripping entertainment.

38. Michael Fassbender’s star making performance as the young Magneto in X-Men: First Class.

39. Elle Fanning’s breakout performance in the disappointing Super 8.  The rehearsal scene for the kids’ amateur horror flick took me by surprise.  Hope to see her in more projects.

40. The Rock’s putdowns of John Cena.  Funny stuff.

41. All the great flicks I finally got a chance to see this year:  Inception, The Godfather, The Departed, Bad Lieutenant and Wall Street.

42. The wormy Piers Morgan getting sucked into the News Of The World scandal.  Whatever gets him off my TV for good.

43. The Cody Rhodes/Randy Orton street fight on Smackdown.  Even though it probably should’ve taken place on a pay-per-view, it was probably the best free TV wrestling match broadcast this year.

44. Rhodes brought back the Randy Savage-era Intercontinental title belt.  Cool.

45. My new computer.

46. Coldplay’s live, commercial-free concert on MuchMusic.  A solid mix of hits and new material.

47. Benjy Bronk’s antics at press conferences for Congressman Anthony Wiener and one of Herman Cain’s accusers.  He’s got balls of steel.

48. Marksfriggin.com.  Still the best place to find out what happened on Stern today.

49. MonkeyBiz.ca for posting all my submissions.

50. The formidable Kharma until she had to quit because of her pregnancy.  Hurry back.

51. Alex Riley’s thoroughly enjoyable ass-kicking of The Miz on Raw which led to his ‘face turn.  Too bad he hasn’t been pushed since.

52. Gary Busey on The Celebrity Apprentice.

53. Emma Sullivan, the cute high school student who dissed Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on Twitter, was urged to apologize by her misguided principal and Brownback’s thin-skinned staff but defiantly refused.  In the end, Brownback apologized to her.  Nice.

54. Adele’s live performance of Someone Like You on The Brit Awards.  Just a piano, her moving vocals and some flurrying glitter.  Kills me every time I hear it.  Another Dad favourite.

55. Joan & Melissa:  Joan Knows Best?, the very funny reality show about Joan Rivers and her supremely foolish daughter, Melissa.

56. Oprah Winfrey stopped doing her talk show.

57. Artie Lange is sober and working again.  Stay healthy, kid.

58. Russell Brand on The Rosie Show and Dinner With The Kings.

59. Matt Striker finally stopped doing colour commentary on Smackdown and pay-per-views.  One of the most annoying broadcasters alive.  Now if he can only stop being a backstage interviewer, I’d be even happier.

60. Unfaithful: Stories Of Betrayal.  Revealing stories of affairs actually resulting in strengthened marriages.  Who knew?

61. The pilot episode of Prime Suspect.  Gritty, compelling start to a series I’ve sadly not followed since.  Features Maria Bello’s best performance.

62. Herman Cain repeatedly quoting a Donna Summer song that plays over the end credits of the second Pokemon movie during his failed campaign for President.  He finally admitted it during his final public speech.

63. Cain’s unintentionally humourous campaign ad which ends with his manager smoking a cigarette for no reason at all and an intense close-up of the former Godfather’s Pizza mogul smiling creepily.

64. Cake Boss.

65. Aaron and Shirley on Canada’s Worst Driver 7.  Perhaps the sweetest people to ever appear on a reality show.

66. CM Punk’s brutally honest comments about John Cena, Triple H and WWE Executive Vice President Of Talent Relations, John Laringytis, all said to their faces on live Television.  Astounding.  Too bad he rarely does it anymore.

67. Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory.  The love child of Lilith Sternin and Niles Crane.

68. Wasting Light by The Foo Fighters.

69. Russell Brand’s touching tribute to Amy Winehouse on his blog.

70. Hearing the voice of Fred Willard as he talked about the business with a Theatre Aquarius employee while they were both going into the theatre.  I turned around just in time to see it was really him.  Wild.

71. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was finally repealed.

72. Coldplay’s Xylo Myloto.  Stupid title but what a lovely collection of tunes.

73. CM Punk vs. John Cena.  Two tremendous talents in two worthy main events at Money In The Bank and SummerSlam.

74. Meat Loaf’s epic freakouts on The Celebrity Apprentice.  The complete opposite of the lactating wuss he played in Fight Club.

75. Michael Moore’s unequivocal condemnation of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination.  The best-selling author and award-winning filmmaker is the bravest and wisest of our public muckrakers.  Bravo, sir.

76. CM Punk’s many tributes to Randy “Macho Man” Savage.  The special tights with the stars he wore for one night on Raw, the finger twirl and “Dig it!” during his ring entrance at Over The Limit and all those flying elbows.  Classy, Phil.

77. That week-long bit on Conan where a fake Watson (the supersmart IBM computer who kicked ass on Jeopardy!) kept aggravating sidekick Andy Richter about doing naughty things to his wife.  Hilarious.

78. Metal Evolution.  The most misunderstood genre of rock gets the TV series it deserves.  Fascinating, revealing and full of colourful characters.  And we’re only halfway through the thirteen-episode run.

79. The protests in Russia over Vladimir Putin’s controversial re-election.  Fight the power, comrades.

80. Amy Schumer’s set during The Charlie Sheen Roast.  Killer and ballsy.

81. Edge giving a shout-out to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the city where he wrestled his first WWF match as Sexton Hardcastle, during his retirement speech.

82. The Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 27.  If The Dead Man never performs again, he went out on a high note.

83. All the kind readers who left comments here, clicked the Like button or became a subscriber.  Thank you for your support.

84. The Smackdown Money In The Bank ladder match.  The right guy got pushed.

85. Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy, civil liberties and the drug war.  How I hope he gets the Republican Presidential nomination.  Despite his flaws, he’s the only candidate who makes sense on those three crucially important issues.

86. Rick Mercer came out of the closet.  I had no clue.  I hope it helps the anti-bullying cause.

87. Gay marriage became legal in New York.

88. Rick Perry’s brain farts.  How did this guy get elected as the Governor of Texas in the first place?

89. I have hope for the future.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
2:28 a.m.

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