1. David Bowie’s The Next Day. Slowly recorded in secret over two years, it marked his first proper studio album in a decade. Even in his mid-60s the British legend can still reel you in with his ageless vocal and a sharp, melodic hook.
2. Edward Snowden. His heroic whistleblowing may finally lead to the end of the American Surveillance State and the Obama Presidency.
3. The song Howard Wolowitz performs with his friends for his beautiful wife Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory. Very sweet and very funny.
4. I joined Twitter in January. It’s been a lot more fun than expected. Wouldn’t you agree, Sophia Bush?
5. Alberto Del Rio’s brutal assault on former personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez on Raw. Way to generate heat, amigo.
6. The Rob Ford crack scandal. Now the whole world knows what Toronto has endured for 13 years.
7. The Canadian Senate expense scandal. The beginning of the end of the Stephen Harper era.
8. Pearl Jam’s Lightning Bolt. 22 years after Ten, they continue to produce fine albums.
9. The dangerous Paula Deen finally got yanked off the air. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for her unhealthy recipes.
10. Bruno Sammartino made up with Vince McMahon and got inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
11. Jeremy Scahill’s Dirty Wars book. Essential reading, especially for you, Ms. Bush.
12. Nine Inch Nails’ Hesitation Marks. Can’t wait for the Greatest Hits next year.
13. Matt Striker was fired from WWE. What took so long?
14. The Shield. Too bad they’re about to split up.
15. All the great movies I finally watched this year: Earth, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Blade Runner, Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Citizen Kane, The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition, Return Of The Jedi: Special Edition and Inglourious Basterds.
16. Sophia Bush blocked me on Twitter. This is what you do when you can’t win an argument.
17. The Strokes’ Comedown Machine. Julian Casablancas channels Prince in a surprisingly convincing manner.
18. Receiving a complimentary email by a member of Yukon Blonde for my rave review of their Tiger Talk CD. Thanks, Jeffrey Innes!
19. Kevin was named Canada’s Worst Driver Ever. He burned his license at the end of the finale. Now about that new car he bought…
20. Depeche Mode’s Delta Machine. Not only is it their best album in years, Heaven is one of their all-time greatest singles. Deeply moving.
21. Lance Armstrong finally admitted to drug cheating on Oprah’s Next Chapter. Only took ya 20 years, asshole.
22. Stoker. From the director of the original Old Boy and written by the star of Prison Break, it’s a smart, creepy little thriller that deserved a much bigger audience than it received during its Spring theatrical release. The beautiful Mia Wasikowska has a bright future.
23. AJ Lee won the Divas Championship at Payback in June. Six months later, she’s still holding the gold.
24. President Obama backed off his dumb public campaign to drop bombs on the already beleaguered Syria thanks to a strong international backlash and an olive branch from Vladimir Putin.
25. Glenn Greenwald. A longtime critic of the American Surveillance State, the former Guardian columnist got the scoop of a lifetime when, after a long courtship, he received Edward Snowden’s secret NSA documents. 2014 will be even bigger for him, thanks to his upcoming book.
27. CM Punk vs. Ryback in a ladder match for the WWE title on the first Raw in January. Originally scheduled for TLC 2012, it was rebooked on free TV and was one of the best matches of the year.
28. Jamie Foxx’ very funny “Channing all over your Tatum” song that he performed on the post-Oscars edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live. I still can’t get the chorus out of my head.
29. John Oliver’s three-month summer stint substitute hosting The Daily Show. Some nights, he was even better than Jon Stewart.
30. The Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the United States Supreme Court. A huge victory for the LGBT community and gay bi-national couples, in particular.
31. Rand Paul’s epic filibuster protest of Obama’s immoral weaponized drones. It put this criminally neglected issue back in the spotlight where it belongs. (Sadly, it didn’t derail the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director.)
32. I bought a new CD player that sounds great. (Only one minor complaint: there’s no way to know how much time is left on a track. The counter only counts up, unfortunately.)
33. The Score (now Sportsnet360) finally started airing Monday Night Raw live without that unnecessary 15-minute tape delay. Too bad I stopped watching it altogether.
34. Seth McFarlane’s performance hosting the Oscars. He was surprisingly funny and can really sing.
35. Jim Parsons won his third Emmy playing Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. A career-defining part if ever there was one.
36. The awesome John Cusack helped establish the Freedom Of The Press Foundation, a much-needed adversarial journalism organization. Take notes, Ms. Bush.
37. Lady Gaga’s incredibly supportive tweet of Chelsea Manning after her unfair conviction. Sophia Bush stayed silent.
38. Antoinette Tuff. Her remarkably calm demeanour saved countless lives.
39. Taram Killam’s hilarious speech critic on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. The funniest thing he’s ever done.
40. The Carlos Danger theme song for Anthony Weiner’s alter-ego on The Daily Show.
41. The fast food worker protests. They deserve a living wage, so give it to them.
42. The end of Windows Live Messenger. I don’t miss it.
43. Justin Bieber’s relentlessly negative press regarding all of his dumb antics in 2013. He’s a sexist jerk whose time in the spotlight is almost done.
44. Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger’s sly YouTube video message to Glenn Beck. It put the whiny ignoramus right in his place. Much praise to Colter as well for his often sharp, sometimes very funny, WWE promos.
45. Mick Foley’s WWE Hall Of Fame speech. Loved the shoutout to the underappreciated Damien Sandow.
46. Antonio Cesaro’s giant swing. It’s more over than he is.
47. The growing world criticism of Israel’s hypocritical mistreatment of Palestinians.
48. The rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. May the rest of their lives be a lot happier and safer.
49. Ready To Die by Iggy & The Stooges. A big lie. There’s still plenty of life in the greatest frontman in rock history.
50. Franz Ferdinand’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. They take forever to put out new albums but they’re always worth singing along to.
51. Rob Van Dam, Goldust and Chris Jericho returned to the WWE. (Look for Batista to come back in late January.)
52. Pussy Riot and the Arctic 30 were released from Russian prisons.
53. All the other good movies I saw this year: Zombieland, Sinister, The Deer Hunter, Lawrence Of Arabia, True Crime, Gorky Park, Superman II, American Wedding, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Jimi Plays Berkeley, The Wild Bunch and The X-Files.
54. Atheist In The Foxhole, Joe Muto’s insightful, amusing memoir of his near-decade stint at Fox News. (He was Gawker’s short-lived “Fox Mole” last year.) A lot more fair and balanced than his former place of business pretends to be.
55. The final Stefon appearance on Saturday Night Live. A fitting end for Bill Hader’s funniest original character.
56. Abdulelah Haider Shaye, a Yemeni, anti-Al Qaeda journalist, was finally freed after Obama, deeply unhappy about his critical coverage of American drones two years ago, wanted him silenced. He should never have been locked up in the first place.
57. Mechanical Bull by Kings Of Leon. It’s as radio-friendly as Only By The Night.
58. The Chicago Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup. Suck it, Bruins.
59. Zero Dark Thirty lost most of the Oscars it was up for. It had to settle for a single technical gong that it had to share with Skyfall.
60. Texas Senator Wendy Davis’ epic filibuster over a needlessly overreaching anti-abortion law.
61. The Paul Heyman/CM Punk feud. Great back-and-forth promos, brilliant build to the Punk/Lesnar SummerSlam match (which was terrific in its own right), compelling storytelling overall, with the exception of the ending.
62. The increasing acceptance of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana by the American public. The death spiral of the drug war has begun. (A special shoutout to CNN for their fascinating documentary on the remarkable powers of medical weed. May it lead to the end of useless, heartless prohibition once and for all.)
63. Mark Henry’s fake retirement swerve on Raw. The best promo he’s ever delivered.
64. Randy Orton powerslamming Rob Van Dam out of a Rolling Thunder during a Triple Threat number one World Heavyweight Championship contender’s match on Smackdown. A spot so good they did it again in a later one-on-one match.
65. The stadium that looks like a vagina. It’s actually pretty cool looking.
66. The Oscar acceptance speeches by Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway. Both sweet and heartfelt.
67. Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 29. The best match of the show, it was even superior to CM Punk vs. The Undertaker.
68. Bray Wyatt’s promos. The best new character in the WWE.
69. The Rhodes Brothers won the tag team titles from The Shield. A welcome second chance for The Bizarre One and a nice babyface reboot for Cody after his disappointing Sandow program.
70. AJ Lee’s fantastically brutal promo on the Total Divas cast on Raw. No wonder she’s still the Divas Champion. No one else is worthy.
71. Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight title defenses against The Big Show at The Royal Rumble and Christian at SummerSlam, two seriously underrated encounters that deserved more praise.
72. The worldwide backlash against the NSA. Long overdue.
73. The resurrection of the street protests. International authoritarian governments should be very afraid.
74. Catfish. The only MTV series where you actually learn something about the human condition.
75. Malala. I wish I was as smart and compassionate when I was her age.
76. Canada’s anti-prostitution laws were struck down unanimously by the Supreme Court.
77. Stephen Colbert’s hilarious segment on the local Florida TV station that fell for an obvious prank regarding a Korean plane crash. His fake names were even funnier.
78. Jeremy Scahill’s appearance on The Tonight Show. His passionate, factually based outrage over Obama’s war crimes is sorely lacking in the mainstream press.
79. President Obama’s lousy approval ratings. May they continue to plummet.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, December 29, 2013