1. Hillary Clinton will never be President of the United States. When you run an incompetent, uninspired, foolhardy campaign, screw over your Democratic opponent and his left-wing supporters thanks to your corrupt political and media allies and then blame everybody else for your own neoliberal stupidity, you get what you deserve: utter and complete humiliation.
2. Game 7 of The World Series. One of the most competitive, unpredictable and exciting championship games not only in baseball history, but in the entire history of sports. It is a damn shame Harry Caray never lived long enough to see his beloved Chicago Cubs end their notoriously brutal 107-year slump. Cleveland blew it.
3. David Bowie’s Blackstar. Released 8 days into the new year, I never heard a better album. Poignant, cathartic, masterful. He couldn’t have ended his recording career on a higher note.
4. OJ: Made In America. An epic, thoroughly revelatory documentary miniseries that puts the travesty of the OJ Simpson double murder case in illuminating and often uncomfortable historical context. Infuriatingly fascinating.
5. Mauro Ranallo joined the WWE as a play-by-play commentator. It’s so refreshing to hear the actual names of wrestling holds being called again. Now if only the company would find him a decent colour man instead of saddling him with three unimaginative seat fillers. Where’s his Bobby Heenan?
6. Jerry “The King” Lawler blocked me on Twitter and no longer does colour commentary for the WWE. This misogynistic sleaze wasn’t worth following or listening to in the first place. He did me a favour.
7. Persecuted journalist Barrett Brown was finally released from prison. May he continue to sing like the proverbial canary.
8. Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression. You can never go wrong writing songs with Josh Homme. Too bad he’s going to lose the Best Alternative Rock Album Grammy to Bowie’s Blackstar next year.
9. Leah Remini’s Scientology & The Aftermath series on A&E. A fittingly skeptical companion to the excellent, eye-opening Going Clear movie I finally screened this year. David Miscavige’s cult is in serious shit. Time to stop treating it like a religion. Revoke its tax-exempt status and start making indictments.
10. Portugal won Euro. Ronaldo’s redemption 12 years in the making.
11. Roger Ailes was forced out of Fox News after being sued for sexual harassment. Is his most famous political operation going to survive? Let’s hope not.
12. Despite hundreds of ill-fated attempts, the CIA could not kill Fidel Castro who died of natural causes as an old man. Will Cuba continue to fight against the scourge of imperialist capitalism?
13. Rob Riggle’s set during The Rob Lowe Roast on Comedy Central. Absolutely killer. The wretched Ann Coulter got it the worst.
14. Batman: The Killing Joke. A surprisingly dark animated version of the graphic novel that deserved a more traditional and longer theatrical release. Far superior to the disappointing Mask Of The Phantasm, it features a much stronger performance from longtime Joker Mark Hamill. We could be spared the mercifully brief musical number, though.
15. The #NoDAPL protest at Standing Rock in North Dakota. A noble cause that is literally life and death for an already marginalized and brutalized Indigenous community. We must all rally around these heroic water protectors.
16. Mohamedou Slahi was finally released from Gitmo. The best-selling author deserves reparations and an apology for his disgusting torture at the hands of the United States government. Absolutely shameful.
17. The Getaway by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. They take five years now to put out new albums but the wait is always worth it. Still funky and instantly accessible, even in middle age.
18. Corrupt, decrepit racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his latest bid for re-election and was indicted by the Department of Justice. The end is near for this fascist monster. Finally.
19. The Triple Threat number one contender’s match between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar at Fastlane. Fantastic action despite the expected outcome.
20. Green Day’s Revolution Radio. I’m glad Billie Joe Armstrong got sober.
21. The List Of Jericho. Sheldon Cooper called. He wants his funny gimmick back. Uh oh. I just made the list.
22. The Lazarus soundtrack. Three more David Bowie gems. Plus, Dexter sings! A genuine surprise.
23. Canada won 22 medals at the Summer Olympics, 16 of which were earned by women including the hardworking soccer and rugby squads, their best effort in 20 years. Penny Oleksiak, Andre De Grasse, Rosie McLennan and Derek Drouin were among the standout individual athletes who excelled in Brazil.
24. AJ Styles’ debuted at the Royal Rumble, feuded with Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and John Cena, and became WWE Champion. Superstar of the year. His Extreme Rules match with Reigns in particular was filled with entertaining spots.
25. The AIDS Crisis and Greed Is Good episodes of CNN’s The Eighties. There remains no cure for both.
26. Weezer’s “White Album”. Their record sales may have plummeted but Rivers Cuomo hasn’t forgotten how to craft a catchy alt-rock sing-a-long.
27. All the good films I screened this year: The Omen (1976), Misery, The Visit, Anthony Shaffer’s The Wicker Man (first version), Ginger Snaps, Crimson Peak, Fantasia 2000, Rockshow, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, Mission: Impossible III, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Maltese Falcon (1931), Satan Met A Lady, The Desert Trail, the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, the original D.O.A., the original Psycho, Monterey Pop and Shock.
28. The Miz’ passionate promo on Daniel Bryan during Talking Smack. The most entertaining mic work he’s ever done. The Yes Man could’ve easily shut down his argument. He walked off the set instead. What a mistake. The segment may have single-handedly revived the fortunes of the InterContinental Champion.
29. Game two of the Montreal/Toronto MLS semifinal series. The first time Canada has gotten legitimately excited about mens soccer in 30 years. An atmospheric juggernaut with plenty of goals, rain, smoky flares and suspense.
30. The Tragically Hip’s final concert on CBC. Bittersweet and engaging from start to finish.
31. The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem. Certainly not their best offering but if it’s their final musical statement, it will certainly suffice. After 30 years, they’re not afraid to experiment with new sounds and ideas.
32. The term “Divas” was finally retired by the WWE. All women who wrestle for the company are now superstars like the men. It’s about goddamn time.
33. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for the renamed Womens Championship at WrestleMania 32. Incredible spots, high drama, tremendous workmanship. It should’ve been the main event. An honourable mention to the ladder match for the InterContinental strap. A fine exhibition for the future of the company.
34. The hour-long debate between “Donald Trump” and “Bernie Sanders” on @Midnight. Hilarious.
35. Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. More melodic elegance as Thom Yorke beautifully mourns the end of his relationship to Rachel Owen who sadly died of cancer this year.
36. Kevin Owens. Bam Bam Bigelow without the tattoos and better promos. His elevation to the main event in just two years is a testament to his considerable skill as a performer. And he’s Canadian.
37. Braun Strowman. Turns out he’s much more effective without Bray Wyatt. And he might be the fastest big man in the business today. A monster heel with great potential. He looks like he belongs.
38. WikiLeaks. The #DNCLeaks and the #PodestaEmails exposed The Democratic Party for what it actually is: cynical, snobby, clueless and neoliberal.
39. Watching Blu-rays for the first time. Man, oh man, what a world of wonder I’ve been missing. Thanks Mom and Dad!
40. The guy from Edmonton who found an escaped cat under a train and took him home before reuniting him with his relieved owner from Saskatchewan. A Festivus miracle.
41. Hot Hot Heat’s final album. A hooky farewell from one of Vancouver’s finest.
42. Nancy Grace’s Headline News show was finally cancelled. Even CNN can’t stand her anymore.
43. The Last Man Standing match between Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose at the Royal Rumble for the InterContinental title. It’s no wonder Owens is World Champion on Raw now. Stellar.
44. Kings Of Leon’s Walls which stands for We Are Like Love Songs. It should be doing brisker business. Not a bad song in the mix.
45. Smackdown started broadcasting live. No more spoilers leaking out days in advance.
46. Billy Talent’s Afraid Of Heights. Punchy and political at times, rocking and rolling all of the time.
47. Tom Mulcair was given a no-confidence vote by the NDP. He was never a true socialist.
48. Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign for President, the most successful Jewish candidate in American history. If it wasn’t for the Clintonistas, he would be moving into the White House next month. They screwed him like the ignorant assholes they are.
49. Brooke Henderson won a major LPGA tournament as a teenager. More success coming in 2017? Let’s hope so.
50. Milos Raonic made the Wimbledon finals, a first for a Canadian tennis player. Too bad he didn’t win.
51. The Golden State Warriors record-setting regular season win-loss record. Unfortunately, Cleveland came from behind to snag the NBA Championship from them in the finals. LeBron James will not be denied.
52. Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Score one for the anti-Zionists.
53. Dean Ambrose cut up Chris Jericho’s silly Lite Brite jacket. The Scarf Era has begun. Drink it in, man.
54. Every Womens Championship match on Raw between Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair. The best TV rivalry of the year. I don’t understand why the WWE doesn’t allow The Boss a longer title run. She deserves one.
55. Pearl Jam is going into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next year.
56. The #CureForKenza campaign. This adorable little girl has a second chance at life. May she make the most of it and thoroughly enjoy her childhood.
57. San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest. It’s a shitty, racist song and we don’t need to hear it anymore.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, December 30, 2016