50 Things I Loved About 2015

1. Omar Khadr was finally released from a Canadian prison.  He should’ve never been sent to Gitmo in the first place.  May he finally have his name cleared, his sight restored and enjoy his new life in his new home.

2. Same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, ten years after Canada had already done so.  Better late than never, nonetheless.

3. The Triple Threat WWE World Heavyweight title match between Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins & John Cena at the Royal Rumble.  A real treat to see most of it for free on Monday Night Raw the night after it happened.  (Remember that terrible January snowstorm?)  Brutal & gripping, it featured a breakthrough, daredevil performance by Rollins who would go on to have his best year yet.

4. Danko Jones’ Fire Music.  He’s still got it.

5. The Bray Wyatt/Roman Reigns Hell In A Cell match.  The feud never made any sense (“Anyone but you, Roman”?  What?) but these young talents worked hard nonetheless and delivered some memorably stiff spots.  Seriously underappreciated effort wrongly overshadowed by the disappointing Undertaker/Lesnar HIAC.

6. The unloved Sun News Network went off the air permanently.  It’s not missed.

7. The indefatigable Jason Leopold, the self-described “FOIA terrorist”.  Fitzgerald was wrong.  There are second acts in America.  Currently breaking countless important stories for Vice, I’d love to see him write for The Intercept.  He was right about the true significance of Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal.

8. The FIFA reckoning.  The end of the Step Ladder era.  Good riddance.

9. Muse’s Drones.  Timely, spirited bombast pointed directly at President Obama’s illegal assassination program.

10. Professor and author Steven Salaita won a justifiable six-figure settlement from the UIUC after being wrongly dismissed before ever starting his new job there, all because he publicly opposed the 2014 Gaza massacre by Apartheid Israel on Twitter.  Talk about a vindictive screw-job.  He deserves better.  Thankfully, he found another job, wrote a book about his experience and is carrying on.

11. Seymour Hersh’s thorough challenging of the official Obama narrative regarding the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.  We’ve been lied to from the very beginning.

12. Team Canada’s record-setting Pan Am Games performance.  Will this lead to a higher Summer Olympics medal haul in Rio?

13. Wrongly persecuted journalist Mohamed Fahmy was finally released from an Egyptian gulag and returned to Canada, no thanks to John Baird and the Harper Administration.  His two years of torture are finally over.

14. Revolution Records opened in my city.  17 CD purchases thus far with hopefully many more to come.

15. Bill Cosby blocked me on Twitter.  Warren Kinsella blocked me after I blocked him first.  Why so fearful, fellas?

16. Lindsey Graham & Bobby Jindal’s failed Presidential campaigns.  Terrible Republicans with terrible ideas outmatched by worse Republicans with worse ideas.

17. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mostly compassionate refugee policy.  Why federal elections matter.

18. The escaped llamas.  Too bad they were captured.

19. Persecuted attorney Stanley Cohen was freed just before Christmas.  He should’ve never been imprisoned in the first place.

20. The return of Alberto Del Rio to the WWE.  Glad he beat John Cena for the US belt.  He’s in the best shape of his life and remains a killer in the ring.  All he needs is a solid rival.

21. The sudden legal trouble the obnoxious Martin Shkreli finds himself in.  No one sympathizes with anyone who jacks up the price of vital medicine by a considerable margin.  Greedy asshole.

22. Apartheid Israel and its right-wing supporters couldn’t prevent the US from making a deal with Iran with regards to their nuclear facilities.  Zionism is dying.

23. Daniel Bryan won the InterContinental title in a decent multi-man ladder match at WrestleMania 31.  A shame he didn’t get to have a long reign.  He has the most miserable luck.

24. Much to my surprise, President Obama outright rejected the Keystone XL pipeline extension.  Where were the protests for all the other US pipelines, including the existing XL which Obama quietly authorized?

25. The United States began restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba.  One of the few positive accomplishments of The Obama Administration.

26. Cranky, stubborn, journalist hating, Stephen Harper supporter Earl Cowan.  Hilariously out of touch with reality.

27. CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou was released from prison.

28. Diane Sawyer’s interview with Caitlyn Jenner.  Fascinating and deeply revealing.

29. All the good movies I saw this year:  Veronica Mars, Tarzan (1999), The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane, Prince Of Darkness, The Hitcher (1986), The Thing From Another World, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Halloween (1978) and National Treasure.  Plus two great ones:  Comic Book Confidential and The Drop.

30. The Bushwhackers’ acceptance speech at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony.  Hilarious and endearing.

31. Norton Security only required one massive download after installation.  My last Norton Antivirus required dozens.

32. The Stephen Harper era in Canada is over.  We lost so much international respect and credibility these past nine years.

33. Brandon Flowers’ The Desired Effect.  Happily stuck in the 80s.  The more I hear him sing, the more he reminds me of a young Billy Joel.

34. Wrongly incarcerated and severely tortured for over a decade, British family man Shaker Aamer was finally released from the hell that is Gitmo.  May he find peace and tranquility and sue America for as much as he can get.  Here’s hoping his torturers get prosecuted someday.

35. Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston, the current WWE tag team champions.  “New…Day rocks.  New…Day rocks.”  They’re also very funny, especially on commentary.  I’m loving the trombone.

36. Jorge Ramos.  Get rid of Anderson Cooper and replace him with this fearless journo who is just as tough on President Obama as he is on Donald Trump.

37. The Wyatt Family/Team ECW extreme rules match on Monday Night Raw the night after TLC.  No blade jobs necessary.  This one had plenty of memorable spots:  Braun Strowman flying over the announce table, Bubba Ray Dudley catching a flying kendo stick, Strowman clotheslining a falling Tommy Dreamer off the apron, Strowman carrying Dreamer then running and crashing through a barrier & Erick Rowan splashing Rhino through a table for the deserved win.

38. The Iggy Pop segment during the Miami episode of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown.  The whole show should’ve been about him.

39. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s numerous scandals.  He’s right at home in the Republican Party.

40. David Sirota and the International Business Times.  They did first-rate reporting on numerous shady, corrupt Presidential candidates.

41. Seth Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase to win the WWE World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania 31 during the Brock Lesnar/Roman Reigns match.  A good story with a great ending.

42. CNN’s The Seventies.  Despite its flaws, a riveting history lesson.

43. Ontario’s new progressive sex ed curriculum.  Why didn’t this exist when I was in school?

44. The Guardian’s eye-opening series on the once secret American drug war gulag Homan Square.  The Chicago PD remains as ruthlessly corrupt as it’s always been.  Spencer Ackerman deserves a Pulitzer.

45. The Palestinian BDS campaign continues to be a major pain in the ass to Apartheid Israel and its hypocritical, in-denial supporters.  May it continue to do so until the occupation finally ends.

46. The Intercept.  Now so much more than just a place to read the latest infuriating NSA disclosures.  An increasingly vital website.

47. Larry Wilmore’s relentless mocking of serial drug rapist Bill Cosby.  He’s hasn’t forgotten about you, motherfucker.  Neither have I.

48. Nicki Minaj calling out Miley Cyrus on the MTV Video Music Awards during her acceptance speech (too bad it didn’t lead to a Hell In A Cell match) and Kanye West’s hilariously moronic acceptance of his Vanguard lifetime achievement award.  Paul Heyman needs to teach him how to cut a coherent promo already.

49. This line from The Jim Gaffigan Show:  “You look like every bad guy on Downton Abbey.”  Killer.

50. Adele’s Hello.  The woman’s got pipes.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 28, 2015
2:16 a.m.

Published in: on December 28, 2015 at 2:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Why Did The National Post Secretly Cut Parts Of Margaret Atwood’s “Hair” Column?

Earlier today, The National Post published this piece from legendary Canadian author Margaret Atwood.  (It’s well worth reading.)  In the midst of poking fun at the Conservative government’s relentless fixation on Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s “nice hair” (because that’s the only nice thing they can say about him), Atwood makes some serious points about Prime Minister Stephen Harper:  how he wastes taxpayer’s money on his personal appearance; his party’s history of vicious, personal attack ads; his secret benefactors; and, of course, his role in the Mike Duffy scandal.

But just hours after the piece first surfaced, it was mysteriously yanked from the website.  (For a time, you could only access the Google cache version.)  This did not go unnoticed online.

Then, just as mysteriously, the piece returned.  Unfortunately, changes have been made, changes that have not been acknowledged by the Post at all.  (According to Buzzfeed, it was “management” who demanded these changes, not the editorial department.)

So, what’s different about the reposted “hair” column?  All told, not much, with the exception of a few suspicious deletions & one curious addition in its second half.

The first change comes in paragraph 11.  It originally began thusly:

“Next: Why should the taxpayer foot the bill for the micromanagement of Harper’s hair?”

Now it reads:

“Next: Why should the taxpayer foot the bill, even in part [my emphasis], for the micromanagement of Harper’s hair?”

The first deletion occurs four paragraphs later.  Paragraph 15 begins the same way in both versions:

“Don’t go there, Cons! Because then we’ll all start thinking about ‘hiding.'”

These next two sentences are not in the revised posting:

Why is Harper still coyly hiding the 2-million-dollar donors to his party leadership race?   Don’t we have a right to know who put him in there?  Who’s he working for, them or us? [my emphasis]”

Instead, paragraph 16 from the original version begins right where the second line of paragraph 15 left off.  But then, this line, the second-to-last from the original paragraph 16, has been excised:

In his [meaning Harper] earlier quoted comment, ‘I don’t care what they say,’ who are they? [my emphasis]”

The last line of that paragraph – “Aren’t you agog to know if you’re on Harper’s hidden ‘enemies list’? – remains intact.

Moving on to paragraph 17.  The final omission occurs at the end.  These two lines are missing from the revised posting:

“[Regarding Harper’s reaction to the Duffy scandal] He’s given four mutually exclusive answers so far.  Is there a hidden real answer? [my emphasis]”

All that’s left of the second-to-last paragraph is this line from the original:

“Why is he hiding what he knew about the Duffy cover-up, and when he knew it?”

Both versions end with the same line in a separate paragraph:

“And if he’s hiding all this, what else is he hiding?”

So, has there been any explanation from the Post about why they felt the need to post the piece, disappear it for a time and then repost it with these changes without notifying readers at all?

Gerry Nott, the vice-president of Postmedia, the parent company of The National Post, told The Toronto Star, “The column was taken down because the necessary fact checking had not been completed…Senior editorial leadership at Postmedia also had not concluded whether the column was aligned with the values of the National Post and its readers.”

This sounds like bullshit.  If Buzzfeed’s reporting is correct and management demanded these changes, and not the editorial department, then fact checking isn’t the problem.  It’s political embarrassment.  It’s no secret that the Post, founded by ex-con Conrad Black, has always been a right-wing newspaper, like its tabloid competitor, The Toronto Sun.  Are the paper’s meddling managers planning to urge the editorial board to endorse Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Conservative, for reelection in the coming weeks as we approach the October election date?  Is this why the Atwood column lost four significant lines just hours after it was first posted without incident?

It’s also no secret that the Post remains a money loser.  Who knows how much more financial hemorrhaging it can take after nearly 20 years in business.

Regardless, this looks bad, really bad.  I mean if there really were mistakes made that weren’t caught before the “hair” column was first posted, obviously correcting them as quickly as possible (with an added note acknowledging such changes) is imperative.  But there weren’t any mistakes, none that I can see, anyway.  Instead, we get this somewhat sanitized version of Atwood’s work (which apparently first appeared on Walrus Magazine’s official site before the Post reposted) with no explanation whatsoever.  That’s not acceptable.

The Post needs to immediately address its readers and explain why the above-noted changes I laid out were made in the first place.  Whether we will accept their reasoning, if they even address this at all, remains an open question.

As for Atwood, the controversy has done nothing but helped her piece.  As I write this, #hairgate (terrible name) is trending at number three on Twitter.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 22, 2015
12:44 a.m.

UPDATE:  Unbeknownst to me, hours before this was posted, Toronto journalist Jonathan Goldsbie had already noted all the differences between the two columns as I eventually did on Twitter.  Meanwhile, Canadaland reporter Jesse Brown has an excellent story on how Postmedia VP Gerry Nott played a major role in the censorship of Atwood’s now widely read piece.  He asks several pointed questions about why it ever happened in the first place.  We’ll see if he gets any good answers.

Additionally, he reveals that contrary to what Nott told The Star, the “hair” column was properly edited and vetted before its first posting on The Post’s website.  Nott ordered the changes made without first notifying Atwood.  Brown also notes an additional change made before the column’s original publication:

“…a reference to Harper’s ‘enemy stakeholders list’ was changed to ‘enemies list.'”

Unlike the post-publication alterations made when the original column was pulled, Atwood approved the edit.  You can read Brown’s full story here.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 22, 2015
3:43 p.m.

Published in: on August 22, 2015 at 12:44 am  Comments (2)  

Angry Conservative Supporter Earl Cowan’s Facebook Postings

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not having a very good week.  Former chief of staff Nigel Wright just concluded five days of testimony at Senator Mike Duffy’s bribery trial which revealed a whole lot of collusion from various members of the Conservative party including the inner circle of the PMO.  Instead of being asked by reporters about his election platform, he’s being grilled on a daily basis about his involvement in the scandal which has led to routine deflection, outright denial and robotic, easily discredited talking points.

But, cheer up, Dear Leader!  Earl Cowan is here to defend you.

Who’s that, you ask?  It’s this guy.  This past Wednesday, after another round of tough questioning from the press, Cowan went right up to a pack of reporters and let them have it.  He downplayed the significance of Senator Duffy’s questionable expenses and, in an infamous moment, referred to them collectively as “lying pieces of shit”.   (You may have seen the video on the news or online.)

Ever since, he’s become known as the “Angry Con”, the unfortunate face of an increasingly corrupt, authoritarian, right-wing government.  Parody accounts have already started popping up on Twitter.

So, who is this maniac, anyway?  Well, according to his LinkedIn page, he’s a farmer from Etobicoke.  MacLean’s Magazine reported last year that he was the heckler who told then-Toronto Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow to go “[b]ack to China” because he claimed she wasn’t Canadian.  And on Facebook, he’s had plenty to say about Sun Media stories particularly when they involve Conservatives he supports.

As it turns out, he’s long been a proud defender of Mike Duffy and Stephen Harper.  In an October 22, 2013 Facebook posting, he wrote:

“If we had honest media in Canada the Prime Minister would not have to waste his time on trivial issues.
We want Senators to have residences in the areas they represent, and they must also have residences in Ottawa to attend sittings of the Senate.  Duffy claimed the best residence as an expense.  He did nothing wrong…We have the government that we deserve.”

While complaining about pipeline protesters in another posting on October 23, he played the role of Conservative apologist:

“Everybody tries to maximize their expenses, and the Prime Minister is not a tax auditer.  The protesters against gas exploration in NB are putting the economy of Canada at risk, and deserve 15 articles to expose their hypocrisy.  Duffy’s expense claims are insignificant, and have no effect on the national economy.”

A week later on October 30, Cowan claimed:

“Our Prime Minister Harper is doing an excellent job of governing Canada, and our Senator Duffy has not done much wrong…no serious person pays any attention to this silly affair.”

For some reason the comment (also seen on the defunct sunnewsnetwork.ca website, like all his publicly available Facebook offerings) was posted three times.

Besides being a die hard Harper and Duffy supporter, Cowan is also a major fan of the Ford family.  When Rob & Doug Ford were about to do their one & only broadcast for the now-defunct Sun News Network on November 14, he exalted:

“This breaks the Toronto Star’s strangle hold on the truth.”  (He has a real problem with the CBC, too.)

Three days later, he complained about the “the Toronto Council Lynch Mob” and how their “attacks” would “hurt the whole city”.

On December 16th, in response to a Sun News article about then-Mayor Rob Ford dancing with a church choir, while directly addressing a fellow commenter, he claimed:

“To John Nador:  I have, actually, spent time with criminals, crack, and pot users, and drunks, and I once had Christmas dinner with a drug dealer.  He was cold.  Next week we celebrate the birthday of a guy who hung with tax collectors, questionable women, and Samaritans.  Do you relate to the words: ‘unctuous fool’?”

On May 1, 2014, regarding Rob Ford’s numerous drug addictions, he suggested:

“Put all Toronto politicians and media people into rehab somewhere in Greenland, and let Rob Ford run the city.”

Cowan also defended Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson (he called him Phil “Anderson”) on December 19, 2013, criticized the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to strike down our antiquated & dangerous prostitution laws on December 20 and defended the use of robocalls during elections on April 24, 2014:

“Robo-calls are an excellent way for politicians to speak directly to the voters, without being censored, distorted and ignored by the Media Party.”

On April 25, Cowan posted this incoherent rant about the Canadian Senate comparing it to a fire department that “sit[s] around doing nothing except waste money until the day your house is on fire!”, and noting that the “only consistency” about five listed Prime Ministers (“Diefenbaker, Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien, and Harper”) is “they were all better than Hitler, Stalin and Mao, so the Senate never had to act.”

Curious how he includes two Liberal PMs.

“The Senate works pretty well now,” he continues, “it is cheap insurance against tyranny but the important thing is that after they are appointed Senators must be independent of the Government, and that means no restrictions on them.”

So, why does he support Harper when he doesn’t believe in an independent Senate?

On May 1, 2014, the same day he suggested everybody but Rob Ford go to rehab, Cowan revealed himself to be a proud feminist while discussing the Donald Sterling case:

“The moral of the story is this:
The relationship that any man has with a woman, his wife, girlfriend, mother, doctor, etc., is a BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP.
Men should not say anything that they would not say in court, or a news conference.
Men think that the women they love, love them back.  Maybe, but ‘love’, means something different to modern women.”

And on September 17 that same year, Cowan defended Apartheid Israel’s horrific assault on Gaza by questioning the innocence of Palestinian civilians through questionable logic:

“I would like to consider the issue of ‘innocent’ civilians, – women and children, in Gaza.
If some extremists built a rocket launcher under a Toronto hospital, and fired rockets into Buffalo, would the American army invade Canada?
Certainly not!
The Buffalo Police would phone the Toronto Police, and the perpetrators would be arrested in minutes. Later, American prosecutors would meet with Canadian prosecutors and decide who would lay which charges.
The point is, that in order for civilians to be considered ‘innocent’:
1) The civilians must be in control of their government, and
2) Their government must be able to maintain law and order, sufficient to prevent people living inside their borders from attacking other countries .
Why have the ‘innocent’ civilians of Gaza, themselves, not stopped the rockets?”

Because they were too busy trying not to get killed by relentless Israeli bombs & military assaults, all funded by the US & Canadian federal governments, while locked helplessly inside an open prison.

Anyway, because of privacy settings, it’s not certain if Cowan is still active on Facebook.  Only his comments on Sun News articles are visible and the last one was posted in early February.

Regardless, if this is the kind of supporter who gets vetted and approved for Conservative campaign events, the Harper Administration should be very worried about its reelection prospects.

(Special thanks to Twitter user @marionetta for the tip.)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, August 20, 2015
4:21 a.m.

Published in: on August 20, 2015 at 4:22 am  Comments (2)  

Michael Coren’s Welcome Evolution On Gay Rights Can’t Erase His Less Progressive Views On Other Issues

For years, I couldn’t stand him.  His obnoxious personality, his odious opinions.  I never heard his radio show but I did watch him quite a lot on CTS (now Yes TV).  I read his weekly Toronto Sun columns.  I even checked out one of his books from the public library.

As time went on, I couldn’t stay silent any longer.  I started writing and submitting numerous angry letters to The Toronto Sun, one of which actually got published.  I found myself yelling at him on my TV.  It’s usually healthy to expose yourself to views that are the complete opposite of your own but when I found myself constantly getting red-faced and my forehead often screaming in agony just from seeing his annoying, clueless words in The Sun and hearing them uttered on CTS, I eventually realized I had to move on.  I’ve not regretted that decision.  Experiencing Michael Coren full-time became a endless headache.

Despite no longer watching his show (which he left to join the now-defunct Sun News Network in 2011) or being a regular reader of his Sun pieces (he just left Sun Media this past February), every once in a while I would still catch wind of something offensive he had written and post a highly critical response in this space.

It’s been nearly a year since the last time I did that.  Last June, Coren had written a somewhat surprising Sun column headlined ‘I Was Wrong’.  At the time, I was decidedly unimpressed.  Put simply, I just didn’t believe he had changed his views on the gay community, gay marriage and homosexuality at all.  He also didn’t apologize.  “I Was Wrong” didn’t include “I Am Sorry”.

In a recent Toronto Star column, however, Coren has made me partially reconsider my view.  Reading him openly declare his support for gay marriage stunned me.  He had spent so much time condemning the idea it’s a bit jarring to see him fully reverse himself like this.  (A decade ago, he firmly held the opposite view in The National Post.)

He has also evolved on homosexuality itself no longer believing it’s a sin or disordered.  Last year, I opined that he simply wouldn’t use those specific words any more and that based on critical columns he had written just months earlier, he hadn’t actually changed his mind about gay sex.  That has turned out to be a thankfully bad assumption.

So, what happened?  Where did the angry, obtuse, sex-negative Michael Coren go?  Was he kidnapped and replaced with a gentler, kinder, liberal clone?  Is this a Invasion Of The Body Snatchers situation?

Hardly.  As he notes in The Star, he quietly left the Catholic Church for the second and final time in 2014 in order to join the Anglican Church.  It was only discovered just a couple of weeks ago and has apparently caused quite the firestorm online.

Why did he switch congregations?

“The change was to a large extent triggered by the gay issue. I couldn’t accept that homosexual relationships were, as the Roman Catholic Church insists on proclaiming, disordered and sinful. Once a single brick in the wall was removed the entire structure began to fall.”

But, as he continues, there’s was more to it than that:

“I refused to base my entire world view and theology, as so many active Catholics do, around abortion, contraception and sex rather than love, justice and forgiveness. Frankly, it was tearing me apart. I wanted to extend the circle of love rather than stand at the corners of a square and repel outsiders. So I quietly and privately drifted over to an Anglican Church that while still working out its own position on many social issues, is far more progressive, open, relevant and willing to admit reality.”

Two weeks before The Star published his essay, Coren was interviewed by The National Post.  When asked why he “could no longer worship with integrity as a Catholic,”, he responded:

“I could not remain in a church that effectively excluded gay people. That’s only one of the reasons, but for someone who had taken the Catholic position on same-sex marriage for so long, I’d never been comfortable with that even though I suppose I was regarded as being a stalwart in that position. But I’d moved on, and I felt a hypocrite. I felt a hypocrite being part of a church that described homosexual relations as being disordered and sinful. I just couldn’t be part of it anymore. I could not do that. I couldn’t look people in the eye and make the argument that is still so central to the Catholic Church, that same-sex attraction is acceptable but to act on it is sinful. I felt that the circle of love had to be broadened, not reduced.”

If only he had come to this welcome conclusion a lot sooner.  For as refreshing as it is that Michael Coren is no longer an anti-gay bigot, he nonetheless deeply hurt a marginalized community needlessly and dishonestly for decades while getting paid for it.  Quite frankly, he still has a lot of amends to make for that.  He doesn’t deserve a free pass for his horrific past misjudgments.  Forgiveness is earned over time, not flippantly given in an instant.

I am also puzzled by why he didn’t publicly announce his departure from the Catholic Church immediately, rather than wait a full year to do so in that Post interview.  Considering how long and how much of his Catholic faith has been a part of his writing and TV identity, it’s a rather dishonest omission.

Either you’re completely unguarded with your readers about your internal struggles, your inner philosophical wrestling matches and your political reversals or you’re hiding your true self.  In fact, to conceal important, relevant truths, even the ones you’re still making sense of, is to be fraudulent.

So, let’s not get nuts and throw him a ticker tape parade for being pro-gay now.  Besides, Coren hasn’t at all reversed himself on every awful thing he’s said in the past.  He still supports Israel laughably asserting that it’s “intensely democratic”.  He stubbornly supports the long discredited “two-state solution” instead of a “one-state solution” that ends Apartheid, a word he never uses, against Palestinians & African immigrants.  Critics of Apartheid are succinctly dismissed as “Israel-hating leftists” and not praised as champions of freedom.

And he’s not exactly pro-Muslim, either, no matter how many supportive tweets he posts about the long persecuted Omar Khadr.  While evolving on gay issues last year, he shamelessly plugged his anti-Islam book on Twitter following the murder of a soldier outside Parliament Hill.  And after the recent shooting at a “Draw Mohammed” contest in Texas, he wrote this tone-deaf piece that completely avoided the connection between anti-Western violence and America’s constant bombing & drone campaigns against Muslims in the Middle East.

He might support vaccinations, evolution and Ontario’s new sex education curriculum, but he’s awful on transgender issues.  He may condemn the CIA’s torture program, climate change deniers and Jian Ghomeshi’s atrocious behaviour, but he’s not exactly a feminist.

As a result, it’s understandable that some of those directly affected by his past anti-gay views are probably going to have a hard time forgiving Coren or even accepting his sincerity after his belated admissions to the Post.  Like I said, he has lot of fence mending to do.  He hurt a lot of innocent people for no good reason for far too long.

Even so, he deserves praise for finally coming clean.  It is never easy to admit hypocrisy, to finally accept out loud that you were wrong and need to change.

But it’s not the only issue he needs to evolve on.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, May 18, 2015
9:55 p.m.

Published in: on May 18, 2015 at 9:56 pm  Comments (1)  

50 Things I Loathed About 2014

1. The Ultimate Warrior died.

2. Despite pulling out of the race for Mayor with just six weeks to go before the election & being diagnosed with a rare cancer, Rob Ford is once again a Toronto city councillor.

3. Gitmo is still open.

4. Israel’s heartless genocidal attacks on Gaza, The West Bank and the rest of the Occupied Territories.  Will long suffering Palestinians ever see justice?

5. Julian Fantino’s pitiful performance as the Minister of Veteran Affairs.  How does he still have his job?

6. Robin Williams & Philip Seymour Hoffman died, two superb talents killed by serious depression.  Can we please take mental illness more seriously now?

7. Boko Haram’s ongoing terror campaign in Nigeria which led to the kidnapping of hundreds of girls, only some of whom have managed to escape and reunite with their families.

8. Monday Night Raw is still 3 hours, has consistently terrible commentators, and remains unworthy of weekly consumption.  Ditto the 2-hour Smackdown.

9. Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak.  Dreadfully boring match & the absolute wrong creative decision.  The Beast Incarnate didn’t need the added heat.  The Streak had to come to an end at some point, yes, but not like this.  Horrible & infuriating.

10. Morrissey’s World Peace Is None Of Your Business.  I waited 5 years for this forgettable, mean spirited piece of shit?  Maybe he’s already written his strongest melodies.  God knows I don’t care about his upcoming Ramones tribute.  Ugh.

11. CBC’s Terry Milewski’s strange refusal to cooperate & collaborate with Glenn Greenwald on Canadian mass surveillance stories.  A completely blown journalistic opportunity.  Milewski should be ashamed of his timidity.

12. ISIS’ decapitation videos.  Only Saudi Arabia & the US are allowed to be this barbaric, right, Barack Obama?

13. The Nut Job.  Poorly animated, sluggishly paced, almost completely unfunny.  Its only redeeming quality:  the guilty pleasure dance anthem Gangham Style playing over the end titles.

14. England couldn’t even get out of their group at the World Cup.  A depressing performance for a talented squad that needs a big kick in the shorts.

15. Robin Thicke’s Paula.  That’s not how you reconcile with your wife.  No wonder she wanted out.

16. GamerGate.  A stupid name for a stupid scandal started by assholes who care nothing about “ethics in video game journalism”, only their unjustified hatred for women.  Despicable.  All the feminist targets of their childish scorn deserve full apologies, restitution & their regular lives back.

17. Alberto Del Rio was fired for defending his ethnicity.  He is much missed in the WWE.

18. The retirement of CM Punk.  WWE blew this one big time, as well.  Let’s see how he does in the UFC next year.

19. The unfortunate injuries of Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns.  The lost possibilities because of their long absences.

20. CNN’s embarrassingly excessive coverage of that missing Malaysian Airlines plane.  Despite weeks of breathless anticipation of its recovery & endless, pointless speculation, it remains completely unaccounted for.  A low point in the channel’s 34-year history.  Also pitiful at times were their on-the-scene reports during the Ferguson, Missouri protests & Israel’s illegal invasion of Gaza.  “Fuck CNN”, indeed.

21. A Haunted House 2.  Disgusting, sexist, slut shaming garbage.  Mark Henry, you should be ashamed of yourself.

22. Republican Congressman Michael Grimm’s scary threat to a NY1 reporter caught by a cameraman who had just finished shooting a quick on-camera interview with him.  Grimm eventually apologized.  He should resign, especially now that he’s a convicted felon.

23. Shaker Aamer & 63 other innocent, tortured men remain trapped in Gitmo, the American gulag.  All the rest have yet to have their day in court, a real court, not these fucking kangaroo “military tribunals”.  That’s not justice.

24. The heartbreaking fire that destroyed a senior’s home in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec in the middle of a bitterly cold winter which resulted in 32 deaths & 15 injuries.

25. Eden Alexander’s health scare & the nonsense she had to deal with while trying to raise money for her expensive medical bills.  The good news is, despite some rough months, she’s almost completely recovered now.  Very nice lady.  May she never be this sick again.

26. War Machine’s obscene assault against former girlfriend Christy Mack.  He belongs in prison for the rest of his life.  She deserves the full restoration of her health.

27. Megan Trainor’s All About That Bass.  An annoying song that will haunt wedding receptions for years to come.  I prefer Baby Got Back.

28. Michael Coren’s phony “apology” to the gay community in The Toronto Sun.  Until he publicly & privately supports full equality, don’t believe for a second that he’s changed because he hasn’t.

29. The Polar Vortex.  Whoever loves all this supremely cold weather is an emotionless psychopath.  I’ll stick with summer, thanks.

30. Sony cancelling The Interview’s wide Christmas Day theatrical release because of a bogus, empty threat from clever hackers.  Although they ultimately changed their mind & let independent theatres exhibit the film, and also made it available online, they looked incredibly stupid capitulating like this.  If it happens again, here’s hoping other studios are less cowardly.

31. The celebrity nude photo hack.  Unless these women want me to see them naked, I’m not going to invade their privacy without their permission.

32. The disturbing elevator video of Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancé Jenay with one punch.  How is he not in prison?

33. Devil’s Due & Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.  Two more compelling reasons to declare the “found footage” genre dead.

34. The Edmonton Oilers.  They’re so bad now I’m glad I stopped watching them play the few games that air on TV.  Time to resign, Craig MacTavish.  2006 is a distant memory.

35. The persecution of Matt Dehart.  Are you ever going to write about his case, Glenn Greenwald?

36. Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou, Jeremy Hammond & Barrett Brown are all still in prison for opposing Obama’s growing, illegal National Security State.  Along with Dehart may their vengeful persecutions be over soon.

37. All the other terrible movies I saw this year:  Movie 43, 21 & Over, Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, Cheech & Chong Still Smokin’, Goon, Fool’s Gold, 13 Ghosts (2001), Little Man, Mannequin, Mannequin: On The Move, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, What A Girl Wants, 21 Jump Street, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Nuns On The Run (it hasn’t aged well), Silent Hill: Revelation, Nightflyers, Grown-Ups 2, You’re Next, 30 Minutes Or Less, Project X (2012), The Hangover Part III, His Majesty The Scarecrow Of Oz & The Patchwork Girl Of Oz.

38. MuchMusic’s pitiful 30-minute “special” commemorating its 30th Anniversary.  It was hardly worthy of the channel’s important legacy as The Nation’s Music Station.  Then again, these days, it’s only a shell of its former self.  A proper tribute devoted to its glory years would only reinforce that.

39. Suey Park’s #CancelColbert campaign.  An ignorant, hypocritical, self-important “activist” uses the old Fox News excuse (“I was only joking!”) to justify a complete waste of fake, collective online outrage.  I’ve yet to see proof she understands what satire is.  In the end, the only reason The Colbert Report is off the air is because the host got a new job.  He takes over for David Letterman next year.  As for Park, she’s off Twitter now.  Good riddance.

40. The abhorrent mistreatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.  Like the endless human rights violations of the Palestinians, the world continues to look the other way.

41. The Republicans won control of the Senate.

42. The sudden rise of Charles C. Johnson, already the most despised media hack of the new millennium.  Thankfully, he’s making way too many sloppy mistakes & enemies to survive for much longer.

43. Lena Dunham’s stunning revelation that she abused her sister when they were kids, her defensive, embarrassing “rage spiral” in response to the mostly genuine outrage over it, her ultimately bogus “apology” & the predominantly white feminists who gave her a pass for it.  If it was anybody else, they’d be chased out of Hollywood.

44. The murders of Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown & many more people of colour – male & female; young & old – by white, paranoid, racist American police officers.  The brutal, Israel-inspired militarization of law enforcement must be curbed, the sooner the better.  The days of cops getting away with criminal activity have to end right now.  The system is completely rigged in their favour.

45. The WWE Network debacle.  How not to unveil a new venture two years behind schedule.  Vince McMahon ended up losing half his fortune thanks to the company’s plunging stocks.  (Actually, I love that last part.)

46. Howard Stern’s ongoing support for torture, an internationally recognized war crime, & Israel’s decades-long genocide of the Palestinians, especially the horrors unleashed on Gaza in the summer.  I’m done with this asshole.

47. Elliott Rodger, his frightening misogynistic murder spree, that creepy video with the sunlight in his face & that deeply troubled manifesto.  What the hell happened to this kid?

48. James Avery, Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air & Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, died on New Year’s Eve 2013.

49. The WWE’s ongoing association with serial woman beater Floyd Mayweather.  Chris Jericho, Triple H & Jim Ross, you all sicken me.

50. Rolling Stone’s much criticized report on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.  Of all the important stories to fuck up, why did it have to be this one?  This better not set back all the tremendous progress made by feminists this year in combating rape culture.  For the record, I still believe the woman at the centre of the UVA story was violated.  Like all victims of sexual assault, she deserves justice & peace of mind.  Unfortunately, Rolling Stone has made that very difficult for her now.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 29, 2014
2:34 a.m.

Michael Coren’s Non-Apology To The LGBT Community

Being a public figure can be very difficult at times, most especially when you fuck up.  And just like ordinary citizens, they fuck up often.  The big difference being the whole world knows when they fuck up.

Politicians, athletes, entertainers, cops, reporters & pundits are as humanly flawed as the rest of us.  Hopefully, when they do fuck up, they immediately recognize their mistake, own it entirely, apologize for it, make amends and sincerely vow to never repeat it.  In other words, as long as they are truly accountable for their fuck-up (ex: resign from their job), their wrong will be righted.

Which brings me to Michael Coren.  Yesterday, The Toronto Sun published his latest column.  Entitled “I was wrong”, apparently the longtime Sun Media columnist has had a change of heart about gay people:

“In the past six months I have been parachuted into clouds of new realization and empathy regarding gay issues, largely and ironically because of the angry and hateful responses of some people to my defence of persecuted gay men and women in Africa and Russia. I saw an aspect of the anti-gay movement that shocked me. This wasn’t reasonable opposition but a tainted monomania with no understanding of humanity and an obsession with sex rather than love.”

Coren is 55 years old.  Despite voluminous evidence of hateful comments directed at the LGBT community and their supporters for decades, not counting rapes, physical assaults and murders, until he started defending “persecuted gay men and women in Africa and Russia” himself this year, he had no idea how much harassment they truly face.  What an idiot.

He ends his short piece thusly:

“…I have evolved on this single subject because I can no longer hide behind comfortable banalities, have realized that love triumphs judgment, and know that the conversation between Christians and gays has to transform — just as, to a large extent, the conversation between conservatives and gays has.”

I am not prepared to throw around ugly terms like ‘sin’ and ‘disordered’ as if they were clumsy cudgels, or marginalize people and groups who often lead more moral lives than I do. I am sick and tired of defining the word of God by a single and not even particularly important subject.

If we live, we grow. The alternative is, of course, death.”

Sounds like belated personal growth, doesn’t it?  Sounds like he has finally “evolved” on gays.

Unfortunately, a much closer examination of his column proves his “thinking” hasn’t changed at all.

Consider paragraph 2:

“I’m still regarded by many in the gay community as an enemy and I understand that reaction. I have said and written things in the past that, while never intentionally hateful, caused offence and pain. This isn’t necessarily relevant, in that truth cannot change according to response, but I could and would not say such things any longer. I was wrong.”

Note how he doesn’t specify what he actually said and wrote that caused so much anger.  Also note how he downplays the severity of these unspecified comments by claiming rather unpersuasively they were “never intentionally hateful”, suggesting more of a big misunderstanding between two equal parties rather than hurtful, bigoted rhetoric directed from a privileged white man to a marginalized community he holds in contempt.  (Why else would he use the phrase “reasonable opposition” in paragraph 3?)

Before he declares, “I was wrong,”, pay particular attention to the sentence that appears before it.  It is within the short section in between the commas that reveals how Coren really feels about gays.  When he says, “truth cannot change according to response”, that means no matter how much anger his anti-gay vitriol inspires, he has not changed his actual position.  He just won’t use words like “sin” and “disordered” any more.  Ignorant insults attract too much unwanted attention, you see.

In other words, like Pope Francis, Michael Coren is choosing his language more carefully now when discussing LGBT issues.  He’s putting his rusty, out-of-date insults back in his hack pundit toolbox and locking the key.  But also like the head of the Catholic Church, that doesn’t mean he’s changed his mind on gay rights.

Go ahead.  Pour through that column and find the parts where he says he now believes homosexuality is a-ok and a normal form of sexuality, that he’s now a big champion for gay marriage and gay adoption, that he doesn’t think transgendered men and women are crazy, deluded perverts.

What’s that?  You can’t find any of that in there?  Of course you can’t.  He wrote none of those things.  Nor does he believe them.

This business of Coren declaring he won’t offend gay people any more with his dopey insults is not new.  In the Sun specifically, he has written this promise countless times over the years.  It has never led to him actually supporting full equality for gays which is the biggest insult of them all.

This past February in a Sun column entitled “Gay insults shouldn’t be tolerated”, he plainly states, “I oppose gay marriage”, “I uphold marriage as the union of one man and one woman” and “most gay people do not choose their sexuality” (who are the ones that don’t?)

In another column from that same period, “Uganda’s anti-gay law a travesty”, while defending homosexuals, he does not defend homosexuality.  “This isn’t the place for a discourse about the nature of sexuality,” he oddly declares before taking this convenient libertarian stance:  “What consenting people do in private as long as it harms nobody is absolutely up to them.”

In the very next paragraph, though, he opines, “I find some of the excesses of the pride parade vulgar and annoying and I find some of the intolerance and triumphalism of gay activists in North America and Europe to be offensive.”  So you can be gay in private but by God, don’t be gay in public!  That’s vulgar!  That’s annoying!  That’s offensive!

In October 2012, during a broadcast of his Sun News talk show, The Arena, he had this to say about a private member’s bill regarding added protections for transgendered folks who use public washrooms:

“What this is saying is if you do not want a boy to go into your daughter’s washroom you are the problem…not the person who says ‘Oh, I feel like a girl today.”

During a subsequent discussion about the Toronto District School Board possibly hiring transgendered teachers, Coren, sarcastically pretending to be a possible candidate, remarked, “No I don’t have a BA no I don’t have an MA, but I did have my penis cut off.”

Finally, there was this:

“I’ve interviewed people who think they’re in another gender’s body… Invariably, I believe they need a lot of psychiatric help.”

In November 2010, after comedian Rick Mercer came out in a famous video, Coren called his actions “pathetic”.  Regarding the It Gets Better campaign that inspired it, he decried, “[the] love that dare not speak its name will not now shut up.”

For his part, Mercer responded, “This is a perfect example of how it gets better, as I might have once let someone like Coren get to me, but now it doesn’t affect me one bit…I know the type of homosexual he likes: one in the Conservative party who does what they’re supposed to do.”  In other words, keeping their gayness to themselves and voting against their own interests.

In the “I was wrong” column, Coren writes, “It’s tragic but indicative that there are critics who cannot come to terms with growth and change and, rather than consider what I have to say, try to question my motives.”

It’s neither “tragic” nor “indicative” to point out the obvious.  Coren hasn’t grown.  He hasn’t changed.  And the suspicious timing of his column (in the middle of World Pride Weekend after all) is an excellent reason to question his motives.

His long history of abhorrent anti-gay views cannot be instantly erased because of a questionable shift in tone.  He still harbours them.  They can’t be forgotten, either, nor should they, as much as Coren would like them to be.  Just because someone once again announces they won’t say hurtful things about gay people anymore doesn’t mean they’ve stopped thinking them or that they’ll actually live up to their word.

What does he mean when he says, “I was wrong”, anyway?  What sorts of anti-gay “insults” is he referring to, besides the aforementioned “sin” and “disordered”?  By not specifying the full context of what he actually said that “caused offence and pain”, he’s avoiding being accountable.  He’s refusing to be real.

When I was a teen, my former church briefly contemplated having openly gay ministers.  It caused such a backlash that it never happened.  In History class, a Hamilton Spectator article about this was included in a project I did about current events which included my own summaries & brief analysis.  Right next to the clipped out story, I wrote the phrase “can the queers” which actually got a bonus mark from my teacher.  I don’t remember the full context of the line now, unfortunately (I’m sure I meant it as a mean joke), but nonetheless I am ashamed that I wrote it in the first place.  In fact, I ultimately threw out the whole project years later.  Today, I have no problem with gay ministers.  (I’ve been an atheist since 1996.)

In college, I took a human sexuality class.  We needed to submit an essay so I stupidly wrote one declaring that homosexuality was a mental illness.  Even though the teacher wasn’t persuaded, I actually got a B+ on it.  I’m not proud of that.  It, too, was tossed quite some time ago.  For the record, I no longer believe being gay means you’re mentally ill.  It’s a perfectly normal form of sexuality.  I regret writing that essay.

What does Coren himself regret, exactly?  Beyond saying “sin” and “disordered” out loud to describe homosexuality, who knows? His column lacks full candor and humility, he refuses to admit his comments were “intentionally hateful” and he won’t specify exactly what he said in the past that he won’t say today.  As a result, “I was wrong” is nothing more than an empty statement devoid of true contrition.

Speaking of contrition, where’s “I’m sorry”, “I apologize”, or any plea for forgiveness and reconciliation?  If Coren is serious about making peace with the LGBT community, he’s only taken a half-hearted approach here, one that should be met with collective contempt and great suspicion.  He hasn’t earned anyone’s respect on this.

What does it say about him that even his own children don’t agree with his outdated views on gays and gay marriage?  As he notes, “that generation in the west simply does not comprehend opposition on these issues.”

Knowing their father’s long history of hateful anti-gay bigotry, it’s not difficult to understand why.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, June 30, 2014
1:57 a.m.

Published in: on June 30, 2014 at 1:58 am  Comments (3)  

Why The Ford Brothers Won’t Save The Sun News Network

For nearly three years now, The Sun News Network has been searching for an audience that doesn’t exist.  Despite launching with much fanfare in April 2011 (during an election year, no less), its ratings are routinely in the thousands range.  It doesn’t help matters that it can only be seen in less than half of Canadian homes.  It also doesn’t help matters that it generates little to no respect from critics.  But there might be hope coming next week.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his Councilman brother, Doug, will be co-hosting a new show called Ford Nation which begins this coming Monday at 8 p.m.  On paper, it sounds like a winner.  Both men are notoriously outspoken hotheads who have attracted not only intense media attention in The Big Smoke lately but even more scrutiny internationally.  Let’s face it, they’re hot properties right now.  Everybody is talking about them.

But here’s the thing.  Sun News is not carried on every cable provider in Canada.  Furthermore, it’s relegated to the digital wilderness, a lonely broadcasting netherworld where unloved specialty channels are routinely ignored by already gouged subscribers.  Thanks to the CRTC denying them mandatory carriage status, in order to get the channel you have to specifically order it.

How many people not entirely fed up with these two are willing to fork over whatever price they have to pay to see them rant dishonestly on a weekly basis on a channel they otherwise wouldn’t watch?  I’m willing to bet it’s a very small number.

I’m also willing to bet that Sun News will ultimately regret ever hiring them in the first place.  Why?  Consider Rob Ford himself.  For the past six months he’s been the laughingstock of the entire world thanks to his chronic bumbling in the aftermath of his crack video scandal amid further allegations of maniacal behaviour.  Somehow, he’s been able to hang on to his job despite repeated calls for him to take a hint and go away already.  Even being recently stripped of some of his mayoral powers (with more to come) still hasn’t awakened him to his uncomfortable new reality.

On Thursday, while attempting to refute the latest set of accusations against him, regarding one in particular, he basically said there’s no way he told a female co-worker he wanted to “eat her pussy” when “I’m happily married and I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.”  It should be noted that this was said live on morning Television.  Uncensored.

Is this the kind of “straight talk” the Sun News folks are hoping for?  Or maybe they prefer his “drunken stupor” stories.  Or the dramatic pauses he sometimes takes to answer simple “yes” or “no” questions.  Hey, I know!  Maybe they’ll ask one of his staffers to repeatedly call in pretending to be a supporter.  Or maybe they would rather he forgo the talking altogether and have him walk through a claustrophobic press line in the most agitated state possible.  Maybe bring the wife along.  She loves that shit!  Unfortunately for Sun News, almost all of his most newsworthy moments take place in environments beyond his control.  Has he ever acted this crazy while broadcasting his own show?

Up until recently, the Fords already had a media platform on Toronto radio station CFRB.  But thanks to the Mayor’s ongoing antics, the show, which aired for almost 2 years, has been scrapped.  Bizarrely, Sun News appears to be the only company willing to be associated with him right now (despite The Toronto Sun Editorial Board publicly calling for his resignation.)  For a floundering channel so desperate for credibility in the TV world of Canadian news, is this really the best move for them?

Look, maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe Ford Nation will be a huge success and a major turning point for the poor man’s Fox News.  However, since the mayor does his best work saying consistently outrageous things impulsively in press scrums and council meetings, why would anyone watch him act normal and controlled on a TV show that’s hard to find?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, November 16, 2013
2:29 a.m.

UPDATE & CORRECTION:  Ford Nation won’t be seen on a nightly basis as erroneously noted, it will be seen on a weekly basis.  The correction has been made to the original text.  My apologies for the mistake.

Meanwhile, according to this Huffington Post Canada article, if Rob Ford is indeed serious about running for reelection next year, as absurd as that sounds, he won’t be able to keep his Sun News gig.  Once he officially declares his candidacy for mayor on January 2, he’ll be yanked off the air.  Will this maddening circus ever leave town?

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, November 17, 2013
2:30 p.m.

UPDATE 2:  Despite 155,000 viewers tuning in for the debut broadcast, Sun News has already cancelled the show.  I’m willing to bet that if it had returned for a second airing, the ratings would’ve plummeted.  But thankfully, we’ll never know.  Meanwhile, Canadian Press TV Critic Bill Brioux gives Ford Nation the review it probably deserves.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
10:10 p.m.

Published in: on November 16, 2013 at 2:29 am  Comments (2)  

What Didn’t Matter In 2012

1. Mitt Romney’s celebrity endorsers.

2. Daniel Bryan losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28.

3. Lance Armstrong’s doping denials.

4. Donald Trump.

5. America’s Got Talent.

6. Angus T. Jones’ apology for calling Two And A Half Men “filth” and urging viewers to stop watching it.

7. Scientology.

8. Karl Rove.

9. WWE’s Divas Division.

10. Booker T’s colour commentary.

11. The Golden Globes.

12. Facebook shares.

13. Rush Limbaugh’s insincere apology regarding his Sandra Fluke “slut” comment.  He still lost advertisers.

14. Joe Paterno’s statue.  No longer on display.  It’s too ashamed.

15. Lance Armstrong’s 7 Tour De France victories.

16. Sarah Tressler, the angry stripper.  Lighten up, eh?

17. John Cena’s Money In The Bank briefcase.

18. Partners.  The pilot was completely laughless.

19. Writer’s Digest Community.

20. Zellers.

21. The NHL in the second half of the year.

22. Tom Cruise.

23. Hornswoggle, the formerly Anonymous Raw GM.  Really?

24. Justin Bieber meeting Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

25. Tout.

26. Toronto Blue Jays.

27. Epico & Primo’s ‘face turn.  Blink and you missed it.

28. A.W., the one-time manager of The Prime Time Players.  Your Kobe material needs work.

29. (Lord) Tensai and his (now absent) worshipper, Sakamoto.  Once so dominant, now routinely jobbing.

30. Linda McMahon spending $100 million of her own money to campaign for a Connecticut Senate seat she ultimately didn’t win.

31. Anderson Live.

32. The 9 countries who voted against Palestine being recognized at the United Nations as a non-member observer.  Shame on you, Canada.

33. Piers Morgan.

34. Chris Brown’s return to the Grammys.

35. That’s My Boy.

36. The X Factor, The Voice and American Idol.

37. The Undertaker saying the wrong date for WrestleMania 28 during a Raw promo.  He accidentally said April 21st instead of the 1st.

38. Kristen Stewart’s fling with the director of Snow White & The Huntsman.  Who cares?

39. Twitter trends.

40. Jack Swagger.

41. Criticisms of Nate Silver.

42. The Situation’s “Let’s Make It Official” t-shirt to Paula on Jersey Shore.  The insecure dick was never that serious about her.  He dumped her in a week.

43. Zack Ryder’s U.S. title reign.

44. Ryder’s on-screen relationship with Eve.  He should’ve worn a cup.

45. Shannon Tweed’s desire to adopt.

46. Telephone screeners at the King Edward VII hospital in London, England.

47. President Obama’s reelection.  Nothing will change.  More laws will be broken and more innocent people will be murdered.  Not that American Liberals will give a shit.  I’m looking at you, Sophia Bush.

48. Jeremy Lin.  Ask the Rockets if they’re overpaying him.

49. Jermaine Jackson changing his name to Jermaine Jacksun.

50. Ex-Wives Of Rock. 

51. John Cena losing to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.

52. Chris Jericho’s month of overlong, mostly non-verbal pandering to WWE audiences upon his return.  Unnecessary and annoying.  His comeback should’ve been unexpected and dramatic.

53. Jimmy Kimmel hosting the Emmys.  Not funny.

54. Bob Lefsetz’ criticisms of Taylor Swift.

55. Warren Kinsella.  Will he ever admit he was wrong about Omar Khadr?  Will he ever consistently criticize Obama and Israel for ongoing, gross human rights abuses?  Don’t hold your breath.

56. Sun News Network.  This damn thing still on?

57. Lindsay Lohan’s portrayal of Elizabeth Taylor which got terrible reviews.

58. General Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell.  His military screw-ups were far more egregious.

59. Bubba The Love Sponge.

60. TNA.  The poor man’s WCW.

61. Eric The Midget’s acting career.

62. Paris Hilton.

63. The Daily Howler’s defense of Susan Rice.  Despite his desperate, obsessive efforts, she will not be the next Secretary of State.  Good.

64. The birther movement.

65. The Tea Party protestors.  Time to merge with Occupy Wall Street, guys.

66. Kim Kardashian’s brain.  Does she ever use it?

67. Howard Stern re-signing with AGT.  He still won’t find a superstar to push.

68. Conservative pundits.  As always, completely useless.

69. President Obama being named Time’s Man Of The Year.  Murderer Of The Year would be more accurate.

70. Daryn Jones left MTV Live.

71. Sarah Palin.

72. Renee Paquette left Aftermath.

73. The Pope joined Twitter. 

74. Michelle Bachmann.

75. Jersey Shore spin-offs.

76. Texas Governor Rick Perry.

77. Rick Santorum.

78. December 21, 2012.

79. WWE celebrity social media ambassadors.  How quickly that stupid bit was dropped from their prime-time programming.

80. Most of Jersey Shore’s fifth season.

81. Windows 8.

82. Ted Dibiase Jr.

83. WWE Network.  All that hype and it’s still yet to launch.  They clearly jumped the gun on this.

84. Bad reviews for Charlie Sheen’s new show, Anger Management.  It’s officially critic-proof.

85. WWE’s film division.  Will they ever make a movie audiences and critics will both embrace?

86. All those goddamn American election debates.

87. Those 27 shitty films I subjected myself to this year. 

88. That jackass who threw an empty bottle onto the track before the Mens’ 100 Metre Final at the Summer Olympics.  Usain Bolt still won Gold in world record time.

89. Angelina Jolie’s silly leg pose at the Oscars.

90. My love life.  Still dead.

91. Zack Ryder.  Broski needs to turn it around in 2013.

92. Newt Gingrich.

93. Defending Pussy Riot.  They still went to prison.

94. Laws in India protecting women from physical and sexual violence.  With roughly 200,000 reported incidents every year (surely, there are many more not brought to the police’s attention) and little to no justice for victims, it’s no wonder so many are protesting in anger.  Time for a feminist revolution.

95. Adversarial journalism in the Washington beltway.  It doesn’t exist.

96. Erin Burnett.  What a joke.

97. Privacy.

Dennis Earl
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
1:26 a.m.

What I Loathed About 2011

1. Boston beat Vancouver for The Stanley Cup.  Canada’s drought continues.

2. WWE announcer Michael Cole’s endlessly annoying heel character which audiences have to put with on Raw, Smackdown and pay-per-views now.  What happened to just describing the action inside the ring?

3. The exit of John Morrison.  He should’ve been pushed for a World title.

4. The firings of Chris Masters, Vladimir Koslov, Melina, Gail Kim and David Hart Smith from WWE.  They all deserved better.

5. Donald Trump.

6. The Penn State scandal.  Why has it taken this long to go public?

7. The Arizona and Norway shootings.  Needless tragedies.

8. The constant abuse that protestors in North America, Russia and the Middle East face every day they put their political beliefs and lives on the line.  They all deserve respect whether you agree with their message or not.  And I support them all.

9. Jack Layton died shortly after accomplishing his greatest political achievement:  becoming the Leader of the Opposition in Canada.

10. Roger Abbott died.  I was very lucky to have met him during my Royal Canadian Air Farce internship.  Lovely man and a very funny sketch comedian.  Will always miss his Leonard Cohen bits among many other comic gems.

11. Casey Anthony was acquited, which didn’t surprise me.

12. Sun TV News.  Unwatchable.

13. Kamala The Ugandan Giant had his foot amputated due to diabetes.

14. All the horrible films I subjected myself to this year:  Porky’s, A Nightmare On Elm Street (the remake), MacGruber, Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo, The Grudge 2, Vampires Suck, Jackass The Movie, The Stepfather remake and The Crow: City Of Angels.

15. That miserable, anonymous old bag who kept giving me a hard time in the CFNY Facebook group because I liked posting bits of trivia (or “wiki-facts”, as he put it) which was pretty much appreciated by most everybody else.  He couldn’t take it.  Said we already have an Alan Cross.  (What?  There’s no room for two?)  Glad I left.  I’d rather be happy.  On the plus side, his embarrassing behaviour inspired this and this.

16. The unlawful murder of Osama Bin Laden.  He should’ve been arrested and brought to trial.  A lost opportunity for America to restore its once cherished concepts of law and order which don’t exist anymore.  Except for the super-connected rich.

17. The Libya invasion.  What business do we have interfering in another Middle Eastern country?  How much oil do we really need?

18. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.  The most soulless empty suits in The Republican Party.  They stand for absolutely nothing.  They just want power.  Fuck them.

19. Charlie Sheen’s self-destruction.  In the 80s, he appeared in two great Oliver Stone films:  Platoon and Wall Street, the latter of which I finally screened recently.  Now?  He’s the manic idiot who gave up a cush gig on a bad sitcom.  Good one, Sheenius.

20. Randy Orton’s on-again, off-again beard.  Not working, dude.  Stay clean shaven.

21. Robert Downey Jr. publicly urging forgiveness for Mel Gibson.  He hasn’t earned it, Sherlock.

22. Santino Marella got into a car accident.  Thankfully, he survived.

23. Mayor Rob Ford.  Haven’t you embarrassed Toronto enough?

24. The ninth season of One Tree Hill will only feature 13 episodes next January in the States.  We Canadians probably won’t get to see them on MuchMusic until fall 2012.

25. The shocking celebrations over Bin Laden’s assassination.  Sophia Bush, Eric Boehlert and Howard Stern, I was disappointed in particular with all of your public approvals.  You all know better.

26. The missing singles from R.E.M.’s latest greatest hits package.  It should’ve been a triple disc set, not a double.

27. Gene Simmons unconvincing 180 on marriage.  An act of a desperate man.  Does anyone really believe he can be monogamous?

28. All the constant title changes in WWE.  Long gone are the days when, for example, a World Champion could count on at least a year at the top.

29. Randy Savage died.

30. The phony outrage over Lars Von Trier’s confused comments about Nazis while promoting a movie at Cannes.  Hire a funny spokesman instead.

31. The constant Presidential campaign coverage.  It’s just too much.

32. The grief Chaz Bono had to face for doing Dancing With The Stars, especially from Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow.  Give the guy a break.  He’s just dancing on TV!

33. Netflix’s misguided attempts to overcharge for beloved services.  Yeah, that worked out well, didn’t it, fellas?

34. The spineless, unaccountable Washington press corps.  How do they sleep at night?

35. Edge retired from WWE due to severe injuries.  That’s a huge vacuum to fill.

36. The mighty Cee-Lo Green having to sing “Forget You” instead of “Fuck You” during live performances on award shows and at SummerSlam.  Alanis Morissette got to say “fuck” on The Grammys fifteen years ago.  Why couldn’t Green do it this year?

37. The Kardashians.  Go away.

38. America’s Got Talent.  What a joke.  But maybe Howard Stern can fix it.

39. Piers Morgan Tonight.  What a blatant asskisser.

40. Whitney.  Not funny at all.  She’s much better on those Comedy Central Roasts.

41. The no-choking-with-objects policy on Vintage Collection.  Any time it happens, you just see a series of still frames instead of real-time video.  Come on, guys.  It looks stupid and insults the intelligence of the audience.

42. Evan Bourne and R-Truth’s ridiculous 30-day Wellness Policy suspensions for smoking synthetic weed.  Is that really a performance enhancing drug?

43. Rowdy Roddy Piper’s unconvincing victory over The Miz on Raw.  No more matches, Hot Rod.  You’re sadly passed your prime.

44. Lindsay Lohan still hasn’t gotten sober and remains a blonde.

45. The phrase “WWE Universe”.  So annoying.  As CM Punk correctly pointed out, “They’re not a universe, they’re fans!”.  Too bad he ended up using the phrase himself on the December 19th and 26th editions of Raw.  Ugh.

46. President Obama.  Worse than the last guy.

47. Patrice O’Neal died.

48. Sarah Palin.

49. The natural disasters that led to that nuclear calamity in Japan.

50. The earthquake in Turkey.

51. Gordon Ramsay.

52. Oprah’s Lifeclass.  Seriously?

53. Prime Minister Harper finally got his majority.

54. The lack of outrage over President Obama’s oppressive policies.  Doesn’t anyone care about due process and civil liberties anymore?

55. I wasn’t allowed to smile when I posed for my latest health card photo.  Back to looking like a creep again.  Sigh.

56. There was yet another shooting at Virginia Tech, four years after the first one.

57. The “anonymous” General Manager on Raw.  What the hell was that about?

58. Michelle Bachmann getting apologies from NBC and Jimmy Fallon because The Roots played Lyin’ Ass Bitch by Fishbone during an appearance on Late Night.  She doesn’t deserve one.  The band got it right the first time.

59. Anthony Weiner had to resign because he likes sending pics of his bulging dong to chicks.  Good thing I’m not a Congressman.

60. The homes featured on all those Hoarders shows.  Deeply disturbing.

61. Nancy Grace.

62. Victoria Jackson.

63. That deplorable Toronto Sun story about NDP Leader Jack Layton getting a massage in a supposed “bawdy house” late in the federal election.  Who cares?

64. Telemarketers.  Why do you think we rarely answer our phone anymore?  Take a hint.

65. The overblown coverage of the Prince William/Kate Middleton wedding.  They seem like nice kids, but come on!

66. Bradley Manning’s continued mistreatment while being incarcerated by the U.S. federal government.  Free him already.  He’s a hero.

67. The bogus announcement by President Obama that the Iraq War was ending after the departure of several thousand troops.  But what about the ones that will still be there?  Ditto the private contractors?  This was just as bad as President Bush’s Mission Accomplished fiasco.  Glenn Greenwald got it right.  It’s Endless War.

68. Amy Winehouse died.

69. Facebook’s constant tinkering with its layout.  Pick one and stick with it already.

70. Soap star Farah Fath’s constant nagging of her long suffering boyfriend JP Lavoisier (another soap actor) to marry her already as depicted on Dirty Soap.  Yeah, this is a happy relationship.

71. The mother of former Days Of Our Lives actor, the transfixing Nadia Bjorlin, on the same show.  And you thought Farah was a colossal pain in the ass.

72. Dog The Bounty Hunter.  Racist swine.

73. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried getting fired from his longtime gig as the voice of the duck in those Aflac commercials because he made controversial jokes about the Japanese tsunami.  Guess they preferred his take on The Aristocrats.

74. The Score’s refusal to promote Vintage Collection on Friday nights.  Apparently, if you believe the ads, it’s only on Saturdays!

75. Vicki Guerrero’s shrill voice.  It’s enough already.  And Dolph Ziggler doesn’t need her anymore.

76. President Obama’s hypocritical war on whistleblowers.  So much for complete transparency.

77. World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan’s awful beard.  You look like a hobo.  Lose it already.

78. Domestic and international drones.  They should be outlawed.  The war on privacy continues.

79. The ad with that obnoxious bespectacled woman who dumped her boyfriend after he got her hooked on World of Warcraft.  God, what a humourless bitch.  And no, this doesn’t convince me to play the game.  Neither does Chuck Norris.

80. The relentless canonization of the American military.  Yes, it takes tremendous courage to put your life on the line for your country.  Yes, many members of the service, past and present, have honourable records of their conduct.  But ask the civilians of the Middle East how wonderful they are, especially the widows and the orphans.  It’s time to end the suffering.  We need a real troop withdrawal and a real peace process.  Endless War solves nothing.

81. “The Situation”.  On his business card, it reads “professional douche”.

82. The voiceover announcer on TMZ’s TV show.  Shut up, asshole!  You’re not funny.

83. Canada’s Worst Driver 7 runner-up Sly with his overuse of the word “freak” whenever he screwed up a challenge which was most of the time.  Just say “fuck” already.

84. CDs without lyric sheets.  Drives me crazy when I can’t understand what’s being sung.

85. Still living at home, still not earning a steady income and still not getting any.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
1:12 a.m.

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.