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.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 28, 2015