1. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble. Two stellar talents putting on a clinic in the first match of a pay-per-view that easily bested the disappointing WrestleMania 30.
2. Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ WWE Hall of Fame induction speech. Poignant, cathartic, painfully honest & even funny. A much deserved honour for a superior ring psychologist. Thanks for “masturbating our emotions”.
3. Coldplay’s Ghost Stories. Who knew a “conscious uncoupling” would lead to a lovely set of tunes?
4. Rob Ford is no longer the Mayor of Toronto & Doug Ford is no longer on Toronto City Council.
5. Dylan Farrow’s powerful statement on the New York Times website against her estranged father & childhood abuser, Woody Allen. It opened up a wide ranging public conversation about sexual assault & the celebrity assailants who often get away with it.
6. The executive summary of the CIA torture report was finally released after multiple delays. Despite excessive redactions, its shocking revelations should inspire worldwide pressure to prosecute all guilty parties, past and present, even though the Obama Administration is very reluctant to do so themselves, the fucking depraved cowards.
7. Bruce Springsteen’s long awaited studio recording of American Skin (41 Shots). His timing couldn’t have better. The song of the year.
8. Germany won the World Cup for the 4th time while defending 2010 champions Spain didn’t even get out of their own group.
9. Jian Ghomeshi & Bill Cosby were finally exposed for the serial predators they’ve secretly always been for decades. More proof that “nice guy” images are powerfully deceptive. May their many victims finally get justice after all these decades.
10. Glenn Greenwald’s thoroughly frightening No Place To Hide. The book of the year.
11. The ending of the final Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Very funny homages to The Drew Carey Show, Newhart & The Sopranos.
12. “We’ll Meet Again”, the charming, strangely moving celebrity sing-a-long from the last Colbert Report. The fake conservative pundit character might be resting in a coffin somewhere but the lid isn’t sealed.
13. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 30. The match of the year. The post-match steel chair beatdown by H on Bryan’s arm was brutality at its finest.
14. Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, his 4th such title, at that same event. Despite a slow start, the Triple Threat match with Randy Orton & Batista ultimately evolved into an entertaining main event featuring the pinnacle of the most unlikely babyface superstar of all time. The right guy went over that night.
15. Interpol’s El Pintor. Still plumbing the darkness for sexual release, this time without Carlos D. Let’s not take another four years for album number six, ok guys?
16. Being asked to become a Huffington Post Contributor. Seven posted pieces, thus far, with hopefully many more to come. Talk about a big career break. If only it was a paying gig.
17. Robyn Doolittle’s Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story. Just a small, fascinating taste of the insanity that is the Ford Family, plus a revealing look at how a difficult series of stories came together at The Toronto Star. I’d love to see a sequel. God knows there’s more than enough material for one.
18. Canada’s performance at the Winter Olympics. Winning 25 medals four years after winning a record-setting 26 in Vancouver is pretty god damn impressive.
19. The eruption sequence in Pompeii. Too bad the rest of the film isn’t as fun to watch.
20. U2’s Songs Of Innocence, the two-disc version. There’s still plenty of vitality flowing through these middle aged bodies.
21. Weezer’s Everything Will Be Alright In The End. The record Blue Album fans have been waiting 20 years to hear. Rivers Cuomo’s voice hasn’t aged a day & he still has a trunkful of catchy melodies to share with the world.
22. Green Day is going into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year. Fuck you, Johnny Rotten.
23. The astonishing fall of former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. What took so long?
24. Invisible Children is on the verge of extinction. You won’t be missed, phony White Savours. Kony 2012 was an absolute fucking failure.
25. The #BlackLivesMatter movement. The spirit of Martin Luther King lives on in a peaceful yet rightfully pissed off community tired of systemic mistreatment & disrespect by governments & law enforcement. May they succeed in their ongoing quest for real change. A tip of the hat as well to protesting fast food workers, Canada’s native community for demanding an inquiry into missing women & girls as well as fighting against the construction of new gas & oil pipelines and Palestinians for fighting their evil Israeli occupiers. Righteous, moral courage is contagious. May we all catch it.
26. Sloan’s Commonwealth. More melodic elegance from The Canadian Beatles.
27. Belle Knox. Smart, honest, defiant, ballsy & incredibly sexy. After being outed by an asshole schoolmate at Duke University, she made the absolute most of a scary situation. An excellent writer whose young voice will only grow stronger & smarter over time. She’s also very sweet.
28. Mr. T’s hilarious yet completely sincere WWE Hall of Fame speech, an incredible tribute to his mom. He shouldn’t have been cut off, though. Let the man get all his thoughts out, for Christ’s sake.
29. CNN’s explosive reports on Veteran Affairs hospitals in the US shamefully covering up long waiting lists for patients, an uncomfortable reminder that governments still don’t give a shit about the damaged people who implement their heartless & failed foreign policies. Drew Griffin deserves much praise for his dogged work.
30. Edward Snowden’s prime time interview with NBC’s Brian Williams. He is the strongest, living reason to impeach President Obama.
31. The continuing bombshell reports on the NSA’s illegal, immoral mass surveillance programs. Snowden’s whistleblowing continues to reverberate around the world. Keep sweating, President Obama.
32. Recreational marijuana became legally available for sale in Oregon & Washington State. The beginning of the end of the war on pot. How much longer before everyone wants a piece of this lucrative action?
33. Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL. If only he had beaten up little kids & grown women, he’d be on a team right now.
34. The Intercept. Finally rolling with regular updates, it’s the best new news site out there right now. Fiercely adversarial & consistently revelatory. Glenn Greenwald was absolutely right to leave The Guardian for this venture.
35. Kim Kardashian’s beautiful bare ass. I like big butts & I cannot lie.
36. Damien Mizdow, The Miz’ stunt double. Hilarious, despite being somewhat of a comedown from “The Intellectual Saviour of the Masses” gimmick. On the plus side, however, he’s finally gotten a title push.
37. Big Wreck’s Ghosts. Yes, Ian Thornley can scream like Chris Cornell but that’s part of the appeal. Nearly 20 years after In Loving Memory Of…, they can still bring the rock.
38. Lana Del Rey’s inescapably dreamy West Coast. I finally get it.
39. Police in Holland arrested a man they believed shamed & tormented Amanda Todd online to the point of suicide. As CBC’s The Fifth Estate revealed, there are dozens more victims in multiple countries including Canada. It is such a shame his arrest couldn’t have happened much sooner. Todd may very well still be alive. God knows it was possible. But in a story full of so much tragedy, this very positive development may finally get us closer to understanding the full truth.
40. Antonio Cesaro bodyslamming The Big Show over the top rope to win the first ever Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30. Also, the handshake at the end was classy. The Swiss Superman should’ve turned ‘face that night, one of the many fuck-ups the WWE made in 2014.
41. Barack Obama apologist Sophia Bush is still blocking me on Twitter, 18 months and counting. My second proudest writing achievement next to becoming a Huffington Post Contributor.
42. Edward Snowden was given permission to stay in Russia for three more years, far away from the corrupt tentacles of Obama’s evil National Security State. Plus, his girlfriend is now living with him. Suck on that, Michael Hayden, you lying, spying, torturing, bald piece of shit.
43. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s numerous, growing political scandals including the now infamous George Washington Bridge closing. May his political reputation continue to take the critical beating that it deserves.
44. Eric Cantor surprisingly lost a primary and resigned from Congress. Now he can enjoy all the Britney Spears concerts he wants.
45. Eric Holder announced his forthcoming resignation as Attorney General. His legacy will be decidedly mixed. His constant hounding of whistleblowers & journalists, James Risen in particular, should not be forgotten or forgiven.
46. Egypt’s sham “justice system” which punishes critics, members of the Muslim Brotherhood & journalists doing their jobs like the Al Jazeera Three, & Obama’s continued financing of it. Disgraceful on so many levels.
47. Lenny Kravitz’ Strut, which features some of his sexiest & most soulful arrangements. Glad he’s still rocking out. It’s not fair that he’s better looking than me, though.
48. Rachel Nichols’ welcome, adversarial grilling of serial woman beater Floyd Mayweather on CNN. I wish every journalist treated him like the disgusting misogynist that he is. Iron Mike Gallego’s stinging round-up of his criminal acts on DeadSpin deserves high praise, as well.
49. Sheldon Cooper telling his girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler that he loves her for the first time, then kicking her out of his bedroom because girls aren’t allowed in there on The Big Bang Theory. Perfect.
50. Eugenie Bouchard & Milos Raonic’s grand slam breakthroughs. How long before either of them take home a major championship for Canada?
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, December 29, 2014