Saturday, December 31, 2016

The JB Random Report End of the Year Awards 2016

Well kids, it’s that time of year again, so possibly for the last time before the holocaust...

NEWS STORY OF THE YEAR – In America, is there really anything else to discuss other than our final decline as a World power? Saying that it is the fault of politicians is just too easy, and lets the ignorant masses that populate our country off the hook. No, our decline happened long before we elected and unqualified, ignorant, racist, misogynistic buffoon as president. Our decline happened the minute we began praising the idiots on reality television thinking that could be us one day. The minute we valued fame over what can actually make us famous, the decline began. The minute we said that it is not important to be good at something, it is not important to know anything, just to go viral, the decline began, and I must say it has come quicker than I thought. Stupid has become cool, and that has finally began to destroy this country. Yes, maybe Paris Hilton can share a small portion of the blame, but you are worse.
It is the anti-intellectualism running rampant in this country that paved the way for Donald Trump to be elected president. The fact that we convinced ourselves that it’s ok to be stupid while the rest of the world surpassed us, is the prevailing reason why we have someone endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan as president. The fact that people actually said on CNN that they voted for Trump because they saw a fake news story on Facebook and thought it was real is the greatest illustration of my point.  

Michelle Obama in a recent sit down with Oprah, said that she felt as if we have no hope, I respectfully disagree and let me tell you why. Yes the ignorant have now taken over, but at this point, they have nowhere to go but down. The ignorant reality TV generation has now reached its summit. Let me tell you what I mean.
When I was in college I had a brilliant Sociology professor named John Louis Cooper, who ended up being my most significant mentor, mostly because I hear his voice every day, and it was his voice that inspired me to protect those protecting water rights at Standing Rock, North Dakota this year. In 1963, Cooper was a college student fresh out of the Army, and already a member of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. When the March on Washington was planned, he was all too eager to participate. He was there, and he watched as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his incredible “I Have a Dream” speech. When Cooper got back home, he immediately quit the movement. When I asked him why so many years later he simply said “Because that was the greatest thing I had ever seen, therefore I knew it was never going to get that good again.” Well he was right.
We have elected a President that fits the analogy perfectly. He is the greatest that reality TV will ever do. A President who would rather be on Twitter than get intelligence briefings. Someone whose own words disqualify him from the most dignified of executive offices, and no one cared because “hey is famous and wants to change things.” A President who appealed to the most ignorant racists that praised him for wanting to ban Muslims, build a wall to keep out the Mexicans yet has a wife who can barely speak English and is herself a foreigner. A President who has been endorsed by the most ignorant of religious fanatics who seem to support him while ignoring the fact that he has 5 children from 3 different baby mommas, and his current wife has posed nude. Now that’s kinda ghetto isn’t it? This coward got 5 deferments to duck service in Vietnam, spoke out against the families of slain veterans, and there were still veterans that supported him. My point is, that Republicans supported him despite the reality that he has no Republican values at all, and we must ask ourselves why, and we must do so in-depth, because barring that I can only come up with one answer: He was elected because he was famous, and a certain group in this country wanted to tell those govern it to go fuck itself. Kind of like a petulant child that finally turned 18 but is still living in their parents basement. Hey assholes, you still need government to be run by qualified people, don’t you realize that?
Last year I said that the coming election was struggle for the soul of this country, and the rest of the world was watching. Well, we showed the world how stupid we are. Letting Russia hack into our electoral process is something that a third world banana republic allows, not the greatest nation in the world. And for assholes like Paul Ryan to say that sanctions imposed by Barack Obama were too little, too late and that his foreign policy has made us weaker in the eyes of the world is interesting, considering that he and his cronies cock-blocked everything that the President has tried to do for eight years.
When the President-elect says that we “need to get over it” and “the computers have complicated lives very greatly” (I’m totally fucking serious this is a direct quote) I am very afraid. Hey asshole, a foreign government just compromised our elections and you seem to think it’s not a big deal. This is why we are finished as a world power. The only thing to worry about now is whether or not one of this ignorant brute’s tweets will start a nuclear war.
Look familiar? Google Nazi salute
Those who voted for Trump, I want to think deeply about something. Do you realize what you have done? You have elected someone that the rest of the world has now seen can be manipulated by a tweet, and can be owned by Vladimir Putin. You have not just compromised our position in the world, you have destroyed it. The worst part about this is, that you really have no idea that you have done it. Your blind hatred of a black president that actually was an exceptional man and would have had an even greater legacy had he not been obstructed at every turn, has lead you to elect a clown, and your only response is “give him a chance?” Really? That’s the best you can do? That is your best defense for this ignoramus? Do you realize what you have done? I can defend Obama’s record of achievement even before he was president. While I am no huge fan of Hillary Clinton, I can also do the same for her. What can you say Trump has done that qualifies him to be President? How is it that his own worlds did not stop you from voting for him? Do you realize that you have done?

QUOTE OF THE YEAR – “Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words liberty and equal protection of law.”

 -  Khizr Khan, father of a slain US Army soldier, in a speech directed at Donald Trump on the final day of the Democratic National Convention, July 28.

Mr. Khan I don’t think you are reading this, but if you are, as a veteran I just want to say thank you, and I am sorry we couldn’t do more, but I promise that I will not stop fighting for what your son believed in, even though I have not worn the uniform for some time now.

Honorable mention goes out to “Rebellions are built on hope.” But more on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” later.

TV SHOW OF THE YEARI didn’t really watch a lot of TV this year so I guess I’ll just give it to whatever it was I watched, and I usually watch the same things. RealTime with Bill Maher was good as always, he finally got his interview with Barack Obama. There was no Homeland, or The Leftovers this year so I guess I’ll go with Bill Maher. 

ASSHOLE OF THE YEARAnyone Who Voted For Donald Trump. If this offends anyone or I lose readership because of it, I really don’t give a shit. But before you do leave just read this one point, Trump voter…I don’t believe all of you are racist, misogynistic or stupid. But your candidate is, and he proved it with his own words. There was no media conspiracy against him, he was just quoted. What bothers me is that you heard the quotes, you saw who he had around him, and you didn’t care. It didn’t bother you to elect this man, what does that say about you?

POLITICIAN OF THE YEARSenator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) will not be the next President of the United States. But the fact that he has got as far as he did is something that I have been marveling at for a year now. I loved watching his rallies and how he inspired so many people.
His opponent in the Democratic Primary, Hillary Clinton failed to energize that base when he finally left the race, and unlike Bernie, she disappeared after her election loss, which is why Bernie Sanders wins this award for the second year in a row. After Bernie lost, he went back to work. He didn’t hide and he didn’t whine, he knew the people needed him. He went to Standing Rock (The highest profile politician to do so), and he got back to chairing his committees and Senator-ing, if you will. Hillary Clinton needed to reassure us that she was still here, she did not. 

OVERUSED PHRASE OF THE YEAR – “Bae” Oh please, Fuck Youae. This has to go, it just makes younger people sound stupider than they are and makes old people look ridiculous.

MOVIE OF THE YEAR Really? There is a debate here that you really feel you need to have? “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

ACTOR WHO MANAGED TO GET HIMSELF INTO EVERY COOL MOVIE THIS YEARDiego Luna “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” It was a truly awesome movie. Did he do anything else this year? Seriously though, much like “The Matrix” trilogy, I LOVED the fact that Rogue One had so many people of color in leading roles that it was hard to know who was gonna die first…

COOLEST MOVIE WITH SOMEWHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE IN IT THAT YOU STILL DIDN’T (YET/PROBABLY) SEE BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE – “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Well there were some not so famous people in the movie, it’s my list so fuck you!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – “Blue & Lonesome” –The Rolling Stones. What a great fucking album. I guess Keith Richards felt like he wanted to play guitar again. I just wish that they had introduced a few of these tunes during the Ole Tour in South America this year. I saw them in Bogota, and they were fucking awesome. Now you can argue that my expectations may have been low considering that it was my birthday and that they are my all-time favorite band, but if you use clips of that show you will see the world’s greatest rock and roll band turning back the clock.

Oh, by the way “A Moon Shaped Pool” by Radiohead came in a close second (Damn it was the only tour that I missed this year…) Honorable mentions must go out to Iggy Pop for “Post Pop Depression” and David Bowie for what really was his own version of Mozart’s “Requiem,” “Blackstar.” And anyone complaining that there are no acts from this century on this list, I most eloquently say…go fuck yourself it’s my list. But seriously, I listen to more new bands probably than most people because I love music, and I think a lot of them are really good, but this year was just not for anything new, and the best music really was made by those who have known how for a long time.

COOLEST SONG BY A MAJOR ACT THAT WASN’T A BIG HIT – “Wow” – Beck. Such a cool song I can almost forgive that I heard it later in a fucking commercial. But I guess that’s what great non-commercial artists have been most ironically reduced to…commercials.

COOLEST SONG OF THE YEAR – “Goin’ Down” Dinosaur Jr. I guess Renaissance man J Mascis plays music when he feels like it, maybe in-between miniature golf and Olympic skiing. But whenever he gets the band back together something good always happens. In this case, it was a good album “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not,” with a great song. I have to admit this is not the most current sounding song, but it just made sense in a world that is heading face first into the Apocalypse…

COOLEST ACT OF THE YEAR –Iggy Pop. “Post Pop Depression” was a great album, but what made Iggy so cool this year was his willingness to embrace his indie status while doing things to make him accessible. I kinda liked seeing him on all the talk shows this year, both in the US and in the UK.

SPORTS TEAM OF THE YEARThe Chicago Cubs, MLB. The Midwest had a pretty good sports year. The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA Championship and finally brought a title to the city of Cleveland, but it was the beloved Cubbies breaking a 108 year old drought in baseball that captured everyone’s heart. Now, being a Yankee fan, I have a distinct seething hatred for Theo Epstein, but this is a guy that has turned around not one, but two perennial losers into World Series winning teams. The Boston Red Sox and now the Chicago Cubs. I think there can be no doubt that he is one of the greatest baseball executives in the history of the game. 

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA. This guy did not win his 3rd NBA Championship by himself, he did have a good team around him, but that block in game 7 though! Plays like that are how legends are made. Not to mention the fact that this team was more dependent on him and he delivered, not just for himself, but for a city that had had nothing to cheer about for decades.

ATHLETE WHO REALLY SHOULD RETIRE OK Bernard Hopkins, it’s not funny anymore. First of all, what the fuck is wrong with you that you feel the need to spout so much racist crap outside of the ring? I guess that’s why your opponent knocked you out of it.
Anyone thinking I was gonna say Rhonda Rousey is mistaken. After her devastating loss to Amanda Nunes a lot of people were saying that she was finished as a fighter. I do not believe that at all. She needs a proper boxing coach if she is going to continue to insist that she can trade punches with boxers. I would be available of course, all she has to do is call, but I am thinking more along the lines of Roger Mayweather (no, really) or Buddy McGirt. Someone who can teach her to defend and counterpunch properly.
Rhonda Rousey is still a draw and still has a lot to contribute to this sport.

BIGOTED ASSHOLE OF THE YEAR – Giving this award to Donald Trump for the second year in a row would have been easy. But Steve Bannon’s mere existence is living proof that he is not alone. It is one thing to have a few KKK yahoos endorsing you, but when people like the executive chairman of the conservative news site Breitbart are going to be your closest advisors, that is just frightening. It is equally frightening that a conspiracy laden maniacal rant like Breitbart gets so many hits that the President-elect values his opinion enough he is putting him in a key position in the White House. I want to list a few gems here, but at this point why even bother? Everyone seems to think that it is OK to be a racist, and to call it anything other than that, like the “alt-right” is just bullshit. That is who Bannon is, and that is who will have the President’s ear for the next four years.

DEAD PERSON OF THE YEAROne of the many things that has made this year one of the shittiest ever is the monumental losses we have suffered, politically, culturally, and in the sports world. It was David Bowie in January that set the pace for one of the worst years ever for, not necessarily celebrity deaths (I could give two shits if one of the Kardashians dropped dead) but deaths of people that were so culturally relevant, so much a part of the soundtrack to our lives. So much so, that I even remember where I was when I heard the news of so many of the people I have grown to admire had left us (I was on a mountaintop in Colombia when I heard of Bowie, I was home somehow unable to sleep the night of Muhammad Ali’s death).

And the worst part of all of this, is that I remember writing something similar in this very section last year, foolishly thinking that it would never get as bad. I was wrong. I also thought that this country was too intelligent to elect an idiot for President, so what the fuck do I know. So this year, for the second time in the history of this blog, there is no one person who left us this year that will be more significant than the other.

Of course, Muhammad Ali meant so much more to me personally, but Prince, Bowie, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael so late in the year (just to name a few) are in some form or another, just as significant losses. I was certainly no fan of Fidel Castro, and even less of a fan of the armchair revolutionaries and wanna-be intellectuals that admired this tyrant, but he was an iconic historical figure.
To lose both Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds within 24 hours of each other was nothing short of brutal, and I cannot imagine any family going through that.
All that aside, I will miss the soundtrack to my youth, and I thank all who have left us for being a part of it. 

Here’s hoping the New Year brings you everything you want!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Greatest

After crying my eyes out watching his memorial service in Louisville, I came to the conclusion that I am not a good enough writer, nor am I worthy to put the life of such a great man into perspective, but I owe it to my childhood to try. And I can’t tell this story without telling some of my own. That’s how much he meant to me.
When I was in college, one of the greatest men I had ever known was a Sociologist named John Louis Cooper. One of the things this mentor told me was “Never look for heroes. They are human beings, and when you find out that they are human beings, they will only disappoint you.” Well sorry Dr. Cooper, but you were one of my heroes as well, but at least you set an almost impossible standard when I look for them.

I had found my very first hero in Muhammad Ali, and I don’t even remember when. He was well past his prime the first time I had heard of him when I was a child, yet everyone still called him “The Greatest.” He lost handedly to Larry Holmes in 1980, and embarrassingly to Trevor Berbick before finally calling it a career in 1981. But what I didn’t witness, was the man that beat Sonny Liston, Floyd Paterson, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Without a doubt, the greatest heavyweight ever. Sorry Rocky Marciano fans, but go ahead and name 10 good fighters that Marciano beat to get to 49-0 then I will change my mind. It’s OK I’ll wait…
So what would make me qualified to write anything about this man? Maybe the fact that I have done more research on this man’s life then most: I do own over 16 hours of film of his interviews, along with every one of his fights. I have read 6 books on him and I wrote a paper on his Supreme Court case clearly illustrating why he was right and the United States Government was wrong. A work that was quite well received, if I may say so myself. I had mixed feelings of posting it, because I thought the legal jargon might bore the crap out of my readers, but my brother Rudy Ruiz Jr. suggested that I do it anyway, so who am I to say no. So, in recognition of everything this great man meant to me and my own youth, the first part of “Three Years of Idle Turmoil: The Case of the United States vs. Muhammad Ali” will be posted next week, the rest in further installments until the end of the month. I hope you enjoy it, but remember I was just a kid in law school who loved Ali when I wrote it.

I have had a few days after his death to reflect on what Ali’s life meant to me, and even after all of his many accomplishments, to me he is still a fighter. I can write another book on the social impact he had all over the world, but the absolute first thing I think of when I think of Muhammad Ali, is the lead in right. That is a punch thrown without a jab to set it up. He was so fast that he could tag you with it with ease. Then I move to the shuffle, and that I can’t explain, you’ll just have to watch. I will make one recommendation even to the casual fan who wants to know what all the fuss was about…Watch the Ali vs. Cleveland Williams fight at the Houston Astrodome in 1966. This was sheer artistry. No one could have beaten him that night, and it was a cruel reminder of what the US Government took from the boxing public with their ridiculous charges, but that’s a story for a later time.

I have not fought competitively in over 10 years, but even now I still can’t seem to stay away from a gym. Even as recently as last week, I was working out in the ring and I didn’t even notice what I was doing until one of the trainers yelled out “Don’t think I don’t see you doing the Ali shuffle!” I am half Ali’s size, and here I was trying to do the things he did. But what so many didn’t realize was that he was a big guy actually trying to fight like a smaller fighter. He was the size of George Foreman moving like Sugar Ray Robinson , and he pulled it off so well it made him virtually unbeatable in his prime.
Yes, everything said about him was true: He was flawed, he was a genius, he was a lover of all human beings, he was willing to give up his whole life for a principle he believed in, he was one of the greatest athletes of the last century and yes he was the pride inside us all, if we look hard enough inside us, we will find him there. But mostly he was just an absolute beauty. How can this world shine as brightly without him in it?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A (Baker's) Dozen of The Realest Things Girls Have Ever Said to Me

Look, only someone that is feeling a bit insecure would write something like this. So in spite of how strong I think I am, maybe I am feeling a bit insecure lately, but isn’t that what writing your feelings is supposed to do? Make you feel better?

So my friend Kim Febres posted this video on her page this morning, I thought I’d share it… 

Cute huh? It got me thinking about so many things for some reason. Random things that are awakened by experience and triggered by emotion, and at the risk of looking a bit corny, I came up with this...

There is a book called “Legends of the Fall,” that was made into a movie in 1994. The author, Jim Harrison, who also worked on the screenplay of the Oscar nominated film, died last week. I remember this one scene in the movie where Brad Pitt’s character Tristian was going to marry Isabel II, played by the gorgeous Karina Lombard.
She is looking at herself in a mirror while her mom is helping her at the fitting for her wedding dress, and there is just this look of overwhelming, child-like joy on her face and in her laughter while looking at herself in that dress that no still could actually capture.

So I asked myself “Have I ever made anyone that happy? Have I ever done anything on such a high emotional level for someone I loved that it would cause that look of genuine joy?” I don’t know, but I realize now, at this stage, that would be nice.

Maybe I never thought about making someone else happy, but maybe I want to now. Maybe I would love to be the cause of Karina Lombard’s smile in that wedding dress scene. But what makes it so hard is that unfortunately, that is not the world we live in now, and even the so-called nicest girls from the so-called nicest families can still betray a man, and this culture seems indifferent to it. I know I am being a bit cynical, but come on, how many stories have you heard on Whisper about a chick fucking some dude the day before her wedding then acting as if nothing happened? Then somehow attempting to justify living a lie. Betrayal is the worst type of pain, but you should not make it worse by staying with the person that you will no longer trust or respect.

But, what if, just maybe, there was another pilgrim time traveler of another time just like you out there, and you just haven’t found each other yet? Well, the secret to finding him or her is to not take out your past bad decisions on them once they arrive. The best thing you can learn from the pain of trusting the wrong person is to make better choices, but never stop trusting.

Every line on this list was actually said to me, and it was said by someone who I was in a relationship with. My ex-girlfriends usually never inspire me to write anything other than cynical criticisms or humorous insults, but I decided not to go that way this time. You did love them once right? I remember every girl who ever said these things to me, and I am grateful that I was able to make you feel that way, at least for a little while.

And so as not to ruin the moment, I will NOT be including any of the greatest things women have ever said to me in bed, (and it’s not like I couldn’t have a list, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make right now, and NO there will not be a separate blog on this issue later!).
So thank you for letting me hear such wonderful things about me, and maybe I’m not quite done inspiring the good or maybe even the best to come out of anyone just yet. So here they are, in no particular order…

“You’re my best friend.” - MA

Her: “No matter what happens, I know I will never forget you.”
Me: “Well I'm usually the guy no girl ever forgets.”
Her: “Yeah really? Well I know somebody who forgot you pretty quick.” (Referring to her friend who I dated briefly before dating her. Her friend totally dumped me, so although this was certainly not a very nice thing to say, it was pretty damn funny I have to admit, and it was actually one of the few times in my life where I didn’t have a comeback!) - DC

“I don’t know, I just love you.”-VH

“Smell my feet!” -MR

“You really don’t care what anyone else thinks, but I’m not like you” – MA (during a heated argument)

“Wow!” (OK so this one was in bed, what can I say? I try to be mature but I’m a child) – SP(actually smacked me in the face while saying it), XC, CS, MR, CP, YT, ACL,  EP, LA, MA, JMA (was in my car, but still counts!), YA, LJB, WG, PP, DC (was on a soccer field, but still counts!), CR, AVC, NQ, SP

“Me siento tan segura cuando estoy contigo” (Translation: “I feel so safe when I’m with you”) - YR (While near a very large body of water with a wicked current). After thinking more about it, I realized that this has also been said by: AK, SP, JAM, YT, XC 

“You are already better than they are and they know it” – SP (discussing a "co-worker" situation I was dealing with at the time)

“Yes” - MR

“I always thought this song was written about you.” – JMA (Referring to the lyrics in this song by Train)

“You are beautiful” -NMB 

Her: “I Love you.”
Me: “Why?”
Her: “Because you protect me” - VL

“When I read The Fountainhead, I knew Howard Roarke was you.” – YA

"You are very smart and you are also very free, and that can scare some women, because you can't be controlled just by a pretty face, and she knows it, that's what scares some women away from you." - MCC (Sent in a text message so the sentence structure is a bit off)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The JB Random Report End Of The Year Awards 2015

Well kids, it’s that time of year again…

NEWS STORY OF THE YEAR – This year it was a close one, between the traveling circus freak show that is the Republican Primary and the very real gun violence that is sweeping the United States. But given the fact that both these stories can only be viewed, even by the most objective but sane observer, as tragedies with only one solution, even given the variables, they are in fact, intertwined.
The United States is struggling mightily for its soul. Who are we? And more importantly, who do we want to be? Well my point is that both these questions can be answered when addressing two of the most important issues facing our country today, and realizing that they are dominated by the same things…fear and ignorance.
Do we want to be a nation that is so afraid of the rest of the world that we are willing to elect a racist xenophobe for President, who wants to ban all Muslims from immigrating to the United States and wants to build a wall along our southern border?
And I am not just talking about that idiot Donald Trump. He is an easy target. Don’t think for one minute that the rest of the psychos running for the Rebublican nomination do not in some ways feel the same exact way he does. Trump just has the guts to say it, and the ignorant masses are so refreshed to hear a politician be honest, that they ignore what he is being honest about.

Of course this fear baiting has led to people speaking out in ignorance, and doing what comes natural, loading their guns. The NRA obviously has some type of mystical hold on the government when 90% of the population wants further background checks on gun purchases and Congress votes against it consistently. I know their argument all too well, and it really doesn’t work…Yes a crazy man with a hammer can commit an act of terrorism and we would not blame the hammer. However, a hammer does not kill multiple victims from a few yards out, so the “tool” argument really doesn’t work does it? Unless you yourself are a tool and an NRA slave.

Oh obvious terrorist mastermind
A few weeks ago, a friend of those two assholes who killed 14 people in California (I will not make them famous unless they were still at large) was charged with aiding and abetting terrorism. OK look at this meatball, Enrique Marquez. Seriously take a good look at this nitwit…This asshole looks less like a terrorist conspirator and more like a wanna-be who is still living in his parents basement and getting on line to see the new “Star Wars” movie at midnight (OK I would have done that too but this asshole probably dressed up like Boba Fett). Really, is this obvious chronic masturbator really who we should be afraid of? NO. Unless of course, he can make his delusions real by easily accessing a firearm, which is exactly what happened.
And what do Republicans do? They double down on the asshole factor by saying that anyone who mentions guns is politicizing the issue. Hey asshole, politics are supposed to make for better government and better lives for people, so I will politicize it until the fucking cows come home, or we have sensible gun laws in this country.
And I’m not even addressing how many black lives have been lost to police shootings, which is the biggest example of gun violence anyone could possibly imagine. That is a whole other story, but I assure you, also intertwined with this. The list of lives taken never seems to end does it? This has to mean something to us all, and we must vote accordingly, or we will end up eternal victims   

QUOTE OF THE YEAR Carrie Fisher responding to comments on her now 59 year old body on Twitter: “Please stop debating about whether OR not👁aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings. My BODY hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.” Nothing to add here.

TV SHOW OF THE YEARI didn’t really watch a lot of TV this year so I guess I’ll just give it to whatever it was I watched, and I usually watch the same things. RealTime with Bill Maher, Homeland, The Leftovers. OK I’ll flip a coin…and the winner is…Homeland. 

ASSHOLE OF THE YEAR – You have no idea how badly I wanted to give this award to Republican Party frontrunner Donald J Trump. But alas there was actually a bigger asshole in 2015 if you can believe it.
Coming in at a close second is Ethan Couch the asshole known as “affluenza guy.” That this prick can kill four people during a DUI and get 10 years probation is beyond me or anyone with any legal training. And obviously he learned nothing of the dangers of the self-entitlement he used as a defense. The fucking asshole got probation…probation, no jail time and STILL thought the sentence was so bad he had to flee? And the greatest irony is that given the terms of his probation, unless a good argument is made, the most he can do is 120 days in jail. I wonder how much probation or jail time he can do to bring back the people he killed.
No, this coveted award just has to go to, yep, the asshole who jacked up the price on AIDS medication. Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli’s decision to increase the price of an AIDS drug by 5,000% was actually done with a straight face and with the belief that no one would call him out on it, which again, says more about the pharmaceutical industry’s standards than it does about Shkreli.

In a slight bit of karma however, this smug asshole was arrested for securities fraud, and while unrelated to the price mark up, we like to think that maybe there is a God

MOTHER OF THE YEAR – I usually give this one out with a twinge of irony (like the year I gave it to that magnificent train wreck, Britney Spears). But this year I am actually being sincere. During the riots in Baltimore due to Freddy Gray’s murder at the hands of police, Toya Graham, a single mother of six, was filmed telling her child to “take that fucking mask off,” while beating his ass for being involved in the riots. Her reasoning had nothing to do with her needing anger management or being abusive in a moment of weakness: “That’s my only son, and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray,” Graham said. “But to stand up there and vandalize police officers, that’s not justice.” Parenting...she’s doing it right.

PERSON OF THE YEARHis Holiness Pope Francis. Yes, a two-time winner of this award. Now I ask you, is there anyone cooler? Is there anyone who inspired you more this year? In just one visit to the United States this Pope has done more to endear himself to the world than his predecessor did in his entire reign as Pope. The scars of what the Catholic Church has been guilty of are not gone, but I ask you, who has done more to try to heal them? 

POLITICIAN OF THE YEARSenator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) will probably not be the next President of the United States. But the fact that he has some this far in a race that should have been a lock for Hillary Clinton, says a lot about how a grass roots campaign can actually be successful. The truth is, the fact that a 74-year-old self-declared socialist from Vermont has made the Democratic front-runner “feel the Bern” with double-digit support really is a victory, even if a token one.
Sanders’ numbers should serve to energize liberals. His rallies are true happenings and his voice is getting a great deal of slow and steady momentum. His success is great for the party, and Hillary better not be fitting for the crown just yet. I hope that his achievement can bring Hillary, a lifetime centrist, a bit more to the left on some issues.

 OVERUSED PHRASE OF THE YEAR – “Netflix and Chill” I really believe this is actually coded language for “Cheap Food and Date Rape.” Look, inviting someone over to watch a movie with some level of expectation of eventually seeing them naked is fine, but this phrase makes it so obvious that it takes away the anticipation.

MOVIE OF THE YEAR Really? There is a debate here that you really feel you need to have? “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

ACTOR WHO MANAGED TO GET HIMSELF INTO EVERY COOL MOVIE THIS YEARHarrison Ford “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” It was a cool movie. Did he do anything else this year?
COOLEST MOVIE WITH SOMEWHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE IN IT THAT YOU STILL DIDN’T(YET/PROBABLY) SEE BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE – “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Well there were some not so famous people in the movie, and it's my list so fuck you! 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – “Art Angels” – Grimes. Here is an artist that has been around for years and released 4 albums. And although I have always thought she was cool, none of her other works have ever hooked me quite like this one. I have to say I love being surprised when it comes to music. Just when you think you know all there is to know about an artist, they hit you with something you were not expecting. 

COOLEST SONG BY A MAJOR BAND THAT WASN’T A BIG HIT – “Random Name Generator” – Wilco. Don’t call it a comeback!

COOLEST SONG OF THE YEAR – “Trouble” Keith Richards. Look I know I may get some flack because I’m such a huge Rolling Stones fan that one may think I am not being objective. But really couldn’t get enough of this one. And apparently neither could Howard Stern.

COOLEST ACT OF THE YEAR – Bully. If you say they are (musically at least) a broke version of Sleater-Kinney you may be right, but they really are good regardless.

ONE HIT WONDER THAT I REALLY HOPE STAYS AWAY AFTER IT FINALLY GOES AWAY – That “Whip Nae Nae” bullshit. The only thing more hateful would be another single by one of the Kardashians.

SPORTS TEAM OF THE YEARThe Golden State Warriors, NBA. Yes they beat a severely depleted Cleveland Cavaliers team to win their first NBA Championship since the 1970’s, yes they rely heavily on outside shooting. Fair criticism aside though, they still had to play those games, and they still dominated them. Yes they got blown out the other night without Steph Curry, but it is early in the season and they deserve some time to find themselves and respond to pressures like this. Maybe they don’t have a guy that consistently plays above the rim, but like it or not, they are dominating the new way the NBA game is being played.

ATHLETE OF THE YEARIs it Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors, NBA? Certainly he had a great year and deserves this award. Serena Williams had an awesome year and even after age 30, a death sentence for the athletes in her sport, she will dominate women’s tennis. In many forums, she was the “female” athlete of the year. Bullshit. She dominates her sport more than any man or woman in any other sport.
However, even if she actually had won the Grand Slam in her sport this year, she still would have come up short to Zaevion Dobson, Fulton High School Football, Knoxville, Tenn. This incredibly brave young man used his body to shield three classmates from gunfire during a shoot-out at a house party, all before his 16th birthday. Look, anyone who thinks that this award is better given to someone who showed prowess on the field is absolutely right. But I really felt this young man needed to be recognized, and it is my list so fuck you!

BELOVED ATHLETE WHO REALLY SHOULD RETIRE Roy Jones Jr. This guy was one of my all-time favorite fighters growing up. He was really perfection to watch in the ring. So sharp and such a good student of every one of his opponents. But in yet another example of someone who is holding on too long, his fights lately have become difficult to watch. In October, at 46 years old, he announced that he would not fight again after knocking out a forgettable Willie Williams, but please Roy, don’t lie to yourself and to a boxing public who respects you by attempting some sort of comeback like so many other fighters. The concern for your health is growing.

BIGOTED ASSHOLE OF THE YEAR – Who else but the man who almost swept our awards this year, Donald Trump. Seriously, this guy is to assholes what the movie “Titanic” was to the Oscars in 1997. And I say again, the fact that he is the Republican front runner in December, that David Duke, former Presidential candidate and KKK member, stated that Trump is more radical than he is, that he has offended everyone from former POW’s to Latinos, to Women, and to minorities, says more about registered Republicans and less about him, and we should be ashamed of ourselves. 

DEAD PERSON OF THE YEARUsually there is one great amongst the many, but this year we lost Julian Bond, the great civil rights activist, and John Forbes Nash, a genius. Music lost BB King, Lemmy Kilmister and Scott Weiland.
The sports world lost the great Dean Smith and the greatest catcher ever in Yogi Berra. Every year has losses, but this year’s seem just a bit more monumental. Many times we believe that a loss of great magnitude will leave us weaker or unable to move on, but we manage to. This year, got a bit dimmer without these people. 

Here’s hoping the New Year brings you everything you want!