Monday, December 31, 2018

The JB Random Report End of the Year Awards 2018

Well kids, it’s that time of year again, so possibly for the last time before the massive blue light Con Ed apocalypse…

NEWS STORY OF THE YEAR – OK so, let me take a deep breath…I could write a whole entry about what is happening to the United States of America, but it’s so hard to keep up with so many scandals, lies and corruption mixed in with such stupidity and incompetence. Are there highlights of this bullshit? Sure. But even a token coverage would require so much more in commentary and just the thought would drive me crazy, so here is just a short list of things that are actually happening in the United States of America, in 2018:
1-   Since running for president, Donald Trump has told approximately 5,000 confirmed lies and untruths. Let that sink in. 5,000 lies told by your president.
2-      Since the investigation lead by Robert Muller began in 2016, an investigation dismissed as a “witch hunt” by Donald Trump and his supporters, there have been 5 indictments of Americans, 25 of Russian officials and 6 Russian corporations. 7 guilty pleas, which have lead to significant jail time for the guilty parties. One being General Michael Flynn, whose crimes against the United States were so egregious, that the judge even called him a sellout and told the defendants attorneys to postpone his sentencing because he was so disgusted by the accusations plead guilty to. 36 defendants charged, 7 guilty pleas, 1 conviction and 4 actual prison sentences so far? Wow, talk about draining the swamp.
3-      Over 26 resignations or firings in the cabinet…in less than 2 years. Trump better slow down or he will run out of fascists to appoint. This is still a free country and there are only so many. 
4-      While this ridiculous policy of separating families seeking asylum at the border has been going on, two children have died while in ICE custody. These are their names, and these are their faces. Felipe Gomez Alonzo 8, Guatemala, and Jakelin Caal Maquin 7, Guatemala. Usually this would send any reasonable person into a tirade about the rapid moral decline of their country, but to be honest, I’m not even mad anymore. I just want to ask Trump supporters a question:
Why is this OK with you? And would you be equally supportive if a black democrat were exhibiting this harrowing instability, naked corruption and obvious lack of humanity? (wait…don’t answer that last one) Is it worth having a president who is white, racist, stupid, and thinks like you when he is single-handedly destroying every value of a free democracy this country has been known for?
5-      As of December 31st, 2018 Trump has decided not only to continue the current government shutdown, but to freeze the pay of federal workers. These are middle income people with families and bills, not millionaires that he gives tax breaks to. All because he is a whining man-baby who wants a racist wall on the southern border that will not work. I say again, why is this ok with you?  
6-      Everyone you support, from Rudy Giuliani to Ann Coulter to Kelly Conway are all being forced to question truth and fact when defending this joke of a President. What if Barack Obama had coined the term “alternative facts?” How would you react? Seriously this is how far they have had to go to maintain their positions. So the second question, after “why is this OK with you?” would be, ”are you sure your positions are politically motivated and have nothing to do with race?”
Oh and speaking of which, do you know that a Gallup poll revealed that Barack Obama is the most admired man in the US? You know who came in second? Donald Trump. I am sure Trump supporters have a problem with that. Believe me, so do I.

PERSON OF THE YEAR – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Time magazine was well within its reasoning to select journalists who are attempting to report truth, “The Guardians and the War on Truth” (great title) particularly in a time where they are facing a war on the very thing which they try to report. Of course this is true in Totalitarian dictatorships like Russia and oppressive monarchies like Saudi Arabia, but I never thought it would be happening in the United States as well. When a Jamal Khashoggi, a US Resident journalist is murdered and this ridiculous administration does nothing, the world is in desperate need of a new enlightenment.
I chose Ford however, because what she did has a greater immediate impact on the lives of Americans. When she bravely came forward and publicly accused Supreme Court nominee (now Justice, if you can believe that) Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault that occurred when they were students, she put her life and the lives of her family at risk. She also had to move 3000 miles from her home. So when people say “Oh she had an agenda.” Well exactly what the fuck was it? To live under scrutiny for the rest of her life over a lie? I doubt that.
She came forward knowing that it would disrupt the rest of her life and she did it anyway. This is a tremendous sacrifice and it should be commended. I hope that this does now what the Anita Hill case could not do in 1991. Hold these men accountable. Yes, ultimately the war was lost and that asshole made it to the court, but at least a fight was put up by people who will not tolerate it anymore. The movement continues.     

QUOTE OF THE YEAR“Our country is being led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything.” – James Comey ex FBI Director
I may have to add a separate “Tweet of the Year” category to next year’s awards, as this was a tweet credited to the Director on May 23rd of this year. But I do not think that any quote from any public figure this year better illustrated exactly what this country is going through.

TV SHOW OF THE YEARSorry, I do not have an entry here. I don’t really watch TV unless it’s CNN or sports, and I am one of the few people who is not so fucking addicted to the lighted box in my room that I need to watch it even when there is nothing on of particular interest (that’s what books, libraries and exercise are for), so I do not have Netflix.

This is, believe it or not, a tough one for me, because much like LeBron James is the perennial NBA MVP, Donald Trump can with this award every year if he wants. But the reason that this is tough is because, believe it or not, there was a time where I actually admired Rudy Giuliani, and don’t front, you know you did too. As a Federal prosecutor in New York, he was a huge reason why the Mafia and organized crime no longer have a stranglehold on US commerce. He was a social liberal as mayor of New York City, and who can forget how he brought us all together after the events of September 11th, 2001. So to see him fall this dramatically and this quickly isn’t as angering as it is sad. How can someone who made his bones putting corrupt assholes like Trump in prison, now be defending the indefensible? What the fuck happened to you? You are a legend in the Southern District dude, really? This is what you want your legacy to be? “Truth isn’t truth?” Fuck you!
Oh, and honorable mention goes to Supreme Court Justice and serial date rapist Brett Kavanaugh.

Look, those who know me know that I am pretty much as liberal as they come, but what I am not is unreasonable, and I will not become unreasonable or pretend facts do not exist just because some people do not like how they were born. So let’s keep this simple, if you were born with a penis, you are a male. That you believe it was given to the wrong person is certainly your right. If you choose to identify as a female because, well, I dunno, their clothes are nicer, that is also your right. You cannot, however, tell me I am wrong because I choose to stay with the definitions of what you were born with. In so far as bathrooms go, I do not care which one anyone uses so long as they don’t fucking come near me without washing their hands.
I saw an article one time where a heterosexual man was having difficulty accepting that he was attracted to someone who was transgender, and refused to call her an actual “woman” (probably the whole penis thing was preventing him from doing that). The advice given to him, and I quote, was “perhaps therapy can help him with that.” What the fuck? OK so the transgender girlfriend was born with a penis they do not like, but HE is the one that needs therapy? What for? To help him believe something that just isn’t true? You see, this is why conservatives still get elected.
Look, be who you are, but let’s not take things so far that reason takes a back seat just so a small segment of the population doesn’t get their feelings hurt. So you wanna pretend gender just doesn’t exist? OK tell that to your menstrual cramps and eventual prostate problems, hipsters.

MOVIE OF THE YEAR “Black Panther”
The fact that this was the highest grossing movie of 2018, taking in over $700 million should chap the ass of every racist asshole that Trump has eased out of their bigoted closets. But besides that, this movie just happened to be awesome.

Someone writing a screenplay, who is obviously a fan, said to themselves, “I am imagining if Jeff Buckley would have lived to see the cult figure he has become, and how would he react?” Well had Jeff Buckley lived, he may have been bigger than Elvis and would have never become a cult figure, but I digress, we are imagining…
I saw this movie alone, and I felt as if I were actually in it, and I have to say I love it when movies do that to me. Ethan Hawke was absolutely perfect for this role.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – “Sundays.”Tanukichan.
It is very cool amongst these idiot hipsters today to dislike anything that is even remotely buzzing or popular. When this record first came out even I have to admit I wanted to ignore it. But after one listen it was kinda hard to. Honorable mention goes to Beach House and 7. So much Dream Pop…so little time.

Last year, this category was won by Robert Plant and a song that I first heard on the only radio station that even pretends to play music that matters, 90.7 WFUV, here in New York City. And had it not been for this station I have to admit, I might not have even known about this song or the album Egypt Station, which I heard some tracks from and I have to say it is pretty good.
COOLEST SONG OF THE YEAR – “Make Me Feel” - Janelle Monae.
I, like most people who love music and have already lost their virginity, really mourned the death of Prince in 2016. And it looks like this chick did as well. Damn that song reminds me so much of Prince it is almost as if he were resurrected. And I do not mean that in a bad way, and I am not implying that she ripped him off, just wonderfully influenced and we are all better for it. And it looks like brother Barack Obama agrees with me, as he put her and Prince on his final lists for 2018 as well. God I miss him, and Prince too. 
Honorable mention goes out to I’ll Make You Sorry” by the Screaming Females. In the 90’s I cannot say I was a huge fan of that whole Riot Grrrl movement, but some of those bands, Sleater Kinney in particular, were pretty good. This song seems to be in that spirit.

“The Red Door” is a song from their 2018 album LP5000 that I just could not stop listening to. I don’t know about you but, I always like a little Rock in my Rock music. Yes there were some bigger acts this year, but if I had to pick that one “cool band that just you and a few of your friends know about” it would be this one.  Thank you again 90.7 WFUV

SPORTS TEAM OF THE YEARThe Philadelphia Eagles, NFL.
For a town that had not seen a Super Bowl Champion, Philly sure did put on a good show getting there and winning it. Forget the fact that they beat the hated New England Patriots, this is a team that rallied around a backup quarterback in Nick Foles and got the big win.
This year may have been a bit of a hangover for the Eagles, but Carson Wentz is hurt again and even though the Eagles are barely getting in the playoffs, they are coming in with a great deal of momentum and Foles at the helm once again.     

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Enes Cantor, New York Knicks NBA.
No, really. For those of you who do not know who he is (and judging by how completely shitty the Knicks have been for decades, I’m sure there are a lot of you) he is a Center/Power forward who is in his 8th year in the league. He is a serviceable player, stats wise he is nothing special, 11.9 Points and 7.5 rebounds for his career so far.
So why is he deserving of such lofty praise you say? Well let me tell you: First of all, he plays with a fearless heart every night for a mediocre team that has been mediocre for decades, and will continue to be mediocre until they find a way to fire the owner. But let me give you one more reason:
Without getting too deep into it, Kantor in his home country of Turkey, is a wanted man. That’s right, there is a warrant out for his arrest because he refused to go back to Turkey during a political uprising. He has been vocal about anti-fascism by supporting the Hizmet Movement of Fethullah Gülen. He gave an interview in 2017 where he spoke openly about how human rights are being abused, academics are disappearing and people are being jailed for no reason. Well, needless to say this didn’t sit well with the current government. Since his endorsement, he has also had his Turkish citizenship revoked. Yeah right, nothing to see here I guess.
In an era where we admire athletes for standing up for themselves like Colin Kaepernick and more recently LeBron James, let me give you a little perspective: Kantor is the only one who had his passport and citizenship revoked, not to mention has a warrant out for his arrest. He may not make it out of 9th place and the lower end of the draft lottery with that pitiful team, but he is certainly deserving of praise.

The Giants are famous for drafting defense, but last year they drafted what I believe to be the best player in the draft, Saquon Barkley. When the Giants uncharacteristically took Barkley with the 2nd overall pick, I not only endorsed it, but was thoroughly convinced that this would add a few years to Eli Manning’s career. Man I haven’t been this wrong since I suggested that the Yankees keep John Wetland as their closer in 1997 and keep using Mariano Rivera as a set-up man.
However not even Barkley, who is the real deal and should be Rookie of the Year, could save the Giants from an abysmal season where they missed the playoffs with a 5-11 record. It’s not just that Eli had a bad season, but the hits he took and the fact that he has been off for a while now, really should be enough to make him realize that it is time to move on before he really hurts himself. Go do those insurance commercials with your brother and that country guy. That kinda looks like fun.   

Well by now we should have forgotten his name, but let’s not because this was kinda funny in the end. So this fool goes into a deli in midtown, one that by the way, I also frequent, and got butt hurt by people speaking Spanish, in New York City, no less. He went on to say, on video, I might add, the following gem: “If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money ... I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do is speak English.” Ooooo K…so um, who is gonna tell this LAWYER that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most social security benefits or welfare programs?
You’d think it would end there, but this is New York. So how do we respond? By finding out where this shmuck lives and deciding to hold a block party in his honor, complete with pinatas, tamales and yes, a mariachi band. Bienvenidos a Nueva York, pinche cabron! Oh and while we are on the subject of sensitivity, can we stop referring to this idiot as “lawyer bro?” It offends the rest of us lawyer bros…    

DEAD PERSON OF THE YEAR – President George HW Bush.
As in most years, we have lost many notable accomplished human beings in 2018. Professor Stephen Hawking comes to mind first. As well as Neil Simon, Penny Marshall, and of course, Stan Lee, who brought us so much joy while entertaining us. The iconic Aretha Franklin. I will certainly miss Anthony Bourdain. But before I am accused of attempting to rehabilitate someone who I disagreed with politically, let me just outline his significance, and thereby justifying why he may not have been my favorite person who dropped dead this year, but I have to acknowledge he was probably the most significant.
This was a legitimate war hero, having received a medal for bravery in World War II. He was a decent, honorable man who made it to the highest office in the nation. I may have not agreed with his politics, but never with  who he was as a person. Remember not to lose humanity during political discourse, or we become those who we now deservedly make fun of and hold in contempt.   

Here’s hoping the New Year brings you everything you want! And of course…FUCK DONALD TRUMP!!

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