The Year That Were

An astute reader of this blog commented in the last post that I should stick to popular culture references and leave politics alone, and of course he is quite right. Great minds should focus on what's important.

Furthermore, just because people are giving money for their own gratification is no reason not to take it, and if charities can get more money by offering a bit of satisfaction than I say go for it. New reports are quoting a death toll as high as 150,000, with many more injured and homeless. Even Apple's homepage has a list of charities. The Canadian Red Cross reports that some 34 million dollars have been raised, and the Canadian government has indicated it will match the private donations. Interested in giving?

Red Cross

And now on to what I know...

Around this time of year everyone and her mother writes an end of the year list, with the best/worst of 2004, or the most embarassing or least essential thingy or wingdat. Rather than copy what others do much better, notably The Onion, I'm going to just create my own categories and announce winners for them...for those of you who didn't major in English, this is commonly known as bullshit.

The _______ List for 2004

Biggest Change outside of Death

2004 saw the moment many people thought would never come - Thomas went and got himself married. Actually, everyone pretty much knew it would happen but lordy lordy did I take my time. By all accounts it was a rip-roaring event; personally I remember almost nothing because I was trying hard to not pass out. But the evidence speaks for itself.

Second Biggest Change outside of Death

After much deliberation I decided that the low pay, shitty hours, and zero job security weren't enough to keep me in teaching, so I hung up the old dart board and on the third try, after hitting quantity surveying and marine biologist, finally struck lawyer. Law school is...interesting, and the people are...also interesting. Ask me again in two years.

Worst Moment of 2004

When millions of Americans demonstrated why democracy does not work.

The Sounds that Grabbed my Head and Shook

Not all of this was released in 2004, but these were the sounds that played away in my head for the last 365.


TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

This New York sometimes trio not only managed to avoid putting "The" in front of its name, it also managed to make an album without once referencing the Stones, Beatles, or Who. Not good for people who like their music verse-chorus-verse. Standout tracks: Wrong Way, Staring at the Sun

Ray Lamontagne - Trouble

Former shoe factory worker who woke up one morning to discover he is actually a fucking talented song writer and musician. His debut album is ten tracks of pure music magic (except for How Come, a note for note replication of Paul Weller's Feeling Alright, and a pretty crappy song). Standout tracks: Trouble, Hold You in my Arms, Shelter, Forever My Friend

Feist - Let it Die

Better known for her work as a singer for Broken Social Scene, Miss Leslie Feist does her best Sade lounge singer impersonation on an album filled with brilliant covers and solid originals. Check out her contribution to BSS' b-side album, Lover's Spit. Standout tracks: Mushaboom, Secret Heart, One Evening, Inside and Out

Postal Service - Give Up/Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism

On the off chance someone reading this hasn't heard these albums I'll just say that they perfectly capture all of the minutiae of two people falling in and out of love. Standout tracks: all of them. Also check out Ben Gibbard's covers of Complicated and I Want it That Way.


Jet - Are you Gonna to Be My Girl?
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out/Michael
Damien Rice - Blower's Daughter
The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing
Blink 182 - I Miss You
Broken Social Scene - Lover's Spit
Louis Armstrong - A Kiss to Build a Dream On
Ol' Dirty Bastard - Got Your Money
System of a Down - Chop Suey

Craziest Sky is Falling Moment

Even my man Chris Rock exclaimed "A titty on Sunday," but did Janet Jackson's errant mammary really warrant the kind of moral outrage we saw post Superbowl? Once again the same old tired sirens were sounded about the decline in traditional values and blah blah blah. People - it was a titty. We've all seen one. Get over it.

Greatest Television Moment Ever

Jon Stewart calling Tucker Carlson a dick on Crossfire. In fact, every single moment with Jon Stewart was the greatest television moment ever. I don't think I'm making too bold a claim when I say that this man...is unto us like a god. Close second: Rob Corddry on a south New Jersey Magazine, telling the befuddled editor to include women to increase circulation...and then describing in detail an erection.

Best Use of a Puppet for the Public Good

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog going to Spin Alley. Killer quote: If you're going to be against gay rights you'd better remove that pole up your ass.

Daddy Horny Michael

Arrested Development is a show so good it could be British...speaking of British shows, have you seen The Office? You have? Then you're definitely ready for League of Gentlemen.


There was a time when I couldn't wait to get away from Vancouver, and while it stll doesn't compare to Montreal or Hong Kong I'm feeling pretty chuffed about the place I call home. Making it even better is the appearance online of the entire print version of the Georgia Straight. Their end of the year wrap-up is always good for a laugh, and this year is no exception. Some of the highlights:

Along with Napoleon Bonaparte, Cleopatra, Charlemagne, Ramses II, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, and Winston Churchill, former prime minister Kim Campbell was named one of history's 50 most important political leaders in The Almanac of World History, published by the National Geographic Society.

In a speech in New Brunswick, Prime Minister Paul Martin twice referred to the Canadian Second World War contribution to the Allied effort to liberate Europe by taking part in the invasion of Norway, instead of Normandy.

Police in Prague conducted a crackdown on drivers of public-transport and tourist buses, handing out 256 speeding fines and nine failures to present valid licences, and catching 10 drunk drivers, all on the first day.

When Beverley Mitchell of Douglasville County, Georgia, returned from vacation, she discovered another woman had broken into her house and was living there. Furthermore, 54-year-old Beverley Valentine had changed bills into her name, replaced pictures, ripped out some carpet, and repainted a room.

Best 24 Hours I Will Never Get Back

First we watched the Return of the King Extended Dance Mix, then the extras, then one of the commentaries, and the easter egg. That lead into The Two Towers and The Fellowship of the Ring, and then some of the extras from those and...well...damn those are good movies. One thing I wondered: Is Aragorn descended from members of the entire United Kingdom? There are moments of ROTK when he sounds positively Irish, and others when he's affecting a slight Scottish brogue.

Well, that about does it for me, and if you've read this far - what's the matter with you? Go for a walk in the sun! All in all 2004 was the craziest and busiest year of my life; personally, I'm looking forward to a more subdued 2005 which will include my 29th birthday, my first anniversary, and no Stanley Cup final. To you and yours, good health and good fun in the year to come.


At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to state for the record that I have never seen a titty. Thank you.
P.S. Oh, unless boobies count.

At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so i'm walking along and i think, maybe i'll check out thomas' old blog, you know, just on a whim, and lo and behold! there is a link to a new blog. the heavens part.

glad to see you're back. the picture of you in a suit is surreal.

more things in life should be surreal.

have a happy!
(ps i made a comment somewhere down there. . .)

At 7:29 AM, Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger James said...

Oh dip. I meant to edit that last comment. You think I would recognize a trash can icon by now.

The Postal Service are annoying. Piss-weak electronica beats, vocals that alternate between being too fey and spineless and trying too hard to seem distant yet passionate. All of it makes me want to punch the singer in the face, followed by converting to Buddhism and planning a mass murder.

You seem to be responding primarily to the lyrics, so I'll try to listen to the words more carefully.


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