Brandon’s Best (and worst) of 2021

Let’s just call this what it is, a dedication to suck. 2021 felt like a slow morphine drip of mediocrity, or better, 2021 was a terrible sitcom. And by that I mean, nothing really changed. The episode ended and everything just reverted back to what it was before the episode started. Nothing got better. Joe Biden is just folksy Donald Trump. Social media continues to melt brains. Social change continues to feel like it’s going in the wrong direction.

But hey, 2021 wasn’t all bad for me. I was able to leave a job that made me miserable on a day to day basis, and go to one that allows me to diddle donk all night. My wife continues to be a saint. I’ve been able to find some semblance of normalcy by getting to travel again, check out wrestling events, and get back to seeing friends.

Most importantly, Louie is still out here celebrating his post-demise. For those that don’t know, I tricked my wife into adopting Louie the first winter we were in our house. Christina didn’t want a dog, so I had to tell her we were just going to look at dogs. When we saw him, I knew Christina melted. He went home with us that day and has been our guard dog ever since.

Back in February, it was obvious that Lou was getting sick. He was having an eye problem and his condition was worsening by the day. I still distinctly remember that I was working a double shift at the job I hated where I was managed by a middle aged tool who was so far encased in the past like a neanderthal in ice that he still believed in Sig Sigma, a managing concept that hasn’t worked in decades. My wife called me, crying in the parking lot of an emergency vet in Aurora, saying it was going to take 10k to save Lou’s life. It was a completely deflating moment. Like, the life exploded out of me, leaving me a desperately, sad, broken man in a snowy truck lot.

We ended up making the decision to save the dog. They had to remove his eye. He took a long time but got better. We thought we had dodged a bullet and it would be smooth sailing. Then, Lou got sick again this summer. He quit eating. He quit drinking water. He started hiding away, as if he didn’t want to show us he was dying. He didn’t want us to hurt. After the few months in the winter that we dealt with, it crushed us to see him dying in front of us. The vet could not figure out what was wrong. He looked like death and we were both convinced this was it. The doctor put him on steroid medication and he started to get better. He slowly started eating again. After a month, the vet decided it was a good decision to pull him off the medication. His condition immediately started to fail again. With absolutely no idea what was wrong, we knew we were watching our first dog die.

The vet was out of ideas. All we could do was make him comfortable. We invited friends and family over to say goodbye. We were going to put him down on a Sunday. As a hail mary, my wife took the leftover steroid medication and started forcing him to take one. I had quite possibly the worst night of sleep of my life. He slept with us that night because we wanted him to be close. I’ve had dogs die in the past, but this felt different. I felt my pain, and I felt my wife’s pain.

As I write this, Lou is lazily sleeping on the couch. That Sunday morning, I called and was unable to find any vets who could put him down that day. We would have to wait until Monday. We decided to try to take him with us to our friend Lauren’s house to watch football. He started responding to the medication. he was struggling badly with his balance but he was moving and responding and reacting to people. We decided then to keep giving him the medication. He kept getting better. The vet gave us more meds and we decided to keep giving him them and slowly weening him off them over a month or so.

He isn’t as strong as he used to be, but he lives a normal life, again. He goes on walks, barks at everyone, and plays with our other dog, Lacey. No matter how bad things can get, there will always be things that we clamp onto and hang on for dear life. Fight for what you love. Even if it’s a dog that pissed all over your floor in front of your friends yesterday.

Now that i’m through all of that sappy shit, let’s get into the best/worst thing and people of 2021!

Best Thing I wrote in 2021

I actually loved writing this. It was read by pretty much nobody, and I don’t care. I spent the Monday Night Wars as a fan of WCW. After they died off, my desire to watch wrestling faded away with it. It would be another decade before I got back into wrestling. Now the WWE has ruined my desire to watch it ever again. AEW is fun but always on when i’m at work so I just blast through it on the DVR. Smackdown has it’s moments but i’m over the Hoganization of Roman Reigns. Monday Night Raw,though, the vanquisher of WCW, is an absolute joke. It genuinely makes me feel stupid to be a wrestling fan. More on this later.

Thanks god I live near Chicago, one of the epicenters of the independent wrestling universe. Anyway, if you were a teenager in the 90’s, odds are you are functionally aware of Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Sting. It’s worth the read if for no other reason than the fact that it justifies me continuing to write and not do something undignified instad, like improv.

Worst Thing I Wrote in 2021

Pretty much everything else.

Favorite Song of 2021

Part of growing up is coming to terms with the fact that trends are going to pass me by. Wisdom is not feeling the need to chase the trends, while also understanding that these things aren’t meant for me.

Twenty One Pilots isn’t for me. Mumble Rap isn’t for me. Whatever the fuck TikTok music is definitely isn’t for me. At some point, pop culture passes you by. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed this song so much. Because it sure as shit sounds like they ripped off the riff from “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. The first couple times I heard the song, I kept thinking to myself, “this is Bette Davis Eyes.” Then, I kept listening and listening and started to let it become an earworm. Eventually, in the second verse I find myself scream singing “Like when we went to see Bob Dylan, we danced to Desolation Row, I don’t live here anymore, but i’ve got no place to go.”

To be honest, outside of this song and Volbeat’s new stuff, there isn’t a lot for me, anymore. I’m too old for pop. I’m too tired for metal. I’m too lame for hip hop.

For the most part, i’ve spent the year listening to depressing outlaw country and 60’s and 70’s Memphis soul music, which makes for some seriously eclectic driving music. Actually, instead of lamenting my lack of current musical taste, i’m going to give you my most played songs from the Memphis soul era. Give them a listen. It’s more relaxing that you think, and it’s a great jumping off point to a genre of music that doesn’t get a ton of respect, but laid the groundwork for so much music that would come in the future.

1: Anita Peebles-I Can’t Stand the Rain
2: O.V. Wright-Ace of Spades
3: James Carr-A Man Needs a Woman
4: Sam and Dave-Hold On, I’m Coming
5: William Bell-Eloise
6: Eddie Floyd-Knock on Wood
7: Carla Thomas-Baby

Worst Song of 2021


FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK all the way off with this bullshit. If you like this song, you were definitely conceived at Daytona Bike Week, drove a Dodge Ram in high school, have a tattoo of Bill O’Reilly sexually harassing an intern on your chest, and tell people you have a black friend so you are allowed to say the N word. That black friend you claim you have? It’s this song.

Congrats Nelly, you have barreled headlong into Uncle Ruckus territory. We expect nothing from Florida Georgia Line. It’s a known that they are are the music equivalent of ten Hiroshimas. But Nelly, we are disappointed in you. You were on TRL back when that meant something. Are you having money problems? We would have started a GoFundMe for you, man. You didn’t have to degrade yourself to being a prostitute for people who are waiting for Affliction to come back into fashion.

Favorite TV Show of 2021

Reservation Dogs-FX/Hulu and Girls5Eva-Peacock

I spent the entire year waiting for the new Beavis and Butthead reboot to debut, only for it to never arrive, much to my chagrin. In the meantime, there was a lot of great television. Forged In Fire is weirdly like ASMR for me as a reality show that doesn’t go out of it’s way to be entertaining for anyone but people who love watching knives being built and/or watching hogs get cut in half by those knives.

Mr. Mayor is a lot funnier than it has gotten credit for in it’s start/stop first season. What We Do In The Shadows has completely figured out what it wants to be and is absolutely great. Succession is so good that it makes me hate money. The new season of I Think You Should Leave hits on levels that Saturday Night Live only dreams of. Chicago Party Aunt defines Chicago better than most serious shows do. Bad Sport was the sports documentary series we have been craving since the initial 30 for 30 run ended. Squid Game was a cultural phenomenon.

My two favorite television shows of the year were taken in two very different ways, both kind of indicative of tv watching in 2021.

Reservation Dogs became appointment viewing every week for my wife and I. I was hooked immediately. It was off beat, funny, dark, and different from anything on tv. We had to watch the show every week. We didn’t want to miss a single episode. The show follows a group of teenage friends trying to find a means to an end by making money by hook or crook so they can move to California from their native reservation. The show does a great job of making your care not only about the main characters, but also the tertiary characters who all feel both larger than life and very real at the same time.

Girls5Eva was watched over the course of two nights as Peacock dropped every episode at the same time. It was kind of a polar opposite of Reservation Dogs, but in the best way possible.

I have certain expectations of the 30 Rock crew when they make a new show. They rarely disappoint, and this show absolutely knocked it out of the park. It was the best comedy of the year. That might seem like damning it with faint praise as so many networks are trying to make their own Succession or Yellowstone and creating prestige drama instead of developing comedies, often relegating new shows to streaming networks so they can hide them behind any potential ratings pitfalls.

Girls5Eva seems to use the knowledge that they were going to be on streaming and make it to their advantage by pushing boundaries on jokes they might not be allowed to get away with on network television. Beyond that, the cast was expertly put together, with underrated comedy G.O.A.T. Paula Pell absolutely killing it with her opportunity to be more than a bit player on a show. Sara Bareilles is perfectly cast. Busy Phillips is amazing. The show operated without weakness in it’s first season, which is incredibly rare for comedies that are trying to define what the characters are and building the backstory.

Both shows show what should be obvious: NBC and FX are the place to go if you want to have a comedy/offbeat show. NBC has the obvious credentials of Seinfeld, The Office, 30 Rock, Cheers, Frasier, Golden Girls, and definitely not Friends.

FX has Always Sunny, Archer, The League, What We Do in the Shadows, You’re the Worst, and Baskets.

Both are producing comedy at a higher level than other stations, including Comedy Central, which, you now,, only makes comedies. There is hope that eventually we see a pivot back to comedy on television, but I remain convinced nobody wants the next Simpsons, because no network wants to be stuck with a show for three decades. The Simpsons is like an old house cat that pisses on everything in the house and you just keep waiting on it to die, but deep down in your heart you know the stupid thing will live forever and ruin everything you own.

Worst Show of 2021

1000 LB Sisters

Whoever decided it was a good idea to put a bunch of 70 IQ Dodge Caravan sized human beings on TV deserves to be shot out of a cannon towards the sun. Oh no, this is a great way to prove to the rest of the world that we aren’t a bunch of deep fried hot dog eating rubes that lost our virginity on a fucking billiard table. We are going to put Jabba the Hutt’s foul mouthed stunt double on TV and pair her up with her sister who should cause single people to huck themselves off a bridge, because her and her english bulldog shaped face found not only a husband, but a man that wanted to have her baby. THEN, lets put them into low risk shenanigans because they are literally too large to put themselves into high risk situations, without risking one of them falling down a hill and creating an avalanche large enough to bury all of Denver. Then, we are going to document their trials and tribulations as 67% of the show is serious about making themselves skinnier and healthier while we in turn watch Veruca from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory get blown up by eating a blueberry candy, but instead of getting smaller, she just ate cake until she retained her shape as a giant, oblong globe.

The only person on the show that is sympathetic is the brother, who seems to be coming from a genuine place in his goals and setbacks, so naturally he plays the third banana on a show filled with people who only deep fry their bananas.

This is the same television network that gave a show to people famous exclusively for being baby factories and having a pedophile son. This is the same network that shotgunned strangers into marriage for the enjoyment of every dork in Iowa who is unhappy with their own life so they watch hapless idiots try to find love in less time than it takes me to find a mattress I like. I know we talk about Fox News and CNN being the things will that will ruin society, but i’d say that TLC taking Andy Warhol’s concept of everyone being famous for 15 minutes and stuffing that conept into a t shirt cannon and shooting it at the cheeto stained masses is a much bigger issue.

Favorite Movie of 2021

I really wanted to like this movie. Then, 20 minutes in, I became convinced I was not going to enjoy this movie. Then, the movie started to find it’s groove. It reminded me of how I felt about Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. Once Licorice Pizza really figures out what it is, it is an incredible movie with a spectacular soundtrack. The movie is worth it alone for the absolutely batshit crazy appearances in the film by Sean Penn, Tom Waits, and Bradley Cooper.

Cooper especially deserves credit for being an insane comet flying through the screen for a few minutes, then being gone. I want an entire movie with him playing Jon Peters, former love interest of Barbara Streisand, and by all accounts, absolutely bat shit crazy hair dresser who terrorized the greater Los Angeles area for decades.

Just the ten minutes with Sean Penn, as actor William Holden, and Tom Waits as film director Rex Blau are incredibly funny and dangerous together, like two men who have decades of chemistry working together.

In a way, this movie feels like six different movies, all interwoven through the eyes of the lovestory played between Alana Kane, who is played by Alana Haim, and Gary Valentine, played by Cooper Hoffman. It doesn’t all make sense, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it needs to. It’s just a fun movie that left me very satisfied by the end.

Worst Movie of 2021

Spiderman; No Way Home

SUCK IT, VIRGINS!!!

Best Person of 2021

Max Collins: Voice of the Aging Millennial

You might not remember who Max was pre-2021, but that also means you aren’t a fan of this website. It is a known fact that Matt, Jake, and I are established Eve 6 stans, having argued over things like their best obscure song is (it is, and always will be Anytime from the Out Cold soundtrack) on this site. But outside of their run in the late 90’s, very early 2000’s, the band hasn’t made much of a mark on the greater public consciousness for a couple decades.

Then 2021 happened, and lead singer Max Collins has become a snarky, sometimes sarcastic, but always truth telling voice that a large swath of people, present company included, desperately needed. From his attacks on both side of the aisle, to his “feud” with Patton Oswalt, to his actively petitioning to become the lead singer of Smash Mouth, Collins has been a voice that rises above the normal bullshit that exists to bury Twitter on a daily basis.

Twitter is for all intents and purposes, a cesspool. It is but very rarely that there is even a reason to go on the site. It has amplified the voice of every idiot who thinks their opinion should matter. Max doesn’t act as if it should matter, but tells the truth regardless. He understands what a lot of common sense people believe: Donald Trump was terrible. Joe Biden is also bad. All politicians, regardless of where they come from, are terrible, whether they got into politics to be terrible or not.

In an increasingly polarizing world, it’s good to find someone who calls out politicians, pundits, musicians, and everyone else who claims their rights are being taken away because they don’t understand what their rights are, and just generally makes fun of Joe Rogan, who deserves to be made fun of literally every waking hour of the day.

Sometimes we just gotta find faith in nothing.

Worst Person of 2021

Joe Rogan, king of the assholes

If you would have told me a decade ago that the 8th lead from NewsRadio would become the nation’s largest influencer of people who unironically kept listening to Limp Bizkit and singlehandedly keep the bumper sticker industry in business, then i’d have assumed we have fallen into some sort of horrible timeline.

As it turns out, I was right. We are currently going through our second year of a pandemic that isn’t improving because there is a segment of society that believe Joe Rogan, and his name bares repeating because of how stupid I feel explaining this, Joe Fucking Rogan, tells them they can take medication that not only doesn’t solve Covid, but is also used as a horse medication. Not only is nobody being cured of Covid from this, but it’s actually causing a shortage of medication for the things that actually need it, namely horses.

Rogan is a noodle brained jagoff who gained his notoriety because an entire segment of America decided “You know what professional wrestling is missing? Abject stupidity and more people getting maimed.”

He rode the podcasting wave to the point where, if the state of West Virginia decided to become a monarchy, then he would definitely be named the king and live on a throne of Mountain Dew and Oxycontin. Why believe in doctors, when your buddy who got an associates degree from the University of Tijuana, tells you that if you microdose LSD three times per week and supplement that by eating a baby goat heart every morning along with exactly two Emu eggs and the tears of under privileged minorities who get stepped on to get where Joe wants to go.

It’s all fun and games to let someone like Rogan have his piece of the pop culture social media pie, but when someone like that is actively dumb enough to believe the things he says, and having galaxy brained fans also believe those things, it creates a knowledge gap that is growing increasingly wider and leads to people thinking they are Martin Luther King because they are getting kicked out of a fucking Applebees because they think their rights are being stolen because companies have the audacity to tell them to wear a mask until they sit in their seat. Civil disobedience used to be fighting for equal rights, be it LGTQ or civil. It was standing up to Nazis in Europe during World War II.

Now, thanks to brain dead morons like Rogan, people think that having sit-ins at Cheesecake Factory because they not only don’t think they can get sick, but also don’t understand immunity, or how to spell immunity, are equating themselves to civil rights leaders.

We are truly on the dumbest fucking timeline.

And now, onto a quick list of some of my other favorite things of 2021

Favorite Sports Moment

This play is undeniably awesome. It’s literally never happened in baseball. I’ve been watching it for months, and never get sick of it. Javy Baez is going to go down as one of the biggest fan favorites in the history of the Cubs, and I just hope the Detroit fans treat him well.

And for those whiny ass bitches who claim that this play is actually stupid and that it’s is a massive screw up by the Pirates, yea, you are correct. But this play has happened a million times in the history of baseball, and in all of those times, only once ever did a player decided to run the opposite way down the first base line. That’s what makes the play great. Just the abject ridiculousness of it all. The people who call this play dumb do so because it didn’t specifically happen to their team. It’s because their team doesn’t have Javy Baez. He is the most entertaining player in baseball. I am going to miss him very much.

Best Twitter Moment

I feel like this is a tie. There are two moments that really stood out to me and that, of course, was Nikki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls, and Nancy Reagan, blowjob queen.

Covid has created a cottage industry of misinformation and people willing to sell it to the lowest IQ’ed bidder. What we weren’t expecting was a story about a person who couldn’t get married over his swollen testicles from the Covid vaccine. And we sure as hell weren’t expecting this information to come from Nicki Minaj. Her story is that her cousin’s friend in the Bahamas became impotent with swollen balls and his fiance, mere weeks from being married, had called off the wedding.

In a very correct corresponding move, the entire internet set down there coffee, leaned forward and said to themselves, “okay, it’s time to relentlessly mock Nicki Minaj.”

Very few things bring the internet together better than going after a celebrity that says something so blatantly dumb that everyone has to get involved in some way. Sometimes, celebrities need to be reminded they are dumb. And then, there are people that just think they are celebrities that say something so stupid that they help ruin a legacy in the process.

For those that know, Nancy Reagan is legitimately one of the worst human beings ever. Along with being the sunken faced, curmudgeonly poster hag for the war on drugs, her manipulation of Ronald Reagan, already notably brain dead by the time he entered the presidency, functionally set back any attempts to stop the proliferation of A.I.D.S. in the 80’s. She was a horrible step mother, god awful bitch of a neighbor, and thanks to Ben Shapiro’s dipshit sister, a whooooooooole lot of people found out she was also the blowjob queen of Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s.

I’m not even going to bother to look up the name of the Shapiro progeny that sent the tweet, but it was probably some stupid name like Eustice or Annabelle. Either way, she is famous for being the brother of Ben Shapiro, a multi-time finalist for Worst Human in the Universe, and noted person who can’t get his own wife aroused. About a month ago, she decided to juxtapose a picture of Madonna at 62 years old, still absolutely fucking getting it in, and Nancy Reagan at 62. The intent was to slut shame Madonna Things went spectacularly wrong for her.

You see, back before she married Ronald Reagan (who it should be noted raped a woman right around the time he proposed to Nancy and was fucking another woman while Nancy was in labor with their first kid), Nancy Davis was prolific for slobbing the knobs of the Hollywood elite. She even got the nickname “best head in the west” according to a book by Kitty Kelly.

Nancy going quite literally balls deep on Tinseltown was pretty much lost to history because she was such a spectacularly bad human being over the ensuing five decades. Thanks to, you know what, i’m just going to call her Shemp Shapiro. Thanks to Shemp Shapiro deciding to try to drag one of the greatest divas of all time, this knowledge came back out into the forefront, and my god, it was spectacular.

Millions of people logged onto to Twitter, and wondered why Nancy Reagan and blowjob were both trending at the same time. “A mere coincidence” is what must have traveled through the head of many. No, alas, the world was forced to come to a reckoning that the awful bitch they idolize because they were taught to think that Ronald Reagan was some great president and not a Alzheimer’s ridden bumbling idiot that made Trump and Biden sound like Churchill and FDR, was actually nothing but a semen repository for some of the greatest actors of all time

I don’t know about you, but that coming to light certainly warmed me up on a cold winter day. And it should remind all the Shemp Shapiros out there that if you are going to come for the queen, you better know you are coming for all of us

Favorite Book

Sellout by Dan Ozzi

Goddamn I love this book! It tells the stories of a bunch of bands you have heard of as they decided to sign with record labels and make their first major album. It talks about the blowback they received from fans for selling out. It also goes into the trials and tribulations of going from being a band that toured the country in a beat up van to having expectations and the weight of an industry on their back.

It lays out the timelines for bands like Green Day, Blink 182, At The drive-In, My Chemical Romance, and others, as they navigate their way from indy darlings to industry mainstays. It also does a wonderful job of laying out the tribalism that fans have and their reactions when they feel a band betrays them.

This book is great for anyone who is a fan of the bands, loves usic, or just wants a good red about teenagers self destructing and/or rising to the occasion when they finally get their break.

Biggest Disappointment of 2021, Entertainment division

No Beavis and Butthead/No Top Gun 2/No Jackass Forever

The only thing that got me through the early days of the pandemic was the fact that it was announced that Mike Judge was bringing back Beavis and Butthead, as both a TV show on Comedy Central, and as a movie on the Paramount streaming service. And then…nothing. The last update was that the show would debut during quarter 3 of 2021, but we have blown past that with no real update.

Top Gun 2 is trying to corner the movie market, and two years of pandemic littered summers has backed this one off to a 2022 summer release date.

Jackass Forever claims that they are backing up their release based on the pandemic, but they also have a lawsuit against them from erstwhile former member Bam Margera.

Hopefully we will get all of these movies next ye, because I do not know how else I will possibly try to relive my youth. And i’m sure as shit not getting into super hero movies. Fuck you all and your super hero movies.

Happy 2022!

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