You know what people never do around this time of year? Recap all of the best stuff that happened over the course of the previous 12 months. Oh wait, I’m sorry. I’m confusing “never do” and “always do” again. God, this happens all the time. It’s just like that day at the Natural History Museum. So embarrassing.
Let it go, man. Remember, it’s a new year. Ok, whew. Moving on.
2014. It was a year when hackers literally hacked everything. Go ahead, take a bite out of that apple. Taste funny? It should because it’s been hacked. Steer clear of the banana, by the way. Also hacked. Twice.
What else happened in 2014? Oh, America learned either we might be getting too fat to sit on our phones or our pants are getting too tight or both. A bunch of states finally got around to declaring “Love is love, baby. It don’t matter who you love, it’s all the same.” A couple of states even decided to get off stoners’ backs and just let ’em toke. In what I’m sure is a totally unrelated story, Grumpy Cat got a movie.
Taylor Swift staged a currently-still-bloodless coup of the music industry.
Taylor Swift staged a currently-still-bloodless coup of the music industry.
It was a year of engagements. Both in the romantic and the militaristic sense.
We learned that almost all of our favorite athletes are probably dicks and then America lost its mind about Ebola for like two weeks but quickly forgot about it once it stopped being our problem.
We also had the unfortunate task of saying good bye to Robin Williams, one of comedy's all time greats, an event that hit me harder than almost anything else negative that happened this year, which is confusing but no less true.
Oh yeah, the ice bucket thing happened. Jesus Christ. Lesson learned. Don’t ignore charities unless you want them to start irritating viral campaigns that clog up social media for two months.
Well that was fun. Now for our next segment on this, the final Cheese Life post of this sad-yet-danceable Year of our Lord 2014. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Drakies. This is the award show founded by my friend and business partner Drake Stone, who hasn’t been seen since 2008. Some good news on that front, I found a postcard in my mailbox this Christmas that was jet black on the front and totally blank on the other side. No warm wishes, no return address. It wasn’t even addressed to anyone actually so I’m not sure how it came to be in my mailbox, but I assume it was from Drake or one of his unknowable minions. Happy Holidays, buddy!
Anyway, years ago Drake entrusted me to carry on the Drakies and give out awards to what I deemed to have had the best year in a number of different categories. Without further ado, let us begin the show.
Pop Culture Division
- Best Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson is at his Wes Anderson-iest in this story-within-a-story-within-a-story about the staff of a famed hotel. It has two World Wars, murder plots, art theft, an infinite sea of pastel colors and impossible sets. It’s delightful.
- Best Album: Gerard Way, “Hesitant Alien.” This was by far the year’s closest race. Way’s album just barely inched out the win over a release from another My Chemical Romance alum (Frnkiero &the cellabration’s “Stomachaches”). I’m the world’s worst music critic so don’t expect me to put into words just why Way’s was better, but the disc found a near-permanent home in my car’s CD player, until it was put on the backburner for Christmas music. “Action Cat,” “No Shows” and “Drugstore Perfume” are all worth your time and attention.
- Best Podcast: After narrowly losing this category last year, the boys (and gals) from Bloody Good Horror have risen to the top in 2014. They celebrated their 300th episode in grand, drunken style, bringing on nearly everyone who has ever contributed to the show over the course of its run for a funny and emotional walk down memory lane. They also delivered their long-awaited third “Spooktacular” live (streaming) event. The BGH crew survived relocations and babies on their way to a great year.
- Best TV Show: Game of Thrones. HBO’s fantasy saga holds the TV Title for another year. The Purple Wedding. The Mountain and the Viper. It doesn’t matter if none of this was as good as it was in the books, it was still better than anything else I was watching in 2014. Although, to be fair, The Walking Dead did deliver two of its stronger half seasons during 2014.
- Best Book: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. The only books I read in 2014 that were actually released in 2014 were written by Stephen King. Mr. Mercedes was the best. It’s a fun and creepily plausible detective story populated by characters that will stick with you for a bit after you put it down. Fun game: Playing Fantasy Casting for the inevitable film version. My lady friend and I came up with: Jeff Bridges, Mary Lynn Rajskub, “Everybody Hates Chris” from The Walking Dead and Zach Braff. Beat that.
- Best Celebrity: Grumpy Cat. Who would have thought a meme cat would make an awesome leading lady? Even less likely was a meme cat being the best WWE Raw Guest host of the year. Likely or not, both of those things came adorably true in 2014. Also, she made ten trillion dollars last year. With that kind of green, I’m assuming we’re all in store for her going full-Culkin next year and divorcing her parents for stealing her loot. So she’s also likely a shoe-in for 2015 Best Celebrity.
- Best Food: Sweet & Sour Chicken. I’ve long been fond of this Chinese staple, but in 2014, we took our relationship to the next level. Due to spicy food and my digestive system no longer playing nicely together, Sweet and Sour Chicken booted Gen. Tso’s Chicken as my go-to Chinese dish.
- Best Beverage: Pumpkin Beer. The time between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 is typically my favorite part of the year. You’ve got ready access to horror movies, costume-planning and design, fun fall things like hayrides, haunted attractions, corn mazes and so on. It’s wonderful. Top cap all of that, it’s the official start of my pumpkin beer season. Now I know, some people start drinking pumpkin beers in July. Those people are exactly who Sen. McCarthy kept warning us about. Pumpkin beer is not meant to be consumed before Oct. 1, when the Halloween spirit really starts kicking in. It’s just the way the world works. Pumpkin beer. My beverage of choice during my season of choice.
- Best Condiment: Ketchup. It’s an oldie but a goodie. No frills. It just makes things better. What more needs to be said about ketchup than what famed ketchup baron Mortimer Heinz covered in his text: “History of Ketchup: Part 1: 1469-2014?”
- Best Animal: Cat. Grumpy Cat bested guy hunks like Chris Pratt and lady hunks like Jennifer Lawrence for Best Celebrity. If that doesn’t tell you why cats are the Best of Animal of the Year, then you are hopeless and confused and not a nice person. I’m sorry. That was mean. I do like you I swear. Hmm … how very cat-like of me?
- 2014 Achievement Award: This is it, people. The big one. It’s time to hand out the Drakie for the person, place or thing which had the biggest impact on the universe in 2014. The 2014 Achievement Award goes to … me! Yes, that’s right, I’m awarding myself the Drakie. Why? I’m glad you asked. About a month ago, I changed a car tire. By myself. At night. In the rain. In just under one hour. I’d never changed a car tire before, but I did it. Somehow – possibly due to its proximity to the holiday season – this success story fell through the cracks in terms of blogging, but I feel it’s worth noting. I accept this award on my own behalf. I’d like to thank my co-worker for telling me my tire was flat, my Dodge Stratus for being patient with me while I worked, my owner’s manual for walking me through the ordeal clearly and concisely, the roadways of the great state of Pennsylvania for destroying my back passenger-side tire and most of all, Retro Fitness of East Norriton for giving me just enough arm and back strength to complete the job. Thank you and good night!