Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: The Light Side

Art by Dave Cockrum

As we covered in the first post for today, 2016 sucked. And we could rehash all of that or you can just click on the link to the left.

No, this post is all about happy thoughts! 

Happy! Happy!
Joy! Joy!
Happy! Happy!
Joy! Joy! 
Happy! Happy! Happy!
      Joy! Joy! Joy!

So be happy, dammit! And let's get on with this, OK? What the hell was good about 2016?

Let's start with sports. 

The United States won strong and decisively in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Michael Phelps made a big splash as he swept up a whole bunch of swimming medals while Simone Biles somersaulted into our hearts while picking up a lot of Olympic gold in the process. All told, Americans won 121 medals with 46 of them gold. Yay, 'Merica! 

The Cleveland Cavaliers finally win their long denied NBA Finals championship with Lebron James at the helm.

Then Cleveland tried to make history a 2nd time with the Cleveland Indians going for long time gone World Series win. Sorry, Cleveland, you gotta spread the love and let the even longer suffering Chicago Cubs have their day.

Both baseball and basketball championship series came down to the wire in the 7th game of their respective series. So not only did the Cavaliers and the Cubs get their long denied rings but they did it in a fashion that reminded America what it loved about baseball and basketball in the first place.

Well, except me. I'm not a sports guy. Still, awesome wins for both teams in a narrative that could almost be lifted from a Hollywood movie.

And speaking of movies (don't try segue ways like this without a parent, kids!), there were some damn good ones!

Click the links to earlier posts for longer write ups on the individual movies. 

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Star Trek Beyond
The original and still best! Saw it at Geeksboro! Sweet
The new one with the girls! Not great, not bad. Hey, I was entertained.
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange 
Rogue One 
Finding Dory
The Jungle Book 

And Moana brings me to another good thing about 2016. This was the year I discovered...


Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda! I have to be careful how I go on about him or my daughter Randie will start try to "ship it" or something. (Something to do with FedEx, I think?) 

Lin was on my media radar as I kept hearing his name come up again and again in various pop culture information sites. Randie was going nuts for this guy. All I knew he was the creator and star of a fantastic show on Broadway about Alexander Hamilton. And most of the music is based on rap and hip hop. What the hell?  

I finally got to see Lin in action on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver where Lin performed a rap about Puerto Rico's financial crisis. Really! A rap...about Puerto Rico's financial crisis! And I was entertained... and informed! 

Then I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda in James Corden's Carpool Karaoke where they did some bits from Hamilton that just blew my mind. But what struck me was how completely affable he was with a geeky vibe. A good example of that was an appearance he made on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The week before, Lin had been parodied in sketch... and by a woman, Cecily Strong. And what was his reaction? "How cool is that?!?!"

I liked this guy! Hell, I even watched the Tony Awards because of this talented man and his amazing show. I never watch the Tonys! Well, this year, I did! And WOW! The performance of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) made me want to see so much more of Hamilton and whatever else Lin was up to!

So I'm now Lin-Manuel Miranda's biggest fan in the over 50 straight white male demographic! I just glom on to all things Lin! 

Like this clip from the 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance from In the Heights, Lin's previous Tony awarding winning musical. 

Or how about this clip from when Lin hosted Saturday Night Live where he was in sketch parodying Stranger Things.

And the joy of Lin-Manuel Miranda leads me to the wonder that is Stranger Things. 

Much like it was with Lin, I came to Stranger Things because I kept hearing about it as parodies and memes were everywhere and I didn't get it and I don't like not getting things. Argh! So the family got to together to watch Stranger Things. For more on what I thought about that...
In a word: weird! Also awesome! OK, two words: weird, awesome. And cool! Three words.... I'm just going to move on now. 

We got to see some live theater with a production of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum. Excellent show, a lot of bawdy humor put on by fun and talented cast of a local university. 

But my daughter got to see a couple of shows on the Great White Way itself! Yes, I am talking Broadway where she got to see Phantom Of the Opera and Finding Neverland while on a trip to New York City. She loves NYC and wants to go again some day. I've never been so since she's an experienced pro at handling the Big Apple, she can be my guide.  

 And speaking of trips, the whole family climbed in the car for a trip down to Orlando to lay down some moolah on Disney World. Except for a couple of illnesses near the end, the trip went well. For more on that, click the links in the side bar under Disney Daze.  

And there you go. And that's not everything that was good for me or my family or for the world in general. As I write this, I'm sure I'm missing some really big thing that happened in 2016 and I'm going to slap my forehead so hard when I think of it. 

But whether it's a lot of things or a few things, whether it's big things or little things or even only one thing, there is good to be found in this world and there was good in 2016. 

For good or ill, it's time to put 2016 to bed. 2017 will provide challenges anew and it will test our courage and faith. Whatever comes your way for the new year, remember you're stronger than you know and you're not alone. 

Be good to one another. 

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