If you thought 2015 was god-awful, then boy do you need a slap in the face. 2016 is full of such madness, such despair and such fuckery that I cannot begin to imagine what 2017 will be like (have I said this before???). With such an unprecedented turn of events happening at the speed of your stupid Facebook feed, it’s no wonder that we’d all like to just throw the year down a trash bin and burn it. Where shall we begin everyone? Who or what shall I discuss first? What in God’s name were the positives? Do snow monkeys make snow balls and eat them? We’ll go over it all as we begin with….
THE BAD – THE RISE OF TRUMP: If there is any one event that will make 2016 the year of bad years, it will be that the United States of America has elected a wealthy, brainless TV mogul who not only rode the wave of anti-establishment white nationalism, but seems to be piecing together a cabinet that is anything BUT establishment. He is already pissing off China. He cannot keep his thumbs off Twitter. He complains about SNL. He’s already backtracking on jailing Hillary, scraping Obamacare in its entirety and lord knows what he’ll do about immigration and his fucking wall. We can say all we want about this being the revenge of a forgotten America, but the only thing this tells me is that the forgotten truly don’t give a flying fuck about anyone, including themselves. Looking back, the 2016 Presidential Campaign was already horrendous from both sides, and it all ended with this. All in all, Donald Trump brings to mind the kind of carelessness, bigotry and out-of-touch attitude that you would expect from a 1980’s film villain times ten. Now that he’s our President, that power will only expand exponentially. What this means for the rest of us will only become clearer as he begins his term, and that’s the worrisome part.
THE GOD-AWFUL – TOO MANY FAREWELLS: After a long life in both Thailand and in the U.S., my grandmother passed away earlier this year in Chicago. My family and I may not have had the ‘greatest’ relationship with her, but she helped us when it counted. She was influential in giving me my name. She offered to pay for my first year of college. She used to buy me Ninja Turtles toys. She used to take me to TONS of fast food joints and she had a weird dog that me and my brother adored (despite his bad potty training). Combine that with a large dose of unexpected deaths to many beloved musicians, actors and people and you have a recipe for sadness. In terms of music, losing David Bowie, Prince & Maurice White was already bad, but I was immensely saddened on Christmas Day with the sudden passing of the ever iconic George Michael. Star Wars icon and script doctor Carrie Fisher’s untimely death was met with even more sad news as her grieving mother, Debbie Reynolds, soon followed the day after. From Alan Rickman to Muhammad Ali, from Anton Yelchin to Vanity, from Rocky actor Tony Burton to Phife Dawg, it’s been an awful year. This is the year where we will never see R2D2, Kimbo Slice, Antonin Scalia (god knows who’ll fill that seat), or Gwen Ifill in the same room ever. If that could ever happen. Could it? Hell, I’ll never listen to the Eagles’ “One of These Nights” the same way again. Thailand continues to mourn the passing of the King while Cuba has said farewell to Fidel. Overall, it’s been a year of too many goodbyes, especially you Grandma. Rest in peace.
THE GOOD – THE VALOR OF THE PROTESTER: 2016 was a year for brave people. It was a year for the men and women of the First Nation to say no to the whims of Black Gold. It was a strong year for African-Americans everywhere who demanded change from the Police and state government. It was an awesome year for Asian America, where we gave a middle finger to both Hollywood, whitewashing and the nonsensical conservatism that drives a wedge between the kind of unity that SHOULD be forged between us and other minorities. It was a banner year for Muslim Americans who stood up for each other against hate speech, xenophobia and idiocy. It was a righteous year for Hispanic Americans who don’t give a damn about walls. 2016 was a year for women to remind men in power that a choice is a choice. 2016 was the year UIC told Trump to fuck the hell off of my city. 2016 was a year for liberal protest and just outrage, and that’s a good thing. The hordes have won the White House, and they are clamoring at the gates of love, decency and the search for empathy. Let’s be strong, and let’s keep this storm rolling in 2017.
THE BAD – BREXIT AND THE GLOBAL SURGE IN CONSERVATISM, POPULISM & XENOPHOBIA: If you haven’t seen John Oliver’s thoughts on Brexit, have a look at the video above about the fucking fallout AFTER the vote. Those UKIP halfwits have more or less conned the UK into voting against it’s own interests, much like what we did in November. By simply appealing to an angry base of white Europeans jaded by the “evils” of globalization, Brexit proved that Europe is slowly unraveling into an increasingly intolerant place where the continent’s most reasonable and humane voices are being drowned out by hate and fear. Germany, the Netherlands and even Poland are obviously examples of this surge of Populism in Europe, while the Philippines is experiencing this via Rodrigo Duterte and his brutal war on drugs. Given the plight of refugees and other immigrants, it seems as though the world is ignoring its better selves in favor of some strange form of ‘self-preservation’ that is both backward and appalling.
THE GOD-AWFUL – EURO 2016: With Iceland being the fairy-tale team that we truly needed, you would think this year’s tournament would be all sunshine and roses, but it was not. Flares, protests, fights and some shitty displays of football were all there for your viewing pleasure. Watching Italy versus Spain was lovely, but seeing them get trounced by Germany was even better. My money was on France, but that was not to be as Portugal won the tournament in a god-awful display of football. Yeah, this tournament was a facepalm on so many accounts. At least Giroud, Ozil, Ramsey and Koscielny had some brilliant displays.
THE GOOD – MOVING TO VIRGINIA!: Most are unaware that my GF had to relocate to another state for work last year and therefore, we were apart for nine months. During that time, I sent out resumes, had interviews and finally landed a job in the area while she endured a tough move and new conditions to her workload. In July, I had finally relocated to Virginia and so far, it’s been great! The food is excellent here and miles better than what I get in Florida. From Thai food to Ben’s Chili, it’s been excellent. The new job is nice, but has a steep learning curve. I’m rediscovering winter, along with the Metro (which isn’t as good as the CTA but it’ll do) but it can be quite expensive to live here. One of the perks about being here however is that we can finally see all the sights that the capital has to offer, including the National Mall, the Washington Monument and my favorite, the Lincoln Memorial. All in all, I’m happy to be back with the GF finally, and I’m happy to be here in the DMV area.
THE ADORABLE – THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY: The year of the monkey is generally a bad year (obviously), but one great thing that came out of it was lots of monkey related things, including these two above. 🙂
THE BAD – SYRIA: Aleppo. Need I say more? Russia is heartless. The international community is toothless. The Syrian Government is deplorable. What are we going to do? How are we going to help them? Why are we so mute to their desolation? Why are we ignoring their cries for help. How are we helping them via aid? Why can’t we be more welcoming to them when they come to our shores?
THE FINALLY – CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!: I don’t like the Cubs. It’s not because I like the Sox or anything, but as a long-time North Sider, I never got along with the fans. This was especially so during high school and college when they walked around puking and looking down on city-dwellers as they trashed our area and ran back to whatever-the-hell-Ville or something. However, in those random suburbs are real people who’ve laughed and cried with the Cubbies for 108 years, and seeing their devotion rewarded is the stuff dreams are made of. Congrats to you Cubbies. You are now FINALLY part of the piece that makes Chicago the City of Champions.
THE FAIRY TALE – LEICESTER WINS THE PREM: Improbable, unbelievable and unprecedented. LCFC proved lots of people wrong, and many will be analyzing their feat for years to come. Well done to them. It’s unfortunate however that they’re staring this season’s campaign under dire straits. I guess they need more penalties.
THE ANNIVERSARY – 5 YEARS OF NAIKA’S LOUNGE: 5 years seems like a lot in internet years, but I’m very happy that this blog continues. With over 100 posts, this year was a banner year for the blog since I finally had the chance to write thoughts and reviews about things that have been brewing in my brain for a bit. 8 years was the length of my former YouTube channel (RIP), so I’m glad that this site is coming close to that. For those of you that actually read this, thanks for your support, clicks and whatever words you’ve shared with me here. It’s my hope that this will continue for a while, and that you will all be there to comment, share and most of all read. Thanks so much!
So there you have it, my snapshot farewell to 2016. It’s been a smoldering and insufferable year with great things in between. Let’s all look back in fondness and mild disgust and kick off 2017 with great inspiration and even greater action. There’s so much to do for all of us, so let’s make the most of it. Thanks again for reading everyone and I hope you at least enjoyed the dawning of a new year. 2016 is finally done!
And yes, snow monkeys DO make snow balls and eat them.
~Special Thanks to Andy Gregg on Dribble for the Trump 16 bit GIF.