Countdown to 2020

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2020. Doesn’t seem fully natural to say. Gonna need about twelve months to get used to it, but then it’ll be time to change the year again! No, but we have fun, here. End of a decade, end of an era. How do you even sum up a decade? So much stuff happened. Ten years worth of stuff, some say. Pretty big stretch for me, I graduated high school and then graduated college. We can skip the lack of achievements that followed, but life is built on little victories that you can hold onto long after their realistic expiration date. But it’s time to turn the page to a new year and a new decade (#newdecadenewme). And, as we’ve established on briansden69.com, that means the power ranking countdown.

Twenty rankings. The classic mainstays and another round of scraping the bottom of the bottom of the barrel for #content ideas. What better way to spend New Year’s Eve than by counting down arbitrary topics? I’ll tell you what the true countdown is- the countdown to the age where it’s not only acceptable to not do anything for NYE, but it’s expected that I’ll just stay home. Only a few more years and awkwardly deflected party invitations to go! But, let’s be honest: I think the only person holding onto the idea that I might ever do anything fun on New Year’s Eve is me. My real friends already know the deal. On to the countdowns.

Top Five Movies of 2019 (Usually based on the Brian’s Den rating scale but this year’s mini-hiatus left a lot of movies out)

  1. Cats– Only 55% ironically chosen
  2. Knives Out– Whodunnits are so underrated but I’m glad we aren’t inundated with them
  3. Irishman– Hey, I know that old guy on the screen!
  4. Avengers: Endgame– This came out this year. Wild
  5. Uncut Gems– I haven’t even seen it yet. This is a legacy pick

Top Five Movies I Haven’t Seen But Will Say I Saw During Awards SZN to Sound Smarter

  1. Marriage Story– More like Divorce Story, am I right? Make sure to tip your waitresses
  2. Parasite– Yeah, I know it’s amazing, that doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t seen it yet
  3. Little Women– These were some little women, man. I’ll tell you what, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen littler women. And I’ve seen some little women, mind you. But these were some real little women
  4. Pain & Glory– I don’t even know what this is
  5. Frozen 2– You won’t believe the kinds of hijinks Olaf gets into, folks. Who knew he was such a racist?

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2019

  1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses– I will feel much more secure if no one knows how many hours I put into this game (…………………………………….255+)
  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– The difficulty didn’t make me want to kill myself, which means I’ve ascended to a higher plane of existence than you normie gamerz
  3. Kingdom Hearts III– The fact that it exists is honestly enough for me
  4. Pokemon Sword– The h8rz are furious, but I rank this as a mid-tier Pokemon game, which makes it a top-tier regular game
  5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order– Not enough Star Wars debate online these days. Sound off in the comments what your favorite preposterous Star Wars “controversy” of 2019 was

Top Five Songs of 2019

  1. Lil
  2. Nas X
  3. “Old
  4. Town
  5. Road”

Top Five Athletes of 2019

  1. Tom Brady- He’s still the reigning Super Bowl champ, dammit!
  2. Kawhi Leonard- Pop quiz- who has more personality? Kawhi Leonard or Brian from briansden69.com? Hey, wait a minute…
  3. Leo Messi- No one even notices how good he is anymore, that’s how good he is
  4. Lamar Jackson- Most unfair QB since 2018
  5. Mike Trout- I don’t want to bash my good friends at Nike or my close personal friend Mike Trout, but the Mike Trout signature cleats are just about the most swagless signature shoes ever created

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Bassnectar- Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
  2. Kid Rock- Big Ass Honky Tonk and Rock n Roll Steakhouse, Nashville, TN
  3. Mau Mau Chaplains- Flamingo Cantina, Austin, TX
  4. Bruno Mars- Du Arena, Yas Island, UAE
  5. Risky Business- VFW Post 4764, Clinton, AR

Top Five New Fast Food Items of 2019

  1. KFC Cinnabon Dessert Biscuit- Life-changing
  2. Burger King Tacos- So bad, but so good
  3. Burger King Rodeo Stacker King- Massive year for Burger King
  4. McDonald’s Stroopwafel McFlurry- A great way to give yourself delicious lockjaw
  5. Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Double Stacked Taco- TB saving their season with the ultimate 11th hour Hail Mary. Would have been embarrassing to be left out of the top five

Best Things That Happened to Me in 2019

  1. Found my go-to Chinese place
  2. Got a new laptop
  3. Became a bar soap guy again
  4. Got a rolling suitcase for the first time (yes, I know. The first time)
  5. Played 255+ hours of Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Top Five Most Inconvenient Occurrences

  1. Maintenance work disrupting any public transportation schedule
  2. Bad internet connection
  3. When the volume on a channel you turn to is wildly different than the previous channel’s
  4. Going to the doctor
  5. Not being the Jellicle Choice

Best Retail Experiences

  1. Free samples
  2. Asking a salesperson which article of clothing looks better and getting good feedback (might just be me)
  3. Not being asked to open a store credit card account
  4. Not talking to anyone from the moment you walk in to the moment you go through the self-checkout
  5. Getting a free discount from the store’s membership account after you swear that you’ll sign up for it next time

Top Five Variations of the $10 Vodka You Drank in College

  1. Burnett’s
  2. Popov
  3. Dubra
  4. Sobieski
  5. Taaka

Top Five Easiest Crimes to Get Away With

  1. Anything anytime before 1950- Anyone caught before WWII deserved punishment for stupidity over the actual crime
  2. Money Laundering- If the pea-brained muscle in any mob can do it, no way I couldn’t, right?
  3. Fraud- Gotta be pretty easy if you just prey on the elderly
  4. Torrenting Movies- Piracy is NOT a victimless crime
  5. Jaywalking- Imagine getting a ticket for jaywalking? Couldn’t possibly happen to me

Top Five Jaw-Dropping Moments in Politics in 2019

  1. Late Thanksgiving when everyone goes online and makes up fake stories about overly conservative uncles or overly liberal aunts and how it RUINED their meal
  2. Whenever a talking head DESTROYED someone on the opposite side with LOGIC and REASON
  3. That time you wrote your local congressman/woman and they DIDN’T write back. May as well have just thrown that vote in the trash
  4. When those EXPLOSIVE facts came to light, ANNIHLIATING the other side’s WEAK defenses
  5. Covfefe

Top Five Engines

  1. Hemi V8, baby
  2. Everything else

Top Five Subway Stations

  1. Marcy Avenue
  2. 81st Street/Museum of Natural History
  3. Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street
  4. Lexington Avenue-63rd Street
  5. 34th Street-Herald Square

Top Five Hobbies

  1. Magic: The Gathering- Cardboard Crack took hold of me in 2019 and refuses to let go 😦
  2. Model Building- You ever met a true model guy? Feel like they don’t do a lot of hosting
  3. Drawing- No easier way to get some sweet Likes and Retweets than with some choice artwork
  4. Scrapbooking- I’ll tell you what, the next scrapbook I receive that I don’t appreciate will be the first (I’ve never received a scrapbook)
  5. Being a Call-in-a-Golf-Rules-Violation Guy- RIP to the true Watchdogs

Top Five Most Refreshing Gulps of Water

  1. First sip when you’re hungover
  2. After mowing the lawn when it’s really hot out
  3. Like an hour after eating something super high in sodium
  4. When you crack the top of that ice-cold Poland Springs 16oz bottle
  5. Water cooler water from a cone cup

Top Five Things You Have to be Super Into If You’re Five

  1. Dinosaurs
  2. Playgrounds
  3. McDonald’s
  4. Not bathing
  5. Coloring outside the lines

Top Five Andrew Lloyd Webber Songs

  1. “Music of the Night”- Phantom of the Opera
  2. “Mr. Mistoffelees”- Cats
  3. “Close Every Door”- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  4. “All I Ask of You”- Phantom of the Opera
  5. “Superstar”- Jesus Christ Superstar

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

  1. A mystery trip that may yield valuable #content
  2. Taco Bell Crispy Tortilla Tenders
  3. The all-new 2021 Ford F150
  4. Spending a few days thinking about buying new bedsheets before not pulling the trigger and forgetting about it for another 365
  5. Another great year in the Brian’s Den

Happy New Year, everyone

2019 Christmas Album Hall of Fame Inductees

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Merry Christmas, folks, and RIP to the patron saint of the Brian’s Den, George Michael. It’s my great honor to present the 2019 inductions into the Christmas Album Hall of Fame. Founded last year, the Massapequa, New York landmark is opening its doors to welcome another class of legends. Icons who were left out in the cold on the first ballot get the relief and affirmation they’ve been seeking their entire careers and get a free trip to beautiful Massapequa. Visit Massapequa, because I get a tax break if enough people do.

The criteria for induction remains the same: some random combination of impact, sales, ubiquity, and general goodness. The biases of the committee, unfortunately, cannot be fully erased. Apologies to all the Dylan-heads out there. We’ll start with the Veteran’s Committee selections just to get them out of the way.

Veteran’s Committee Selections

Frank Sinatra- A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

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There, your grandpa and/or overly proud Italian-American dad can stop boycotting the Hall now. Listen, I don’t care about Frank, so I just picked the first one that came up. Deal with it.

Signature Song:

Phil Spector- A Christmas Gift for You

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People forget Phil Spector killed someone, but that doesn’t disqualify him from the Hall. Our standards are pretty low, here, especially when the music is good. Nothing like a good old compilation album, even if everyone on it is an old singer you’ll be shamed for not knowing even though it’s pretty reasonable not to know who any of these people are. Origin album for a bunch of songs you’ve heard before.

Signature Song:

Only two this year, despite Louis Armstrong & Friends’ What a Wonderful Christmas receiving the necessary amount of votes. The Hall Chairman (me) hates “Zat You Santa Claus?” so passionately he refused to let it in. Shame.

Modern Entrants

Wham!- Last Christmas

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I’ll be honest, I don’t know what A-sides and B-sides are and how these old record sales work, but this was sold as a single, so it counts. I was outvoted last year, but without the obvious inclusions of the inaugural class, Wham! breezed through the voting. We all know that briansden69.com was founded on the eve of George Michael’s death, but don’t think that this got in for sentimental reasons. It got in because it’s one of the greatest original Christmas songs since color television was invented. Pour one out for the GOAT.

Signature Song: I wonder what it could be?

Michael Bolton- This is the Time: The Christmas Album

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Bolton. Christmas. Need I say more? No, I don’t. It’s in. He gets a little ahead of himself with two original songs, but the rest is pure Bolton. “O Holy Night” has never been the same since he hopped on the track, and his “White Christmas” is legendary. Putting this album on makes me want to get a perm-mullet and walk sensuously through the snow wearing a peacoat and boots that are a little too expensive to be wearing through inclement weather.

Signature Song:

Cee Lo Green- Cee Lo’s Magic Moment

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I don’t want to use hyperbole, but I think this might be the most underrated Christmas album ever. If Bublé is the king of retail Christmas, this album is the prince. Don’t believe me? Just think back to all the Christmas shopping you’ve done in brick and mortar stores since 2012 and realize how many of these songs you’ve heard. The answer is all of them. He completely flipped the “White Christmas” game on its head, which is enough to merit induction on its own. We value positive innovation, here.

Signature Song:

Leona Lewis- Christmas, With Love

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I honestly don’t know why L.L. isn’t the biggest star in the world, because she dominates every single song she’s ever recorded. Her voice is like a long gulp of water straight from a melting ice cap running down an Alpine stream after you just woke up but didn’t drink any water before bed so you’re unbelievably parched. I would listen to her sing absolutely anything. I would listen to her sing my 8th-grade science teacher’s evaluation of me that recommended my high school put me in the general group instead of the honors class and be thrilled about it. I would listen to her sing a collection of responses to any Star Wars Reddit post and be overcome with emotion. But yeah, this album’s awesome. It even has a good original song! That’s hard in a post “All I Want For Christmas” world.

Signature Song:

Various Artists- A Very Special Christmas

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Just a massive cast coming together to make the first in a long series, either the first or second is still the best. The first was selected, because why not go with the original? I admit that I couldn’t tell you much about the pop culture landscape of 1987, but how the hell did The Pretenders and Alison Moyet end up on the same album as Sting, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Spingsteen, U2, J.C.M. (John Cougar Mellencamp for the uninitiated), Bob Seger, and Bryan Adams? Let’s have some higher standards, here. Also, I’ve never listened to Bon Jovi’s “Back Door Santa” because there’s no way it could ever live up to my expectations of what it should be.

Signature Song: (reluctantly)

U2 sux, don’t @ me.

Kenny G- Miracles: The Holiday Album

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Our final entrant barely edged out *NSYNC’s Home for Christmas, because apparently the rest of the voting committee thinks that it “sucks.” You can’t teach taste, I guess. Special shoutout to YouTube comments on videos older than 15 months old saying “anyone here in 2019?” I’m here, man. I’m here. Anyway, your boy Kenny G. Don’t let anyone ever tell you Kenny G isn’t a force to be reckoned with. All he does is put out albums that do huge numbers, and Miracles is no different. Weird cover aside, it was the highest-selling Christmas album in two different years, which is pretty crazy when you think about the fact that it’s a Christmas album from Kenny G. He’s an easy target, but you can’t tell me that smooth soprano sax doesn’t hit you in your loins when he really gets it going. Miracles is pure “dang, can’t believe how hard it’s snowing out. You might as well stay here in this cabin with a big fire going” music. All the classics plus an original song that you can ignore because it’s Kenny G.

Signature Song:

Another year honoring beautiful Christmas albums in the books. If your favorite didn’t make, it’s probably time to ask yourself why you have such bad taste in holiday music (for housekeeping purposes, the two last cuts were the aforementioned *NSYNC and The Three Tenors’ A Tenors’ Christmas, which was bogged down by a never-ending tracklist) (Shoutout Jose Carreras. Everyone always talks about Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, but there had to be three tenors for The Three Tenors to be The Three Tenors. Don’t forget about my man Jose). Just make sure to visit the physical location in Massapequa, New York so I can get a tax write-off.

Merry Christmas

Blayze on the Beach 2019

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After weeks of embedded reporting, our documentary team is finally ready to publish their explosive investigation into Blayze on the Beach 2019, the Greatest Party the Never Was. The levels of delusion, neglect, and incompetence shown by everyone involved in this disaster are enough to shake your belief in the human race forever. Though we want to encourage worldly knowledge and freedom of information, we must warn you: the following footage is not suited for everyone. Viewer discretion is advised.

You Are Invited to Blayze on the Beach 2019- the Biggest Party in Human History

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Are you bored? Tired of a pointless, mundane existence? Want to escape your pallid life and join beautiful people in paradise and get a ton of likes on Instagram? Come join the hottest event in human history. Blayze on the Beach will take the world by storm February 21-24 on the beautiful Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The ultimate entertainment experience will totally immerse you in the lifestyle you’ve been dying to convince your online friends you’ve been living for years. A never-ending party and never-ending music. Blayze on the Beach has everything you need to break free. Picturesque, worry-free beach? Check. Unlimited cocktails presented by New Amsterdam Vodka? Check. Unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime performances by legendary musicians like Travis Scott and Rixton? Check. Blayze on the Beach is going to be the premier music festival in the Western Hemisphere in 2019. This is an opportunity you do not want to miss.

A taste of the acts that will be performing on the Blayze Stayge:

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Drake? He’s in

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A One Direction Reunion? Only One Thing Could Get These Guys Back Together- Blayze on the Beach

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You Know Simple Plan Will Be There

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Cardi B Might Be In Punta Cana At Some Point

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Sheeran’s Bringing Lots of Sunscreen. Are You?

Don’t have your ticket yet? Worry not, there’ still time. Better act fast, though.

UPDATE: All General Admission Tickets are SOLD OUT! Luckily there are plenty of premium packages for you to chose from so you can do Blayze on the Beach the right way:

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Basic Beach Villa Experience- Only $50,000

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Beach Villa That’s A Little Farther Away From The Other Villas- Only $75,000

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Beach Villa With WiFi- Only $100,000

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Beach Villa That’s Not Really On The Beach But Is Still Pretty Nice- Only $150,000

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Secluded Beach Villa That’s An Inconvenient Distance From The Venue- Only $250,000

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Vintage Tent Experience- Only $500,000

Interested in tickets? CLICK HERE

Not sure what else needs to be said. Blayze on the Beach is going to change the world. Come February 21, anyone left on the outside looking in is going to regret it. Don’t let this pass you by.

This could be you

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Countdown to 2019

2019

Can’t believe 2018 is over already. I feel like Velma, but instead of looking for her glasses I’m looking for all the years of my life that have passed by. That sounded kind of depressing, sorry. But that’s just how time works, man. Just keeps moving forward. If you even believe in time, at all. But this isn’t a Burning Questions, this is the Countdown of Countdowns. Third year we’ve done this, which is crazy to think about. I also realize I forgot to mention my two-year anniversary when it came and went December 26th. I apologize not only to you, my loyal readers, but to George Michael, the patron saint of the Brian’s Den whose death sparked the creation of this beloved site. It won’t happen again. But for the true fans, the Brian’s Den’s greatest hits always live on deep in their hearts, so was a clip show really necessary? I’ll let you decide. Anyhow, the Countdown. We’re saying goodbye to 2018 with eighteen, yes, eighteen countdowns. It could get ugly after about ten, but we’re powering through; I’ve decided to start working a little harder in 2019. Just part of the #newyearnewme lifestyle.

Top Five Movies from 2018 Based on Brian’s Den Scoring

  1. Mission: Impossible Fallout– One of the five best action movies ever made
  2. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse– Cried like four times
  3. The Commuter– This was like when Greg Maddux would throw an 80-pitch shutout late in his career just to show that he could still do it
  4. Skyscraper– Might be in the pantheon of random Rock action movies
  5. A Star is Born– Couldn’t leave out my boy B-Coop

Top Five Movies I Didn’t See But Will Say I Saw Come Awards Season to Sound Smarter

  1. The Favourite– Just waiting for the Americanized The Favorite to come out
  2. BlacKkKlansman– I watched the first three seasons of Ballers, does that count?
  3. Leave No Trace– Didn’t Viggo do this exact movie a year ago?
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk– Think I’m gonna feel bad about not seeing this one
  5. Bird Box– I will not let the memes win

Top Five Video Games I Played in 2018

  1. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild– Getting myself a Switch for my birthday was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made
  2. God of War– Remember when I tried streaming? That was fun
  3. Fire Emblem Awakening– Yes, I know it’s old. No, I don’t care. I played four Fire Emblem games in a row and it was one of the most legitimately fun eras of my life and may or may not have indirectly lead to my move to New York City
  4. Spider-Man– Big year for Spidey
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate– Smash will always make the cut

Top Five Games I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. Kingdom Hearts III– I’ll be fine if I die after I finish this
  2. Untitled Pokémon Switch Game– We all know this is going to be a banger
  3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses– See above section
  4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– I’m going to get this and I’m going to hate myself for committing to what is surely an absolutely impossible game
  5. Final Fantasy VII– Just kidding. This is never coming out

Top Five Songs of 2018

  1. “I Like It” by Cardi B, Bad Bunny, & J Balvin- It’s just a fire song
  2. “Finesse” by Bruno Mars & Cardi B- Cardi B only puts out heat and that’s an undeniable fact
  3. “New Light” by John Mayer- I like that the stigma against liking John Mayer is gone
  4. “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott- I’ll always remember Travis Scott for his Ballers cameos the most. That might be the last Ballers reference this year
  5. “Party for One” by Carly Rae Jepsen- Leave your CRJ hate at the door, please

Top Five TV Shows I Watched in 2018

  1. Good Place– It’s good. Get it?
  2. All or Nothing: Manchester City– So, umm, yeah, I didn’t really watch any shows this year and I don’t really know why
  3. Westworld– There is no way Westworld season 2 should be number three on anyone’s list but here we are
  4. I don’t know, man. New Black Mirror came out that I haven’t watched yet so I’ll say that
  5. Spongebob seasons 1-3- RIP Stephen Hillenburg

Top Five Athletes of 2018

  1. Luka Doncic- I never overreact, I swear
  2. Mookie Betts- Red Sox won the World Series, in case you forgot
  3. Nick Foles- What a large penis this man has
  4. Aaron Donald- Feel like this is what it was like for my dad when he watched Bill Russell
  5. Every Olympian- Remeber the Olympics? They were this year! Crazy

Top Five New Year’s Eve Concerts

  1. Phish- MSG
  2. Bruno Mars- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
  3. Lady Gaga- Park Theater at Park MGM, Las Vegas
  4. Lynyrd Skynyrd- WinStar World Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma
  5. Billy Joel- Nassau Coliseum, Long Island

Top Five New Fast Food Items

  1. Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch- Taco Bell
  2. Triple Melt Burrito- Taco Bell
  3. Nightmare King- Burger King
  4. Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa- Taco Bell
  5. Nacho Fries- Taco Bell

Top Five Best Things That Happened to Me in 2018

  1. Moved to New York City
  2. I just got this new deodorant (it’s men’s, FYI. It’s almost 2019) that has lavender in it and it smells very nice
  3. Any of the times I missed a subway train or bus by a matter of milliseconds
  4. My sister got me this notebook for Christmas that makes me feel like Aragorn since it looks straight out of Middle Earth
  5. Actually made some new friends. Rare!

Top Five Worst Smells

  1. Whatever’s been brewing in my fridge for the last month or two that I keep waiting for someone else to take care of but it never happens
  2. General garbage
  3. Someone else’s puke
  4. Rotting flesh
  5. Subway when you don’t want it

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Men

  1. Samuel L. Jackson- Pulp Fiction
  2. Christoph Waltz- Inglorious Basterds
  3. Chappie- Chappie
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis- There Will Be Blood
  5. Nicolas Cage- The Wicker Man

Top Five Acting Performances Ever by Women

  1. Lady Gaga- A Star is Born
  2. Melissa McCarthy- The Heat
  3. Viola Davis- Fences
  4. Ellen Burstyn- The Wicker Man
  5. Jodie Foster- Silence of the Lambs

Top Five Book(s) Ever

  1. If I Did It: Confessions of a Killer by Pablo Fenjves and O.J. Simpson
  2. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  4. Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
  5. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Top Five Vegetables

  1. Potato
  2. Carrot
  3. Red onion
  4. Non-infected lettuce
  5. Spinach

Top Five Places to Go Swimming

  1. Private pool- No rules whatsoever after a certain age=fun
  2. Health club pool- Usually the highest quality pool and water
  3. Lake- Beach is generally more fun, but lakes are far superior for swimming
  4. Public pool- Especially hotel pools where you can smell the chlorine three blocks away
  5. Beach- Swimming in the ocean is almost always a better idea in theory than in practice

Top Five Italian Renaissance Artists

  1. Michelangelo- The G.O.A.T. and I don’t know who’s really that close to him. Master of every medium. Only thing going against him is that every portrait of him looks like Willem Defoe if he got lost in the woods for a month and the only food he had was heroin
  2. Sandro Botticelli- Most underrated painter ever. Yeah, I said it
  3. Leonardo da Vinci- He’s honestly such an overrated artist but I don’t want to draw the ire of the people who put the emphasis on the “ai” in Renaissance
  4. Raphael- Raphael, of course, was known for his works’ clarity of form, ease of composition, and visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur
  5. Donatello- I swear I didn’t envision this happening but I have no choice now

Top Five Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2019

  1. More calm, peaceful discourse in all areas of the Internet
  2. A McDonald’s resurgence. It’s coming, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of history
  3. The Patriots winning a sixth Super Bowl
  4. Getting a pet flamingo
  5. Spending more time in the Brian’s Den- 2019 is gonna be huge. Believe it

Introducing the Christmas Album Hall of Fame

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Folks, it’s almost Christmas. Less than a week, in fact. That means only one thing: it’s time to talk Christmas music again. If you remember Last Christmas, you know I laid out the case for Kelly Clarkson’s Wrapped in Red as the best Christmas album of the last 33 years and included some other modern classics. This year I thought I’d take the logical next step and create the Christmas Album Hall of Fame.

What is the Christmas Album Hall of Fame, you ask? Well, if you’re familiar with the concept of halls of fame, it’s that. It’s just a place where the best of the best are enshrined for eternity. Where is it? Why, it’s where all music lives, silly. In your heart. Also the physical location is in Massapequa, New York. The real estate was cheap, there.

Anyway, without further ado, I present the inaugural class in the Christmas Album Hall of Fame. There aren’t any specific qualifications, per se. It’s album sales, its’s cultural impact, it’s general quality. It’s kind of when you know, you know. And luckily for you, I know good Christmas albums. It’s what got me onto the selection committee, in the first place.

Veteran’s Committee Selections

Much like in sports halls of fame, the Veteran’s Committee exists to recognize the titans of years gone by. The names that may have been forgotten by the modern game, but whose importance and trailblazing cannot be overstated. In other words, it’s just old stuff.

Elvis- Elvis’ Christmas Album

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As the highest selling Christmas album of all time, Elvis probably would have made the Hall without the help of the Veteran’s Committee, but why leave it up to chance? Feel like we don’t talk enough about Elvis anymore. Guy was a legend. Used to make sandwiches out of whole loaves of bread and was always strapped. Sounds like someone who lived his life in the spirit of Christmas.

Signature Song:

Bing Crosby- White Christmas

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The ultimate one-trick-pony. Did Bing Crosby every do anything besides White Christmas? I’ll never know. But did he really need to? When you’ve got the hottest grainy audio of all time, I think one pitch is all you need. I can practically smell this album, and if you don’t know what I mean by that then you don’t have white grandparents.

Signature Song:

Johnny Mathis- Merry Christmas

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A staple of this man’s car rides to said grandmother’s house for Christmas, Johnny Mathis snags the final Veteran’s Committee spot. Many people were looking for Frank Sinatra to be the Veteran’s Committee’s third selection, but a shocking eleventh hour change in the voting propelled J-Math to the top. Can you really blame them, though? No one sounds more like snow and hot chocolate.

Signature Song:

 

Modern Entrants

Kelly Clarkson- Wrapped in Red

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I think I’ve gone into this enough.

Signature Song:

Céline Dion- These Are Special Times

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You knew the queen was getting in first ballot. If Wrapped in Red is the best Christmas album since “Last Christmas,” These Are Special Times is the second best. It’s a little bloated, which is just about the only negative. So many absolute bangers and powerhouse performances (what a surprise). It’s heavy on the religious songs, but if you’re against that you’re not a true Christmas music fan. 90% of this album is pure heat, and since there’s about 100 songs that’s a pretty good ratio. I mean, a song with Céline AND Andrea Bocelli? Someone pinch me, because I must be dreaming.

Signature Song:

Impossible to pick just one, but for the end note alone-

Or the hilarity of a French-Canadian power ballad diva singing “Feliz Navidad”

Michael Bublé- Christmas

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Listen, the guy’s the King of Christmas for a reason. Fire voice, fire album. Pure, uncut Christmas spirit. No one has ever paired their music to the retail consumer experience better.

Signature Song:

Mariah Carey- Merry Christmas

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Eli Manning is going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The same logic applies here. Not a ton of highs, but man. Were those highs the highest highs ever.

Signature Song:

Josh Groban- Noël

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Josh Groban is so underrated. We as a society have kind of forgotten about him, and that’s a travesty. He’s got one of the best *Googles* tenor and/or baritone voices of the modern era. You’re really gonna sit there and tell me you didn’t blast “You Raise Me Up” nonstop when it came out? Because I don’t believe that. Not for a second. Anyway, Noël is a real gem of a Christmas album. Banger after banger after banger. And the features? Faith Hill, Brian McKnight, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Be still my beating heart. Like Céline’s it’s got a lot of religious songs, but I can only take so much “Santa Baby” before I need some piety in my life.

Signature Song:

or from the deluxe edition re-release

The Beach Boys- The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album

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You may think this would fall under the Veteran’s Committee’s jurisdiction, but it was already penciled in for induction before the V.C. had their vote. The Beach Boys are kind of weird in that normal people don’t care about them at all but music hipsters can talk for hours about how genius they are and criticize you for only knowing their early stuff. Anyway, this is a fire album. Always nice to insert a little energy into a genre that can be pretty heavy most of the time. Definitely one of the most influential Christmas albums of all time, too. According to my research (off the top of my head) it’s the first time an artist experimented with classics and put their own spin on well known hits. It’s ubiquitous now, but someone had to be the first to do it. Also people forget Mike Love is Kevin Love’s uncle.

Signature Song:

That’s it for the first ever inductees to the Christmas Album Hall of Fame. Did your favorite not make the cut? Too bad. This is the first ever class, not everyone can get in. Maybe next year Michael Bolton will get in (spoiler alert: he will). Don’t forget to stop in the next time you’re in Massapequa. Admission’s dirt cheap. I also get a tax break if the Hall brings enough people into the city, so keep that in mind.

Merry Christmas, and remember, always listen responsibly.