Wednesday, 31 December 2008

'08 not great

As years go, 2008 wasn't great.

To rub it in, a leap year day was thrown in to twist the knife.

Plus an extra second.

Be gone, already.

The bad news: Iraq, record snow and rain, a tanking economy, the Four Stooges of Canadian politics, bailing out the Big Three after burying their heads in the sand for several decades, gas hikes that spoiled the enjoyment of summer motoring, plunging property values, talentless bimbos getting too much media exposure.

Which brings us to the few slices of good news.

At the top of the list, Barack Obama becoming U.S. president-elect in November. His inauguration on Jan. 20 can't come too soon.

Second to the elation of Obama's win was the guarantee that George W. and his inept, warmongering cronies will soon be moving on to relative obscurity.

Imagine a U.S. president who is youthful, fit, intelligent, a happily married family man, an eloquent speaker, is willing to speak to America's enemies, wants to right the wrongs of his predecessor to regain the faith and respect of allies, is anxious to close down torture camps, move the U.S. out of economic chaos etc.

Other good vibes?

More priceless prose from the Sun, Globe and Star and various blogsters throughout the year. They kept us informed and amused, 10% during online visits and 90% from the good old fashioned print way.

Another year of Andy Donato editorial cartoons. Will someone please publish another book of his brilliant cartoons? Mike Strobel can do no wrong. Mark Bonokoski has to be in for awards for his 15-part Red Road series. Peter W? Consistent as ever.

Special thanks to Joe Warmington and Jim Slotek for giving Sun readers more for their money throughout the year - and for having the balls to use their name when speaking their mind via TSF. Same goes for Wayne Janes and Rob Lamberti.

Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous have been hogging the feedback at TSF this year, so it is refreshing when someone speaks their mind and okays their name being used. No big deal during the Doug Creighton years, but a rarity in these Quebecor years.

Television was a blend of generosity (entertaining dramatic series have never been more plentiful) and annoying (promising new series on too short a leash were cancelled).

Kudos to TV's John Walsh, Ty Pennington and crew, the exiting Air Farce gang, GMA, 60 Minutes, Fifth Estate, Jon Stewart, David Letterman and others.

On the radio front, 680News provided another year of updates on the road, although we turned the volume down whenever the news involved George W., Iraq, Israel/Palestine battles etc.

Same old, same old. Minimize the negative and anxiety is minimized.

Meanwhile, talk radio reached a new low this year. Too many argumentative, divisive loudmouths putting down callers, interrupting their comments etc. Plus numerous gabbers with severe cases of "I-itis."

Toronto sports?

The Blue Jays fizzled, but hey, they will have a new prez next season and Cito is back, so this former fan will be back on the bandwagon come spring.

The Maple Leafs didn't win the Stanley Cup. (Insert your favourite punch line)

Argos? Next year.

Raptors? If only . . .


The Dark Knight stands alone for best dollar value at the movies. Iron Man, a close second. Too many lame comedies and uninspired sequels amd remakes.

Print media?

The Globe and Mail wins the 2008 Consistency Award hands down, both in print and online.

The Toronto Sun?

With Michael Sifton, former Osprey Media chief, at the helm for most of the year, Sun Media was regaining some jobs lost prior to his arrival.

The Toronto Sun and its sister tabloids were still hurting from nine previous years of cutbacks, but there were signs of optimism coming from the newsrooms.

Black Friday, in early November, saw PKP turf Michael and take personal control of Sun Media and Canoe.

Six weeks later, Black Tuesday saw PKP downsize Sun Media by 600 jobs, more than 40 of them throughout the building at the ever-shrinking Toronto Sun.

We remain stunned by the exit of business editor Linda Leatherdale, a tireless and loyal veteran writer who was a reader favourite in these tough economic times. (Linda, keep in touch and e-mail us if you want to vent.)

Other negative news during the year included the deaths of at least nine Toronto Sun Family members. From Sherri Wood, in her prime, to George Gross and Mrs. K, two Day Oners who left their mark on the tabloid.

And beyond the GTA, the Sunday Sun dropped the TV magazine, but upped the price. Less for more, the Quebecor way.

Regrets, we've had a few but not as many as people who voted for George W. four years ago.

As 2008 winds down, we'd have to say this was not our finest year, as Toronto Sun Family members, citizens of Ontario and Canada and the world.


Happy New Year.

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