Best of 2015 - Moments of the Year . . .

As "Rent", the happiest musical in the history of AIDS narratives (of which there is just one member of the canon) reminds us there are 525, 600 minutes in a year. The question "Rent" never really answers is - How you measure, measure (they repeat it - how do you not know this song?) a year?

I would say that you measure it one of three ways: 1) Actual time. (It is an objective, quantifiable measure - of course that is very trite and cliche.) 2) The warm and fuzzies and how it made you "feel". (Which is, of course, entirely subjective and equally cliche and trite.) 3) The moments that really stuck with you and how much, after actual time has transpired, you can still note the warm and fuzzies of said moments. (Which is a hybrid of subjective and objective that remains wholly trite and cliche.). Let's go with the third measure and I'll lay out my top moments of the year. Please to enjoy.

10) Revisiting My Thoughts on "Family". For many, many years (pretty much my entire adult life) I've had mixed emotions of "family'. While I'm in love with my kid and being a parent I've never, really understood how to navigate relationships with parents, adult siblings, their wives, nieces and nephews, etc. While there has been a long, slow, steady climb toward being more "normal" in these dynamics 2015 sped it along considerably. I saw my family a TON this year and I spent more time with my future family than I ever thought I would agree to. And it all felt wonderful. I am already excited to see them all again.

9) SCOTUS Rulings Written in Actual Prose. Like this regarding the landmark "gay marriage" ruling (which the nine justices got right):

"It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they DO respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They as for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

- Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice, US Supreme Court. June 26, 2015

8) The Evolution of the "Gun Debate" in America. While we're still at a loss on how to actually handle guns and gun violence in America, 2015 saw an interesting change in the dynamic. On the one hand it devolved with gun advocates presuming every senseless act of violence committed with a gun was a challenge to THEM and THEIR guns. At the same time the battle cry of every sensible American (myself included) wants to see what we can do to make mental health the focus of the conversation around guns. The police are still shooting too many people and guns are still used in way too many homicides and mass violence incidents but we're getting more articulate. That is a first step. But we must move faster.

7) Hannibal Buress Dropping Some Bill Cosby Knowledge. It is hard to remember, fifty five separate accusers and a formal arrest later, that it wasn't until this year that "we" took the forty-ish years of allegations that Bill Cosby is a sexual predator/criminal seriously. That started because Buress, a comedian with a style I've enjoyed for years, made some Cosby jokes in late-October 2014. His humor lead to outrage which lead to the wheels of justice spinning. Long live the comedian. Long live the joke.

6) Meeting My Nephews. See bullet ten (above) but modify it to the notion that I have twin nephews out there in the world. These little ones are, presuming traditional (outdated?) paths for my daughter and my niece (who don't actually have any Amore genetics between them anyway) and given that my two brothers and I are done reproducing, are the only (male) heirs and familial legacy of my father and his father and his father. I have no doubt that their parents will worry them into anxiety disorders but my parents did it for me so that is fitting. Make us proud, nephews.

5) The Beach / Drive Scene of "Furious 7". From the minute Paul Walker died (in real life) I wondered what it might mean for a movie franchise built on fast cars, guns, beautiful women, and machismo. Modify that with the one, consistent under-theme of the movies (family) and I knew it was either going to be really great or really horrible to see what they did. In the end, in the final scene(s) of the seventh movie of the series Paul built, were a few beautiful moments that made me (and all the other popcorn flick junkies around me) sob . . . every time we watched it. So well done.

4) The Ashley Madison "Leak". We are now 16% through the 21st century. We've had social media, credit cards, and horrible intentions for longer but the notion of a website committed to facilitating sexual affairs between married people (I'll say here - to be direct - if you don't want to be with just one person (mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually) do NOT get married) being a real thing boggles my mind. That the user base of said site was leaked is both horrifying (there were 37 million accounts (many fake, etc.) at the time of the leak) and delightful. Make. Good. Choices, people.

3) The Nutter-Netson Nuptials. I first met SLF's family at one of her sister's weddings in 2014. We all gathered again in the summer of 2015 to marry off another one. This one meant a lot more to me (they were all strangers the first go-round, I have actual rapports with all of them now) and it was wonderful to see two people to stand before "us" and put it all out there and make these grand vows before dancing the night away. I've always loved a good wedding. This one meant a ton to me.

2) The Bernie Sanders "Announcement". I don't want to sound like a hipster but I've been smitten with Bernie Sanders and his politics since before it was cool. I actually went back and looked and I first openly mused about him being "my guy" in 2016 way back in August, 2014. That has only grown in 2015. His actual candidacy announcement (which I streamed at my desk on May 26, 2015) was very "Vermont" - a bunch of WASPs along the shore of Lake Champlain. Moderate sized but passionate crowd. Polite applause. But it was a moment that I think will be important for a long time to come.

1) Getting Engaged. I won't get into all the specifics here but it was a very nice, special, quiet, private moment. With the actual smell of dead fish in the mix. I loved it. It was about as perfect as I could have made it. I'll probably never forget it. Especially the smell.