Tom Richards

The Very Best of 2017!

Fred Rogers drives an unorthodox 2016 presidential election campaign all the way to the White House

Tom Richards lists all of the very best things about this year, 2017, from the presidency to music, movies, books, and more. 


Wow! Wow! Wow! What a year! I know I’m less than a line into this story and I’ve already used up four exclamation marks, but … WHAT A YEAR! Come on, you know it was.

Here are my top ten places, events, and happenings for 2017:

1. Since marijuana is legal here in Oregon, I kind of missed the whole big election brouhaha of 2016, so imagine my surprise on inauguration day, January 20, 2017, when Fred Rogers was sworn in as President of these United States of America! I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I thought Mister Rogers had passed away. I sure felt foolish for about half an hour until I found out that he’d chosen Clinton as his vice president! Wow again! George Clinton is the funkiest veep we’ve ever had.

I don’t want to make this all about politics, but I have to say I was shocked, I mean SHOCKED! when President Mister Rogers pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accord. I thought, Dude, what about the climate and all those cute animals that are going to drown? I just loved it when ole Fred told the world that:

As of February, America will power all of our transportation by LOVE and LOVE alone.

Mr. President, I am not too proud to say that I am in love with you and America too … and my motor is running!

2. Album of the year is easy of course. I’m sure we all picked the same one. And who among us saw this one coming in 2016? Not me! The triple album Pretentious Cubed by new super band Bad Taste in My Mouth featuring Justin Bieber and Nick Cave is unparalleled. My favorite dance groove on this album, and God knows there was a plethora to choose from, is “Look at Me/Move Your Feet.” As far as their gospel selections go, the entirety of the second record, front and back, is a gift to our twin musical saviors, the two Jimmys, Cliff and Buffett. But the third record is the reason I bought another entire album. I downloaded an entire extra album because I felt it would be sacrosanct to actually put the needle down on the wax and play either side … I mean which side of P-Cubed should I defile? The side with the Bieber face or the side with Cave’s hirsute ass? And my personal favorite cut of all the “songs” is the second bonus track on the final side. I mean, the beat goes on and on and on and what’s not to like about “PenisEnvy?”

3. Food of the year. Deep fried ice … I know!

4. Restaurant of the year. I’m sorry, small towns, but New York City’s Franks’ Slices’ cart beat out Edmonton, Alberta, Canada’s Chang’s Chinese, and Canadian Food (their 14th Street location). Although Aziz’s cart is hard to find sometimes (possibly because of his lack of proper licensing), his slices are worth the search. He’s got cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon as well as the double-slice™ special of artichoke hearts and gravy (Tuesdays only). Don’t miss him! But if you do, you can sometimes catch him or his wife Mitzi on Canal off West Broadway or near that one deli in Brooklyn across the street from the Dollar Store.

5. Movies! There were some truly excellent ones this year. Some great artsy, heart-wrenching independent films; some scary-ass, wet your pants horror shit that scared the you-know-what out of me; and some really satisfying blockbusters during the summer and holiday (Christmas) seasons featuring some Golden Globe type performances by some really big, well-known actors or their voices.

6. Fiction book of the year. Okay, Jennifer Egan’s The Beaches of Manhattan and Jonathan Safran Chabon’s The Amazing Connections were good in America and I really enjoyed the entire cadre of brilliant new Leichtensteinian short story writers, but the book of the year for me was anything by Mo Willems, so shut the F*ck up!

7. Non-fiction book of the year. Vapor: The Art and Science Of Inhaling Pure Plant Essences by Shaahin Cheyenne.

8. Best new social network. Facebook.

9. Best concert, musical event, or sports-related event in support of a sparsely populated region by an emerging or under-represented group of well-established but as of yet unknown subset of near human hybrids in service to their corporate overseers. The Supertramp Reunion concerts sponsored by Boston Dynamics and Scientology in south-central Iowa.

10. The Weather! You know what I’m talking about.

If you have any comments about our list or additions to it, we would be glad to pretend that we care by putting them at the bottom of this article in an unclickable link.

Thank you, and have a great 2019!

President Fred Rogers reveals his campaign strategy for his next presidential run


Tom Richards

Tom Richards published poetry in the Writers’ Collective Anthology and has twice been Writer in Residence at Mother Foucault’s Books in Portland, Oregon. He was a contributing writer in the Word & Hand 2 book and published and edited The Portland Permanent Press, a monthly comedy and humor magazine with Joe Sacco. He was also the curator and head writer for The Faux Museum in Portland. Richards has written for the Willamette Week and The Oregonian in Portland and had a monthly column in the Paperback Jukebox called Last First Thursday. His first book Thirst for Beginners; Poetry, Prose, and Quizzes will be published by University of Hell Press in 2019. He is the writer and vocalist for Philip K. Moby Dick Clark Five.

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