The Lardy

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first annual Lard Biscuit Achievement Awards! Round about every December, everybody just loves putting together their meaningless and self-important lists of the best and biggest accomplishments of the past year, so I'm getting into the act with my own awards ceremony that has utterly no significance to anybody besides myself. I don't care if anybody else gives a shit or not.

Without further ado, I hereby present the winners of the 2000 Lardies, bestowing the coveted and voluptuous golden trophy that honors only the most outstanding achievements in lardy goodness. The envelope, please...

Best Album of 2000

Heliocentric Heliocentric
Paul Weller

Weller returned this year with his finest recording since his 1993 masterpiece, Wild Wood. Heliocentric is a beautiful collection of ten songs, all of them remarkable in their complexity and diversity. Weller's tone here may seem uncharacteristically bright and sunny on the surface, but at its heart this album is a somber meditation on painful fear and regret. Heliocentric also features the unlikely combination of Weller sounding more like The Jam than he has since 1982 ("Back in the Fire," "There's No Drinking After You're Dead") and sounding more like The Style Council than he has since 1989 ("Love-Less"). A true classic. What a fucking pathetic shame that the album wasn't even released in the United States.

Honorable Mention: All That You Can't Leave Behind (U2)

Best Movie of 2000

O Brother, Where Art Thou? O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Joel and Ethan Coen

As far as I'm concerned, 2000 was a suck-ass year at the movies. Therefore, I have chosen to bestow the Lardy on a 2000 release I didn't get a chance to see until it opened wide in January 2001. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is easily better than everything I saw in the past calendar year, and it ranks as my #2 favorite Coen Brothers movie (right behind the immortal Raising Arizona). Some people prefer the Coens' serious suspense dramas, but I'm convinced that comedy is their true forte. Every element of O Brother is lovingly designed for the sole purpose of being hilarious, lending the movie a purity and lightheartedness that is all but absent from today's comedy genre. George Clooney and all the rest of the cast are superb, the old-time country and blues soundtrack is a revelation, and the cinematography makes this the most beautiful-looking comedy ever committed to film. It's bona-fide!

Honorable Mention: X-Men (Bryan Singer)

Best DVD of 2000

Gimme Shelter Gimme Shelter
David Maysles, Albert Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin

I bought this DVD without ever having seen Gimme Shelter before. I got it because I like the old Rolling Stones from the "Sympathy from the Devil" era, before they sold out and got all geriatric and shit. I knew the movie also had the infamous scene with the guy getting stabbed to death by the Hell's Angels at Altamont, so I thought that would be interesting, too. But I never expected to discover that this is hands-down one of the best documentary movies of all time. This is not just a concert movie -- it's an examination of a very bad event and all the factors that led to its occurrence. Gimme Shelter pierces the veil of celebrity myth with a fascinatingly self-referential structure, as we watch Mick Jagger and the Stones reflect on footage that the film crew earlier captured. Criterion provides a nicely restored transfer and a bucketload of interesting supplemental features, rounding out the best DVD of the year.

Honorable Mention: Paul Weller Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Best Comics Series of 2000

Outlaw Nation Outlaw Nation
Jamie Delano and Goran Sudzuka

As of this writing there have been only four issues of Outlaw Nation published, but I've seen enough to declare it the comic book of the year. I've long considered Jamie Delano to be a writer who wasn't living up to his potential, and now he's finally sunk his teeth into a project that can top his work as the original writer of Hellblazer. This is the beginning a great big sprawling family saga, focusing on amnesia-stricken hack novelist Story Johnson and the crazy, mysterious Johnson clan. There are too many characters to keep track of and the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense just yet, but it's a whole mess o' fun to read. Newcomer Goran Sudzuka is a fantastic artist whose style is like an elegant blend of Steve Dillon and Bryan Talbot. Outlaw Nation came along just in time to fill the void left by the ending of Preacher, and in fact it's the only Vertigo series I've got left these days.

Honorable Mention: Promethea (Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray)

Best Book of 2000

Jimmy Corrigan Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth
Chris Ware

This is one of the most powerful works of modern literature that I have ever read. Chris Ware presents the story of Jimmy Corrigan, who's not a kid and not really all that smart, despite what the title says. Jimmy could more accurately be described as the world's biggest loser. Devoid of social skills and unable to interact with the rest society beyond the most rudimentary level, poor Jimmy finds himself thrust into situations that force him to confront the world and himself. The novel also crisscrosses through time and reality, juxtaposing Jimmy's life with extensive flashbacks starring Jimmy's father and grandfather in their youth. It's a harrowing portrait of isolation and despair that made me grapple with my own inner sense of inadequacy. Jimmy Corrigan is the best novel I've read in a long time. Yes, it's got pictures. Yes, it's a comic book. So what?

Honorable Mention: The Onion's Finest News Reporting

Best TV Series of 2000

BattleBots BattleBots
Comedy Central

Remote-controlled killer robots smashing each other into twisted shards of metal in an arena of death. What's not to like? Along with other kick-ass shows like Junkyard Wars and Iron Chef, BattleBots represents a welcome trend in television for the 21st century: a new genre that I call "creative combat." It's extremely satisfying to watch such a perfect blend of invention and destruction, and nowhere else can you see so much thrilling violence without anyone getting hurt. BattleBots is a real-life revenge of the nerds, a competition in which techie geeks and backyard tinkerers get their chance to taste the glory heretofore reserved for star athletes. Truly, this is the way television ought to be.

Honorable Mentions: Junkyard Wars, Late Show with David Letterman

Best Web Site of 2000

Liis Liis: A Tribute
Heinrich Saint-Germain

On the surface, this site appears to be your average minor-celebrity devotion site, in this case honoring the beautiful Canadian plus-size model Liis Windischmann. But when you delve into its pages, you discover that this is a wonderfully subversive examination of the nature of beauty, and a lyrical aesthetic argument favoring the larger, "classical" female form over the bone-thin standards of modern Western society. The site includes other models besides Liis in photo galleries and in features called "The Judgment of Paris" and "Timeless Beauty," which weave together the women's images with classical paintings and passages from literature to compelling effect. Site creator Heinrich Saint-Germain is a brilliant scholar, and thanks to e-mail, this fine gentleman is also my friend and comrade. Heinrich is doing the kind of stuff that can be achieved on the Web and in no other medium, and I strive to make my site half as good as his.

Honorable Mentions: The Digital Bits,

Hottest Chick of 2000

Anna Nicole Smith Anna Nicole Smith

Okay, so the Lardy Award itself is sculpted in her image, but that doesn't mean she's an automatic gimme for this one. For three horrible years, my all-time favorite fantasy woman has sadly not been at the top of my list. Anna Nicole Smith had starved herself down to skin and bones, defaced her sacred flesh with some really ugly tattoos on her legs and butt, and languished on the brink of celebrity has-been oblivion. But in 2000, the Goddess Supreme made one hell of a comeback. She regained her voluptuously plump figure of yore and went back to work as a plus-size model for Lane Bryant, appearing at a lingerie fashion show and as the poster girl for Venezia flare jeans. In addition to gaining a few pounds, Anna Nicole also fattened up her bank account -- or at least she hopes to, thanks to the famous $450 million court decision that nicely enhances my dream of one day making her Mrs. Anna Nicole Trull.

Honorable Mention: Mandy Barnett

The 2000 Lard Biscuit Person of the Year

David Letterman David Letterman

Dave had quite a scare in January with his emergency quadruple bypass surgery, an episode that Letterman has since exaggerated into "when I had my massive heart attack." Thank goodness, he made a full recovery in record time and went back to work entertaining America night after night. Since then, it's hard to tell whether he's become funnier and more energized after the ordeal, or it's just our renewed appreciation of someone we were afraid of losing, but the Late Show has been better than it's been in years. Dave seems to be taking more risks and getting wackier with his comedy, and as Paul Shaffer has observed, he just doesn't care anymore about what he might do wrong or who he might piss off. God bless you, Dave. Lard Biscuit Enterprises proudly salutes you.

Honorable Mentions: Anna Nicole Smith, Al Gore

The 2000 Lard Biscuit Asshole of the Year

President Dubya George W. Bush

"Anyway, after we go out and work our hearts out, after you go out and help us turn out the vote, after we've convinced the good Americans to vote, and while they're at it, pull that old George W. lever, if I'm the one, when I put my hand on the Bible, when I put my hand on the Bible, that day when they swear us in, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not -- to uphold the laws of the land."

— George W. Bush, Toledo, Ohio, October 27, 2000

May God have mercy on us all.

Honorable Mention: Everybody behind the AOL Time Warner merger

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