The Lardy

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the third 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 2002 Lardies, bestowing the coveted and voluptuous golden trophy that honors only the most outstanding achievements in lardy goodness. The envelope, please...

Best Album of 2002

Ten More Turnips from the Tip Ten More Turnips from the Tip
Ian Dury and the Blockheads

You don't expect much of posthumous albums pieced together from old outtakes and recordings left unfinished upon the artist's death, but the late great Ian Dury has left us a treasure. Ten More Turnips from the Tip is easily the Blockheads' best album since their classic 1979 debut New Boots and Panties!! Ian lost his battle with cancer in 2000, but he never lost his marvelous songwriting wit or his inimitable vocal delivery. These ten valedictory tracks span from 1991 to 2000, with additional material by the surviving Blockheads recorded in 2001, and yet it doesn't sound like a patchwork of leftovers. Every song is a gem, but my favorites are "Dance Little Rude Boy" (possibly their catchiest tune ever) and "Ballad of the Sulphate Strangler" (a hellraising ode to the band's former manager). Most amazing of all, the two Dury compositions not recorded until after his death (with guitarist Chaz Jenkel and pop star Robbie Williams on vocals) are both excellent. Final albums like this are depressing, but Ten More Turnips always fills me with hope and joy. The Blockheads are now working on a new "solo" album, and they should do a fine job carrying on without their mighty leader. That's what I believe.

Honorable Mention:
Illumination, Paul Weller

Best Movie of 2002
Best DVD of 2002

Attack of the Clones Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
George Lucas

The general consensus on Attack of the Clones appears to be that it's better than the last one... "but that ain't saying much! Haw, haw!" Well, yes, in fact it is better than Episode I, and that is saying quite a lot. Maybe after Episode III is released people will finally begin to understand how great the Star Wars prequels are, but I doubt it. There's too much subtlety and nuance for audiences attuned to Rob Schneider and Vin Diesel. No, Hayden Christensen does not suck, and no, Yoda's over-hyped fight scene is not the best part of the movie. What is, you ask? Like the title says, it's the attack of the clones. When Yoda's proto-stormtrooper cavalry rides in to save our heroes, it's the moment when the Jedi have sold themselves out to a fascist dictatorship set on crushing any rebellion. The shroud of the dark side has fallen, and it's no longer so easy to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in George Lucas's fantasy world. It's a chilling and deceptively brilliant film. And the DVD edition, with its all-digital visual splendor and its cornucopia of behind-the-scenes extras, is absolutely the best the medium has to offer.

Honorable Mention (Movie):
Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore

Honorable Mention (DVD):
The Jam: The Complete Jam

Best Comics Series of 2002

Promethea Promethea
Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray

Comics really do suck these days. It seems like nearly all of my favorite writers and artists have either lost their touch (Frank, what the hell was The Dark Knight Strikes Again all about?) or gone into semi-retirement (Jim Woodring? Peter Milligan? Steve Rude? Hello?). But even during this dreadful drought in graphic literature, I can still count on Alan Moore. This is the second consecutive Lardy Award for Promethea, and there really are no serious competitors at this point. So what if the conclusion of the epic Kabbalah saga was a bit of a let-down? The fun was in the journey. Now Promethea/Sophie has emerged from the cosmic travelogue smarter, more powerful, and with a snazzy new red outfit that makes her look less like the mighty Isis. Williams and Gray have kept up their remarkable levels of creativity in the artwork, and word is that they are committed to staying on the series with Alan until the end... which hopefully won't come along until we get a few new comic books that don't suck.

Honorable Mention:
Love and Rockets Vol. 2, Los Bros. Hernandez

Best Book of 2002

Fast Food Nation Fast Food Nation
Eric Schlosser

This may seem an unlikely reading choice for ye olde Lardmeister, being as it is a diatribe on the evils of fast food. You might even consider this book to be anti-lard. But it's really not. Fast Food Nation is not some kind of health-nut diatribe or vegetarian polemic. Although he does touch on nutritional issues, Schlosser is more concerned with the far-reaching sociological and economic impact of the fast food industry. It's both fascinating and scary to learn how much influence McDonald's and its competitors bring to bear on the entire planet. Everybody knows burgers and fries are bad for you, but did you realize that franchise owners routinely get screwed over by their corporate offices, or that meatpacking is the most dangerous job in the world? People say this book makes you want to swear off fast food, but I really don't eat it that often anyway. Give me a real restaurant or home-cooked lardy goodness any day.

Honorable Mention:
The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan

Best TV Series of 2002

The Anna Nicole Show The Anna Nicole Show

O joyous rapture! This wasn't just a television series, this was a weekly out-of-body experience that turned my life upside-down -- in a good way. When you spend years cultivating a private worship of a relatively obscure celebrity who has only rarely been in the spotlight in recent times, and that celebrity suddenly gets her own reality sitcom exposing her personal life to the world... it's pretty damn overwhelming, to say the least. In its thirteen first-season episodes and a holiday special, The Anna Nicole Show brought me closer to my Goddess than I have ever been before. I have always focused my attention on her mythological persona, but now I've gotten to know more about her as a real person. Unlike all the hateful critics, I actually like the person we've met, imperfect as she is. All at once, the real Anna Nicole is sweet, and goofy, and funny, and weird, and scatter-brained, and adorable. And yes, sexy as hell! That big round butt of hers is not only stunning, it's also a one-of-a-kind phenomenon in our malnourishment-crazed pop culture. You can read more of these ravings on my fan site, and unless a meteor crash or President Bush wipes out all civilization, Season Two should be claiming the Lardy in 2003.

Honorable Mention:
Forget about it, nothing else even comes close.

The 2002 Lard Biscuit Person of the Year
Hottest Chick of 2002

Anna Nicole Smith Anna Nicole Smith

This is really no contest. I was beginning to think Anna Nicole Smith's best years were behind her, and she wasn't going to have much of a career anymore. I was looking beyond her and choosing another gal or two who might replace her as my favorite. But 2002 was the year she turned it all around, a full decade after her debut in Playboy, and this may go down as the single most significant year in her life as a celebrity figure. Anna Nicole was off to a flying start in February, with her blazing runway walk at the Lane Bryant fashion show with rock legends KISS. She had gained a fair amount of weight since her last public appearances, and she was looking fantastic. I was just starting to recover from that when the announcement came about The Anna Nicole Show. This program was a complete fantasy brought to life for me. Lord have mercy. It is not without shame that I must use the word, but this was a comeback of the highest order. Anna Nicole is unquestionably the Lard Biscuit Person of the Year, as well as my choice for Hottest Chick. Suffice it to say that my Goddess Supreme once again reigns upon her golden throne, and there ain't nobody else woman enough to usurp her crown her anytime soon. Long live the Queen!

The 2002 Lard Biscuit Assholes of the Year

Anna Nicole Smith Critics Every Wiseass
Who's Been Slagging
Anna Nicole Smith

The worst TV show of all time, you say? A train wreck? A dreadful, idiotic mess that no one in their right mind is going to watch? A bloated, drugged-out, brainless has-been who ought to be taken off the air? Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man. And by the way, The Anna Nicole Show ranked as the highest rated series ever on E!, week after week, and it's coming back for another season in 2003. So you can all just suck on it.

The 2001 Lard Biscuit Achievement Awards

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