The problem with the news, as reported by the mainstream media, is that it is:
- relentlessly depressing; and/or
- so full of contrived drama that one would sooner take a professional wrestling match or a Kardashian wedding more seriously.
The nattily dubbed "Fiscal Cliff" falls under #2, above. Imagine the depth of my feigned relief when I woke up this morning to find that we had narrowly missed falling over it.
I also woke up this morning, to find that it is now 2013, which makes 2012 obsolete and now, officially, so last year. But before I start failing at my resolutions (which I don't actually have, thank God), I'd like to take a look back at some of the more interesting (to me, anyway) events of the past 12 months.
India and Pakistan exchange a list of their nuclear sites. In a surprise showing of good will, they also exchange a list of some of their better restaurants. The North Korean news media calls for human shields to protect their new leader, Kim Jong-un, from possibly predatory Kardashian sisters. Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucus, and Michele Bachmann drops out of the presidential race after Americans notice that she is even dumber than Sarah Palin without being nearly as cute. Something called the Ramnit worm steals more than 45,000 Facebook logins and passwords, thereby putting American teenagers at risk of having their status changed to "sober". Somebody named "Anonymous" shuts down the U.S. Department of Justice website, proving that he or she is smarter than they are, if not quite as imaginative. Two sacks of cocaine are "accidentally" delivered to the United Nations, who "accidentally" signs for the delivery. The Department of Justice vows to investigate, as soon as their website is back up.
It snows in England, which seems to befuddle the entire nation. Anonymous shuts down the websites of the CIA and the state of Alabama, which proves he or she also has a pretty good sense of humor. Adele wins Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year, much to the horror of people who have to listen to "lite" radio all day at work. Rick Santorum's sweater vests are beating Mitt Romney in the polls. Sean Penn voices support for Las Malvinas, in spite of the fact that nobody can remember who Sean Penn and Las Malvinas are. Rupert Murdoch threatens to publish a Sunday edition of The Sun "very soon". Pope Benedict appoints 22 new cardinals and names five new saints, one of which is a newly discovered prehistoric penguin which was five feet tall.
The scientific community announces that they have proven that chocolate is good for the heart, confirming what the doctor said in the Woody Allen movie, "Sleeper", decades ago. The Higgs boson particle was detected by physicists at Fermi Lab, proving that God lives in Chicago and qualifying him for a senate seat. The inventor of Spanx becomes the youngest self-made billionaire on Forbes' list, providing further evidence of God's existence. Dick Cheney has heart surgery, but his doctors won't say if they took one out or put one in.
"The Lion King" overtakes "Phantom of the Opera" as the all-time highest grossing Broadway show, thus inspiring a new wave of mediocrity in the performing arts. Spanish king Juan Carlos is admonished for going on a hunting trip to Botswana during Spain's economic crisis, although he insists that he was only trying to bring some fresh meat home for dinner. Jim Yong Kim is selected as President of the World Bank, but he is confused with Kim Jong-un and a human shield is formed around him, making it difficult for him to get to work. Dick Clark dies, leaving his rockin' New Year's show to Ryan Seacrest, who calls for a human shield to keep Sacha Baron Cohen away from him. Anonymous takes out the Formula One website which, along with the state of Alabama thing, identifies him as an overweight Southern white male.
People line up to go to the top of Skytree, the world's tallest self-supporting tower, in Tokyo. Those people are still in line as of January 2013. Rupert Murdoch is declared "...not a fit person to run a major international company," by the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport, while the rest of the world goes, "Duh!" Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang holds talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, though nobody knows why this should be news. Portugal scraps Christmas as a public holiday, telling children that Santa Claus fell over a fiscal cliff. A missing piece of the Mayan calendar is found, proving that 2012 is not the end of the world, but this information is kept from the public until all the History Channel documentaries are over. Newt Gingrich suspends his campaign to take his wife in to be dry cleaned.
LinkedIn reports that millions of passwords have been leaked, thereby leaving America's real estate salespeople vulnerable to cyber attacks, if anyone were interested. Greeks withdraw their money from banks and stock up on non-perishable food after being insulted by Christine Lagarde. It is announced that mental health problems are no longer a bar to being an MP in the UK, which causes citizens to go, "Duh!" After Coca Cola resumes doing business in Myanmar after 60 years, Cuba and North Korea are the only countries left without it, leaving the already impoverished countries without a decent mixer for rum. Moody's downgrades the credit ratings of 15 major world banks, but says they can bring up their grades if they stay after school and do extra credit.
In response to Moody's downgrade of major world banks, Standard and Poor raises the credit rating of the Philippines to BB+. Nobody, but nobody, understands what any of this means. Canada announces that it will open an embassy in Myanmar, now that they can get a Coke in that country. Italian police arrest buffalo mozzarella mogul Giuseppe Mandara for being a member of a criminal cheese ring. North Korea announces the marriage of Kim John-un and Ri Sol-ju, a distant cousin of Kim Kardashian. A human shield is formed to prevent Coca Cola from being served at the wedding parties.
The Badminton World Federation charges 8 women players from South Korea, China, and Indonesia with "not trying hard enough", and sentences them to stand in a corner without Coca Cola. Mitt Romney chooses Paul Ryan as his running mate, forming an "All-Dork" ticket. Moscow bans gay pride events for 100 years, causing sales of feather boas and booty shorts to plummet. Science proves that radioactive contamination causes hereditary genetic mutations in life forms, confirming what everybody has suspected for years: that people really are getting weirder. Research shows that elderly men pass along more of these mutations if they become fathers. Scientists in Brazil announce that the venom of the banana spider relieves erectile dysfunction, with immediate steps taken to keep it away from elderly men. Harvard University discovers that students are cheating on take-home exams. The rest of the world goes, "Duh!" In sports, the 2012 Rugby League Challenge Cup ends with the Warrington Wolves defeating the Leeds Rhinos. Shockingly, fully mature adult males care about this.
The Reverend Sun Myung Moon dies, which mostly goes unnoticed. South Korea offers Coca Cola to North Korea, to cheer them up after recent floods. Paul Ryan's personal marathon record goes from "less than three" to "over four" hours, thereby proving that the universe is expanding. Moody's warns the U.S. that it faces a downgrade of its credit rating, and suggests that perhaps it should cut back on extracurricular activities.
Scientists warn of using liquid nitrogen in cocktails, although they admit that it "looks cool" and gives a "really good buzz". Penguin and Random House agree to merge to form "Penguin Random House", although "Random Penguin House" would be much better. A list of successors to the Coptic Pope is prepared, with the winner to be selected by a blindfolded child. The U.S. wonders if this would be a better idea than the electoral college.
General Petraeus submits his resignation to President Obama, saying that he's been a "very bad boy" and has a "hell of a hangover". The nation prepares for a good scandal, and get one involving, sex, betrayal, bad hair, and twins. The President of Central African Republic sends his son to jail for not paying his hotel bill, setting the gold standard in tough-love parenting. The Hostess company files for bankruptcy, and sends all remaining Twinkies and Ho-Ho's in the United States to Cuba and North Korea, as a humanitarian gesture to compensate for their lack of quality soft drinks. The General Synod of the Church of England refuses to allow women to become bishops, citing the tailoring bills that would be incurred by having to hem all those robes.
Pope Benedict XVI sends his first Twitter message, naming a few more cardinals and saints, and asking the world to pray for Coca Cola in Cuba. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce that the Duchess is expecting, bringing new hope to the world for better maternity clothes. In sports, Brazil's Women's National Futsal team wins their third consecutive world title. Celebrations are delayed, while somebody finds out exactly what "futsal" is. In the United States, the economy risks going over a "fiscal cliff" unless a deal is reached by the end of the year. At the eleventh hour, on New Year's Eve, the U.S. House of Representatives adjourns with the business unfinished, citing a "good party" that they were already late for. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian announce that the soon-to-be-divorced-maybe-bride-to-be is expecting a boy, to be named "Phyzkal Klyff".
My thanks to Wikipedia, which provided me with most of the information above. And my thanks to life for continuing to be so wonderfully absurd.
Happy New Year to all!