Sunday, January 02, 2011


Closing the books, with some relief, on 2010:

In Iceland, an island nation we never think about unless it is hosting a chess tournament or an international summit, a volcano (don't make me type it again) erupted, ruining the air travel plans of several hundred thousand people.

In Haiti, an island nation we never think about for any reason, an earthquake killed several hundred thousand people. Later, a cholera epidemic came back for the rest. This time, Pat Robertson had an explanation: the Haitian people worship Satan.

It was the centenary of the famous oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. BP marked the occasion by poisoning the Gulf of Mexico with millions of gallons of crude oil in order to save a few quid on deepwater drilling.

In Copiapo, Chile, 33 miners were trapped underground for 69 days while a rescue shaft was sunk. They survived because the mine was equipped with a special disaster chamber. Had the cave-in occurred in West Virginia or Kentucky, there would have been no need for a rescue shaft.

Displaying a gift for words worthy of his great Irish namesake, American League umpire Jim Joyce observed, "I kicked the shit out of it." He was describing a call at first base which robbed White Sox pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game. Had he called it correctly, baseball would have recorded its third no-hitter in two weeks, which is just messed up.

Somebody named Larry King retired.

Israeli commandos swooped down on a Turkish vessel in time to prevent a cargo of dangerous food and building supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip.

There was another Harry Potter movie. Maybe more than one.

The war on terror blah blah ying tong iddle i po gabba gabba hey.

The pope approved condom use for Catholic rent boys.

The world was entertained by telephone tapes of Mel Gibson ranting drunkenly at his Russian baby-mama. Not one evangelical fan of The Passion of The Christ came to his defense.

Some politicians who had no problem with a seizure-inducing deficit and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security during the Cheney-Bush regime were elected to office by promising to balance the budget and shrink the federal government. Somewhere, Molly Ivins and H.L. Mencken are getting crazy drunk.

3-D became the new Smell-o-vision, a gimmick to save crap movies.

American airports moved a step closer to cavity-searching passengers.

Some parts of the world experienced cold temperatures and snow, which was taken as an excuse to deride global climate change by people who routinely deride global climate change.

More stuff was posted online than anybody could possibly look at. Of course, the same is true of book publishing, and has been for centuries.

The 2010 Census was completed, and nobody was sent to FEMA camps.

The Saints won the Superbowl, which means that New Orleans has officially recovered. If you are still living in a toxic trailer, or far from home, it's your own fault, cher.

Dick Cheney eluded the Death Panels and underwent yet another cardiac procedure.

Facebook something something movie something.

It could have been worse. It could have been a leap year.



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