Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Out with the old, in with the new (year, that is)

I hadn't planned on posting any nostalgic summaries of 2007, ridiculous predictions for 2008, top whatever lists, or anything like that. But, because 2007 was such a good year for me personally, I guess I felt compelled to at least acknowledge the holiday. 2007 was a year of learning, and transformation. I quit my job to go back to school, saw some excellent films, read some amazing books, learned a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, travelled a bit, met new friends, saw friends I love move away, lived in the same city as my brother for the first time in 10 years, and spent the holidays with my family.

So, Happy Time-to-get-a-new-calendar Day to the few loyal readers I have left (after my shameful December lack of posts).

Yes, a good year for me. Not so much for the world. Here's Harper Magazine's year in review:
Eight hundred ninety-nine U.S. troops and 18,610 Iraqi civilians were killed in the Iraq War. Eighty percent of Iraqis were reporting "attacks nearby" and it was estimated that 90 percent of Iraq's artists had fled the country or been killed. Halliburton announced that it would add 13,000 jobs, and President George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez embraced President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. "Welcome, fighter for just causes," said Chavez. Senator Barack Obama was featured shirtless in People Magazine's Beach Babes issue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi banned smoking in the Speaker's Parlor of the Capitol, and Senator Hillary Clinton said that "we want to be able to continue to export democracy, but we want to deliver it in digestible packages." Viagra turned 15. Wildfires spread from north of Los Angeles to south of San Diego, and scientists at New York University were deleting frightening experiences from the memories of rats. The first Muslim member of Congress took his oath on a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Annual sales at Taser International were expected to reach $90 million.

Drought was driving tens of thousands of snakes into Australian cities, female koalas in Australia were ignoring males in favor of five-bear lesbian orgies, and developers were planning to open a Hooters in Dubai. Scientists in London were working on a gum that suppresses appetite and fights obesity. "Obese people like chewing," reasoned a researcher. The United States projected that it would emit 19 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it did in 2000, and U.S. pollution was cited as the reason that the Dutch are now taller than Americans. The United Arab Emirates beat out the United States to become the world's most wasteful country, Ford posted a loss of $12.7 billion for 2006 (the largest in its 103-year history and equivalent to the GDP of Jordan), and General Motors announced it would open a new research center in Shanghai to develop alternative fuels and vehicles. Geneticist Craig Venter announced that he had constructed a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals, creating the first artificial life form on Earth. Britney Spears shaved her head, and an appeals court in Washington, D.C., ruled that the writ of habeas corpus does not apply to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The market price for children in India slipped below that of buffalo, and crystal meth was now available in candy flavors.

Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, and Boris Yeltsin died. Osama bin Laden turned 50 and the Senate doubled the bounty on his head to $50 million. Ariel Sharon was still alive. New stars were hatching near the head of Orion. Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, and Tony Blair resigned. "[Blair] was the worst thing that ever happened to Africa," said Bright Matonga, the deputy information minister of Zimbabwe. "We hope that the children of Iraq and Afghanistan he is killing everyday will haunt him for the rest of his life." Reverend Ted Haggard declared himself "completely heterosexual," and Paris Hilton went to jail. An Irish soldier who won the Military Cross for single-handedly defeating a Baghdad suicide bomber was facing a court-martial for auctioning his medal on eBay. Scientists trained dogs to track polar bear feces, produced talking construction paper, made stem cells out of adult mice, and linked the upsurge in cat sex to global warming. Mr. Wizard died, as did Mr. Whipple. Pope Benedict XVI decreed that, by definition, Protestant churches are not churches, and it was revealed that Mother Teresa, beginning in 1948 and continuing until the end of her life in 1997, was unable to sense the presence of God. "Repulsed--empty--no faith--no love--no zeal," she wrote. "Heaven means nothing." Detainees at Guantanamo Bay complained of "infinite tedium and loneliness," and 20,000 people marched against the junta in Burma; about 400 monks were pushed away from the house where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was imprisoned. "Love and kindness," read the monks' yellow banner, "must win over everything."


Dave said...

Happy New Year Jenny! Hope 2008 is as good for you personally as 2007 was and that it's considerably better for the world.


April Reign said...

Best wishes for the New Year.