That Was the Year That Was the Year That ... Well, You Get the Idea
2011 is gone but the scars still remain. I feel them every time I sit down.
OK, actually it wasn't that bad a year, but there were some awful moments: The Japan earthquake and tsunami, tornadoes in Alabama and Missouri, and the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
On the other hand, Osama Bin Laden is now sleeping with the fishes (poor fishes!). So, there were some good moments, some bad moments, and some moments that would make for a typical Leonard Maltin film review.* Here are a few of the more peculiar.
It was a trifecta for dictators and terrorists pushing up daises this year. First, Osama Bin Laden met the U.S. Navy SEALS for the first and only time. As most people expected, this meeting ended with the SEALS filling various parts of Osama's body with hot lead. Then, they buried him at sea. This was so Americans don't have to travel to Pakistan to piss on Osama's grave. Now, all you have to do is take a leak in the ocean the next time you're at the beach, and depending on the currents, it will get to him sooner or later.
Next, Colonel Qaddafi (Qadafy, Khaddaffi, Que Daffy, Nut Job in the Robes, etc.) met his demise in the Libyan revolution. You knew a guy who was the undisputed dictator of his country but would only promote himself to "colonel" couldn't be all that smart. (Qaddafy: "General Amir, come in." Gen Amir: "Aren't you supposed to salute me?" Qaddafy: "What do you mean? I'm the leader of the freaking country." Amir: "But I outrank you." Qaddafy: "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm busting you down to private!" Amir: "I overrule you! Nice try, colonel.")
Qaddafy was known for his colorful and ridiculous assortment of robes. He might have escaped if he hadn't been slowed down by his wardrobe convoy.
Finally, the Big Kahuna of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, met his maker. This was great news for the average North Korean but terrible news for the jumpsuit industry, which expects to see sales drop by nearly 50%. Kim's reign is noted for economic destitution, concentration camps, massive famines leading to rampant cannibalism, and a couple of so-so fox trots with Madeline Albright. He will be remembered by pretty much everyone as a gigantic, crap-weasel bastard. So, if that's what he was going for, he was a raging success.
In related news, They Might Be Giants released a song last year that could be the anthem for this motley collection of vicious losers:
The answer to that musical question? 2011!
If I were Assad in Syria, I'd be hoping this was one of those "happens in threes" things.
The weather was a bit freaky this year. The winter saw massive snowstorms including one that deposited two feet of snow not far from where I used to live, just 50 miles away. (We got 6-8 inches, to the great disappointment of the Littlest Fando.) Hint: I live several states south of Minnesota. Washington D.C. saw a massive two foot snowfall as well, the largest one since the 70's, which I witnessed personally. Yes, that's right. The snow follows me around and dumps on me every three decades. That's my theory.
The summer brought equally odd weather, including a high pressure ridge that dropped two weeks of 110+ temperatures to my town. It was like living and working in a sauna. I spilled water on a pile of rocks outside one day and they threw off a cloud of steam. It wasn't hot enough to actually cook an egg on the sidewalk, but you could easily warm up leftovers. For several days, we were hotter than Death Valley. That would sound great as a music review. As a weather report, it just made us want to throw eggs and water on the weathermen, to see if we could steam them into a giant omelet.
And this winter so far: gentle as a lamb. I'm hoping summer doesn't crack 95 F.
After a couple of years of conservative Tea Party protests, the other half decided to get in on the act, only with drums and bongs the size of drums. (This is so cops would confuse them with the drums, of course. However, after a few hits on the bongs, many of the protesters were sucking drum.) The protest was dubbed "Occupy Wall Street" but could have been more accurately named "Occupy a Park Near Wall Street."
The movement soon spread to other cities, because there are a lot of people out there who like drums and bongs.
The protestors complained about the "1%" and declared themselves members of the "99%," which confused the hell out of 99% of the population, who weren't protesting anything at the time.
I'm not going to belabor this, but how thankful are America's comics and humorists for a Congressional sex scandal involving a representative named "Weiner?" The thousands of jokes all wrote themselves. It was also difficult for people to take offense at the jokes because you could never tell if someone was specifically talking about Congressman Weiner or his little friend.
The only thing that could improve the story is if the congressman starts lobbying for Oscar Mayer.
Arab Spring or Indian Summer?
Revolution was in the air in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. In addition to Libya, the longstanding authoritarian Egyptian President Mubarak lost power faster than an electric car on an out of town excursion. Another revolution changed the leadership of Tunisia, much to their surprise. In addition, numerous uprisings and protests occurred in several other countries, causing Arab dictators to panic like cats over a bathtub.
Officials in the West are hopeful that the previous governments will be replaced by democratic governments that respect civil liberties. However, these are the same officials who have long referred to the violent conflict between Palestinians and Israelis as the "peace process." This leads one to conclude that unicorns that fart rainbows might be a more reasonable prospect in the near run.
Somewhere, Bette Davis is muttering, "Fasten your seat belts. It's gong to be a bumpy night."
However, South Sudan became independent, so who knows?
Here's to a great 2012!
*Vis the Martin Short joke about Leonard Maltin: "There were some things about this film that I really liked, but there were some things about this film that I didn't like."