Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2009 YearEnder

The New Year is in full swing.  Which shouldn't worry me, although events of the last few days have made me waver.  This morning, someone clipped the driver's side mirror off our car that was parked out front of the house.  This past weekend, I did a faceplant and busted up my ski helmet on only my 3rd day on the slopes this season.  So time to shake some dust off the ol' karma.  Besides, my helmet is under warranty from my local ski shop (shop evo online, they rock).  And a rearview mirror is just a way to keep from looking forward.  Speaking of which, some of you have already seen the following - the business end of my annual YearEnder.  With this, I begin my 6th Year of this blog and hope y'all keep coming back for more kindly in TwentyTen.
First, a few thoughts in lieu of a DecadeEnder
I don’t do DecadeEnders. Too much to likely leave out. Besides, we can’t even agree on what to call the Decade that we just kicked to the curb. The “Aughts”? An anachronistic, lame retread. And if we go with anything as incomplete as The Zeroes or as bleak as The Bush Decade, I’ll just put away my snark pen and go back to writing dirty limericks. If an adequately clever decamoniker comes up, maybe I’ll get back to you. But for now I will offer up only one pick. The Person of the Decade. Al Gore. Think about it – dude got more votes yet saw the Presidency slip away, then he got all fat and reclusive, eventually he went back to his first love shtick which allowed him to become an Oscar winner, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and a wealthy, svelte, smooth operator. He even started a cable network. He’s the white Oprah.

2009 as a Series of Snapshots

  • Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger successfully braced 155 passengers for impact. Crash landing an 80-ton glider on the Hudson River was the easy part. But even the fame that came next he handled like a hero.
  • George W. Bush and Dick Cheney left office. But not before losing nearly $600 from each of their security deposits.
  • Brett Favre was secretly enlisted to launch an undeclared guerrilla war along the borders of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and some of the more confused parts of Iowa.
  • Michael Jackson died, at long last proving that general anesthesia administered daily just before bedtime is not good for you.
  • Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean each “wrote” books. And they looked fabulous doing so.
  • Obama held a Beer Summit at The White House for no reason whatsoever. The world learned that Joe Biden doesn’t drink. So all that crazy stuff that comes out of his mouth? That’s the pills talking.
  • Iran’s ruthless, theocratic regime morphed into a fully-loaded turd cannon aimed at a broadening protest movement. Since June, many thousands have died or simply disappeared into a Kafkaesque nightmare. Kinda makes worrying about whether Jon Gosselin’s apartment was really robbed recently or if Kate Plus 8 will get their reality show back seem a smidge, oh I don’t know…criminal, don’t you think?
  • Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was removed from office for crimes against, um, humanity? If you listened to him, all Blago said was “the fix is in.” I think he was talking about hair products.
  • Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. And he didn’t even train for it or warm up beforehand – he just went out and did it.

Comeback of the Year
Afghanistan – An aimless war that is now over 8-years-old got a renewed jolt of attention this Year. But with twice as many casualties in 2009 as in 2008 and a forecast of increased bleakness, this is a comeback that sapped a nation’s spirit. Kinda like Lindsay Lohan’s.

Lexicon Addition of the Year
“Hiking the Appalachian Trail” – This new euphenism manages to be both dirty and ironically exotic at the same time. Although a part of me wishes that Mark Sanford had instead used the alibi of heading off to “hike the Ice Age Trail” in northern Wisconsin. It’s actually quite sexy there, too.

Trend of the Year
Discombobulated Hopetards – Depending on who you listen to, Barack Obama’s first 11 months as President were either pretty disappointing or an utter disappointment. Even his most fervent supporters spent much of ’09 lamenting something or other about Obama. Please put down the naive indignation, pick back up those pom-pons and get to work. Nobody should’ve believed the Augean Stables would clean themselves.

A Few Picks for the Best of 2009

  • Movies – Having not yet seen a handful of noteworthy new films, I’m nonetheless confident that “Up in the Air” is the best of the Year. Cunningly smart, genuinely affecting, and willing to ease back the curtain to show a cool-as-Freon George Clooney as a regretful, sad character.  Subtly stunning.
  • Music – I’ll go with the sharp, crafty, French pop of “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” by the band Phoenix. It’s the best in a class of winners from all over the map.
  • Books – No book made me laugh like “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper. If that isn’t reason enough, call me shallow.
  • TV – “The Rachel Maddow Show” is far and away the best thing on MSNBC. I think that somewhere hidden down inside even the deepest, darkest parts of the Rushs and Becks of the World, there’s a little love flickering for her consistently sharp wit and smack-upside-the-noggin interview style.
  • Radio/Podcasts – I now run at an ungodly hour most mornings, always taking with me a least a few podcasts. The one I most despise but absolutely never miss is the “Culture Gabfest” from Slate. Host Stephen Metcalf takes insufferable pretentiousness to an unjustifiably new extreme. I highly recommend it.
  • Sports – Elin Woods’s early morning tee off on Tiger reverberated ‘round the world. She managed to overpower his entire career of low scores on the course and redirected everyone’s attention to how he scored just about everywhere else. You can’t call it a victory for her. But what an epic game-changer for Tiger.
  • Killer App(lication) – TMZ.com’s ubiquitous clearinghouse for greasy tabloid newsiness. TMZ is now essentially a verb. As in, go TMZ yourself.

TwentyTen’s Largely Baseless Predictions

  • The cabal of Birthers and Teabaggers are joined by new, equally-relevant grassroots movements – the NoLeftTesticles and the HotKarls.
  • Health Care reform trips across the finish line like an 8-hour-marathon finisher who stopped along the way for a lite lunch, but still demands a medal and who thereafter repeatedly updates his or her Facebook status to bloviate about the life-changing nature of the race. Thanks for showing up, folks. But next time you should strive to actually DO something worth celebrating.
  • Joe Lieberman manages to piss off Democrats anew when he introduces a strangely vindictive bill seeking to outlaw the practice of steaming milk (especially soy) for lattes on the Sabbath.
  • The improbable success of the Cash for Clunkers program is followed by Obama’s decidedly less catchy home foreclosure program – (De)Clunkers for Defaulters.
  • Apple’s new iSlate tablet computer proves to be a bust when trendy, early-adopters realize it is merely a $700 college-lined Mead notepad with a glowstick taped inside the back cover. Only 20 million are sold in the first month.
  • The Octomom meets a sweet guy (Paul) who really likes kids. Paul works for the Postal Service, and plays fiddle in a bluegrass trio. They discover a shared love for collecting kitschy ceramic ashtrays. They take some line-dancing classes, but quit after a few weeks when the instructor they really like switches from Tuesdays to Wednesdays.
  • Kanye West’s entourage gets stranded in Nashville during a freak snowstorm. Each morning thereafter Kanye wakes up in the same hotel room where only he remembers what happened yesterday, forcing him to relive the same day in different ways to infinity.
  • Swine Flu vaccine shot recipients develop a curious side effect – lifelong, uncontrollable flatulence paired with x-ray vision.
  • The DC Party Crashers – the Salahis – do whatever they can on repeated occasions to make the TwentyTen YearEnder. Alas, their 15 minutes have long since passed.

With that said, I’m off to line up for airport security to get my full body cavity search for a flight I’m taking in mid-March. I hope TwentyTen has nothing but the most elegant answers and countless simple pleasures in store for you and your entire brood. Be well.


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