If you’re reading this, congratulations. You’ve survived another year. We made it through a perilous 2013, filled with bad things happening, disappointing movies and famous people saying things they later related. Plus, one guy had an imaginary girlfriend. It was another year of everyone talking to each other, then eventually realizing that no one was listening, so they began shouting over each other. It’s time to close out the year, and good riddance. Join me as we look back on the insanity that was 2013. Self-medication is recommended.
Happy fiscal cliff!
In the first week of the year, the 112th Congress, in its last effort, finally reached a deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff, the only problem is that they didn’t get it done until Jan. 1, when we had already gone over the cliff. However, the language in the bill applied the deal retroactively. So we went over the cliff, but then Congress flew around the Earth at a really fast speed, going back in time by a matter of hours, and unthrew us over the cliff. They then made way for the 113th Congress and its plan of continuing to accomplish nothing.
Juicers need not apply
The Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2013 was … no one. No candidate received the necessary 75% of the vote needed to be inducted, it’s the first time that’s happened since 1996. For some reason, the sports writers who cheered on the steroid-era players like Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and others, decided they weren’t inspired by these cheaters. It seemed like a pretty stupid move. You don’t want to make juicers mad.
The inauguration was dubbed over
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were sworn in for a second term in a small ceremony. Then, they were sworn in again the next day, because that was Martin Luther King Day, and they had already gone through the trouble of setting up streamers. Obama laid out his plan for the next four years, including some ideas he had hardly mentioned before. But who cares about covering any of that stuff? The media were more concerned about whether Beyoncé lip-synched.
The wrong stuff?
Iran shocked the world when it announced that it launched a monkey into space and returned it to Earth alive and well. The reports from state-run media were never confirmed, and critics said the launch was likely unsuccessful or altogether faked. They point to the video of the monkey before and after the launch, and how they don’t look like the same creature. If this is true, we have to commend Iran on its initiative to kill monkeys.
Let’s go to the political theater
President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union speech of his second term. He told us that the state of the union is strong. As the Republican rebuttal, Sen. Mark Rubio of Florida told us that the state of the union is thirsty. Pundits and internet jokesters alike had a field day, but I believe the highlight of the night was when Beyoncé performed at halftime.
Change comes slow in the South
Hot on the heels of the success of Lincoln, the 13th Amendment enjoyed quite a bit of fame. However, the amendment banning slavery went without approval from Mississippi until recently. The state legislature never voted on the measure until 1995, and even then, the paperwork wasn’t filed until a professor figured it out a few weeks ago. When the state finally got its act together and ratified the 13th Amendment, they decided to break out the fire hoses just for old time’s sake.
Because terrorists don’t drink
The TSA announced that it was loosening some of its rules on what passengers can take in their carry-on bags when they fly. For the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, passengers were able to bring their baseball bats and golf clubs with them, which was met with praise from the Airborne Sportsmen Association. Also allowed were knives with blades less than two inches long. This means that you can bring your corkscrew with you. It’s only a matter of time before the TSA relaxes on liquids rules and lets you bring your wine, too.
A return to arms
North Korea declared the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War invalid for the third time in 10 years. The country cited provocation from a war exercise with the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific Ocean, as well as U.N. sanctions for North Korea’s nuclear testing. But really, we all knew that Kim Jong Un just did it to get another season of M*A*S*H.
One cardinal gets a new hat
The College of Cardinals elected Ramón José Castellano from Argentina as the new pope. Pope Francis is known for is opposition to his country’s movement to allow gay marriage. While addressing the crowd that gathered at the Vatican, he moderated his views on the subject, saying he might come around if his son comes out of the closet.
In a world without Roger Ebert …
A day after announcing that he was going to scale back his movie reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert died. The cancer that took his jaw a few years ago came back, this time in his hip. Ebert’s wife said he passed peacefully, and that his last words were “On second thought, The Godfather Part III wasn’t that bad.”
Eat it, safety mongers!
A victory was won for the armed anonymous when a bill that would require universal background checks when purchasing firearms was defeated in the Senate. The bill would have made it a law that background checks would be required even when buying a gun at a show or off of an owner. It was huge for privacy advocates, who said that while it’s fine for the feds to know our address, income, political party affiliation, Social Security number and automobile ownership, whether we have a criminal record or are mentally competent, but to own a gun is none of their business.
‘I’m the Archiver‘
All five living presidents gathered in Texas for the opening of George W. Bush’s presidential library. Each chief executive took a few moments to honor the opening of the building, as well as reflect on the importance of the younger Bush’s administration. One of the features of the library that was highlighted was the section on Weapons of Mass Destruction, which visitors are challenged to find.
That’s enough, Bieber
In a polarized political climate, the one thing we were able to agree on was that Justin Bieber sucks. According to a recent poll, both Democrats and Republicans expressed disapproval of the singer. Respondents also said that out of a list of pop stars, they would most likely vote for Justin Timberlake for president. In other news, they used chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
A city hits rock bottom
Toronto had a rough time. After battling back in the series to force a game 7, the Maple Leafs fell to the Boston Bruins in overtime. Then it was reported that people were shopping around a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. Your hockey team lost to the Bruins in the first round and your mayor was caught smoking the rock? Congratulations, Toronto, you’re Washington, D.C. in 1990!
All good atheists go to Heaven
Pope Francis said during a Mass that anyone, including atheists, can get to Heaven by doing good works during their time on Earth. The pope suggested that everyone, not just Catholics, can lead good lives. This sparked a significant debate about whether non-believers should be let in St. Peter’s pearly gates. You know who wasn’t part of the debate? Atheists.
‘I signed an executive order to keep this bar open’
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick admitted that the day Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured, he went home and got “quite drunk.” It’s incredibly insensitive to say he got bombed. So let’s just say he did the same thing as everyone else in Boston did, if they hadn’t been doing that during their lockdown in the first place. Patrick is a man of the people.
But how will this affect Tim Tebow?
Authorities arrested Aaron Hernandez and charged him with first degree murder in the death of his friend, Odin Lloyd. At the same time, he was released from the New England Patriots. Authorities are also investigating his connection to a double homicide earlier this year. Ladies and gentlemen, your favorite for the 2013 Ray Lewis Award.
Maybe she was just quoting a line from ‘Django’
Paula Deen saw her contracts and endorsements slip away one by one after she admitted during a deposition that she has used the “N word” and wanted to host a plantation-style wedding with black waiters dressed up to look like slaves. However, her forthcoming cook book is pre-selling like butter-soaked hotcakes online. Paula Deen’s New Testament will be a collection of recipes for lightened-up foods. Among the helpful tips: “Tell your [redacted] slave to go easy on the butter, sour cream and cheese.”
He’s not “lone” if he has a sidekick
The Lone Ranger had the same line-up as the first Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jerry Bruckheimer producing, Gore Verbinski directing, and Johnny Depp playing the quirky character who’s not the main character but is focused on for much of the movie anyway. And it bombed. Disney put about $225 million into the film, and it took in only $49 million for its opening weekend. In all, it was a victory for race relations.
She’s the Tiger Woods of skiing
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn opened up about her life, including her injury earlier this year, and, of course, her boyfriend, Tiger Woods. Vonn said that she is happy with her relationship with Woods, and that she doesn’t plan to ever get married. Which is exactly what the crazy ones who want to get married always say.
Arguably, the person who had the biggest week was … *sigh* Justin Bieber. First, he put a hex on the Chicago Blackhawks by getting his picture taken with the Stanley Cup in the team’s locker room. Then, a video surfaced of him peeing into a mop bucket at a restaurant shouting, “F&$# Bill Clinton!” Clinton advised Bieber’s legions of female fans to do so.
Ark. teachers can’t pack heat (yet)
Arkansas’ state attorney said that one of the state’s school districts cannot move forward with a program to arm its teachers, because the state law it was trying to use only applies to private security companies. The school district had pointed to safety, as well as the inherent teaching benefits of guns in the classroom. English: “Today we’re learning the letters H and K.” Math: “If I have nine rounds, and I shoot three of them into the ceiling–like so–how many rounds do I have left?” History: “The Second Amendment says that the Founding Fathers thought it was fine to have automatic and semtautomatic weapons carried around strangers entrusted with educating the nation’s youth.”
Has anyone thought to blame ‘Shark Week’?
Scores of dead dolphins washed ashore on the East Coast this summer. I happened at seven times the normal rate, according to some counts. Scientists weren’t immediately able to find the cause, but said it’s likely something related to water quality. This is why you shouldn’t pee in the ocean.
Gotham City is now Boston
The internet was set ablaze when it was announced that Ben Affleck will be the next Batman in the sequel to Man of Steel. Pretty much everyone hated the idea that Affleck who has written, starred in and directed some critically-acclaimed movies in reason years, would play the Caped Crusader. But they always say that. People said Val Kilmer couldn’t be Batman, didn’t they?
Stay tuned for ‘Up Late with an Insufferable Douchebag’
It was announced that actor Alec Baldwin will host a late-night talk show on MSNBC. Up Late W/ Alec Baldwin aired on Fridays at 10 p.m., so viewers jonesing for a dose of fatheaded old guys who take themselves too seriously will finally have a respite after Jay Leno retires. Or they could just watch David Letterman. It was cancelled after just a few episodes.
The drums of war skip a beat
The Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, but said it was open to diplomatic solutions. When the Democrats want war and the Republicans don’t, and Russia seems like the most reasonable guy at the table, something’s wrong. On top of this, Ed Asner said celebrities aren’t expressing their anti-war views because they don’t want to seem “anti-black.” So that’s what it takes to shut them up.
Shutdown sequence initiated
As everyone had predicted all summer long, Congress was not able to come up with a budget for the new fiscal year, triggering a shutdown of the federal government. Democrats claimed a group of Republicans was holding the country hostage, while Republicans insisted if Democrats just gave into their demands, nobody would get hurt. Everyone was able to come together and cheer when an honor flight of World War II veterans broke into their war’s closed memorial on the National Mall. It turned out to be a stunt by a few GOP lawmakers, who probably faced a lot of questions from the veterans about whether their Social Security checks will bounce.
What do Tom Hanks and Paula Deen have in common?
During an appearance on David Letterman, Tom Hanks announced that he has type 2 diabetes. He said he has had high blood sugar since he was 36, and it finally turned into the disease. Some point to his weight fluctuations for roles in movies, like losing weight for Philadelphia and Castaway, or gaining weight for A League of Their Own, but I think the problem began when Hanks dropped down to 0 lbs. to achieve weightlessness in Apollo 13.
What would Jesus defund?
Just hours before the U.S. was going to default on its loans for the first time in the modern age, Congress decided it might be a good idea to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, regardless of what they think about ensuring the health of the citizenry. Just after the vote in the House, where all the problems came from, a stenographer decided it was a good idea to rant into the microphone about Jesus versus the evil Freemasons. This is what happens when people work without pay for more than two weeks.
Uh oh, Germany’s mad
It was leaked that U.S. spy agencies may have tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, just another in a series of revelations that America is spying on its allies. Merkel called President Barack Obama to discuss her concerns. He apologized for the incident, and said that he was really just trying to experience Oktoberfest vicariously through her because Michelle won’t let him go.
The Miami Dolphins found themselves in hot water when offensive lineman Richie Incognito was accused of threatening and physically abusing teammate Jonathan Martin. Audio was released of OL using racial slurs and making threats against Martin and his family, and video of a shirtless rant at a bar. The Dolphins, for the most part, have tried to play it off, saying that it’s just part of team building. Considering how things went for them this season, Miami might want to think about a different approach, preferably one not also used by the KKK.
Toronto makes headlines for first time since SARS
It was a somewhat significant week in American politics, with the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, but the real political news for the month came out of Canada. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, admitted, after months of denying it, that he has smoked crack cocaine. He also freely admitted that he drinks a bit much sometimes and a video was released with Ford making a death threat. Yet he refuses to step down. The Miami Dolphins let Ford know that if he ever does resign, he’s got a spot on their roster.
You’re now free to rack up roaming charges
The FCC proposed new regulations that would allow cell phone calls and data usage during flights, except when the plane is taking off or landing. It’s just a possibility, and there are a lot of steps that have to be taken before something like this could happen, but it created quite a buzz. After all, when you paid $100 for your luggage, you’re on a flight that charges for food, the guy in front of you reclined his seat into your lap and there’s a crying baby in the row behind you, the one thing that can make your flight better is everyone else around you shouting over each other on their phones.
The cardinal and the crank
Rush Limbaugh, a famous person among arch-conservatives and people from 1995 alike, took on Pope Francis, calling His Holiness’ social justice movement “pure Marxism.” He said that the pope’s attack on unfettered capitalism as the new tyranny is purely politically motivated, and not a religion matter. Man, someone is getting kind of preachy!
Introducing the XBra
Microsoft may have made some waves recently with the release of its newest gaming system, the XBox One, but Redmond showed it still has a little of that innovation magic that made it a juggernaut. Researchers have developed the “smart bra,” which monitors a woman’s heartbeat and other factors to track her mood and warn her when she’s overeating. A device that tells women to cut back on the snacks and pays attention to moods? There’s no way anyone but a man thought up this one. Sadly, it runs on Windows 8.
You’d better watch out
The U.S. is edging closer to another budget crisis, but the big news was the debate on whether Santa Claus is white. It began when Slate’s Aisha Harris argued that, given the increasing racial diversity of the country, perhaps the fictional person we claim brings us presents shouldn’t always be a honky. Fox News’ Megyn (pronounced “May-gine,” I believe) Kelly said there’s no debating it, Santa Claus is white and always has been. Considering his first name sounds Spanish, he’s got to be some shade of brown.
Mercifully, this ride is over. Not only because we’ve run out of news, but because my glass is empty. When I refill it, I will to toast you all and to a better 2014.