Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

2011: On an Off Year


            Whew. Was 2011 an exhausting year, or what? It felt like the whole world spent the last twelve months running a marathon at internet speed. No wonder my feet hurt.

            It may turn out to be something of a watershed year for me, as I accomplished one of my life’s biggest goals. No, I didn’t get into Bill Gates’ will. No, I didn’t get the word “snow” banished from the dictionary. No, I didn’t win a lifetime supply of chocolate: I got that first novel published.

Just about everything else went wrong for me, which I suppose was karma balancing the scales. I don’t appreciate that, karma. But considering the rest of the world, it’s hard to complain.

            Let’s take a look at some of the events of 2011. Why? Well, everyone else is doing it.

            Lots of bad things happened, of course. Osama bin Laden and that guy in Libya who couldn’t figure out how to spell his name were killed. Bad things happened, too.

I prefer not to focus on the bad things, or at least not the bad things I can’t make fun of. Iran trying to get nukes? Just not funny. An overspending Federal government heading over a cliff? Not funny. The entire world coming to a standstill so a Prince can get married in England? I could make fun of that all day.

            But then, William and Kate made a happy couple – he clearly got his looks from his mother – so it’s all good. I hear the celebration was so huge that they donated the leftover reception food to the hungry in Africa. All the hungry.

            President Obama released his birth certificate, a mere three years after the controversy over where he was born began. Some wonder whether the White House purchase of printer’s ink, special green paper and the employment of “Guido, artist from Chicago” three days previous might not be a coincidence. Still, most are now satisfied that Obama was merely ashamed, since the certificate revealed his given name to be “Newt Mitt Bachmann Obama”.

            The Libyan protests that downed a dictatorship upped gas prices by 20%. When Canada offered to fill up America’s tank, President Obama said “No thanks – I think we can make it to the next exit.”

            Rupert Murdoch shut down his News of the World publication after allegations of phone hacking by the newspaper. Most of the paper’s employees had already found other jobs, having heard Murdoch’s plans over his phone.

            The U.S. credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever, after Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling. In response to the possibility that borrowing costs will rise and the economy might be damaged by government overspending, Congress voted to study the problem by funding a Super Committee. Stocks rose for a company in Virginia that manufactures money printing presses.

            (Okay, so I can make fun of that.)

            Occupy Wall Street attempted to occupy Wall Street – thus the name – to protest … something. Many were dissatisfied that they were dissatisfied, and vowed to struggle on until everyone else was dissatisfied, too.

            Overall the stock market bounced up and down quite a bit, depressed by the economy but buoyed upward when Wall Street traders stopped using the dollar and began trading Monopoly money.

            Plans for Washington lobbyists to stop paying politicians in cash, and start trading services instead, stalled when they realized cash was the only service lobbyists offered.

            The World population reached 7 billion, prompting fears of immediate worldwide calamity by people who said the same thing when it reached 6 billion. American politicians laughed at the paltry number, while the 7 billionth baby received over 76 million birthday cards and a special coupon for half off at Toys R’ Us.

            An American probe became the first spacecraft to leave the solar system, and told its handlers it wouldn’t come back until after the 2012 election.

            Oprah and Regis left their long running TV shows, prompting some network executives to jump from high rise windows. Meanwhile, Larry King left his own long running CNN program after revelations that through the entire previous three seasons he’d been dead.

            For the first time, the number of Republicans running for their party’s Presidential nomination reached the triple digits; at one point the U.S. Congress had to shut down for the day because so many members were on the campaign trail that they couldn’t reach a quorum. This resulted in an embarrassing moment during early Iowa polling, when so many candidates were running that each received exactly one vote.

            As a result of 2012 election campaigning, which began in 2010, the 2011 off-year elections went unnoticed. Voter turnout in some precincts hit the minuses, a statistical impossibility that pollsters blamed on extreme electorate indigestion.

            Yeah, so that’s about it. That popping sound you’ve been hearing all autumn were Republican presidential candidates imploding, so now you know what the noise will be once primary season starts. I predict 2012 will be a very interesting year for politics, which is another way of saying a very bad year for the rest of us.

            But at least it’ll give me something to write about.


Tags: column, new era, politics, slightly off the mark

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