Dispute continues (in certain circles) as to whether or not 2009 is the end of the 1st decade of the 21st Century, some say yes, some say no, and some blame the number zero. Zero just seems to be poorly regarded all around, really. Historically speaking, despite the efforts of many, math and numbers make many of us just suspicious.
Still no denying that 2009 has ended, timewise, and we Americans, we humans march onward. To round up the year, I've always enjoyed the fairly brisk and yet thorough job done at Harper's Magazine in their Yearly Review.
"Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States and ordered the detention center at Guantanamo Bay closed within a year. George W. Bush gave his final press conference. “Abu Ghraib was a huge disappointment,” he said. “Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment.”
A federal appeals court in Texas ruled to permit the sacrifice of goats. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele announced an “off the hook” Republican publicity campaign, targeting “urban-suburban hip-hop settings.” “We need to uptick our image with everyone,” Steele said, “including one-armed midgets.”
... Thirty-nine million Americans were on food stamps, 54 percent of graduating U.S. business majors lacked job offers, and two gunmen robbed a man of one dollar in the parking lot of an Ohio Wendy’s. A top Pentagon official said that “cutbacks at Best Buy” made it easier to recruit better-qualified young people for the military. The war in Iraq turned six; the war in Afghanistan turned eight; SpongeBob SquarePants turned ten. In Afghanistan, where the Taliban threatened to chop off the fingers of anyone who votes, the government passed a law allowing men to starve wives who refuse sex."
So goes the opening lines here. But there is so much more to read:
"... a man in Munich received a two-year suspended sentence for beating another man with a swan. Highly aggressive supersquirrels were menacing gray squirrels in England, where the Law Lords were replaced with a new Supreme Court whose justices wear no wigs, and where cosmetic nipple surgery was increasingly popular. A London taxi driver tied one end of a rope around a post and the other around his neck and drove away, launching his head from the car. Anglican hymns were sung at Darwin’s tomb.
Two Yellowstone National Park workers were fired for peeing into Old Faithful. Sarah Palin published a book, and Sylvia Plath’s son hanged himself in Alaska. Scientists in San Diego made a robot head study itself in a mirror until it learned to smile."
Goodbye, 2009. We hardly knew ye ...