Welcome 2012, Goodbye 2011


The new year is 2012. Sounds pretty new, alright. You can say it two ways. Twenty-twelve. Or two-thousand and twelve. I kind of like the second version because it sounds like more (even though the correct way would be twenty-twelve). This is the time of year when commentators in the papers and on TV like to do two things: review what has transpired in the year that has past; and make predictions on what will happen in the year to come. Let’s start with the past.

Everyone does a list of famous people who have passed away in the last 12 months, so I’d like to do something a little different – the following is my partial list of those who have NOT passed away in 2011. Donald Trump, Diane Sawyer, Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods, Nicole Kidman, Ben Stiller, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madonna, Barney Frank, Sean Penn, and Daniel Craig. There are several others, of course, but as I said, this was a partial list.

Now let’s get back to those famous people who HAVE passed away. We can list them in two distinct groups: the “we will miss you” group, and the “good riddance” group. First the “good riddance” group: Kim Jong ll, Osama bin Laden, and Muammar Khaddafi (there’s probably more, but those are the big three). “We will miss you” group includes Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Falk, Betty Garrett, Jane Russell, Jackie Cooper, James Arness, and Sidney Lumet.

The coming year could prove to be interesting. We might get a new president, a new Senate, and a new lease on life for our sagging economy and unemployed. Or we might not. One thing is for sure, the elections of 2012 will determine the direction of our nation for many decades to come. Will we get back to the basic tenets of our founding fathers or will we go even further left than we have, bringing us closer to a socialist European way of life? This will be determined in November. Be careful what you vote for.

2012 will mark the one hundredth anniversary of: the sinking of the Titanic, the state of New Mexico, the abdication of the last Chinese emperor, the invention of the Dixie cup, Fenway Park, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the publication of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan of the Apes, and the first Keystone Kops movie. The first streetcars took to the streets of San Francisco one hundred years ago too.

In my family there is cause for celebration since 2012 is a leap year and it means that my nephew, Adam, will actually have a real birthday for the first time in seven years. According to Wikipedia, there are a variety of popular beliefs about the year 2012. These beliefs range from the spiritually transformative to the apocalyptic, and center upon various interpretations of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.

According to the Bible Code the world will end due to a collision with a meteor or comet. On the other hand, December 21 is slated to be the end of the great cycle of the Maya calendar’s Long Count, and therefore the alleged end of our world (the end of the cycle is dated December 23 by some calculations). Also interpreted as a change in human consciousness: the end of the world as we know it but the start of a new one.

On a happier note, 2012 will be when the first quad-core smartphones will become available, whatever the heck they are. And that’s not all, ready? Sequoia, a proposed super computer built by IBM for the National Nuclear Security Administration will be completed, reaching a peak performance of 20 Petaflops. That’s right, I said Petaflops! Wanna make something out of it?

So depending what you believe, maybe the November elections won’t mean very much after all. Listen, if the world comes to an end due to a meteor, comet, or whatever, then you might as well vote for Ron Paul … or the Mario Brothers, or even the Marx Brothers, which would be in keeping with Obama’s direction for the country. Happy New Year? Well, let’s hope so. We can always keep our fingers crossed.

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