World News

01.01.14

Up to a Point: 2013 in Review and Predictions for 2014

Will Putin come out of the closet already?

In Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop: Lord Cooper, proprietor of The Daily Beast, at dinner with his editor, Mr. Salter…

Mr. Salter’s side of the conversation was limited to expressions of assent. When Lord Cooper was right, he said, “Definitely, Lord Cooper”; when he was wrong, “Up to a point.”

“Let me see, what’s the name of the place I mean? Capital of Japan? Yokohama, isn’t it?”

“Up to a point, Lord Cooper.”

Customary for New Year’s column to begin with regurgitated news highlights for the memory-impaired, past annum’s shop-soiled best-ofs list and array of dubious predictions for next 12 months.

Tradition much in need of being abandoned. That said…

Vladimir Putin will come out of the closet.

Miley Cyrus discovers she skipped too many classes at Seaview High School while performing as Hannah Montana. She spends the year out of public view, quietly studying for her GED.

Wasn’t making a cheap joke about Putin. OK, was. But first world leader in a while to spend so much time shirtless. Seems to be sending a message. Don’t think message is “Look at me, I’m just like Gandhi.”

Wider availability of U.S. affordable housing is forecast in 2014 when youngest members of baby boom turn 50 and move out of mom’s basement, making room for Generation X.

Seriously, Vladimir, the Sochi Games would be the perfect place to go public. World will feel better about you. You will feel better about yourself. Plus, ripped athletes.

Best…

Best New York Times holiday season op-ed: “Bring Drunken Santas Under Control.” Confess to not reading following article by Jason O. Gilbert as didn’t see how it could get better than the headline. But may have explained pony for my daughter found stuffed down chimney on Xmas morn.

Best pairing of New York Times headlines: Dec. 12, 2013, front page: “Criminal Action Is Expected for JPMorgan in Madoff Case.” Business Section, same day, page 3: “JPMorgan Plans to Unveil a Program for Job Skills.” Misappropriation? Embezzlement? Speculation? Who says the Times doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Best buy? Dollar value of the digital currency bitcoin briefly topped 1-ounce price of gold. But good luck to husbands who, probably shopping at JPMorgan, gave wives bitcoin necklaces for Christmas.

The fashionable gift was scented candles, some costing $150 each. I’ll stink up your house for free if Montecristo No. 4 is provided.

Word of the Year…

What with aging demographic, distractions of social media, ubiquitous ear buds, the FAA decision that in-flight cell phone use poses no dangers, and teenagers in the house, Word of the Year was “Huh?”

Events Previously Current…

Syrian chemical weapons Obama-Assad-Putin scene played out like Dirty Harry movie script gone wrong.

Obama: “Drop the gun.”

Assad: “What if I give the gun to a friend instead?”

Obama: “OK, but only if it’s a friend I don’t trust who hates my guts.”

Government was shut down. But note timing. Always manages to open up again by April 15.

Super typhoon Haiyan was a boon to global warming enthusiasts. Got to add global blowing and global wetting to list of climate concerns.

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Getty/The Daily Beast

Some Good News in 2013…

Lululemon yoga pants. Surefire punch line for even the lamest humor attempt.

Huckabee eyes 2016 run. 10K? Half-marathon? Can’t picture Mike in Iron Man. But two years is plenty of time to train and get fit, in Lululemon yoga pants.

Pope Francis is popular with liberal Catholics. Almost as revered as the Dalai Lama.

Our Political Friends…

Legislators in Colorado and Washington state vote to make marijuana legal and, after taking a short break, vote to subsidize Mallomars.

North Korea’s execution of second most powerful person in government causes friction among Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, and incoming Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen about who gets to make statement strongly condemning inhumane brutality of precedent. No comment from Dick Cheney, but some say, “Would have been hard on W.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner lashes out at GOP Tea Party types: “They’re pushing our members in places they don’t want to go.”

Boehner then joins Santas and Colorado legislators on search for an Occupy Wall Street protest.

Australia’s High Court rejects same-sex nuptials on grounds that nation’s Parliament defined marriage as “union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others except sheep.” Last two words are written in invisible ink but can be easily discerned if Australian law books are held over scented candles.

Vladimir Putin files amicus briefs (or was it sexy boxers?) with high court.

FDA restricts antibiotics use for livestock. Bad news for Australians whose sheep have the clap.

NSA officials say we may never learn full extent of secrets exposed by Edward Snowden—because it’s a secret.

Congress, which hasn’t worked in years, limits extension of federal unemployment benefits. Obviously a vote in favor of term limits is next.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio sworn in Wednesday. Announces “People’s Transportation Agenda.” Promises every avenue in Manhattan will have a dedicated lane for trucks, taxis, and private automobiles between new bike paths.

Bill Clinton administers oath of office. “Do you swear on a stack…Hey, your deputy mayor for housing and economic development is stacked!…of bibles…”

Ex-Mayor Bloomberg starts consulting group to offer benefits of Bloomberg-style governance to rest of globe. Look for Pacific to become world’s first low-salt ocean.

Blind Item…

What well-known president of the United States was seen out and about—PDA alert!—with Raul Castro?

Elsewhere… 

China lands moon rover, “Jade Rabbit.” (International assistance in spacecraft nomenclature sought by Chinese Space Agency.) Information transmitted by Jade Rabbit about moon’s atmosphere of transparency, lack of corruption, and absence of political oppression will be self-censored.

Also in extraterrestrial news, Iran sends another monkey into space. Predict “Iran sends another monkey into space” will become common euphemism or popular catch phrase.

Truth Stranger Than Humor…

NYU grad assistants unionize and join UAW. NYU students worrying about buying cars built by wispy Ph.D. candidates with doctrinal theses on Algernon Swinburne and attending lectures in English Lit. from production line shop stewards, “Oberon’s Employment of Puck as Scab Labor in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Currently Current Events…

Medical panel loosens guidelines about when people over 60 should be treated for high blood pressure. RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!! Sorry. Been watching videos on RedTube.

NSA not only spying on everybody but hacks news reporting and opinion website to reveal who’s been watching videos on RedTube.

Could teach Janet Yellen a thing or two about stimulus.

Customer PIN data stolen in massive corporate security breach at Target, but store is “confident that PIN numbers are safe and secure.” With NSA.

Scientists extract complete Neanderthal genome from fossil—97 percent match to A&E programming.

USDA fines Harvard Med School $24,036 for violations in caring for research monkeys. Made them watch RedTube videos of Janet Yellen testifying about stimulus program to Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Videos blurry, may have been John Kerry testifying about Hassan Rouhani nuclear negotiations to House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Iran sends another monkey into space…

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