The End of 2006

Monday, January 01, 2007
I actually saw the New Year show up last year. Not by choice, but I made it anyways. I'm almost fully recovered from this stupid cold but everytime I tried to sleep last night, I would get one of those dry scratchy spots on the back of my throat which would cause me to cough uncontrollably and therefore wake up. Perhaps I shouldn't have gone to bed at 8:06... I finished off the year not celebrating with champagne, or watching the fireworks. Not really my sort of thing. However, Ron James kept me company for a little while and then I spent the hours just before and after midnight on the island of Krakatoa with Ramses and his hundreds of children. The Discovery Channel was quite exciting. And yes, my life is pretty uneventful...

However, this post is not meant to be about me. 2006 finished itself off with a number of noteworthy events. Right before the new year arrived, a giant ice shelf snapped off of Ellesmere Island and floated out to sea. According to the linked article, it actually broke off about 16 months ago but no one noticed it was gone until recently. Yet another example that global warming is having a huge impact on the environment -- the world needs to wake up. Mind you it certainly doesn't help when Canada still refuses to meet it's Kyoto requirements, led in large part to opposition by Alberta. Gee, I wonder why...could it be because we're in Oil Country?
My hope for 2007: a greater commitment to the environment and more respect for our planet.

There were three high profile deaths at the end of 2006. The first was that of former US President Gerald Ford. Ford has the distinction of being the first person to ever hold the office of President without having been elected to the post or to that of Vice President. Ford will be remembered for a number of things, including taking over from Richard Nixon, withdrawl of troops from Vietnam, and the SALT Treaty. However, he will probably be best remembered for pardoning former President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate Scandal. Ford was not re-elected. Although he never visited Canada, Ford played a large part in getting Canada included into the G8 despite a strong effort on the part of the French governement that we be excluded. Ford was the "longest lived" president at age 93, just surpassing Ronald Regan. He passed away on December 26, 2006.
My hope for 2007: no idea.

The Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Soul Brother No. 1, The Minister of Super Heavy Funk, James Brown, died of heart failure on Christmas morning. I was fortunate to be able to see Brown in concert in 2005 (2004?). At one point I was about 10 people away from the stage and you could see the beads of sweat dripping from his face. I'd only been to a couple of other concerts before this - Trooper, Nazareth (small club venues) and Weird Al (thank you Dave) - but this will be the one that every other concert will be measured against for me. Despite being over 70 at the time, he out-danced, out-sang, and generally out-performed everyone else on the stage most of whom were a third of his age. It was incredible. I wasn't a big "fan" of Brown before the concert but I knew many of the songs and danced all night while my friends stood back smoking weed. Sheesh. James Brown got himself into quite a bit of trouble during his later years - he'd been married four times, charged on a couple of occasions for domestic abuse, threatening pedestrians with a gun, fleeing from the police in a high speed chase, and drug abuse. He served 3 years in prison before being released. I cannot help but wonder if his "light" sentence and early release (he was sentenced to 6 years) was not a result of his celebrity.
My hope for 2007: take the time to dance more, enjoy the music and let it move you.

Likely the biggest news story of the final moments of 2006 had to be the execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. After a lengthy trial filled with constant disruptions, changes of the leading judge, threats, assassination attempts (some successful), Hussein was found guilty (no real surprise) and was sentenced to death. I'm not going to delve into everything he's accused of. I think most of the world is pretty familiar with the story. He declared war on Iran, invaded Kuwait, was responsible either directly or indirectly for the death of thousands of people. Found guilty of crimes against humanity, he was sentenced to death and executed by hanging on December 30th. This story has greater importance than just the death of a heartless dictator. The events leading up to Saddam's execution and those that will follow say a great deal about the rest of the world. Most of us sit by, blindly allowing the US and Bush's puppets do as they see fit and not question their actions. I've sat here for five minutes debating whether continuing on with this train of thought - despite my cheery mood this morning, this one paragraph has got my blood boiling and rather than rant on and on, I'm going to leave it as it is. We all have our own opinions but today is not the day for me to air mine. Don't get me wrong - yes I did just say we've been sitting on our butts allowing Bush and his cronies to get away with whatever they want. I do question his actions, his motives, and his goals. I have no fear of repercussion for my opinions and I've taken part in anti-war rallies. However, I'm chosing to start the New Year off on a positive note, with joy and happiness. I'll slam Dubya later.
My hope for 2007: care more about others, question authority, stand up for your beliefs.

On a completely unrelated note, does anyone else think that Rick Astley had some wicked dance moves? White boy knows how to work it... (and yes, he's on my MP3 player but I don't have Men Without Hats - yet). Another goal for 2007, learn to dance like the master. And it always amazed me that a voice like that comes out of such a preppy little guy. Mind you, growing up, I thought the voices in General Public were backwards. Ah, Tenderness... I also need to get some Samantha Fox and Rico Suave.


ems said...

Happy New Year!

Wandering Coyote said...

Hey, great post, Karen. Looking forward to hearing your bush rant sometime in the future!

* (asterisk) said...

Great post, K. (I'm playing catch-up here...)

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