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The Year Of Fear...and disaster
Well, what a year 2015 has turned out to be.
I'm writing this on the 30th because it is too damn depressing. I can, at least, talk about something else tomorrow and wish you a happy new year without all of this being at the top of the page.
January brought us a rousing start to the year with the Charlie Hebdo incident in central Paris, along with a hostage situation in a Jewish supermarket.
I took part in a peaceful demonstration. Not anti-Islam specifically, as numerous people tried to portray it as, but more anti-censorship. Sarcasm is an important part of our society. One might suggest looking at the recent leadership of the IMF and wondering if sarcasm isn't a kind of coping mechanism?
I got a new phone that I'm very pleased with. Greece voted overwhelmingly to remain a part of the EU project, the antithesis of the bleating English, and it was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
I should mention that Fox News decided to report that Birmingham was a completely Muslim town, with non-Muslims fearing to enter. This, of course, was not a surprise to the British, because we're used to Fox News being about as close to reality as The Daily Express usually is.
[for those international readers who aren't familiar with The Daily Express, today they ran an article asking if the discovery of an 800 year old mobile phone was finally conclusive proof of time travel. The Daily
Mail Fail might run something like this on April 1st. For the Express? This is just a regular piece of factual reporting...]
Jihadi John is identified. Gary Glitter gets 16 years, and the scale of what Jimmy Saville got up to is revealed, and it is jaw dropping.
The Jews got it again, with an attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen. Thankfully February was a short month without much happening, because...
...one of the most horrific stories of the year, even worse than the terrorist attacks in my opinion, was the Germanwings flight where the pilot decided to kill himself, taking the entire plane and all 150 passengers and crew and smashing them into a mountain. This wasn't an accident, it wasn't suicide. It was mass murder.
Jeremy Clarkson makes a bigger fool of himself than usual, and British inflation fell to zero percent. Spectacularly bad wording. The two aren't related. I think... ☺
There was an eclipse across a lot of Europe, and some crazy people decided that this was foreshadowing the end of the world. Apparently in the Jewish calendar, the moon and the planets of the House of Bull were perfectly aligned with the House of Twaddle, which meant the world was going to end. Which, of course, came to pass. Nothing after March is real. You don't exist. Etc.
An earthquake or three in Nepal causes an Everest avalanche, and more destruction besides. An epic heist in the centre of London looks and feels like something out of a movie. A huge fire destroys a lot of Clandon Park stately home, and hundreds of migrants are rescued from the sea and brought to Sicily. Little did Europe know that the figure would top a million by the end of the year.
ARM celebrated the 30th birthday of the ARM processor.
A princess is born. The Tories win the UK general election, with the exception of Scotland where the SNP cleaned up with 56 of the 59 seats. Ed Milliband steps down from his role leading Labour. Bloody Farage steps down gracefully after losing his own constituency, and then promptly does a U turn and steps back into the limelight when he realises that retiring means he doesn't get to hold a pint glass and spout bollocks on telly.
A shooting at a church in Charleston, a worse shooting at a beach in Tunisia, and the 14th Dalai Lama appears at Glastonbury.
Tama, Station Master Kitty, is promoted to Station Master Kitty God.
Dracula is finally laid to rest, with the death of Sir Christopher Lee.
Greece trolls the EU, and Harper Lee trolls generations of readers by releasing the sequel (sort of original?) of To Kill A Mockingbird about a billion years later. To give you an idea, the film of the original book is in black and white . . . but you knew that, it's only probably the greatest film ever made...
As if to make up for the relative calm in July (when the Angel of Death was on holiday), August offers us the Chinese city of Tianjin blowing up, an attempted terrorist attack on a train in France, and a crash at the Shoreham air show where the plane hit traffic on the busy A27.
The enquiries of "historical" child abuse start taking in some pretty important people, this time the former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath is questioned.
WDBJ-TV7 news may have inadvertently broadcast the first live on-air shooting.
Water is discovered on Mars, VW (and sister companies) are implicated in cheating at emissions tests, and worst of all, Jeremy Corbyn is chosen to lead the Labour party - something they will rapidly come to regret.
The Queen is officially ancient, having surpassed the length of time Victoria sat on the throne. Bring your own innuendo.
Mick comes to visit and I go to Nantes for the first time. I also discover that my Pi server, if left unattended, draws a mere 7W. My Pentium4 box, on the other hand...
David Pilling releases the source code to Ovation, so I set about whipping the DTP program I used as a child (!) a quarter century ago (!!) into shape for running happily on the Pi. I get myself a drone - finally a flying camera.
The service provider TalkTalk fails. Then CEO Dido Harding opens her mouth and TalkTalk fails harder. Rinse and repeat.
Multiple terrorist attacks in Paris. The country enters into a "State of Emergency" that might last for a fair old while. Turkey shoots down a Russian plane. All hell breaks lose in Syria with Russia and France (and some local groups such as the Kurds) looking to put the screws on the coffin of ISIS. Other European countries start to get the idea. America is invited almost as an afterthought, but given idiotic Republican Senator's desire to impose a No-Fly-Zone and shoot down the "good guys" to enforce it, it's no wonder.
The MET Office names its first storm Abigail. God likes this, and more or less sends the UK a storm a week afterwards (the one currently clobbering the UK is called Frank).
I wrote eleven blog entries this month, eight of them were about Ovation. ☺
Following Donald Trump being more obnoxious than normal, a petition is set up to request that he be banned entry into the UK for "hate speech". The petition gains a staggering number of signatures.
That bloody Star Wars movie finally opens, but the hype is in full swing, even now. I remember when Star Wars was new. And for one of the pre-se-whatever-quels, I had a little toy Ewok flying thingummyjig. I was in Frimley Park hospital having my tonsils yanked out and I had this awesome toy and the kid in the bed beside me was jealous.
Cumbria has a crappy festive season. It shows no sign of changing.
A bunch of mass shootings in the US, with an ABC News analysis showing that the last one (at the time), the San Bernardino shooting, was the 57th mass shooting this year where three or more people were killed. And NRA-card-carrying Republicans don't think America has a gun problem...
In lighter news, I provide not one but two Playmobil advent calendars (don't expect three next year!) plus a kitty chocolate calendar thrown in for good measure, culminating in a live broadcast on YouTube of the 24th opening that was watched 'live' by exactly nobody. There must have been a good film on TV or something. ☺ Still, I had the fun of recreating the test card girl in Playmobil.
That's the review of 2015. Some good stuff happened. A lot of fear and tragedy also happened, along with a spectacular number of bus crashes in the UK. I can only hope that 2016 brings a bit of sanity to the world, but I'm too cynical to imagine that such a thing would be possible. Despite the obvious truths demonstrated by science, it seems we are only too willing to revert to slaughtering each other over differences of opinion of our own pet sky fairy. I guess this means that while we as a species can put outselves into orbit, as Tim Peake is showing us, at heart we are still fundamentally stupid. So I hope for better things in 2016, but I don't have expectation of much to change.
There is no New Year's Resolution. I resolve to do a bunch of things ... that are promptly forgotten by the time I go back to work on the first Monday after 1st January. So I'm just not going to bother. Or, if you must - this year I resolve to stop making stupid resolutions that I never keep.
Or maybe I resolve to eating less chocolate. That one might actually be good for me, unless I fancy having type 42 diabetes.
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© 2015 Rick Murray
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