Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Riddance, 2016!

2016. What a shockingly miserable dumpster fire of a year.

Yes, yes, I know, people have been saying the same thing about every year since we invented calendars. But it seems like 2016 has been exceptionally lousy and wretched. I will not be sorry to see its ass end as it finally heads out the door.

Unfortunately I have a very bad feeling that 2016 was just a rehearsal, and 2017's going to be even worse.

Here's just a few of the terrible, horrible no-good, very bad things highlights of 2016.

We had unprecedented higher than average temperatures across the globe, which I'm sure couldn't possibly be the result of climate change. 

Apparently the answer to the age old question, "Can't we all just get along?" is "No. No we can't." 2016 saw more than its share of deadly terrorist attacks. In March, two suicide bombers attacked the Brussels airport, killing sixty two people, and an hour later, a third bomber detonated himself in a Brussels subway station, killing another thirty two and injuring three hundred. 

Then there was the Bastille Day bombing in Nice, France, which killed eighty four.

And of course there was the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which an ISIS terrorist gunned down forty nine people and wounded fifty three others, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. 

And those are just the highlights. There were dozens of other public attacks and mass shootings throughout the world in 2016.

In the world of international politics, there was the Syrian Civil War and the resulting refugee crisis. And the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union for reasons too complicated to get into here, which will no doubt throw the country into turmoil, confusion and economic disaster for years to come.

On the home front, there was a huge increase in hate crimes towards Muslims and the LGBTQ community in 2016. Jesus, there's never been all that much tolerance toward these two groups to begin with. How much higher can the hatred go?

There was also a huge spike in gun and ammo sales in 2016. Considering there've been 15,000 deaths due to firearms this year, this is exactly what our country needs
 more goddamned guns with which to kill one another.

And hey, don't forget Chicago, which is gunning (heh) to become the most dangerous city in the country. There were an astonishing 762 murders in the Windy City in 2016. Of that number, a whopping FIFTY THREE were shot (eleven fatally) over the goddamned Xmas holiday weekend! Merry Christmas Everyone!

Even the planet seems to be becoming more violent. Wildfires raged across the nation, including a devastating one in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in November, which destroyed 2,400 buildings and killed fourteen people. 

And don't forget the Zika virus, the latest in Earth's attempts to eliminate humanity. This is not a nice planet, and it's doing its level best to get rid of us.

Heck, you can't even relax in Disney World anymore. Earlier this year a two year old boy was killed by an alligator at the Walt Disney Resort Hotel. Park officials apologized for the incident and vowed to eliminate the animals from the park. Which of course begs the question "Why the holy f*ck are there alligators inside Disney World to begin with?"

Sigh... and there there was the Presidential Election, surely the rotten cherry on top of the turd parfait that was 2016. An absolute trainwreck of a public spectacle that made our country the laughing stock of the world. 

An election that proved you don't need to be the best and brightest to be President, and that any racist, misogynistic, illiterate, pussy-grabbing, petulant bully can become the leader of the free world. 

We're most definitely in for a wild ride. Glorious Leader Trumpy hasn't even taken office yet, and he's already pissed off China by opening a dialogue with Taiwan, he refuses to put his many lucrative business holdings into a blind trust while he's in office (which is against the law), he blows off daily intelligence briefings "because he's so smart he doesn't need them" and he's now making noises about starting up the nuclear arms race again. 

I honestly don't expect any of us to be here four years from now. I really don't. Or if some of us are here, we'll be busy using rocks and makeshift bows and arrows to defend the last remaining clean water hole from the Stone Tribe.

And don't get me started on 2016's 
celebrity deaths. Oh sure, it's a given that every year's going to see its share of famous fatalities. But 2016 seemed especially cruel in this area. It wasn't just the larger-than-normal number of celebrity deaths, but the caliber of them. Big names and influential talents beloved by millions, snuffed out by this awful, awful year.

Here are just a few (!) of the many, many celebrity deaths in 2016:

Pat Harrington Jr. (from One Day At A Time• Angus Scrimm (the Tall Man from the Phantasm movies) • David Bowie • Alan Rickman • Dan Haggerty • Glen Frey (Eagles founder) • Abe Vigoda • Bob Elliot (of "Bob and Ray)  • Maurice White (founder of Earth, Wind & Fire) • Antonin Scalia • George Gaynes (Punky Brewster's dad) • Vanity (singer & Prince protege) • Harper Lee (writer of To Kill A Mockingbird) • Sonny James (country singer) • George Kennedy • Nancy Reagan • George Martin (Beatles producer) • Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) • Frank Sinatra Jr. • Larry Drake (L.A. Law actor) • Joe Garagiola • Ken Howard (White Shadow actor) • Earl Hamner Jr. (creator of The Waltons) • Garry Shandling • Patty Duke • Merle Haggard • Doris Roberts (from Everybody Loves Raymond) • Prince • Billy Paul (singer of Me & Mrs. Jones) • William Schallert (ubiquitous 1960s TV actor) • Morley Safer • Alan Young (voice of Mr. Ed and Scrooge McDuck) • Burt Kwouk (Cato of The Pink Panther films) • Muhammad Ali • Gordie Howe • Ann Guilbert (of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Nanny) • Anton Yelchin • Buddy Ryan (NFL coach) • Michael Cimino (disgraced film director) • Elie Wiesel (Holocaust survivor and writer) • Noel Neill • Garry Marshall (producer of Happy Days) • Jerry Doyle (of Babylon 5) • Pete Fountain (jazz musician) • Kenny Baker (aka R2-D2) • Fyvush Finkel (character actor) • Jack Riley (of The Bob Newhart Show) • Marvin Kaplan (of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) • Gene Wilder • Hugh O'Brien • Edward Albee (playwright) • Arnold Palmer • Shimon Peres (President of Israel) • Kevin Meaney (comedian) • Pete Burns (sang You Spin Me Round) • Tammy Grimes • Janet Reno • Leonard Cohen • Robert Vaughn • Leon Russell • Florence Henderson • Ron Glass • Fritz Weaver • Van Williams • Grant Tinker (producer of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Mare's husband) • Don Calfa (from The Return Of The Living Dead) • Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) • John Glenn • Alan Thicke • Bernard Fox (Dr. Bombay of Bewitched) • Zsa Zsa Gabor • Richard Adams (author of Watership Down) • George Michael • George S. Irving (voice of the Heat Miser in The Year Without A Santa Claus) • Carrie Fisher • Debbie Reynolds • Tyrus Wong (character designer and animator at Disney) • William Christopher (Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H)

Phew! And that's only the more well-known ones. I left out a ton that I didn't recognize.

Update!: 2016 just couldn't help itself. A couple hours after I posted this entry, it took parting shots at a couple more celebs. Tyrus Wong died on December 31st. His name's not a household word, but he was a concept artist at Walt Disney Studios, and his work shaped the look of many classic and iconic Disney characters. He was 106 though (!), so I guess he had a pretty good run.

Minutes later, William Christopher also died. He was best known as Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H. Sigh... you just couldn't resist, could you, 2016?

So please join me as I say goodbye and good riddance to 2016. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. And let's all hope that 2017 is an improvement. It would almost have to be, right? Right? Please say it has to be?

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