I was tempted to begin this with a “well, this was a weird year,” but aren’t they all? How is this year any weirder than any other?
That said, here are some things that stick out to me for this almost expired year:
- Politics — We’re knee-deep in politics right now with the presidential primaries about a month away. If you thought the 2012 Republican primary season was a mess, well, this year’s follies make the 2012 race look sedate. Donald Trump as the #1 for six months running? I didn’t even think he’d get into the race, much less lead it. And what the heck happened to Jeb! Bush? He was the presumptive nominee with a huge war chest, and he’s in the single digits. I guess he – and so many others – got Trumped. On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton is getting some heat from a Socialist senator (Bernie Sanders – VT), but is still the most presumptive non-office holder in recent times (presidents running for re-election, or sitting veeps, tend to have clear sailing to the nomination). It’ll be interesting to see how things shake up once people begin casting votes, as opposed to responding to a pollster.
- Terrorism, International — The rise of ISIS and other, smaller, terror cells were certainly a black spot on this year. One of the more chilling aspects of this is the plight of those caught in the crossfire. Especially in the US – mainly due to politics – humanitarian aid and acceptance of refuges has made a terrible situation even worse. We gots to adjust our moral compass.
- Terrorism, Domestic — While the politicos love to scare the crap out of voters by capitalizing on the terrorist acts in the US, there have only been about 30 deaths due to terrorism in the US since 9/11. And while even one death is too many, perhaps we should at least be looking at the 30,000+ deaths per year in the US caused by guns. Just look at the math.
- Vacation — Romy and I hit the Colorado Springs, CO, area this year. Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods were highlights, but it was not what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting more craggy peaks and alpine meadows. Not so much. But it was nice to get away from the suburban life, even if for only a few days.
- Apple Watch — Introduced in September 2014, the watch became widely available this year – yet I have yet to see one in the wild (on an actual person). See a lot of Fitbits – virtually all on people 50+ years old.
- Technology — Overall, this was a boring tech year. Smartphones are getting to the point where, like desktops, there are only incremental upgrades, not a seismic shift like the first iPhone. The same is true of most technology; nothing is matching the “this changes everything!” excitement of the World Wide Web or mobile technology overall. Some people are betting big on Virtual Reality (VR); isn’t this just 3D TV but using an (awkward) headset? Sure, it may have uses, but how niche will that market be?
- TV — If you like watching TV, there’s a lot of really good stuff out there, mainly on non-network channels: Netflix, HBO, Amazon…this is an interesting arena. In some ways, the new tracks to get a TV show does change everything. No more three-network tollgates. Toss it up on YouTube, get a deal with Hulu or Showtime or Amazon. We’re really starting to see the disruption to TV that the internet did to newspapers. Oh, and in 2015 more than ever, streaming reigned. No looking to see what time show X is on, it’s on whenever you want to stream it. Side note: Apple, again, failed to nail TV the way it has in so many other areas. It’s perplexing, but I guess that can be chalked up to: TV is hard.
- Music — Every year when the Grammy nominees/winners are announced, my reaction is “Who are these people?” No different this year. And – in a year sorta dominated by Taylor Swift (yeah, I’ve heard of her) – the year in music, to me, was pretty much meh.
- Year of Celebrity — I don’t follow the celebrities at all, but it sure seems like the news, Instagrams, Twitters and so on were full of people who are famous for … being famous. Whatever.
I’m sure I missed some things that I should comment on, but this is what I’ve got right now.
Update 1/2/2016: Spirits shared to bring in the new year:
The wine – a Chateauneuf Du Pape, which never disappoints – was good but not *amazing*, which is unusual.
The champagne – a Perrier-Jouet (very dry) – was exceptional.
Had some nice cheeses – including a really biting (in a good way) Bleu cheeese – but we really don’t do the New Year’s Eve celebration like most.