LXXIII – That’s A Wrap!

Sometimes I stand in awe at how quickly time goes by. Here we are, the year drawing to a close. I hope everyone enjoyed your Christmas (if you celebrate it), and are preparing to face the coming year and decade. Now, we could argue semantics about when a decade really ends (since there was no year 0—going from 1 BC to 1 AD, thereby making the year 10 AD the end of the first decade), but I’m not here for that today. For my intent today, the decade begins when the year ends in a zero. That being said, the decade of the 2010s ends in two days, and the 2020s commence in three.

It’s really strange to think that when something is said to have happened “20 years ago”, we’re referring to the year 2000🤯. Even stranger is to think that my 30th high school reunion is coming this year! For the last ten years, people have been saying the year in two-digit groups, as everyone did in the 1900s. They would say “twenty fifteen”, for example. I was always a holdout, and would still say “two thousand nineteen”. Beginning next year, it will be acceptable for me to revert to the prior standard and say “twenty twenty”. Everyone is used to hearing things like 20/20 vision or the old ABC talk show 20/20. So to me, it sounds normal.

The price of gas started the year at a national average of $2.25, now sitting at year’s end at roughly $2.59. Not much solace for those living in California, whose gas is nearly always over $1/gallon higher that everywhere else, currently averaging $3.73 in the Golden State. Maybe California should be given a new nickname, perhaps the Pyrite State? After all, not much is golden in California anymore with those running it (into the ground). Pyrite is also called “fool’s gold”. ’Nuff said there. There are things I miss about California, but I don’t think I could live there again. Everything is just way too pricey for my liking. Of course, I totally disagree with the way your governor thinks the state should be run, but [insert meme of Kermit sipping tea here] that’s none of my affair.

The year 2019 claimed the lives of more famous people. Too numerous to list here, some of the notable ones were Tim Conway (actor/comedian), Eddie Money (songs like “Two Tickets to Paradise”), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Luke Perry (actor, 90210), Tyler Skaggs (baseball player), and a couple of internet felines: Grumpy Cat and Lil BUB😿😿. The kitties have crossed the rainbow bridge, but their memories are preserved in numerous internet memes.

Though I try to stay apolitical where possible, no one can ignore probably the biggest political story of the year: the whole deal of (mostly) Democrats wanting the impeachment of Donald Trump. I’m not a Constitutional scholar, so I really don’t know if he did something illegal, but I do know that the Democrats in Congress (and some Republicans) are hell-bent to remove Trump from office. They have been ever since his election in 2016. Whether they succeed or not, only time will tell. Next November there will be another presidential election. I have no opinion on who I would vote for presently. Honestly, I don’t like any of the candidates out there currently. I would love to see Congressional term limits put in place, where anyone elected prior to 2008 should be ineligible to run again. Career politicians are one big thing that has poisoned this once-great Republic. Congress was never meant for anyone to be there for umpteen years. If that happened, 123 people in the House would be out. In fact, there’s a guy in the House that was elected in 1973. He’s been there for nearly half a fucking century (I was but a mere baby of a few months when this guy entered office). He has been there in the time of eight different presidents. Hell, the Vietnam War was still going on when he was elected, and the president was Richard Nixon. Time to purge the US Congress of its extremely stale blood!

Let’s see…what else went on this year? Oh, Utah finally got into modern times and has eliminated the weak beer requirement🍻. You can now buy stronger beers (up to I believe 5%) and wine coolers at the store, without going to the monopolized state liquor store (though actual wine and the real hard stuff are still there). That now leaves Minnesota as the only state with the 3.2% beer maximum.

Medical marijuana was approved in Utah, though the state is still trying to iron out the fine print. Currently, ten states and DC have fully legalized weed. In the West, Utah and Arizona have approved it medically, and all of nine states still outlaw all forms of it (Idaho and Wyoming being the two states west of the Rockies that still criminalizes it). I’ve seen a plethora of places local to me offering CBD oils and such, and many here who wish to purchase actual marijuana (and its THC offerings), just have to drive to the Nevada border town of Mesquite and get it—so long as they don’t get pulled over by the cops, they’re fine.

Now many of you are sports nuts, so I’ll look at sports for a second. In 2019, the champions were: NFL🏉= New England Patriots, NBA🏀= Toronto Raptors, MLB⚾= Washington Nationals, NHL🏒= St Louis Blues. As far as losers go, in baseball, though the Padres, Rockies, Rangers, Brewers and Tampa Bay (it’s awkward to mention their name to me) have never won the World Series, at least they’ve been there. The Seattle Mariners are the only team to never even see the championship round. In the NFL, sixteen teams have no Super Bowl rings to their names, and four have never made a Super Bowl appearance (being the Browns, Lions, Jaguars and Texans).

Yes, the year 2019 is, riding off into the sunset, like seen in old Westerns. Baby New Year 2020 is about to be born and the ball is preparing to drop in Times Square. The Pacific island country of Tonga will see the new year first (at 1000 GMT 12/31/19). Twenty-five hours later and merely 558 miles away, American Samoa is the last place to enter the new year (1100 GMT, 01/01/20). There is actually one other place later than that: the uninhabited Baker Island and Howland Island. There’s actually a twenty-six hour difference between those and Tonga. Yes, time zones are weird. Some are on the hour, some are half and hour off, and there’s even one in Kathmandu (by Mt Everest) that has a 45-minute offset. When it’s midnight in Los Angeles, Kathmandu time is 13:45. Bizarre indeed.

What will 2020 hold for us? Hopefully good things. Perhaps a new president, or maybe four more years of Donald Trump. I could wish that the collective eyes of the country could open and finally get “20/20 vision”, but that might just be a pipe dream. One thing I know for sure is I will still be here, plugging away on my laptop, bringing you more thoughts and rants. Seventy-three posts are now under my belt, and there’s another 52 opportunities to post more stuff in the coming circle around the Sun. To think, at the end of 2020, I’ll be at my 125th post😱. I don’t wanna think about that yet!

I hope 2019 hasn’t been too bad a year for you. I’ve made vast improvements in my mental health this year, and hopefully continue on this path in the coming year. May the coming year bring many great things for you and your families. Be strong, everyone. Let’s ride the wild ride of life, wherever it may take us. May your goals be fulfilled in the next year, and, as I sign off every week and sincerely desire for all of you, be safe and be well.

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