In 1992, Her Majesty The Queen opened a speech with these words: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis. I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the events of this tumultuous year.” I’m not sure about you, my dear reader, but I believe these words could also describe our look back at the aftermath of 2016.
I think this past year can be summed up in four words: what the heck happened?!? While I realize that my memory isn’t one for the record books, I don’t remember a year where we’ve dealt with more hatred, death, bitterness,division and all-around disappointment than we have this year.
On a personal note, this is the year I lost my last living grandparent. My grandma on my father’s side passed away on June 10. Her health declined rather quickly in the last few weeks of her life, but I’m so grateful to have been able to see her and talk with her before she passed. It will be I time I shall forever hold dear to my heart.
This year marked a milestone for me. After over ten years at the same job, I made a move to another office. So instead of being an oncology nurse, I’m now in pulmonary.
But enough about me, on to the rest of the world…
We’ve dealt with the Flint, Michigan water crisis, which started when high levels of lead was found in the citizens water supply. Trying to fix it became no easy task, and to this day, the poor people living there are still having to deal with the red tape and other day-to-day problems this has caused.
The Powerball lottery reached a record 1.6 billion (yes, that’s Billion, with a “B”), and I didn’t win one red cent of it.
A bunch of redneck he-hanks in Oregon, led by some Jethro Bodine wannabe, decided they wanted to go live in a wildlife preserve to protest the government not letting them do whatever it was they wanted to do on federal property. They became such a laughing stock by not thinking their little sit-in completely through and going on youtube or wherever asking people to send them supplies, that they were actually sent, get this… boxes upon boxes of dildos! Eventually, their great leader was caught outside the compound with a few others in his car when they were pulled over for a minor traffic violation. Things went from bad to worse when one of them got testy and decided he wanted to run towards the cop and throw a hissy-fit (or something along those lines, I forget) and get himself shot. Things went downhill from there. Let’s just say they’re all in jail now, or on trial, or both.
This year we saw a rise in police shootings in the black community, which brought about the Black Lives Matter movement to counteract the shootings. Then, an All Lives Matter movement started to counteract the Black Lives Matter movement. Throughout the entire year I’ve seen my friends go back-and-forth with each other over who was right and who was wrong. Personally I think that having sunk to the point of needing either movement and not automatically treating each other as equals and having mutual respect for one another, is a sad commentary on where we are as a society.
A new game came out on smart phones everywhere called, Pokemon GO. If I understand it correctly, you run around with your phone catching imaginary pokemons, and he who has the most, wins. People were running around like they had lost their ever-loving minds, standing in the middle of roads, running onto others private property, and even falling off cliffs to their death trying to catch these things. I don’t know about you, but trying to catch some Peek-a-choo, Peak-at-you, Hoochi-hoo, Coochie-Coo, or whatever they’re called isn’t enticing enough for me to risk my life. Thank you, but I’ll pass on this one.
The biggest news, for myself anyway, is the vote in Great Britain to leave the European Union. The “Brexit” vote, as it had become known, came as a surprise to practically everyone, since all the pollsters predicted the victory would go to the “stay” campaign. Ironically, it was only AFTER the results were announced the next day that Google declared there was a huge uptick in the people of Great Britain looking up, “what is the European Union?” David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister, as well as other Tory leaders. Theresa May was placed in the role of Prime Minister, all in a time span of approximately two weeks.
The summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, even though there were doom-and-gloom predictions of the city not being ready for them, due to being behind on construction of the proper facilities. To add insult to injury, they also had to deal with the Zika virus outbreak, as well as reports of the water being unsafe to swim in. For the most part, however, the games went smoothly from what I understand. But of course, I didn’t watch them since I don’t keep up with the volleyball.
Samsung began selling the Galaxy Note 7 to much fanfare, only to discover once you got yours, it was destined to spontaneously combust into flames, burning you and everything around it. Even airlines refused to allow them on their flights. Samsung eventually had to discontinue the phone, even after the initial recall to fix the problem failed. I knew it was hailed as the new hot item, but I think actually setting itself on fire is taking the idea of being “hot” to the extreme.
The closer we got to Halloween, the more we started hearing about these bizarre clown sightings, where weirdos dressed up in clown costumes would just stand in the edge of the woods near playgrounds, creeping out kids and parents alike. If it was just an isolated incident, I could understand that it was most likely one sicko with nothing better to do than scare people, but it seemed to be happening all over the country. Simultaneously. That just added way too many levels to the creepiness for my taste.
One of the most unusual things about 2016 is the amount of notable people and celebrities who have died this year. It seemed that it started in January, and never stopped. Here’s a list of some who have died, although it’s by no means a complete list:
Pat Harrington, Jr
Most famous for playing Dwayne Schneider on “One Day at a Time.” Died January 6.
Iconic musician, actor. Died January 10.
Celine Dion’s husband and manager. Died January 14.
Actor famous for roles in “Harry Potter,” “Love Actually,” “Die Hard,” and others. Died January 14.
Co-Founder of the band “The Eagles.” Died January 18.
Best know for voicing “Daffy Duck” and “Bugs Bunny.” Died February 3.
Founder of “Earth, Wind & Fire.” Died February 3.
Best known for roles as the commandant in the “Police Academy” movies as well as “Punky Brewster.” Died February 15.
Angela “Bid Ang” Raiola
From the reality show “Mob Wives.” Died February 18.
Author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Died February 19.
Played Apollo Creed’s trainer in the “Rocky” movies. Died February 25.
The Earl of Strathmore
Michael Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, cousin to Her Majesty The Queen. Died February 27.
Part of the country music duo “Joey+Rory.” Died March 4.
Author of “The Prince of Tides.” Died March 4.
Manager of “The Beatles,” often called “The 5th Beetle.” Died March 8.
From the hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. Died March 22.
Actor most famous for “The Larry Sanders Show.” Died March 24.
Author, “Legends of the Fall.” Died March 26.
Mother Mary Angelica
Founder of the Catholic TV network, EWTN. Died March 27.
Star of “The Patty Duke Show.” Died March 29.
Voice of General Ackbar from “Star Wars.” Died April 3.
Actress who played the mother on “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Died April 17.
Musician known for “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry,” “Raspberry Beret,” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” among many others. Died April 21.
Crime writer and wife of comedian Patton Oswalt. Died April 21.
Known as “the king of Congolese Rumba.” Died April 24.
Singer best known for “Me and Mrs. Jones.” Died April 24.
Actor best known for his role in “Mr. Ed.” Died May 19.
Award-winning boxer. Died June 3.
Known as Chekov in the new “Star Trek” films. Died June 19.
Holocaust survivor and humanitarian. Died July 2.
Famous for playing a Jamaican psychic in infomercials. Died July 26.
The Duke of Westminster
Gerald Grosnever, the 6th Duke of Westminster. Died August 9.
Played the droid R2-D2 in “Star Wars.” Died August 13.
Known for playing the title role in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as characters in “Haunted Honeymoon” and “Young Frankenstein.” Died August 28.
The Lady Chablis
Transgender performer made famous by the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and played herself in the movie version. Died September 8.
Transgender actress. Died on September 11.
Atlanta rapper. Died September 21.
Creator and writer of “All My Children,” “One Live to Live,” and other soap operas. Died September 28.
Nobel prize winning Prime Minister of Israel. Died September 28.
Raine, Countess Spencer, step-mother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Died October 21.
U.S. Attorney General under President Clinton. Died November 7.
Canadian singer-songwriter. Died November 7.
Actor from “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Died November 11.
Co-anchor of PBS “Newshour.” Died November 14.
Best known for portraying the mother on “The Brady Bunch.” Died November 24.
The Hon. Margaret Rhodes
Margaret Rhodes, cousin and best friend to Her Majesty The Queen. Died November 25.
Former President of Cuba. Died November 25.
Actor best known for his roles on “Barney Miller” and “Firefly.” Died November 25.
The first astronaut to orbit the earth. Died December 8.
Actor best known for his role as super-villain Stefano DiMera on “Days of our Lives.” Died December 7.
Actor who played the father on “Growing Pains.” Died December 13.
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Hollywood icon and socialite. Died December 18.
Musician best known as the front-man for the 80’s rock group Wham!, and his later solo career. He was known for having hits with songs such as “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “Careless Whisper,” “Outside,” and many others. Died December 25.
Comedian with a recurring role on “Everybody Hates Chris.” Died December 26.
Actress best known as Lady Jane Jacks on “General Hospital,” as well as Mother Superior Claudia on “American Horror Story: Asylum.” Died December 27.
Best known as Princess Leia from “Star Wars.” Died December 27.
Actress and singer. Carrie Fisher’s mother. Died December 28.
While not a complete list, and I’m sure I’ve missed some, it’s astounding to me how many notable people have passed away this year. I’m convinced there is some kind of cosmic serial killer on the loose in Hollywood. I do hope they’ll catch this cosmic killer before he/she does anymore damage!
Since this was an election year, I would be remiss to not mention the election cycle we just survived. The Americans just experienced the most bizarre election that I can personally remember. Mind you, I’m not one to get into American politics, but this year was different for me. To begin, the Republican party seemed to begin the election cycle with everyone who was a Republican running for President. Eventually, they whittled away their candidates until they were left with one: Donald Trump. On the Democrat side, they had Hillary Clinton running against Bernie Sanders for the nomination, and it was Hillary who won the nomination of her party. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you the only reason I was remotely interested in the American elections was Hillary. I’ve been a huge fan of hers ever since her husband, Bill, was President. Even in those days I wanted her to one day be President herself. Don’t ask me why… I chalk it up to a “cult of personality” thing more than any stance on any issue.
Given the vile, misogynistic, xenophobic, fascist, nauseating and overall repulsive things Donald Trump said during his campaign about minorities, women, LGBTQ’s and anyone who isn’t a white, straight, Republican male, I couldn’t in my wildest nightmares imagine this guy would have a chance to become President. During the campaign, videos emerged of his rally’s where people were attacked, thrown out, and bullied. The man was endorsed by practically every hate group in the country, including the Ku Klux Klan, who said he was the candidate that “most embodied their beliefs.” And yet, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, although she won the popular vote by nearly three million more votes. Now the orange hemorrhoid is about to lead the country for the next four years.
On the other hand, there actually HAS been some good to come out of this year. I met some amazing people at my new job who are absolutely wonderful. I had to buy a new car when my Mazda gave up the ghost, but so far, my new gray Nissan is running really well. We nicknamed it “The Gray Ghost.” We’ve made plans to visit England this coming February, and airline tickets and hotel have been reserved.
So having said all that, here’s to the end of 2016, the annus horribilis vol.2. Let’s all hope and pray 2017 is somehow much better. Lord knows, it couldn’t get much worse.