While these ten items are not everything that happened this past year, as that full list would exceed the word limit for my blog post, they are surely the most important ones, or at least the ones that I could recall.
- The Treaty of Westphalia completely disintegrated this year, leaving only the Duchy of Lichtenstein and the Kingdom of Iceland to hold the peace in all of Western Europe. But hold that peace they did, and through a common currency system (except for the British, who know better) and a shared cologne and antipathy for each other, the entire EU celebrated its first year of complete harmony this year, marred only by a slight war in Greece and a disagreement over the official language in Disneyland Paris. The world looks forward to another few centuries of European empire-building before everything crumbles apart and Africa falls into a bitter and constant squabble.
- There was apparently an election in the U.S. this year, but it happened so quickly and quietly that nobody can recall the experience nor the outcome. It is of no matter; previous administrations have proven that it doesn't matter whom is elected, as the President has so little effect on America's effective domestic and international policies. It only matters that the country elects someone, to keep the ballot machines in working order.
- Billy Keeble, the kid down the street with two left hands and a penchant for writing "fart" on his lawn with weed killer, won the Nobel Peace Prize this year for choosing not to beat up his sister when she stomped on his favorite Hot Wheel car (the gold one with the flames on the sides and the wide back tires). Way to go, Billy!
- Wall Street crashed and the global financial system came to a halt, eliminating jobs, homes, and life savings world-wide. This gave all of us more opportunity to focus on the important things in life, like spending quality time with our families and wondering where our next meal was coming from.
- The sun continued to rise in the east every single day this past year, confirming suspicions of many prominent scientists that its trajectory is not merely random. Work has begun on funding a project to find the track that the sun rides upon.
- Orville Squenchgroot of Cablespleen, Missouri, discovered a new species of slug inhabiting the bog in his back yard. Environmentalists hailed the discovery as proof that eliminating species such as owls, eagles, and wolves may be okay after all, since there are just so darned many other ones around. And such cute ones, too: this new slug species, named "Ickus Slimatode", sports a tell-tale ring of warts just below what would be the neck if the blob had a head.
- The U.S. produced more manure in 2008 than ever before, setting a new record for the Gross National Product.
- On the technology front, 2008 saw the invention of not only the laser-based digital meat-cleaver, but also fast-healing sutures to deal with the ensuing carnage in home kitchens everywhere.
- In March, Len Skrappentz, of Scranton, PA, discovered the solutions to both world peace and world hunger. Unfortunately, he misplaced his notes while searching his files for his taxes last year and has been unable to locate them since. He recalled that both solutions had something to do with eating more Cap'n Crunch, but the details continue to elude him.
- Except for minor skirmishes in Auckland and southern North Dakota, the world enjoyed relative calm and peace throughout the year, and there is reason to hope that this happy coexistence between all peoples will continue unabated in the coming year. Anyone disagreeing with this will get the crap kicked out of them.
The year that's done,
Two Thousand Eight,
We must admit
Was really great.
The year to come,
Two Thousand Nine,
The experts feel
Will be quite fine.
Each year that ends
Reminds us all
That Winter, Summer,
Spring and Fall
Pass quicker always -
How time flies! -
Bringing us soon
To our own demise.
Happy new year!