Remember when 1999 was about to become 2000 and everyone thought toasters, hairdryers, cars and anything else with electricity in or near it would fail? In the end it was all rather arbitrary wasn't it? Nothing stopped and no-one died from anything, other than the usual causes.
Today marks another of these arbitrary points in time. Unlike the goat-infested Third World Yuletide, New Year does not occasion anything like the same commercial or other significance. However, it is a handy watershed moment when we look back on the year that was, as well as make largely hollow sounds about how we might change our ways for the next 12 months.
This year was memorable for a few things. Internationally, the Catholics made history by having a Pope retire for the first time in 600 years. The successor has been remarkable, which is also newsworthy because hitherto, Popes have been rather stuffy, formal and somewhat two- dimensional figureheads.
Voyager 1 left our solar system and entered interstellar space. It is expected to run into the remains of the ACT Party caucus pretty soon.
Cronuts were invented and we have it on good authority that an outstanding example of this croissant-doughnut hybrid can be purchased from the Fairlie Bakehouse.
The royals had a baby and in the process, managed to reinvent childbirth, or at least, it seemed as though they had. One of the Kardashians also gave birth. You had to be there.
We managed to not only lose the America's Cup Challenge but did so far better than any other nation in the history of the Cup. The team took our cricket team's gong for being the New Zealand sports team most able to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.
As the hosts of The Rock radio station observed, we hadn't seen so many sad wealthy white people on the water since the Titanic went down.
Bitcoin graduated into a mainstream currency, prompting the rest of us to say "Huh?" Its value has since soared, swooped and dived a few times. The US dollar continued to be diluted at a terrific rate and gold was as flat as a pancake. Put your money under the mattress in 2014.
Katy Perry topped the charts while Disney's Lone Ranger movie tanked. And it should have. Justin Bieber spray-painted something and went to a brothel. Miley Cyrus sat on a wrecking ball and made tuneless music in her undies while sporting a haircut that left most to conclude that not only was 2013 to be the year she and Justin would try to be really, really naughty but also, that they were both trying to look like Justin Bieber.
Oscar Pistorious shot and killed his girlfriend and the defence seems to be "So what?"Mark Lundy won his freedom and that spawned the inaugural rally held in his honour and cleverly named "The Lundy Three-Hundy". The Crown is on the horns of a dilemma so watch 2014 to see which of the equally unpalatable alternatives our taxpayer dollar gets spent on. He should walk, which is more than he did at Amber and Christine's funeral.
Candy Crush Saga beat Angry Birds as the coolest game to play on your smartphone and the phone companies began marketing the thing their devices had rendered obsolete, namely, the watch.
Russia sent moss, fungus and small animals to space and China also sent a spacecraft moonward. India sent a spaceship to Mars and it cost about $100 million, which is inexpensive in the scheme of things and about the same price as a small dairy factory: Space isn't what it used to be.
Staying in theme, astronomers regaled us with mind-boggling space-facts and ultra cool, photographs of space. Someone posited that our universe might be a three dimensional hologram projected by a two dimensional universe, prompting scientists to conclude, "WTF?"
Toronto's mayor admitted to buying illegal drugs and smoking crack cocaine while New York's mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner, ended his bid for civic responsibility the same way he ended his career as a congressman, by sending pictures of his willy to someone else.
Weiner had also adopted the pseudonym 'Carlos Danger' (no- one's real name) and the hooker who received the tweet was called Sydney leathers (her real name). Leathers had plastic surgery and became famous at a rate inversely proportional to Weiner's plummeting public approval. He should have run in Toronto.
The inventor of the AK47 assault rifle died. Ninety-four- year-old General Kalashnikov blamed the Germans for his WWII invention, which went on to be the weapon of choice for pretty much everyone; and still is.
In the 60s US troops in Vietnam would throw aside their M16s in favour of the Viet Cong kalashnikovs; that is, once they'd managed to shoot one of the commie bast#%*! holding one.
At this time of year big noise publications like Time, Newsweek, Forbes and Model Train Collector like to select their person of the year, so this column will too.
This year's award is a tie between the Cabbage Tree (they don't burn and beat everything in paper-rock-scissors) and Edward Snowden, the latter for showing the United States to be the arrogant, violent and now also super-sneaky and dishonest nation it is.
- The Timaru Herald