Pol­i­tics, sports and cul­ture

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - Lowcountry Life - BY DAVE BARRY [email protected]­amiHer­ald.com

Once again we’re on the cusp of a new year, an­other chance for change. And once again, we find our­selves feel­ing stir­rings of hope – hope that the com­ing year re­ally will be bet­ter. Why do we feel this way? Why, de­spite all our past dis­ap­point­ments, do we be­lieve things re­ally can im­prove? Be­cause we are mo­rons, ap­par­ently.

So let’s not get too ex­cited about 2019. Our emo­tional state, go­ing for­ward, should be hope­less­ness leav­ened with de­spair, as we can see when we look back at the grotesque boofa-palooza that was 2018, start­ing with...

JAN­UARY

… which sees world ten­sions rise when North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un states that he has a nu­clear-mis­sile launch but­ton on his desk. This leaves U.S. Com­man­der-in-Chief Don­ald Trump with no vi­able mil­i­tary op­tion but to fire up his Ran­dom Cap­i­tal­izer App and tweet “I too have a Nu­clear But­ton, but it is a much big­ger & more pow­er­ful one than his,” thereby leav­ing no doubt as to which leader is more se­cure re­gard­ing the size of his but­ton. In an ap­par­ent ef­fort to re­as­sure ev­ery­one on his men­tal state, the pres­i­dent also is­sues a Tweet in which he de­scribes him­self as “ge­nius .... and a very sta­ble ge­nius at that!” Which is EX­ACTLY HOW VERY STA­BLE GE­NIUSES TALK, OK??

FE­BRU­ARY

On the Stormy Daniels front, Michael Co­hen ac­knowl­edges that he did, in fact, pay $130,000 to the porn ac­tress, but he used his own money and the Trump cam­paign had noth­ing to do with it and it was all to­tally le­git. So that set­tles THAT.

In sports, the 2018 Win­ter Olympic games get un­der way in PyeongChang, South Ko­rea, with a his­toric open­ing cer­e­mony high­lighted by the re­lease of 25 doves, which are im­me­di­ately shot down and con­sumed by the North Korean men’s biathlon team.

In do­mes­tic sports, the Ea­gles de­feat the Pa­tri­ots to win their first Su­per Bowl.

MARCH

Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son learns that Pres­i­dent Trump has fired him when, dur­ing an of­fi­cial visit to Africa, he is ejected from his State Depart­ment plane at 35,000 feet. No, se­ri­ously, Tiller­son learns of his fir­ing via a pres­i­den­tial tweet, which says: “Mike Pom­peo, Di­rec­tor of the CIA, will be­come our new Sec­re­tary of State. He will do a fan­tas­tic job! Thank you to Rex Tiller­son for his ser­vice!” So midair ejec­tion would ac­tu­ally have been more dig­ni­fied.

APRIL

Re­spond­ing to al­leged Rus­sian in­fil­tra­tion of Face­book and mas­sive breaches of user data, the Se­nate Com­mit­tee of Ag­ing Sen­a­tors Who Can­not Op­er­ate Their Own Cell Phones With­out the As­sis­tance of Min­ions holds a hear­ing in­tended to an­swer such prob­ing ques­tions as: What IS Face­book, any­way? Where does it go when you turn off the com­puter? Is there a print ver­sion? Is Face­book the one with the video of a cat rid­ing on a dog? How the heck do you get a cat to do that, any­way?

Pa­tiently at­tempt­ing to an­swer th­ese ques­tions is Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg, who wears a suit and tie and does a solid job of im­per­son- at­ing a reg­u­lar hu­man, ex­cept for not blink­ing and at one point hav­ing a ten­ta­cle emerge briefly from his left ear.

MAY

The big­gest story by far is the wed­ding of Amer­i­can ex-ac­tress Meghan Markle to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. In other in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ments, hopes for a sum­mit meet­ing be­tween Kim Jong-un and Pres­i­dent Trump soar when North Ko­rea re­leases three Amer­i­can pris­on­ers, only to be dashed when North Ko­rea re­fuses to ac­cept, in ex­change, Stormy Daniels.

In sports, the wettest Ken­tucky Derby in his­tory is won by the fa­vorite horse, Jus­tify, af­ter the rest of the field is eaten by sharks.

JUNE

U.S. Supreme Court Jus­tice An­thony Kennedy an­nounces his de­ci­sion to re­tire, cre­at­ing an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for the na­tion’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to demon­strate that, al­though the pub­lic might have a low opin­ion of them as a group, it is nowhere near low enough.

JULY

Trump nom­i­nates Brett Kava- naugh to the Supreme Court. Ac­cept­ing the nom­i­na­tion, Ka­vanaugh says: “If con­firmed by the Se­nate, I pledge to give full and fair con­sid­er­a­tion to ev­ery case brought be­fore me. Also ev­ery keg.” For their part, Se­nate Democrats re­lease a state­ment promis­ing to “con­sider Judge Ka­vanaugh’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions in good faith and with open minds,” adding, “ob­vi­ously we are ly­ing.”

AU­GUST

A Vir­ginia jury finds for­mer Trump cam­paign chair­man Paul Manafort guilty of tax eva­sion, bank fraud and hav­ing a name that can be re­ar­ranged to spell “Fart Upon Lama.” Only min­utes later, Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, pleads guilty in New York to var­i­ous charges, in­clud­ing ar­rang­ing hush-money pay­ments in 2016 to Stormy Daniels and Play­boy model Karen McDou­gal “at the di­rec­tion of a can­di­date for fed­eral of­fice” who is not named but was ob­vi­ously Bernie Sanders. No, se­ri­ously, the can­di­date was ob­vi­ously Trump. Some of the hush money was re­port­edly paid by the com­pany that owns the Na­tional En­quirer at the di­rec­tion of its CEO, whose name – we swear we are not mak­ing this up -- is David Pecker (which can be re­ar­ranged to spell “David Pecker”).

SEPTEM­BER

Wash­ing­ton is a-tin­gle with a level of ex­cite­ment that can only re­sult from a clash of two high­volt­age per­son­al­i­ties: Chuck Grass­ley and Dianne Fe­in­stein, the chair­man and rank­ing mem­ber of the U.S. Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, both hav­ing served in the Se­nate since shortly be­fore the Big Bang. The com­mit­tee holds two hear­ings on the Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion of Brett Ka­vanaugh, the sec­ond de­voted to ex­plo­sive al­le­ga­tions con­tained in a let­ter that was de­liv­ered back in July to Sen. Fe­in­stein, who, what with one thing and an­other, failed to men­tion it un­til Septem­ber. The na­tion watches, riv­eted, for more than seven hours as Ka­vanaugh and his ac­cuser, Chris­tine Blasey Ford, de­liver emo­tional tes­ti­mony, at the end of which the na­tion has learned the fol­low­ing facts:

1. The sen­a­tors have no idea what, if any­thing, ac­tu­ally hap­pened.

2. Nor do they care.

3. The truth is ut­terly ir­rel­e­vant to them.

4. They all de­cided long ago how they were go­ing to vote, based en­tirely on po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions.

5. Given ex­actly the same tes­ti­mony but dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal cir­cum­stances, ev­ery sin­gle sen­a­tor would pas­sion­ately es­pouse the po­si­tion di­a­met­ri­cally op­po­site the one he or she is pas­sion­ately es­pous­ing now.

6. Brett Ka­vanaugh re­ally likes beer.

OC­TO­BER

The Se­nate ap­proves the Ka­vanaugh nom­i­na­tion by a vote of 50-48, with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski vot­ing “present” and Chuck Schumer vot­ing “ex­tra cheese.”

In sports, the na­tion re­joices as, for the ninth con­sec­u­tive year, some team other than the New York Yan­kees wins the World Se­ries.

NOVEM­BER

The na­tion braces for what po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts agree will be the most im­por­tant midterm elec­tions since the dawn of time. Vot­ers pre­pare for the the big day by binge-watch­ing Net­flix, be­cause reg­u­lar TV has turned into a gush­ing sewer of po­lit­i­cal at­tack ads ap­par­ently cre­ated by and for dimwit­ted 4-year-olds.

The elec­tion goes smoothly, ex­cept of course in Florida, which should se­ri­ously con­sider out­sourc­ing all of its govern­ment func­tions to a com­pe­tent or­ga­ni­za­tion, such as Mon­tana.

Na­tion­wide, how­ever, it is clear the vot­ers have given the Democrats con­trol of the House, while leav­ing the Re­pub­li­cans in con­trol of the Se­nate, thereby guar­an­tee­ing that for the next two years Congress will ac­com­plish noth­ing, which may well be what the vot­ers in­tended.

DE­CEM­BER

On the ever-chang­ing per­son­nel front, Trump an­nounces that his nom­i­nee to re­place Jeff Ses­sions as at­tor­ney gen­eral is “an ex­cel­lent lawyer, I for­get his name at the mo­ment, but he’s ter­rific, be­lieve me.” Fox News con­firms this. To re­place Nikki Ha­ley as UN am­bas­sador the pres­i­dent chooses Heather Nauert, but only af­ter his ad­vi­sors are able to con­vince him that Kat­niss Everdeen is a fic­tional char­ac­ter. Re­plac­ing John Kelly as White House Chief of Staff is Wayne New­ton.

Con­gres­sional Democrats pre­pare to take con­trol of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, where they plan to im­ple­ment an am­bi­tious agenda fo­cused on the No. 1 con­cern of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, which of course is... The 2016 elec­tions!

The month ends on a trou­bling note when one of North Ko­rea’s newly con­structed Chipo­tle restau­rants launches a bal­lis­tic mis­sile car­ry­ing what mil­i­tary an­a­lysts say is a three-ton tac­ti­cal beef bur­rito, which trav­els 4,600 miles be­fore splash­ing into the Pa­cific just off the coast of Oahu, pro­duc­ing a tidal wave con­tain­ing po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous lev­els of tomatillo salsa. The Hawaii Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency at­tempts to broad­cast a text warn­ing, but be­cause of what an agency spokesper­son says is “hu­man er­ror,” the mes­sage ac­tu­ally sent to all of the state’s res­i­dents reads HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Here’s hop­ing that the wish ex­pressed by this er­ro­neous HEMA mes­sage comes true. We would truly love for 2019 to be a happy year. Or at least a bet­ter year than 2018 was. It has to be bet­ter, right? How could it pos­si­bly be worse?

Please, put down the Tide Pod.

Cam­den Courier-Post / AP file

Philadel­phia Ea­gles fans cel­e­brated the team’s Su­per Bowl vic­tory over the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots.

AP file

North Korean sup­port­ers at­tracted world­wide at­ten­tion for their chore­ographed per­for­mances dur­ing the Olympic games.

AP file

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump par­doned “Peas” dur­ing a cer­e­mony in the Rose Gar­den of the White House.

AP file

Bri­tain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed in May.

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