2004 was an interesting year...we live in interesting times (to put it mildly) and this year (the 4th or 5th year of the new century and millennium depending on how you're counting...it was the 4th insofar as I'm concerned) lived up to that very well.
We reached out to the stars once more, marveling as hardy little man-made machines chugged across the Martian soil beaming back more information than their creators could have even dared to imagine.And, at the same time, we sank to new depths here in the USA as the most powerful political job on Earth was decided after too many months of mudslinging and shadowboxing over superficial matters between George Bush, a born-again "compassionate conservative" (for the duration of the campaign), and John Kerry, an old-style liberal patrician Democrat (long past the time when liberal patricians held much sway in this country.) This all following the marginalization of Ralph Nader, the partisan loyalty of former maverick Republican John McCain, and the spectacular rise and fall of would-be maverick firebrand Howard Dean.
We lost Ray Charles and Captain Kangaroo and Marlon Brando and Ronald Reagan and far, far too many lives in the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, and the streets of American inner cities. (While at the same time, we couldn't get away from media freakshows like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Michael Jackson no matter how much we really, really wanted to.)"Red states" and "Blue States" came to philosophical blows over "values" (which nobody could clearly define but they knew them when they saw them) with pandering politicians and egocentric filmmakers as their standard-bearers (I personally found both Michael Moore and Mel Gibson, however passionate they might truly be, to be canny, calculated idealogues filling their personal coffers while fanning the flames of division and intolerance of beliefs others than their own.)
Olympic athletes basked in their quadrennial moment in the spotlight (and then, for the most part, slipped back into relative obscurity again) and the Boston Red Sox broke the so-called "curse of the Bambino" by winning the World Series.As the year ends, the death toll from the tsunami in the Indian Ocean continues to climb to horrific levels highlighting all too well the undeniable fragility of our mortal lives.And, depressingly enough, the aftermath of Janet Jackson's halftime performance at the Super Bowl continues to inform public discourse in weird and troubling ways (one would think people in this country had never seen a nipple before...the things we choose to get excised about continues to amaze and annoy me to no end.)It was a remarkable year...but then, truth to be told, they all are.
Goodbye 2004...hey, it was never dull.
Hello 2005...whatever you've got in store, bring it on...give us your best shot and we'll do our utmost to take it...to roll with it and soar above it.