Saturday, January 11, 2014

Holiday Post 2013: What the Heck Happened in 2013?

A lot happened in 2013. I have to say that this year tested me. In many cases, just when I thought some people could not get any more stupid, they went right ahead and showed me that yes, they could get even more stupid. In spite of that, there were still some amusing things here and there. As my four readers know, we don't just do a "summary" here. We try to look at a few more things to get a better picture of what the heck happened last year.

The News

For this section, I am avoiding the usual big summaries of the year. You can look those up on any major news source. Here, I am more interested in things that may not have gotten the coverage they deserved or curious and odd things (well, curious and odd to me at least). 
  • Items from
    • The media in the U.S. is not generally known for the best coverage of news. Much of it is infotainment at best. Many things do slip under the radar. Lucky for us, Moyers and Company give us a listing of "Most Underreported Stories of 2013." Among the topics that probably needed more coverage we have the U.S. military moving into Africa, climate change, war on youth, and transgender people of color. 
    • You can also check out most popular segments for 2013. The essay "On the Sabotage of Democracy" certainly is worth watching and/or reading the transcript. For folks in Berea College, Bill Moyers sat down with Vandana Shiva to discuss problems with genetically modified seeds. Folks at the college will recall Ms. Shiva's convocation back in February.
    • And it seems that progressive causes were taking serious hits this year. However, there were at least "15 Wins for the Progressive Movement in 2013." 
  • Items from The Advocate:
    • For the LGBTQ community, and for the rest of us, many folks chose to come out this year. Here is "2013: The Year in Coming Out." Celebrities, athletes and many others chose to share their stories and experience with us. I live for the day when something like this is no longer a big deal, but in the meantime, I wish them well and hope others do well when they make that choice as well.
    • For the transgendered, there were some important moments in transgender rights as well.
    • Not everyone had a good year in the LGBTQ community. There were some people fired in 2013 for being LGBTQ. Personally, this is something I do not get. What the heck difference does someone's sexual orientation make to their work? I noticed that many of these were teachers, good teachers let go for no other reason than who they love. That's not right.
    • Finally, here is their list of big ideas for 2013.
  • The Center for Public Integrity does some good work. Here are their top investigations in politics (for example, guess who is paying for a lot of judges to attend seminars), national security, and finance (for instance, think the subprime mess is over? Think again. Those crooks are back in business).
  • Pro Publica also does some good journalistic work. Here are some of their top muckreads of 2013. Among other topics, that whole NSA excessive surveillance was a big deal. 
  • Equal Voice for Families has a 2013 Year in Review. Topics include the constant Congressional bickering, domestic worker advocacy, and work to change harsh school discipline practices.
  • Have an interest in economic stories? Well, the Brookings Institution has their top economic stories for 2013
  • Interested in science? A few things happened in the world of science in 2013. 
    • Wired magazine has the top scientific discoveries of 2013. Among other things, Voyager 1 has gone interstellar, and back here on Earth, we found a new carnivorous mammal. I remember as a kid the excitement when Voyager 1 was launched. Back then, NASA still had some hopes and excitement, far cry from the defunded and now fairly toothless and aimless agency it is now. Sad.
    • Chattah Box highlights another list of science's top breakthroughs. There were some successes in cancer immunotherapy, new solar cells, and vaccine design among other things.
  • I lived in Texas for 8 very long years. Some of it was good, a large part of it not so much. I still follow news for the state, in part because I still have family and friends there. So, for my Texan friends and readers, here are some top Texas news via The Texas Tribune
  • Not all is serious news. Some seriously weird shit did happen in 2013, and Miss Cellania brings it to us, via the Mental Floss blog. Among other things, a giant purple chicken was stolen, and a snake burned a house down.
  • And finally for this news section of my post, some stuff happened in the world of libraries and librarianship. Go check it out via LISNews. A couple of things are covered elsewhere better, such as the spying and surveillance scandals (well, they should be scandals, but the average Joe and Jane were probably more interested in the Duck Dynasty saga or some other reality show than their civil rights) and a few hip(ster) kind of things that I pretty much just sort of glance over and move on. But I would not be a good librarian if I did not at least mention something about libraries and librarianship here.


Here we have movies, television, music, so on, the stuff you usually think about that falls under entertainment. However, I have added a couple of extras I found interesting. 

  • Movies? Yea, there were some of those in 2013. My four readers know I do not do movie theaters. If I want a movie, I wait til it makes it to DVD so I can watch it at home in peace. I am also pretty picky about the kinds of movies I like to watch. However, since often you can't really avoid talking about movies, I do try to read enough about films and movies so I at least know what some current movie is about and talk about it passably. Anyhow, AlterNet offers their list of "10 Best Movies of 2013." In addition to the ten, they do mention some others. Personally, I did not find film terribly interesting this year. The one movie someone recommended was 12 Years a Slave, and it was my mother-in-law who recommended, which is is usually a warning sign to run away in the opposite direction (this is the woman who thinks A Christmas Story is a great American classic). From what I have seen about it, seems to be sort of the new The Passion of the Christ for the slavery experience in 19th century United States (in the sense that people go to the theater and come out "converted"); I have read enough slave narratives I can probably do without.  I am sure other folks may have other lists, but this is the one I am going with for now.
  •  Some albums came out in the world of music. The Morning News has their list of "The Top Albums of 2013."
  • If you are into TV, especially the trashy side, well, Fox News (of all places) has "the most-talked about television moments."To be perfectly blunt, a lot of these moments I missed, and I could not care less. But maybe one of my four readers out there wants to reminisce about Honey Boo Boo or Paula Deen. The one moment on the list I did witness and did find amazing? Nik Wallenda crossing the Grand Canyon. That I watched nervously, especially since I have memories of Karl Wallenda when he fell off a high wire in Puerto Rico. Oh, and I did watch Sharknado, though not with as much wonder as I watched Wallenda. That was just plain trashy bad movie moment. It was bad, and I dont mean it's so bad it's good kind of bad.
  • A few other things happened in 2013. You may have missed them. Via COED magazine, here are "20 Things You Didn't Know About 2013." Some, you probably did notice, barely, like the Chinese moving on ahead with space exploration. On the other hand, recall what was the worst selling car in America or the fact Madonna had a new album (it was a flop, which is probably why not many heard about it). This list is mostly light humor. 
  • There are always the mandatory lists and tributes to people who died during the year. You can probably look up the usual big shots who died on your favorite search engine. Mental Floss blog has "12 Other People We Lost in 2013."One of the 12 is a sad one for Dr. Who fans: the designer of the Daleks died in 2013. Read to learn about him and others. 
  • Here is a books item. For my friends and readers who read in Spanish, Papeles Perdidos offers their lists of best novels, short stories, essays, poetry, biographies and graphic novels as voted by their readers. This list can give you a good sense of what is good in Spanish language literature. 
  • Comic books continue to do well overall. Comics and graphic novels for me are a favorite reading staple. Via The Advocate, here are "The Year's Top 10 LGBT Moments in Comics." I have missed a lot of these, so I will have to go back and look them up.
  • You know things are bad when The Onion is often a better news source than the actual "news sources." BuzzFeed provides "35 Reasons 'The Onion' Won 2013."
  • For those interested in porn and adult entertainment, some porn numbers and stats to give a sense of porn 2013 were reported by (Story via The Nerve story is pretty safe. definitely NSFW). This kind of gives a picture of what folks who enjoy that seem to be doing online (at least according to one major porn site). In addition to that, a few other things related to porn did happen in 2013, and the article mentions them as well.
  • And finally for this entertainment segment, a little bonus. Epiphora, a very good sex toy reviewer and sex blogger, gives her best and worst when it comes to sex toys in 2013. Find out what is good and what you should avoid.

Assorted Stupidity

Holy mother of pearl. There was a lot of stupidity this past year, and I mean a lot.

  • Once again, TFN Insider does their compilations of the year in quotes highlighting serious stupidity, especially in the U.S. among Right Wing fundamentalists who are often less than bright. There are so many you may be better off going here to their "year in quotes" blog tag.
  • AlterNet offers their "Top 10 Right Wing Jaw-Droppers of the Year." Did you know the Bible is not conservative enough, so some conservatives are rewriting it? Read about that and more. 
  • The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was busy this past year, among other things, highlighting stories and defending against challenges to comics and graphic novels from asshats. Here are their top 10 stories for 2013.
  • Cops were not exactly behaving in ways that protect and serve this year. Via VICE, here his the year in bad cops 
  • There were also crooks and other assorted criminals and deadbeats. Via The Smoking Gun, here are their 2013 mug shots of the year.
  • Dr. P.Z. Myers is concerned his wife may be in for a shock. He tells us that, according to Fox News, that fine news source, marriage died in 2013. I may need to be concerned too. I am not sure how the Better Half would take the news that marriages died this past year. 
  • And finally, back to Texas where Progress Texas compiled a list of 10 Worst Texans. However, Juanita Jean points out the list is far from perfect, and I concur. How the hell Progress Texas missed someone like Louie "Terror Babies" Gohmert (my former Congressman, yet another reason I was glad to get the hell out of East Texas) is beyond me. 
And there you have it folks, that was 2013. With this, I end my series of holiday posts for 2013. Stay tuned for my 2013 reading report later this month to see what I read during 2013 and other assorted thoughts on my reading experience.

Let us hope that 2014 offers some better things. I hope that everyone out there has a happy and safe new year. 

No comments: