2013 Year in Review
This past year was a hopeful one in many ways, with the American economy slowly continuing to improve and more people getting back to work. This, it seems, almost more despite what our elected officials have been doing in Washington than because of it. And legislation regarding marriage equality and marijuana legalization is encouraging – though not necessarily here in the Hoosier state.
2013 also marks my tenth — and final — year of writing this annual news roundup. Much thanks to publisher Kevin McKinney and former editor Jim Poyser (also thanks and good luck to new managing editor Ed Wenck). This has been both the most time-consuming and most fun writing project ever.
Finally, some journalistic honesty: years ago I stole the idea to do decade birthdays from a women's magazine I was thumbing through while waiting to get my hair cut – what little there is – at a chain haircut place. (The only time I ever violated the decade birthday rule was when Paul McCartney turned 64.)
I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone at NUVO and for all its readers.
The 112th Congress — America's least productive and most contentious ever — passes tax and spending legislation at the very last minute to avert going over the "fiscal cliff." Scientists confirm that 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the USA – ditto Indiana. Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong comes clean (kind of) to Oprah regarding his doping days. British supermarket chain Tesco apologizes in full-page ads after having to pull 10 million burgers containing horsemeat off their shelves. The original 19-foot-long TV Batmobile is sold for $4.6 million. Barack Obama is sworn in as America's 44th president; Michelle's bangs looked great – Beyonce, WTF is up with the lip-syncing? Canada denies permanent resident status to nut-case actor Randy Quaid.
CBS sends out a memo prior to the Grammys requesting that attendees make sure that "buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered" and to avoid exposure of "the genital region." Actor Joe Pesci turns 70 – what, you think that's funny? A massive blizzard hits the Northeast and Canada; at least 14 deaths are blamed on the storm. Pope Benedict XVI announces he will retire at the end of the month. A 7,000 ton meteor the size of a bus and traveling at 40,000 mph. explodes over Russia, causing a booming shockwave that destroys more than a million square feet of glass and injures more than 1,600 people. Don Marsh, 75, sleazy ex-CEO of the grocery chain that bears his family's name, is found guilty of fraud and breach of contract related to his use of corporate funds and a company jet to support his livin' large lifestyle (including five mistresses). Basketball's most legendary player, Michael Jordan, turns 50; actor/comedian Aziz Ansari turns 30.
Glamorous California attorney Grace E. Ayers (aka: Chedda Cheese) turns 30. Washington's failure to pass a federal budget results in $85 billion in spending cuts. The Dow hits an all-time high. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez succumbs to cancer at age 58. Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina becomes the new Pope Francis. Prodigious producer/composer Quincy Jones and SCOTUS veteran Ruth Bader Ginsberg turn 80; funk's tragic star Sly Stone somehow reaches 70. Indy is treated to a record-setting mini-blizzard in the first week of spring that covers the city in 9 inches of snow. The Supreme Court hears arguments for and against gay marriage.
Extreme magician David Blaine turns 40; singer/Beatle progeny Julian Lennon turns 50. After opposing gay marriage as a candidate, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly announces he now supports "marriage equality for all." Two homemade bombs explode at the Boston Marathon, killing two young women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 200 others; several days later one of the suspected bombers is killed by police and his brother/alleged accomplice is taken into custody. Despite the support of 90 percent of Americans, the Senate fails to pass any bills expanding background checks on gun purchases; Pres. Obama says, "All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington." Country singer/songwriter, marijuana and bio-fuel advocate Willie Nelson hits 80.
Jason Collins says in Sports Illustrated, "I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay." More than 900 people are arrested in China for trying to pass off fox, mink and rat meat as mutton, along with two busted for selling pork products made from "poor quality pig heads." Delightful actress Gabourey Sidibe turns 30. The Boy Scouts of America lift their ban on gay youth becoming troop members. Racing here for his 12th year, hometown favorite Tony Kanaan wins his first Indy 500, saying, "I made it. Finally they're going to put my ugly face on this trophy."
Vlad "The Bod" Putin becomes the most eligible oppressive world-leader bachelor after he and his wife Lyudmila announce they will divorce. Pres. Obama agrees to send arms to Syrian rebels; so far, 93,000 people have been killed during the 2-year conflict. Indefatigable actor/funny-man Neil Patrick Harris — NPH! — turns 40. The SCOTUS rules that DOMA is unconstitutional and that Prop. 8 is also uncool.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, 29, wins his 7th consecutive hot dog eating championship at Coney Island, setting a new world record by gobbling down 69 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. Indy mourns the death of our greatest ghoul, Sammy Terry (TV host and music educator Bob Carter). Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi is ousted in a military coup – deadly clashes soon follow. George Zimmerman is found not guilty in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Britain legalizes gay marriage. The once-prosperous and bustling city of Detroit (my hometown) files for bankruptcy. Chronic sexter Anthony Weiner makes an ill-conceived run for NYC mayor — what a dick. Seemingly unstoppable rocker Mick Jagger turns 70.
Summer Birthday Bonus Section! Actor Butch "Eddie Munster" Patrick and iconic pro wrestler Hulk Hogan hit 60, old-school rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot turns 50 and even older-school comedic actress Rose Marie reaches 90. Awesome actor Robert DeNiro turns 70 and versatile, sexy-voiced actress Mila Kunis turns 30. Super-funny actress Kristen Wiig and unpredictable comedian Dave Chappelle turn 40. Finally, the adorable and naturally talented actress Quvenzhane Wallis turns 10 years old.
The State Department issues a global travel alert and shutters 19 embassies or consulates in the Middle East and North Africa due to a potential al-Qaida terrorism threat. John Mellencamp's two knucklehead teenage sons, Speck and Hud, are charged with felony battery in the brutal beating of another teenager in Bloomington. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is sentenced to 35 years in prison (eligible for parole in approximately 12 years) for leaking classified material; Manning announces, "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female." Syrian government forces are accused of using chemical weapons against anti-Assad protestors and civilians, possibly killing hundreds.
On her fifth attempt since 1978, Diana Nyad, age 64, becomes the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The sad saga of Syria continues, with American saber-rattling, congressional committee meetings, and ultimately a tentative deal brokered by Putin to rid the country of its chemical weapons. A lone gunman with a history of mental illness enters the Washington Naval Yard and kills twelve people before he is fatally shot by police. Killer actor Robert Blake turns 80.
With congressional Republicans insisting that the Affordable Care Act be defunded, budget legislation is stalled and the federal government goes into a partial shutdown. Serious glitches plague the online introduction of the new health insurance "marketplaces" provided under the ACA. After 16 ridiculous days, the U.S. government fully reopens. Syria completes the destruction of its mechanisms for producing chemical weapons. Leaker of NSA data and wanted fugitive Edward Snowden is hired by an undisclosed website in Russia, where he has been granted asylum. Amid outcry from both parties, tech experts from Oracle and Google try to fix the ACA website. Mother Nature pulls a real trick on the last day of the month, delivering severe storms that make it the wettest Halloween in Indiana on record; trick-or-treating is delayed until ...
... the next day. After initially denying reports of an incriminating video, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine, but explains that he was in a drunken stupor at the time.Pres. Obama apologizes to the nation for the fact that some Americans will indeed not be able to keep their existing health plans under the ACA. Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongest storms ever recorded – slams into the Philippines, killing more than 5,600 people. A deal has been reached between the U.S. plus five other western nations and Iran to "temporarily freeze" that country's nuclear program in exchange for lifting crippling economic sanctions; Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu denounces the pact as "a historic mistake." A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science states that the U.S. is producing 50 percent more methane gas than previously estimated, due in large part to bovine flatulence. America celebrates the rarest of holidays: Thanksgivukkah (which won't happen again for another 70,000+ years).
Former South African president and champion of justice and equality Nelson Mandela dies at age 95. The national unemployment rate drops to 7 percent, the lowest in five years. Mega-eater Joey Chestnut comes to Indy and wins the St. Elmo shrimp cocktail eating contest; he devours 9 lbs. 4 oz. of shrimp in eight minutes, a new world record. Classic game show host and animal advocate Bob Barker turns 90, the Rolling Stones' death-defying guitarist Keith Richards hits 70, and actor/Harry Cheese look-alike Brad Pitt turns 50. Finally, as he does each year, Santa delivers toys to children around the world, along with several pounds of coal to those on his naughty list in Washington, D.C.