Monthly Archives: December 2011

Let’s Not Meet Up For The Year 2012

As 2011 comes to a close it seems only fitting to look back on the big news stories of the year and analyse how the world has changed for all of us over the last twelve months. However, that sounds really boring and depressing so instead I’m going to attempt to predict the major events that will shape the year 2012. And if there’s half as much economic misery, brutal conflict, tragic natural disasters, and television exposure for Jedward as there was last year, let’s hope the Mayans were right when they predicted that the world would end if John Cusack ever made a movie as awful as 2012.

In economic matters, the Eurozone crisis deepens even further in early 2012, with the pressure on Angela Merkel finally taking its toll at a meeting in Brussels, during which she tears one of Sarkozy’s arms off and proceeds to beat him and several other less important European leaders to death with it before she can be restrained. The outburst results in massive fluctuations in German markets as Boris Becker is declared the interim leader of the country for some reason. Commentators across the world are astounded at the move, and all agree that the end is nigh for the Euro. John McEnroe also gets a lot of air time on American TV, remarking that Germany “cannot be serious.”

Fearing the imminent collapse of the EU as we know it, President Higgins takes drastic action and decides not only to secede from the union, but also to declare geographical independence from the continent of Europe. The country’s legions of unemployed are soon put to work preparing the island for emigration. In late summer, after all the arrangements have been made, we set sail for Australia, only losing half of Wexford along the way when we hit Portugal in rough seas, which everyone agrees was probably for the best anyway. Unfortunately we have to return to the economic hinterland of Europe after only a month spent down south, due to people complaining that the weather is too mild to be working, and the milk doesn’t taste the same. On the plus side, however, we also manage to cut loose most of Cork somewhere around Angola on the way back.

Meanwhile in the US, Barack Obama is narrowly re-elected, with many citing the Republicans’ choice of an overly stereotypical candidate as the reason for their loss. Others credit Obama’s win to his catchy slogan, ‘Change we can kind of believe in after four years of not much change at all really.’ After dispatching both bin Laden and Gaddafi in 2011, Obama feels under pressure to topple another dictator before the end of the year. In December he sends a covert unit of troops to kidnap Kim Jong-un while the North Korean leader attends an anniversary feast for the passing of his father.

However, a full year in power has seen the young man balloon to epic proportions due to his gluttonous diet, including consuming over 80 percent of the country’s sugar stockpile during one particularly decadent golfing weekend (when incidentally he also beat his late father’s world record by 17 strokes). The tyrant is too heavy for the American soldiers to lift and they are forced to leave without him. Unfortunately all forty of them perish an hour later when their helicopter accidentally fires at itself having mistaken a passing seagull for a North Korean stealth bomber.

Wikileaks later reveals that the kidnap plot was simply a ruse to begin a ‘liberation’ of North Korea, after it emerged that an extremely rare ore that Apple uses to make the limited edition Hello Kitty carrier case for the iPad is found exclusively in the foothills outside Pyongyang.

The Arab world continues to suffer massive political and social unrest as its citizens voice their opposition to totalitarian rule via social media. Trending tags on Twitter for the year include #MarchLikeAnEgyptian, #Don’tBeATahrirSquare, and #Don’tBahrainOnMyParade. Unfortunately the Islamic autocrats strike back by creating a Facebook page called ‘That awkward moment when you get your hands chopped off for engaging in political dissent on Twitter’, which soon silences most of the protesters.

Civil disorder continues in the West also, with the Occupy Movement growing ever larger. Police in New York run into difficulties as the protesters on Wall Street build up an immunity to pepper spray. As the crowds increase and become more vocal each day, eventually the cops take drastic action. They erect massive television screens around the area and begin to air Kim Kardashian’s new reality show, which revolves around her eight-week search for a new personal trainer for her cat, O.J. The tactic works as the protesters dwindle in number, though the large number of deaths by self-immolation recorded mark a tragic end to proceedings.

Meanwhile the stock market traders have endless fun laughing at the occupiers. When they’re not busy burying dead hookers in shallow graves, or telling CNN that we’ve entered our sixth recession of the week, they spend their days throwing staplers and bags of substandard cocaine at the protesters from the windows of their luxurious offices. They even respond to the famous ‘We are the 99%’ slogan with a giant banner of their own that says ‘We are the 11% and we don’t give a shit.’ It takes them three weeks to realise their mistake.

The entertainment world continues to provide reasons to welcome the warm glow of the apocalypse during the year. The top grossing film is The Hangover Part III, which simply consists of the lads sitting around a breakfast table having a fry and some Solpadeine, and arguing over who paid for the taxi the previous night for an hour and a half. Lady GaGa takes an indefinite hiatus from making music as she is committed to an institution after turning up at the Grammys wearing Elizabeth Taylor’s skin. Though criticised by many, the look goes on to influence much of Karl Lagerfeld’s acclaimed ‘Eau de Cleopatra’ fashion line that takes catwalks by storm over the summer.

Overall, 2012 is little more than another crushingly disappointing vignette illustrating the woeful state that the human race finds itself in. This time next year will see us looking back on even more misery and despair that has been heaped upon us by the ambivalent teet of the universe that we have suckled until dry and withered, and unable to provide us with anything but empty hopes and crushed dreams. On the plus side though, the new Batman film turns out to be awesome, so it all balances out really.


Aggrieving On A Jet Plane

The prominent actor, outspoken liberal activist and Alpha-Baldwin, Alec, was kicked off an American Airlines flight this week for apparently refusing to turn off his phone when asked to do so prior to takeoff. According to the airline, Baldwin was ‘extremely rude’ and used ‘offensive language’, as well as slamming a bathroom door. Obviously recalling from their intense training regimen that these are all telltale signs that one is dealing with an agitated Muslim terrorist, the air stewards had the 30 Rock star duly removed from the plane.

While Baldwin’s actions may seem a little juvenile, dealing with frustration while flying is something we can all relate to, given how complicated and exasperating the whole process has become. Before post-9/11 paranoia and the growth of the budget airline, air travel was an altogether more enjoyable experience. There were only a few minor inconveniences, like being told they had run out of extra pillows, finding a fly in your tiny can of Coke, or realising you were on the same flight as a member of the Kennedy family.

These days, however, the whole affair is an ordeal that begins the second you enter the airport. After spending half an hour figuring out that your check-in desk, despite being assigned a number, is located in the most counter-intuitive location possible relative to any kind of sequential order, you are then required to converse with one of the check-in staff, who are all legally required to fulfil a daily quota of blank stares interspersed with unnecessary questions. If your bag is in any way bag-sized, or has a physical mass, you will be told it is unacceptable. Apparently baggage holds in aeroplanes nowadays are so small that the handlers essentially have to play a massive game of Tetris to get half of them in, after which they simply throw the other half in a ditch.

After completing this phase of the hellish experience, you next have to negotiate the security checks, an activity so enjoyable that you often have to queue for the privilege. Here you’ll be stripped of your jacket, watch, belt, shoes and most probably sanity, after which you’ll still set off the metal detector and have to be patted down by some giant of a man who spends most of his day being paid to sit in a chair and read The Daily Star. It is here that the staff will also ensure that you have only brought liquids in amounts that are too small to be of any practical use to you, and that they are all sealed in Ziploc bags, which everyone knows are far too difficult to simply reopen whenever you want. Maybe they should just force suspicious-looking passengers to travel entirely encased in massive Ziploc bags; it would save the rest of us all this hassle.

Eventually, after walking half the length of the terminal to get to your gate, all the while being overtaken by suspiciously healthy and mobile looking old women getting a free ride on those little trucks, you might actually manage to get on the plane so you can complete your journey. Here you’ll be met by the air attendants, who are rivalled only by prostitutes and Burger King employees when it comes to lack of enthusiasm for the job at hand. Their half-hearted display of the safety procedures performed before takeoff looks like Lindsay Lohan and her mates trying to do the Macarena at four in the morning after a particularly crack-heavy evening.

It is at this point that your shitfaced pilot will wake up for just long enough to drawl something unintelligible into the intercom before heading back to sleep and letting the autopilot fly the whole way. Of course any time you are about to doze off yourself you’ll doubtlessly be awoken by an aggressively loud intercom message hawking scratchcards, or an announcement from the cabin crew that if you want a hot meal, well you should have asked ten minutes ago because service is now over.

When you’ve finally landed, there is a brief, overwhelming feeling of relief that you haven’t been killed by your drunken pilot, a gigantic ash cloud, or the guy with the beard who got out of his Ziploc bag at one stage to go to the toilet. However, this soon gives way to an inevitable unease at the prospect of having to repeat the whole endeavour on the return journey.

It seems a little churlish to complain so much about the modern miracle that is air travel; to have the luxury of sitting in a chair travelling at about 600 miles an hour, 40 thousand feet in the air, complaining that most of your salted peanuts aren’t nearly salted enough is a ridiculous feat when you think about it.

The point is, though, that such an incredibly successful and marvellous industry should retain some of the glitz, charm and sense of occasion of its halcyon days. The gamut of influential pioneers in the world of aviation stretches from the innovation of the Chinese and the genius of da Vinci, via the bravery of the Wright brothers and the passion of Howard Hughes, all the way to, eh, some brazen, greedy little shite from Mullingar who would charge people for a life vest if he could get away with it. What a shame. I think next time I’ll just get the boat. I might even run into Alec, and we can while away the hours playing on our phones and drinking regular amounts of liquids. Oh how we’ll laugh as we sit back and watch the foolish planes fly overhead, bedecked in the finest sailing hats and drunk on sea-air and no little amount of the finest Irish whiskey, drifting into the sunset as on a cloud of serenity and peacefulness. I really need to get out more…