Ah, 2015! What an eventful year.
Marred by the wilful decimation of fellow human beings, this year has once again shown how adept the human race is at causing its own demise. We love harming one another.
France was a particularly popular place for getting executed by people of Arab origin who take their religious beliefs way too seriously: 2015 started with two gunmen shooting up the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper as part of a series of coordinated attacks in Paris during which 17 people were killed. Later in the year, on Friday, the 13th of November, another series of terrorist attacks across Paris left 130 people dead, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt that left 224 civilians dead in October.
All of this is chicken feed compared to the ongoing spate of mass murders by fellow militant nutjobs like Boko Haram in shitholes such as Nigeria and Cameroon, or the continuing acts of terrorism by the Taliban, al-Quaeda and ISIS Daesh in places like Ankara, Beirut, Kenya, Tunisia, Yemen, or San Bernardino, USA.
The fewest of these incidents were covered by Western media because it would appear that #blacklivesmatter only if they’re African-American .
Further ethnic clashes took place across Israel, South Africa (where it’s called xenophobia) and Charleston, South Carolina (where it’s branded as racism).
Over 9000 people got killed in an earthquake in Nepal.
In another humanitarian crisis, Germany’s population increased by about 1% as it took in scores of refugees who had risked life and limb to flee civil war and terrorism for the greener pastures of Europe. Untold thousands died en route.
People of note who passed away during the year include singers Percy Sledge, Ben E. King, Demis Roussos, Steve Strange (Visage), Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate), Motörhead’s “Lemmy” Kilmister as well as blues legend B.B. King. Film director Wes Craven, actors Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee and Omar Sharif, novelist Terry Pratchett, film score composer James Horner, bargain bin band leader James Last, and wisecracking baseball legend Yogi Berra also checked out.
Cecil the lion got killed. We also bid farewell to Michele Ferrero, the inventor of Nutella and Chuck Forsberg, the creator of the ZMODEM protocol.
Another 249 people died when depressed and suicidal German Airbus co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the pilot out of the cockpit and went kamikaze into the French Alps.
Han Solo got killed in what is undeniably the most anticipated movie of the last few years, having crashed his Millennium Falcon private plane into a golf course earlier in the year.
My computer and both of my cars also died this year. I reluctantly upgraded to a new PC with Windows 7 not long before Microsoft decided everyone must switch to Windows 10.
The internet couldn’t agree on the colour of a dress.
The pope visited the USA, a country where you can now marry a man — or a woman.
Two people committed suicide after they found their addresses were included in the list of leaked names following the Ashley Madison hack. FIFA’s Sepp Blatter finally got the boot amidst corruption charges while Volkswagen’s reputation got banged after they got bust cheating on emission tests.
China issued its first ever “red alert” for air pollution.
On a more positive note, a deal was reached in April wherein Iran would convert and reduce its nuclear facilities, and in December the rest of the world agreed to reduce greenhouse gases at COP21 in Paris.
In 2006, we launched a probe to the furthest planet in our solar system. By the time it got there in mid-2015, it wasn’t a planet anymore; Pluto had since been demoted to a dwarf planet (a plutoid). Still, the probe sent fantastic images back home.
Meanwhile on Mars, traces of flowing water were discovered.
A judge ruled that we’re allowed to sing “Happy Birthday” without fear of getting sued. K-mart background music tapes from the early 90’s became a hit at the Internet Archive where you can also play your favourite DOS Games — inside a browser!
I got rid of the last traces of what used to be a VHS collection and ripped another batch of audio tapes. As of December you can stream the Beatles via Spotify and similar.
At the opposite end of the scale, vinyl has seen its largest sales numbers in two decades.
Other personal victories of the year included watching the first three seasons of “Grimm”
(in English, of course) and the pleasure of binging on the entire series of “Breaking Bad”.
I finally got to see (what remains of) my favourite band live, and I met several fellow Discogs users in real life. My wife sold another four paintings.
2015 was the hottest year on record.
So, since there is no snow at home this Christmas time, here’s a different bevy of the obligatory annual X-mas Babes.
PS: Discogs is where I expect to be spending much of next year.