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Like Sands Through The Hourglass

November 5, 2009
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2009 has been a weird year. Of course, every year is a weird year: it’s hard to keep 6.8 billion people busy doing boring things for 8766 hours straight. So this week I will be reminiscing about the year that’s been in typical last-issue cop-out style.

Taxes are boring, so let us begin with deaths. Every year sees a spate of celebrity deaths, some scandalous, some respectful. This leads many to wonder why so many celebrities have been dying ‘lately’. But not to worry, there are plenty more celebrities and so far there are no indications of a shortage. My pick for the best of the death roll in this International Year of Astronomy is Rashied Ali, drummer on the terrifyingly powerful duo album Interstellar Space with saxophone legend John Coltrane. Alicia de Larrocha, the greatest Spanish pianist of the 20th century, will also be sadly missed by the few people who actually still like that kind of music. In less obscure obituaries, Les Paul died, prompting me to remark “wow, he was still alive?”. With any luck his major inventions, such as overdubbed electric guitar parts, will some day find a use. Also: MJ, and KHAAAN.

Architect of Vietnamese death Robert McNamara and hero of anti-warmongers Walter Cronkite both died this year, as did dynastic politician Ted Kennedy. But this year also saw the birth of a new type of politician, as Kenyan president Barack Obama stole John Key’s innovative slogans about the need for change. John Key’s commitment to change produced a strong leadership decision to not change his party’s vote on the legality of smacking despite the huge popular opinion gains that could have easily been his. Obama’s early achievements were summed up best by the Onion headline “Congress Deadlocked Over How To Not Provide Health Care”. Meanwhile, Fiji, which really does need a change, is still stuck with some egotistical military leader who is so incompetent he says it will take him until 2014 to organize an election. Local government hero Rodney Hide showed how easily it can be done by singlehandedly uniting the splintered factions of Auckland city.

A change to a city name spurred beloved Dancing with the Stars genius Michael Laws to action when he organized a coup to save the people of Wanganui from a local militia of child soldiers bearing the dreaded H. Local Laws wannabe Deborah made it into the newspapers by suggesting a Nazi-style solution to mental health, while Lincoln University students got their 15 minutes by staging a Nazi party march. The UCSA managed to annoy just about everyone with their dodgy handling of the student fee/levy increase, retroactive executive pay increases and unethical election behaviour. The society will now be split into a scandal wing and a management wing, following the advice of noted consultant G. Reid.

After a security guard broke both arms hooning around on his Segway the University tried in vain to convince students that anyone going on a car rally could expect a similar fate. The worst race riots in New Zealand history, incited by the few pieces of racist decoration that were not censored by the Undy organizers, caused the resignation of many UC security personnel, who will now be replaced by English PhD students with advanced knowledge of semiotics. Fortunately, copycats in the North Island were convinced not to run the Lundy 500, which police feared could cause thousands of casualties.

Fear was struck into the hearts of many Dunedin residents by the thought of students getting drunk on the streets, but they had plenty of other things to worry about this year. The apocalypse seems to be progressing smoothly, with piggish plagues, earthquakes, dust storms, bush fires and global warming all increasing in frequency and intensity. The only real question now is whether the world will end in flames before the country is taken over by the astoundingly persuasive leaders who tricked hundreds of otherwise sane people into hanging out on beaches in the path of a tsunami. Fear of the financial crisis led to irrational behaviour by many citizens, causing serious bankruptcy concerns for both the Auckland and Christchurch Dave Hendersons, whose only route to victory now seems to be to form the giant robot HENDERTRON, mortal enemy of the IRD and other business-hating private armies.

Speaking of private armies, the US private army system has been having a hard time in Afghanistan and Iraq this year, and an insane plan to move Guantanamo Bay inmates to US prisons after fair trials was averted only after Republicans pointed out that the inmates, even if they weren’t proven enemies of America before being captured, certainly will be now that they’ve been tortured for years. North Korea was convinced not to nuke the world after Bill Clinton conducted a secret mission to Pyongyang, complete with an elaborate cover story about freeing some journalists, to give Kim Jong Il some tips for seducing interns. A private army also rolled into Auckland and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths when a woman on a tank turned out to be hiding nuclear warheads in her bikini top.

In sports, after some Sri Lankan cricketers were shot at in Pakistan the International Cricket Council realized that there is more to sport than money, and let Shane Bond play again. Sadly New Zealand cricket was forced to sacrifice him soon afterwards in an elaborate pagan ritual to replenish Daniel Vettori’s demonic powers. The Silver Ferns lost a close series to Australia as well as a bunch of other games, prompting coach Ruth Aitken to resign, while All Blacks coach Graham Henry was forgiven for only losing a few games because of the poor quality of players available to him, and also due to the fact that at least we beat Australia. A poorly-publicised boxing match between two New Zealand boxers turned out to be the sporting highlight of the year, but as it was not even high-profile enough to make it onto Sky Sport only a few people actually saw it.

But of the approximately eight million moments that make up this Year of Our Lord two-thousand and nine, the most important was undoubtedly John Key’s appearance on the David Letterman show. The astonishingly assured Key dazzled everyone during this detailed interview, showing the world just how unrealistic the Flight of the Conchords is, and how deeply serious our country is. His explanation of New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme has changed the entire world’s views on climate change policy overnight, transforming intractable discussions into a clearly articulated plan that will unite the world like nothing before. Undoubtedly a Nobel Peace Prize will not be long in arriving for the man who will be remembered as our boldest ever leader.

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