Olympics, elections and horsing around in odd 2012
Presidential preening, golden Olympic gaffes, a royal windfall for a skydiving British queen on her diamond jubilee and the endless end of days marked the odd stories in 2012 which pranced across the news in “Gangnam Style.”
The year opened with a tale that flocks of magpies and bears had been spotted in mourning for North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il who died in December 2011 and was succeeded by his 20-something son Kim Jong-un.
Winter weather was so cold in Brussels that the Manneken-Pis, a bronze statue of a young boy urinating had to stop peeing because of sub-zero temperatures. There was slightly warming news about Mondays in Germany, where crematoriums are struggling to adapt to an increasingly obese population and a boom in extra-large coffins.
In March Polish media reported that kite surfer Jan Lisewski fought off repeated shark attacks and overcame thirst and exhaustion in a two-day battle of survival on the Red Sea with just his trusty knife as protection. “I was stabbing them in the eyes, the nose and gills.”
In other animal news, dairy cows across the world mourned the loss of “Jocko”, the world’s third most-potent breeding bull and Yvonne the German cow who evaded helicopter searches and dodged hunters landed a film deal: “Cow on the Run.”
A scathing resignation letter of a Goldman Sachs executive published in the New York Times inspired a sheaf of online spoofs, including Star Wars villain Darth Vader. “The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore,” Vader wrote in a published letter.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 60th year on the throne with Diamond Jubilee celebrations that saw a 1,000-ship rain-sodden flotilla sail down the River Thames, a massive party in front of Buckingham Palace, street parties across the country and a spoof incarnation of her majesty on Twitter.
“OK, fire up the Bentley. Let’s rock,” tweeted “Elizabeth Windsor,” the comic online alter ego of the British monarch in a typical tweet from the spoof Twitter account @Queen_UK, a virtual monarch with a razor-sharp wit and a penchant for gin.
And Twitter positively exploded with spoof royal accounts later in the year when Elizabeth’s grandson William and his wife Kate announced she was pregnant with a future monarch.
“I may not have bones yet, but I’m already more important than everyone reading this,” was the tweet from @RoyalFetus.
Leadership and change was a theme which ran through a year in which socialist Francois Hollande defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy and Mimi the clown to become French president, Vladimir Putin was elected Russian president again and US President Barack Obama won re-election over Republican Mitt Romney.
Sporting news was dominated by the London Olympics during the summer, where the opening ceremony included a vignette of Queen Elizabeth being escorted by James Bond before apparently skydiving into the Olympic stadium for her arrival. “Good evening Mr. Bond,” was her only line.
Towards the close of the year, tens of thousands of mystics, hippies and tourists celebrated in the shadow of ancient Maya pyramids in southeastern Mexico as the Earth survived a day billed by doomsday theorists as the end of the world.
Finally, a chubby, rapping singer with slicked-back hair and a tacky suit became the latest musical sensation to burst upon the world from South Korea, via a YouTube music video that has been seen more than a billion times. Decked out in a bow tie and suit jackets varying from pink to baby blue, as well as a towel for one sequence set in a sauna, Psy busts funky moves based on horse-riding in venues ranging from playgrounds to subways.
Resource: Today’s Zaman