A Shitty Year Comes to an End

In her Christmas address, the Queen has called 2005 a “terrible year” as she recalled all the natural and human-made disasters this year. For his part, (creepy-looking) Pope Benedict urged the world to unite against terrorism. In short, aside from a few individual, personal successes for some, 2005 will likely go down as having been a shitty year.

It’s even been bad for ultra-conservative U.S. Republicans, whose ethical shortcomings and inept manner of governing have been exposed. So when I read this story about how large telecommunications firms have collaborated in “storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the U.S. government” since September 2001, I couldn’t help but feel that the “greater world” around us all has become a sadder place in recent years. Given the aforementioned ethical shortcomings and the general slanderous polical culture that prevails, claims that “the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to al-Qaeda” ring hollow. So many who just happen to be swarthy or disagree with GWB’s administration have been labelled “terrorists” that the term itself has become devoid of meaning.

I’m reminded again of the way I closed one of my blog entries on the eve of the second Iraq war.

I’ve been alive long enough to recognize that the present moment never seems as rosy and glamourous and happy as the moments we keep in our memory vault. I also know that the passage of time softens the edges of our memories and makes us view them with more sentimentality than we ought to view them. But never before have I had such a strong feeling that these days are not producing the foundation for what will become memories to which we will look back with any fondness.

I wrote that nearly three years ago. Normally I’m a cautious optimist. But when I re-read that paragraph, I feel things have only gotten worse, not better.

Sorry for the downer on this Christmas Day. But like I said many times before, Christmas is just another day for me, and it just so happens it’s grey and foggy here today, so this reflection came to mind upon reading the news today at cbc.ca. It just seems that, while not economic this time, we’re going through the 21st century’s Great Depression.

Not Such a Great Deal

Just before Christmas, I bought myself the cheapest DVD player I could find. Because my TV set is quite old, I also had to get a converter to plug the player in. Unfortunately, two of the movies I rented for my Christmas Home Film Festival didn’t work in this new player. Well… they did, except for the sound. I even rushed over to Video Difference last night before it closed in order to swap one of them, but that didn’t change anything. In the setup menu of each movie, there’s the option of several languages including English and whether or not subtitles should be on or off. For one movie, I couldn’t navigate and select on those menus; for the other, the English and French included a super-dooper state-of-the-art Dolby surround-sound option. So I got all the background noises but no dialogue. When I tried one of the DVDs on my alt.home.office computer, it worked, but I’m not crazy about sitting at a computer to watch a movie.

I’ll have to decide what I want to do with this cheap DVD player. The problem might be a function of my old TV set, which I’m not about to replace, meaning that getting the next-up DVD player won’t fix anything. Also, I’m not planning on going to the store the first day it reopens after Christmas, since it’s going to be a madhouse. So I’m really not sure what I’ll do. 🙁