The Year's Last Word

And so we have arrived at the 365th day: The dying embers of a storied year. The final chapter of a great book. The terminal toothpick of a once full box. The solitary cigarette of an exhausted pack. (Okay, okay, we get the picture!)

December 31, 2006: My Boston Terrier, Lucy, woke me up at 5:30 am. Outside in the predawn darkness I saw a light in the southern sky that looked like a bright star, but it turned out to be a UFO. I ran inside to get my camcorder; when I returned the light was gone and my dog had been replaced with an exact duplicate, which looks, sounds, smells, and acts every bit like the real Lucy. Yet I knew the truth, and continued to eye her throughout the rest of the morning with suspicion.

The final day of the year is a day of tying up loose ends. I began with a cup of coffee and my little green notebook, jotting down notes to myself of things I wished to accomplish before midnight. (I noticed "Lucy" following me around the house, also jotting down notes, which was unnerving because she was holding the pencil in her left paw and I know for a fact she's right handed!!)

Things to get done ... Balance the checkbook one final time to make sure I'm headed into 2007 in the black. Make sure the gutters are clean, the car oil levels are up to snuff, and the window washer fluid is full up. Listen to any Christmas albums I haven't yet had a chance to sample during the season. So this morning it was the Nutcracker spinning away on the turntable. Unfortunately, the turntable is old and it took some time for the speed to reach 33 1/3 RPM -- for a while it hovered at about 29 1/4, providing an interesting interpretation of Tchaikovsky's classic work.

Before looking ahead to the New Year, let's look back upon the old. It was a year full of surprises. Here are some of the top local news stories from 2006:

Rotary Missing

SAGAMORE - State Police report that the Sagamore Rotary has been stolen, most likely by a gang of thieves since the rotary was quite large. Police believe it was taken sometime in the early morning hours, before the rush hour traffic. All credible leads are being followed up, including the story of a rotary being seen briefly along Route 9 in Framingham where one had not existed before.

Bigfoot Sighting

DENNIS - A woman hanging clothes in her backyard witnessed what she described as a large, apelike man at the far end of her property. Apparently, the two stared at each other for the better part of a minute until the creature cautiously approached the woman, pulled a map from its back pocket, and asked the woman for directions to Route 28 in Yarmouth. It then ran off into a wooded area, with the woman shouting that he was heading in the wrong direction. Investigators on the scene discovered large footprints - perhaps as large as size 11 1/2 or 12 - and a number of cigarette butts at the spot where the creature had been standing. There was also the lingering smell of Axe cologne.

Solar Farm Wins Approval

BARNSTABLE - Developers have won initial approval to build a massive solar power farm in Nantucket Sound. Citing scientific studies that supposedly prove that "the sun shines brightest there," developers plan to install up to two hundred solar panels atop 400-foot towers positioned just offshore. Environmentalists opposed to the plan claim that the glare from the solar panels will confuse seabirds into thinking that the sun is below them rather than above them. As one opponent stated, "The one thing Cape Cod doesn't need is a population of mixed-up seagulls."

Which brings us to 2007. On a national/global scale, this is what I'd like to see accomplished:

Bin Laden -Wasn't he the guy who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks? What ever happened to capturing him? It's been more than five years. He's obviously hiding out somewhere in the hills of Pakistan, in which case at 6 foot 6 inches tall he must be the tallest person in all of Asia! The solution is simple - just have our spy satellites zero in on the longest shadow on the continent.

Ice Caps - They're melting! Every couple of months we hear of an ice sheet "the size of Rhode Island," or "the size of Manhattan," or "the size of Dorchester" falling off into the Arctic Ocean. We need to fix this problem. No worries - I hear the Canadian government, in conjunction with the National Hockey League, is in the process of sending a fleet of Zambonis to the Arctic to make new ice as we speak.

Gasoline - Prices are inching back up. Soon we'll be at $3 per gallon. I say, to improve our collective psyche, the oil companies should do what food producers have been doing for years - decrease the size of their product in lieu of raising prices. For instance, have you seen a Devil Dog these days? Or a Twinky? They're puny! So I propose that instead of selling gasoline by the gallon, it should be sold by the half gallon. That way, instead of seeing $3.19 at the pump we'll see prices like $1.59, just like in the old days! We'll be lulled into thinking we're paying less! And let's face it, in these strange times we need as much lulling as we can get.

Mars - We should all move to Mars as soon as possible. This planet Earth is nuts! With all the war, and terrorism, and outrageous credit card interest rates, and tabloid news, and TV commercials that make no sense, and "Dancing with the Stars," and Paris Hilton, and Tom Cruise, and TV evangelists, and the NHL rule changes, I'm fed up! Now that NASA has discovered water on Mars there's nothing to hold us back. Maybe when that light in the sky returns for "Lucy" I'll go with them. We'll swing by Route 28 to pick up Bigfoot and together we'll form a Utopian society on the red planet - a Walden Two of sorts, as in B.F. Skinner's book - a place where gasoline is $1.59 a half gallon, where checkbooks are always balanced, where Devil Dogs and Twinkys are full size, where seagulls can fly unconfused, and where the Nutcracker plays 24/7 throughout the holiday season.

Happy 2007! Oh and by the way, the last word according to Webster is "zymurgy."

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