I'd like to combine my annual 2005 year in review with a traditional Christmas song. Let's skip ahead to the final verse, and please feel free to sing along:
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: Twelve celebrity break-ups. Brad Pitt and Jennifer, Nick and Jessica Simpson, little sister Ashlee Simpson and Ryan, Charlie Sheen and Denise, Katie Holmes and Chris Klein (yes, the same Katie spawning a baby with Tom Cruise also this year), Ellen DeGeneres and Alexandra Hedison, Katie Couric and Tom Werner, Lindsay Lohan and Wilmer, Mary-Kate Olsen and David, Renee Zellweger and Jack, Nicky Hilton and Todd, Paris Hilton and Nick (and then Man-Paris, but who's counting?). Omigosh, these were all so unexpected!!
Eleven averaged losses. The week before Christmas saw the Raiders at 4-10 and the Niners at 2-12. Maybe we can work out a water-for-winning-football-strategies deal with Southern California.
Ten lame producers. Gwen Stefani's debut solo album "Love. Angel. Music. Baby." had ten producers -- none of whom, apparently, had the gumption to point out how mind-numbingly stupid the lyrics to "Hollaback Girl" were.
Nine Drug-Fighting Farm Teams. The Illinois DA office issued grants to nine high school Future Farmers of America chapters to help raise awareness and fight methamphetamine traffic, because of the role that agricultural fertilizer anhydrous ammonia plays in meth production. Who says the FFA can't be cool?
Eight pets for jilting. First boyfriends, then sidekicks, now pets. God help me, I can't stay away from Paris Hilton news. By my count, there are eight rumored pets that she's toted about, then tossed: Tinkerbell the Chihuahua, a "cuter" dog, two more tiny dogs, a ferret, Baby Luv the kinkajou (it's not a monkey!!), a baby kangaroo she supposedly had the sense to ship back to Australia when she learned they can get mean as adults, and a goat everyone seems afraid to speak of. 2015 Prediction: Paris' biological clock starts ticking and she turns her "flavor of the week" impulses toward having, then misplacing, children.
Seven major hurricanes. This ranks right up there with fast food gift cards and cotton underwear as a crummy gift idea, but that's what the 2005 Atlantic storm season gave us. Someone please tell the 2006 storm season that "less is more" and that, honestly, it's the thought that counts.
Six geese a-laying. Celebrity couples who had or hatched eggs in 2005: Tom and Katie, Brooke Shields, Gwen Stefani, Britney Spears, Bennifer 2.0, and "the Donald". There were actually so many more celebrities having kids in '05 that I've been starting to feel like L.A. was undergoing a spawning year, much like when the cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years back east.
Five doses of Tamiflu!
Four steroid scandals. Baseball. Basketball. High schools. And now, classical musicians. According to NPR, orchestras are under pressure to play faster and louder than ever before... and are turning to steroids to pump themselves up. '06 Prediction: steroid-induced rages cause brawls between home teams and marching bands nationwide.
Three months of French riots. Since October "angry youths" have been rioting in poor French suburbs. Debuting French director/video gamer/unhappy youth Alex Chan used a video game to make a short film called The French Democracy. Chan says, "It's a little ironic... that these youths, for now, have preferred using petrol bombs rather than vote ballots to make themselves heard." Meanwhile, here in America, Land of Examples, our politicians continue to use lawyers and PR spin doctors to assault each other in a non-stop, lying, finger-pointing free-for-all that is about as productive as the French riots. If I click on C-Span and watch one more Senator whining about how they never supported something their voting record clearly shows they did, I swear I'm gonna write to Prime Minister Villepin and ask him to send French SWAT teams to Capitol Hill.
Two frozen turtles. This week, a little newspaper in Troy, Alabama ran a heart warming story (no pun intended) about two pet turtles left outside overnight who froze into solid blocks of ice in their plastic travel aquarium... and survived. I want to live in a town so peaceful that "the night the Watkins boy left his turtles on the back porch" goes down in history.
And a Tom Cruise rant on psychiatry!
Have a very merry Christmas, everyone, and may your 2006 be full of peace and happiness.
Comments and sightings of undercover narcotics agents posing as market hogs to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the Saturday, December 24, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.