Happy News Year

The year in review, slightly askew.

Take 2006, please. It was the Year of the Macaca but not the cojones: The Seahawks' Jerramy Stevens took a knee in his, then got fined for it. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant got no respect either when she opened a manslaughter case with "Gooooo Seahawks!" and was promptly admonished by the state Judicial Conduct commission. Speaking your mind can be a mistake, especially when you act like an idiot, Mel. I mean, ask Kramer! (Ever see the "Seinfeld" re-run where Kramer brings a heckler to Jerry's standup performance? Seinfeld handles it so deftly he's called "the Rosa Parks of comedy." Irony is not dead!). Speaking of parallel universes, Mike McGavick thought honesty was the best policy, yet that old drunk-driving case ran him off the campaign trail. (But how serious do we take senatorial races anyway - didn't Michael Goodspaceguy Nelson and Mike the Mover get a combined 18,000 votes?). Pluto got demoted to dwarf planet in '06 and Rummy was knocked down to size, too, though he probably saw it coming: "I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started." Got it! George Bush was defeated again, this time by his own party. Hugo Chavez didn't take to him well, either. "The devil came here yesterday," said the Venezuelan strongman, wrinkling his nose. "In this very spot it smells like sulfur still." Bill Gates, meanwhile, smelled opportunity. Chinese President Hu Jintao visited with Bush of course. But, as an astonished Jon Stewart noted on The Daily Show, Hu "stopped off in the other Washington to meet with a more important person, Bill Gates. He literally met with Bill Gates before our president." (It wasn't exactly a human rights koffee klatch - Amnesty International discovered that Microsoft has helped spur a "dramatic rise in the number of people detained or sentenced for Internet-related offenses" in China, which uses Microsoft technology to ban such words as "democracy," "Tibet," and, yes, "human rights"). Even the late Gerald Ford took a parting shot at Bush: "I don't think I would have ordered the Iraq war," the oldest-living-then-dying ex-accidental President said, then sheepishly told Bob Woodward he could only be quoted from the grave. Mayor Greg, on the other hand, isn't going quietly, shouting out the merits of his Alaskan Way tunnel construction plan - you know, the end of waterfront life as we know it? - and warning that a viaduct rebuild would happen only "over my dead body!" Speaking of big lumps in the road, the Seattle Monorail Project was still with us, sweeping up the last of the carnage before taking its place in transportation history alongside the R.H. Thomson Expressway and the Boeing SST. In other time warps, Russia was still poisoning spies and Britney was still shedding husbands (and panties: "I probably did take my new found [sic] freedom a little too far," she wrote. "Anyway, thank God for Victoria's Secrets' [sic] new underwear line."). The ban on gay marriages continued - upheld by a state Supreme Court vote margin of one (yet resulting in six separate opinions and nearly 200 pages of argument). Still, Dick Cheney's gay daughter got pregnant, while Dick himself was nailing a hunting partner. Maybe Cheney didn't read his gun's warning label: Guns don't kill people, vice presidents do.The warning labels in Cobb County, Ga., meanwhile, were being affixed to biology books: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things." (Among other winners in the annual Wacky Warning Label Contest was the label on a kitchen knife: "Never try to catch a falling knife"). Then there was the P-I's daylight savings warning label of sorts: Turn the clock ahead at 2 a.m., but "if you dont want to stay up until 2 a.m., set your clock ahead before you go to bed." Well, maybe they were up anyway watching Rep. Rick Larsen on the Colbert Report, in which Stephen Colbert pointed out we're a medical marijuana state and asked Larsen, "Are you high right now?" No, said Larsen straight-faced, noting he could understand all questions. "Can you?" asked Colbert. "Because sometime it can impair your hearing when you smoke dope." In 2006 romance news, a 39-year-old female Washington State Patrol trooper and a 23-year-old male trooper cadet carried out a year of lust in patrol cars, through hundreds of text messages and at secret get-togethers including sessions in a guardhouse at the governor's mansion. (The WSP takes such playfulness seriously: The twosome got more severe punishment than the trooper who stopped a hospital-bound ambulance for speeding and the trooper who impounded a car without noticing the dead man inside).Speaking of grimmer news: Kyle Huff's seemingly spontaneous 2006 Capitol Hill killing spree turned out to have been a well-planned massacre waiting to happen, culturally: "Whether it was the music or a potential source of friendship," a police study observed, "Kyle Huff soon came to perceive the rave culture and climate as dangerous and evil..." Just as random and bizarre was the discovery of his suicide note in a trash bin a half-mile from his residence - found by a cop looking for a bomb (but he'd already gone off). The mentally ill Naveed Haq won't get the death penalty he gave a woman at the Jewish Federation Center in Seattle while, conversely, that was the fate of the mentally ill man who confronted a guy carrying a concealed handgun at Westlake Center: The cops called it justifiable homicide. ("It's kind of crazy," said an eyewitness who was handing out fliers for Lyndon LaRouche, referring either to the shooting or LaRouche). And now the 2006 sports headlines: Ichiro complaining, Sonics moving, Alexander ailing. Well, there's always bowling. WSU gridiron kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi gave radio announcers a workout, while Northern Colorado's backup punter Mitch Cozad gave cops a run for their money, after stabbing the team's No. 1 kicker in his kicking leg to win the starting job. Mike Tyson became a Vegas sideshow, charging admission to see him train for - well, just train. "I truly hate fighting," he said, chewing on something. Moving on, Al Gore made something of a comeback with his weather forecast for the future - Cloudy with Armageddon. (And stormwise, you have to think he's onto something after we learned a Seattle woman tragically drowned in her own basement). Also returning to the stage was prolific local car thief Ryan Wade-Everett, the star of countless TV high-speed chase broadcasts through the Eastside: He got seven years in stir for his last near get-away. (And darn, he had started out the day so well, stealing a car to meet with his corrections officer). Next, contenders for the lead of the year. First, from the AP: "North Bend, Wash. — A man who owned three McDonald's fast-food franchises crashed his truck on Interstate 90 early Wednesday, then got out, took his clothes off and stood in a traffic lane, where he was run over and killed." Maybe this one from Newsday: "Berlin -A self-confessed cannibal who killed and ate a willing victim faces a retrial Thursday after German courts deemed his original 8 ½-year sentence to be too lenient." Or was it this one from the Tacoma News Tribune? "A Puyallup-area woman charged with killing her husband told investigators she accidentally shot him once in the head and might have shot him again after her son urged her to put the writhing man out of his misery..." (Shooter Angela Ferguson is the mother of five, but that's no excuse, is it?). Speaking of loose cannons, Maria Carey seemed to be absently talking into her Blackberry as she read her acceptance speech at the Soul Train music awards, but supermodel Naomi Campbell out-teched her by assaulting her cat walker with a cell phone. Campbell's a three-striker - having also struck her administrative assistant and her personal assistant with telephones. But topping the list of high-tech mishaps was the driver, playing with his handheld computer, who caused a chain-reaction accident on Interstate 5 in Seattle. Curious, the Times asked its readers what odd things they might have done behind the wheel and they responded with: Playing the guitar, changing clothes, and making coleslaw. ("It's my signature dish to take to picnics and I'm always running late,"said Kathi Wilkerson of Mountlake Terrace). However, mixing cabbage was topped by ambidextrous people having sex behind the wheel - at 60 mph. And who said 2006 was anticlimatic? Happy New Year. 


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