So this is X-mas

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Michael Rutschky

Published: January 8, 2006

Here we are again.  Back from the break, a brand new school schedule to rush headfirst into like a medieval gauntlet run. 

A brand new year filled with new resolutions, many of which sadly won’t make it to see New Year’s Eve 2007, but let’s hope that the important ones go unbroken. 

How did the last year go out?  Well publicly I’d say it left on a bit of a sour note. 

A gaggle of public figures departed just before the ball dropped, beginning with the entertaining but maniacally temperamental James Brown who died on Christmas Day. 

Next was Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States.  Ford was soon followed by Saddam Hussein, who was executed Saturday, the 30th (Friday for us in the western hemisphere). 

I haven’t watched the execution video, out of respect for. well respect for something.  I just have a hard time accepting something like a hanging as entertainment.  But that doesn’t mean other people do.

I mean it’s common knowledge that people love their violence.  The video itself was blowing up YouTube; the kind of voyeuristic death fetish film that the whole family can watch and wave a flag along to. 

Just now as I googled “Saddam Execution” I found two related headlines that are worth mentioning. 

The first is from the Edmonton Sun, and reads “Boy, 10, dies while mimicking execution”. 

I was stunned.  Apparently the boy hanged himself from his bunk bed after watching news footage on the execution.  His uncle commented, saying that he thinks the boy might not have been able to really understand that what he saw in the news footage was real. 

Were our kids really watching while that man got flung off the gallows?  Are we that infatuated with death that our kids are imitating wartime executions that they absorbed from the same medium that sends them Ashlee Simpson and Fruity Pebbles?  Was this serendipitous killing of America’s Frankenstein worth that kid’s life? 

All I can say is that someone’s New Years resolution should be “fix the V-Chip”.  Or better yet, I’d like to see one of these TV news networks (this is a newspaper, TV is the enemy) stand up and say “maybe we don’t have to air the video.  Maybe we can just report on it.”

The next headline I see is “Bush Wished Saddam Execution Was More Dignified”.  Bwa-?  Bush who?  Bush, the guy who makes the bean commercials, right?  With the talking dog?  

So, yes, a bit of a sour note I suppose.  And then on New Year’s Eve I’m flipping channels and see antiquated footage of the godfather of soul tearing through one of his hits from the 1960s. 

But the joy is short lived as soon after Ryan Seacrest fades in and says “Amazing!  Now that is James Brown at his finest!  Okay, now let’s check in with Fergie.”  Thanks Ryan Seacrest, thanks for reminding me how much music sucks right now. 

But in spite of all this, I made a killing over the holidays. 

First I celebrated Chanukkah with my girlfriend, then Christmas with my family, bringing my total present count to 73 and total candy to 812. 

Mostly I just sat around and lapsed back into Beatlemania, watching the entire Beatles Anthology, A Hard Days Night, and listening to all their records multiple times.  Why?  Because I didn’t have any columns to write. 

But, like I said before, it’s time to jump back into the double-dutch of the school semester. 

So to you, dear reader, good luck with the next 16 weeks and with the next year as a whole.  I’m actually pretty optimistic about 2007.