Since this is my first post of the new year, I thought I'd look back on 2015 and offer a few thoughts about the year that just ended. 2015 was certainly a year with plenty of newsworthy events-- beginning with mega snowstorms in Massachusetts-- a record 108.6 inches, and ending with the unexpected (and to some of us, dismaying) rise of Donald Trump. In between, there was my trip out to Phoenix to attend a baseball conference and give a talk about one of the first female baseball writers, Ina Eloise Young; the final leg of the Rush R-40 tour (of all the blog posts I wrote in 2015, http://dlhalperblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/just-another-mad-mad-day-on-road-some.html was my most-read post of the year); a visit to Toronto to meet some of the cast of my favorite TV show, "Murdoch Mysteries" (which broadcasts in the US as "The Artful Detective"); and the multitude of worried online posts following the (false) rumor that Neil Peart was retiring from Rush.
At the university where I teach, I began my seventh year. In February, I celebrated my 68th birthday, and in March, my husband and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. (And in addition to running his computer repair company, my husband took up baking as a new hobby; he proved to be quite successful-- I wish you could all sample his homemade peach or apple pies!) But throughout the year, I had a number of health issues to contend with, including my ongoing recovery from cancer. And while my battle with cancer was going well, several friends of mine lost theirs, including super-Rush fan Cheryl Collins Arndts. In the celebrity world, I was saddened by the passing of folksinger/actor Theodore Bikel, comedienne Anne Meara of Stiller & Meara, baseball great Yogi Berra, actor Leonard Nimoy, and pro wrestler Dusty Rhodes (when I was growing up, I loved to watch professional wrestling, and years later, thanks to my broadcasting career, I got to meet some of the wrestlers, including Chief Jay Strongbow, Bob Backlund, Superstar Billy Graham, and André the Giant; I met Dusty too, and he was a lot of fun to talk to).
Much has been written about politics, including some commentary of my own, but suffice it to say that 2015 had a number of surprises that even confounded so-called "experts." While most of the media coverage was focused on Republican Donald Trump, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders mobilized the left wing of the Democratic party, including many young people; Sanders' improbable campaign, fueled largely by online donations, attracted far less media attention than Trump's, but it consistently attracted huge crowds and passionate supporters. And Jeb Bush, bolstered by a Super-Pac that spent millions of dollars on his behalf, got no traction at all with conservative voters.
For Boston sports fans, there was the joy of the Patriots winning another Super Bowl, followed by the ongoing drama about "Deflategate," with accusations that Tom Brady had been guilty of cheating, by using under-inflated footballs. While nationally, the media and fans in other cities were certain Brady was guilty, in Boston, the quarterback maintained his status as a local hero who could do no wrong; the more the national media criticized him, the more his local popularity grew (similar in some ways to what happened each time the media criticized Donald Trump and his supporters rallied around him even more strongly than before). Meanwhile, American fans were excited about the U.S. Women's soccer team, which won the World Cup, dominating Japan in the final match and winning 5-2. (But professional soccer remained far less important in the U.S. than in other countries, where it continued to be a national obsession. In the US, other than following the Olympic teams, most fans preferred American football.)
In pop culture, former Olympian Bruce Jenner announced his transition to becoming a woman, and re-appeared in June on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, using her new identity as Caitlin Jenner. Late night TV experienced several major changes, when David Letterman retired from hosting the Late Show (replaced by Stephen Colbert), and John Stewart retired from hosting the Daily Show (replaced by Trevor Noah). And in music, there were top-40 hits I hoped I'd never hear again (really tired of "Shut Up and Dance," thank you very much), while I admit to being glad that Adele returned to the charts. Meanwhile, Rush fans worried that they might never see their favorite band perform live ever again, but that still remains to be seen-- something we'll know more about in 2016, I'm sure.
I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions-- most people just break them, and I'm sure I'd be no exception. So instead of a resolution, I'll close with some wishes: I wish for a new year of less name-calling and more civility, both in politics and online. I wish for a new year of more tolerance and less blaming of "them"-- whichever person or group is supposedly the cause of all our problems. And finally, a special wish for all of you who have read my blog this past year: may you enjoy good health, good friends, and good fortune throughout 2015. And may all your new year wishes and dreams come true.