Swans Commentary » swans.com December 14, 2009  



Perspectives: A Review of 2009


2009 And "Mooving" Ahead


by Steve Shay





(Swans - December 14, 2009)   According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2009 is the Year of the Cow. It is said in Chinese astrology that the Cow Year contains many unlucky stars. While I am a skeptic of mysticism, I believe that when the skies above intersect the logic within, then we must pay attention.

In 2009, Tiger Woods, perhaps the world's biggest sports star, was unlucky when caught with his iron in the 19th, 20th, and 21st holes. The big question remains with his lucrative endorsers: Will AT&T pull his plug? Will Gillette nick his neck? Will Nike yank his putter?

Roman Polanski gave birth to his masterpiece, Rosemary's Baby, in 1968. A decade later he bedded an infant. 2009 is the year the directing genius became shackled to his shack in Gstaad for his youthful indiscretion.

Not a great 2009 for Kung Fu Master-bator David Carradine, discovered dead, curled up in the closet of his Bangkok Swissôtel room, June 4, with one end of a shoelace tied around his penis and the other end around his neck. He was in the Venice-of-the-East to shoot his latest film, Stretch. If only it had stretched a little further. Of all places to self-asphyxiate. For the price of one karate lesson he could have hired a local pro to take his breath away.

When 2009 was in its first trimester, Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman Gutierrez, the "Octomom" and mother of 14, became a big star, but earned worldwide scorn for being a bit too fruitful while multiplying. Her eight babies may one day thank mom, who, by the way, looks exactly like Angelina Jolie, for bringing them into the world, or may instead scream in teen-aged angst-ridden disharmony, "We never asked to be born!" before slamming their bedroom doors.

Speaking of wombs, we all worried for two tense hours that Falcon Heene, the "boy in the balloon," glided through the clouds, but unluckily for his star-seeking parents, he admitted hiding in a cardboard box just eight feet above ground.

His parents, and the Salahi couple, those White House "gate-crashers," sought fame and fortune in reality TV shows via their unreal claims. They earned fame, but may not earn a fortune. Fate may have udder plans for these hoaxters.

The Year of the Cow was equally spotty here in Seattle for our two-term mayor, Greg Nickels. He served as president of the US Council of Mayors, yet lost his re-election bid at home, placing third behind two unknowns. Locals characterize him as the not really as bad as everyone says he is mayor, perhaps a clue to his bronze finish.

Nickels met his waterloo thanks to snow, lots of snow. An unheavenly storm event in otherwise soggy Seattle struck over Christmas. The trucks were not worth their salt, and the buses didn't run on time. Of course, that was back in the Year of the Rat.

Let's be Sirius. The brightest star to lose his sparkle in 2009 was Michael Jackson. With apologies to fans of the ever-endearing Soupy Sales, Michael was the King of Pop. And he did not earn his title for pitching Pepsi. He was the best in the world at what he did. However, he was hoist with his own petard, and was obsessed with recapturing his childhood by capturing children. He needed dope to get on stage and face the music and his make-believe world that scared others.

Yet the cloudy skies of 2009 has a lining of silver, as this year produced one unsuspecting sparkling star, someone who humbly, but not so quietly, sent herself soaring into our homes, headphones, and hearts, Susan Boyle, frumpy on the outside, beautiful diva on the inside.

Nowadays most successful singing sensations must look stunningly sexy on the outside before the record industry will give voice to their musical talent -- think Beyonce, Shakira, and Taylor Swift, vs. the Janis Joplins of the past. Boyle's success challenged that tired narrative. In its first week of release, which occurred at year's end, the 48-year-old star's new CD outsold all other records this year, including the Beatles' reissued classics. While the mega wattage of many stars vaporized in the Year of the Cow, Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream gives us reason to believe that some things are looking up.


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Internal Resources

Years in Review

Humor with a Zest

Short Stories & Plays

Arts & Culture


About the Author

Steve Shay was born in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1959. He is a full time photographer and reporter for Robinson News, Seattle, Washington. He lives in West Seattle with his girlfriend, Laura Wold, and their 9-year-old golden retriever Alice. Steve is the son of Swans contributor Art Shay and the rare-book dealer Florence Shay.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Some Lines In Favour Of A Troupe Of Buffalo Flying Over The White House Singing Pastoral Songs - Graham Lea

The Winter Of Liberal Discontent - Louis Proyect

Angry Men - Beligerent Women - Charles Marowitz

The First Obama Year: Business as Usual, but with a Friendlier Face - Gilles d'Aymery

Obama: Were We All Naïve? - Femi Akomolafe

2009: It Was What It Was - Jan Baughman

Notes From The Edge - Jeffery Klaehn

French 2009 Vintage - Marie Rennard

2010, The Make-Or-Break Year - Martin Murie

Failure Of Progressive Thought - Michael Barker

Year End Closet Sweep Out - Peter Byrne

The Official Policies - Michael Doliner

A 2009 Year-End Rant - Raju Peddada

Levi 1943 In Front Of Our 2009 - Multilingual Poetry by Guido Monte

Bilan Matin/Morning Appraisal - Poem by Simone Alié-Daram

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published December 14, 2009