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It's the End of the World and I Feel Fine
January 2012 by Somebody

Here we are a few days into 2012 and so far the planet isn't crumbling to pieces. Is that all you got, ancient Mayans? Bring it on!

Seriously, here's what I think about the whole 2012 end-of-the-world thing: Just because the Mayan calendar ends with 2012, doesn't mean the world is going to end this year. I mean, the calendar had to end somewhere, didn't it? Was it supposed to go on forever? Don't our wall calendars end with December every year? And even if they did predict the end of the world, the ancient Mayans were pretty barbaric with the human sacrifices and whatnot, so I personally would not put a whole lot of credence in what their high-priest muckamucks had to say.

I admit this end-of-the-world thing has been beat to death, so forgive me for going there one last time. Maybe we'll check the world again later in the year and make sure it's still there. After that we'll have to find some new stupid thing to fixate on.

Personally, I'll be glad when we make it to 2013. Then maybe we can stop stashing away our canned goods and survivalist gear and get on with the business of progressing as a society. I mean, if you think about it, the last couple of decades have been a time of never-ending forecasts of doom.

It started with the year 2000, which Prince had claimed in his famous song, "1999," would be the end of everything. That was also the year of the Y2K scare, in which our high-tech best and brightest claimed that, as the year rolled over to 2000, all computers world-wide would simply stop working. This would result in a catastrophic collapse of our infrastructure and economy, and plunge society into a nightmare scenario of Mad-Max-style chaos.

That didn't happen, of course, and the techies proudly proclaimed that they had saved the world as a result of all their hard work. Thanks, guys. You can stop patting yourselves on the back now.

The following year, 2001, had been depicted in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey as the year mankind makes contact with highly advanced extraterrestrials, which results in the final alien-induced stage of mankind's evolution. Cerebral stuff, for sure. This was not necessarily a prediction of doom, but it helped to form the idea in our collective consciousness that 2001 was a year in which some hugely significant event might occur.

As it turned out, 2001 made good on its promise and delivered the horrific events of 9-11. To those of us listening to the radio and watching TV on the morning of 9-11-01, it really did seem like the end of the world, or at least like the end of the United States. Adding to the doom and gloom in the following years were the two expensive wars and a prolonged economic recession from which we have yet to emerge.

Now we have reached the over-hyped year of 2012 and so far everything looks okay, although some people say the Mayan-predicted end isn't scheduled to occur until December of this year. That's eleven more months of suspense, but it also gives you more time to cross items off your bucket list.

As far as I'm aware of, there has been no new date set for an event of impending doom, so maybe that's a good sign for planet Earth. I don't know about you, but I could use a nice long era of optimism, creativity, peace, and tranquility. We've got real problems that need to be addressed, like climate change, economic inequality, corporate power in government, and the dangers of bioengineering and other forms of advanced technology. If we could stop getting ready for the apocalypse for five minutes, maybe we'd have time to work on some of those issues.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, I guess I'll come down from my pulpit and talk about what's been going on with the website.

We are definitely looking more like a real website now, and the most obvious change is the new logo on the home page, which I just added a few days ago. You might be wondering if we hired a team of high-paid designers to come up the new lettering. The answer -- of course not! We have no money here at Somebody's Webpage. That's just another cheapo font from the $10 CD I bought at Office Depot several years ago. Funny what some lettering can do to make a website look authentic. Yes sir, we are runnin' with the big dogs!

The old handwritten logo was a cool concept, but I gazed into my soul and decided that it looked too alien and enigmatic for the average web surfer to mentally process. In other words, I decided to dial back the crazy in favor of something more professional and inviting. I have a feeling most of our fans will approve of this change.

Another change that you may have noticed is that the section Favorite CD of the Moment has been renamed Favorite Music of the Moment. There are two reasons for this alteration. The first is that I recently heard a news story that said some of the major label music companies may begin to phase out the production of CDs in the next couple of years and switch to selling only digital downloads. I'm not sure how true this story is, or if the small independent labels will follow suit, but it made me realize that there are a lot more people out there buying digital music than I had realized. I think I may comment more on this subject in a future installment of Is Music Dead?

The second reason for the title change is that several albums I have reviewed for the column were actually in vinyl LP form instead of CD, and I was getting tired of having to explain this in each column. Favorite Music instead of Favorite CD will allow us to review music in any format -- CD, vinyl, MP3, cassette, 8-track, conceivably even unrecorded live or imagined music.

In other webpage news, the sidebar areas of the article pages will soon have links to other new and featured articles on this website. That probably seems like no big deal, but technically it was kind of hard to figure out, so yours truly is feeling proud of himself for that one. I openly admit that I stole the idea from Huffington Post.

All in all, 2011 was a pretty successful year for us here at Somebody's Webpage. Our traffic is still low, and we've made a total of about eight dollars in advertising revenue, but new articles are being published with increased frequency, and there have been improvements in the design of the site. We also had a couple of new contributors. For me, the focus in 2011 was more on writing than web design. I wrote more in 2011 than I ever have before, which is a major step toward my childhood dream of becoming a real writer. It was the first year in which there were no major overhauls in the look of the website sections, and no addition of new columns or sub-sections. Don't worry, though -- the site is not through growing yet. We still have several new additions planned, especially in the ever-evolving Junk Closet section.

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