The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Columnists

December 28, 2013

Goodbye, good riddance to 2013

— Most folks are relieved to see 2013 in our rearview mirror. I know I am. Here’s why:

The Boston Marathon bombing reminded us that terrorists are still out there, even in our own country.

Whistleblower Edward Snow­den raised both scorn and praise from the country for his shocking political revelations.

Singer Miley  Cyrus took a walk on the wild side, twerking and displaying her Gene Simmons-esque tongue in an effort to promote herself and her new “mature” image.

NBC’s “Today” show continued its descent in ratings. Producers unveiled a new set, not realizing that the cosmetic changes need to include the on-camera talent, with their egos and off-camera drama dragging the ratings down.

Actor/activist Alec Baldwin continued with his ego-fueled tirade against anyone and everyone. The self-proclaimed liberal gave progressives a bad name by hurling anti-gay slurs at paparazzi and continuing his hissy fit meltdowns. Interestingly, the media let this slide, while recently castigating “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s recent comments on his religious views of gays. So much for fair and balanced.

Tragic shootings continue around the nation, while the Obama administration cries out for more gun control and cooler heads cite the real source: mental health issues.

Politically, 2013 was alternately a comedy of errors (Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, former New York congressman Anthony Weiner, etc.) to a tragedy of errors (pick any Obama administration scandal: IRS, Obamacare debacle, the still-simmering Benghazi scandal involving both President Obama and possible presidential candidate Hilary Rodham  Clinton.)

There were a few things to celebrate in 2013. A new heir to England’s throne (Prince George) and a new, unorthodox, dynamic pope (Francis) who bring a sense of renewal and hope to an aching world.

In Pittsburgh, a disappointing Stanley Cup run for the Penguins and a disastrous Steelers season were soothed by the Pirates’ miraculous season, culminating in their first playoff series in decades.

Here in Johnstown, kudos are accorded to law enforcement agencies for their numerous drug busts around the area.

Finally, 2013 should be designated the Year of the Duck, not only for the popular reality show but for that wonderful giant yellow rubber duckie that gave Pittsburgh and the surrounding area so much joy and diversion from an otherwise trying year.

We also said goodbye to too many individuals who made the world a better place. Nelson Mandela’s recent memorial service was tainted with rogue hearing impaired translators and selfies of our president and world leaders. Other icons who left us were Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, astronaut Scott Carpenter, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, Dr. Joyce Brothers and Abigail van Buren. Authors Tom Clancy, Elmore Leonard and Father Andrew Greeley also left us in 2013. Sports figures such as Donora’s Hall of Famer Stan Musial died, as did manager Earl Weaver and boxer Ken Norton Sr.

In the entertainment field we lost Ray Harryhausen,  Jonathan Winters, James Gandolfini, Cory Monteith and David Frost. Childhood television icons Annette Funicello and Frank Bank (Lumpy Rutherford on “Leave It to Beaver”) also left us much too soon. In cinema we lost Paul Walker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Deanna Durbin, Karen Black, Tom McLaughlin and film critic Roger Ebert.

The music industry lost an eclectic list that includes George Jones, Marian McPartland, Ray Manzarek, Eydie Gorme, Ed Schaugh­nessy, Richie Havens, Phil Ramone, Rise Stevens, Patty Andrews, Patti Page, Lou Reed and Van Cliburn.

All of these individuals made an impact on their generations and our society. We celebrate their lives in passing as we look forward to a hopeful and better new year …

Bill Eggert is a Johnstown resident. He writes an occasional column.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Columnists
  • Local Columnists

    Robin L. Quillon
    Chip Minemyer
    Tom Lavis
    Mike Mastovich
    Cory Isenberg
    Zachary Hubbard
    Michele Bender
    Bill Eggert

     

    July 6, 2010

  • Michele Bender MICHELE M. BENDER | Time to can clutter

    I’m “downsizing.” Sixteen years ago, this house was perfect for me. I gave parties. Friends came and stayed for weekends. Great insulation protected visitors from highway noise.
    Yep, I had the time of my life.
    But I’m 16 years older, and my friends are, too.  They no longer travel like they did. Parties wear us out by 10 p.m.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Siehl, Jim color JIM SIEHL | Richland student excels in class, on field

    Ben Verhovsek is a humble, soft-spoken young man who by his nature resists all forms of public adulation.

    June 14, 2014 2 Photos

  • Music, comedy on tap for pre-Thunder bash

    With Thunder in the Valley right around the corner, organizers are hoping to make this year’s event the best yet and are holding a launch party to get people in the mood for the motorcycle rally.

    May 10, 2014

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Curtis, Shawn SHAWN CURTIS | Pirates win has familiar feel

    As much as all the fuzzy feelings of the 2013 season came to an end when Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano fired a first-pitch strike to Emilio Bonifacio at 1:14 p.m. on Monday afternoon at PNC Park, the 1-0 win took the shape that many Pittsburgh wins did a season ago.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eric Knopsnyder ERIC KNOPSNYDER | A fresh take on funnies

    Did you notice some funny business in our comics pages recently?
    Many of you did and contacted the newsroom to ask why “Doonesbury” and “For Better or For Worse” were no longer appearing in our publication.
    There’s a simple explanation: They are no longer being produced.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Basketball officials never win

    Today’s column bounces from local politics to basketball after two previous articles concentrated on Jesse Topper’s successful launch into a new career as a state representative.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Michele Mikesic Bender | Playing the name game

    So, did you decide on the ‘popcorn dress’  for the church dinner?” asked Judi, my Communion Lady.
    “No, I think the ‘hydrangea dress’ might be better,’’ I answered.
    “You name your clothes?” Denise’s jaw dropped.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Bill Eggert | A heartfelt message of thanks

    February is the month the medical community sets aside for matters related to heart health. That makes sense, given that Valentine’s Day is right in the middle of the month. So it was ironic that I found myself dealing with the matter of the heart in a serious way this month.
    This column is a valentine to the staff of the Conemaugh Health System.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads