* Bang! * Boom! * Pop! * Cheer! * Suddenly it’s here! The New Year! 2015 beckons us to look ahead with best resolutions for the next twelve months and to reminisce on the dozen we laid to rest last night.
How about we start 2015 with an aspirin for that hangover and “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
What we have in common: Wear red underwear if you want love - Brazil. Throw beans out the front door to ward off misfortune – Japan. Eat black-eyed peas and greens for luck and money – the American South. Pour molten lead into water to tell your fortune – Germany. New Year’s traditions vary from culture to culture, but there’s one that spans the globe – fireworks displays. From Sydney to L.A. the pyro blossoms were spectacular last night. Here are collections of the most luminous midnight skylines.
NEW YEAR’S GRIEF
Sorrowful start: China’s New Year’s lights displays may have set records for attendance, and that’s probably a bad thing. In Shanghai, 35 celebrants – mostly students – died in a stampede. The crowd may have been making a dash for coupons that looked like dollar bills. In Beijing, the size of the crowd spooked authorities who cancelled the show and ordered the crowds to leave. They stayed to count down the New Year anyhow – light show or no.
THE YEAR THAT WAS
Ups and downs: On the downside, 2014 was book-ended by the heart-rending loss of two jetliners in Asian waters. This week, AirAsia QZ8501 got lost with 162 people on board, and floating shredded remnants and bodies leave little hope for a good outcome. There’s still no sign of MH370, which vanished in March. Other downers: Gaza, Ebola, Crimea, ISIS, China’s deadly quake, snowpocalypse, Ferguson and cop killings.
But there were great ups: The bulls ruled Wall Street, driving stocks up 11.4%; Kenneth Bae came home; One World Trade Center opened; more people gained the right to marry; Rosetta landed on a comet; Malala got the Nobel; Germany won the World Cup – and Team USA made the quarterfinals; and people all over the world poured ice water on themselves to fight ALS. (Oh. That stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.)
WHO WE LOST
You made us cry: Robin Williams taking his own life was the hardest celebrity death to bear. It was the number one search on Google last year. We said goodbye to some wonderful and talented people, but those farewells are also a celebration of what they gave us in life. What would the world have been like absent of Shirley Temple-Black’s song, dance and diplomacy, Joan Rivers’ quips, Mike Nichols’ love sagas, Ben Bradley’s Watergate reporting, Chuck Noll’s Pittsburgh Steelers - or Robin Williams’ wise-quirks?
THE YEAR AHEAD
Sorry, but: Some things aren’t going away that soon. Like ISIS. Like Syria. Like Russian brinksmanship. Like Mideast clashes. Like a sagging EU economy. But look on the bright side. Plummeting oil prices are like a tax cut for the U.S. consumer, and analysts say it will boost the already rising U.S. economy. It may also push oil exporters like Iran and Russia to soften up a little and cut some diplomatic deals. There may be a global treaty on climate change this year. And for the long look into the coming decades – a chorus of space experts say: Humans will travel to Mars.
One last thing:
Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper mashed it up for hours at Times Square before and after the ball dropped. Here's a sweet moment.
And in 2015, don’t forget: “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne (of long ago).”
Happy New Year!!!