The year itself is a bit bemusing. When I was a tad, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, I couldn’t have imagined what the year 2015 would look like. If I had tried, I would have been mostly wrong. I know for a fact (because I asked him) that the Old Man, who grew up in the 1920s and 1930s, is even more bemused by greeting 2015.
So what will 2015 have to offer?
Politics: A new GOP Congress will be seated in a few days. Will they rein in what has increasingly become an Imperial Presidency? Will they get serious about tax reform, regulatory reform, immigration? Recent history makes one skeptical. The GOP’s strategy lately seems to be a writ-large version of Mitt Romney’s 2012 debate performance against President Obama; every time Governor Romney had an opening, every time there was blood in the water and he had the chance to move in for the kill – he bunted. I’m afraid the GOP Congress will do likewise.
In retrospect it seems likely that Mitt Romney is just too nice a man for political campaigning. Maybe what the GOP needs now is a pit bull. Maybe they need more pit bulls in the House and Senate. The Democrats have always been good at playing hardball; it’s high time the GOP learned it as well.
Science: As noted in our New Year’s Eve post, there is indication that 2015 might be the year that we find life somewhere other than Earth. If it happens, that’s huge. It’s probably past huge. It’s an amazing thing to consider. But there will be other advances, in genetics, in medicine, in paleontology, in technology – things we haven’t been able to imagine. One of the frustrating things about writing science fiction is coming up with some hyper-futuristic gizmo, writing it into a story, and then finding out someone has made one already.
That’s what makes science and technology fun.
The World: Less cause for optimism. Russia’s ongoing economic collapse may bring a halt to the dictatorial ambitions of Vladimir Putin, but then again they may not; the former chekist remains popular with the Russian people. If he remains in control of Russia, look for his ambitions for lebensraum to continue. Whether he chooses to run afoul of NATO or not is anyone’s guess, but this much is plain: Putin looks at President Obama and sees an ineffective weakling.
So do many others around the world, which brings us to Iran, which rogue state is frantically refining uranium to build nukes. In the considered opinion of yr. obdt., there is one chance in eight they will deploy a nuclear weapon in 2015. Tel Aviv, London and New York would all be high on the target list.
And yes, that would likely be the beginning of an overt World War Three. At that time, yr. obdt. may well find an answer to the question “how bad will things have to get before the Army will start retreading fat old men like me?”
In the meantime, life goes on, which brings me to:
Outdoors: Hopefully a trip to Alaska is on the agenda this year. Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. were last in the Great Land in 2009, which is far too long. Loyal sidekick Rat and I are planning a black-powder season deer/elk hunt in the Gore Range in the High Rock Creek/Farnham Creek area, west of Kremmling. It’s good country but higher than we’ve been hunting. I used to hunt that country a lot but haven’t done so much the last few years; it will be interesting to get back into those mountains again. I’ve always had good luck in that country.
Travel: Starting the year in Ogden, Utah, a place I love. But at mid-year something significant might happen; Mrs. Animal has applied to the JET program, which (if she is accepted) will have her spending a year in Japan, teaching English to Japanese elementary school kids.
That will be interesting, especially as I have enough flier miles to travel to Japan twice. We both love Japan; the people, the country, the scenery. Neither of us would want to live there permanently, mind. We’re much too American for that. But it’s a great place to visit.
Family: Last but not least, another grandbaby will make his/her appearance in late August or early September. The Animal clan’s plan to breed the world into submission proceeds apace; look upon my works, ye mighty, and tremble!
So, bring it on, 2015! We’re ready for ya. To all True Believers, may your New Year be happy, healthy, and profitable.