Archive for Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 noteworthy for end of auto lines

December 31, 2009

With only a few days remaining in 2009, it seems an appropriate time to take stock.

I confess I’m not much of a fan of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations. Jan. 1 has always seemed to me to be just another day. I don’t even care much for the Rose Parade and the football bowl games. Even in the days when I was prone to revel, lost now in the mists of antiquity, I never paid much attention to New Year’s Eve.

But it seems fitting to think back about the year just past and take note of the milestones, such as they are, that we have passed.

No more Pontiacs. General Motors (there was almost no more GM in 2009, come to think of it), staggering under the load of flagging sales and runaway costs, discontinued the venerated brand – flagships of the muscle cars of the 1960s and ’70s – this year. The last Pontiac built for the U.S. market, a white G6, rolled down the ways at GM’s Orion Township Plant in Michigan just a month ago on Nov. 25. Alas, no more.

No more Oprah – or, more accurately, the announcement that someday soon the daytime TV queen will stop her long-running show.

Early in the year, of course, the Obama inauguration signaled a change in Washington, ushering in new, heightened expectations with the new year.

The year was one of confusion – and even ennui, maybe – for Kansas Democrats. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ departure to Washington to take the Obama portfolio for health and human services and successor Mark Parkinson’s lack of interest in serving past his present term touched off a chain of “Who, me?” responses among the lackluster lights in the party, none of whom seemed anxious to throw themselves down on the tracks in front of Sen. Sam Brownback’s hurtling juggernaut. As if that hadn’t been enough, Rep. Dennis Moore announcement in November that he wouldn’t seek another term set Republicans slavering over the seat they had pined after since he first won it in 1998.

Of course no review of the year would be complete without bidding a final adieu to those who shuffled off this mortal coil during the year.

The list, in no particular order includes entertainers Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Mary Travers, Henry Gibson, Patrick Swayze, Bea Arthur, Les Paul and Karl Malden; pitchmen Billy Mays and Ed McMahon, evangelist Oral Roberts, writers Irving Penn, Horton Foote and John Updike; Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and journalists Walter Cronkite, William Safire and Paul Harvey.

In the end, while it’s been a year of no great accomplishments, at least there haven’t been any major tragedies, at least hereabouts. If nothing else, I guess it’s moved us another year closer to whatever it is that awaits us all.

— John Beal is the retired editor of the Eudora News’ sister publications The Shawnee Dispatch and Bonner Springs Chieftain.

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