By Steve Young
What a fantabulous year for humanity. Getting killed seemed to be more of a crime than the act of killing. Comedy lost Robin Williams, Joan Rivers, and Bill Cosby. The only one getting hit harder than a defenseless NFL quarterback was a defenseless NFL fiancée. The deadly Ebola epidemic was set to wipe out most of the U.S. population until it was miraculously thwarted on our shores when scientists came up with a cure: the midterm elections. Same-sex marriage bans were deemed illegal in 35 states, tearing apart almost every respectable straight marriage in those states. North Korea took over the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system, and, worst of all, marijuana became legal in . . . hey, look, a cow.
Even if you do not believe good can come from bad, negative news may just be the balance we need to survive. As Martin Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, said, "If we just wanted positive emotions, our species would have died out a long time ago."
Learning from our missteps and adversity can offset the failures, and wisdom helps us navigate the road ahead.
"I think the enemy is self-censorship. In a free society, the biggest danger is that you're afraid to the point where you censor yourself."
- Tim Robbins
Sony Pictures pulled the film The Interview, which depicts an assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, due to hackers threatening 9/11-type attacks if the film was distributed. Yet not a peep about A Haunted House 2. If only hackers knew how much more civilization is being damaged by Kevin Hart and Adam Sandler films. Now Transylvania is promising a bloodbath if Vampire Academy is not pulled from Netflix.
"When one door of happiness closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which opens for us."
- Helen Keller
The Phillies continued to say they've got what it takes to give fans a great time. What they mean is that they're giving fans plenty of opportunities to go to Great Adventure on game days.
"For many it had a certain attraction. I think they call it gravity."
- Ronnie Shakes
Kim Kardashian exposed most of her substantial naked derriere to our naked eyes for the first issue of Paper magazine.
"Torture fails to make us safe, but it certainly makes us less free."
- Jerrold Nadler
The recently released torture report has been criticized in many corners, but National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said it's a good step in straightening out the league. The only real opposition came from former Vice President Dick Cheney, who felt that rectal feeding of opposing quarterbacks should be allowed during the last two minutes of the game.
"Racism hurts everyone, including racists themselves."
- DaShanne Stokes
The National Basketball Association banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life in response to a leaked recording in which Sterling made racist remarks. On the other hand, 2014 marked the biggest outbreak of unarmed black men mysteriously being murdered . . . by no one.
"There are a few people who truly, truly walk the talk."
- Olympia Dukakis
Bill Cosby, Jell-O, and an alleged rapist: Which one doesn't belong? The second comma.
"Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys."
- Patsy and Ed Bruce
Gov. Christie sat with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the Cowboys-Eagles game played at the Linc, about a Walt Whitman Bridge's throw from New Jersey.
"It's gotten to the point that the only good reason for reading a newspaper is because it can be extremely helpful in a tedious trivia game."
On Jan. 1, Latvia officially adopted the euro as its currency, becoming the 18th member of the eurozone.