Miami humor columnist looks back on the terrible, but somewhat amusing 2015

One Herald Plaza in Miami on Biscayne Bay has been torn down. (Herald photo)

Ever since those many nights laboring over a hot keyboard on the sixth floor of One Herald Plaza as the overnight city editor of the Miami News — a cigarette dangling from my lips and steaming café Cubano  and medianoche sandwich (Well, it was midnight after all.) on the desk — I’ve enjoyed the ramblings of Miami Herald humor columnist Dave “We Are Not Making This Up” Barry.

I still guffaw over his overwrought description of the skittering land crabs covering the streets near the bay. On the roof above, Barry claimed he used to fire off his propane-fueled potato gun. But knowing the propensity of the Miami cops to return fire, I suspect he was just making that up. (At a parade, one wag noted that the Miami cops were marching in order of indictment.)

Since I don’t know if the Las Vegas newspaper will shell out the couple of bucks it takes to pick up this year’s Barry year in view screed — under the imaginative headline: “Dave Barry’s 2015 Year in Review” — I thought I would provide a link here to the Dec. 23 posting on the Herald’s website.

For good measure I am providing a few clips here just to tantalize. I think this is brief enough to qualify as fair use, right, Mr. Barry’s attorneys?:

JANUARY

In Paris, two million people march in a solidarity rally following the horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Eyebrows are raised when not a single top U.S. official attends, but several days later, Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in France with James Taylor, who — this really happened — performs the song You’ve Got a Friend. This bold action strikes fear into the hearts of terrorists, who realize that Secretary Kerry is fully capable, if necessary, of unleashing Barry Manilow.

APRIL

In another alarming development, Washington, D.C., is hit by a power outage, meaning that for several harrowing hours the rest of the nation is forced to form its own policies. A week later Washington is again shaken when a Florida mailman, making a powerful statement for or against something, lands a gyrocopter on the lawn of the Capitol building. He immediately becomes a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

Elsewhere on the political front, Hillary Clinton declares her candidacy for president and sets out to demonstrate that she is a regular human by riding to Iowa in a custom van driven by Secret Service agents.

In Maumee, Ohio, she stops at a Chipotle for takeout, a news event that produces a spasm of political journalism. The New York Times (we are not making this journalism up) breaks the story, reporting that Clinton wore sunglasses and ordered a chicken burrito bowl. Bloomberg gets a follow-up scoop, reporting that the Clinton party’s bill was “$20 and some change” but Clinton “did not leave a tip.” Politico runs a 1,200-word story headlined (we are still not making this up) “The ‘everyday people’ who made Hillary Clinton’s burrito bowl.” Incredibly, nobody thinks to do a profile of the chicken.

MAY

In Garland, Texas, two armed men are gunned down by police after they open fire on a security guard outside an exhibit of Muhammed cartoons, highlighting the need for a national conversation on the problem of cartoonists drawing things that leave religious fanatics with no choice but to try to kill them. James Taylor is unavailable, so federal authorities dispatch The Captain and Tennille to the scene, where they perform a powerful version of Muskrat Love.

JULY

The nation reacts with horror to the news that a Minnesota dentist has killed Cecil the World’s Suddenly Most Beloved Lion. The dentist instantly becomes a less-popular version of Hitler and goes into hiding to escape animal-rights activists threatening to give him a root canal with a chainsaw. This story totally dominates the news for the better part of a week, which we will eventually look back upon as an innocent time. …

In political news, the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls is joined by a person named “John Kasich,” who claims to have at one time been governor of Ohio, although nobody can verify this. On the Democratic side, enthusiasm builds for the candidacy of 147-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders and his populist plan for reining in Wall Street via a combination of stricter financial controls and strategic beheadings.

AUGUST

… The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that July was the hottest month globally ever recorded. With a renewed sense of urgency, the world’s industrialized nations vow to continue sending large delegations via jumbo jets to distant conferences on climate change until this darned thing has been licked.

In politics, the Republicans hold their first presidential debate, featuring approximately 75 candidates ranging outward in popularity from Donald Trump at center stage to John Kasich and the late Warren G. Harding out at the far edges. Jeb Bush has an off night, falling asleep several times during his own answers. Ben Carson does better, except for when he identifies Pyongyang as “a kind of lobster.” Trump dominates the evening, at one point ordering everybody to shut up while he takes a call onstage from Beyoncé. Savvy Washington-based political insiders agree, after conferring with other savvy Washington-based political insiders, that Trump’s unorthodox behavior will alienate voters and he will be out of the race by fall.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continues to have no choice but to roll her eyes over all these pesky scandals that her enemies keep dreaming up to prevent her from serving the American people, especially women. The current scandal involves the email server she used as secretary of state, which, in a deviation from government-security standards, was located in her home and had Mrs. Clinton’s personal secret password (“PASSWORD”) written on a sticky note stuck to the front. A Clinton spokesperson, speaking through another Clinton spokesperson who was briefed by a third Clinton spokesperson on condition of anonymity, denies that the server ever held classified emails and promises that it will be turned over to the FBI “as soon as it has been melted down to a softball-sized blob.”

OCTOBER

… Hillary Clinton testifies for 127 straight hours before the House Committee On Investigating Benghazi Until The Earth Crashes Into The Sun. There are many testy exchanges between Clinton and Republican congressmen, but in the end the American public has a much clearer picture of the extremely high level of mutual loathing that makes our government work the way it does.

DECEMBER

… when, with the menacing specter of global climate change looming like some kind of spectral menace or something, 150 world leaders, finally getting serious about this urgent threat to the planet’s future, decide to stay home and confer via Skype.

Ha ha! Seriously, the leaders all fly to Paris, where they and their security details and their vast minion entourages travel around in high-speed motorcades to attend dinners and make speeches about the importance of figuring out how to reduce these pesky carbon emissions. In the end they sign a Historic Agreement under which all parties commit to a concrete, legally binding and unbreakable schedule of potentially attending additional conferences at some point in the future, although skeptics note that Chinese President Xi Jinping signs his name on the official document as “Phil McCracken.” …

As the year finally staggers to a close, Americans set aside their differences, if only briefly, and join together in the cherished, time-honored tradition of pretending that New Year’s Eve is fun. So let’s raise a glass to toast the demise of 2015. Then let’s set the glass down untasted, in case God forbid it contains gluten. Then let’s go to bed.

Happy New Year.

Presidential debates, ‘deflategate’ and the selfie epidemic all made 2015 a year of Titanic disappointments.

Scroll down to the bottom of the online column for Dave Barry’s 2015 holiday gift guide video.

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5 comments on “Miami humor columnist looks back on the terrible, but somewhat amusing 2015

  1. John Gordon Edwards says:

    I too remember the wild days of South Florida, Mitch.
    I was working for the Fort Lauderdale/Sun Sentinel..
    The business editor was always angry because he didn’t run the best business section in the world or just los HISt paycheck betting on extremely speculative stock options. (Of course, he would be extremely rich if he had ever beaten the million-to-one odds.)
    We should have been happy to have a big role in covering some of the sleaziest scams then known to mankind, but the M Herald reporters were driving us crazy.
    They even bribed key investigators with pizza in exchange for a tip on the hottest scam in town. Of course, the M Herald reporter with the pizza got her start in South Florida at the Fort Lauderdale paper.
    I have been reading an Edna Buchanan novel about the Miami News, and it makes me angry every time a rookie Miami News reporter steals a story from the main character, the Miami News’ cop reporter.
    Newspaper reporters in those days showed no mercy when competing with their own associates, and those news hogs at the M Herald had no right to live.

  2. I’m reading Blood Aces, what is the name of the Buchanan book?

  3. Winston Smith says:

    I’ve loved Dave Barry since his columns were e-mailed around Microsoft in the late 1980’s. Got his Greatest Hits in paperback here by my desk, and somewhere a copy of “Big Trouble” on VHS. Should I go on? I guess not…

    War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Barry is Libertarian

  4. Winston Smith says:

    Sorry, I’m in the middle of a Dave Barry frenzy…

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