Did YOU start your 2013 with a naked samurai? - 10 ThingsSure, your new years was probably storied: some drinks, some laughs, a cheeky pash with the person that your friend liked because the person you liked was pashing another friend and it seemed like a good idea at the time, some angry text messages, a complete meltdown broken up by bouncers and waking up in a fountain with no money and only one shoe - but did it end with a naked samurai swordsman? If you answered yes, you're an officer with San Jose police who arrested said nude katana dude (artist's impression, above) on New Years Day after getting a call that there was a crazy person with an assault rifle outside a suburban house. Said person fled in his car, and when police stopped him he emerged butt naked and brandishing a sword, starting the negotiations on a high note before declaring "you're going to have to kill me". Police talked him down and into some pants before arresting him, beautifully demonstrating that America is determined that the apparently competing questions of "is mental health something we should do anything about?" and "is letting nutjobs have weapons a shrewd idea?" will remain an excitingly relevant debate in 2013.
As you probably guessed if you've been following US politics in any way whatsoever for the past, oooh, let's say 40 years, no agreement was reached between the Democrats and the Republicans over whether or not the super wealthy should have to pay tax and now the country has gone over the "fiscal cliff". There's still hope that some sort of compromise can be hashed out before markets open on Wednesday morning US time, which is the political equivalent of slipping your paper under the door of your tutor's office before 9am the day after a deadline because technically that's not a day late, right? Fortunately the GOP - the party that claims to be all about family values and financial responsibility - seem hellbent on neither doing their job, making hard but necessary decisions in their country's best interests, or spending time with their families over the festive season. Happy new year, America!
In the single smartest career move imaginable, Psy has announced that he is retiring 'Gangnam Style' as it's become too popular. Yes, allegedly his appearance on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on Monday night was his final ever performance of the song, which is great news for anyone going to Future Music later this year since it frees up space in the set for him to perform other hits like… um… In any case, plenty of other performers have taken up the baton, so maybe festival promoters should look further afield - perhaps to beautiful Mongolia?
So, you couldn't get a good spot for the Sydney Harbour fireworks on Monday night? Spare a thought for the partygoers in the Ivory Coast, who packed into Abidjan Stadium for the NYE fireworks display, and were then crushed to death when a riot broke out when security forces attempted to disperse the crowd. At least 60 people are dead with hundreds of people seriously injured.
On a related subject, Channel Nine's coverage of national NYE celebrations has been criticised for being all about the Sydney Harbour fireworks and not about the local events happening around the country - especially in Brisbane, where they didn't cover the local fireworks display at all and instead showed the Sydney event on a one-hour delay, since Queensland fears daylight saving and its terrifying cow-spooking, curtain-fading ways. But as a national publication ourselves, we would like to apologise for yesterday's coverage of the Sydney fireworks (although in our defence we did follow the new media convention of comparing everything to the population of Adelaide), and promise that come NYE 2013 we will be assiduously reporting on the goings on in Mr Isa, Tennant Creek and Blinman.
Speaking of which, it looks as though the world's oldest fossils have been found in the Pilbara region of WA, which isn't even in Sydney. Scientists from an international team examining the rocks claim to have found fossilised tracks of ancient bacteria dating to 3.4 billion years ago (for reference, the Earth was only formed 4.5 billion years ago - and for comparison, the dinosaurs died out a mere 65 million years back, so this puts the appearance of life on Earth unbe-freakin'-leiably soon after the Earth wasn't a molten lump of rock and metal). And before you go "pfft, there are numerous geological processes that mimic exactly these sorts of seemingly biological systems, you dicks" then be advised that the ratio of carbon isotopes suggests an organic basis (specifically, a lack of Carbon-13). So there. Where was Piltbara's shout out on NYE, Channel Nine? WHERE?
And in the first unnecessary reformation of 2013, UK popstresses the Sugababes have played their first reunion gig. Yes, Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhan Donaghy performed four songs a smidge after midnight in a London club on Jan 1, although they can't actually perform as the Sugababes since they don't own the rights to the name anymore, and also since the band still exists with three other people performing as them. Sadly, instead of becoming the New Original Sugababes, the Thoroughly Good British Sugarbabe Show, the Aspartinebabes or reinventing the brand by performing in onsies as the Sugababies, they've called themselves Mutya Keisha Siobhan. Which, of course, worked amazingly well for the original members of the Little River Band when they reunited as Birtles Shorrock Goble having sold the name to one of the late-period guitarists.
You know how 2012 was the world's worst year for love and how everyone you know saw their relationship crumble to dust before your very eyes, like a vampire exposed to the pitiless light of that hot neighbour? Well, take heart: yesterday Hugh Hefner - the 86 year old Playboy founder and epitome of quiet, understated dignity - wed his 26 year old on-again-off-again girlfriend Crystal Harris who either is genuinely not a gold digger or hasn't noticed trends in print media and non-online pornography over the last decade. But is that going to get Amy Poehler and Will Arnett back together? If not, we're not the slightest bit interested.Kim Jong-il must be turning in his grave… North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, clearly determined to match his old man for unpredictable policy pronouncements, has used an unexpected new year broadcast to call for closer ties with South Korea, declaring - entirely accurately - that "The past records of inter-Korean relations show that confrontation between fellow countrymen leads to nothing but war." It's being interpreted as something of an olive branch to incoming South Korean leader Park Geun-hye. Which, at face value, suggests that one of the world's most baffling and enduring geopolitical will-they-won't-they love stories could yet have a happy ending.
And finally, have yourself a mashup of every song that you couldn't get out of your damn head in 2012, thanks to DJ Earworm - One Direction, Gotye, Katy Perry, everything - in the one infuriatingly catchy four minute run. Brilliantly done video too. Earworm, you're a monster.