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By Staff | Dec 31, 2010

The year 2010 is limping away like a mangy, one-eyed, one-eared tomcat who just tangled with a wolverine. The cute little kitten of 2011 is purring contentedly on our lap.

It might behoove us to give the outgoing year one final look as it drags its sorry carcass off the stage.

The new year was born in the midst of ponderous snow and deep cold. Local farmers grumbled that the 2010 crop year was as good as shot since it was obvious that the soonest field work could begin would be the Fourth of July.

Grain futures rose based on rumors of frost penetrating nearly to the core of the planet.

The economy continued to struggle despite repeated assertions from experts that the Great Recession had ended months earlier.

Government economists blamed this disconnect on “dunderheaded consumers who don’t understand market principles” and recommended that Americans “start using their S&H Green Stamps.”

Tiger Woods gave us something to think about other than the weather when he publicly addressed a small gathering of friends and family. Tiger spoke of the remorse he felt from his serial infidelities after his 1,089th mistress came out of the woodwork. The thrust of Tiger’s speech seemed to be that he was sorry. Not so much for cheating on his wife, but mainly for getting caught.

Local farmers took Tiger’s precipitous fall as a sign that that spring might never arrive. Grain markets moved upward based on a rumor that spring planting wouldn’t happen until approximately August.

In April, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and began to spew crude into the Gulf of Mexico. Deepwater’s owner, BP, at first denied there was any problem, saying that “a few uncontrollable fires and a couple million gallons of spillage are normal” and that the “dunderheaded public doesn’t understand the principles of the oil business.”

Oil gushed unabated from the well for the next three months. Yet by the end of the year, BP was denying that the spill had even happened. They were able to do this due to the fact that the average American has an attention span roughly equal to that of a housefly.

The so-called “Barefoot Bandit” went on a final crime spree that took him across parts of the Midwest, including the states of South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa. Colton Harris-Moore’s criminal career ended when he crash-landed a stolen airplane in the Bahamas, then tried to blend in with the population.

He was soon captured because he was the only flip-flopless person on the island. Plus, they sort of noticed that he had crash-landed a stolen airplane.

Spring arrived at about the normal time in the Midwest and many farmers actually got their crops planted ahead of schedule. This was taken as a bad sign, with numerous operators grumbling that the weather was “too good to last.” Grain markets bumped upward based on the rumor that a successful planting season could only mean that disaster was inevitable for the 2010 crop.

These concerns seemed to be prescient as excessive rains began to fall across wide swathes of the Midwest. Said rains caused no small amount of misery and worry, especially after reports began to circulate regarding animals spontaneously lining up two by two.

There’s no need to mention what affect this had on the grain markets.

The summer turned wet and warm, with nearly ideal growing conditions in many areas. This proved to be a boon to those who sell lawnmowers, as countless homeowners wore out their lawn machines in a hopeless attempt to stay ahead of grass that grew faster than rising bread dough.

By early fall it was clear that a lot of farmers would harvest a bumper crop. Many farmers continued to deny this, even going so far as covering their yield monitor’s readout with strips of black tape.

WikiLeaks was much in the news late in the year. Buried in the thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks was one that seems to indicate that the grain markets are largely controlled by the opinions of three guys named Floyd, Delbert, and Harold.

These men reside in the Midwest and are described in the cable as being “professional pessimists.”

The year ended on a high note, with the engagement of Prince William to his girlfriend, Kate Middleton. This gave a much-needed shot in the arm to the moribund commemorative plate industry, which comprises 47 percent of the British economy.

The year 2010 closed in our area with ponderous amounts of snow and deep cold. Local farmers are already opining that the 2011 crop is as good as shot.

Keep saying the same thing and maybe you’ll eventually be right. Which is as good as lesson as any to take away from the passing year.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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