So long, 2013. You had some great moments, especially for Oregon college students, who apparently are the only ones in America too dumb to learn about kinky sex from Internet pornography.
University of Oregon officials, pursuing a selfless pedagogical program of No Pervert Left Behind, hired sex columnist Dan Savage to speak on having sex in gorilla suits (a bargain at $24,000!) And they also developed the splendid SexPositive App for smart phones. It allows students to spin wheels that match words -#8212; mouth, finger, vibrator, restraints, just to use some of the family-newspaper-friendlier examples -#8212; and start, umm, learning away.
Things weren't so swell across the country in Washington, D.C., where the city government banned freedom altogether. A leaked list of words forbidden to appear on vanity license plates included FREEDOM, not to mention RONPAUL, GETNUDE and several terms that appear on the SexPositive App.
But maybe our Washington masters were just confused, as British tax collectors were when they opened a return from a man in the village of Evesham. To the question "Do you have anyone dependent on you?" the man answered, "2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crackheads, 4.4 million unemployable (welfare) scroungers, 900,000 criminals in over 85 prisons, plus 650 idiots in Parliament, and the whole of the European Commission." The tax collectors sent the return back with a note that he had answered the question incorrectly, to which he replied: "Who did I miss out?"
Other evidence of the decline and fall of practically everything in 2013:
When Pop Tarts are outlawed, only outlaws will have Pop Tarts: School officials in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., suspended a 7-year-old for chewing his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun and saying, "bang, bang."
The better to spot concealed Pop Tarts: The U.S. Education Department issued a report encouraging schools to keep an eye on students with magnetic resonance imaging, electronic equipment that can judge facial expressions and posture and biometric wraps on their wrists.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration is pushing to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit.
Welcome to all-test-pattern TV: Republicans in Idaho introduced a bill that would ban any reference to premarital sex in dramas, comedies, reality and talk shows and commercials.
Great moments in lexicography: Public-employee union leaders in Phoenix called for the city council to ban use of the term "union bosses" to describe them.
Great moments in lexicography, bilingual edition: A black Spanish teacher in the Bronx filed suit alleging that she was fired for telling her junior high students that "negro" is the Spanish word for "black."
Great moments in lexicography, sign-language edition: A Nebraska school district ordered a deaf 3-year-old to change the way he signs his name, Hunter, because it includes an extended index finger that looks like a gun.
Introducing the Barney Fife doctrine: A federal court ruled that New London, Conn., has the right to refuse to refuse to disqualify applicants as police officers if they score too high on IQ tests.
50 shades of waterboarding: Reporters at the Daily Beast website discovered that Avril Haines, the new deputy director of the CIA, used to host readings of erotica (that is, white-collar pornography) at a boarded-up strip club in Baltimore. One night, Haines herself read aloud from the S-M novel "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty," in which the fairy-tale princess is awakened from an enchanted sleep not by a kiss but an act best read about in the SexPositive App, then sold into sexual slavery.