I find it helpful midyear to pull out my New Year's Resolutions and remember what it is I'm supposed to be working on. You may recall our amazing coverage of last year's Year of the Potato, hosting by FAO. The fourth largest source of calories in the world and a major source of vitamins and carbohydrates, the potato was recently credited in new research with increasing world population by 12% and half of the urbanization that took place from 1000-1900.
So what are we celebrating this year?
Year of animals!
In the Chinese calendar, it's the Year of the Ox, aka buffalo. Check out the link for ideas on what this means and what to do about it. The UN has declared it the Year of the Gorilla, with Jane Goodall as the obvious choice for advocate, to preserve the species. It's also Year of the Shark according to environmentalists who aren't satisfied with saving one species a year. Which one should we celebrate? Maybe we should decide by cage fight... Year of the Gorilla vs. Shark Grudge Match!
Year of science!
To celebrate 40 years since a giant leap was made for mankind and 400 years since Galileo first used a telescope to study the galaxy, it is the International Year of Astronomy. We've already celebrated by repairing Hubble and launching the world's largest telescope to find earth-like planets around other stars.
Year of trench workers!
Two professions, actually. His Holiness is celebrating the Year for Priests while the military rejoices in their non-commissioned officers (Year of the NCO).
In California it's the Year of the Olive, while the Jewish Zodiac celebrates the Year of the Pickle. The pickle demonstrates its seasoned maturity over the days when it was just a cucumber. [The Jewish Zodiac ("Remember the Sabbath Brunch and Keep it Holy") tells me that I was born in the year of the Lox, meaning I am thin, rich, and very high maintenance. "Consider retiring to Boca. Compatible with bagel and schmear, although you top them." Happily, Joy and Hyrum are both bagels.]
And the FAO winner:
The Food and Agriculture Organization, to whose data and conferences my dissertation owes its life, has actually decided to abandon the food side this year in favor of ...
A Wild and Wooly 2009: Natural Fibres Year
[Picture of Douglas Fairbanks in Wild and Wooly (1917)]
By this announcement and attendent celebrations, the FAO hopes to assist impoverished natural fibre farmers. The list of the privileged includes:
cotton [Harvested today by machines called cotton pickers and cotton strippers],
flax (Worst comes to it, eat your shirt and get 100% of your B1 and Magnesium)
sisal [from a plant in Africa and China],
hemp ('It's not just for smoking anymore'),
abaca [related to the banana],
jute [in India and Bangladesh],
silk ('I'm wearing discarded worm housing!'),
wool ('Clothing for the sheeple'),
alpaca [llama hair],
camel ('Without us, some lawyers would be naked, and we wouldn't want that'),
angora [Do you mean the Angora rabbit, the Angora goat, or the Angora cat?],
coir [coconut hair! Dude, where can I get a coir hat?]
and cashmere [Persian wool actually from Kashmir originally]
"England’s rise as a world power was built on wool and textiles, while silk for centuries held a central role in international trade. ... Celebrations of IYNF will include conferences, exhibits, and fashion shows in many countries, including an International Mohair Summit in South Africa and a Creative Fibre Festival in South Caterbury, New Zealand."
So remember, if you see a non-comissioned priest in a mohair suit sitting on a pickle-eating ox while he tries to find constellations of a gorilla and shark dueling in the heavens, offer him an olive. This year's for him.