I really do hope everyone is having a great holiday season, actually.  But as we get ready for 2016, another terror warning has gone out, with ISIS expected to strike again somewhere in Europe before New Year’s Eve.

We are being advised–by security experts, naturally–that it will not be safe to join any large gatherings.  But really, who knows?  It might not be safe to join any small gatherings, either.  In fact, it might be safest not to go out at all.

So don’t mind me.  I’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in the blanket fort in my bedroom.  I’ll barricade myself in and will play Donald Trump speeches on a loop, the ones in which he assures us that when he becomes President, he will ban anyone who looks different and scary.  That should solve the problem.  What’s that…what if I end up being too different and have to go?  Who said I was thinking that far ahead?

Or…that’s what I would be doing if I wanted to live in fear.  But I can’t give up celebrating my favorite holiday, even if the world is about to end.  In case Daesh cares, my friends and I are going to be at some Portland bar tomorrow night, doing decadent, impure things.  As one does on New Year’s Eve.  Have an amazing 2016, everyone!

These days, the United States is frequently compared to the Roman empire. Usually the comparison is made by those warning about our demise, either because we’re militarily overstretched or too accepting of homosexuality as a part of our culture.

But as tempting as it is to imagine myself reclining on a luxurious feast couch and eating grapes–the truth is, we kind of suck at being an empire.

Take Iraq. It’s pretty obvious that it’s become a colony of ours. We can make noises about leaving, but let’s face it, we’re over there to stay. Well, the Romans were at least smart enough to claim taxes from the nations they conquered. We seem to be doing the opposite–I’ve been paying from my hard-earned money to build stuff in Iraq. Why? Our own infrastructure could certainly use the help.

What I’m saying is, let’s be honest about what we’re doing. Enough with the bullcrap about being a democratic society trying to bring our democratic ideas to Iraq. Does anybody really believe that Americans believe in that cause? So if I’m forced to be the evil invader, I should be accepting some kind of tribute right now from those we’ve conquered. I should be getting loot and booty from the place we’ve taken over. That’s how this sort of thing works. And if that’s not happening, then what the hell are we doing?

Ah, but of course, there are select people in my country who did, in fact, get to loot Iraq’s resources. The companies who walked away with huge profits from our overseas adventure. So perhaps, we are more talented at being an empire than I thought, and perhaps, I’m getting a painful lesson in what it’s like to be one of the little people in an empire–one of the little people who helps fund our military exploits, but doesn’t get to share in any of the spoils. Not even through lower gas prices. Okay, I get it.

So then, could we at least throw some good decadent parties?

I’ve been scouring the news, searching for good 2012 predictions, and one word comes to mind:  boooring.  It seems the political and economic crisis we’ve been suffering under has broken our spirits.

Here are some general predictions I’ve found for the upcoming year:  Celebrities and politicians are going to be more cautious about their tweets, since they’ve put their foot in their mouth so many times last year (think Charlie Sheen etc).  Consumers will continue to be cautious about their shopping and will increase the amount of shopping they do locally.  In fact, the stock market has ended the year at exactly the same place where it started in 2011, so in spite of all of the turbulence and ups and downs, we’re essentially stuck in the same spot.  After disappointment in Obama’s pie in the sky promises, voters are likely to go with a more practical candidate, like a Romney.  Nations like Iran and North Korea will continue to threaten us, but their threats will end with posturing and be more bark than bite (actually, I hope that one is true).

The wonderful thing about a New Year is that everything is still possible.  Since this may be our very last year, let’s make this the best party ever.  Let’s throw caution to the four winds and bring some reckless excitement back into our lives.  In fact, let’s be crazy dreamers and give President Obama a second chance.

I am very fortunate to have friends in my life who love to party, who love wine and beer and cheese and belly dancing.  It will not take much prompting to convince them to make 2012 a supremely decadent year.  So there’s my New Year’s resolution.  I am going to start working on it tonight and I hope all of you do too…good luck!