By Stephen Tuttle | Dec. 31, 2016
The new year always starts with more questions than answers, doesn’t it? Some political, some not. For example:
■ Did you know we’ve had a satellite called Cassini circling Saturn since 2004?
■ Who would have thought Donald Trump owns, or partially owns, less than 10 percent of the properties bearing his name?
■ Who are the demented souls who name prescription drugs?
■ What do you bet there are already four votes on the Traverse City City Commission for 60-foot buildings where there should be 45-foot buildings? And they’re from the same four people who approved 90-foot buildings where there should be 60-foot buildings?
■ Did you know we’ve been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq longer than we were in World War I, World War II and Korea combined?
■ Are you surprised Americans contribute more money to charity than any other country in the world?
■ Don’t you think it’s a little odd Miami Beach is buying sand from the Bahamas to restore its beaches?
■ Has there been a day in your lifetime when there was not a sale at some furniture store?
■ How can every automobile insurance company save us hundreds of dollars compared to every other auto insurance company?
■ If the president-elect doesn’t believe scientists, doesn’t believe the intelligence community and doesn’t believe the military, whom does he believe?
■ Have you noticed all the video games advertised on television involve killing?
■ Does it concern you there may be up to 150,000 asteroids we’ve not yet located between here and the sun?
■ Did you know a third of the world’s children wake up every morning not knowing what, if anything, they’re going to eat that day?
■ Whatever happened to hydrogen fuel cells?
■ Is there anyone left, outside of the NFL, who doesn’t believe football can cause brain trauma?
■ Does St. Francis High School in Traverse City ever go a year without winning a state championship in at least one sport?
■ Has anyone figured out the county budget yet?
■ Does anything taste better than a full-blown Thanksgiving dinner?
■ Has it occurred to anyone the labor shortage in the local restaurant industry might be the result of too many restaurants?
■ Is there a city someplace that puts affordable housing in the most expensive neighborhood?
■ Did you know the Pentagon could save $25 billion annually by cutting bureaucratic duplication and waste? Did you know the Pentagon has denied it could save $25 billion annually in duplication and waste? Are you surprised by either?
■ Is it the Weather Channel’s fault winter storms now have names?
■ Are there going to be any cabinet nominees who actually respect the work of the department they’ve been nominated to lead?
■ If there’s no climate change, why are sea levels rising? If sea levels are rising as part of a natural cycle, why aren’t we preparing our coastlines?
■ Did you know it once snowed 76 inches in 24 hours at Silver Lake, Colo.? And there’s a place on Mount Rainier called Paradise where it snows every day and once recorded a whopping 1,225 inches for the year?
■ Are you embarrassed our astronauts now have to hitch a ride to the International Space Station on Russian rockets?
■ Is there anything more infectious than a laughing baby?
■ Do you think Charter Spectrum’s rates would be cheaper if it didn’t constantly run commercials?
■ Do Traverse City City Commissioners know there is a city beyond the confines of downtown?
■ Did you know a broccoli-like vegetable called spigarello and a purple root vegetable called ube are this year’s super foods? Ever heard of either?
■ Aren’t you at least a little impressed there was not a single scandal of note during President Obama’s eight years in office?
■ Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone making decisions in Washington understood the difference between weather and climate?
■ Do you think Michigan has done enough to protect its water both above and below ground?
■ Shouldn’t the president-elect be concerned a foreign government interfered in our presidential election regardless of who it helped?
■ Why didn’t some local school districts know they were being overpaid, and why didn’t those that did say something?
■ What terrible thing do you believe is going to happen if you don’t look at and respond to that text immediately?
■ Did you know there’s mounting research indicating self-proclaimed multitaskers don’t complete any of their multiple tasks very well?
■ Isn’t it just a little disappointing science has not yet found a single vitamin or herbal supplement that improves health for the majority of us?
■ Did you know some Flint residents still don’t have safe drinking water? Isn’t that shameful?
■ Hoping for a good 2017? Me, too.