49ers Super Bowl XLVII
On February 3, 2013, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens played for the Super Bowl XLVII championship title in New Orleans. This game marked the first Super Bowl where both teams have appeared in, but not yet lost, as the 49ers have won all five of their previous Super Bowls and the Ravens won their single game at Super Bowl XXXV. It also, was the first Super Bowl to be held in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
49ers entered Super Bowl XLVII in hopes of winning their sixth Super Bowl in team history. Their first win was in 1995. The game was anything but uneventful, as it earned the nicknames “Harbaugh Bowl” and “HarBowl”, as it was the first Super Bowl that featured two brothers, Jim and John Harbaugh as the head coaches on the opposing teams. Due to the 22-minute power outage affecting half the stadium during the third quarter, the game was also known as “Blackout Bowl”. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34 – 31, handing the 49ers their first loss in franchise history.
The Dawn of a New Pope
On February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation—the first pope to have done so since Gregory XII in 1415. By March 13, the position as leader of the Catholic Church was filled by Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, papally named Francis. In the first year of his papacy, Pope Francis has spoken candidly and honestly about his views on homosexuality and abortion. He is noted for thinking contemporarily. In an interview he said, “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.” Pope Francis is the 266th, and first Jesuit, Pope of the Catholic Church.
It can be argued that twerking has been around as early as the 90s, but in 2013, twerking became a national phenomenon in pop culture, and videos of people twerking surfaced all over the web. Twerking, coined for “twist” and “jerk,” involves thrusting and fast hip movements. The dance move was further popularized when Miley Cyrus twerked on Robin Thicke at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2013. Since then, “twerk” has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary online, and was runner-up to the OED’s word of the year.
The Boston Marathon
On April 15, 2013, two bombs went off at the finish line at the annual Boston Marathon. The explosion claimed the lives of three victims, and injured over 200 people. This led a three-day manhunt for brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of the attack, and later killing a university police officer, and carjacking. Tamerlan died during a shootout with police, and Dzhokhar was found the next day on April 19 hiding in a boat in Watertown, MA. Dzhokhar had 30 federal charges against him, including the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He pleaded not guilty in federal court on July 10, 2013.
Chef Dominique Ansel of New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery concocted a new hybrid of pastries—a croissant-donut—the cronut. The cronut has the thin dough layers of a croissant, and is fried and glazed like a donut. Since its launch on May 10, 2013, the pastry has internationally been talked about, and imitated. Even USF’s Market Café is in on the trend and offers students with cronuts from Posh Bakery in Santa Clara.
Egyptians Overthrow Morsi
According to Google, June 30, 2013 possibly marks the largest human gathering in world history. Egyptians protested and rioted with the support of the military, until July 3 when they took down former-President Mohamed Morsi. They rationalized their uprising only one year after his election, for failing to follow through with his promises of adhering to the values of the January 25 revolution. As Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, had previously stated, “There is nothing new in Egypt, Egyptians are making history, as usual…”, as they removed two presidents in two years.
Word of the Year: “Selfie”
With society being more plugged into technology via smart phones and apps like Instagram and Snapchat, it is no surprise that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is “selfie.” Oxford defines “selfie” as: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
The Year of Spying
This year whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed what most of us knew all along — that big brother is watching. The NSA leak proved that the government isn’t just watching, but is also storing enormous amounts of digital communication in one big data center somewhere in the middle of Utah. Reactions to the leak ranged from shrugs to protests. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “spying on friends is not okay at all.”
If you are a fan of hip-hop music, it was probably one of your better years. Throughout 2013, the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Drake, J. Cole, A$ap Rocky, and Mac Miller put out successful solo albums that put “ringtone rap” in the background and brought back the focus on lyrical talent and innovation. Eminem’s “Marshall Mathers LP 2,” and Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” currently have the second and third highest first-week sales of any album released this year, and eight different hip-hop albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. With so many new albums from premiere artists, the hip-hop genre has taken a step forward in 2013, and there is plenty of quality music for those who have grown tired of unoriginal dance songs and club records. Who said hip-hop was dead?
The Birth of a New Prince
The Royal family welcomed Prince George of Cambridge on July 22, 2013. He is the first son of Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton. Prince George is also third in line to the throne after his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. Prince George was born in St. Mary’s Hospital, London, the same place where the late Princess Diana gave birth to Prince William and Prince Harry.
The Government can do that? was my incredulous question when news broke that the U.S. Government had shut down after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for the 2014 fiscal year. The shutdown lasted 16 days (Oct.1-Oct.16). During that time, most government-funded services were stopped (i.e. National Parks, Monuments, Museums) and many employees went without a paycheck.