Meet the New Year, Same As the Old Year

Or, "We Won't Get Fooled Again," the perfect theme song for an election year.

I was thinking about the subject of the arbitrariness of the concept of the new year, and about the fact that December 31st, 2007 has more in common with January 1st, 2008 than it does with the first 363 days in 2007. Watching the numbers roll over on the calendar gives the illusion of change, but in reality, things are still pretty much the same as they were yesterday.

Change IS coming, though, and not for the better: We have a major cold front on the way that is likely to give us record cold temperatures for January 3rd on Thursday. The newspaper has threatened us with temperatures in the upper 20s, which could be the coldest day since 1996 (29 degrees) or even back to The Great Christmas Freeze of 1989 (27 and 28 degrees on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, respectively). The all-time record low for Fort Myers of 26 degrees was recorded on December 13, 1962. (Update: That's the modern record at Page Field, the old airport. The all-time coldest temperature in downtown Fort Myers was 24 degrees on December 24, 1894.) The Great Christmas Freeze was my first winter in Florida, and it killed off a lot of palm trees and other tropical plants.

"Global warming," my foot.