Looking back on last year before memory blurs it all (at my age…need I explain?): some favorites, with an invitation to add your own.


Half an hour after launch on Christmas morning, the $10 billion Webb telescope sprang free (literally) from its launch vehicle upper stage. This photo, taken from the upper stage immediately after separation, is the last time we’ll see Webb as the telescope heads to its stable orbit a million miles away from Earth (upper right). It’s currently in the process of unfolding, first the sunshade, then the 18-segment mirror.

Photo: NASA.


Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger are hanging out. Sly says, “I’m thinking of making a movie about the great composers. I’ll be Beethoven.” The Rock says, “I’ll be Brahms.” Arnie says, “I’m in!”

Line from TV Series

“Don’t talk to me about the greater good, Sunshine. I’m the Archangel fucking Gabriel.” (Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett)

Mark Twainer (that I hadn’t seen before)

“I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”


All environmental problems boil down to the fact that there are just too many people. This poor old planet just can’t accommodate eight billion of us, with another two billion forecast by 2050. So my column Every Sperm is Sacred, about decreasing sperm counts, is my favorite of the year.

Live Performance

Georgian pianist Alexander Korsantia playing the “Rach Two” (Sergei Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto in C minor, Opus 18). How he didn’t break the concert Steinway during the first movement, I’ll never know.


Chernobyl killed about as many people (16,000) as fossil fuel emissions kill every day(23,000).

Person of the Year

Katalin Karikó, followed closely by Drew Weissman — pioneer-inventors of innovative mRNA vaccines that allowed the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to be designed within days of China posting the Covid-19 genome code.


Tequila with Bundaberg ginger beer and a squeeze of lemon.

Photo: Barry Evans.