Every culture around the world has superstitions for ringing in the new year. (Including the Chinese, although their calendar doesn't roll over until the lunar new year, which usually happens in late January or early February.) What all of these superstitions have in common is a belief that the things you do (or avoid doing) on the first day of the year set the pattern for all of the days that follow.
I have been following this story of the Mayan Apocalypse for years. For so long, in fact, that I don't remember where I first heard about it or when. I know that I was well aware of it before the movie 2012 was released in 2009, so we're talking about at least four years of hearing people blather on about it.
Every major event ends up trailing behind it a fog of conspiracy theories like the tail of comet, and the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre is no different.
No one believes the Mayan apocalypse. Well, almost no one. Your crazy uncle on Facebook probably does. Maybe that coworker who still can't stop talking about The Da Vinci Code. But no one credible has any stock in the magic date of 12/21/12.
A lot of people are turned off by the way that Gmail harvests words from your e-mail messages and uses them to decide which ads to show you. Others find it unsettling the way the Kinect for XBOX 360 can detect your movements and translate them into video game form.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is home to some strange things. Spending my summers there as a child, I marveled at the billboards that seemed to be especially designed for children – “Mom, Dad, can we stop?”