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With his attention severely diverted due to watching the presidential debates, Francesco Schettino, captain of the large cruise ship Costa Concordia, runs onto rocks off the Italian coast. In defense of his premature departure from the sinking ship, Schettino claims he (a) slipped and fell into a lifeboat due to the sharp listing of the ship or (b) believed he could command the rescue efforts better from a lifeboat … in the dark. Realizing nobody was buying it, Captain Schettino asserted, “I’m not as bad as Osama Bin Laden!”

Finally, the Republicans were down to two candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, both of whom possess first names created for them by J. R. R. Tolkien, originator of the wildly popular “Hobbit.” Sadly, candidate Gingrich dropped out of the race after his ex-wife went on ABC to discuss why Newt shouldn’t be president: because he wanted an open marriage. To which former President Bill Clinton responded, “Dang! You can do that?”

By spring, it was revealed that Secret Service agents on security detail in Columbia allegedly became involved with prostitutes, a scandal causing six agents to leave their jobs and five others to be placed on administrative leave. Meanwhile, President Obama denied former President Clinton’s application for a job with the Secret Service.

In August, England’s Prince Harry learned that “What happens in Vegas …” is grist for the Internet and 24-hour news cycles when pictures of Harry enjoying himself with his royal accouterments on full display became the biggest news of the summer. It was a lovely and tasteful follow-up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June, a celebration of her 60-year British reign. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that former President Clinton was spotted at the scene dancing the Watusi and shouting to the Prince, “I got your back, Dude!”

In November, CIA director David Petraeus resigned over a scandalous affair involving his biographer, Paula Broadwell. This was the result of threatening emails sent from Broadwell to Jill Kelley, Florida party planner extraordinaire, who it was later revealed was involved with a different four-star general, John Allen. Allen and Kelley allegedly exchanged some 20,000 to 30,000 emails over the course of two years. “I am innocent!” swore Allen, holding up the five bloody finger stumps of his right hand. Defense officials at the Pentagon maintain that the number of emails was “inflated,” probably amounting to no more than 19,500.

Also in November, voters re-elected President Obama whose victory was over-shadowed by the tragic news that Hostess was closing forever, putting an end to America’s favorite snack, the Twinkie. In a last minute Hail-Mary effort, voters in Colorado and Washington, still on a “high” from the passage of the legalized recreational marijuana bill, pooled loose change found between their sofa cushions and, according to spokesman Willie Nelson, are now attempting to purchase equipment to manufacture Twinkies as well as some “mighty big doobies.”

So we lurched at last into 2013, hoping to put tawdry 2012 behind us by enjoying a spectacularly produced Inauguration in January when … two words: Lance Armstrong. And possibly two more words: Manti Te’o.

Figuring you’re as sick of these sports figures as I am, let’s move on to the Inauguration where a star-studded ensemble of performers lent their talents to make it a day to remember. Where a gloriously outfitted Beyonce performed what is unarguably the best rendition ever of “The Star Spangled Banner,” lip-syncing … NO, WAIT! Did somebody say LIP-SYNCING?

To which Lance Armstrong allegedly protested, “Dude! That’s CHEATING!!”

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