LOOKING BACK: January 2020

Simon’s all done, Bill had a good run, and Pisa’s tower lean is just no fun.

Well, we didn’t get to explore the eighties for very long, did we? Oh, well. New decade, new… decades? Heh… Here’s what was happening back in January 2010, 2000, and 1990.


JANUARY 11: Simon Cowell leaves American Idol

“Does this shirt make my nipples look big?”

It had been rumored for some time, but Simon Cowell made it official in January of 2010: He was leaving American Idol. The show still stood at the top of prime time in the US, but Simon had his sights set on returning to The X Factor back in the UK as a judge.

His replacement was Steven Tyler which, okay. But that kicked off a tradition of constantly shifting judges in the following years. The wheels finally fell off in 2015, and there was much rejoicing…

Until they brought the show back in 2018 because, clearly, we haven’t all suffered nearly enough.

We are giving this man entirely too much money.


JANUARY 13: Bill Gates steps down as Microsoft CEO

This is the face of a man that makes $20,000 while taking a shit.

The iconic nerd behind the birth of Microsoft, Bill Gates finally stood up from the Captain’s Chair in 2000 and gave it to Steve Ballmer. While he wasn’t the funnest person to hang out with, there was no question that he had built the company into a leviathan… which is why it faced antitrust litigation only two years prior.

Bill would continue to guide product strategy until 2006, which turned out to be a good time to duck out. The very next year, Windows Vista was unleashed on us all. That was, of course, followed by the band aid known as Windows 7, and then there was Bing, Microsoft Edge…

MICROSOFT: “We’re Almost Good Enough. Kind of. Maybe.”


JANUARY 7: The Leaning Tower of Pisa is closed to visitors for, well, leaning too far

Just look at that shifty son of a bitch.

It’s kind of all there in the title, isn’t it? The move was largely spurred by the collapse of the Civic Tower in Pavia, Italy. It should be noted that the Civic Tower sure as hell wasn’t leaning when it collapsed, which makes one wonder why the Pisa tower was ever deemed A-Ok for occupancy.

Especially since this decision was made after experts studied its stability for TWO YEARS before finally deciding to close it. I imagine it was mostly an expert saying “This isn’t safe” followed by Pisa officials saying “But, money!” for several months. However it happened, they closed shop and set to shoring up the structure.

The solutions were almost child-like in their simplicity. They started by taking the heavy stuff out(the bells at the top.) Then they tied the tower back with cables. Finally, they dug dirt out from underneath the high side of the tower to make it lean less.

Artist’s Depiction

The plan worked (eventually) and the high side of the tower settled back down nearly eighteen inches by 2001. It was reopened to the public in December of that year. Further restoration work has shored up the tower enough that experts now say it will remain stable for 200 years.

Now watch it collapse like, two years from now.

“Perfect! Now stay right there for two hundred years. Thanks!”