This is the time of the year that everybody recounts the top events of the past year. If you ever doubted, just have a look at the Spokane Chess Club…

They saw a record snowfall (with apologies to Al Gore), a near-record number of players — 63 — participating in a weekend chess tournament, and the hosting of a huge state tournament. (I’ll admit: 1,061 chess players is a lot of Bobby-Fisher wannabes.) (Don’t ask me why I picked the Spokane Chess Club; it just seemed ideal. :-) )

What would you list as the top events of 2009 for you and yours? Would it be the inauguration of a new president? The changes he brought about? … or promised? … or the ongoing global economic slow-down & accompanying unemployment? Afghanistan? Pakistan? Iran? Nukes? Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tiger defeat? Iraq? Pirates? (Arrrr.) Mexico & violence? “Balloon boy?”

What would be the *strangest* event of 2009 for you? (Maybe “Balloon boy?” wins that category too?) Did you read a particularly random news headline? This one caught my eye… “Sanitation-Zambia: Turning Urine Into Gold.” (I’m not joking.) You know you’re in for a treat when the article begins like this:

“When he ordered his colleagues at the Water and Sanitation Association of Zambia to save all their urine in a plastic bottle in the office toilet, they thought he was mad. But German sanitation specialist Christopher Kellner wanted to demonstrate why he calls urine ‘liquid gold’.” (I’m not joking.) Apparently human urine contains the 3 most important plant nutrients which farmers normally *buy* for their gardens. Now boys and girls, before you rush out to help the family garden, better ask permission from you mom. This German guy reckons that the average person produces 500 liters of urine per year. At that rate, a family of 6 could take care of a 1000-square-meter garden. (Why have I suddenly decided *not* to become a vegetarian?) :-) If you think I’m making all this up, see the original article at:

Interestingly, the tag line for the Inter Press Service is, “The Story Underneath.” Who knew they specialized in latrines!? :-) The things you learn in Brigada. :-)

But what reeeeeeeeeally interests me is — what, for you, are the top news stories of the *decade*? We’re wrapping one up, you know. (Did that one seem faster than normal? … or is it just my imagination?)

Comment on these and ask your questions in the comment box below.

And as we close out another decade in Brigada Today, we give thanks to you and yours for a tremendous year. Thanks for being part of the Brigada family. Thanks to those who chose to give to keep us going. And thanks to the Lord and Father of Lights who makes life worth living, and gives us a message worth sharing. May His name be lifted up and glorified from the East to the West forever!