The past is dead. Long live the future.

Truly, we live in an age of the miraculous, and I don't mean statues that weep milk or the steady march of progress, but I suppose there's been a fair amount of that too.

Yes, the new Pope is doing strange and holy things in faraway Rome; yes, self-stabilizing cutlery is helping sufferers from Parkinson's regain a sense of dignity by enabling them to feed themselves again.

Yes, the fucking wars may finally be over soon, or at least our parts in them; and St. Snowden finally had the fortitude and integrity to do what many have considered but never followed through with. The burning light and trumpets of Revelation are causing stars to fall in Washington, and the reflecting pool is turned to blood. Deep in the Earth, the Beast is stirring, and awaiting his parole.

But all of that pales in comparison to these hot dog flavored potato chips. For years they've been at work perfecting them. These are not the hot dog flavored potato chips of days gone by. That would be comparing the grainy, scratchy, slightly mis-tuned television of 1928 with the latest 4k laser projection IMAX.

Absolutely uncanny, you see. Definite, distinct flavors of hot dog meat warmed over charcoal starter fluid; cheap Fourth of July weekend ketchup; YELLOW-type mustard; oh, and the perfect amount of relish. The good relish. The kind you usually only get out of the filmy tubs fastened to the stainless steel side panels of a tired pushcart on the outskirts of Humboldt Park in Chicago. And all of that without being too salty.

Despite illness, unemployment, a general malaise with my country, and the occasional audible pop from the disintegration of another thread in the seams that hold my family together, I am enraptured by the prospect of a whole new year full of snack food discoveries.