Saturday, December 23, 2006

2006 Review

You’ll read year-in-review articles everywhere in the next week or so. For the most part, they’ll be a beating, and this one will be no exception. I often struggle with things like this: Is it worth wasting electrons on my screen to even go thru this exercise? Will anyone care? The answer to that is, of course, NO. But who cares about any of the crap I write about here? A few of you do (and I appreciate every one of you), but, for the most part, I do this whole bit just for me.

So, with all the usual self-flagellation out of the way, I think this will be some fun to look back at in the near and distant future. Here goes:

News Story of the Year

The knee-jerk is to say something like “Iraq” or “War of Terror”, but that’s pretty broad. If we’re going to narrow it down a bit, then we should focus on a specific event. To me, that’s the mid-term elections.

The Republicans losing control of Congress was no surprise – they’d doing everything in their power to hand it over for several years, and it was only Democratic ineptness which prevented it from happening at least two years ago. Not a surprise, but an historic, game-changing event nonetheless, and an opportunity to make some new moves at last. Would Rumsfeld still be at the Pentagon if the Dems hadn’t won? Dunno, but they did and he’s not. That’s a start, but, obviously, not nearly enough. I don’t know what the answer is in Iraq, but the status quo obviously ain’t working. I’m not going to say “anything would be better than what we’ve got”, because that’s foolish and untrue. However, there are better approaches available, and its way past time to start trying them. The change in DC makes those other approaches a legitimate part of the debate, where they might not have been before.

International Story of the Year

Ariel Sharon’s catastrophic stroke, North Korea joining the nuclear club, Iran starting the application process for the same club, general zaniness from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez, and the continuing horror shows in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Burma are all noteworthy, but the story of the year in the International section has to be Israel vs. Hezbollah.

For most of the mid-summer, Israel, Hezbollah, and, to a lesser extent, Hamas, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan had a serious disagreement. The roots are, of course, one of the most complex, frustrating, and violent differences of opinion in the history of mankind. The immediate cause was the kidnapping (or capture, depending on your perspective, I suppose) of three Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hezbollah.

The result was weeks of open hostilities, the resolution of which is unclear at this point. Israel certainly did not lose, but it’s difficult to tell if Hezbollah and Hamas did either. Hamas and Hezbollah didn’t win, but it’s difficult to tell if Israel did.

One thing we know for sure coming out of this little soiree is the Israeli govt has lost most, if not all, of its stones. Sharon, and most of the PMs before him, knew that, if it comes to shooting at anything above the platoon level, then it’s time to throw everything up to, and including, the kitchen sink at the other guys. Half measures don’t get it done. However, all Olmert and his tottering coalition could muster was half measures.

VERY discouraging!

Sports Story of the Year

A close one here: Mavs going to the NBA Finals was BIG, but I have to go with Vince Young and Texas winning the National Championship. That Rose Bowl was an All-Timer – I proclaimed it the Greatest College Football Game Ever, and I stand by that. There was MUCH rejoicing all over Texas and at the CIT Compound in particular back on Jan 4.

Entertainment Story of the Year

My vote goes to Sacha Baron Cohen’s emergence as a major comedy star. I have been a fan of the guy since I first laid eyes on “Da Ali G. Show” several years ago. Talladega Nights and, of course, Borat have introduced Cohen to mainstream America. Not everyone gets him, but well north of $150 million in box office for Borat indicates that enough do. Borat takes its place with Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Team America, and Blazing Saddles as the funniest, most offensive movie ever in the history of ever. Shockingly, my smart and insanely hot wife laughed her ass off at it, which is a bet I would have lost for sure.

Local Story of the Year

It’s hardly ever good news in the City of Dallas, and this year is no exception. The big story was the unveiling of plans for the giant new Jerry-Dome in Arlington. The news is all good for Arlington, the Jones family, Cowboy fans, and probably humanity in general. However, its just one more example of Dallas’, and especially Laura Miller’s, inability to get it done.

Best Week of the Year (Personal Edition)

Back in June, I got to attend Microsoft’s annual Tech Ed, this year held at the spiffy new Boston Convention and Even Center. The week-long event was excellent, as always; well-planned, well-executed, well-attended, and chock full of great info. And, since it was in Boston, I got to make a bit of a vacation of the whole thing.

In my 10 day stay, I managed to: spend two days in Providence RI, boating, eating at nice restaurants, killing many brain cells, and generally reliving my college days; see cousins, aunts, and assorted other family from both sides on a number of occasions; go for several runs along the Charles on spectacular New England early summer days; go for several walks through Back Bay and the Financial District on spectacular New England early summer days; get introduced to City Bar, a new entry on my very short list of favorite Boston bars; and enjoy several meals in Back Bays finest restaurants.

I need more business trips like this one!

Big Time Family Story of the Year

There’s a litany of events in the running. Rather than boil it down to a single one, let me briefly list the big stuff:

Our five-year-old son, who has an extremely rare metabolic disease called Tyrosinemia Type 1 and who got VERY VERY sick before he was a year old, started Kindergarten and is learning so much, so fast that I literally can’t believe it. In addition, FISD and the folks at his school have really accommodated him. It took minimal effort from us on some things, and quite a bit of effort on some other things, but we are very pleased with how things have worked out for him.

Our eight-year-old daughter got recruited for select soccer. She’s very athletic, which is shocking, considering how nonathletic her dad is, and, when she’s into it, is an outstanding player. We’re working on the “into it” part, and playing at a higher level should help. This is quite an honor, though, and something we’re all very proud of.

I changed employers, moving from International Network Services to Catapult Systems back in Sept. The work is exactly the same, but I’m doing all of it in the DFW Metroplex of Love. Other than a day trip to Houston and a day trip to Austin, I haven’t traveled for business since I made the change. I actually have time to help Aly with her homework, make the kids dinner, do baths and bedtime, and have a hobby or two. What a revelation!

Robynne continues to add to her legend in the medical community in Dallas, Collin, and Denton Counties. She’s had parents say to her, “I had to wait a month to get an appointment with you, but it was worth the wait.” That’s pretty high praise. She’s had huge positive impacts on so many families in North Texas through her work – it’s great to see her do so well at something she clearly loves to do. She is, quite literally, an inspiration to me.

Thanks for sticking with me thru this outrageously long post, and with the blog thru long periods of less-than-active posting (and less-than-interesting content). Have a great Holiday Season, and a happy 2007!

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