Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap

As has become tradition around here at little CIT, I thought I'd do the year-end review thing. Not that anyone is interested - by now, you should know that's not the point of anything here. I do this whole bit for myself. If anyone else enjoys it, great. But, believe me, your enjoyment is entirely secondary to mine.

Most of you have probably already punched out, but for anyone who's made it this far, onward!

News Story of the Year

Many to choose from, as always: The takeover of Gaza by Hamas was a biggie. The downward spiral in Zimbabwe, while not as catastrophic as I thought it would be (but it ain't over yet) was also big. The crash of the housing market and the disintegration of the sub-prime mortgage sector had enormous impact which has not yet been fully played out. For me, it comes down to two major stories: The near-revolution in Burma and the turning of the tide in Iraq.

Personally, I was most caught up in the Burma story, although I know I'm in the very small minority. I can't explain my fascination with Burma, but I am enthralled. To see the monkhood defy the authorities as they did in late summer/early fall was exciting, even thrilling. The high point came when the monks marched by Suu Kyi's home/prison, with her silently watching, tears evident. Of course, it all came to naught as the fascist thugs in power turned the army's guns on the monks and civilians, and the world, after some lip-service, turned to other topics. Hope, which for a brief moment appeared to be turning into something more, is in very, very short supply on the streets of Rangoon these days.

In terms of world impact, of course, the situation in Iraq has far more impact. The right wing press has been saying, for some time, the tide has been turning. The troops on the ground started saying the same thing mid-year, and now the evidence seems obvious: Stability is emerging, and we dare hope for a reasonably happy outcome.

Worth the cost? Hell no. Not even close in terms of the money, equipment, good will, and, most of all, lives that have been squandered in this catastrophe. But a stable Iraq seems a real possibility now, which was the goal (I think) all along.

How will history judge this endeavor? I have no idea. Probably more favorably than we do now, but it's impossible to say with any certainty. The legacy of the GWB presidency is indelibly linked to the historical view of the Iraq effort. I think its a real possibility that, 20 years from now, the whole bit is viewed as a success, and maybe even a great success. Crazy? Stupid? Naive? Maybe. Call me in 2027 and lets compare notes, shall we?

Sports Story of the Year

Again, some contenders: The Cowboys' return to greatness (we'll see in January if its real or a parity-induced mirage), the Mavericks' fall from greatness (the window slammed shut in a hurry, didn't it?), the invincibility of the New England Patriots, the somewhat anti-climactic continued greatness of the Red Sox, Beckham in America (well, maybe), the rise of Sidney Crosby, and many other compelling events are all possibilities.

To me, the steroids brouhaha in baseball was the big one, even if it, too, was anti-climactic. From my perspective, the entire game of baseball has been sullied, and every major record achieved in the past 25 years is suspect. No one is surprised to hear Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, or any of the other names in the Mitchell Report. But think about it: Do you now doubt the true greatness of some, if not all, of the big stars of the recent past? Reggie Jackson? Tony Gwynn? Cal Ripken Jr? Even the hallowed and revered Nolan Ryan? I do. And I hate that.

Local Story of the Year

Oh, where to start (or end) here? The election of the great (I hope) Tom Leppert to the Dallas Mayor's office? The defeat of the revisionist Trinity River nay-sayers? The unveiling of the Jerry Dome and all that went with it?

I'm going with an obscure one, but one that hits very close to home, and one that I think has the potential to put a major crimp in the stratospheric growth of my home town of Frisco TX. And that is the failure of all involved to do something about Eldorado Parkway. This major east-west artery of Frisco has seen MASSIVE development over the past two years or so, with gigantic shopping and housing developments lining it nearly from stem to stern. And yet it remains a poorly lit, poorly paved, poorly controlled two-lane country road. The traffic jams on Eldorado Parkway at nearly any hour of the day or night are becoming the stuff of legend. I will go MILES out of my way to avoid it. The solution remains elusive, as the city of Frisco and TxDOT continue to wrangle over who should do what to relieve the situation. I feel for the people (good friends of ours included) who have built homes along Eldorado, in many cases BEAUTIFUL homes, but who's quality of life suffers dramatically from their inability to literally get out of their driveways during rush hour.

Story to Watch in 2008

There are the obvious ones, such as the US presidential election and (God, I hope) the resolution of the Iraq boondoggle, among many many others. However, the one I hope, and expect, to see is "The Beginning of the End of the Petroleum Era".

I think it's time, and I think, in 2008, we'll begin to see it. The rise of the hybrid (already well under way) and the all-electric car, the rebirth of nuclear, the advance of battery technology, and perhaps some things we're not thinking much about now, all will, I really hope and believe, start to move us away from our dependence on oil. Don't sell your Exxon stock yet - this is going to take many years - but I think we'll start to see some real movement in 2008.

On the Family Front

As Robynne and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary, our son is seven, our daughter turns 10, and we approach our 3rd year in Frisco, there is much to be thankful for and much to look forward to.

Professionally, 2007 saw Catapult Systems establish ourselves as a major player in the Dallas IT market, and the arrows are all pointing up precipitously for 2008. Robynne continued to add to her legend in the North Dallas pediatric community, the RES-Q Wedge finally became available online, and all trends for next year are positive. Our daughter, fast approaching the teenage years, has re found her stride academically and has matured so much I can't believe it. Our son continues in good health (Tyrosinemia Type 1 is very manageable thus far, thank God) and continues to charm everyone around him. We have great hopes for his emotional and behavioral growth in 2008.

The extended family had its ups and downs in 2007. Minor (mostly) health issues in some quarters, and perhaps somewhat less-minor marital issues in others were more than offset by professional successes, milestones like starting school, going away to camp, new jobs, and new opportunities. We got to see some family members we hadn't seen in some time, almost everyone got to travel a bit, with some mixed results, and I think we all enter 2008 looking forward to continued successes.

We end our family's 2007 with a net positive on all fronts, and look forward to continued good things in 2008. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Holiday Season, and a happy, peaceful, and healthy 2008.

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