Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Best and Worst of 2008
After a little thought about this past year that is leaving us I thought it would be good to write a Best and Worst list of 2008 in a number of areas. 2008 saw extremes of good and bad in many categories so I thought I would put my mind to it and give some examples of what happened this year that made me go WHOA!!
Best Moment 2008 –
By far the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the night of November 4th, 2008 will live in history for a number of reason. Not just because he is the first African-American president, but because he showed that if you are smart, work hard and stay out of trouble you can do whatever you want. In looking at the history of the past 100 years of Presidents I cannot think of anyone who has been elected who came from less. This is a man who grew up to an 18 year old single mother who had no money, status or connections. Despite a time of hanging with the wrong crowd and doing drugs, he managed to graduate from an Ivy League school – Colombia University and then go on to an Ivy League graduated school – Harvard Law School. The true American dream as the son of an immigrant from Kenya and a mid-western woman. Having only served in US Government for 2 years and state government for 7 years before running for office it is true his experience might have seemed lacking but the people of America believed in him. It was not a black thing, as he manged to get more percentage of the votes in ALMOST EVERY CATEGORY over the last democratic candidate John Kerry did in 2004. It was only the 65+ year old White people who favored Kerry. And for those folks I have a giant F U, most of yall probably still think Black people should use different water fountains, ride in the back of the bus and not be allowed into public swimming pools.
Anyway as good as the night of November 4th, 2008 was, so will be the morning of January 20th, 2009 when Barack Hussein Obama swears to protect and serve the constitution of the United States on a bible used by Abraham Lincoln.
2008 Best Book - Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
In the year that oil prices shot past $100 and up to almost $150 and then crashed with the rest of the global economy down to $35, Thomas Friedman wrote a book talking about how American can re-invent itself as an industrial superpower again with a Green revolution. Thankfully Friedman knows a bit about the subject writing back in 2005 The World is Flat, which if you don’t believe in that after watching one country after another following into global financial panic caused by the credit crisis well then you need to go back and read the book. We are all interconnected as a society now, so any gains that America makes in the Green Energy Technology revolution can help the whole planet that yes is getting Hot, Crowded and is already Flat. A great read for the new year, as hopefully President-Elect Obama and his awesome true freakin GENIUS Secretary of Energy nominee Stephen Chu, nobel prize winner in Physics can help lead us into a true Green Revolution and that $1.65 gasoline will not encourage people to dust off their SUVs and fill them up again.
2008 Best Music Album – Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It
Raphael is a talented cat no doubt, while his solo albums have not had the widespread success that he had as a member of Tony Tone Toni, for music lovers his stuff has hit the spot. From his “gospeldelic sound” on Instant Vintage, to his straight back to the 60s Soul revival on his current album, its always a good listen. I must say as I grow older I not as hip to all the new artists coming out, anyone who tells me that Katy Perry is a groundbreaking artists needs to either be taken out to the woodshed or just given a copy of the last stupid “I Kissed a Girl” song done by Jill Sobule and I’m sure there will be another copycat in 10 years. If you like the sound of the 60s or was not alive and wondered how the 1960’s sounded in terms of black music, check out this release. Note a great talent of the 60s Mr. Stevland Morris aka Stevie Wonder does his harmonic thing on a track, worth the price of admission alone.
2008 Best Movie – Iron Man
Ok yes I’m a comic book nerd, and if was not for my collection of Marvel’s back in the 1980’s I would not be into reading at all. While Iron Man was one of my favorite it was not my favorite book back in the day, that honor would goto Spider-Man, Daredevil, Fantastic Four or the Avengers. Well 3 of those above have had movies made and were all rather disappointing in ways. Yet for the true Comic Book nerd out there IRON MAN is DA SHIT. Taking his origin as literal as possible and just changing Vietnam with Afghanistan the movie has great acting from Robert Downey Jr, great supporting cast I mean I never thought I would see a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and LOVE IT. This movie is the best comic book movie possibly ever, and surely my favorite movie of 2008, yeah it won’t win any big-time Oscars, but hell if you didn’t enjoy this check your pulse.
2008 Best Sports Event – UEFA Champions League Final Manchester United vs Chelsea
While my soccer/football allegiances fall to Arsenal, I totally enjoyed the semi-finals and finals of the 2007-2008 Champions League final. Played in the middle of the night on a rainy wet miserable night in Moscow, the game that went to extra time and then penalties featured everything you could want. From a goal by the player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, to a stupid sending off by the moody Didier Drogba for girl slapping someone in the face. Yet it was the penalty shoot-out that would decide it all, with Mr England Captain himself John Terry with a chance for Chelsea FC to win their first ever Champions League title, well his shot was wide and then Manchester United won it. Overall a great game. Also don’t overlook the semi-final 2nd leg game between Chelsea and Liverpool that went to extra time also that was a thriller. We can only hope for 2009s games to be as good as last years.
2008 Best Technology – Apple ipod Touch 2nd generation
While I do not yet own one of these, having seen and played with one, this is all you need in your pocket. While it does not have the phone capacity, I think the whole sign you life away for 2 years to AT&T/Apple for $120 a month is sort of crazy. For everything else you might need the iPod Touch does it. With WiFi, email, browser, music, video, youtube, and access to the 3rd party apps store which then lets almost unlimited expansion. 36hrs audio playback life and 6hrs video playback, in a package that fits in your hand I must give Apple props for doing it well. I have been an anti-apple person from way back in the Apple 2e days, when my friends had those and I was given a crappy IBM PCjr in 1984. Yet I stuck to IBM, DOS, Windows operating systems forever and never been seduced by the Mac zombie crowd. Well in 2009 that probably will change when I get my first true Apple product (yeah I have own a ipod shuffle before but that does not really count now does it?)
And now onto the worst things that happened this year.
2008 Worst Event – Sub prime Crisis/Credit Crunch/Global Financial Meltdown
It can be called by so many names, but basically the economic malaise that spread from a bunch of overpriced unsold houses in California, Arizona, Florida and other states has spread around the world taking out Iceland in the process along with wrecking financial markets. We living today get the privilege to live through the first ever worldwide recession, and while much of it might be called just Fear, the reality of it is cheap money is gone. The US Government will print up as much as needed, and yet the rest of the world feels safe in knowing it’s the USA printing these dollars and not say Mexico, Brazil or Argentina. In the past financial crisis have been limited to one country or region, but hell this one is worldwide, it has even affected the seemingly untouchable Gulf Arab states as we have watched oil plunge to $40 a barrel from $140 on worries about lack of demand. The US Consumer has been cut off, so therefore has 70% of our economy that relies on buying cheap shit from China. While its good to see 2008 behind us in terms of the crisis, its just the start and anyone who tell you that by the 2nd quarter of 2009 cheap credit will be flowing again might have already had too much holiday cheer in terms of adult drinks. It will take a bit longer, how much longer no one can easily predict but this problem that has taken us 20+ years of easy money to get into is going to take more than 2 quarters to get out of.
2008 Worst Downfall – Eliot Spitzer
As years of being the so called Sheriff of Wall Street, the now governor of New York State took a nasty spill after being caught up in a high end prostitution ring. Well high end if only you talk about the amount of $$ being spent, as the ‘ho he was last caught with certainly was not some worldly, speaks all these languages and fine wine/culture whores her agency said she was. Nope she was a New Jersey run-a-away who featured in Girls Gone Wild videos and then decided to sell her cooch to horny old men who were happy to pay it. The thought of Spitzer spending $4500 bucks and then being able to keep on his black socks while he banged away is more comical than it is sad. Bye Bye Eliot.. Oh and to my peeps overseas, yeah its amazing that American political figures can take a big tumble for this, when you can goto Amsterdam and anyone politican, sports star, or regular Joe the Plummer can get whatever on the menu that you want for 50 Euros and its all good.
2008 Worst Technology – Blu Ray
After a nasty 2 year battle with HD-DVD, it seems that Blu-Ray won. Well there is no winner as despite the demise of the competing format, people are not flocking to Blu-Ray out and out. Reasons could be the cost of replacing your whole DVD collection that you have been slowly building since 1997. Or it could be the fact that hell many people(my sister included)who buy nice big HDTV, don’t even subscribe to HD service and wouldn’t know the extra quality of Blu-Ray if it slapped them across the face. Anyway with DVD sales finally slowing down, and better technology to stream HD images and 1080p into the home over internet/cable/satellite lines I doubt that Blu-Ray will ever amount to much more than a few year fad. And hell other than 2% of the videophile population out there, who can tell the difference between a standard DVD movie up scaled or a broadcast in 720p vs 1080p, not many of us. The extra cost is just not worth it.
2008 Worst Sports Collapse
Either the NY Mets or the NY Jets, funny both teams played at one time in Shea Stadium, it could be that stadium is cursed and many are glad to see it being torn down this year. As a partial NY Jets fan, I’ll have to say the Mets Collaspe for the 2nd straight year to not make the playoffs has to win, but the sting of the Jets losing 4 of the last 5 is still fresh in my mind. Whatever the case, both teams hit the golf course early this year.