When I was much younger, and much angrier, my New Year's tradition was to stand outside at midnight and scream "Happy New Year ... Life Sucks!". I've grown a little since then, and I now realize that life is a marvelous mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. In other words, its just life, a vast flow of instances that engage us on a constant basis. So, being that I am an animal that likes to categorize those engaging instances (as most of us are), I offer my personal 10 things good, bad and ugly for the passing year, 2004.
10. A very good man gave us enough DASD to double our storage on our AS/400, as well as enough RAM to max the machine. Whether you understand or not, trust me, this is good.
9. The Montana Grizzlies made it to the National Championship game.
8. New Blogs to read. All the new bloggers in Montana, new blogs from friends, and some downright insightful progressive viewpoints. (For the record, I think that You Will Anyway is one of the absolute best progressive blogs anywhere, and I sincerely hope that it takes its place alongside the big boys of Atrios, Pandagon, etc ...)
7. The Montana Blogger's Bash.
6. My wife's new Kia.
5. The Montana miracle.
4. Solstice celebrations. June with all my friends at Sharon's place, and December with all my friends here.
3. Camping at Bloody Dick Creek.
1. A vacation in Las Vegas. I'll be paying for it for the next year, but I don't care. I had fun, and came back with a new brother-in-law. Okay, so I went down there with him and my sister-in-law too, but they came back married, and that is good.
10. My digital camera died.
8. Batgrl's brain trouble. She's okay, but that was bad.
7. Lots of growing pressures at work that I just won't discuss here.
6. The western drought continues. I haven't journaled it much, but this is an ongoing badness that gets worse every year. We did have a cool wetish Summer, but that hasn't helped the long term situation.
5. Donald Rumsfeld's continual pretensions at being a Secretary of Defense. Couple that with the monthly rising death toll in Iraq, and you have mega-badness.
3. The passing of Mike's dad.
2. Mom's cancer. She's okay, but this was still very bad.
1. The Christmas tsunami. 'Nuff said.
10. The Presidential debates. The first wasn't bad, but they became phenomenally stupid after that.
9. A President, who when directly asked to name three mistakes he had made, wouldn't even name one. Lying is ugly. Arrogance is uglier by far.
8. Janet's tit. We've all seen it by now, and it's ugly. This ugliness is only surpassed by the unbelievably stupid outrage that it spawned.
7. Reality TV. Of course, this didn't start in 2004, but this year saw it sink to it's lowest level yet. The true ugliness is that it will inspire the RTV shows of 2005 to be even more ... ugly.
6. Professional Sports. Don't get me wrong, I still love the NFL, but 2004 showed the NBA, The NHL, and professional steroid ball jumping the chemically enhanced shark. All due credit to those teams that still make us believe in the power of competition (The BoSox, The Steelers ...), but when the the lowest paid Baseball team can beat the highest paid by 22-0, it's end game.
5. Crossfire, and most other pundit shows. You really are hurting America.
4. Red State-Blue State thinking. All the things that promote a divided America. With special shout-outs to Ann Coulter, religious fundys, Sir Charles the paranoid and his tiny green bullies, DU, Freepers, Jonah Goldberg, Townhall in toto, and especially the current presidential administration for being dividers, rather than uniters.
3. Rathergate/Memogate/whatever you want to call it. CBS screwed up, no doubts. But those in the blogoshphere who trumpet their own importance over the MSM consistently lose sight of the fact that without the media, they'd be sitting around typing inanities (kind of like I do). These purveyors of ugly are like blind remoras, sucking on the sides of media sharks, always convinced that they could do a better job than those upon whom they owe their very existence.
2. Open signups at MetaFilter. I'm not saying it's good or bad, but it sure has gotten ugly.
1. The American reaction to the tsunami. As proven by private donations, America has shown it's concern and it's worth. But so much of this is being driven by partisan snark, and self-referential aggrandizement, that the ugliness here is sickening. Jingoism is no proof of a caring nature, no matter how much money you throw at somebody.
Well there it is, my personal impressions of 2004. A lot of good and bad and ugly didn't make these lists, and I'm sure that many things I've written here will be disagreed with. The beauty of it all is that life will go on, and a new year beckons.
Happy New Year, to you all.