First let’s dispense with the niceties. Happy New Year, everybody.
Now, let’s get to the point. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m not going to miss 2012 one little bit. It’s true; I say that almost every year. But just because I’ve said it before, doesn’t mean it’s not entirely valid. Again.
To be fair, the year wasn’t all bad. I turned 50, which is better than the alternative, and on top of that, I ran the Illinois Marathon on my 50th birthday … in the process of which my wife and I raised some money for a worthy cause: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In fact, we were interviewed on local radio in Champaign before the race, which was a lot of fun and a nice distraction from the normal pre-race nerves:
So, that was something.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention that our son Mark graduated from 8th grade this year …
And survived the first semester of high school. (That’s him with is brother Paul and sister Claire on graduation day.)
Moreover, I got to meet two of my favorite all-time performers: Garland Jeffreys, who came to Chicago in July in support of his excellent 2011 LP, The King Of In Between; and co-creator of The Daily Show and all-around bad-ass Lizz Winstead, who came here in October to read from and sign her book Lizz Free Or Die.
You should stop what you’re doing and go by both of those – the LP and the book. Well, okay, maybe finish reading this first. But then … you go buy.
And then there was the election. Yup. I was pretty pleased with the outcome. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done; but given the choice between the guy who needed a federal bailout to save the corrupt 2002 Winter Olympics and the guy who stopped the Great Recession from becoming the second Great Depression, who put an end to DADT and is putting an end to DOMA, who ended the war in Iraq and is ending the war in Afghanistan, and who was the first president since LBJ to enact a major piece of healthcare legislation, I have little doubt that 65 million American voters made the right choice.
But despite putting the brakes on the Great Recession, the economy continues to be anemic, at best, and many of us continue to live on the edge of financial disaster. 2012 saw little if any progress on climate change, as Chicago set another record – this time for consecutive days where the temperature reached or exceeded 32º Fahrenheit (it’s been 309 days if your keeping score, roughly 5/6ths of a year). Our last winter was so mild, robins, whose migratory return is the perennial sign that spring has arrived, elected not to migrate south in the first place.
Then there were the murders (500 in Chicago alone, the highest number since 2008), the mass shootings, the crimes against humanity in Syria … where does it end?
On the upside, all that bad news made the abysmal performance of my beloved Cubs (61-101) and my beloved Illini football team (2-11), seem trivial by comparison. So, there’s that.
So, yeah. 2012 can bite me. It was pretty damn dismal, on balance.At least there was some decent music.