2007 wrap up

2007 was a pretty good year. Not as good perhaps as the magical 1999 when money, fun and excitement were everywhere, but still pretty good. It was certainly better than all the years between 1999 and 2007.

Best of all was the turnaround in Iraq and the resulting drop in U.S. casualties thanks to the increase in troop levels and shifting alliances and priorities among several Iraqi factions.

Second best was the defeat and redefeat of the amnesty for illegal aliens that Senator John McCain and President George W. Bush pushed for very hard. The pro-amnesty forces fittingly threw in the towel just couple of days before Independence Day. It was a remarkable victory for the common citizen and a stunning defeat for corporations, ethnic grievance activists and other members of the pro-amnesty forces. Not that the struggle is over: The pro-amnesty gang will try to piecemeal advance amnesty and dismantle border security and immigration law enforcement. It won’t be easy to beat them back over and over.

There was much to rejoice over in Boston sports. The Boston Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in the World Series after a tough American League Championship Series against Cleveland Indians. The Boston Celtics unexpectedly vaulted to the top of the National Basketball Association in spite losing out in the NBA draft lottery. The Boston College Eagles finished their season 11-3 and won their eighth straight bowl game. Matt Ryan was widely seen as one of the top collegiate quarterbacks in the country.

Most importantly, my beloved New England Patriots reloaded after a heart breaking loss to Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. They added wide receivers Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth, tight end Kyle Brady, and linebacker Adalius Thomas through trades and free agency acquisitions. The new and improved Patriots rolled through the regular season undefeated, the first team ever to go 16-0 in the regular season. Tom Brady set a league record for touchdown passes (50), Moss for touchdown receptions (23), and Welker a team record for receptions (112). The team is in great position to roll through the play offs and win the Super Bowl for the fourth time in seven years.

Otherwise it wasn’t a particularly cheerful year for Massachusetts. In fact, it was another forgettable year for a state that is economically stuck in neutral, and demographically and fiscally in reverse and that is slowly losing its soul and identity. Previously dry towns started issuing liquor licenses like there’s no tomorrow and Governor Deval Patrick found a most bumbling and disingenuous way to promote the establishment of in-state casinos.

It’s too early to evaluate the usefulness of Massachusetts’ ambitious experiment with mandatory and partially subsidized health insurance, but the dramatic cost overruns aren’t promising.

The new free daily newspaper BostonNow turned out to be singularly awful. If Metro was the free newspaper for the era of 50 cable channels Now is the paper for the MySpace era. The terrifically entertaining radio talker Howie Carr went off air for several weeks while butting heads with station management before returning to WRKO, albeit for more money. The substantially less terrific Eileen McNamara left her columnist gig at The Boston Globe and was replaced with reporter Yvonne Abraham, who quickly took the year off on maternity leave.

The disastrous Boston police chief Kathleen O’Toole was finally sacked by Mayor Tom Menino and was succeeded by Ed Davis. Well, what do you know? Murder and other crime rates started falling.

The most overlooked story of the year: Boston turned majority white again, in part, I think, because many non-whites used subprime mortgages to buy houses in relatively cheap towns like Randolph.

The most overdone story: LED signs.

That’s all big world stuff. In the little world that is me, myself and I a few notable things happened.

- I chased a mugger through the streets of Kenmore Square, although to little effect. You’re probably thinking de’ va’ mig ett jävla tjat, but that’s the thing, things like that don’t happen often. That’s what makes them notable.

- In an off-hand remark my doctor told me to exercise more so I started working out harder than I ever have since I stopped playing football. It was fun – and hopefully healthy – but I got sidetracked a bit when

- I and the missus vacationed in Washington state for ten days. Great trip. Great place. It was also an opportunity to watch the Red Sox live since tickets are much more plentiful at Safeco Field in Seattle than at Fenway Park at our end of I-90.

- And then we moved to the suburbs after nearly ten years in the city (15 for my wife, a graduate of Boston University). It would be fun to point to some particularly dramatic incident that brought about the move but it was more or less just time. We simply grew old as the square grew young again. I shall, perhaps, at some point, compose a retrospective post on my years in Kenmore Square. Shortly after we decided to move we saw this at Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street in Back Bay, where we got married almost a decade ago:

Timely and topical, one could say.

My five most read (sort of) posts this year, in order:

NFL bans cheerleaders from distracting players from opposing teams (I may have been the first on the web who reported this very important edict, which helped bring in the masses after a Sunday pre-game show mentioned the league memo).

Nothing but pictures of New England Patriots Cheerleaders.

A Sunday morning at New England Patriots 2007 training camp (pictures of Moss, Welker, Brady and the offensive line are a powerful lure in this season of perfection).

Ebay Live 2007 Day 2: Google talk, booth babes and other fun (a little something for everyone!).

Nothing but pictures of Boston Celtics Dancers (this could be my favorite post of the year. Notice the absence of purple prose. I’m a disciplined writer).