10 Things That Happened in 2012 | Jim Dunn

best2012 sq“Well, that happened.”

 

2012 election

2012 seemed to be a year where reality was proving itself so much more interesting than anything appearing on screen. As a person who likes his reality on the emotional side, it was a very good year.

  1. The Election. Right up front, I am a Democrat—have been, probably always will be. So I was rooting for the incumbent from square one. However, I was still uptight about the election. This, despite the fact that the GOP did everything they possible could to prove themselves incapable of winning practically anything. The damage of Todd Akin alone to the national party, and that party’s slow response to that cauldron of stupidity, spoke volumes. On top of that, there seemed to be intent on the part of the GOP to piss off large portions of the electorate. So I wasn’t surprised that the Obama won. What was surprising was how surprised the GOP was at the drubbing. It could be summed up in the appearance of Karl Rove on Fox News on Election Night.
  2. Nate Silver Erupts. I love statistics. I love polls. And a year with a national election is as close to a holiday celebration as I can get. This year, Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog on The New York Times website (as well as in print) was the place to go for every bit of wonk detail you could ever possibly want. The best part about reading Silver’s blog was his confidence in what he was writing and the sources of his speculation. Even more fun was reading the way other sites tended to pooh-pooh what Silver wrote (mostly because his predictions didn’t square with their ideological desires). On election night, I compared what Silver had predicted with the outcome and, as expected, he called the election nearly 100% correct—right down to precincts. Five Thirty Eight dealt in reality and not ideology. He was unapologetic to both sides. Silver’s column is always worth a read, even if there isn’t a pressing election on the horizon. 
  3. British Gold. Being a Manchester United FC fan is like being a Beatles fan. For every “Eleanor Rigby,” you have to put up with “When I’m Sixty-Four.” They are never really a bad team; sometimes they are just good, or not trying hard enough. Last May, when they were playing the final game of the English Premier League season, it really seemed like they were going to win their 20th title. And they did. They won their final game against Sunderland, besting their rivals, Manchester City. But Man City still had a few minutes to play, and play they did. They were down at nearly the end of the game but came from behind—twice—ultimately securing three points for the win. This tied them, points-wise, with Man U, but allowed them to win the championship due to the somewhat complex rules of soccer (goal differential). Man U won the game and were technically the champions of the league for about two minutes. It was a sad day in our house.
  4. Mayans Laugh. The world didn’t end on 12-21-12. If you thought it would, you are an idiot.
  5. Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast. New York state and city are my former stomping grounds and I cannot even begin to tell you how much it chopped away at me. Neighborhoods I hung out and places where I vacationed were under water. This picture and cover from the New Yorker spoke volumes.
  6. Bang. This is the year that gun violence became commonplace. In a country with 30,000 gun deaths annually, it has now become acceptable (though lamentable) for people to be mowed down indiscriminately by someone possessing a military-style weapon. In 2012, there have been more than a half-dozen mass shootings: Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma… I hear they are going to do something about it. I doubt it. Great article: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map?page=2.
  7. Fiscal Cliff. I am a big believer in logic. If it makes sense, do it. I also do believe that if you don’t have the money for it, you should do what American families do everywhere, take out a loan or a mortgage, or go without. We are a tremendously wealthy country and the political bickering for the last 30 years has left us in worse shape than we ever should be. There is this amazing wave of grief in the country that says we don’t have the money to pay for all these social programs, or to replace infrastructure while at the same time we have people arguing that we have too many taxes or that no tax increases are ever acceptable. Logic would point out that these attitudes create a vicious circle that forms a downward spiral. So when the fiscal cliff ranting started by mid-2012 and the debt ceiling became a punching bag, I found it hard to believe that there was any logic left in the country…just politics.
  8. Tactile. Last year we ended our physical subscription to The New York Times. We got a Nook and we used it for about three months. It was a major letdown as a way to read the Times (somewhat better when it came to magazines). How the Times thought they could make their audience happy with the digital version is beyond me. Lack of graphics, small and rare pictures, frozen in time like a print edition all added up to a less-than-elegant experience. The website was, as it always is, a helpful supplement to the paper, but it did not make the digital version of the paper any more enjoyable. When the option came to go back to the print edition in September, a unanimous vote of YES went up in the house. Really, there is nothing better than a couch, a blanket, and The New York Times on a Sunday morning.
  9. Food. We started off as part-time vegetarians 11 years ago. Through the years, we  added seafood and poultry. Over the last few years, Laura has slowly eliminated foods in her daily diet, to the point this year she was ready to go all vegetarian again. I am a take-it-or-leave-it guy when it comes to food. I don’t really miss much meat (though the smell of chicken wings at Schnuck’s is nearly impossible to resist), so the lack of meat is not a problem. Laura is also a recipe collector of the highest order, so our healthy food is almost always a tasty combination and well-spiced. We eat well and it is all things that a few years ago I would never see myself eating: kale, cauliflower, gnocchi, tofu, and almost anything from the legume family. Even better than the enviable cholesterol levels is the fact that every night we tend to cook dinner together. As a former frozen-pizza-dinner-type person, this expenditure of time at first seemed insurmountable, but is now something I look forward to, as much for the food as for the time together and sense of accomplishment.
  10. Accomplishment. Yesterday was New Year’s Eve. It was my last official day off of the holiday season. I was hoping to do next to nothing: coffee, TV, computer, and relaxation. There was this drip, though, in the bathroom faucet. I am phobic about home repairs and feel those things should be left to professionals. However, anybody can fix a leaky faucet. I mean, come on, people: beavers build dams, and I can certainly control a drip. Five and a half hours and two trips to Home Depot later, I had replaced the entire faucet and the shoddy feeder hoses to the sink. Honestly, every time I go in the bathroom now I marvel at my handywork (anybody with half a grasp on home repairs is probably muttering “it’s just a faucet!”) and feel just a little more in control of at least my own environment. I have noticed this throughout the year when I have gone the distance to take responsibility for a task. No fence is as beautiful as the fence you paint yourself. Sometimes a challenge is a good thing. Something to remember in 2013. | Jim Dunn
About Jim Dunn 126 Articles
Jim Dunn grew up in NY in the 70s and 80s. Even though that time in music really shapes his appreciation it does not define it. Music, like his beloved history is a long intermingled path that grows, builds and steals from its past. He lives in Colorado with his lovely wife and a wild bunch of animals.

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