No Surprises Here
MIPTC received several, long-winded and sometimes boringly similar Christmas letters (you know who you are) this year. I dutifully put each one in the round file. Only a search warrant will get me to give them up again. But in the spirit of the holiday, here's MIPTC's take on this justifiably maligned and misguided holiday tradition (looking from a different perspective on family and friends):
It's been a busy, but perhaps not too surprising a year for everyone here at the blog. With the top lawyer in the country now charging over $1,000 per hour, MIPTC's fees look like a bargain. But money aside, here's how things stack up for lawyers. MIPTC's friends on Supreme Court have mostly had a yawner of a term. Think about it: the most riveting decision so far has been on patent law. Even with the addition of supposed conservatives Roberts and Alito, which almost everyone expected to swing decisions more to the right, it's been a boring year so far. You have to wonder, though, what happened in that Guantanamo Bay decision against Rumsfeld?
Congress has been busy, too, changing the laws so fast my head was spinning. There are entirely new Bankruptcy laws, E-discovery and Federal Civil Procedure laws, proposed new immigration laws and heck, even a new Congress. Voters not only funded full employment for Congressional office interior decorators, but also for political hacks. Lobbyist Jack Abramoff went to jail, and probably saved many potential others in Congress from the same fate.
The Executive Branch hasn't shied away from change, either. We've got a new Secretary of Defense, and superstar political candidates for the Oval Office, if you can believe People magazine. I guess the next President will become the next celebrity. What's next? A Presidential Talent Agent? Imagine that headline: "________ (insert your favorite candidate's name here) gets off the couch and into the race." And how many times have you heard an apology for getting in the way from a friend who got shot in the face? Just doesn't happen. OK, maybe it did.
Then there's the legal business world, which has given the government a run for its money. Literally. We've seen scandals over backdating stock options and for the first time lawyers have had targets painted on them (just kidding about that "first time" part). It seems like more corporate lawyers have resigned over these scandals than CEOs. Then again, we have Hewlett Packard spying on the company's board of directors. Didn't anyone tell them you're supposed to spy on competitors? They must have missed that class in MBA school. If they would have been paying attention, they would have offered to sell new laptop batteries to Dell customers. Missed opportunities, I guess.
But remember, all's well in the business world again. Martha's out of jail and back in the kitchen. Now if we could only get Rosie off TV. Speaking of Rosie, how about Miss USA and The Donald? (link has sound) Now there's a pair who deserve each other.
Some businesses took a hit this year. With the movie "Supersize Me" in mind, several fast-food outlets had unfortunate E. Coli outbreaks, leading Jay Leno to joke that Taco Bell added "Chile Con Coli" to its menu.
Sports haven't left the news yet, either. Thankfully, USC lost the BCS match this year, and MIPTC's University of Iowa plays in the Alamo Bowl. Hawkeyes will take any excuse to get away from the frozen hinterlands, if even only for the New Year's day game. As long as we're talking cold, remember Bode Miller (link has goofy sound), who skied his own way out of the Olympics? Even perennial hopeful Michelle Kwan disappointed skating fans. But we weren't without high points in his past sports year. Perhaps the most notorious sports event of the year was Zidane's head butt in World Cup boxing (I mean soccer).
Since we're in the S's, let's talk science. My friend Pluto got demoted from the Solar System. Now he's just a far away rock, despite his rock-star status in the LAX airport, where posters proclaim that everyone in the US has enough airline miles to fly back and forth to the former planet some 77 times. Now no one wants to go there, and Pluto's depressed. Things back on Earth have fared slightly better, at least initially.
With Hurricane Katrina in the record books, the entire East Coast gave thanks at the end of this year's season that no significant hurricanes made landfall. With one weather season down, though, we're not out of the woods yet. We've had plenty of snow to start off the year, and right in time for Christmas Denver International Airport once again lived up to it's nickname for its famously delayed opening: "Doesn't Include Airplanes" when some 2,000 planes were grounded this Christmas Eve.
While the weather occupies everyone else in the country, out here in Hollyweird, celebrities have likewise given MIPTC plenty to think about. We've had tirades from Mel Gibson and Michael Kramer. Pastor Ted Haggard, who preached about the evils of sex and sin, was dutifully outed by a male escort. I got tears in my eyes just thinking about Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. In the sad commentaries department (with a hat tip to my good friend, Bruce MacEwen), Google reported that "Brittany Spears" was the most searched term in 2006. Parents, be warned. Get your own My Space.
And here's one celebrity observation that only MSNBC's Alex Johnson could write: "Pamela Anderson married Kid Rock before deciding she had room for only two boobs in her life." I'm shocked.
Finally, and just when you thought there's be no new surprises, Microsoft announced it found a flaw in Windows Vista.
A boring 2006? I rest my case.
Here's my favorite postscript to this story: Instead of focusing on the bad news, try out some good news for a change. Another wonderful source: DarynKagan.com, hosted by the former news anchor from CNN, who's launched a new take on the news (link has video and sound). Otherwise, if you just want to laugh about it: try Craig Ferguson.