"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 5 Moments of the Year

A lot of stuff happened this year, most of it political, all of it historical. To keep it simple, I picked the five moments that make this year amazing (yet tragic).

5) Wall-E / The Dark Knight
Two fantastic movies that didn't require history, making an actor look ugly, or the Holocaust to make the best movies of the year. Hollywood at its finest with more to come from Pixar and hopefully Nolan. Below are the Wall-E trailer and the tragic but fantastic ending to The Dark Knight.

4) Sarah Palin Couric Interview
John McCain's choice of complete unknown Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was seen by many as both odd and impulsive. Her background showed absolutely nothing to indicate she was qualified for the second highest position in the country. She was able to do something that McCain wasn't by getting the full and devoted following of "the base", die hard Republicans and evangelicals that provide money, campaigning and ground game that a GOP Presidential candidate depends on for achieving a victory. The momentum, for the first time, shifted to McCain. Suddenly victory was a real possible...until this infamous interview. An interview so bad that SNL parodied it to perfection a few days later. With this disaster of an interview and several that followed, the fence sitters realized what many of us already figured out, that Sarah Palin was in way over her head. She is truly, beyond all doubt "Bush in drag" and this country has had enough of a stubborn mule with no intelligence, curiosity and mediocre leadership skills. Thanks to this interview, America dodged a bullet.

3) The Last Lecture by Dr. Randy Pausch
Yes this came out last year, but I didn't hear about until this year. A truly remarkable speech from a remarkable teacher. It’s the life lessons of a man who fought and lost the batter to cancer but lived life to the fullest regardless. He did something truly rare; he changed many people with a message and not with violence. Below is the entire 75 minute video, but a 10 minute version can be found here.

2) Beijing Olympics
Athletic perfection is a requirement when victory is often measured in millimeters and milliseconds and this year's Olympics proved that over and over again. Michael Phelps historic and dramatic run for 8, those amazing opening ceremonies of perfect execution from thousands, Dana Torres proving that age isn't the boundary it use to be and many more moments. Below is the NBC credits montage video that does an excellent job of summarizing these Games.

1) Barack Obama Elected President
In something I never thought I would see, a black man is elected President and by a wide margin to boot. For me though, the election is more about the hope that the United States can finally begin the long and difficult battle of getting out of the whole that Republicans have buried us in with their "big business first, no matter what" policies. McCain promised four more years of Bush, Obama promised that the Bush years don't work and something new is needed and the people, for once, listened. Below is a cool moment at Grant Park when an already excited crowd got louder at the moment his victory was announced. Even more amazing is the global celebration (here and here) of his victory, a sign to me that the world is rooting for us and that we still have friends everywhere.

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