10. Vladimir Putin was selected as Time Magazine's Person of the Year, which automatically disqualifies him for consideration as my number one POTY. Besides, I am neither impressed nor encouraged by his criminal background, hijacking of American tax dollars, nor his control of post-Soviet media. Still, it is hard to discount his immense power and influence. If he could smash OPEC and embarrass the United States back into being a real capitalist economy, he might move back up my list.
9. The New England Patriots won all of their regular season games. We will not know for another month if they are the Super Bowl Champions, but they are the first team to go undefeated since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Impressive. Winning the Super Bowl would mean the team won nineteen games in a row -- the odds are against them, I fear.
8. Sven Goran Eriksson was loathed, hated and despised as the coach of England's national soccer team. He failed at every juncture, which contradicted his reputation and record as a club manager. When he stepped down (was fired) from the England job, he signed-on as manager of Manchester City Football Club, the hapless, lovable bastard neighbor of the all-powerful Manchester United Football Club (known on this blog as ManUre). Eriksson has City in the top of the pack, along with perennial leaders ManUre, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool. If he keeps up his winning ways, City is heading for a berth in European competition in 2008. Keep up the good work, Sven!
7. Former United States Senator George Mitchell, previously noted for being instrumental in the Belfast Peace treaty (a/k/a The Good Friday Agreement) that garnered him a Knight's Grand Cross from the British Empire, was hired to uncover the truth about steroids-abuse in Major League baseball. It was a dirty job, but he accepted it. Sadly, his report recommended no serious punishment for the accused, nor did he recommend the firing of Bud Selig as Commissioner. So, his report is hardly worth the paper on which it is written. Although we should expect nothing to come of his efforts, it is impressive that he named names and did not completely sweep the issue under the rug. (See, Punishment For Using Steroids In Baseball? None!)
6. Tatiana killed one guy and mauled two others in a twenty minute attack outside her home at the San Francisco Zoo. She's dead now. Nobody seems to know how a 350-pound tiger escaped from her pen. She may have simply escaped by jumping over the walls that were over four feet shorter than is recommended for holding tigers in captivity. I smell a lawsuit.
5. The Brooklyn Tornado touched down in the wee hours of the morning, just before dawn, and cut a swath through Bay Ridge, Borough Park, and Kensington, before coming to an end. Or so it is suspected. The tornado was a freak event and was not successfully tracked, leaving only the path of uprooted trees and damaged buildings as evidence of its presence. I was awoken by what sounded like thunder, but was certainly the loudest thunder I'd ever heard. The sound was wind ripping full-grown trees out of the ground. (See, A video report at New York Times and The WNBC Report)
4. Juan Pablo Angel arrived in New York after the MLS season was well underway. The handsome, prolific Colombian striker was the shot in the arm Red Bull New York needed to mount a playoff run. And mount a run, they did. He scored nineteen goals in 24 games, and made me and other fans very happy. The team lacks solid defense, and with Angel up front with the precocious Jozy Altidore, then just a little bit of help in the back could catapult the team towards a championship. (See, Red Bulls Have An Angel and Juan Pablo Angel es Muy Atractivo and Red Bull New York Prepares for Playoffs)
3. Wesley Autrey, the subway hero, jumped into the subway tracks to save a stranger. He has not been rewarded properly. He is a hero of immeasurable magnitude. Cheating athletes, lying politicians, billionaires who profit from bankruptcy, and world "leaders" are lauded and have lavish amounts of money bestowed upon them. Autrey deserves more. He embodies what makes New Yorkers great, Americans unique, humans kind. Thank you, Mr. Autrey. (See, A True Hero: Wesley Autrey )
2. Al Gore might save the world. The best thing to happen to humanity might be that George Bush and his posse stole the 2000 election and left Al Gore to pursue other, more scholarly causes like global warming. Winning a Nobel prize is impressive. In a different year, this might make Gore my POTY. Let's hope someone in power in the United States (after the current president leaves office) begins to take some action to heed Mr. Gore's warnings.
1. George W Bush has an approval rating of 25% (which I believe is an increase for him). To paraphrase Bill Maher, "this guy has lost two world trade centers, four jets, a piece of the Pentagon, an American city, an entire army in the desert, destroyed a sovereign nation, and alienated all our allies." He has put a few more nails in the coffin of America's economy, bringing to fruition Gore Vidal's analysis that America's economy is "socialism for the rich, and free-enterprise for the poor." Because of him, the Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006. Still, he manages to pass every bill he wants, violate the Constitution, break any international law he finds inconvenient, pack federal agencies with corporate lackeys, do and say whatever he pleases, and the Democratic majority does nothing to stop him. Impressive, indeed. And for that reason, I select George W Bush as the most amazing person of 2007. Congratulations Mr. Bush, you are destroying the world faster than any natural or man-made disaster. You will go down in history as the most dangerous American who ever lived.
And there you have it. Let's hope 2008 is a better year for America and the world.
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