One last riff

It's impossible to let this year slide into obscurity without a list of the best, the worst, and, well, the simply annoying.

We can get the mundane out of the way up front. Like what was the best pop song of 2007? How about "Me Llaman Calle" by Manu Chao, or "1234" by Feist. And there was "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse followed by "Umbrella" by Rihana and "I Get Money" by 50 Cent. Now if you're reading this and have never heard of any of these songs, well, you are in the right place.

If you have listened to these hot singles, then you probably also spend quality time on ... or was that MyTube? Both Web sites have grown geometrically in 2007 and have redefined the idea of privacy. Hottie Web site of the year? Lets you search for long lost friends. Just be careful what you wish for. And what you put on the net. There are no do-overs.

OK, one more shot at the mundane from 2007: How about the most high profile breakup of people who the paparazzi follow around like small drones looking for the mother ship. Of course, Britney Spears tried to break up with everyone, even, so it seemed, her kids who, for Brit, seem so clingy and needy. Britney is so not ready for these clutchy little critters but there they are. What are you going to do? Oh, yeah, Kate Hudson broke up with Owen Wilson. They were so adorable together. And Joe Torre broke up with the Yankees to spend time doing what? Plus the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, split from his wife Cecilia in a public airing of emotional laundry that caused nary a ripple in France where such matters are viewed with striking insouciance. And not to forget the brouhaha between the Donald and Rosie O'Donnell who have never had a private feeling they weren't sure the public needed to hear and made sure we did throughout 2007.

Ditto Ellen Degeneres who cried long and openly during her daytime talk show about a dog that was this and then was that and now it's all such a mess.

OK, one follow-up question: think of the Donald's hair? Picture it? Is it possible something is living under all that sprayed thatch? Would you really be surprised if a small rodent poked its nose out and began sniffing around? Like the squirrel in "Ice Age"?

And speaking of brouhahas in 2007, here are some of the best or maybe the worst: Michael Vick, Falcons quarterback, went to jail for enabling a very slimy group of people to run dog fights on his property forgetting that dogs are man's best friend, always smile when you come home, wag their tails even when you're cranky, and never hold a grudge. Who does this sort of thing?

There was also the firing of Don Imus, months spent in purgatory, and now, once again, back on the air. Imus has been delivering slap downs to folks for years, often breaking the golden rule of celebrity: think before you speak. It's the thinking part that really stumps some of these people, especially Paris Hilton and some of this faux celebrity crowd. Didn't Paris go to jail this year? Wasn't Linsay in rehab? And speaking of jail, didn't Scooter Libby decide to skip lockup in favor of a presidential commutation (pardon in the mail) and a speaking tour?

Sadly, 2007 saw some remarkable athletes come out of the steroid closet and we learned they weren't so remarkable after all. Marion Jones was told to return her Olympic gold after admitting to steroid use. Sigh. And not to forget Major League Baseball where guys who were skinny in the late 70s looked like Shrek by the 80s. It's called cheating and it's sordid and sad.

And have we ever had a year when some wingnut (s) didn't deem it rational to shoot a group of innocents and then himself after leaving a pathetic suicide note filled with a rant of delusional justifications? Regrettably, 2007 was no exception.

In the category of celebrity and politics, there was Oprah who went political and toured with Obama. They rocked. No one jumped the couch. For this we are grateful. Al Gore did win the Nobel Prize for sounding the alarm regarding global warming. President Bush, who thinks a carbon footprint is something left in the woods by a large animal, had him to the White House and told Al that he was doing a heck of a job. Just like the president grins and says sure there's available healthcare and all hard working Americans have to do is go to the emergency clinic. Which is where he might go, no waiting, when he has to get his tongue untied. He doesn't go to Walter Reed. And not to forget that moment when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, was asked how all the gays were doing in his country. He said there were no gays in Iran, just pigs that could fly and when they land someone close to the government grabs a tube of lipstick.

And how about those Republicans who have, true to type, fielded a squad of aging monochromatic candidates who look like they are most comfortable hanging out at the country club pro shop while worrying about the brown people working in the kitchen preparing their lunch and later these same Repubs will rearrange the chairs on the Titanic while the planet is turned into a fixer-upper and we're building a $1 billion embassy in Baghdad and no one can explain what happened to uncounted billions that never got to anyone along with thousands and thousands of weapons that might be in the hands of the insurgents while Bush is vetoing extended healthcare for children because he is suddenly a born again fiscal conservative and not to forget the doctor in Somalia who made a plea that was heard around the world but never answered: "We need doctors. We need medicine. We need food. We need shelter. But for that, we need peace." Ditto for Darfur, Ethiopia, the Burmese monks, the lawyers of Pakistan. Ditto for solving malaria, aids, world hunger, potable water, clean air, and education while the children of the world watch and wait.

In the What are they thinking? department: Folks are now signing up for what is referred to as "Doom Touring." You quickly get to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro before the snow melts forever. Or go kayaking around the Galapagos Islands before they're swamped with rising water. Perhaps a visit to the Amazon while there is a there there and not razed thus absent a gazillion species. For the Doomies it's not about exotic, it's about projected destruction. Not to forget the Great Barrier Reef, or the glaciers in Greenland or Patagonia and how about an atoll in the Maldives archipelago? Polar Bear watching in the Arctic? The Emperor Penguins losing traction? Lots of great pictures, some good memories and back to work.

One last comment: Those who should always be remembered on any list are the troops and their families who have sacrificed beyond measure in 2007. Should the Iraq war end tomorrow (it won't), for so many it will never be over. For those who survived, for those who are in hospitals, for those who wake in the dead of night and fight and fight again battles with unseen demons, for families who all too soon had to say goodbye to a cherished child, a brother, a sister, to all those who stepped forward we say thank you. Thank you.

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