As in past years, I'll eschew the need to make some meaningless resolutions that will be soon forgotten and I'll just endeavor to continue to expose plezWorld one tiny thread at a time. It's hard to believe, but this is the third installment of plezWorld Top Stories of... since 2006.
The year that was 2008 began like 2,000 some odd years that preceded it... with the Big Ball Drop in Times Square (the Peach Drop in Atlanta is a more recent phenomenon). The biggest difference with past years, in 2008, I attempted to blog every day of the year. After three hundred and ninety-something posts in 2008, I missed between one and two days per month, so I was pretty successful in completing one trip around the Sun with plezWorld intact.
Even though, Barack Obama's run from dark horse to President-elect was well chronicled in plezWorld -- I may even take some credit for seeing it through from his visit to Atlanta in April of 2007 until his acceptance speech on the evening of November 4th -- there were a few other threads in 2008 that figured prominently in the rich tapestry that is plezWorld...
14. The SugarPlum
Daddy's Little Girl is seven... and she has stepped up her game exponentially! She has become a leader in her class, continues to grow with her ballet lessons (twice a week), is getting a lot better on the piano, singing like a little songbird, and much to my chagrin - she is perfecting her mimicry of others (yeah, she is imitating people in their voice)! In addition, Santa brought RockBand for her Wii... and we've hit the tour circuit with her and me switching up on the guitar and drums as we rip through the songs with the precision of two surgeons... our little jam sessions are quite a sight (I need to upload a few to YouTube)! In the meantime, check out the SugarPlum on the evening of her school's "Peace Celebration" in a short YouTube ditty from January 2008:
13. Bigfoot in Georgia
Even though it turned out to be a hoax, the Bigfoot Story turned out to be the single post with the largest number of generated hits. I linked to an article on CNN.com and that article accounted for over 350 per day for an entire week! I've had other posts that have had more hits, but this post generated never before seen interest in a short period of time.
12. War in Iraq
I hate that this war is still on my top stories list! Close to five thousand US troops have lost their lives in this senseless struggle, which culminated with one of their liberated journalists throwing both shoes at President Bush during his farewell tour of Iraq a few weeks ago. I only pray that by this time next year, President Obama has presented a plan to draw down troops in that nation.
11. Tiger Woods
Fighting through the excruciating pain in his left knee due to a torn ACL, Tiger Woods hoisted his fourteenth major while winning the 2008 US Open in a playoff with Rocco Mediate. He played five days on a bum knee, often crumpling to the grass in pain after a tee shot, coming from behind to force an eighteen hole playoff... and then winning the damn thing! AFTER the tournament, he had knee surgery and called off the rest of the PGA Tour giving the other golfers a much deserved rest.
I innocently posted polling locations (along with dates and times) for early voting in Georgia. Some days, it seemed as though everyone in the state of Georgia was coming to plezWorld to find their polling location. Early voting in Georgia was heavy, with close to 50 percent of the electorate voting early... one day, plezWorld had close to 750 hits with voters looking for their place to vote. Barack Obama won Georgia in the primaries because of the heavy turnout of voters and he damn near turned Georgia blue in the general election when his presence on the ballot prompted over 65% of Georgia's voters to head to the polls.
9. Hog & Hominy
This book was sent to me based on the readership and topics in plezWorld. A great book that traces the origins of soul food back to Africa. I had occasion to correspond via e-mail and speak by phone with the book's author, Fred Opie. We have a lot in common: his grandparents settled in my hometown in upstate New York in the early 1900's, he currently lives in my hometown, and he went to college with one of my best friends while growing up! This definitely goes in the top story category with a good news asterisk (*)!
8. Michael Matthews & New York Giants
I can say that I knew Big Mike when... when he was fighting to break into the starting lineup as a tight end for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, when he had to raise the money to pledge Kappa (like his father before him), when he got married to Laura, when he graduated from Georgia Tech, when he went to the NFL combine, and when he called me the night of the NFL Draft to let me know that he had been picked up by the New York Giants.
Well, in his rookie season, Big Mike got lots of playing time as tight end for the New York Giants, he went to the playoffs, and won the Super Bowl of the then undefeated New England Patriots. What a year it has been! And it looks like the Giants are primed to make a return trip to the Super Bowl!
6. Gas Price Rollercoaster
As gasoline prices crept higher past $3 per gallon, I joked about the prospect of $4 per gallon gasoline in plezWorld. Riding the crest of a gasoline shortage during the hurricane season this past summer, four dollar gasoline made its way into my gas tank! And then seemingly out of nowhere, the prices began a free fall to prices unseen in the past 2 years. On New Year's Eve, I saw gasoline prices near my house at $1.35 per gallon! What was a $75 tank of gas has now dropped to less than $35... how low will it go?!?
5. Georgia Tech Football
New coach. New attitude. New record - the first time Tech has won 10 games in over a decade! Tech hits its stride early in the season and finished with a bang, by vanquishing those pesky Georgia Bulldogs at home for the first time in seven years! YEAH!
Well, Tech came back down to earth in the Chik-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve. The LSU Tigers came to the Georgia Dome and on the strength of a 35 point first half (28 points in the second quarter, alone), bent the Yellow Jackets' little stingers! The final score was 38-3... but it wasn't even that close!
There is loads of optimism for next season, though - most of the starters are freshman and sophomores... so we'll be locked and loaded to win the ACC and be in a BCS Bowl next year!
4. The Economy
The world is in a recession. According to the leading economists, we've been in one since December of 2007! plezWorld was downsized earlier this year as the jobless rate in Georgia has topped 7.5 percent, so the effects of this economy are being felt in my household... big time!
3. Sarah Palin
On August 30, 2008, the entire political landscape was turned on its head: John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. This unknown governor from an unknown state was hoisted upon the American public as the salve to the wounds of the women who felt dissed by the Obama victory over Hillary Clinton, the savior to the conservative wing of the party who were unenthusiastic about John McCain, and a breath of fresh air for a stale election cycle entering its second year! Little did America know how little this poor rube knew or could comprehend...
I've probably written more posts about Sarah Palin (about 22 posts) than I should have, but plezWorld was all over this election and frankly, Sarah Palin was a brief detour to Barack Obama's clear path to the White House.
And she was such a juicy subject: infant child with Down Syndrome born under dubious circumstances, was this infant Gov. Palin's or one of her teenage daughters? Then the story of her pregnant unwed teenage daughter who all but dropped out of school earlier in the year. Then her disastrous interviews. Then the Saturday Night Live spoofs. Then the "Joe the Plumber" diversion. Then the wardrobe fiasco. Then the election. Then her future son-in-law's mother gets busted for illegal prescription drugs. Then her unwed daughter gives birth... and who knows what else we haven't heard about!
In all honesty, this should be THE TOP STORY, but I just couldn't do it.
2. Blog 365
For some insane reason, I resolved to blog everyday for the entire year in 2008. I missed ZERO days in January, August, November, and December... and only one day in July, September, and October. I averaged less than 2 days missed per month and posted close to 400 articles over the year (thanks to the election).
Who knows where this will end... I'm going to keep trying to post daily into 2009 and see where it ends up!
1. President-elect Barack Obama
Barack Obama was my top story in 2007 and he stayed there for the second straight year (he was also a top story in 2006).
From last year's top stories post:
I went to a political rally in Atlanta for Barack Obama in April 2007. I was mesmerized by his message and presence. Since that time, I've really upped my support for Obama's candidacy and even contributed some money to his campaign. Latest word has him leading in the polls just prior to the Iowa caucuses which take place on Thursday, January 3, 2008.
Ten months from now, we'll see if plezWorld has picked another winner. Lord knows, we need him!
Well, he won the Iowa Caucus and as the old saying goes, "the rest is history!"
The rest is historic because Sen. Barack Obama is now President-elect Barack Obama and in 18 days, he'll be taking the oath of office as the President of the United States.
There are reports that the Obamas plan to move to Washington, DC this weekend, as their two young daughters are to begin school on Monday. Read more...