Winners and losers of 2006

Having survived 2006, we can file the year away. Some are glad it came, and others, myself included, are glad the year is over.

For me - it wasn't a great year, nor was it a bad year. Just another year of the re-single life, where I juggle work, kids, college and sleep.

In 2003, I became single again.
In 2004, I thought it was safe to believe in dreams again.
In 2005, I found out that maybe I shouldn't.
In 2006, I decided to get my head out of the clouds, work harder, and I finally started getting somewhere.

Did it work? Well ...

Improved net worth: I grew my 401K by about $8K this year. Partially due to cutting financial corners at home, partially due to research and picking a better allocation. According to the plan website, I can now retire by 63.
Academic progress: I made it to the halfway point in grad school, had two papers accepted for presentation, including one at the national conference, and landed another award.
Job security: Work grew my portfolio of responsibilities considerably, not to mention more travel and work hours (but I like the travel).

Do I have a cynical attitude? Maybe - but I tried it the other way and that didn't work.

So who else had a good year, or a bad year, in 2006 ... ?

The Losers:
The GOP in both Houses of Congress: Over a decade of majority made them feel invincible and bulletproof. However, there hasn’t been a Teflon-coated Republican in Washington since Ronald Reagan. A combination of sleaze, Machiavellianism, pork fever, and arrogance gave the Democrats the break they couldn’t make on their own.
The Democrats in both Houses of Congress: To quote Tom DeLay, while Newt Gingrich’s first priority was the Contract with America, Nancy Pelosi’s was the Contract on Steny Hoyer. Having Robert Byrd as Senate Appropriations Chair will probably end up accomplishing little more than building more roads and Coast Guard facilities in West Virginia, and help the GOP shift the fiscal liberal label back upon the Democrats. Not a good start.
Mark Sanford: So much for all those high expectations of four years ago. The only thing that saved him was that the many Republicans his irrational approaches created were willing to set aside their grudges, not willing to repeat the mistakes of 1998 where GOP dissenters did much to help give the Governor’s mansion to the Democrats.
O.J. Simpson: Guess what? He still can’t find the “real killer” and in spite of hearing how he "would have done it, if he had done it", most of us still think he did it. Sounds like Frank Drebin and Police Squad are right on top of this case ...
Axl Rose: This was yet another year that promises of the “Chinese Democracy” album turned out to be … well, you didn’t really believe that album would ever happen, did you?
Saddam Hussein: His regime overthrown, his losing appeal only speeded up his execution. Now he's dead, and good riddance, I might add.
Al-Zarqawi: Retired by a combination of American firepower and Ziploc bags, just as dead as Saddam, only sooner.

The Winners:
James Bond:
Daniel Craig, as the new Bond proved that yes, there can be a blonde Bond, and initial concerns that moviegoers would bail on the new Bond to protest Pierce Brosnan’s ouster proved unfounded.
Thomas Ravenel: Last to enter the GOP field of Treasurer candidates, Thomas left them all in the dust, and went on to oust Grady Patterson in the fall.
Jim Rex: With a campaign that had more than its fair share of stumbles, but apparently none of them were lethal, he surprised the experts by being the only Democrat to win statewide, if even by a few hundred votes. Given the state of public education in South Carolina, he may find making substantive changes even tougher than winning an election.
Iron Maiden: While many of the 80s bands that are still out there put out albums that are often nowhere near as good as what they’d recorded in their heydays, their latest album, A Matter of Life and Death, is just as good as anything they’ve ever record.
Stephen Harper: He led the newly-united Conservative Party of Canada, formed from an alliance of the Reform Party and the withered Progressive Conservatives, to a come-from-behind victory to take control of Canadian Parliament.
Crystal Vanderford: One of my past mentor-ees at the College. Landed a great job as a sales analyst for Honda and is on her way in life. Great work, Crystal.
Higher Education in the Lowcountry: Two major events in 2006: Charleston Law is now ABA-accredited, thanks to an extraordinary team effort, and the Lowcountry Graduate Center, a collaborative effort from several SC public colleges, celebrated its 5th anniversary.
My academic work: First published paper appeared in print, first national-level conference paper acceptance, another presentation acceptance, and I won another award for my graduate work.
My company (U.S. Group): Several major highway projects done, and recently among the top 25 fastest growing companies in South Carolina, as well as one of the top 100 largest private-held companies in South Carolina.

I know this is a rather odd and eclectic mix (… but then again, so am I). If there are any noteworthy winners or losers, feel free to share them in the comment section, or email them to me. If I get enough, I may do a “Part Two” posting with some of the better ones.

8 Response to "Winners and losers of 2006"

  1. Moye 1/1/07 19:13
    Actually seems like you had a pretty good year now try to lower that retirement age a wee bit.
  2. Earl Capps 2/1/07 09:23
    moye - i don't plan on retiring, but i do plan to build some degree of financial freedom to where i can do what i want before i'm 60.
  3. west_rhino 2/1/07 15:09
    So when will you announce your intentions to run for the 6th district?
  4. Earl Capps 2/1/07 15:16
    the answer is not "no", but rather "hellllll no!"

    not only am i not interested, i will shoot the first person that tries to get me to file to run for the seat.

    why waste a year of my life when i've got a real job?
  5. Moye 6/1/07 14:47
    Damn Earl you serious.
  6. Anonymous 9/1/07 13:38
    You did not become single in 2003 you were cheating on your wife and had been for years.
  7. Earl Capps 9/1/07 16:16
    nice thing about this blog is that when i don't have time for corn flakes for breakfast, i can get blog flakes by lunchtime.
  8. Anonymous 10/1/07 08:20
    earl, looks like your kooky ex is back. we missed picking on her - she really is crazy, isn't she?

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