• The response of the community and the nation to the Boston Marathon bombing.
• Pope Francis’s very sincere behavior eschewing panoply in favor of humility, and his ability to generate hope.
• The economic rebound, despite the doom and gloomers’ attempts to dispel it, which looks as if it will continue for quite some time.
• Life-enriching technology, from the newest iteration of the iPhone to safer cars, from medical advances to cleaner skies.
• The revival of many species, especially the wolf and eagle.
• The pragmatic reality that the U.S. will achieve energy independence within the next few years.
• Those who give of their time. It’s easy to write a check, it’s far harder to volunteer your time for organizations and individuals who need help.
• The 2014 Corvette Stingray. Finally an American sports car that can compete with virtually anything on the road from Germany or Italy, beautifully deigned, and with a sumptuous interior. (And with a manual transmission.)
• A government in the U.S. designed by geniuses which can be run even by mediocrities.
• The disregard for their constituents of the executive and legislature combined, acting like spoiled kids on a playground but with our money.
• The constant attempts at scam and spam, whether Nigerians promising inherited riches, Indians promising SEO dominance, or Americans claiming “free” alternatives to lose 10 pounds a day while eating all you want, or making $5,000 a day sitting at home doing nothing.
• Celebrity “experts” who are loud and totally clueless about such vital human needs as vaccinations, nutrition, exercise, education, and political candidates. “Shut up and sing.”
• The support and funding of terrorism by governments and institutions which claim to have clean hands.
• The booing off the stage of New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly by the dandified, “no free speech on our campus” wolf pack at Brown University.
• The American Studies Association, one of a number of academicians’ organizations, which vote for various boycotts of Israeli academic institutions and professors, apparently not impressed with the single operating democracy in the Middle East.
• Deteriorating manners, with people shouting at the screen or to each other in movies, yelling into phones in restaurants, using silverware as if it’s never been seen before, and being immediately familiar with you on the phone even though they are the employee and you’re the customer.
• The word “often” pronounced with a hard “t” or, even worse, the redundancy of “often times.”
• Paternalistic politicians who feel they have the higher morale ground, and can tell you what to drink, eat, and how to act because they know what’s better for you.
• Every late night talk show host who now looks exactly like every other one—a rarely funny monologue, a couch, a house band, an announcer, B-list celebrities, lame jokes in the street, a musical guest or a comic. All of this stuff is from 50 years ago, and no one today does it a third as good as Johnny Carson did back then.
• Lance Armstrong. What on earth does it take for him to go away?
• Anchorman anything. The stuff is unfunny, the concept is now lame, and Will Ferrell is absolutely tedious.
© Alan Weiss 2013