December 27, 2012
Anyway, my present to you this year is the same as it was this time last year: advice that will make you a lot of money. Buy Apple stock. Right now it's bouncing around between $380 and $390 a share and it should hit over $500 by this time next year, and, while nothing is a sure thing, what can you put your faith in if not in the iPhone, the iPod, the iPad and the Mac?
Yost Column, Dec. 21, 2011
Well, another year has bitten the dust and, at this time each year, I always like to glance back and take a look at the winners and losers of the past 12 months. You know, each year I like to give my assessment on those things that were up and those that were down. It was a busy year, so this is likely to be just my first batch of people and things that were up and down in 2012.
Now, 2013 is almost upon us, so let's not dilly-dally one moment longer …
Up. Debates. The year started with the 703 debates held to determine the Republican presidential candidate, and it ended with everything from a slew of county commissioner debates, to three presidential debates (two between Mitt Romney and Obama, and one between Romney and a very life-like Obama mannequin). There was even – and I promise I'm not making this up – a debate between Clint Eastwood and a chair.
There were so many Republican primary debates at the start of 2012 that, earlier this year, I was thinking about starting a franchise of "debate bars" that are essentially like sports bars with this difference: Instead of encouraging people to come out for basketball and football games and cheering on their favorite teams, people would come out to watch political debates and cheer on their favorite candidates.
You know, like a sports bar it would have a lot of TVs, but instead of team jerseys and player cutouts, the place would be decorated with political paraphernalia, and everyone could come and drink and cheer for their candidates in the debates. (I may still use this idea, so don't steal it.)
Down and then up. Duke basketball. So far in this college basketball season, the beloved Blue Devils are off to an absolutely roaring start. They've beaten three top-five teams in a matter of weeks and they're just getting started.
Indiana, the previous number one, got knocked off, so now Duke is sitting pretty in the number one spot and all is right in the basketball world.
Recently, I heard a sports analyst on ESPN who pointed out that Duke was 3-0 against top-five teams, while every other team in the nation was 0-39 against top five teams.
So all that's good news for Duke basketball in 2012.
The bad news for the year is what happened three months into 2012: In March, Duke got knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round by a junior varsity girl's team from George Washington Carver High.
Very embarrassing. Let us hope and pray that nothing similar happens in the coming months.
Way, way, way down. Flying car scientists. As everyone knows, the future was supposed to be here in 2001. And that future – I am quite certain – was supposed to include flying cars.
Well, it's now over a decade past the dawn of the future, and the flying car scientists are still feeding us the same old bull about how the flying car is "just around the corner now."
Yeah, right. I don't know about you, but I, for one, am tired of listening to these blowhards. Fooled me once, shame on me; fooled me 24 times, shame on you. Just what is the deal with the flying car and why is it taking so [deleted]-ing long!?
Up. Honey Boo Boo. This delightful young modern day Shirley Temple stole all our hearts when she burst onto the television scene in August with the hit show, "Here comes Honey Boo Boo."
Let me tell you something: This is only the first that you'll hear of this precocious pubescent prodigy. The little darling is only 7 years old, but I can guarantee you that this foul-mouthed fledgling phenom will still occupy the national spotlight 20 years from now. True, it will be under newspaper headlines like, "Former child star totals stolen car and assaults officer while jacked up on cocaine."
And the subheads will be really creative stuff like, "Honey Boo Boo makes yet
another big boo boo – violates her probation." It's not exactly the podium at the Oscars, but, still, fame is fame and the spotlight is the spotlight.
Down. The Natural Science Center. If I'm not mistaken, which I rarely am, a few years ago the Natural Science Center people promised our city a penguin colony with 16 to 20 penguins by 2012 – which, I might note, has already come and gone.
And now they're saying it will be 2013. In other words, they feel that Greensboro's penguin colony is now "just around the corner."
Let's just keep our fingers crossed and hope that the Natural Science Center people don't turn out to be the new version of the flying car scientists.
Down. Chick-fil-A. Listen, I'm not going to use this space to interject my thoughts on the whole gay marriage issue, but I am going to offer my thoughts on Chick-fil-A.
What is Office Depot's view on the legalization of medical marijuana? Or how about Applebee's stance on premarital sex? And why in the world doesn't Burger King weigh in on the abortion debate?
Do you know why? Well, I can tell you: Burger King doesn't weigh in on the abortion debate because it's Burger King. It makes and serves hamburgers. It is not a political party or a public issues think tank. It is Burger King.
And you are Chick-fil-A. You kill chickens and fry them in peanut oil and slap them on a bun and you are very good at that – very, very good at that in fact. On offering political advice? Not so much.
Up. The salaries of Guilford County department heads. In 2012, Guilford County staff gave out raises to 15 county department heads in secret and, in the case of seven of those raises, they did so illegally. The move angered just about everyone connected to county government, especially many of the county's 2,400 employees – the vast majority of whom haven't had raises in four years.
And what's the supposed reason county administration hasn't been able to give out raises to most of its employees? It's because, they explain, the county's budget has been "cut to the bone," so there's simply no money in there for raises. You know, I mean, there's no money there unless you're a county department head who's already raking it in. In that case, there are limitless pots of gold stashed away in the basement of the Old Guilford County Court House.
Speaking of Guilford County… Down. Literacy among Guilford County government's staff. Listen, Guilford County has been cutting employees for the last four years (evidently so department heads can get higher pay). Anyway, apparently some of the people who were sent home packing were the county's copy editors.
Commissioner Linda Shaw was elected chairman of the board earlier this month and so county staff had to make a nice new mounted placard to go in front of her seat at the commissioners meetings, which are broadcast all over the world on the worldwide web. Well, Shaw's plaque should have said, "Linda Shaw, Chairman" – however, instead, here's the sign …...continued on page 2