Things I liked about 2008, Part 1

I’m not gonna pull any punches here: 2008, in a lot of ways, sucked. There was an acrimonious presidential campaign, still no end to the war in Iraq in sight, Bin Laden still on the run, economy in the crapper, St. Louis Blues out of the playoffs, Dallas Cowboys flaming out again, the Jonas Brothers.

I was already to tap out a post about how glad I am 2008 is over, but that’s not really me (or at least not who I want to be). I’m not going to waste too much energy dwelling on the bad. Instead I’ve decided to start a series of posts honoring things I really liked about 2008. Starting…..NOW:

1. Barack Obama. I’ve not voted in a lot of presidential election cycles, but this one is by far my favorite outcome. I become interested in Obama a couple of years ago when I read his two books, “Dreams From My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” The latter sparked a hope and inspiration in me that politics hadn’t caused in a long time. It was thrilling to cast my vote for him – and not against another candidtate – and I’m optimistic that he’s going to make a great president. Or at least be a lot better than George W. Bush.

2. Running. I started – and completed! – my first 1/2 marathon in 2008. Don’t be confused, I’m not a “real runner” by any stretch of the imagination, but I pushed and challenged my body to a degree most people never do and found a strength in me I wasn’t sure existed. I also was able to raise a lot of money for charity in the process.

3. Celebrity gossip blogs. Yes, I should hate these. I know that. But they’re a nice 5-minute break from reality every once in a while.

4. Cuonzo Martin – The Missouri State Bears’ new basketball coach is just that…a coach. The JQH-opening win over Arkansas will go done as one of my favorite Bears games of all time and it was just mind-blowing to see a Bears coach use a time-out to set up a play that resulted in a basket. I don’t know how many times in the Barry Hinson Era I turned to my viewing companion and said “They called a timeout for that?”

5. JQH Arena. It’s goreous. Imperfect, maybe, but a glorious place to watch a basketball game.

6. Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool. Lupe is one of my favorite MCs and his debut “Food and Liquor” was an instant classic in my book. His sophomore effort is just as well-loved by me. He shows off not only his lyricism and word play, but also his storytelling ability on “Hip Hop Just Saved My Life.” “Go Go Gadget Flow” was always on my iPod running playlist and “Go Baby” will always make me think of my girls. It was nominated for four Grammys – twice for “Superstar,” once for “Paris/Tokyo” and rap album of the year – and it is on my yet-unwritten favorite albums of 2008 list. Enjoy “Hip Hop Saved My Life.”