COMMENTARY Everyone says you should live in the moment. Works for me, especially when it comes to kissing 2011 goodbye. Now that it's over, I'm hoping it's safe to open my eyes and crawl out of bed again.
The horrendous economy, unemployment, European debt crisis, political gridlock, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis -- what a poor excuse for a year. Now that it's over, I think this is an excellent time to consider what we might look forward to in 2012.
One caveat, though. While it's tempting to dig out the rose colored glasses and indulge some wishful thinking, that's actually a really bad idea. Setting grandiose expectations of how great things are going to be is even worse than being depressed about how bad things were, or still are, for that matter.
So, since we can't have 5 percent unemployment, sell our homes, have a one-sentence tax code, get reasonable health insurance, get double-digit annual returns on our 401Ks, or send all the politicians to Mars, here's what I'm looking forward to in 2012:
How about a little leadership in Washington? Is it too much to ask for a little leadership to pull our nation together and keep it from going bankrupt? America needs to be restructured, more or less like a corporate turnaround. It has to get done for the nation to survive, and the only way that's going to happen is with strong leadership from the top. You know, "One nation, under God ..." instead of all this partisan political crap.
More efficient light bulbs. Come on, you didn't think I was serious, did you? Mandating energy efficient light bulbs is right up there with the federal government funding Solyndra and delaying the Keystone pipeline until after the election. Can't wait to see what's next for our fabulous green agenda.
Big strides in American energy independence. Now that the solar bubble is bursting and folks are starting to come around on the whole green energy bust, let's put Americans to work building those oil and gas pipelines and nuclear plants. Drill baby, drill.
Big brands going down the tubes. No, I don't get off on the loss of jobs and shareholder wealth, but until companies like Kodak (EK), Research In Motion (RIMM), Sprint (S), Sony (SNE) and Radio Shack (RSH) hit rock bottom -- wherever that is -- there's not going to be a change at the top.
Less narcissistic drama out of Hollywood. This year it was Charlie Sheen "winning" and Alec Baldwin acting out like a spoiled brat, but it might just as well have been Mel Gibson melting down, Jenny McCarthy on the nonexistent link between autism and vaccines, or Sean Penn hanging out with dictators. Stick to acting, guys.
Technology that actually simplifies and improves our lives. Forget 3D TVs and all those buds sticking out of our ears. All I want is to email a weekly to-do list to my all-purpose robot assistant and have it get done, period. And I don't want to hear him whine about bugs and upgrades, either. He can take himself in for an annual tune-up or physical or whatever they want to call it.
Less "Tweeting," "Liking" and "Linking." Come on, admit it, wasn't it sort of nice to put down the gadgets for a few days over the holidays? All that Twitter and Facebook nonsense is just attention-getting distraction, if you ask me. Not that anybody's asking me.
Civilization to be more or less civilized. I don't care if it's austerity riots in Europe, Occupy Wall Street protests, Arab Spring, or any street in spring or summer, for that matter. While I do sympathize with oppressed people, I've about had it with all the entitlement stuff. Pack up your tent and go work at McDonald's (MCD).
More cowbell. In case you're not a Saturday Night Live fan, that's just a metaphor for laughter and good humor. We've seen enough gloom and doom lately to last a lifetime.
No more bubbles. I don't care if it's housing, dot-com, green energy or champagne. Please, no more bubbles for a while.
Making it to 2013. Living the life, one moment at a time.
Wow, that was exhausting after the long holiday hiatus. Time for a drink -- it's got to be 5 o'clock somewhere. Here's wishing you all a peaceful and prosperous 2012.
For more on the year that was and will be, check out: