Friday, December 30, 2011

Curmudgeon's blogging year in review

All the big media outlets do year-end retrospectives. This allows a lot of reporters to take the day off -- retrospectives take up a lot of room and can be done by newbies or even interns.

It doesn't work as well for bloggers. I can prepare a retrospective in advance, I suppose, but I still have to do it.

On the other hand, Ken Levine just published his year-end retrospective and he is (according to Time Magazine) one of America's Top 25 Bloggers.

Yes, sadly, I was overlooked by Time again this year. I also didn't make the ABA's Top Blawg 100. I've never even been one of the Blogs of Note. But I still have my delusions of grandeur, however undeserved, and therefore, without further adieu, I herewith present my blogging year in review (or, if you prefer, second guessing Second Effort):

With informative, educational posts like "How not to carry on in court" (January 7) it really is a wonder how the ABA could have overlooked me. Again.

I was actually way out front of a national legal story on January 12 with Lies, damned lies, and statistics: Lawyer employment and salary surveys conceal more than reveal." Later in the year, the University of Illinois Law School would be caught up in a scandal for falsely reporting the credentials of recent incoming freshman classes. And, speaking of the ABA, it just posted an article online, "How Long Can the Law School Bubble Last?" I really can't imagine why anyone would consider going to law school at this time. It used to be that two kids in the class got good jobs (grueling apprenticeships and 80-hour weeks, yes, but with prestigious, silk-stocking firms) and everyone else got jobs that ranged from OK to crappy. Today, crappy looks good. And the law schools are all charging $50,000 a year or more.

Never one to resist trying to tie into a national story, no matter how tenuously, I did a riff on the 'Tiger Mother' controversy with "Tiger mothering and Youngest Son's doctor visit" (January 24). I liked the piece, anyway.

A rant about blue jeans, "Curmudgeon blue about modern blue jeans," was a February highlight. At least it got picked up by Jay Harrison's ezine BoomSpeak.

February also saw the passing of the Last Doughboy. Second Effort observed the occasion with "The War to End All Wars (and didn't) passes into American history."

In March I looked at hangovers from both sides of the Generation Gap in "On mushrooms, White Castle, and other dodges" and reported on the accidental discovery of chewing tobacco in Youngest Son's jacket in "Discovery in a jacket."

My legal post in March, "Curmudgeon learns the true meaning of sanctions," was about an unusually harsh appraisal of a lawyer in a published 7th Circuit opinion by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. In November, however, Judge Richard A. Posner made a bid to top the case I wrote about with the release of Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co., Nos. 11-1665, 08-2792. The accompanying illustration is from that case -- seriously. See, slip op. at p. 6. (I wonder if West will reproduce the picture in the Federal Reporter?) I still think Judge Easterbrook was harsher, however.

Second Effort marked the coming of the baseball season on April 21 with "Curmudgeon gets conspiracy-minded about 1918 Cubs World Series loss." It seems there may be reason to believe that the infamous Black Sox of 1919 -- the "Eight Men Out" -- got the idea to throw the World Series that year from their North Side rivals: The Cubs may have tanked on purpose against the Boston Red Sox in the 1918 World Series.

I admit it: I was unfair to, and perhaps a teensy bit harsh regarding, the auto repair industry in an April 4 post, "Check engine light means sanity check imminent." I still think that if you buy a brand new car and simply drive it from the showroom around the block into the dealership's service bay, someone there will -- with a straight face -- try and tell you that your brakes need replacement. However, the problem that I described at the end of that post did have an innocent and non-monetary explanation. If you're curious about it, I'll tell you in an email. Use the link in the Sidebar.

Middle Son is still dating the young lady under discussion in "Easter dinner involves more than chow at Curmudgeon home" (April 28), and he still hasn't brought her around to meet me or Long Suffering Spouse. And he doesn't even know about this blog, so that can't be the reason.

In May, I took a look at how wedding showers (and wedding greed lists, er, wedding registries) have changed since my trip to the altar. As is so often the case here at Second Effort, one of the villains in the piece is technology. Perhaps I shouldn't wonder why so many persons with sufficient technological savvy to use the Internet fail to relate to my blog posts. In May, too, I got to chronicle Youngest Son's Senior Prom. Young parents, take note: The dance is the least of your worries -- but take a look for yourselves and profit by my experience.

Our other car went into the shop in May (Curmudgeon has a grand time getting the family van repaired). Follow the link and see how even when I'm right I'm still wrong.

June was a busy month for me at work -- a terrible month, but a busy one. I only posted twice here. One of these, "Putting down roots -- and the dangers of transplants," is worth reading. And, unlike most of my posts, it's fairly short.

From July, I'd recommend "How Long Suffering Spouse is spending her summer vacation" (July 12). The painting project lasted quite awhile. See, "Hotel open for business during remodeling" (July 22). See also, "Definitely time to go back to school" (August 12) and "Who knew that simplifying your life could be so complicated?" (August 18). No, these posts aren't really just about painting.

The start of Youngest Son's collegiate career was extensively documented in "The Magic Book -- or -- A room with a view." You may be relieved to learn that that woman did indeed have a husband; he was present at the Fall baseball barbecue. Although that woman was more suitably attired on that later occasion, Long Suffering Spouse still wasn't too wild about her.

But Long Suffering Spouse reserves her deepest hatreds for critters that get in the house. See, "There's a mouse in the house" (September 26). Actually, there must have been two. After a dozen traps failed to ensnare the little bugger, we put out at least a half dozen packets of d-Con. One Saturday evening, after this post appeared, a little gray creature crawled out and expired next to the chair in which my wife was sitting. In which my wife was sitting until she noticed said creature. The darker mouse that both of us eventually saw must have had the good manners to die inside the wall somewhere.

And, speaking of critters in walls, I did a legal post in September, The large law firm and the ant hill compared." But still the ABA Blawg 100 ignored me.

More recently, may I recommend Parent-teacher conferences, now -- and then" (October 20) or "Yet another illustration of why the Federal Government is in trouble: student loan edition (November 4)? And I may have inadvertently summed up this entire blog in this one post: "Focus... or lack thereof... at Second Effort."

I celebrated my sixth 'Blogiversay' this month and published my 1500th post in October. If I could just find a way to make a living doing this.... Stay with me next year, won't you?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

don't worry curmy, i'll be there...

smiles, bee

Jean-Luc Picard said...

So will I. Happy New Year, Curmy!

Ellee Seymour said...

What an eventful year, and a wonderful way of recording it on your blog.
Here's wishing you a very happy new year.