Larry Enright

Larry Enright

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year in Review - 2011

Another year is at an end, and yet another year that I ask myself, "What the heck happened this year?" and "What did I do?" Here is my month-by-month recollection of 2011, not all-encompassing by any means, but that's the way it goes.




January

Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt in Arizona. She was among at least 17 shot by a gunman who opened fire on the congresswoman's constituent meeting outside a local grocery store. She is recovering. What an amazing person.



For me personally, it was a slow month - I'm not a big fan of the cold - but I did note that these people started following me on Twitter in January: "Top Kindle Releases," "Q24," and "Plus Size Dresses." Read into that what you will, but here is a chart to explain Twitter to the neophyte.



February

The U.S. Treasury Dept submitted a report to Congress proposing the eventual elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, part of the Obama administration's plan to reform the U.S. housing finance market. These two personifications of our flawed mortgage market are still alive and kicking. Surprised?



The Green Bay Packers took the championship back to Titletown after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31–25 in the most-watched television broadcast ever. An estimated 111 million people tuned in to see quarterback Aaron Rogers lead the Packers to their 13th league championship, more than any other team in the NFL.



Four Years from Home, my first novel released in October, 2010, made the top 100 on Amazon’s bestseller list for all books in February, reaching 33rd.  I was fairly shocked. It stayed on the bestseller list for an amazing three weeks, passing books by such notables as Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush. All told, it spent nine consecutive months on various category bestseller lists, reaching number one in two categories. I would say I am proud of that accomplishment, but that's one of the seven deadly sins.



March

The Interior Dept approved the first new deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP explosion and spill last spring. The approval was a milestone after a period of industry uncertainty and a U.S. reassessment of offshore oil and gas regulation. In case you forgot what it looked like...



I had a person in China inquire about translating Four Years from Home into Mandarin Chinese, and another person from Italy inquire about translating it into Italian. Nothing ever came of either, but was that cool or what?


 or 





April

A million people lined the streets, half a million gathered in front of Buckingham Palace, and two billion tuned in via television or computer to see Kate Middleton marry Prince William.



Cicely and I celebrated 31 years of marriage. It wasn't televised and only two attended.



The first episode of A King in a Court of Fools was released. For this weekly serial, I also recorded my reading it, and played a piece of original guitar or banjo music. All of the episodes are still on Youtube for those of you too cheap to fork over 99¢. This was a huge effort every week, but I loved it. Once it caught on, over 1,800 people a week read or listened to the story until it was completed in August. Here's a little ditty I wrote to accompany a few of the episodes. It's quaint, really.




May

U.S. troops and CIA operatives shot and killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a city of 500,000 people that houses a military base and a military academy. And they didn't know he was hiding there.



At least 140 people were killed and hundreds more injured as a three-quarter-mile-wide tornado hit Joplin, Missouri around dinner time. The tornado was among the deadliest in the nation's history, destroying nearly a third of the city and damaging about 2,000 buildings, including water treatment and sewage plants.



I had the first of three phone conversations with book groups who read Four Years from Home. What a blast that was! They were such a great group. And the leader of the group’s last name was Ryan! Eep!


Harold Camping predicted that the end of the world would be on 5/21/2011. If you believe that, I still have some t-shirts available in smaller sizes.



June

New York passed a law to allow same-sex marriage. New York became the largest state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.



U.S. representative Anthony D. Weiner resigned from office due to a scandal over his online misbehavior, which involved sending explicit photos of himself to several women via Facebook and Twitter. Weiner was a seven-term Democrat and, prior to the scandal, a leading candidate for mayor of New York. He is seen here trying to escape from photographers.



I constructed my first stinkbug trap. It turned out to be a miserable failure. (This is my highlight for June? Wow, am I pathetic or what?)



July

The News of the World, a British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, closed down after several allegations that the paper's journalists hacked into voicemail accounts belonging to not only a 13-year-old murder victim, but also the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This occurred one day before a story was to run on Four Years from Home. Crap!



The shuttle Atlantis launched into space for the last time from the Kennedy Space Center. It was the 135th and final flight of the space shuttle program, which started in 1981. For its final mission, the Atlantis was carrying 8,000 lbs of spare parts and supplies to the International Space Station, hopefully enough to last them for the next three hundred years. The space shuttle program officially ended when the Atlantis returned after two weeks in space. 



Compared to the achievements of Nasa, I got nuthin'. I'm just a speck, a little fly. Help me!!!!!



August

For the first time in history, the U.S. had its credit rating lowered. Credit agency Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit rating from the top grade of AAA to AA+, removing the U.S. from its list of risk-free borrowers. Everyone is finger-pointing. Whose fault is it again?




I reached retirement age, became officially old, and filed for Social Security benefits while they last.



My Dad died. He was 91. I miss him.




September

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, the two American hikers who were imprisoned on espionage charges in Iran for over two years, were released. Rumors of a Spies Like Us remake abound.



Occupy Wall Street, which began as an organized protest in New York's financial district and purported to represent the 99% have-nots, met with stiff resistance from the 1% haves.




A King in a Court of Fools, my second novel, originally published as a free weekly serial, was released in book form. It became a Kindle bestseller in children’s mysteries. Over 10,000 copies were downloaded in the one week it was free in October, making it number one on the free Amazon bestseller list. We're number one (for a week)! We're number one (for a week)! Parentheticals are implied, not cheered, by the way.



October

After an eight year battle with pancreatic cancer, Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. 



Libya's interim government announced that Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi had been killed by rebel troops in Surt, his hometown. Initial reports were unclear on the cause of death, but extreme and sudden heart-stoppage was mentioned as a possible cause.




My son, Dan, passed his last CPA test, marking the end of four years of his taking classes at night and my staying late at school with him. Bravo, Dan!



November

Celebrated Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno is fired by the school's Board of Trustees. I wish he had done more, too.



The Congressional Supercommittee in charge of finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions failed in their mandate to agree on what programs to cut after more than 10 weeks of meetings. And that, in itself, cost us how much? Because the group could not agree on a deficit reduction plan, automatic cuts to military and domestic programs will go into effect in 2013, until they change that, too. Here is a shot of them telling us why this happened.



Buffalo Nickel Christmas, my third novel, released November 21st, went right to the Christmas bestseller list and remained there until the day after Christmas. It was my first novel to make a British Amazon bestseller list, too. That had nothing to do with the fact that I mentioned lorries, boots, and Bob's your uncle every other page. Bob's your uncle.



December

The U.S. declared the War in Iraq officially over. John Lennon would have been proud. He was murdered almost 31 years ago to the day.



I received a GPS for Christmas so I now know where I stand, just not when.



Happy New Year, everyone!




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