This is the time of the year when we receive those highly anticipated cute, mass-mailed (this year a few were even e-mailed) chatty letters from friends and family. These letters highlight all the wonderful happenings and events they have experienced during the year and for some reason, these friends have an abiding belief that we have a burning desire to know all the details. In that same spirit, I knew you would want to receive my Holiday letter giving you all the details as to how my year went; so here it is: Unfortunately the New Year got off to a rather malodorous start. The onset of the New Year was stained by the attempt of the underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a plane landing in Detroit. While blowing up Detroit might actually be an improvement, I was so unsettled by this terrorist threat that my first New Year resolution was to never again wear underwear on a plane. This actually worked out quite well and it did add to the comfort of flights, but then later in the year one of those darn full-body scanners the TSA had installed in the airports blew a fuse and seemed to indicate I had a weapon of some sort in my pants. With lights flashing and sirens blasting, I had to endure an embarrassing public full-body pat-down by two female TSA agents. During the year Tiger Woods called me a number of times “just wanting to talk” and play a little golf. As much as I wanted to help him, I was concerned that video of us together would go viral on the Web and I did not want to be in the position of seeming to condone having some fun, despite the fact of being married. I still remember the frantic call received late one April night from my friend Tony Hayward who was CEO of BP. He was not very coherent and seemed agitated about something that had happened. He expressed genuine concern that this event – whatever it was – would interfere with his day-to-day life and he was upset that it might cause him to miss a sailing regatta that was scheduled for later in the summer. I told him to calm down and that whatever it was that was troubling him would pass; that he would “get his life back” and soon would have all kinds of time for sailing. Of course, the next morning I discovered what had Tony so disconcerted. After hearing of the oil spill in the Golf I immediately began installing the booms and skimmers in front of my home in Key West. It turns out the spill was welcome news for those of us living in Key West because the wall-to-wall frenetic media coverage of the spill kept all the tourists away; even though the oil never got closer than 800 miles. I was impressed that in May Facebook announced that it had over 500 million members. What bothered me some was that only seven of those members wanted to be friends with me. Also in May I got a new car. I had always coveted a Toyota and was finally able to get one. Unfortunately, I discovered that I was not capable of driving it. The car seemed to have a mind of its own. It always kept speeding up and I couldn’t ever get it to stop. But the good news is that Toyota contacted me and the wanted the car back. I was amazed that all I had to do was sign some type of release and then they gave all my money back, even though the car was heavily damaged from the accidents. I guess it just goes to show what good people those Japanese are. At the very least it showed that they were not still mad at us for dropping a couple of nuclear bombs on them. Someone told me that Toyotas were their revenge for this, but I don’t believe them. I was in New York a few times during the year and it was interesting. One time after paying my respects at Ground Zero I was looking for some place to get lunch and walking a few blocks away I saw this place called “Hank’s Men’s Club – Good sights and eats.” It was right next to an interesting DVD and book store and seemed a popular place since there was a large crowd milling around and walking back and forth along the sidewalk. Turns out they were not there for lunch, but instead were protesting about some Muslims who had the audacity to want to turn a dilapidated old building into a place to pray and practice their religion. They seemed to think that just because President Obama was born in one of their Muslim countries and is a Muslim that gave them the right to have their own church in America. When I found out what these darn Muslims were up to I was flabbergasted and somewhat infuriated, so I joined in with the protest. Sure, I know the constitution gives Americans freedom of religion, but to be honest I thought that only applied to Christians and, because we are friends with Israel, a few Jews. Because of this, one of my resolutions for 2011 will be to write to Congress to see if we can change the constitution so that only those like us can have freedom of religion. I know that I am not alone in this because later in the year when I was down in Florida I happened to meet this really interesting guy named Terry Jones. In fact, he said that he was actually a “devout Christian” and was pastor of a local church he had founded only four years earlier and already had 26 members. Even though he had been free to start his own church, it turns out that he had the same feelings about freedom of religion as those people who were protesting the Muslims in New York. While we were sitting in the bar Pastor Jones told me he was going to teach those heathen, atheistic Muslims a lesson by publicly burning a Koran. (I am not sure, but I think that is like their Bible.) That excited me. I knew we God-fearing Christians would be very upset if those Muslims were to burn the Bible, but these were Muslims and it would be good to teach them a lesson. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to stay and help Pastor Jones, I had to get back to New York for some other meetings. I am not sure exactly what happened with Pastor Jones and his church, but I am sure no Muslims have joined. It was exciting in New York. I don’t want to be a name dropper, but I stayed at the Plaza Hotel and as I was walking down the hall to my room I actually saw Charlie Sheen entering the room next to me. He was with a really sexy looking girl. If fact, she seemed like one of the girls that Tiger had dated. They must have had a party or something that night, because I heard a lot of yelling, screaming and banging on the wall in Charlie’s room. I guess they had a good time. One day, later in the summer I got this strange e-mail with a huge file attached. It was so large that I could not open it so I sent it on to a friend of mine named Julian Assange. Julian had installed my wireless Wi-Fi at my home in Key West, so I knew he was good with computers. I hated to bother Julian, especially because I knew he was over in Europe chasing girls, which he likes to do, but I thought maybe he could open the file. I guess he was unable to open it because I did not hear from him. One downer for the summer was when Sandra Bullock called me in tears. It seems she had discovered that Jesse James had been cheating on her. I wanted to be sympathetic and I didn’t want to say “I told you so,” but I reminded her that I had warned her that anyone who marries a guy named “Jesse James” should not be surprised by what he does. On the brighter side, Randy and Evi Quaid stopped by our house in Minnesota for a nice visit on their way to Canada. They did not stay that long and seemed anxious to get into Canada for their vacation. Have to tell you that for much of the year I felt like Alice in Wonderland. I kept getting all these invitations to Tea Parties. And, when I got there it seemed as though there were Mad Hatters everywhere. But, it was nice to party with people like me. I didn’t see a Muslim, gay person, Latino, African American or Native American at any of the parties. I have to say that I envied the peace of mind these people at the Tea Parties seem to share. For them everything was so simple. There was no need for a lot of discussion, because every issue was either right or wrong; there was no confusion regarding “gray areas.” I found out that you were either “for them or against them” and there was no in-between. It was a comfortable feeling to have everyone agree that there was only one way to do something and if you didn’t agree, you were wrong. This all reminded me of the politics in Germany in the 1930s, but it sure was nice to know that you were right. I also had a great time going to a Halloween party with Christie O’Donnell. She encouraged me to dress as a Warlock, but she went as herself. Of course, we all know this was an election year and I was especially interested. The good news is that I did not have to decide which party to support because I got to vote twice – once in Florida where I voted for Republicans and again in Minnesota where I voted for the Democrat to be governor. It was not so much that I thought Mark Dayton was qualified to be governor of Minnesota, but I did think it showed what a great country we live in. Only in America (and maybe Somalia) can an inbred, deeply depressed alcoholic be elected as head of government. It will be interesting to watch this. (I have heard there are already “over-under” pools on the date of his first breakdown.) The year ended on a great note. I guess President Obama didn’t know what type of gift to get me for Christmas, so he and the Republicans got together and agreed to give me cash. So sweet! Plus, I got this gift certificate from President Obama that says that if I die in the next two years, I will not have to pay any estate taxes. So, I’ve got that going for me. All and all it was a wonderful and interesting year. I hope it was for you as well.
Happy New Year!