Reviewing 2008 – A look back


Bumper sticker of the week: Greater difficulties, more work

Quote of the week: "I believe there is no devil but fear."

"I believe we are living in eternity, as much as we ever shall."

"I would not know a God if I saw one coming down the street in an automobile." Elbert Hubbard

– Leaders are made, not born: And so it is with businessmen. A good businessman learns, he aspires to get better, to do good by his employees, to treat the public with respect. He learns his customers owe him nothing, and that he owes them everything. Today, for the most part, all he does is hand out a product that he doesn't make, hasn't invented, and in no way can claim ownership over. He, for the most part, passes it along the retail chain. And we, in turn, give him our money. It is an age old process that involves mutual respect, admiration, and trust. Today, like so many things, this relationship is being strained. The further a businessman gets away from the products he sells, the less care he takes to make sure of its quality, of the customer’s need for the product, of the promise that the product will last and perform as stated, and finally, attempting to maintain his respect for the product he is selling, taking pride in what he is doing. We have seen all these things diminish, as the businessman becomes only the pawn in a much larger game being played, which we call globalization. The customer buys, not so much because he needs, but because he has been duped into believing he has to have what the seller is peddling, by the use of clever marketing, supposed discount pricing, and peer pressure. The respect and pride are gone for both parties. The ownership in the product is gone. The labor and sweat used to produce the product is gone. The relationship is gone. All that is left is buy and sell, buy and sell, buy and sell.....

– Some predictions I made on January 24, 2008. Let's see how I did:

1. We will have a new President elect: Don't say I didn't tell you so.

2. Galesburg's population will continue to fall: We're way down. By 2010, we may be below 30,000. We're getting close to the number where we can challenge our "home rule" status. That will shake the boys up.

3. During 2008, the Knox County Board will make a decision: They made one, refusing to continue supporting GREDA, but than reneged. In all fairness, this should be counted. I don't think it would be fair to the board, not recognizing that they did, at least momentarily, show signs of life.

4. The Galesburg mayor will quit. So might a number of other councilmen: Bingo. The mayor decides not to run. That's a quit. Some of the others are still pending. Any of them should quit that have an opportunity.

5. The Democratic nominee for President will show up in Galesburg before the election: No go on this one. He's been here twice, he's probably still depressed.

6. The economy is going to tank: This was my biggest forecast. Of course, it didn't take a genius to nail this. With Bush in office, it was a foregone conclusion.

7. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue unabated: This is another one I nailed. You hardly hear about it anymore. We are a bit self-indulged, suffering the plight of an over-indulgent capitalist society. We don't have time to worry about destroying another one.

8. An individual or group will make it big in the music industry this years: Mindefect made it sort of big, winning $25,000. Not terribly big, but this show may not be over.

9. Swedough's will reopen: Bingo. And then, bango, it closed again. Poor service and a mediocre product spelled disaster.

10. Wal-Mart will face a unionization attempt: I believe this was a dream I had while writing my predictions for 2008. I put it in hoping, but no luck. Maybe next year.

11. GREDA will fold up shop and move to China, where they may have better luck: GREDA was certainly in the news a lot this year, but did not exactly fold up, although they are close. They probably will take vacations to China again, where I would suggest they stay, because this year, that prediction will come true.

12. Real estate taxes will go up: In a town that is dying, with depressed everything, our homes continue to go up in value. In case you don't know it, and are wondering how I knew this, it is a universal law. Taxes in any form only go one way, and it's never down.

13. The city council will vote to put Galesburg up for sale on e-Bay: I missed this one, but it still ain't a bad idea.

I missed three outright, and had two partials. That's worse than usual. In the thirteen years prior, I had only missed two. Admittedly, I didn't win a Pulitzer Prize and God has still not made an appearance, but short of that, I haven't done bad.