"When one door closes, another opens.
But for some that door hits them right on the kisser."
2004 was another windfall year in the mistakes, failure, and foul-ups market. In some of those instances people understood the benefits of disasters and turned them into positives and success (See Bush's No-WMD, Iraqi Post War Debacle, and a Federal Deficit Large Enough To Choke A Country Molded Into An Election Win). Unfortunately, the President (i.e. Karl Rove) and his seeming mystic ability to massage failure into triumph were in the minority. In fact, many seemed to be more adept to taking lemonade and turning it into lemons (See John Kerry's Transforming War Hero Status into a Criminal Offense). Failure doesn't magically turn into success. You have to take an action...like hiring Rove. Of course, you, the JWR reader, rarely takes a misstep, so you might want to seize on the words of Elizabeth Roosevelt: Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
Here's your guide for using the past year's liabilities to your 2005 advantage.
2004's Best Failures:
2004 Adversity: Ben Affleck's "Surviving Christmas"
What they could have learned: Hollywood should never put out a Christmas
film before Thanksgiving.
Did they learn?: "Christmas With The Kranks"
How we can benefit in 2005: Forget about taking Christmas out of the
schools and public areas. Take Christmas out of the movies.
2004 Adversity: Janet Jackson revealed her breast during Super Bowl
What they could have learned: The National Football League should not let
pop culture pop out during prime time football.
Did they learn?: Monday Night Football opened with Desperate Wives'
Nicolette Sheridan revealing her naked body to Philadelphia Eagles
receiver Terrell Owens.
How we can benefit in 2005: Have them ask Sheridan to turn around.
2004 Adversity: Fox's Bill O'Reilly, author of "Who's Looking Out For
You" and "The O'Reilly Factor For Kids," is sued for sexual harassment by
his female producer, over twenty years his junior, for making phone sex
calls to her.
What he could have learned: Don't throw rocks in a very glass house.
Did he learn?: He said he would never succumb to a shakedown attempt for
"hush money", then settled the suit for an undisclosed (i.e. hushed)
How we can benefit in 2005: Don't let your daughter work for Bill, and
for G-d's sake, look out for yourself.
2004 Adversity: Saddam Hussein, lost his country, his billions, was
caught in a small, dank hole and his sons got blown far, far away.
What could he have learned?: If you don't have any WMD, prove it! We'll
Did he learn?: He still ain't talking.
How can we benefit in 2005?: Hope Osama hasn't learn from Saddam's
2004 Adversity: Barry Bonds used performance-enhancing steroids to
artificially build up his body and strength.
What they could have learned: Kids are watching.
Did they learn?: Baseball will be celebrating Bonds' breaking Hank
Aarons's career home run record during the 2005 season.
How we can benefit in 2005: Have your kids watch ESPN Classic TV to see
Aaron setting his record with his own body.
2004 Adversity: George Soros gave MoveOn.org enough money to choke a
horse but they came up about four million votes short.
What they could have learned: Money spent on a bad idea doesn't make it a
Did they learn?: MoveOn says they aren't going away and in fact, now own
the Democratic Party.
How we can benefit in 2005: If your going to choke a horse, do it with
your hands and save the money.
2004 Adversity: Ashlee Simpson was busted lip-syncing on Saturday Night
What she could have learned: If you can't sing, don't. And if you can't,
at least admit it.
Did she learn?: At the end of show she blamed the "malfunction" on her
How we can benefit in 2005: If you don't think performance-enhancing
isn't used everywhere, have your husband think about what the gals in
Playboy look like without air-brushing. On second thought...
2004 Adversity: Army PFC. Lynndie England was indicted for prisoner abuse
at Abu Ghraib prison.
What the military could have learned: If you think it wrong to illegally
abuse prisoners, don't pose smiling and pointing to genitals in front of
a naked pile of humanity.
Did they learn?: New photos reveal mug shots of U.S. soldiers with
automatic weapons pointed at military prisoner's heads, thumbs jabbed
into their throats.
How we can benefit in 2005: Before the MPs show up make sure to press the
delete button on your Brownie digital.
2004 Adversity: House Majority Whip, Tom Delay, uses federal money and
equipment designated for Homeland Security to track down Texas Democrat
legislators who vacateed state so there wouldn't be a quorum to vote on
his redistricting plan to benefit Republicans.
What he could have learned: When you lead by example don't make the
trashing of ethical behavior your model of integrity.
Did he learn?: With charges against him pending, he had Congress change
their own directive so that an indicted representative can still chair
How we can benefit in 2005: Figure how we can all get some of that Tom
2004 Adversity: Indiana Pacer Ron Artest jumps into the stands to fight
What he could have learned:. There's a time and a place for everything
and a basketball game is not a place for a boxing match.
Did he learn?: On the Today Show following the incident, Artest promoted
his new rap CD.
How we can benefit in 2005: Don't buy merchandise from professional
athletes who fight when they should be playing. Except for hockey
players. It's not like they're going to make a living playing for quite a
2004 Adversity: The Democratic Party had such a miserable year that their
most successful candidate was Al Sharpton who got to host Saturday Night
What they could have learned: Get someone in charge who knows how to win.
Did they learn?: The leading candidate for Democratic Party chairman is
How we can benefit in 2005: Register Whig.
2004 Adversity: Pop diva Britney Spears gets married for a night to an
old nothing boyfriend, leaves him to marry an old nothing backup dancer
who left his pop diva pregnant girlfriend for Britney who even paid for
her own engagement ring.
What they could have learned: Way too much for this column.
Did they learn?: Oh, God. Perhaps this is what they did learn.
How we can benefit in 2005: Don't let your daughter listen to Radio
Disney until they're twenty-one...make that fourty-one.
2004 Adversity: With a budget overdue, Governor Schwarzenegger said he
would not allow the deficit spending California had under Gray Davis.
What he could have learned:. That balancing the budget means cutting
spending to meet revenue, just as he promised during his campaign.
Did he learn?: Arnold claims to have balanced the budget by signing a
plan that includes over $11 million in loans.
How we can benefit in 2005: Try to learn that a loan IS a deficit. We
also might want to vote for a romantic comedy star next time. Governor
Marisa Tomei anyone?
2004 Adversity: CIA head, George Tenet, was not fired but left the spy
agency for "personal reasons, his legacy wrapped around his massive "slam
dunk" misfire concerning Iraq's WMD two years before.
What they could have learned:. President Bush might have considered
holding Tenet, or for God's sake, someone, accountable for a mistake that
led us into Iraq and arguably the loss of thousands of lives.
Did they learn?: President Bush awards Tenet the Medal of Freedom, the
country's highest civilian award.
How we can benefit in 2005: Get into a time machine and go back to
November 3, 2004.
2004 Adversity: Martha Stewart goes to prison for stock fraud
What she could have learned: Sometimes knowing too much isn't a good
Did she learn?: While in lock up she signs a multi-million dollar deal to
do a reality show as soon as she gets out.
How we can benefit in 2005: Get to know the head of a brokerage house,
then lie to a grand jury. Oh. It wouldn't hurt to first become a
billionaire homemaking diva
2004 Adversity: A serviceman asks Donald Rumsfeld why soldiers had to
rummage through scraps to find sufficient body and vehicle armor.
What he could have learned:. Prepare our military properly BEFORE going
to war or at least prepare a terrific answer for when the lack of
preparation comes up.
Did he learn?: Rumsfeld told the soldier that "You go to war with the
army you have, not the army you wish you had."
How we can benefit in 2005: Prepare for Rumsfeld's Medal of Freedom
2004 Adversity: We paid Iraqi-exile and neocon darling Ahmad Chalabi
$400,000 a month for intelligence, including fabricated claims about
What they could have learned: Paid informants might tell you anything to
continue getting paid.
Did they learn?: We backed Chalabi, who later was alleged to have
supplied Iran with sensitive US occupation plans in Iraq, to become the
new President of Iraq
How we can benefit in 2005: Perhaps backing a convicted embezzler who
fled from a twenty-two year jail sentence in Jordan is a bad idea. If
not... Can a foreign official receive a Medal of Freedom Award?
2004 Adversity: Scott Peterson
What he could have learned: If you want to play hot, single jet-setter
with the ladies, DIVORCE YOUR WIFE FIRST!
Did he learn?: Death sentence awaits.
How we can benefit in 2005: Show your future son-in-law the video of the
Peterson guilty verdict while giving him the "If you ever do
anything...anything, to hurt my daughter I will hunt you down..." speech.
2004 Adversity: Fully aware that the nomination of Linda Chavez as Labor
Secretary was withdrawn after the revelation that she had hired an
undocumented immigrant, Bernard Kerik was selected to become Homeland
What they could have learned: Remember to vet your nominee BEFORE
Did they learn?: Bernard Kerik reveals that his nanny may have been
How we can benefit in 2005: If you're going to hire an illegal, plan on a
good possibility of being asked to serve in President Bush's cabinet
2004 Adversity: A boatload of Swift Boat veterans challenged John Kerry's
What he could have learned: When you're trying to get elected today, talk
about what you can do today.
Did he learn?: He opened his Democratic Convention acceptance speech with
a salute and a rip-roaring, "Reporting for duty," wherein the every
single member of the Republican Party, including those who didn't even
know what a Swift Boat was, collectively licked their lips.
How we can benefit in 2005: Don't turn lemonade into lemons. I.e: When
you are a hero, it is not necessary to remind and remind and remind the
world, so much that the world is not only tired of hearing it, they wish
someone would shut you up. Need proof?: November third.
2004 Adversity: Fox developed the reality show, "Seriously, Dude. I'm
Gay," where straight guys tried to make gay guys think they were gay.
What they could have learned:.That bad taste has its limits.
Did they learn?: Fox announces the reality show, "Who's Your Daddy?"
where adopted children attempt to select their biological dad for big
How we can benefit in 2005: They have these things now they call,
2004 Adversity: Michael Jackson is indicted for sexual endangerment of a
minor and investigators found pornographic magazines with Jack-O and the
young boy's fingerprints at his Neverland Ranch.
What parents could have learned: Don't even know if it's really necessary
to bring it up because it's so darn obvious because any parent with a
single cell of brain matter already knows: Don't let your kid within ten
miles of Neverland.
Did they learn?: This year's Neverland Christmas party drew over 200
How we can benefit in 2005: Parental abstinence. Retroactively, if