Proudly presenting the original English version of an article by Jeffrey Gedmin, published Dec. 27, 2006, in WELT:
"Best of 2006" / By Jeffrey Gedmin
As we finish the year, here’s my best of 2006 and predictions for 07. Best Book:The Kite Runner. First novel of an Afghan doctor living in California. The story of two boys growing up in Afghanistan. Something devastating happens that changes the boys’ lives. Inspiring and beautifully written. Best Restaurant: “Dadarski’s cooking school” in Berlin. Rent it for a small celebration. Cook along. Best Film: “Heart of the Game”. Documentation about a girls’ high school basketball team in Seattle. Multiracial team and unorthodox white male coach train hard, suffer together, overcome adversity and have huge amounts of fun. Best gadget: E-Book now out from Sony. Light little screen, this new toy allows you to store up to 80 books in its memory. Download a book in a New York minute.
Best political decision: Bush's to fire Donald Rumsfeld. I liked Rummy. I never understood, though, why he resisted so mightily in putting more U.S. troops in Iraq. Best beach: Tel Aviv. Long and wide, soft white sand. Fresh fish, spectacular salads. Atmosphere feels like the best of Greece and southern California. Best Chinese Restaurant: China Tang in London’s Dorchester Hotel. 1930s Shanghai feeling. Disadvantage: crazy expensive. Advantage: bar is fantastic if you decide on just a drink and appetizer. Best political joke: Young Israeli guy arrives in London and forgets to fill
out line in immigration form about his job. The customs officer asks, “occupation? The Israeli fellow replies, “no, just here for a visit.”
Best rags-to-riches stories: Among the richest people in America today: David Murdock. Dropped out of school in 9th grade. Got a job pumping gas. Borrowed money to open his first business, a small restaurant. Today, a real estate baron. Net worth, $4.2 billion. George Argyros. Son of Greek immigrants. Bought corner lots at busy intersections and sold them to gas stations. Another real estate baron. Net worth, $1.6 billion. David Geffen, Hollywood’s richest man. Started in an office sorting mail. Now a major film investor. Net worth, $4.6 billion. Ralph Lauren, born as Ralph Lifshitz. Son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Started selling ties out of the trunk of his car. worth, $3.9 billion. Best moment in sports: Germany comes from behind to beat Argentina in World Cup last summer. Best act of generosity: I'm buying a tea in a bagel shop, 62nd and Lexington in New York. In comes a 30-something woman with a homeless guy in tow. Five minutes later comes in the lady’s husband with a suitcase. She says, “Be right there honey, I’m buying this gentleman breakfast.” He says, “okay, sweetheart, I’ll be outside.” Kindness can be so routine.
Now three predictions: 1) Iraq fades from the news as Afghanistan turns out to be far more vexing than any of us had imagined. Germany becomes involved in serious combat. Big problems for Merkel and the Grand Coalition; 2) George W. Bush turns to a new issue to secure his legacy: the environment. Bush wants to reduce dependence on Middle East oil and jump-start his democracy agenda. As long as rich dictators have bribery and patronage systems at their disposal how can moderates ever have a chance?; 3) Horst Köhler delivers a major speech on the real obstacle to economic reform--envy. Bishop Huber wishes he had delivered the speech himself. Happy New Year.