Our good friend Phil Hall has posted his own Christmas list of sorts, both goodies and some lumps of coal for some of the headline makers in housing for 2014.

Now, those who read my regular REwired columns knows I’m not one for giving anyone anything but a hard time. If I were Scrooge, I would break up Tiny Tim’s crutches for firewood and sell Marley’s chains for scrap metal. (I also root for the Empire in Star Wars, but that’s another Christmas special.)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand, I am all about giving space for good material, so here are a few of my favorite things in Phil’s list. The whole thing is well worth a read, and you can do so here.

Edward Pinto and Stephen Oliner: A Gold Medal for Innovation Incredibly, the year’s most innovative housing product was not introduced by a financial services company, but by a right-of-center Washington think tank. Pinto and Oliver are co-directors of the American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk, and their Wealth Building Home Loan is, hands down, the most exciting new product to be introduced in too many years.

Totally agree. They started this a little after I started at HousingWire and it’s been an invaluable reality check whenever the industry spin approaches cyclone levels.

Here’s the first report on the Center’s NMRI from HousingWire.

Brandon Friedman: A Volunteer Job at a Veterans Hospital. Friedman is HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, and last spring he took to Twitter to question the sanity and honesty of U.S. military personnel that openly called into question the reasons behind the disappearance in Afghanistan of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. Why was a HUD bureaucrat talking about this? Who knows, but his disgraceful badmouthing of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces was thoroughly inexcusable.

Yep, couldn’t agree more. Friedman himself is a veteran, but that doesn’t excuse the partisan hackery and administration boot-licking that went into that series of tweets, wherein he suggested that Bergdahl’s squad mates may have been “psychopaths” – and that Bergdahl was the hero and not, as it looks, a craven deserter.

We called Friedman out on it, and immediately after and for about a month, Friedman scrubbed his Twitter feed of all references to his position at HUD.

Friedman has returned to Twitter and mentions HUD on his profile, and while he doesn’t camouflage that he’s a catty, hyper-partisan Democrat, he’s been a lot more careful about the battles he picks.

Cher: Membership in the Mortgage Bankers Association. Another bizarre Twitter rant involved the iconic singer and Oscar-winning actress, who took online aim at Zillow, of all things. Her October 15 stated, “#CHINA IS ON REAL ESTATE BUYING SPREE ALL OVER USA. #ZILLOW Has Agreed 2Make Their Listings Available 2 CHINESE CONSUMERS. BOYCOTT #ZILLOW.” I am not certain whether Cher is angry at China, at Chinese investors in U.S. real estate, or in Zillow for listing properties that Chinese consumers may want to consider. In any event, maybe Cher can take a break from her concert gigs and allow Dave Stevens and his team to offer a crash course on how the real estate finance industry works.

Oh yes, we remember that one. We caught Cher in a weird rant against Zillow.

Now granted, catching Cher in a bizarre, fever-meth-dream of a Twitter rant is about as hard as logging on Twitter and hitting “follow Cher.”

But it was odd how she zeroed in on Zillow. I mean, when I think of the things wrong with our China policy – and that list is lengthy – Zillow is the last thing on that list and not just because I think alphabetically.

And that wraps it up, this last couple of days before Christmas. Now go do your shopping and egg-nogging. I have an orphanage to foreclose on and a Who village to raid. 

I end the year as I began. 

And I regret nothing.