Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A New Year's Miscellany

Herewith a couple of things I'll put in print to get off my mind -- of no particular importance or interest, I acknowledge. Consider this your "Happy New Year" card.

First, politics:
I don't usually find myself quoting (or even reading, for that matter) Chuck Colson, lately of Prison Fellowship Ministry (but famous for less uplifting activities). But I ran across links to this short commentary, in which he judges character to be the most important quality to consider in choosing a president. I think, much to my surprise, that I agree with him. Of course, Brother Chuck doesn't explain how we evaluate the "content of their characters" in choosing among candidates, but I think it's worth considering for oneself.

Second, editing:
From this morning's newspaper's obituary section. "She was a faithful, loving wife and friend to many." OK, I know that many will say, "Of course she wasn't a wife to many," but that's the reasonable way to read that lamentably un-thought-through, and hence amusing, sentence.

Third, resolutions:
I know better than any how futile (as opposed to "feudal"*) it is for me to make lists of intentions. I simply do not have the focus, the self-discipline, or the external helps to stick to things like that. Nevertheless, I am beginning a new practice of list-making. (Friend Jeff says that he's an inveterate listmaker and commends the practice, so I'm going to check it out.) Lamentably for the budget, that will require a new notebook (moleskin cover would be nice), but I'll look to pay for one with the B&N gift card (in a generous amount) that I received from my in-laws for Christmas. (They regularly give me such, and it's utterly amazing how they're always the right color and the right size for me!) And among my lists will be "movies that I've seen," "books that I've read," and oodles of "intentions." That I might succeed in getting a little order in my life, Ora pro me!

Among my intentions:
On New Year's Day, public radio featured a language professor (and linguist) who spoke about various word-y things -- e.g., Merriam-Webster's choice of "w00t" as new word of the year (huh?), the inability of Midwestern USAmerican's to detect any difference in pronunciation among "Mary-marry-merry" (IS there a difference?), linguistic change, and the like. In short, it was the kind of program I couldn't tear myself away from. And it made me more committed than ever to try to speak correctly and to employ (as opposed to "utilize") vocabulary carefully and appropriately. (I suppose that that means that I'll have to try to drop "like" from my standard speech, but it's a long-overdue corrective.)

Finally, a great start to 2008:
Friends hosted a New Year's Day open-house party yesterday (afternoon into early evening). And it was a treat! Now Kathy and I don't ever (anymore) go out on New Year's Eve. It's way too much of a hassle to face crowds, to find a quiet restaurant, to drive safely for us to leave the warmth of home, with its champagne, movies, music, and early bedtime. (And that was this year's routine.) But the first day of the new year is, then, frequently anti-climactic, with nothing to do but straighten the house in anticipation of returning to work. But this year, D & D invited us for some wine, snacks, and conversation, and it was anything but anticlimactic. We met new people, got to know acquaintances better, re-met friends whom we haven't seen for a long time; we conversed about the economy, movies, books, music, theology and the Church, "fate," a bunch of other things. And by the time we got home (having stayed longer than we expected), 2008 had begun brilliantly!

I pray God's blessings, patience, humor, and aid throughout this new secular-calendar year for all of us -- you and your circle and my circle and me.

1 comment:

David said...

I too usually get such a gift from the in-laws. They fit every time!

Happy New Year!