December 31, 2007


Caption: This man has resolved to cut back on the brewskis.

At this time of year, lots of Americans make New Year's resolutions, many of which last about as long as a WV snowstorm.

El Cabrero is actually pretty big on making resolutions, although they don't necessarily correspond with the New Year. I think there's something cool about picking some fairly distant goal and then putting in the time and effort to get there. Some take way longer than planned. My BA, for example, was acquired on the 10 year plan.

Some of the kinds of resolutions that I've enjoyed the most were of the physical type, like studying martial arts or training for a marathon or triathlon.

To me a marathon is a classical kind of goal. Most people (in their right mind anyway) can't or won't run 26.2 miles at a go. Even if you don't injure yourself trying, the body runs out of gas after 20 miles or so and most of the rest is run on some combination of guts or stupidity (the latter in my case). The secret, if there is one, is paying for it with training and focusing on one mile at a time.

Training for one usually involves months of methodical work, such as intense long runs, intervals, and tempo runs at least three times a week. I've probably run my last, as in spite of all that my heart is probably in worse shape than Dick Cheney's.

Triathlons are good ones too. The combination of swimming, biking, and running is easier on the joints than a marathon but just as intense. This is all the more so if one swims like a stone like me.

One year I went on a tear and resolved to learn a little trigonometry, having gotten off the math train with geometry in high school. That one didn't last too long, although I amused myself for a while with sine, cosine and whatever the other thingie is problems.

Several years ago, I resolved to learn Spanish. The secret in this case is marrying a teacher of the same, although I wouldn't recommend that to everybody. I can read some, babble a bit, and comprehend some if spoken slowly but I know enough to bring a native speaker to tears in a matter of minutes. I'm working on ancient Greek now, but the jury is still out on that one.

Sometimes, I resolve to do kind of random things, like read Thomas Mann's eternal novel The Magic Mountain, which is kind of like the Seinfeld show of German literature. When I got done, I wasn't sure why it seemed so important at the time.

Occasionally, I resolve to do the truly impossible, like keep my desk cleaned off and eliminate piles of paper, but that never happens. As Dirty Harry said, a man should know his limitations.

Happy New Year!

QUESTIONING THE MARKET GOD. Here's an item from the NY Times about second thoughts on an idol with feet of clay.

ON A RELATED NOTE, here's a good Gazette editorial on growing economic inequality. And here's another one all the way from Minnesota along the same lines.


THINKING DIFFERENTLY. Here's an interesting item on innovation.



Buzzardbilly said...

I'm only doing truly impossible resolutions this year. That way I'm free of guilt for not being able to do them. There were, after all, impossible.

Have a Happy New Year!

El Cabrero said...

That's a good strategy. Squaring the circle might work!

Unknown said...

Happy New Year!

In the year ahead,
May we treat our friends with kindness and our enemies with generosity