Books All Georgians Should Read

Authors of the Month: December

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Archive for December, 2012

Making Resolutions

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

The arrival of a new year invariably brings with it a desire to do something differently. It usually comes in the form of a resolution, and that is usually framed in terms of getting something right in your life. Like losing weight. Or saving money. Or spending more time with family. Or washing the cat.

I’m one of those people who occasionally used to come up with a resolution or two every January 1 but who has in recent years — make that the last four decades or so — abandoned the idea. Partly because I never seem to keep them, and partly because I keep forgetting to make them. Americans as a bunch seem to have similar issues with consistency. A study by researchers at the University of Scranton — who might consider resolving to spend their time in better ways — turned up evidence that 45% of Americans usually make new year’s resolutions. Not surprising. But they also found that 39% NEVER make resolutions. In other words, we are a divided people.

This, of course, is hardly a headline. Some Democrats and many Republicans these days seem divided by everything including logic, good sense and well being. I doubt the two major political parties could even agree on a need for resolutions much less what they ought to be. So it’s up to the rest of us — that is, those of us who don’t serve in Congress — to come up with some resolutions if we are to preserve new year’s traditions. Of course, as I mentioned, I’m on the side of no resolutions, so I’ll have to cross the aisle, so to speak, in an effort to come up with anything.

In a desire to further compromise — a word politicians can no longer even spell, apparently — I offer my own resolutions for 2013, admittedly a very short list but one I’ll actually make an effort to fulfill:

1. I will not seek election to Congress.

2. I will read more good books.

3. I will stop eating so many potato chips.

4. I will take longer vacations (seriously).

5. I will stop buying watches (seriously).

6. I will not use any of my digits to communicate with idiots behind the wheel of other cars.

7. I will continue support for the Boston Red Sox no matter what stupid things management does.

There. I must confess i do feel a little better. A little more determined. Resolved. You can check back with me later in the year so see how things are working out. Although if you cut me off in traffic you may not have to wait long.

Happy New Year. See you in ’13.


Finding Comfort at Christmas

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Merry Christmas, everyone. But I think we all have to admit that it’s a little harder to feel an unalloyed sense of celebration in 2012 after what has transpired in Connecticut recently. Re-reading Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has always been a welcome and much-anticipated holiday tradition for me, as has been a laughing perusal of the Christmas sections of that author’s wonderful “Pickwick Papers.”

This year, however, I didn’t get quite the same spirit-lifting feeling I can usually count on from them. Instead, what I really wanted to do was to hurry up and get to the kids and grandkids, to be with them and help them celebrate the season. They’re just like your kids and grandkids: wonderful, funny, loving, testing, totally amazing people. Just like those 20 little children slaughtered in Newtown. And wonderful, just like those incredible grown-ups who died in that massacre.

We’ll go ahead and celebrate, of course. We’ll open presents and laugh and be happy and caring with each other. But the adults know something will be absent; there will be a place where it hurts to think of what happened and of the unendurable pain and grief those parents and families who lost loved ones must somehow endure at this season. We will all give thanks that it wasn’t us; we will mourn for those it was. And we will all wonder why. Why?

Merry Christmas, everyone. May we all find comfort where we most need it.

Worldly Intrusiveness

Monday, December 10th, 2012

The world always intrudes, sometimes in small, meaningless ways, other times in startling and hurtful ways. As we prepare for a another wonderful holiday celebration, we pause for a very brief moment to find that familiar intrusiveness — disguised as money — a topic of concern once again.

Three recent news items grabbed my attention. One of them has to do with the publishing industry, or specifically Publishers Weekly, the so-called Bible of the industry. It’s a fairly self-satifsfied weekly magazine and online service that carries a lot of clout with folks connected to publishing. Most recently, its editors selected the British erotic writer E.L. James as the most important person in publishing for 2012.

They did this because James wrote books that sold tens of millions of copies, drew scads of readers and made a bucket of money for some  publishers. They didn’t do it because James wrote good books. Or because she wrote books well. Nope, the quality of her writing — severely strained, in fact — was not a concern. Money was. How pathetic. This is attention quite misplaced.

Next up, and in a more public vein, is the desire of the Atlanta Falcons pro football team to build a new stadium. Not sure why they need a new one — we hear things about the need to host a Super Bowl as if that mattered — and not at all sure why any public money is needed for this billion dollar-plus project. But we’re told it is and that it is a great deal for everyone. Once again, it’s all about the money, no matter how misplaced this use of it might seem to a lot of folks.

And finally, there is the case of Bobby Petrino, the severely ethics-challenged football coach who has skipped out on several jobs, lied to his employers, cheated on his spouse  and been fired from his most recent job for behavior that ought to get him banned from his profession. But because he can win football games, a so-called institution of higher education named Western Kentucky has hired him. So much for a mission of giving students an education and moral background for their lives; give ’em a coach who wins. After all, it’s all about the money. Shame.

Merry Christmas.