Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wadda ya gonna call the new year?

Just to let you know about how my mind works (maybe the word "operates" is a better term), I have been pondering for the past few months about what to call the new year. Is it going to be "two-thousand-ten"? "Twenty-ten"? Or some new combination I haven't thought of?

I know, I know, get a life, you say. But this is interesting...well, at least to me...and at least at the moment.

For most of my life - which now exceeds a half-century - we were satisfied with saying something like "nineteen hundred and ninety-nine" or more simply, "nineteen-ninety-nine." There was virtually no one saying "one-thousand, nine-hundred and ninety nine," right? So, then along comes the new millennium and everything changes. Did anyone refer to the new year as "twenty-zero-zero"? or "twenty-ought-zero"? or "twenty-hundred?" No, from the very beginning it was simply "two thousand" and occasionally, we seemed to feel the need to qualify it by saying, "the year two-thousand."

Then for ten years we simply used the same convention, "two thousand-one," two thousand-two," right up to "two thousand nine." So, logic would dictate that the New Year starting tomorrow will be called "two thousand ten," right?


Everyone around here is referring to it as "twenty-ten," including me. And, God-willing, in ten years I will be calling the New Year "twenty-twenty" and those people on ABC News will be happy (even though their "news-entertainment" program is probably supposed to be referencing the notion of 20-20 vision. Indeed their program is actually listed as "20/20.")

Part of me wants to call this new year "two-thousand-ten," but perhaps because this almost past-decade sucked for so many folks, most people seem almost happy to change the vernacular. But maybe it's just because I am basically lazy and "twenty-ten" is easier to say.

So, what will it be, folks? Wadda ya gonna call the new year?

As my father was fond of saying to these rhetorical questions, "we'll see."

Happy New Year! Whatever you call it.

image licensed through Creative Commons by photonbomb

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Has blogging "jumped the shark?"

Confession: I have stopped reading blogs.

Well, not exactly. I've stopped reading the blogs that I used to read on almost a daily basis eighteen months ago. I actually only read them now when someone has put a link to one in a tweet.

I'm not sure why, but it seems that I'm not the only one. And, it seems, people may be blogging less.

I just went through my lists of blogs using Bloglines, my blog aggregator, and noticed about two-thirds of the blogs I have followed in the past have not had a new blog entry for several months. Some have stopped blogging altogether. Many of these blogs used to post at least once per day. If you look at their datelines, their prolificacy - at least in terms of blogging - seems to have waned dramatically in the past year.

Blame Twitter and Facebook with their zillions of members "tweeting" and "facebooking" (I don't care if this is a word or not) as the cause, perhaps. When you think about it, blogging requires a thoughtful concentration of time and energy. And whose got time and energy when you're busily tweeting away. Have we all become airheads?

For the purpose of full disclosure, I find myself posting to Facebook and Twitter a fair amount also these days, and a simply look at the datelines here in this blog and you can see my pattern of posts has declined in the past year or so. But what is perhaps more remarkable is that apparently others are doing the same thing.

I guess we could also blame this on the economy, or maybe blogging has really jumped the shark.

What do you think?

Image from Wikipedia. Caption says: Fonzie in a scene from the Happy Days episode "Hollywood, Part Three of Three," preparing to jump over a shark on water skis.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas Blog 2009

When I wrote this missive a year ago, I was in the last stages of planning a trip out West to visit friends and family for the holidays. In fact, I was away almost the entire month of December and the trip was a real odyssey. While I was there, the folks from California to Washington were experiencing some of the toughest winter weather in many years and the cities of Portland and Seattle were basically closed. After spending a delightful 2½ weeks visiting friends in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, my path led me north up I-5 through snow-packed mountain passes and into the fog-shrouded and ice-covered roads of northern Oregon. Apparently, the locals don't know much about snow plows and road salt and even less about winter driving. The last leg of my trip from Redding, CA to Portland, OR, which should have only taken 6½ hours, took nearly 12 hours. Thankfully, Mr. Hertz who rented me my transportation, knew better and put me into a Ford Escape instead of the tiny, economy car I had ordered. Driving the last 30 miles into Portland at 15 mph on 3-inches of ice made me thankful for that decision.

Having the Christmas holidays in completely different surroundings was rewarding and delightful. Sister Mary, who was my reason for traveling to Portland, was a wonderful host and we had a great week of visiting and sightseeing. Although the weather could have been better, we did enjoy having a White Christmas, although many Oregonians told me I should take my snow and...leave immediately.

I returned to a very cold and snowy Northeast, but spring eventually arrived on time. Summer on the East Coast was almost non-existent this year and we had enough rain for five summers. Needless to say, there was not much outdoor summer activity until the mid August when the weather changed. Gratefully, we've had one of the best falls of recent memory. I was playing golf up until the middle of November, and although we've had more rain, the temperature the other day, December 3rd broke a record of 65ยบ here in Augusta.

It is snowing as I post this on Saturday night. Ah, New England!

This was a tough year for a lot of folks. Between economic failings, job losses and that H1N1 thing, there has certainly been enough suffering. Fortunately, everyone in my circle of friends and family have remained healthy and getting by. I hope it has been the same for you and yours.

As we approach this special season - the Season of Light - and look into the new year, I am hoping that things improve for everyone and that we have left the darkest days behind us.

I pray that your Christmas season is blessed and equally hopeful. May you find peace and happiness in the New Year.

John Eric Brandt

Image licensed through Creative Commons - Tochis/Flickr