Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pulling Out All the Stops

Hey, give me a pat on the back. Today's progress report is a little better than the last couple. Of course, that's like saying when Vesuvius buried Pompeii it was a little better than when Krakatoa ruined so much of Indonesia.

On September 22 I set as my goals five things I would stop doing. As my Wii keeps telling me, "Not perfect, but pretty good . . ."

1. I will STOP writing about the meaning and origin of words. Why? I believe most people don't give a rat's arse about this. (By the way, it's extremely interesting to look at why the English and Australians use arse, while the Americans use ass. OK OK, this type of discussion will stop but not until I'm retired.) Anecdote: Susan Searle once told me I had a large vocabulary. I told her it was because I had a big dictionary.

GRADE: A I have avoided it , even though the other day I thought it was quite interesting when I discovered that the word paraphernalia comes from the extra things a woman had that wasn't part of her dowry and therefore could be given to her children because it didn't belong to her husband. Oh, all right. GRADE: B

2. I will STOP telling the same stories over and over and over and ...... Why? Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Linda is fond of saying that people who tell the same stories are rude because they aren't bothering to remember what they said to you earlier. Anecdote: Susan Searle once told me I had a large vocabulary. I told her it was because I had a big dictionary. See!!!!!!

GRADE: A I think. Since I wasn't aware I kept telling the same stories, it's a little hard to know if I've really stopped. But I think it's been sharply reduced now that I no longer sit at the Big Kahuna desk and the staff have to listen to me and act at least a little interested. Wait. You mean using the stuff I wrote in August and September for this week's posts counts? OK, GRADE: C

3. I will STOP eating Indian food. Why? There's no delicate way to put this, but that in itself is probably a pretty good clue. As I grow older, things I used to love have started not loving me. Come to think of it, that happened fairly frequently in my earlier years, as well. Anecdote: Just listen to Johnny Cash sing, "I Fell Into a Burning Ring of Fire".

GRADE: A You're welcome, Linda.

4. I will STOP reading newspapers. Why? This may be startling coming from someone who has spent the last 25 years of his life publishing trade newspapers, but there are a couple of good reasons. First, I get more info than I need on the Internet and I really don't care if I see it on a piece of paper. Second - and probably more important - the major newspapers here are very poor quality and they don't justify the cost now that I am being more careful about money. Anecdote: A couple of weeks ago, reporters went on strike at Fairfax, our leading newspaper publisher. The reporters said they were striking to ensure that quality, independent journalism was not imperiled by proposed job cuts. To guarantee their independence, they urged supporters to write to the Federal Government and urge them to intervene to prevent Fairfax from implementing the cuts. Yep, asking the politicians they cover to help them out in a labor dispute is the sort of independence I want from quality journalists. I think I can safely save my bucks.

GRADE: B+ We still get the weekend papers, but I can live without them because I have Sudoku on the computer. I can officially declare that print is dead.

5. I will STOP buying things I already have. Why? Well, the equation is simple: Fixed Income - Unfixed Spending = Cat Food by the age of 70. Anecdote: I don't know how to describe the feeling of getting to page 80 of a book I have just bought and realizing I've already read it. Recently. Or I could tell you of the albums I paid for at the Itunes Store only to realize I have the CD.

GRADE: A Easy! Don't buy much of anything any more.

Only one more progress report, but I am really glad to see this exercise end. It's becoming clear to me that I am a huge procrastinator, which by the way comes from the Latin word crastinus, meaning referring to tomorrow. You know, Susan Searle once said I had a large vocabularry.

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