Editor’s note: Here’s a note from long-time Mountain Gazette contributor Alan Stark, which I took to heart: John: Here’s an idea. Ask your regular MG contributors for two New Year’s resolutions for a joint blog to send out next week. Maybe one with tongue in cheek and one semi-serious. I, Alan Stark, resolve to: A. Be circumspect in using the term asshole and its plural for any individual, corporate or governmental entity for at least a week. B. Spend more time with my life friends, at least the ones who are not assholes.   Like George Orwell (“Politics and the English Language,” 1946), Nobel literature laureate (2001) Sir Vidiahar Naipaul offered (ca. 2007) seven simple rules for all who tap on keyboards and put mice on pads. I, Michael Brady, resolve to adhere to more to them, particularly numbers 1 and 3: 1) Do not write long sentences. 3) Do not use big words.   I, Vince Welch, resolve to: A. Use less words than more words in my written and verbal efforts to communicate because we live in age of brevity, sound bite and short attention spans and Raymond Carver’s short stories (and sentences) were so compelling (and short) and he had a Svengali-like editor that, according to some accounts, made Carver’s short sentences even shorter, but more to the point, because my wife believes that we Americans cannot stand silence or pregnant pauses and always interrupt, to which I reply “Look at Fayhee’s sentences, and as MG editor, he never lets a comma or a misspelling get in the way of a good story and he would cause Carver’s editor extreme agitation leading to heart palpitations and night sweats unless he had recently read ‘Crime and Punishment’ or one of Joyce Carol Oates’ sentences.” B. Go surfing in 2012.   I, Tricia Cook, resolve to: A. Read again the Carver books on my bookshelves. Sober. I will chase Carver with Vonnegut, and then Robbins (mebbe not so sober). With reverence, I will take down from my bookshelves and reread Peacock and Abbey. Hayduke lives! B. Crawl out from under this rock.   In an ongoing effort to evolve from any and all reptilian-brain tendencies, I, Tara Flanagan, resolve: A. To not watch or discuss debates about the 2012 presidential election (see Alan Stark’s resolution about assholes). B. To help out a complete stranger in an unexpected and unconventional way — paying forward the good turn of events I’ve had lately.   I, Dawne Belloise, resolve to: A. Party like it’s 2012. B. Have better excuses for not turning in articles in a timely fashion.   I, George Sibley, resolve to: A. Stop reading political porn about Republican presidential candidates. B. Write something worthy of Mountain Gazette.   I, B. Frank, hereby renew my yearly Securing the Homeland “to do” list (aka resolutions) to: A. Preemptively spike a Hummer (or any other Landscape Assault Vehicle); use “because it was there” defense. B. Practice random guerrilla acts of consensual gratification. C. Unilaterally hug: trees, forests, neighbors, animals, lover.   I, M. John Fayhee, resolve to: A. Spend less time reading guidebooks and more time wandering aimlessly through the woods. B. Remind myself when appropriate that there are plenty of times when being an asshole is OK, especially when I’m being an asshole to an asshole (i.e subscribing to the Law of Equal, Opposite and Collinear Assholes).  

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