Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

My other resolutions are:

  • To avoid using the word invidious, which I thought meant unenviable, but according to the dictionary means the exact opposite (admit it -- you thought it meant unenviable too).
  • To say nice things about Canada.


Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

My plan was to quit drinking on New Year's Day. I'm starting to have serious second thoughts however. Watching the utter implosion of the country that I love so much has definite advantages from the vantage-point of the bottom of an empty vodka bottle. In fact it can be a lot of fun! Better to giggle when shit-faced than to weep with your faculties intact. The last ten years have been such an utter train wreck that it is difficult - if not impossible - to take it all in in any other condition than complete, alcohol-induced giddiness. When one is forced to witness the total decline of what used to be a grand civilization, it generally is a good rule-of-thumb to have an artificial stimulant at the ready. Heroin is too expensive and marijuana gives me terrible anxiety attacks. So make it one for my baby and one more for the road, Joe....

Was that decade just a horrible nightmare? Of course I'm being facetious, but there were more-than-a-few times during during the last ten years - particularly during the time the Bush Mob was in power - that I would awaken suddenly in the middle of the night and say out loud,

"Did I dream that?"
"Is Bush seriously president?"
"Did we actually invade Iraq?"
"Are the Spice Girls really number one?"

And a special tip of the old fedora to George W. Bush. Anyone who can make me nostalgic for the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan has a certain talent, no doubt about it. His entire eight-year-reign seems almost surreal in hindsight. In a twisted and cynical paraphrasing of Charles Dickens, "It was the worst of times. It was the worst of times." What a long, strange trip it's been. As the great Hunter Thompson liked to say, "Buy the Ticket. Take the ride."

Tom Degan
Goshen NY

Paul Walter said...

Without wishing to come across as pedantic, I think the meaning of invidious is slightly different from both "unenviable" and "enviable" (if that's what you are implying the opposite of "unenviable" is). "Envious" was the meaning I got from one dictionary online but it was listed as "obsolete" as a meaning. The word comes from the Latin word "invidiosus" which means "envy". My Oxford pocket dictionary (an actual physical dictionary!) defines the word as "Likely to exite ill-will against the performer, possessor etc (for example - an invidious task, position, honour)". I think that is quite a good, simple definition.

Paul Walter said...

There's further discussion of the word here:

I think the state of being in an invidious position can either be enviable or uneviable dependent on whether you mind being in a position "likely to excite ill-will" towards you. But perhaps it comes back to the meaning of "envy" which the Oxford dictionary gives as "bitter or longing contemplation of another's better fortune or qualities". Fascinating topic!