Calendar, that is. Last year's was a neat one, Japanese landscape woodcuts, something which I have long admired. My intent was to research each artist as the months rolled over, but it turns out they were mostly by Utagawa Hiroshige, with a few from his son, Utagawa Hiroshige II ("Chip").
The new one is old maps, which is something I have always always loved. Dunno exactly why. Maybe the absurdity of it. "I know it's completely
innacurate now, but it's just so beautiful
." (The one on the cover is old New York; January's map is of Italy circa 1897, displaying just why it was so incredibly difficult for political power to be consoliodated in that period of history. "You wanta rule over me? Fine. Come find me, bastardo
Happy new year, y'all.
Now here's something else: I have always had more faith in "Happy New Year" than "Merry Christmas." First of all, because "Happy New Year" is something that you could, theoretically, keep saying all year. (This, of course, being distinct from "Happy New Year's," which you could think of as a consolodation of "Happy New Year's Eve," which, y'know, when it's over, it's over.) I always figure that "Merry Christmas" can take you up to Christmas, but once the day is done, well, you either had one or you didn't, and no amount of well wishing is going to change the facts.
I probably think that way because, in my experience, "Happy New Year" was more of an invocation, whereas "Merry Christmas" was more of a conditional. Now, follow me here: this is going to sound like middle-child-whining, but honestly, it isn't.
When Christmas morning came when I was a kid, say from ages five through nine, there was a curious phenomenon where by my sister would start opening her presents, then my folks would stop her and have my little brother open some of his (out of fairness, since he is the youngest), and then I would open some of mine last. Now, you may have already concluded that my complaint here is that I only got to open my presents last. Au contraire, my friends. That wasn't a problem at all.
My sister would whine about every third gift or so, because my sister, at this stage of her career, was a whiner. Not that she wasn't a good enough kid, just that whining, in her experience thus far, was how you got things done.
My brother, not having any real experience to go on, followed her example, only in his estimation the pattern was one-two, three-four, so the whining occurred about every other gift.
And then, of course, when it came to doling out the gifts, my Dad, for wahtever reason, figured it was best to start off with the great gifts and work down to the lesser ones. So, eventually, towards the end of the gift opening melee, I would open something that was almost-but-not-quite-entirely-unlike tea, whereupon I would spontaneously voice a modicum of complaint, which would be greeted with a loud and stern cesnure from my father. "GOD-DAMMIT, QUIT WHINING!!!" he would gently admonish me, "THIS IS CHRISTMAS!!!"
It took me a little while to work out what had just happened, which, it turns out in the final analysis, was just that I happened to be the point at which his temper overflowed from the slight, yet constant whining of a Christmas Morn. But my first reaction was to wonder what had become of the whole notion of a MERRY Christmas. This wasn't "Merry," this was YELLING!!! Oh well. I guess I will work on having a Happy New Year.
The upshot, after a few years, was that I learned never ever to complain about a gift of any sort, and my folks eventually figured out that if they let us take down and empty our stockings first, everybody was too knocked out on candy to complain about the gifts they got.
So anyways. Happy New Year, Y'all. Or, as I have been occasionally fond of saying "Glad ya had a Merry, and hope you have a Happy." Which I like, because while the meaning can be easily inferred, I could mean it any number of ways. So I could mean "Glad ya had a Merry [Wife of Windsor], and hope you have a Happy [Trails, To You, Until, We Meeet, Agaaaain . . . ]." Which I probably don't, but how in the heck would you know that?