THE NEW US: We don't make New Year's resolutions on New Year's Day. It's not, after all, our new year; it's the calendar's new year. Our new year starts on our birthday, which - like we even need to tell you - is Jan. 12. It's nice having a dozen-day buffer to sort out our shortcomings and turn them into, what? Longcomings?
The problem is, most of our shortcomings are pretty much a part of us now. Morally, physically and mentally we're held together with a tangle of plumber's tape, jute twine and bungee cords. Tweak any part of that and the whole wobbly structure collapses. So the big-ticket resolutions - your health and fitness improvements and money-saving gimmicks - are all off the table.
In our quest for our 2013 resolution, we did what any responsible citizen would do: We asked our friends on Facebook how we could (even possibly) improve ourself.
Russ Parsons, L.A. Times food editor and our pal and frequent co-judge in culinary competitions, urged us to do/go: "MORE! FURTHER!," which makes us tired already, but his words are nevertheless ones to live by, especially translated into Latin: Supra! Amplus! (We only took two dreadfully inattentive and unretentive years of Latin taught by a Catholic brother who we think thought he was teaching Italian, so we could be way off. Don't carve it into marble).
Vicki Wigginton Carlew complained that we can't remember her last name, so we will work on that if she promises to meet us halfway and not keep getting married.
Charter Cable producer Ron Petke declares, rightfully, that we can't speak French.
Our education reporter Kelly Puente says we should resolve to go out drinking with her. (DENIED!)
Wayne Holder, who we've never heard of, merely writes, "Who are you again?"
And the mighty, mighty Bruce Mac Rae tells us there's not a damn thing wrong with us.
Not much there to work with. One thing we're toying with resolving is to answer more personal emails.
Lord knows it won't be easy, and ease is certainly what we're after, else how are we supposed to succeed? We get some pretty cockeyed email, and much of it requires us to do more research than we're comfortable doing for just one person.
If we're going to answer all our email, we'll have to grapple with people armed with wacky facts, such as a reader who recently responded to our column about the NRA madman Wayne LaPierre. The reader wrote to tell us that "During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!" Who among us has the time to respond sanely to that?
And there's "Snake," who writes, "I wish you to comment concerning Australia when the entire nation turned in their weapons, how come by the Australian government's own admission violent crime increased by a mear 5,000 percent in less than two years after people were disarmed?" We left "mear" alone because we didn't know if he meant "mere" or "near." Our comment would be a terse "What?!"
Easier to answer are readers with reasonable questions, even if we're not positive about the answers. Doug Haigh and his pals were discussing (at the Red Leprechaun on Anaheim at Termino, if you want to set the scene) what is Long Beach's oldest operating restaurant.
Haigh declared that the place can't have moved or closed for a lengthy period of time. "We thought of Nino's on Atlantic and Domenico's in Belmont Shore, although none of us would be surprised if it was some little Mexican place we've never heard of," writes Haigh.
Despite the fact that Nino's, which opened in 1958, calls itself the oldest restaurant in town (Kelly's in Naples, also established in 1958, calls itself the city's oldest steakhouse), we'd go with Domenico's, which was established in 1954. But don't chisel that into marble either. In fact, just put the chisel down before someone gets hurt.
Finally, our junior columnist colleague Rich Archbold demands that we do one nice thing for a different person every day of the year. According to our math handbook, that's 365 nice deeds for 365 people. You're talking Justin Rudd numbers now.
We gave it a try, bought our editor a coffee and three cookies and, frankly, we're exhausted now.
The thing that's nice about resolutions is you can edit them and amend them as you wish. We know someone who gave up all meat except bacon. Doesn't bother us at all.
So, we resolve (until such time that we grow overly weary of it) to answer reasonable emails, to pick up a little French, to try to remember Vicki's last name, whatever it is, and do something nice every once in awhile, though probably not until our birthday at the earliest.