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COLUMNIST: A scattered list of resolutions

With the likelihood that this new year will let me see the other end of it, it is imperative that I make a list of resolutions. This list will include things that I should do, and it will also include those things that I'm not going to do, if I can avoid them.

It's a pretty scattered list.

I had to look up my DD214, which is the form by which one is discharged from the army. I had to find it because it appears I'm going to hit the age of 65, at least by social security and MediCare's definition, and for some reason they require that form.

"But my yearly record of social security earnings shows those two years--1968 and 1969--as credited to my list." That's what I told the lady who answered the phone. It turns out that, when you're about to hit 65, regardless of whether or not you're still working, you have to tell them so. She's the one who said I needed to send her the DD214. It's hard to believe--in fact, it's outright doubtful-- that they don't know, given the amount of government intrusion everywhere, that they have to be told any of our ages.

She said, "It doesn't matter. They are still required." End of conversation.

So I went and dug in dusty old drawers full of stuff from back then. Of course, in the drawn-out process of digging for that form, I had to look at some pictures from Vietnam, and my draft notice, and a letter of commendation from some commander along the line (I fixed the CO's television, if I remember right, in Vietnam, although exactly what he watched, I have no idea, because first, enlisted personnel had no television sets, and second, one of many 122 mm rocket attack up there on the DMZ took out all our electrical generators, after which the Vietnamese took them over and couldn't keep them running more than three hours at a time, which pretty well predicted how well they'd keep the war going after we left. Look. It's simple. You have to put diesel fuel in this hole here every 8 hours...) I know: this is scattered. I warned you.

First resolution: I'm not going back to Vietnam. One would think that time would heal some of these feelings. They got better for a while, now they're worse. Uh uh. No way. I barely survived finding that DD214.

Not going back is a no-brainer; it would be impossible to go back. Like a lot of veterans, I'm still there.

Second resolution: I'm not going to turn 65 again. I like this resolution. Like all self-fulfilling resolutions, you can't do them again even if you want to. Chances are, these first two resolutions will stick pretty good. It's nice to have goals you know you're likely to achieve. Should I so choose, I could put in 64 more resolutions just like this one.

Third resolution: I'm going to e-mail my legislators more often (especially if Al Franken gets in) about lots of stuff. Are they salting the roads so much that my car is rusting piles of cheapest-bid metal just sitting in the garage? Hey, I'll say. Hold down on that salt.

Are they ignoring the roads? Hey, I'll say, how about a little salt?

Stuff like that. Matter of fact, when ideas occur to me about helping the state balance the budget, I'm going to send those ideas in. Here's one that I just came up with: Most rural property owners, as far as I know, have been separated from their mineral rights. Who owns them now? Why? More to the point, why are we land owners paying taxes on this property, and they are not? Either those rights are worth something, or they aren't, and if they aren't, I want mine back. If they are, let's balance the budget by taxing the snot out of them. It would make me feel lots better when I'm wading around out there spraying thistles and trapping gophers and fending off intrusive revenuers (tax assessors) if I knew I was at least standing on all my own property, instead of just the top couple of inches.

I'm also going to e-mail more about providing some kind of solution to the rising cost of health care, and I don't care if it's nationalized, or what. When this topic comes up, the naysayers rush out that old excuse: "It would cost too much."

How in hell can it cost any more than it's costing us right now? Being number one in this new world order is wonderful, unless you're number one in health care costs (we are), with the added knowledge that you're number 13 through 23 depending upon who you listen to in health (that's us too). I talked to a lady from Sweden not too long ago, and found out that, contrary to what we're told about nationalized health care raising taxes punitively, their taxes are just about what ours are now, and they get free health care.

That's the next resolution, then, this health care thing.

After all, I need to stay healthy to see not only the end of 2009, but several more.

I can make up more silly resolutions.