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Happy New Year 2010!

Yellow Fireworks

Yes, folks, you’ve made it to a New Year. A new decade, in fact! The Teens. And here you thought you’d never get that experience again. Being a Teenager, I mean. Well, don’t worry; just lie down and the feeling will pass with limited ill effects, I’m sure.

Isn’t it odd how we humans celebrate something that the rest of the universe pays no attention to? The sun still rises and sets, the planets move in their appointed rounds, and the Internal Revenue Service still wants all your money. Yet somehow we find it important to close out the previous year and hope for a new and better one. We’ll remember 2009 as a tough year for many, many Americans, even those who you don’t hear complaining much. We had our moments too, here at the Chile Underground World Headquarters and at our far-flung global offices. The Head Penguin lost her job in the high-tech industry, but she readily admits she’d overstayed her welcome; she’d started telling the truth, and as Dilbert will promise you, that’s a death knell to any career. Consulting, and consequently travel, was seriously curtailed, so the Chile Doctor had plenty of time on his hands for writing inane and often insipid prose, both on his myriad blogs and on two blockbuster-to-be novels.

Were there good things in the passing twelvemonth? The Penguin Queen and I made a full pilgrimage to Ireland, and found we were more Irish than we could have imagined. That all-too-short trip was documented in over 200 photos (out of the 7,800 actually taken!) and nearly 30,000 words of insight, right here on the Chile Underground. (I learned that it’s a good thing we don’t make several such trips each year; my keyboard could barely keep up, and we nearly wore out a pair of digital cameras.) We posted recipes and kept you smiling with Follies. We even broke new ground in Web blogalism (no, that’s not some dread disease with a twelve-step recovery program) with themed months that had never seen the light of day before, such as Asian Noodle Month and Spicy Italian Month. We zoomed past the 400 post mark, and then the 500 post mark, with nary a scratch on any fender. The 600 billboard looms, and will soon be in the rear-view mirror.

It was a good year, in many respects. So long, 2009.

The New Year dawns clear and bright here in central Texas, though, and like many others who have the ability to overcome experience and go on with life, we’re looking at some interesting opportunities. I’ll be teaching at the University more, enjoying the energy and vitality of youth. Yet Another Childhood! Good science, laughing and learning, and the promise and anticipation of the next generation. Grouch Marx once said, “You’re only as old as the woman you feel.” He was close; I find you’re really only as old as the fledglings you teach and mentor. (In that case, the world had better take shelter.) PJ will be looking for different employment, and has targeted a couple of options. My advice to them: Give In Early! It’s easier on everybody that way. Of course, the Chile Underground will thrive, with new recipes, novel insights and the occasional dose of unprincipled loopiness. All just as you’ve come to expect.

Whether you feel you had a good or a terrible 2009, I hope you see good and hopeful prospects in 2010. After all, it’s the reason we break up our time’s passage into years, so you can always have a new one coming to renew your spirits and ambitions. Whether you’ve resolved to lose weight (we have), spend more time with the kids, or eat more interesting meals, the Chile Underground is here to help. Here’s wishing you all the best…

Enjoy the (Hopeful New Beginnings) Heat!

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