Saturday, January 01, 2005

resolution root beer

we spent new years eve with several friends (including her and him).* at one point the subject of new year's resolutions came up. actually, i guess i brought it up.

i am fairly good at keeping new year's resolutions, if i do say so myself. back in 1992 i resolved to write back to anyone who sent me a letter (that is, a snail mail letter) within two days, and i managed to keep that one for more than half a decade. in 1989, i resolved to stop combing my hair and i still haven't broken that one as of today. in 1999 while visiting vietnam and standing on the shores of ton kin, i made a tonkin gulf resolution to try to get more exercise. though it's hard to measure, i still count it as a success--at the very least it's a whole lot better than the original tonkin gulf resolution. mrs. noz is also good at keeping her resolutions. last year she vowed not to get pissed off at other drivers. her resolve was put to the test when two days ago, just short of completing a full year, one of said other drivers backed drove right into the side of our car. at least according to the account she gave me several hours later, mrs. noz kept her cool and breezed through the one-year mark last night. now all we need to do is find a good body shop.***

anyway last night one of the people at dinner with us is an italian (sicilian actually). she and her american husband mentioned that they have never met a european who likes root beer. apparently after the sicilian decided she hated the stuff they surveyed about 20 people from a variety of european nations and found them to be completely unanimous in their anti-root beer sentiment.

i think they gave up too easily. i can find a european root beer lover. it is my new year's resolution to find one by year's end.

to be clear, we had to negotiate the definition of europe so we could decide who a european is.** for the purposes of this resolution, europe is not defined by membership in the european union or any other political entity. we define europe strictly by geography. europe is bound by the ural mountains in the east, the caucasus mountains and bosphorus in the south-east, and the mediterranean in the south. mediterranean islands are considered to be europe if the country that controls them is otherwise in europe (e.g. sicily, the greek isles, majorca). malta is part of europe. the british isles and iceland also count as europe. greenland is more ambiguous. eventually it was agreed to let greenland be part of europe (it is danish territory, after all) noting that if i can actually find a greenlander to feed a root beer i deserve to get credit for it.

under our definition turkey is partly in europe, but only the little bit of turkey that is northwest of the bosphorus (i.e. turkish thrace). russia is also partly in europe and partly not in europe. overseas territories of european powers are not europe. for example, french guyana may officially count as french soil, be the only place in south america where the euro is the official currency, and be home to the launching pad for the european space agency, but it's not europe. nor is hong kong prior to 1997 (or post-97 for that matter). nor are the canary islands.

a "european" for the purpose of the resolution is anyone who lived in europe (as defined above) until at least age 18. they can spend up to two years living outside of europe before they are 18 to still be counted as a european. in other words, 16 of their 18 years have to be spent in europe to be a european. but once they qualify as european at age 18, they remain a european for the rest of their life, even if they spend decades abroad or get some other citizenship.

and so, i now have 364 more days to find a european who likes root beer. if any of my readers happen to know any, please let me know right away. i will even spring for the root beer if necessary.

* happy now, sophia and joe?
** this is why you should never have an innocent discussion about new year's resolutions with a lawyer.
*** UPDATE (1/2/05). after reading the above post mrs. noz says i got the car-dent story wrong. the other driver drove straight into the side of our car. i knew he was coming out of a parking space and assumed he had hit our car while backing out. apparently, i gave him too much credit. and all the more kudos for mrs. noz for not blowing her top.