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Marking the passage of a new year - Billy Corriher

I'm sure that by now, even if you're still writing "03" when you date your checks and scratching it out, many of you have already hung your new calendars up on the wall or put a new one on your desk. Calendars for the new year are always popular gifts for the holidays.

This year, I received two calendars as Christmas presents. One was a wall calendar with inspirational Bible verses from my mother. Good old mom, making sure I don't lose track of what's important in 2004.

My old roommate always had a few of these inspirational calendars every year. His desk was covered with "small stuff" and "chicken soup" calendars, the kind that give you a little bit of advice or piece of wisdom to ponder every day of the year.

And for those of you who like religious calendars but already feel inspired enough, there was the "Nuns Having Fun" calendar this year.

I'm sure that many of us know people who dread going to work, and so, for them, we have those humorous box calendars with comic strips or something, just to give them a little laugh while they slave away at the office every day.

Then, for those friends with too much testosterone or machismo, there's always the classic swimsuit or Playboy calendar, which I never really understood. The picture might be interesting at first glance, but not for a whole month.

And when someone is considering what gift to get me, I hope they don't automatically think of me spending the next year staring at my wall calendar, gaping at some model on a beach very, very far away. I'd rather receive some interesting advice or get a little chuckle every time I turn the page.

I like the calendars that make us think about the important things – and also the ones that remind us not to take those things that seriously.

I have a notion that I'll be spending much of 2004 on the other timetable I got for Christmas, a Simpsons trivia calendar for my desk. So, the friend who gave it to me can rest assured that I'll spend at least a little bit of my time every day testing my knowledge of a cartoon.

Billy Corriher covers government and politics for the News Daily. He can be reached at bcorriher@news-daily.com or at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 281.