January 1

Look for the * for my daily advice. Everything else is background information. There will be a review for each day at the bottom.



JD Salinger 1919

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*Today I start reading The Catcher in the Rye. I probably should have read this book by now, but now I will make it the first of what will be 12 books that I read this year.


You’d think that the Facebook / Twitter / reality TV generation would be more receptive to the ramblings of a confused 17-year-old, but many of today’s readers seem less impressed with The Catcher in the Rye than ever. Is Holden getting harder to relate to? Have our attention spans been ruined by incessant texting and? Are we so caught up in telling our own stories nowadays that we’ve forgotten how to listen to anyone else’s?


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*Find a copy or download The Catcher in the Rye.  If you’ve already read it (probably as a teenager), read it again and see if your perspective has changed. This is the first suggested book, with lots more to go.


Paul Revere 1735

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Paul Revere’s ride took him from Boston to Lexington. He first crossed the Charles River, and then passed through the cities of Somerville, Medford and Arlington. If his ride started at the Old North Church in Boston (where the famous lanterns were hung), then the approximate distance from Boston to Lexington by this route is 10.9 miles.

However, once Revere arrived in Lexington, he met up with the other midnight rider, William Dawes, and they headed toward Concord, where the Sons of the Liberty had a large cache of weapons. They only made it to Lincoln (about 5.4 miles from Lexington) before being surprised by a British patrol. Dawes escaped, but Revere was escorted at gunpoint back to Lexington. When they arrived back (a round trip of 10.8 miles), Revere’s horse was confiscated. So, assuming the end of this particular trip was Lexington, Revere road approximately 21.7 miles that night.


*Depending on your fitness level (and your condition on New Year’s Day), chose any means to complete one leg of Paul Revere’s famous ride. I am going to take a stationary bike ride of 5.4 miles to start the New Year? And yes, I will be yelling, “The British are coming!”


John Smith 1580 and Pocahontas 1595

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In Disney’s version of the Pocahontas story, as in countless other iterations, John Smith appears as a dashing romantic hero, smitten by an Indian “princess.” Their relationship symbolizes the bridging of two cultures and, more particularly, shows how Indians could enlighten Europeans to the wisdom of the natural world. It’s a fantasy that obscures an ugly truth: The relationship between Smith and Pocahontas, and more broadly between the Jamestown colonists and Pocahontas’s people, was one of betrayal and dashed hopes.


*Yes they share a birthday, but their people could not overcome their differences.  Use this year to recognize the differences in the people around you and embrace what makes them different from you.


Betsy Ross 1752

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Being a widowed upholsterer wasn’t easy. She was struggling to make ends meet as the war continued on, so she looked to make money in any way possible. Ross contracted with the Continental Army eventually to repair uniforms and tents. When she needed some extra spare cash, it is said that she even stuffed musket balls. It was enough to help her business survive throughout her professional life.


*HER BUSINESS are the key words. Yes she worked hard for others, but it was to keep her upholstery business alive.  By the end of this year, hopefully you will realize how important it is to strive for your own business – not to make someone else rich.


Verne Troyer 1969 – watch Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

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There is an ongoing debate about the whole idea of “mini-me”: the idea that performers with dwarfism are just being demeaningly represented as comic or horrific miniatures. But Troyer at any rate tackled and subverted that idea — with confidence, with comic gusto and with charm.



*The last and best of the Austin Powers trilogy.  Maybe start a New Year’s Day tradition of watching all three.  Use Verne Troyer’s character “Mini Me” as inspiration to start the New Year.


Morris Chestnut 1969 – wine-braised pork and chestnuts with sauerkraut

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Morris Chestnut, who plays the smoldering, crime-solving pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, puts his washboard abs on full display in the promo, dripping sweat as he takes a shirtless jog in the Miami heat. And the Internet responded with gratitude.

If Chestnut had it his way, scenes like that wouldn’t happen all the time. “I actually had to talk to the writers because it was like every episode I was taking my shirt off,” says the actor, 46, with a laugh. “I was like, ‘If you do it every episode, it doesn’t have the impact.’ And I want to eat some doughnuts every now and again!”

“When I do get time, I’m either with family or devoted to watching my sports teams,” he says. “I used to wake up Sunday morning, go to the gym and then from 10 a.m. to 9 at night, I’d sit in front of the TV watching football.”



*January 1, 2019 is a Tuesday, but wake up and go to the gym for the Paul Revere workout. Then from 10am to 9 at night, watch college football bowl games. Take a break at some point to make this wine-braised pork and chestnuts recipe (add sauerkraut). Eat some doughnuts for dessert.

It has always been a tradition in my family to eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day – for good luck all year. You’ll need to add your own sauerkraut.

SIDE NOTE – I too am 46 and do NOT have washboard abs… hopefully by 1/1/2020, I will.

WHO GOT SNUBBED? J. Edgar Hoover 1895

To review –

  • Start reading The Catcher in the Rye. There will be several suggestions for books to read, try to read 1 a month equaling 12 total books read this year.
  • Do a Paul Revere’s Ride workout
  • Embrace the differences in people
  • Your current job is a way to make money for your future business
  • Watch Goldmember
  • Make pork and chestnuts with sauerkraut for a lucky new year.