Well. Next time we talk, itíll be 2008.

I like the idea of 2008, though itís kinda weird to think about. I like it because when writing "2008" and you mess up and write "2007" itís easy to make a "7" into an "8" with just a single stroke. Itíll be plumb impossible to make a "9" out of an "8" a year from now.

This is the way my world works: Every change is judged by virtue of its difficulty adjusting. If itís too hard, I just ignore it and stick to the plan thatís been working well for me.

This New Yearís Eve, I plan to play "Same Auld Lang Syne" and raise a pint to Dan Fogelberg, who left us this month after a battle with cancer. One of my favorite artists.

We were taking about Dan, and much other classic music from my day, the other night when the lady and I had company. Such discussions always turn to music, in our group, and remarkably, we three had each different favorite Beatles: My girl is a John fan, our friend was a Paul groupie and I am a decided George Harrison aficionado. We all agreed that all of the band were awesome, and that Ringo did his bit with class and style, even if he wasnít quite the performer the other three was.

In the course of that conversation, it occurred to me that thereíll come a time in our lives when there will be no living Beatles. That was a very depressing thought. By all true rights, taking away illness and crazed Jody Foster-smitten loonies, John and George should still be with us. Ah, yes, George himself said it best right after Johnís murder:

Weíre living in a bad dream

Theyíve forgotten all about mankind

And you were the one they backed up to the wall

All those years ago

You were the one who imagined it all

All those years agoĖ

Sorry, my melancholy creeping through again, I guess. I did get one thing off my Christmas list from last week, by the way. A buddy of mine called Wednesday when I was at work.

"Hey, can you meet me outside the Banner?" he asked.

"Sure, I guess," I said, trying to remember if I had done anything to tick him off.

So I went outside and he was just pulling up in his truck and he rolled down the window and handed me a carton of dark chocolate Snickers!

"See?" he said. "I do read your column now and then!"

So that was really a nice surprise. The rest of you folks have been a great disappointment to me: Not a Fox Sterlingsworth in .16 gauge or a bamboo fly rod in five-weight to be found. Hrmph.

Just kidding.

I quit making news yearís resolutions years ago when I resolved to make no more new yearís resolutions, and this has worked out quite nicely for me, being the first Iíve ever kept.

Last Friday, after lunch, I went fishing at some private ponds with a buddy of mine. Now, Iíve been fishing with a lot of folks over the last year or two and I have garnered an undeserved reputation of being a jinx.

"Donít go fishing with Roger," they say. "Not only does he not catch fish, he shuts down the whole boat!"

Well, thatís absolutely not true, but how do you sway such suspicious, superstitious people? I havenít found out yet. So when my pal and I decided weíd go out Friday afternoon, I warned him about the jinx. Not being a superstitious sort at all, we loaded up our fly rods (yes, there are other fly fishermen around here!) and headed out.

After half an hour had passed without so much as a minnow glimpsed, I began to get that sinking feeling and started wondering if there was some voodoo at work here after all.

One of the guys who tends the place came by and said, "Well, Iíll get Ďem up for you," and went to the feeder. This is a device that distributes pellets of fish food into the water of stocked ponds.

"Theyíre like piranha when those pellets hit the water," he said.

So he sends a big load of pellets out into the pond andÖnothing. Not so much as a minnow nibbling on a pellet twice as big as itself.

"Dangdest thing I ever saw," the feeder said.

Sinking feeling. Yeah, thatís it.

My fishing partner tried to make me feel better Ė gentleman that he is Ė by talking about cold weather and rain that mucked up the water, and the barometer was dropping that day, a sure lock-jaw for fish, but I just couldnít help feeling like there was a voodoo queen somewhere who has it in for me. Sometimes I fear if I went to the supermarket to buy fish, they wouldnít sell it to me.

Well, no matter. Springís coming, and the fish will be biting, Iím sure of it.

Hope you pass a good New Yearís Eve and Day, folks. I hope 2008 is great for all of us, too.

See ya next year.