They say (whoever “they” is) that the older one gets the faster the years fly by. I can attest to that because this one was a total blur. I only hope this doesn’t mean I’ll soon be going to “early bird” dinners.

There was some debate whether the first or the last day of 2010 marked the beginning of the decade. After doing exhaustive research (OK, Google) it’s universally accepted that tomorrow is the first day of the New Year and the first day of the new decade. I haven’t been terribly happy with either, although not that anybody has asked me.

Perhaps one reason for my attitude is that at the end of this past October I had a major heart attack. That can kind of put a damper on a year. On the other hand, I survived, feel fine and, with Dr. Greg Cohen’s permission (shameless plug because I was woefully late to my last appointment) I’m back to working out.

During the weeks when I didn’t work out, I had forgotten how boring it is. For me, working out is like writing. I feel great after I’m done.

So tonight is the big night to “ring out the old and ring in the new,” a phrase first uttered by Alfred Tennyson in 1850. Some of the more somber lyrics included, “Ring out the grief that saps the mind, for those that here we see no more.” Not surprisingly, it took 22 years (1872) before John B. Calkin put Tennyson’s words to music. This is a little known fact, and with good reason.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, it seems like there are two types of people. Those who, because of all the crowds, madness and drunk drivers, would rather die than go out partying. (OK maybe that’s a little strong.) And then there are those for whom New Year’s Eve is the one night of the year to really cut loose. From my slightly curmudgeon-like beginning so far, I bet you can guess which group I fall into.

There may be a third group. Those who celebrate by drinking and driving and wind up with the first group who’d rather die. In addition to restaurants, bars, dance clubs and movies, the police and Highway Patrol do a huge DUI business on New Year’s Eve. I bet it’s their busiest night of the year.

For those who don’t go out on New Year’s Eve, there’s always Dick Clark hosting the festivities from Times Square as the midnight hour gets close until the giant ball finally falls. Clark doesn’t quite go back to Tennyson’s days, but he hosted the show from 1972. (His string of being the permanent host of the New Year’s Eve show, 37 years, is the longest of any host of an American entertainment television program.)

Even more astounding than his longevity, was the fact that Clark never seemed to age. As the decades past, it was eerily Dorian Gray-ish. But in 2004 Clark had a severe stroke and his participation with the show was reduced to brief taped commentary. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I found it painful to watch him try to talk. On the other hand, God bless him for trying.

One of this year’s co-hosts is Ryan Seacrest, who, to my eye, looks like he too could have that Dorian Gray/never look older quality. His co-host this year is former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy. Jenny had a long-term relationship with comedian and actor Jim Carrey, which ended in April of this year.

As I write this, I’m realizing while it’s somewhat short on humor, it does seem to have a variety of trivia. Where else can you read about Alfred Tennyson and Jenny McCarthy in the same column? On the other hand, why would you want to.

I doubt that Jim Carrey will be on the New Year’s Eve telecast. And yet upon their breakup McCarthy said, she’ll, “always keep Jim as a leading man in my heart.” Very touching, though I notice she didn’t say “the” leading man in her heart, but rather “a” leading man. Oh well.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, which means the famed Rose Bowl parade and the “granddaddy” of all bowl games. Granddaddy or not, I’m the least bit excited about this year’s game. The Rose Bowl almost always featured USC or UCLA (OK, SC) but this year there’s not even a team from the Pac 10. Wisconsin versus TCU (Badgers and Horned Frogs) just doesn’t feel Rose Bowl-like.

There are 35 bowl games during the holiday season. (Why so few, you ask?) It appears that I will skip 34 of them and only watch the BCS Championship game between Auburn and Oregon. But enough of this hilarity, from me to you, happy New Year’s!

Jack can be reached at

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