Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Resolutions You'll Be Able To Keep...and other stuff like fruitcake and hangovers

New Year's resolutions have basically become an annual joke. Every January 1 we make resolutions for the upcoming year and if we're lucky, they remain valid for the rest of the month.

So, this year how about making some resolutions you'll actually be able to keep during 2010? Here's a list of several such resolutions. I hope you accept these suggestions in the spirit of humor in which they are offered. If I've offended anyone, I apologize in advance. Following the resolutions, I've added some miscellaneous information relevant to the season.

1. Gain Weight. Let's face it, you already have a start on this one with all the holiday meals, candy, beverages, and snacks.

2. Go Deeper Into Debt. You probably have a head start on this one, too, from holiday gift shopping. After all, even buying new things for yourself…well, it was probably stuff you needed and with all the great sales this year who could resist?

3. Spend More Money. This goes hand-in-hand with the second item on the list. Spend it now while you're still physically able to get out to do it.

4. Don't Get A Better Job. Since having any job is better than not having one, be happy with status quo.

5. Whatever Shape You're In Is Fine. Seriously…round is a perfectly acceptable shape.

6. Don't Go Back To School. Look at your current life and time schedule. Now add a part time college schedule to that plus the cost of tuition (probably the same amount as that new 60-inch HDTV home theater with Dolby Surround Sound you bought in item two on the list) and the cost of expensive college textbooks. Hmmm…a fine bottle of rare vintage wine or a bottle of aged single malt scotch vs. Concepts of Economics Vol. 1.

7. Drink More Alcohol. Open that fine bottle of wine or scotch and watch your new HDTV.

8. Smoke Like A Chimney. When someone chastises you for putting smoke out there, ask them if they've traded in their gas-guzzling car for a bicycle.

9. Stay At Home. If, however, you prefer to find toilet paper that's hard enough to scrape paint, really weird television, and even weirder food…then travel out of the country.

And last but not least…

10. Don't Volunteer!

And now for something completely different (with apologies to Monty Python for stealing…uh, I mean borrowing…their catch phrase).

As a follow up to Christmas, a few words about that much maligned holiday treat, the butt of so many jokes, that humble yet seemingly inedible concoction—fruitcake.

Food historians theorize that fruitcake (any cake in which dried fruits and nuts try to coexist with cake batter) is older than Moses. Ancient Egyptians entombed fruitcake and Romans carried it into battle, probably for the same reason. Fruitcake was built to last and it did, well into medieval times.

It was in the 18th century that fruitcake achieved its current status. At that time nut-harvesting farmers encased fruits and nuts in a cakelike substance to save for the next harvest as a sort of good luck charm.

And thus the problem. Any cake that is not meant to be eaten doesn't deserve to be classified as food.

Our love/hate relationship with fruitcake began in the early 20th century when the first mail-order fruitcakes became fashionable gifts. It ended up as a mass-produced product using barely recognizable fruits and packed into cans as heavy as barbell weights.

And another something different…the dreaded hangover.

While celebrating the arrival of the New Year, there's one thing you should keep in mind—the darker the liquor, the bigger the hangover. According to a new study that compares the after effects of drinking bourbon vs. vodka, what sounds like an old wives' tale is true…to a point.

Brownish colored spirits such as whiskey and rum contain greater amounts of congeners than clear liquors such as vodka and gin. And what are congeners, you might ask? They are substances that occur naturally or are added to alcohol during the production and aging process, many of which are toxic. They contribute to the alcohol's color, odor, and taste. They also interfere with cell function, and I'm NOT talking about your mobile phone. :) And they viciously punish your head and tummy the next morning. According to the study, bourbon is aged in oak barrels and has thirty-seven times as many congeners as vodka, which is heavily filtered to remove impurities.

Drinking in the study was relatively moderate compared to some New Year's Eve binges. The average blood-alcohol content of the survey participants was 0.1 percent, somewhere between 0.09 ("mildly intoxicated" and considered legally over the limit in most states), and 0.15 ("visibly drunk" and definitely on your way to jail). The study's findings may not translate to your holiday party.

The bottom line, however, is that congeners are not the primary culprit in the dreaded hangover. The credit goes to the alcohol itself

Wishing everyone a happy AND SAFE New Year's Eve and a marvelous New Year. May 2010 bring you happiness and health.

And Peace On Earth for everyone.


Skhye said...

One of my history professors' dissertation dealt with Soviet fighter planes and feul consumption--the pilots drank it and forged air time on the schedules! LOL As for fruitcake with the ancients, sugar and salt are the two easiest ways to preserve food. Think shelf life. And since food probably was pretty bland, I'm certain they considered the sweet bread was a delicacy. We're beyond that with our easily imported chocolates! Personally, I like dried apricots, but they're better rehydrated in syrup and then dipped in dark chocolate. I believe the Aussies do this the best. And I'm not into dried or cooked fruit at all. But I've developed a thing for those candied cherries they load into fruitcake. I've been using them to decorate cookies and cakes this year... But don't make me eat fruitcake! :)

Great list. I've always been a firm believer of #10. Although, I do volunteer to run things. It's easier to run them than to be a tortured follower. ;) And last year's resolution panned out for me. I lost 17 pounds!!!

Best of luck to you with whatever you truly devote some effort toward. Resolutions are tough to bring to fruition. Think establishing a behavior. Experts say it takes 30 days for us to retrain ourselves to have a new behavior. I know this to be true. I've almost fallen off the planet when trying to recover from Lyme Disease this year. I essentially stopped doing anything online. I've spent this past month trying to just get back to blogging and visiting author friends at their blogs. Now, I'm back to being addicted to it. 30 days... ;)

Happy New Year! ~Skhye

HUGE PRIZE: a cache of Time-Guardian treasure. To enter, join me by midnight New Year's Eve at:

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Samantha,
For me #9 and #10 kind of go together. And I really need to adhere to those resolutions to get some writing done.
But it's true that most of them are all too easy to do. Thanks for the laugh.

Samantha Gentry said...

Skhye: I'm glad to see that you've re-learned your online participation skills. :)

I like the dried apricots, too, along with the dried apples. But fruitcake kind of eludes me.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Samantha Gentry said...

Julie: You're absolutely right about needing to adhere to the resolution to get more writing done. That's one I consider an automatic without trying to make a resolution for it. I find if I need to make a resolution to do something, it's most likely something that I'm not going to do with or without a resolution. :)

Mary Ricksen said...

Thank God I don't drink! I don't want any congugulars in my body!
Have a great one, enjoyed the post!

Samantha Gentry said...

Mary: Thanks for stopping by.

For years I've chosen to stay home on New Year's Eve. People who are sensible all year long seem to get crazy that one night.

Celia Yeary said...

Samantha--Very clever! A different slant on resolutions, for sure. I just don't make any--saves a lot of time. But now when you denigrate fruitcake, girl, I have a bone to pick with you. I LOVE FRUITCAKE. I even wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago titled FRUITCAKE GETS BUM RAP-it was humorous and the comments I got cracked me up. Some man made a comment and added a video titled: "Can a fruitcake stop a speeding bullet?" Four marksmen lined up and shot into a fruitcake--nary a one went through. Then I sent it to my local paper with a recipe for my favorite fruitcake--when it was printed, I got calls and e-mails--women who made the cake!! Yeah--some fellow FC lovers. Celia

Samantha Gentry said...

Celia: LOL on the fruitcake stopping bullets!

I don't make resolutions, either. If it's something I'm going to do, then I don't need a resolution in order to accomplish it.

susan said...

Well now these all sound fairly simple..why did I spend so much time trying to think of one. ha As for the fruitcake..I love it..yes I know I am strange but I usually get everyone's fruitcake if they got any for Christmas. I did not get any this year except one my sister made and hers is so good. The only rum I can have so maybe that is why I like it. ha ha I did make one resolution and that is to keep in touch more and not be so shy about ading my comments on the sites. susan L.

Samantha Gentry said...

Susan: Ah, yes...fruitcake is a way of enjoying a little rum. :) The homemade fruitcakes are so different from the commercial ones that are usually so heavy that they seem to be made of lead.

Your resolution sounds like a good one.

susan said...

If you get any store sold fruitcake..take it home and soak it in rum with the same method you would home made. The rum does soak in and it gives the cake moisture. susan L.

Samantha Gentry said...

Susan: That's a good suggestion. Practical and yummy.