Tag Archives: New Years

Amateur Night

New Years Eve is referred by some as Amateur Night, the night when people who seldom drink, go out for a party and slide right past ‘good times’ directly to drunk-on-their-intoxicated-ass.  Unfortunately, some of these people will choose to drink and drive. Some of them will not survive the night. They might take a family of four with them or leave a child or two without one of their parents. Or maybe just end their celebration on the business end of handcuffs. Remember: Don’t drink and Drive!!

Let’s say you are invited out with friends to celebrate the New Year.  You might meet for a late dinner; have a couple of cocktails, maybe a hot toddy with dessert.  Then it’s off to a night spot for an evening of frivolity, and high times. You gather momentum in the spirit of the celebration and have a few too many.  So what is too many?

Since all 50 states recognize .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) as the legal limit, what does that relate to in quanity of drinks.  There are several calculators available which take into account your weight, gender, and consumption time to come up with a number.  A 200 pound man who drinks a six pack in two hours will have a BAC around .09%.  A women of 120 pounds would exceed the legal limit after only three beers in the same two hour span. You were well past that after the hot toddy and cheesecake.

The night wears on and at midnight you kiss the closest person and decide you should get going before you are too drunk to drive. Doing the math on your evening, a rough estimate of your BAC is .11%.  You think you can drive, yet legally you are intoxicated. You didn’t know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) everyday on America’s highways 40% of all fatalities are in alcohol related accidents.  On New Year’s Eve and  New Year’s Day that number jumps to 60%, a full third higher. The law knows that.  That’s why Enforcement teams are out in droves on New Years with DUI/Sobriety checkpoints.

If you are fortunate, you will only get stopped at a checkpoint, (it beats going through the windshield at 60mph.) You feel okay, but the officer asks, “Sir, have you been drinking?” He steps you through a field sobriety test and although you didn’t seem impaired, the officer is prudent and has you blow into a field breathalyzer.  You are surprised when the results come back at a .10%, just over the legal limit.  Your life just changed immensely.  Here’s what you have to look forward to.

  • You are taken to jail to be booked and charged with DUI.
  • National average:  $5000 – $15,000 in fees and costs associated with DUI.
  • A blemish on your criminal record that could impact future employment opportunity.
  • Suspended drivers license for a period of time, possibly impacting your employment.
  • High risk driver insurance rates for anywhere from three to seven years.
  • Loss of income from going to court, education classes, community service.

That’s an expensive lesson in the economics of a DUI conviction. Remember – it could have been so much worse. Enjoy the New Year’s celebration, but be smart.  Don’t drive and drive. Have a designated driver, call a taxi, or take advantage of ‘Sober Rides’ if your community has that program in place.  Don’t end the night a statistic. Arrive alive in 2011.

*** Warning *** The following video depicts the harsh reality of driving impaired.

Courtesy of the Transport Accident Commision (TAC), Victoria, Austrailia.  On December 10, 1989, the first TAC public service commercial was broadcast.  That year there were 776 deaths on Victorian highways. By 2008 that had fallen to 303. During the twenty year span TAC has broadcast  over 150 iconic commercials designed to create a culture of safety awareness on the Victorian highways.  This short video is a montage of some of those commercials set to Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.



New Year’s Day is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~Mark Twain

New Year’s Eve Traditions.

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).

The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance.

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison.

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun.

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. But tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. It again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days.

Although in the first centuries AD the Romans continued celebrating the new year, the early Catholic Church condemned the festivities as paganism. But as Christianity became more widespread, the early church began having its own religious observances concurrently with many of the pagan celebrations, and New Year’s Day was no different. New Years is still observed as the Feast of Christ’s Circumcision by some denominations.

During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years. January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.

Other traditions of the season include the making of New Year’s resolutions. That tradition also dates back to the early Babylonians. Popular modern resolutions might include the promise to lose weight or quit smoking. The early Babylonian’s most popular resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment.

The Tournament of Roses Parade dates back to 1886. In that year, members of the Valley Hunt Club decorated their carriages with flowers. It celebrated the ripening of the orange crop in California.

Although the Rose Bowl football game was first played as a part of the Tournament of Roses in 1902, it was replaced by Roman chariot races the following year. In 1916, the football game returned as the sports centerpiece of the festival.

The tradition of using a baby to signify the new year was begun in Greece around 600 BC. It was their tradition at that time to celebrate their god of wine, Dionysus, by parading a baby in a basket, representing the annual rebirth of that god as the spirit of fertility. Early Egyptians also used a baby as a symbol of rebirth.

Although the early Christians denounced the practice as pagan, the popularity of the baby as a symbol of rebirth forced the Church to reevaluate its position. The Church finally allowed its members to celebrate the new year with a baby, which was to symbolize the birth of the baby Jesus.

The use of an image of a baby with a New Years banner as a symbolic representation of the new year was brought to early America by the Germans. They have used the effigy since the fourteenth century.


People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. ~ Author Unknown

Auld Lang Syne Around the World

After yesterday’s post it was brought to my attention that ALS is not just big band like Guy Lombardo. Since the song is based on a Scottish poem, it makes sense that it would be done in a Scottish style. That got me to thinking… How many different styles could this song have? How diverse could musicians do this music? The answer was staggering. I offer for your listening pleasure, Auld Lang Syne from around the world.

The first version is from the Scottish Folk group, Cast. You will also find this version on the Sex in the City soundtrack.



Could it be a true Scottish song if you couldn’t find a version set to bagpipes and drums.  Here is the Caledonian Pipes and Drums doing Auld Lang Syne.



If you find yourself in Melbourne, Australia, drive 250 km, north by northwest, through the town of Bendigo. Take the Wimmera highway and you will at some point come to the little town of Emu Creek. Hang around a little while and you might get the pleasure of an impromtu concert by the Emu Creek Brush Band.



In Japan it is customary for stores to play Auld Lang Syne as their closing time music, ushering out customers with a fond farewell.



Turn the clock back 41 years. The date – December 31, 1969. The place – the Legendary Fillmore and the last New Years Eve celebration of the Sixties. In a year that brought us Woodstock and The Who’s rock opera ‘Tommy’. The Rolling Stones came face to face with the Hell’s Angels at the Altamont Speedway. And a young black man from Seattle wows fans around the world showing off his revolutionary skill with the electric guitar. Here’s Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies playing the New Years Eve show with legendary rock promoter Bill Graham introducing the new decade.


Jimi Hendrix would not see another New Years.


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Auld Lang Syne

I never went to a New Years bash that didn”t culminate with this once a year song. We have heard this little diddy since childhood, but probably know very little about it. The songs we know best are the ones that become the mileposts our lives – Ground control to Major Tom, Like a Candle in the Wind, or Michael Jackson’s Thriller. But I wonder if any of these will endure like Auld Lang Syne (ALS). No pun intended but only time will tell.

The song is actually a poem written by the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, in 1788, and set to the tune of an old traditional folk song. The literal translation of the Scot’s title is “old long since”. The first line reading, “For auld lang syne” loosely translates to “For (the sake of) old times.”

Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo is often identified as the musician who popularised the song at New Year’s celebrations in North America, by his broadcasts on radio and television, beginning in 1929. ALS became Lombardo’s trademark piece of music.

There are some earlier accounts that say ALS was a New Years staple at the Lenox in Boston as early as 1896.

If you want to really impress your midnight kiss, sing the original Scottish version, as follows:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

Be prepared to answer the question – What is a gude-willy waught?

Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to. ~Bill Vaughn