Laugh Tracks: Eating well by eating more during holidays, new puppy proves to be a handful of a Christmas present |

Laugh Tracks: Eating well by eating more during holidays, new puppy proves to be a handful of a Christmas present

Where did 2015 go? Doesn’t seem like time to be writing the first column of 2016, but, in fact, it is! So, here goes …

Christmas came and went in the usual fashion of enjoying family and friends, exchanging gifts and eating way too much. Which brings to mind an email sent to me by my old friend Albie Kirky, who is wintering near Tucson, Ariz.

Albie sent me this list of holiday eating tips:

■ Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

“If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy.”

■ Drink as much eggnog as you can, and quickly. It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

■ If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

■ As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

■ Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

■ Under no circumstances should you exercise between Christmas and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

■ If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

■ The same goes for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Pecan, Mincemeat — have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin or any combination. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

■ Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

■ One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips. Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a glass of red wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, “Woo-hoo, what a ride!”


Well, folks, I did something for myself for Christmas that is definitely adding a “woo-hoo” element to my until now rather sedate life. I lost my mind temporarily and bought myself a four-month-old female Brittany puppy for my next bird dog. I rationalized that I had to do it because both of my old Brittanys — Annie and Liv — are circling the drain of life. They’ve both been dandies, but I know they won’t be here for the 2016 fall bird season.

So, Mandy entered my life full of vinegar and rambunctious to an extreme. She’s so lively it’s like I bought a capuchin monkey, not a bird dog. I’ve already found out that she’s a bird brain, or make that “bird on the brain.” A quail wing or a wild turkey feather attached by string to an old fly rod causes Mandy to have temporary amnesia about all else in her life.

One educational trip afield proved that Mandy will point to a bird and is not at all gun shy. So, I know I won’t have to teach her to hunt. What I most assuredly will have trouble teaching her is to mind me, come when called, fetch a dead bird and willingly go into her kennel or dog box. She’s already figgered out that those two things are much too confining for her headstrong way of puppy life.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mandy will be a handful to train, but, then again, when in my life have I ever had more time to train a bird dog pup? Only time will tell how she’ll turn out. Bird dog pups are just like kids in that respect. I just wish five percent of Mandy’s energy would rub off on me. I’m gonna need it.


After watching all the political debates for both parties, I’ve only got one thing to say about the political scene. I fear for my beloved country.


So, as 2016 rolls in, all we can do is live life to its fullest, hope for good health and prosperity, be kind to our neighbors, love our family members and try to leave a favorable mark in our life’s ledger. Here’s cheers to all and best wishes for the 2016 New Year! ❖

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