Hang in there. The holidays are almost over. Your seemingly endless search for party chit-chat topics is fast approaching the finish line. Pretty soon you'll be able to sit in your chair, relax your smile muscles,  and just say nothing. 


To edge you toward this blissful state of nothingness, here are some New Year's Eve party favors, things you can just toss into the conversational mix. I've gleaned these from reliable sources – trust me on this. So, in no particular order...


*Are you tired of seeing the same old political faces? There's a reason for this. ”Today the average American is 20 years younger than their representative in Congress. This should come as no surprise, considering that over the past 30 years the average age of a Member of Congress has increased with almost every new Congress. In 1981, the average age of a Representative was 49 and the average of a Senator was 53. Today, the average age of a Representative is 57 and the average of a Senator is 61.”


*Who's calling? Forty-eight percent of cellphone users have reported scam calls from a familiar area code (a method know as neighbor spoofing). This is up 400 percent over last year. 


*Do you like discovering new words? “Sharent” is one of those. If you have both a child and a smartphone, it could be you. “Sharenting, a term to describe parents who actively share their kids’ digital identities online, is rampant in the United States, with 92 percent of toddlers under the age of 2 already having their own unique digital identity.”


*Did you buy a gift for your boss this year? Well, it pays to be the top dog. On average this Christmas, employees spent 52 percent more on gifts for their boss than other co-workers. 


*Most of us are interested in how our tax dollars are being spent. “American taxpayers spend millions of dollars a year on bus tickets out of town for homeless people. New York City alone budgets about $500,000 annually for its homeless relocation program. But despite the money being spent, there's never been a large-scale study on the effectiveness of such programs.”


*For the guys in the audience, do you want to talk some football? If you've watched an NFL game over the holidays, you may have noticed the games seem to be lasting longer. “The average NFL game lasts three hours and seven minutes. A Wall Street Journal analysis found, after accounting for huddles, stops, commercials, timeouts and dead balls, actual game play amounted to roughly 11 minutes.” 


There are a couple of interesting suggestions aimed at making the games more user friendly. “Change the rules so that pass incompletions no longer stop the clock. Commercials, which have increased to 70 per game, should be diminished.”


*Along these lines, I have to say that I do not know anyone who has stayed awake for an entire Monday Night Football game. They are just on too late for most people in the Eastern time zone. This is a head-scratcher. According to Nielsen, 54.3 million TV households in America are in the Eastern Zone. There are 31.9 million in the Central time zone, 6.7 million in the Mountain, and 16.7 million in the Pacific. So, with 49 percent of the TVs in the Eastern zone, you start the games so late they end after midnight? What sense does that make? 


*Speaking of football one last time, we're almost finished with the mind-numbingly boring parade of meaningless exhibition games otherwise known as football bowl games. Thirteen of these exist only because they are owned by ESPN and fill dead air on TV. This slate will culminate in the fake national championship being contested by four teams anointed by a committee. As Washington State coach Mike Leach said earlier this season: "If we were so smart, wouldn't all the other sports say 'let's have a committee, why not, we're America and we love committees.' ... There's people on the committee that don't even have remote associations with football ... other than being a fan.” (Party game? Name all 40 bowls. List sat:


Do yourself a favor and watch a real football championship that has been determined by a 24-team tournament during which they play actual games (what a concept). The FCS (Division 1) Championship will pair the 14-0 James Madison Dukes versus the 13-1 North Dakota State Bison at noon on January 6 on ESPN2. 


*Can you hear me now? Vinyl records are making a comeback and were a hot gift item this year. This undoubtedly led to shouts of “turn that music down” in many households across this great land. But do you know how loud is loud? According to the Book of Loud by Marshall Amplifiers, there have been some officially certified loudest concerts. 


By way of comparison, breathing is about 10 decibels (dB), a normal conversation is 50 dB, noise that can cause permanent hearing loss is 85 dB, and a jet take-off is 100 dB. 


Some rock bands have eclipsed those standards. In concerts, Deep Purple recorded a 117 dB meter reading, The Who had a 126 dB, AC/DC logged a 130 dB along with Led Zeppelin. Motorhead also reached 130 dB at the Cleveland Variety Theater which caused the plaster to fall from the ceiling. The all-time loudest, however, goes to none other than KISS. Their 2009 concert in Ottawa, Canada rattled  the town at 136 dB and they were eventually forced to turn it down after the police responded to neighbor's complaints. 


*Finally, do you like heartwarming stories about dogs? Try this one. Bobbie the Wonder Dog of Oregon became a national sensation in 1924. The two-year-old scotch-collie mix appeared on the doorstep of his owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Brazier, who had not seen their dog since he had disappeared six months earlier during a car trip in Indiana. Bobbie walked the entire distance to Oregon by himself. “Officials from the Oregon Humane Society launched an investigation into the Braziers' claims and were able to confirm that Bobbie had indeed traveled 2,800 miles in the dead of winter to return home.” (


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff Zone columns online at and