- NO THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: At the Deseret News we run a "Christmas I Remember Best" contest. But other holidays have their memories, too. And though some people would be hard pressed to remember anything from a New Year's Eve, former News staffer Jack Jarrard remembers. The problem is he'd just as soon forget New Year's Eve 1944. It was a night of horror to rival "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

"Years ago at the newspaper," Jack says, "the married men got Christmas off and the single guys got New Year's off. But being newlyweds, my wife and I had planned to celebrate both."Then, on New Year's Eve, Scoop Williams got a call about a train wreck out by Promontory Point. So Scoop picked me up and off we went. It turned out to be the most terrible train wreck in Utah history. Fifty people died. I have no idea how many people were injured.

"I can remember a pile of sheets stacked by one of the cars and if you picked up a sheet blood ran off it like you'd pulled it from a washing machine. I've thought of that night every New Year's Eve since. When I finally got home the next day I was so worn out I fell asleep while standing in the doorway. My new wife - who'd been waiting up - had to carry me to bed."

Take Jack's experience as a cautionary tale and be careful this year. As my father says, when the ambulance whistle blows on a holiday you know "somebody's celebration just got ruined."

- COME AS THOU ART: On a lighter note, Utah Valley State College had a celebration over the holidays, and those who attended the festival were asked to "dress biblically."

Needless to say, UVSC was thinking of the Christmas story, but the range of options is boggling. The Roman Centurion look would be a possibility, of course. And how about John the Baptist's skins and sandals? Joseph's coat of many colors and Salome's seven veils could be choices.

And then there's always the Adam and Eve look.

Remember Bob Newhart's routine where Adam gets a phone call from Eve?

"What's that Eve? You say you want another new fig leaf? Are you crazy? Do you think fig leaves grow on trees?"

- IT PAYS TO INCREASE YOUR WORD POWER: Douglas Adams is the British humorist who gave us the book "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Now he's given us "The Deeper Meaning of Liff," a dictionary of words he's coined that you won't find in the dictionary.

Being in the media, I memorized a few terms for my profession:

DALDERBY (noun): A letter to the editor made meaningless because it refers to a previous letter you didn't read.

FRITHAM (noun): A paragraph that you get stuck on. The more often you read it through the less it means to you.

HOSMER (verb) (Said of TV newsreaders): To continue to stare impassively into the camera when it should have already switched to the sports report.

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MACROY (noun): An authoritative, confident opinion which you based on one you read in the newspaper.

SNITTER (noun): One of the rather unfunny newspaper clippings pinned to an office wall, the humor of which is supposed to derive from the fact that the headline contains a name similar to that of one of the occupants of the office.

- QUOTE OF THE DAY: And, to get the new year off right, a spoonful of optimism. Not long before he died, novelist I.B. Singer spoke out about human potential:

Here in America they say if you grow up in a slum you are a candidate for crime. That means people like me and my brother should not be writers, but criminals. People have grown up in houses without bathrooms for thousands of years. I mean did Abraham have a bathroom?

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