All I really need to know I learned on public radio. To be specific, National Public Radio is the best source of information, especially during the holiday season. More social interaction means you need to have fascinating facts, tantalizing trivia and a couple of jokes at the ready. I've saved you the trouble of spending hours listening to NPR and searching their Web site, and am providing you with a holiday party survival guide, courtesy of NPR.
Party Type: Any New Year's Eve Party
This question will work well at any New Year's Eve party. It won't offend anyone, and it will make you look well-read and smart. What was recently named as 2007's most memorable quote?
1. "Mistakes were made."
2. "Don't tase me, bro."
3. "I have a wide stance when I go to the bathroom."
4. "I don't recall."
According to the Yale Book of Quotations, the correct answer is No. 2, uttered by college student Andrew Meyer at a John Kerry speech in September.
Party Type: Geek-Ville
Imagine you're stuck at a party with people who quantify everything and think nothing on Earth is more exciting than a statistic. Here's one that should impress any number-cruncher: A survey by global anticorruption body, Transparency International, found that one in 10 people has paid a bribe in the past 12 months. The country that pays the most bribes? Cameroon. The country that pays the fewest? Austria.
Party Type: Just the Girls
Because women always get around to talking about their bodies, you may want to put a new spin on things and discuss what exactly is the global anticorruption body mentioned above?
Party Type: The In-Laws
You have to buy the bubbly, but your pocketbook is bare. What do you buy to celebrate New Year's Eve that is inexpensive but won't leave you with a pounding headache? Food and Wine editor Ray Elias recommends a Spanish sparkling wine, NV Segura Viudas Aria Brut, for $12.
Party Type: ChairLift
Sometimes chairlift rides can be downright entertaining. In case you need a quick joke, here's a short one that's easy to remember.
A cucumber walks into a bar. "Whaddaya have?" asks the bartender
"Two of everything," says the cuke. "I'm here to get pickled."
Party Type: Lexophiles (person that plays with words, or common phrases)
This would be one of those pseudo-intellectual parties more common in the East Village than in Steamboat Springs. But just in case you find yourself at one, here are four gems you can toss into the conversational waters:
I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
Police were called to a day care where a 3-year-old was resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
To write with a broken pencil is pointless.
Party Type: Midwestern
If you've ever spent a winter in the Midwest, you'll know why so many transplanted Midwesterners call Steamboat Springs home. Nevertheless, they continue to worship Garrison Keillor, and if you want to 'wow' them, quote this famous Keillor-ism from what he calls the Zen of the Midwest:
"Craving only causes frustration, intense desire makes the object recede. If the game is really important, you're going to lose. If you're wildly in love, you're going to lose, and you know it. The trick is to keep it from being that important. Be cool. Don't want it that much. Want it less. When you get to where you don't want it at all, then you're more likely to get it. And if you don't get it, you don't care so much."
Now go out and have some fun!