Here we are. The year is quickly winding down and I still haven‘t done 90%* of my holiday shopping. I should hop on that soon, don’t you think? But there’s more to consider other than enforced spending. Britney Spears turning 30. Herman Cain bowing out of the presidential race. My cold hands. I’m telling you, it’s difficult to focus on one thing. When you add that 2012 is less than a month away…well, systems start shutting down. But life doesn’t work with the power off so I must forge ahead and tackle the shopping beast. That is once I figure out my New Year’s Eve (NYE) plans.

I believe the last time I actually went somewhere other than a friend’s house on NYE was in the mid-90’s which, as scary as it sounds to anyone over 30 (Are you listening, Britney?), is a long time ago. On that particular night we ventured into New York to a They Might Be Giants concert. TMBG is an acquired taste, but their shows were always (and probably still are) entertaining. Today I look at NYE as Amateur Night, especially on the roads. I love statistics, but becoming an NYE accident statistic is not on my agenda. These days I relax, drink a little wine, maybe hang with a few friends, and try to stay awake until midnight. This is fine, but the need for change is gnawing in my tummy. Or I have a tapeworm. For the sake of not grossing me out, let’s assume it’s change. So for this NYE I’m thinking (drum roll): Dinner Party!

Realistically, the chance of the lovely Ms. Trask and me throwing a Dinner Party is about as likely as striking oil in the yard. In every possible scenario, it ain’t happening. This is actually liberating since it allows plenty of latitude in planning this non-event. I’m sure there are lots of minor details to consider, but the two main ones are Food and Guests. Let’s stick with those.

First, the menu. Happily, this is easy. Put free food in front of most people and they’ll gladly gobble it. I suppose I should make allowances for dietary habits and the like, but that requires effort. Plus, how can I be expected to know who is a vegan and who is lactose intolerant and who will only eat organic food products? Simple answer: I can’t. If they don’t like the food they can stay quiet about it and be freakin’ gracious.

Cheez Doodles (crunchy)
Pistachios (Since it is a festive time of year, red only)
Green olives stuffed with red pimento (Again, festive colors)

First Course – Salad
Green salad with tomatoes (Green and red. Festive. See above). Choice of Ken’s Thousand Island or Italian dressing.

Second Course – Soup
Progresso’s Minestrone soup, heated. Served in a bowl.

Third Course – Light hors d’oeurve
Large white mushroom caps, unstuffed

Fourth Course – Entrée
KFC fried chicken
KFC mashed potatoes
KFC coleslaw
KFC green beans
KFC biscuits

Fifth Course – Cheese Plate
Cracker Barrel pepper jack (sliced) and Kraft’s American (individually wrapped, white)

Sixth Course – Dessert
Sara Lee Banana Cake

Available all night
Chardonnay (Charles Shaw from Trader Joe’s)
Cabernet Sauvignon (Charles Shaw)
Snow Creek Berry (Boone’s Farm)
Tap Water

Available at midnight
Asti Spumante, served in champagne flutes

As you can see, the menu is a breeze. The guest list is trickier. Since this party isn’t happening potential guests can include people not likely to venture to the great Garden State for any reason, much less to attend a Dinner Party thrown on NYE by people they don’t know and seem unlikely to meet in the next four weeks. Please take no offense brothers and sisters actually populating the Trask Universe, but I can see you whenever. It’s time for this pioneer to strike out into new party guest territory.

These people must be interesting, amusing, chatty and English speaking. Nothing against those folks who can’t speak the language, but since I’m fluent (barely) in just English I’d like to follow the conversation. I thought about expanding the potential guest list to include dead people. Imagine inviting Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and Marc Antony! Boy howdy, that could lead to some fun times! However, I decided against it. Too many complications. Could da Vinci really contribute much when talk turns towards Zooey Deschanel, as it surely will? I don’t think so.

I also believe it’s important to ensure a variety of opinions and viewpoints in the room to keep things spicy. I don’t necessarily have to like a person to invite them, but be forewarned all you invitees: If you don’t contribute in a meaningful way to the repartee good luck getting invited to my next imaginary Dinner Party! It’s also best to keep everything gender balanced – seven men, seven women. (No spouses) Why only 14 guests? Have you seen the size of my place? Finally, it becomes too confusing to invite transsexuals. Sorry, Chaz. Maybe next time.

With all that in mind here’s the list.

Jon Stewart – Quick wit and intelligence are always welcome at my table. Or at my TV tray.
Quentin Tarantino – Ever heard this guy babble? He’s like an Uzi of words. He talks fast and furious, although he had nothing to do with those movies.
Bob Costas – Seems like a nice enough guy and I know he’ll ask a lot of questions to keep the conversation flowing.
Shaquille O’Neal – I’ve never had someone over 7’ tall in my house. I think that would be pretty cool.
Garrison Keillor – The man with the honey-dipped voice is a natural born storyteller. If I had a fireplace I’d sit him next to it and demand he spin yarns all night long.
Louis C.K. – The lovely Ms. Trask would be shocked if I didn’t invite my new bromance.
Charlie Sheen – Do I really need to explain?

Ellen Degeneres – Like Jon Stewart, funny, smart and so damn likable. Also, I don’t want the LGBT folks bitching I was being exclusionary.
Björk – After a few glasses of wine any conversation can be tough to follow. The nice thing about this pixie is those who don’t drink can also experience the thrill of trying to follow suddenly nonsensical conversations.
Isabella Rossellini – Some folks might prefer following the difficult ramblings of an Italian instead of an Icelander.
Pippa Middleton – Connection to royalty is always fascinating. (Note to Pippa: It is perfectly okay to wear a dress you’ve worn before, say to a certain wedding this past April 29.)
Linda Ellerbee – Nothing stimulates a party like someone who has their act together and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Sarah Palin – Comic relief.
Loretta Lynn – Well, she’s seems like just about the sweetest woman in the world. Sincere, genuine and mannerly is far too underrated.

I’ll refrain from including a seating chart mainly because the most people I can fit around a table is six. Now that I think about it, I’m going to have secure extra chairs for the big event. Great, another thing to crowd my brain.

* It’s probably more like 95%, but I don’t want to admit that because then I’d be considered a slacker. 90% left to buy on December 3 is understandable; 95% is just damn lazy.

  1. That’s one interesting (and a little scary) list of invitees. You certainly wouldn’t be faulted for a lack of stimulating conversation, unless your guests over imbibed and then I’ll bet they’d start sounding like your everyday friends.

    Very imaginative.


  2. sparklebumps says:

    If you invite me and let me sit next to Quentin, I’ll bring Pizza and then you won’t need any other food…


  3. This is a party that I would love to attend – not for the food (sorry) – but the guest list is priceless. By the way – do you suppose you could stuff the mushrooms with the olives? Just an idea.


    • John says:

      You don’t have to eat the food. Or…you can set aside some olives from the appetizer and stuff the mushrooms yourself! And don’t forget, there will be plenty of wine and tap water if you just want to drink.


  4. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Oh you, should definitely play a round of dirty santa! (too funny) and I think you should stuff the mushrooms with cream cheese, bacon and crabmeat..


  5. You had me at Jon Stewart.


  6. I’ll take Pippa and Bjork and two bottles of champagne into your music room, shut the door and lock it.


  7. A lovely Southern-like menu. I’m there. I’ll bring a few dead people who won’t complicate things too much. How ’bout a round of Dirty Santa while we’re at it?


  8. kayjai says:

    I love the inclusion of Isabella meets the beast ( O’Neil).


  9. Can I sit between Quentin and Charlie but opp Pippa please?


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