Gathering some tidbits

Christmas is just a little more than one week away, and that means residents around the Tri-State Area will start to get very busy, looking for that one last gift, putting up the last-minute decorations, getting all of the wrapping done, making sure all the items on the holiday menus are purchased and sending out those last few cards.

Since you’re taking a little break from all of that work, here are some holiday tidbits:

¯ Just how cold is it outside? In case you’ve missed it, a few radio stations around the country have said they would stop playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because the lyrics that were written by Frank Loesser in 1944 have been deemed inappropriate for today’s audiences by some people.

Steubenville has ties to the tune that has become a staple of the Christmas season through Dean Martin, whose rendition, originally recorded in 1959, remains among the most popular versions. And, according to his daughter, Deana, there should be no controversy at all as far as the song goes.

“I was absolutely flabbergasted,” Deana said while appearing on Monday’s edition of “Fox and Friends.” “It’s just insane. When I heard it, I said, ‘This can’t possibly be.’ You know, it’s a sweet, flirty, holiday song. But when I saw it, I tweeted ‘I think this is crazy. What do you think?’ And then all of a sudden it went viral.”

Deana is no stranger to her father’s hometown of Steubenville and has appeared at the Spot Bar and other locations around town several times as part of June’s annual Dean Martin Festival.

Some listeners around the country have questioned the meaning behind some of the lyrics in the song. And, while there are radio stations that have said they won’t play it, those stations found that their listeners overwhelmingly have asked for the song to be returned to the rotation.

“I don’t want to change the lyrics,” Deana Martin said. “When she says, ‘Hey, what’s in this drink?’ I don’t think she’s talking about some pill being put in the drink. It’s like, “Is this punch?’ You know, what’s in this drink? Is it vodka? It was nice. It’s just breaking my heart that people would turn that around.”

Deana said she plans to continue singing the song, but added there’s room for discussion.

“I think it’s a moment for us to maybe change what’s going on. I don’t know how to do it yet, but I’m out there trying to talk to people. It could be a learning moment for all of us.”

Granted, Dean and his fellow Rat Packers are entertainers from a different time, and some of their routines could probably be looked at in a different way in today’s #MeToo era. But that wouldn’t change the way he approached the song, Deana said.

“I know my dad would be going insane now. He would say, ‘What’s the matter with you? Get over it. It’s just a fun song.’ ‘Cause he was so sweet, anyway. He was a great guy. A fun guy. Nice. And he wouldn’t do anything offensive. That wasn’t Dean Martin. So this has just been outrageous.”

¯ Christmas Eve is a little more than a week away, which means New Year’s Eve is a little more than two weeks away, and if you’re looking for the best place to celebrate, New York is the place you will want to be. That’s according to WalletHub, the Washington, D.C.-based personal finance Website, which came up with its listing by using a formula that includes 28 indicators, including the legality of fireworks, the price of a ticket to a New Year’s Eve party and the weather forecast for Dec. 31.

Garland, Texas, ranks at the bottom of the 100-city list, with the major cities in our region doing OK. Pittsburgh is 25th, Cincinnati 28th, Columbus 53rd and Cleveland 68th.

While New Year’s Eve has a big reputation, Wallet Hub says that only 41 percent of Americans plan to celebrate, which puts it far behind Christmas (78 percent), Thanksgiving (74 percent) and Independence Day (47 percent.)

The numbers show that 24 percent of Americans plan to celebrate at home, and 45 percent plan to celebrate with their families. And, if you are planning to go out and you have children, you’ll want to keep in mind that the average hourly rate for a babysitter on New Year’s Eve is $17.88 an hour, 20 percent more than at any other time of the year.

The totals include projections by WalletHub as well as information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Safety Council, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, AAA and news reports, among other sources.

They also show that 360 million glasses of sparkling wine will be consumed on New Year’s Eve. Which can create other problems — the average blood-alcohol content for drivers stopped by authorities on New Year’s Eve is 0.094, making it the most drunken night of the year. And if you are charged with DUI, you can expect to pay an average cost of $20,000 by the time you are done in court. What’s even more sobering is that one in 10 11th- and 12th-graders admit to driving drunk to ring in the new year.

Resolutions are big as the new year begins, with 65 percent of Americans planning to make one — but only 9.2 percent of Americans will keep them.

It’s interesting to note that 61 percent of Americans say they say a prayer on New Year’s Eve. After looking at all of the headlines from the past year, the thought here is that number will be higher three Mondays from now.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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