BendigoArt.com/CullmanTribune.com (Photo: marthastewart.com/Credit: Bryan Gardner)

To increase your likelihood of a HAPPY NEW YEAR, here are 365 S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring, Spellbinding) ideas from the past 52 weeks: 


  1. Choose joy and optimism 
  1. Listen to “Roger Miller’s Greatest Hits”  
  1. YouTube Victor Borge on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 
  1. Take a hike with your best friend  
  1. Binge on Diane Keaton comedy  
  1. Eat and drink some sunshine citrus  
  1. Read Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God”  
  1. “Do the Clam” with Elvis  
  1. Get mysterious with Edgar Allan Poe  
  1. Give “hygge” a chance  
  1. Give a $10 Hamilton to some American cause  
  1. Soak up the splendor of John Singer Sargent art  
  1. Shell and eat parched peanuts  
  1. Sing “All My Exes Live in Texas”  
  1. Have a dream like MLK, Jr.  
  1. Watch “In the Heights”  
  1. Read “Poor Richard’s Almanac”  
  1. Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.  
  1. Listen to Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”  
  1. Jan. 20 is National Cheese Lovers Day  
  1. Read any witty novel by Daniel Wallace  
  1. Re-watch the news coverage of Sullenberger landing on the Hudson River  
  1. YouTube Maria Tallchief dancing  
  1. Turn your pantry into a plant-centric “plantry”  
  1. Play Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”  
  1. YouTube Mikail Baryshnikov dancing  
  1. YouTube Jackson Pollack “automatic painting”  
  1. Connect deeper with someone  
  1. Get lost in something other than yourself  
  1. YouTube “Don’t Rain on My Parade”  
  1. Stretch a smile across your face first thing each day 


  1. Eat more popcorn  
  1. Cook Ina Garten’s mac-and-cheese  
  1. Take a real or virtual tour of the Norman Rockwell Museum  
  1. Read about Lindbergh and Earhart  
  1. Lighten up  
  1. Knock it out of the park with Babe Ruth  
  1. Add dimmers to every light switch and use daily  
  1. Read John Grisham’s “A Painted House”  
  1. Play Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend”  
  1. “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are”  
  1. Be proud of American ingenuity  
  1. Salute comic duos like Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca  
  1. Create a “friends and family” gallery wall  
  1. Have the class to let others have the best laff or best story  
  1. Thank heavens for little girls…and boys  
  1. Revisit “The Reading Rainbow”  
  1. Debate who’s greater: Lebron or Michael Jordan  
  1. Enjoy sunlight through Tiffany glass and no glass  
  1. Buy a cherry red blender and use it  
  1. See America anew with Ansel Adams  
  1. Read Erma Bombeck’s “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank”  
  1. Eat cherry pie and never tell a lie  
  1. Watch Aziz Ansari and eat curry  
  1. “Think Different” with Steve Jobs  
  1. Do some sillyass fitness with “Go You Chicken Fat Go”  
  1. Own some American denim 
  1. Soar across America with Marion Anderson  
  1. Appreciate things unfolding: origami, Frank Gehry architecture, life 


  1. Who are your tribe?  
  1. Read “Cat in the Hat”  
  1. Telephone call someone  
  1. Start/keep a gratitude journal  
  1. Buy this book: “Better with Age” by Dr. Alan D. Castel 
  1. Learn to yodel. 66) Plant a seed and nurture it  
  1. Obsess more on your “particular passion” 
  1. Say more “F-words” like fabulosity and fantabulous 
  1. Change Chuck Norris jokes to Elon Musk jokes 
  1. Dance a Polish American “polka” 
  1. Get your tricks on Route 66 
  1. Intentionally look at “street fashion” today 
  1. Play “Everyday People”  
  1. Watch “The Nutty Professor” 
  1. Go fly a kite 
  1. Try “participatory journalism” 
  1. YouTube a Moms Mabley comedy act 
  1. Wear a cardigan and watch “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” 
  1. Play some soulful Solomon Burke 
  1. Sing along with “Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses” 
  1. Get a cuckoo clock, a whistling tea kettle or a parrot 
  1. Learn one Harry Houdini magic trick 
  1. Play some Aretha 
  1. Bake an easy cake or a hard one 
  1. Watch a Quentin Tarantino movie with a rebel 
  1. Pull a chair up to a window for a new perspective 
  1. Thank a philanthropist 
  1. Buy some Laughing Cow cheese 
  1. Thank a picketing demonstrator 


  1. Watch “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” 
  1. Purge everything that doesn’t “spark joy” 
  1. The secret to youthfulness is curiosity and lifelong learning 
  1. Connect with “Qi” (Chinese “chee”) the spirit that unites us all 
  1. Watch “Now Voyager” 
  1. Sing “Okie from Muskogee” 
  1. Adopt “joie de jour”—joy of the day 
  1. Help someone address addiction 
  1. Love more—“Where there is love, there is joy.”—Mother Teresa 
  1. YouTube Lucy and Ethel singing Cole Porter’s “Friendship” 
  1. Consider “clown college” 
  1. YouTube “Stupid Pet Tricks” 
  1. Get spiritual with Reverend Al Green 
  1. Watch “Coalminer’s Daughter” 
  1. Make contentment a “joy goal” 
  1. Add teatime to your day, with caffeine or not 
  1. YouTube “Soul Train” 
  1. Watch or read “Superman” 
  1. YouTube comedienne Ali Wong 
  1. Watch “Star Trek” 
  1. Plan a national park trip 
  1. Play “Try a Little Kindness”—Glen Campbell 
  1. Watch and drink a “Shirley Temple” 
  1. Read and quote Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” 
  1. Feel “People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world” 
  1. Watch the Carol Burnett “Gone with the Wind” skit 
  1. YouTube Lizzo 
  1. Take a “joy jaunt” to some S.U.N.S. place 
  1. Write a “Thank You” note to a favorite teacher of life lessons 
  1. “I Hope You Dance” 


  1. YouTube Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” 
  1. Support Hilarity for Charity, the Alzheimer research and care non-profit, hfc.org 
  1. Mentor someone 
  1. Bet on a Kentucky Derby horse. Not too much. Study the horses first. 
  1. Explore the latest James Beard culinary award winners 
  1. Discover great, FREE classical music at YourClassical.org 
  1. Go to “Margaritaville” 
  1. “Jump” with The Pointer Sisters 
  1. Plant something native to your state and zone 
  1. Shall we slow dance? 
  1. Say, “Thanks, Gimme, Oops and Wow,” the four prayers of all the old religions 
  1. What are “The Seven Things You Can’t Say on Television?” 
  1. “That’s What Friends Are For” 
  1. Google search great, non-profit causes and get involved 
  1. Google Images of Jasper Johns “American flags” 
  1. YouTube “Liberace with Minnie Pearl” 
  1. “Soak Up the Sun” with Sheryl Crow 
  1. Binge on Tina Fey 
  1. Read Nora Ephron everything 
  1. Sing “I Got You Babe” to someone 
  1. Listen to the Broadway show album of “Ain’t Misbehavin’” 
  1. Try green tea 
  1. YouTube famous “fandangos” 
  1. Early to bed and early to rise statistically brings more joy 
  1. Listen to “Tap Your Troubles Away” from “Mack and Mabel” 
  1. Invent yourself like Marion Morrison 
  1. Give someone a hand not just a hand-out 
  1. Watch “Patch Adams” and be grateful for the work of Robin Williams 
  1. Choose friends who help you live healthy 
  1. Ask yourself: What makes me get out of bed each day? Then, do that. 
  1. Who is your favorite American hero/heroine and why? How could you be more like them? 


  1. Watch American comedienne, Marilyn Monroe, in “Some Like It Hot” 
  1. Study “The Telomere Effect” 
  1. Read “How to Live Forever” by Marc Freedman 
  1. Wink at sex with Dr. Ruth 
  1. Support good law enforcement 
  1. Watch “Hairspray” 
  1. Croon “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime” 
  1. Avoid taking too many antibiotics 
  1. Cultivate meaningful, positive, growing relationships 
  1. Play Pharrell’s “Happy” 
  1. Play “Don’t Worry Be Happy” 
  1. Hulu “Gomer Pyle, USMC” 
  1. Admire American fashion designers 
  1. Do 20 minutes of heart-upping movement at least 4 times each week 
  1. Google Images for Saul Steinberg cartoons 
  1. Choose smaller dinner plates 
  1. Don’t retire to an easy chair. Do something. 
  1. Drink a glass of water before every meal, including breakfast 
  1. Knucklehead, watch “The Three Stooges” 
  1. Play “Surfin’ USA” 
  1. Watch “The Solid Gold Cadillac” 
  1. Dance with “jazz hands” 
  1. Reflect on compliments and congratulations that made you smile 
  1. Read “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Ambrose Bierce 
  1. Get a candle with uplifting fragrance—citrus, evergreen, mint… 
  1. Spend time with people younger than you are 
  1. Google Images for Bob Mackie creations 
  1. Binge on Mel Brooks 
  1. Read “Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over” by Nell Painter 
  1. Learn something new. Do something new. 


  1. What fragrance transports you to a happy time in childhood? 
  1. Don’t think of yourself as old but do be prudent 
  1. YouTube “Yankee Doodle Dandy” starring James Cagney 
  1. Binge on Neil Simon comedies 
  1. Watch “The Greatest Showman” and be grateful for P.T. Barnum 
  1. Read “The Five Stages of the Soul” by Dr. Harry Moody with David Carroll 
  1. Purge. Enjoy caring for less. Purge again. 
  1. Explore Philip Johnson’s “Glass House” 
  1. See “Forrest Gump” again 
  1. Nurture a friendship like Charlotte and Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web” 
  1. Give an aspiring writer “The Elements of Style” 
  1. Go somewhere deliberately to be alone and think positively 
  1. Watch “Loony Tunes” cartoons 
  1. Play “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars 
  1. Read “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age” by Sanjay Gupta 
  1. Binge on Will Ferrell comedies and “SNL” skits 
  1. YouTube Phyllis Diller 
  1. YouTube Red Skelton 
  1. Try a new coffee, tea, some beverage 
  1. Play “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” for UNITING with your dear departed 
  1. Play “Fix You” by Coldplay 
  1. Listen to Alison Kraus and Robert Plant duets 
  1. Read “Aging Thoughtfully” by Martha C. Nussbaum and Saul Levmore 
  1. Don’t deny yourself any real joy 
  1. Binge on “The Andy Griffith Show” 
  1. Google Images of “Garfield” cartoons 
  1. Inventory everything you own and consider not owning some of it 
  1. Dig into Americana with Ken Burns docs 
  1. Borrow some binoculars and try birding 
  1. Go to a skate park and skate or watch 


  1. Eat Cherry Garcia ice cream 
  1. Craft something. Consider “crafternoons.” 
  1. Play Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga duets 
  1. Read “Smile Anyway” by Richelle Goodrich 
  1. Re-watch Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk 
  1. Binge-watch “I Love Lucy” 
  1. Listen to “The News from Lake Woebegon” 
  1. Synchronize swim with someone 
  1. Discover “laddie novelist” Nick Hornby 
  1. Read all by Nick Hornby’s favorite contemporary novelist, the prolific Anne Tyler 
  1. Occasionally indulge, start with dessert 
  1. Get some positive discipline from Admiral William H. McRaven’s “Make Your Bed” 
  1. YouTube “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” 
  1. Binge on Steve Martin 
  1. Cook with Julia Child 
  1. Get “100% Happier” by Dan Harris 
  1. Teach children a “can-do” spirit with Babar stories 
  1. Add the charming, quick-read novella “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett to your New Year resolutions 
  1. Read Ogden Nash giggle-inducing poetry aloud with someone 
  1. Understand others better with Enneagrams 
  1. YouTube The Harlem Globetrotters 
  1. Read “The Best Things Ever Said” aphorisms 
  1. Splash in puddles like “Singin’ in the Rain” 
  1. Laugh and think with Dave Chapelle 
  1. YouTube a “Young Person’s Concert” with Leonard Bernstein 
  1. Work some crossword puzzles 
  1. Binge on “PeeWee’s Playhouse” 
  1. Get lots and lots of SMILE-MAKING ideas from “Little Pieces of Hope” by Todd Doughty 
  1. Bliss-out with the Dalai Lama’s “The Art of Happiness” 
  1. Be authentic and kind 


  1. YouTube Lily Tomlin “The Search for Intelligent Life” 
  1. Make a Romare Bearden-inspired collage 
  1. Insist on some solitude each week 
  1. Sing “All the Single Ladies” and “Put a Ring on It” 
  1. YouTube “The Bob Newhart Show” 
  1. “You Might Be a Redneck If” 
  1. Delight in the charm-a-thon of Grandma Moses paintings 
  1. Go a-walkin’ with Patsy Cline 
  1. Try Adam Sandler humor, again 
  1. Fight for your right to daydream 
  1. Read “Queen of the Turtle Derby” by Julia Reed 
  1. Watch Jesse Owens win the race against Hitler 
  1. Play “Tiny Bubbles” with Don Ho 
  1. Play some video game 
  1. Keep a chilled bottle of Champagne in your refrigerator and celebrate more 
  1. YouTube “positive psychology” with Dr. Carol Ryff 
  1. Sing “Hey, Good Lookin’” with Hank Williams 
  1. Re-read “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl 
  1. Watch “Batman” the campy t.v. show 
  1. Get lost in Dale Chihuly glass sculptures 
  1. Go camping alone 
  1. Record ideas for future gift-giving and SMILE-MAKING 
  1. Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful” 
  1. Re-read “The Great Gatsby” 
  1. Get ideas from Reader’s Digest’s “The Nicest Places in America” series 
  1. Workout with Jack Lalanne 
  1. Listen to “Rhapsody in Blue” 
  1. Google Images of “Lil’ Abner” cartoons 
  1. YouTube “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis 
  1. Read Truman Capote short stories 


  1. Create your own “cartoon bank” 
  1. Host a Marx Brothers comedy costume party 
  1. Dance “The Twist” 
  1. Do “deadpan” mug in the mirror like Buster Keaton 
  1. Stargaze. Just for laffs, check out your astrology for the year 
  1. Swoon over “Gable and Lombard” 
  1. Play Yo-Yo Ma playing Bach 
  1. Put hands to heaven with Black gospel 
  1. Chill out with “Hootenanny” folk tunes 
  1. Go to a Native American “pow wow” 
  1. Watch your most SMILE-MAKING moments of the decades of “SNL” 
  1. Discover or re-discover comic/activist Dick Gregory 
  1. Rebel hilariously with Lenny Bruce 
  1. Honor a best friend, the Lucy to your Ethel 
  1. YouTube “Vogue Magazine” and Andre Leon Talley 
  1. Enjoy Evel Knievel SPELLBINDING stunts 
  1. “Duckwalk” with Chuck Berry 
  1. Explore “American Pop” art with Peter Max 
  1. YouTube a Lewis Grizzard monologue 
  1. YouTube a Carrie Fisher monologue 
  1. Make a “Bucket List” collage 
  1. Recall the wit and iffy wisdom of “Carnac the Magnificent” 
  1. Walking is natural Wellbutrin 
  1. Join or start a “Big Sing” in your community 
  1. Give some smiles, it’s contagious 
  1. Add Fran Lebowitz “Metropolitan Diary” to your reading list 
  1. Praise plague scientists like Jonas Salk (polio) 
  1. Giggle with original “Funny Girl,” Fanny Brice 
  1. Strike a pose with Madonna and Charles Atlas 


  1. Mess with Texas and elect Kinky Friedman 
  1. Walk around a massive Richard Serra sculpture 
  1. Walk around a SMILE-MAKING Calder mobile 
  1. Remember, or try to forget, Roseanne Barr’s “Star Spangled Banner” 
  1. Join a kick line like “Will Roger’s Follies” 
  1. Start a Congo line through some café 
  1. “Happy Trails” with Roy, Dale and Trigger 
  1. March with John Philip Sousa 
  1. Pray with Billy Graham and Bishop Sheen and… 
  1. “Give ‘em something to talk about” 
  1. Do some “Diddly Squats” for strength and balance 
  1. Hang out with happy people who accentuate the positive 
  1. Re-discover Jonathan Winters 
  1. Swoon over Grace Kelly, “America’s princess” 
  1. Whoop it up with Whoopi Goldberg 
  1. Sip One Hope Wine and support a worthy cause 
  1. See things anew with Georgia O’Keefe 
  1. Say “YES” to a few things by eliminating many things with “NO” 
  1. Re-invent with RuPaul 
  1. Join “The Mickey Mouse Club” 
  1. Plan a “Friendsgiving” 
  1. Go walkin’ to NOLA with Fats Domino and Dr. John 
  1. Add nature and sunlight every day 
  1. Give Rodney Dangerfield some respect 
  1. Win friends with Dale Carnegie 
  1. Let’s hear it for Charles Schultz and the “Peanuts” gallery 
  1. Everybody is Kung Fu fighting with Bruce Lee 
  1. Mail someone something SMILE-MAKING 
  1. Help elect a comedian for President 
  1. Jump up and down like a crazy person 
  1. YouTube “Mark Twain Tonight” 


  1. America’s most-American funny man, Richard Pryor 
  1. Share a joke 
  1. Sing “Moon River, wider than a mile” 
  1. Appreciate why Jay-Z is rich and famous 
  1. Walt Disney, America’s favorite anti-depressant 
  1. YouTube Steven Wright’s wit and one-liner wisdom 
  1. Kick a can 
  1. Google Images for James Thurber cartoons 
  1. YouTube American clowns Emmett Kelly and Bill Irwin 
  1. See America aslant with Emily Dickinson 
  1. Interview a friend with “The Proust Questionnaire” 
  1. Sing “My Way” with Frank Sinatra 
  1. Bang something with Spike Jones and His City Slickers 
  1. Binge on Tim Conway 
  1. Sponsor a musical busker 
  1. Give $2 bills to joy-makers of all ages 
  1. The SPELLBINDING of Steven Spielberg 
  1. “Log off” tech and give your “full attention” to someone 
  1. Get to know, American in Paris, interior designer Elsie de Wolfe 
  1. “Everybody Loves Raymond” and you should too 
  1. Thank Lady Bird Johnson for “Beautifying America” 
  1. “Hope in a jar” with beauty maven, Madame C. J. Walker 
  1. Reflect on happy holiday memories and write them down 
  1. Mail a “thinking of you” note to someone who doesn’t get out much 
  1. Start a vocabulary building “word a day” with a buddy 
  1. Swoon over the icy elegance of Marlene Dietrich 
  1. She can turn the world on with her smile—Mary Tyler Moore 
  1. Genuinely compliment someone 
  1. Genuinely complement someone 
  1. Make someone belly laugh 
  1. “Country roads take me home” 
  1. Help others be self-reliant at modestneeds.org 
  1. Join or “cheer on” a community band 
  1. Remember that a laugh is the shortest distance between two people 
  1. Disco forever 


(Source: marthastewart.com) 

Each week, “The JOYrontologist” shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. The delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life. 


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup bourbon 
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving 


  1. Combine sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, let cool. 
  1. Combine milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, bourbon, 1 cup ice and 2/3 cup simple syrup (reserve remaining for another use) in a blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  
  1. Serve up in a chilled coupe or over ice in a rocks glass, spooning foam over the top. Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve immediately. 


Read all the installments in this series at www.cullmantribune.com/tag/odes-to-joy-2022.