Monthly Archives: December 2008

12.24.08

  SHOW PREP DECEMBER 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

HOLLYWOOD 411 . . .

Sam Mendes says directing wife Kate Winslet as she grappled with Leonardo DiCaprio in the steamier scenes in “Revolutionary Road” was “a profoundly weird experience” – so weird that he couldn’t watch it. Instead, he monitored the action on a video screen in the next room. Mendes tells Britain’s Observer that he would shout, “Leo, don’t bang her head so hard against the kitchen cabinets!” and “Could you not do it for so long this time?” When DiCaprio asked him to be more specific, Mendes replied, “About 45 seconds.” Leo impishly responded, “Really? Only 45 seconds?” (Page Six)

Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have weekly pampering days to maintain their good looks. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt schedule weekly pampering sessions to keep their good looks an insider has told Star magazine. “They call it their Me Day,” the source claims. “Angelina’s assistant makes all the arrangements. She likes massages, pedicures and waxing – and even gets her toes waxed. Angelina’s very particular about not having any stray hairs. Brad likes to get highlights and facials and is obsessed with his skin looking flawless and pays extra for detoxifying elixir peels and anti-aging organic serum cleanses.” (Handbag)

Former Friends star Courteney Cox-Arquette has said she will never consider divorcing husband David Arquette. Courteney Cox-Arquette has revealed that she has regular marriage therapy sessions because she will not consider divorcing her husband David Arquette. “Is marriage for ever? I think you get married with the intention that it will be, but who knows?” Courteney told the Daily Mail. “I get shocked by people getting divorced all the time, that’s why I choose to work on it. Therapy helps us. It’s so easy to grow apart; marriage takes work. I suppose you can work it out by talking to each other – I would just prefer to have a referee, it reminds us why we’re together. Before my dad died, he said one of his big regrets was that he hadn’t worked on their marriage enough. I don’t know what the future’s going to hold, but divorce isn’t really an option.” (Handbag)

Both Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have recently been photographed without their wedding rings, but the marital discord apparently started much earlier. Despite the fact that the couple renewed its vows in October, a source tells Page Six that Lopez used to send her assistant on tour with Anthony while she stayed at home with their twins. “She wanted reports back so he didn’t cheat on her,” says our source. Lopez and Anthony are also reportedly selling the $8.5 million Bel Air estate where they were wed in June 2004. Lopez’s rep did not respond to a request for comment. (Page Six)

Robert Downey, Jr. is reportedly acting like a major diva on the  HYPERLINK “http://perezhilton.com/2008-12-15-hot-or-not-13″ \t “_blank” set of his latest flick, Sherlock Holmes. RDJ is allegedly being a prick on set and making people miserable asking for shit left and right. Sounds like your typical A-lister! One source  HYPERLINK “http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4800731a1860.html” \t “_blank” says, “Robert had one crew member running around like a headless chicken trying to find a straw after he demanded one for his drink. The poor guy was stressing as they were in the middle of nowhere on an old dockyard, so there was hardly a convenience store nearby.” Well, a freaking straw doesn’t sound so bad.  Seriously, some people don’t like drinking out of a can, due to the germs and shit. A straw? Puh-lease, get the man his straw already. The former druggie is also a bit cocky it seems. Not literally, we’re guessing. A source adds that “Robert also has a habit of telling everyone how great his last scene was – just after he’s filmed it.” Ok, so maybe he’s a bit self-absorbed or what not. But somehow we think the people on set are just a bit too sensitive.  If they want to see a real diva, maybe they should work with Mariah Carey or Beowulf. We have a feeling they’d love RDJ after that! (Perez Hilton)

Sharon Stone likes her packages as much as anyone, just not when they’re delivered by creepy guys. Our law enforcement peeps tell us Sharon called the Bev Hills Police Dept. last Sunday, reporting a “suspicious” guy who came to her home. Stone told cops the guy said he was either making a delivery or some sort of service call. She says he didn’t seem legit and didn’t let him in — but had enough of a bad feeling to call the cops. But here’s the problem. Sharon doesn’t live in Beverly Hills, so she was told to call the LAPD. As far as we can tell, she never followed up. (TMZ)

Paris Hilton is in the pink – she has treated herself to a $200,000 rose-colored Bentley. The socialite splashed out on her dream car as a special Christmas gift to herself. The customized Continental Gt has pink bodywork, tires and interior, with personally monogrammed seats and tinted windows. She showed off the vehicle during a shopping trip in Los Angeles with Brittany Flickinger, the winner of her reality TV show My New BFF, this week. Hilton says, “I love it, it’s so pretty. I’ve just always wanted a pink car. I think when you’re a little girl and you have the Barbie Corvette you’re like, ‘I wish I had a car like this one’. So I think (it’s) just being a fan of Barbie for so long. “This is a car I can’t drive every single day, but I will be driving it a lot. I live in a gated community so I can get in and out without the paparazzi. They’ve put a protective tint on the windows so no flashes can come through.” (Teen Hollywood)

Shia LaBeouf has undergone a second operation on his hand five months after he was injured in a car crash in Los Angeles. The actor had surgery straight after the accident in July, but reportedly postponed a second operation to allow him to complete filming on action sequel Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. Movie bosses were forced to rewrite some of the script to include LaBeouf’s injury. The 22-year-old booked himself in for a corrective procedure two weeks ago, according to the New York Daily News, and is now recovering at home. A representative for the star has confirmed the operation was a success: “Shia had one surgery postponed for Transformers 2, but there’s no additional complications now. It’s taken a while, but the surgery has been completed and Shia should be healing fine.  (Teen Hollywood)

Twilight actress Kristen Stewart is struggling to cope with her newfound fame – because she has yet to adjust to crazed fans recognizing her on the street. The 18-year-old was catapulted into the spotlight with co-star Robert Pattinson when the epic Vampire love story stormed into international box offices last month. But Stewart admits their sudden success is overwhelming. She says, “I’m really not good at it. Some people are great at it. It’s like the other side of the job. I can’t believe I have to do it. “It makes it easier because I’m really proud of the movie and I’m a fan of the book as well.” It’s weird to see people mainly my age flipping out over Rob walking into the room. He shifts in his seat and they all just go crazy. It’s a little daunting.” (Teen Hollywood)

What a difference a year makes. After all the seemingly  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/photos/gallery.jsp?galleryUUID=1011acf9-f94e-4c2d-9d4c-a035c9909e9c” \t “_blank” endless drama surrounding  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=4299b69e-a001-4915-9331-1ccd05b6b365″ Britney Spears, it’s so great to finally see the pop star return to form, where she’s now singing about a circus instead of being the proverbial big top’s freak-show attraction.  But there’s probably no better evidence of her rise from the ashes than this holiday greeting she just  HYPERLINK “http://www.britneyspears.com/2008/12/holiday-wishes.php” \t “_blank” posted on her website. Kneeling in front of a Christmas tree, Brit simply beams while embracing her two smiling sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James. Comeback indeed. (Eonline)

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Apparently $5,300 is the going rate for what is presumably the most expensive used tissue in the world. Last week,  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=dd12e7e0-4950-4863-8a28-7622e27c62db” Scarlett Johansson got into the spirit of  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b73940_Scarlett_Johansson_Gives_a_Snot_About_Hunger.html” \t “_blank” the holiday sniffles on the Tonight Show With  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=24628e2e-5656-4d01-9480-989cfd9f4a44″ Jay Leno. She claimed she caught the cold from costar  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=ffab65b0-bec5-4cc9-951e-2ff189c6d2c8″ Samuel L. Jackson. When after Leno handed her a tissue and the starlet gave a good blow, she joked that the used hanky had some value. To test her hypothesis, the tissue was placed on the auction block on eBay, with proceeds benefiting USA Harvest. Seems an anonymous, recession-proof fan dug deep into his or her pockets and anted up the big bucks for ScarJo’s snot rag during a last-minute bidding war. The winner of the golden mucus will be confirmed and announced on Tuesday’s Tonight Show. (Eonline)

A spokesman for Michael Jackson has denied the singer is suffering from a life-threatening lung disease. Michael Jackson’s doctor has denied yesterday’s reports that the singer needs a lung transplant. Biographer Ian Halperin told the press yesterday that Jackson could barely speak, suffers from emphysema, internal bleeding, and has lost 95% of the vision in his left eye due the genetic lung disease Alpha-1 Anti-Trypsin Deficiency. “The writer’s wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson’s health are a total fabrication,” Dr Tohme Tohme said in a statement to Reuters. “Concerning this author’s allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized biography. Mr. Jackson is in fine health and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company and television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances.” (Handbag)

Luke Wilson isn’t cutting back on his party-boy ways, but he’s cutting back on his spending. The often-bloated funnyman was spotted at the Yellow Rose gentlemen’s club in Austin, Texas – which charges a meager $7 cover charge – with a group of pals last week. Our spy said he was “getting lap dances and rocking out” at the club, which doubles as a concert venue. Wilson was treated to a heavy-metal show while living it up with the ladies. (Page Six)

 HYPERLINK “http://www.people.com/people/heidi_klum” Heidi Klum and Seal, attending an intimate dinner party at West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont. The couple sat under the awning of the famed hotel’s patio, and acted “very cozy with each other,” an onlooker says. The pair sat at the table with five friends and laughed and chatted with the group for hours. Klum sipped wine with one hand, while keeping the other firmly on Seal’s knee. Every once in a while, Seal would lean over and kiss his wife on the cheek. Says the onlooker: “It was very sweet.” (People)

 HYPERLINK “http://www.people.com/people/johnny_depp” Johnny Depp, greeting Dan Aykroyd at the Redwood Room, a bar inside San Francisco’s Clift Hotel. The comedian was in the Bay Area to promote his new wine – and coincidentally ran into Depp, who was having a meeting at the bar. When they came face-to-face, Aykroyd left Depp a parting gift: a signed bottle of his wine. (People)

Justin Levens overcame a hardscrabble youth to reach fame in the brutal sport of mixed martial arts, only to stumble and fall as his professional losses mounted. As the investigation continues into last week’s  HYPERLINK “http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247615,00.html” apparent murder-suicide of Levens, 28, and his wife, Sara McLean-Levens, 25, details are emerging of his downward spiral. “Justin was a self-made man who literally fought his way to the top,” close friend Tom Atencio tells PEOPLE. “He was a gentle soul who struggled with life. Anyone who grew up under his circumstances would struggle, and unfortunately it got the best of him. He just had some personal demons that he couldn’t overcome.” Levens was raised in the projects in Philadelphia, never knew his real father, and was on his own since age 15, Atencio says, adding that “a lot of people let him down in life.” String of Losses Atencio says a string of losses in the mixed martial arts circuit contributed to Levens’s stress: With his first professional fight in 2004, Levens rocketed to fame with an undefeated 7-0 record in different leagues – only to hit a losing streak.  His last five matches were all losses. “Fighting was Justin’s life but it wasn’t going well for him,” Atencio says. “I know he was considering leaving the sport. But Justin was a fighter, I don’t know what else he would’ve done.” Earlier this year, Levens was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission after testing positive for a pain-killing medication. Signs of Trouble Signs of trouble at the Laguna Niguel, Calif., home of Levens and his wife were apparent in the weeks leading up to their deaths. Deputies responded to their home at least twice in the last month, including a recent visit for a possible drug overdose, says Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jim Amormino. Pain-killing and anti-depressant type drugs were found in the home following the discovery of their bodies, Amormino said. And according to the Los Angeles Times, Levens was convicted in 2003 of spousal injury, although details on that incident weren’t immediately clear. “Justin had a rough life; he was a good kid and was trying to get on the right path,” Atencio says. “This is a total tragedy and all you can do is wonder. No one saw this coming in the manner in which it happened.” (People)

PEOPLE’s  HYPERLINK “http://www.people.com/people/package/gallery/0,,20237714_20241212,00.html” Sexiest Man Alive  HYPERLINK “http://www.people.com/people/hugh_jackman” Hugh Jackman is also in the running for Sweetest Dad Alive: The Australia actor took his daughter Ava, 3, to see Shrek the Musical on Broadway. Jackman sat in the front of the theater and doted on his daughter during the show, while also snacking on candy. (People)

YOU can bet Hollywood nightclub impresario Amanda Demme is going to have ironclad security at her new venue. Last March, a year after her LA hot spot Teddy’s was shut down for serving alcohol to underage boldfaces, Demme told us she planned to launch a new place. Now we’re hearing it will be on Hollywood Boulevard, be tween the Kodak Theatre and the Chinese Theatre, and be called H’Wood. “There will be a very tight door,” said our source, but “Amanda will be bringing in her old fabulous crowd.” (Page Six)

DAVID Blaine literally gave the coat off his back today as he donated his outerwear to the New York Cares coat drive. The magic man – who once spent 63 hours in a block of ice – then stood in Bryant Park, wearing only a T-shirt and slacks in 15-degree weather, collecting coats and autographing his custom playing cards. “If you really want to understand why the Coat Drive is important, try standing outside for an hour without a coat,” Blaine explained. He apologized that he couldn’t do magic for the coat donors – his hands were too cold. (Page Six)

Despite going off the air 16 years ago, Theo Huxtable (a.k.a. Malcolm-Jamal Warner) tell us he still keeps Rudy and Cliff on speed dial. (TMZ)

The Prez-elect has proven he has no problem with pork. Well, chopped pork shoulder with a variety of other meats mixed in. On Sunday, reports People, Barack Obama stopped for a mid-golfing snack and got hot dogs, drinks, and something the Hawaiians call “Spam musubi,” which is Spam and omelet on rice wrapped in seaweed. Yes, it’s delicious, and we know it isn’t going to his abs. He also reportedly offered reporters beers on his tab, which they declined. (TMZ)

Speaking of four-legged friends,  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=dfad520d-8240-41cb-b86b-d05deb6e5891″ John Mayer allegedly hates  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=b2e9ad5d-b4e1-496d-bc57-bfa7c4c38ea6″ Jennifer Aniston’s  HYPERLINK “http://www.dlisted.com/node/29881″ \t “_blank” dogs. (Eonline)

It may be all sparkly veneers and hair extensions on the surface, but the roots are starting to show and the teeth are cracking! There’s some mayjah Britney Spears tour drama going on behind the scenes. According to  HYPERLINK “http://www.lifeandstylemag.com/” \t “_blank” Life & Style, Brit Brit has dumped her longtime choreographers, Wade Robson and Andre Fuentes. The two choreographers helped launch Brit’s comeback appearances in Europe, Japan, and on US television.  A source tells the mag, “Wade and Andre were only hired to choreograph the promotional tour for Circus, which ended in Japan last week.” However, that’s not exactly true. Wade was publicly announced as the director for Brit’s upcoming tour. Wade has been with Spears since he directed her first ever big US tour back in 1999. As for Andre, he’s been working with Spears since her 1998 L’Oréal Hair Zone Mall Tour. Way to get rid of those who’ve helped you since the beginning! Brit’s The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour will now be directed by Jamie King, who just directed Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet tour. The McDonald Selznick Associates Agency, which represents King,  HYPERLINK “http://www.badmediakarma.com/2008/12/official-jamie-king-is-directing-the-circus-tour/” \t “_blank” posted the following on their official website: “Britney’s back and going on tour to promote her new album Circus! Congratulations to Jamie King who will be the tour’s director. Simon Ellis will be the Musical Director for the tour.” As for King, he’s  HYPERLINK “http://www.jamiekingofficial.com/” \t “_blank” directed and choreographed several world tours, Madonna’s latest, Christina Aguilera’s Back To Basics tour and the Spice Girls reunion tour. He also did Britney’s Oops!… I Did It Again tour. And as for Wade, other inside sources are reporting that both he and Andre reportedly quit, stating they’ve “had it”. Wonder what happened? (Perez Hilton)

Thanks to her relationship with Lindsay Lohan DJ Samantha Ronson is now able to charge £15,000 a night when DJing. Samantha Ronson’s DJing fee has risen from around £900 per night to over £15,000 thanks to her relationship with Lindsay Lohan sources have told the New York Daily News. “While Sam never contractually agrees that Lindsay will show up to her shows, promoters, owners and publicists all know that if you book Sam, there’s a high likelihood Lindsay will also show,” an insider close says. “Sam’s now asking for a lot more money to spin, and she’s getting it easily.” (Handbag)

Despite a report in the Los Angeles Times claiming otherwise, the doors to Paris Hilton’s Sherman Oaks home were locked the day it was robbed, a source told Usmagazine.com on Monday. “All of Paris’ diamonds, necklaces, rings, watches, old family heirlooms from her grandmothers was stolen,” the source told Us.  The heiress, 27, wasn’t at home when the burglar  HYPERLINK “http://www.usmagazine.com/news/report-paris-hilton-robbed-2million-worth-of-jewelry” \t “_blank” entered the house on Friday morning and took over $2 million in jewelry.  “They have the thief caught on tape since she has surveillance cameras set up in every room in her home,” the source said. “In the tapes the thief knows exactly where to go, almost like he’s been there before. Detectives are doing a big investigation and will catch this person.” Meanwhile, Hilton isn’t taking any chances.  “Paris has upped her security team to three 24-hour bodyguards around the clock and has someone on her property at all times,” the insider revealed.  “According to detectives, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and gloves forced entry into the front door, ransacked her bedroom and took an undisclosed amount of property and fled the scene,” Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Richard French told Usmagazine.com on Friday. (US Weekly)

TMI Alert, Take 2! Following up on his  HYPERLINK “http://www.usmagazine.com/news/pete-wentz-ashlee-simpson-and-i-have-amazing-sex-life” \t “_blank” raunchy December 16 interview with Howard Stern, Pete Wentz revealed that wife Ashlee Simpson’s breast milk tastes “soury” and “weird” on SIRIUS’  HYPERLINK “http://www.sirius.com/siriushits1″ \t “_blank” The Morning Mash Up! on Monday. The Fall Out Boy bassist, 29, may not be a fan, but Ashlee and Pete’s newborn Bronx Mowgli is: “The baby loves it, it’s the only thing he’s had a chance to have.” Wentz went on to reveal that Ashlee isn’t the only Wentz to put on some pregnancy weight: “I gained 10 pounds at least. I usually hang out around 135, 134, I go up to about 140, and when I hit 148, I get fat face.” He added, “I’m working out a little bit, trying…I mean last night I decided to eat Virgil’s [BBQ] at midnight which is never a good idea…I’m feeling that a little bit today. For the most part, we’re going on walks – that kind of stuff. I think it comes off easier for her because she gets to breast feed and I don’t have the luxury of doing that.” Wentz also opened up about his “scared daddy moment.” He said: “I had a scared moment right before she went into labor – I thought I was having a heart attack for real, like my heart started doing like a weird thing. But, the first time I held him…I just knew everything was perfect. Like everything was good – it was like Legos, you know what I’m saying, like it all fit together.” And Wentz doesn’t want to stop at just one baby. He might even be aiming for a Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s brood of six. “I want to have six now. I mean not six specifically, but I want more…I can’t imagine that we’re stopping, you know what I’m saying? This is like a Journey song, it’s like the chorus is just going to keep coming.” He went on to say that his son is already a musician in the making. “You know he’s already got a little bass, he has a little piano.” Bronx will be receiving many more gifts for his first Christmas. “I don’t think at one they matter that much to him, but they matter a lot to me, so I’m going to be there sweating it out, putting things together…the night before Christmas because I know that’s what my Dad did and I know that’s what I want to do.” The Morning Mash Up! airs Monday – Friday from 6:00 am – noon ET on SIRIUS H (US Weekly)

Glenn Shadix — who played “Otho” the decorator in “Beetlejuice” — watched a fire tear through his Alabama home, if you couldn’t tell by the devastated look on his face. Glenn left his house (intact) on December 13, and when he returned at around 11:00 AM, it was engulfed in flames, according to the Western Tribune. Glenn bought the home — built in 1886 — a year ago when he moved back to Bessemer, Alabama, his hometown. The Trib reports Shadix repeatedly told firefighters, “I’ve lost my dream.” The cause of the fire is still under investigation. (TMZ)

A slain police officer’s sister reacted with disgust after a jury cleared a former actor on “The Sopranos” of her brother’s killing during a botched burglary three years ago. Lillo Brancato Jr. on Monday was convicted of a lesser charge of attempted burglary. He faces from three to 15 years in prison; the former actor could get credit for time served because he has been behind bars nearly three years. “What message is this sending out to the New York City police officers today? It’s wrong,” said Yolanda Rosa Nazario, sister of the victim. Prosecutors said Brancato, 32, and accomplice Steven Armento broke into a basement apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of drinking at a strip club in December 2005. Officer Daniel Enchautegui (En-chow-TAY’-gee), who lived next door and was off duty, came out to investigate. Armento blasted the 28-year-old officer with his .357 Magnum, hitting him in the heart. The dying officer fired back, wounding both men. Armento was convicted earlier this year of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Brancato, who acknowledges problems with drugs and alcohol, said he was unaware Armento, 48, was carrying a weapon. He also argued he did not directly take part in the killing and was not armed. During the gun battle, Enchautegui was struck once and Armento was hit six times. Brancato, who drove the car to the apartment, was shot twice. Brancato was led out of court in handcuffs. His sentencing is Jan. 9, and District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said he would seek “the maximum sentence that the law allows.” “This would not have happened if not for this animal’s drug habit,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch. “The only good thing is that this skunk is not walking out to spend Christmas with his family. The sad part is that neither is Daniel.” Said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly: “We hope that the family and friends of Daniel Enchautegui find some comfort in the fact that at least one in the pair responsible for his death was convicted of murder.” Brancato rose to fame in the 1993 movie “A Bronx Tale,” playing a young kid from the neighborhood that is torn between two worlds and two men: a local mobster played by Chazz Palminteri and his straight-and-narrow bus-driver father, played by Robert De Niro. Other roles followed, most notably a stint on the second season of “The Sopranos,” where he played a bumbling aspiring mobster. His character carried out a series of low-level crimes for the New Jersey mob before being gunned down by Tony Soprano and his sidekick as he tearfully begged for his life. During the trial, Brancato tried to deflect suggestions by the prosecution that his testimony – at times punctuated by vignettes about his drug-crazed downfall – was another acting job. Brancato’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said his client was relieved with the verdict. “There was never going to be smiles,” he said. “This is not a case that warrants that.” (Daily Record)

The Los Angeles crime wave continues unchecked. Last week, Paris Hilton’s house was burglarized of more than $2 million worth of jewels while she was out. Now comes word that, a few days back, the luggage of a prominent publicist who begged us not to use her name was stolen from her Hollywood Hills bedroom while she ate dinner on a different floor of the house. Meanwhile, in a third burglary, model Erin Wasson was at home when thieves stole tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry and designer clothing, including pieces by Alexander McQueen, Ann Demeulemeester, Dior, Givenchy and William Rast. Police called to her Santa Monica place recovered a few things from an alley around the corner, including two left shoes. Wasson’s rep says, “Luckily, no one was harmed.” All three women had left their front doors unlocked. (Page Six)

MUSIC . . .

The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has become the fastest selling female solo artist in history after the single “Hallelujah” sold 576,000 copies in one week and became the UK’s Christmas No 1. Alexandra had said she was “gutted” at the prospect at having to sing the Leonard Cohen song, which also came in at this week’s No 2 spot after a version by Jeff Buckley was re-released. The last time one song held the top two spots is believed to be February 1965, when “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” was No. 1 for the Righteous Brothers and No. 2 for Cilla Black. Meanwhile in the album charts it’s a Happy Christmas to Take That, whose album The Circus stays at number one – meaning the boys have sold one million copies of their new album in just 18 days. (British Glamour)

A couple of Jersey boys have sued Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and others, claiming M.B. and Jay-Z have made a killing by ripping off their tune. Jermaine Jumpp and Michael C. Adams claim in a federal lawsuit they handed a “compact disk” to the “office” of megaproducer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins with the song “On My Grind.” Then, not-so-magically, four years later, Mary J. recorded “Enough Cryin'” — produced by Darkchild — and the guys say it sounded awfully familiar. It is unclear from the lawsuit what Jay-Z’s roll was in all this. The defendants couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. (TMZ)

Wal-Mart will be the exclusive U.S. retailer for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band’s “Greatest Hits,” which will arrive Jan. 13, two weeks prior to the group’s new Columbia studio album, “Working on a Dream.” The 12-track set omits material from Springsteen’s albums without the E Street Band to round up classics such as “Born To Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Born in the U.S.A.” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” Both “Greatest Hits” and “Working on a Dream” will be in stores when Springsteen and company perform at the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show on Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla. Like last year’s “Magic,” the new album was produced by Brendan O’Brien. Springsteen began writing material before “Magic” was even complete, and “agreed we’d somehow find time during the touring year to get this record made,” the Boss writes on his  HYPERLINK “http://www.brucespringsteen.net” \t “new” Web site. Indeed, O’Brien’s ability to help Springsteen and the band multitask “has allowed us to get a steadier stream of our best music out to our fans,” the artist says. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do. We found time to book sessions, get the band while it was hot off the road, write and record a new record, while giving our audience what I hope was some of the best E Street shows we’ve ever done.” (Billboard)

Kelly Clarkson’s new single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” will hit U.S. radio outlets Jan. 19. The track will introduce her fourth, as-yet-untitled studio album, due March 17 from RCA. Although a track list has yet to be announced, Clarkson has worked with producer/songwriter Dr. Luke and OneRepublic leader Ryan Tedder on new material. The album will be the follow-up to 2007’s “My December,” which has sold 780,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Clarkson feuded with RCA exec Clive Davis over her desire to write her own material for the album, on the heels of her smash 2004 album “Breakaway,” which featured a number of co-writes with experienced songwriters. A planned arena tour was scrapped just before “My December” came out due to lower-than-expected ticket sales, and was reconfigured for smaller venues a few months later. (Billboard)

Seattle folk rock band Fleet Foxes has scored the first gold-certified record for U.K. indie Bella Union in recognition of shipments of 100,000 copies. The band’s self-titled debut was voted the best album of 2008 by Billboard critics. It was released by Sub Pop in the U.S. and through Bella Union in the U.K and Europe. The June release was also the first for Bella Union in the U.K. under a new arrangement with Co-Op Music, the international marketing network taken over by Universal Music in 2007 as part of its acquisition of V2. Bella Union and Co-Op Music have worked together in continental Europe for four years. Universal Music has also recently taken over the Bella Union distribution from Pinnacle, which went into administration (roughly equivalent to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection) on Dec. 3. In North America, “Fleet Foxes” has sold 141,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Beyond Billboard, it has been voted the No. 1 album by publications in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Italy, Belgium and the U.K. (Billboard)

The Darkness are considering reforming for a new album and tour, according to newspaper reports. The band, which split in 2006, is apparently considering an offer made by the U.S. entrepreneur behind the Dubai Desert Rocks festival to tour in 2009, reports Britain’s The Sun. However, bitter internal disputes between all four band members may put any possible reunion in jeopardy. Relations between singer Justin Hawkins and brother/guitarist Dan Hawkins have apparently been strained since the band’s breakup, and the guitarist and drummer Ed Graham are also suing the band’s management over money they claim they are owed. Bassist Frankie Poullain left the group in 2005, though it is not clear if a proposed reunion would include him. As previously reported on NME.com, Justin Hawkins’ new band Hot Leg made their live debut at London’s Proud Galleries on August 6. (Launch)

MOVIE . . .

The movie, starring Harry Potter star Robert Pattinson, has already broken box-office records in the US, and will now have to hold off the challenge from Baz Lurhmann’s epic movie Australia which opened Boxing Day. Twilight is based on the multi-million selling books of Stephenie Meyer, and tells the story of a teenage girl who risks everything when she falls in love with a vampire. A follow up to the movie, called New Moon, is already being planned. (British Glamour)

Citing division among its membership, the Screen Actors Guild delayed a vote that would authorize the union to call a strike and bring the entertainment business to a halt. SAG announced Monday it would delay sending out the ballots until Jan. 14 at the earliest, after the union’s national board holds an emergency meeting. The union initially planned to send strike authorization ballots to more than 100,000 union members on Jan. 2, a date that would have put Oscar night within reach of a potential boycott. Doug Allen, SAG’s national executive director, said the union is split on whether to cast ballots. He said 2,524 members endorse the vote and 1,373 members are opposed, including A-list actors Pierce Brosnan and Cameron Diaz. “This division does not help our effort to get an agreement … that our members will ratify,” Allen wrote in a letter to union members. SAG leaders had been pushing for the vote amid stalled contract negotiations with Hollywood studios. But on Dec. 12 a New York faction of the union called for a delay, calling it “irresponsible” to threaten a strike while the industry was in an economic downturn. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios, have been negotiating a new deal with SAG since before the previous contract expired June 30. AMPTP spokesman Jesse Hiestand said the studios were aware of the delay but had no comment. Earlier in the day, the AMPTP issued a statement urging SAG members to study the studios’ final offer and ask “whether it makes sense to strike over a deal that will raise wages, raise benefits, add new residuals and establish jurisdiction in new media for the first time.” In SAG’s letter, Allen notified members that the vote would be delayed at least until after the union’s board meets on Jan. 12 and 13. The guild is seeking union coverage for all Internet-only productions regardless of budget, residual payments for Internet productions replayed in ad-supported platforms online, and continued actor benefits during work stoppages, including those caused by strikes by other unions. The studios have said a formula for payment in new media formats has already been agreed upon by another actors union, directors, and writers, whose 100-day strike derailed the Golden Globe Awards in January. The studios have said it was unreasonable for SAG to demand a better deal, especially now that the economy has worsened. (Daily Record)

Clive Owen and Mark Cuban are heading to Colombia. The “Children of Men” star is attached to “Cartagena,” a story about an undercover agent amid Colombian drug cartels, for Cuban’s 2929 Prods., overseen by veteran producer Marc Butan. Nick Wechsler and Management 360 also are producing. Gersh-repped Michael Ross, who penned the Fox Atomic horror pic “Turistas” and recently was signed to Overture’s remake of Icelandic thriller “Jar City,” has been attached to write the screenplay. “Cartagena” centers on an undercover agent who gets caught in a complex plot and must elude drug dealers and international agents if he hopes to survive. The project is named for a city on Colombia’s northern coast that has a colorful history featuring wars, robust economic activity and tourist development. Colombia, a hotbed of political intrigue and violent drug wars, has become fertile cinematic ground. Warner Bros. and Sony this year acquired projects about the rescue of 15 hostages from the rebel FARC group; a controversial Marxist organization that U.S. authorities have said has ties to drug cartels. CAA-repped Owen stars in Tom Tykwer’s upcoming global-arms thriller “The International” for Relativity and Scott Hicks’ single-parent drama “The Boys Are Back,” which Miramax will release. Cuban and Todd Wagner’s 2929 also is behind the Weinstein Co.’s post-apocalyptic tale “The Road,” starring Viggo Mortensen. (Hollywood Reporter)

As Paramount/DreamWorks “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and Fox’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” delivered a one-two punch at the overseas box-office over the weekend, the major studios were focusing in on Christmas week, the top movie going period of year.  The animated “Madagascar 2,” which took command of the international box-office with a $36.6 million weekend, will have almost 6,000 screens working in 43 markets during Christmas week, while the sci-fi reimagining of “Earth,” which dropped to second place with $21.3 million, will offer some 7,800 sites in 92 territories. The anticipated clout of the two tentpoles, however, is not stopping other hopefuls from eyeing a piece of the holiday business. Chief among them is Fox’s Baz Luhrmann’s Western-style epic “Australia,” set to take off on Christmas Day in 45 markets, including the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Mexico, and Disney’s Adam Sandler starrer, “Bedtime Stories,” booked in 15 territories, including the U.K., Germany, France and Australia. Other Christmas openings include “Bolt” (China, Chile, Turkey, South Africa), “Marley and Me” (Brazil), “Seven Pounds” (Brazil), “The Tale of Despereaux” (Russia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Norway), “Frost/Nixon” (Australia, New Zealand), “Yes Man” (U.K.) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Australia).  Australia, considered the most active movie going country during the Christmas-New Year period, will welcome six new films aimed to appeal to a wide range of audiences. New offerings include “Bedtime Stories,” “Earth,” “Button,” “Frost/Nixon,” Woody Allen’s “Vicky Christina Barcelona,” and the French-language “I Loved You So Long.”  In toppling “Earth” from first place, “Madagascar 2″ opened No. 1 in Italy ($6.5 million from 463 screens), Australia ($4.4 million from 267), New Zealand ($415,000 from 76) and Hong Kong ($465,000 from 43). In Germany, it held the No. 1 position for a third weekend, with $4.8 million from 742 locations for a market come of $26.6 million. Market comes to date include $21.6 million from France, $18.7 million from the U.K. and $12.1 million from Mexico. Overall, foreign gross has reached $218.5 million.  Third place in the pre-holiday weekend went to teen-appeal vampire pic “Twilight,” which registered an estimated $11.1 million from 3,140 screens in 27 countries, lifting its international haul to about $64.6 million. The Summit Entertainment release came in first in the U.K., with $3.7 million from 446 screens, and tallied $1.2 million from 319 in Brazil, where it arrived second to “Madagascar 2.” New Line’s “Four Christmases,” which will be around during the holiday season, pulled in a festive $6.3 million from 2,282 screens in 38 territories, raising its international come to $24.8 million. “Four” is No. 3 in the U.K., where it has taken in $12.6 million in four weeks. Disney Animation’s “Bolt” barked to $4.8 million from 2,300 screens in 12 countries, raising its come to $35.8 million. It opened No. 1 in Mexico ($1.6 million from 700) and took in $467,000 from 73 in Ukraine, hailed as the biggest-ever opening for a Disney pic in the market. Two holiday business seekers entered the fray over the weekend — Warner Bros.’ Jim Carrey comedy “Yes Man,” which grossed an estimated $3.6 million from 676 screens in six markets, led by Spain’s $1.3 million and Korea’s $1.2 ; and Universal Animation’s “The Tale of Despereaux,” which tallied $1.6 million from 791 dates in the U.K., Spain and Portugal. Disney/Pixar’s “WALL-E,” making its final overseas stop, earned $3 million from 450 screens in Japan for a three-week market come of $17.4 million and an overall foreign gross of $283 million. The Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading” hit $83.6 million after picking up $2.7 million from 944 screens in about 20 markets.  The Clint Eastwood-directed, Angelina Jolie starrer “Changeling” reached a come of $26.7 million after a weekend take of $3.2 million from 1,060 screens in 10 countries.  “Australia” raised its come to $14.6 million following a weekend score of $1.1 million from 485 screens in four markets. Sony’s “Quantum of Solace,” out of the top five for the first time in about six weeks, raised its come to $372 million after earning $2.9 million from 2,730 screens in 68 markets. Universal’s release of the Mexican film “Rudi y Cursi” debuted with $1.4 million from 409 dates. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV . . .

Tina Fey is the entertainer of the year? You betcha. Fey was voted The Associated Press’ Entertainer of the Year, an annual honor chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers across the country. Fey was selected by AP members as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008. The 38-year-old comedian bested runner-up Robert Downey Jr., whose comeback was capped with the blockbuster smash “Iron Man,” and the third-place vote-getter, Heath Ledger, who posthumously wowed audiences as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” But it was Fey who most impressed voters largely with her indelible impression of Gov. Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live.” Her cameos on her old show (where she had been a head writer until 2006) helped drive the show to record ratings and eventually drew an appearance from Palin herself. “Tina Fey is such an obvious choice,” said Sharon Eberson, entertainment editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “She gave us funny when we really needed it and, in a year when women in politics were making huge strides, Fey stood out in the world of entertainment.” Fey’s 2008 was a full year, though. She also starred for the first time on the big screen in “Baby Mama” (which grossed $60 million at the box office) and won three Emmys for her critically lauded NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” which she created, stars in and writes. In the comedy series category, she won for best lead actress and best writing, and shared in the award for best comedy series. “She simultaneously entertained us with her wit and put a mirror up to the nation during the election and made us think about what was going on,” said Scott Shive, assistant features editor at the Lexington Herald-Leader. “She is the epitome of the smart kid coming out on top for once.” As soon as Palin was chosen as Sen. John McCain’s running mate, conjecture mounted that the similar-looking Fey would have to return to “SNL” to play her. In an interview earlier this fall, Fey recalled watching early TV coverage of Palin: “That was the first time I thought, `Well, I kinda do look like her. I’d better really listen to how this lady talks.'” Fey debuted the impression on the “SNL” season premiere and a sensation quickly followed. She made four more pre-election appearances as Palin on the late-night satire. “From the winks to the nods to the accent, she nailed it,” said Marc Bona, assistant entertainment editor of the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. “And she did so at a time when it seemed the whole country was tuned in – both to the presidential race as well as ‘Saturday Night Live.'” Her Palin impression has benefited “30 Rock,” too. The show premiered its fourth season to 8.5 million viewers, a million more than last year’s opener. Recently, she was also nominated for a Golden Globe (for best performance by an actress in a TV series, comedy or musical), as well as a Screen Actors Guild award. “The `SNL’ stuff has certainly changed things for me,” Fey said in October. “A lot more people seem to know who I am.” Last year’s AP Entertainer of the Year also went to a comedian whose satire blended in with politics: Stephen Colbert. (Daily Record)

The votes are in! Want to know who won the first-ever Watch With Kristin CW Awards? Did Gossip Girl shut out the competition? Or did Supernatural slaughter all comers? Read on to meet the winners for Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Series and Best Writer/Producer/Auteur. Plus see which two stars, one female and one male, were the hands-down winners for the people’s choice bonus categories. Are your faves included? First things first: We received your many, many emails and comments that Chace Crawford should have been included in the Lead Actor category, instead of Supporting, and also that Bethany Joy Galeotti of One Tree Hill and  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=d858fddd-7f7a-475c-afaa-c37de01b54fc” Jared Padalecki of Supernatural were robbed because they were left out of the nominations. Sorry! There are only so many slots in each category, but we do have a consolation prize: They are all winners…   HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/photos/gallery.jsp?edition=us&galleryUUID=b1e9600a-c62f-44b3-a57f-97127811b650″ \l “a2f85457-38cc-404f-9b4d-4cfb79e8472e” \t “_blank” Visit the CW Awards Winners Gallery to see the pretty faces of your picks, and more importantly, read what your fellow fans had to say about the stars’ winning qualities. The two people’s choice winners—Bethany Joy Galeotti and Jared Padalecki—were not nominated as you know, but they got so many intense fan comments that we had to include them in the pantheon of winners.
Best Series
38.4% Supernatural
30.8% Gossip Girl
24.1% One Tree Hill
3.0% Privileged
2.4% Reaper
1.4% America’s Next Top Model
Best Actor
41.3% Jensen Ackles, Supernatural
32.5% Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl
14.7%  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=23d60139-3f0e-4d5e-be3e-5115fbe17477″ Tom Welling, Smallville
7.5% Penn Badgley, Gossip Girl
4.0% Tristan Wilds, 90210
Best Actress
35.2% Leighton Meester, Gossip Girl
30.2%  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=e630644d-e0a2-49c1-ab81-c020156eb1aa” Sophia Bush, One Tree Hill
13.0% Hilarie Burton, One Tree Hill
12.3% Joanna Garcia, Privileged
9.3%  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=f79a6381-4aa3-4dcb-b714-09de56020324″ Blake Lively, Gossip Girl
Best Supporting Actor
45.0% Chace Crawford, Gossip Girl
26.8% Sam Witwer, Smallville
11.8% Michael Cassidy, Privileged
8.7%  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=4fc4f427-90dd-482c-b2f8-771a7b985f5c” Ray Wise, Reaper
7.7% Tyler Labine, Reaper
Best Supporting Actress
33.5% Allison Mack, Smallville
30.4% Taylor Momsen, Gossip Girl
15.3% Erica Durance, Smallville
10.9% Jessica Stroup, 90210
9.8% Lucy Hale, Privileged
Best Writer/Producer/Auteur
38.6% Eric Kripke, Supernatural
29.5% Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage, Gossip Girl
24.8% Mark Schwahn, One Tree Hill
3.7%  HYPERLINK “http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=f7ea3ea9-90ac-4157-97c9-92006506b831″ Tyra Banks, America’s Next Top Model
3.4% Rina Mimoun, Privileged (Eonline)

Manny Ramirez and Brett Favre aside, there were relatively few sports stars changing places in 2008. However, you couldn’t say the same about TV shows. Several series switched homes this year, including “Project Runway,” “Scrubs,” “Beauty and the Geek,” “Inside the NFL,” “Nashville Star” and Tyra Banks’ talk show. And after years of promise, the Internet-to-TV series pipeline finally started to produce (albeit mixed) results with transplants “quarterlife,” “Sanctuary” and “In the Motherhood.” The biggest headline-grabber was the shocking April announcement of the move of Bravo flagship series “Project Runway” to Lifetime. Eight months and several lawsuits later, the shift has been put on hold by the courts, with the fate of the completed sixth season of the hit fashion series up in the air after Bravo’s parent NBC Universal won an injunction barring Lifetime from airing it.  Another cable staple, “Inside the NFL,” made a less acrimonious switch between pay cable rivals HBO and Showtime. Following HBO’s decision to drop the longest-running cable show after 31 years and after four months as a free agent, “Inside the NFL” signed in June with Showtime. In the broadcast field, after seven seasons and twice as many time slot changes on NBC, “Scrubs” will make its debut Jan. 6 on ABC. ABC has been one of the most aggressive players in the series transfer market. The network’s entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who developed “Scrubs” at ABC Studios, pursued the quirky hospital comedy for two years before completing the trade this May.  ABC also courted CBS’ comedy “The New Adventures of Old Christine” this spring and has been exploring a pickup of Fox’s recently canceled animated comedy “King of the Hill.”  Meanwhile, two iconic Fox series, “Beverly Hills, 90210″ and its spinoff, “Melrose Place,” also switched networks for their recent reincarnations for CW.  Two reality series jumped over the broadcast-cable fence in 2008. CW’s “Beauty and the Geek” is going to MTV, which is casting a celebrity-themed sixth season of the odd-couple contest. Traveling in the opposite direction — from cable to broadcast — was USA Network’s singing competition “Nashville Star,” which stumbled in a summer run on NBC. In another distribution shift, Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution recently announced that daytime talker “The Tyra Banks Show” is moving to the CW in September. It will replace freshman court program “Judge Jeanine Pirro,” which will travel to first-run syndication in fall 2009.  The year was touted as a watershed year for Internet content migrating to primetime. The poster child of that transition, Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick’s Web drama “quarterlife,” lasted just one episode on NBC.  With far less fanfare, HD Internet series “Sanctuary” did solid business in its TV incarnation on the Sci Fi Channel and earned a second season order. Next up is the debut of ABC’s adaptation of the online comedy series “In the Motherhood.” (Hollywood Reporter)

Hong Kong-based STAR will launch a Farsi language free-to-air general entertainment channel in early 2009, targeting the nearly 100 million speakers worldwide of the tongue mostly widely heard in Iran, the News Corp-owned broadcaster said on Tuesday. STAR, which already broadcasts in 10 languages in Asia, including Chinese and Hindi, will set up its Farsi channel sales and marketing office in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where it has based its Middle East operations since 1994 in Dubai Media City.  Also known as Persian, Farsi is the official language of Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. STAR currently offers a bouquet of 15 channels in the Middle East. (Hollywood Reporter)

Model and presenter Lisa Snowdon was left “fuming” after being beaten to the Strictly Come Dancing title by Tom Chambers. Lisa Snowdon was left “fuming” after finishing third in Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing final her father Nigel has told the Mirror. “There is something wrong if Lisa gets a perfect score and doesn’t automatically go through like last week,” he explained. “It was the mother of all cock ups and Tom dodged the bullet big time. To be honest Lisa was fuming because she felt that she and Rachel should have been in the final outright. Something went wrong and it needs to be sorted for next year because some of the voting was bordering on farcical. The whole show was just one big popularity contest.” Erm, isn’t that exactly what the show is? Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Tyler isn’t happy about the outcome either, he’s called for BBC director general Mark Thompson to “come clean” about the voting bungle that saved Chambers from the axe in the semi-finals despite having the lowest marks from the judges. “Technology is available at the BBC’s disposal to ensure license-payers know just how many votes each contestant got,” he told press and added that he planned to use Freedom of Information laws to expose the full results. “It is a fiasco.” Bit quiet in his office this week then! (Handbag)

TODAY’S IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION . . .  (Internet and Mike Butts Creative)

Q.  A good portion of North Americans will do this at some point this week. What is it?
A.  Open a Christmas present.

Q.  With all the holiday shopping this time of year, at least 12% of shoppers will experience this sometime this season. What is it?
A.  Credit card denied for being over the limit.

Q..  On average, one of these weighs in at 247 pounds. What is it?
A.  A Mall Santa.

Q.  45% of women hide this from their husbands?
    A.  Store receipts! As if we wouldn’t see the credit card bill or notice the new dress and purse?

Q.  Over half of people surveyed said that they wanted to get _____ for their holiday gift?
    A.  A gift card

TODAY’S QUOTE (By Various)

Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.  ~Carol Nelson

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  ~Roy L. Smith

Christmas, children, is not a date.  It is a state of mind.  ~Mary Ellen Chase

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, an
to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.  ~Charles Dickens

Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.  ~W.J. Cameron

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  ~Burton Hillis

Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quie
home!  ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836

There has been only one Christmas – the rest are anniversaries.  ~W.J. Cameron

A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year.
~Walter Scott

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.  ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!  ~Author Unknown

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~Charles Dickens

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.  ~Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short,
is about the only chance a man has to be himself.  ~Francis C. Farley

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.  ~W.T. Ellis

For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas.  Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.  ~W.J. Ronald Tucker

Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve.  Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age.  ~Carrie Latet

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.  ~Author unknown, attributed to a 7-year-old named Bobby

MIND BOGGLERS . . .  (QuickTrivia – Christmas)

Q.  In the song “Twelve Days of Christmas,” which of these things come in the greatest numbers?
    A.  Maids a-milking
    B.  Ladies dancing
    C.  Drummers drumming  ****
    D.  Lords a-leaping

Q.  In the usual opening line of “The Christmas Song,” what is Jack Frost doing?
    A.  Roasting on an open fire
    B.  Skating away on thin ice
    C.  Designing snowflakes
    D.  Nipping at your nose  ****

Q.  What was the name of Scrooge’s late business partner, whose ghost comes to visit in “A Christmas Carol”?
    A.  Fagin
    B.  Bob Cratchit
    C.  Marley  ****
    D.  Martin Chuzzlewit

Q.  On Christmas Eve 1906, what did Reginald Fessender become the first person to do?
    A.  Place a long-distance phone call
    B.  Depict Santa Claus in a mall
    C.  Broadcast a human voice over radio  ****
    D.  Get a speeding ticket

Q.  In 2001, Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow, Robbie Robertson, and Dwight Yoakam appeared in Gap Christmas ads, singing which Supertramp song?
    A.  The Logical Song
    B.  Breakfast in America
    C.  Give a Little Bit  ****
    D.  Dreamer

Q.  Mary was the mother of Jesus. Who was the mother of Mary?
    A.  Elizabeth
    B.  Anne  ****
    C.  A different Mary
    D.  Helen

Q.  If you had been born on Christmas Day, what would be your Zodiacal sign?
    A.  Capricorn  ****
    B.  Scorpio
    C.  Sagittarius
    D.  Aquarius

Q.  Which of the following was not a part of the all-star cast that recorded the 1984 hit “Do They Know It’s Christmas”?
    A.  John Keeble
    B.  Brian Wilson  ****  (The song was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 specifically to raise money for relief of 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia)
    C.  Sting
    D.  Phil Collins

Q.  On what TV show did Barbara Eden emerge from a bottle that in fact had been a 1964 Christmas-edition decanter of Jim Beam bourbon?
    A.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    B.  I Dream of Jeannie  ****
    C.  Bewitched
    D.  Charmed

Q.  In the Christmas Carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” after which word should you place the comma?
    A.  God
    B.  Rest
    C.  Ye
    D.  Merry  ****

Q.  Until 1969, which saint’s feast day was December 6:  ironically enough, 19 days before Christmas?
    A.  St. Mary
    B.  St. Joseph
    C.  St. John the Baptist
    D.  St. Nicolaus  ****

Q.  What Christmas plant is named for an American Ambassador to Mexico?
    A.  Holly
    B.  Palm
    C.  Mistletoe
    D.  Poinsettia  ****

Q.  What food is traditionally served during Christmas festivities in Japan?
    A.  Miso soup
    B.  Salmon roe
    C.  Microwave popcorn
    D.  A decorated cake  ****  (Japanese families traditionally serve a decorated cake to celebrate Christmas, which usually acts as a prelude to the more important New Year’s festival)

Q.  On Christmas Day of what year was Jimmy Buffet born and did WC Fields die?
    A.  1976
    B.  1956
    C.  1946  ****
1966

Q.  Many cars bear the name of which Swiss designer and racer, who was born on Christmas Day, 1878?
    A.  Benz
    B.  Buick
    C.  Chrysler
    D.  Chevrolet  ****

Q.  On the first day of Christmas, what sort of tree is the partridge sitting in?
    A.  Chestnut
    B.  Pear  ****
    C.  Pine
    D.  Fir

CHRISTMAS . . .

Donder (not Donner), which means thunder, was the original name of the reindeer who helped pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. He was paired with Blitzen, whose name means lightning.

The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was written specifically as a sales gimmick for the Montgomery Ward Company in 1939 by one of their  HYPERLINK “http://www.netglimse.com/holidays/yule/trivia_.shtml” \o “http://www.netglimse.com/holidays/yule/trivia_.shtml#” \t “_top” employees, Robert L. May. The little book was given freely to every customer who shopped there during the holiday season.

The candy cane first gained popularity in churches, where it was given as a treat to children who behaved themselves during services.

Eggnog wasn’t always the creamy, rich drink we know today. It’s a derivation of a seventeenth century ale called “nog”? The Irish celebrated each Christmas Eve by drinking a pint or so, for in their country all pubs were closed on Christmas Day.

Gingerbread houses became popular holidays gifts during the 19th century after The Brothers Grimm released the story of Hansel & Gretel.

(http://www.netglimse.com/holidays/yule/trivia_.shtml (Christmas))

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA AND FUN FACTS:

There’s no other holiday like Christmas. Many of us celebrate the holidays without knowing how our traditions got started or what they signify. Christmas is much more fun when you know some facts behind the holiday.

Most of these facts are very interesting and reminds us that there is quite a bit of history behind our family customs. Try using the trivia to make your own Christmas quiz for holiday parties and add a unique touch with personal favorites.

Christmas Holiday Trivia:

The word Christmas is Old English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass.
The first president to decorate the white house Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce.
Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
The first Christmas cards were vintage and invented in 1843, the Victorian Era.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.
“Rudolph” was actually created by Montgomery Ward in the late 1930’s for a holiday promotion. The rest is history.
“The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet.
“Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you would receive 364 presents.
The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s.
Holly berries are poisonous.
Contrary to common belief, poinsettia plants are non-toxic.
In 1843, “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens in just six weeks.
The first state to recognize the Christmas holiday officially was Alabama
Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.
Coca Cola was the first beverage company to use Santa for a winter promotion.
An angel told Mary she was going to have a baby.
Clearing up a common misconception, in Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word “X-Mas” comes from. Not because someone took the “Christ” out of Christmas.
Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany.
More diamonds are sold around Christmas than any other time of the year.
In Mexico, wearing red underwear on New Year’s Eve is said to bring new love in the upcoming year.

(http://www.christmas-celebrations.com/trivia.htm)

Due to the time zones, Santa has 31 hours to deliver gifts? This means that he would have to visit 832 homes each second!

The biggest selling Christmas single of all time is Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.

According to a 1995 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.

(http://www.twinklebulbs.com/trivia.htm  (Christmas)

TRAVEL TIPS . . . (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

PET OWNERS BEWARE OF PET SITTERS:

Throughout the pet care industry, pet sitting has become one of the fastest growing home businesses in America. Be aware that many pet sitters aren’t qualified for the job they’re promising. Make sure your pet sitter is trained by one of the national pet sitting organizations, such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. When hiring a pet sitter, they recommend that you develop a list of questions, ask for references, and request proof of bonding and liability insurance. Also make sure he or she gets along well with your pet!  Notify the sitter about your pet’s routines for eating, sleeping, walking and playing, and if your pet has any health problems, or even special hiding places.

(Peter Greenberg is North America’s preeminent expert on Travel. An Emmy Award-Winning writer and producer, Peter is the Travel Editor for NBC’S “TODAY SHOW,” MSNBC and CNBC. A Best-Selling author of the “Travel Detective” series and host of the nationally syndicated “Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show.” Visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM” \o “http://www.petergreenbergworldwide.com/” http://WWW.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM to learn more about Peter Greenberg and his adventures.)

BIRTHDAYS . . .

December 24th:
—1809  Frontiersman/Soldier Christopher “Kit” Carson (d. 5-23-1868)
—1822  Poet/Essayist Matthew Arnold (d. 4-15-1888)
—1905  Millionaire Howard Robard Hughes (d. 4-5-1976)
—1922  Actress Ava Gardner (d. 1-25-1990)
—1926  Lee Dorsey (“Workin In The Coal Mine”) (d. 12-1-1986)
—1930  Choreographer Robert Joffrey
—1931  Actress Jill Bennett (The Nanny)
—1931  Author Mary Higgins Clark (Where Are the Children?)
—1945  Author/Director Nicholas Meyer (The Canary Trainer)
—1945  Musician Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister (Motorhead)
—1946  Musician Jan Akkerman (Focus)
—1957  Musician Ian Burden (Human League) (“Don’t You Want Me”)
⎯1966  Actor Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show)
⎯1971  Singer Ricky Martin
⎯1974  TV Host Ryan Seacrest

December 25th:
—1642  Mathematician/Scientist Sir Isaac Newton (d. 3-20-1727)
—1821  Nurse/Philanthropist Clara Barton (d. 4-12-1912)
—1899  Actor Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca) (d. 1-14-1957)
—1907  American Singer/Bandleader Cab Calloway (d. 11-18-1994)
—1913  Singer Tony Martin
—1924  Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling (d. 6-28-1975)
—1929  Billy Horton – lead singer of The Silhouettes (“Get A Job”) (d. 1995)
—1929  Chris Kenner (“I Like It Like That”)
—1937  Musician O’Kelly Isley (The Isley Brothers) (“Twist And Shout”)  (d. 3-31-1986)
—1943  Actress Hanna Schygulla (The Marriage of Maria Braun)
—1944  Musician Henry Vestine (Canned Heat) (“On The Road Again”)
—1945  Football’s Ken Stabler
—1945  Guitarist Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience) (“Foxy Lady”) (d. 5-12-03)
—1945  Actor Gary Sandy (WKRP In Cincinnati)
—1946  Football’s Larry Csonka
—1946  Musician Jimmy Buffett (“Margaritaville”)
—1948  Singer Merry Clayton
—1948  Singer Barbara Ann Mandrell
—1949  Actress Mary Elizabeth “Sissy” Spacek (Coal Miner’s Daughter)
—1954  Musician Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
—1954  Musician Robin Campbell (UB40)
—1958  Singer Shane McGowan (The Pogues)
—1958  Baseball’s Rickey Henderson
⎯1962  Actor Norm McDonald  (Norm Show)

December 26th:
—1738  Signer of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Nelson (d. 1-4-1789)
—1914  Actor Richard Widmark (Madigan) (d. 3-24-2008)
—1921  Comedian Steve Allen (The Steve Allen Show) (d. 10-30-00)
—1927  Actor/Comedian Alan King (Memories of Me) (d. 5-9-2004)
—1930  Actor Donald Moffat (Clear & Present Danger)
—1935  Singer Abdul Fakir (The Four Tops) (“I Can’t Help Myself”)
—1940  Producer Phil Spector
—1946  Bob Carpenter – keyboards for The Dirt Band (“Make a Little Magic”)
—1947  Baseball’s Carlton Fisk
—1948  Baseball’s Chris Chambliss
—1951  British Disc Jockey Richard Skinner
—1954  Baseball’s Ozzy Smith
—1954   Dogsled racer Susan Butcher
⎯1971  Actor Jared Leto (My So Called Life)
⎯1979  Singer Chris Daughty

December 27th:
—1822  Chemist/Bacteriologist Louis Pasteur (d. 9-28-1895)
—1879  Actor Sydney Greenstreet (d.)
—1901  Actress Marlene Dietrich (d. 5-6-1992)
—1915  Physician William Howell Masters (Masters & Johnson) (d. 2-16-01)
—1926  Psychologist/Author Lee Salk (d. 5-2-1992)
—1931  Scotty Moore – Elvis’s guitarist (“Hound Dog”)
—1935  Fashion Designer Bernard Lanvin
—1939  Actor John Amos (Men In Trees)
—1941  Musician Mike Pinder (Moody Blues) (“Nights In White Satin”)
—1941  Keyboardist Les Maguire (Gerry & The Pacemakers) (“Ferry Cross The Mersey”)
—1944  Musician Mick Jones (Foreigner) (“Waiting For A Girl Like You”)
—1948  Actor Gerard Depardieu (My Father The Hero)
—1948  Larry Byrom – guitarist for Steppenwolf (“Who Needs Ya”)
—1950  Musician Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons)
—1952  Musician David Knopfler (Dire Straits)
—1952  Actress Tovah Feldshuh (Holocaust)
⎯1966  Actress Eva La Rue (CSI: Miami)

December 28th:
—1763  Brewer John Molson (d. 1-11-1836)
—1856  28th President Woodrow Wilson (d. 2-3-1924)
—1908  Actor Lew Ayres (Advise and Consent) (d. 12-30-1996)
—1913  Actor Lou Jacobi (Irma La Douce)
⎯1914  Singer/Musician “Pops” Staples (d. 12-19-2000)
—1922  Artist/Writer Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee
—1931  Actor Martin Milner (Adam-12)
—1932  Writer Manuel Puig (Kiss Of The Spider Woman)
—1932  Musician Dorsey Burnette (There Was a Tall Oak Tree) (d. 8-19-1979)
—1934  Actress Maggie Smith (Room with A View)
—1938  Saxophonist Charles Neville (The Neville Brothers)
—1946  Golfer Hubert Green III
—1946  Musician Edgar Winter (Frankenstein)
—1947  Bassist Dick Diamonde (The Easybeats)
—1947  Baseball’s Aurelio Rodriguez
—1950  Musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops)
—1953  Musician Richard Clayderman
—1954  Actor Denzel Washington (The Preacher’s Wife)
—1958  Football’s Carlos Carson
⎯1958  Country Singer Joe Diffie (“Home”)
—1963  Musician Aaron Davidson (Modern English)
⎯1978  R&B singer John Legend

December 29th:
—1808  17th President Andrew Johnson (d. 7-31-1875)
—1876  Cellist Pablo Casals (d. 10-22-1973)
—1920  Actress Viveca Lindfors (d. 10-25-1995)
—1922  Novelist William Gaddis (d. 12-16-1998)
—1934  Actor Ed Flanders (St. Elsewhere) (d. 2-22-1995)
—1934  Journalist Thomas Edwin Jarriel
—1934  Actress Inga Swenson (Benson)
—1936  Actress Mary Tyler Moore 
—1938  Actor Jon Voight (Coming Home)
—1939  Country Singer/Songwriter Ed Bruce
—1942  Musician Ray Thomas (Moody Blues)
—1944  Baseball’s Ken Rudolph
—1946  Singer Marianne Faithfull (As Tears Go By)
—1947  Actor Ted Danson (Becker)
—1947  Drummer Cozy Powell (Whitesnake) (d. 4-5-1998)
—1952  Ballet Dancer Gelsey Kirkland
—1959  Football’s Mervyn Fernandez
—1959  Comedienne Paula Poundstone
⎯1972  Actor Jude Law

December 30th:
—1865  Poet/Novelist Rudyard Kipling (d. 1-18-1936)
—1911  Actress Jeanette Nolan (d. 6-5-1998)
—1914  TV Host Bert Parks (Miss America) (d. 2-2-1992)
—1922  Actress Jo Van Fleet (East Of Eden) (d. 6-10-1996)
—1928  Singer/Songwriter Bo Diddley (“Who Do You Love”)
—1930  Actor Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-O) (d. 1-21-1998)
⎯1931  Singer Skeeter Davis (d. 9-19-2004)
—1935  Baseball’s Sandy Koufax
—1935  Actor Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story)
—1937  Musician Paul Stookey (The Wedding Song)
—1938  Actor Joseph Bologna (Chapter Two)
—1939  Musician Del Shannon (Runaway) (d. 2-8-1990)
—1942  Musician Michael Nesmith (The Monkees)
—1946  Actor/Singer Davy Jones (The Monkees)
⎯1946  Drummer Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull)
—1947  Musician Jeff Lynne (Traveling Wilburys)
—1947  Musician John Hartford
—1951  Singer Chris Jasper (Isley Brothers)
—1951  Singer Yvonne Elliman (“If I Can’t Have You”)
⎯1953  TV/Talk Host Meredith Vieira (The Today Show)
—1957  News Anchor Matt Lauer (The Today Show)
—1959  Actress/Comedian Tracey Ullman
⎯1971  Actor Daniel Sunjata (“Franco” Rescue Me)
—1975  Golf’s Tiger Woods
⎯1982  Actress Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
⎯1984  Basketball’s LeBron James (Cleveland Cavs)

December 31st:
—1904  Violinist Nathan Milstein
—1905  Composer Julie Styne
—1920  Singer/Actor Rex “Arizona Cowboy” Allen (d. 12-17-1999)
—1930  Folk Singer Odetta (Homes)
—1937  Actor Anthony Hopkins (Legends of the Fall)
—1938  Actress Rosalind Cash (Uptown Saturday Night) (d. 10-31-1995)
—1941  Actress Sarah Miles (Hope and Glory)
—1942  Musician Andy Summers (The Police)
—1943  Musician John Denver (Calypso) (d. 10-12-1997)
—1943  Actor Ben Kingsley (Gandhi)
—1943  Bassist Pete Quaife (The Kinks “You Really Got Me”)
—1945  Actress Barbara Carrera (Dallas)
—1945  Fashion Designer Diane Holfin von Furstenberg
—1946  Singer Patti Smith
—1947  Musician Burton Cummings (The Guess Who)
—1948  Actor Tim Matheson (Animal House)
—1948  Singer Donna Summer (“Last Dance”)
—1953  Actor James Remar (48HRS.)
⎯1951  Bassist Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)
⎯1958  Actress Bebe Neuwirth (“Lillith” Frasier)
—1959  Actor Val Kilmer (Batman)
—1961  Musician Scott Taylor (Then Jerico)
—1973  Singer Joe McIntyre (New Kids On The Block)

THIS DAY IN HISTORY . . .

December 24th:
This is CHRISTMAS EVE. (There are two important services we can render for our listener. (1) Find out how late stores plan to stay open — downtown, the shopping malls and convenience stores. (2) We have one final chance to convince him or her that our lives may depend on NOT drinking and driving tonight. Your creativity could save a life).
 —1492  Christopher Columbus struck a reef in the Caribbean and totaled the Santa Maria.
—1818  The music for “Silent Night” was composed.
—1865  A group of former Confederate Army officers met in Giles County, Tennessee, to form a fraternity dedicated to the ideals of “chivalry, humanity, patriotism.” It was originally called the Kyklos (from the Greek word for circle) Klan. The group flourished for a few years and then died out. The modern-day Klan was a later invention.
—1944  During the battle of the Bulge, a U.S. contingent suddenly found itself surrounded by German forces. Given an ultimatum to surrender or die, General Anthony C. McAuliffe replied with one of the greatest come-backs in military history, “Nuts!”
—1948  TV premiere of “The Perry Como Show.”
—1953  The first network program to be sponsored is “Dragnet.”
—1954  R & B artist Johnny Ace fatally shoots himself while allegedly playing Russian Roulette.
—1960  The Philadelphia Orphans court raises Chubby Checker’s weekly allowance from $150 to $200 as “The Twist” maintains massive popularity.
—1961  The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is the top single in the US.
—1972  Police stop a concert by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band because of “excessive” noise levels and a curfew. Angry fans riot for nearly two hours.
—1974  James Taylor, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, and Joni Mitchell sing Christmas carols on the streets f Hollywood.
⎯1990  Actor Tom Cruise married (actress) Nicole Kidman. 
⎯1995  Fire breaks at Philadelphia Zoo killing 23 rare gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and lemurs

December 25th:
MERRY CHRISTMAS! According to tradition, Jesus of Nazareth was born on this day in Bethlehem, although there is no historical evidence actually placing the day, month, season or year. Differing authorities place the birth of Jesus anywhere between 20 and 4 BCE. However, biblical scholars note that King Herod, during whose reign he was born, died in 4 BCE, and there is credible evidence that the census mentioned in the Gospel According to Luke occurred in 6 BCE. Early Christians did have a celebration of Jesus’ birth, but the date was not fixed to coincide (approximately) with the solstice until the fourth century — when church fathers apparently wanted to wean the faithful away from the many pagan celebrations going on at that time of year.
—1642  Sir Isaac Newton was born in England (d. 1727). He discovered the law of gravity when an apple fell from a tree under which he was resting and hit him on the head.
—1659  In one of the milder manifestations of Puritanism, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a law making it a crime to celebrate Christmas.
—1776  George Washington led his troops across the Delaware River into New Jersey and surprised the Hessians in what would become a turning point in the Revolutionary war. The event will be reenacted today at Washington Crossing Historical Park in Pennsylvania.
—1818  “Silent Night” was performed for the first time, in the Austrian village of Oberndorff. Pop quiz: for what instrument was the song originally composed? Answer: the guitar!
—1950  TV premiere of “The Steve Allen Show.”  This was the first of many for this talented actor/comedian that he hosted.
—1959  Ringo Starr receives his first set of drums for Christmas.
—1967  Paul McCartney announces his engagement to Jane Asher.
—1981  The J. Geils Band plays a special show at Boston’s Norfolk prison.

December 26th:
KWANZA (December 26-January 1) — American Black family observation (since 1966) in recognition of the traditional African harvest festivals.
 Today is also BOXING DAY, NATIONAL WHINER’S DAY and SAINT STEPHEN’S DAY.
—1492  Christopher Columbus founded the first European settlement in the New World, naming it “La Navidad” (the Nativity), in what is now Haiti.
—1776  Having crossed the Delaware on Christmas night, George Washington and his men surprised the comfortably sedated Hessian troops at Trenton, New Jersey.
—1799  In his eulogy for Washington (who had died on 12/14), Henry Lee called him “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,”
—1865  James Nason of Franklin, Mass. introduced the world’s first coffee percolator
—1898  French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the element radium, for which they later won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
—1962  The Rolling Stones play their first London concert, at the Piccadilly Club.
—1967  The Beatles first self-directed film “Magical Mystery Tour” premieres on the BBC.
—1968  Led Zeppelin arrives in the US for its first American tour.
—1970  “My Sweet Lord” from George Harrison is the top single in the US.
⎯1996  JonBenet Ramsey (b. August 6, 1990) body found murdered in her home, (Boulder, CO) by her father.  As of today the murder remains unsolved.  JonBenet is laid to rest in Georgia next to her mother, Patsy who died in 2006.

December 27th:
MOON PHASE: NEW MOON (7:22am EST)
—1822  Louis Pasteur was born in Dole, France. He was the father of microbiology and the first to prove that diseases are caused by germs (d. 9-28-1895).
—1845  Dr. C.W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia became the first to use ether as an anesthetic in childbirth … on his wife.
—1927  “Showboat,” the first modern musical comedy, premiered on Broadway.
—1932  New York’s Radio City Music Hall opened for business.
—1947  TV premiere of the first popular children’s show “Howdy Doody.”
—1964  The Supremes make their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
—1968  Jimi Hendrix appears on the “Lulu Show.” Cameras cut away when he does an unscheduled version  of “Sunshine Of Your Love.”
—1971  Sonny & Cher nab a variety show on CBS-TV after a successful summer replacement series.
—1978  Chris Bell, founding member of Big Star, dies when he crashes his car into a telephone pole near his home in Memphis.
—1978  The Cars’ debut album goes gold.
—1980  “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon is the top single in the US and Britain.
—1982  Billy Joel plays a special concert in Allentown, PA. Residents honored Joel for naming a song after their town.
—1987  At a screening of Eddie Murphy’s “Raw,” a man shoots the woman behind him after her friend asks him to sit down. Theater owner says it could just as easily have happened during “Cinderella.”
⎯2000  Canadian born Mario Lemeiux (born 10-5-1965) returned to National Hockey League (Pittsburgh Penguins) after 3 years of retirement.  He was the first owner-player in the modern era of pro-sports.  He purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins during his retirement.

December 28th:
—1732  The Pennsylvania Gazette carried the first known advertisement of the first issue of Poor Richard’s Almanack.
—1832  John C. Calhoun became the first (though not the last) vice president to resign his office. He had been simultaneously elected as vice president and senator from South Carolina, and chose working in the Senate over the White House, so he could devote his full time to the causes of states’ rights and slavery.
—1846  Iowa became the 29th state.  The state capital is Des Moines, state flower wild rose, state tree is oak.
—1860  William Semple of Ohio received a patent for his bright idea . . .chewing gum.
—1959  “Why” by Frankie Avalon is the top single in the US.
—1968  The Doors’ “Touch Me” is released.
—1971  The Who’s Keith Moon hosts a Sha Na Na concert wearing a gold lame suit.
—1975  In Detroit, a man points a .44 at performing Ted Nugent. The singer and band members hide behind amps while police apprehend the gunman.
—1981  Elizabeth Carr was born in a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. She is America’s first “test-tube baby.”
—1983  Beach Boy Dennis Wilson drowns to death in Marina Del Ray, CA.
—1986  The Knack attempt a comeback at LA’s Roxy. LA Times writes “New Knack attack misfires.”
⎯1993  Singer Shania Twain & Robert John “Mutt” Lange were married.

December 29th:
Today is  TICK TOCK DAY (time runs out, all those dreams you’ve had, it’s time, do it)
—1800  Charles Goodyear was born in New Haven. He was the man who invented vulcanization.
—1845  Texas joined the Union as the 28th State. The capital is Austin, state flower bluebonnet, state tree Pecan
—1848  The first gas lamps were installed in the White House by President James Polk.
—1851  The first YMCA in the U.S. was organized in Boston.
—1890  The last major armed conflict between U.S. troops and Native Americans took place, after 200 Indian men, women and children, who were being held captive by the Army, were executed in the Battle (or Massacre, depending on who’s telling it) of Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
—1956  Guy Mitchell’s “Singing The Blues” is the top single in the US.
—1975  Jefferson Starship members Paul Kanter and Grace Slick break up after living together for seven years.
—1978  “Beatlemania” hits its 700th performance.
—1979  Wings headline at the London Kamphchean benefit concert, with Rockpile and Elvis Costello & the Attractions also on the bill.
—1979  Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle” is the top US single, three months after his death.
—1980  Tim Hardin dies in LA at the age of 39 of “acute heroin-morphine intoxication due to overdose.”
—1982  Jamaica issues a commemorative stamp honoring Bob Marley.
—1988  Morrissey’s free concert in London ends early when police dogs are used to disperse rioting fans who were denied entry.
⎯ 1995  Mr. Holland’s Opus (starring Richard Dreyfuss) was widely released in movie theaters in the USA.

December 30th:
—1817  The first coffee is planted in Hawaii in Kona.
—1853  The U.S. purchased a strip of land from Mexico which would be the last addition of territory to the “Continental United States” (so far). The Gadsden Purchase, along the southern borders of New Mexico and Arizona, was needed for the route of the first transcontinental railroad.
—1862  The Union’s first iron-clad warship, the Monitor, which had battled the Confederacy’s Merrimack to a stand-off, sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras.
—1940  The Arroyo Seco Parkway, (California’s first freeway) connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena, was officially opened.
—1951  TV premiere of “The Roy Rogers Show” with wife Dale Evans.
—1962  In Nashville, Brenda Lee is injured in an unsuccessful attempt to save her poodle Cee Cee from her burning home.
—1963  The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was released in England, and sold three million copies in the first three weeks.
—1963  TV premiere of the Monty Hall hosted game show “Let’s Make A Deal.”
—1963  Congress authorized the Kennedy half-dollar following John F. Kennedy’s assassination in November.
—1966  The Monkees “I’m A Believer” is released in England.
—1974  The Beatles’ partnership is officially dissolved. Four years to the day after Paul McCartney sued his bandmates to dissolve the partnership.
—1979  Emerson, Lake, & Palmer announce they’ll no longer record together.
—1980  “The Wonderful World of Disney” was cancelled by NBC after more than 25 years on the air. It was the longest-running series in prime time television history.
—1980  The Beach Boys were honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.
⎯1991  Singer Bruce Springsteen & his wife Patti welcomed to the world their second child Jessica Rae.

December 31st:
NEW YEAR’S EVE. Do you know who’s giving out free coffee and donuts, and where? Can you tell your listeners about any particular areas of concentration by state and local police? Remember, those who aren’t inclined to think seriously about the dangers of drinking and driving aren’t likely to change just because some DJ utters a few clichés, so look for new and creative ways to get him and her thinking about it; make it fun, if you can. Overnight jocks might invite listeners to phone in and say, “I made it home in one piece . . . thank you!”
 This is also LEAP SECOND ADJUSTMENT TIME and MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY
—1781  The first modern bank in the US, the Bank of North America, was organized by Robert Morris and received its charter from the Confederation Congress. It began operations January 7, 1782.
—1849  The first issue of The Lily was published; it was the first U.S. newspaper owned and edited by a woman, for women.
—1879  Thomas A. Edison gave the first public demonstration of his brightest idea yet, the incandescent light bulb.
—1890  Ellis Island, in New York Harbor, opened its doors as a processing center for immigrants. Before it was shut down in 1954, more than 20 million new Americans had passed through its gates.
—1899  Eva Mudge became the first woman in the U.S. to drive a motorcar. During a race in New York City, her “Locomobile” skidded on snow and knocked over five spectators.
—1947  Roy Rogers marries Dale Evans.
—1961  The Beach Boys play their first show using that name, in Long Beach, CA.
—1962  TV premiere of “The Match Game” hosted by Gene Rayburn.
—1969  Jimi Hendrix introduces his new, all-black Band Of Gypsys at NY’s Fillmore East.
—1971  The Band record “Rock Of Ages” the double live album, at the NY Academy of Music.
—1972  Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder Roberto Clemente is killed in a plane crash near Puerto Rico while flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
⎯1972  Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve first aired on ABC.
 —1974  Mick Fleetwood calls Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks to ask if they would like to join Fleetwood Mac.
—1974  Free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter signs $3 million Yankee contract.
—1976  The Cars make their concert debut with a show in New Hampshire.
—1978  Bill Graham closes the Winterland Theater in San Francisco, with the Grateful Dead and the Blues Brothers performing on the closing night.
—1982  Miami Steve Van Zandt marries Maureen Santora in Asbury Park, NJ, with Bruce Springsteen as best man. Little Richard performs the ceremony and Percy Sledge sings “When A Man Loves A Woman” at the reception.
—1982  One of New York City’s longest running rock clubs, Max’s Kansas City closes. Max’s was the hang out for various artists and musicians including Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground in the last 60s. Devo made its first New York debut, introduced by David Bowie in 1976 and a young unknown Bruce Springsteen played solo acoustic sets in the early 70s, opening for Bob Marley Y the Wailers.
—1984  Rick Allen, Def Leppard drummer, is hurt in a car crash which requires the amputation of his left arm.
—1984  The nation’s first mandatory seat belt law went into effect in New York state at midnight.
—1985  Rick Nelson and six others are killed in a plane crash outside of Dallas. Included in the crash was Nelson’s fiancé, Helen Blair. Nelson was 45. His band was called the Stone Canyon Band.
—1985  Over 54,500 people played kazoos in downtown Rochester, New York, on this day. “A Bicycle Built for Two” was the song and it got the crowd listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for “The Most Kazoo-ers’.
⎯2000  Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson married actress Kate Hudson (Goldie Hawn’s daughter) in Aspen, CO.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!
“Merry Christmas” in as many languages as we could find!
Afrikaans – een plesierige kerfees
Arabic – I’d millad said oua sana saida
Argentine – Felices Pasquas Y felices ano Nuevo
Armenian – Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
Azeri – Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
Basque – Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
Bohemian – Vesele Vanoce
Brazilian – Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
Breton – Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
Bulgarian – Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
Chinese – (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan’Gung Haw Sun
Cornish – Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth
Cree – Mitho Makosi Kesikansi
Croatian – Sretan Bozic
Czech – Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok
Danish – Gldelig Jul
Dutch – Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!
English – Merry Christmas
Esperanto – Gajan Kristnaskon
Estonian – Ruumsaid juulup|hi
Farsi – Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad
Finnish – Hyvaa joulua
French – Joyeux Noel
Frisian – Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!
German – Froehliche Weihnachten
Greek – Kala Christouyenna!
Hawaiian – Mele Kalikimaka
Hebrew – Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova
Hindi – Shub Naya Baras
Hungarian – Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket
Icelandic – Gledileg Jol
Indonesian – Selamat Hari Natal
Iraqi – Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Irish – Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Italian – Buone Feste Natalizie
Japanese – Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto
Korean – Sung Tan Chuk Ha
Latvian – Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!
Lithuanian – Linksmu Kaledu
Manx – Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa
Maori – Meri Kirihimete
Marathi – Shub Naya Varsh
Navajo – Merry Keshmish
Norwegian – God JulPennsylvania
German – En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!
Polish – Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
Portuguese – Boas Festas
Rapa-Nui – Mata-Ki-Te-Rangi. Te-Pito-O-Te-Henua
Rumanian – Sarbatori vesele
Russian – Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom
Serbian – Hristos se rodi
Slovakian – Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce
Sami – Buorrit Juovllat
Samoan – La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou
Scots Gaelic – Nollaig chridheil huibh
Serb-Croatian – Sretam Bozic. Vesela Nova Godina
Singhalese – Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa
Slovak – Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok
Slovene – Vesele Bozicne. Screcno Novo Leto
Spanish – Feliz Navidad
Swedish – God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt =C5r
Tagalog – Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon
Tamil – Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal
Thai – Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish – Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian – Srozhdestvom Kristovym
Urdu – Naya Saal Mubarak Ho
Vietnamese – Chung Mung Giang Sinh
Welsh – Nadolig Llawen
Yugoslavian – Cestitamo Bozic
Papua New Guinea – Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu.
Maltese – Il-Milied it-tajjeb
BORN ON CHRISTMAS OR NOT
Arnold Swartznegger (Not)
Sissy Spacek, 1949
Jimmy Buffet, 1946
Mortzart (Not)
Little Richard, 1932
John F. Kennedy (Not)
Rod Serling, 1924
Dick Cheney (Not)
Humprey Bogart, 1899
George Patton (NOT, he was born on Veteran’s Day)
Sir Issac Newton, 1642
Annie Lennox, 1954
Jack Nicholson (Not)
Cab Calloway, 1907
Ricky Henderson, 1958
CHRISTMAS OR HANUKKAH
Here are a few to get you started:
David Lee Roth (Hanukkah)
Heather Locklear (Christmas)
Jerry Seinfeld (Hanukkah)
Ann Landers (Hanukkah)
O.J. Simpson (Christmas)
Billy Crystal (Hanukkah)
Tom Hanks (Christmas)
Cindy Crawford (Christmas)
Rodney Dangerfield (Hanukkah)
Roseanne (Hanukkah)
Jay Leno (Christmas)
Demi Moore (Christmas)
William Shatner (Hanukkah)
Rod Stewart (Christmas)
James Caan (Hanukkah)
Ann Landers (Hanukkah)
Brad Pitt (Christmas)
Henry Winkler (Hanukkah)
Brooke Shields (Christmas)
Sharon Stone (Christmas)
ODD CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
What kind of weird things do you do around the holidays? Do you wait until Christmas Eve to buy your tree? Does Santa wrap your presents or does he leave them out on Christmas morning? Tell us about your crazy holiday rituals.
CHRISTMAS TRIVIA
Wooster, Ohio, saw the introduction of a familiar Christmas item in 1847. What was it? (The Christmas Tree, introduced by the town’s German immigrants)
America’s “Christmas City” is what biblically named Pennsylvania town? (Bethlehem)
If you see a Nacimiento around Christmas in the U.S. Southwest, what are you looking at? (Nativity scene)
How did “America’s Christmas City,” Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, get its name? (Its Moravian settlers had sung a Christmas hymn praising he town of Jesus’ birth; they liked the name, so they used it)
CHRISTMAS FACTS
“Hot cockles” was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. “Hot cockles” was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.
“White Christmas” (1954), starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, was the first movie to be made in Vista Vision, a deep-focus process.
“The Nutcracker” is the name for the ballet performed around Christmas time each year. “The Nutcracker Suite” is the title of the music Tchaikovsky wrote.
“Wassail” comes from the Old Norse “ves heill”–to be of good health. This evolved into the tradition of visiting neighbors on Christmas Eve and drinking to their health.
A Christmas club, a savings account in which a person deposits a fixed amount of money regularly to be used at Christmas for shopping, came about around 1905.
According to a 1995 survey, 7 out of 10 British dogs get Christmas gifts from their doting owners.
According to historical accounts, the first Christmas in the Philippines was celebrated 200 years before Ferdinand Magellan discovered the country for the western world, likely between the years 1280 and 1320 AD.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year; 25 percent of them are from the nation’s 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.
After “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original.
Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday. This tradition began in 1836.
American billionaire Ross Perot tried to airlift 28 tons of medicine and Christmas gifts to American POW’s in North Vietnam in 1969.
America’s official national Christmas tree is located in King’s Canyon National Park in California. The tree, a giant sequoia called the
An artificial spider and web are often included in the decorations on Ukrainian Christmas trees. A spider web found on Christmas morning is believed to bring good luck.
An average household in America will mail out 28 Christmas cards each year and see 28 eight cards return in their place.
As early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. was worried by the amount of extra mail at Christmas time. His preferred solution to the problem was to limit by law the number of cards a person could send. Even though commercial cards were not available at that time, people were already sending so many homemade cards that sixteen extra postmen had to be hired in the city.
At Christmas, Ukrainians prepare a traditional twelve-course meal. A family’s youngest child watches through the window for the evening star to appear, a signal that the feast can begin.
At lavish Christmas feasts in the Middle Ages, swans and peacocks were sometimes served “endored.” This meant the flesh was painted with saffron dissolved in melted butter. In addition to their painted flesh, endored birds were served wrapped in their own skin and feathers, which had been removed and set aside prior to roasting.
California, Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina are the top Christmas tree producing states. Oregon is the leading producer of Christmas trees – 8.6 million in 1998.
Christmas Day in the Ukraine can be celebrated on either December 25, in faithful alliance with the Roman Catholic Gregorian calendar, or on January 7, which is the Orthodox or Eastern Rite (Julian calendar), the church holy day.
Christmas is a summer holiday in South Africa. Children are fond of the age-old custom of producing pantomimes – for instance, “Babes in the Wood,” founded on one of the oldest ballads in the English language. Boxing Day on December 26th, when boxes of food and clothing are given to the poor, is observed as a holiday.
Christmas is not widely celebrated in Scotland. Some historians believe that Christmas is downplayed in Scotland because of the influence of the Presbyterian Church (or Kirk), which considered Christmas a “Papist,” or Catholic event. As a result, Christmas in Scotland tends to be somber.
Christmas presents were known in antiquity among kings and chieftains, especially on the European continent. However, they have been common among ordinary people in Iceland only during the past 100 or so years.
Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.
Christmas trees are known to have been popular in Germany as far back as the sixteenth century. In England, they became popular after Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, who came from Germany, made a tree part of the celebrations at Windsor Castle. In the United States, the earliest known mention of a Christmas tree is in the diary of a German who settled in Pennsylvania.
Christmas was once a moveable feast celebrated at many different times during the year. The choice of December 25, was made by Pope Julius I, in the 4th century AD, because this coincided with the pagan rituals of Winter Solstice, or Return of the Sun. The intent was to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one.
Cultured Christmas trees must be shaped as they grow to produce fuller foliage. To slow the upward growth and to encourage branching, they are hand-clipped in each spring. Trees grown in the wild have sparser branches, and are known in the industry as “Charlie Brown” trees.
During the ancient 12-day Christmas celebration, the log burned was called the “Yule log.” Sometimes a piece of the Yule log would be kept to kindle the fire the following winter, to ensure that the good luck carried on from year to year. The Yule log custom was handed down from the Druids.
During the Christmas buying season, Visa cards alone are used an average of 5,340 times every minute in the United States.
During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.
During World War II it was necessary for Americans to mail Christmas gifts early for the troops in Europe to receive them in time. Merchants joined in the effort to remind the public to shop and mail early and the protracted shopping season was born.
Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in 1895. The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles.
Following Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997, the Ty toy company, famous in the late 1990s for its popular Beanie Baby line of beanbag animals, issued a “Princess” bear in tribute. The royal purple Beanie, bearing an embroidered white rose on its chest, became so desired that at Christmas time, American collectors were willing to spend up to $300 for one on the secondary market.
There are two Christmas Islands. The Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean was formerly called Kiritimati. Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is 52 square miles.
Frankincense is a sweet smelling gum resin derived from certain Boswellia trees which, at the time of Christ, grew in Arabia, India, and Ethiopia. Tradition says that it was presented to the Christ Child by Balthasar, the black king from Ethiopia or Saba. The frankincense trade was at its height during the days of the Roman Empire. At that time this resin was considered as valuable as gems or precious metals. The Romans burned frankincense on their altars and at cremations.
Franklin Pierce was the first United States’ president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree .
Frumenty was a spiced porridge, enjoyed by both rich and poor. It is thought to be the forerunner of modern Christmas puddings. It has its origins in a Celtic legend of the harvest god Dagda, who stirred a porridge made up of all the good things of the Earth.
Frustrated at the lack of interest in his new toy invention, Charles Pajeau hired several midgets, dressed them in elf costumes, and had them play with “Tinker Toys” in a display window at a Chicago department store during the Christmas season in 1914. This publicity stunt made the construction toy an instant hit. A year later, over a million sets of Tinker Toys had been sold.
George Washington spent Christmas night 1776 crossing the Delaware River in dreadful conditions. Christmas 1777 fared little better – at Valley Forge, Washington and his men had a miserable Christmas dinner of Fowl cooked in a broth of Turnips, cabbage and potatoes.
Greeks do not use Christmas trees or give presents at Christmas. A priest may throw a little cross into the village water to drive the kallikantzari (gremlin-like spirits) away. To keep them from hiding in dark, dusty corners, he goes from house to house sprinkling holy water.
Historians have traced some of the current traditions surrounding Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, back to ancient Celtic roots. Father Christmas’s elves are the modernization of the “Nature folk” of the Pagan religions; his reindeer are associated with the “Horned God,” which was one of the Pagan deities.
If traveling in France during the Christmas season, it is interesting to note that different dishes and dining traditions reign in popularity in different parts of the country. In south France, for instance, a Christmas loaf (pain calendeau) is cut crosswise and is eaten only after the first part has been given to a poor person. In Brittany, buckwheat cakes and sour cream is the most popular main dish. In Alsace, a roasted goose is the preferred entrée. In Burgundy, turkey and chestnuts are favored. In the Paris region, oysters are the favorite holiday dish, followed by a cake shaped like a Yule log.
In 1647, the English parliament passed a law that made Christmas illegal. Festivities were banned by Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, who considered feasting and revelry, on what was supposed to be a holy day, to be immoral. The ban was lifted only when the Puritans lost power in 1660.
In 1752, 11 days were dropped from the year when the switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar was made. The December 25, date was effectively moved 11 days backwards. Some Christian church sects, called old calendarists, still celebrate Christmas on January 7 (previously December 25 of the Julian calendar).
In 1907, Oklahoma became the last US state to declare Christmas a legal holiday.
In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria.
In 1947, Toys for Tots started making the holidays a little happier for children by organizing its first Christmas toy drive for needy youngsters.
In 1996, Christmas caroling was banned at two major malls in Pensacola, Florida. Apparently, shoppers and merchants complained the carolers were too loud and took up too much space.
In an effort to solicit cash to pay for a charity Christmas dinner in 1891, a large crabpot was set down on a San Francisco street, becoming the first Salvation Army collection kettle.
In America, the weeks leading up to Christmas are the biggest shopping weeks of the year. Many retailers make up to 70% of their annual revenue in the month preceding Christmas.
In Armenia, the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of fried fish, lettuce, and spinach. The meal is traditionally eaten after the Christmas Eve service, in commemoration of the supper eaten by Mary on the evening before Christ’s birth.
In Britain, eating mince pies at Christmas dates back to the 16th century. It is still believed that to eat a mince pie on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas will bring 12 happy months in the year to follow.
In Britain, the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551, which has not yet been repealed, states that every citizen must attend a Christian church service on Christmas Day, and must not use any kind of vehicle to get to the service.
In Finland and Sweden an old tradition prevails, where the twelve days of Christmas are declared to be time of civil peace by law. It used to be that a person committing crimes during this time would be liable to a stiffer sentence than normal.
In France, Christmas is called Noel. This is derived from the French phrase “les bonnes nouvelles,” which means literally “the good news” and refers to the gospel.
In Greek legend, malicious creatures called Kallikantzaroi (also spelled Kallikantzari) sometimes play troublesome pranks at Christmas time. According to the legend, to get rid of them, you should burn either salt or an old shoe. Apparently the stench of the burning shoe (or salt) drives off the Kallikantzaroi. Other effective methods include hanging a pig’s jawbone by the door and keeping a large fire so they can’t sneak down the chimney.
In Guatemala, Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25; however, Guatemalan adults do not exchange gifts until New Year’s Day. Children get theirs (from the Christ Child) on Christmas morning.
In Medieval England, Nicholas was just another saint – he had not yet been referred to as Santa Claus and he had nothing to do with Christmas.
In North America, children put stockings out at Christmas time. Their Dutch counterparts, however, use shoes. Dutch children set out shoes to receive gifts any time between mid-November and December 5, St. Nicholas’ birthday.
In Norway on Christmas Eve, visitors should know that after the family’s big dinner and the opening of presents, all the brooms in the house are hidden. The Norwegians long ago believed that witches and mischievous spirits came out on Christmas Eve and would steal their brooms for riding.
In Portugal, the traditional Christmas meal (consoada) is eaten in the early hours of Christmas Day. Burning in the hearth is the Yule log (fogueira da consoada). The ashes and charred remains of the Yule log are saved; later in the year, they are burned with pine cones during Portugal’s thunderstorm season. It is believed that no thunderbolt will strike where the Yule log smoke has traveled.
In southern France, some people burn a log in their homes from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day. This stems from an ancient tradition in which farmers would use part of the log to ensure a plentiful harvest the following year.
In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbock. Made from straw, it is a small figurine of a goat. A variety of straw decorations are a usual feature of Scandinavian Christmas festivities.
In Syria, Christmas gifts are distributed by one of the Wise Men’s camels. The gift-giving camel is said to have been the smallest one in the Wise Men’s caravan.
In the British armed forces it is traditional that officers wait on the men and serve them their Christmas dinner. This dates back to a custom from the Middle Ages.
In the Netherlands, Christmas centers on the arrival of Saint Nicholas, who is believed to come on horseback bearing gifts. Before going to bed, children leave out their shoes, hoping to find them filled with sweets when they awaken.
In the Thomas Nast cartoon that first depicted Santa Claus with a sleigh and reindeer, he was delivering Christmas gifts to soldiers fighting in the U.S. Civil War. The cartoon, entitled “Santa Claus in Camp,” appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 3, 1863.
In the Ukraine, a traditional Christmas bread called “kolach” is placed in the center of the dining table. This bread is braided into a ring, and three such rings are placed one on top of the other, with a candle in the center of the top one. The three rings symbolize the Trinity.
In Victorian England, turkeys were popular for Christmas dinners. Some of the birds were raised in Norfolk, and taken to market in London. To get them to London, the turkeys were supplied with boots made of sacking or leather. The turkeys were walked to market. The boots protected their feet from the frozen mud of the road. Boots were not used for geese: instead, their feet were protected with a covering of tar.
It is a British Christmas tradition that a wish made while mixing the Christmas pudding will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.
It is estimated that 400,000 people become sick each year from eating tainted Christmas leftovers.
Jesus Christ, son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable. Caves were used to keep animals in because of the intense heat. A large church is now built over the cave, and people can go down inside the cave. The carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters. Wood was not used as widely as it is today. So whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable — that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.
La Befana, a kindly witch, rides a broomstick down the chimney to deliver toys into the stockings of Italian children. The legends say that Befana was sweeping her floors when the three Wise Men stopped and asked her to come to see the Baby Jesus. “No,” she said, “I am too busy.” Later, she changed her mind but it was too late. So, to this day, she goes out on Christmas Eve searching for the Holy Child, leaving gifts for the “holy child” in each household.
Long before it was used as a “kiss encourager” during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.
Mistletoe, a traditional Christmas symbol, was once revered by the early Britons. It was so sacred that it had to be cut with a golden sickle.
More diamonds are purchased at Christmas-time (31 percent) than during any other holiday or occasion during the year.
More than three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States.
Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin which oozes from gashes cut in the bark of a small desert tree known as Commifera Myrrha or the dindin tree. The myrrh hardens into tear-dropped shaped chunks and is then powdered or made into ointments or perfumes. This tree is about 5-15 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter. Legend says Caspar brought the gift of myrrh from Europe or Tarsus and placed it before the Christ Child. Myrrh was an extremely valuable commodity during biblical times and was imported from India and Arabia.
New York City’s Empire State Building’s world famous tower lights are turned off every night at midnight with the exception of New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and St. Patrick’s Day, when they are illuminated until 3 a.m.
On Christmas Day, 1989, Eastern Europe was permitted to celebrate Christmas freely and openly for the first time in decades. Church masses were broadcast live for the first time in history.
One Norwegian Christmas custom begins in late autumn at harvest time. The finest wheat is gathered and saved until Christmas. This wheat is then attached to poles made from tree branches, making perches for the birds. A large circle of snow is cleared away beneath each perch. According to the Norwegians, this provides a place for the birds to dance, which allows them to work up their appetites between meals. Just before sunset on Christmas Eve, the head of the household checks on the wheat in the yard. If a lot of sparrows are seen dining, it is suppose to indicate a good year for growing crops.
One notable medieval English Christmas celebration featured a giant 165-pound pie. The giant pie was nine feet in diameter. Its ingredients included 2 bushels of flour, 20 pounds of butter, 4 geese, 2 rabbits, 4 wild ducks, 2 woodcocks, 6 snipes, 4 partridges, 2 neats’ tongues, 2 curlews, 6 pigeons, and 7 blackbirds.
Originally, Christmas decorations were home-made paper flowers, or apples, biscuits, and sweets. The earliest decorations to be bought came from Nuremburg in Germany, a city famous for the manufacture of toys. Lauscha in Germany is famous for its glass ornaments. In 1880, America discovered Lauscha and F.W. Woolworth went there and bought a few glass Christmas tree ornaments. Within a day he had sold out so next year he bought more and within a week they, too, had sold. The year after that be bought 200,000 Lauscha ornaments. During the First World War supplies of ornaments from Lauscha ceased, so American manufacturers began to make their own ornaments, developing new techniques that allowed them to turn out as many ornaments in a minute as could be made in a whole day at Lauscha.
Per a November 2000 Gallup poll, 60 percent of Americans thought they would spend at least $500 that year on Christmas gifts. This was a slight drop from 1999 gift-spending.
Postmen in Victorian England were popularly called “robins.” This was because their uniforms were red. The British Post Office grew out of the carrying of royal dispatches. Red was considered a royal color, so uniforms and letter-boxes were red. Christmas cards often showed a robin delivering Christmas mail.
Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message to the nation was televised for the first time on December 25, 1957. For the next 40 years, the BBC aired the event.
Right behind Christmas and Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday ranks as the third-largest occasion for Americans to consume food, according to the National Football League.
Santa’s Reindeers are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.
Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang “Stille Nacht” for the first time.
Since the 1840s, the residents of Pietarsaari, a town on Finland’s coast, have decorated a Christmas street, Storgatan, since the 1840s. Suspended over the street are three large illuminated decorations: a cross symbolizing faith, an anchor representing h
St. Nicholas was bishop of the Turkish town of Myra in the early fourth century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.
Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125-136 AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate “The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour.” In 320 AD, Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.
The “Twelve Days of Christmas” was originally written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs. The “true love” represented God, and the gifts all different ideas: The “Partridge in a pear tree” was Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
The abbreviation of Xmas for Christmas is not irreligious. The first letter of the word Christ in Greek is chi, which is identical to our X. Xmas was originally an ecclesiastical abbreviation that was used in tables and charts.
The Canadian province of Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting lobster, wild blueberries, and Christmas trees.
The Christmas season begins at sundown on 24th December and lasts through sundown on 5th January. For that reason, this season is also known as the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century, but didn’t immediately replace the traditional fare of goose, beef or boar’s head in the rich households.
The custom of singing Christmas carols is very old – the earliest English collection was published in 1521.
The day after Christmas, December 26, is known as Boxing Day. It is also the holy day called The Feast of St. Stephen. Some believe the feast was named for St. Stephen, a 9th century Swedish missionary, the patron saint of horses. Neither Boxing Day or St. Stephen have anything to do with Sweden or with horses. The Stephen for whom the day is named is the one in the Bible (Acts 6-8) who was the first Christian to be martyred for his faith.
The first British monarch to broadcast a Christmas message to his people was King George V.
The first charity Christmas card was produced by UNICEF in 1949. The picture chosen for the card was painted not by a professional artist but by a seven-year-old girl. The girl was Jitka Samkova of Rudolfo, a small town in the former nation of Czechoslovakia. The town received UNICEF assistance after World War II, inspiring Jitka to paint some children dancing around a maypole. She said her picture represented “joy going round and round.”
The first Christmas card was created in England on December 9, 1842.
The first commercial Christmas card sold was designed by London artist John Calcott Horsley. He was hired by a wealthy British man to design a card that showed people feeding and clothing the poor with another picture of a Christmas party. The first Christmas card said, “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you.” Of the original one thousand cards he printed for Henry Cole, only twelve exist today.
The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531.
The movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000) features more than 52,000 Christmas lights, about 8,200 Christmas ornaments, and nearly 2,000 candy canes.
The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.
The northern European custom of the candlelit Christmas tree is derived from the belief that it sheltered woodland spirits when other trees lost their leaves during winter.
The poem commonly referred to as “The Night Before Christmas” was originally titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas.” This poem was written by Clement Moore for his children and some guests, one of whom anonymously sent the poem to a New York newspaper for publication.
The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”. It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.
The popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont, and was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”
The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas carols.
The real St. Nicholas lived in Turkey, where he was bishop of the town of Myra, in the early 4th century. It was the Dutch who first made him into a Christmas gift-giver, and Dutch settlers brought him to America where his name eventually became the familiar Santa Claus.
The Super Ball was born in 1965, and it became America’s most popular plaything that year. By Christmas time, only six months after it was introduced by Wham-O, 7 million balls had been sold at 98 cents apiece. Norman Stingley, a California chemist, invented the bouncing gray ball. In his spare time, he had compressed a synthetic rubber material under 3,500 pounds of pressure per square inch, and eventually created the remarkable ball. It had a resiliency of 92 percent, about three times that of a tennis ball, and could bounce for long periods. It was reported that presidential aide McGeorge Bundy had five dozen Super Balls® shipped to the White House for the amusement of staffers.
The table for Christmas Eve dinner in the Ukraine is set with two tablecloths: one for the ancestors of the family, the other for the living members. In pagan times, ancestors were believed to be benevolent spirits who, when shown respect, brought good fortune.
The tradition of Christmas lights dates back to when Christians were persecuted for saying Mass. A simple candle in the window meant that Mass would be celebrated there that night.
The traditional flaming Christmas pudding dates back to 1670 in England, and was derived from an earlier form of stiffened plum porridge.
The world’s first singing commercial aired on the radio on Christmas Eve, 1926 for Wheaties cereal. The four male singers, eventually known as the Wheaties Quartet, sang the jingle. The Wheaties Quartet, comprised of an undertaker, a bailiff, a printer, and a businessman, performed the song for the next six years, at $6 per singer per week. The commercials were a resounding success.
Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.
There are twelve courses in the Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper. According to the Christian tradition, each course is dedicated to one of Christ’s apostles.
When Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island, died on December 4, 1894, he willed his November 13 birthday to a friend who disliked her own Christmas birthday.
The common abbreviation for Christmas to Xmas is derived from the Greek alphabet. X is letter Chi, which is the first letter of Christ’s name in the Greek alphabet.
Oliver Cromwell, in England banned Christmas Carols between 1649 and 1660. Cromwell thought that Christmas should be a very solemn day so he banned carols and parties. The only celebration was by a sermon and a prayer service.
In 1643, the British Parliament officially abolishes the celebration of Christmas.
The Puritans in America tried to make Thanksgiving Day the most important annual festival instead of Christmas.
Silent Night was written in 1818, by an Austrian priest Joseph Mohr. He was told the day before Christmas that the church organ was broken and would not be prepared in time for Christmas Eve. He was saddened by this and could not think of Christmas without music, so he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music. He sat down and wrote three stanzas. Later that night the people in the little Austrian Church sang “Stille Nacht” for the first time.
St. Francis of Assisi introduced Christmas Carols to formal church services.
Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome (125-136 AD) declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate “The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour.” In 320 AD, Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified 25 December as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ.
26 December was traditionally known as St Stephen’s Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. This expression came about because money was collected in alms-boxes placed in churches during the festive season. This money was then distributed during to the poor and needy after Christmas.
Melbourne, Australia has a sporting Boxing Day tradition. The Melbourne Cricket Ground hosts a Cricket test match. Sometimes this attracts 90, 000 spectators. Cricket is Australia’s premier Summer sport.
The first printed reference to Christmas trees appeared in Germany in 1531
Tom Smith who owned a sweet shop in London was the originator of the cracker. In the 1840s Tom found that people like sugar almonds, but while he was in France he discovered a variety of sweets wrapped up in a twist of paper. These bonbons were popular, so Tom decided to copy them. When Tom noticed that young men were buying them to give to their sweethearts he began to place “love mottoes” on small slips of paper inside the sweet wrapping.
In 1846 Tom’s thoughts turned towards Christmas – instead of sweets he thought he would place toys and novelties inside the twisted wrapping. He experimented with this and the idea of producing a wrapping that could be pulled apart – just like the cracker as we know it today.
The word carol is derived from the old French word caroller which derives from the Latin choraula. This itself was derived from the Greek choraules.
In Switzerland during the Reformation, al instrumental and choral music was banned from churches. In Germany, disapproval of carols resulted in some being converted into hymns.
Tinsel on the Christmas Tree is attributed to a woman whose husband died. She was left to bring up a large family of children herself. She was left to do everything working so hard and she was determined to make a happy time for them at Christmas. She prepared a Christmas Tree to surprise them on Christmas Day. Unfortunately spiders visited the tree, and crawled from branch to branch, making webs all over it. The Christ Child saw the tree and knew she would be devastated to find this on Christmas morning. He changed the spiders’ webs to shining silver.
The first church the Dutch built in New York City was named in St Nicholas’ honour — St. Nicholas Church.
Many Christmas customs are carryovers from pre-Christian celebrations. Hanging gifts on trees is supposed to stem from tree worship of the Druids, and the belief that the tree was the giver of all good things. The Druids are also partly responsible for the use of mistletoe at Christmastime. They regarded the mistletoe as sacred, made certain that it never touched the ground, and dedicated it to the Goddess of Love, which explains the kissing that goes on under it. Originally, when a boy kissed a girl, he plucked a berry from the cluster and presented it to her. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses.
THE CHRISTMAS LIST
A book full of seasonal statistics called “The Christmas List” has some surprising numbers such as…
569 American children were hospitalized in 1997 for ingesting Christmas ornaments.
Another Christmas number-cruncher: 34,335,809 real Christmas trees are displayed in the average holiday season compared to 40,694,463 fake trees.
Eight states have a town called Santa Claus.
Twenty-thousand Salvation Army kettles are placed out each year and bell-ringers spend 4.6 million hours monitoring the kettles.
5,340 Visa cards are swiped in America each minute between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Four million tons of wrapping paper trash is collected each year.
PICTURE PERFECT
Experts at Eastman Kodak have these camera tips to snap a picture perfect holiday:
Discourage family and friends from wearing white, the worst color to be photographed in. Vibrant shades are best.
Use “fast film” labeled 400 when photographing the tree and other holiday light displays.
Stock up on fresh film and batteries ahead of time so you’ll be ready for those unexpected magic moments.
Avoid boring posed shots. Be a roving candid-camera photographer who catches people in action rather than standing rigid with frozen smiles.
For a great group picture, pull the living room sofa out several feet from the wall. Arrange kids on the floor, grand folks seated on the couch and adults standing behind for a three-tiered effect.
Tall subjects, like Christmas trees, should be photographed vertically. The buffet table horizontally.
Pictures look their post professional if you get the right angel. Kneel down when taking kid’s photos so you’re at their level. Fill the frame with your subject by getting them in your sights, then moving a step or two closer to eliminate background clutter.
Give everybody his or her own personal use camera for the day you’ll wind up with a wonderful assortment of pictures of different subjects from different angles. The share the best efforts among family and friends.
THE CHRISTMAS CAROL GAME
Each of these synonyms is a common Christmas song or saying. How many can you translate?
Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief. (Oh Come All Ye Faithful)
Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds. (Hark The Herald Angels Sing)
Nocturnal time-span of unbroken quietness. (Silent Night)
An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere. (Joy To The World)
Embellish the interior passageways. (Deck The Halls)
Exalted heavenly beings to whom hearkened. (Hark The Herald Angels Sing)
Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival. (It Came Upon A Midnight Clear)
The Christmas preceding all others. (The First Noel)
Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem. (Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)
Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders. (Little Drummerboy)
Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males. (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
Tranquillity upon the terrestrial sphere. (Peace On Earth)
Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals. (Frosty The Snowman)
Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical masculine perennial gift-giver. (Here Comes Santa Claus)
Natal celebration devoid of color. (White Christmas)
In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity. (Oh Holy Night)
Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy. (Winter Wonderland)
The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of far eastern heads of state. (We Three Kings)
Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted metallic, resonant cups. (Jingle Bells)
In a distant location the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children’s slumber furniture. (Away In A Manger)
Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation. (Go Tell It On A Mountain)
Jovial Yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by us. (We Wish You A Merry Christmas)
TWELVE THANK YOU NOTES OF CHRISTMAS
December 25: My dearest darling Edward. What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you, and thank you. Your deeply loving, Emily.
December 26: Beloved Edward. The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing away in the pear-tree as I write. I’m so touched and grateful! With undying love, as always, Emily.
December 27: My darling Edward. You do think of the most original presents! Who ever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It’s a pity we have no chicken coops, but I expect we’ll find some. Anyway, thank you so much; they’re lovely. Your devoted, Emily.
December 28: Dearest Edward. What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly – they make telephoning almost impossible – but I expect they’ll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I’m very grateful, of course I am. Love from Emily.
December 29: Dearest Edward. The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I’m afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants to use the rings to “wring” their necks. Mother has such a sense of humor. This time she’s only joking, I think, but I do know what she means. Still, I love the rings. Bless you, Emily.
December 30: Dear Edward. Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn’t six socking great geese laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them, and they’ve already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but let’s call a halt, shall we? Love, Emily.
December 31: Edward. I thought I said no more birds. This morning I woke up to find no more than seven swans, all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I’d rather not think what’s happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please, please, stop! Your Emily.
January 1: Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I’m afraid I don’t find it very amusing. Emily.
January 2: Look here, Edward. This has gone far enough. You say you’re sending me nine ladies dancing. All I can say is, judging from the way they dance, they’re certainly not ladies. The village just isn’t accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless viragos, with nothing on but their lipstick, cavorting round the green, and it’s Mother and I who get the blame. If you value our friendship, which I do (less and less), kindly stop this ridiculous behavior at once! Emily.
January 3: As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden, before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it. And several of them, I have just noticed, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbors are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again. Emily.
January 4: This is the last straw! You know I detest bagpipes! The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance to a home for the bewildered. I hope you’re satisfied.
January 5: Sir, our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of the entire percussion section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock. I am, sir, yours faithfully, G. Creep Attorney at law.
Author unknown
HOLIDAY SPECIAL POP QUIZ
Who was the child star in the original “Miracle on 34th Street?” (Natalie Wood)
In “Frosty the Snowman,” who is the little girl who helps Frosty get to the North Pole? (Karen)
In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” what are the names of the cop and taxi driver? (Bert and Ernie)
In “The Grinch That Stole Christmas,” what did Cindy Lu Who do before she went to bed? (Have a drink of water)
In “The Charlie Brown Christmas,” what song is sung after Linus tells Charlie Brown ‘What Christmas is all about?’ (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
In “Frosty Returns,” what comedian floats in on a snowflake to narrate the story? (Jonathon Winters)
In “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” what is the Abominable Snowman’s job at the end of the show? (To put the star on top of the tree)
Who’s the big name star that plays Santa in the claymation “Santa Claus is Coming To Town?” (Mickey Rooney)
Who’s Ralphie’s brother in “A Christmas Story?” (Randy)
In “Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer,” what elf wants to be a dentist? (Herbie)
Who’s Rudolph’s dad? (Donner)
What is the name of Scrooge’s deceased business partner in Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol? (Jacob Marley – Jacob Marley’s spirit was the first of four to appear to Scrooge on Christmas Eve)
Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in what year? (1895 – The idea for using electric Christmas lights came from an American, Ralph E. Morris. The new lights proved safer than the traditional candles)
When visiting Finland, Santa leaves his sleigh behind and rides on what instead? (A goat named Ukko – Finnish folklore has it that Ukko is made of straw, but is strong enough to carry Santa Claus anyway)
In North America, children put stockings out at Christmas time. What do their Dutch counterparts use? (Fried fish, lettuce and spinach – The meal was eaten after the Christmas Eve service, in commemoration of the supper eaten by Mary on the evening before Christ’s birth)
In Armenia, what does the traditional Christmas Eve meal consists of? (Shoes – Traditionally, the shoes used are wooden ones called sabots)
What do the songs “Jingle Bells” “Winter Wonderland” and “Sleighride” have in common? (None of the songs mentions Christmas)
Why is “O, Come All Ye Faithful” a Christmas carol but “Deck the Halls” not? (A true Christmas carol has to have a religious theme)
What does it mean to “deck the halls?” (To decorate the house with all sorts of greenery (not just “boughs of holly.” Traditionally, to “deck the halls” before Christmas Eve is considered bad luck)
In the song “Here We Go A-Wassailing,” the word “caroling” is often substituted for “wassailing.” But caroling and wassailing are not the same. What’s the difference? (Caroling is, of course, the act of singing Christmas carols. But wassailing is the ancient practice of toasting one’s crops and livestock to ensure prosperity for the coming year. Often, wassailing parties were held in the barn, and farm animals were sometimes given treats.)
What are the Twelve Days of Christmas? (The twelve days between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Traditionally, this period represents the time it took for the wise men to travel to see the Baby Jesus)
BA HUM BUG
Top duties for government workers who have to work on holidays:
Paper Clip Inventory – Cuz you just can’t trust the Quality control in those factories. That “Quantity: 1000″ is just an approximation, and we really need to know how many individual clips are really in those twelve cases.
Shredding – All that work that was just sitting in that inbox probably wasn’t important anyway, since you haven’t received a phone call demanding it yet.
Office Chair Readjustment – Top researchers note that an improper height adjustment on an office chair causes back strain, and you wouldn’t want employees out on sick leave all the time, would you? (this works best if you adjust all the chairs to your height, since you’re the only one working today anyway.)
Cartoon Faxing – Now how can you expect other employees who are working today to have a good day without sending them at least a dozen cartoons via fax. It is your duty to assist other employees in their duties so pass them on.
WHERE YOUR CHRISTMAS DOLLAR WENT
40% Presents:
6% Presents with no useful functions.
4% Presents with a function, but which will never be used.
10% Presents the recipient will say they like, but really hate.
11% Presents you really want for yourself, and plan to use after the intended recipients get tired of them.
6% Presents for people you hate, but feel you have to buy for.
3% T-shirts with writings on them.
21% Decorations:
6% Christmas tree (less if you’re really cheap and wait till Dec. 24th to buy it!).
1% Christmas tree lights to replace the ones that burned out last year.
1% Christmas tree lights to replace the ones you stepped on this year.
2% Christmas tree ornaments.
3% Christmas tree ornament hooks.
1% A new star for the top.
2% Tinsel (which everyone will put on the tree incorrectly, starting a very bad, and possibly violent, family argument).
2% Outdoor displays.
2% Medical bills for injuries sustained while putting up outdoor displays.
1% Fuses to replace those blown when turning on outdoor displays for the first time.
8% Food and Drink:
1% More eggnog than the entire Osmond family could even drink.
5% Foods you would never buy any other time of the year (i.e. fruitcakes, mincem eat, etc.).
1% Alcoholic beverages (triple this figure if you have relatives coming from out of town).
1% Milk and cookies the kids make leave out for Santa.
1% Candy canes that nobody ever eats.
3% Turkey.
5% Antacid.
9% Entertainment:
1% That new Christmas music CD you buy every year.
3% Taking a bunch of kids to a really crummy G-rated movie about cute little animals.
5% Extra trips to the local bar that you take to avoid those sickening TV Christmas Specials the networks keep throwing at you.
12% Miscellaneous:
3% Sickly-sweet Christmas Cards.
2% Postage for same.
2% Bonuses for people who don’t even deserve them
1% Candles.
1% Plastic mistletoe.
2% Money tossed into street-corner Santa’s buckets.
1% Money for the collection plate for your once-a-year trip to church for Christmas Mass.
10% Batteries
9% Batteries the wrong size to fit anything that needs them.
1% Batteries that fit the items, but one fewer than needed.
CHRISTMAS CARDS REVEAL PERSONALITY
The type of Christmas card you send reveals your true personality according to Dr. Ellnor Kinarthy. The expert tells what each type of card says about you:
Religious scenes — You spend lots of time deep in thought and you value the true meaning of Christmas. You like to help others and often donate time and money to charity. You value the traditional family in which the wife stays home while the husband goes off to work.
Family photos — You’re a busy person who likes new and different experiences, like living in different places, eating at new restaurants and tasting different foods. But Christmas gives you time to pause and reflect on how much family and friends mean to you.
Humorous — You’re a fun-loving optimist who can see the humor in even bad situations, but you’re also very sensitive to other people. You’re a good listener who gives friends a shoulder to cry on. In addition, you love animals and are inclined to have pets.
Winter scenes — You’re very competitive and throw yourself into everything, even your hobbies. But you enjoy pictures of winter because they remind you that it’s also important to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the season.
Santa cards — You’re a people-oriented person who likes going to big parties and enjoys making new friends. You consider all those tasty Christmas foods the best part of the season, and like Santa, you have a tendency to put on a little weight.
Christmas trees — You take pride in your personal appearance and your home. You have an artistic nature and are very creative. Your strong sense of beauty shows through in your home, which probably looks like it was professionally decorated.
Current themes (like Santa compiling his list on a computer) — You are very future-oriented and want to be ready for what tomorrow brings. You like video games, new car shows and all the latest gadgets. You may also be well-informed about investments.
CHRISTMAS MOVIE MAGIC
Name the movie that each of the following characters come from:
Ralphie Parker (“A Christmas Story”)
Cindy Lou Who (“The Grinch”)
Pig Pen (“Charlie Brown Christmas”)
Clark Grizwald (“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”)
Hermey (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”)
Clarence Oddbody (“It’s a Wonderful Life”)
MAXIM’S CHRISTMAS TRIVIA
The real reason “It’s a Wonderful Life” used to get repeated every 10 minutes around the holidays? A clerical error in the mid-’70s allowed the film’s copyright to expire, so TV stations could show it without having to pay the usual royalties. A Supreme Court ruling has since halted the free sleigh ride.
There are 1.76 billion candy canes produced each year. Merry Christmas, America’s dentists.
Last year the National Safety Council reported 40 U.S. deaths and 100 injuries due to Christmas tree fires. Safety tip: This holiday season, consider freebasing in the kitchen.
Jewish kids often try to convince their gentile pals that Hanukkah is just like having Christmas for eight nights in a row. No one buys it.
On Christmas Eve in Belgium, it’s legal for children to throw bananas at police cars. The police, charmed by the playfulness of the young lads, respond by providing the kids with souvenir bullets.
The term Xmas is not a contemporary attempt to secularize the holiday but an abbreviation devised by the church, based on the Greek letter chi, the first letter in Christ.
Poinsettias are not, as legend has it, poisonous. But you can still kill guy with one if you bash in his skull with the pot.
About 167 billion gallons of water are required to grow the 35 million Christmas trees slaughtered in America each year. That’s why Christmas trees in Ethiopia look so crappy.
Long known for its liberal social policies, Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday in 1836. But since this fact is primarily found in books, few Alabamans are aware of the honor.
CHRISTMAS JEOPARDY
We get two people on the phone, and give them the description. The first one to tell us the name of the toy wins.
This doll was big in the 80’s and maybe could be found in the garden. (Cabbage Patch Dolls)
Many kids could not sleep at night unless they had “Bert’s room mate” from “Sesame Street.” (Sleep N’ Snore Ernie)
This little “Gremlin” – looking creature had us all speaking a different language last year. (Furby)
This “Sesame Street” character could have been related to the Pillsbury Dough Boy. (Tickle Me Elmo)
This doll has been around for a long time, but every Christmas we fight over the holiday version. (Holiday Barbie)
“Po” and “La-La” are two of these characters our kids had to have in 1998. (Teleatubbies)
HOLIDAY SPECIAL DROP QUIZ
Who was the child star in the original “Miracle on 34th Street?” (Natalie Wood)
In “Frosty the Snowman,” who is the little girl who helps Frosty get to the North Pole? (Karen)
In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” what are the names of the cop and taxi driver? (Bert and Ernie)
In “The Grinch That Stole Christmas,” what did Cindy Lu Who do before she went to bed? (Have a drink of water)
In “The Charlie Brown Christmas,” what song is sung after Linus tells Charlie Brown ‘What Christmas is all about?’ (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
In “Frosty Returns,” what comedian floats in on a snowflake to narrate the story? (Jonathon Winters)
In “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” what is the Abominable Snowman’s job at the end of the show? (To put the star on top of the tree)
Who’s the big name star that plays Santa in the claymation “Santa Claus is Coming To Town?” (Mickey Rooney)
Who’s Ralphie’s brother in “A Christmas Story?” (Randy)
In “Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer,” what elf wants to be a dentist? (Herbie)
Who’s Rudolph’s dad? (Donner)
CHRISTMAS AROUND THE GLOBE
(Teacher.net) Many countries have their own variations of Christmas customs and traditions. Here are just a few:
Australia — Christmas here is like the typical British Christmas, but without the snow. Many Australians eat their Christmas dinner on the beach or in the bush, and since the 1930s a huge Christmas Eve carol singing event, broadcast worldwide and involving over a quarter of a million people, has become popular.
Austria — Enjoy the carol singing, the presents and the visit from St Nicholas on December 6, but watch out for his grotesque assistant, Krampus. Carp is on the menu on Christmas Eve, followed by roast goose on Christmas Day.
Belgium — Children in Belgium get two visits from St Nicholas, one on December 4, to see if they have been good, followed by presents on December 6. Children leave out their shoes, rather than stockings, or small baskets.
Chile — Chile’s gift-bringer is called Old Man Christmas and he climbs through windows rather than down chimneys. The manger scene is important in all Latin American countries and the Christmas Eve meal in Chile consists of chicken soup with potatoes, onions and corn.
China — Christians in China decorate their houses with paper lanterns and their ‘trees of light’ with paper chains, paper flowers and lanterns. Some children put out stockings for Dun Che Lao Ren (Christmas Old Man), but the main festival in China is the non-Christian Chinese New Year, or ‘Spring Festival’, towards the end of January, when ancestors are worshipped and children receive new clothes and toys and enjoy luxurious meals.
Denmark– Eat up your special rice pudding in Denmark on Christmas Eve, as you may find the single almond hidden inside, bringing you good luck for the whole year. Don’t forget to leave out some rice pudding for Julemanden, the bringer of gifts, as well as his reindeer and his Juul Nisse, or elves.
Germany– Christmas is a big celebration in Germany, beginning on December 6 with advent wreaths, candles and calendars. On December 5 children put out their shoes and St Nicholas fills them with fruit and biscuits overnight. Christmas markets abound with lots of goodies and the Christmas tree is the centre of attention. The mother of the house decorates the tree on Christmas Eve and no-one is allowed in until it’s finished. The December 25 is a family day and Boxing Day a day for visiting friends.
Greece — Easter is more important than Christmas in Greece, but there are nevertheless many Christmas traditions. Children travel from house to house singing the equivalent of carols on Christmas Eve, and are rewarded with sweets and dried fruits. There is no tree, but fresh basil, wrapped around a wooden cross, is dipped in holy water every day and sprinkled round the house to keep the Killantzaroi, or goblins, away from the house during Christmas. The hearth is kept burning for twelve days and nights to stop these goblins from making mischief, such as souring the milk or riding on people’s backs. Gifts are exchanged on January 1, when all the water jugs in the house are also emptied and refilled.
Holland — Look out for Sinterklaas, the Dutch St Nicholas, who arrives by steamer on the last Saturday in November. All traffic stops in Amsterdam as people pour out to greet him and his assistant, Black Peter. He first visits the royal palace, where the children must account for their behavior. There are usually no presents on Christmas Day, but on December 5 Sinterklaas gives presents called ‘surprises’, which are even more exciting because they are disguised. A small gift may be in a large box, or hidden in a vegetable or pudding. Often presents are hidden in a cellar, with clues given as to how to find them.
India — India is mainly Hindu and Muslim, so there is no official celebration of Christmas. But this time of year is seen as a time to give gifts, to tip, or to give charitable handouts to the poor. Christians in India decorate their houses with mango leaves and sometimes burn small oil lamps on the tops of walls or on flat roofs.
Ireland — Candles are put in the window on Christmas Eve to help light the way of travelers or the Holy Family. The table is set with bread and milk after the evening meal and the door left unlocked, as a symbol of hospitality to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
Italy — La Befana, either a fairy queen, old crone or witch, brings gifts for the good children and punishment for the bad on January 6. Christmas feasts vary from region to region but include roasted, baked or fried eel, tortellini and cakes.
Japan — Christmas was introduced to Japan by missionaries, and is now popular. Gifts are exchanged, turkey is eaten on Christmas Day, and houses are decorated with evergreen and mistletoe. A priest or old man known as Hoteiosho carries a sack on his back, and resembles Santa Claus, apart from the eyes in the back of his head. On New Year’s Eve houses are cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom and the next day people dress in their finest clothes. The father of the house throws dried beans into each room to drive out evil spirits and encourage good luck.
Poland — Polish children get presents both on St Nicholas Day and on Christmas day itself. The Star of Bethlehem is the most popular element of the Polish Christmas and all the family gathers to look for it on Christmas Eve. Once the star appears, a special rice wafer called Oplatki is broken and shared by all. The feast consists of twelve courses, one for each Apostle, with hay under the tablecloth to remind everyone that Jesus was born in a stable. Poppy seed cake, beet soup, prune dumplings and noodles often feature on the menu.
Russia — Religious traditions were suppressed during the Communist era, but never completely declined. Babouschka, like Italy’s La Befana, roams the countryside visiting children at Christmas. On Christmas Eve, a special porridge called kutya is eaten, made of wheatberries, grains, honey and poppy seeds, symbolizing hope, immortality, happiness and success.
Syria — On Christmas Eve, the gates of Syrian Christian homes are locked as a reminder of years of religious persecution. Candles and bonfires are lit. The way the fire spreads through the wood will determine the family’s luck for the following year. Syrian children receive gifts from the Smallest Camel of the Wise Men. The camel was exhausted by the long journey to visit the baby Jesus, but refused to give up, and was blessed as a result.
Venezuela — In Caracas, the capital city, it is customary to roller skate to the main Early Morning Mass between December 16 and 24. Before bedtime children tie one end of a piece of string to their big toe and hang the other out of the window. Next morning, the roller skaters give a tug to any string they see hanging.
SANTA TREATS
According to The American Dietetic Association (ADA), if Santa drinks a glass of whole milk and eats two butter cookies at every American household he visits, he will consume a shocking 14,026,032,000 calories and 6,180,336,000 grams of fat in one night alone!
Try skim milk instead of whole, saving 64 calories and eight grams of fat for each glass he drinks.
Offer Santa “skinny nog” — a mixture of skim milk and low fat egg nog or use dry egg nog mix with skim milk to save 145 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving.
Leave Santa gingersnaps or graham crackers in place of higher fat cookies conserving 169 calories and eight grams of fat per serving.
Opt to give non-food gifts, like food and nutrition books, subscriptions to health newsletters, exercise tapes or equipment and gift certificates.
And, according to Zanecosky, carrots, celery, apples and pears are great treats for Santa as well as his reindeer. “With a little planning, it will be easy to expand Santa’s food choices without expanding his waistline.”
SANTA’S REINDEER
(by William E. Studwell/Northern Illinois University) In the process of preparing an homage to Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), the author of “A Visit from S. Nicholas,” on the 175th anniversary of the publication of that classic poem in the Troy Sentinel on Dec. 23, 1823, an intriguing document was accidentally discovered. A few pages of notes, apparently in the hand of New Yorker Moore, a professor of Oriental and Greek literature, has been recently discovered. A section of these notes reveals the reason why Moore wrote the poem. In December 1822 Moore was personally visited by St. Nicholas himself, an incident that normally sober Moore, in hindsight, believed could have been a dream. The purpose of the visit, according to Moore’s notes, was a desire by Nicholas to clarify the public perception of himself and his activities, which at the time was confused and inaccurate. Respecting Moore’s intellectual and personal integrity, Nicholas asked Moore to write and publish a literary piece based on information supplied by Nicholas. The result was the quickly written “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” which as reported by Moore, thoroughly delighted the benevolent Saint. The notes reveal little more about the incident except for some details about the names and personalities of Nicholas’ symmetrical set of eight reindeer.
Dasher — the left side leader; travels well in short quick spurts, a perfect requirement for fast house-to-house dashes; also a dashing role model for the other seven deer.
Dancer — the left number 2 deer; name alliterative with Dasher; has well-trained hoofs to maintain stability on snowy rooftops.
Prancer — the left number 3 deer; Dancer’s twin; also has skillful hoofs for rooftop maneuvers but is less disciplined than Dancer.
Vixen — the left rear deer; name rhymes with Blitzen; has much emotional energy but is unpredictable.
Comet — the right side leader; like his astronomical namesake, is both speedy and enduring; also commands attention, a must for leaders.
Cupid — the right number 2 deer; name alliterative with Comet; moves as fast as Cupid’s arrow but is too perfidious to lead.
Donner — the right number 3 deer; name derived from the German word for thunder; is very strong, but not very enduring.
Blitzen — the right rear deer; Donner’s closest companion; name derived from the German word for lightning; the fastest and most energetic of the eight, but the least likely to last all Christmas eve.
POLITICALLY CORRECT SANTA
‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck,
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves,”
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his sleigh,
The ruts were termed dangerous by the EPA.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”

And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolph was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,

Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s war-like or non-pacific.

No candy or sweets, they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football… someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.

He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere… even you.
So here is that gift, its price beyond worth…
“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”
WHAT IF SANTA GETS STUCK?
The kindergarteners from Howells, Nebraska, are back with their unique view of another holiday. Just in time, too.
Jessica: Pull his legs. I will hold his bag. Then he will get down by his self. I’ll look in his bag to see what he gots. He will put the presents under the tree. I’ll put his dirty clothes in the laundry and then he’ll take a bath.
Gage: I’ll help him out. Pull on him. Mom and dad will help. If he is still stuck, we’ll call grandma. She knows who to ask — grandpa. They will buy a rope and hook it from Santa to the fence. Then he will pop out. He will give us all presents. Then I’ll go back to school again.
Heather: Push him down with a hose from the garage. Then take a big stick. Then after he gets off I will wash him off. He can stay for chicken and dumplings. If he needs a haircut, Mom can cut his hair. Now he’ll look pretty good when he gives people toys.
Brian: I will make sure you and my friends will think it over a little bit. They will think they can shove him off, but they can’t. Then we thought some more, and we got an idea. We lighted a fire in the chimney and it came up to his behind. Then he really jumped out. The end.
Chelsea: We don’t have a chimney. So he can’t come in unless he comes in the door. (I don’t know if it is locked.) If it is locked, he will keep the presents outside.
Sarah: Cathy, Richie, Pat, Theresa, Justin and I will push him down. Use a plunger if we need. Then take him through the door and he can lay all the presents under the tree. Give him a bath. If he is hungry, feed him mashed potatoes and gravy with barbecue ribs.
Nicole: Dad will pull him out with his hands. Mom will wake up and say, “Don’t wake up Nicole. She’s sleeping.” We will give him one pretzel and one pop. He’ll leave presents under the tree. He’ll put stuff around in the stockings. He’ll put the Little Mermaid’s fish in my stocking.
Sidney: I’d wake up dad. He will pull his leg. If that doesn’t work, he will shake him till he falls down. He will eat the cookies that me and mom baked. He will lay the presents under the tree (especially the Barbie telephone). He will fill our stockings with candy.
Gardenia: Shut off the furnace. Then we climb up on the roof and jump on his head and get him out. Get him upstairs because he is in the basement. He crawls up the stairs. He bumped his head last year. He gives us presents. He eats his cookies and goes away.
Jeff: If mom and dad aren’t home, I’ll call them. They’ll come home, go out to the barn and get the ladder. They’ll get him out with the pumper. We’ll let him go in the front door. He’ll fill the socks and give us presents under the tree. We’ll feed him cookies with milk. He’ll fly up to the roof and get in his sleigh and fly off.
RUDOLPH TRIVIA
What’s the name of the young doe that Rudolph falls in love with? (Clarice)
Who is Rudolph’s father? (Donner)
What’s the name of the monster in the show? (“The Abominable”) (snowman)
What career does Herbie the elf want rather than making toys? (he wants to become a dentist)
What’s the name of the island where Rudolph and Herbie find themselves? (Island of Misfit Toys)
What job do they give to the now reformed and nice “Abominable” at the end of the story? (He puts the stars on the tops of Christmas trees, and he doesn’t even need a ladder!) *Who narrates the story and sings the theme song? (Burl Ives)
What’s the other song Burl Ives sings during the show? Here’s a hint: It’s title is two colors. (“Silver & Gold”)

Blogged with the Flock Browser

12.23.08

 SHOW PREP DECEMBER 23, 2008

 

HOLLYWOOD 411 . . .

 

Hollywood actresses Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway have discussed their perfect weddings. Bride Wars co-stars Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson have revealed their tips for a perfect wedding. For Anne Hathaway, it’s all about the music. “I haven’t thought about the food; I haven’t thought about the look,” she told Modern Bride magazine. “I haven’t thought about my dress. I haven’t really thought about the guy. But every once in a while, I’ll listen to a song, and I’m like, ‘I want that at my wedding!” Hudson, however, revealed bar placement is key. “No. 1: Make sure you’re ready to get married, that you’re really sure you want to do this,” Kate explained. “And No. 2: I would say really good placement of the bar! At a wedding you want to have a good time. Have special cocktails that are really fun for people.” (Handbag)

 

Former Friends star Jennifer Aniston has admitted she’s terrified by the thought of life without her beloved pet dog. Jennifer Aniston has revealed she’s scared stiff of life without her dog Norman. The former Friends star has just finished making new film Marley And Me with Owen Wilson, a story about a couple’s relationship with their unruly pet dog and Jen admitted she couldn’t help thinking about Norman while making it. “My dog is 13, and since this movie I’ve had post traumatic stress disorder of what it’s going to be like when my dog goes,” she told the Telegraph. “There came a point at the end of filming where I didn’t want to even read the lines because it was so upsetting to me. I’d just thank god that I had a sitcom career because I could just look at them and learn the lines really fast.” (Handbag)

 

Hollywood star Katie Holmes has talked about being a celebrity mother. Katie Holmes has revealed how being a mother has changed the way she now sees things in new book about Hollywood mums. “We were in Berlin and I was impressed with their playgrounds,” Katie reveals in The Black Book Of Hollywood Pregnancy Secrets. “It’s amazing what you become aware of as a mother. You think, ‘Nice wood on that swing set’.” While Bride Wars star Kate Hudson reflected on how being a parent had affected her love life, “I do find it tough to date,” she said. “I’d rather be at home with my son cooking dinner than going out with a guy. My son is my man.” (Handbag)

 

Bridget Marquardt may have lived in the Playboy Mansion with Kendra Wilkinson, but she hardly recognizes her former housemate – and The Girls Next Door castmate – anymore. And that’s not a bad thing. “She’s doing amazing, she’s so in love,” Marquardt, 35, said of Wilkinson, 23, who recently became engaged to NFL player Hank Baskett. “She’s changed so much. She’s not even the same person. I mean, she is the same, but she’s different. I love the old Kendra and I love the new Kendra.” What is the “new Kendra”? “She’s a lot timelier. She doesn’t flash anymore. She’s a lot more conservative. She’s so in love,” Marquardt tells PEOPLE. Bridesmaids, All Like her other housemate Holly Madison, Marquardt will be a bridesmaid at Wilkinson’s wedding at the Playboy Mansion.  While her costars both appear to have found love – Madison is dating Criss Angel – Marquardt remains reticent about discussing her own love life. “I’m just really happy for Holly. She’s happy and in love,” she says. “And Kendra has found love with a great guy. Hank is the perfect gentleman.” (People)

 

Plenty of folks think Jeremy Piven is lying about his supposed mercury poisoning, but Fisher Stevens isn’t one of them. “I believe him. His numbers are off the charts,” Stevens, who suffered from mercury poisoning this year, told Page Six. Stevens says that while he was producing his upcoming Sundance entry, “The Cove,” a documentary about the slaughter of mercury-loaded dolphins in the Far East, he ate fish four or five times a week. “I started feeling really sluggish and had no energy. It turns out the larger the fish, the higher the levels. I only eat small fish now.” The movie’s director, Louie Psihoyos, was also poisoned. (Page Six)

 

Mary-Kate Olsen has found the silver lining in the recession. A Page Six spy, who recently shared an elevator at Barneys with the diminutive actress, reports Olsen was excited about all the discounted merchandise for the taking. “It’s really sad – the recession is everywhere. But at least they are having good sales,” said Olsen, who pointed to her hat. “That’s where I got this! The recession!” Olsen ogled a $410 menorah and pillows and throws for her bed, but didn’t buy them. (Page Six)

 

Eric Dane is still miffed about once having to share Lara Flynn Boyle with Jack Nicholson. Both men dated Boyle in the late ’90s. “Jack Nicholson is Jack Nicholson. The guy’s a colossal personality, and I’m sure he’s charming, and I bet she had a lot of fun with him,” the “Grey’s Anatomy” star tells next month’s Elle. “But my take on the whole thing was, I’m 30. He’s 70. This is not going to go down like this. I couldn’t comprehend a 35-year-old woman gravitating toward a 70-year-old man . . . I walked away.” (Page Six)

 

It’s hard being Brad Pitt. The star repeatedly tried buying the complete works of Hungarian cult director Bela Tarr from a small DVD store in Budapest as a Christmas present for Angelina Jolie, but whenever he called the place, they thought it was a joke and hung up on him. “He tried several times on the phone but had to give up. They just didn’t believe him,” an aide to Pitt tells Britain’s Daily Mail. Finally, he got a friend in the city, opera singer Laszlo Domahidy, to buy the collection for him. (Page Six)

 

David Beckham has admitted he and his wife Victoria love Milan so much that they thought about raising their kids there. The footballing superstar is supposed to be spending just three months in the Italian city, keeping himself fit on loan with football giants AC Milan. But he’s revealed the couple have already looked at schools for their young sons. Speaking on Italian TV, Beckham said: “‘Victoria has always loved Milan fashion week. She loves it here, she has very good taste. ‘We have checked out some of the schools in Milan in case we decide to bring the children over but we decided to give them some stability and they will stay in LA.’ Victoria celebrated arriving in Milan by wearing three different outfits in 15 hours after touching down. (British Glamour)

 

Robbie Williams has returned to the UK to see his mother Jan who is critically ill in hospital. The singer recently revealed plans to move back to England from Los Angeles, after patching things up with his former boy band friends Take That. But the real reason for his return is that his 67-year-old mother has undergone major heart surgery and Robbie wanted to be by her side. Jan is a drink and drugs counselor and the pair have remained close throughout the ups and downs of the singer’s career. Robbie wrote the song “One of God’s Better People” about his mum, and said: ‘She’s the most important woman in my life and always will be.’ He will spend Christmas Day by her side at a hospital in Cheshire. (British Glamour)

 

Back from filming in London, Jake Gyllenhaal celebrated his 28th birthday with girlfriend Reese Witherspoon, 32, Friday night at Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica. During the dinner date, which lasted nearly three hours, the loving duo sat side-by-side in the dimly lit eatery, slowly sipping red wine and sampling Italian dishes courtesy of the chef. As Gyllenhaal told stories, a smitten Witherspoon twirled her hair and laughed. As for PDA? The couple held hands at the table! For dessert, the Four Christmases actress and the birthday boy shared tiramisu off the same plate, before heading home. Meanwhile, Witherspoon and Gyllenhaal are expected to spend Christmas together with her children Ava, 9, and Deacon, 5, before he flies back to Europe to finish shooting Prince of Presia: Sands of Time. “I have kids so it’s a lot about opening presents,” she told BCC News of Christmas. “And then I start cooking, and I really enjoy that part of it. They play with their toys, and I cook some dinner. It’s nice.” This year, she has said her daughter Ava “wants a horse.” She suggested she is still on the fence about buying her that present. “I’m a little strict about that kind of stuff,” said the star. “I think kids do best when they only have a couple of things that they really enjoy. I try and stay away from the gluttony of things. They don’t appreciate it as much. When they only get one or two things, they really like it.” (US Weekly)

 

Paris Hilton is “devastated” after a burglar robbed her California mansion – because the jewelry which was stolen is irreplaceable. The intruder is believed to have forced his way through the front door of the property in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, on Friday before ransacking the heiress’ bedroom and making off with an estimated $2 million worth of gems. And although Hilton is grateful she wasn’t in the house at the time, she is heartbroken by the loss. She tells Life + Style Weekly, “I am devastated. I cannot believe someone broke into my home. “They took items that had such sentimental value that no one will ever be able to replace. I’m just thankful that I wasn’t there when it happened.” Hilton’s mother Kathy has since reminded her daughter not to attach too much significance to material goods. Kathy adds: “She (Paris) and I were talking about it and really, it is stuff. I’m just happy that she’s okay… You can’t be possessed by your possessions. Those are just things. And I’m happy that she’s okay.”  (Teen Hollywood)

 

Lindsay Lohan’s girlfriend Samantha Ronson has been admitted to hospital in California – reportedly suffering from exhaustion and depression. The DJ is said to have called doctors to her Los Angeles home on Sunday and was subsequently taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. A source tells America’s Life and Style magazine, “She’s been suffering from depression and from lack of food and sleep. Lindsay Lohan has been helping her through this as she has been through it herself two years ago.” Celebrity website TMZ.com is reporting that Ronson has been admitted to the hospital, but claims the visit is “not an emergency and definitely non life-threatening”.  (Teen Hollywood)

 

Robert Mulligan, who directed the classic film “To Kill a Mockingbird,” with its sensitive look at a child’s world shaken by the racism of a Southern town, has died at 83. Mulligan died early Saturday at his home in Lyme, Conn., after a battle with heart disease, his wife, Sandy, said Monday. Mulligan was nominated for an Oscar for “Mockingbird,” the adaptation of Harper Lee’s best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The 1962 film starred Gregory Peck, who won the best-actor Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch, the small town lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. The story unfolds largely from the point of view of Atticus’ young daughter, Scout, memorably played by Mary Badham. Phillip Alford played his son, Jem. The New York Times wrote that in the film’s opening segment “achieves a bewitching indication of the excitement and thrill of being a child.” Mulligan was also known as the director of Reese Witherspoon’s first film, “The Man in the Moon,” which came out in 1991. It was his last film, and the family drama brought Witherspoon notice as the younger of two teenage daughters grappling with her first love. Among his other credits were “Fear Strikes Out,” the 1957 drama starring Anthony Perkins as troubled ballplayer Jim Piersall; “Summer of ’42,” the 1971 wartime coming-of-age story starring Gary Grimes and Jennifer O’Neill; and the 1972 horror hit “The Other.” He also carved out a solid career as a TV director before moving over to film, working on such drama series as “The Philco Television Playhouse” and “The Alcoa Hour.”. But “Mockingbird” would remain his most famous work. In 2003, an American Film Institute listing of the top heroes in film history ranked Peck’s Atticus Finch as No. 1. (Daily Record)

 

 

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

 

Actor Zac Efron made Christmas come early for some young patients at a Los Angeles hospital – he delighted children by visiting their ward with some festive gifts. The High School Musical star went along to the Mattel Children’s Hospital Ucla on Friday to play Santa Claus by giving away $10,000 worth of toys. The kids were ecstatic at their surprise guest, who toured the wards for two hours, giving out presents including art sets, board games and High School Musical products, signing autographs and posing for pictures with staff. A source tells Usmagazine.com, “He really spent time bonding with each of the children and their families. The kids were smitten and beaming from ear to ear. Some of the kids couldn’t even speak, but they had the widest grins and would sit as close to him as possible. “Zac was super gracious and could not have been more kind and truly happy to be there.” (Teen Hollywood)

 

Brian Litrell from the Backstreet Boys informed his fans over the weekend that his young son was sick and had been hospitalized for some time. No reason was given as to the illness, but Baylee Litrell was finally released from the hospital on Saturday. And Brian and his wife are now speaking out publicly about the youngster’s illness. According to the Litrell’s, Baylee was diagnosed with A-Typical Kawasaki Disease. Update on Baylee On Saturday December 20, 2008, Baylee T W Littrell was released from Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. Before being admitted Baylee had been treated for or thought to have had strep throat, hand, foot, mouth disease and erythema multiforme. After receiving a biopsy, blood tests, an EKG and 2 echocardiograms, Baylee was finally diagnosed with A-Typical Kawasaki Disease. We would like to stress A-Typical because Baylee did not have text book symptoms of any of the viruses they thought he had. Kawasaki Disease causes inflammation in the coronary arteries as well as the walls of the small and medium sized arteries throughout the body. Unfortunately, Baylee’s coronary arteries were affected. He received an IVIG, which is a treatment to bring down the inflammation in his coronary arteries. Baylee will be closely monitored for the next 6-8 weeks by a Pediatric Cardiologist to see if the treatment was effective. We want to thank every one who prayed for us as well as all of the emails and phone calls. Your love and support means so much to our family. The Hospital Staff were absolutely amazing. They made an extremely difficult time in our lives as comfortable as possible. We are humbled by the love and compassion that people have for our son all over the world, thank you! Brian and Leighanne Littrell  Poor little kid!  Let’s hope he gets better soon!!! (Perez Hilton)

 

A court has put a higher value on being Britney Spears’ father this year: about $75 an hour. For helping his daughter through her turbulent period, Jamie Spears on Monday was awarded an additional $51,000 payout, reflecting an increase in his monthly payments since he took over his 27-year-old daughter’s affairs in February. Jamie Spears had been receiving $10,000 a month for his work, but Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz increased that amount to approximately $16,000 per month and agreed to give him backpay. He was also granted an additional $1,200 monthly payment so he can maintain and office, which Goetz said was justified by his work getting his daughter’s personal life – and music career – back on track. (Daily Record)

 

The Phoenix Police Department has gotten some high-powered goodies courtesy of actor David Spade. The one-time Phoenix resident donated $100,000 so that the department can buy approximately 50 AR-15 rifles. Spade said he wanted to make the donation after seeing a TV news report about Phoenix officers having to buy their own rifles. Spade grew up in the Phoenix area and graduated from Arizona State University. Phoenix Police Sgt. Alan Hill says the rifles will be given to patrol officers and that the agency was grateful for the gifts. “These guys need to be able to do their jobs and I am just happy I could help,” Spade said in a statement released by his publicist. (Daily Record)

 

Is Guy Ritchie moving on? With rumors of a budding relationship between Ritchie and heiress Jemima Khan gaining momentum, there’s at least one person who couldn’t be happier: Ritchie’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Madonna. “It’s not like she’s asking him for details, but she’s thrilled at the prospect of him moving on. It makes things easier for everybody,” says a Madonna pal. Ritchie and Khan (who used to be linked with Hugh Grant) are said to have attended a dinner party in London together earlier this month, and the Mirror reports that they attended a Christmas party together this weekend. Other big names that were there: Stella and Mary McCartney, Lily Allen, Mick Jagger and Kevin Spacey. As for the latest on Madonna and her “friendship” with Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez: the Madonna pal says things are just fine. “There’s no drama. They’re trying to keep a low profile,” the source says. A-Rod is said to have plans to be with Madonna in London for the holidays. (Scoop)

 

Holly Madison and Criss Angel are doing everything together these days…even throwing joint birthday parties. The day after the duo hit Disneyland in California for some good clean fun, they headed back to Sin City Friday for their double birthday bash at LAX. Criss turned 40 Friday night, while Holly celebrates her 29th Dec. 23. The couple brought along 50 of their closest friends, including Holly’s former Playboy Mansion roomie Bridget Marquardt, though Hef was not in attendance as Holly and Criss blew out the candles on their shared cake, complete with sparklers. And sounds like they’re already feeling the Christmas spirit…after getting on the mic to thank fans for coming to the party, they had $100 bills rain on the partygoers below. (Eonline)

 

So what are Ashlee Simpson and the entire Simpson clan going to do for the holidays? Spend them in Texas, of course. Ashlee, along with hubby Pete Wentz and baby Bronx, will be heading to celebrate Christmas in Waco, Texas.  That’s where Ashlee’s maternal grandmother lives. Guess they’re snubbing the Wentz clan in Chicago! An inside source ads, “This Christmas is a big deal and the whole family wants to be together for baby Bronx’s first Christmas.” As for Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo, they’re apparently heading to Waco as well for Christmas. Must be weird when your little sister is happily married and with a baby, while you’re in what seems like a dying relationship! (Perez Hilton)

 

This could be the most exciting Paris Hilton video since … well, you know. We’ve learned the person who broke into Paris Hilton’s house last week and allegedly made off with $2 mil in stuff actually was caught on tape by surveillance cams. One problem — the thief was wearing a mask, gloves, and a hooded sweatshirt. By the way, one of the surveillance cams is in Paris’ closet. Cops still don’t have a suspect. (TMZ)

 

Christina Aguilera got all dressed up for her birthday – and not in a gown. The singer celebrated her 28th birthday on Dec. 18 with a Clockwork Orange-themed bash at Beverly Hills’ SLS Hotel along with husband Jordan Bratman and pals Nicole Richie and Joel Madden. Arriving by a private party van, the singer and her friends headed into SAAM, the private dining room inside the hotel’s Bazaar Restaurant, where she was greeted by waiters who were also dressed in their macabre Clockwork Orange best for the occasion. Aguilera was also met with her favorite cocktail – the cotton candy mojito. The singer and her 25 friends danced all night as DJ AM spun tunes for the crowd. And Aguilera ended the night with two sweet treats: a Clockwork Orange-themed birthday cake and a sleepover with Bratman in the hotel’s presidential suite. (People)

 

A Christmas break to St Lucia looks to have helped Amy Winehouse get back in shape after her drink and drug problems of 2008. The singer is taking a break with family and friends in the Caribbean, and has been pictured by photographers sunbathing topless on the island’s famous sandy beaches. While on holiday Amy has been doing a daily two-hour gym session, and has put on weight. Janis, Amy’s mother, revealed: ‘She’s being taken care of. She’s resting and eating well, and there are no drugs there.’ Amy’s husband Blake Fielder Civil has also been in rehab after returning to prison. The 26-year-old could be behind bars until 2010 after breaking the rules of his early release by failing a drugs test. (British Glamour)

 

Courteney Cox and David Arquette are committed to making their marriage work. “I get shocked by people getting divorced all the time, that’s why I choose to work on it. Therapy helps us,” Cox told the UK’s Mail on Sunday “It’s so easy to grow apart; marriage takes work. I suppose you can work it out by talking to each other – I would just prefer to have a referee, it reminds us why we’re together.” Cox’s parents divorced when she was a child. “Before my dad died, he said one of his big regrets was that he hadn’t worked on their marriage enough. I don’t know what the future’s going to hold, but divorce isn’t really an option,” she said. Asked if it’s difficult working with her husband of nine years, Cox said, “It seems like it would be the worst thing in the world but we manage to handle it really well. We argue, but never about work. We love being together.” A typical Sunday involves, having “people over to our house. David does the barbecuing, and we have a fantastic chef, Patrice, who makes great salads, vegetables and fish. Sunday is my favorite time because it’s really about friends.”  She added: “And, yes, Jen’s there just about every Sunday.” Cox raved of her former Friends costar and best friend Jennifer Aniston, “We’ve known each other nearly 15 years now, we grew up together emotionally. I lost my father, Jen got divorced, and I had a baby. We’ve been through huge life changes together. I can be myself around her.” She continued: “We never judge each other, we support each other, but we’re honest with each other too. I feel lucky to have her. Jen and I grew up together emotionally. We’ve been through huge life changes together.” As for Aniston’s romance with beau John Mayer, “I want for Jen whatever she wants; she’s really happy at the moment, so I don’t have to worry about her,” Cox said. Meanwhile, Cox stars in the upcoming Disney flick Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler, a movie that is sure to be a hit with four-year-old daughter Coco. “Coco’s favorites are Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, she’s totally into princesses,” Cox said. Their holiday plans? ‘Christmas is insane in our house. I say: “Let’s buy Coco one good toy,” but he wants to buy her 900 presents. Our compromise lands closer to David.” Aniston spoils Coco too. “Coco calls her Noona, which is Greek for godmother; they see each other and play together every weekend,” Cox explained. “The other day Jen came over with her yoga teacher and Coco stuck it out for an hour doing yoga with them!”  Cox also opened up about rumors that she’s had plastic surgery. “I’ve done Botox,” she admitted. “And there were times when I thought, “That was nice,” but I had one bad experience when I wasn’t able to move my face for two or three months.” Though the actress admitted she would be tempted to do it again when she’s older, she said, “You see too many people look really strange.” As for Arquette, who is seven years younger, “He loves the aging process; he thinks it’s beautiful.” (US Weekly)

 

Tom Hanks makes his living in movies, but he loves books. The star braved a nasty LA storm the other day to help his local, cash-strapped, independent shop, cozy Village Books in Pacific Palisades. There was a bodyguard to his left and right, plus another at the front door and two police officers outside in a patrol car, as a very friendly Hanks sat at a small table in the back signing everything put in front of him. Hanks teased a little girl about her shyness, and joked that the store staff should ring a bell with each sale. He stayed a half-hour beyond his scheduled two-hour appearance – “until the last person,” said Village Books owner Katie O’Laughlin. Thanks to Hanks, she added, “We’re catching up on the rent.” He signed Post correspondent David Finnigan‘s Penguin paperback copy of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” scribbling, “Hit the road!” (Page Six)

 

Bernie Mac is gone, but he’s not forgotten. New York’s Ujamaa Black Theater is planning a special tribute show to the beloved comic, who died of pneumonia last August. The company has placed an ad in Back stage seeking black actors, singers, and comedians, as well as look-alikes for Mac, Isaac Hayes and James Brown. Next year, Mac fans can look forward to one more blast of Bernie in the movies with Disney’s “Old Dogs,” in which he co-stars with John Tra volta and Robin Williams. (Page Six)

 

“Real Housewives of New York” star Alex McCord is best known for nude photos of her that hit the Internet, but she’s now putting her talents to better use: The Brooklynite and her husband, Simon van Kempen, are writing an urban parenting book. First-season viewers of the Bravo show might find it ironic, since her two sons weren’t particularly well-behaved, but McCord tells us she’s well- equipped for the job. “It’s not about how to discipline. It’s about things like how to get a passport for an infant when you don’t have a birth certificate yet,” she says. “It’s gonna be fun.” (Page Six)

 

Sam Ronson has $3 million reasons to keep things going with Lindsay Lohan, drama or no drama. ‘s DJ fees have jumped from $1,500 to as much as $25K per gig, reports the New York Daily News, bringing her total for 2008 to almost $3 million — and part of that is because club promoters know where Sam goes, Lindsay’s not far behind. “Sam’s now asking for a lot more money to spin,” says a source. “And she’s getting it easily.” (TMZ)

 

Ryan Seacrest‘s search for the right partner continues – only this time with the encouragement of his mother. “I wish he had more time to date,” Connie Seacrest tells Momlogic.com about her famous son, who also just happens to be the producer of the new NBC show, Momma’s Boys. “That would be wonderful for him – and we’d stand a better chance for him to have a relationship. ” As for any butting in – or rather, assistance – from Mom: “My rule is that you just observe and wait until they ask for your opinion,” she says. Still, a mother can hope, can’t she? Ideally, she says, for her son, “This would be the package I could see – a woman that would be his best friend, lover and eventually one day the mother of his children.” Ryan, who turns 34 on Christmas Eve, also has a sister, Meredith – and, notes mother Connie, the sibling is also single. “Neither of my children [is] married. They’re going have to get a nanny for granny!” she says. But as for adding to the family, “I believe in marriage before children. My husband [Gary Seacrest] and I have been married for 39 years this February. I think both of my children want to have this kind of relationship. Ryan realizes he’s got to give more time to a relationship if he wants it to be a lasting one. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!” (People)

 

The woman who lost an $11 million judgment to Michael Flatley for making false sexual assault claims has been arrested. Robertson, who is NFL star Brian Urlacher’s baby mama, was arrested at her home today on a warrant for contempt of court charges, according to the Chicago Sun Times. Robertson missed a court date and has not made any payments to Flatley, a sheriff’s spokesman told the paper. Robertson was released, but could face six months in jail if she continues to dodge Flatley’s attorneys. Robertson accused Flatley of rape back in 2006, but the charges were later deemed false and Flatley won a counter-suit against her. (TMZ)

 

Kirsten Dunst has won a court’s protection from a man who she says has recently trespassed at her home. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard E. Rico granted Dunst’s request to order 25-year-old Christopher R. Smith to stay away from the actress, her personal assistant and any place they work. Dunst did not appear during Monday’s court hearing. The request was granted without her attorney or witnesses having to make arguments. Smith did not attend the hearing and never responded to a temporary restraining order Dunst received in November. Dunst, who has appeared in three “Spider-Man” films, wrote last month that she was “quite frightened” of Smith. He was arrested by Dunst’s assistant last month after trespassing at her house. (Daily Record)

 

Lillo Brancato, who played a bumbling aspiring mobster on “The Sopranos,” was cleared Monday of second-degree murder in the shooting death of an off-duty policeman during a drunken, late-night search for drugs. The jury convicted Brancato of a lesser charge of attempted burglary. He faces a minimum of three years in prison on that count, but the former actor could get credit for time served because he has been behind bars about that long. Brancato showed no reaction as the verdict was read – his face impassive, his fingers pressed together. His mother, seated a couple rows back in the gallery, began sobbing. Prosecutors say Brancato and accomplice Steven Armento broke into a basement apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of drinking at a strip club. Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who lived next door, came out to investigate. Armento blasted the 28-year-old officer with his .357 Magnum, hitting him in the heart. The dying officer fired back, wounding both men. Armento was convicted earlier this year of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Yolanda Rosa Nazario, the victim’s sister, said she was baffled by the verdict. “What message is this sending out to the New York City police officers today? It’s wrong,” she said. “This would not have happened if not for this animal’s drug habit,” said Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch. “The only good thing is that this skunk is not walking out to spend Christmas with his family. The sad part is that neither is Daniel.” Brancato was led out of court in handcuffs. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 9. Defense lawyer Joseph Tacopina said his client was relieved with the verdict. “There was never going to be smiles,” he said. “This is not a case that warrants that.” Tacopina added: “This will be a second chance for him in life. … Lillo’s committed to taking advantage of it.” Brancato rose to fame in the 1993 movie “A Bronx Tale,” playing a young kid from the neighborhood who is torn between two worlds and two men: a local mobster played by Chazz Palminteri and his straight-and-narrow bus-driver father, played by Robert De Niro. Other roles followed, most notably a stint on the second season of “The Sopranos.” His character carried out a series of low-level crimes for the New Jersey mob before being gunned down by Tony Soprano and his sidekick as he tearfully begged for his life. Brancato, 32, and Armento, 48, were drinking together at a strip club in December 2005 before deciding to break into the basement apartment in a hunt for Valium, prosecutors said. Brancato testified during the trial there was a never a break-in. He claimed that he had known the owner, a Vietnam veteran, for several years. He also said he had permission to go inside and take painkillers and other pills whenever he felt like it, and didn’t know the man had died earlier that year. The pills were part of a drug problem that he said began when he was “introduced to marijuana” on the set of “A Bronx Tale.” He later became hooked on crack and heroin, he said. He told the jury that while suffering from judgment-impairing heroin withdrawals on the night of the shooting, he accidentally broke the kitchen window of the apartment in a desperate attempt to wake up his old pill-supplier. “I was becoming dope sick,” Brancato testified. “Mentally, I was a mess.” Brancato tried to deflect suggestions by the prosecution that his testimony – at times punctuated by vignettes about his drug-crazed downfall – was another acting job. (Daily Record)

 

 

MUSIC . . .

 

Will Tim McGraw be ditching his cowboy hats and boots for a gold grill grin? Probably not, but the hip-hop world sure does love the country superstar. Four years ago McGraw and Nelly collaborated on “Over and Over.” Earlier this month McGraw reportedly recorded a new single, “Human,” for Chris Brown’s upcoming album. And now there’s more. Hip-hop impresario T-Pain tells us exclusively that he’s also going into the studio with McGraw. T-Pain says the idea was hatched when the two met while both were appearing on Saturday Night Live last month. “We talked about getting in the studio together, so that’s probably going to happen soon,” T-Pain says. “I definitely think we could do something cool and different.” But he promises something much different from the Nelly-McGraw tune. How so? Unlike McGraw’s hip-hop-centric collaboration with Nelly, T-Pain says he wants it the other way around. “The hip-hop has been done with Tim and Nelly, so we gotta be more country than hip-hop,” he says. McGraw wasn’t T-Pain’s only pick for a country collaboration. He was interested in one of McGraw’s fellow chart-toppers, but that idea quickly fell apart. “I heard he was a racist,” T-Pain says. For now,  the Grammy-winning T-Pain has his new tour with Lil Wayne, Keyshia Cole, Gym Class Heroes and Keri Hilson to think about. He’s already gotten a firsthand look at Lil Wayne’s body-art obsession. “I saw him get a tattoo on the inside of his lips. It was a smiley face,” T-Pain says, adding with a chuckle, “I think he ran out of space everywhere else on his body…That was just strange to me. Weird.” And when T-Pain isn’t busy touring or hitting the studio, the “I’m N Luv (Wit a Stripper)” performer is a family man—but definitely not in the Brady Bunch kind of way. “My wife loves strippers too! She goes to strip clubs with me,” he brags. In fact, T-Pain reveals, “For my birthday, my wife got me 25 strippers.” We can only imagine what she does for their anniversary. (Launch)

 

Heartbreaking, emotional songs like “Love” and “I Remember” helped make Keyshia Cole one of R&B’s most popular stars. But while those songs resonate with millions of fans, the soul sensation says she can’t stand to listen to them anymore. Cole says she’s tired of singing those same old sad love songs. So on her new CD, “A Different Me,” released this month, Cole introduces her “sexier” side. (Daily Record)

 

Rihanna is ready to rock Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. The 20-year-old Grammy winner will headline the Recording Industry Association of America’s charity ball to benefit Feeding America on Jan. 20, according to Access Hollywood.  “We are thrilled to have Rihanna’s participation in the inauguration charity ball,” Feeding America’s Vicky Escarra told Access. “As the prevalence of hunger in America increases at an unprecedented rate, we are most grateful to Rihanna and to RIAA for helping us bring greater visibility to this tragic reality and helping us feed millions more people in need.” Another celeb anxious to celebrate with Barack Obama on his big day? Will Smith, who says he’s “definitely going” to D.C. “We’ll go there and just cry — probably two, three days in a row,” he told reporters at the L.A. premiere of Seven Pounds last week. “Just lots of crying. We’ll probably cheer a lot, too.” (US Weekly)

 

U2’s upcoming album, “ No Line on the Horizon,” will be available in five different incarnations, the glitziest of which carries a $96 list price on Amazon.com. The set is due March 2 internationally and the following day in North America. Beyond the standard CD and double vinyl packages, “Horizon” will be offered in three additional limited editions. The digi-pack version, which lists for $35.98, has the CD in a cardboard folded sleeve with a 36-page booklet, a fold-out poster and “a new film from Anton Corbijn featuring the music of U2,” the latter of which is available as a download. The magazine version, for $49.98, finds the CD housed in “a special 60-page soft cover magazine-style book,” and also includes the downloadable Corbijn film. Lastly, the box set version comes, naturally, in a box with a 60-page hardcover book, a second poster and the Corbijn film on DVD. (Billboard)

 

2008 “X Factor” winner Alexandra Burke had her U.K. Christmas No. 1 single confirmed yesterday (Dec. 21), as her version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (Syco Music/Sony BMG) debuted at the top with sales of 576,000 units to become the fastest-selling single by a female solo artist in British chart history. The late Jeff Buckley’s 1994 version of the song, also publicized during the recent series, raced 30-2, bringing about the first occasion that the British singles chart has featured the same song in the top two positions for nearly 52 years. Meanwhile, Take That secured the festive No. 1 album as “The Circus” (Polydor/Universal) started a third week at the summit, with another big sales week of 382,000 units. The set has now sold 1.133 million to date. To complete an extraordinary week for Cohen, his own 1984 original of “Hallelujah” entered the singles chart at No. 36, giving the Canadian singer/songwriter his first U.K. top 40 hit as an artist, at the age of 74. Although downloads now make up the vast majority of the singles market, the breakdown of Burke’s sales underlined that the British music consumer will still buy a physical single when it’s seen as a true “event”: almost exactly half of Burke’s sales, 287,000, were as physical singles. Nevertheless, her 289,000 downloads are a one-week digital record, beating former “X Factor” winner Leona Lewis’ 140,000 sales for “A Moment Like This” in 2006. (Billboard)

 

The Warner Music Group on Saturday (Dec. 20) pulled all of its music from YouTube as negotiations over payment with Google’s video site reached an impasse. Warner’s move will affect its recordings as well as the songs it owns through Warner/Chappell Music. “We are working actively to find a resolution with YouTune that would enable the return of our artists’ content to the site,” Warner said in a statement. “Until then, we simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide.” Warner, one of the first media companies to strike a deal with YouTube, wants to make more money from online video. Although the nature of the negotiations is unknown, a sticking point could be that YouTube has lagged in monetizing its considerable traffic at a time when competitors, like Hulu, are emerging. Warner still makes videos available to MTV, MySpace Music and other sites. YouTube also has agreements with the other major labels, which it is now renegotiating. It is not known whether Warner’s move could effect the other negotiations. “Sometimes, if we can’t reach acceptable business terms, we must part ways with successful partners,” YouTube said in a statement on its blog. This year, Warner has more than 20 percent market share of albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and Atlantic is the No. 1 label in the U.S.  (Billboard)

 

 

MOVIE . . .

 

The long professional relationship between Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott could come to a cataclysmic end if Crowe gets Scott fired from “Nottingham.” Scott turned Crowe into a major star by casting him in “Gladiator” (2000), a role that won him the Best Actor Oscar. The New Zealander also earned critical acclaim in Scott’s “A Good Year” (2006) and “American Gangster” (2007). Spokesmen for Crowe, Scott and Universal, which is distributing “Nottingham,” flatly deny any discord between the actor and the director. But sources say Crowe blames Scott for the disastrous drubbing their fourth collaboration, “Body of Lies,” received from critics and at the box office last summer, and no longer wants to work with the British director. “Ridley is the only one who is willing to stand up to Russell and tell him he’s too fat and that he can’t show up four hours late to the set,” said one source. “He [Russell] wants someone he can control.” “Nottingham,” which starts filming in March, is a revisionist version of the Robin Hood legend, in which Crowe stars as the sheriff of Nottingham, a noble and brave lawman whose corrupt king is raising taxes even as his subjects starve. He and Robin Hood vie for the love of Maid Marian. Crowe is notoriously hot-tempered, and faced criminal charges in 2005 after throwing a telephone at a concierge at the Mercer Hotel. He is now said to be pressuring George Freeman of William Morris, the agent who represents both Crowe and Scott, to get Scott replaced. A spokesman for Freeman told Page Six: “There is absolutely no truth to this.” Crowe, Scott and “Nottingham” producer Brian Grazer had a preproduction meeting last week, and everything was full speed ahead, the spokesman said. (Page Six)

 

Movie audiences greeted Jim Carrey and Will Smith with a lukewarm “yes’ as snowstorms undermined weekend debuts from both stars. Carrey’s comedy “Yes Man” opened at No. 1 with $18.2 million in ticket sales, while Smith’s drama “Seven Pounds” came in second with $16 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Debuting at No. 3 with $10.5 million was Matthew Broderick’s animated family flick “The Tale of Despereaux.” The new movies arrived in theaters Friday just as storms pounded the Northeast. “Those markets back east just got hammered,” said Chris Aronson, distribution executive for 20th Century Fox, whose sci-fi saga “The Day the Earth Stood Still” slipped from No. 1 to No. 4 with $10.2 million. The movie starring Keanu Reeves raised its 10-day total to $48.6 million. “Yes Man,” released by Warner Bros., stars Carrey as a loser who turns his life around by subscribing to a philosophy of saying “yes” to everything. Sony’s “Seven Pounds” casts Smith as a mysterious IRS agent doing good deeds for strangers, and Universal’s “Tale of Despereaux” features Broderick as the mouthpiece for a tiny mouse on a heroic mission. In limited release, Mickey Rourke’s acclaimed drama “The Wrestler” had a heavyweight debut, taking in $209,474 in just four theaters for a whopping average of $52,369. By comparison, “Yes Man” played in 3,434 theaters and averaged $5,288 per theater, while “Seven Pounds” opened in 2,758 and averaged $5,801 per theater. The No. 3 film “The Tale of Despereaux” played in 3,104 theaters and grabbed $3,385 per venue. ( Daily Record)

 

Aww, look at that cute, fluffy puppy in those “Marley & Me” ads. He’s so sweet and innocent with those pleading eyes and that shiny, red bow around his neck. It almost makes you think you’re in for a feel-good comedy about a rambunctious yellow Lab and the family who loves him no matter what chaos he causes. Well, “Marley & Me” is all that, but if you’ve read the best-selling memoir by John Grogan that inspired the movie, you also know that it has more than its share of hanky moments. Watching all those heart-tugging stories play out before your eyes on a giant screen, though, we’re not talking about just a tear or two welling up – we’re talking grown men and women snuffling and sobbing uncontrollably, then dashing from the theater before the lights come up to avoid making eye contact with all the other blubbering saps. Seeing the ending, in all its horrifically sad detail, is bad enough if you’re a grown-up (and a dog person). If you’re a little kid expecting a happy puppy movie, “Marley & Me” could cause serious trauma requiring hours of therapy and many scoops of ice cream to repair. So yes, it’s effective in its ability to evoke emotion – having said that, it’s not a particularly good movie. Director David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”) leaps back and forth in blandly episodic fashion between the incorrigible Marley doing wacky, destructive things and his owners, journalists John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny (Jennifer Aniston), furthering their lives as a married couple and, ultimately, as parents. And that’s a shame, because Grogan’s book was a rich, rollicking recollection of a life lived. Here, there’s no great momentum, just a long, flat arc toward the inevitable. John and Jenny get married and, soon afterward, they get a puppy he names Marley (as in Bob). John gets a job as a reporter at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marley freaks out during a thunderstorm. John’s editor (Alan Arkin) promotes him to columnist (and doubles his pay, which is just a total fantasy in today’s news-business climate), Marley disembowels the couch. The first baby comes, Marley runs off on his own at the beach. And on it goes. (Surprisingly, “Out of Sight” writer Scott Frank and Don Roos collaborated on the screenplay.) Despite their sunny, blonde looks, Wilson (at 40) and Aniston (at 39) feel too old to be playing young newlyweds starting a life together at the beginning of “Marley & Me,” and their playful marital banter seems forced. But they do settle in and have a couple of believable arguments as their characters get older and the natural stresses of marriage, a home, three kids and a torturous dog take hold. (An early scene in which Jenny suffers a miscarriage, and Marley responds with unexpected sympathy and grace, is also an emotional doozy.) (Daily Record)

 

Much ado has been made about “Valkyrie,” starring Tom Cruise as would-be Hitler assassin Col. Claus von Stauffenberg. There is the release date, which has been moved around several times until finally being set for Christmas, the perfect time for a feel-good movie about killing Nazis. There’s the marketing of the film: Is it a historical thriller featuring Cruise in an eye patch, or is it a straight-up action picture full of explosions? And then, of course, there is the Cruise factor itself – the fact that his very presence adds a layer of tabloid-friendly fascination. Turns out Cruise is both the central figure in “Valkyrie” and its weakest link. He’s distractingly bad in this, the iconography of his celebrity so strongly overshadowing his performance. He’s just too powerfully contemporary. With his hard, flat American accent, he stands out in every single scene. And he’s not a good enough actor to immerse himself in this kind of period piece, or allow us to do the same. (Then again, if he had affected a German accent – or a British one to blend in among his co-stars – he would have invited derision for that, too. Maybe the guy just can’t win.) It’s too bad, too, because “Valkyrie” looks great. With its impeccable production design and German locations – including the Bendlerblock in Berlin, where Operation Valkyrie began and where members of the anti-Nazi resistance were executed after it failed – it feels substantial, never CGI-fake, and it moves fluidly. No one ever doubted the ability of Bryan Singer, director of the first two “X-Men” movies, to make a solid, energetic actioner. But – and this is going to sound like more piling on – Cruise undermines the potential of “Valkyrie” at every turn. He’s outclassed and outmatched by every member of the strong supporting cast, any of whom would have been more believable as Stauffenberg: Kenneth Branagh, Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp and Bill Nighy as fellow German officers, even Eddie Izzard, who’s a unique and unexpected choice. Then again, the script from Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Academy Award for writing Singer’s breakthrough film “The Usual Suspects,” never fully fleshes out his motivations. (Nathan Alexander is a co-writer.) Stauffenberg is depicted as a loyal but wounded army officer who loves Germany yet finds himself increasingly horrified by Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. But we never get a sense of inner conflict, of the doubt he may have felt in betraying his duties, of the fear he may have faced in putting himself and his family in danger by going through with the plan. When Stauffenberg states with clenched-jawed, hushed certitude, “We have to kill Hitler,” we’ll just have to take his word for it that he feels strongly about the task he’s about to lead. He joins the German Resistance for the last of several failed plots to take out Hitler, scheduled for July 20, 1944. Stauffenberg was to plant a bomb and then head a regime change known as Operation Valkyrie, based on Hitler’s own emergency plan to keep the government running in case of his death. As we all know from the start, that didn’t happen – Hitler killed himself a year later – and surprisingly, Singer never generates enough suspense to make us forget that as we’re watching. The whole effort feels rather smoothly detached. The actual bomb-orchestration sequence is well-staged and has a few breathless moments, but a scene that’s supposed to be pivotal and poignant – when Stauffenberg reluctantly thrusts his partially amputated arm in the air and declares “Heil Hitler!” – instead comes off as laughable. “Valkyrie,” a United Artists release, is rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language. Running time: 120 minutes. One and a half stars out of four. (Daily Record)

 

Canada-based production company Legacy Filmworks, production-finance group Bron Management and comic-book publisher and transmedia outfit Arcana Studios have teamed to produce a slate of five films based on Arcana’s comic titles. The first will be the sci-fi thriller “Paradox,” which will star Kevin Sorbo and be directed by Brenton Spencer (“Stargate: Atlantis”). Sorbo plays a homicide cop on a parallel Earth ruled by magic who investigates a series of murders committed by a previously unseen means: the power of science. Christos Gage and Ruth Fletcher Gage wrote the screenplay based on Arcana’s three-issue limited series written by Christos Gage, who has worked for Marvel and DC Comics. The Gages, repped by Benderspink, wrote Sony’s 2001 feature “The Breed” and have worked on NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.” Legacy Filmworks’ Deboragh Gabler is producing “Paradox” and the rest of the slate, as is Bron Management’s Aaron Gilbert, who helped arrange independent financing. Arcana founder-publisher Sean O’Reilly is executive producing. Myriad Pictures is handling international sales and will work with Arcana, Legacy and Bron to brand the films. The slate’s other projects include “Chopper,” a thriller based on a Martin Shapiro comic that hopes to go before cameras next month, and “Sundown,” a Western vampire thriller, based on a Jay Busbee comic, which is scheduled for an April or May start. Future slate projects will be announced during the coming months. Apart from comics, Arcana recently produced the animated Web series “Red Lotus” for Spike TV and have projects in development at MTV and Valhalla. Bron, which has an interest in Arcana, has projects at Killer Films and Legacy, which is behind Lifetime movies including “My Name Is Sarah.” Sorbo, repped by Innovative and Luber Roklin Entertainment, exercised his comedy chops this year in Universal’s “An American Carol.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Robert Mulligan, who directed “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Summer of ’42,” among other films, died Friday of heart disease at his Connecticut home. He was 83. Mulligan received a best director Oscar nomination in 1963 for “Mockingbird.” The brother of actor Richard Mulligan, he also directed “The Great Impostor,” “Love With the Proper Stranger,” “Baby, the Rain Must Fall,” “Inside Daisy Clover,” “Up the Down Staircase” and “The Other.” He also narrated “Summer of ’42.” Known for his diffident nature and sensitivity toward players, Mulligan directed five different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Natalie Wood, Ruth Gordon and Ellen Burstyn, with Peck winning the best actor Oscar for “Mockingbird.” He also elicited consistently fine performances from a range of his players, including Anthony Perkins in “Fear Strikes Out,” Jennifer O’Neill in “Summer of ’42,” Robert Redford in “Inside Daisy Clover” and Richard Gere in “Bloodbrothers.” Mulligan earned his stripes in live TV in New York in the early 1950s and helmed such productions as “Studio One,” “Playhouse 90,” “The Alco Hour,” “The Philco Television Playhouse” and “The DuPont Show of the Month” before becoming a movie director in 1957 with “Fear Strikes Out,” the story of baseball pitcher Jimmy Piersall. In 1982, Mulligan directed “Kiss Me Goodbye,” a reworking of the Brazilian film “Donna Flor and Her Two Husbands.” His more recent films include “Clara’s Heart” (1988), starring Whoopi Goldberg, and “The Man in the Moon” (1991). Self-effacing with a no flamboyant filmic style, Mulligan didn’t receive the acclaim of such ex-TV contemporaries as Sidney Lumet, Arthur Penn and John Frankenheimer. His films were more popular with audiences than with critics. While some debated whether he had a discernible personal vision in his films, Mulligan was known for his casting and direction of children, including “Staircase,” where he personally interviewed more than 500 New York high school students. Sensing a kindred spirit, Francois Truffaut was a vocal champion, particularly cognizant of what he perceived as undue criticism of Mulligan’s work for lacking a particular “style.” Mulligan himself was dismissive of critics/cineaste talk: “I don’t know anything about ‘the Mulligan style,’ ” he told the Village Voice in 1978. “If you can find it, well, that’s your job.” Mulligan was known for working side-by-side with screenwriters in shaping a cinematic story. “The attention which has been paid to directors is flattering but overrated,” he noted in the same Voice interview. Mulligan had an eight-year collaboration with Alan J. Pakula, who served as a producer on all of Mulligan’s early films, beginning with “Fear Strikes Out” through “The Stalking Moon” in 1969. Mulligan was born Aug. 23, 1925, in New York. He worked for six months at the New York Times on the copy desk before entering Fordham University, where he majored in journalism and literature. He became one of the first students to enroll in the school’s radio department. After college, he started his show business career as a messenger boy at CBS. He soon moved up to production assistant and then won an opportunity to direct on the “Suspense” series. He excelled in the fast-paced milieu of live TV, helming such projects as “The Moon and Sixpence,” “Billy Budd” and “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” He directed stage plays as well, including “Comes a Day” on Broadway. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

 

TV . . .

 

Former England captain David Beckham is to appear on Italian Big Brother sources claim. David Beckham could make an appearance on Italian Big Brother while spending time playing for AC Milan sources have told the Daily Star. The unlikely rumors have come about as the Milan club are owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who also owns a number of top Italian TV stations. “Beckham is very high profile and to get him on Big Brother would be a ratings winner. In Italy, footballers interact a lot more with TV than they do in England. All the high-profile players are on light entertainment shows during the season,” the insider claims. “Most of these shows are on Berlusconi’s Mediaset empire. And as Berlusconi also owns AC Milan, then Beckham will be expected to turn out on one program at least – almost certainly Grande Fratello (Big Brother).” Hmm, we’ll believe it when we see it. (Handbag)

 

Debbie Matenopolous, the original castoff from “The View,” wants a new life. Matenopolous, who hosts “The Daily 10″ on E!, is “at a crossroads in her life,” says her producer, Adam Havener. The perky blonde is going through a nasty divorce from music executive Jay Faires and is “re-evaluating her career and future.” Funnily enough, she wants to re-evaluate on camera. She’s pitching a reality show called “Debbie Does . . . ” in which she explores “new occupations, hobbies and places.” (Page Six)

 

Viewership for The Hills is down. Way down! Original episodes have tumbled 26% in the coveted 12-34 y.o. viewer demographic in the fourth quarter, compared with the same period last year. As a result, MTV is working on a bunch of new reality show. SIXTEEN to be exact! (Perez Hilton)

 

The second season of “Celebrity Rehab,” VH-1’s compelling, you’re-appalled-but-you-can’t-look-away reality series is getting a spin off, “Sober Living.” The new series will follow former Guns ‘N Roses drummer Steven Adler, Crazy Town front man Seth “Shifty” Binzer, adult-film star Mary Carey, Rodney King, “American Idol” finalist Nikki McKibbin, model Amber Smith, and comedian Andy Dick into a sober living facility. Dr. Drew Pinsky, who helmed “Rehab,” will also be on hand for “Sober Living.” But is it a good idea? Seems as if the “celebrities” involved were a little more A-list, like, say, Britney Spears, we’d be saying it was exploitative. In other reality show news, VH-1’s sister channel, MTV, is planning on launching 16 new unscripted series over the next five months. The shows will be produced by some big names: Sean Combs, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Donald Trump, and Nick Lachey are all onboard, according to Variety.  (Scoop)

 

Most TV shows exit the airwaves with a flurry of headlines memorializing their demise. Sometimes, though, a program fades from the spotlight into a scheduling twilight zone: neither declared dead nor returning. Here’s the lowdown on some missing-in-action titles from this year that most expected to see again but which have no airdates on the horizon: NBC’s “American Gladiators.” Gladiators ready? No, gladiators are not ready. This competition-series revival enjoyed terrific ratings for its initial run during the WGA strike early this year. A second season launched in May and saw a sharp drop in viewers, with ratings fading throughout its summer run. Most consider reality shows cheap to produce, but this stunt-heavy arena competition is not. NBC has not mentioned “Gladiators” on the record, but it’s considered canceled. Fox’s “The Moment of Truth.” Another strike-era reality hit, this, too, saw a ratings decline during its summer run. Unlike “Gladiators,” though, “Truth” isn’t very expensive, and Fox has shot unaired episodes for a new season. Given the troubled economy and the show’s controversial content, sources said garnering advertiser support hasn’t been easy (another reason Fox hopes the cheerfully altruistic “Secret Millionaire” breaks out). No airdate is planned for “Truth,” but with episodes in the can, a summer run might be tempting. CBS’ “EliteXC Saturday Night Fights.” CBS planned four experimental off-brand specials and aired three, two of which performed well among younger demographics. With EliteXC declaring bankruptcy in October, though, the fourth special is not happening. CBS could align with another mixed-martial-arts partner but has not found or sought one. The network is doing fine with scripted shows, so it’s in no rush to jump back in the octagon. ABC’s “Opportunity Knocks.” This game show debuted in the fall and quickly was yanked from the schedule. ABC’s insistence that the program might come back was presumed by the media to be spin to avoid cancellation so early in the season. But here we are, months later, and ABC still says “Opportunity” will knock again. The network plans to run off the remaining six episodes in the summer. Fox’s ” ‘Til Death” and ABC’s “According to Jim.” Both are modestly rated, critically indifferent sitcoms produced by their networks’ sister studios that fill schedule holes when needed. “Death” is off the air, but a midseason appearance is likely. “Jim” will leave the air shortly, and ABC plans to air its remaining 12 episodes in the summer unless called into action earlier. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Talk about a hairy “Sex and the City.” The Fox network is developing “Bitches,” a dramedy about a quartet of female friends in New York who are werewolves. The project, which has received a script plus penalty commitment from the network, hails from feature writer Michael Dougherty and Warner Bros. TV. TV writing duo Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have come on board to supervise Dougherty. The two also will serve as executive producers alongside Dougherty if the project, described as a quirky urban fairy tale, goes to series.  “Bitches” continues the werewolf theme from Dougherty’s recent horror flick “Trick ‘r Treat.”  2009 is shaping up to be a big year for werewolves with the release of the Benicio del Toro-starring remake of “The Wolfman” and the “Twilight” sequel “New Moon.” WMA-repped Dougherty’s writing credits also include “Superman Returns” and “X2: X-Men United.”  Berg and Harberts recently served as co-exec producers on the ABC/WBTV series “Pushing Daisies.” The duo, repped by ICM and attorney Gretchen Bruggeman Rush, also created/exec produced the WB’s “Pepper Dennis.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

 

TODAY’S IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION . . . (Mike Butts Creative)

 

Q.  People who do THIS say they are much happier with their lives. Do what?

            A.  Volunteering helping a cause or community

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE (By Norman Vincent Peale)

 

“CHRISTMAS WAVES A MAGIC WAND OVER THIS WORLD, AND BEHOLD, EVERYTHING IS SOFTER AND MORE BEAUTIFUL.”

 

 

MIND BOGGLERS . . .  (QuickTrivia)

 

Q.  Chances of a white Christmas in _____: 1 in 4?

            A.  Chicago

            B.  New York  ****

            C.  Albany

            D.  Atlanta

 

Q.  Who sings “give me a sign, hit me baby one more time”?

            A.  Annie Lennox

            B.  Britney Spears  ****

            C.  Chuck Berry

            D.  Talking Heads

 

Q.  In “Love Story.” Tommy Lee Jones played Ryan O’Neal’s roommate at Harvard. Jone’s real roommate at Harvard once claimed to have inspired “Love Story.” Who was he?

            A.  Harrison Ford

            B.  Ted Turner

            C.  Al Gore  ****

            D.  Erich Seagal

 

Q.  What superhero’s original workplace, the Daily Planet, was based on Toronto’s Daily Star”

            A.  Spider-man

            B.  Superman  ****

            C.  Captain America

            D.  Green Lantern

 

Q.  Who was the Bounty hunter in “Wanted Dead Or Alive”?

            A.  Roger Moore

            B.  Val Kilmer

            C.  Steve McQueen  ****

            D.  Sean Connery

 

Q.  Sherman reaches Savannah in Georgia leaving behind a 300 mile long path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way from Atlanta. Sherman then telegraphs Lincoln, offering him Savannah as a Christmas present?

            A.  April 24, 1862

            B.  Nov 8, 1861

            C.  Dec 21, 1864  ****

            D.  Feb 6, 1862

 

 

PEOPLE MAGAZINE . . .

 

Strange But True Most surprising revelations of 2008

 

Julia Child Was A Spy:

U.S. archives reveal the chef did espionage work during WWII

 

Karolina Kurkova Has No Belly Button:

The Czech model has neither an innie or an outie, due to an operation she has as an infant.

 

Mathew’s Placenta Tree:

Actor Matthew McConaughey told CNN he saved son Levi’s placenta to plant in an orchard.

 

 

TRAVEL TIPS . . . (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

 

MAKING YOUR OWN FIRST AID KIT:

 

When you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to keep a small first-aid kit on hand for unexpected emergencies. To pack your own first-aid kit, carry an ample supply of prescriptions in their original bottles, and keep a copy of all prescriptions with you, including generic names for medicines and a note from your physician on letterhead.  Also, keep an alcohol-based antibacterial hand gel, a topical antibiotic, a thermometer, and an anti-diarrhea medication. If you’re traveling to a mosquito-heavy area, be sure to pack an insect repellant with at least 30 percent DEET, and if that doesn’t deter the bugs, pack some anti-itch cream.  If you are traveling with children, take as many antibacterial wet wipes as you can fit.  And lastly, keep the contact information of your primary healthcare provider and a copy of your most recent vaccinations.

 

(Peter Greenberg is North America’s preeminent expert on Travel. An Emmy Award-Winning writer and producer, Peter is the Travel Editor for NBC’S “TODAY SHOW,” MSNBC and CNBC. A Best-Selling author of the “Travel Detective” series and host of the nationally syndicated “Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show.” Visit WWW.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM to learn more about Peter Greenberg and his adventures.)

 

 

MIKE BUTTS CREATIVE . . .

 

$10,000 ON BADGES? YEP

 

THE ECONOMY IS IN THE TOILET—WALL STREET GREED MONGERS AND CROOKED POLITICIANS ARE PICKING OUR POCKETS—HUNDREDS OF

THOUSANDS OF GOOD PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS—AND THE ST. LOUIS POLICE DEPARTMENT JUST SPENT $10,000 ON BADGES.

 

THESE BADGES ARE GOLD FILLED SO THE NEW CHIEF AND A HANDFUL OF OFFICERS COULD HAVE ME NICE AND SNAZZY—THIS ISN’T NEW—THE

PREVIOUS CHIEF SPENT $6,000 DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY ON 1 BADGE!!

 

THE AVERAGE COPS BADGE RUNS $20 BUCKS. HOW MANY BULLET PROOF VESTS OR PIECES OF LIFE SAVING EQUIPMENT COULD YOU BUY FOR

$10,000?  ( badges we don’t need no stinking badges)

 

 

A BLACKBERRY FUNERAL: J

 

CELLFONES—WE TAKE THEM EVERYWHERE—IN OUR CARS—THE DINNER TABLE—BEDROOM—SOMETIMES EVEN IN THE BATHROOM.. BUT NOW IT

SEEMS THAT MANY PEOPLE WHO DIE BEFORE THEY ARE 40—TAKE THEM TO THEIR GRAVES!  NOELLE POTVIN IS A COUNSELOR AT “HOLLYWOOD

FOREVER” A FUNERAL HOME AND CEMETERY~~ NOELLE SAYS HE HAS BURIED PEOPLE WITH” GAMEBOYS” BEFORE—AND MOST OF THE PEOPLE

REQUESTED THAT THEIR PHONES BE LEFT ON—JUST IN CASE THERE IS A “FINAL CONNECTION”!  CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW????

 

 

BIRTHDAYS . . .

 

—1860  Poet/Editor Harriet Monroe (d. 9-26-1936)

—1911  Actor James Gregory   (Barney Miller) (d. 9-16-2002)

—1921  Actor Gerald O’Loughlin (Our House)

—1923  Actress Ruth Roman (Knots Landing) (d. 9-9-1999)

—1925  Actor Harry Guardino  (d. 7-17-1995)

—1926  Author Robert Bly (Iron John: A Book about Men)

1926  Harold Dorman (“Mountain Of Love”) (d. 1988)

—1935  Blues Singer Little Esther Phillips (“What A Difference A Day Makes”) (d. 8-7-1984)

1939  Johnny Kidd – lead singer for Johnny & The Pirates (“Shakin’ All Over”) (d. 10-7-1966)

—1940  Musician/songwriter Tim Hardin (“If I Were A Carpenter – Reason To Believe”) (d. 12-29-1980)

—1940  Musician Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane) (“Somebody To Love”)

—1940  Singer/Writer Eugene Record (The Chi-Lites) (“Have You Seen her”) (d. 7-22-2005)

—1943  Musician Derek Smalls (Spinal Tap)

—1943  Comedian Harry Shearer

—1945  Musician Ron Bushy (Iron Maiden) (“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”)

—1946  Actress Susan Lucci (“Erica” All My Children)

1946  Robbie Dupree (“Steal Away”)

—1952  Singer Helen Schneider

—1956  Musician Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)

—1963  Football’s Jim Harbaugh

—1964  Singer Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

—1972  Actor Corey Haim (The Lost Boys)

 

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY . . .

 

—1783  General George Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and retired to his estate at Mt. Vernon, Virginia. (But not for long — Congress had other plans . . .).

—1788  Maryland donated a ten square mile tract of land along the Potomac River to be used as a seat of government for the new nation. Little remembered fact: Virginia donated a similar tract on the opposite bank of the river, which includes the present-day city of Alexandria, for the new District of Columbia, and it remained a part of DC until Congress returned it to Virginia in 1846.

—1888  Artist Vincent Van Gogh, in a fit of depression, cut off his ear with a rusty razor and sent it to his girlfriend.

—1928  The first coast-to-coast radio network went into operation — NBC.

—1938  As the wicked witch of the West, actress Margaret Hamilton’s costume caught fire in the first scene she filmed for MGM’s “The Wizard of OZ,” burning the skin on her right hand and singeing off her eyebrows.

—1942  Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska, becoming the first of his many Christmas shows for American armed forces around the world, a tradition which as continued for more than three decades.

—1947  Three scientists working for Bell Labs invented the transistor.

—1964  The Beach Boys make their first appearance on “Shindig!”

—1965  “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles is the top album in Britain.

—1966  “Ready Steady Go,” the UK music show partly responsible for launching the careers of David Bowie, Donowan, and the Rolling Stones, ends it BBC-TV run.

—1969  Elton John and Bernie Taupin begin their songwriting partnership.

—1970  “Ladies Of The Canyon” becomes Joni Mitchell’s first gold album.

—1970  John Lennon premieres “Imagine” on national television.

—1973  Six Persian Golf oil nations doubled their prices, beginning the “oil crisis.”

—1975  Anniversary of the Metric Conversion Act that declares that the International System of Units will be the country’s basic system of measurement. (Why are we still using inches?)

—1987  The first non-stop- flight around the world without re-fueling was accomplished by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. It was a 216-hour continuous flight. The journey covered 24,986 miles at 115 miles per hour with no potty break.

—1988  Director Oliver Stone’s film “Talk Radio,” the story of an obsessive late-night talk show host, opens nationally.

—1992  “Scent of a Woman” starring Al Pacino opened in theaters.

—1997  Verdict came down for Terry Nichols for the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 186 men, women and children. Nichols was guilty of conspiracy and not guilty of 1º or 2º murder.

 

 

RADIO ONLINE® DAILY SHOW PREP. . .

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

In order that we may share the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with our families and loved ones, RADIO ONLINE’s Daily Show Prep editors and writers will be on vacation from December 24 through January 1. During that time only abbreviated prep sheets will be posted and many regular features such as Weird News, Hunter’s Humor, Gorsefeathers and Entertainment News will not appear. The last regular prep sheet posted in 2008 will be for Tuesday, December 23. Regular publication of the Daily Show Prep will resume on January 2.

ON THIS DAY

On this date in 1788, Maryland gave up the land that is now Washington, DC. State officials felt that nothing good could ever come from the land… and boy, were they right!

In 1823, “A visit from Saint Nicholas” was published for the very first time. It was the story of a holiday dream: a Christmas guest who only visits for a moment and leaves behind lots of presents.

TODAY IS

It’s Christmas Eve Eve!

“All My Children’s” Susan Lucci turns 62 today! She started out on the show as a young tramp… but over time and by maturing her role, she is now an old tramp.

Harry Shearer, one of the many voices from “The Simpsons” turns 65 today. He brings to life Mr. Burns, Flanders, Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy and Otto. Sometimes he just likes to be by himself and have a group discussion.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

·         Criss Angel and Holly Madison held a birthday party for each other last week at the Las Vegas Luxor Hotel and during the party, $100 bills rained from the ceiling. Nice party favors.

·         Backstreet Boys singer Brian Littrell is asking fans to pray for his 6-year-old son, Baylee, who is in the hospital. No details as to why.

·         Fergie and Josh Duhamel have set a date: January 10th in Los Angeles.

·         Ever watch that cable show, “17 kids and counting”? The mom had her 18th kid over the weekend.

·         A burglar broke into the Hollywood home of Paris Hilton and made off with $2 million in jewelry.

·         Sherry L. Johnston, the mother of Levi Johnston and the future grandmother of his child with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol, was arrested in Wasilla, Alaska, Thursday and charged with six felony counts of misconduct involving a controlled substance.

·         An Egyptian man has offered his 20-year-old daughter in marriage to the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush.

·         Anne Hathaway doesn’t have the groom in mind yet, but she says she has already planned out the music for her eventual wedding.

·         The tabloids are claiming that Michael Jackson is not doing well and is battling something that has left him half blind and needing a lung transplant.

·         Topless pictures of Amy Winehouse romping on a beach in the Caribbean are all over the Internet.

·         Kevin Federline has a new girlfriend: volleyball player Victoria Prince.

·         Former Guns ‘n Roses drummer Steve Adler is back in rehab. This time, state-induced as an option to going to jail.

·         Guy Ritchie has already moved on and has hooked up with heiress Jemima Khan. One her more famous ex-boyfriends is Hugh Grant.

·         So you know, Jennifer Aniston, Marcia Cross, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts all went Noble Fir this year for their Christmas trees. One of the popular Beverly Hills lots is “Mr. Greentrees,” where a 7-8 footer would cost you $190.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

(Sun) Christmas carols put us in the holiday spirit with memorable lyrics and catchy tunes. But did you know that your favorite song of the season reveals your personality? “Whether it’s a popular ditty or an old fashioned carol, the Christmas music you enjoy the most is a clue to the real you,” says Denver psychologist Dennis Grantham. “For instance, a person who’s all business the rest of the year may show a soft sentimental side.” Here’s some of the most famous Christmas songs ever written. Find out what your favorite says about you:

·         It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas — You get in the spirit of things several weeks before the big day. Your excitement begins with decorating earlier than anyone in the neighborhood, and your practical nature assures that all your presents were purchased before Halloween.

·         Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree — No matter how exhausting it gets preparing for the holidays, your positive spirit keeps everyone smiling. Even if your bank account is a bit low this year, family and friends will be charmed by your creative, if inexpensive, gifts.

·         Jingle Bells — You’re a born organizer who’s sure to gather everyone together for a sing-a-long at holiday parties, both at work and at home. You also have a flair for choosing just the right presents for loved ones and friends because you make note of their wishes throughout the year.

·         Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful — You loved the traditions your family observed during the holidays of your childhood, and you continue to practice them to this day. From the special homemade cookies to the cherished tree ornaments hung, you bring a special nostalgic touch.

·         White Christmas — You’re a strong leader with a hard nose approach to most situations, but this song brings out your sentimental side. Family and friends are delighted when you forget the bottom line and jump into the festivities with boundless enthusiasm.

·         Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer — This silly “classic” tickles your funny bone because it’s as irreverent as you are. You’re all about the celebratory rather than the religious aspects of Christmas, holding court as the life of the party and showering loved ones with presents.

PHONE TOPICS

·         What’s left to do?

·         Who needs gift ideas? Lets use our listener group to figure out something.

·         Which celebrity is starting to get really, really old?

·         What’s the tackiest gift someone has ever given you?

·         What’s the weirdest thing you wear to bed?

·         What’s the best thing you ever found?

·         Which body part do you hate?

·         What is the hardest food to eat whole while driving?

·         How old where you when you had your first kiss?

·         What foods get men in the mood?

·         How to get out of a bad date?

·         What item that you’ve borrowed and never returned?

·         If you hate your job, what are you doing that drives the boss and/or your co-workers crazy?

·         Who is the “hottest” news personality on network TV?

·         No names — what’s the Christmas present you’re giving that’s going to blow them away this year?

Did you have a co-ed floor in your college dorm? I used to envy a college friend of mine that had a co-ed floor. Now, there’s even one better. Co-ed rooms! The University of Chicago is joining a nationwide trend of allowing male and female students to live not just on the same dorm floor, but in the same dorm room. The school says it was a student-led initiative that isn’t aimed at romantic couples. However, the school says couples won’t be banned from asking to be roommates when the program begins next month. Nationally more than 30 campuses allow co-ed dorm rooms. Do you agree or disagree with college co-ed dorm rooms?

I hear that if you want to buy something, now is the time to buy it. I’ve been reading that many stores, who’ve been hit with sluggish sales this season, are getting aggressive to lure in last-minute shoppers. Many places are opting to roll out discounts typically seen the day after Christmas. We asked, what’s the best deal you’ve found this year? We had lots of calls. And yes, there are still some people that don’t do all their shopping online.

It seems like we all have those, “when I was young and playing in the snow stories…” I got on the snowy subject by talking about my 3-year-old niece who got all bundled up the other day to play in the New England snow. She had so much padding on, she looked like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. It was too funny. She fell down and couldn’t get up. Open the phones and have parents share their “kid in snow” stories.

Our weather girl has to have her bed made exactly smooth, absolutely no wrinkles, before she can go to sleep and that she can’t put on her shoes if her socks have any “bumps” in them all. This led to a great phoner on the quirky little neuroses we all share. Phones went nuts.

Dating relationships are always a hot topic. We were talking about when one of the people involved just can’t take the hint that you’re really getting serious. One lady had been dating her now-hubby on and off for years and finally had to spell it out for him over dinner one night.

What do you think was the top news story of ’08? The New York Times online has released their most read news stories for the year:

1.      Found in a rundown Boston estate: Barack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango

2.      International Olympic Committee launches probe into He Kexin’s age

3.      Sarah Palin: conservatives find the girl of their dreams

4.      CEO murdered by mob of sacked Indian workers

5.      President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted war

6.      Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games

7.      Russell Brand calls George Bush a retard at MTV awards

8.      Coming soon – superfast internet

9.      Nouriel Roubini I fear the worst is yet to come

10.  Credit crunch may take out large US bank warns former IMF chief

11.  Barack Obama lines up a cabinet of stars as John McCain struggles on

12.  Oral history: The Monica Lewinsky scandal ten years on

13.  Soldier forced to sleep in car after hotel refuses him a room

14.  Get Osama Bin Laden before I leave office orders George W Bush

15.  Saddam Hussein’s body was stabbed in the back says guard

16.  Scientists find bugs that eat waste and excrete petrol

17.  Barack Obama is warned to beware of a huge threat from al Qaeda

18.  Royal Navy in firefight with Somali pirates

19.  Horror as teenager commits suicide live online

20.  Google could be superseded says web inventor

Who took the rap for her man? We solicited calls from female listeners who have taken the rap for their man. Response was incredible with listeners taking everything from minor traffic crimes to major theft and drunken driving. Great phone starter.

Who is a D.U.F. (designated ugly friend)? Ever heard of it? Well, in every group there is always an ugly friend among the beautiful people. My co-host brought up his lifetime DUF status and invited other fellow DUF members to call in and tell their “duffy” tales.

Interesting wedding proposals? One caller simply opened his mouth with her engagement ring sitting on his tongue. Among the others we heard was the guy who had all the neighbors come out with a rose he had given them and hand them to his girlfriend as she went on her daily walk. The last rose came from her mother who told her her boyfriend loves her and had a question to ask.

Do you have a man in your life who is sabotaging your diet… or career? We heard from a bunch of women who were trying to get in shape and lose weight and their boyfriend or husband was doing all he could to mess it up. Apparently this isn’t uncommon because the guys should be improving themselves as well but don’t want to. A number of the callers said the guy who was working against them is now an ex.

Should you be happy that your friend is getting a divorce? My co-host’s close friend told him recently that he would be getting a divorce; things just hadn’t worked out with he and his wife. When he told my co-host, his response was, “Well, I’m glad you finally got away from her. She treated you like sh*t anyway!” Well that has been over a week ago and my co-host hasn’t talked to him again. He wants to know if he was wrong for telling his friend this so we opened the phone lines. Listeners jammed the phone lines with many different opinions but the overall reaction was that my co-host was right for doing what he did and his buddy needed to hear that.

Here are the top 5 ways to get some extra cash (from Smartmoney.com):

1.      Borrow From Friends – There’s no lender more sympathetic to your financial woes than the Bank of Mom and Dad. Loans from those you love can be far more painful, though, if handled improperly.

2.      Sell on eBay – Clearing out clutter can make you some fast cash on web sites like eBay. The auction giant permits listings of as little as 24 hours, as well as three- and five-day increments. Just about anything goes, from that tragic ’80s bridesmaid dress to your half-used Outback Steakhouse gift card.

3.      Use Credit Card Checks – Save those credit-card balance transfer checks that show up in your mailbox. Most issuers will allow you to simply write out a check to yourself and cash it for any reason.

4.      Peer-to-Peer Lending – The kindness of strangers isn’t far out of reach, thanks to the increasing popularity of peer-to-peer lending sites like Prosper.com and Virgin Money, which facilitate loans between individuals.

5.      Dip Into Your 401(k) – Make no mistake: Tapping your 401(k) is a loan of last resort.

What way do you score fast cash?

You know how it is… We wear headphones for a living and gotta wonder what that does to our hearing. Over the last few months, I’ve really been noticing a change. Even my daughter yells sometimes to get my attention. Wondered what other occupations caused trouble like this. Lots of our folks were willing to call in bad side effects for their work.

With the divorce rate so high in our country. I saw a study that talked about how those who have made it over 10 years of marriage may be better at keeping passion in their relationship. We asked if it was based off good communication, which helps trust and security, which leads to better intimacy. Or is it just good practices all those years keeping tools for intimacy on a regular basis. Wow, great calls from those who have managed to keep the fire burning!

Female construction screw-ups. This is a good one. A member of our show recently assembled one of those dressers you purchase in a box. Basically, it’s just matching A to B, but she ended up screwing the entire dresser into the floor. She thought it was just heavy! Oops… It’s great when the women rat out their husband’s screw-ups, too.

When was the last time you found yourself stuck some place where you really didn’t fit in? For me, it was yesterday at our annual Bridal expo where my partner and I emceed the fashion show. I’m not exactly a tuxedo kind of guy and don’t otherwise use words like “flouncy” and “bodice.”

Hey, when was the last time you dropped something and made a mess in a grocery store? You always see it in the movies, where someone destroys a whole display of product that is stacked up. I discovered a couple of years ago that when you drop a gallon jug of milk, it literally explodes when it hits. One woman described how she dropped a bottle of pop and it exploded all over the woman standing next to her. After some other calls we got one from a woman who works in a supermarket and she said the stores don’t lose money when food products get destroyed so don’t worry about it. (Unless it’s something really sticky because the clerks hate dealing with that!)

WEIRD NEWS

That’s A Lotta Latkes!
In New York, 23-year-old Pete Czerwinski (sir-WIN’-skee) downed 46 latkes — about 7 pounds worth — in eight minutes to win an eating contest at a Long Island deli. Peter says he had never eaten one of the potato pancakes before but calls himself a “power eater” whose brain never signals that he’s full. He demolished the contest’s previous record of 31 latkes, set in 2006. Brooklyn college student Will Millender took second place Sunday with 29 latkes. The pancakes are a traditional treat for Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights which started Sunday evening. (Newsday)

Sheriff’s Holiday Scam Nets 60 Fugitives!
The sheriff’s office in Chicago has arrested more than 60 fugitives with a net of holiday cheer. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart sent out notices to the suspects inviting them to come a take a retailer’s survey for holiday shoppers at a hotel. Those who brought along a scratch-off card that was included with the survey were promised at least $500 in cash. Those who showed up were taken into custody including one guy who arrived with marijuana in his pocket. He was charged with possession on top of his original charges. Most of those arrested had outstanding warrants for things like forgery and aggravated battery. Happy Holidays! (myway.com)

Diamond in the Rough!
Catherine Hart recently attended a “Night at the Museum” sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History. Although the event is a fund raiser for the museum, Catherine made one donation she hadn’t intended to — a $15,000 one-carat diamond that fell out of her ring during the event. But custodial supervisor Herbert Andujar says staffers in gloves and masks combed through the dust in four vacuum bags, scrutinizing everything that glittered and yes — they found it! Mrs. Hart says she’s thrilled to have recovered the diamond, which her husband gave her in 2000 as she intends to give it to her granddaughter someday. She added, “It shows a diamond really is forever, because it came back to me.” (myway.com)

Face It — You Love To Torture People!
Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University in California says, “What we found is validation of the same argument — if you put people into certain situations, they will act in surprising, and maybe often even disturbing, ways.” He’s referring to the latest research that measure’s people’s willingness to torture other’s with electric shocks if ordered to do so. He was replicating an experiment published in 1961 by Yale University professor Stanley Milgram, in which volunteers were asked to deliver electric “shocks” to other people if they answered certain questions incorrectly. Milgram found that, after hearing an actor cry out in pain at 150 volts, 82.5 percent of participants continued administering shocks, most to the maximum 450 volts. The experiment surprised psychologists and no one has tried to replicate it because of the distress suffered by many of the volunteers who believed they were shocking another person. Burger modified the experiment, by stopping at the 150 volt point. In Burger’s modified experiment, 70 percent of the volunteers were willing to give shocks greater than 150 volts. Burger said, “That was surprising and disappointing.” (AHN News)

Sorry — You Can’t Secretly Video Tape Your Naked Wife!
Sorry guys — you can’t secretly video tape your naked wife — even though you’re married. Thus sayeth the Iowa Supreme Court which upheld two lower-court rulings against Jeffrey Tigges — a Dubuque man who secretly videotaped his now ex-wife at home. Jeffery must now pay his former spouse $22,500 for invading her privacy. He had argued in court that his wife, Cathy Tigges, had no reasonable expectation of privacy in their home when he placed cameras above a ceiling in their home and in a bedroom alarm clock, according to the ruling. He also installed a motion-sensing “optical eye” in a headboard over a bed. Cathy discovered one of the cameras in August 2006 — the same year she filed for divorce. The court also rejected Jeffrey’s argument that his ex-wife had filed the claim after the two-year statute of limitations had passed. (Des Moines Register)

Expect To See More Desperate Crime
You know the economy’s in trouble when criminals start having a conscience. After a woman pulled up to an ATM outside Harris Bank in Midlothian, Illinois, a man jumped out of nowhere and grabbed the three $20 bills she was trying to withdraw. But as he did it — he did apologize saying, “I’m sorry– but I’ve got kids at home, and I really need the money.” As he took the woman’s money, a second man went around to the passenger side and tried getting into her car, police said. Fortunately the door was locked, and the man walked away. Meanwhile, the first man demanded the woman’s PIN and tried unsuccessfully to withdraw an additional $500. He did withdraw $200 before walking off into the dark. (South Town Star)

THIS OR THAT

Two choices: you gotta pick one and tell us why!

·         Raindrops on roses or Whiskers on kittens

·         Bright copper kettles or Warm woolen mittens

·         60% Sale at 6am or a 50% Sale at 8am

·         Keep a gift and never use it… or, wait in a long line and return it

·         Take the lights down the day after Christmas or The day after New Years

·         A house full of relatives for the holidays or Split the cost of their hotel rooms

·         Christmas Dinner: Turkey, Roast Beef or Ham

·         Opening presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning

·         One horse open sleigh or A car with studded tires

·         Living nativity scene or A kids Christmas pageant

HOUSE CALL

Once a week we have a “house call” with a couple of psychologists and are actually really good on the radio. We choose a mental health subject to talk about and always have fun with it. If you have a psychologist or family therapist in your area that is will to do a call-in type of show in your market, I highly recommend that you get them in the studio. Narrow down the topic like, “How do I know if I am clinically depressed?” Or maybe, “You too have some obsessive-compulsive traits.” Then you get people to call in and talk about their own mental health quirks. We keep it light and upbeat and it usually works out great.

TOP FIVE REASONS SANTA MIGHT SKIP YOUR HOUSE THIS YEAR

1.      You run General Motors and with the bailout money, who needs Santa?

2.      Who knew he’d be offended when you left out reindeer milk

3.      Tired of falling for that “rubber cookies” trick

4.      He still hasn’t forgotten that time you put grease on the roof

5.      That recall campaign you launched against him last year

HUNTER’S HUMOR by Tim Hunter

Thieves broke into Paris Hilton’s Hollywood home and made off with $2 million in jewelry. Paris says that she “feels so violated and… OOOH, look at that shiny Christmas ornament!”

Criss Angel went to Disneyland for the first time ever last week. The only awkward moment was when his girlfriend, Holly Madison, was offended by the seven dwarfs. All they were doing was singing, “Hi ho, hi ho… ”

I’m so exhausted. I haven’t slept well the past several nights. Someone gave my four calling birds my cell phone number. So, they keep calling me.

I saw one of those classic Christmas scenes today: Madonna and child… although, he hates being called “child”. He prefers “Alex” or “A-Rod.”

FILL IN THE BLANK

·         According to new statistics, because of the economic downturn, a lot of Americans are being forced to give up their ___________. (pets)

·         A 46-year-old woman is suing Sacramento State University because the school didn’t ______________. (make her homecoming queen)

·         A retirement home in New Jersey came up with a great use for fruitcake. They use it to ___________. (play shuffleboard)

TRADE YOUR JOB

We started our “Trade Your Job” bit up again last week. My female co-host wanted to be a receptionist. So, we took calls, picked the most upbeat, fun sounding person, and she went to answer their phones. The girl she replaced came into the studio and did some of her job. We got really lucky. She was good lookin’, and very comfortable on the mic! It was great. I will go next and I am going to trade jobs with a grocery store cashier.

OLD JOCK’S TALES

Handling a toad will give you warts. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Chocolate causes acne. These old wives’ tales have been around for centuries but are they true? “Some are simply false, some are based on a seed of truth and yet others are right on the money,” says Thomas Craughwell, author of “Do Blue Bedsheets Bring Babies?” Here are 10 familiar tales and whether or not they’re the straight dope:

1.      A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s — False. A canine mouth contains 53 types of bacteria while a human mouth breeds only 37. So think twice before giving Spot a kiss on the mouth.

2.      Reading in dim light will ruin your eyes — False. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you can’t wear out your eyes by using them in poor light.

3.      Toads give you warts — False. The skin glands of a toad secrete a substance that can give you hallucinations, but neither the slimy toxic gunk nor the toads cause warts.

4.      Crack your knuckles and you’ll get arthritis — False. While certain repetitive actions can lead to arthritis, knuckle cracking isn’t one of them.

5.      If you cross your eyes, they’ll stay that way — False. Stabismus, the disorder that causes misaligned eyes, only affects 4 percent of American children. Crossing the eyes does not cause the disease.

6.      Arthritis flares up in wet weather — False. People swim and shower without flare-ups and most people stay inside when it rains.

7.      Spicy foods create stomach ulcers — False. A bacterial infection or overuse of pain medications are the culprits.

8.      Walking under a ladder is bad luck — True. While a stroll under a ladder won’t endanger your soul, it poses potential dangers from falling buckets and tools.

9.      An apple a day keeps the doctor away — True. Apples are packed with antioxidants that fight the free radicals that cause cancer and other diseases.

10.  Chocolate causes acne — False. You can eat as much chocolate as you want and not worry about breakouts, which flare up when the pores of the skin become blocked with oil.

THAT’S NOT BEYONCE, THAT’S MY PHONE

Is there anything more obnoxious than cell phones that ring with a theme song? Phones with fight songs, cartoon themes, TV show themes. They all have to go! What does this really say about someone? Does it say they’re fun? No! It says “your obnoxious and we don’t want to sing along with your freakin’ phone!” There are even web sites where you can download ring tones. We played a little of the ring, and gave a prize to the dork who can identify the song.

WHO’S NEVER?

Here’s a game/phoner called “Who’s never…” Just fill in the blank with a common occurrence. Who’s never got pulled over? Who’s never eaten fruit? Who’s never had a haircut? Who’s never left this town? The freaks will come out for this one.

YOU BROKE MY HEART SO I BUSTED YOUR JAW

Here are the Top Ten Tooth Breakers according to the Boston University School of Dental Medicine:

1.      Ice Cubes. “Teeth are meant for chewing only,” said a spokesperson.

2.      Frozen candy bars straight from the freezer. “If you need a hammer to break it don’t use your teeth for the job.”

3.      Crack nuts.

4.      Opening the lids of pill bottles.

5.      Loosen knots.

6.      Opening those packages of pretzels and potato chips we can’t pull open with our fingers.

7.      Chewing on pens.

8.      Chewing on pencils.

9.      Chewing on hard candy.

10.  Tightening guitar strings with your teeth.

TRAVELIN’ MAN

Conference 5 people in their car on the request line, and give them all 10 minutes to go to the most interesting place they can drive to and speak to you from. One person went to a morgue, another traveled to a bank vault, one from the back seat of a squad car at a police station, inside a giant dryer in a laundry mat, etc. The best most interesting place as judged by you, wins a prize. Fun bit!

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

For Men:

·         In which diet are points calculated? South Beach, The Zone, or Weight Watchers ***.

·         Which one of these is a shoe designer? John Madden, Karl Madden, or Steve Madden ***.

·         Who played Truvy Jones in the movie “Steel Magnolias”? Dolly Parton ***, Sally Field, or Shirley MacLaine.

·         An IUD’s that is inserted into the uterus can prevent pregnancy for how long? 5 years ***, 30 days, or 3 months.

For Women:

·         LeBron James said he’ll consider signing an extension with the which team this summer? Cleveland Cavaliers ***, Boston Red Sox, or the Oakland Raiders.

·         Evander Holyfield wants to be the oldest person to win the heavyweight title. How old is he? 35, 46 ***, or 49 years old.

·         When it comes to video games, the company EA Sports is in the game. What does EA stand for? “Electronic Arts” ***, “Everyone Aims”, or “Environmental Arts”.

·         How many spark plugs are in a 4 cylinder car? 8, 4 ***, or 2.

GORSEFEATHERS by Patrick Gorse

Burger King has released their very own fragrance called “Flame,” which they describe as “the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame broiled meat.” Not to be outdone, KFC is also introducing a fragrance. This one is for guys who can’t get a date and it’s called, “Choked Chicken.”

Burger King has released their very own fragrance, called “Flame,” which they describe as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The ad goes, “Come on baby light my fire… and give me fries with that.”

Burger King is coming out with their own fragrance called “Flame”. Apparently “Triple Bypass” was already taken.

A new study says 67% of pet owners claim their pets talk to them. Of course, my schnauzer says those people are full of crap.

The Kleenex that Scarlett Johansson blew her nose on when she visited the “Tonight Show” last week is on eBay with a top bid of over $2,000. That may not sound like much money but it’s nothing to sneeze at.

The entire north half of the nation is freezing. It was so cold; Caroline Kennedy asked to be made the Senator of Death Valley.

A jet slid off the runway in Denver and the National Transportation Security Board said it may have been caused by a cross-wind. Bill O’Reilly immediately labeled the claim an attack on Christianity.

The 7-8 San Diego Chargers could win the AFC West if they beat the Denver Broncos in San Diego next Sunday. Even though the Chargers suck out loud, President Bush says that he thinks history will judge them to be a great football team.

Why are the San Diego Chargers like the L.A. Police Department? They both have experience with slow-speed Bronco chases.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that he would be “honchoing” some policies in the Obama administration. And I thought we were finished with vice presidents who thought they were the head honcho.

Because my Seattle satellite TV provider no longer carries the ABC affiliate, I had to spend part of my Sunday morning reading a transcript of the George Stephanopoulos interview of Joe Biden. You know what’s more boring than watching Joe Biden talk for 40 minutes? Reading Joe Biden talking for forty minutes.

Now that I can’t get ABC, I have to get along without Jimmy Kimmel. Sarah Silverman couldn’t pull it off… what chance do I have?

On “Meet the Press” Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that George Bush “demanded optimism” in his administration. You have to demand optimism when you’ve substituted professionalism with cronyism…

Condoleezza Rice said on “Meet the Press” that she once told Iraqi leaders they’d all be “swinging from lamp posts” in six months. Well, when you get electricity for only two hours a day, you’ve got to find a good use for those lamp posts…

Governor Rod Blagojevich is reading more poetry. Today he recited, “Here I sit all broken-hearted. Tried to cheat and got recorded.”

Democratic New York Congressman Gary Ackerman was on “Face the Nation” Sunday talking about his doubts concerning Caroline Kennedy’s senatorial qualifications. He said that all Kennedy’s are “boats,” but he’s not sure if Caroline is a “sailboat” or a “battleship.” Of course, Ted Kennedy is the Exxon Valdez colliding with a gravy boat.

The Fed has cut their prime rate down so far, the interest is lower than there was for that Rosie O’Donnell Thanksgiving special.

Vile President… err… Vice President Dick Cheney says he doesn’t regret telling a senator to go “F*#@” himself, because the lawmaker “merited it.” Well, Mr. Cheney, under your watch, the GOP lost at least 14 senate seats, and 47 House seats. Sit on that, Dick. You earned it as well.

Former Pittsburgh Pirate’s pitcher Dock Ellis has died at the age of 63. Ellis once pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while under the influence of LSD. It’s right there in the record book—with a multi-colored, psychedelic asterisk next to it.

True story. I grew up in San Diego and went to that game. The acid-induced no-hitter was the first game of a doubleheader. I sat on the first base line field level and had an excellent view of the Pirate’s bench. Late in the second game, a player fell asleep in the Pirate dugout, and as manager Danny Murtaugh watched, two players gave the guy a hotfoot. The entire Pittsburgh bench was rolling over with laughter. When the sleeping guy awoke–screaming–his foot afire, Murtaugh got up very casually, turned around and walked into the clubhouse.

A thief broke into Paris Hilton’s home and stole $2 million dollars worth of jewelry. He’s being called the “Grinch who Got Scabies.”

Barack Obama is taking a lot of flack for hiring an anti-gay marriage pastor to deliver the religious invocation at his inauguration. It figures. You have to expect trouble when you throw gay people under the bus. The oil stains ruin their outfits.

LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS QUIZ

·         Where did the real St. Nicholas live? Malta, Holland or, Turkey ***.

·         Which of the following was not one of the three kings? Caspar, Balthazar, Telost ***, or Melchior.

·         In Finland, Santa leaves the slay behind. What does he ride to distribute toys? A goat named Ukko.

·         In Holland Santa has a helper. What is his name? Yonny, Black Peter ***, or Tiny Vandoust.

·         Which popular Christmas song was originally written as a Thanksgiving song? “Jingle Bells,” originally called “One Horse Open Sleigh.” Penned by James Pierpont in 1857.

·         When did the first Christmas Lights appear? In 1879 when Edward H. Johnson, who worked for Thomas Edison’s company, had Christmas tree bulbs especially made for him. He displayed the electric tree lights at his home on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

·         What was the first instrument that “Silent Night” was played on? Pipe Organ, Guitar ***, or the Kazoo. (The pipe organ was too rusty to play, they subbed with a guitar)

·         American kids put stockings up for Santa, what do Dutch kids put out? Old hats, beer mugs, or shoes ***. (Used to be the wooden kind)

·         In Syria who distributes presents? Santa, the Three Kings or one of the Wisemen’s camels ***. (They bust their humps getting all those presents delivered)

·         What was the Grinch’s dogs name? Max ***, D-O-G, or Duke.

·         What was “The Night Before Christmas” originally called? A visit from St. Nicholas.

HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR CO-WORKERS?

This holiday season give a present to your boss, but make it something simple like stationery or a CD of her favorite band. If you work closely with one or two other managers, you should give them gifts along the same lines, but if you’re part of a big team, do a secret Santa-type exchange, says Allison Hemming, author of “Work It!” “This way, there’s a price limit and you only have to shell out for one person.” However, if you must treat several people, edible goods are a cheap and much appreciated way to go. Most people love homemade cookies or brownies. You can also get gifts for co-workers that you’re close to, but give them outside of the office to avoid any hurt feelings among other colleagues. (Cosmopolitan)

CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR THE PSYCHIATRICALLY CHALLENGED

·         Schizophrenia: Do you Hear What I Hear?

·         Multiple Personality Disorder: We Three Kings Disoriented Are.

·         Dementia: I Think I’ll Be Home for Christmas.

·         Narcissistic: Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me.

·         Manic: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and…

·         Paranoid: Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me.

·         Personality Disorder: You Better Watch Out, I’m Gonna Cry, I’m Gonna Pout, Maybe I’ll Tell You Why.

·         Passive-Aggressive Personality: On the First Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me (and then took it all away).

·         Borderline Personality Disorder: Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire.

HARD TO FIND CHRISTMAS TOYS

(for toy store crank calls)

·         Comet, the Bowl and Basin Cleansing Reindeer

·         From the makers of Wigglin’ For Honey, Winnie the Pooh, Honey Wigglin’ for Winnie the Pooh

·         Sex Surrogate Barbi, with Hustler Ken

·         Boys Will Be Girls makeup playset from Mattel

·         “A Keg of Their Own” interactive playset

·         From the makers of Silly Putty, “Emotionally Challenged Putty”

·         Baby’s First Cutting Torch

·         Lap Top Lap Dance Computer For Kids

·         My Lil Package of C4, Plastic Explosive Play Clay

DECORATE MY TREE

We’re going to send stunt boy to a listener’s house that has been so rushed lately that they haven’t had the time to decorate their tree. So we’re going to have our guy do it. He also will come back in January and take it down for them. Very funny.

TOP 5 THINGS I’VE LEARNED WHILE SHOPPING

1.      Never walk into a Hickory Farms with a loaf of bread and shout “Where’s them samples?!”

2.      Try not to giggle when asking the girl behind the counter to wrap my package.

3.      Santa, while looking fairly sturdy, has a weight limit.

4.      No matter how clever I think I am, the lingerie sales lady has heard it all before.

5.      Unless I’m actually witnessing the birth, or I’m the father, never ever assume a woman is pregnant!

SCARED-STRAIGHT SANTA

Parents call up and tell us about the bad things their kids are doing. Then, we call the kid (as Santa) and tell them “They better straighten up so Santa can bring them those toys that they want.” Our PD was worried that we might make some poor kid cry on the air, or something. Of course, he’s never had kids. so he doesn’t understand that this is a fairly common parenting tactic when trying to get your kids to be good. Threaten them with coal in their stocking!

TIRED OF THE WRONG GIFT?

Does your guy always get you the wrong gift? Christmas is Thursday, so it’s time to take some action:

·         Show & Tell — Subtlety will get you nowhere. When you and your guy are out shopping or just walking around, point out the objects of your desire. Or make negative comments about items that totally bite — and explain what’s wrong with them.

·         Remind Him — Rave about past gifts he gave you that were right on target. The positive reinforcement should put him on the right shopping path. If his previous presents all bombed, gush about the cool things your girlfriends’ boyfriends have bought for them. Hopefully, he’ll get the hint.

·         Enlist Help — Tell his sister, his best chick friend, even his mom — anyone he’s likely to turn to for advice what you’re lusting after and encourage them to drop some heavy hints.

Phoner: What’s the worst gift a boyfriend has ever given you? Your husband? Are you still with either of them?

GET SCROOGED

Have listeners call and say nasty things about Christmas. Award a giant stocking filled with coal to whomever gets the most votes for being the biggest Scrooge.

HOLIDAY TIPPING

Good Housekeeping ran an article on holiday tipping that generated some good calls. Among the areas she addressed:

·         Postal Service — Employees may receive gifts valued at $20 or less, per occasion. There’s a $50 annual cap per giver. The USPS frowns on cash gratuities.

·         Teachers — Giving money isn’t customary and many schools prohibit teachers from accepting tips. She recommends a gift to a teacher should be a personal expression of appreciation, something moderately priced that you and your child have selected.

·         Frequent baby-sitter — One or two evenings’ pay plus a small gift from your child.

·         Barber — Cost of one cut and maybe a small gift.

·         Beauty salon staff — $10 to $60 each, a larger amount and maybe a small gift to those who do the most for you.

·         Day-care providers — $25 to $70 each (on the higher end if only one or two providers) plus a small gift from your child.

·         Daily dog walker — One day’s pay.

·         Frequent housecleaner — One day’s pay.

·         Massage therapist — One session’s fee.

·         Newspaper deliverer — $10 to $30.

·         Private nurse — Gift, not cash.

·         Nursing-home workers — Gift, not cash.

·         Trash collectors — $10 to $20 each.

·         Frequent yard worker — $20 to $50.

DOES SHE LIKE TO WATCH?

(Men’s Health) Gender-based sporting disagreements (sounds scientific, right) cause strife for even the happiest couples. Follow this advice and turn your woman into a sports fan, at least for 3 hours.

·         Make the game about her — Tell her she’s vital to the even because she’s your good-luck charm. Ask her to wear your team’s jersey. Explain that watching the game with her is quality time and there’s nothing you like better than an afternoon of cuddling with her on the couch while your favorite team’s on the tube. Heats up the commercial breaks, too.

·         Make the game a social event — If you want to have the guys over, invite a few of her friends, too. She’ll be off discussing “Average Joe” with her girlfriends before the first pitch, leaving your attention on the screen. Or, why not bring her to a sports bar? It’s a win-win. She’ll feel included, plus she’ll be available to manage the pool.

LAST MINUTE SHOPPERS

Santa may have made his list and checked it twice, but, according to a survey from Blockbuster, there are plenty of folks who won’t finish preparations until the last minute this holiday season. And, according to those surveyed (no shocker here), the majority of these eleventh hour shoppers are likely to be men. The holiday shopping survey found the following:

·         Approximately one in five people anticipate they won’t finish their holiday shopping until the week before Christmas or until Christmas Eve.

·         Men are more likely to complete their holiday shopping later than women (23% of men compared to 17% of women).

·         More than half of the males surveyed identified themselves as the person who will be last to finish holiday shopping in their family.

·         Among females surveyed, husbands were mentioned most often as the family member who will finish holiday shopping last (32%).

“Procrastination is an annual holiday tradition for many of today’s busy shoppers, and Blockbuster offers these eleventh hour shopping tips:

·         Avoid the mall. It at all possible, avoid the crowds and parking hassles of shopping malls to save time.

·         Take advantage of extended hours. Shop when it’s convenient for you or when crowds are thin, such as mid-week or during the late evening.

·         Shop at the unexpected retailer where you can find something for almost everyone on your list. More than half of those surveyed by Blockbuster said they would be more likely to shop at one location that can satisfy all their gift needs. Whether it’s gourmet foods or home entertainment, there’s probably a store that can answer all of your gift needs.

·         Look for pre-packaged gifts. Ready-made gift bags and baskets make great last-minute gifts for an assistant, your neighbor, the babysitter or anyone else to whom you want to spread a little cheer.

·         Consider gift cards. Gift cards are fast, easy and the perfect topper to your gift.

·         Look for in-store packaging to reduce wrapping time.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

12.22.08

SHOW PREP DECEMBER 22, 2008

 

HOLLYWOOD 411 . . .

 

Angie Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn welcomed their third daughter Thursday, a rep for the actress tells PEOPLE exclusively. Emery Hope Sehorn is “a healthy baby girl,” according to the rep. The newest addition joins sisters Finley Faith, 5, and Avery Grace, 3. Former NFL player Sehorn, 37, told PEOPLE in September, “Our two girls are very excited. If it’s a girl, God bless her, [they] will beat her down out of love.” If Harmon’s description of their household before Emery’s arrival was any indication, the Sehorn family is gearing up for a wild winter. “Our house sounds like a Justin Timberlake concert,” the actress, 36, told PEOPLE in September. “From the time they get up to the moment they go to bed, there is screaming and squealing.” (People)

 

It’s another boy for Mexico’s Grammy-winning singer Luis Miguel and his wife, Mexican actress Aracely Arambula. A news release posted on the singer’s Web site says the healthy, 7.7-pound boy was born Thursday. It did not reveal the baby’s name. The couple’s first son, Miguel, is 18 months old. Luis Miguel has sold more than 55 million albums, winning five Grammy and four Latin Grammy awards During his quarter-century career, he has been linked to a slew of female stars, including singer Mariah Carey and model Daisy Fuentes. (Daily Record)

 

First comes marriage, then comes baby, then comes…wedding reception? Jessica Alba and her husband of seven months, Cash Warren, are resting today after throwing a long-overdue wedding reception last night at their Beverly Hills home, according to Usmagazine.com. The newlyweds’ families and friends arrived at their home before 7 p.m. to formally celebrate the superstealthy May 19 nuptials. One extraspecial party guest was the couple’s 6-month-old daughter, Honor Marie, who was reportedly decked out in a gray dress with little angel wings attached. Alba, 27, and Warren, 29, quietly exchanged vows in a Beverly Hills courthouse just a few weeks before Jessica gave birth. The couple met in 2004 on the set of Fantastic Four and announced their pregnancy and engagement in December 2007. (Eonline)

 

Britney Spears could be set to trump hotel heiress Paris Hilton – she is reportedly dating the socialite’s ex, Benji Madden. The Toxic hitmaker is said to have grown close to the Good Charlotte rocker after they were introduced to each other by Spears’ manager Larry Rudolph following Madden’s break up from Hilton, according to reports in the U.S. A source tells In Touch Weekly magazine that the pair shared dinner at a Los Angeles hotel, and have seen each other several times since. The unnamed source adds: “They’ve been on a few dates. She appears to like Benji a lot, and he seems to really like her.” Madden split from Hilton last month after a nine-month relationship.  (Teen Hollywood)

 

Jermaine Dupri wants to clear up some misconceptions. In an entry on his blog, the music producer says he and girlfriend Janet Jackson haven’t split up – and she isn’t pregnant. Dupri writes: “As you all know Janet is a very private person … the only reason you see her as much as you do on my YouTube blog is because of me. LOL. But I hear yall and your questions. … No she is not pregnant and yes we’re still together.” Jackson and Dupri have been dating for about four years. Dupri also writes: “It baffles me how yall let these blog and magazines control your lifes.” Jackson canceled a string of concerts on her Rock Witchu tour this fall because of a bout of migraine-associated vertigo, which is characterized by dizziness, imbalance and other symptoms. (Daily Record)

Sarah Jessica Parker has been supporting her Sex And The City: The Movie co-star Jennifer Hudson while she grieves for her murdered family – insisting the singer/actress is “surviving.” The Dreamgirls star cancelled all of her public engagements after her mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were found shot dead at their home in Chicago, Illinois in October. Hudson’s nephew Julian King, seven, was found dead three days later. Parker, who acted alongside the star in this year’s hit movie, is adamant that she is there for Hudson if she ever needs a friend. She tells U.S. talkshow host Larry King, “I have been in touch with her, just wanting her to know that any little or big thing I can do – I think those of us who love her want to be there for her, to the degree that it’s appropriate. I don’t know her very well, so it’s a delicate situation. You don’t want to intrude on a person. But I just keep reminding her that I’m here, whatever that might mean to her. And it’s an unthinkable situation, really. Unthinkable.” And Parker is sure that Hudson will be able to recover from the crisis, as she is such a strong-willed woman. (Teen Hollywood)

 

Harry Potter actress Emma Watson feels sorry for superstars such as Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, because she loves living “a normal life”. The star shot to fame aged just 11 but hasn’t let it go to her head, preferring to concentrate on her work rather than living the showbiz lifestyle. She says, “I have a more normal life than people expect. When I take public transport, people are like, ‘That girl looks like the girl from Harry Potter, but it can’t be her on the train’. I get stopped by people, but that’s fine. I’d never want to be so famous that I couldn’t live a normal life to a certain extent.” And the thought of being too famous to go out unrecognised terrifies the teenage actress. She adds, “I can’t imagine anything lonelier, just not being able to be part of the real world and being trapped and locked in hotel rooms and cars.”  (Teen Hollywood)

 

Paris Hilton always knew she was destined for fame – because her grandmother has likened her to Marilyn Monroe ever since she was a child. The socialite was born into a life of luxury, and even now the 27-year-old is convinced she was always meant to be a notorious blonde. She says, “I was the oldest granddaughter. Everyone was so excited that I was born, they would always take pictures of me. “My grandma would call me Marilyn Monroe or Grace Kelly. Ever since I was little, it’s what I knew I wanted to do – be a blonde icon.”  (Teen Hollywood)

 

Actress Emma Watson has “no need” for the millions she has made from acting, because her life isn’t motivated by money. The Harry Potter star gained access to a $15 million fortune when she turned 18 in April, but the teenager hasn’t been splashing the cash. And, because of her financial independence, the star can afford to be picky about her future film roles. She says, “The wealth side of it hasn’t hit me yet because I have no need for money in my life. My life will not be motivated by money. “I will never do a film because they’re going to pay me a certain amount of money. It’s liberating. It means I can hopefully make great choices.” (Teen Hollywood)

 

Sorry, ladies, but it looks like Kevin Federline is off the market! The former rapper, Britney Spears ex and part-time fertility god was spotted Thursday night at Tao Las Vegas “talking to a blond girl all night,” says a club source. And who might this young fair-haired beauty be…? Our Sin City source says it is K-Fed’s new girlfriend, volleyball player Victoria Prince.  Prince, 26, attends the University of Hawaii and was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association Second-Team All-American squad in 2005. The striking, or at least spiking six-footer was born in Richland, Wash., and currently lives in Honolulu. Our source says that Federline, 30, who wore jeans and a white shirt, arrived at the club around 12:30 a.m. and spent the entire evening chatting up Prince. The couple sat at the owner’s private table with a group of eight friends drinking Patrón and listening to the DJ while watching Tao’s “Bad Santa” dancers perform. It’s a long way from “Jingle Bells” to wedding bells, but it looks like K-Fed has started taking baby steps. Let’s just hope for her sake that he’s not taking any more baby-daddy steps. (Eonline)

 

Coldplay singer Chris Martin has laughed off rumors he and wife Gwyneth Paltrow are having marriage problems. Chris Martin has joked about rumors that he and wife Gwyneth Paltrow are experiencing problems with their marriage. Insiders have claimed the parents-of-two are on the verge of splitting due to the amount of time apart their respective careers demand. “I’m trying to think of when the last bit of bad news was,” Chris told Contact Music. “Well there hasn’t been anything for a while. I’m supposed to be getting divorced but those things aren’t happening so don’t really count as bad news.” However, Chris could find himself in the dog house over some of his recent comments. “Girls Aloud are my favorite girls in the world, aside from my wife and daughter, of course! But they definitely come third to eighth,” Showbiz Spy quote Chris saying. “Do I have a favorite girl? I’d hate to risk splitting them up.” (Handbag)

 

Friends have claimed Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s marriage is in trouble. Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony’s marriage is on the rocks friends have told Us Weekly magazine. The couple married in 2005 and had twins, Max and Emme, earlier this year but sources claim the relationship has soured recently. “He’s very, very controlling of her. The skirts aren’t as short. You don’t see so much of that booty anymore.” The friend explained. “Jennifer looked around and said, ‘This is my life now? I’m a Long Island housewife?’ She hates that everything she worked for went down the tubes.” Before adding that Marc isn’t best pleased either, “One night after their tense family Thanksgiving in which the couple ‘didn’t sit together,’ Anthony hit NYC hotspots Bungalow 8 and Marquee, where he was spotted with his hand on a woman’s thigh and overheard complaining about his wife to a group of women, ‘telling them, ‘She’s making me miserable.'” (Handbag)

 

Mike “Mad Dog” Bell, a former professional wrestler whose struggle with substance abuse was featured in the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster,” has died. He was 37. Bell was found Sunday at a Costa Mesa live-in rehabilitation facility, his family said. An autopsy was conducted but investigators couldn’t immediately determine the cause of death, said Dan Akin, a supervising deputy at the Orange County coroner’s division. The coroner is awaiting the results of toxicology tests, he said. Chris Bell, whose 2008 documentary examines the steroid use of his two brothers, said Mike Bell had long battled with his addictions to prescription painkillers and alcohol. “He was always wrestling, he was a personal trainer, he was always pushing his body to the max,” Chris Bell told the Orange County Register. “You can’t really blame wrestling, but it’s kind of the lifestyle,” he said. “You have a couple of painkillers to get to the next match, have a couple drinks night to night and it gets out of hand.” Bell wrestled on World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Monday Night Raw” as a “jobber,” a fighter who takes falls to promote others. “Although Mr. Bell was never under a WWE contract, WWE extends its deepest condolences to the Bell family,” the organization said. (Daily Record)

 

 

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

 

Tis the season for red-capped Santa’s and red-nosed reindeers. Sleigh bells ringing and snowflakes glistening. Stockings carefully hung and yuletide carols being sung … in an airport terminal. With a karaoke machine. Ho-ho-ho, hold that flight. There’s a holiday surprise for travelers – and aspiring performers – passing through Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport this month. There it is, just past the security checkpoint, set atop a small stage: a karaoke machine adorned with Christmas lights and stockings shaped like cowboy boots. There’s even a team of Christmas elves – airport employees the rest of the year. “A little holiday karaoke while you wait? It’s fun and it’s free,” cooed Ashley Thompson. “You could be a star.” This is the first year the airport has included holiday-themed karaoke among its array of seasonal musical entertainment, which includes school choirs and local bands. The karaoke booth is being set up five times around the airport this month. On a Thursday morning just after a rare snowfall had frosted Houston, the holiday spirit – or perhaps, the thrill of performing in front of strangers – was strong among airport employees and travelers with time to kill. One after another, crooners stepped up to the microphone and belted out holiday classics – each putting their own mark on the melodies. A tiny boy in a Goofy T-shirt squeaked out a rendition of “Feliz Navidad,” with his mother kneeling by his side singing harmony. A dark-haired songstress vamped her way through a coquettish “Santa Baby.” A pair of blonde-haired gymnasts opened their version of “Jingle Bells” with synchronized handstands. “I would do that but I haven’t stretched yet,” joked Jeff Zimbelman, 26, as he took the stage to perform “O Holy Night.” As Zimbelman’s pitch-perfect voice lilted through the terminal, harried travelers rushing through metal detectors stopped, stared and smiled, and a crowd gathered around the stage. Zimbelman, an insurance adjuster from Sacramento, Calif., said he loves karaoke, but usually performs at a bar, and only after a few drinks. “Doing this in the middle of an airport is kinda … different,” said Zimbelman, returning home after four months in Houston working with victims of Hurricane Ike. “But this is kind of neat. Every airport should do something like this.” Airport employee Rob Mason came up with the idea and offered the use of a karaoke machine he takes to his mother’s nursing home. The silver-haired, velvet-voiced Mason also serves as emcee for the festivities, which he attends outfitted in a tuxedo and bow tie. “It’s so cool we can sing snow songs in Houston,” Mason intoned as he introduced a trio of blue-suited businessman, Mike Allen, Brian Evetts and Jeff Steel. “Welcome aboard, gentleman. Welcome to the stage.” The three Dallas-area T-Mobile employees, on a day trip to Houston for business, lined up sheepishly behind the microphones and launched into “Frosty the Snowman.” “Thumpety thump thump. Thumpety thump thump,” they sang, breaking into chuckles at the lyrics. “Look at Frosty go. Thumpety thump thump. Thumpety thump thump.” “I did some coercing of my co-workers to get them up there. We don’t usually do karaoke. And after other people hear us, they know why,” Steel said after stepping off the stage. “This really lightens up holiday travel.” For Nancy Flood, a flight attendant for Republic Air, the karaoke was welcome entertainment as her flight to Philadelphia was more than four hours late and there was no sign it would depart anytime soon. She settled down to watch the karaoke and signed up to sing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” “There’s no better thing I’ve seen in any airport, and I’ve been everywhere,” said Flood, 48. “In this economy, there is nothing better than seeing smiles like this. It shouldn’t just be for Christmas.” (Daily Record)

 

Yep, we’ve got a word for stars who really like to keep the “celeb” in cause célèbre. And you could look it up, because it’s right there in our new Celebrity Addictionary. We call those good folks actorvists, like lovely Hayden Panettiere above doing her bit for sea mammals or Brad Pitt helping out Katrina victims with his Make It Right project. Which got us to thinking: If actorvists get all this groovy positive publicity for their actorvism, what’s a good word for the opposite type of attention? I just cooked up one and added it to the Addictionary: train-wreckognition, which I defined as “getting publicity or attention for all the wrong reasons” and gave this usage example: “At this point in his alleged career, train-wreckognition is better than no recognition at all for Andy Dick.” (Eonline)

 

Former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler is going to spend more time in rehab. A court commissioner in Los Angeles agreed Friday to place Adler in a state-sanctioned drug rehabilitation program and keep Adler out of prison. Adler’s court appearance came a day after TV audiences watched him graduate from a drug-treatment program that is the focus of VH1’s show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” Adler missed a court appearance last week, but told the court on Friday that he had been in another rehab program that he completed just earlier in the day. Los Angeles police arrested the rocker in July. He was charged with felony drug possession and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of drugs. Adler will remain on probation while he tries to complete the state program. (Daily Record)

 

X Factor winner Leona Lewis has been named Person of the Year by animal rights group PETA. Leona Lewis has been named Person of the Year by animal rights campaigners People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Leona is a staunch anti-animal cruelty believer; she’s been vegetarian since she was 12 years-old and refuses to wear any product that contains fur or leather. “Leona Lewis is admired for her beautiful voice,” PETA’s European Director Robbie LeBlanc said when announcing the award. “But it’s her kindness to animals that makes her a superstar in our book.” Earlier this year Leona was claimed to have turned down Harrods’ offer of £1million to open their summer sale as they are the only UK department store to still stock fur. (Handbag)

 

Los Angeles police say they are investigating a burglary at a home owned by socialite Paris Hilton. Los Angeles Police Officer Julianne Sohn says the break-in occurred around 5 a.m. Friday at a home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Sohn says detectives report that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt broke into the home and ransacked Hilton’s bedroom. Hilton was not at home at the time. No arrests have been made and police say the investigation continues. (Daily Record)

 

 

LAST WEEK:

 

Katie Holmes spent her 30th birthday performing in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons – but her big day did not go unnoticed. As the curtain fell Thursday, the cast and crew presented her with a specially-made birthday cake, a surprise orchestrated by none other than Tom Cruise.  Addressing the audience, Holmes’s costar John Lithgow announced, “Tom Cruise, our good friend, devoted fan to the show, doting husband of Katie, could not be here tonight. He’s heartsick that he couldn’t be here … but he wanted to make his presence felt. So, he’s joining us, inviting all of you, to celebrate Katie’s birthday.”  And with that, crewmembers wheeled out a five-tiered, white-frosted, circular birthday cake as the crowd cheered and applauded. “I planned it so that when she comes out for the standing ovation, John [would] get the whole audience to wish her a happy birthday,” Cruise – who was in Los Angeles to premiere his new film, Valkyrie – told PEOPLE, just as the surprise was sprung. “It’s going to be great,” he said, adding that they’d already had a private celebration the night before. (“That was the big one,” he noted.) Suri Helped, Too A genuinely surprised Holmes, who had been celebrating her birthday all week long, brought her 2-year-old daughter Suri on to the stage as the cast – including Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson – encouraged the entire audience to sing “Happy Birthday.” Together, the mother-daughter duo blew out the candles.  Speaking softly, Holmes graciously thanked the audience, saying, “Thank you for coming out to the show tonight. It was a real pleasure.” The cast and crew then disappeared offstage, where they enjoyed dessert and champagne, courtesy of Cruise. Meanwhile, across the country, the Top Gun was waiting anxiously to hear how his elaborate plan played out. “I’m waiting to talk to her now,” he said, “to see her reaction.” (People)

 

Every home should have a built-in party space. Paris Hilton tells Esquire about her place in Los Angeles: “The best thing I’ve ever bought with money is my house. Having a nightclub in your house really helps for having a party.” Leonardo DiCaprio apparently agrees. He and Kevin Connolly hit her place the other night for some “drinking and chilling out.” DiCaprio “was on his BlackBerry most of the night,” said our spy, possibly with girlfriend Bar Refaeli, who was not at the shindig. (Page Six)

 

Calvin Klein heiress and “Saturday Night Live” producer Marci Klein is having a rough holiday season. We hear Klein and her sexy model husband, Scott Murphy, are on the rocks, and “have been in the process of splitting up for the past few months.” The couple, who married in 2000 and have two sons, live in a $10 million apartment on Mercer Street. A spokesperson for the family declined comment. (Page Six)

 

Hugh Hefner says he’s thinking twice about letting his ex Kendra Wilkinson get away. “There may be a moment at the ceremony when I have second thoughts…may have to negotiate this,” Hefner told E!’s Daily 10 Thursday. The Playboy mogul announced earlier that he’d be walking his ex down the aisle for her June nuptials to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett.  (Although he must not be too torn up over losing Wilkinson: “Nothing has been the same” since the “two very lovely twins [ Karissa and Kristina Shannon, 19] walked into my life,” he said.) “We’re going to have Kendra’s wedding and reception at the mansion — a spectacular affair!” he told Usmagazine.com at the 55th anniversary Playmate celebration in West Hollywood Dec. 15. Wilkinson will officially move out the Playboy mansion this week, added Bridget Marquardt, who will serve as one of her bridesmaids (along with Holly Madison). Marquardt told Us she wants to assist Wilkinson in choosing a dress. “I’m just not home that much, but I’m trying to help her out as much as possible,” said Marquardt, who added that the ceremony will be filmed for their E! series. Marquardt admitted that since Hef’s new girlfriends moved in, “the feeling of the mansion is completely different. Not in a bad way, just totally different.” (US Weekly)

 

Ben Affleck just doesn’t think Angelina Jolie has the star power necessary to be a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations.  At least that’s what he joked about at the press conference for his short movie, Gimme Shelter, in NYC on Wednesday. “UNHCR has to find a goodwill ambassador who will get the attention of the president because the woman they’ve got is not high profile enough,” Affleck said. Jolie, who has been the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees goodwill ambassador since early 2001, has worked with field staff and met with refugees in more than 20 countries.  Like Jolie, Affleck has tried to use his star power to enlighten the public on important global causes.  “One of the things about being an actor is that I’ve had the opportunity to be exposed to really smart people,” he said. “People have been really generous. I expose myself to those people and say, ‘Help me learn about this,’ and I’ve given myself a great post-graduate experience in this arena.” His film, a four-minute humanitarian campaign for victims of the fighting in Eastern Congo, is set to the Rolling Stone song of the same name. (US Weekly)

 

Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer showed off a rare public display of affection, strolling arm-in-arm in New York City Thursday night.  Aniston, 39, smiled as she snuggled up to Mayer, 31, as he greeted photographers. The two — who wore matching black jackets and jeans — then dashed into La Esquina, where Kelly Ripa was also dining with husband Mark Consuelos. While walking, he plugged her new movie Marley & Me (see TMZ.com video). “I’m happy to report the movie is completely in focus,” he told photographers as Aniston laughed. “I want everyone to know that.” Then he joked that he and Aniston were walking all the way to Harlem. “90 more blocks, guys!” he teased photographers. “90 more blocks!” On Friday, she said on CBS’ The Early Show, “It’s my time … You don’t know as much as you know in your 20s as you do in your 30s as you do when you are… I’m starting’ to live. It’s good!” Though she didn’t talk about Mayer then, she told David Letterman on Wednesday that she met the singer at a Hollywood party thrown by CAA agent Bryan Lourd. “He was lovely on your show,” she also said of Mayer’s Thanksgiving performance, calling it “beautiful. It really kicked off the holiday sprit.” In January’s GQ, Aniston said she and Mayer “care deeply for each other, and we’re just trying to figure it out.” Aniston also said in December’s Vogue that people need to “mind their own business” when it comes to their relationship. “Did you ever think Claudia Schiffer and David Copperfield made sense?” she said. “Love just shows up.” (US Weekly)

 

Here comes the bride! A little more than a year after getting engaged, Fergie and Josh Duhamel will tie the knot in a January wedding ceremony, according to Access Hollywood.  The couple will say “I Do!” during the weekend of January 9-11 in Southern California, a source revealed to Access. Fergie, 33, and Duhamel, 35, were recently photographed at a Crate and Barrel in Beverly Hills, where they scanned kitchen items. But Duhamel told TMZ.com they were registering for “Christmas gifts,” not wedding presents. “It’s all going great. It’s fun, actually,” Duhamel recently told Entertainment Tonight of planning their wedding. “We’re both really excited about it and it will be good.” Where would they go after getting hitched? Possibly Canada. “This would actually be a great honeymoon place,” he said. “I would love to take her here.” (US Weekly)

 

Spotted: Avril Lavigne and her “good friend” Brandon Davis at an after-hours party at a private residence in Beverly Hills on Thursday night. Her troll husband was nowhere to be seen. Very interesting! (Perez Hilton)

 

Looks like Daddy Spears and manager Larry Rudolph are trying to find a playmate for Britney Spears, or so the tabs would like us to believe. The pair have reportedly compiled a list of potential suitors, which includes Chace Crawford, Jesse Metcalfe, and Golden Boy Michael Phelps. Michael Don’t-look-at-the-face Phelps? Really? Hasn’t she already been through enough? But it seems that the winner so far is Paris’ freshly ex-ed Benji Madden, who expressed the most interest when Brit’s handlers called around. Rebound much? The pair allegedly went on a date, meeting for dinner at a Los Angeles hotel suite. However, sources close to Britney and Paris reveal exclusively to PerezHilton.com that Madden and Spears are not dating and have never even been on a date. So there you have it! (Perez Hilton)

 

What a bad way to spend the holidays! Brian Litrell from the Backstreet Boys is having a rough few days. Unfortunately for the singer, his baby boy, Baylee Litrell, is ill. Brian has taken to his official website to share the sad news. Says the BSB member: For those of you who do not know or have not heard, Baylee Litrell has been in the hospital for the past few days. He will be starting a treatment this afternoon and the Littrell family asks that all Backstreet Boys fans please remember him in prayer during this trying time. Every little prayer helps and every single prayer counts! Brian and Leighanne would also like to wish you all Happy Holidays and thank for your thoughts and prayers…. More information will follow and we will definitely keep you all updated…..  Let’s hope and pray Baylee gets well soon! (Perez Hilton)

 

LAPD sources tell TMZ Paris Hilton’s Hollywood Hills home was broken into this morning. According to cops, a man in a hooded sweatshirt forced entry into her front door and ransacked her bedroom. Preliminary reports indicate $2 mil in jewelry and other belongings were taken. The police say Hilton was not home at the time. Story developing … (TMZ)

 

Cue the bongos: Matthew McConaughey is ready for another baby. Although he and girlfriend Camila Alves welcomed Levi into the world just six months ago, In Touch is reporting “Matt would love to have more babies, but Camila wants to hold off a bit.” Camila recently told the magazine, “after 60 hours of labor, I’m taking it one day at a time.” (Scoop)

 

“Friday Night Lights” star Minka Kelly and Yankee Derek Jeter have done their best to keep their romance — which began in the middle of 2008 — under the radar. But according to an “insider” who spoke to In Touch magazine, the couple is looking for a home in the L.A. area. “They’re serious but very private,” the magazine reports. “Derek stays at Minka’s condo when he’s in town, but it’s pretty tiny so they need more space, and that’s why they’re house shopping.” (Scoop)

 

Things are definitely heating up between Amanda Bynes and Hills dude Doug Reinhardt, as their seemingly out-of-nowhere relationship has gone from supposed sleepovers to a romantic rendezvous in the Bahamas. The newly dating duo have been enjoying a little vacay all week at the Cove Atlantis resort, but according to sources there, they’ve spent most of their time in their suite because the weather has been largely overcast and windy. “I only saw them once at the pool,” a fellow resort guest tells E! News. “She was in her bikini and looked great.” While we’re certainly happy for you guys, all we ask is, please don’t contemplate a Speidi-like secret wedding. The holidays are coming up and we want to enjoy them in peace. Much appreciated. (Eonline)

 

DMX is preparing to travel during the holiday season — to another jail. His home away from home is currently the Miami-Dade County Jail, but DMX’s lawyer Bradford Cohen confirms the rapper is being extradited to Maricopa County Jail in Arizona at this very moment. Earlier this month, FBI agents captured the rapper on an island off Miami Beach over a bench warrant issued for a missed a court appearance. DMX also faces drug, identity theft and animal cruelty charges in Arizona, however — and now he’s going to have to face the music in the desert, too. BTW, we’re told Arizona cops plan to put X in pink handcuffs as a belated B-day present. (TMZ)

 

An employee of David Copperfield was hospitalized Wednesday with a broken arm after one of the illusionist’s tricks went awry on stage. The unidentified employee was assisting Copperfield during the “fan illusion” and got his arm caught in the fan. In the illusion, Copperfield appears to walk through the fan and disappear as he turns to smoke. The show, dubbed An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion, took place in Las Vegas at MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre. “This is a trick David has done over 3,000 times,” executive producer Chris Kenner says. “This was a freak accident.” The show was stopped after the mishap, but it’s unlikely the crowd could get a clear view of the accident, Kenner says. “He is recovering,” Kenner says. “People are always saying that it’s magic and it isn’t dangerous. This goes to show you that it is.” Kenner said Copperfield will continue to perform the fan illusion in his shows. None of Copperfield’s shows at MGM Grand have been postponed due to the incident. (People)

 

Oprah Winfrey wants to be as close to Barack Obama as possible. Insiders say Winfrey has started a preliminary search for a home in Washington, DC. A nine-bedroom Georgetown mansion she’s said to have asked about is listed at $50 million, but another source said, “She has never personally been to see it.” We’re sure Winfrey will try to swing by during Inauguration week. Her rep didn’t return calls. (Page Six)

 

The Bernie Madoff disease has spread to St. Tropez. The Ponz Scum visited Club 55 every year and was treated as royalty by many patrons there, especially those who invested with him. “One regular would send him a bottle of champagne when he first arrived on holiday,” a Riviera source said. Combined with the Russian collapse, there’s more than a little fear on the Cote d’Azur. Just as in Palm Beach, some homeowners in the South of France mortgaged multimillion estates to invest with Madoff. Many of those properties will soon be up for sale. (Page Six)

 

The Hollywood Reporter, one of Tinseltown’s top trade publications, might be missing from the Sundance Film Festival next month. According to a Page Six source, writers for the Reporter are “in a tizzy” because “their expense accounts have been frozen and they can’t book rooms” in Park City, Utah. The problem with the Nielsen Media publication goes beyond the economic downtown that other media outlets are citing to justify cutbacks. Sources say Hollywood Reporter publisher Eric Mika, who started at his post last March, “burned through the company’s cash flying back and forth to Asia” where he has a close personal friend. “Mika’s contract is up at the end of the year, and those in the know suspect it is not going to be renewed.” A spokeswoman for Nielsen declined to comment. (Page Six)

 

Donald Trump Jr.‘s pet pooches have an extra place to lift their legs this holiday season. He and his wife, Vanessa, tell Page Six Magazine in this Sunday’s Post that aside from erecting a big Christmas tree for themselves, they also got a smaller one for their two Havanese puppies, Fraggle and Faluffa. And yes, they know it’s kind of ridiculous. “Yeah, we get a little tree for the dogs because we’re idiots,” Don quips. (Page Six)

 

CC Sabathia, who just signed a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees, leaving the Jumeirah Essex House on Central Park South to dine with Joba Chamberlain at Tao, where they got a standing ovation. (Page Six)

 

British comedian Russell Brand isn’t done picking on the Jonas Brothers. Who does he want to kiss on New Year’s? “I think all of the Jonas Brothers,” he told Usmagazine.com at the Los Angeles premiere of Bedtime Stories on Thursday. “But very gently and consensually.” At the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards in December, Brand (a confessed former sex addict) repeatedly joked in his opening monologue about the Jonas’ purity rings. He kidded that they should take advantage of their celeb status to get lucky. His remarks made American Idol Jordin Sparks so upset that she defended the boys on stage: “Not every guy and a girl wants to be a s—.” Brand later apologized. But the Jonas Brothers insist they have no beef with Brand. “For us it’s cool to see that he recognizes we are gentlemen,” Nick Jonas told BBC’s Radio 1. The actor being hit is Michael Copon — and in recent days, his page has been bombarded with messages like “He’s [Taylor's] done all the hard work and so deserves it,” “I don’t want you playing Jacob Black in New Moon :( because Taylor is perfect” and our personal favorite: “You’re a douche.” Facebook group devoted to bashing the actor has also been created — and so far the cyber-club, which calls itself “I REJECT Michael Copon as Jacob Black: SAVE TAYLOR NOW!” has already locked down 1,290 members. A rep for Copon was not immediately available for comment.  (US Weekly)

 

If you thought your vote doesn’t count, take note: The Minnesota Senator’s race is now being counted in the single digits, and it looks like Al Franken might pull it out. As the Huffington Post points out, Sen. Norm Coleman’s lead has now dwindled to two — yes, two — votes, and after a count of disputed ballots, Franken could have a lead of as much as 89 votes. Of course, the legal battle will probably go on and on and on. An Al win would give the Dems 59 seats in the Senate. (TMZ)

 

SAG president Alan Rosenberg assuaged fears that a SAG strike could cancel the Jan. 25 SAG awards, telling People magazine “(The strike) is not going to affect our show.” He added that SAG doesn’t “know whether we’ll go on strike or not” but that “people shouldn’t worry about it.” Shouldn’t worry about it? Perhaps we’re misinterpreting Rosenberg’s comments, but “shouldn’t worry about it” seems like a pretty cavalier attitude toward a potential work outage that could have an impact far beyond the cancellation of an awards show. Rosenberg went on to downplay the impact of the possible strike authorization, ballots for which go out Jan. 2, saying, “Nothing unusual about it. Nothing radical about it. We need this tool to get the employers to come back to the table and do us some good faith, which they haven’t done since the beginning of these negotiations.” (Scoop)

 

 

MUSIC . . .

 

Don’t get Katy Perry twisted: She absolutely loves being pop’s quirky poster girl, the wild child who doesn’t censor herself and causes raised eyebrows with songs like “Ur So Gay” and “I Kissed a Girl.” But for all her success over the last year, Perry is hoping that songs like her most recent No. 1, “Hot n Cold,” show she has more to offer than kitsch and controversy. “It’s my personality, which is up and down and sassy and cheeky,” says Perry, who recently became a Grammy nominee. “You’re gonna see me with all kinds of different things. Maybe you won’t expect it, but that’s what I like to do – keep people on their toes.” Offering the unexpected was a key factor in Perry becoming one of pop’s breakout stars this year. While “Ur So Gay” – a taunting song to an ex-lover more enamored with flatirons and skinny jeans than his ex-girlfriend – became an underground talker, it was her equally ear-catching song “I Kissed a Girl,” about girl-on-girl experimentation, that resonated with mainstream music fans, becoming a No. 1 summer smash. “She’s not scared to rattle some people’s cages lyrically, and say some risqué stuff,” says singer-songwriter Butch Walker, who collaborated with Perry on some of the tracks on her debut album, “One of the Boys.” “She brings a little bit of the underground, a little bit of the hipster and underground culture to the mainstream, and that’s what sells her … as different.” And that’s what Perry hoped her role in pop music would be. The 24-year-old, who was raised by ministers and dabbled in Christian music before heading to Los Angeles as a 17-year-old aspiring artist, found most of pop’s princesses to be manufactured and boring. “I was a bit let down by maybe their personality or their delivery or their consistency,” says Perry during an interview at her Capitol Records label offices. “They were so like careful with everything.” “Well, what’s the point of being in pop or rock ‘n’ roll music if you’re going to be a windup doll?” Perry says. “Use your own wheels and bolts, even if they break, do it yourself.” But Perry found that a colorful personality, strong voice and well-crafted songs didn’t guarantee her pop stardom, or even an album. Though she worked with top producers such as Glen Ballard and The Matrix, she bounced from label to label. (Blender magazine profiled her as one to watch in 2004.) “She was signed and dropped like twice before the record came out,” says Walker. “I was afraid that her career and those songs were never gonna see the light of day.” Even Perry wondered whether she should just give up. But her competition gave her hope. “Every time I thought maybe there was a girl that would take my place, I would watch her and I would kind of sit back and say, ‘Almost! No no no, there’s still a void!'” she recalls. Now that she’s come along to fill it, Perry looks back on her struggles as a badge of honor. “It’s like training,” she says. And she has this advice for those hoping to be the next Katy Perry: Find your own identity. “When I first started at 17 in Los Angeles, the hit song was ‘Complicated,’ and everyone wanted me to write a ‘Complicated,'” she says of Avril Lavigne’s early hit. “I’m like, ‘Look that’s her, this is me. Everybody loves that song – hopefully everyone will love my song.'” (Daily Record)

 

We finally have a date for the new U2 album!!!!! And a title! The band’s No Line On The Horizon is scheduled to be released in North America on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009. This will be the group’s 12th album! Their last, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, was released way back in 2004 and sold over nine million copies. The group recorded this album all over the world. They began last year in Fez, Morocco, and then did some work in their studio in Ireland. After that they recorded some of the tracks in New York and finally some in London. Let’s hope all the different locations helped inspire them. (Perez Hilton)

 

So you fancy yourself a singer, eh … alone, in your car, with the windows up, when no one’s looking. Well, now you can test your pipes against Martina McBride and Elvis Presley in private, and if you like what you hear, you can share them with your friends via email. As a promotion for “Elvis Presley Christmas Duets” album, Sony BMG Music Entertainment has created a Web site that allows you to record “Blue Christmas” as a duet with Presley, singing McBride’s part from the album. The site, http://www.singwiththeking.com, provides a phone number and access code so you can belt out your lines over the phone. If you’re pleased with the recording, you can send it in a Christmas ecard. Or, if you discover you sound more like Alvin and the Chipmunks than Presley and McBride, you can send the album version of the song instead. The whole thing is free. “Someone in our digital area came up with the concept,” said JJ Rosen, executive vice president of Sony BMG Music Entertainment’s Commercial Music Group. “It fits the duets concept of the album so well.” Because the campaign leans heavily on technology, Rosen said it brings Presley and his music to a younger generation. “We’re always trying to keep the Elvis brand alive.” The site launched Dec. 5 and has drawn 30,000 people from nine countries. It’s scheduled to end sometime in January. The promotion has been successful enough that Sony plans a similar one for Mariah Carey’s upcoming release “The Ballads” for Valentine’s Day. Given Carey’s vocal range, it could take some serious chops to keep up. “Dreamlover” anyone? (Launch)

 

Don’t get Katy Perry twisted: She absolutely loves being pop’s quirky poster girl, the wild child who doesn’t censor herself and causes raised eyebrows with songs like “Ur So Gay” and “I Kissed a Girl.” But for all her success over the last year, Perry is hoping that songs like her most recent No. 1, “Hot n Cold,” show she has more to offer than kitsch and controversy. “It’s my personality, which is up and down and sassy and cheeky,” says Perry, who recently became a Grammy nominee. “You’re gonna see me with all kinds of different things. Maybe you won’t expect it, but that’s what I like to do — keep people on their toes.” Offering the unexpected was a key factor in Perry becoming one of pop’s breakout stars this year. While “Ur So Gay” — a taunting song to an ex-lover more enamored with flatirons and skinny jeans than his ex-girlfriend — became an underground talker, it was her equally ear-catching song “I Kissed a Girl,” about girl-on-girl experimentation, that resonated with mainstream music fans, becoming a No. 1 summer smash. “She’s not scared to rattle some people’s cages lyrically, and say some risqué stuff,” says singer-songwriter Butch Walker, who collaborated with Perry on some of the tracks on her debut album, “One of the Boys.” “She brings a little bit of the underground, a little bit of the hipster and underground culture to the mainstream, and that’s what sells her … as different.” And that’s what Perry hoped her role in pop music would be. The 24-year-old, who was raised by ministers and dabbled in Christian music before heading to Los Angeles as a 17-year-old aspiring artist, found most of pop’s princesses to be manufactured and boring. “I was a bit let down by maybe their personality or their delivery or their consistency,” says Perry during an interview at her Capitol Records label offices. “They were so like careful with everything.” “Well, what’s the point of being in pop or rock ‘n’ roll music if you’re going to be a windup doll?” Perry says. “Use your own wheels and bolts, even if they break, do it yourself.” But Perry found that a colorful personality, strong voice and well-crafted songs didn’t guarantee her pop stardom, or even an album. Though she worked with top producers such as Glen Ballard and The Matrix, she bounced from label to label. (Blender magazine profiled her as one to watch in 2004.) “She was signed and dropped like twice before the record came out,” says Walker. “I was afraid that her career and those songs were never gonna see the light of day.” Even Perry wondered whether she should just give up. But her competition gave her hope. “Every time I thought maybe there was a girl that would take my place, I would watch her and I would kind of sit back and say, ‘Almost! No no no, there’s still a void!'” she recalls. Now that she’s come along to fill it, Perry looks back on her struggles as a badge of honor. “It’s like training,” she says. And she has this advice for those hoping to be the next Katy Perry: Find your own identity. “When I first started at 17 in Los Angeles, the hit song was ‘Complicated,’ and everyone wanted me to write a ‘Complicated,'” she says of Avril Lavigne’s early hit. “I’m like, ‘Look that’s her, this is me. Everybody loves that song — hopefully everyone will love my song.'” (Launch)

 

There are a few things you can expect from any Metallica concert. You’ll hear “Enter Sandman.” Lars Ulrich will take every opportunity he can to get up from his drum kit and goad the audience. Whoever’s running the pyrotechnics will get plenty of chances to set the stage on fire. All of that happened during the band’s two-hour set in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the first of two nights at the venerable Forum arena. But there was plenty of new stuff to get excited about too. Tracks from the band’s recent chart-topper “Death Magnetic” figured heavily in the set list, and several of them were highlights. Watching singer/guitarist James Hetfield as he threw himself into the deep grooves of “Broken, Beat & Scarred” and “Cyanide” brought out their visceral qualities, not so apparent from the studio versions. Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo marauded around the Forum’s huge stage — smack dab in the center of the venue, theater-in-the-round style — with boundless energy, banging out decades-old favorites like “Master of Puppets” and “Harvester of Sorrow” with the vigor of a group playing them for the first time. And oh, the spectacle! There was the light show, projected onto the stage via a set of gigantic coffin-shaped rigs, suspended high above the band, and the black beach balls that poured from the ceiling during the final encore, “Seek and Destroy.” Surely Ulrich’s revolving drum riser by itself justified the need to charge $30 for a beanie and $40 for a t-shirt. There were multi-colored flames shooting out of the stage during the climactic machine-gun section of “One.” But the real pyrotechnics came from Hammett, who peeled off recklessly whammy-full solos on “The End of the Line” and “Sad But True,” and took the spotlight for a bluesy solo interlude that introduced “Nothing Else Matters.” Absent from Metallica’s set was material from its last three original studio albums, “Load” (1996), “Reload” (1997) and “St. Anger” (2003), which spoke volumes about where the band is right now. Early on, Hetfield announced, “Metallica is alive and well and ready to kick some ass!” It was as much a rallying cry as a sideways acknowledgement that the band had lost its way, and was looking to find it again. Naturally, opinions will differ over whether “Death Magnetic” represents a return to form for Metallica, or whether a return to form is possible or even necessary. Based on the fan response to its live show, Metallica’s got nothing to worry about. The capacity crowd sang along to nearly every word, taking over the choruses of “Master of Puppets” and “Creeping Death” entirely. Adults and children of all ethnicities, bonding together to chant “Die! Die!” in fist-pumping unison? Such is the power of Metallica. (Launch)

 

In a positive sign for the 2009 touring season, sales for the upcoming Billy Joel/Elton John co-headlining tour are “through the roof,” according to Wilson Howard, president, Live Nation Music Southeast, who calls the tour “a smash.” The configuration for the upcoming tour, which begins March 2 in Jacksonville, Fla., is 360 degrees, significantly boosting capacity in the arenas. Tickets range from $49.50-$175. In addition to Jacksonville, the tour will play Tampa (March 5), Charlotte (7), Cincinnati (10), Atlanta (14), Tulsa, Okla. (17), Houston (19), San Antonio (21), Phoenix 26, and Anaheim (28, 30). Live Nation is promoting most of the shows on the tour, and AEG Live will promote in Anaheim, which has almost sold out the second show. Before the trek, Joel is set for a six-show run at the Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla., spread out between Jan. 2 and Feb. 8. John has international shows on tap through late January, to be followed by a two-week engagement with his Red Piano show at Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace. (Billboard)

 

After a tumultuous year, particularly for its two lead singers, Barenaked Ladies are understandably “looking forward to seeing the ass end of 2008,” according to drummer Tyler Stewart — and to a 2009 in which the Canadian quintet will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a boxed set and, hopefully, some new music. Since the May release of its children’s album, “Snack Time,” the Canadian quintet has made headlines mostly on the non-musical front. Steven Page is serving six months’ probation after a July cocaine possession arrest in Fayetteville, N.Y. Ed Robertson, meanwhile, survived an August float plane crash and lost his mother, Wilma, on Dec. 13 to cancer.  “Adversity, if it doesn’t kill you it makes you strong, I guess,” Stewart tells Billboard.com. “We’ve rallied through adversity before. In some ways I’m looking forward to getting together and making some great music based on all these intense and emotional experiences. That’s when we feel the most alive, the most energetic.” Stewart says that progress on new music has been “gradual” but that “the guys have been working individually on stuff, and together.” He expects an early summer return to the studio but adds that “maybe we’ll get some inspiration and jump in before that.” Meanwhile, BNL — which has recorded a new version of the “Hockey Night in Canada” them for the TSN network — has been immersed in preparing a boxed set to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary, unearthing “all kinds of crazy materials … tons and tons of songs and videos and snippets and live stuff.” Among the rarities are demos and unreleased songs, including a markedly different take of “The Old Apartment” and some “really complex stuff” written by former keyboardist Andy Creeggan. Stewart says the set will likely come out in the fall. “It’s a bit of a pat on the back,” the drummer notes, “like, ‘Hey, you’ve done a lot.’ But it’s also, ‘OK, now what else can we do? How can we move forward from here?’ because we feel like we’re not done yet by any means.” Stewart says BNL is planning a 20th anniversary tour, mostly likely for May. The group is ushering in 2009 at the Fox Theatre in Detroit and will host its third Ships and Dip Caribbean cruise in February. (Billboard)

 

The group representing the U.S. recording industry said Friday it has abandoned its policy of suing people for sharing songs protected by copyright and will work with Internet service providers to cut abusers’ access if they ignore repeated warnings. The move ends a controversial program that saw the Recording Industry Association of America sue about 35,000 people since 2003 for swapping songs online. Because of high legal costs for defenders, virtually all of those hit with lawsuits settled, on average for around $3,500. The association’s legal costs, in the meantime, exceeded the settlement money it brought in. The association said Friday that it stopped sending out new lawsuits and warnings in August, and then agreed with several leading U.S. Internet service providers, without naming which ones, to notify alleged illegal file-sharers and cut off service if they failed to stop. It credited the lawsuit campaign with raising awareness of piracy and keeping the number of illegal file-sharers in check while the legal market for digital music took off. With two weeks left in the year, legitimate sales of digital music tracks soared for the first time past the 1 billion mark, up 28 percent over all of last year, according to Nielsen Soundscan. “We’re at a point where there’s a sense of comfort that we can replace one form of deterrent with another form of deterrent,” said RIAA Chairman and Chief Executive Mitch Bainwol. “Filing lawsuits as a strategy to deal with a big problem was not our first choice five years ago.” The new notification program is also more efficient, he said, having sent out more notices in the few months since it started than in the five years of the lawsuit campaign. “It’s much easier to send notices than it is to file lawsuits,” Bainwol said. The decision to scrap the legal attack was first reported in The Wall Street Journal. The group says it will still continue to litigate outstanding cases, most of which are in the pre-lawsuit warning stage, but some of which are before the courts. The decision to press on with existing cases drew the ire of Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson, who is defending a Boston University graduate student targeted in one of the music industry’s lawsuits. “If it’s a bad idea, it’s a bad idea,” said Nesson. He is challenging the constitutionality of the suits, which, based on the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999, can impose damages of $150,000 per infringement, far in excess of the actual damage caused. Nesson’s client, Joel Tenenbaum, faces the possibility of more than $1 million in damages for allegedly downloading seven songs illegally, which Nesson called “cruel and unusual punishment.” The case is set to go to trial in district court in Massachusetts on Jan. 22. Brian Toder, a lawyer with Chestnut & Cambronne in Minneapolis, who defended single mother Jammie Thomas in a copyright suit filed by the RIAA, said he is also set to retry the case March 9 after a judge threw out a $222,000 decision against her. “I think it’s a good thing that they’ve ended this campaign of going after people,” Toder said. “But they need to change how people spend money on records,” he said. “People like to share music. The Internet makes it so easy. They have to do something to change this business model of theirs.” (Daily Record)

 

 

MOVIE . . .

 

Movie audiences greeted Jim Carrey and Will Smith with a lukewarm “yes’ as snowstorms undermined weekend debuts from both stars. Carrey’s comedy “Yes Man” opened at No. 1 with $18.2 million in ticket sales, while Smith’s drama “Seven Pounds” came in second with $16 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. Debuting at No. 3 with $10.5 million was Matthew Broderick’s animated family flick “The Tale of Despereaux.” The new movies arrived in theaters Friday just as storms pounded the Northeast. “Those markets back east just got hammered,” said Chris Aronson, distribution executive for 20th Century Fox, whose sci-fi saga “The Day the Earth Stood Still” slipped from No. 1 to No. 4 with $10.2 million. The movie starring Keanu Reeves raised its 10-day total to $48.6 million. “Yes Man,” released by Warner Bros., stars Carrey as a loser who turns his life around by subscribing to a philosophy of saying “yes” to everything. Sony’s “Seven Pounds” casts Smith as a mysterious IRS agent doing good deeds for strangers, and Universal’s “Tale of Despereaux” features Broderick as the mouthpiece for a tiny mouse on a heroic mission. In limited release, Mickey Rourke’s acclaimed drama “The Wrestler” had a heavyweight debut, taking in $209,474 in just four theaters for a whopping average of $52,369. By comparison, “Yes Man” played in 3,434 theaters and averaged $5,288 per theater, while “Seven Pounds” opened in 2,758 and averaged $5,801 per theater. The No. 3 film “The Tale of Despereaux” played in 3,104 theaters and grabbed $3,385 per venue. The film released by Fox Searchlight stars Rourke as a former wrestling champion struggling for one last taste of past glory. The comeback theme of “The Wrestler” parallels Rourke’s real life, with the actor in the running for an Academy Award nomination after his bad boy behavior virtually ruined his career in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While winter came in with a bang, Hollywood’s solid year was going out with a whimper. The overall box office plunged for the second straight weekend as this season’s pre-holiday offerings continued to lag far behind the strong finish provided by such 2007 hits as Smith’s “I Am Legend” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” The top 12 movies took in $82.8 million, down 44 percent from the same weekend last year, when “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” led with $44.8 million. The last two ho-hum weekends have hindered Hollywood’s shot at breaking the domestic revenue record of $9.7 billion set last year. Revenues through Sunday were at $9.24 billion, virtually even with 2007 through the same date, according to box-office tracker Media By Numbers. Given the sour economy, studio executives generally are satisfied with this year’s results. Hollywood tends to ride out recessions with solid business, since movies are relatively inexpensive compared to entertainment options such as concerts or sports events. “The movie business may be recession-proof, but this weekend, it’s not weather-proof,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday. (Daily Record)

1. “Yes Man,” $18.2 million.

2. “Seven Pounds,” $16 million.

3. “The Tale of Despereaux,” $10.5 million.

4. “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” $10.2 million.

5. “Four Christmases,” $7.7 million.

6. “Twilight,” $5.2 million.

7. “Bolt,” $4.3 million.

8. “Slumdog Millionaire,” $3.2 million.

9. “Australia,” $2.3 million.

10. “Quantum of Solace,” $2.2 million.

 

Tom Cruise’s 13-year-old son will have a six-day jump on his father at the box office. Connor Cruise makes his big-screen debut in “Seven Pounds,” which opens Friday. On Dec. 25, his father’s “Valkyrie” hits theaters. It’s a small, supporting role for Connor, one of two children from Cruise’s marriage to Nicole Kidman. Cruise also has a daughter, Suri, with his wife, Katie Holmes. In a recent interview, Cruise said he’s very proud of Connor, but was careful not to pressure him. “Who knows what he’s going to do?” Cruise said. “He’s grown up on (acting). I’ve always had my kids there, in hair and makeup, just always around the sets. They’ve worked on sets.” Cruise said he’s played acting class games with his children, and they’ve often watched him develop characters. The 46-year-old actor said driving Connor to his audition for “Seven Pounds” was a “great father-son moment,” but the audition was more difficult. Cruise and the film’s star Will Smith, who are friends, were in the room when director Gabriele Muccino ordered them to leave. Said Cruise: “(Muccino) looked at me and Will, and Will and I were like, `How’s he doing?’ And the director just said, `Out!’ So we were standing in the hall for about half an hour or something, wondering, `What’s going on in there? What’s happening?'” But Connor got the part. He plays a young Ben Thomas, Smith’s character, in the movie. (Daily Record)

 

Matthew Broderick has vowed never to reprise his role in cult teen movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – because he is too old. The 1986 comedy – which shot Broderick to stardom – has recently been at the centre of a string of sequel rumours, with the actor tipped to star in a follow-up. But Broderick insists he has rejected a string of lucrative offers to make a second Ferris Bueller film, because he thinks that at 46 he wouldn’t be able to make the character believable. He says, “I can’t play young rebellious guys anymore.” (Teen Hollywood)

 

Comedian Eddie Murphy has been signed to play Batman’s nemesis The Riddler in the next Batman film insiders claim. Eddie Murphy has landed the role of The Riddler in next Batman film The Sun claims. “Eddie’s a fantastic addition. Everyone’s excited to see what he does as the Riddler,” An insider on the film said, adding,  “Chris (Nolan – the director) wasn’t sure if he wanted to do another movie but as soon as he decided to, he got the wheels in motion.” The third film in the re-imagined series is being put together under the working title of Gotham, is due for a 2010 release, Christian Bale will reprise his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman and will be joined by Shia LaBeouf who’ll play Robin the paper also claims. Hmmm. While Johnny Depp has been widely tipped to land the Riddler role Christopher Nolan has so far made no decision public on whether a third film is on the cards, let alone whether the Riddler will even be featured. When asked if he planned a sequel in October he told the LA Times, “I have to ask the question: How many good third movies in a franchise can people name?” (Handbag)

 

“THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR” — Brendan Fraser goes grave-digging again in this third installment of his action franchise, with Maria Bello taking over as his wife in the role originated by Rachel Weisz. This time out, the archaeologically minded couple head to China, where they battle a 2,000-year-old mummy (Jet Li) who comes back to life from a curse laid upon him by a sorceress (Michelle Yeoh). Two-disc DVD and Blu-ray sets pack deleted and extended footage, segments on casting, stunts and other behind-the-scenes matters and commentary with director Rob Cohen. The movie also comes in a single-disc DVD edition and in six-disc DVD and four-disc Blu-ray boxed sets with the entire “Mummy” trilogy. Single-disc DVD, $29.98; two-disc DVD set, $34.98; Blu-ray set, $39.98; DVD trilogy set, $59.98; Blu-ray trilogy set, $94.98. (Universal) “MAMMA MIA!” — ABBA songs are so enduring, even a former James Bond likes to croon them now and then. Meryl Streep and ex-007 Pierce Brosnan lead the cast in this adaptation of the stage musical that uses the infectious pop tunes of ABBA to knit together the story of a single mom and three old flames who make a surprise appearance at her daughter’s wedding. Single-disc and two-disc DVD releases and a two-disc Blu-ray set allow viewers to sing-along with the on-screen lyrics and also have a deleted musical number (“The Name of the Game”), plus commentary with director Phyllida Lloyd. The two-disc sets also come with deleted scenes, making-of segments and a digital copy of the movie for portable video players. Single-disc DVD, $29.98; two-disc DVD set, $34.98; Blu-ray set, $39.98. (Universal) “THE HOUSE BUNNY” — Anna Faris is a Playboy bunny who gets booted out of the mansion but finds a new home with a campus sorority, a group of socially inept women who receive a makeover and learn how to deal with the world courtesy of their new “sister.” The DVD and Blu-ray have deleted scenes, a music video by co-star Katharine McPhee, segments on Faris and co-star Colin Hanks and featurettes on the costumes and makeup that went into the production. DVD, $28.96; Blu-ray, $39.95. (Sony) “TRAITOR” — Don Cheadle stars as a former Special Forces expert now suspected of involvement in a series of terrorist bombings, with Guy Pearce as a federal agent leading a task force in pursuit. Cheadle joins director Jeffrey Nachmanoff for audio commentary, while the DVD and Blu-ray also have featurettes on stunts, special effects and the film’s international locations. The Blu-ray release also comes with a digital copy of the movie. DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98. (Anchor Bay) “THE THIRD MAN,” “BOTTLE ROCKET,” “CHUNGKING EXPRESS,” “THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH” — The folks at Criterion have been masters of quality cinema for home video since the laserdisc days. They now move into the Blu-ray era with an eclectic mix of titles from their past DVD vaults. Leading the way is Carol Reed’s 1949 thriller “The Third Man,” with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. The first wave also includes Wes Anderson’s debut film with the offbeat heist romp “Bottle Rocket,” starring Owen and Luke Wilson; Wong Kar-Wai’s breakout romantic tale “Chungking Express”; and Nicolas Roeg’s cult sci-fi saga “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” starring David Bowie. Each film comes loaded with the sort of extras that make Criterion DVDs such premier releases. Blu-ray, $39.95 each. (Criterion)

TV ON DVD:

“PETTICOAT JUNCTION: THE OFFICIAL FIRST SEASON” — A widow, her three hot daughters and their rascally uncle lead the collection of oddballs at the Shady Rest Hotel in the tiny burgh of Hooterville. A five-disc set has the first 38 episodes of the comedy that debuted in 1963. DVD set, $42.99. (Paramount) “MR. BEAN: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION” — A seven-disc set offers all things Bean, starting with the complete 14 episodes of Rowan Atkinson’s TV comedy featuring his strange, near-silent man-child of a hero. The set also includes the character’s two feature films, “Bean: The Movie” and “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” plus episodes from the animated “Bean” series. DVD set, $69.95. (A&E) “GENERATION KILL” — Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright’s book about his experiences covering the Iraq War is the basis for this miniseries that follows a Marine battalion in action. The three-disc set packs the seven-part series, plus commentary with Wright, cast and crew interviews and a segment with real-life Marines discussing their exploits in Iraq. DVD set, $59.99. (HBO) (Daily Record)

 

“Seven Pounds” is a complex, occasionally convoluted film, manipulative and sentimental but with a very good performance at its core, about … hmm. It’s almost impossible to say, as screenwriter Grant Nieporte and director Gabriele Muccino go to great lengths, playing with time while dropping small clues, to keep what’s really going on here a secret. I won’t spoil it. But it’s fair to say that it’s a film about redemption, about atoning for mistakes in extreme ways, about love and loss. And if that sounds like a generic recipe for melodrama, well, exactly. Yet Will Smith is so good in the central role of a man trying to redeem himself that it forgives many of the sins of the screenplay. Smith plays Ben Thomas, a man who is troubled, happy, despondent and industrious, depending on which version of him we see at the time. (Hint: unshaven equals unhappy.) In an early scene, Ben mercilessly berates a blind vegetarian telephone meat salesman (Woody Harrelson) for no apparent reason. He dodges calls from his brother (Michael Ealy), who makes cryptic references to something he’s missing that Ben might have. Ben obviously understands what he’s talking about; the audience does not. There are occasional, mysterious meetings with Dan (Barry Pepper), his best friend since childhood. There are visits to hospitals; one of them is where we meet Emily (Rosario Dawson), who suffers from congenital heart failure and has a rare blood type, making a transplant difficult. Ben, ostensibly following her to check into various failures to pay her taxes, seems to have an ulterior motive. And sure enough, the two fall in love, the relentless Ben weeding her yard and repairing her ancient printing press. Meanwhile, Ben inserts himself into the lives of other people, including a battered woman (Elpidia Carrillo), to whom he gives a substantial gift. Why is he watching a tough old man (Bill Smitrovich) coach a kids’ hockey game? What is going on here? Don’t fret, eventually Muccino pulls all of the various threads together. You may guess at aspects of where things are leading, perhaps even the ultimate outcome. But the details will surprise you. So will Smith. “Seven Pounds” requires a good deal of patience on the audience’s part. It’s a puzzle, and not all of its pieces are equally compelling. It would be easy to turn away. The constant is Smith (though Dawson is also good). He holds the screen whenever he’s on it, which is almost all the time. Luckily, while Ben could be played as maudlin, Smith avoids that. An innately likable actor, Smith manages not to overplay the heavy emotional scenes, which would have been easy enough to do. Instead, he gives Ben an edge. Clearly the man has issues, more than we initially realize. But what causes them? Sometimes Muccino gives a few hints that are too obvious. Others are confusing, though eventually explained. Bit by bit the jagged timeline comes into focus. Your level of satisfaction by the end will depend greatly upon how emotionally manipulative you like your movies. “Seven Pounds” is more than willing to use all the tricks of the trade — swelling music, that sort of thing — to make you reach for the tissues. But it’s only Smith’s performance that makes the tears worth crying. (Daily Record)

 

Russell Crowe is reportedly being lined up to play Bill Clinton in The Special Relationship, a film about the former US president’s friendship with Tony Blair. “Russell is currently our favorite to play Clinton,” an insider revealed. “He might not initially appear the obvious choice but it’s felt he could turn out to be ideal.” The movie will focus on Clinton’s relationship with Blair during the last three years of his Presidency. Michael Sheen, who has portrayed the former Prime Minister twice in The Deal and The Queen, is reportedly taking on the role a third time and Crowe’s involvement in the project “could be confirmed early next year.” (British Glamour)

 

 

TV . . .

 

Prison Shocker: The Truth About Michael’s Mom. Gasp! Could Michael Scofield’s mom be the source of the entire conspiracy? See the sneak peek from Monday’s Prison Break finale above and tell us what you think in the comments! (Could Kathleen Quinlan‘s incoming character possibly be more than a Company executive? Could she be Michael’s mom?!) Plus, check out the three clips below to see the Company try to get Michael to sell out and see both Sarah and Gretchen offered up as human sacrifices to Prison Break‘s creepy overlords… The fall-season finale of Prison Break airs Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox! (Eonline)

 

For the past three weeks, the upstart My Network TV has accomplished something that would have been considered unthinkable just two years ago. The network, quickly cobbled together by a group of Fox-owned local stations after the 2006 merger of the WB and UPN into the new CW left abandoned stations with nothing to put on the air, has averaged more prime-time viewers than the CW. My Network TV is the only one of the six English-speaking broadcast networks to grow this season. Its average of 1.76 million viewers each night is up 750,000 from last season, according to Nielsen Media Research. Given an opportunity to gloat, My Network TV President Greg Meidel plays it cool. “Do we get excited about beating the CW three weeks in a row? Sure,” said Meidel. “I’d rather win than have a tie.” Professional wrestling is the turnaround’s chief driver. The CW used to air World Wrestling Entertainment matches, but let them go because wrestling clashed with its strategy of appealing primarily to the young women who obsess over “Gossip Girl.” My Network picked it up and the Friday night package is the network’s most popular program of the week. Even discounting the wrestling, My Network TV is up. Its executives abandoned the network’s initial programming strategy – prime-time, English-language telenovelas – in favor of movies and nonfiction programming. “We want to provide programming that’s entertaining, that’s fun to watch and easy to join in progress,” Meidel said. Make no mistake, My Network would like you to set aside time for its shows. But that’s tough for a new network, so it favors material like “Jail,” a series from the producer of “COPS” that follows a person in the first few days of incarceration, and “The World’s Funniest Moments,” a collection of YouTube-like videos hosted by Arsenio Hall. They’re designed to catch the eye of someone idly surfing through the channels. For that reason, My Network TV has avoided dating games or competition shows that stretch over several episodes, fearing viewers won’t make the commitment, Meidel said. The network also happened upon a new niche of shows related to magic. Its “Breaking the Magicians Code” has done well, and will soon be joined by “Masters of Illusion,” where tricks presumably not outed by the previous show are performed. The network has movie nights, and a week ago tied for its biggest audience ever with the holiday evergreen “Home Alone.” My Network TV’s success shows that with all the new media, there’s still power in traditional broadcast television distribution, said John Rash, an analyst for the ad buying firm Campbell Mithun. My Network is shown on 10 Fox-owned stations and has 170 affiliates. Unlike the CW, My Network doesn’t really have a clear identity for viewers, Rash said. But that could be an opportunity.

“They have the ability to redefine the network and build from their surprising success relative to the lack of a clear consumer definition,” he said. The CW partly blames its defeats of the past few weeks on a schedule filled with reruns. Its executives wouldn’t talk publicly, but they believe their approach of making some high-quality scripted shows appealing to a certain audience will ultimately pay off. “The CW has a sound strategy,” Rash said. “It needs more applicable programming.” Appealing to a niche is one approach, but Meidel said he believes there’s still money to be made in going after a broader audience. “Our goal as a team is to create real value for our affiliates,” he said. (Daily Record)

 

Britney Spears is wanted to be a mentor on the next series of American Idol. Simon Cowell wants Britney Spears to be a mentor for the contestants on American Idol despite her widely-panned recent turn on the X Factor. “I would love to see her mentor the contestants,” Simon said in a conference call to the US media. “If she doesn’t want to do that, but wants to perform on the show – I would welcome that at any time. She would, literally, be first on the list, as far as I’m concerned in any capacity. (She) was a riot. I loved it. The buzz we had on our show (the X Factor) was extraordinary. And even with all that stuff that’s gone on with her the past two years, there was more excitement and interest in her than I’ve seen in anyone in years. She would be very, very welcome.” (Handbag)

 

Michael Chiklis didn’t lose any money in the escalating Bernard Madoff scandal. But he did fall victim to another Ponzi scheme early this year. And now, sadder but wiser, he’s developing a TV series fueled by his experience. Chiklis has been gathering material from others also hurt by investor scams, “and if I had hair, it’d curl,” says the actor, who starred in the recently concluded FX cop drama “The Shield.” Soon he hopes to have a pilot script for “House of Cards.” “There are fascinating characters who perpetrate these schemes,” says Chiklis, more convinced than ever that a drama about such scoundrels and their prey would be relatable to viewers. “The Madoff situation tells me how pervasive these rip-offs have become,” he says. “And there’s more ahead, I’m sure.” (Daily Record)

 

When “American Idol” executive producer Ken Warwick held a conference call with the press earlier in the week, he spent much of it reiterating that he wanted Paula Abdul to stay on the show. Turns out that reporters on the call really should have been asking not about Abdul, but about Simon Cowell. “I’ll make a decision about (whether to stay with the show) next year,” Cowell said Dec. 17 in his own call with reporters. His inclination to make a call about staying with the show doesn’t come from personality conflict as much as it does workload, however. “This show could continue for another 10 years,” he conceded. Cowell also backed up Warwick’s earlier statement that the show wasn’t aware of how troubled Paula Goodspeed really was. Goodspeed, of course, is the woman who auditioned for “Idol” and recently killed herself outside judge Paula Abdul’s house. Abdul has said show producers knew the woman was stalking her and let her audition anyway, but Cowell says that the producers have been portrayed unfairly. “These guys have the utmost integrity as human beings,” Cowell said. “(The judges) wouldn’t work with (the producers) if they were the kind of people who would deliberately do something like that. We’ve taken them on their word that they didn’t know this person was as troubled as she was.” (Scoop)

 

Thursday TV’s Big Winners: Does quantity count? ‘Cause NBC’s The Office and 30 Rock aired two repeats each, the most of any series on a night of repeats. Hooray! Actually, Size Counts, Especially to CBS: The network’s CSI (12.6 million viewers, per Nielsen estimates) was, by far, the most watched rerun among total viewers and the 18-49 crowd. NBC’s first offering of an old Office (4.9 million) did OK, too, tying CBS’ Eleventh Hour (10.1 million) for the night’s second-best rating in the demo. Guess What Grandpa Was Watching? The return of CBS’ Regis Philbin-hosted game show Million Dollar Password (8.3 million) killed in the adults 50-plus demo. Guess What the AARP-Ineligible Weren’t Watching? Password got killed in the 18-49 demo, running third in the 8 p.m. hour behind Fox’s all-new Secret Millionaire (6.4 million viewers overall) and NBC’s all-old comedy block of My Name Is Earl (4.7 million) and Kath & Kim (3.8 million). Does Anything Repeat Worse Than Grey’s Anatomy? Actually, yes. Private Practice (4.4 million) and Ugly Betty (4.6 million) both managed to make their fellow ABC show (5.5 million) look successful by comparison. (Eonline)

 

 

TODAY’S IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION . . . (Mike Butts Creative)

 

Q.  Despite protests from a small portion of Americans, 93% of us want this to be allowed . . . want what?

            A.  A nativity scene at our church or mall or parks/

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE (By Henry David Thoreau)

 

“IF YOU HAVE BUILT CASTLES IN THE AIR, YOUR WORK NEED NOT BE LOST; THERE IS WHERE THEY SHOULD BE. NOW PUT FOUNDATIONS UNDER THEM.”

 

 

MIND BOGGLERS . . .  (QuickTrivia)

 

Q.  In the song :”Twelve Days of Christmas,” how many golden rings do you get from your true love?

            A.  Three

            B.  Four

            C.  Six

            D.  Five  ****

 

Q.  What Pennsylvania city do they call Chocolate Town?

            A.  Hershey  ****

            B.  Philadelphia

            C.  Mars

            D.  Allentown

 

Q.  Film director Mack Sennett is known for his work with Buster Keaton at this studio?

            A.  Universal

            B.  Keystone  ****  (His slapstick comedies starring the likes of Keaton and Chaplin were all shot at Keystone)

            C.  MGM

            D.  RKO

 

Q.  Name the musical film named after a U.S. state?

            A.  Oklahoma  ****

            B.  Maine

            C.  Nebraska

            D.  Hawaii

 

Q.  Which television family made the hit recording “I Think I Love You”?

            A.  Partridge  ****  (Except for David Cassidy and Shirley Jones, Studio musicians sang on the Partridge Family records)

            B.  Brady

            C.  Huxtable

            D.  Cleaver

 

Q.  What empire-builder is buried in Aachen, Germany?

            A.  Genghis the Khan

            B.  Adolf Hitler

            C.  Napoleon

            D.  Charlemagne  ****

 

 

ODD NEW YEARS ITEMS . . . (Passed on to us from Brian Freeman WSJS)

 

Odd new years items for you.

•    Harrisburg, PA, they lower a Strawberry from atop a downtown hotel… They don’t grow Strawberries anywhere nearby, it’s all pavement and the state capital buildings.
•    Dillsburg, PA, (west of Harrisburg) they lower a Pickel. They DO grow strawberries near Dillsburg..but not pickles. – Odd.


TRAVEL TIPS . . . (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

 

DRIVING SAFELY WITH WIRELESS HEADSETS:

 

Hands-free cell phone devices are great accessories, but now they’re turning into necessities. Currently there are five states—California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington DC—that prohibit driving while talking on handheld cell phones. In July 2008, California will join this list. For wireless Bluetooth options try the Z9 by BlueAnt, the Jawbone by Aliph [A-liff] or the NX6000 by CellPoint Connect AB. These allow you to answer your calls without the hassle of wires. Or, if you’re willing to stick with a wired headset, go to freeheadset dot org. You can get a hands-free cell phone device for free; you just need to pay 4 dollars in shipping.

 

(Peter Greenberg is North America’s preeminent expert on Travel. An Emmy Award-Winning writer and producer, Peter is the Travel Editor for NBC’S “TODAY SHOW,” MSNBC and CNBC. A Best-Selling author of the “Travel Detective” series and host of the nationally syndicated “Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show.” Visit WWW.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM to learn more about Peter Greenberg and his adventures.)

 

 

MIKE BUTTS CREATIVE . . .

 

EVEN RICH FOLKS TRIM COSTS: J


YES THE BAD ECONOMY HAS EVEN STARTED TO AFFECT THE SUPER WEALTHY—TOP SELLER IN NEW YORK AND BEVERLY HILLS GROCERS?

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT CAVIAR!     LOBSTER HELPER !  MACARONI AND TRUFFLES J

 

 

I READ FORTUNE & FORBES:

 

TO TRY AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FINANCIAL MARKETS –I READ A LOT—I READ “MONEY’—FORTUNE—AND FORBES”— CRAZY WHEN I THINK

ABOUT IT—I DON’T HAVE A FORTUNE SO I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BE READING FORBES”!!

 

 

MY PETS HAVE IT GOOD: J

 

I LOVE MY PETS—MY BEST FRIENDS—MY-FOUR LEGGED KIDS. BUDDY—JAYJAY–CADBURY—CHARCOAL—NIKKI—AND THE 2 NEW ADOPTEES,

HAMSTERS KOALA AND HONEY-BEAR. IT WOULD BE NICE TO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE THINKING—WOULDN’T THAT BE SUCH A BLESSING TO KNOW

WHAT THEY THINK AND WE COULD ACTUALLY HAVE A DISCUSSION BACK AND FORTH?

 

I THINK THEY KNOW I LOVE THEM AND THAT THEY HAVE IT GOOD—I THINK THEY WOULD SAY “YEA MIKE LOVES US—EXCEPT WHEN HE PUSHES

THAT LOUD MONSTER ALL OVER THE CARPETS EVERY OTHER DAY—THE MONSTER WITH THE HEAD-LIGHT IN IT’S FOREHEAD—BACK AND

 FORTH BACK AND FORTH—WE DON’T KNOW WHY HE DOES IT BECAUSE HE’S ALWAYS SWEARING WHEN HE DOES IT J

 

 

BIRTHDAYS . . .

 

—1727  Signer of the Declaration of Independence William Ellery (d. 2-15-1820)

—1858  Composer Giacomo Puccini (d. 11-29-1924)

—1907  Actress Dame Peggy Ashcroft (Trip to Bountiful) (d. 6-14-1991)

—1912  Former First Lady Claudia (Lady Bird) Taylor Johnson  (d. 7-11-2007)

¾1917  Game Show Host Gene Rayburn (Match Game) (d. 11-29-1999)

—1922  Actress Barbara Billingsley (Leave It to Beaver)

—1936  Actor Hector Elizondo  (Pretty Woman)

—1944  Baseball’s Steve Carlton

—1946  Journalist Diane K. Sawyer (Good Morning America)

—1946  Singer/Guitarist Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick)

—1948  Baseball’s Steve Garvey

—1948  British Disc Jockey Noel Edmonds

—1949  Musician Robin Gibb (The Bee Gees)

—1949  Musician Maurice Gibb (The Bee Gees)

—1951  Golfer Jan Stephenson

—1962  Actor Ralph Fiennes (Maid In Manhattan)

¾1973  Actress Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project)

¾1989  Singer Jordin Sparks

 

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY . . .

 

CAPRICORN, THE GOAT (December 22-January 19/the ruling planet is Saturn)

—1858  One of the two greatest Italian composers, Giacomo Puccini, was born in the city of Lucca (d. 1924). He wrote, among many others, “Madame Butterfly” and “La Boheme.”

—1956  The first gorilla was born in captivity in the Columbus, OH zoo. His name was “Colo” and weighed 3 1/4 pounds.

—1958  The novelty song “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, Theodore with Dave Seville) peaked at #1, and is still a Christmas favorite today.

—1962  The Tornadoes’ “Telstar” becomes the first record by a British artist to top the US charts.

—1963  “The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show” last aired on ABC.

—1967  Pink Floyd play London’s Olympia, in the band’s last major show with Syd Barrett.

—1967  Walt Disney’s “The Jungle Book'” opened in New York area theaters, the first animated feature since Disney’s passing.

—1973  Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is the top album in the US.

—1976  Issac Hayes files for bankruptcy.

—1978  Kenny Jones, formerly of the Faces, joins the Who as drummer, replacing Keith Moon.

—1981  Kate Bush buys a perspex sculpture of John & Yoko at an auction of rock memorabilia in London. A letter from Paul McCartney to a fan sells for over $3100.

—1984  After being allegedly threatened by four teenagers while riding on the New York City subway, Bernhard Goetz allegedly drew his gun and shot them.

—1988  Morrissey, former lead singer for the Smiths, puts on a short concert in Wolverhampton, England, in his first live appearance since the Smiths’ farewell concert in 1986.

¾2000  Madonna (42) married Guy Ritchie (32), Madonna’s daughter Lourdes was their flower girl.  Their 4 month old son Rocco was also present.  They were married in a castle in Scotland. 

Madonna & Guy filed for divorce in 2008.

 

 

RADIO ONLINE® DAILY SHOW PREP. . .

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

In order that we may share the Christmas and New Year’s holidays with our families and loved ones, RADIO ONLINE’s Daily Show Prep editors and writers will be on vacation from December 24 through January 1. During that time only abbreviated prep sheets will be posted and many regular features such as Weird News, Hunter’s Humor and Gorsefeathers will not appear. The last regular prep sheet posted in 2008 will be for Tuesday, December 23. Regular publication of the Daily Show Prep will resume on January 2.

ON THIS DAY

On this date in 1864, Union General William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, saying, “I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah.” Of course, the tough part was wrapping it…

In 1882, a guy named Ed Johnson flipped the switch and became the first person to have electric lights on his Christmas tree. He used to have gas lights, but got tired of having to have his finger pulled to light up the tree.

TODAY IS

Ralph Fiennes, who doesn’t have one name that sounds like it’s spelled, turns 46 today.

Luther Campbell of ‘2 Live Crew’ turns 48 today. (BEEP)-in’ birthday to you, (BEEP)-in’ birthday to you… Beaver’s mom, Barbara Billingsly, turns 86 today. “You look very nice for being so old, Mrs. Cleaver.”

First Full Day Of Winter — The National Energy Commission says to winterize your home this winter make sure you check for air leaks, check your insulation & weather stripping and don’t forget to check your heating system. That’s great for most of the country, but what about those warmer climates like Southern California and Florida?

·         Make sure you have enough SPF-30 handy for those “brrrr” 75 degree sunny days.

·         A supply of clean, long sleeve t-shirts for those chilly winter days.

·         Keep your lawnmower sharpened… that “dead, dormant” lawn will still need to be mowed twice a month.

·         Fuzzy head covers to keep your driver and 3-wood warm during those frigid 65-degree days on the golf course.

·         Charcoal, cold beers and blue & gold board shorts to wear at those NFL tailgate parties.

·         Ladies, you may have to drop the hem an inch or so on your mini-skirts to stay warmer at those outdoor happy hours.

·         Make sure your strappy sandals straps are at least 3/8″ wide. You’ll need the extra “warm” toe-coverage when partying on Saturday nights, and those 5-inch stilettos may need to come down to 4-inches… with the occasional sprinkle you won’t want to slip and fall on those treacherous sidewalks.

·         And most importantly… try to locate the extra sheet for your bed to keep “toasty warm” at night.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

·         Whoops! Something went wrong with a David Copperfield trick involving a large fan Wednesday in Las Vegas. An assistant left the stage with a broken arm and a facial puncture.

·         Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, died last week at age 76.

·         When it comes to Mother Nature, the most dangerous places to live in the U.S. is the Great Plains states and the South. The two biggest killers aren’t earthquakes or hurricanes, but rather heat and thunderstorms, according to research from the University of South Carolina.

·         This will sound like I’m making it up but I’m not: the Oxygen network is going to have a new show that combines a weight-loss competition with dancing called “Dance your ass off!”

·         Jermaine Dupri says on his blog that he and girlfriend Janet Jackson haven’t split up — and she isn’t pregnant.

·         Up to 25% of fantasy sports players are women, according to a Ipsos Research survey for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

·         The Kleenex that Scarlett Johansson blew her nose with on the Tonight Show last week has found it’s way on to eBay. Last time we checked, over 60 bids. The top: over $2,000.

·         The next U2 album, “No Line on the Horizon,” comes out March 3.

·         So you fancy yourself a singer, eh? Now you can test your pipes against Elvis Presley at http://www.singwiththeking.com

·         Mark Felt, who revealed himself as the anonymous Watergate source “Deep Throat,” passed away last week at the age of 95.

·         Insiders say that Oprah Winfrey is home shopping in the Washington, DC, area so she can be as close to Barack Obama as possible.

·         Angie Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn have welcomed their third daughter. Emery Hope Sehorn was born last Thursday.

·         Whitney Houston is being sued by her step mom. It’s a battle for the money in her late father’s estate.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Women’s Health polled readers about their manners and behavior:

·         70% of women would call themselves polite

·         98% of women get annoyed when someone cuts in line

·         38% of those have cut in line themselves

·         68% of women have been rude to a stranger, the most common reason: “Because the other person was rude first”

·         55% of women swear in public, most women think other people with potty mouths: “I don’t mind unless it’s around kids”

·         36% of women admit to have purposely failed to hit the “door open” button when someone was running toward the elevator

·         63% of women expect their date to pay the bill

·         60% of women say good manners make a man more attractive

·         93% find a man’s manners more important than his income

·         12% of women think a guy with bad manners will be bad in bed

·         80% of women have hung up on someone; 25% who did, called back to apologize

·         Formal events are where most women are on the “best behavior”

·         Rude actions the average woman admits to doing are; flipping people off while driving, double-dipping, and putting her feet on the back of the seat in front of her

·         Top three female faux pas that disgust the average women in order are; loud gum chewing, gossiping, and applying makeup in public

A new study found that in 43% of couples living together, women made decisions in more household areas; TV watching and finance, than men did. One possible reason: Younger couples divvy up duties to save time, and women often claim tasks that concern home life. (Cosmopolitan)

(Redbook) So how are we going to “Deck The Halls” on Christmas:

·         $9.3 billions, the estimated national sales of holiday decorations last year

·         $20 is the amount the typical American household spent on seasonal decorations in 2006

·         269 feet is the height of the largest Christmas tree according to the Guinness Book of World Records’

·         25% of people purchased a live tree last year, according to a poll by the National Christmas Tree Association

·         25,000 lights on Clark Griswold’s house in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Get this — a Turkish mayor is suing the director of “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” for stealing the name of his city. Huseyin Kalkan says the ancient municipality of Batman, Turkey, had the name long before the fictional superhero existed, and he’s demanding that director Christopher Nolan pay royalties for using the city’s name without permission. “There is only one Batman in the world,” Kalkan declares. “The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.” Adding insult to injury, Kalkan claims a series of unsolved murders in Batman are a direct result of the twisted psychological impact of the popular film. (Sun)

PHONE TOPICS

·         Who is the hardest person to shop for in your family?

·         What does Santa do the rest of the year?

·         What conversation have you been avoiding? No better time than now to get that tough subject out in the open!

·         Women that know their husband is cheating! These men think they are safe, but boy are they wrong.

·         Who is the oldest person who has never seen a member of the opposite sex naked?

·         What did you lose in your divorce? You break my heart, I’ll take your stuff!

·         Most creative thing you’ve ever done to make yourself attractive to the opposite sex?

·         What has your man done that he thought was really romantic, but wasn’t?

·         What do you use old lottery tickets for?

·         Who got screwed over the most in a divorce?

·         Stupid fights you get into with your wife or significant other?

·         Things you couldn’t live without? This got calls for everything to pets to plug-in sex toys.

·         What is the world’s crappiest job and who has it?

·         What’s your favorite thing to do in the nude besides “you know”?

·         How has Christmas 2008 been different?

Does anyone have a neighbor who has so many Christmas lights up you can probably see their house from space? We had lots of funny calls from people who aren’t too fond of their holiday – celebratin’ neighbors.

How many kids is too many? Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Tontitown, Ark., had their eighteenth child. Wow, eighteen kids. Do you agree that one couple should have so many kids? If so, how many kids should be allowable?

We talked about the Tampa police detectives who resigned after an internal affairs investigation showed they were working less than a 40-hour work week. How did they get caught? There were GPSs on their cars. Their bosses tracked them. Where did they go all day? Home. If your boss tracked you during the workday, where would the GPS signal lead them?

What food do you eat on a somewhat regular business even though you find it disgusting? For instance, I can’t have chicken wings more than once every week or two or they gross me out, but if I don’t have them for a long time I miss them. I think ribs fall into the same category. This comes up because our annual rib-fest is underway. Man they’re good, but you feel like your gnawing on road kill.

Our stuntboy is in college. And he’s pretty far from home so he usually spends the holidays with his best friend and his family. The problem is his friend’s mom. She’s HOT! And now he swears that she’s giving him the “eye”. He says that she’s even touching and flirting with him. He doesn’t want to mess anything up, but he’s obsessed with her. What should he do?

How do you know that you’re too drunk to drive this holiday? Take some advice from across the ocean. Police in Suffolk, England have launched an anti-drinking and driving campaign, publishing impossible phrases to say when drunk, to encourage responsible drinking. Here are a few:

·         Thanks, but I don’t want to sleep with you

·         Where is the nearest toilet? I can’t possibly vomit in the street

·         Good evening, officer, isn’t it lovely out tonight?

·         No fries for me, thank you

·         I’m not interested in fighting you

·         Good evening, officer, isn’t it lovely out tonight?

·         Oh, I just couldn’t – no one wants to hear me sing

Any other ones that you’d like to add to their list?

What’s your trademark? This was a great topic for us. Everybody has a least one. Donald Trump’s “You’re Fired,” Larry King’s suspenders, Slash has the top hat, Ozzy has his knuckles tattooed with his name. What is yours?

If you want a warm and fuzzy break or two, take calls from parents who are proud of their kids. Specifically, those like me who are surprised how well their kids are turning out. My son is a freshman in college now and it’s amazing he’s as great as he is considering that he’s the product of a psycho, crisis-queen mom and a father who may have spent just a little too much of his life in the fast lane.

Ask your listeners what kind of crazy things they’ve done to get “closure” over an ex. Some will tell you that these things are normal, but the stories we heard were borderline psychotic. Have you ever been caught “stalking” your ex?

A lousy marriage might literally make you sick. I read a new study that says unhappy marriages and other bad personal relationships can raise your risk for heart disease. Did you divorce someone because they were literally making you sick? What kind of symptoms did you have? When did they start making you sick? Was there one thing in particular that they did?

We took calls on about what men and women find sexy. We started one day with women, and got calls like it’s sexy when he plans a date, and a man with a baby is sexy, etc. Then the next day we did what men think is sexy, and the phones exploded. Got calls like butts, garter belts, etc.

How do you know you’re going to be fired? According to Fortune magazine, here are 8 signs that you could be on your way out.

1.      You don’t fit in. Your values don’t match the company’s.

2.      Your boss doesn’t like you and you don’t like him or her. If your boss never asks your opinion, and never wants to chat or have lunch with you, and if you disagree with her agenda and dislike her style, your days are numbered.

3.      Your peers don’t like you.

4.      You don’t get assignments that demonstrate the full range of your abilities.

5.      You always get called upon to do the “grunt work.”

6.      You are excluded from meetings your peers are invited to.

7.      Everyone on your level has an office. You have a cubicle in the hallway.

8.      You dread going to work and feel like you’re developing an ulcer.

How do you know it’s time to go at a job?

My co-host has a serious mouse problem in her house. It’s so big a problem that she’s moving. I told her to get those new mouse traps that actually electrocutes the mouse. When it’s killed, a little green light comes on. It says it’s humane. Anyone else have trouble with mice? What’s the best way to humanely get rid of them?

According to a recent study, 85 percent of all women are wearing the wrong bra size. Guy hosts, ask your women listeners, why it’s so tough to find a good fitting bra. Do they sell bras with velcro clips for easy removal?

How young is too young to date someone? According to “the formula,” you take a guy’s age and divide by two then add 7. That’s the youngest age that you should date. So if you’re 34, the youngest age someone you can date is 24. Here’s why I bring this up. It’s funny that my college roommate, who is one of my closest friends is 35. He’s currently dating a 19-year-old girl. That just doesn’t sound right. Lets go to the phones and see if I’m right.

Getting fired? What’s funny is no one ever believes they should have been fired. It’s also quite amusing to ask for people who have actually tried to get fired. How long did the company put up with them showing up for work drunk and stoned?

With all of these do-it-yourself shows on TV now, we opened the phones and asked, “What DIY project did you takle and do well?” Then we asked the other burning question, “What did you try and really mess up… eventually calling in a pro to help fix it.”

YES OR B.S.

·         The name of the dog from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas is Spot. (B.S., it’s Max)

·         In the world of music, Budapest, Julliard, and Cleveland are all prominent Opera Houses. (B.S., they’re prominent String Quartets)

·         Including TV versions, Adam West has played both Batman and Simon Templar (aka The Saint). (B.S., Val Kilmer)

·         Liv Ullmann, a Norwegian actress, known for roles in Ingmar Bergman movies, was actually born in Tokyo. (Yes)

·         Geena Davis is an Oscar winner and a Mensa member, and in 1999 she tried out for Olympics. (Yes, for Archery)

·         Nominated for an Oscar, Roman Polanski made “Noz w wodzie” (“Knife in the Water”), his full-length directorial debut in Polish. (Yes)

·         It takes 4 minutes to cool Hershey’s chocolate into a kiss. (B.S., 18 minutes)

·         The actor Jeremy Irons (from “French Liutenant’s Woman”), was born in 1933. (B.S., 1948)

·         The term “Beatlemania” was coined after the Beatles appeared at Yankee Stadium. (B.S., The Palladium)

·         In “The Karate Kid,” Daniel had to paint Miagi’s house Green, as part of his training. (Yes)

·         The musical term for “Voice” is Vocta. (B.S., it’s Voce)

·         India celebrates Constitution Day when we celebrate Christmas. (B.S., Taiwan does)

·         The first painted Christmas Card was designed by Ben Franklin. (B.S., John C. Horseley)

·         Buffalo can actually jump as high as six feet in the air. (B.S.)

·         Your liver is about the size of a football. (Yes)

·         The Gill, lateral line, and dorsal fin are parts of a fish. (Yes)

·         Mentioned in their song “If I had a million dollars,” Kraft Dinner gets thrown at the Barenaked Ladies. (Yes)

·         Michelangelo designed the uniform worn by the Swiss Guards at the Vatican. (Yes)

·         Matt Damon’s breakout role was in “Saving Private Ryan,” and his real name is Mark Vincent. (B.S., Vin Diesel)

·         The source of the Nile is Lake Victoria. (Yes)

TWISTED TUNES

One of the games we started doing is taking song lyrics from well-known songs and singing them over other well-known song beds or TV show theme music. I’m sure you’ve heard of some variation of this. Let’s say you take the chorus part of a well-known song and sing it over the “Bonanza” or “Green Acres” theme. Then the callers try to identify the song. Usually takes about 3 to 5 callers.

TOP FIVE SIGNS YOU DID YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AT 7-11

1.      Slurpee stains on the gift tag

2.      Who else carries the beef jerky Christmas sampler?

3.      Lotto tickets! Lotto tickets! Lotto tickets!

4.      “A newspaper! What a unique idea!”

5.      I’ll bet this hot dog was much better when it was warm

HUNTER’S HUMOR by Tim Hunter

Burger King has released their very own fragrance, called “Flame”… which they describe as “the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” This could give a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Would you like fries with that?”

Burger King is coming out with their own fragrance called “Flame.” Apparently “Vat of Grease” was already taken.

President Bush says he’s working on a plan to bailout the American Auto Industry. He better be careful, or he could do something unpopular!

According to a new survey, 67% of pet owners say their pets “talk” to them. I know my schnauzer thinks that’s a lot of crap.

THE WRONG GAME

Round 1

·         What are you supposed to do under the mistletoe?

·         Name a dairy product that is in egg nog!

·         What color inspired “White Christmas”?

·         How many reindeer does Santa fly with?

·         In the “12 Days of Christmas,” how many golden rings are there?

Round 2

·         Which Noel do we sing about?

·         What’s Santa’s last name?

·         Where does he live?

·         Santa’s belly shook like a bowl full of… what?

·         What color is Santa’s beard?

Round 3

·         What color is Rudolph’s nose?

·         What is a snowman made of?

·         What’s that thing Santa rides around in?

·         What day is Christmas this year?

·         How many wisemen were there in the Christmas story?

DEAL OR NO DEAL

For $100, listeners would call someone else to see it they could work out a deal. Can somebody get their boss to give them the day off? Could they get a date? Could they get to someone to forgive them?

WINTER CLEANING

Does he have that one tee shirt, those crappy sweat pants, that one pair of “lawn” shoes, that are just gross? We had listeners not only describe them, but then destroy them. They received a gift certificate from the local mall so he could replace the item with a new one.

UNDERWEAR WARNING LABELS

Warning tags that should be in your standard pack of underwear.

·         Warning: Please watch diet… may stain.

·         Caution: Not built to contain excitement.

·         Warning: When sweaty – may hide between cheeks.

·         Advisory: Do us both a favor – after 15 years and 47,000 washes – throw me away!

·         Caution: Not responsible for shrinkage due to your growing ass.

·         Warning: May be flammable within 3 feet of a butane lighter.

·         Warning: I’m not a diaper – please use the Charmin.

MUSIC CONNECTION

Montage of three song snippits together, people call and tell us the connection.

SOUND BITE QUIZ

During the 7 am hour, we try to “stump” our listeners with a sound bite on a variety of subjects from entertainment, news, sports, music, etc. The caller who correctly identifies the sound bite wins a daily prize and qualifies for the bonus round and prize.

THE MAN QUIZ

Take it on the air with your female co-hosts and see who is more of a “man.” Give yourself a point for every yes.

·         Got a tattoo

·         Brewed your own beer

·         Driven a car worth more than 100,000 dollars

·         Owned a dog

·         Quit a job because you were pissed at (or hated) the boss

·         Told your dad face-to-face that you love him

·         Worked overseas

·         Placed a bet over 200 dollars

·         Demanded a pay raise

·         Saved a life

·         Grown a beard and had it for more than two years

·         Taken a ride on a wave that was bigger than you

·         Had sex in a public place

·         Run a marathon

·         Learned to play a musical instrument

·         Written a book

·         Gained revenge on someone

·         Been a best man

·         Caught a big fish

·         Flown a plane

·         Rode a horse

·         Had a go at diving

·         Became a vegetarian for at least 6 months

·         Gone broke trying to buy love

·         Bought a dud car

·         Slept with an EX-girlfriend

·         Become a dad

·         Sat on a jury

·         Swam with dolphins

·         Woken up with a stranger

·         Given blood

·         Gone to an all black march

·         Acquired a scar

·         Climbed a mountain

·         Performed an anonymous act of generosity

·         Skydived

·         Tied a bow tie by yourself

·         Won a trophy

·         Rode a motorcycle twice the speed limit

Your score:

·         If you said “yes” 10 or less times — you need to get out more.

·         If you said “yes” between 11 and 20 times — you’re cool. You’ve suffered pain, embarrassment and success.

·         If you said “yes” between 21 and 30 times — you are a better man than most. Good luck with the rest of the list.

·         If you said “yes” between 31 and 40 times, you rule! You are the man!

DID YOU KNOW?

The way you take a seat reveals important information about your personality, say the experts. “Your posture and the position of your arms and legs when you’re seated all make a subtle statement,” says body language authority Glenda Casteel. “The way you sit also makes an immediate impression on others, who subconsciously take note and even make assumptions based on what they see.” Discover what your typical sitting position says about you:

·         Sit with your legs crossed — You’re an outgoing person who’s self-assured in almost any situation. You’re blessed with the gift of gab. People enjoy your clever quips and witty opinions on everything from current affairs to the latest movie. Your ease with both friends and strangers makes you a perfect candidate for a job working with the public. Loved ones appreciate your honesty, loyalty and directness. You do have some weaknesses a short temper and lack of tact. But your good points far outweigh any shortcomings you possess.

·         Sit with your feet apart and toes pointed to the sides — You’re a determined person who’s very sure of your opinions and quick to make your preferences known to others. You’re highly observant, getting all the facts and weighing all your options before making a decision. You have no time for frivolous activities, and you seldom make an appearance at parties unless it is a family affair. You tend to set goals and accomplish them with as little fuss as possible. You may become stubborn at times, but it’s only because you feel you’re not being taken seriously enough.

·         Sit with your legs close together and vertical to the ground — You’re like Little Miss Muffett, sitting quietly in the corner, too timid to speak up and make your presence known. Your shyness can keep you from taking advantage of opportunities. You’re particularly reticent with strangers and authority figures. But if people have patience and understanding, they will eventually discover how delightful you can be. Beneath your still waters hides an articulate, dreamy, emotional person with amazing creative abilities and a wellspring a love and affection for a fortunate few.

·         Sit with your legs together and slightly tilted to one side — You’re a gentle, ladylike person whose graceful movements bring to mind a classical dancer. You also have a terrific sense of style and your charisma is so potent that you can charm even your enemies out of their socks. You handle acrimonious situations with poise and sensitivity that instantly eases tensions. You’re also a bit of a steel magnolia, hiding your hurt feelings in public and never letting them see you sweat. Your stiff backbone makes you the person on whom family and friends depend. (Sun)

GORSEFEATHERS by Patrick Gorse

The man known as “Deep Throat” for providing information that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal has died at the Age of 95. Mark Felt was 91-years-old in 2005 when Vanity Fair magazine revealed him to be Deep Throat. To which Felt replied, “All the President’s what, Deep where, and who’s Mark Felt?”

Rumors are swirling that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may be willing to step down. Apparently he got an excellent job offer as a referee in the NBA.

Speaking about the auto industry bailout, President Bush said on Thursday that he was worried about a “disorderly bankruptcy.” I wish he’d been more worried about the orderly bank ROBBERY that got us in this mess in the first place.

A lot of gay rights groups are angry with President-elect Barack Obama for inviting an anti-gay marriage pastor to give the religious invocation at his inauguration. They say it’s a kick in the gut and a slap in the face. Of course, the sadomasochist community says they’re cool with it.

Freezing temperatures are gripping the nation. In Las Vegas, it snowed!!! It was so cold; Siegfried was able to talk Roy into climbing inside a tiger-skin sleeping bag.

Man, it’s just been freezing. It was so cold; Regis Philbin had the wings on his Emmy’s de-iced.

It was so cold, Britney Spears crossed her legs.

It’s so cold; the NRA said you can have their guns when you pry them from their ‘mittened’, dead fingers.

It was so cold at Taco Bell; my burrito slipped into a rat-fur tortilla.

It was so cold; discount crematoriums fired up their ovens instead of dumping the bodies in the woods.

It was so cold; Amy Winehouses’ urine sample tested positive for icicles.

It was so cold; Matthew McConaughey bought a shirt.

20 men in Iraq were arrested for trying to revive Saddam Hussein’s Baath political party. The Baath Party is dead and buried, but these guys thought they could bring it back by nominating Sarah Palin for president.

A new NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll says that only 21 percent of Americans will miss George Bush. And of course, this poll doesn’t even count that Iraqi shoe-thrower who missed President Bush twice.

On Thursday, Bill Clinton released a list of secret donors to his charity foundation as part of an agreement that will allow Hillary Clinton to become Secretary of State. For instance, Indian-American businessman Vino Gupta gave the Clinton’s over $500,000, and named a village in India after Hillary. I believe the town is called “Pant-Sutra.”

Saying they had few options besides Sarah Palin as a V.P. pick, John McCain’s former campaign manager Rick Davis said Republicans “have to work on” their “bench.” Yeah, and they also need to find a starting quarterback who’s not still wearing a leather helmet.

Former attorney general John Ashcroft said last week that he makes some of his best decisions when he has “morphine” in his system. Me too, but, it’s always the same decision… More morphine.

“Valkyrie,” a new movie about Adolph Hitler, will open in theaters on Christmas Day. Yes, nothing says Happy Holidays like an unhappy Holocaust.

Retail industry analysts say that to get customers inside their doors, stores that once cut prices 40 to 60 percent are now dropping them 70 to 75 percent. I spent $25 bucks at a 99-cent store. Now I own the place.

CRAVING KNOWLEDGE

(Women’s Health Think you’re prepared to fend off the next chocolate doughnut that enters your field of vision? Find out how much you really know about your cravings:

·         Chewing gum can help reduce cravings. True, a study presented at the 2007 annual scientific meeting of the Obesity Society found that chewing gum at one, two, and three hour intervals after lunch significantly reduced the desire to eat.

·         Cravings are your body’s way of communicating that it needs certain nutrients. False, this is probably just wishful thinking. Researchers have found no evidence of it for the vast majority of commonly craved foods.

·         The most successful dieters never give in to their cravings. False, a 2007 Tufts University study found that dieters who occasionally give in to cravings have the most weight-loss success.

·         Eating the same thing every day can increase the number of cravings you have. True, according to a study published in the journal Obesity in 2006, eating the same foods all the time can increase your number of cravings.

·         Chocolate is the most craved flavor. True, a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that while there’s not yet proof that chocolate is biologically addictive, it is the most sought after flavor in North America.

·         The easiest way to kill a craving is to think about something else. False, smell or look at something else instead. Researchers at Flinders University in Australia found that visual and olfactory distractions could help.

·         Women crave more. True, at least when it comes to snacks: In a University of Illinois study, women were more likely than men to crave foods like cookies and candy.

NAME THAT YEAR

(1971)

·         The Magic Kingdom is here, as Disney World opens in Orlando, Florida.

·         50’s rock star, and singer of “Be Bop A Lula,” Gene Vincent dies of medical problems at only 36.

·         The Jackson Five appear on the cover of Life magazine.

·         The first World Series night game, as Pirates beat the Orioles 4-3.

·         At a Madison Square Garden Oldies Concert in New York, Rick Nelson is booed for playing new material. The incident inspires him to write and record “Garden Party.”

·         And some one-hit wonders from Canada, The Stampeders top the charts with “Sweet City Woman.”

(1980)

·         President Carter signs into law legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

·         The year that actor, Jake Gyllenhaal, and singer Christina Aguilera was born.

·         A Leonardo DaVinci notebook is sold for $5 million.

·         The prime interest rate is raised to a record 21.5%.

·         The Beach Boys receive a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

(1960)

·         On CBS-TV the first “Andy Griffith Show,” and the last “Howdy Doody Show,” where Clarabelle the Clown finally talked. He said, “Goodbye Kids.”

·         The first nuclear sub, the USS Enterprise leaves Newport News, VA.

·         San Francisco’s White House Department store becomes the first to accept charge cards instead of cash, the former Bankamericard… now Visa.

·         The first of four televised Presidential TV debates with Nixon and Kennedy.

·         Soviet leader Khruschev shows something new at the UN, shoe pounding at the podium!

·         A Carole King song, sung by the Drifters, “Save The Last Dance For Me” tops the charts.

(1984)

·         Bernhard Goetz, who shot and wounded 4 teenage boys on a New York Subway, surrenders to the police in New Hampshire.

·         President Reagan pledges $100 million for African drought relief.

·         The five-day-old hijacking of a Kuwaiti jetliner, that claimed the lives of two Americans, ends at Tehran airport.

·         A jury in Roanoke, VA, finds Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt innocent of libeling the Reverend Jerry Falwell with a parody advertisement, but awarded Falwell $200,000 for emotional distress. (The award was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

·         Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen is involved in a car crash which causes him to lose his left arm four days later.

(1969)

·         Little did they know just how big it would become as Bank Of America dedicated their new world headquarters in San Francisco at 555 California Street. Across town in San Francisco, the Fillmore West opened.

·         On television, the premiere of “Love American Style” and “The Brady Bunch.”

·         The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” is released, the last album they’d record together.

·         Lou Christie tops the chart with “I’m Gonna Make You Mine.”

(1988)

·         President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev exchange New Year’s messages in which both leaders express optimism about future superpower relations.

·         The FAA, responding to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, announces tightened security measures for U.S. air carriers at 103 airports in the Middle East and Western Europe.

·         President-elect George Bush Sr. nominates former U.S. transportation secretary Elizabeth H. Dole to be his secretary of labor.

·         A federal grand jury in North Carolina indicts PTL founder Jim Bakker and former aide Richard Dortch on fraud and conspiracy charges. Bakker, convicted on all counts, served 5 years in prison.

·         Aerosmith’s album “Toys In The Attic” is certified platinum for the fifth time.

(1955)

·         Actor James Dean loses life in California car crash.

·         Bill Haley and the Comets play Lubbock Texas, and hire local guy Buddy Holly to open. He’d do the same days later for Elvis.

·         October television featured our first look at Mouseketeers like Annette Funicello on the “Mickey Mouse Club,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and Bob Keesham as “Captain Kangaroo.”

·         Chuck Berry had his very first hit with “Maybelline.”

(1991)

·         The Dow-Jones average rises to a then-record high of 3,082.96.

·         Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian President Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia would create its own army.

·         New York Governor Mario Cuomo announces he would not be a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

·         North Korea and South Korea sign a historic non-aggression agreement, aimed at eventual reconciliation.

·         Nine fans are killed trying to get into a packed Heavy D. & the Boyz and Run DMC charity basketball game.

(1959)

·         The show business world loses two popular stars, movie’s Errol Flynn, and music’s Mario Lanza with a heart attack at only 38.

·         At age 22, Bobby Darin becomes the youngest headliner to headline the Copa Showroom at Las Vegas’s Sands Hotel.

·         On TV, it’s the premiere of Robert Stack as Elliott Ness in “The Untouchables,” and Rod Serling’s classic, “The Twilight Zone.”

·         The Coasters have a top ten hit with “Poison Ivy.”

(1995)

·         President Clinton signs a $6 billion road bill that ended the federal 55 mph speed limit.

·         The Dow Jones industrial average closes above the 5,000 mark for the first time.

·         France detonates a fourth underground nuclear blast at its test site in the South Pacific.

·         The Food and Drug Administration approves 3TC, the first new therapy for use as an initial AIDS treatment in nearly a decade.

·         Hootie & the Blowfish are among the celebrities who paid tribute to Frank Sinatra at a concert celebrating his upcoming 80th birthday.

STRESSFUL HOLIDAY GUESTS

The holidays are stressful for everyone, but house guests make it worse! If you’re dreading having to spend time with the relatives you can’t stand, here are some tips on coping from Mark Bryan, author of “Codes of Love: How to Rethink Your Family and Remake Your Life”:

·         Catch up on family news before the holidays, so you’re better prepared to discuss what’s going on in the lives of other guests.

·         Stay in a hotel or with a friend so you can retreat to a safe harbor.

·         Don’t expect a lot and try not to dredge up the past. Focus on the present.

·         Have a phone friend standing by so you can vent when meddling family members begin to overwhelm you.

·         Don’t be a slacker. Make a sincere effort to pitch in and help at clean-up time.

·         Don’t force deep conversations or pry for information.

·         Let your in-laws take care of you, if they want to.

·         If you have a newborn, make family members work around your schedule.

·         Don’t let in-laws walk all over you — you are not a doormat.

Phoner: Who’s coming that you DREAD? What did they do to make you feel that way?

CHRISTMAS FROM HELL

This morning, we took calls from people who had the Christmas From Hell. My co-host went postal (not literally) on her family during their big gathering. We had a guy call who totaled his brand new Ford Pick-Up (he got it as a present for Christmas) after it rolled down a ravine. Lots of funny stories.

DROP YOUR HUSBAND A HINT

(Woman’s Day) If you’ve ever received exercise equipment or (gasp) a vacuum for Christmas, you already know that husbands aren’t always talented gift givers. But if you think you can drop a subtle hint and expect the gift under the tree, forget it. “Subtlety is lost on a man,” says W. Bruce Cameron, author of “How to Remodel a Man.” Here’s how to retrain your guy:

·         Be direct — When you show him something and say you love it, it won’t register that this is a good gift idea, says Cameron. Instead, circle what you like in catalogs.

·         Get him in the mood — Most men don’t think about gifts until they know it’s crunch time. Help him focus by having a more general discussion. Or hit the stores together and consider getting a gift you can share, like a new stereo.

·         Be honest — “While a man may seem impervious to what you want, most guys can remember what you don’t want,” says Cameron. Ask him what he’s thinking about getting you. You’ll have a chance to kill really bad ideas, like that toaster oven he gave you last year.

BAD SANTA

There’s always that one person who gives you crap each and every year and you’re afraid to tell them because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Give everyone a chance to call those people out on the air and tell them to stop giving bad presents!

TOP 10 MOST HATED CHRISTMAS GIFTS

The credit card firm Morgan Stanley recently conducted a poll to find out the most hated Christmas gifts, and coming in at #1 was cheap perfume: The top 10 most hated holiday gifts:

1.      Cheap perfume

2.      Handkerchiefs

3.      Socks

4.      Packaged toiletries

5.      Christmas sweaters

6.      Slippers

7.      Chocolates

8.      Power tools

9.      Executive stress toys

10.  Kitchen equipment

Phoner: Worst gift ever received. Most inappropriate gift ever received. (Weight loss items or membership to weight watchers for someone overweight.)

UNTANGLE THIS

Untangle the Christmas Lights. Get a bunch of guys down at the station to see who can unravel the lights knot the fastest.

HOW TO TELL YOU OVERDECORATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS

1.      Real wise men show up at your house.

2.      The disc in your meter is spinning so fast, you can cut lumber.

3.      The power company sends you a gift basket.

4.      When the Fire Dept. does a nightly drive-by.

5.      You come in from your yard with a sunburn and it’s night-time!

6.      Your home is listed with the star registry.

7.      Your neighbors wear sunglasses to bed.

8.      Airplanes land in your driveway.

9.      Six months to put up. Six months to take down.

10.  Your plants bloom.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

12.18.08

 SHOW PREP DECEMBER 18, 2008

 

HOLLYWOOD 411 . . .

 

Macaulay Culkin and his siblings in their large family are reeling from the traffic accident death of their sister Dakota, their manager tells PEOPLE. “They’re heartbroken. That I can tell you. They’re just absolutely heartbroken,” says Emily Gerson Saines, who manages Macaulay, Rory and Kieran Culkin. The brothers were working on separate projects when they received the news that Dakota, 29, died after she was struck by a car Dec. 9 in West Los Angeles. Macaulay, 28, was shooting the new NBC drama Kings, Kieran, 26, was busy on the set of the movie Paper Man (with Ryan Reynolds), and Rory, 19, was doing interviews to promote Lymelife, which will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January. All of them have put their work on hold temporarily to deal with the tragedy. The family also has brothers Christian, 21, and Shane, 32, and sister Quinn, 24. (People)

 

Aides of Jennifer Aniston actively searched for a new boyfriend for the Friends star so she wouldn’t have to promote her new film single. Jennifer Aniston’s ‘people’ were actively looking for a boyfriend for the star so she wouldn’t have to promote new film Marley And Me single the New York Post claim. “She didn’t want to face the glare of being unattached while Brad Pitt toted Angelina Jolie around,” an insider claims. “She did not want to be single when her movie opened. A friend of her agent was calling around asking for young men whom they could set her up with.” Jennifer got back together with boyfriend John Mayer in October. (Handbag)

 

She broke up with Marilyn Manson last month, but Evan Rachel Wood insists she’s not ready to wade back into the dating pool. “I’m not really looking for any kind of guy now,” she told PEOPLE Monday night at the premiere of her new film, The Wrestler. “I just got a new boy cat. He’s the only man in my life right now.” What’s his name? “Nicodemus, after the king of the rats in the Secret of NIMH,” said the actress (who recently denied rumors linking her to costar Mickey Rourke). A cat named after the King of the Rats. He’s all I need right now.” Wood also had nothing but kind words for her rocker ex – and says she has no regrets about the relationship. “I’ve learned so much about myself and even had deal with the outside world,” she added. “I’m just so much stronger. … I’m ready for the next chapter.” (People)

 

“Gossip Girl” star Kelly Rutherford might not be uncomfortable talking about breast-feeding, but the rest of us are uncomfortable hearing about it. The 40-year-old pregnant mother told Us Weekly she still nurses her walking, talking 2- year-old son, Hermés. “It’s an amazing bond with your child,” she said, even pointing out that the experience mostly benefits her body – not her kid: “I was thinner after my pregnancy than before, and I think a lot of it was the nursing.” (Page Six)

 

Brad Pitt says that the Christmas presents he and Angelina give their children are usually small-scale and inexpensive. “We do exchange gifts, although we don’t feel any pressure to make them big or expensive gifts,” the Ocean’s Eleven actor said. “The kids don’t ask for big gifts for the reason that they don’t see a lot of the American cartoon television, which is packed with all those manipulative commercials for big toys that look so fantastic.” Pitt also revealed that the couple encourage their children to make presents for each other: “‘So we have gifts, but we try to keep the money spent to a minimum. The rule is that everyone’s got to make something for someone else, you got to put time into it.” (British Glamour)

 

Jodie Sweetin is locked in a custody battle so ferocious that her estranged husband called for an emergency hearing yesterday morning to get access to their 8-month old daughter ASAP. TMZ has learned the 26-year-old “Full House” star and her soon-to-be-ex Cody Herpin are currently facing off in an Orange County courtroom. Jodie, who played Stephanie Tanner on the show, filed for divorce in November — just 17 months after they tied the knot. Their daughter Zoie was born back in April. Story developing… Jodie Sweetin is not allowed to see her 8-month-old daughter without supervision. Moments ago, an Orange County, Ca. judge made the explosive ruling after Sweetin’s estranged husband Cody Herpin accused the “Full House” star of being an unfit mother — citing an alleged incident where Sweetin drove intoxicated with their baby in the car. The couple faced off in open court today for an emergency custody hearing at Cody’s request.  Jodie, an admitted meth addict and alcoholic who lives with her parents, will not be allowed to be with the child unless one of her folks is present. A doctor also took the stand and claimed that Jodie had recently fallen off the wagon. However, the doc confirmed Jodie has been in touch with her sponsor and is attending AA meetings. The doctor said she does not believe the baby is at risk at the moment. A judge ordered both Cody and Jodie to submit to drug tests before the next hearing. (TMZ)

 

A rep for Saved By The Bell alum Tiffani Thiessen is slamming a new tabloid report claiming that the actress, 34, is expecting. Star is reporting that Thiessen and her husband of three years, actor-artist Brady Smith, “are over the moon.” According to the tabloid, the two wanted a baby so badly they even went to a Los Angeles fertility center for treatments. Not so, says her rep. “She is not expecting,” she tells Us. “They would love to have a family someday in the near future, but right now she is focused on working.” Thiessen recently signed on to co-star in a new USA Network drama pilot, White Collar. She plays an accountant married to an FBI agent (Tim DeKay). (US Weekly)

 

The new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands tomorrow, reveals the behind-the-scenes crisis going on in Jennifer Lopez‘s third marriage to Marc Anthony. Rumors swirled that Lopez’s marriage was on the rocks after she showed up to the premiere of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last week without her 8-carat diamond engagement ring, wedding band – or ever present husband, Marc Anthony (who was spotted in Las Vegas sans wedding band the weekend before). Multiple sources confirm to Us Weekly their marriage is at a breaking point. “They both didn’t wear their rings on purpose,” a mutual pal of the married couple of four years (who renewed their vows in October) tells Us. “Nothing Jennifer does is without purpose.” While Anthony’s rep insists to Us, “They are doing great,” a source tells Us deep trouble has been brewing. “He’s very, very controlling of her,” a close Anthony pal tells Us. “The skirts aren’t as short. You don’t see so much of that booty anymore.” The new Us Weekly also reports that Anthony also picks out Lopez’s clothes and keeps tabs on her phone calls. But Lopez — who once claimed she “loved getting his opinions” — has become less interested in his approval since the birth of their 10-month-old twins, Max and Emme. “She walks in from work, washes her hands and grabs the babies,” a longtime friend tells Us. “With him, it’s almost like, ‘Ugh, they’re crying again?'” Another problem: Lopez — who once commanded $15 million per film — “blames Marc for her career going down the tubes,” says a mutual pal, adding that she’s bitter about the failure of their 2006 drama, El Cantante, which only grossed $7.5 million. (Her 2002 flick Maid in Manhattan earned over $94 million.) “Jennifer looked around and said, ‘This is my life now? I’m a Long Island housewife?'” a pal says. “She hates that everything she worked for went down the tubes.” Lopez isn’t the only one with growing resentment toward her husband. Her best friend, Leah Remini, also can’t stand him. “It if was up to her, Leah would just break them up today,” a pal says. Anthony has also been badmouthing his wife. One night after their tense family Thanksgiving in which the couple “didn’t sit together,” Anthony hit NYC hotspots Bungalow 8 and Marquee, where he was spotted with his hand on a woman’s thigh and overheard complaining about his wife to a group of women, “telling them, ‘She’s making me miserable,'” a source says. His club spree didn’t stop there: The next night, he was photographed by TMZ.com partying sans wedding band with pal Eva Longoria Parker and Russell Crowe in Las Vegas. (A source says, “According to Jennifer, he didn’t cheat.”)  The pair, who hadn’t been spotted together since Oct. 23 — and the very public removal of their wedding bands — had dinner Tuesday at Beverly Hills restaurant Luau, which they left holding hands.  (Lopez is no stranger to shows of strength, though: after she and Ben Affleck called off their first wedding, they had dinner at the paparazzi-laden Ivy restaurant in L.A.) (US Weekly)

 

Supermodel Kate Moss is to visit a Thai stress management course. Kate Moss has booked herself on to a seven-day stress management course in Thailand sources have told the Mirror. “Kate’s had a hectic 2008 and feels everything’s got on top of her of late,” the insider claims. “She wants to shift half a stone and totally de-stress. The spa she’s booked into is one of the strictest and most stringent in the world, she won’t be cut any slack because of her A-list status. She’s not even allowed to take her mobile phone. She’s having stress management based on equilibropathy techniques. Here, the navel and stomach – the areas where stress, tension and negative emotions accumulate – are massaged. When this area is knotted up, the whole energy of the body is blocked. Kate’s been told this will help her with any digestive problems which, combined with a strict vegetable and fruit detox diet, should also help her lose weight.” (Handbag)

 

Perpetually troubled country crooner Mindy McCready has more problems than we knew about. The jail-loving singer, was arrested (again!) this year for violating her probation for prescription drug fraud. Then, in July McCready checked into rehab. It was apparently due to a suicide attempt after supposedly suffering a miscarriage. Well, unfortunately it seems like the treatment didn’t seem to fully work. McCready has just been hospitalized in an apparent suicide attempt Wednesday morning. Police spokeswoman, Kris Mumford, confirmed that McCready was taken to a Nashville-area hospital for “treatment of wounds to her wrists.” Mumford added, “We responded to a ’10-63,’ that’s a suicidal person call. Mindy McCready was at the house. Apparently she called the mother of her roommate and said some things that caused the mother concern. She called authorities. We responded with paramedics, who took her to a local hospital.” It seems that the stress from this entire year is catching up with McCready and led her to this recent suicide attempt. This time, she should go back to rehab and stay there for a much longer time. (Perez Hilton)

 

 

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

 

A collection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken for Vogue magazine the year she died has been auctioned in New York for nearly $150,000. A spokeswoman for Christie’s auction house says the 36 photos taken by Bert Stern sold for $146,500 on Tuesday. The pre-sale estimate was $100,000 to $150,000. Christie’s says the photos from a 1962 shoot were the last professional images taken of Monroe before she died that year of a drug overdose. They ran in Vogue instead as a memorial. They’re among more than 100 Monroe images being offered for sale at Christie’s. The sale continues Wednesday. Also at Christie’s Tuesday, four Helmut Newton photographs, titled “They’re Coming, Paris (Naked and Dressed),” sold for $662,500. The buyers were anonymous. (Daily Record)

 

Celebrity can get you into a lot of places – but not Barack Obama’s Inauguration, it seems. Eva Mendes said that she was refused a ticket to the White House event despite being one of the world’s most famous women. “Hottest ticket party in town. I thought I had some pull – I usually do, and I’ve been shut down. It’s the hardest party to get into,” the Hitch star said. “We are still working on it, but I understand the whole thing. They don’t want to make (it) a celebrity studded event because I understand this in an extremely crucial time in our history and in our world right now. And I understand not wanting to make (it) a star-studded event; I completely understand that. But of course, I would love to go and be there.” (British Glamour)

 

Madonna and Guy Ritchie have issued a statement saying both are happy with the financial agreement reached in their divorce – but they aren’t telling you or anyone else about the details. On Monday, Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg told The Associated Press in an e-mail that Madonna would pay Ritchie a settlement in the range of 50 million to 60 million pounds (about $76 million to $92 million). But the divorcing couple said Wednesday that Rosenberg’s statement contained inaccurate information about the financial settlement. Their latest joint statement says settlement details of their divorce will remain private. The pop star and the British film director were married in a lavish ceremony in Scotland in December 2000. Their divorce is expected to be finalized in January. (Daily Record)

 

Glamour model Katie Price has described fellow model Dita Von Teese as “rank”. Model Katie Price has called Dita Von Teese “rank” in a new interview with OK! magazine. Katie is said to be keen to do more racy shoots after taking a break but she insists that after seeing Dita’s recent Playboy shoot she’s not so sure. “I’d love to do Playboy,” she explained. “Although I just saw Dita Von Teese’s cover and it’s cr*p. The woman is rank. It’s not my cup of tea that she’s so pale. I think the pictures look a bit Readers’ Wives. It didn’t look like Playboy.” (Handbag)

 

Not all gays are gaga over Sean Penn‘s portrayal of homosexual martyr Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant‘s biopic “Milk.” In a cover story in this month’s The Advocate, writer James Kirchick slams Penn for his political leanings, arguing that any adulation he receives from the gay community should be tempered because of his affection for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez and Cuban strongman Raul Castro. Chávez and Castro are guilty of flagrant human-rights abuses, Kirchick writes: “Gay rights are human rights, as Milk said, and Penn discredits both when he rationalizes illiberal ideologies as ‘anti-imperialist’ and rushes to the defense of thugs who posture as victims of the West.” Penn has long been a supporter of the dictator duo. In this month’s issue of The Nation, he lavishly praises both Chávez and Castro after paying them a recent visit. He asserts, for example, “It’s true, Chávez may not be a good man. But he may well be a great one.” Kirchick’s story includes a quote from Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen, who says: “That Sean Penn would be honored by anyone, let alone the gay community, for having stood by a dictator who put gays into concentration camps is mind-boggling.” Penn’s publicist, Mara Buxbaum, tells Page Six: “Kirchick’s commentary about Sean Penn’s cover story neglects to include that Penn in fact addressed the issue of oppression toward homosexuals in Cuba in his full essay which was printed on the Huffington Post site on Dec. 1. “The Nation printed an adapted excerpt only, but made it clear that the full article was on Huffington. James Kirchick didn’t do his homework.” (Page Six)

 

There will be plenty of laughs in Washington, DC, next month. Comedians Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook and Paul Rodriguez were invited to entertain guests at various events celebrating Barack Obama‘s inauguration. We’re told they’ve been practicing their punch lines at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. Chappelle said: “The economy is so bad, terrorists are bombing their own countries because they can’t afford to come here.” (Page Six)

 

Carmen Electra graces the cover of Playboy‘s 55th anniversary issue, but Hugh Hefner tells Extra he wouldn’t have minded seeing “either Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson. When shown Jennifer Aniston‘s nearly naked January GQ cover, Hefner, 82, remarks, “This looks like the cover of Playboy. I’m much impressed by Jennifer. “Is it just me, or is Jennifer Aniston getting hotter?” he says of the 39-year-old actress. “Never seen her in this light before.” Hefner also elaborates more on his split from Holly Madison. “Holly was looking for something more than I could give her,” he says of his ex, who is currently dating Criss Angel. “She was looking for marriage and children.” Hefner wasn’t heartbroken for too long — thanks to his new girlfriends, 19-year-old twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon. “Within two weeks, a pair of twins arrived and … they were interested in being my girlfriends,” he says. “Several girlfriends are easier to handle than one wife.” Lastly, Hefner adds that he wouldn’t mind if Robert Downey Jr. portrayed him on the big screen. “He’s a very good actor,” Hefner says. “Would be natural.” (US Weekly)

 

“You take the good, you take the bad …” — It’s almost impossible NOT to sing along with the “Facts of Life” theme song, but yesterday in Brentwood, Mindy Cohn wasn’t havin’ it … even when the entire crowd around her started busting it out! (TMZ)

 

George W. Bush’s number one fan Elisabeth Hasselbeck whined yesterday morning about not getting invited to the White House Xmas party. Well, it worked — she got invited. The Hass got a call from Bush HQ, and the President’s office actually apologized to her, according to a “View” rep. Bush’s people “explained that she and her husband were indeed invited to the White House for Christmas and were sorry that it did not arrive.” Nothing like being on the JV list for a party. (TMZ)

 

After donating three hours’ use of their venue at no cost to benefit Charity Water, it’s no wonder Metropolitan Pavilion organizers wanted to clear the space for a money-making endeavor. Monday night, Adrian Grenier hosted the benefit, but at 10:20, the Met Pavilion “flipped the lights on and off, turned off the music, and kicked everyone out. They were scheduled to host a bat mitzvah.” Even with the time constraints (and co-host Jessica Stam out with the flu), Grenier raised $40,000 before heading off to the VIP party at RDV, while most guests were herded over to Kiss n’ Fly. (Page Six)

 

It seems like no one is immune to the current economic situation! Not even fancy designers like Betsey Johnson or Carmen Marc Valvo, who have both decided independently of each other to skip the Bryant Park tents this season. For Betsey Johnson this will be the end of a 5 season run there, while for Valvo it signals the end of a 10 year history. Johnson’s camp wouldn’t comment on the designer’s reasons for the decision, but Valvo admitted that they are looking for a less expensive way to unveil the Fall 2009 collection since a typical show runs up a bill of $150,000 to $200,000. The designer is looking into an intimate cocktail party, where the 200 guests could see the collection up close off the runway, cutting expenses by nearly 50%. The house isn’t the only one to look into a smaller alternative. DKNY, Vera Wang, and J. Mendel are all considering similar off-runaway presentations, with many more designers expected to follow “suit.” (Perez Hilton)

 

Whitney Houston is being sued by her stepmother in a legal battle over the wishes of Houston’s deceased father. According to court records, Barbara Houston claims the 45-year-old singer improperly kept the proceeds from John Houston’s $1 million insurance policy after he died in 2003. The lawsuit says the singer was supposed to use $723,000 to pay off the mortgage on her father’s Fort Lee condominium. She holds the mortgage on the condo. The stepmother, who still lives in the condo, claims that Whitney Houston was also supposed to return the remaining insurance money to her. Lawyers for Whitney Houston and her stepmother declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Newark. (Daily Record)

 

The Screen Actors Guild meeting Monday night at the Westin Hotel turned nasty as New York actors raged against SAG executives who are calling for a strike. “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin led the charge against SAG president Alan Rosenberg and executive director and chief negotiator Doug Allen, calling for them to step down. Other actors, according to deadlinehollywooddaily.com, called them “liars,” “inept” and “Hollywood-centrics . . . insensitive to concerns of New York brethren.” Some members later apologized to the SAG leaders for the hostile tone. Allen told Page Six, “We respect our members’ right to express their opinion . . . more than 2,000 members, including more than 50 stars, have signed the statement of support for the strike authorization.” The pro-strike stars include Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Warren Beatty. Against a strike are Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Kevin Spacey. (Page Six)

 

Scottsdale police say they arrested a Phoenix man early Wednesday after he allegedly pushed a nightclub security guard while trying to get close to actress Lindsay Lohan. Police say Lohan and gal-pal Samantha Ronson were trying to leave the Jackrabbit Lounge nightclub and security guards were trying to hold back the crowd. The bouncers told police that’s when the 38-year-old fan tried to get around them, pushed one of the guards and became disruptive. Police say in a news release that the man was detained and then turned over to officers. He was booked on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and later released. Officers say they contacted Lohan and Ronson at a nearby hotel and they said they didn’t know the man. (Daily Record)

 

 

MUSIC . . .

 

Usher is craving some fresh, young blood. No, he hasn’t become a vampire. He’s looking for an aspiring teen filmmaker to direct a music video for his new album, out next year. “It gives me another way to give back, inspire young people and also reinvent music videos,” the Grammy winner said in a statement. (Launch)

 

Take That star Gary Barlow has said he thought Coldplay were joking when they offered to support the boy band. Gary Barlow has said he thought Chris Martin was “taking the p***” when he said Coldplay would support the reunited boyband. Earlier this year Chris took to his band’s website to offer their services saying, “I’d like to use this forum, the Coldplay website, to announce that if Take That want us to open for them, we’ll do it.” However, Gary has said he didn’t take the offer seriously. “It’s amazing! I think Chris wrote it on his website,” He told Star magazine. “We thought he was taking the p*ss, but he wasn’t. He’s genuinely a fan.” (Handbag)

 

Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em is telling parents he’s sorry for his vulgar words. The 18-year-old rapper became a sensation and started a dance craze last year with his Grammy-nominated hit “Crank That (Soulja Boy).” Some of the language and subject matter in that hit was risqué, and on some of his YouTube videos, he’s used some naughty words. So in an interview this week, Soulja Boy apologized to parents and says he is going to try harder to set a positive example for his young fans. “Over the past few months, I’ve had a chance to meet a lot of my fans face to face and it made me realize that I got a large fan base of kids that look up to me,” he said. “I have a greater responsibility to the kids that want to be like Soulja Boy (and) I need set a positive example for them.” Though Soulja Boy apologizes for his public behavior, he’s not quite ready to become the ideal role model for kids. “I wouldn’t say a role model because I think parents or a guardian should be a kid’s main role model, but from now on, I’m going to make sure that every kid that looks up to me will get a positive image that the kids and parents can trust,” he said. Soula Boy just released his new CD, “iSouljaBoyTellem,” this week. (Daily Record)

 

Anthony Kiedis’ scar tissue isn’t just a song. Turns out, it’s a real-life medical drama, too. The Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman had a bit of a health scare this past summer when his kidneys came close to failing, prompting him to seek medical attention. The New York Daily News quoted sources close to Kiedis as saying years of partying and heavy drug use had caught up with the rocker—to the point where he was forced to pay several visits to Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for kidney treatment. “Anthony’s health was pretty bleak,” one insider told the paper. “Organ failure was a possibility. There was talk of how to get him on a transplant list, to cover all the bases, but that opened up a whole new can of worms because people with histories of drug and alcohol abuse are less likely to receive the organs they need.” Kiedis, 46, has opened up over the years about his struggles with drug addiction, whether through songs such as the Peppers’ 1991 hit “Under the Bridge” or in 2004’s aptly titled memoir Scar Tissue, in which he discussed getting high on the streets of L.A. and essentially living the junkie life. He’s reportedly been clean since 2000, become a full-fledged vegetarian and taken up yoga. Since the singer’s purported hospital stints this summer at Cedars-Sinai, another pal told the Daily News the “general consensus is that the treatments helped, and he’s getting better.” A spokesman for Kiedis could not be reached for comment, but the crooner’s camp has previously smacked down the story. Kiedis’ early struggles with substance abuse are expected to be dealt with on the small screen however as HBO is developing Scar Tissue, a TV series about his childhood growing up with a drug-dealing dad and their move from Michigan to California. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, meanwhile, are taking a hiatus from touring after the release of their latest album, Stadium Arcadium, though bass player Flea is planning on joining Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist  Ron Wood for a reunion of ’70s band Faces. (Launch)

 

Everyone knows Bill O’Reilly is quitting his radio show to concentrate on his Fox News TV program. Now, Page Six has learned the leading candidate to succeed him is Rudy Giuliani. Westwood One, which syndicates the O’Reilly show, is negotiating with the former mayor. Giuliani, who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, famously ridiculed a ferret owner on the radio in 1999, calling him “deranged.” Some wonder if Rudy could sit for three hours a day chitchatting about politics. The other question is how it might affect his possible gubernatorial run in 2010. Giuliani’s office did not return calls. (Page Six)

 

Two members of Fall Out Boy – bassist Pete Wentz (husband of Ashlee Simpson) and singer Patrick Stump - tried to perform an unplugged concert in Washington Square Park Monday to promote their new album. But they were stopped by the police. The rockers brought their guitars, but cops threatened to arrest them if they played their instruments there without a permit. “They improvised and did one song with Patrick singing a cappella and Pete Wentz doing air guitar. The crowd was into it,” said a witness. “After they sang the a cappella song, Pete went over to his guitar case like he was going to say ‘screw it’ and just get out his guitar and start playing, but his manager, or his security, or some man on his team told him, ‘No, Pete, don’t do it – you can’t.’ ” (Page Six)

 

As we mentioned last month, Gwen Stefani announced that No Doubt would be getting back together for a reunion tour and new album. The goal was for them to start touring in 2009 and then finish working on the album. However, we’ve just learned some sad news from ND drummer Adrian Young.  During a recent interview, Young said there will be no new music from the group in 2009. Booo!!!!! Young says, “We’ve been working on a new record off and on now for a bit of time, and we’re going to continue to work on a new record next year. We’re going to start touring in the spring of ’09 through the summer, and we’re going to continue to work on music while we’re traveling.” According to Young, they’ll have a mobile studio on the bus and will eventually get to recording a new record. This would be their first new music together in over seven years. As for their musical style now, Young said, “It seems like we’ve always come from an eclectic background musically. But we seem to always gravitate towards reggae. I can’t say that’s what our record is going to be like, ’cause it’s too early to tell, but what makes us feel really good is reggae music. I can play reggae music to my grave.” As for the success of the new album, Young says, “It’s a little daunting to put out a record for a successful group. I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re going to see.” Don’t keep us waiting that much longer! (Perez Hilton)

 

In a week without a top 10 debut, Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” reclaims the top spot on The Billboard 200, inching up 2-1 thanks to a 29% sales increase to 249,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. “Fearless” debuted at No. 1 five weeks ago with 592,000 and has shifted 1.5 million so far. Last week’s chart-topper, Britney Spears’ Jive set “Circus,” falls to No. 2 with 200,000 (-60%). Beyonce’s “I Am … Sasha Fierce” (Music World/Columbia) holds tight at No. 3 for a second week on a 4% increase to 159,000. With a 17% increase to 156,000, Nickelback’s “Dark Horse” (Roadrunner) ascends 5-4. The Chop Shop/Atlantic soundtrack to “Twilight” climbs 6-5 with 132,000 (-1%) as Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) slips 4-6 with 127,000 (-10%). Rebounding 9-7 on a 27% sales boost, the multi-label hits compilation “Now 29″ moves 114,000 units. AC/DC’s Wal-mart exclusive album “Black Ice” (Columbia) re-enters the top tier 11-8 on a 30% sales increase to 110,000. The soundtrack to Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” falls 8-9 despite an 18% sales boost to 107,000. David Cook’s self-titled 19 Recordings/RCA debut rounds out the top 10, staying put at No. 10 with 104,000 (+19%). Music Soulchild’s “onmyradio” (Atlantic) debuts at No. 11 with 91,000 copies. The soul/R&B singer has two prior No. 1s, including 2007’s “Luvanmusiq.” Entering at No. 12 is Common’s “Universal Mind Control” with 82,000. The G.O.O.D./Geffen set comes on the heels of the rapper’s 2007 album “Finding Forever,” which peaked at No. 1. Other debuts this week include Brandy’s Koch/Epic set “Human” at No. 15 with 73,000 and Avant’s fifth, self-titled album from Capitol at No. 26 with 52,000. (Billboard)

 

Lawyers for rapper Lil Wayne are seeking more time to turn over documents for a lawsuit that accuses the artist of copyright infringement. A federal lawsuit filed in May claims Lil Wayne didn’t have permission to sample Karma Ann Swanepoel’s song “Once” in one of his own songs, “I Feel Like Dying.” The suit says Lil Wayne’s record label, Cash Money Records, tried but failed to negotiate a license to use Swanepoel’s song before millions of people downloaded “I Feel Like Dying.” A court filing yesterday (Dec. 16) by Lil Wayne’s attorneys asks a judge in New Orleans to extend a Friday deadline for turning over documents and other material requested by lawyers for Urband & Lazar Music Publishing. (Billboard)

 

Reports of Hootie & the Blowfish’s demise in the wake of frontman Darius Rucker’s country music success this year have been greatly exaggerated, according to Rucker himself.  “To be honest with you, we’re not even split up right now, and we’re not really thinking about splitting up,” Rucker tells Billboard.com. “We have four shows coming up in March. But it was more the group wanted to stop touring every summer, to not go on the road every summer just ’cause we can. People wanted to do other things with their lives. “We’re still a band. Even if something were to happen and we didn’t play for years, we would still consider ourselves a band. We’ve been doing this more than half of our lives.” Rucker also predicts that the Blowfish, whose last album, “Looking for Lucky,” came out in 2005, will “make a record some time down the road. It’s not going to be this year or next year, but I’m sure we will.” The singer, meanwhile, has plenty on his plate thanks to “Learn To Live,” his second solo album and first country venture, which spawned the hit “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” the first country chart-topper by an African-American artist since 1983. Rucker, who prepared 60 songs for the project, says he can’t wait to start working on the follow-up. “I’m ready to start writing and ready to record,” Rucker reports. But, he adds, his label, Capitol Nashville, “has a lot of single ideas for this record, so we’re just gonna play it by ear. I’m just gonna keep putting out singles as long as they want and stay on the road.” Rucker will perform his song “If I Had Wings” at tonight’s “Christmas in Washington,” which will be broadcast on TNT. In 2009 he’s doing a three-week tour with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley, and he’s in talks for “a really big” summer tour that, for the moment, he “can’t say anything about. But it’s a really great tour. It’s gonna be fun and really exiting, and I really hope it happens.” (Billboard)

 

Hip-hop star Akon pleaded guilty Wednesday to harassment for tossing a fan off stage at an upstate New York concert last year. He will serve no jail time as long he performs 65 hours of community service and pays a $250 fine, according to the plea bargain in Fishkill Town Court. The 35-year-old singer threw a teenage boy off the stage during a June 2007 concert at a minor league baseball stadium near Poughkeepsie. Another concertgoer said she suffered a concussion when the teen landed on her. Witnesses said a spectator threw something at Akon during the show at Dutchess Stadium. After he asked the crowd to point out the culprit, a security guard picked up a 15-year-old boy and sent him up to the stage. Akon hoisted the teen onto his shoulders and flung him into the crowd. The incident was caught on videotape. After the plea, Akon shook hands with Anthony Smith, the now 16-year-old fan, and apologized to him and his parents. Akon declined comment as he left, but Andrea Zellan, his lawyer, issued a written statement saying, “We are pleased that the case has been resolved and Akon looks forward to putting this unfortunate incident behind him.” Akon, born Aliaune Thiam, was originally charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a minor and second-degree harassment, a violation. Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Anthony Parisi could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday morning. Before the New York incident, Akon drew criticism when he was videotaped simulating sex onstage with a teenage girl during an April 2007 concert in Trinidad. He later apologized and said he hadn’t know the girl was underage. His third album, “Freedom,” was released earlier this month. (Daily Record)

 

Interscope Records is looking to capitalize on the Internet craze over Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em with the label’s first webisode effort based on the rap artist. The characters in “Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em: The Animated Series” will be introduced in the first music video that follows this week’s release of Soulja Boy’s second album. Scheduled to be released in late January, three episodes of the Web series will mix animation and live action. The narrative follows an animated version of Soulja as he returns to high school. Alfonso Ribiero (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) plays the principal; all of the kids in the series will be animated. Soulja Boy’s self-produced single “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” spawned a viral sensation that drew more than 400 million streams to the collection of videos on his YouTube channel. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

 

MOVIE . . .

 

Meryl Streep has sunk the Titanic in international waters. The unflagging cheerfulness of ABBA conquered the red-hot chemistry between Leo and Kate this week as Mamma Mia! nudged aside the 11-time Oscar winner as the top-grossing film of all time at the U.K. box office. The light ‘n fluffy musical, en route to earning $571.7 million worldwide, has taken in $107.7 million across the pond after 22 weeks in theaters. Titanic held the record for 10 years after bagging 69 million pounds (about $107.5 million in today’s currency) in 1998. “Mamma Mia! is pure escapism, proving a fun and inexpensive way to forget about the state of the economy for a couple of hours,” Universal Pictures International president David Kosse said Tuesday, calling the film a “true phenomenon.” DVD sales also went through the roof, with the jaunty romantic comedy selling 1.7 million copies its first day out. But not to worry: Titanic‘s record of $1.8 billion in global ticket sales will go on… and on. (Eonline)

 

Twilight star Taylor Lautner is reportedly battling to play Jacob Black in the hit film’s sequel New Moon – after rival actors Michael Copon and Ben Barnes showed an interest in taking over the role. Lautner played the Native American character in the box office smash, and was expected to continue his portrayal of the part in the movie’s highly anticipated follow-up – in which Black becomes a pivotal character. But moviemaker Chris Weitz, who has taken over the director’s chair from Twilight’s Catherine Hardwicke, is planning to offer the part to a more established actor, according to industry reports. Prince Caspian star Barnes and Scorpion King 2 actor Copon are reportedly both in the running to take over from Lautner. And a representative for the franchise admits the film’s castings are not yet set in stone. A spokesperson tells MTV, “The casting decision in regards to the character Jacob Black has yet to be made.” (Teen Hollywood)

 

Will Robert Pattinson be joining Johnny Depps band of buccaneers in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean installment? An unsourced rumor claims the Twilight highlight might be in line to join the franchise, but we will remain properly skeptical until somebody connected with the Pirates film confirms it. Or we go see the movie and he’s actually in it. That said, it did get us thinking, and that can only mean one thing: a poll! (Eonline)

 

Harrison Ford as Regis Philbin? Well, not quite. But the billion-dollar action star has been cast as one of the personalities of “Morning Glory,” a Paramount comedy that takes place in and around a morning talk show. Rachel McAdams is in final negotiations to join the cast as well. Roger Michell (“Venus”) is attached to direct, and J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing through their Bad Robot banner. Sherryl Clark and Guy Riedel will executive produce. Aline Brosh McKenna (“The Devil Wears Prada”) wrote the script about a grizzled old-school anchor in the Ted Koppel mold (Ford) who quits in disgust with the gossip-heavy direction of the evening newscast. He is then recruited by a hot up-and-coming producer (McAdams) to help revive a morning talk show, only to be paired with his rival. Bad Robot, which typically focuses on just one production at a time, has been eyeing “Morning Glory” all summer as McKenna polished her script. Now that the company’s “Star Trek” is nearing completion, Paramount has been keen on pushing “Glory” as Robot’s next project. The 66-year-old Ford hasn’t been showcased in a comedic role since “Sabrina” and “Working Girl.” But the newsroom has often supplied the context for trenchant comedy, from “His Girl Friday” to “Network” and “Broadcast News.” (The less said about the 1996 Robert Redford-Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle “Up Close & Personal” the better.) The filmmakers had been discussing the producer role with Reese Witherspoon, but McAdams, repped by UTA, is now in line to play the part. The “Wedding Crashers” star will next be seen in “State of Play” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” The UTA-repped Ford will next be seen in Wayne Kramer’s immigration drama, “Crossing Over.” The CAA-repped Michell has also helmed “Enduring Love,” “Changing Lanes” and “Notting Hill.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Jason Reitman and producing partner Daniel Dubiecki are exec producing “The Wedding,” a romantic comedy that visits the perils and peccadilloes of young love. Jesse Eisenberg is attached to star in the project as a young man who crashes the wedding of a 30-ish woman he is infatuated with. Anna Friel, who stars on ABC’s “Pushing Daisies” and in Universal’s upcoming adventure tale “Land of the Lost,” plays the bride. Max Winkler is penning the script for “Wedding.” The UTA-repped writer has “The Ornate Anatomy of Living Things” set up with Reitman and Dubiecki’s Hard C. A number of studios and financiers are eyeing “Wedding,” though none has come aboard yet. Reitman has collaborated on a number of projects with Fox Searchlight, including “Juno” and the ninja picture “Bonzai Shadowhands,” which is in development with Reitman attached to produce and potentially direct. The WMA-repped Eisenberg, who made his name with the divorce drama “The Squid and the Whale,” stars in “Adventureland,” the Greg Mottola coming-of-age story that Miramax will release next year. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel are attached to write and direct a remake of the Danish thriller “Murk”/”Mørke” for Gold Circle Films. Gold Circle president Paul Brooks will produce alongside Bridge Films president Matthew Riklin. Scott Niemeyer and Norm Waitt will executive produce. Guy Danella and Brad Kessell will oversee the project for Gold Circle. “Mørke,” released in 2005, details a journalist’s investigation into his sister’s mysterious death on her wedding night and the whereabouts of her missing fiancé. Anders Thomas Jensen co-wrote the original film with Jannik Johansen, who also directed. Sarmiento and Harel, repped by the Gotham Group, plan to add a high-tech twist to the update. The pair’s debut film, “Deadgirl,” premiered in the Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival in September and will be released next year by Dark Sky Films. The low-budget horror film scripted by Trent Haaga, about two high school buddies who find a (kind of) dead girl in the basement of an abandoned mental hospital, polarized audiences with its disturbing story line. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

 

TV . . .

 

The People’s Choice Awards says Carrie Underwood will perform at its 35th annual ceremony next month. The awards show, airing Jan. 7 on CBS, will be hosted by Queen Latifah at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, organizers said Wednesday. The People’s Choice trophies go to fan favorites in TV, movies and music. Underwood went from “American Idol” winner to a country music star whose hits include “Just a Dream” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” (Daily Record)

 

Jessica Alba is to star in the American version of The Office this February. The Fantastic Four star will make a cameo appearance in an hour-long episode due to be aired following the American Super Bowl on 1 February. In the show, called Stress Relief, some of the office workers secretly bootleg a Hollywood movie starring Jessica alongside Jack Black. (British Glamour)

 

On Tuesday’s Late Show With David Letterman, Tom Cruise poked fun at himself by reading the top 10 “Craziest Things People Say About Tom Cruise on the Internet” (watch clip, above). “I’ve always wanted to do this,” he told Letterman before revealing the list. “I have done a lot of things in my life — and definitely this is on the bucket list.”

The top 10:
10. I sleep upside-down suspended in a special bat – like harness.
9. During the filming of Days of Thunder, on a dare, I ate a tire.
8. I still wear those underpants from Risky Business.
7. My real name is Tom Blagojevich.
6. I once Heimliched a koala.
5. Once a month, I take the Universal tour naked.
4. I believe all emotional and psychological disorders can be cured with Vicks Vapo Rub.
3. I’m a power mad ego maniac who’s completely insulated from reality – oh wait, that’s Letterman.
2. After jumping on her couch, Oprah hammer-locked me until I coughed blood.
1. I keep a cell phone in my pants so I can tell friends to call my [expletive]. (US Weekly)

 

X Factor judge Simon Cowell has revealed he may not helm the talent show beyond 2010. Simon Cowell has hinted that he may leave the X Factor after the next series due to his other TV commitments. Simon currently appears as a judge on American Idol and Britain’s Got Talent as well ITV’s flagship talent show. “It looks like I’m only going to be doing it until 2010. I’ve really felt it this year. When you do three shows a year it’s tiring and something’s got to give,” he told Showbiz Spy. “I’m contracted to do one more series and then I’ll make a decision. I’ll see how I feel in the New Year. I’m going to sit down in January and ask everyone if they want to come back on the show – because I’m not sure everyone does. Dannii and I have genuinely never discussed her coming back. I’ve not sat down with anyone and discussed coming back—including her. If Dannii says no then there’s always someone new, and that applies to everyone,” he added. (Handbag)

 

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag don’t appear to be any closer to getting legally hitched. A brief tease for the fourth season finale of MTV’s “The Hills” that aired Monday seemed to indicate that the reality TV couple have made their unofficial Mexican wedding ceremony a legitimate marriage in California. The pair were shown walking into a courtroom with Pratt’s sister, Stephanie Pratt, while a judge smiled down on them from the bench. “I, Heidi, take thee, Spencer,” Montag coos in the preview. Despite all the official trappings, the tease of legitimate nuptials for the pair may be just that. A Los Angeles Superior Court official said Tuesday that MTV was recently granted permission to shoot in a courtroom in Beverly Hills, but it was done after hours – and that’s not one of their judges sitting on the bench in “The Hills” footage. MTV was granted permission to film “what purported to be a wedding outside of court hours” at the Beverly Hills courthouse, court spokesman Allan Parachini said Tuesday. He did not know who the participants were in the wedding, but Parachini said court officials wanted the filming to be treated as a news event. The preview for next week’s season finale features a wood-paneled courtroom with the California state seal perched on the wall behind a judge. Civil ceremonies are sometimes performed at the Beverly Hills courthouse, but not in the manner portrayed in the brief preview. If a judge does preside, it is typically in chambers during a break, Parachini said. Pratt, 25, and Montag, 22, acknowledged that their Nov. 19 marriage ceremony near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, was entirely symbolic, despite appearing on the Nov. 26 cover of Us Weekly with the headline “Heidi & Spencer Elope!” Monday’s episode of “The Hills” depicted the pair spontaneously agreeing to exchange vows after downing several shots of tequila. “In my mind, it’s as legal as the ring on my finger,” Pratt told Us Weekly. A check of marriage records last week did not reveal any filings by Pratt or Montag in Los Angeles County, although the couple could get married in any county in California as well as opt for a confidential license. Officials at two courthouses in neighboring Orange County said they have not received requests from MTV to film in their facilities. The couple and MTV did not immediately return messages seeking comment Tuesday. (Daily Record)

 

Nigel Lythgoe has set the barre (pronounced: bar) high for his new series, “Superstars of Dance.” “We’re bringing class to NBC,” he says. Lythgoe’s global dance competition, which premieres Jan. 4, will bring together leading professionals from eight nations for judging by a panel of judges from around the world. Co-hosts are Susie Castillo (“House of Payne”) and Michael Flatley (“Lord of the Dance”), who Lythgoe hails as “the world’s best-known dancer.” Lythgoe, an executive producer, is best known to viewers as a judge on his Fox dancing contest, “So You Think You Can Dance.” The countries scheduled to participate on “Superstars” are Ireland, India, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa, Australia and the United States. Flatley describes it as “an intoxicating mix of cultures.” (Daily Record)

 

The Dec. 16 premiere of “Momma’s Boys,” brought to you by Ryan Seacrest Productions, was in danger of being blocked. A Turkish reality show claimed that the NBC show “willfully appropriated” the format of “The Perfect Bride,” which aired in Turkey in 2004. (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.) “Momma’s Boys” features three single men looking for love, with the caveat that the mothers of the three men get to weigh in on potential brides. “Perfect Bride,” which has been a hit in Turkey and other countries, also involves mothers of unmarried men having a say in the women their sons choose to date. Evans Anyanwu, the lawyer who filed the suit in Manhattan Federal Court,  said, “It’s like me having a talent show and saying: We’re going to pick the next ‘American Idol.’ ” Never fear though, “Momma’s Boys” saw the light of day. According to an NBC rep on Tuesday, “NBC prevailed in court this morning in a copyright and trademark lawsuit over NBC’s new reality show “Momma’s Boys.” The judge in the federal court in New York rejected the plaintiffs’ request to prevent “Momma’s Boys” from premiering tonight. NBC will seek dismissal of the case.” Reps for Ryan Seacrest had no comment. (Scoop)

 

“Grey’s Anatomy” star T.R. Knight might not be leaving the show (yet) but he’s left the country. Knight was spotted Dec. 16 at the gravesite of Argentine legend Eva Peron in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta Cemetery. At least one fan asked for a picture, and Knight obliged. “He posed with a woman who asked him in English with a Spanish accent if he would pose with her, and he was kind,” says an eyewitness. “He bent over to look at a scraggly kitty that was lying in the scorching sun. Then he disappeared.” (Scoop)

 

Oprah Winfrey’s new media frontier? Pay cable. After 20 years at ABC, Winfrey’s Harpo Films has inked a three-year exclusive deal with HBO to develop and produce scripted programming, including series, miniseries, movies and documentaries. “This is truly a dream come true for us,” Harpo Films president Kate Forte said. “It’s part of the natural evolution of our company.” Harpo’s deal with HBO was sealed after two meetings — one at CAA, which reps Harpo, and one at Winfrey’s estate in Montecito, Calif.  “It sounds corny, but it was almost love at first sight,” HBO’s West Coast chief Michael Lombardo said. “The more we talked, the more we realized that our companies are very similar in sensibilities.” The pact starts Jan. 1, after the expiration of Harpo’s current first-look longform pact with ABC. As part of Harpo’s long-term relationship with ABC, the company produced a slew of acclaimed and highly rated TV movies and miniseries under the “Oprah Winfrey Presents” banner, including the Emmy-winning “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Harpo also made its first foray into unscripted programming on ABC this year with “Oprah’s Big Give,” produced by Harpo Prods.  ABC approached Winfrey and Forte about extending their deal, but Harpo opted to go to HBO.  “ABC was always incredibly supportive of us. It is much more about the opportunity HBO offers us,” Forte said. “There are natural limitations to network TV, including being driven by ratings and commercial sponsorship.” With the longform genre close to extinction at the broadcast networks, it also is understandable for Winfrey to look for a new partner, with the dominant player in the field, HBO, being a natural choice. While Harpo used to produce at least one TV movie for ABC every year, the frequency decreased in the past decade, with only two films premiering in the past seven years.  Forte declined to elaborate on the type of programming Harpo will develop for HBO but said it would be “an eclectic mix.” On the feature side, Harpo Films recently produced “The Great Debaters,” directed by and starring Denzel Washington. Additionally, Winfrey’s umbrella company Harpo Inc. is set to launch OWN, a basic cable network focused on unscripted programming done in partnership with Discovery Communications. Meanwhile, Harpo Prods. is behind several syndicated talk shows, including its flagship, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Disney is to launch a free-to-air channel in Russia in an attempt to bolster its presence in what the company describes as “an extremely important market.” Disney is partnering with local broadcaster Media-One Holdings and aims to have the channel up and running across the network of 30 stations that Media-One operates across Russia with Disney output and Russian-produced content. Anchored by Disney programming for children and family, the channel also plans to air original Russian programming, Disney said. The launch is slated for 2009, pending regulatory approval from Russian government authorities. Disney will invest cash and provide programming and marketing expertise and content acquisition support in return for a 49% stake in the joint venture company. Media-One will provide knowledge and operational experience in the Russian market, its local broadcast station portfolio and its advertising sales expertise.  Media-One will be the majority shareholder and will appoint a majority of the joint venture company’s board of directors. “Russia is an extremely important market for Disney, and this new Disney channel is a great way for us to expand our brand and business,” Disney president and CEO Bob Iger said. Media-One CEO Ivan Tavrin said: “We believe that the combination of Disney’s unparalleled media experience and content capabilities and our knowledge of the local television market will enable us to create a unique channel that is predestined for success. We set ourselves the goal not only to become a popular kids and family focused free-to-air television channel in the country, but also to produce attractive financial results in a relatively short time frame.” Disney’s CIS managing director Marina Jigalova-Ozkan described the move as “one the most significant steps for the development of the Disney brand in Russia.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

TV’s top breakfast cast is heading to a one-time-only slot after dinner. NBC’s “Today” is prepping a primetime special for Dec. 22. The hourlong “2008: Today Looks Back, a Holiday Special” will begin at 8 p.m. As the name implies, the program will review the year with the five top news stories, “moving moments” and personalities. It’s the first time in 13 years that “Today” has gotten a spot in primetime. “It was such an incredible year, with the economy and the election and the Olympics, just for starters,” said executive producer Jim Bell. “There were a range of emotions and stories that resonated, in particular on the ‘Today’ show.” The idea came several months ago when Ben Silverman called and asked if “Today” would be interested in doing a primetime special. Bell said Tuesday that the crew was enthusiastic about being in primetme. Several producers have been working on the show for weeks; senior producer Don Nash is in charge of the special. It will be hosted by Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry, who will work in the evening this week — in addition to their day jobs — to put the show together. It won’t be live. Also appearing are other “Today” staffers including Lester Holt, Amy Robach, Willard Scott, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford. One segment will be on “Today” bloopers, of which there are likely to be many. “When you’re doing four hours of TV (live) a day, you inevitably end up with a lot of material for outtakes and blooper reels,” Bell said. Who knows? The primetime show could become an annual event. “I suppose but I don’t know if we’re going to have another year like we did in 2008,” Bell said. “I really think it was the year that called for it, too. There was such incredible material. But you never know. We’re always here to help.” (Hollywood Reporter)

 

The BBC has said the phone-line controversy of the Strictly Come Dancing final was “unforgivable”. The controversial outcome of Saturday’s Strictly Come Dancing semi-final was “unforgivable” a BBC spokesman has said. During the weekend’s show judges awarded equal points to both Rachel Stevens and Lisa Snowdon meaning Holby City star Tom Chambers couldn’t avoid a dance off regardless of the viewer vote. Producers deemed this unfair and decided to let all three couples through to this weekend’s final prompting nearly 1,800 complaints from disgruntled viewers. “That’s the unforgivable thing about this – we should’ve seen it coming,” Jon Beazley, the BBC’s Head of Entertainment Productions, told BBC Breakfast. “The fact is we didn’t so we’re doing whatever we can now to sort it out.” He said there were many contingencies on the show, “but nobody had planned for the exceptional circumstances of a tie at the top of the leaderboard”. (Handbag)

 

 

TODAY’S IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION . . .  (Internet)

 

Q.  It’s estimated that at least 10,000 people will do this in front of the Christmas Tree this year. What is it?

            A.  Get engaged

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE  (By Grace Hansen)

 

“DON’T BE AFRAID YOUR LIFE WILL END, BE AFRAID THAT IT WILL NEVER BEGIN.”

 

 

MIND BOGGLERS . . .  (QuickTrivia)

 

Q.  The last five words of the song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”?

            A.  If only you will wait

            B.  If only in my dreams  ****

            C.  If it doesn’t snow

            D.  If I can find a cab

 

Q.  Named for the Tunisian town near which the sequences were filmed, what was Luke Skywalker’s home planet?

            A.  Alderaan

            B.  Tatooine  ****

            C.  Hoth

            D.  Yavan

 

Q.  In 1652, George Fox founded what religious group?

            A.  Quakers  ****

            B.  Amish

            C.  Shakers

            D.  Methodists

 

Q.  What was the original home of the Chargers?

            A.  Chicago

            B.  St. Louis

            C.  Cleveland

            D.  Los Angeles  ****

 

Q.  Which Paddy Chayefsky TV play went on as a motion picture to win four Oscars and the Cannes Golden Palm?

            A.  Rear Window

            B.  Marty  ****

            C.  On the Waterfront

            D.  Network

 

Q.  Cannae was the site of a remarkable victory by which military leader?

            A.  Napoleon

            B.  Patton

            C.  Hannibal  ****  (To this day, historians use the victory as a point of reference for a very decisive victory)

            D.  Alexander the Great

 

 

TRAVEL TIPS . . . (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

 

TRAVEL-FRIENDLY PDAs:

 

Many PDAs are becoming increasingly travel-friendly, so now frequent fliers now can rely on their personal digital assistants for more than just scheduling meetings and making calls. With the Blackberry or the Palm Treo, you can now access Orbitz mobile service. This lets you check hotel vacancies in 20 U.S. cities for the same night and call the hotel to confirm your reservation by just pushing one button. If you type in the three-letter airport code into your PDA’s FlightStats application, you can find out how long the airport’s security line will be, based on data from the TSA. Some PDAs can activate GPS tracking, which can give you turn-by-turn directions to get where you need to go. Other features on these PDAs will help you translate a language, check the weather, find restaurants and even find places to dance—that is, if you have any energy left after all that.

 

(Peter Greenberg is North America’s preeminent expert on Travel. An Emmy Award-Winning writer and producer, Peter is the Travel Editor for NBC’S “TODAY SHOW,” MSNBC and CNBC. A Best-Selling author of the “Travel Detective” series and host of the nationally syndicated “Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show.” Visit WWW.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM to learn more about Peter Greenberg and his adventures.)

 

 

BIRTHDAYS . . .

 

—1778  Acrobat/Clown Joseph Grimaldi (d. 5-31-1837)

—1886  Baseball’s Tyrus “Ty” Cobb (d. 7-17-1961)

—1916  Actress Betty Grable (d. 7-2-1973)

—1917  Actor Ossie Davis (Do The Right Thing) (d. 2-4-2005)

—1932  Actor Roger Smith (Mr. Ann-Margaret)

—1938  Musician Chas Chandler (The Animals) (“House Of The Rising Sun”) (d. 7-17-1996)

1941  Sam Andrew – guitarist for Big Brother and The Holding Company (“Piece Of My Heart”)

—1943  Musician Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) (“Get Off Of My Cloud”)

—1943  Musician/Saxophone Bobby Keys

—1946  Producer/Director Steven Spielberg (Schindler’s List)

—1950  Movie Critic Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight)

—1953  Guitarist Elliott Easton (The Cars) (“Moving In Stereo”)

—1955  Actor Ray Liotta (Goodfellas)

—1959  Musician Robin Hild (Scarlett & Black)

—1961  Musician Ken Foreman (Thrashing Doves)

—1963  Baseketball’s Charles Oakley

—1963  Actor Brad Pitt (Ocean’s Eleven)

¾1965  Wrestler/Actor “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (Nash Bridges)

¾1968  Actor Casper Van Dien (I Married A Princess)

¾1978  Actress Katie Holmes (Dawson’s Creek)

¾1980  Singer Christina Aguilera

 

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY . . .

 

—1737  The most famous violin maker of all time, Antonio Stradivarius, (born 1644) died in Cremona Italy.

—1777  The Continental Army, under command of General George Washington, took up winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

—1823  Georgia passed the nation’s first law requiring registration of all births.

—1862  The first orthopedic hospital was organized in New York City. It was called the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled.

—1865  The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution went into effect, abolishing slavery. (This was  AFTER the Civil War; there were slave-owners in the Northern states throughout the conflict.)

—1890  The world’s first electric underground railway, the City & South London Railway, opened in London.

—1956  TV premiere of the long-running game show “To Tell the Truth.”

—1961  “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens peaked at #1.

—1966  Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” aired for the first time on CBS.

—1970  The Beatles release “From Them To Us,” a Christmas album for their fan club. It’s the Fab Four’s last recording as a group.

—1975  Rod Stewart announces that he’s leaving the Faces for a solo career.

—1981  A concert at the LA Forum featuring Rod Stewart, Kim Carnes, and Tina Turner is broadcast live worldwide in 23 countries. The broadcast is the first of its kind since Elvis Presley’s “Aloha from Hawaii” in 1973.

—1983  Keith Richards (Rolling Stones) marries model Patricia Hansen in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Mick Jagger is best  man at the ceremony.

—1984  The top U.S. single is Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” her first number one hit.

—1985  “Beverly Hills Cop” became the top movie grosser of the year with $229.9 million in tickets sold. “Back to the Future” with Michael J. Fox was second, followed by “Rambo: First Blood, Part 2.”

—1989  Amy Grant gives birth to a second child, a girl named Gloria Mills (Millie) Chapman.

—1992  A woman sues Rick James for $1 million claiming he broke a contract allowing her to record two of his songs.

—1995  It’s announced that the reformed Eagles had the highest concert gross for the year. More than $60 million for their 58-show “Hell Freezes Over” tour.

¾2006  Wolfgang Puck (57yrs old) welcomed a son into the world, with girlfriend Gelila. Their son, Alexander weighed in at 7lbs. 03 ozs.

 

 

RADIO ONLINE® DAILY SHOW PREP. . .

 

ON THIS DAY

On this date in 1719 Thomas Fleet of Boston, MA, published his mother-in-law’s tales in the book, “Mother Goose.” How about a little Modern Mother Goose?

Jack & Jill went up the hill
To have a little fun
Stupid Jill forgot the pill
And now they have a son.

Mary had a little lamb
Her father shot it dead
Now it goes to school with her
Between two hunks of bread.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the kings horses and all the kings men
Had scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast.

Hickory dickory dock
Three mice ran up the clock
The clock struck one
And the others got away with minor injuries.

Mary had a little lamb
It walked into a pylon
10,000 volts went up its… well, you know
and turned its wool to nylon.

On this date in 1787, New Jersey became our country’s third state and adopted the official state slogan, “Stop! Wait! No, come back! Where you going?”

In 1813, the British took Fort Niagra. Eventually, we made them put it back.

On this date in 1849, a photo of the moon was taken through a telescope for the very first time. The guy doing the mooning was arrested.

In 1932, the Chicago Bears beat the Portsmouth Spartans, 9-0, in the first NFL playoff game. There was quite a half-time scandal, when the featured singer flashed her ankle to the crowd. The game was sponsored by Sarsaparilla Light.

TODAY IS

Christina Aguilera celebrates number 28 today. Please, no more “Mr. Clean” for a birthday gift. She’s already seen that “Genie in a Bottle” gag way too many times.

Katie Holmes turns the big 3-0 today. She’s trying to catch up with Tom. As a birthday treat, Tom is going to give her the day off from mind-meld therapy.

Find a Friend, Be a Friend Day — Have somebody call a brand new friend or acquaintance, someone they don’t know really well and ask them for a huge favor. “Can you lend me money? Can you watch my kids? Can I have a kidney?” It’s very funny!

Play Bingo Day — Have listeners design their own playing “cards” with your call letters at top and 4 blanks on the left side leaving 16 open squares in the middle. In the 4 blanks down the left side the listener writes the last 4 digits of their phone number. Announce letter/number combinations like “Z4″. First to get a “line” (diagonal vertical horizontal) wins.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

·         Time magazine has named President-Elect Barack Obama their “Man of the Year.”

·         No Doubt has pushed back the release of their next album until 2010 so they can concentrate on a 2009 tour.

·         The Roman Catholic church is peeved at Playboy over the cover of its Mexican edition, which features a photo of a scantily-clad busty Argentine model, Maria Florencia Onori, who seems like a depiction of the Virgin Mary. Playboy Mexico insists that is not the case.

·         Macaulay Culkin was shooting the NBC drama “Kings” when he was told that his sister had been killed by a car.

·         Country star Tim McGraw says the rumors that he will run for governor of Tennessee in 2010 are false.

·         Tough times, even for celebrities: Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins of TLC is facing foreclosure on her Georgia home.

·         Hilary Duff says she was misquoted when she told journalists she was still a virgin at the age of 19. The 21-year-old former Disney star told Maxim magazine, “You know what? I was quoted saying I was a virgin, but I absolutely did not say that. That’s nobody’s business but my own. Somehow it turned into a bad thing!”

·         Jessica Alba will guest star along with Jack Black in the post-Super Bowl episode of “The Office.”

·         NBC’s “Today” is preparing an hour-long primetime special for December 22.

·         If you care what Hugh Hefner says, he told a reporter the other day that “several girlfriends are better than one wife.”

·         A Pennsylvania couple named their son Adolph Hitler Campbell when he was born 3 years ago. Why are we hearing about this now? A grocery store manager refused to decorate his birthday cake with his full name.

·         That tie Jennifer Aniston is wearing on the current cover of GQ (and, by the way, it’s the only thing she’s wearing) is from Brooks Brothers.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

A national survey of over 1,000 children and adults ranked “It’s A Wonderful Life” as one of the top holiday films. Adults were asked to update the classic film with contemporary casting. Respondents would like to see:

·         George Clooney as George Bailey

·         Jennifer Aniston as Mary Hatch Bailey

·         Jack Nicholson as the villainous Henry F. Potter

·         Robin Williams as angel Clarence Odbody

·         Dakota Fanning as daughter Zuzu

For those still shopping, children were asked what gift they would choose if they could only receive one this holiday season. The number one answer was a Nintendo Wii, followed by Nintendo DS, Sony Playstation 3 or a bike.

A recent Entertainment Weekly online poll asked, “What’s your favorite holiday TV special?”

·         “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” 33%

·         “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 28%

·         “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” 23%

·         “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” 9%

·         “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” 4%

·         “Frosty the Snowman,” 3%

Woman’s Day found that 14% of you will be doing holiday shopping on Christmas Eve. The magazine also reports that 64% of kids say mom does most of the work preparing for Christmas. Only 1% say dad does his fair share, according to KidzEeys Holiday Wish List and Habits survey.

As Santa makes his list this holiday season, he may want to consider paper or plastic as an option as 52.1% say they would rather receive a gift card or cash, according to the American Pulse Survey. Why? It seems consumers do not like gifts that were chosen for them (45.4%), while others (46.3%) say they hate to return gifts because it is a hassle. Want more?

·         69.4% say they would rather give than receive.

·         70.9% like it when employees wish them a “Merry Christmas” while shopping

·         92.6% feel malls, stores and parks should be allowed to display the Christian Nativity Scene during the Christmas season.

·         82.4% say gift cards are a smart gift alternative for people they don’t know well

·         10.5% have “re-gifted” gift cards received, while 22.5% have “re-gifted” gifts received

·         22.7% like to exchange gifts for things they would rather have

·         13.5% have received gift cards that they’ve never redeemed

·         16.1% have received gift cards that they’ve only partially redeemed

7 years is the average age that we stopped believing in Santa Claus, according to Women’s Health. How did Saint Nick get outed? We caught Mom and Dad with the presents.

PHONE TOPICS

·         Which relative needs to be banned from the family Christmas?

·         Finish this sentence: Christmas is GREAT! Except for…

·         Who plays Santa every year? Any funny stories?

·         Best thing to get stuffed in your stocking?

·         At what age does it “all start going downhill”?

·         What’s your favorite holiday food?

·         Has your pet ever done anything heroic?

·         Ladies, if your guy gave you the gift certificate for more juggles would you be happy or angry that he would suggest it?

·         Anyone currently in the middle of a huge fight with their next door neighbor over something stupid? Really great calls!

·         Any holiday traditions unique to your family? Something nobody else does?

·         Does anyone send Christmas cards anymore?

·         Best place to hide Christmas gifts.

·         Do you feel guilty snubbing the Salvation Army outside supermarkets?

·         Anyone have a holiday tattoo?

·         How many Christmas cards do you mail out each year?

Is the Governor of NY really just upset over the SNL episode from last weekend? Is that why he’s upping everyone’s taxes? What do you think. Here’s what’s happening: Gov. David Paterson’s first state budget threatens to affect just about every New Yorker. Even those online. He proposed this week a budget that would increase spending by $1.3 billion. Much of the growth is revenue from 88 new or higher fees and will hit New Yorkers in many areas, from downloading music to sipping drinks to fishing. One of the proposed hikes is a so-called “iPod tax,” which would tax the sale of downloaded music and other “digitally delivered entertainment services” by 4 percent. There also would be higher taxes on gas, taxi rides, cable and satellite TV service, cigars, beer, movie and sports tickets, and health spa visits, to name a few items. Even diet coke, which he says leads to obesity.

Are Christmas cards ancient history? Do you still send out Christmas cards? How long does it take you to fill out the yearly cards? What kind do you like to send? If the traditional Christmas dinner doesn’t fill you up this yuletide, a company has come up with a novel alternative – eat the Christmas cards. The eco-friendly cards are made from potato starch, signed in edible ink and feature a giant image of some festive Brussels sprouts. Do you think edible Christmas cards is a tasty idea?

Did you, or do you still swear by the cold remedy Airborne? I used to take it all the time, but I stopped after experts said it was just a fizzy treat that couldn’t really prevent a cold. In fact, Airborne has agreed to pay $7 million to settle allegations by 32 attorneys general that it made false claims about its products. What other drug store “remedies” do you think are a croc?

My co-host is a bad person. At least that’s what I tell her. You see, her friend broke up with a boyfriend about a month ago. Now, my co-host has started to see her ex! Plus she hasn’t told her friend about it yet. It’s getting serious too. Phoner: Is it wrong to date a friend’s ex-boyfriend? Have you ever dated a friend’s ex? How much time should have to go by before their ex is “fair game?”

I have a few friends of mine who have been together for 14 years, and there’s no ring in sight. I keep asking my buddy if he’s going to pop the question anytime soon, and he always says, “Why? Things are going so well, why ruin it?” Phoner: Is marriage just not important anymore? Everyone knows about the ball that gets dropped on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. But you may not have heard about the dropping of the sausage, or the gumbo pot, or the giant Peep, a 25-pound fiberglass replica of the famed marshmallowy candy made in Pennsylvania. TripAdvisor.com has assembled a list of these and other quirky New Year’s Eve events to create a top 10 list of wacky things that get lowered on Dec. 31 around the country to mark the arrival of the new year:

·         The Peep show is in Bethlehem, Pa., marking the third time the city has dropped the illuminated treat from a crane at midnight as part of a family-friendly First Night celebration.

·         Also in Pennsylvania, in the town of Lebanon, a 7 1/2-foot edible bologna made by the Weaver-Kutztown Bologna Company is lowered at midnight and then donated to area charities.

·         In Key West, Fla., there are three such countdown celebrations: a conch shell lowered on a pole to the roof of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the lowering of “Drag Queen Sushi” in a 6-foot-tall shoe at the Bourbon Street Pub, and the descent of a costumed pirate “wench” from a schooner in the harbor.

·         In Port Clinton, Ohio, the self-proclaimed “Walleye Capital of the World” drops a 20-foot, 600-pound fiberglass walleye fish at midnight.

·         In Elmore, Ohio, there’s a sausage fest, inspired by a local business,Tank’s Meats. A lit-up 18-foot sausage drops to welcome in the New Year, but there’s also a sausage toss and a sausage-eating contest.

·         Mount Olive, N.C., has a pickle drop with a 3-foot-high glowing pickle plunging down the Mount Olive Pickle Company’s flagpole into a tank.

·         Raleigh, N.C., lowers a massive copper acorn weighing 1,250 pounds from atop the city’s civic center as part of a First Night event.

·         A giant gumbo pot is lowered in New Orleans to mark the New Year, along with fireworks on the Mississippi.

·         In Easton, Md., a giant crab is what gets lowered as part of a First Night celebration, and in Plymouth, Wis., it’s a great big hunk of cheese — though not an edible hunk.

Lots of people are using Self Storage Bays to hide their gifts from Santa this year. We’ve heard that several women rented the “Santa Closets” this year to house large presents like big-screen TVs and recliners for their husbands. Where did you hide your Christmas gifts for your spouse or your kids? Where’s the best place?

More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a recent study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past. Ask your celibate listeners why they waited and if the “wait was worth it”.

We took a bunch of phone calls today on cool home remedies to cure your sickness. Duct tape for warts? Toothpaste for zits? Did you know that more people search online for home remedies than for symptom checkers? Some of the home remedies we heard were supposed to treat acne, earwax, stretch marks and constipation. Do you have a great home remedy to cure something?

My co-host says that she’s lost all interest in sex with her husband. She says that he’s a great guy, very sweet, and she loves him… but when he touches her, she says she wants to just run away. Is her relationship over? Is this feeling normal? What can someone do to regain their sex drive before having to get a divorce?

Is it a good or bad idea to propose under the mistletoe, in front of the family on Christmas/Christmas Eve? Doesn’t this put everyone in an uncomfortable position? What if she says, “No.” Or “Let’s go outside and talk.” Doesn’t this run the risk of being the worst Christmas ever? And if she knows it’s coming, the cheese factor is very high… and will she get another gift, or is the ring “it?”

What’s the funniest warning label on a product that you’ve ever seen? Here are some wacky label winners:

1.      A warning on a small tractor that reads “Danger: Avoid Death” has been chosen as the nation’s wackiest warning label by an anti-lawsuit group.

2.      A label found on an iron-on T-shirt transfer that warns: “Do not iron while wearing shirt.”

3.      A label on a baby stroller featuring a small storage pouch that warns: “Do not put child in bag.”

What’s the funniest or strangest warning label that you’ve ever seen? I remember seeing a TV ad for a sleeping pill that warned, “may cause drowsiness.” Ironic huh?

This time of year there are a lot of Christmas performances, we asked parents to call in the best stage fright or other performance nightmare stories. It is always so cute when the kids “mess up” their lines or come out on stage and just talk to their loved ones in the audience. We even heard about a kid who just picked his nose the whole performance. Hilarious stuff!

Now this was good too. “How do you cat-proof or child-proof a tree?” Everyone has a different home remedy for accomplishing this. Some really good ideas, and callers swear they all work.

One of our listeners baked us some Christmas cookies this year, and my co-host won’t eat them. He says he never eats something that someone else bakes for him. Especially if he doesn’t know the person really well. He says what if they make the batter in their undies, smoking a cigarette, and let their cat lick the bowl. The thought of things like that freaks him out. I told them he’s crazy. See if your listeners would eat baked goods from an “almost” stranger.

My friend’s Christmas light display, now consumes almost $400 in electricity a month, 20 times the average bill. Every night, crowds gather in front of the house, bathed in the glare of more than 100,000 lights. With all the worry about energy consumption in the U.S., is it OK for someone to use so much electricity for Christmas lights? Or is it worth the joy it brings?

What is your antidote to a frantic day’s Christmas shopping? In China, one of the de-stressing options available to rich and poor alike is to go for a foot wash. It’s a popular new trend. What do you do to pamper yourself when you’re really stressed out?

WEIRD NEWS

Bah Humbug NYPD!
Not much holiday spirit coming from the NYPD these days. They ticketed Santa Claus — while he was delivering gifts to children! Chip Cafiero, who was playing the #1 elf at the time says he’ll fight the $115 ticket he received in Brooklyn on Black Friday when he was dressed as Santa. The 60-year-old retired schoolteacher was riding a horse-drawn carriage and handing out toys and candy canes. An SUV carrying the toys and protecting the horse from traffic was double parked next to him. Santa says he yelled “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to get the traffic agent’s attention because the SUV wasn’t blocking traffic. But in his words, “This Grinch just went ahead and fined me.” No comment yet from the NYPD or the officer who gave the ticket — who can clearly expect nothing but coal in his stocking this year. (Daily News)

Throwing Shoes Is Good For Your Career
The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad has received offers of a job and an offer of $10 million for one of the shoes! 29-year-old Muntadhar al-Zeidi has been offered a job by the Lebanese TV channel NTV and if he takes it they say his salary will be retroactive to the day he threw his shoes at Bush — last Sunday. A manager of NTV also said the station is willing to post bail for Zeidi should he decide to accept the offer. Zeidi is currently under Iraqi police custody and is facing a two-year imprisonment for insulting a visiting head of state. In the meantime, a 60-year-old Saudi entrepreneur reportedly offered $10 million bucks for one of Zeidi’s shoes thrown at Bush. An Iraqi businessman also said he’ll pay any price for the footwear that has become a symbol of the Iraqi people’s disgust over what they see as Bush oppressive policies against them. (AHN News)

Smoking Causes Cancer — and Oh Yeah, You’ll Get Fat!
If the cancer risk isn’t enough to make you stop smoking, maybe this will get your attention. A new study from the Department of Public Health in Helsinki, Finland, says teenage girls who smoke are at an increased risk for developing not only lung cancer later in life, but thicker waistlines as well! Girls who smoke 10 cigarettes or more a day as teens have an increased risk of developing a wide waistline later in life teenage boys don’t appear to have the same risk. Girl smoker’s waist sizes averaged 1.34 inches larger than nonsmokers’ waists as young adults. The study followed thousands of teens and will be published in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. (AHN News)

Christmas Bowling Comes Early
In Sheboygan, Wisconsin, brothers Ed and Tom Shircel are avid bowlers and just got a big Christmas bowling present early! While they have bowled 10 perfect games as a duo in their bowling careers, now they’ve reached another milestone: each rolling perfect games while bowling side by side. Both Ed and Tom rolled a 300 while bowling Monday night at Lakeshore Lanes for the same team and in the same game. 57-year-old Ed said it’s tough to guess what the odds on that are. Tom said, “We always talked about hitting good on the same nights. We’ve had 700s together, but nothing like this.” (The Sheboygan Press)

Your Egg Beater Or Your Life
That must be one special egg beater! In Tampa, Florida, police say two suspects entered another man’s home and demanded his eggbeater. No kidding. And they were quite serious. One of the suspects was holding a pistol while the other brandished a knife to the resident’s neck. Police caught the egg beating egg heads outside the home and both are now in jail. Police found the eggbeater one of the suspect’s left pocket. (The Tampa Tribune)

Man Wins Lottery Eleven Times!
In Hampton, Virginia, a man won the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 top prize of $100,000, and won it, and won it, and won it. His grand total was $1.1 million as he played the same exact numbers 11 times for 11 $100,000 wins! Lottery officials won’t identify the winner, until he comes forward to claim the prize with the winning tickets. All 11 of them! (The Virginian-Pilot)

No Lady — You Can’t Have 27 Dogs!
In Spanish Springs, Nevada, Colleen Spailoni had planned to go to the Animal Shelter to adopt a new dog to replace the one she had lost. But when she got there, her heart took over and she ended up taking 27 dogs home — all which were to be euthanized. Colleen said, “After I lost my dog who gave me so much unconditional love, I couldn’t leave these dogs to die.” Her haul included 10 Chihuahua mixes, one purebred Chihuahua, a Jack Russell, a poodle, two shepherd mixes, two miniature pinschers and an Australian cattle dog mix. Animal control officers helped her load the dogs in her pickup. Some fit in the cab, the others rode in the truck bed with a down blanket and a tarp over the top. But that’s when the trouble began. Once home neighbors complained of all the barking and that’s when she found out a local ordinance prohibits more than three dogs per household. Fortunately the media picked up the story and as of Tuesday Colleen had found homes for all but four of the dogs. She’s hopes to find homes for the remaining dogs before her husband, who is out of town, returns home later this week. (Reno Gazette-Journal)

Get Rich! Post on YouTube!
You may not know it, but for some people, the web site YouTube has moved far beyond just being a hobby of tech savvy youth. It’s become an incredible source of income during troubled economic times. The financial reward of posting videos on the site is the result of YouTube’s invitation for members to become partners by adding advertising to their videos for them to earn on the side. Some YouTube posters are now earning as much as six figures! YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, splits the advertising revenues with the video posters. Because of the popularity of YouTube videos, even federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service has posted on the Website 30-second public announcements to inform taxpayers how to claim their tax rebates. (Ananova)

HOLE IN THE HEADLINE

·         “Pizza Delivery Man Uses ____ To Evade Thieves!” (Pie)

·         “Burglar: I Was Held Captive By ____ For 3 Days!” (Ghost)

·         “Cops Follow Snow Tracks To Nab ____ Thieves!” (Pizza)

·         “Man Sprays ‘Toilet-Papering’ Teens With Fox ____ !” (Pee)

·         “Woman Ignites Ex’s Clothes, Burns ____ Unit!” (Storage)

·         “Man Handcuffs His ____ To The Bed, Loses Key!” (Wife)

·         “Christmas Comes Early: No Rabies Shots For ____ !” (Santa)

·         “Actor Hurt When Fake ____ Turns Out To Be Real!” (Knife)

·         “Police Flush Man From ____ Ceiling!” (Bathroom)

·         “NYC Man Spends $7,500 To Fight $____ Ticket!” (115)

·         “Woman Smuggles ____ To U.S. Under Blouse!” (Monkey)

·         “Nagging Wife, ____ Help Man Win Lottery!” (Sausage)

GET IT RIGHT OR ELSE

Here’s a twist for your next trivia contest. Get the question right and win a prize. Get it wrong and we give out your cell phone number (or an embarrassing piece of info).

TOP FIVE SIGNS YOU’VE HAD ELVES IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR

1.      Stalk of celery being used as a tiny coat rack

2.      Frankly, I don’t want to know what they’ve been doing in that butter.

3.      “Someone’s been using the Jell-O as a trampoline again!”

4.      Groomed ski trails in the ice cream

5.      Tiny footprints in the pudding

HUNTER’S HUMOR by Tim Hunter

Christmas is one week from today. Hard to believe it’s only 6 more days until I start my shopping.

New York’s Governor Patterson is proposing a new budget that includes 88 new fees and taxes… like a tax on downloading music, a movie tax, a sporting event tax. Protesters would be gathering outside the state capitol, but they refuse to pay the protest tax. Wait, isn’t that redundant?

The tax that has most people upset is the Tax Tax.

Why not a tax everyone would like to see? Like an A-Rod/Madonna tax.

The Federal Reserve has lowered their benchmark lending rate to its lowest level in history. It’s so low… it’s actually lower than President Bush’s approval rating.

SLOGAN OFF

Classic Edition

·         “The mark of a man” (Old Spice)

·         “Behold, the power of _______” (Cheese)

·         “_________ remembers” (Pepperidge Farms)

·         “Cover the earth” (Sherwin Williams paint)

·         “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” (United Negro College Fund)

Modern Edition

·         “That was easy” (Staples)

·         “What’s in your wallet?” (Capitol One)

·         “Drivers wanted” (Volkswagen)

·         “It’s hospital recommended” (Tylenol)

·         “Better snaking” (Sunkist)

PRETTY WOMAN

Which male member of your show do you think would make the prettiest women? Ask the question, fight over it and then have a make up artist come in and do you both up like a lady so you can see. Or use the women on your show to do it.

NEED A DATE?

You know the free newspaper in your town with all the personals in the back where you can leave a free solicit for yourself to get dates? You and your partner do it on the air and check your messages each day for a week. Or better yet, sign up for one of those Internet matchmaking service. The one who gets more responses wins. If one of you is single go out on a date and record the entire thing for the air.

BUTT REALLY

Cosmopolitan says a guy’s rear view can provide clues to his personality:

·         Square Booty — Broad and square, this behind is flatter than other shapes. These aggressive guys will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

·         High Heinie — This booty is so compact and round it seems to sit on his lower back and form a small shelf. Shy but sweet, you can always count on this down-to-earth guy.

·         Apple Tush — The upper area quadrants of the butt are fleshier than the bottom areas. These men are looking for an emotional connection with a woman and can be very sensitive, so handle them with care.

·         Bubble Butt — This full, rounded bum really fills out a pair of jeans. This guy is the life of the party and can charm the pants off just about anybody.

BETTER BY THE POUND

Get a scale and invite people to bring their driver’s license and then weigh themselves. Whomever’s weight is furthest/closest to the weight on their license wins a prize.

PICK YOUR PURSE

We’re using a purse, but this could be done with any container. We invite fans to listen at 7:20am when listeners are then told the exact hour to Pick Your Purse. When given the cue-to-call, the 20th caller gets to pick the purse of their choice. Each purse has a special prize inside like cash, iPods, concert tickets and more.

TRIVIA

·         Federal authorities announced they were charging the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich, with, among other alleged wrongdoings, attempting to “auction” the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama. In his complaint, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald referred to potential Senate candidates by numbers; who was “Senate Candidate 5,” who allegedly discussed a “pay to play” deal with Blagojevich? (Jesse Jackson Jr. – an Illinois congressman).

·         Federal prosecutors charge that the Illinois governor was also using his control over state funds to pressure a local newspaper. What is the same of the newspaper, which has been critical of Blagojevich in its editorial pages? (Chicago Tribune)

·         After a weary looking O.J. Simpson made a rambling appeal for leniency during his sentencing for an armed robbery at a Las Vegas hotel, he was sent to jail for up to how many years? (33)

·         President-elect Obama continued to fill his management team, announcing the nomination of retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as his veterans affairs secretary. The appointment added to the growing diversity in the incoming Cabinet; what is Shinseki’s ancestry? (Japanese)

·         Barring any last-minute glitches, the New York Yankees will be the proud owners of the most expensive pitcher in baseball, having agreed to a seven-year, $161 million deal for left-handed hurler CC Sabathia. For which team did he play last season? (Milwaukee Brewers)

·         The late Heath Ledger garnered a supporting-actor nod for his role as the Joker in the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight”; how many other nominations did the film receive? (None)

·         Jubilant workers agreed to a $1.75 million settlement that ends their six-day occupation of a shuttered Chicago factory that previously had made what? (Windows)

·         Which professional sports league is cutting more than 10 percent of its headquarters staff in response to the downturn in the nation’s economy? (NFL)

·         The average price of U.S. gasoline fell 22 cents a gallon during the past two weeks, bringing it to its lowest level in nearly five years at $1.75 a gallon. But in what city can you still pay $2.54 cents a gallon, the highest in the country? (Anchorage)

·         What company, best-known for its newspaper ownership, filed for bankruptcy? (Tribune)

·         Madonna’s split with film director Guy Ritchie has become one of the most costly celebrity divorces of all time, but isn’t even in the top five, which is led by the $168 million that Michael Jordan paid to Juanita Jordan at the time of their divorce. At $150 million, which celeb had the second most-costly divorce on the list? (Neil Diamond)

·         Who was named Billboard’s top artist of 2008? (Chris Brown)

·         He may be older than your average survivor, but that didn’t keep 58-year-old Bob from bobbing away with the million dollars and the “Survivor Gabon” crown after he received how many votes from the seven-member jury? (Four)

·         Which contestant had a benign tumor removed from her breast after she was eliminated from this past season’s “Dancing with the Stars”? (Toni Braxton)

·         Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire — or no attire at all — helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, who just died at age 85 was a native of what state? (Tennessee)

·         One fan spent how much money in an auction to get the real light saber prop that Mark Hamill used in the first two movies in the original “Star Wars” trilogy? ($240,000)

·         Rosie O’Donnell’s variety of a variety show didn’t work, but that isn’t stopping what network from trying out the very special Ozzy, Sharon, Jack and Kelly Osbourne in a variety show of their own? (Fox)

·         Is each different colored piece of Froot Loops cereal a different flavor? (No)

·         What year was Diet Coke invented? (1982)

·         What breed of dog is Snoopy? (Beagle)

GORSEFEATHERS by Patrick Gorse

Freezing temperatures are causing problems across the country. Last night; it was colder than a transvestite gravedigger’s breast in a brass bra.

Energy workers in Hawaii accidentally drilled so low, they hit a pool of hot volcanic magma. The workers said they knew they were getting pretty low when they found a copy of Barack Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate.

Eva Longoria says that her plans for a week of sex with her injured NBA husband Tony Parker have been scrapped because Tony has decided to accompany the San Antonio Spurs on their current road trip, despite the injury. In a related story, Madonna said, “Sorry Eva. Your loss is my gain.”

Yesterday, $50 billion-dollar Ponzi scheme swindler, Bernie Madoff was placed under house arrest by police, and his wife Ruth agreed to turn over the deeds to homes in New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, if he flees. A lot of Madoff’s investors would gladly agree to a deal that gave up the two home’s addresses.

So Bernie Madoff is under house arrest in his $7 million-dollar Park Avenue apartment. That’s gotta hurt. What…is he going to be wearing a solid-gold, diamond-encrusted electronic monitoring bracelet?

Have you seen those commercials for Official Commemorative Barack Obama Plates on cable TV? Well, John McCain is offering his own set of commemorative plates. With McCain, for $19.95, you get the upper plate, the lower plate, and they throw in a tube of PoliGrip for free.

A Minnesota man named Darnell Frazier who told police his name was Darnell Lewis was arrested after the cops found the name Darnell Frazier tattooed on his neck. Well… down goes Frazier!

On Tuesday, Barack Obama said that “a third of all fourth graders can’t do basic math.” Of course, the real problem is a fourth of all sixth graders are doing their math teacher.

Former NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff has admitted to a scam in which he swindled investors out of $50 billion. Or as I like to call Bernie Madoff, “Ponzi Scum.”

Bernie Madoff took $50 billion in investor’s cash and made it disappear–Or as they call that at CitiBank… Thursday.

I tell ya’, the economy is bad. People who used to have hedge funds are now living in bushes.

Because of the bad economy, Mel Brooks’ play, “Young Frankenstein,” is closing on Broadway. This is horrible news. Not only can we not stimulate the economy… we can’t reanimate Frankenstein anymore.

The Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to almost zero to try and stimulate the economy. They’ve thrown every tool in the book at the problem, but nothing works. At some point, doesn’t this begin to look like Dr. Frankenstein trying to reanimate dead tissue? “It’s alive!!!!!!”

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has hired the same attorney who got R. Kelly cleared of charges that he video-taped sex with an underage girl. The attorney claimed it wasn’t R. Kelly on the tape. It’ll be harder to get Gov. Blagojevich cleared with all the tapes they have on him. Who else has that haircut?

At a press conference to introduce his new Energy Secretary, President-elect Barack Obama said, “Consistently, California has hit the bar and then the rest of the country has followed.” To be fair, California is home to Andy Dick, Kiefer Sutherland and Pat O’Brien. So when it comes to hitting bars, we get a big head start.

Nobel Prize-winning Climate Sciences Professor Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University said on “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” Monday night that Barack Obama “is a president who can walk and chew gum at the same time.” That’s as opposed to President Bush who can’t chew gum at the same time.

Energy workers in Hawaii accidentally drilled so low, they hit a pool of hot volcanic magma. The workers said they knew they were getting pretty low when they found a copy of Barack Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate.

THE TOP 10 MEMORABLE QUOTES OF 2008

Here are the top 10 quotes of the year, according to the editor of the “Yale Book of Quotations”:

1.      “I can see Russia from my house!” –Comedian Tina Fey, while impersonating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the TV comedy show “Saturday Night Live,” broadcast September 13.

2.      “All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.” –Palin, responding to a request by CBS anchor Katie Couric to name the newspapers or magazines she reads, broadcast October 1.

3.      “We have sort of become a nation of whiners.” –former Sen. Phil Gramm, an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, quoted in The Washington Times, July 10.

4.      “It’s not based on any particular data point, we just wanted to choose a really large number.” –a Treasury Department spokeswoman explaining how the $700 billion number was chosen for the initial bailout, quoted on Forbes.com September 23.

5.      “The fundamentals of America’s economy are strong.” –McCain, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, April 17.

6.      “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” –the Treasury Department’s proposed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, September 2008.

7.      “Maybe 100.” –McCain, discussing in a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, how many years U.S. troops could remain in Iraq, January 3.

8.      “I’ll see you at the debates, bitch.” –Paris Hilton in a video responding to a McCain television campaign ad, August 2008.

9.      “Barack, he’s talking down to black people. …I want to cut his…off.” –Rev. Jesse Jackson, overheard over a live microphone before a Fox News interview, July 6.

10.  “There are no atheists in foxholes and there are no libertarians in financial crises.” –Krugman, in an interview with Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time,” broadcast September 19.

WAYS TO ADD 30 YEARS TO YOUR LIFE

(Netscape.comHow long will you live? 70% of your longevity is determined by your lifestyle. So, in a way, you are in control of your destiny. Taken together, all of the following lifestyle changes will help you live as much as 30 years longer. Here are tips from Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s book “Chasing Life,” Dr. Thomas Perls’ livingto100.com and Health.com.

·         5 years: Don’t smoke — It’s not cool to smoke. You smell, your teeth turn yellow, your skin looks like leather and your voice gets low and raspy. It also gives you lung cancer. Ick.

·         5 years: Eat power foods — It’s all about the antioxidants. Every day you should eat a handful of dark chocolate and almonds, as well as fruits, vegetables, garlic and even a glass of wine.

·         4 years: Skip the fast food — Drive past the McDonald’s and Wendy’s without stopping and you’ll live a lot longer since you’re not ingesting all that fat and cholesterol.

·         3 years: Get moving — Run for 30 minutes, five days a week and you can live up to four years longer. If you walk, you’ll add three years.

·         3 years: Get married — Numerous studies have shown that married people are happier and healthier. Why? They take care of each other. Face it, most men see a doctor because their wives made the appointment and told them to go.

·         3 years: Eat salmon twice a week — Eating fatty fish that contains omega 3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines, not only appears to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but also helps control triglyceride levels and inflammation.

·         3 years: Lose the fat — You’ll not only look and feel better, but you’ll be healthier if you lose weight. Being overweight increases your risk of death by 20 to 40 percent. Now that’s motivation!

·         3 years: Have sex — Having sex two to three times a week helps you live longer by cutting in half your risk for heart disease and stroke. How? Sexual intercourse burns about 200 calories, which is the same as running for 30 minutes.

·         1 year: Floss daily — The greatest benefit of regular flossing is healthy gums. Research has shown that gum inflammation is linked to heart disease. Keep your gums healthy and your heart may follow.

HOW TO TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF THE HOLIDAYS

The holidays don’t have to stress you out. You can have a holly jolly Christmas with more “ho, ho, ho” and less “go, go, go,” says top psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Pietropinto. Here are the doctor’s simple tips for de-stressing the holiday:

·         Rent some Christmas videos — Invite friends over or share a movie night with your family. Watching timeless classics like “White Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street,” help us relax and remember what Christmas is all about.

·         Trim down your shopping list — You don’t need to buy an excessive number of gifts. Make an agreement with family members to limit the exchange to one gift per person.

·         Cut back on your Christmas card list — Drop folks you haven’t seen or thought about in years. Send cards only to people who are really close to you.

·         Take a vacation day — If you can manage it, take a day or two off from work so that you can relax and do your Christmas chores at a leisurely pace. If you’re a homemaker, get someone to watch your kids for an afternoon.

·         Build on your past successes — Think back on Christmases that went well and figure out what made them good — then try to recapture that. Usually it’s the family and friends around you, the good times you had — not the presents you received.

·         Don’t go crazy on the wrapping — The kids are going to tear it off in seconds anyway. So use simple paper and labels — or just labels and no wrapping at all.

·         Don’t skip meals — If you skip lunch or dinner on your way to shop, blood sugar levels will drop and make you feel even more tired and taxed. Eat a snack at your 4pm coffee break or a bowl of soup in the mall food court before you hit the stores.

·         Watch what you drink — Even mild overindulgence can give you a next-day low, adding to your feelings of being overwhelmed. Then you can make the mistake of drinking too much coffee, which can make you feel jittery and disrupt your sleep.

·         Do what feels good — Does chocolate pick you up? Have one. Such foods in small doses won’t hurt and may even help by making you feel less stressed or deprived.

·         Get enough sleep — Too many late night parties, Christmas concerts and wrapping and baking marathons will seriously deplete your ability to handle stress.

·         Read a favorite Christmas story — Find a quiet corner, a cup of cocoa and favorite blanket and curl up and read the story you most loved as a child. Try “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS ——————————– Search for the person who can recite the entire ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas poem the fastest! The world record is something like 49 seconds (although you should probably check that with the latest edition of The Guiness Book Of World Records). Extra cash if they can beat the world record!

SAPPY MOMENTS

Cosmopolitan magazine poll shows just how sentimental guys really are about holiday traditions compared to girls:

·         Decorating the tree: Him-50%, Her-50%

·         Buying the perfect present for your partner: Him-79%, Her-85%

·         Receiving a thoughtful gift: Him-79%, Her-93%

·         Taking a stroll to check out the festive lights in town: Him-60%, Her-75%

·         Singing carols on Christmas Eve: Him-17%, Her-21%

·         Attending your family’s annual holiday party: Him-66%, Her-73%

·         Kissing under the mistletoe: Him-62%, Her-54%

CRAPPY CHRISTMAS GIFT EXCHANGE

We haven’t done this in a few years, but may bring it back. Basically, people bring in their un-wanted gifts and exchange them for other gifts or station merchandise. We usually have a pretty high turn-out and some really off-the-wall gifts! Make sure to alert the news media (TV, newspaper, etc.) because there’s usually some pretty interesting people who turn out for it.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

12.17.08

 SHOW PREP DECEMBER 17, 2008

 

HOLLYWOOD 411 . . .

 

Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber have revealed more details about their newborn son, starting with his name: Samuel Kai Schreiber. Samuel – the couple’s second child after year-old son Alexander Pete Schreiber – was born Saturday and weighed 7 lbs., 13 oz, the couple’s rep tells PEOPLE. “Both mom and baby are doing great,” the rep says. (People)

 

Australian tennis champ Lleyton Hewitt and his wife, actress Bec Cartwright Hewitt, have welcomed a baby boy, named Cruz, born Dec. 11 in Sydney. “All are doing well and are very excited about the new addition to the family,” they write in the birth announcement on their Web site. This is the couple’s second child. Daughter Mia Rebecca was born in November 2005. The parents married in 2005, after having dated for eight weeks. David and Victoria Beckham also have a son named Cruz, age 3. In June, when her pregnancy was announced, Bec said of Mia, “She understands something’s happening, and she’s really excited about it … She’ll be just over 3 when the baby arrives, and we think she’ll be a good little helper.” Cruz’s birth comes as his Wimbledon and U.S. Open champ father, 27, reportedly has resumed a rigorous training schedule following hip surgery – in a bid to return to the world’s top 10 players. (People)

 

Hollywood star Brad Pitt has leapt to the defense of his new look facial hair. Brad Pitt has spoken out to defend his new moustache. “It’s fashion. Who am I without creative facial hair?” Brad told press at the LA premiere of his new film The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. “I consider it very brave.” Pitt has grown the new look for his next film, Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming war epic Inglourious Basterds. However, the star wasn’t best pleased to learn that close friend, and fellow actor, George Clooney has also recently been spotted sporting whickers. “I cannot get this guy out of my slipstream,” Brad joked. “He calls me up and wants to know what I’m wearing – and then he shows up in the same thing. Next thing you know he’s going to have six kids. Just got to tell you it’s getting really old.” (Handbag)

 

Watch out, Harvard. She’s not even three years old, but little Suri Cruise is a bona fide brainiac, boasts her proud papa. “Her vocabulary is incredible,” Tom Cruise told PEOPLE Monday night at the New York premiere of Valkyrie. Still, his favorite words are some of the most simple. “I love hearing ‘I love you, dada,’ or, ‘I love you, mama.’ ” While his wife, Katie Holmes is busy starring in Broadway’s All My Sons, the 46-year-old mega movie star is relishing playing Mr. Mom. “I just love every moment,” he gushed. “We’ve got the teenagers and I’ve got the two-and-half year old and to have that I feel lucky.” The State of His Union The actor – recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Tropic Thunder – says his two-year marriage is strong than ever. It doesn’t take a lot of effort with her,” he said, walking the red carpet solo. “Like tonight, everyone is asking, ‘Where’s Kate?’ She is hosting the family and the friends tonight.”  Cruise also admitted he’s a hopeless romantic. “I leave flowers in her dressing room all the time,” he said. “I write little love notes … wishing her well.” Growing Up Cruise In Valkyrie – his World War II thriller out Christmas Day – Cruise stars as Col. Claus von Stauffenberg and dons an eye patch over his left eye. But his youngest fan did not approve of the accessory at first. “Suri would come up to me and take it off,” he said. “So the girls in the makeup trailer got a little teddy bear with a patch on it and gave it to her and so she would play with it. That she would get used to the fact it was on me.” In fact, Suri has adapted easily to life on a movie set. “She’ll watch the monitor and talk,” Cruise explained. And if she decides to go into the family business? “I would love that,” he said. “Acting, that’s what I love. It’s a great life.” (People)

 

Kate Hudson may be “a hot ticket” in the dating world, according to her good friend, designer Stella McCartney, but the actress says she’s in no rush to jump into a relationship. “I’m actually enjoying being single right now because I really never have been,” Hudson – who’s dated Lance Armstrong and Owen Wilson – tells InStyle magazine for its December issue. “I feel good in relationships,” says the 29-year-old actress. “I enjoy them, so I feel my best when I’m in something solid. But it’s also the first time I’ve ever taken a step back and gotten a new perspective.” “So,” concludes Hudson, “I’ve made a conscious decision to try to stay single as long as possible.” McCartney, who was interviewed with Hudson for the magazine, chimes in, joking, “What’s it been – all of two weeks? Congratulations!” “Exactly,” quips Hudson, who McCartney says has “always been in demand.” There is, however, one man who will always be in her life: Ryder, her son with ex-husband Chris Robinson. The Bride Wars star says she plans to take a break next year from her busy work schedule so that she can spend more time with her son, who turns 5 next month. “When he climbs into bed with me, wraps his arms around me and says, ‘Mommy, the sun’s up! It’s a beautiful morning!’ I’m sorry, do I really want to go to work then?” she asks. “No!” (People)

 

Paris Hilton doesn’t waste her time! After her rather recent split from Benji Madden, rumors are buzzing around a new romance with Scottish hunk Gerard Butler, whom she supposedly calls “Braveheart.” The usually public Paris, however, went to great lengths to avoid being photographed alongside her new flame at LA’s Bar Deluxe on a night out. Guess she is still feeling a little bit shy. (Perez Hilton)

 

Hilary Duff says she never told Elle magazine in 2006 that she was still a virgin. “You know what? I was quoted  But Duff, 21, says that’s not the worst thing that’s been written about her. “I’ve been accused by the press of giving lap dances at clubs,” she says. “I mean, little ol’ me? It’s shocking. “People love to believe it —- it’s way more exciting to talk about than the truth! And they’re so descriptive about these lap dances,” she says. “I don’t even know how to do a lap dance!” Duff says she isn’t afraid to show her sexual side occasionally. Take her sexy new music video “Reach Me,” for instance. “I was ready to do something different,” the singer says. “The intent was not to be overtly sexual; I’m not naked. I do have little shorts on in it — but I also wear a giant tutu. It’s good to show different sides of yourself.” She says she is no longer a tween star — much to the chagrin of parents. “Mothers come up to me and say, ‘Don’t ever change; you’re such a good girl,'” she says. “I am a good girl. But how can I say I won’t ever change? That’s impossible.” At the end of the day, Duff — who is dating hockey star Mike Comrie — says, “I’m a relationship person. “Now it’s all over the Internet that I’m getting engaged to my boyfriend,” she says. “The truth is, I just like to wear rings!” (US Weekly)

 

Paul Anka wants everyone to know that he and his wife, Anna, are cool now, after a fiery dispute last month when she clocked him in the head with an ice cube and got arrested. “We have no problems. We had a little fight,” the singer told The Post. “There’s no divorce, we’re getting along, making love, we’re singing, were happily planning Christmas.” Anka, 67, got treated at a hospital after getting beaned on Nov. 28. California authorities declined to pursue charges against Anna. He says he can now laugh about it: “She has very good aim, I think.” (Page Six)

 

Katie Holmes is no snob. Even though her downtown apartment building has been deluged by paparazzi since her Broadway debut in “All My Sons,” she took time to make an appearance at the low-key Christmas party in the building’s lobby. “She was very nice, even though she always has the bodyguard with her,” said our spy. “She only stayed for about two minutes to make small talk with some of her neighbors on the way to her waiting SUV.” (Page Six)

 

Ryan Phillippe has gone Down Under for Christmas and New Year’s. He landed in Australia on Sunday with his love, Abbie Cornish, whom he met on the set of “Stop-Loss” while he was still married to Reese Witherspoon. They’ll be on Cockatoo Island for a Lloyd Klein party today before heading to Lochinvar to meet Cornish’s extended family. It’s the first time Phillippe, who spent Thanksgiving with Cornish and his children, Deacon and Ava, in the US, has been to Australia. His kids will be with Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal in LA and Tennessee. (Page Six)

 

A court document filed by Peter Falk’s daughter says the Emmy-winning actor is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Catherine Falk is seeking a court’s approval for a conservatorship of her 81-year-old father, who she claims no longer recognizes people. A hearing has been scheduled for late January. Falk is familiar to most audiences as the star of the television series “Columbo,” for which he won four Emmys. He was also nominated twice for Academy Awards for movie roles in 1959 and 1960. The petition filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court states Falk lives in Beverly Hills with his wife and recently had hip surgery and requires constant care. A phone message left for Falk’s manager was not immediately returned Tuesday. (Daily Record)

 

Rashit Yangirov, a prominent historian of the Soviet cinema whose works saved many pre-World War II emigre filmmakers from critical oblivion, has died at age 54. The scholar, who also worked for the past 14 years as a journalist for Associated Press Television News, died of cancer Sunday in Moscow, APTN colleagues said. Yangirov wrote “Slaves of the Silent,” a groundbreaking 2008 book on pioneers of Russian cinema who left their homeland after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. His research tracked the lives of emigre actors and directors who became stars or extras in Hollywood, Berlin and Paris and helped shape the prewar film industry worldwide. “His authority in the world of film critics was indisputable,” said the Library of the Russians Abroad Foundation, where Yangirov worked as senior researcher. Yangirov wrote more than 200 articles on Russian cinema, fiction and folklore. His subjects included the cinematic cult of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, emigre female authors, the persecution of dissident Soviet poets and references to silent films in works by writers such as Vladimir Nabokov and Mikhail Bulgakov.

Born 1954 in the city of Ufa, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) east of Moscow, Yangirov graduated from the history department of Moscow State University in 1977. (Daily Record)

 

 

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

 

2009 will mark the start of a new era, so it’s fitting that will.i.am will celebrate it by singing “It’s A New Day” on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve special. The Black Eyed Peas frontman is set to perform the song on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest.” Will.i.am has said the song was inspired by the victory of President Elect-Barack Obama. He will join a star-studded lineup that includes the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift and Lionel Richie. While the latter three are performing from Times Square, will.i.am will join the Pussycat Dolls, Fall Out Boy and Ne-Yo in segments from Los Angeles. (Daily Record)

 

Roger Ebert is becoming an honorary life member of the Directors Guild of America. The announcement Tuesday from the top union representing Hollywood filmmakers says Ebert is receiving the honor at the guild’s Jan. 31 awards dinner. “From the blockbuster to the tiny independent film, Roger Ebert has devoted his career to sharing his love of film with generations of moviegoers,” says guild President Michael Apted. “In doing so, he’s kept directors on their toes for more than 40 years.” The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for the Chicago Sun-Times has been host of TV’s “At the Movies” with Chicago colleagues Gene Siskel and later Richard Roeper. The 66-year-old Ebert has battled cancer and undergone surgery that has left him unable to speak but continues to write film reviews. (Daily Record)

 

Trimuphant X Factor mentor Cheryl Cole has been asked to design a range for Topshop. Cheryl Cole has been asked to design a range of clothes for Topshop the News Of The World claim. Insiders say Cheryl was approached about the project by model-turned-designer Kate Moss during her recent visit to the X Factor. “Cheryl and Kate instantly hit it off. They were both gushing about each other all night. When Cheryl said she wanted to get into high street fashion, Kate got very, very animated,” an insider claims. “It’s very likely to happen next year. Together they could make an amazingly diverse range.” Sources add that Topshop owner Sir Philip Green is now in talks with Cole over the deal. (Handbag)

 

Katy Perry may jump on the bandwagon and start a fashion line. She may also be not-so-secretly engaged to BF Travis McCoy. (Eonline)

 

It seems that in the U.K., American Idol and X Factor judge, Simon Cowell, is actually more famous than God! A recent survey showed that British kids rated the judge of mean to be more famous than God or even the Queen of England. Snubbed! This annual survey consisted of 1,600 children under the age of 10 in the town of Luton. Well, it might be safer to say then that children in Luton think Cowell is more famous that God. As for Cowell, he rose from last year’s fifth spot and took the Queen out of the top spot this year. Apparently, God came in second last year to the Queen, who is now overshadowed by Cowell.  According to the kiddies, it turns out that the “very worst things in the world” for them is “being fat.” And, when asked what they would do if they were queen or king of the world, the most popular answer what to have a “ban on divorce.” Sad, yet touching. But, Cowell being voted more popular than God, that’s just going to send his ego through the roof – more so than it already is! (Perez Hilton)

 

Legally blind New York Gov. David Paterson lambasted a “Saturday Night Live” skit for portraying him as an aimless bumbler. But those who have watched the sharp-witted Paterson over his two decades in public service know how he might have deadpanned in the past: I didn’t see it. The skit that aired Saturday featured “SNL” cast member Fred Armisen as Paterson, who must appoint someone to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Armisen said he has three criteria for filling the job: economic experience, upstate influence and someone who is disabled and unprepared for the job – like himself. He held up a chart illustrating the state’s job losses upside down. “I don’t mind that they make fun of me, but I thought it was important of me to stand up for people who don’t have a voice and don’t have a job,” Paterson said. Marc Liepis, a spokesman for NBC, which broadcasts “Saturday Night Live,” said the network would not comment. Paterson has used self-deprecating humor for years, riffing on his own blindness regularly, even on national television. The patter has only increased praise from advocates for the disabled black man who worked his way through Albany’s stodgy Senate to be elected lieutenant governor and in March take over as governor. Some of Paterson’s greatest hits:  (Daily Record)

- At his inauguration after taking over for Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned amid a sex scandal, Paterson joked that he was brought in early the first time he spoke in the Assembly Hall to get used to the massive podium “so I didn’t break anything.”

- In a September appearance on “The Colbert Report,” he was asked whether he would waive host Stephen Colbert’s traffic tickets and replied: “I don’t see traffic.”

- When running for lieutenant governor with Spitzer in 2006, he described Spitzer as the idea guy and himself as the legislative technician, “because I sure don’t have the vision.”

Lee Miringoff, director of The Marist Poll, which regularly gauges public reaction to politicians, said the reaction to the SNL skit seemed out of character for Paterson and potentially unwise for any politician.

“I can’t recall the last time a politician has reacted negatively to being lampooned on ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Miringoff said. “It humanizes them. At least your name is on the marquee.”

Paterson lost sight in his left eye and much of his right after an infection as an infant. He can see shapes and usually recognizes people as they approach, but he can read for only a few minutes at a time and must hold text close to his face.

Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, said the portrayal suggesting Paterson was befuddled and disoriented because of his blindness is “absolutely wrong.”

 

Having played one of the “60 Minutes” producers who helped bust Big Tobacco in “The Insider,” Debi Mazar was red-faced this week after the film’s real-life hero dressed her down for lighting up. During a live interview on BlogTalkRadio, host Olivia Wilder asked Mazar, “Are you a smoker?” “I don’t have to answer that question. It’s irrelevant,” the actress replied. In the next breath, she admitted, “I smoke from time to time, but I got the facts and I don’t smoke in front of my children.” Jeffrey Wigand – the fired Brown & Williamson honcho who blew the whistle on the company for ignoring evidence that cigarettes cause cancer – was listening and called in. “You still smoking?” Wigand (who was played by Russell Crowe in the flick) asked Mazar. “I’m having a little bit here and there, yes. Is this a smoking intervention?” she said, adding, “I’ve had two kids. After the breast milk dries up, if [cigarettes] are sitting around, it’s very tempting.” (Page Six)

 

The late Heath Ledger may be up for a Golden Globe Award and rumored to be in the running for an Oscar but his ex-fiancée Michelle Williams has denied that she will be the one accepting awards on the actor’s behalf. The actress’ publicist said: “No discussions have been made for Michelle to accept nor are there any plans to take part.” Heath’s father, Kim Ledger, is also thought to be in line to accept any awards on his son’s behalf. (British Glamour)

 

He’d be many a Democrat’s dream candidate, but Tim McGraw says talk of his running for governor of Tennessee in 2010 is, for now, pure fantasy. “There’s no truth to this,” McGraw’s rep tells PEOPLE of the rumors – sparked by an item in The New Republic – that McGraw was considering a run for the gubernatorial seat. “It’s something he is interested in, but not for 2010. Later in life.” In an interview with PEOPLE earlier this year, McGraw, a Democrat who supported Barack Obama in the presidential race, admitted that politics was in his blood and could be in his future. “I grew up in Louisiana and politics is kind of a contact sport and you grow up knowing about it,” he told PEOPLE. “I’ve always been fascinated by what can be done in the public arena. And if the time comes where there’s something available and I think I can do some positive things, I’ll be glad to do it. I wouldn’t want to do it just to say I did it.” But, he added with a laugh, “I think I gotta get a lot smarter between now and then!” (People)

 

Mott’s Applesauce is tapping Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross as the face of their new marketing campaign. The brand – which has been around since 1842 – is receiving a glamorous makeover from its Dr Pepper Snapple Group owners, touting a seductive “A secret like Mott’s is worth sharing.” That secret being that one cup of Mott’s applesauce provides one whole serving of fruit, and that an 8-ounce glass of apple juice provides 2 full servings. Combined, that’s almost all of your recommended daily intake! Which is exactly why it’s the foundation for the brand’s new catchphrase. “Moms didn’t know that about the brand and were interested in hearing about it,” said Mott’s director of marketing, Allison Methvin. And who better to appeal to coddling mothers than one of the mommiest of celebrity moms?: Marcia Cross, mother of twins, “who is balancing her work and her life without surrounding herself with five nannies,” as Hans Dorsinville, Laird evp, put it. Laird+Partners, Los Angeles is shooting the print ads. Expect to see the print and online ads starting in March! (Perez Hilton)

 

Demi Lovato may be super close to the Jonas Brothers, but the Camp Rock star wants to make one thing clear: It’s a platonic friendship. “I’ve never kissed a Jonas brother, period,” Lovato, 16, tells Seventeen‘s prom/winter special issue. “That would be kind of weird. Even in Camp Rock, Joe and I never kissed.” “We’re all friends,” she says. “But they’re not the type of guys that I’d be into dating – or else I’d be dating one!” Lovato opened for the brothers on their Burning Up tour, and says that being around them all the time created a sense of family. Each Brother is Different “They’ve become like brothers to me,” she says. “I even put on my glasses and wear sweatpants around them because you wouldn’t put makeup on for just your brothers.” Lovato reveals she has different relationships with each one. She says Nick, 16, loves to talk about conspiracy theories with the actress. But she feels closest to Joe, 19. “I can definitely call Joe a best friend,” she says. “On one of the first nights of filming Camp Rock, we sat there and spilled everything, and I talked about how I was bullied in school when I was younger. It was emotional, but it brought us close. I’m able to go to all of them with my problems.” Shares Secrets with Selena Lovato, who will soon star on Disney Channel’s Sonny with a Chance, also raves another celebrity BFF: fellow Disney star Selena Gomez, 16. “I can totally go to her with any problem and she will not judge me, no matter what,” Lovato says. “I can trust her with anything, and she can trust me. We’ll definitely take each others’ secrets to the grave. Despite their successes this year, Lovato says one reason the two remain close is that they enjoy hanging out with each other – away from the red carpet. “I’ll meet other actors who are like, ‘Let’s go to a party,'” she says. “But Selena and I would rather rent a horror movie and just eat pickles. That’s our ideal sleepover. … It’s just crazy to realize that Selena and I have known each other almost our entire lives.” (People)

 

Even Queen Elizabeth is feeling the pinch. She’s begun scaling back on expenses and has even taken to almost plebian measures. According to British news outlets, she told staffers to turn off the lights in vacant rooms of Buckingham Palace and reuse leftovers from banquets. During October’s state visit to Slovakia and Slovenia, the queen had dressmakers use fabric she received 20 years ago. Even more dire, she’s asked family members, including spendthrift Princes Harry and William, to follow suit. Could all those nights out in Chelsea clubs be coming to an end? (Page Six)

 

Someone forgot to tell Kathie Lee Gifford and her “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb that it was a cash bar at the premiere of “Shrek: The Musical” [Review Here.] The free booze came later at the Plaza Hotel party. At intermission, Hoda left the bar at the Broadway Theatre with two glasses of champagne. When the bartender asked her to pay up, a member of her entourage shouted, “But she’s a celebrity!” Hoda went back and paid the $16. The audience loved the show’s pop-culture references. Christopher Sieber, who plays Napoleonic Lord Farquaad on his knees, noted in his bio that he’s never been on “Law & Order.” When Sieber made his entrance on horseback, he bellowed, “Whoa, Katzenberg,” to the delight of the crowd, which included DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Also on hand: Ben Stiller and wife Christine Taylor, America Ferrera, Phylicia Rashad and Mario Cantone. (Page Six)

 

The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, one of the Mumbai massacre sites, is reopening on Sunday, just weeks after terrorists stormed the city and murdered more than 130 innocents. Hotel Managing Director Raymond Bickson said, “We dedicate our reopening to the city of Mumbai as affirmation of the values of courage, resilience and dignity . . . to commemorate all the innocent and brave people who lost their lives during the recent attacks. In their honor, the Taj will shine again in all its brilliance.” (Page Six)

 

There’s a drag queen in the White House … via everyone’s favorite female impersonator RuPaul. The 48-year-old drag diva posed as both Barack and Michelle Obama as part of a holiday promotion for her new drag queen competition TV series “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” That’s what you call change, people! (TMZ)

 

Pete Wentz might want to get a paternity test — his baby looks a lot like John Mayer. All the magazines reportedly passed on the Bronx Mowgli Wentz baby pics — and we were given a real treat when an unsteady Pete decided to show us a photo on his cell phone last night outside Virgin Megastore in NYC. (TMZ)

 

Documents show Dennis Quaid and his wife have agreed to a $750,000 settlement with a hospital that gave his newborn twins an overdose of blood thinner. A petition filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday shows the Quaids and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have agreed on the parents’ damages, but can still pursue claims for their children. The documents state Cedars-Sinai is not admitting wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Documents show the Quaids sued drug maker Baxter Healthcare Corp. in Illinois over the drug’s packaging, but that case has been dismissed. The petition filed Monday indicates Baxter may also sue Cedars-Sinai, which administered too much Heparin to several patients in November 2007, including the Quaids’ twins. (Daily Record)

 

A man banged up in Brandy’s fatal 2006 car crash is now suing the singer for allegedly causing the wreck — and suing the lady who died for allegedly contributing to the chain reaction collision. Donald Lite is going after Brandy and Awatef Aboudihaj — the married mother of two killed in the accident — claiming their disregard for road rules caused the multi-car pileup that left him with extreme physical damage. In the suit, filed last week in L.A. County Superior Court, Lite says their failure to keep a safe distance, mixed with their inability to travel at a safe speed, caused Brandy to rear-end Awatef, which sent Awatef’s car smashing into his. Lite says he’s suffered “serious and permanent injuries” that racked up a lot of hospital bills — and is suing for an undetermined amount. (TMZ)

 

The Italian ex-boyfriend of actress Anne Hathaway has agreed he owes more than $3.6 million to those he ripped off in a real-estate scam. Federal prosecutors said in New York court papers Monday that Raffaello Follieri has agreed to pay restitution of $2 million to Toronto-based Dundee Realty Corp. They say he has agreed to pay $813,000 to Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund and $40,000 to an Atlantic City monsignor. Follieri is serving 4 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to cheating investors. Prosecutors say he falsely claimed Vatican connections would let him buy church property cheap. Follieri’s lawyer did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. (Daily Record)

 

 

MUSIC . . .

 

The group Mannish Boys leads all nominees for the upcoming Blues Music Awards in Memphis with six nominations, including album and band of the year. The Blues Foundation announced the nominations Tuesday. Tied with four each: Elvin Bishop, Eden Brent, Janiva Magness, Curtis Salgado and Watermelon Slim. Buddy Guy is nominated for three awards and B.B. King for two. The awards show will be held May 7 at the Cook Convention Center. For a complete list of nominees, check out the Blues Foundation’s Web site at http://www.blues.org . (Daily Record)

 

When the holidays draw near, the first songs Aretha Franklin starts playing from her yuletide collection are “This Christmas” and “Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas (Without the One You Love).” “Those are favorites in the Franklin households,” the Queen of Soul says. These days, she’s putting her own stamp on her holiday favorites with the first Christmas CD of her legendary career, “This Christmas.” Franklin says she would have put out one decades earlier, but the powers-that-be at her old labels weren’t interested. Now that she’s a free agent, she teamed with Borders Group to release the CD – which features her trademark soulful approach to traditional Christmas classics – exclusively at Borders and Waldenbooks stores and Borders’ Web site. (Daily Record)

 

If you’re wondering how Pete Wentz feels about becoming a dad or looking for insight into his recent marriage to Ashlee Simpson, don’t expect to find any details by listening to Fall Out Boy’s new CD, “Folie A Deux.” Even though the bassist is the chief lyricist and the band’s tabloid-centric spokesman, for “Folie A Deux,” Wentz shifted the focus away from himself and turned it outward onto the world. Lead singer Patrick Stump calls “Folie A Deux” the band’s “statement record.” “(It’s) dissecting how self-motivated our culture is,” Stump said in a recent interview. “Pete on this record wrote from a very different perspective than he did on previous records.” “Folie A Deux,” French for “shared madness of two,” was released on Tuesday. It’s the third major-label CD for the emo-rockers, who became a multiplatinum success story with the release of their 2005 album, “From Under the Cork Tree,” which included the top single “Sugar, We’re Goin Down.” While Stump’s melodious falsetto anchors the band’s sound, it’s Wentz who provides the band’s emotional content (the group’s other members are guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley). In the past, Wentz has worn his heart on the Fall Out Boy’s lyrical sleeve, with songs about relationship dramas and painful splits. Over the past two years, Wentz has become a sought-after star thanks to his high-profile union with Simpson, their new baby (Bronx Mowgli), his turn as TV host on MTV’s “FNMTV” and his endless blog postings (Stump has had successful collaborations with the likes of bands like Gym Class Heroes – on Wentz’s record label – but has preferred to stay out of the limelight). But as Wentz’s reaches a new high in name recognition, musically, he decided to stop writing as much from a personal standpoint. “This record is not the standard autobiographical thing like when we first started,” says Stump, sitting with his bandmates as they prepared to tape a concert special for Fuse TV. “Autobiography loses its luster when everyone is doing it.” “Sometimes I’ve gone into a big dark cave and that’s no fun,” adds Wentz, looking a bit fatigued. “Folie A Deux” is the group’s second album in two years. While the band has become used to topping the charts, they insist their main goal is simply creating good music. But at the same time, they don’t want to overthink it. “A lot of bands sit on their hands and think, ‘We need to make the perfect record,'” Wentz says. “(They should be) taking a snapshot of the moment you’re (in) at the time.” “The Jonas Brothers can’t have all the shine,” he jokes. The band purposely cut short the amount of time set aside for recording the album. Stump said that was going back to the days when they were a young, broke band who had to finish an album before the money ran out. “There was something really interesting about that creative process when we were starting out,” says Stump. “The more time you have, the more potential you have for excess.” (Daily Record)

 

The Britney Spears comeback express shows no signs of slowing down. The singer recently took her three-ring Circus on the road to Japan, where she performed her now familiar routine on Hey! Hey! Hey!.  “I love Japan!” she said in a message posted on her Web site. “I think all the tiny cars are so cute!” The singer, 27, also made time to play tourist, sampling local delicacies at an authentic Japanese restaurant with her dad Jamie and manager Larry Rudolph. (Spears posted a video of their culinary adventures.) She also visited the country’s oldest Buddhist temple, gushing, “It was so beautiful.” (People)

 

Madonna has been asked to join Britney Spears on her upcoming world tour. Britney Spears has asked Madonna to guest star on her upcoming world tour, choreopgrapher Wade Robson has told the Metro. “There’s been talk of Madonna making an appearance and there’s so many places we could take that,” Wade explained. “At this point the main issue is timing.” Britney joined Madonna on stage in November for the Los Angeles leg of her ‘Sticky & Sweet’ tour. (Handbag)

 

Nicole Richie has denied that she’s following in the footsteps of friend Paris Hilton and working on a new album. The Simple Life star said that she’s not seeking advice from Rihanna or Kelly Osbourne, as a recent report suggested. “That’s not true. Although I think that Rihanna and Kelly Osbourne are very talented, that’s completely false,” Richie said. But, despite the denial, the socialite admits that she hasn’t ruled out music completely. “I do eventually [want to record an album], but right now I have a lot on my plate,” she says. “I’ve really been working hard – going on auditions for acting, doing design for my line, and being a mom – so that pretty much takes up my days.” (British Glamour)

 

Actors try to be musicians all the time. Most fail miserably. Hear that Joaquin Phoenix???? Jason Schwartzman, however, is one of those rare ones that actually manages to make good music. We can’t rave enough about his Coconut Records side project and Nighttiming CD. Well, now, Jason’s back with a new song, just as good, and he’s giving it away for free! Merry Xmas! Feliz Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Listen to Microphone below. And then CLICK HERE to download it for free today. (Perez Hilton)

 

For someone who has teased a new album for more than seven years, Dr. Dre sure hasn’t released many verses to tide his fans over. The Doc’s bars have been sparse, popping up on Timbaland‘s on “Bounce” for 2007’s Shock Value and on Snoop‘s “Imagine” for The Blue Carpet Treatment in 2006. A couple of weeks ago, DJs Big Mike and Neptune leaked an unfinished track called “Crack a Bottle,” on which we heard Eminem referring to rhymes by Dr. Dre. But on Monday night, somebody got their paws on more new Doc music, and on this one, the hip-hop icon actually raps. Dre appears on the remix of Kardinal Offishall‘s “Set It Off,” featuring the Clipse, which premiered on DJ Skee’s syndicated radio show on Monday. Skee said Dre recorded his rhymes for the song several months ago. After Interscope head Jimmy Iovine sent B-roll from the song’s video, Dre couldn’t contain his excitement, according to Skee, and he decided to lay down his own bars on the song. The new version of “Set It Off” was all set to be released, but the plans were derailed when Dre’s Detox LP got pushed back to 2009. According to another source, Monday’s leak was not supposed to happen. On the song, Dre boasts that getting the short end of the stick, in any circumstance, is not an option for him. “I’m about to set it off,” the legendary music man warns. “Think I’mma lose? Then bet it all.” Later, he speaks of his comeback and shoots down rumors that he was retiring. “I heard a lot of ni–as quittin’, but I ain’t done,” Dre insists. “Ring the alarm/ I make it hotter than hell (hell, yeah!) … / You clowns know who the crown belong to/ And I can set it off, if you want me to.” “Set It Off” is a single off of Offishall’s latest LP, Not 4 Sale, which came out on September 9 via Akon’s Konvict Music imprint. Offishall declined to comment for this story. According to Eminem and Interscope records, Dre’s Detox is slated to be released sometime next year, after the release of 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct and Slim Shady’s Relapse. (MTV)

 

The National is “pretty far into the process of writing” its next album, which the band will record starting in April in group member Aaron Dessner’s new home studio in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood. The new album will be the follow-up to 2007’s “Boxer” (Beggars Banquet), which has sold a career-best 147,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The National is unlikely to return to the road until summer 2009, but will hit the stage Feb. 3 for the annual Tibet House benefit at New York’s Carnegie Hall, alongside Philip Glass, Patti Smith and Vampire Weekend. As previously reported, Aaron and his brother Bryce curated the upcoming AIDS benefit album “Dark Was the Night,” due Feb. 17 from Beggars. The star-studded project boasts exclusive songs from Yo La Tengo, My Morning Jacket, Spoon, Bon Iver and Iron & Wine, among many others. In the meantime, the Dessners have been collaborating on an instrumental project “focused on taking the way we play together and developing arrangements,” Aaron Dessner tells Billboard.com. “We did a few performances over the summer while we were on tour, like at festivals in France and Italy,” Dessner says. “We performed at the White Cube Gallery in London while David Shepherd was manipulating the sound. It was really fun and inspiring.” The siblings will play again with Shepherd next month during an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and will also perform at the Bryce Dessner-organized Music Now Festival in Cincinnati. “We’re gearing up for possibly a really big performance together next fall, and then maybe to make a record,” Dessner says. “This feeds our brains and lets us push ourselves. Either that, or it’s incessant noodling.” At the outset, the duo was informally named Big Red Machine in a nod to the Dessners’ Cincinnati hometown, but the brothers are now just going by their own names. “We think the Reds would get pissed off,” Dessner says with a laugh. “They have the trademark.” (Billboard)

 

After an eight-year hiatus, New York band Boss Hog swung into action for a show last week at the All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Nightmare Before Christmas festival in Somerset, England, and another at New York’s Bowery Ballroom tomorrow (Dec. 17). But don’t call it a comeback quite yet. “We’re waiting until we’ve played all the shows, and then we’re going to sit down as a band and discuss the future,” frontwoman Christina Martinez tells Billboard.com. “I will say, the week we had in Europe was great, and we got a fantastic reception. But we’re also without a label deal, and it’s a weird climate right now. So, we’ll see.” Martinez, husband Jon Spencer, bassist Jens Jurgensen and drummer Hollis Queens have pursued a host of projects since Boss Hog deactivated. Martinez devoted herself to being a full-time parent, and Spencer has released albums with Blues Explosion and Heavy Trash. Queens and Jurgensen were part of a band called Lo-Hi. (Billboard)

 

For all of you who were wishing the interview-circuit-shy Axl Rose had more to say about the long-awaited debut of Chinese Democracy and why he’s still recording under the Guns N’ Roses name now that he’s the only one remaining from the band’s heyday… Be careful what you wish for. In response to fans’ questions posted on the band’s website, the Guns N’ Roses frontman unloaded over the weekend in a 4,584-word (including emoticons!) open letter addressing everything from the current state of GNR to what happened with Slash to David Bowie’s Pink Floyd preferences. (Apparently Bowie digs the Syd Barrett years.)  Saying he couldn’t divulge his secrets sooner because he “could have jeopardized whatever nonsense was going on,” Rose starts off by calling rumors that he was too unstable to take the stage during the band’s dry spell “all made up, fallacy and fantasy.”  “Had that been the case I would’ve have been cremated years ago legally, [my old bandmates] could’ve cleaned me out for the name and damages.”  Rose also says that Slash was “on the up and up” as far as handing over the GNR name to Rose and never meant to paint his fellow “November Rain” maker as the bad guy. Not at first, anyway.  “But when the reality of the breakup hit and the strategy to have me crawl back was put into play, Slash had to save face and get business team and public support. Painting me as the one who held a crowd hostage forcing the others to sign over the name worked out pretty well in that regard. I’m the bad guy and Duff, the fans and most importantly himself were the victims…  “Media and others ignorantly, wrongly and falsely harped on about it at mine and the fans expense for years and Slash has hoped to use all that to continually sue and have some sort of legal nonsense going on behind the scenes in an effort to reverse things,” Rose writes. “He wouldn’t have been able to get the support and action on the part of his various team members over the years to do so if the truth were out there, especially when the statute of limitations had run out years ago.”  As far as keeping the name of what was once a four-man partnership goes: “Why keep the name? I’m literally the last man standing. Not bragging, not proud. It’s been a f–king nightmare, but I didn’t leave Guns and I didn’t drive others out.” He calls the years-in-the-making Chinese Democracy “a Guns record [made] with the right people who were the only people who really wanted to help [him] try, were qualified and capable while enduring the public abuse for years.” And we know to what extent some fans just couldn’t wait for the finished product. Kevin Cogill, who admittedly leaked pirated Chinese Democracy tracks online before the album dropped, formally pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of violating federal copyright law. Cogill is facing a maximum of one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and five years’ probation. But while he obviously didn’t care with whom Rose was making music, so long as he was making music, Rose felt the need to further explain GNR’s evolution over the last decade. “I don’t see myself as solely Guns, but I do see myself as the only one from the past making the effort to take it forward whether anyone approves or not and giving beyond what many would or fight for to do so…I don’t feel any reason whatsoever I should have to throw what I’ve not only worked for but fought and suffered for away because some hurt, angry, betrayed, misguided and lied to people with a lynch mob mentality, joined by others who could care less (especially in the media), enjoying the controversy and hate, choose one over the other regardless of what’s right because they want what they want. “As to what would possibly make me change the name would be some form of evolving that I don’t feel we’ve reached yet and not in any way consciously trying to at this time. It’s really hard to say. I’d have to feel it was right for me and those involved and whatever we’re doing at that time.” Besides, he adds, Universal Music Group wanted the GNR name, figuring that was what would sell albums. “I wasn’t legally obligated, but we probably would have gotten dropped and I would have been driven into bankruptcy,” he writes. “I think it varies and happy Christmas to u and everyone.” That wasn’t the end of his letter, but it seemed to us like a good place to stop. (Launch)

 

 

MOVIE . . .

 

“Twilight” fans have a short wait for the next installment of the vampire saga. Summit Entertainment spokesman Paul Pflug says “New Moon” is following just 12 months after the first movie, opening Nov. 20, 2009, over the same weekend as “Twilight” this year. Summit has tapped Chris Weitz (“The Golden Compass”) to direct “New Moon,” based on the second book in Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling series about the dangerous romance between a teen (Kristen Stewart) and a vampire (Robert Pattinson) fighting his bloodsucking instincts. Weitz is taking over the franchise from “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke. “Twilight” has shot to $150 million at the box office since debuting Nov. 21. (Daily Record)

 

Fans of “The Terminator” can now own a piece of the movie franchise – if they fly to Dubai. Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson of the Halcyon Co. are jetting there with Goldie Hawn, Salma Hayek and Laura Linney to at tend the AmFar gala at the Atlantis hotel later this month. The producers will auction off a package that includes the Suzuki prototype motor bike used in the upcoming “Terminator Salvation” and two tickets to its Labor Day world premiere. (Page Six)

 

Jennifer Lopez has signed on to star in Plan B, a new fertility-themed romantic comedy. Lopez will play a single woman who “turns to artificial insemination to answer her ticking biological clock only to meet the man of her dreams on the same day as her positive pregnancy test results,” Variety reports. Shooting begins in April or May. Lopez knows a thing or two about babies: She welcomed twins Max and Emme in February. “Max is like Marc [Anthony, her husband]. He’s got Marc’s lungs, and he screams and he’s strong, very boy,” she recently told Entertainment Tonight. “Emme’s very delicate and quiet, but you can’t mess with her!” Overall, the twin babies “are so great! They’re getting so big. They’re sitting up and have little teeth coming out.” (US Weekly)

 

As the reunited Cheech & Chong’s stand-up tour Light Up America fires out nationwide, Big Vision Entertainment said it will produce an animated film featuring the duo with Chambers Bros. Entertainment. The two companies have acquired animated film rights to the classic Cheech and Chong library held by music producer and Ode Records owner Lou Adler and will use those famous comedy bits to inspire “Cheech and Chong’s Smokin’ Animated Movie.” Big Vision founder and CEO Houston Curtis will produce along with Keith, Branden and Eric Chambers, who devised the concept. Adler, who discovered the duo in the early 1970s, will executive produce. Eric and Branden Chambers will direct the animation. The ICM-repped Big Vision, which focuses on direct-to-DVD special-interest material, will finance the project. In the ’70s and ’80s, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong released several top-selling comedy albums and starred in six films, including “Up in Smoke” and “Still Smokin’.” “It’s great to be doing a movie where Cheech and I never have to get out of bed or be on camera,” Chong said. “It’s about time that we got animated because we’ve been doing animation without the animation for years,” Marin said. “Whether you watch it smokin’ a fattie or stone-cold sober, it’s just plain funny.” (Billboard)

 

Universal Pictures International can finally boast that Phyllida Lloyd’s “Mamma Mia!” is the highest-grossing movie ever released in the U.K., sailing past the previous record holder, “Titanic.” Lloyd’s romantic musical comedy finally sank the 10-year grip “Titanic” has had on the record with her film singing its way to 69.1 million pounds ($105.8 mil million), while the James Cameron drama sailed away with 69 million pounds in 1998. “Mamma Mia!” broke the longstanding record just days after the film picked up two Golden Globe nominations for best picture (musical or comedy) and best actress (musical or comedy) for star Meryl Streep. UPI president David Kosse described the success of “Mia” as “truly phenomenal.” “This boxoffice record is a tribute to producer Judy Craymer, director Phyllida Lloyd and our brilliant cast who worked so hard on this film,” Kosse said. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

U.K. indie film distributor Dogwoof has formed a strategic partnership with New York-based Internet distribution banner IndiePix to “widen the reach of independent film” here and across the pond. The alliance, which has no contractual time constraints, will enable IndiePix to extend its movie distribution ambitions across the U.K. and enable Dogwoof to distribute its titles in the U.S. The partnership also provides opportunities for each player to extend its industry and consumer links. Financial details will be worked out on a film-by-film basis, the parties said. Dogwoof will promote IndiePix’s leading titles across the U.K. across platforms including theatrical screenings, DVD sales, TV contracts and online distribution. The documentary “End of America,” based on Naomi Wolf’s book, will be the first IndiePix title to go live in the U.K. through Dogwoof, the companies said Tuesday. It will be launched in January in the U.K. after its release in the U.S. Through the deal, Dogwoof also gains more market muscle and will look to acquire broader rights and “step up its offers for U.K. titles.” “Dogwoof has great taste and judgment in the films they are offering, and it is clear that we are simply kindred spirits in our approaches to independent film,” IndiePix Studios head Ryan Harrington said. Dogwoof CEO Andy Whittaker said: “With a competitive cost structure, a growing audience, as well as greater connectivity to digital content, this partnership will help us to continue developing a strong offering for both filmmakers and consumers alike.” IndiePix president Bob Alexander said his company’s latest move is part of a plan to form strategic link ups to build opportunities for indie film distribution. The company has struck deals with iTunes and with Snag Films for movie streaming. “This latest agreement with Dogwoof will really springboard both companies into new and target geographies and continue extending our mutual commitment to widening the reach for independent films,” Alexander said. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

A Nazi-filled Christmas is not an easy sell. That’s just one of the challenges Tom Cruise faces with his new World War II thriller “Valkyrie,” which opens Dec. 25. In the film, which portrays the seldom-recalled German resistance to Adolf Hitler, Cruise plays would-be Hitler assassin Col. Claus von Stauffenberg. It’s a risky film to make and not just because of the sensitive subject matter. Cruise has been trying to rehabilitate his image – and few PR experts regularly advise donning a German army uniform to engender warm feelings. On the other hand, “Valkyrie” is also a serious, suspenseful film. Can it help put Cruise back on top? In a recent interview, Cruise and director Bryan Singer downplayed the bad pre-release buzz for “Valkyrie.” The film’s release date repeatedly changed. Early ads showing the similar appearance of an eye-patched Cruise and Stauffenberg were mocked online. At one point, German Defense Ministry officials said the production couldn’t shoot at Berlin’s Benderblock memorial to the Nazi resistance because of Cruise’s beliefs in Scientology – which isn’t recognized as a religion in Germany. (The statements were quickly recanted and shooting went forward.) Cruise, 46, is familiar with uncontrollable spirals of bad publicity – and not just in the last few tumultuous years. He has long been dogged by rumors about his personal life and has been through productions (like 1988’s “Rain Man,” he points out) that seemed doomed before they were released. “It’s nice to be able to have people talk about the film, as opposed to us reading about the film,” Cruise said. “It is what it is. And I understand it. I do understand it.” His recent bout of bad publicity started with that fateful appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s show in 2005. Then there was the awkward interview with “Today” show host Matt Lauer. The following year, Paramount Pictures severed its 14-year relationship with him. “As I’ve said, I want an adventurous life,” said Cruise. “And yet I’ve gotten a little bit more adventure than I bargained for.” A rebound is fully in the works. Cruise revisited Winfrey – the scene of the sofa – earlier this year. On Monday, he publicly patched things up with Lauer. He started his own Web site, too. And last week, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his hilarious performance in Ben Stiller’s raunchy summer comedy “Tropic Thunder,” in which he plays a dirty-dancing, foul-mouthed studio head. With producer Paula Wagner, Cruise reformed the United Artists film studio as a boutique label for MGM. Their first film for UA, last year’s “Lions for Lambs,” was a critical and box-office failure and Wagner exited as chief executive officer in August. The more expensive “Valkyrie” – reportedly made for $90 million, though Singer said $75 million is more accurate – is a considerable gamble for both UA and Cruise. He jokes at the predicament: “Go kill Hitler on Christmas!” There were many plots to assassinate Hitler, but the one involving Stauffenberg and many other high-ranking German officers is well-known in Germany. On July 20, 1944 (six weeks after D-Day), Stauffenberg conspired to kill Hitler with a bomb and install a change-of-power scheme called Operation Valkyrie. The plot failed (Hitler would kill himself in April 1945) and about 200 were executed for their involvement. The film was written by Christopher McQuarrie and his writing partner Nathan Alexander. McQuarrie’s last collaboration with Singer was the widely admired “The Usual Suspects” (1994). After bringing “Valkyrie” to Singer, the two expected to make a “small” film for less than $20 million. “I love it when he says that,” jokes Cruise. “I laugh at him. All you have to do is read the script. It has the planes, it’s in Berlin. How is this ever a small film?” Now embracing his instinct for big movies, Singer (who also helmed “X-Men,” “X2″ and “Superman Returns”) said, “You sell the small film and then you go: `We could have cardboard or we could have the metal. I’m just saying.’ It is a bit of a shell game.” McQuarrie is quick to acknowledge he never expected the film to get made, but believes the result is a “delightfully odd movie” in the tradition of taut World War II thrillers like “The Great Escape,” “The Devil’s Brigade” and “Where Eagles Dare.” Said Singer: “We always knew that it was a thriller, we always knew that it was for the mainstream. It was not something we were gunning for awards.” Early reviews for “Valkyrie” have been mixed. Variety said its commercial prospects are “so-so.” The Hollywood Reporter called it “a fine film” that “should enjoy modest success, but if Cruise’s career is seen as momentarily stalled, `Valkyrie’ is not the electric jolt he’s looking for as a jump-start.” Cruise’s Stauffenberg is, like many of the actor’s roles, an embodiment of determination. With a similar steadfastness to Ethan Hunt of the “Mission: Impossible” movies, the striving agent in “Jerry Maguire” or the more demented determination of Vincent in “Collateral,” Cruise’s Stauffenberg is resolute. “I think there is that part of me, there is that spirit of wanting to engage in life,” said Cruise. “Here’s a guy who worked under tremendous amounts of pressure, and still could be absolutely clear and lucid about his choices and try to push this and drive this forward.” Watching Cruise promote “Valkyrie,” it’s easy to see a similar indomitable pluck. On his way to a photo shoot, he rapidly changes his shirt, bare chested (and notably muscular) for a flash. Between interviews, he cheerfully autographs a movie poster for a pilot, being sure to sign it “Maverick,” alluding to his “Top Gun” character. He speaks passionately about “Valkyrie,” repeatedly explaining his interest, above all, in entertaining people and “telling stories.” “I’m a father,” said Cruise, who’s married to Katie Holmes and has three children. “You have to choose the things you want to focus on. I make movies.” Cruise won’t say if that means removing himself further from his mogul duties at UA, but he does state that he’d like to be making three films a year. (At the moment, he doesn’t have anything immediately lined up but is developing several projects.) As ever, Cruise tries to remain doggedly forward-looking. “I’m an actor first and foremost,” he said. “I have the freedom to do what I want to do.” (Daily Record)

 

Anti-Scientology group Anonymous hoped to protest the Dec. 15 New York City premiere of “Valkyrie,”  starring noted Scientologist Tom Cruise, but wasn’t so successful. For starters, just hours before the premiere, group organizers realized that the event’s location was at Jazz at Lincoln Center, which is actually located at the Time Warner Center and not in Lincoln Center itself as they’d thought. The difference of a few blocks meant a difference in police precinct jurisdictions, which in turn meant that they had to scramble to get a permit from the police to allow their protest (in the end, they did get their permit). One source close to the premiere planning says that the choice to hold it at Jazz at Lincoln Center was made in part because it would be more difficult to protest — the location doesn’t allow for a big outdoor red carpet. “Anonymous picketed outside (Cruise’s wife) Katie’s ‘All My Sons’ premiere and ruined photos by being in the background. They didn’t want the same thing,” says the source. The flip side: “Tom loves being with his fans, signing autographs. It’s really where he shines. He and the fans lose out this way.” The net result: Anonymous, along with a German camera crew that followed the group to the protest and plans to air their footage in a documentary in early 2009, gathered at the premiere “but Tom never came out to talk to us,” according to one protester. “That said, I think we stood around, and were able to get our message out about Scientology peacefully.” (Scoop)

 

 

TV . . .

 

Fox TV says Halle Berry and actor-screenwriter Tyler Perry will host the 40th NAACP Image Awards in February. Nominations for the Image Awards, which honor those who promote diversity in the arts, will be announced Jan. 7. The Feb. 12 ceremony, airing on Fox, will kick off a yearlong centennial celebration for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Berry, an Academy Award-winner for “Monster’s Ball,” and Perry, whose credits include the film “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” are former Image Award winners. Awards chair Clayola Brown said in a statement Tuesday that the two have broken entertainment-industry barriers and their success offers hope for further progress. (Daily Record)

 

Jack Black is headed to “The Office,” guest-starring in an episode slated to air during a ratings-rich time slot: after the Super Bowl. The Feb. 1 episode of the sitcom, titled “Stress Relief,” will follow the office drones as they try to secretly watch a bootlegged Hollywood movie at work. The network did not say how Black will factor into the story line. Black recently starred in “Tropic Thunder.” His other film credits include “King Kong,” “High Fidelity” and the voice of the main character in the animated “Kung Fu Panda.” (Daily Record)

 

Four hours in the morning apparently isn’t enough. NBC’s “Today” show is going prime-time, for one night only. Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann Curry will host a one-hour review on Dec. 22 of the year’s biggest news events. It won’t be strictly serious; the show will include big moments in pop culture and “Today” show bloopers. It’s the first time they’ve tried something like this in more than a decade. With its prime-time schedule suffering, NBC is reaching toward its more successful areas for programming. Late-night king Jay Leno is moving to prime-time next fall. (Daily Record)

 

The Fox network is making a musical comedy, a somewhat unusual project for prime-time television. Fox said Tuesday it had ordered 13 episodes of “Glee,” a scripted series about a high school teacher trying to transform a glee club into a national power. The characters include a diva-in-training, a nerdy soprano and a quarterback who tries to stay cool while singing. At least three musical numbers will be performed in each show. Sound familiar? The success of the movie franchise “High School Musical” proved youngsters don’t consider musicals an anachronism. Fox said the new series will appear sometime in 2009. (Daily Record)

 

An American Idol producer has denied reports Paula Abdul is set to leave the hit reality show, insisting she is an “integral part” of the singing contest. Abdul has been mired in controversy after a crazed fan committed suicide outside her California home last month. She claimed producers failed to keep Paula Goodspeed away and let her audition on three separate occasions, knowing she had stalked the star for 17 years. Bosses denied knowing Godspeed was a threat and rumors surfaced that Abdul would be leaving the hit show. But producer Ken Warwick has flatly denied the reports, insisting the judge is “worth her weight in gold”. He tells People.com, ?America loves Paula. She’s an integral part of this program. ?There’s never been any discussion that we would want to get rid of Paula, Never have I been faced with anyone saying Paula’s got to go. She’s one of the foundation blocks of this series. She keeps Simon well in control, which is worth its weight in gold.? And Warwick is adamant he had no idea Goodspeed had a problem with Abdul – and if he had he would not have let her come face-to-face with the judge. (Teen Hollywood)

 

CBS’ comedy block surged Monday night to some of its highest ratings ever. With top competitor ABC airing holiday specials, CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (11.4 million, 4.2) had series-high  numbers in all key measurements; “How I Met Your Mother” (11.4 million, 4.6/11) hit an all-time high in the adult demo; “Two and a Half Men” (17.9 million, 5.6/13) had its strongest performance since the evening after CBS aired the Super Bowl in 2007; “Worst Week” (12.1 million, 3.6/9) had its biggest rating since its season premiere. “CSI Miami” (14.4 million, 3.8/10) was also strong. The most impressive parties in this news are the 8 p.m. comedies — “Big Bang” and “Mother” have been among the very few returning titles to demonstrate ongoing growth this fall. “Week” continues to be a luxury problem: frustratingly low rated for the time period, yet last night tying “Heroes.” NBC placed second, with “Chuck” (7.6 million, 2.6/7) matching its best adult demo rating since premiere week. The fall finale of “Heroes” (7.8 million, 3.6/8) held steady, as did “My Own Worst Enemy” (4.1 million, 1.7/4). Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” (5.3 million, 1.9/5) and “Prison Break” (5.7 million, 2.2/5) were on par. ABC aired one of the lesser titles in the Peanuts holiday canon, “I Want a Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown!” (7.4 million, 2.2/6) followed by a low-rated synergistic special “20/20: Drama High: The Making of a High School Musical” (3.7 million, 1.2/3). The CW aired repeats. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

Fox Reality Channel has ordered a new series that puts an attention-getting gender twist on the trophy-spouse reality genre. The network has ordered nine hours of “Househusbands of Hollywood,” which follows a collection of stay-at-home spouses of successful L.A. women. The cast includes Tempestt Bledsoe (“The Cosby Show”) and husband Darryl M. Bell (“A Different World”), Jillian Reynolds (formerly Barberie, from “Good Day LA”) and her husband Grant and former Los Angeles Dodger Billy Ashley, among others. The project produced by Marilyn Wilson Prods. represents a different kind of reality show for the cable channel, which is dominated by off-network acquisitions, original competition series and the occasional docudrama. “Househusbands,” set to bow in August, falls into an ensemble soap category that’s provided ample fruit for such high-profile cable players as Bravo, VH1 and E! “We believe ‘Househusbands’ could be a breakthrough for us,” said Bob Boden, Fox Reality senior VP programming. “It’s an amusing, poignant and fascinating look at a world that has not been covered yet in reality. It’s obviously an outgrowth of a trend that’s been working in reality about docusoaps, with interesting characters with unique relationships.” Fox Reality hopes to find a new audience with the series and, if successful, expand the “Househusbands” brand beyond a single series (not unlike a certain group of “Real Housewives” on Bravo). “The concept offers many possibilities,” Boden said. “It could lead to a spinoff with a certain cast member or expansion to other cities.” Fox Reality’s highest-rated series is the psychological endurance test “Solitary.” Also, the synergistic “American Idol Extra” will return to coincide with the reality hit’s eighth season. (Hollywood Reporter)

 

 

TODAY’S IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION . . .  (Mike Butts Creative)

 

Q.  Because of the bad economy, sales of these are through the roof!! What?

            A.  Cookbooks – people are eating in and no at restaurants

 

 

TODAY’S QUOTE  (By Susannah Clark)

 

“YOU’VE GOT TO SING LIKE YOU DON’T NEED THE MONEY, LOVE LIKE YOU’LL GET HURT. YOU’VE GOT TO DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING. IT’S GOTTA COME FROM THE HEART, IF YOU WANT IT TO WORK.”

 

 

MIND BOGGLERS . . .  (QuickTrivia)

 

Q.  How long does it take to cool Hershey’s chocolate into a kiss?

            A.  1 hr.

            B.  18 minutes  ****

            C.  35 minutes

            D.  5 minutes

 

Q.  In 1948 Jeremy _____, English actor (French Lieutenant’s Woman), born?

            A.  Irom’s

            B.  James

            C.  Jones

            D.  Irons  ****

 

Q.  In 1963 “Beatlemania” is coined after the Beatles appear at the ______?

            A.  Crystal Palace

            B.  Palladium  ****

            C.  Albert Hall

            D.  Royal Pavilion

 

Q.  In “The Karate Kid,” what color did Daniel have to paint Miagi’s house, as part of his training?

            A.  Green  ****

            B.  Grey

            C.  Blue

            D.  White

 

Q.  Pick the musical term for “Voice”?

            A.  Ottava (Ott.)

            B.  Voce  ****

            C.  Ein Wenig

            D.  Tranquillo

 

Q.  Which country celebrates Constitution Day when we celebrate Christmas?

            A.  Japan

            B.  Taiwan  ****

            C.  Russia

            D.  India

 

 

“THE CHRISTMAS BAILOUT” . . . (John Tesh)

 

John Tesh wrote and voiced a cool piece of Holiday spoken word audio for Christmas 2008, titled “The Christmas Bailout”… Given the state of the economy, thought it to be pretty timely this holiday season. It is posted on the following webpage . . . http://teshmedia.com/Christmas/ChristmasBailout.html.

 

Also . . . In addition to the audio (for download), also posted the text as well.  Just click on the buttons to the right of the graphic for the various download options (mp3 or WAV).  (The TeshMedia Group)

 

 

MENTAL_FLOSS . .  .

 

Our insanely interesting fact:

  • Just like many human babies, puppies are often born with blue eyes that darken in the first few months of their lives. 

 

  • Frogs: Just one frog has enough venom to kill 5 to 10 people.

 

  • The Liger: A liger is a real animal – it’s the offspring of a female tiger and a male lion.

 

  • Disney: The Jungle Book was the last movie Walt Disney personally produced. He told animators to “throw away” Kipling’s book because it was too depressing.

 

  • Vice Presidents: Gerald Ford was offered the chance to run as Ronald Reagan’s VP in 1980.

 

 

TRAVEL TIPS . . . (Peter Greenberg Worldwide)

 

CRAFT BREWERIES:

 

If you’re not into wine, you may be interested to know that many destinations are becoming known for their craft beers. Take a tour of a microbrewery for that real local flavor. You can find artisan brewing companies throughout the country, and sometimes in places that you wouldn’t expect. Napa is a wine lover’s paradise, but the nearby Mendocino Brewing Company produces more than a dozen craft-style microbrews. Take a tour or have a pint inside the 100-year-old saloon. And while Miller is king in Wisconsin, local microbreweries serve up beers you won’t find anywhere else. At the Great Dane Pub and Brewery in downtown Madison, there are traditional stouts and unusual beverages like beer spiced with habanero peppers. And if you can handle visiting several brew pubs in a day, check out Portland’s Eco Tours of Oregon, where for $45 you learn about the microbrewing process and enjoy plenty of samples.

 

(Peter Greenberg is North America’s preeminent expert on Travel. An Emmy Award-Winning writer and producer, Peter is the Travel Editor for NBC’S “TODAY SHOW,” MSNBC and CNBC. A Best-Selling author of the “Travel Detective” series and host of the nationally syndicated “Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show.” Visit WWW.PETERGREENBERGWORLDWIDE.COM to learn more about Peter Greenberg and his adventures.)

 

 

BIRTHDAYS . . .

 

—1734  Signer of the Declaration of Independence William Floyd (d. 8-4-1821)

—1908  American educator and chemist Willard Frank Libby (d. 9-8-1980)

—1910  Composer/Arranger Sy Oliver (d. 5-28-1988)

—1917  TV Game Show Host Gene Rayburn (Match Game) (d. 11-29-1999)

—1929  Author/Journalist William Safire

—1930  Publisher Bob Guccione (Penthouse)

—1935  Baseball’s Cal Ripkin

—1936  Actor/Singer Tommy Steele (The Happiest Millionaire)

—1937  Singer/Keyboardist Art Neville (The Neville Brothers) (“Tell It Like It Is”)

—1939  Singer Eddie Kendricks (The Temptations) (“My Girl”) (d. 10-5-1992)

—1942  Musician Paul Butterfield (The Paul Butterfield Blues Band) (“Drivin’ Wheel”) (d. 5-4-1987)

1943  Dave Dee – vocalist for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (“Legend Of Xanadu”)

—1944  Actor Bernard Hill (Gandhi)

—1945  Actor Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)

—1945  Actor Christopher Cazenove (Eye of the Needle)

—1946  Actor/Comedian Eugene Levy (SCTV)

1948  Jim Bonfanti - drummer for The Raspberries (“Go All The Way”)

—1949  Singer Paul Rodgers (Bad Company) (“Shooting Star”)

—1950  Musician Carlton Barrett (Bob Marley & The Wailers) (“No Woman No Cry”) (d.4-17-1987)

1951 – Wanda Hutchison – vocalist for The Emotions (“Best Of My Love”)

—1958  Musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.)

—1959  Basketball’s Albert King

—1961  Singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama)

¾1972  Actor Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)

 

 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY . . .

 

Today is WRIGHT BROTHERS DAY.

—1538  Pope Paul III excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII, who had not only married and divorced two wives by then, but had also declared himself head of the Church of England.

—1791  A traffic regulation in New York City established the nation’s first one-way street.

—1843  Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was first published, in England.

—1903  At Kill Devil Hill, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, bicycle makers Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful machine-powered heavier-than-air flight: 120 feet in about twelve

seconds. (New Zealanders claim that their own Richard Pearse built and flew a plane there nine months earlier.)

—1935  The first DC-3, built by Douglas Aircraft for TWA, took off from an airstrip in Santa Monica, California.

—1953  The FCC gave final approval to NBC’s system for compatible color TV.

—1957  Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” enters the chart for the first time.

—1969  On NBC’s “Tonight Show”, an estimated 50 million television viewers watch as singer Tiny Tim married his fiancé, Miss Vicky, 17. (The couple divorced a few years later).

—1977  Debbie Boone’s “You Light up My Life” is the top single for the 10th consecutive week. The Bee Gees “How Deep Is Your Love” replaces it the following week.

—1979  Stuntman Stan Barrett became the first person to break the sound barrier on land. In a 60,000 horsepower rocket vehicle, he reached more than 739 miles an hour at Rogers Dry Lake,

California.

—1982  Karen Carpenter gives her last public performance at a Sherman Oaks, CA, elementary school.

—1982  The Who play the last date of their farewell tour at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

—1986  The Doobie Brothers Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter reunite at a Children’s Hospital benefit in northern California. The show sparks a full-scale reunion tour four months later.

—1986  Wayne Newton won a $19.2 million judgment against NBC news, which had aired reports linking Newton to mob figures.

—1988  The Rolling Stones’ documentary “Cocksucker Blues” is shown for the last time at a Y film museum. Director Robert Frank had periodically held small showings of the film, which included explicit sex and drug use, but Mick Jagger prevented the film from ever being shown commercially.

—1989  “The Simpsons” debut on American television.  The show’s 300th episode aired 2/16/2003.

¾1994  Actress Heather Locklear (b. 9/25/1961) marries rocker guitarist Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) in Paris.

 

 

RADIO ONLINE® DAILY SHOW PREP. . .

 

ON THIS DAY

On this date in 1777, France became the first country to recognize the United States as a new country. Of course, they did it by flipping us off.

In 1790, an ancient Aztec calendar stone was discovered in Mexico City. It was still in mint condition, because it was one of the first flip calendars and with the pages being made out of stone, they were just a pain to flip.

It was on this date in 1843, that “A Christmas Carol” was published for the first time. Up until it came out, grumpy people would say, “Bah! Cabbage!” and it just wasn’t as effective.

On this date in 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew a plane. The flight lasted 12 seconds… about the time it takes for the baby in the seat behind you to start crying.

TODAY IS

Bill Pullman turns 55 today. Not necessarily a great actor, but if we’re ever invaded by aliens, he’s the guy I want to be president.

Bernard Hill celebrates his 64th birthday today. He played the Captain in the movie, “Titanic.” Sort of the George Bush of his time.

Bob Guccione, the publisher of Penthouse magazine, turns 78. He’s single and always wanted to be a playboy, but that would have been a conflict of interest.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

·         Peter Falk (Columbo)’s daughter says he is battling Alzheimer’s and now needs fulltime care. He’s 81.

·         The first new Dave Matthews Band studio album in four years will come out April 14th.

·         Rachael Ray has canceled her throat surgery to remove a benign cyst. She wants to try a new vocal therapy first.

·         A 9-year-old girl in Pharr, TX, wrote Santa Claus and asked Santa to make a relative stop touching her and her sister. The letter, which the girl turned in to her elementary school, was read by a school counselor who then alerted authorities.

·         Jack Black will appear in the” The Office”‘s big post-Super Bowl episode.

·         Christina Hendricks, who plays head secretary Joan on ‘Mad Men’ has gotten engaged to actor Geoffrey Arend.

·         Caroline Kennedy has officially declared she’d like the Senate seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.

·         Changes are coming to “American Idol” in January, including a return to “wild card” finalists picked by the show’s judges, along with less airtime for bad auditions.

·         A substitute teacher in England has been fired, after telling a classroom full of 7-year-olds that there was no such thing as Santa Claus.

·         Cameron Diaz says she’s a fan of “Shrek the Musical,” but don’t expect to see her star in it.

·         Avril Lavigne has fired her manager, after the response to her last tour and album were less than phenomenal.

·         Dennis Quaid and his wife have agreed to a $750,000 settlement with a Los Angeles hospital that gave his newborn twins an overdose of blood thinner.

·         Paul Anka says he and his wife are doing fine. The fact that she was arrested and he ended up with two staples in his head… no big deal.

·         Playboy is apologizing for putting a nude model on the cover of their Mexican edition to look like the Virgin Mary.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

Guys, if you want to impress a woman, learn to cook. More women are impressed by a man’s cooking ability than the kind of car he owns, according to a survey by Great Britain’s Department of Health. The poll of those aged 16 to 24 was taken as part of the Department of Health’s 5-A-Day campaign to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables.

·         Almost one-third of young Britons lied and claimed a precooked, ready-to-eat meal was something they had actually cooked themselves.

·         Women are the worst offenders when it comes to lying about what they cooked. 40% of women had claimed food they bought in a store was homemade, compared with 22% of men.

·         7% said they regularly claim cooking credit for food they have bought that someone else made.

·         10% have never cooked a meal for themselves because they don’t know how.

Holiday shoppers can save themselves a lot of time, trouble and stress this year by just giving cash, say consumer experts. Money ranks number one on the wish list of 56% of the people surveyed by Western Union researchers. Furthermore, for these cash craving respondents, a $100 bill even beat out a $100 gift card in the present parade. The Western Union poll also reveals that 57% had already planned on giving green this season.

(DivineCaroline.com) When we experience stress in our lives, it frequently shows up in our dreams. But knowing how to interpret our dreams can be a confusing matter. Below are listed some dream symbols that can be a sign of stress in your life.

·         Nudity – foretells scandal and unwise engagements

·         Storms – symbolizes an internal storm in your life

·         Crashes – deep anxieties and fears

·         Hell – suffering from an inescapable situation

·         Death – often means the beginning of suspense or trials in your life

·         Bugs – suggests you are worried about something and are filled with anxieties and fears

·         Cats – foretells misfortune and bad luck

Unhappy people watch TV, happy people read and socialize. Those are the findings of a new study appearing in the journal Social Indicators Research. After analyzing 30 years of data and having new volunteers fill out diaries for a 24-hour period, University of Maryland sociologists John P. Robinson and Steven Martin found that despondent folks watched significantly more television in their spare time 20% more than those who are joyful. Meanwhile, contented people were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read more newspapers. But those who filled out the journals rated TV watching more highly as a daily activity.

PHONE TOPICS

·         What’s your lottery betting system? How’s that working for you?

·         What’s your “snow day” comfort food?

·         Besides Bing, who does a great version of “White Christmas”?

·         Any spelling bee champs listening?

·         Who’s the biggest celeb you’ve ever snapped a photo of?

·         Strangest thing your kid did on Santa’s lap.

·         Are you in a fight with your homeowners association?

·         Weird or creepy habits your relatives have?

·         What things do your kids (or their friends) say that really make you feel old as the hills?

·         Weird things your spouse keeps in their glove box?

·         What electric-powered item could you not live without?

·         What is your greatest victory? Could be sports, love, and business of anything.

·         What’s the biggest snow storm that you remember?

·         Who have you known the longest?

·         How many shoes is enough?

We got into a debate over snapping personal photos of your kid with Santa at the mall. Is it OK to do? You see at our local mall, our Santa is not happy. He’s not feeling so jolly after watching people repeatedly sneak free pictures of him at the mall. He told us, up to three parents per day this year have bucked the system and snapped their own photos with cellphones and personal cameras, instead of paying the photography company that hired him. He says that’s equal to shoplifting. What do you think? Should you be forced to buy the “mall photos” and not take your own? I mean, Santa is on the clock, right?

This Thursday, we’re doing a “Santa Theories” Thursday. Ever wondered how Santa Claus can travel around the world in just one night on his reindeer-pulled sleigh and deliver toys to all the children? (I think he exploits the space-time continuum). How does Santa get into homes without chimneys? We posed these questions to our audience and had some fun with the adults while talking right over the kiddo’s heads!

Are you annoyed by someone you sleep with that is a persistent snorer? Are you annoyed, or just jealous? Why? Heavy snoring could help burn calories, a new study has found as, even when they are awake, snorers use up more calories than non-snorers, the research found. Those who suffered from the most serious snoring problems expended around 2,000 calories while resting every day. Phoner: Do you sleep with someone that snores? Does it keep you up, or do you get used to it?

What’s the worst thing your boss makes you do. Great phones! Everything from “I pick up his dry cleaning” to “I take his laundry home because he says I do it better than his wife does.” Best stories won a day off with pay through a temp agency we worked with.

What’s on your TiVo, or DVR list of “season passes” that you would be ashamed to admit to your friends you record and watch? What’s the best show on TV?

George Bush had two shoes hurled at him by an Iraqi journalist who wanted to make an example of the outgoing President by paying him the highest insult in Baghdad this week. In honor of the “Shoe-ter”, we mentioned this list of Top 10 ways to insult people around the world. (It’s from Mirror.co.uk):

1.      If you are handed a business card in Japan you can cause maximum offence by throwing it down on your desk or stuffing it in your back pocket as the exchange of business card here is meant to be a well thought out practice.

2.      In the Philippines a curled beckoning forefinger isn’t used to summon someone over but rather to call them a dog. But the insult is punishable by arrest and even breaking the finger that committed the offense so use with caution.

3.      In India and Africa where people use their hands to eat, it is considered an insult to use your left hand as this is thought to be ‘unclean’ and used only for a related function which follows several hours later.

4.      In Scandinavia to show distaste keep your chin down during a bottoms-up because it is understood as highly offensive to look down at your feet while drinking a toast.

5.      If you blow your nose into a handkerchief in Japan you’ll insult those around you because the Japanese word for snot literally means ‘nose sh#%’ and the idea of carrying this around all day is thought to be disgusting.

6.      To insult someone in Korea you simply have to smile because smiling at a stranger is thought to be very rude and a clear indication that you believe them to be stupid.

7.      While the thumb and forefinger forming the letter ‘O’ is a western sign for OK in Russia it is understood to be an insult with sexual connotations. This could come in handy if you need to show your unhappiness with the service in a Russian hotel when on holiday.

8.      In Buddhist countries the most offensive thing someone can do is pat a person on the head as the head is thought to be the seat of the soul.

9.      In Argentina it is considered an insult if you turn up for a dinner date on time because this is thought to be a sign of greed rather than politeness. To keep everyone happy you should turn up a little late but if you want to make a point get their early and tuck-in.

10.  In North America you’re sure to cause an uproar if you mistake an American for a Canadian or vice versa as both neighbors are very sensitive about this confusion.

What is the dumbest laziness you’ve exhibited? I noticed the other day that the door shelves in my refrigerator really needed to be cleaned, but decided not to because this fridge is probably at least 15 years old and making some weird noises now and then so why clean it if I’ll probably have to replace it soon? Who has the oldest, still working in your kitchen refrigerator?

Finish this phrase: “I would be willing to go to jail for the opportunity to punch out _____!” Britney Spears? President Bush? John Mayer? Simon Cowell? Why do you want to punch them so bad?

We got to talking about dads, and how my newsguy and I are starting to become like our dads. Remember when you were a kid, you could never touch the thermostat? Only your dad could touch the thermostat. I was 28 in a hotel before I ever touched one. I moved it just a little… I was so afraid my dad would burst into the hotel room and yell, “who touched that!” Dads always say, “I set it there for a reason!” Phoner: Are you like your dad or mom?

We took a call from a listener who is getting married soon. She described her man as sensitive, attentive, handsome and financially stable. So, what’s the problem? He’s a mama’s boy! His mom brings him his meals every day, she calls twice a day and he has a picture of mom on his nightstand. She was freaking out! Great calls from women who married mama’s boys and gals who divorced them! Very funny calls.

More and more restaurants are banning the use of cell phones because they are too distracting and just plain rude to other customers. According to the owner, the phones not only ring, but the customer’s voice gets louder when speaking to the caller. Phoner: Should cell phones be banned at restaurants?

Guys, ever wonder how to be a husband? Here are 10 steps to being a better husband (from MSN.com)

1.      Take an interest in something your wife is really passionate about. This can be especially tough for guys, because we generally feel that if someone else has interests that differ from ours, they’re morons. It’s not an easy task, and being able to show interest in something that matters to someone you love shows growth — and that’s terrifying. Good, but terrifying. Accomplish this and you’ll make her feel better about herself, and you get better insight into what makes her tick.

2.      Put the kids to bed. Once a week give her the night off and put the kids to bed by yourself. Let her take a hot bath, read a book, or check gossip on the Web and forget about the kids. I’m always amazed how happy this makes my wife. It ranks somewhere between low-end jewelry and a Hawaiian vacation.

3.      Learn to apologize. This is the easiest one, and the hardest one. A marriage is a marathon, and we all fly off the handle too quick or let our temper get the best of us sometimes. When you’re wrong, it’s best to step up and apologize. It’s amazing how fast “I’m sorry” can defuse a stupid argument about something you can’t even remember.

4.      Thank her for putting up with you. Every once in a while, just thank her for putting up with you. That’s all you have to say. Don’t launch into a list of your faults, or the story about coming home two days late from that Vegas bachelor party. Just thank her, and let her know that you understand that you’re not the easiest person in the world to live with.

5.      Clean up after yourself. Take care of that late night snack or morning cereal bowl. Setting them in the sink is one thing, but go that extra mile and actually put them in the dishwasher. After all, no one enjoys scraping bacon dip off a bowl that’s been sitting too long or smelling the chili from the night before. A beer bottle on the counter the next morning is even worse.

One of our team members and his wife are expecting. Instead of taking the traditional route of having listeners phone in baby names, we took calls advising against some names “not” to use for your kids. Wow! Lots of awful names!

Do you know someone who is addicted to their cell phone? My friend uses at least 2000 minutes a month on hers. Should cell phone use be allowed on a flight? Where’s the strangest place you’ve seen a cell phone used?

My co-host got into a fight with her husband the other day because they’re buying a new car. He wants to buy an SUV. And she wants to buy a minivan. Why? Because her girlfriend advised her to get a minivan instead. So now, her husband is upset that his wife is choosing her friend’s advice over his. Would you trust a close friend’s opinion over that of your partner? Really hot phones.

Wild animal encounters? There’s some funny stories out there. Our best ones included a woman who thought she was going to hit a deer but it just jumped onto and over her car. Then there was the guy whose car was rushed by a herd of wild turkeys.

We got great response from the topic, “How much trash is on the floor of your car right now?” Cell phone callers list the items they can see on their car floor. We’re thinking about giving away a full auto detail to the listener with the most unusual stuff.

WEIRD NEWS

You Stole What?
In Gainesville, Florida, police say a 36-year-old man was arrested for stealing a small refrigerator. But not just any refrigerator– this fridge was stocked with urine samples, including his own, and stolen from a probation office. Apparently the guy had tested positive for drug use and was trying to get rid of the evidence. Investigators tracked down the suspect at his home where they found shards of glass with blood on them. The fridge is still missing, but the man was being held at the Alachua County jail. He’s charged with arson, destroying evidence, burglary and larceny. (The Gainesville Sun)

Another Sandwich Assault
There’s been another sandwich assault in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and this time it sent the perp to jail for a month. According to police, the 20-year-old man threw the sandwich at his girlfriend’s face during an argument about auto insurance and then hit her head with his fist. He copped to throwing the food but not hitting her. Just last month, another man was arrested on a battery charge for hitting his girlfriend with a sandwich, knocking her glasses off and nearly causing a car crash as she was driving at the time. Sadly, police would not release what type of sandwich was used in either attack. Question: So why are there so many attacks like this in Port St. Lucie, Florida? Answer: Because of all the sand which is there! HA! (The Stuart News)

What Do You Mean The Gun Was Loaded?
In Sheboygan, Wisconsin, it was supposed to be just a reenactment of a shootout of a train robbery. But things turned ugly when two people actually got shot after one of the actors used a gun mistakenly loaded with real birdshot! Kind of dampened spirits at the Santa Steam Train event. 46 shotgun pellets went into the arm, leg and abdomen of 49-year-old actor Thomas E. Rumpff of Sheboygan. Two more pellets struck a 14-year-old spectator. One embedded in his index finger, and another bounced off his knee. Fortunately both victims are okay. And so are the lawyers who are just lining up and salivating over this one. (The Sheboygan Press)

The Ultimate Couch Potato
Mike Meredith is not only a Cleveland Browns fan, but the ultimate couch potato. Mike created a motorized sofa – dubbed the “Go-Kouch” –that he usually rides around a municipal parking lot for tailgate parties before games. But recently he decided to get crazy and ride the converted riding mower the extra two blocks to the Browns’ stadium for a game with Houston. While many police officers waived him on through, one didn’t and gave him a citation for driving an unregistered vehicle and having expired plates. But Mike is pleading not guilty and as part of his defense plans to introduce pictures of every officer who gave him the go-ahead during his journey. (The Plain Dealer)

Violent Video Game Begets Violence
In Elyria, Ohio, the video game Halo 3 led to severe tragedy for one family. Daniel Petric, now age 17, was so angry that his father wouldn’t let him play the violent video game that he killed his mother and shot his father, then tried to make it appear to be a murder-suicide. Petric had sneaked out of his house to buy the game but his parents caught him as he came in with it and took it away. His father, Mark Petric, who is a minister at New Life Assembly of God, testified that a while later, Daniel — then 16 — came into the room and said, “Would you guys close your eyes. I have a surprise for you.” Mark Petric said he expected a pleasant surprise. The next thing he knew, his head went numb as he had been shot in the head. His wife, Susan Petric, died of a gunshot wound to her head. Mark said the next thing he remembers is his son shoving the gun in his hand and saying, “Hey Dad, here’s your gun. Take it.” Mark later said his son told him he could hardly live with the guilt over what he did. Daniel’s lawyers told the court the boy had been under great stress because of a snowboarding accident that resulted in a severe staph infection. As a result he was homebound for a year with nothing to do but watch television and play video games. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Phoner: Do you worry about the violent video games your kids play? Are there games that are banned from your house?

Kid Is Named Adolf Hitler!
In Holland Township, Michigan lives 35-year-old Heath Campbell — a Holocaust denier whose living room is decorated with German combat knives and swastikas. It gets worse. He has named all three of his children after Nazism including a girl who turns one in April named Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell — after Schutzstaffel head Heinrich Himmler, a 2-year-old girl named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, and a 3-year-old son named Adolf Hitler Campbell! No kidding. And now the Campbells are angry because the local ShopRite store refused to make a birthday cake with Adolf Hitler’s name on it. A director for the Anti-Defamation League in Philadelphia applauded the supermarket’s decision. The Campbells say Wal-Mart made cakes for Adolf’s first two birthdays and a Wal-Mart spokeswoman explained that while the store won’t put anything illegal or profane on a cake, they think it’s important to respect the views of customers and employees. As to whether the Cambells have a legal case against ShopRite, Shannon Powers, of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission said they would have to prove they were denied service because of race, ethnicity or religion. She added, “It sounds like ShopRite didn’t want to offend other patrons or do something offensive to their own sensibilities and that’s totally different from discrimination.” Despite the cake incident, the Campbells said they don’t expect the names to cause problems later, such as when the children start school. Their mother, Deborah Campbell said, “I just figured that they’re just names. They’re just kids. They’re not going to hurt anybody.” Clinical psychologist Robert M. Gordon disagrees and says the names would hurt the children adding, “Certainly society is going to be hostile towards those kids, especially when they go to school.” (The Express Times)

MATCH THE MOUTH

“I’m not that great at sentimentality, but my publicist is looking forward to me crying.”

·         Tim Conway

·         Samuel L. Jackson ***

·         Bruce Willis

·         Willem Dafoe

·         Robin Williams

“The Hollywood fairy-tale romance, if you strip away all the glitz and glamour and the headlines, it’s just people living their life.”

·         Cameron Diaz

·         Meryl Streep

·         Barbra Walters

·         Jennifer Aniston ***

·         Sarah Silverman

“Books are still the best bang for your buck!”

·         Bill O’Reilly

·         John Grisham

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