Tuesday, December 9, 2003        Edition: #2683
Sheet Rocks!

TODAY ”Canadian Idol” winner Ryan Malcolm releases his debut CD, “Home” (he’ll sing “ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” on the “International Idol” TV special from London Christmas Day, in which he’ll square off against 11 other ‘Idols’ for global supremacy) . . . Rocker Lenny Kravitz has been spotted in romantic clinches with Brazilian artist Isis Arruda – could those supposed wedding plans with Nicole Kidman just be speculation? . . . Mariah Carey has hired a ‘TV consultant’ to add to her ever-growing entourage, a flunky who’s only job is to make sure there are no ‘bad TV angles’ when the boss appears on camera (he’ll have his work cut out for him) . . . Mantra Entertainment, the company behind the hugely popular “Girls Gone Wild” videos, has inked a deal with Jive Records to release compilation CDs, and is also working on developing a restaurant chain and apparel line for 2004 (“Girls Gone Wild” clothing – wouldn’t that be an oxymoron?) . . . NEXT MONTH Coca-Cola is moving into the music biz by launching a download site with more than a quarter-million tracks, the largest collection of legal downloads on the Internet . . . California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home town of Graz, Austria is considering a plan to build an 80-foot-tall steel statue of him as a tourist attraction (and women thought he had big hands in the 70s!) . . . Warning! After meeting up for the first time in 6 months at an “Oprah” TV taping, the Backstreet Boys have decided to reunite to record new material in JANUARY (do boy bands become men bands?) . . . And retired TV gabber Rosie O’Donnell has personally donated $25,000 to NYC’s first gay public secondary school, Harvey Milk High, to establish a ‘Fab Five Room’ in the name of the swishy cast of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”.

• “Gigli” (Crime Comedy – DVD): Ben Affleck plays small-time, dim-witted street thug ‘Larry Gigli’ [that’s GEE-lee] who’s paired up with J-Lo’s gorgeous gal gangster character ‘Ricki’ on an assignment. One of the all-time biggest box office bombs, it cost some $54 million to make and grossed just $5.7 million.
• “Bad Boys II” (Action Comedy – DVD):  Will Smith & Martin Lawrence are back as narcotics detectives, assigned to a hi-tech task force investigating the flow of ecstasy into Miami. There’s plenty of incredible car crashes … one involving 22 vehicles and a boat.
• “How to Deal” (Teen Romantic Comedy – DVD/VHS): Mandy Moore plays a teen with a cynical view of relationships, likely because her radio DJ father took off with his much-younger traffic reporter (that would never happen, would it?), her neurotic sister is marrying a guy she doesn’t even get along with, and her best friend is experiencing out-of-control hormones with a classmate. Then – you guessed it – she finds ‘Mr Right’.
• “Assassination Tango” (Thriller – DVD): Robert Duvall directs and stars as a veteran hit man who’s just received the toughest assignment of his career – travel to Buenos Aires, take down a corrupt general and be back in the US in less than 3 days. He ends up prowling the city’s tango clubs where he’s seduced by a sultry dancer and betrayed by a conspiracy.

A Michigan State University study of over 1,000 TV characters finds only 13% of female characters and 24% of males are obese – less than half the percentages in the general population. The study also shows that larger male and female characters have fewer than half the romantic interactions of characters with smaller body types, and fat men are also more likely to be shown eating. (Yeah, what we need is more scenes of fat sex.)

A just-released Harvard School of Public Health study finds that the more TV children watch, the fewer fruits and vegetables they eat. Researchers think that’s probably because many of the ads kids see make them crave junk food. Heavy TV viewing by children has previously been linked to junk food, less exercise and to obesity, but this the first study to show a direct link to lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. (How do you make broccoli cool?)

Worried about holiday weight gain? Then just say ‘yes’. Weight-loss experts say eating reasonable portions of holiday treats works far better than trying to deprive yourself. Numerous studies show that even thinking about dieting can trigger overeating. For instance, in a University of Toronto study, half of participants were told they’d be put on a diet for a week, the remainder told they’d be eating normally. At a meal immediately afterward, those assigned to the dieting group ate far more than the non-dieters. (So go ahead, have another yule log, Porky.)

Isaac Tigrett, founder of Hard Rock Café and House of Blues, has put one of his prized possessions on eBay to finance his next venture, a series of supper clubs. For a mere $1.8 million, you can own his refurbished 1928 private railroad car, which boasts sleeping quarters for 8, a grand dining room, gourmet kitchen, 3 baths, and open-air observation platform. Tigrett, who’s traveled all over by hooking the car to passenger trains, says it’s one of the most ‘peaceful places on the planet’.

Biochemists at Northwestern University in Illinois are developing an injection that triggers a woman’s immune system to recognize sperm as an enemy and to produce antibodies to neutralize it. If the vaccination works, contraception in the future could be achieved naturally. (Women will actually be looking for a little prick?)

By New Years Eve, Saturn will be closer to Earth than at any time since DECEMBER 1973. All-month-long skywatchers can enjoy Saturn at its finest. On DECEMBER 31st, it will be opposite the Sun in relation to Earth, meaning Saturn will rise as the Sun sets, reaching its highest point in the southern sky at midnight. Astronomers call this ‘opposition’. The ringed planet will be just 748.3 million miles (1.2 billion km) from Earth. It won’t come this close again until JANUARY 2034. (Be still my heart!)

Just in time for holiday parties comes the new book, “Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It and Why” by Peter Post, the great-grandson of famous etiquette proponent Emily Post. Here’s a few …
• If you are the host of a dinner party, you should invite the guests to start eating as soon as 3 are served.
• You are not ‘wearing a tuxedo’. You are ‘wearing black tie’.
• You should precede a woman through a revolving door.
• You should follow a woman up a stairway but precede her down a stairway.
• You precede the woman toward your table in a restaurant, unless the maitre d’ is leading you, in which case you should follow the woman.
• A cell phone should not be brought to a formal ball.
• If you are sharing an umbrella with a woman, and the woman is taller, the woman should hold the umbrella.
• Avoid wing-tip collars unless the dress is ‘white tie’.
• And – do I have to keep telling you? – put the toilet seat down when you leave!

According to a new Axe deodorant poll, 38% of guys would like to date a ‘girl next door’ type while 14% would rather hook up with a ‘rocker chick’. On the other hand, 36% of young women say they’re most attracted by ‘big-hearted bad boys’ while just 22% look for the ‘boy next door’ type. (The reason 50 Cent gets lucky.)

• Here’s a true ‘flaming redhead’ – Albany, Georgia hairstylist Traci Marshall’s own hairdo spontaneously caught fire while she was filling her car with gas. Her firefighter hubby suspects her hair rubbed against her clothes and caused static electricity, sparking the blaze. Wow, how much hairspray do you think she used?
• An eatery called ‘Naked Lunch’ has opened in downtown Key West, Florida, which is thought to be the first stand-alone ‘clothing-optional’ restaurant that’s not located in a nudist camp.
• Local restaurants are reporting a shortage of one Hong Kong’s most popular dishes – snake soup. Seems there’s been a snake crisis ever since imports from mainland China were banned during the SARS scare.
•  When the Nigerian dwarf act ‘Aki & Paw Paw’ didn’t arrive for a show at the national stadium in Freetown, Sierra Leone, organizers scrambled to find a replacement. Apparently the crowd didn’t like the substitute – 2 dwarf comedians. Thousands rioted and dozens were injured.


1916 [87] Kirk Douglas (Issur Danielovich Demsky), Amsterdam NY, movie acting legend  (“Spartacus”, “Gunfight at the OK Corral“)/Honorary Academy Award (1996)/AFI Lifetime Achievement Award (1999)/father of actor-producer Michael Douglas  QUOTE: “I’ve made a career of playing sons of bitches.”

1934 [69] Dame Judi Dench, York ENG, movie actress (‘M’-“Die Another Day”, “Chocolat”, Oscar-“Shakespeare in Love”)

1941 [62] Beau Bridges, Hollywood CA, TV actor (“The Agency” 2001-2003)/movie actor (“The Fabulous Baker Boys”)/actor Jeff Bridges’ brother

1953 [50] John Malkovich, Christopher IL, movie actor (“Con Air”, “In The Line of Fire“)

1957 [46] Donny Osmond, Ogden UT, TV game show host (“Pyramid”)/ex-variety show co-host (“Donny & Marie”)/ex-pop singer (The Osmonds)

1969 [34] Jakob Dylan, LA CA, rock singer (The Wallflowers-“”Heroes”, “One Headlight”)/Bob Dylan’s son

1972 [31] Tre Cool (Frank Edwin Wright III), Berkeley CA, rock musician (Green Day-“Longview”, “Time of Your Life”)

TOMORROW is “Nobel Prize Awards Day”, the day the annual prizes are presented in the categories of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics and peace. All but the latter are awarded by the Swedish branch of the Nobel Foundation, the peace prize handed out by the Norwegians. The awards are presented by the King at a formal ceremony in the Stockholm Concert Hall. Each winner receives a gold medal, a large sum of money and incredible prestige. Winning the Nobel Prize is for many the peak of intellectual achievement, something far beyond any other award.

1950 [53] Seasonal recording “Frosty The Snowman” is 1st released by Gene Autry

1965 [38] 1st broadcast of the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (leads to the expression ‘a Charlie Brown tree’)

1973 [30] 1st “Royal Canadian Air Farce” broadcast (CBC Radio)

1998 [05] Drew Carey’s TV improv comedy series “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” begins on ABC-TV

1843 [160] 1st ‘commercial Christmas card’ goes on sale in London (a thousand ‘Christmas and New Year’s cards’ by British painter John Callcott Horsley, depicting a family raising their glasses in a toast)

1851 [152] 1st ‘YMCA’ in North America (Montréal)

1968 [35] 1st ‘computer mouse’ introduced, by far the most popular pointing device used to interact with computers (to honor everything our little pointer friend has given us, take a few moments today to rub your aching, carpal-tunnel-syndrome, tendinitis-ridden wrists)

[Wed] 2003 Billboard Music Awards
[Wed] Nobel Prize Awards Day
[Fri] PM Jean Chretien steps down
[Fri] National Ding-A-Ling Day
This Week Is . . . National Drunk Drivers Awareness Week
This Month Is . . . Closed Caption TV Month


Some real – but really dumb – products that are on the market this holiday season …
• ‘Candoms’ – Roll-on beer can coolers shaped like giant condoms. Guaranteed to keep your drink cold and your hands dry for only $5.95.
• ‘Wiggling Hula Guy’ – You’ve seen those battery-operated little dancing hula girls in grass skirts? Well, here’s the male counterpart for $8.95. (You oughta see the on-off switch!)
• ‘Beer Pong’ – A 2-foot-long table tennis and cocktail table where the object is to hit the ping pong ball into the other player’s drink. You sink it, they drink it! About $24.95.
• ‘World’s Largest Underpants’ – 100% cotton, size 98-100 underwear that stretches the very definition of ‘briefs’. Fits about 3 or 4 people – at a time. Circa $15.
• ‘Tequila Lolly’ – Tequila-flavored, non-alcoholic lollipops – each containing a real worm. $1.95 each.
• ‘Shotglass Chess’ – In this $50 set, the chess pieces are all shot glasses. Presumably, when you take a piece, the other player does a shot. (“Bishobb ta queen sheven … dash check-may, buddy!”)

• “In the movie ‘Stuck on You’ [opening FRIDAY], Matt Damon & Greg Kinnear play conjoined twins. Who would you most like to have as a conjoined twin?”
• “In order to encourage young people to participate in the political process, should the voting age be lowered?” (Britain’s Electoral Commission is considering lowering the voting age to 16 and the age at which someone can run to be a Member of Parliament to 18.)

I love Christmas carolers. They’re about the only entertainers left you can count on to keep their clothes on.

Today’s Question: The first animal crackers weren’t made for eating, but for THIS.
Answer to Give Out Next Show: To decorate Christmas trees.

‘Maintenance free’ means … it’s impossible to fix.

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