Friday, December 14, 2001        Edition: #2197
We now pause for four hours of temporary insanity.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the land,
Moms sat at computers with mice in their hands.
They tried to buy gifts on eBay and Amazon,
In hopes that the sites would deliver a Pokémon.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Xbox danced in their heads.
But as moms surfed the Net for 10 hours or 20,
There were orders unfilled and hassles aplenty.
So up from their seats, they flew like a flash,
And off to the malls they went with their cash.
(Thanks to Katrina Brooker)

BS SHOW BIZ BUZZ:
Celine Dion is supposed to be on hiatus until 2003, but it’s just been announced she’s recorded an album for release next MARCH (please Cel, give our ears a longer rest!) . . . For years Willie Nelson has opened his concerts with a rousing rendition of “Whiskey River” and now a Kentucky distiller will market ‘Old Whiskey River Bourbon’ and play a major role in funding his future tours (along with Acme Bong Corp) . . . British oddsmakers are predicting the first “Lord Of The Rings” movie (opening next WEDNESDAY) will get more Oscar nominations than the first “Harry Potter” . . . Will Smith says one of the benefits of shooting the upcoming movie “Ali” with real-life wife Jada Pinkett was to be in bed for 18 hours on the set — without the kids around . . .  Word is Dolly Parton intends to write her autobiography as a – musical production (what’ll it be called — ‘My Pair Lady’?, ‘Dolly & the Amazing Technicolor Support Bra’?) . . . Along with Mary J Blige and Garbage singer Shirley Manson, Elton John is one of the new spokeswomen for Toronto-based MAC Cosmetics and will appear in ads for ‘Viva Glam IV’ lipstick (if this seems a tad odd to you, try getting an explanation from the company PHONER: 800-387-6707).

TODAY’S MOVIE OPENINGS:
The Cameron Crowe-directed thriller “Vanilla Sky” stars Tom Cruise as a disfigured man who has trouble deciphering what’s real and what isn’t (the movie in which Tom falls in love with Penelope Cruz onscreen – and then off) . . . “Not Another Teen Movie”, a “Scary Movie”-style spoof of the teen movies of the ’80s and ’90s (ie: “Varsity Blues”, “She’s All That”, “Cruel Intentions”, “American Pie”, “10 Things I Hate About You”), stars relative unknowns Chyler Leigh and Chris Evans, and features all the teen-movie stereotypes — the bitchy cheerleader, the new girl, the dumb-ass jock, the foreign exchange student, the undercover reporter, etc.

LIFE IS TAXING:
According to a new report from Statistics Canada, Canadian households spent an average of $55,830 LAST YEAR. 11% of that went for food, 19% for shelter, and 22% went to personal income taxes! (This explains the latest VISA bill.)

COPYRIGHT ON COPIES:
A San Francisco company is offering to copyright your DNA for $1,500. Who’d bother? Expected clients are stars and celebrities who are afraid their DNA will be stolen and used for the creation of replicants. (“Arnold wants $30 million for ‘Terminator 3′? Get the other Arnold.”)

HOPE THEY GOT A GRANT FOR THIS:
A new life-altering study was deemed necessary by the fact that some 60,000 injuries are sustained annually by people wrestling with jar lids. A team of crack (or maybe cracked) scientists in the Netherlands has discovered the reason jar lids are so difficult to remove — manufacturers screw them on too tight (ohhhhh, never thought of that!). To counteract the problem, the Dutch researchers recommend that jar lids be sealed with a torque of 2 ‘Newton-metres’ (whatever the hell that is), a level making them easy to unscrew for virtually all 20 to 40-year-olds and 97% of 50 to 94-year-olds. (But 0% of wives.)

TOY STORY:
A new report from consumer analysts Mintel finds that for many kids, toys are no longer cool because their lack of ‘street cred’ with peers puts children off playing with them. The study finds that kids as young as 8-years-old would now rather receive a mobile phone or DVD player for Christmas. (Unfair! What are dads supposed to play with Christmas Day?)

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Here’s a marketing first — Dunlop-Tire of Canada is offering people named ‘Dunlop’ a share of a $25,000 jackpot if they agree to legally change their name to ‘Dunlop-Tire’. The company has mailed 1,000 info packages to Dunlops across the country. The cash will be divvied up according to how many participate – 100 name-changers would get $250 apiece, but if only 1 family participates, they’d get the whole shebang! A Decima Research poll shows that 37% of Canadians would be willing to change their family name to a corporate brand name — if the price was right. (Like that hockey player that agreed to be named after a doughnut chain.)

SANTA IN THE OFF-SEASON:
A new Zogby poll asks what we think Santa’s lifestyle entails when the holiday season is over. Here’s what most respondents think . . .
• Most-likely off-season job — motivational speaker.
• Most-likely casual wear – blue jeans and a flannel shirt.
• Favorite type of music – classical and easy-listening.
• Most-likely vehicle – a pick-up or SUV.
• Best person to replace him if he retires — actor John Goodman.

TAKING TOLL-TAKERS TO TASK:
A Waterloo ON lawyer has launched a class action suit against the corporation that operates Toronto’s Highway 407 Express Toll Route, seeking to have ALL late-payment penalties refunded to drivers who’ve been charged since the electronic toll highway opened in 1997. Seems Richard Prendiville got a little steamed when he was tagged for a $30 late fee on a balance owing of — 12 cents. (Hell hath no fury like a lawyer pissed-off.)

STALE FOR SALE:
A Belgian grocer has been given a fine and suspended prison sentence for selling food that was14 YEARS OUT OF DATE! Officials found the expiry labels on the food packaging was either erased, washed away or replaced with a more recent date. (14 years old? At 7-11, this stuff would be in the ‘Fresh Baked Goods’ aisle.)

MISSING ORGAN:
The congregation at St John the Evangelist Church in Nottinghamshire, England now sings hymns to a – karaoke machine. Rev Brian Duckworth controls the background tracks from his pulpit and can select from over 2,000 different hymns. (And a really cool version of ‘I did it myyyyy waaaayy’.)

SHAKY SCIENCE:
How’s ‘James Bond’ stay in shape? Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in London ON may have one clue — they’ve found that martinis are actually healthier when they’re shaken, not stirred. Seems shaken martinis have a superior antioxidant activity, but the reason for it is not clear. (Especially after testing the 6th one.)

STUCK IN A RUT:
A new poll of 1,000 workers by a career consulting firm finds that MOST would consider changing careers if they could. 20% say they’d choose an occupation completely unrelated to their current job. However, over half say they’re ‘too afraid’, citing excuses ranging from ‘worry over money’ to ‘fear of taking too big a step’. Others believe they are ‘too old’ to start a new career, especially if they’ve reached their 40s. (Aw c’mon, take the plunge – Wal-Mart’s always looking for greeters.)

THE BULL SHEET 12.14.01

TODAY’S CELEBIRTHDAYS . . .
1503 [D-1566] Nostradamus, St Remy FRA, astrologer/prognosticator whose writings many believe foretold the future (several misquoted and convoluted versions of his writings came to light after the 9/11 attacks, purportedly showing that he predicted them)

1922 [79] Don Hewitt, NYC, TV show creator/producer (“60 Minutes”, since 1968)

1971 [30] Chris Therien, Ottawa ON, NHL defenceman (Philadelphia Flyers)

SATURDAY’S BIRTHDAYS . . .
1933 [68] Tim Conway, Willoughby OH, former TV funnyman (“The Carol Burnett Show”, “The Tim Conway Show”)/movie actor (“McHale’s Navy”)/’Dorf’ videos

1949 [52] Don Johnson (Donald Wayne), Flatt Creek MO, TV actor (Nash-“Nash Bridges”)/movie actor (“Tin Cup”)/married and divorced Melanie Griffith — twice

SUNDAY’S BIRTHDAYS . . .
1941 [60] Lesley Stahl, Lynn MA, TV journalist (“60 Minutes”, since 1991)/how many facelifts?

1943 [58] Steven Bochco, NYC, TV producer/writer (“Philly”, “NYPD Blue”)

1963 [38] Benjamin Bratt, San Francisco CA, movie actor (“Traffic”, “Miss Congeniality”)/ex-TV actor (Det Rey Curtis-“Law & Order” [1995-99])/Julia Roberts’ former boytoy

1971 [30] Michael McCary, Philadelphia PA, R&B/pop singer (Boyz II Men-“I’ll Make Love to You”)

BS REASONS TO PARTY . . .
TODAY is “International Shareware Day”, something to do with wearing the wife’s undies?

TODAY is “National Bouillabaisse Day”, a day to throw some shellfish in a pot with some finely-chopped onion, celery & tomato, a little white wine, a little more white wine, and — BAM!! — a whole mess of garlic. Instant heaven!

TODAY is the beginning of “Halcyon Days”, the 7 days before and the 7 days after the Winter Solstice that are traditionally thought to be a time of ‘calm and tranquillity’. (Uh, maybe at your house.)

THIS WEEKEND the annual “Festival of Whirling Dervishes” spins in Konya, Turkey. Traditionally-dressed male dancers present their ‘sena’ or whirling ceremony when they spin in tight circles to achieve mystical union with heaven. This dizzy custom goes back 700 years.

ON THIS DAY . . .
1998 [03] Finance Minister Paul Martin blocks proposed mergers between Canada’s big banks

1999 [02] Diagnosed with cancer, “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz announces he’ll retire

TODAY’S MUSIC EVENTS . . .
1970 [31] George Harrison receives gold record for hit single “My Sweet Lord” (to be re-released on JANUARY 14th with all proceeds going to charity [to make it more contemporary, they’ll retitle it ‘My Sweet Lord of the Rings’])

1977 [24] “Saturday Night Fever” premieres, starring John Travolta (BeeGees generate several hits from the soundtrack)

1984 [17] 1st #1 hit for Madonna (“Like a Virgin”)

AND REMEMBER . . .
[Sun] Barbie & Barney Backlash Day
[Sun] National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (how about chocolate-covered chocolate?)
[Sun] Eat What You Want Day (get that belly stretched out in time for the holidays)
[Mon] Eid ul Fitr (the fasting month of Ramadan ends with a feast)
[Mon] National Maple Syrup Day
[Fri] 1st day of Winter
National Drunk Drivers Awareness Week
Colorectal Cancer Education Month
International Calendar Awareness Month

BULL’S BITS . . .
BS TRIVIA:

Q: Where are the most movies made?
A: If you guessed Hollywood, you’re wrong! Each year some 800 movies are released in India, about twice the number produced by Hollywood. That’s the reason the Indian film industry is now dubbed ‘Bollywood’.

BS TAG LINE: My favorite type of girl (guy) was always one that would go out with me. Twice.


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