Wednesday, December 6, 2006        Edition: #3424
Get Sheet-Faced Every Morning!

For the 5th time since 2000, ‘Britney Spears’ was the most-searched term on Yahoo!’s search engine throughout 2006 . . . Rumors that are circulating suggest there may be more than just ‘flashing’ and partying between Paris Hilton & Britney Spears, some reports claiming they’ve really gotten to ‘know’ one another . . . 45-year-old movie actor Eddie Murphy (“Dreamgirls”) has reportedly ditched his girlfriend, 31-year-old former Spice Girl Melanie Brown, and is demanding she prove the paternity of her unborn child before he’ll take any responsibility for it (she’s 6-months preggers with her 2nd child via somebody) . . . Word has it Murphy’s new steady is Tracey Edmonds, ex-wife of producer/singer Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds (w/Madonna-“Take a Bow”) . . . 59-year-old David Letterman has just extended his “Late Show” contract (CBS) through 2010, which would give him a total of 17 years on-the-job (makes Johnny Carson’s 30 years on the “Tonight Show” seem even more amazing) . . . Over the past year, ratings for the “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC) have fallen 6%, but it’s not “Late Night With David Letterman” (CBS) picking up the slack (also down 6%) – “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” (Comedy Central) have experienced double-digit increases in their much-smaller audiences (analysts say it’s a trend worth watching) . . . Fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has launched his own line of vodka that comes in a 750-ml bottle with a glass serpent wrapped around it – for $125 . . . And the Disney Co is planning to revive the tradition of cartoon shorts being shown before its feature films in theaters, once a staple part of ‘going to the show’ (and helping to make that 50-buck date at the movies seem a little more worthwhile).

• Chris Brown – TONIGHT the ‘Artist of the Year’ at “Billboard Music Awards”performs live on the outdoor Pontiac Garage Stage on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC).
• Elvis Costello w/Rosanne Cash – TONIGHT they perform on “Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS).
• Guns N’ Roses – Oakland CA cops will reward anyone who turns in a gun over the next 2 weekends with a pair of tickets to the band’s local DECEMBER 15th concert at Oracle Arena. Good idea: When the riot breaks out because they’re a no-show, fans will have fewer weapons.
• Jessica Simpson – When she tried to perform Dolly Parton’s hit “9 to 5” at the “Kennedy Center Honors” SUNDAY, she botched a line, broke out in tears and left the stage. Her PR flak claims she was ‘overcome with emotion performing for her idol’. A do-over was taped after the gala. And that’s what we’ll see when the special airs DECEMBER 26th (CBS).
• Keith Urban – After 6 weeks in rehab at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs CA, he’s now occasionally allowed to leave for short periods. But his rep confirms the treatment will continue, contrary to many reports.
• Olivia Newton-John – She’s suing Universal Music Group for breach of contract, alleging she’s owed more than $1 million in royalties from sales of the “Grease” soundtrack, which features her picture on the cover. Sounds like someone signed a sloppy agreement back in 1978.
• Rod Stewart – It’s been confirmed he’s planning to wed fiancée Penny Lancaster early in the new year now that his divorce from his 2nd wife, model Rachel Hunter, was been finalized.
• Velvet Underground – A fragile preliminary pressing of their legendary 1967 debut vinyl recording, bought by a Montréal collector 4 years ago for  75 cents, is now for sale on eBay. Bidding has passed $110,000. The auction closes FRIDAY evening.

New cutting-edge vocab …
• ‘Ergophobia’ – An irrational fear of work. Not to be confused with laziness, it’s more likely a combination of fear of failing at assigned tasks, fear of speaking before groups, and fear of socializing with co-workers. (“No sense asking Marianne do the presentation, she’s so ergophobic she’d likely faint.”)
• ‘Malicious Obedience’ – The opposite of civil disobedience. A quiet protest of company policy in which employees go through the motions of doing their jobs but intentionally accomplish nothing. (Sounds like a regular day around here.)
• ‘Man Flu’ – A common cold mistakenly self-diagnosed as the flu, particularly by guys. (“Darryl’s not coming to the dinner, he’s flat out with a severe case of man flu.”)

Creativity and emotions are what makes advertising successful not the message it is trying to get across, according to new research. Dr Robert Heath from the University of Bath’s School of Management in Britain has found that ads with high levels of emotional content enhance how people felt about a brand name, even when there’s no real message. (That’s why we always try to move you to tears on this show.)
– “Advertising Age”

A statistical breakdown of life by the numbers …
• 53% of women say they would rather eat glass than go out of the house without makeup on.
• 52% of us have re-gifted or will re-gift this holiday season.
• 38% of women say they have ‘become’ their mother.
• 33% of women cut the tags off their clothing to imitate losing weight.
• 17% of us consult a psychic or astrology readings on a regular basis.
• 4% of men ask their wives or girlfriends to trim their back-hair at least once a month.

Left-handed people often perform better than right-handers at fast or difficult tasks that involve lots of information or stimuli, according to new research. For instance, left-handers might be better at playing fast-paced computer games, talking while driving in heavy traffic, or piloting a jet fighter, all of them activities that need both hemispheres of the brain to process information. (Yeah, but ask them to use a corkscrew and they’re all thumbs.)
– ANI Science & Health

5. Stick Margarine – Worse than soft or liquid margarines which contain a lower combined amount of saturated and trans-fats and a lower amount of cholesterol.
4. Chips & Crackers – Trans-fat acts as the glue that keeps them together and contributes to their buttery taste.
3. Breakfast Foods – Think that sugar-free muffin or breakfast bar is good for you? Think again. Along with donuts and pancakes, these foods are often sources of trans-fats.
2. Baked Goods – Cakes and pies are not only bursting with sugar, they are notorious for containing heaping amounts of trans-fats.
1. Prepared Foods – You probably know that french fries and other fast food items are laden with trans-fats. But beware of prepared foods from the supermarket and even Chinese takeout which may be fried in partially hydrogenated oil.
– “Forbes Magazine”

• Circus ringmaster Daniel Renz went on with the show … even after a 5-ft, 9-in-long crocodile bit off his thumb during a performance in Le Mans, France. Renz closed his act by holding up his thumbless hand, to enthusiastic applause. (The crowd gave him a thumbs up!)
• A secret US Air Force facility in Colorado Springs CO tested a radio frequency this past week that it would use to communicate with emergency workers in the event of a homeland security threat. But the frequency also controls an estimated 50 million garage door openers and hundreds of residents in the area found that theirs had suddenly stopped working. (“The good news is we’ve notified everyone about the threat. The bad news is, they can’t leave home!”)
• A 120-year-old Indian woman claims that smoking cannabis every day is her secret to long life.
Fulla Nayak says she smokes up in her hut everyday, supplementing the weed with strong palm wine. She lives with her 92-year-old daughter and 72-year-old grandson. (Want your kids to leave home? Quit serving dope!)
• A British couple is trying to sell their 3-bedroom, semi-detached Victorian house in Cornwall for $2,000, even though it would normally e worth circa $200,000. Why the bargain price? A survey just determined that the house is built over an old tin-mine that could swallow it up at any time. (Talk about getting the shaft!)

• Make sure you attend. Your absence will be noticed, especially by your boss. [“New Rules@Work”]
• Pay attention to your body language. Colleagues and managers are going to know you don’t want to be there if your arms are crossed or you yawn or frown. [“Washington Post”]
• Try not to talk shop. Beforehand, you might think of a few non-work conversation topics. Discussions about politics and religion are usually not a good idea. Sports, concerts, holiday plans, family and vacations are all good subjects. [“Party Like a Pro: Real People, Real Parties”]
• Make sure you do lots of dancing. If you stay on the dance floor you will drink less and burn off more calories. [“Globe & Mail”]
• Managers should be careful not to make any promises at the party that could be a legally binding, contractual commitment. [“Personnel Today”]

In Nuremberg, Germany new playgrounds are being planned for people … over-60. The idea is to provide seniors with a refuge away from younger people, as well as safe activities like large chessboards, bocce courts, and places to play cards. The more ambitious will be able to play badminton on padded surfaces. The concept was first hatched in Finland, where the University of Lapland found that a combination of climbing frames, swings and seesaws significantly helped seniors to regain some confidence in their bodies. (And also drummed up business for the local emergency ward.)
– “Times of London”

The 5 most popular TV shows among kids ages 2-to-11 THIS SEASON …
4. [tie] “Dancing With the Stars: Results Show”/”America’s Funniest Home Videos”
3. “Dancing With the Stars”
2. “Survivor: Cook Islands”
1. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
– “Media Life Magazine”

McDonald’s is considering replacing those ‘PlayPlace’ indoor playgrounds featured in many of its restaurants with … gyms for kids. The ‘R-Gyms’, named after ‘Ronald McDonald’, would include stationary exercise bikes, rope climbing and other aerobic exercise activities to help the tikes burn off their ‘Happy Meals’. Prototypes are already operating in several outlets. (“Mom, can I have 2 burgers and fries now?”)

• 50-to-70% of alcoholic relapses begin during the holidays.
– “Denver Post”
• Almost half of US elementary school teachers say it’s more difficult to get their students to wash their hands with soap than to do their homework.
– NSF International

“He’s the best dinner party guest in the world.”
– Movie actress Cate Blanchett on George Clooney, her co-star in the upcoming film, “The Good German” (opening wide DECEMBER 22nd).


1955 [51] Steven Wright, NYC, droll stand-up comedian. A sampling of his weird work …
• I hooked up my accelerator pedal to my brake lights. I hit the gas, people behind me stop, and I’m gone.
• I was upset on my 2nd birthday because I went from being 1 to being 2 and my age doubled in a year. I figured at this rate, by the time I’m 6, I’ll be 90.
• I tried to draw my shadow once, but I couldn’t … my arm kept moving.

1956 [50] Peter Buck, Oakland CA, classic rock guitarist (REM-“Losing My Religion”, “Everybody Hurts”).

• “Day of Remembrance & Action on Violence Against Women”, established by Parliament in 1991 to recognize and denounce violence against women in our society. The day coincides with the anniversary of the 1989 ‘Montréal Massacre’ when 14 young women were tragically killed at l’École Polytechnique.
• “Gazpacho Day”, in celebration of the spicy but cold Spanish soup. To look like a real rube, order some in a restaurant and then blow on it to cool it down.
• “Pawnbrokers Day”, celebrated on “St Nicholas Day”, the saint who, among other things, is the patron saint of pawnbroking.
• “St Nicholas Day”, commemorating the 4th-century bishop who died December 6, 342 AD and from whom the traditions of ‘Santa Claus’ and exchanging gifts were derived. No wonder he’s the patron saint of both children and merchants! Many European kids awake today to find candy and oranges in their shoes, or if they’ve been bad – a piece of coal. The name ‘Santa Claus’ evolved from St Nicholas via the Dutch form of the name – ‘Sinte Klaas’ or ‘Sinterklaas’. According to Dutch tradition, naughty children are whisked away to Spain by St Nick’s helper, ‘Black Pete’. Hey buddy, pick me!!

1988 [18] Legendary singer Roy Orbison dies of a massive heart attack at age 52

1960 [46] 1st ‘Domino’s Pizza’ opens

1963 [43] 1st automobile ‘Cruise Control’ is introduced

1983 [23] World record for ‘Continuous Whistling’ set at 45 hours, 20 minutes

[Thurs] Grammy Awards nominees announced
[Thurs] International Civil Aviation Day
[Thurs] Christmas Lights Across Canada 2006
[Fri] Bad Hair Day
[Fri] “Apocalypto”; “Blood Diamond”; “The Holiday” open in movie theaters
[Sun] 2006 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony (Stockholm, Sweden)
This Week Is … Human Rights Week
This Month Is … Identity Theft Prevention & Awareness Month


A website that compiles lists of ‘mondegreens’, misheard song lyrics, has put together a list of butchered seasonal songs. Among them …
• “Chipmunks roasting on an open fire …”
• “Joy to the world! The Lord has gum …”
• “We 3 kings of porridge and tar …”
• “Get dressed ye married gentlemen, let nothing through this May.”
• “Later on we’ll perspire as we dream by the fire …”
• “Good King Wences’ car backed out, on the feet of heathens …”
• “Fleas naughty dog, fleas naughty dog …”

You run down the list while a crew member/guest/phone caller ranks each item as simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’ …
• This year, retailers seem to have cast aside worries about being politically correct and are using the word ‘Christmas’ instead of generic terms like ‘the holidays’. Good or bad?
• Shopping for gifts online. Good or bad?
• Competitive eating contests. Good or bad?
• Replacing your old-fashioned Christmas lights with new hi-tech, ‘energy-efficient’ LED lights, which cost about 3 times as much. Good or bad?
• ‘Secret Santa’ gifting in the workplace. Good or bad?
• TV show repeats on the Internet. Good or bad?
• Hanging mistletoe. Good or bad?
• Hanging it in the men’s room. Good or bad?
• People who hum in public. Good or bad?
• Spending the holidays away from home at a sunny resort. Good or bad?

Today’s Question: According to a survey, people who do THIS on a regular basis are more successful than those who don’t.
Answer to Give Out Next Show: Call their moms regularly.

If you’re arguing with an idiot, make sure he isn’t doing the same thing.

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