Friday, December 14, 2012        Edition: #4890

Don’t Forget to Renew Your Subscription or You’ll Be Sheet Outta Luck!

Today one of the most famous pianos in film history – the 58-key upright used in the 1942 Oscar-winning film “Casablanca” – is expected to fetch upwards of $1 million at a Sotheby’s auction in NYC (for a cool mill, you too can ‘play it again, Sam’) . . . 75 artists are on the long-list for the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Song’, including Adele (“Skyfall”), Arcade Fire (“The Hunger Games”), and The Black Keys (“The Man With the Iron Fists”), with the final cut to be announced January 10th (last time a winner was actually any good: Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in 2002) . . . That harebrained plot to murder pop star Justin Bieber (with a paisley tie, plus pruning shears to castrate him) apparently fell apart when the would-be murderers missed an exit on an Interstate in Vermont and ended up getting grilled by a US border agent at the Highgate Springs crossing into Canada (sounds like a movie farce) . . . 22-year-old actress Kristen Stewart tells Australia “Marie Claire” now that the “Twilight Saga” is over, she’s ‘sort of bored’ (yeah, this year has been so uneventful for her) . . . 22-year-old “Silver Linings Playbook” actress Jennifer Lawrence tops the 99 ladies listed in the annual ‘Most Desirable Woman’ poll, while Kim Kardashian has dropped a whopping 90 slots (she’s now #98 – with an anchor) . . . Lindsay Lohan reportedly convinced “Million Dollar Makeover” (Bravo) to reno her house to the tune of $200,000, then refused to appear in the big reveal (hey, if you’re gonna do biz with this train wreck you get what you deserve) . . . And movie director Joe Wright (“Anna Karenina”) is quoted as saying even he has no idea what those gawd-awful Brad Pitt Chanel ads he directed are all about (a bearded troll quoting platitudes from fridge magnets maybe?).

• “Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas” (NBC) – Tonight a rerun of the country star’s December 3rd holiday season special, featuring Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Jay Leno, Larry the Cable Guy, Reba McEntire, and, of course, his wife Miranda Lambert.
• “Chelsea Lately” (E!) – Tonight guest host Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). Rerun.
• “Ellen DeGeneres Show” (syndicated/CTV2) – This afternoon Justin Bieber (“Believe”).
• “Last Call With Carson Daly” (NBC) – Tonight Titus Andronicus (“Local Business”). Rerun.
• “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC/CTV2) – Tonight Martha Wainwright (“Come Home to Mama”).
• “Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS/NTV/Omni1) – Tonight  Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (“Live From Alabama”).
• “Live With Kelly & Michael” (syndicated/CTV) – This morning Jackie Evancho (“O Holy Night”).
• “Saturday Night Live” (NBC/Global) – Martin Short (“Frankenweenie”) hosts; musical guest Paul McCartney (making his 4th appearance).
• SS Coachella – Sunday the 1st sea cruise based on the annual California festival disembarks for the Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Onboard entertainment includes Pulp, Sleigh Bells, Hot Chip and other acts. A 2nd, longer cruise departs for Jamaica December 19th.
• “Survivor: Philippines” (CBS/Global) – Sunday the winner is revealed on the 25th season finalé.
• “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC/CTV2) – Tonight Pentatonix (“PTXmas”).
• “VH1 Divas” (VH1) – Sunday Adam Lambert hosts the annual showcase which this year honors dance-music divas, including the late Donna Summer and Whitney Houston. Performers include Ciara, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, Kelly Rowland, Metric, Natasha Bedingfield and, surprisingly, Pitbull.

• Fleetwood Mac – A 35th anniversary edition of their landmark album “Rumours” is coming out in conjunction with their 2013 tour. A 3-disc expanded edition will include the original album, a dozen unreleased live recordings, and a disc of unreleased takes from the album’s original recording sessions. It’s due out January 29th.
• Jason Mraz – Sunday he headlines a free outdoor concert at People’s Square in Yangon, Myanmar to raise awareness about human trafficking. He’s believed to be the first international artist to perform an open-air concert in the country. The show will broadcast on MTV in 2013.
• Lady Gaga – Word has it she spoke to Mick Jagger about her appearance at this Saturday’s Stones concert while soaking in her bathtub earlier this week. An inside source claims she asked if she could wear any of his old stage gear during the performance.
• Mariah Carey – Her husband Nick Cannon has revealed he and the wife make love while listening to her hits, and that her tunes help him ‘come to grips’ with his loneliness when she’s away. This is what happens when she lets him talk.
• Ravi Shankar – The late sitar master will be honored with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the 2013 Grammy Awards. A little late, ain’t it?
• Rolling Stones – Saturday’s “50th Anniversary Concert: One More Shot” in Newark NJ includes big-name guests: The Black Keys, Bruce Springsteen, and Lady Gaga. The concert will be broadcast live via Pay-Per-View and online at Yahoo! Music. E! network will air “Live From The Rolling Stones”, a 1-hour special covering pre-show activities.
• Taylor Swift – “The Sun” reports she and One Direction boyfriend Harry Styles have been on a mini-break in England, sharing a ‘romantic cottage’ outside Manchester. Word has it Taylor has already met Harry’s parents and his sister has been around the last few days.
• ZZ Top – They’re offering up signed gear on eBay to help support homeless military veterans. Among the items available: a bass from Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons’ Stratocaster, and a drumhead from Frank Beard.

• “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” ( PG-13 Fantasy Adventure ): In the 1st of 3 parts to Peter Jackson’s treatment of JRR Tolkien’s 1937 novel, curious Hobbit ‘Bilbo Baggins’ journeys to the ‘Lonely Mountain’ with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon ‘Smaug’. Stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Andy Serkis. Shot in the cutting-edge 48 frames-per-second 3-D format (twice normal speed). Some showings in select theaters at 10 pm last night.
• Opening in limited release: “Any Day Now” (Drama); “Let Fury Have the Hour” (Documentary); and “Save the Date” (Romantic Comedy).

“Fitness” magazine’s annual year-end health countdown salutes female celebs who make the effort to look good and stay in shape. Among those cited for exceptional anatomical elements …
✓ Blake Lively … ‘Best Legs’
✓ Eva Longoria … ‘Best Butt’
✓ Gwen Stefani … ‘Best Abs’
✓ Jennifer Lawrence … ‘Best Curves’
✓ Julianne Hough … ‘Best Back’
✓ Kate Hudson … ‘Best Cleavage’
✓ Michelle Obama … ‘Best Arms’
(We’d love to see a composite of these components. It’d likely look ridiculous … in the true sense of the word.)

Does a new draft of a US Army manual on cultural sensitivity blame boorish troops for attacks by Afghan soldiers? That’s what the “Wall Street Journal” suggests after acquiring a copy of the as-yet unreleased handbook. It says the manual advises GIs in Afghanistan to shut up about politics, religion, women, homosexuality, and other potentially divisive issues around locals, lest they stoke the sorts of tensions that lead to violence against American forces. According to the report, the handbook states: “Many of the confrontations occur because of ignorance of, or lack of empathy for, Muslim and/or Afghan cultural norms, resulting in a violent reaction …” (Well no sheet, Sherlock! It only took 11 years to figure this out?)

Numerous studies have analyzed how dogs play. We know, for instance, that when you see a dog with its rump in the air and forelimbs pressed into the ground, you’re looking at a ‘play bow’, one of a number of behaviors that signal a dog’s playful intent. And we know a few things about human behavior with dogs: we tend to repeat our words and phrases when we talk to them, similar to how we talk to infants. But NYC’s Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab may be the first to instigate a study of the different ways people and dogs play together and the behaviors they use. To that end, it’s asking dog owners worldwide to submit 30-to-60 second videos of their own human-dog play. More info here …

This week’s debut of the Spice Girls musical “Viva Forever!” may be a bomb, but at least the topic has to do with music. As opposed to these weird-yet-real stage musicals from the past …
• “Ben Franklin in Paris” (1964) – Included such show-stopping tunes as “I Invented Myself” and “God Bless the Human Elbow”.
• “Carrie” (1988) – Stephen King’s horror thriller set to music didn’t fare well on Broadway. An off-Broadway revival this year didn’t fare much better.
• “Charles Darwin: Live and In Concert” (2001) – A one-man show that featured singer-anthropologist Richard Milner.
• “Hope! Das Obama Musical” (2010) – A German musical about the political rise of Barack Obama. Need we say more?
• “Jerry Springer: The Opera” (2003) – Who’d have thought a musical about the tackiest guy on TV wouldn’t be a hit? The “Daily Mail” newspaper counted 8,000 cases of swearing.
• “Moby Dick” (1992) – No dancing whales, just a group of scantily-clad schoolgirls trying to rescue their struggling academy by staging the Herman Melville story in a local swimming pool.
• “Octomom! The Musical” (2009) – Yep, the story of Nadya Suleman and her famed octuplets. No longer playing, but you can still see the whole show on YouTube.
• “Silence! The Musical” (2005) – this unauthorized parody of “The Silence Of the Lambs” included songs about nether-regions, gratuitous violence, and tap-dancing sheep.
• “Via Galactia” (1972) – With UFOs and lasers and a plot set 1,000 years in the future, this strange show turned out to be the first Broadway production to lose over $1 million.
– Adapted from

George Frederick Handel’s great Christmas oratorio, “The Messiah”, was first performed in Dublin in 1742, because the work was written to aid charities in Ireland. It was a success there from its original performance.


1949 [63] Cliff Williams, Romford UK, rock bassst (AC/DC-“Rock ‘n Roll Train”, “Moneytalks”)/Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2003)

1988 [24] Vanessa Hudgens, Salinas CA, movie actress (“High School Musical” movies, “Thirteen”)

Movie actor Don Johnson (“Django Unchained”) is 63; Classic rock bassist Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 57; Movie actor Adam Brody (“Lovelace”) is 33; Alt-rock guitarist Sergio Pizzorno (Kasabian) is 32.

TV correspondent Lesley Stahl (“60 Minutes”) is 71; Classic rock singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 63; TV actor Benjamin Bratt (“Private Practice”) is 49; Oldies singer Michael McCary (Boyz II Men) is 41; Rock singer Benjamin Kowalewicz (Billy Talent) is 37; Rapper Flo Rida (“Whistle”) is 33.

• “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. Nummers, instant heaven!
• “Halcyon Days” begin, the 7 days before and 7 days after the Winter Solstice. According to ancient tradition, it’s a time of peace and tranquillity. (That’s because they didn’t have malls.)
• “Monkey Day”, to raise awareness about monkey issues, monkeys in the news, and ways you can help monkeys (apes and other primates included).
• “Salesperson Day”, observed annually on the 2nd Friday in December to celebrate sales reps as essential resources for customers. The talented salesperson, it’s said, filters the vast amount of info available to help customers make the best purchasing decisions.

• “Cat Herders Day”, a day of sympathy for anyone who feels their job, or even their life, is like trying to herd cats.
• “Zamenhof Day”, the beginning of “International Language Week” celebrated by the International Esperanto League. The international language ‘Esperanto’ was invented by Dr LL Zamenhof in 1887 to solve the world’s language barrier, but never really caught on. Get some useful phrases in ‘Esperantese’ here …

• “Chocolate Covered Anything Day” (So fill up the tub!)
• “Las Posadas” begins, the traditional 9-day Mexican Christmas celebration that includes breaking open a pinata. Similarly, “Misa de Gallo” (literally “Rooster’s Mass”) in the Philippines runs today through January 6th, said to be the world’s longest Christmas celebration.
• “Stupid Toy Day”, a half-hearted salute to some of the bad inventions marketed for kids. How about these real but really dumb ideas: ‘Inflatable 6-Foot Alien’, ‘Slingshot Flying Cow’, ‘Solar-Powered Dancing Flowers’, ‘Zombie Brain Gelatin Mold’, and … ‘Pick Your Nose Cups’.

1977 [35] “Saturday Night Fever”, starring John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John, has its world premiere in Los Angeles (the Bee Gees generate several hits from the soundtrack)

2005 [07] Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” remake, starring Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, and Jack Black, opens in movie theaters

1991 [21] Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” debuts at #1 on the “Billboard” album chart

1947 [65] National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) is created

[Mon] Free Shipping Day
[Tues] Answer the Telephone Like Buddy the Elf Day
[Tues] International Migrants Day
[Wed] “The Guilt Trip”; “Monsters Inc 3-D”, “Zero Dark Thirty” open in movie theaters
[Thurs] International Human Solidarity Day
This Week Is … Civil Rights Week
This Month Is … International Calendar Awareness Month


✗ “The Sweatiest Angel”
✗ “Santa’s Three-Day Eggnog Bender”
✗ “A Holiday Visit from Salmonella”
✗ “UFC Champ Georges St-Pierre Hurts Santa Real Bad”
✗ “My Christmas Sauna with Burl Ives”
✗ “Jack Frost Loses All Feeling in His Extremities”
✗ “The Mayan Calendar & The End of Christmas”

After watching the “12.12.12” benefit concert, it seems Nirvana and The Beatles have a lot in common … both are now drum ‘n bass duos.

A design studio has created a new website that lets visitors search the web “Mad Men”-style. Use a virtual typewriter keyboard to enter a search term into an old-school punch-card computer. (We managed to search ‘The Bull Sheet’ and get a teletype-style printout in around 3 minutes … lightning speed if it was 1960.)

All through the Christmas season in olde England, ‘lambswool’ could be found in the houses of the well-to-do. What was it?
a. Imitation snow used for decorations.
b. A brew of hot ale with roast apples floating in it. [CORRECT. It was the drink that filled the wassail bowl.]
c. A fluffy confection made from almonds & sugar.
– “Totally Trivial”

Question: Researchers say the more you do THIS at your holiday party, the more your friends will drink.
Answer: Turn the music up.

The young know the rules; the old know the exceptions.

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