Friday, December 24, 2010        Edition: #4415
‘Twas The Sheet Before Christmas …

The curtain has gone up again for previews of the accident-plagued $65-million Broadway production “Spider-Man: The Musical”, after producers agreed to new safety precautions imposed by the New York Department of Labor (best guess for official opening is now February 7th – if nothing else happens) . . . 39-year-old actor Peter Billingsley, best known for his role as  9-year-old ‘Ralphie’ in “A Christmas Story”, has adapted the 1983 holiday movie classic for the stage as “A Christmas Story: The Musical”, running through December 30th in Seattle WA (worth seeing just to find out how they worked ‘BB gun’ into a song) . . . Problem-plagued actor Mel Gibson has put his 500-acre Costa Rican getaway on the market for $35 million, because it’s not private enough and the media hounds him whenever he’s there (if you want privacy – stay off the phone!) . . . Media mogul Oprah Winfrey tells “Parade” magazine she was once offered the chance to become a US ambassador by former Secretary of State Colin Powell (she doesn’t need the gig – she could buy her own country) . . . And “Jersey Shore” star DJ Pauly D (Paul Delvecchio) has shot a pilot for a spinoff reality show that could become a new MTV series (can you take 13 more weeks of his immobile hairstyle?).

• “Chelsea Lately” (E!) – Tonight Crystal Bowersox (“Farmer’s Daughter”).
• “Ellen DeGeneres Show” (syndicated/A Channel) – Today Sugarland (“The Incredible Machine”).
• “George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight” (CBC) – Tonight a holiday special, featuring new takes on seasonal tunes by the likes of Chrissie Hynde, Johnny Reid, Kardinal Offishall, OK Go.
• “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC/CityTV) – Tonight Darker My Love (“Alive As You Are”)
• “Live With Regis & Kelly” (syndicated/CTV) – Today David Archuleta (“Christmas From the Heart”).
• “Saturday Night Live” (NBC/Global) – Host Emma Stone (“Easy A”); Kings of Leon (“Come Around Sundown”) perform.
• “Tavis Smiley” (PBS) – Tonight Lyle Lovett (“Natural Forces”); Johnny Mathis (“Merry Christmas”).

• Annie Lennox – Her plans for a TV special to promote her new album “A Christmas Cornucopia” had to be scrapped after the budget was blown on a big orchestra and choirs.
• The Beatles – The ‘zebra crossing’ (pedestrian crossing) on Abbey Road in North London, famous for appearing on the cover of their 1969 album “Abbey Road”, has just been granted ‘Grade II’ heritage status, meaning it’s now protected for its ‘cultural and historical importance’.
• George Michael – The “Last Christmas” singer has just spent $6 million for an Australian vacation property on Whales Beach, an hour north of Sydney. It’s said to feature a dramatic infinity pool overlooking the Tasman Sea. He also has homes in London and Los Angeles.
• George Strait – Today he’s wearing red, not because it’s Christmas Eve but to show support for ‘Red Shirt Fridays’, an organization honoring servicemen & women. From now on Strait will wear a red shirt for each Friday’s tour date, and is encouraging his fans to do the same.
• Michael Jackson – His posthumous album “Michael” isn’t doing as well as predicted, although it has debuted at #1 in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
• Ozzy Osbourne – He claims Lady Gaga needs to take some time off so fans don’t get bored with her. He says he’s ‘getting a bit sick’ of seeing her whenever he turns on the TV or opens a magazine.
• Gorillaz – Their new album, “The Fall”, is due out via their website on Christmas Day. Damon Albarn says it was recorded primarily on his iPad while they toured North America this year.
• Madonna – A new Kantar Media study shows the 52-year-old has been mentioned more in the UK print press than any other star over the past 10 years … more than 46,000 times!
• Paramore – In a new blog post, founding members Josh & Zac Farro say the reason they’ve left the band is because it had become ‘all about’ 21-year-old singer Hayley Williams.
• Radiohead – Their 1997 album “OK Computer” has just been voted ‘Best Album Of the Last 25 Years’ in a poll by Britain’s “Q Magazine”.

• “Gulliver’s Travels” ( PG Fantasy Adventure ): Jack Black plays a travel writer who’s shipwrecked on an island in the Bermuda Triangle where he’s a virtual giant compared to the tiny natives. Initially taken prisoner, he soon becomes a hero as he schemes for a way in which the ‘Lilliputians’ can outwit their rivals. Based on the classic Jonathan Swift story. Co-stars Emily Blunt, Jason Segel.

If you’re shopping for a ‘Gleek’, then you’re in luck – marketing teams across the globe have released an avalanche of merchandise for Christmas. There’s the “Best Of Season One” soundtrack which comes in 3 volumes and contains a host of the cast’s best auto-tuned hits. Then there’s the Christmas album, a “Glee” computer game, a “Glee” board game, and even a “Glee” perfume. (Now’s a great time to collect all of these future yard sale items!)

Guys, if you’ve ever taken aim at whittled down urinal cakes, then you’ll like Sega’s new ‘Toylet’. You control the device with pee power, using a monitor at eye-level while aiming at sensors mounted in the bowl. Games include graffiti erasure, controlling a gust of wind which shoots up ladies’ skirts (hmm), and one that involves pushing a sumo wrestler out of the ring with the strength of your stream. Your opponent’s power level is determined by the pressure of the last person to use the urinal. (Best. Invention. Ever.)

A team of researchers at Japan’s University of Osaka have created mice that … sing. They used genetically modified mice that are prone to mutations. After checking the newborn mice one-by-one each day, they stumbled across one that was singing like a bird. The lab now has more than 100 of the ‘singing mice’, which will be studied for clues to how human language has evolved. Ordinarily mice only squeak, mainly when they’re under stress. (Almost as bad an idea as the Jingle Cats.)
– “Daily Telegraph”

• As Gulf Coast families suffered from the impact of the major oil spill, BP boss Tony Hayward tells reporters “I would like my life back.” He’s then photographed sailing his yacht, saying the spill is “relatively tiny”.
• In July, taped phone conversations between Mel Gibson and former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva emerge. In one he tells her: “You look like a f—ing pig in heat” and then goes on to say even meaner things that can’t be repeated on radio.
• Sarah Palin, a guest on Glenn Beck’s radio show, asserts “We gotta stand with our North Korean allies …”. When Beck points out her mistake she replies, “We’re bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.”
• Australia’s “Next Top Model” host Sarah Murdoch mistakenly announces the wrong winner on the show’s live final. Murdoch names Kelsey Martinovich as the contest winner at the Sydney event. Moments later, she realises she’s crowned the wrong girl.

SAVING SCHOOL:, the online service that’s made household budgeting almost fun, is partnering with Scholastic to offer a free, online personal-finance program for middle-school students. What’s likely the first-ever interactive game about personal finance aims to help build money management skills at a young age. The materials are expected to be available to some 100,000 students by early next year. A recent poll found that nearly half of responding parents think schools have the responsibility to teach kids about financial literacy. (Just think, if they’d had this when you were a kid you might be worth more than a bag o’ rocks by now.)

• ‘Animal Weighing Scales’ – Special scales on which, instead of pounds, your weight is represented by various farm animals. (“OMG, I’ve gained an entire sow over the holidays!”)
• ‘Buzzing Mosquito Alarm Clock’ – Waking up in the morning is annoying and mosquitoes are annoying. Seems perfectly logical to put them together in one simple product. (Or maybe not.)
• Dancing Pet Speaker – Connect one of these pets to an MP3 player and watch it project and dance along to the music in a way that is truly haunting. (Especially in your dreams.)
• ‘Handerpants’ – Tighty-whitey-type underwear that is designed to be worn on the hands. (Why? So they can charge you $11.95!)
• ‘Inflatable Fruitcake’ – As if the real deal isn’t bad enough, there’s now a blow-up faux fruitcake. (At least it’s cheaper to mail using the included envelope.)
• ‘Men Crying Magnet Set’ – Help that special guy get in touch with his inner wuss with this set of fridge magnets featuring pics of guys crying. (Taken right after they received this as a gift.)
• ‘Office Bed Chair’ – AnyChair’s desk chair that reclines into a bed seems like an awesome idea, but it costs a whopping $594. (For that kind of money, we’ll just lie on the desk.)
• ‘Spyder III Laser’ – Its 1,000 megawatt blue laser output is powerful enough to burn holes in plastic, clothing, flesh, etc. (Now moms will be scolding, “Stop that or you’ll burn out an eye!”)

Cornflakes painted white were used as snowflakes in movies prior to “It’s a Wonderful Life”, but since director Frank Capra was recording live sound they were too loud when stepped on so a fire fighting substance called foamite was used. (The film classic gets its annual airing on NBC-TV tonight.)


1971 [39] Ricky Martin, San Juan, Puerto Rico, pop singer (“La Vida Loca”, “She Bangs”)/adoptive father of twins

1973 [37] Stephenie Meyer (Morgan), Hartford CT, novelist (“Twilight Saga”, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide in 37 languages and spawned the uber-successful movie series)

1974 [36] Ryan Seacrest, Dunwoody GA, TV host (“American Idol” since 2002, “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”)/TV producer (“Keeping Up With the Kardashians”, “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated”)/radio personality (KIIS-FM Los Angeles, “American Top 40”)

Pop singer Jimmy Buffett (“Margarittaville’”) is 64; Movie actress Sissy Spacek (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”) is 61; Pop singer Annie Lennox (“No More I Love Yous”) is 56; Pop singer Dido (“White Flag”) is 39.

Imprisoned record producer Phil Spector (“A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector”) is 70;  “America’s Most Wanted” TV host John Walsh is 65; Rock drummer Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 47; Movie actor/rock singer Jared Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) is 39; Rock singer Chris Daughtry (“No Surprise”) is 31.

• “Christmas Eve”, a family gift-giving occasion in many countries.
• “National Egg Nog Day”, celebrating the seasonal rum or brandy drink that has nothing good for you in it but sure tastes good. A coffee spiked with egg nog and brandy is called a ‘tom-tom’.

• “Christmas Day”, a holiday in at least 105 nations.

• “Boxing Day”, a legal holiday in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the UK, which takes its name from the old English tradition of boxing up gifts & food for the less fortunate. It coincided with “St Stephen’s Day”, when churches opened their collection boxes to the poor. In South Africa, it’s known as “Day of Goodwill”. In Canada, it’s also the excuse for giant after-Christmas sales in stores, similar to the post-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” in the USA.
• “Kwanzaa” begins (through January 1st), the African-American version of traditional African harvest festivals, celebrated in North America since 1966. ‘Kwanzaa’ means ‘first fruit’ in Swahili.
• “National Whiner’s Day”, dedicated to people who whine about unwanted Christmas gifts.
• “Thank-You Note Day”, a day to say thanks for all those gifts before you forget.

1990 [20] Tom Cruise weds Nicole Kidman, his co-star from “Days of Thunder” (lasts 11 years)

2000 [10] NFL’s Miami Dolphins & New England Patriots mistakenly leave the field with time left on the clock and are called back 36 minutes later to play … the final 3 seconds (score does not change: Miami 27; New England 24)

[Tues Dec 28] “2010 Kennedy Center Honors” (CBS)
[Fri Dec 31] “MTV New Year’s Bash” (MTV)
[Fri Dec 31] “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” (ABC)
[Fri Dec 31] World Peace Meditation Day
[Fri Dec 31] “Blue Valentine” opens in movie theaters
[Sat Jan 1] “The World Series of Beer Pong” begins (Las Vegas)
[Wed Jan 5] “2011 People’s Choice Awards” (CBS)
[Wed Jan 12] “American Idol” season debut (FOX)
This Week Is … Halcyon Days
This Month Is … Safe Toys & Gifts Month


• “Bad Santa” (2003) – Billy Bob Thornton’s version of the man-in-red turns the screen blue as 243 curse words are uttered. Of those, 147 are f-bombs or variants of the word.
• “Elves” (1989) – A group of elves created in a Nazi experiment seek to mate with virgins to start a master race. Kids are trapped in a mall and only a guy in a Santa suit can save them.
• “Jack Frost” (1997) – When the vehicle transporting a serial killer crashes into a truck carrying unstable DNA material, the killer turns into a murderous snowman, hell-bent on revenge.
• “Santa Claws” (1996) – A young man catches his divorced mother bumping uglies with a dude in a Santa hat. He kills them both and grows up to be, you guessed it … kuh-RAY-zee!
• “Santa Slay” (2005) – Santa’s a demon who loses a bet with an angel and is forced to give out toys to children on Christmas. When the bet falls through, Santa goes back to being naughty.
• “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (1984) – A young man sees his parents killed by a man dressed as Santa. In a remarkably creative twist, the kid grows up to be a killer who also favors Santa duds.
– Condensed from

We scattered fruitcake crumbs for the birds. Several crashed on take-off.

We all change our minds sometimes, especially in the supermarket. And often, instead of putting the product back where we got it, we just plop it … wherever. What unusual items have you found ditched by customers in totally the wrong area of a store? This website documents the mess left behind by fickle consumers …

Today’s Question: 10% of women say THIS is the New Year’s resolution they wish their man would make.
Answer to Give Out Next Show: Upgrade his clothes.

Life is a horse, either you ride it or it rides you.

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