Wednesday, December 4, 2013        Edition: #5116

Sheet Happens!

★ Yesterday, a Moscow judge sentenced Russian ballet star Pavel Dmitrichenko to 6 years behind bars for plotting a horrifying acid attack on Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin in January. The corrosive substance thrown in Filin’s face on a Moscow street caused burns and temporary blindness. Pavel was convicted of masterminding the assault; the man who actually threw the acid was given 10 years; his getaway driver got 4. The attack was sparked by a series of backstage bust-ups between Dmitrichenko and Filin. (A plot for “Black Swan 2”?)
★ “Monsters University” and “Frozen” and will go head-to-head at the 41st annual “Annie Awards” for excellence in animated feature films. They’ve picked up 10 nominations each, including one for the main prize, ‘Best Animated Feature’. Following close behind with 9 nominations: “The Croods”, and “Despicable Me 2”. “Annie Award” winners will be announced at a gala ceremony February 1st in LA. (You gotta admit, ‘Kevin the Minion’ … what an actor!)
★ 49-year-old movie star Brad Pitt has bought a £2-million ($3.3-million) WW2-vintage Spitfire airplane. Pitt has done everything from sleep in the trenches to learn now to drive a tank while working on the WW2 drama “Fury” in Britain. His fascination with the war has apparently led to his investment in one of its iconic aircraft. Brad will get lessons on how to fly his Spitfire at Boultbee Flying Academy in Oxford. (Now when paparazzi get on his tail, he can strafe them.)
★ “Star Trek” fans have been asking for a return to TV for years and it looks like their demands may be met. The popular character ‘Lieutenant Worf’ has earned a promotion and his own starship in the upcoming “Star Trek: Captain Worf”. Michael Dorn’s furrowed-brow character debuted in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and appeared in the last 4 seasons of “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” as a main character. The show has yet to receive a greenlight, but if plans work out fans could see the new “Star Trek” series relatively soon. (Don’t fail to miss it!)
★ And the “Star Wars” franchise has finally joined Instagram, one of the first steps Disney is taking to promote the upcoming “Episode VII”. The account was fittingly launched with a selfie of ‘Darth Vader’, which racked up close to 70,000 followers in its first day. Filming of “Episode VII” is set to begin in Spring 2014, with the film’s premiere set for December 2015. By bringing “Star Wars” to online media, Disney is hoping to introduce the series to a whole new generation of fans. (All of them wearing dorky eyeglasses repaired with adhesive tape.)

• “Arsenio Hall” (syndicated) – Ne-Yo (“R.E.D.”)
• “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” (NBC) – The 81st-annual tree-lighting ceremony in NYC. Musical performances by Ariana Grande, Babyface, Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, and Toni Braxton among others. The 12-ton, 76-foot Norway Spruce tree will remain lit through January 7th.
• “Conan” (TBS/CTV) – The Naked & Famous (“In Rolling Waves”).
• “Ellen DeGeneres Show” (syndicated/CTV2) – Bastille (“Bad Blood”).
• “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC/CityTV) – R Kelly (“Black Panties”, out December 10th).
• “Last Call With Carson Daly” (NBC) – Chrome Sparks (“Sparks EP”). Rerun.
• “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” (NBC/CTV2) – Elvis Costello (“Mighty Like a Rose”). Rerun.
• “Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS/NTV/Omni1) – The Wanted (“Word of Mouth”). Rerun.
• “Live With Kelly & Michael” (ABC/CTV) – Sheryl Crow (“Feels Like Home”).
• “Mob City” (TNT) – Debut of a new drama series based on the novel “LA Noir: The Struggle For the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City”. Set in post-WWII LA, the storyline follows the long battle between police chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen. No-name cast.
• “Saturday Night Live” (NBC/Global) – This Wednesday night special features a compilation of popular holiday season sketches from over the years.
• “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” (NBC/CTV2) – Empire Of the Sun (“Ice On the Dune”). Rerun.
• “The View” (ABC/CTV) – Guest co-host Jewel (“Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection”).
• “Wendy Williams” (syndicated) – Susan Boyle (“Home For Christmas”).
• “The X Factor” (FOX/CTV2) – The remaining acts perform.

• Joe Nichols – He’ll be atop the ‘Billboard Country Songs’ chart when it comes out tomorrow with “Sunny and 75″.  It’s the lead single from his new album “Crickets”.
• John Mayer – He & girlfriend Katy Perry show a rare public display of affection in the cover art for his new single, “Who You Love”. The B&W image, their 1st portrait together, shows Perry lounging on a couch with her hand touching Mayer’s neck, as he sits on the floor playing his guitar.
• Muse – They’ve revealed they may play 1 or 2 festivals next year, but will mainly be focusing on writing a new album. 2014 marks the trio’s 20th anniversary as a band.
• One Direction – 19-year-old Harry Styles has picked up the ‘British Style Award’ at the 2013 British Fashion Awards. He’s the first male winner of the prize, which is awarded by public vote. Styles was considered a favorite even though he was up against the likes of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
• Queen – Brian May & Roger Taylor have confirmed that undiscovered tracks recorded by late frontman Freddie Mercury are being finished by the band, including 1983 collaborations with Michael Jackson. Brian May quote: “They’re pretty good … one of them is great.” (BS translation: At last, another revenue stream!)
• Spice Girls – 38-year-old Mel B wants to stage a “Spice 20” anniversary tour or Las Vegas residency next year to mark 20 years since their formation in 1994, but Victoria Beckham is said to be reluctant because she ‘wants to focus on her fashion line’ instead. (And we’re betting she still hasn’t gotten over that embarrassing performance at the Olympics last year.)

A statistical look at who we are and the things we do …
• 67% of people who are sick go to work anyway.
• 50% of us keep a ‘backup’ gift on hand in case someone gives us an unexpected Christmas present.
• 39% of us admit we’ve re-gifted a gift from someone else (top candidates for re-gifting include home décor, gift cards, wine or champagne, books, and perfumes & colognes).
• 38% of men take a vitamin every day.
• 37% of us are planning to work until the day we die.
• 2% of us say that our favorite sport to watch is … bowling.

Yesterday the USA’s largest casual dining chain, Applebee’s, announced plans to place tablets at every table in its restaurants by the end of 2014. Patrons can use the tablets to order things like appetizers or desserts, to pay whenever they want, and even to play videogames. The hi-tech move, already common at eateries in Europe and Asia, is expected to be followed by much of the $70-billion full-service dining industry. One observer says that within the next decade, it will become routine for customers in table-service restaurants to use tablets to view menus, place orders, and pay bills. (“Hi, my name is Android. I’ll be your server tonight …”)

Tips on treats and time-outs to help women make the holiday season more enjoyable …
• BE NICE TO YOU – Buy yourself that one thing you really want that you’re certain nobody will get you (either put it under the tree or enjoy it right now); get a new outfit for Christmas (you’ll be happy you did when the 25th rolls around); buy yourself flowers (your favorites, not just some festive arrangement).
• TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF: Have your Christmas dinner catered (put your order in now so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen on the 25th); hire a cleaning service to help get your home in shape for the holidays; consider using a gift-wrapping service to wrap Christmas presents.
• PAMPER YOURSELF: Get a pedicure (the fancy one with the paraffin wax); and a manicure (choose a color that’s bright and festive); get your hair done (cut, color, the works!); treat yourself to a bright red lipstick; book yourself in for an hour-long massage.
• TAKE TIME-OUTS: Go to a coffee shop, order yourself a fancy drink and sit down, relax, and read your favorite magazine in peace; take a long walk and enjoy being alone with your thoughts; take a soothing bubble bath (don’t get out until your fingers are sufficiently prune-y); make time for tea (whatever needs to get done can wait 20 minutes while you have a breather).

New terms leaking into our lingo …
• ‘Reverse Graffiti’ – Graffiti created by strategically removing dust, dirt, or other grime from a surface to create an image. (We’ve all created this at one time or another, writing ‘Wash Me’ on someone’s dirty car.)
• ‘School Sprawl’ – The placement of schools away from the communities they serve, often on former farmland just beyond the reach of sprawling new subdivisions. (If your kids are walking to school, make sure they have 2 hours … and a GPS.)
• ‘Street’ – Slang verb coined by Emergency Room doctors for when hospitals knowingly put a psychotic patient on the sidewalk because there are no psychiatric beds available. (“The patient was incapable of caring for herself and should never have been streeted in the first place.”)

A new ranking by UK “Glamour” magazine …
5. “Fifth Estate” actor Benedict Cumberbatch.
4. “Thor” villain Tom Hiddleston.
3. “Hunger Games” actor and Miley Cyrus’ ex, Liam Hemsworth.
2. Former “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson, after a 4-year run at #1.
1. “Man of Steel” actor Henry Cavill.

A mobile app named Lulu provides reviews of men currently on the singles scene whose scorecards are being filled out by their girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-hookups, as well as crushes and pals. When female raters sign into the app, they are asked to take a quiz based on the guy’s manners, ambitions and appearance. They may also choose among a number of hashtags – such as #OneTrackMind, #NoGoals, or #FartMachine – to accompany his evaluation. Guys do not have the authority to comment or rebut any reviews. To date, Lulu has over 1 million users (1-of-4 a college student) and its database holds about 2.5 million reviews. (What do you think … a useful app or merely an outlet for vengeance?)

Women look their oldest at 3.30 pm on Wednesdays.
– “Quite Interesting”


1949 [64] Jeff Bridges, LA CA, movie actor (“Crazy Heart”, “The Big Lebowski”)/brother of actor Beau Bridges

1964 [49] Marisa Tomei, Brooklyn NY, film actress (“The Wrestler”, Oscar-“My Cousin Vinny”)

1969 [44] Jay Z (Shawn Carter), Brooklyn NY, rap artist-producer (f/Justin Timberlake-“Holy Grail”, f/Alicia Keys-“Empire State of Mind”)/wed to singer Beyoncé (2008)

1970 [43] Kevin Sussman, NYC, TV actor (‘Stuart Bloom’ on “The Big Bang Theory” since 2009, “Ugly Betty” 2006-07)

1973 [40] Tyra Banks, Inglewood CA, TV personality (“America’s Next Top Model” since 2003, “The Tyra Banks Show” 2005-10)/former fashion model (“Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show”)

• “Cookie Day”, celebrating the yummiest treat of all. As poet Edgar Guest once wrote: “I’m sorry for people, whoever they are, who live in a house where there’s no cookie jar.” What’s the best kind? Chocolate chip? Oatmeal and raisin? Peanut butter with macadamia nuts?

• “Extraordinary Work Team Recognition Day”, created in 2000 as a day to pass out ‘attaboys’ to employee teams that consistently work extraordinarily well together to produce significant results for their companies or organizations. (It’s far cheaper than year-end bonuses.)

• “St Barbara’s Day”, patron saint of firemen, architects, mathematicians, fireworks, miners, sailors, and against lightning, fire, explosions, and sudden death (whew!). Tradition has it that girls should place a cherry tree twig in a glass of water on this day. According to the old custom, if it blooms by Christmas Eve, they’ll marry in the next year.

• “Santa’s List Day”, the day the big guy purportedly decides who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

• “Wear Brown Shoes Day”, for some unknown reason. To get the full effect, make sure you wear ‘em with something black.

• “World Wildlife Conservation Day”, with the aim of raising awareness and engaging conservationists in the goal of putting an end to wildlife crime. Some of the world’s best loved species are being slaughtered by criminal networks driven by a voracious demand for illegal animal parts and products.

1992 [21] In an effort to prevent hearing loss among its fans, heavy metal group Megadeth distributes 13,000 pairs of earplugs at a concert in San Francisco, California

1982 [31] 1st human killed by a bowling ball (Hernia? Swallowing? Were other victims … ‘spared’?)

[Thurs] Hanukkah ends (Jewish)
[Thurs] “The Sound of Music Live!” (NBC)
[Thurs] Bathtub Party Day
[Thurs] International Ninja Day
[Thurs] International Volunteer Day for Economic & Social Development
[Fri] “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!” (CBS)
[Fri] Faux Fur Friday
This Week Is … Cookie Cutter Week
This Month Is … Choose a Summer Camp Month


✗ Your mortgage payment is due.
✗ Smartphone selfies weren’t offering enough of a creative challenge.
✗ To prove to your parents your life has direction.
✗ Your rap career didn’t pan out.
✗ It will justify your collection of black turtlenecks.
✗ To seem less pretentious.
✗ A butterfly made you smile.
✗ To earn an ex’s respect.
✗ To spice up your online dating profile.
✗ To support your claims of sobriety.
– Thanks to Paul Gaszak

What color is a polar bear’s fur?
a. White.
b. Yellow.
c. No color. [CORRECT. It’s actually clear and hollow, and acts like fiber optics to redirect sunlight to the underlying skin for warmth.]

☎ What’s the handiest, best kind of ‘handle’? (In a recent poll, 44% pick ‘door handle’, 20% ‘toilet handle’, and 15% ‘love handles’.)

When you think about it, Santa’s elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.

Question: As a man gets older, the more likely he is to wear one of THESE.
Answer: A sweater.

Culture – anything we do that monkeys don’t.

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