Wednesday, February 24, 2016        Edition: #5633

Another Sheetload of Bull!

★ With Sunday’s 88th Academy Awards creeping closer the UK’s famous bookmaking firms are all over them. At the moment the highest odds are that “The Revenant” star Leonardo DiCaprio will win his first-ever ‘Best Actor’ Oscar. “The Revenant” itself, has predictably been made favorite to win ‘Best Picture’. Consequently, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is expected to win ‘Best Director’. ‘Best Actress’ is favored to go to Brie Larson for “Room”. Sylvester Stallone is odds on to win ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for “Creed” and  Alicia Vikander ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for “The Danish Girl”.
★ A new study claims Hollywood has an ‘inclusion crisis’ as it effectively operates as a “straight, white, boys’ club”, according the report from the University of Southern California. And the phenomenon is said to run all the way from movie extras up to studio bigwigs. Analysis of every movie and TV project in 2014 has found …
✓ Only a third of speaking characters are female.
✓ Just under 50% do not include a single Asian or Asian-American character.
✓ 20% of productions have no black characters.
✓ Of all characters over the age of 40, 74.3% are male.
✓ Every production earns a failing score on inclusivity based on the proportion of women, minorities, and LBGT persons either onscreen or working behind-the-scenes.
– AP
★ Perhaps this explains Matthew Perry’s absence from Sunday’s “Friends” reunion on NBC-TV. His debut production as a playwright in London’s West End is seemingly a disaster. Perry wrote “The End of Longing”, and stars as an alcoholic in the production, which centers on 4 troubled characters, including a prostitute, a simpleton, and a neurotic. The script has been mauled by reviewers, who have scorned the production for its flimsy plot, lack of depth, and cliched characters. One “Daily Telegraph” reviewer says it all feels like “a curious waste of time, money and effort” (ouch!). “The End of Longing” is scheduled to run until May 14th. But don’t bet on it.

• “American Idol” (FOX) – 8 semifinalists make it into the top 10; the remaining singers compete for the final 2 spots.
• Brit Awards (ITV) – The annual UK music honors at London’s O2 Arena. Adele unsurprisingly leads nominations with 4. Other notable nominees include Coldplay, Florence + The Machine, Laura Marling, Mark Ronson, One Direction, Sam Smith, and U2. Performances include Adele, Coldplay Justin Bieber, and Rihanna; plus a tribute to David Bowie. Being streamed worldwide on YouTube.
• “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC/CityTV) – Wolfmother (“Victorious”).
• “Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS/M3) – Miguel f/Kacey Musgraves (“Wildheart”).
• “Tavis Smiley” (PBS) – Brian McKnight (“Better”).
• “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC/CTV2) – FKA Twigs (“LP1”).

• Kanye West – His new album “The Life Of Pablo” has failed to chart in the US or the UK. And “Billboard” has revealed that one reason for that is Jay Z’s music service Tidal has not released streaming numbers for the title. The album has already gathered a boatload of baggage following several name changes, an uncomfortable mention of Taylor Swift during one song, and a highly controversial Twitter spat between Kanye and Wiz Khalifa over the title “Waves”.
• Kesha – Both fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff and DJ Zedd have now offered to produce and ‘leak’ new music for her after she lost the latest round of her legal battle to free herself from her contract with producer Dr Luke. Following last Friday’s court ruling, lawyers for Dr Luke released a statement saying she is ‘free’ to record new music.
• Muse – Frontman Matt Bellamy tells “Q” magazine we need more female leaders in order to save the planet. The Brit rocker is extremely concerned about the state of the environment and worries that humans are heading toward extinction. Quote: “Men compete for natural resources in the hope it will secure their chances of getting laid, that’s what men do.”
• Ne-Yo – He’s just married his girlfriend Crystal Renay. The pair are expecting their first child soon.
• Pearl Jam – They’ve just signed an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) to represent the band’s entire catalogue, including newly-written material and Eddie Vedder’s solo work.
• Phil Collins – His ex-wife Orianne says they will wed again, 6 years after the most expensive divorce settlement in British history (£24.3 million). Last month Collins revealed they had rekindled their romance and he’d moved back to Miami FL to be closer to her and their 2 sons.

A statistical look at who we are and the things we do …
• 75% of us have a flashlight, but fewer than half of them work.
• 61% of us say we’d sacrifice our relationship for our pet.
• 33% of us sit in a meeting 6-to-8 times per work week.
• 23% of women say they feel guilty if they do not make the bed each day.
• 20% of kids know their parents’ password(s).
• 19% of kids do not floss their teeth, even if they’re regularly asked to by parents.

• Trekkies will soon be able to pilot their own ‘Enterprise’ drone. Spin Master has unveiled the new Trek-inspired quadcopter drone modeled after the NCC-1701-A from “Star Trek” films 4-through-6. The saucer has been built with an open frame to accommodate its rotors, and it also includes an integrated light system, the ship’s name and serial number, and a repertoire of iconic sound effects. The drones are selling for $120 beginning in September, to coincide with “Star Trek’s” 50th anniversary.
• Lego has introduced the first stay-at-home dad toy. The figurine, portraying a man pushing a baby stroller, has been developed to reflect today’s family dynamics. Since 1989, the number of stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled, according to Pew Research. Accompanying the father and child duo is a working mother holding a baby bottle as part of the brand’s Lego City line. In January, Lego Systems also introduced a mini-figure of a young man in a wheelchair as part of the same collection. The full line goes on sale this June.
– “New York Daily News”

A few things you might not know about the patient people who are sometimes squeezed in under your sink …
• If you need one, wait until Tuesday. People try to avoid calling plumbers on weekends so they don’t have to pay them for overtime. That means a lot of business on Mondays.
• Backed-up restaurant kitchen sinks are even worse to work on than toilet clogs. The stench just sticks to you, they say, far worse than sewage.
• They wish we’d stop using drain cleaners. They are almost always ineffective and are definitely only temporary. If a plumber has to snake the drain, the chemicals can be hazardous.
• You should stop trying to flush cellphones down the toilet. It seems that’s how a surprising number of people who accidentally drop their phone into a toilet try to abandon it.
• Sometimes they may not call you back or may suddenly discover they’re all booked up if your call involves a poop-flooded basement.
• They have a tip to clean garbage disposals. Ice cubes. A couple cubes can knock some of the food debris loose to help clean things up in there. Adding lemon peels can help with odors.
• They can get extremely sick. Close encounters with human waste puts plumbers at risk for a variety of illnesses, including E coli, stomach parasites, and hepatitis.
• And yes, they do get hit on. Tradesmen shorthand for a flirtatious customer encounter is ‘NSE’ for ‘near-sex experience’. (Nothing is more sensuous than plumber’s crack, right?)
– Adapted from

Cutting-edge vocab …
• ‘Idea Debt’ – When you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.
• ‘Peak Paper’ – The 2013 point when global paper production and usage reached a maximum, after which it has declined irreversibly. The prediction of the ‘Paperless Office’ was over-hyped in the 20th century and then derided in the early 2000s as being a falsehood. However, it now seems to edging toward reality.
• ‘Shadow Flipping’ – The questionable practice of a real estate agent selling a house and then reselling the contract one or more times before finalizing the deal. Some Metro Vancouver agents have allegedly been involved in reselling a property multiple times before a closing date, thereby collecting a commission on each sale.

A new listing of the latest pedigree rankings …
5. Beagle
4. English Bulldog
3. Golden Retriever
2. German Shepherd Dog
1. Labrador Retriever
(Actually the most common kind of dog is … mutt.)
– American Kennel Club

The term ‘cupcake’ was originally used in the late 19th century for cakes made from ingredients measured by the cupful. The traditional ‘pound cake’ recipe was easy to remember for its pound of butter, pound of sugar, pound of flour, and pound of eggs. Likewise, the name ‘cupcake’ comes from how the recipe was measured: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, and 4 eggs.
– “Fun Facts”


1966 [50] Billy Zane, Chicago IL, movie actor (“Zoolander”, “Titanic”)

1977 [39] Floyd Mayweather Jr, Grand Rapids MI,  boxing champ/highest paid athlete in the world 2015

1983 [33] Matt McGinley, Geneva NY, rock drummer (Gym Class Heroes-“Cupid’s Chokehold”)

1991 [25] O’Shea Jackson Jr, LA CA, movie actor (“Straight Outta Compton”)/son of rapper Ice Cube

• “Cupcake Day”, saluting those fabulous little cakes that don’t count as cheating on your diet ’cause they’re just small … right? In Canada, the day is a fundraiser in which people are asked to ‘bake a difference’ to support animal shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies.

• “Inconvenience Yourself Day”, an annual observance on the 4th Wednesday of February to focus on ways to show respect for others, the environment, and the world around you.

• “Tortilla Chip Day”, saluting the invention by Rebecca Webb Carranza of Los Angeles during the 1940s. Rather than tossing misshaped tortillas that came out of an automated tortilla machine into the trash, she decided to cut them into triangles, fry them, and sell them for a dime a bag. They were an immediate hit!

• “World Bartender Day”, a day designed for you to appreciate the staff at your favorite watering hole. They work hard to keep their customers happy and often don’t get paid very well. (What’s the most complicated cocktail you can make?)

2011 [05] CBS-TV announces it’s suspending production of “Two-and-a-Half Men” after star Charlie Sheen airs a scathing rant about the network and show creator Chuck Lorre in a radio interview (eventually dumped for Ashton Kutcher, Sheen moves on to “Anger Management”)

2013 [03] Winners at 85th Academy Awards include: “Argo” (‘Best Picture’; Daniel Day Lewis (‘Best Actor’ for “Lincoln”); Jennifer Lawrence (‘Best Actress’ for “Silver Linings Playbook”)

2014 [02] Movie/TV actor, director, and writer Harold Ramis dies at age 69 in Chicago IL (best known for “Caddyshack”, “Ghostbusters”, “Groundhog Day”, “SCTV”, “Vacation”)

2004 [12] After EMI refuses to let Danger Mouse release his “Grey Album”, a mashup of Jay Z’s “Black Album” with samples from The Beatles’ “White Album”,  he makes it available as a free download online for 1 day, known as “Grey Tuesday” (since credited with bringing ‘mashups’ to the mainstream)

2008 [08] Ailing 82-year-old Fidel Castro retires as President of Cuba after nearly 50 years and turns the reins of power over to his brother Raul (at the time a sprightly 77-year-old)

[Thurs] Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
[Thurs] Chili Day
[Fri] Bacon Day
[Fri] World Pistachio Day
[Sat] International Polar Bear Day
[Sat] International Sword Swallowers Day
This Week Is … Invasive Species Awareness Week
This Month Is … Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month


What are they filling all the secondary sports channels with these days? Ill-conceived events like …
✗ Kick-fencing
✗ Carp Pro Tourney
✗ Awfulminton
✗ Supersoaker Trap Shooting
✗ Goat Rodeo
✗ Hopping
✗ Pinching
✗ The Clove Throw
✗ Stroller Derby
– Thanks to Eric McHenry

☎ What’s your favorite comfort food when you’re feeling sick? (Chicken soup? Meh. Toast with honey, cut up into little squares, right? It works miracles on sore throat, upset tummy, sprained ankle …)

• Which is a side effect of consuming chocolate?
a. Makes you more apt to develop freckles.
b. Makes you feel romantic. [CORRECT. Studies show that cocoa contains phenylthamine, the same chemical that stimulates your brain when you’re in love.]
c. Makes you suffer from temporary depression.

• Who was the ‘Pioneer of Plywood’?
a. Alfred Nobel. [CORRECT. Of Nobel Prize fame; he also invented dynamite.]
b. Thomas Edison.
c. Willy Ply.
– “The Bathroom Trivia Book”

I went to Oklahoma once. It was OK.

Question: A poll of pharmacists finds THIS is the question they get asked most often.
Answer: Can I drink alcohol with this medication?

Profanity is the crutch of inarticulate assholes.

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