Wednesday, February 26, 2014        Edition: #5168

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★ Preview performances of a new musical based on “The X Factor” have been cancelled. The production “I Can’t Sing!: The X Factor Musical” is due to premiere in London’s West End in March after a pair of preview performances tomorrow and Friday. But the early performances have now been scrapped by the show’s production team to give them more time to work on ‘technical features of the performance’. One might be that an entire song in the Harry Hill-penned musical centers around Simon Cowell’s new baby’s name, so it’s had to be patched together in just 12 days. (Let’s see, other than derrick, what rhymes with Eric?).
★ According to Oscar-related Google searches, Golden Globe-winner Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) is the most popular ‘Best Actor’ nominee for this weekend’s Academy Awards. Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers’ Club”) comes in 2nd, but it’s not even close as Google searches over the past 30 days favor DiCaprio by about 24 percentage points. Christian Bale (“American Hustle”) is 3rd. DiCaprio also pops up as the most searched term related to the Academy Awards. No other actors make the top 10. (In a perfect world, >>>>> would win.)
★ A comedian who shares Eddie Murphy’s last name is suing the actor for defamation. Brando Murphy claims the “Shrek” star is trying to wreck his stand-up career by claiming the young comic looks and acts like him onstage. He also alleges members of Eddie’s entourage have issued death threats and so he is suing … for $50 million. Eddie’s attorney, Marty Singer, says it’s an absolutely ridiculous lawsuit, and he’s confident it will be immediately dismissed in court. (This fraud artist took the adage ‘go big or go home’ literally. He’ll be going home anyway.)
★ And is movie star Jennifer Lawrence really going to take a year-long break? According to veteran producer Harvey Weinstein, the 23-year-old “Hunger Games” actress is planning an extended hiatus from the bigscreen. Weinstein worked with her on the film “Silver Linings Playbook”, which earned her the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar last year. He says she deserves a rest and she’s going to have a long break where she won’t do anything. (OK, she has been working solid since 2006 but she’s the only refreshingly spontaneous person in Hollywood … how can we live without her?)

• “American Idol” (FOX/CTV) – The 13 finalists perform.
• “Arsenio Hall” (syndicated) – Schoolboy Q (“Habits & Contradictions”).
• “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC/CityTV) – Sky Ferreira (“Night Time, My Time”).
• “Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson” (CBS) – Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire (“Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire”).
• “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (NBC/CTV2) – Brad Paisley (“Wheelhouse”).
• “Mixology” (ABC) – Series debut of a new show that chronicles the exploits of 5 single guys and 5 single girls, all in search of love. Ryan Seacrest is an executive producer.
• “Nashville” (ABC) – Spring premiere of the country music drama that’s set in Music City.
• NME Awards 2014 (London UK) – Tonight British music magazine “NME” hands out its awards for the top recordings of the past year at London’s O2 Academy. Arctic Monkeys dominate nominations with a total of 8, followed by Haim with 6.
• “Survivor” (CBS/Global) – In the 28th season debut, 3 contestants face important decisions moments after the competition begins.
• “The Talk” (CBS) – Veteran singers Billy Ray Cyrus, Dionne Warwick.
• “Tavis Smiley” (PBS) – Oldies singer Barry Manilow.
• “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC/CTV2) – Dierks Bentley (“Riser”).

• Christina Aguilera – “Us Weekly” is reporting she’s pregnant with her 2nd child, this one via fiancé Matt Rutler. She already has a 6-year-old son, Max, from her first marriage to music executive Jordan Bratman.
• Eminem / Rihanna – They’ve announced 3 concerts in NYC, Detroit, and LA that will take place in August as part of the upcoming “Monster Tour”. Specific dates, venues, and ticketing information have not yet been announced, and it’s unclear whether more shows will be added.
• Justin Bieber – Turns out that widely reported Facebook petition to keep him from moving into Atlanta’s uptown Buckhead neighborhood was just a stunt by ‘The Regular Guys’ morning show on Rock 100.5 [WROK]. A related protest rally didn’t work so well … only 6 people showed up.
• Katy Perry – She’s teaming up with accessories chain Claire’s to design a new line based on her album “Prism”. The pieces include jewelry, novelty items, and collectibles which will all be designed around her song titles and lyrics.
• KISS –Just when it looked like all this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees would be performing at this year’s gala in April, the 40-year rock group has announced it will not appear as it’s unable to agree on which lineup should do the honors. According to a message on the official website, it’s ‘an emotional situation where there is no way to please everyone’.
• Robin Thicke – He & actress-wife Paula Patton have separated after 9 years of marriage. The high school sweethearts began dating when he was just 14; wed in 2005; and had a son in 2010. Thicke was photographed with socialite Lana Scolaro at an MTV Video Music Awards after-party last September. Coincidence? Thicke has cancelled his shows scheduled for this week.

It all started in the 1970s (we think) when NBA player Fred Carter (Baltimore Bullets) balled up his fist and bumped it against a teammate’s. No matter the origin, ‘fist bumps’ might actually be good for our health. A recent study finds that alternative to shaking hands in hospitals reduces the spread of bacteria. That’s because a typical handshake exposes 3 times as much skin and lasted 2.7 times longer. Related studies show that only 5% of people wash their hands for 15 seconds or longer and thanks to improper handwashing, 80% of people carry around germs. (The Japanese custom of bowing is even safer.)

New cutting-edge vocab …
• ‘Bingeable’ – Something that’s compulsively and excessively watchable or consumable, particularly a TV show or food. (“I like to down a bag of Tostidos while watching ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix as their bingeability factor is about equal.”)
• ‘Carbicide’ – A humorous term for the act of eating too many carbs. (“I admit it,  I’m guilty of carbicide. I allow myself one cheat per day, usually by caving in to cupcakes.”)
• ‘Complisult’ – A combination of ‘compliment’ + ‘insult’. This is a new term for a pat on the back that bites back, aka a backhanded compliment. (“Well, she does have a pretty face …”)

Scientists from MIT have created a transparent screen that can turn any window into a movie screen. The plastic sheets can be stuck on any surface. The nanoparticles imbedded in them are invisible to humans, creating the transparency, but images projected in blue light show up. While transparent screens are not new; this new method of creating them is thought to be among the simplest and cheapest so far. It’s thought the stick-on screens could be used to host advertisements on shop windows or for office presentations. (Slap one on your windshield during a traffic jam.)
– BBC Science & Technology

A new University of British Columbia study on vocal attractiveness has uncovered why we gravitate towards certain types of voices. The study has found a preference for breathy women, and ‘large’-voiced men, so screen idol Marilyn Monroe’s signature breathy voice may have been key to her popularity. Overall, people tend to react positively to voices similar to their own, as it sends a soothing message of community and social belonging. But what about the attractiveness of foreign dialects, such as the Irish brogue or a French accent? Once we are outside the range of familiarity, researchers say, exotic sounding voices can become more attractive. (No doubt aided by our preconceived notions about them.)

A statistical look at who we are and the things we do …
• 65% of us order the same thing whenever we go out to eat.
• 50% of men say they are unhappy with their bodies.
• 29% of women would refuse to kiss a man who is flat broke.
• 25% of us hide our valuables before hosting a party.
• 22% of us have surreptitiously taken a photo of a total stranger.
• 5% of men have never done laundry … ever.

Leading an independent life well into old age and keeping chronic diseases at bay could be as simple as adopting a positive, sprightly attitude and enjoying the smaller things in life, suggests a new study in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal”.  Researchers have found that people over 60 who report higher levels of life satisfaction also exhibit lower rates of disability and higher energy levels. Meantime, subjects with lower levels of life enjoyment have been shown to be 3 times more likely than their positive counterparts to develop problems in handling daily activities. (Learn from your grandchildren … turn off your screens and go out and play.)

✓ Fastest Train – The Japanese JR-Maglev has reached over 360mph (581 km/h) on a magnetic levitation track.
✓ Fastest Roller Coaster – At a top speed of 150 mph the recently constructed Formula Rossa can be found in Dubai UAE.
✓ Fastest Elevator – Elevators in the Taipei Tower in Taiwan shuttle people up and down at a speed of 60 km/hr.
✓ Fastest Production Car – Topping out at 268 mph the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 is the fastest street-legal car in the world.
✓ Fastest Manned Plane – Not only did the US Air Force X-15 go fast (4,519 mph), it went so high that several of its pilots were later awarded astronaut wings by NASA.
✓ Fastest Tornado – In terms of wind-speed a tornado near Oklahoma City OK reached nearly 300 mph.
✓ Fastest Man – In 2009 Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt broke the world record for the 100 meter dash with a time of 9.58 seconds.
✓ Fastest Woman – In 1988 American Florence Griffith-Joyner ran the 100 meter dash in 10.49 seconds, a record that is yet to be broken.
✓ Fastest Land Animal – Cheetahs can run the fastest (75 mph) and they can accelerate even faster than most production cars (0-60 in 3 seconds).
✓ Fastest Fish – Sailfish have been clocked going nearly 70 mph.

The human population is growing at such a staggering rate that many of us now live in colonies of a million-plus members … much like ants. As a result, modern humans have more in common with ants than we do with our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. With a maximum size of about 100, no chimp group has to deal with issues of public health, infrastructure, mass transit problems, assembly lines and complex teamwork, or warfare and slavery. Ants have developed behaviors addressing all of these problems. (Isn’t it reassuring to know we resemble something that gets stepped on from above?)
– “Discovery News”

It is impossible to whistle in a spacesuit.
– “QI”


1953 [61] Michael Bolton (Bolotin), New Haven CT, overwrought pop singer (“When a Man Loves a Woman”, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”)

1968 [46] Tim Commerford, Irvine CA, rock bassist (Rage Against the Machine-“Guerrilla Radio”, Audioslave-“Be Yourself”)

1971 [43] Erykah Badu (Wright), Dallas TX, R&B singer (“Love of My Life”, “Bag Lady”)/mother to Puma, Seven, and Mars

1979 [35] Chris Culos, Rockville MD, rock drummer (OAR-“Shattered [Turn the Car Around”])

1979 [35] Corinne Bailey Rae, Leeds UK, pop singer (“Trouble Sleeping”, “Put Your Records On”)

• “For Pete’s Sake Day”, which asks the pressing question, ‘Just who the heck is Pete, anyway, and why would we do anything for his sake?’

• “Inconvenience Yourself Day”, observed annually on the 4th Wednesday of February, it’s a day to focus on ways to show respect for others, the environment, and the world around you.

• “Levi Strauss’ Birthday” (1829-1902), the man who created the first Levi’s blue jeans for California’s gold miners in 1850. Without him, many of us wouldn’t have a wardrobe.

• “Personal Chefs Day”, an annual reminder to consider hiring a private chef for a day, a unique way to entertain friends and business guests in your home. It’s not as expensive as you might think … check your want ads.

• “Tell a Fairytale Day”. Yeah, inflict some of the most violent stories ever written onto your innocent, unsuspecting child. (What’s the scariest of all-time? “Fee, fi, foe, fum …”)

•”World Pistachio Day”, apparently honoring people with pink dye all over their lips. Betcha can’t eat just one!

1983 [31] Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album reaches #1, then spends a total of 37 weeks there

1882 [132] 1st commercially manufactured breakfast cereal … ‘Shredded Wheat’

[Thurs] “Grey’s Anatomy” Spring premiere (ABC)
[Thurs] “Scandal” Spring premiere (ABC)
[Thurs] Chili Day
[Fri] “Non-Stop”; “Son of God”; “Welcome to Yesterday” open in movie theaters
[Fri] Tooth Fairy Day
[Fri] Snowshoe Day
This Week is … Secondhand Wardrobe Week
This Month Is … International Expect Success Month


• Your ‘Ouch-I-hit-my-thumb-with-the-hammer’ word.
• “Mommy, how long are they staying?”
• “Hey, didn’t she used to be skinnier?”
• “I better warn you people. My dad only paid me to be good for an hour.”
• “That isn’t what you said about your boss last night.”
• “My dad wears Spider-Man underwear.”
• “Mooooommmy! I pooooooopppiiiieeed!”

What do you call those little dots on dominoes? The official name is …
a. Tittles.
b. Pips. [CORRECT]
c. Um dots, dummy!

☎ How often do you weigh yourself? Why do you do it?

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match when it came to kick boxing.

Question: According to new research, if you have THIS you will get more attention and sympathy from friends.
Answer: Body odor.

He who smiles in a crisis has found someone to blame.

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