Wednesday, May 13, 2015            Edition: #5450

When You Can’t Dazzle Them with Brilliance, Baffle Them With Bull!

★ Just as this season’s winner is set to be announced tonight, FOX-TV has confirmed long-running “American Idol” will end after its 15th season next year. Current judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr, and Keith Urban will return, along with host Ryan Seacrest. A spokesperson says the final season will celebrate the show’s history, paying tribute to former contestants, winners, and the show’s fans. “American Idol” was launched by former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller in 2002, based on his UK series “Pop Idol”. The show drew 36 million viewers in its heyday in 2006, but ratings have fallen every year since.
★ You could sleep in the Dowager’s crib! The mansion where we’ve seen the ‘Countess’ take tea countless times on “Downton Abbey” is up for sale. Byfleet Manor, owned by businesswoman Julie Hutton, is a 17th-century property that’s been used for the last 5 years by Maggie Smith as home of her character ‘Lady Violet Crawley’ on the popular series. The 18-acre estate has been used in a number of other BBC-TV period dramas, and is also rented out for weddings. Has the TV exposure helped? Yep. Hutton bought the place 10 years ago for $1.5 million. Today’s asking price … $6.1 million.
★ FOX-TV has shown its confidence in critically-acclaimed hip-hop soap opera “Empire” by extending its next season to 18 episodes. “Empire” has been a huge, if unexpected hit, for FOX. The 1st season grew week-on-week to become the #1 TV show for social media activity, surpassing AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. “Empire’s” 2nd season will be split into two 9-episode half-seasons, with a cliffhanger ending the Fall portion. It’s also been announced that Ne-Yo has signed on to help write the music for Season 2.
★ And Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollum (“In the Heights”) has revealed he’s developing the hit 2006 movie “The Devil Wears Prada” as a stage musical. The film, which featured Anne Hathaway playing assistant to Meryl Streep’s insufferable fashion magazine boss, grossed $324 million worldwide and earned Streep an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Actress’. McCollum is currently working on stage adaptations of the films “Ever After” and “Diary Of a Wimpy Kid”, and also hopes to turn Robin Williams’ beloved comedy “Mrs Doubtfire” into a stage show.

• “American Idol” (FOX) – The 2-hour 14th season finalé features performances by Chris Brown, Echosmith, Fall Out Boy, Jamie Foxx, Nile Rodgers, and Vance Joy before the winner is announced.
• Cannes Film Festival (Cannes, France) – Opening night of the annual film fest, which runs through May 24th. Writer/director siblings Joel & Ethan Coen chair this year’s jury, which selects winners of awards including the prestigious Palme d’Or.
• “The Goldbergs” (ABC) – 2nd season finalé.
• “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC/CityTV) – Earl Sweatshirt (“I Don’t Like Shit: I Don’t Go Outside”).
• “Last Call With Carson Daly” (NBC) – Years & Years (“Communion”, out July 10th).
• “Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS/Omni 1) – Brandon Flowers (“The Desired Effect”, out May 18th).
• “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (NBC/CTV) – Will Butler (Arcade Fire).
• “Late Show With David Letterman” (CBS/Omni1) – Ryan Adams (“Ryan Adams”).
• “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” (NBC/CTV2) – Faith No More (“Sol Invictus”, out May 19th) makes their first late night TV appearance since 1995.

• Coldplay – They’ve registered 6 new tracks on music database ASCAP, 3 of which reference HBO’s “Game of Thrones”: “Rastafarian Targaryen”, “Red Wedding”, and “I’m a Real Bastard”. Another song is titled “Voldemort”, named after the evil wizard in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.
• Dave Matthews Band – Tonight they launch their 2015 North American “Warm Up” tour in Austin TX. The trek includes several 2-night stands. Once again they’ll be performing 2 full sets at each gig.
• Jay Z – ” Game of Thrones” actress Emilia Clarke tells “Harper’s Bazaar” that Beyoncé is such a diehard fan of the show that Jay Z apparently bought her a prop ‘dragon egg’ as a gift. Clarke plays ‘Daenerys Targaryen’ on the popular fantasy drama.
• Kanye West – The college dropout now has a degree, receiving an honorary doctorate from The School Of the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday.(Real degrees are the result of years of hard work; honorary degrees are for showing up to make a commencement speech.)
• Steven Tyler – Today the Aerosmith frontman releases his first country single, “Love is Your Name”, taken from his yet-to-be-titled debut solo album. The song was recorded in Nashville TN, where Tyler has lived since January.
• Taylor Swift – Ellie Goulding, Lena Dunham, and Hayley Steinfeld are among the half-dozen famous friends to appear in her new video for “Bad Blood”. It debuts Sunday at the Billboard Music Awards.
• Tyler Farr – The “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” hitmaker got down on one knee at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Sunday to ask his girlfriend of 2½ years, Hannah Freeman, for her hand in marriage.

According to 66,000 women polled …
1. Irish (likely thanks to “Fifty Shades of Grey” actor Jamie Dornan)
2. Australian (a nod to “Avengers: Age of Ultron” star Chris Hemsworth?)
3. Pakistani
4. American
5. English
According to 44,000 men surveyed …
1. Armenian (likely entirely due to the Kardashians)
2. Bajan (Barbados birthed Rihanna)
3. American
4. Colombian
5. English

California start-up Next Thing is seeking funding to make a computer that will cost … $9.
It’s looking to raise a further $50,000 on Kickstarter to finish development of the credit-card sized ‘Chip’ computer. The first versions will have a 1 Ghz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 4 GB of onboard storage. The gadget runs a version of the Linux Operating System, can connect to a monitor, and includes networking technologies like wi-fi and Bluetooth. Next Thing is also planning to make a version of the Chip into a handheld gadget called the Pocket Chip that will sell for about $49. The first finished Chips are due to reach backers in December, before the gadget goes into general release in early 2016. (You need binoculars to keyboard.)

A statistical look at who we are and the things we do …
• 87% of women who have hair extensions do not tell anyone … even their BFF.
• 55% of women do NOT allow their men to do the laundry.
• 40% of us have gone to the supermarket express lane with too many items just to see if we could get away with it.
• 20% of us admit that we are jealous of a neighbor’s lawn.
• 7% of women admit they have painted their nails … while driving.
• 3% of us have left voicemail … for our pets.

Cutting-edge vocab …
• ‘Dadbod’ – A male physique characterized by a slight flabbiness, undefined musculature, and a noticeable beer belly.
• ‘Hyperpalatable’ – Something that’s extremely tasty, even addictive, particularly due to a mixture of fat, sugar, and salt.
• ‘Lipthinking’ – Thinking out loud.

Forget working out your BMI (Body Mass Index). If you want to know if you are too fat all you need is … a piece of string. A new study at the UK’s Oxford Brookes University has revealed that measuring your height with a piece of string, folding it in half and then seeing if you can easily get it round your waist may be a better way to find out if you are an unhealthy size. The study claims traditional BMI has long been known to overestimate the danger posed to those with heavy bone structure or large muscle mass and underestimate the risk to people who carry large amounts of fat around their middle. The study has found that fully a third of those classified normal by a BMI test would be found overweight by the string method. Checking the waist-to-height ratio is not only more accurate, but far simpler to do. (Studio experiment!)
– “Daily Telegraph”

Windows 10 is going to be the last major revision of the Microsoft Operating System, the dominant desktop software. Instead of new stand-alone versions, Windows 10 will be improved in regular instalments. So it’s not the end of the OS, just a change in the way the software is made, and in how its made available. Windows will now be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and updates in an ongoing manner. The company says it has yet to decide on what to call the system beyond Windows 10, but it seems certain there will be no Windows 11. Windows 10 is scheduled to be released in mid-2015, likely by the end of July. (Mac users are like Hollywood wives … they don’t do windows.)

People drink beer more slowly from straight pint glasses than they do from curved ones.
– “BBC News Magazine”


1950 [65] Stevie Wonder (Steveland Hardaway), Saginaw MI, oldies singer-songwriter with over 30 top 10 hits & 25 Grammy Awards (“Sunshine of My Life”)/Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1989)

1964 [51] Stephen Colbert, Washington DC, comedian/TV host (takes over CBS-TV’s “Late Show” when David Letterman retires next week; “The Colbert Report” 2005-14)/comedy writer-reporter (“Daily Show” 1997-2005)

1966 [49] Darius Rucker, Charleston SC, country singer (“Homegrown Honey”, “Wagon Wheel”)/former pop singer (Hootie & the Blowfish-“Let Her Cry”, “Only Wanna Be With You”)

1979 [36] Mickey Madden, Austin TX, pop bassist (Maroon 5-“Sugar”, Moves Like Jagger”)

1986 [29] Lena Dunham, NYC, TV comedy creator-writer-actress (‘Hannah Horvath’ on “Girls” since 2012)

1986 [29] Rob Pattinson, London UK, movie actor (“Twilight Saga”, “Water For Elephants”)

1986 [29] Kris Versteeg, Lethbridge AB, NHL winger (Chicago Blackhawks)

1987 [28] Candice Accola, Houston TX, TV actress (‘Caroline Forbes’ on “The Vampire Diaries” since 2009)

1989 [26] PK (Pernell Karl) Subban, Toronto ON, NHL defenceman (Montréal Canadiens)

• “Donate a Day’s Wages to Charity Day”, the 14th observance on the 2nd Wednesday in May, when all working people are encouraged to donate whatever wages they earn on this day to charity. Donating time instead is promoted as another option.

• “Hummus Day”, an annual event celebrated on May 13th since 2012 to salute the spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. (We say the stuff ain’t food, but makes a good wall spackling.)

• “Leprechaun Day”, dedicated to the wee elves of Ireland. According to folklore, if you catch one he has to give you his pot of gold.

• “Receptionists Day”, in recognition of the frontline personnel in business and education, the ones responsible for making a good first impression.

• “Third Shift Workers Day”, honoring everyone who works the night shift. Ask for calls from people with unusual all-night jobs.

• “Tulip Day”, celebrated in several countries to welcome Spring. It’s a good excuse to drop by your favorite florist and pick up a tulip bouquet, but don’t expect their floral scent to enhance your home … tulips are virtually fragrance-free.

2013 [02] Barbara Walters announces on her TV talk show “The View” that she will retire from broadcast appearances in 2014, marking the end of more than 50 years on TV

2013 [02] Actress Angelina Jolie reveals in an op-ed piece in “New York Times” that she’s undergone a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer

2012 [03] Following a record $207 million opening the week before, “The Avengers” pulls in another $103.2 million, making it the 1st film to surpass $100 million in its 2nd weekend

2007 [08] CW’s “7th Heaven” wraps after 11 seasons, making it the longest running family drama in TV history (beating out both “The Waltons” and “Little House On the Prairie”)

[Thurs] “Wayward Pines” debut (FOX)
[Thurs] U2’s “Innocence + Experience Tour” opens (Vancouver BC)
[Thurs] Chicken Dance Day
[Fri] “Mad Max: Fury Road”; “Pitch Perfect 2” open in movie theaters
[Fri] Bike to Work Day
[Fri] Pizza Party Day
This Week Is … Children’s Book Week
This Month Is … Drum Month


• Look for facecloth, arm-cloth, leg-cloth, long loofah, wide loofah, and pumice stone.
• Wash hair using coconut & hibiscus shampoo with shea butter. Repeat 3 times. Then condition your hair with cucumber & crocus oil conditioner and leave in hair for 15 minutes.
• Wash face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red raw.
• Dry off with a towel the size of a small African country.
• Leave bathroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.

☎ What do you do too much?

The new interactive ‘Homicide Monitor’ (aka ‘Murder Map’) from Brazil-based Igarapé Institute allows you to spin a 3-D globe to view the incidence of homicidal violence in each country. 9-of-the-10 worst countries for homicide are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

I don’t know what your problem is, but I bet it’s hard to pronounce.

Question: According to a new study, men are 4 times more likely to lose THIS than women.
Answer: Their hearing.

The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.

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