COUNTRY December 23, 2014

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 23, 2014

This is day 357 of 2014. There are 8 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Fashion designer John Peterman (parodied on Seinfeld) is 72

• Actor-comedian Harry Shearer (The Simpsons) is 71

• Susan Lucci (All My Children) is 68

• Model/actress Joan Severance is 56

• Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is 50

• Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes, The Cooler) is 36

• Playboy model/actress Holly Madison is 35

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1776: Thomas Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

• 1823: The Clement Moore poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published in New York by The Troy Sentinel. It began “Twas the night before Christmas…”

• 1942: Bob Hope began his thirty-year annual tradition of entertaining US troops overseas at Christmas time. Hope’s first USO show began with a “Command Performance” radio broadcast from Los Angeles followed by a trip to Alaska.

• 1986: The “Voyager” aircraft landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California after successfully completing the first ever, non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

• 1995: A federal bankruptcy judge in Los Angeles ruled that the rights to The Three Stooges belonged to the legal heirs of Larry Fine, Curly DeRita, and Moe Howard. Rights to the Stooges films had been tied up in court for years.

• 1998: Police in Leesburg, Virginia, caught a robber because during one burglary the suspect took a break and called to consult a psychic hot line. And he gave the psychic his real name. The call cost the homeowner $250, but it help police nab their man.

• 2003: New York Governor George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction.

• 2005: In San Dimas, California, Shull Elementary School received a $2,500 cashier’s check with a three-sentence unsigned note confessing to vandalizing the school 32 years ago. The note read, “Approximately 32 years ago, myself and a group of local kids broke into a classroom and vandalized the room terribly. I have felt guilty for far too long and want to give something back to the school that I personally took from. I am sorry for any grief that I caused anyone at that time.” It was signed: “A Regretful Baby-Boomer.”

• 2007: A robber made off with a bundle of Christmas gifts and other items, but apparently had a moment of guilt. Police say Joyce Williams found her Arkansas home burglarized and a note on a mirror saying, “Sorry, wrong house.” Williams says the robber made off with a jar of quarters and half dollars, a cellular phone and numerous Christmas gifts.

• 2009: The parents who pulled the “balloon boy” hoax in hopes of landing a reality TV show were sentenced to jail by a judge in Fort Collins, Colorado.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Festivus. Festivus came into being as the direct result of a Jerry Seinfeld television show episode which aired on December 18, 1997. The Festivus holiday was created by Seinfeld show scriptwriter Daniel O’Keefe. His dad had found reference to an obscure holiday called Festivus, which was first celebrated in 1966. Festivus Traditions: No, there isn’t a Festivus Tree. Rather, an unadorned aluminum pole is the symbol of Festivus.  The Festivus holiday is celebrated with a dinner. Meatloaf is the suggested main course. Dinner is followed by a “Feats of Strength”. Another popular Festivus tradition is an “Airing of Grievances.” This is where you can tell someone how disappointed you are over what they did or didn’t do during the past year.

• Roots Day. Celebrate your heritage.

UPCOMING

• Christmas Day: December 25 (Thursday)

• New Year’s Day: January 1 (Thursday)

• January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Tuesday)

• January 31: Chinese New Year (Saturday)

• Groundhog Day: February 2 (Monday)

• Valentine’s Day: February 14 (Saturday)

• President’s Day: February 17 (Tuesday)

More holidays

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NUMBER FOR THE DAY

1 billion: Pounds of Play-Doh produced since 1956.

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NEWS ATTACK!

Uber has agreed to shut down in Portland for three months. [The drivers hate losing money, but are glad not to have to protect their seats in plastic from drunken New Year’s Eve passengers.]

A man in Wyoming is recovering from a non-life-threatening injury after his dog stepped on his rifle and shot him. [Kibbles and Bits and Bullets. ]

A stranger in Massachusetts (Hyannis) is giving $100 bills to fast-food workers in the city. [That story makes a tear come to my eyes. Mainly because I don’t work at a fast food restaurant in Hyannis, Massachusetts. ]

Spain’s Princess Cristina has been indicted for fraud. [Well, that’s gonna make for a rather odd Disney princess movie.]

A UK man tells of his recovery from a head injury a couple of years ago that left him thinking that he was Matthew McConaughey. [Which explains why McConaughey kept showing up in so many movies.]

A new study says that giving lots of hugs lowers stress and helps boost your immune system. [Maybe but I still think that guy in accounting is just a pervert.]

They are trying to update the New York City subway which still runs on 1930s technology. [One day soon they hope that the conductor will no longer have to stick his arm out the window to signal a turn.]

Scientists report finding the coldest place in the universe. [They simply tracked the signal coming from Dick Cheney’s pacemaker.]

A survey shows that support is growing among Americans in favor of closer ties to Cuba. [However, the figures remained unchanged for the number of Americans who can actually find Cuba on a map.]

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NEWS & NUGGETS

NORTH KOREA’S INTERNET COMPLETELY BLACKED OUT _ (Check your favorite new source for an update before using this…) Just days after Barack Obama vowed to hit North Korea with a “proportional response” to involvement in hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment, the country’s fragile connection to the Internet went completely dark. And if the attack came from the U.S., the American government isn’t going to claim credit. The U.S. had reportedly ruled out a “demonstration strike” on North Korea’s infrastructure, including the country’s nuclear program and its connection to the Internet. The blackout won’t affect most North Korean citizens, who don’t have access to the internet to begin with.

UFO SPOTTED IN NASA MOON MISSION PHOTO FROM 44 YEARS AGO _ A UFO researcher was examining archival photos from the 1971 NASA moon mission Apollo 15 recently, when he discovered what he says is evidence of a mysterious craft, seemingly hovering over the lunar horizon. But the researcher warned UFO enthusiasts that the apparent sighting could be anything — and is not necessarily evidence that an extraterrestrial observer was keeping tabs on the fourth trip to the moon by human beings. The researcher, who goes by the YouTube screen name Streetcap1, said, “Dudes, I just upload what I find, I believe it’s put there to be found. Remember a UFO is an unidentified flying object not an alien craft.”

… A fellow UFO researcher, Scott Waring, whose blog UFO Sightings Daily catalogs the huge number of UFO sightings worldwide, proved somewhat less skeptical about the origins of the object spotted in the photo, taken on the surface of the moon sometime during the 67 hours that astronauts David Scott and James Irwin were on the lunar surface, between July 30 and August 2, 1971. Waring says, “The object… does appear to be some kind of craft, but with a shape unlike anything I have seen before. Sure it looks like a triangle, but actually it seems more like three large tubular sections that become one. This is probably a drone keeping an eye on the the Apollo 15 mission, perhaps out of curiosity, or perhaps out of fear.”

HOAX: MCDONALD’S IS GETTING RID OF THE BIG MAC _ Thanks to a story on the website Daily Buzz Live, gullible burger lovers across the world were tricked into believing that McDonald’s is getting rid of their Big Mac, apple pies, and large sizes. The tricky thing is that Daily Buzz Live features both real news stories and a few that are satire, so it’s not super surprising that people fell for the news.

THE BIG McRIB IS WHAT McDONALD’S FANS NEED _ McDonald’s is shaking things up. Revenue is down and it’s just not the first choice for hungry folks needing a quick bite. Part of the problem, McDonald’s admits, is the menu — too many items, to confusing. So the fast food giant is working on that. But here’s a sandwich McD’s should think about adding to the menu: the Big McRib. The website Dude Foods says McDonald’s should take a regular Big Mac and replace the two burger patties with two McRib patties. Since McDonald’s obviously already has plenty of Big Mac components, the new sandwich is easy to make.

ROAD TRIP TO WHATABURGER INSPIRES ‘WHATABABY’ PHOTO _ A Texas couple turned their newborn into a burrito-wrapped “Whatababy” for her first photo shoot and the fast food-themed photo. Allie Rae, a photographer from Frisco, Texas, took the photo of Basil Riddle swaddled in a yellow taquito wrapper and laying on an orange tray, surrounded with picante sauce and the iconic Whataburger table tents with numbers of the baby’s birthday. Rae said on her Facebook the parents “kind of have a love for Whataburger.” The couple decided to have the unique photo shoot since Megan Riddle craved the popular burger joint throughout her pregnancy. But since the two lived in Iowa during the time, they made a couple of 7-hour road trips to their nearest Whataburger. The two moved back to Dallas just before giving birth to Basil on December 12.

SANTA CLAUS WOULD EARN $139,924 IF PAID FOR HIS SERVICES _ A new survey of labor statistics shows Santa Claus would earn almost $140,000 if compensated based on national wage averages for the services he purportedly performs each Christmas. According to Insure.com, for the entire Christmas process — from managing a multifaceted engineering workshop, to twice checking the naughty or nice list and everything in between — Santa should earn $139,924 annually. The survey shows most of Santa’s pay comes from his duties as industrial engineer managing the North Pole toy factory. At eight hours a day 364 days a year, that comes to $116,742. Other tasks, like cookie tasting and auditing — including checking the list twice — demand fewer hours.

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WACKY-BUT-TRUE

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: LINGERIE THIEF BUSTED AFTER CEILING COLLAPSES _ A Chinese lingerie thief was caught after the weight of pilfered undergarments caused a ceiling to collapse. The 2,000 sets of lingerie had been stolen from women over the course of a year. The thief hid the underwear above ceiling tiles in a number of stairwells throughout his apartment building. His pilfered panties and bras were exposed when a ceiling tile gave way and a huge load fell out.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: INJURED PARROT TURNS OUT TO BE A WOOL HAT _ Animal welfare officers in Scotland were called out to rescue an injured parrot, only to discover it was actually a knitted wool hat.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: MAN ATTEMPTS ROBBERY WITH PHOTO OF GUN _ In Britain, guns were outlawed. Except for a 34-year-old man who attempted to rob a store in Cambridge, England. He apparently couldn’t get his hands on a real gun, so he threatened store staff that he would kill them — while holding up a photograph of a gun. The clerks didn’t feel terribly threatened and called police.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: DOG POOP SIGNS ARE REALLY FULL OF S#$& _ In North Hempstead, Long Island, New York, signs say if you do not clean up what your dog deposits, you must pay a $250 fine. But the signs are wrong. The law actually sets a fine of $25. But fixing the mistake on the signs would cost money, so community leaders are thinking of changing the fine to match the signs instead.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: COPS PICK UP SANTA _ Children in a town in Wales (Aberdare) were thrilled when Santa Claus arrived with his reindeer. Santa was there with his reindeer waving in his sleigh. But as Santa was leaving a police van pulled up and he hopped in. Children started crying while some just looked on in disbelief. Turns out the city council had arranged for Santa to be taken away by the police because they said it would be the safest way to get him away from the event. A police spokesman said: “Santa obviously has a busy month ahead. So when he asked if we could provide transportation at the end of his sleigh ride through town to help him get back to the North Pole, we were happy to oblige.”

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ON TELEVISION

ONE DIRECTION: THE TV SPECIAL (8p ET, NBC) — One Direction’s first U.S. network special will offer a behind the scenes look at the popular band through documentary material, comical stunts and musical performances. The special features exclusive footage from the South American leg of their 2014 Where We Are Tour and follows the band as they recorded their No. 1 album, FOUR, on the road.

NCIS (8p ET, CBS) — Repeat

SHREK THE HALLS (8p ET, ABC) — The ogre’s holiday plans go awry when Donkey and the gang join festivities.

NEW GIRL (8p ET, FOX) — Repeat

THE FLASH (8p ET, CW) — Repeat

TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT (8:30p ET, ABC) — Trixie must save the day when the gang finds itself in uncharted territory.

THE MINDY PROJECT (8:30p ET, FOX) — Repeat

THE YEAR: 2014 (9p ET, ABC) — In this 2-hour special, celebrities and special guests reflect on the events of 2014 with host Robin Roberts.

MICHAEL BUBLÉ’S CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK (9p ET, NBC) — Repeat

NCIS: LOS ANGELES (9p ET, CBS) — Repeat

NEW GIRL (9p ET, FOX) — Repeat

SUPERNATURAL (9p ET, CW) — Repeat

THE MINDY PROJECT (9:30p ET, FOX) — Repeat

NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (10p ET, CBS) — Repeat

KELLY CLARKSON’S CAUTIONARY CHRISTMAS MUSIC TALE (10p ET, NBC) — Kelly Clarkson and guests celebrate the holidays in this repeat from last year. Blake Shelton, Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and many more appear.

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ENTERTAINMENT

SONY HACK: ‘PINEAPPLE EXPRESS 2’ ALMOST HAPPENED _ A new Sony hack reveals that Pineapple Express 2 was in the works. The studio was hoping to make a sequel to the 2008 hit starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, the same team involved in the now canceled film The Interview. The newest Sony hack reveals it had to do with a dispute over the budget. Judd Apatow, the producer behind the film, emailed Sony head Amy Pascal about how excited he was to get the project off the ground. Seth Rogen also sent a similar email to Pascal, probably in hopes to get Sony excited about the upcoming sequel. But when the team got talking about the budget, that’s when problems started. Sony wanted a $45 million dollar budget, while Apatow wanted $50 million for bigger explosions and an action sequence that would be bigger than the first. The hacked email shows while some inside Sony would be OK with a $50 million budget, someone over Pascal killed the project. In an email he wrote, “In my heart, I don’t believe Pineapple is Austin Powers or even Anchorman; I think it’s more like This Is the End.”

SONY HACK: COMPANY TRIED TO GET DISH NETWORK TO RELEASE ‘THE INTERVIEW’ _ Sony is actively pursuing a way to release its shelved Christmas movie “The Interview.” A source reported Monday that Sony attempted to work out a deal with Dish Network over the weekend to release the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy. However, Dish Network passed on the deal for “unspecified reasons.”

SONY REPORTEDLY SAYS IT’LL SUE TWITTER OVER TWEETS WITH HACKED EMAILS _ Sony is going on the offensive about its leaked emails. Right now it looks like it’s going after Twitter and Twitter users. The tech website Motherboard reports that it has in its possession a letter from a Sony lawyer sent to Twitter’s general counsel. In it, Sony says it will hold Twitter responsible any loss or damage arising from tweets from accounts Twitter hasn’t banned. Twitter user Val Broeksmit also received a letter threatening legal action from Sony. Broeksmit has posted screengrabs of leaked Sony emails from his Twitter account.

SONY HACK: TODAY SHOW CANCELED AMY ADAMS INTERVIEW _ The Today Show canceled Monday’s interview with Amy Adams after producers told her at the last minute that they planned to make her talk about the Sony hacking situation. Adams, who was scheduled to appear to promote her movie Big Eyes, was dropped from the show after expressing discomfort with the unexpected subject matter. Adams’ connection to the Sony scandal is that hacked and leaked email correspondence revealed that she received less compensation for last year’s American Hustle than her male co-stars.

… A version of events in which Adams allegedly “freaked out” and “got aggressive” in the Today Show green room before leaving is not accurate.

… Adams was surprised by NBC’s last-minute request that she talk about the hacking, and expressed her discomfort with the situation. When the show insisted that she answer the questions, Adams relented and agreed to move forward with the sit-down, even though it was her preference to focus on Big Eyes. But when “Today Show” producers realized they might not get significant answers from Adams about the hacking during a live interview, they canceled on the spot.

SONY HACK: THEATER GROUP TO LIVE READ THE INTERVIEW _ Fifty people are going to get a late Christmas gift this weekend. The Treehouse Theater in New York City has announced they’ll host a live-read of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg‘s controversial film The Interview Saturday night. Members of the Upright Citizens Brigade will play all the rolls.

SINGER JOE COCKER DIES _ Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, has died at the age of 70. The England-born singer had a career lasting more than 40 years, with hits including You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong. Cocker died after battling lung cancer.

… Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends was used as the theme song for the hit TV show The Wonder Years.

AMERICAN IDOL SORT OF REVEALS TOP 24 BEFORE SEASON 14 PREMIERE _ American Idol broke from tradition on Monday, revealing (kind of) the 2015 Top 24 before the new season even premieres. A sneak peek video showcases the Season 14 Top 24 singing the classic Feeling Good. The catch: each singer performs on a blackened stage, so that while their figures can be made out, their faces cannot. As the song builds, the clip lightens to show all the contestants visible in color, but only from the back. Idol is back on January 7.

KATNISS EVERDEEN WAX FIGURE UNVEILED AT MADAM TUSSAUDS _ Katniss Everdeen has been immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds. The Hunger Games protagonist, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence in the film series, received her own wax figure at the London museum. Madame Tussauds in New York and Hollywood will also feature the character’s likeness. Madame Tussauds depicted Katniss in a leather jacket with scarf, pants and boots. She stands with a bow at her side and quiver of arrows on her back. The Mockingjay symbol appears on the wall in the background.

NEW PEE-WEE HERMAN MOVIE GOES TO NETFLIX _ In another blow against theatrical distribution, the planned return of Pee-Wee Herman to the big screen will instead be available on computers, tablets and other devices — because the the Judd Apatow-produced movie will be seen on Netflix. The untitled Pee-Wee Herman film, which was originally set up at Apatow’s production home of Universal Pictures, will put Paul Reubens back in his most beloved role.

CASEY KASEM’S BODY IS FINALLY BURIED _ More than six months after radio icon Casey Kasem’s death, his body has finally been buried. In Norway. Kerri Kasem, the eldest of Casey Kasem’s children from his first marriage, lit up Facebook on Monday on learning of the burial, which, according to a Norwegian news outlet, took place in Oslo last Tuesday. Kerri Kasem said on Facebook: “This morning my family and I learned that my Dad’s abusive wife Jean Thompson Kasem and their daughter Liberty conned a cemetery in Norway into burying my Dad there. Even with ALL the letters … from my father’s friends and family stating that he wanted to be buried in the UNITED STATES, the country in which he was born and raised, his wishes were, once again, ignored by his unfaithful wife.” Kerri Kasem has been convinced that the overseas burial is part of a continuing effort by her father’s widow to thwart an elder-abuse investigation.

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AUDIO

Audio Archives

PREGNANCY CRAVINGS

Always a solid topic for phone calls. If you know of someone who’s pregnant, share with your listeners their weird pregnancy craving — then ask for moms to share theirs. » download  And from the archives, two more files of real callers: File 1, File 2.

KIDS SAY HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS

A short montage of kids saying “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” etc. » download

WHAT KIDS HANG ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE

A bunch of kids saying what they put on their Christmas trees. » download

With a funny finish, here’s the same bunch of kids. » download

FUN DOG NAMES

From Angus to Ziggy and everything in between, Rover.com dug into its database to discover the most popular dog names of 2014. Top Male Dog Names were Max, Buddy, Charlie, Jack, Cooper, Rocky, Toby, Tucker, Jake and Bear. Top Female Dog Names are Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Molly, Lola, Sophie, Sadie, Maggie, Chloe and Bailey.

… The most popular category for dogs names (behind people names) was food. Popular dogs names in the food category: Coconut, Kale, Guinness, Vino, Mochi and Whiskey. (More info here.) » download

KIDS: WHAT DO YOU PUT OUT FOR SANTA ON CHRISTMAS EVE?

We asked kids what they put out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Good for launching a phoner, a Facebook topic, or for some mushy Christmas Day promos in between the tunes. » download

COMFORT FOODS

It’s comfort food season. What’s yours? Here are four calls to help with the phones. » download

GRANDMA GOT MOLESTED AT THE AIRPORT

Thanks to Andy R. for reminding us this was on YouTube: Grandma Got Molested at the Airport

CHRISTMAS CLIPS

Our annual clips package continues to grow. Loads of offbeat, funny Christmas drops — updated for 2014. » download

CHARITY CLIPS

Got a charity event or fundraiser coming up? Here are some random clips. » download

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BITS & BREAKS

NEW ON DVD TODAY

THINGS THAT WILL TURN 20 IN 2015

• The Macarena

• The Full House series finale

• PlayStation

• “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”

• The George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine

• The first match on Match.com

• Mike Myers’ last sketch on Saturday Night Live

• The DVD

• Toy Story

THE WORST OF THE WORST FILMS OF 2014

We looked at five movie review sources to uncover the worst wide-release movies of 2014.

• Dumb and Dumber To

• Transformers: Age of Extinction

• Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles

• Transcendence

• Before I Go to Sleep

• The Pyramid

• This Is Where I Leave You

Sources: RiffTrax, Hitflix, Richard Roper (Chicago Sun-Times), Moviefone, and Yahoo.

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FUN & GAMES

TRIVIA: The world’s deepest one of these is 137 feet. It’s in Italy and is man-made. (Indoor swimming pool)

TRIVIA: The longest in the world is 3,488 miles long. (Fence. It’s the Dingo Fence in Australia.)

TRIVIA: On average, people who wear these regularly score 12 points higher on IQ tests than those who don’t. (Glasses)

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JOKE OF THE DAY

A middle-aged divorce guy is letting himself into his apartment when his young, attractive neighbor pops her head out her door. She smiles at the guy and says sweetly, “So glad you’re home. I’m looking for some fun. I’m so alone and I was wondering if you’re busy tonight.” The guy can’t believe his good fortune. He smiles and says to his neighbor, “Nope, not busy at all!” She replies, “Good. In that case can you watch my dog?”

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VIDEO OF THE DAY

One man band at Seattle airport.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY


Source: imgur

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LAST MINUTE ITEMS

• Five Airbus jets fly in formation.

• Paul Harvey’s father was a cop killed in the line of duty. Here, he opines on the role of the police officer.

• Two idea-packed books for sales, promotions and stunts in 2015. Here’s one, here’s the other.

• Conversations with My 4-Year-Old: Shopping

2014’s Best Video Clips

• Artist creates works of art simply by adding signage to things that are already there.

• Newest Mad Max: Fury Road trailer cranks up the action.

• Parking lot incompetence.

• Esther Anderson just wanted to sleep, but her baby had other plans.

• Trailer: Terminator: Genisys.

• Star Wars: Episode VII teaser trailer (Michael Bay Edition).

Poo Doh.

• Download Our Boring Radio Station App.

• In one minute, this model goes through 100 years’ worth of hair and makeup trends.

• Random request generator.

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COUNTRY DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 23, 2014

• 1949: HANK SNOW’s song Marriage Vows entered the country charts.

• 1967: JACK GREENE joined the Grand Ole Opry.

• 1969: B.J. THOMAS earned a gold record for Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

• 1971: JOHNNY CASH’s album The World Of Johnny Cash was certified gold.

• 1976: KENNY ROGERS’ The Gambler topped the country charts.

• 1983: HANK WILLIAMS JR.’s album Family Tradition was certified gold.

• 1997: MARTINA MCBRIDE’s album Evolution was certified platinum.

• 1997: SHANIA TWAIN’s CD Come On Over was certified double platinum.

• 2000: NPR ranked JOHNNY CASH’s I Walk The Line among the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century.

• 2005: Oklahoma Today magazine named CARRIE UNDERWOOD the Oklahoman of the Year.

• 2007: JOSH KELLEY married actress Katherine Heigl in Park City, Utah.

• 2012: BILLY RAY CYRUS ended a seven-week run as Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago at the Ambassador Theatre in New York.

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COUNTRY AUDIO

Knowing TRISHA YEARWOOD’s affinity for the kitchen, if you think that her house probably smells great at Christmastime you’d be right. » download

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COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

DIXIE CHICKS lead singer Natalie Maines has never been shy about expressing her opinions in public, and she took to Twitter to express her outrage after Sony pulled the plug on Seth Rogen’s new movie, The Interview. Natalie called the company “cowards” in the wake of the decision, which came after North Korea hacked into Sony’s mainframe and publicly released a series of embarrassing emails in retaliation for the satirical film, which depicts a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

… The Dixie Chicks filed suit against Sony in 2001, accusing it of “systematic thievery” over unpaid royalties. That suit resulted in the group striking a new deal that included a $20 million signing bonus.

GARTH BROOKS’ six concerts at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena have sold over 90,000 tickets so far. The concerts will be held in late February.

Patrons of the Ladysmith bed and breakfast in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, got way more than their money’s worth this past Friday when owner MIRANDA LAMBERT and her husband BLAKE SHELTON dropped in for a spontaneous concert. The spur-of-the-moment concert was announced on the Ladysmith Facebook page just hours before it was to begin. Tickets for the all-ages show cost five dollars.

SUGARLAND and concert promoter Live Nation have reached a $39 million settlement with the victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse from August of 2011. Seven were killed and more than 100 were injured when the stage rigging collapsed during a severe thunderstorm.

KELLY CLARKSON got some help from some of country’s biggest names December 20 when she played her 3rd Annual Miracle On Broadway concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The show raised over $400,000 for various local charities and included performances by REBA MCENTIRE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, RONNIE DUNN, KACEY MUSGRAVES, GARTH BROOKS and KIX BROOKS.

THE MAVERICKS have fired bassist and founding member Robert Reynolds due to ongoing drug addiction. The members made the decision back in October, but have decided to go public because reports have surfaced that Robert is asking fans for money. The guys say they tried multiple intervention tactics — even putting Reynolds in rehab at times — but each attempt failed. They also say they would welcome him back to the band if he gets clean and sober.
Guitarist and producer Chip Young has died at the age of 76. He played on DOLLY PARTON’s Jolene and CHARLEY PRIDE’s Kiss An Angel Good Morning, and worked with GEORGE JONES, WILLIE NELSON, WAYLON JENNINGS and SKEETER DAVIS. Funeral services will be held today (Tuesday) in Nashville.

KATIE ARMIGER will head into the studio in January to begin work on her next album. She hopes to include a few tracks she laid down overseas. She recorded those at the famed Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles once recorded.

CHASE BRYANT (Take It On Back) will release his debut album sometime in 2015.

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 24, 2014

This is day 358 of 2014. There are 7 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) is 55

• Designer Kate Spade is 52

• Singer Ricky Martin is 43

• Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer is 41

• Ryan Seacrest is 40

• Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time, True Blood) is 37

• Louis Tomlinson of One Direction is 23.

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1818: “Silent Night” was composed by Franz Xavier Gruber and Josef Mohr.

• 1851: Fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.

• 1931: New York City construction workers, at the future site of Rockefeller Center, dragged in a 12-foot Christmas tree and decorated it with tin cans and paper. The first official Rockefeller Center tree, with 700 blue and white lights, appeared two years later.

• 1953: NBC’s Dragnet became the first network-sponsored television program.

• 1968: The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.

• 1999: A 5-year-old girl in North Wales turned orange after drinking too much Sunny Delight, a popular fruit drink containing beta carotene. Doctors said the drink was harmless and there was no risk of toxicity, but they suggested to the girl’s parents she should try a variety of drinks.

• 2000: The Miami Dolphins edged New England Patriots 27-24, but the teams left the field with three seconds left on the clock. Thirty-six minutes later, they were called back to the playing field to play the final 3 seconds. The final score did not change.

• 2002: Laci Peterson was reported missing from her Modesto, California, home, by her husband, Scott, who was later convicted of murdering her and their unborn son.

• 2007: An inmate sued the Utah Department of Corrections for denying him his right to practice an ancient Nordic religion while behind bars, saying that in order to properly practice his religion, he needed items including a Thor’s Hammer, a rune staff and a sword.

• 2009: A woman jumped barriers in St. Peter’s Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict the 16th as he was walking down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass; the pope was unhurt.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Christmas Eve

• Egg Nog Day

UPCOMING

• Christmas Day: December 25 (Thursday)

• New Year’s Day: January 1 (Thursday)

• January 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Tuesday)

• January 31: Chinese New Year (Saturday)

• Groundhog Day: February 2 (Monday)

• Valentine’s Day: February 14 (Saturday)

• President’s Day: February 17 (Tuesday)

More holidays

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DATEBOOK WEEKEND

DECEMBER 25

•Jimmy Buffett is 68. Barbara Mandrell is 66. Sissy Spacek is 65. Annie Lennox is 60. Steve Wariner is 60.

• Today is Christmas; Christmas Pudding Day; Pumpkin Pie Day; Kiss the Cook Day.

DECEMBER 26

• Caroll Spinney (Big Bird on Sesame Street) is 81. Record producer Phil Spector is 75. America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh is 69. Humorist David Sedaris is 58. Actor-singer Jared Leto is 43. Singer and American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry is 35. Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) is 29. Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) is 28.

• Today is Boxing Day; Candy Cane Day; Thank You Note Day.

DECEMBER 27

• News correspondent Cokie Roberts is 71. Mick Jones of Foreigner is 70. Gerard Depardieu is 66. Eva LaRue (CSI: Miami) is 48. Masi Oka (Hawaii Five-O, Heroes) is 40. Emilie de Ravin (Once Upon a Time, Lost) is 33. Shay Mooney of Dan and Shay is 23.

• Today is Visit The Zoo Day; Make Cut-out Snowflakes Day; Fruitcake Day.

DECEMBER 28

• Comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk) is 92. Maggie Smith is 80. Denzel Washington is 60. Marty Roe of Diamond Rio is 54. Talk show host Seth Meyers is 41. Joe Manganiello (True Blood) is 38. Singer John Legend is 36. Sienna Miller is 33.

• Today is Card Playing Day; Chocolate Candy Day.

DECEMBER 29

• Mary Tyler Moore is 78. Jon Voight is 76. Ted Danson is 67. Comedian Paula Poundstone is 55. Jude Law is 42.

• Today is Get on the Scales Day; Tick Tock Day, which puts the pressure on you to cram in some last-minute work before the end of the year to achieve your goals.

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