COUNTRY December 14, 2015

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 14, 2015

This is day 348 of 2015. There are 17 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Patty Duke is 69

• Dee Wallace Stone (Cujo, Elliot’s mom in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) is 67

• Cliff Williams of AC/DC is 66

• Vanessa Hudgens is 27

• Tori Kelly is 23

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1819: Alabama became the 22nd U.S. state.

• 1902: The Commercial Pacific Cable Company laid the first Pacific telegraph cable, from Ocean Beach, San Francisco to Honolulu, Hawaii.

• 1903: The Wright Brothers made their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It crashes. Three days days later, after repairs, they get it to fly.

• 1959: The Motown record label was founded in Detroit, Michigan by Berry Gordy.

• 1962: The Mona Lisa was assessed at $100 million, the highest insurance valuance for a painting in history.

• 1977: The film “Saturday Night Fever” was released.

• 1985: America’s winningest high school football coach (at the time) called it quits at age 71. Gordon Wood of Brownwood High School in Central Texas retires after 43 years. Wood sported a career record of 405 wins, 88 losses and 12 ties. The football stadium at Brownwood High has since been rebuilt and named for him.

• 1989: New York City police announced they had lost the trail of Sylvia Matos, who had registered her car at 19 addresses with 36 different license plates. She had 2,800 unpaid parking tickets, totaling $171,000 in fines.

• 1991: Michael Jackson’s Dangerous debuted at #1 on the Billboard pop album music chart.

• 1999: Charles M. Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, announced his retirement.

• 2000: The Federal Trade Commission unanimously approved the $111 billion merger of America Online and Time Warner.

• 2003: U.S. President George W. Bush announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.

• 2008: President George W. Bush made his fourth and final (planned) trip to Iraq as president and almost got struck by two shoes thrown at him by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi during a farewell conference in Baghdad.

• 2012: The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members. Prior to driving to the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. As first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Gluten-free Baking Week

Green Monday

• Monkey Day: 14 Link or Link

• Biscuits and Gravy Day

UPCOMING

• December 19: Start of College Football Bowl Season

• December 21: Winter begins (11:48 PM ET)

• December 23: Festivus

• December 24: Christmas Eve

• December 25: Christmas Day

• December 31: New Year’s Eve

• January 1: New Year’s Day

• January 11: College Football National Championship (University of Phoenix Stadium, ESPN)

• January 18: Martin Luther King Day

• February 7: Super Bowl 50

More holidays – Updated with 2016 holidays.

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NUMBER FOR THE DAY

61 million: People in the U.S. who speak at least one other language.

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NEWS ATTACK!

In Saudi Arabia women were allowed to vote for the first time. [They immediately voted to ban Donald Trump.]

Did you know that this year Christmas will be rare because it’ll have a full moon? [It reminds me of my favorite Dr. Seuss story, The Werewolf Who Stole Christmas.]

A new study finds that being happy doesn’t increase the length of your life. [That makes me so sad, but I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it?]

Nearly 200 nations signed a historic agreement saying that they would reduce their amount of air pollution. [It’s a historic moment because rarely can you get that many nations to agree to lie about the same thing.]

Are you familiar with those plastic microbeads that they use in toothpaste and facial scrubs? Well, the House has voted to ban them. [According to the legislation, they want to keep them out of the country until our leaders can figure out what’s going on.]

A mom in the UK is getting slammed on social media after posting a picture of the over 300 Christmas presents she bought this year for her 3 kids. [Other parents hate her, and other kids want to be adopted by her.]

In the Czech Republic a thief stowed away overnight in a restaurant and sampled 6 geese, 13 pounds of goose fat, 3 ducks, and a gallon of pickles. [He tried to make his getaway the next morning, but became stuck in the window.]

A North Korean girl band was forced to cancel its tour of China after the Chinese media published rumors of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un having an affair with one of the band members. [Which answers the question: what’s the only thing worse than living in North Korea?]

In Tisdale, Saskatchewan a mysterious herd of 100 buffalo has shown up out of nowhere. [Now who’s laughing at my time machine?]

A 1956 Ferrari sold at auction for $28 million. [But that does include an extra set of floor mats.]

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NEWS & NUGGETS

QUEEN PERSONALLY THANKS MEN WHO SENT HER CHRISTMAS CARDS _ Sometimes even the smallest acts of kindness can certainly make an impression on others — even if they happen to be royalty. Andrew Simes says his grandfather sent a Christmas card to Queen Elizabeth II every holiday season, from 1952 until his death in 2011. When Andrew took up the mantle of card-writing from his late grandfather that winter, he says he received an amazing response from the royal highness herself. In January 2012, about a month after Christmas, Simes received a letter from Buckingham Palace. In it was written: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather’s whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness, I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family.”

… This year, as every year, Andrew sent his Christmas cards — and at the top of the list was Her Majesty.

… Andrew’s late grandfather got a personal handshake thank you from the Queen in 1972 when their paths crossed in Turkey. She even wrote him to congratulate him on his 100th birthday.

$10,000 TO COUPLES WHO SAY NO TO DIVORCE _ Think too many marriages end up in divorce to say “I do?” Not everyone has given up on an everlasting marriage. One startup company is willing to say “I do” in a huge way to couples about to take their vows by giving loans of up to $10,000 to put toward the wedding of their dreams. The catch? If they don’t get a divorce, the couples won’t have to pay back the loans. The startup company, SwanLuv, believes “everlasting marriage should be rewarded.” The Seattle company will reward the couples with a free loan if they stay married to each other, but if the couples divorce, they must pay back the loan with full interest.

… SwanLuv takes applications and makes decisions about the risks of each marriage based on an algorithm using online data. The company will then decide whether it wants to take a risk on the marriage and for how much. Couples may get a loan of up to $10,000.

… The spouses who have ended their relationships in divorce and had to pay back the loans will end up funding new loans in new marriages.

PEOPLE WHO SWEAR ARE MORE ARTICULATE THAN THOSE WHO DON’T _ Research shows people who swear more have bigger vocabularies than those who opt for an expletive-free life. The new study (published in the Languages Sciences journal) found those whose sentences, statements and questions are peppered with colorful expletives are not lazy or uneducated communicators. In fact, those who were more confident using swear words were also more articulate in other areas of language use.

538-POUND MAN KEEPS HIS RACE RESOLUTION _ Derek Mitchell had a goal to run a 5K per month in 2015, and he went farther than he imagined. In Derek Mitchell’s bedroom in Kansas City, Missouri, is a shoebox filled with finisher’s medals and bibs from the 20 5Ks, two 10Ks, and half of a Tough Mudder he’s collected since March. In all, he completed close to 80 race miles — nearly 50 more than the 35-year-old set out to finish this spring.

… Mitchell first made headlines when a TV station covered his last-place finish at the Big 12 Run 5K in Kansas City on March 14. Tailed closely by the chase car, he ran the last few meters to the finish line, crossing it in 1:27:44. The race marked the beginning of his goal to complete a 5K each month for the remainder of the year.

… At the time, Mitchell weighed about 570 pounds, down from his heaviest weight of 625 pounds at the start of 2015. Over the course of the year, Mitchell was invited to events all over the country, ultimately finishing races in seven states. He dropped his 5K time down to 1:10 at a race in Independence, Missouri, this November.

COMPANY GIVES EVERY EMPLOYEE $100,000 CHRISTMAS BONUS _ A Houston company has made all of its employees’ Christmas dreams come true after everyone, no matter their position or salary, received $100,000 Christmas bonuses. Hilcorp is one the largest privately held oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. All 1,380 employees got the bonus.

… It’s not the first time Hilcorp has handed out big Christmas bonuses. In 2010 all employees were given the option of a $50,000 car or $35,000 in cash for meeting a 5 year goal.

PROPOSED LAW WOULD ‘PROTECT CHRISTMAS’ _ Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn has a proposal to protect Christmas. Specifically, he wants the U.S. House of Representatives to declare that they support Christmas, oppose banning Christmas, and to support celebrants in using Christmas symbols and traditions. House Resolution 564 is brief: “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected for use by those who celebrate Christmas.” The bill then assures that the establishment clause, which prevents the government from establishing a state religion, does not prohibit mention of religion or God in public speech, and declares as follows.

“That the House of Representatives—
(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions by those who celebrate Christmas.”

MYSTERIOUS BUFFALO HERD RUNS AMOK IN CANADA _ A mysterious buffalo herd numbering almost 100 has appeared in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan, 150 years after they were hunted to the brink of extinction. Police issued a warning to drivers to watch out for the large animals on local highways, while officials in the town of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, try to sort out what to do with the beasts. Spokespeople for the police and the town said they have no idea where the animals came from, and it remains unclear if they are domesticated or wild.

TRANS WOMAN LEAVES WIFE AND KIDS TO LIVE AS A 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL  _ After 23 years of marriage and seven children, a transgender woman in Canada has left her wife and seven kids and is living as a 6-year-old girl. Stefonknee Wolscht began her transition six years ago at age 46. Wolscht is the subject of a social video series called “The Transgender Project,” which profiles transgender people in Canada. Wolscht says, “I can’t deny I was married. I can’t deny I have children, but I don’t want to be an adult right now.”

… Wolscht, who used to hide her true identity by cross-dressing, is living with a new adoptive family: “I have a mommy and daddy, an adopted mommy and daddy, who are totally comfortable with me being a little girl.” | VIDEO

SUICIDE JUMPER LANDS ON ELDERLY WOMAN _ An elderly person walking down a Manhattan, New York, sidewalk was injured when a suicide jumper landed on her. The 56-year-old woman who jumped out of a third-floor window died. The 71-year-old woman on the sidewalk below was taken to the hospital in stable condition. She is expected to survive.

OVERSLEEPING CAN KILL YOU _ The new study (University of Sydney) has a surprising finding for those of us who hate to get out of our beds: regular oversleeping can have adverse health effects. In addition to the regular taboos of drinking too much, smoking, eating poorly, and too much sitting, researchers have found that sleeping more than nine hours a day can have some pretty scary side effects.

… Over a six year period, regular oversleeping meant a 44 percent increased risk of death. Surprisingly, sleeping less than seven hours a day meant a nine percent increased mortality risk. So, sleeping less is better than sleeping more. At least according to this study today. Who knows about tomorrow.

UTAH COMMUNITY LEAVES FAKE PACKAGES ON DOORSTEPS FOR THIEVES _ One Utah community has begun placing decoy packages on front porches in an effort to battle holiday delivery thieves. Rocks, old clothes and junk televisions are among items that residents in the Daybreak neighborhood of South Jordan, Utah have been putting in shipping boxes. People are also using surveillance video. On resident says, “The goal is to make it confusing and frustrating. So they come and steal a box, and they get home and it’s a bunch of rocks, there’s a good chance that they’re probably not going to come back to steal another box.”

REPUBLICAN DEBATE _ Nine Republicans hopefuls meet Tuesday in the next prime-time presidential debate on CNN.

AVERAGE GAS PRICE SOON UNDER $2, LOWEST SINCE RECESSION _ The nationwide average price of a gallon of regular gas over the weekend was $2.02, down 58 cents from this time last year. Experts say it could drop below $2 a gallon this week.

FULL MOON ON CHRISTMAS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES _ It looks like Santa might not have to rely on Rudolph’s red nose to guide his sleigh this year. For the first time this century, a full moon will be lighting up the sky on Christmas. According to The Weather Channel, there hasn’t been a full moon on Christmas since 1977, and there won’t be another till 2034. December’s moon, nicknamed the “cold moon” or “long nights moon,” will reach its peak size on December 25 at around 6:11 AM.

… For those in the U.S., the moon will be best viewed on Christmas Eve while those in Europe may get a better glimpse on Christmas day itself.

250 PEOPLE PAY IT FORWARD AT McDONALD’S DRIVE-THRU _ A Florida woman embraced the spirit of the season of giving and started a chain reaction of 250 people paying it forward. Torie Keene (of Lakeland) was paying for her meal at her local McDonald’s drive-thru Wednesday morning when she told the cashier that she wanted to pay for meal of the car behind her. When Figueroa told the next car that their meal had been paid for by Keene, she said that the passenger was so moved that she also decided to pay for the meal of the car behind her, and after that a chain reaction of people paying it forward began. The cashier worked from 9 AM to 3 PM on Wednesday and said that the pass-it-on chain lasted almost the entire length of her shift.

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WACKY-BUT-TRUE

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: POLICE FOLLOW LIQUID TO ARREST SHOOTING SUSPECT _ Police in New Mexico (Las Cruces) were investigating a shootout outside a pub when they came upon a liquid clue. They followed fluid that leaked from a vehicle and made an arrest.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: COMPANY BOTTLES THE SCENT OF A CAT’S FOREHEAD _ A Japanese online retailer that specializes in all things feline is releasing its second cat-scented product this year. Earlier this year Felissimo came out with a cat paw-scented cream, and now its introducing a special fabric spray that carries the smell of cats’ foreheads. The company revealed that they developed the product after collecting extensive data through customer survey responses. Many of the respondents wrote that the smell of a cat’s forehead is like ‘the smell of sunshine’, ‘a futon that’s been dried in the sun’, and ‘sweet bread’.

… Felissimo teamed up with a perfumery to recreate the scent as accurately as possible. Experts spent four months sniffing feline heads.

… The spray, described as sweet and aromatic, is meant to be used to freshen up fabrics like cushions and blankets. Each small bottle is about $10.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: LAST STRAW FOR FOUR DOPE SNIFFERS _ Police in China caught four men taking drugs in a hotel after an alert plainclothes policeman noticed one of them requesting four thin, bendy straws while buying a cup of tea. The police officer assumed the man was a drug user and followed the man to a hotel. When police came to the hotel, they caught four men taking drugs in a room, including the man who brought the tea.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: FIRE TRUCKS HOSE DOWN WRONG PLANE _ At an airport in China a passenger jet taxing for a takeoff began shooting sparks from its engine compartment. Eight fire trucks responded to the emergency, but sprayed down the wrong plane.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: STRANGER ATTACKS MAN WITH SNICKERS BAR _ In an apparently random attack a New York City man shoved a candy bar in the face of another man and then punched him. Eliexer Reyes has been charged with misdemeanor assault following his arrest in the Times Square subway station. The victim says Reyes was not provoked and randomly shoved a Snickers bar in his face and mouth.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: MAN CAUGHT SMOKING POT IN ‘POLICE CARS ONLY’ SPOT _ State police say a 22-year-old upstate New York man picked the wrong parking spot to smoke marijuana. Police say Ryan Law parked his car in front of the state police barracks in a parking spot marked “Police Cars Only.” A uniformed trooper unloading his patrol car nearby spotted Law and approached him to discuss his choice of parking spots. That’s when the trooper smelled marijuana and found about 30 grams of pot in his car.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: DRUNK DRIVER TRIES TO HIDE FROM POLICE IN A NATIVITY SCENE _ A man in England suspected of drunk-driving tried to escape police by hiding. After crashing his Mini Cooper (just outside of Tadcaster, North Yorkshire) the man attempted to hide from police in a large shed housing a nativity scene.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: MAN FRUSTRATED OVER 11 BURGLARIES _ Kehinde Taiwo of Washington, D.C., complained that police weren’t helping him with his home burglaries. Last year and the year before, his home was burgled four times, and so far this year three more times. He has given the police copies of surveillance videos showing the burglars’ faces, installed new locks, and installed an alarm system, but nothing has helped. Taiwo even bought guard dogs — which were stolen by burglars. Taiwo says if the police don’t help, he’ll “booby trap the house or I’ll be sitting with a shotgun on my lap.” Only when the story hit the media did the police announce that detectives will look in to the cases.

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ON TELEVISION

SUPERGIRL (8p ET, CBS) — Laura Benanti returns as Astra, and Tristin Mays (The Vampire Diaries) guest stars in the last new episode of the year. New episodes will return January 4th.

THE VOICE (8p ET, NBC) — In the first part of the season finale, the final four artists perform.

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT FIGHT (8p ET, ABC) — Eight families in Florida, Hawaii, Arizona, California, Tennessee, Utah and Minnesota compete for $50,000 in this new, 2-hour edition.

GOTHAM (8p ET, FOX) — Repeat

THE VICTORIA’S SECRET FASHION SHOW (8p ET, CW) — Repeat

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL (8p ET, ESPN) — The New York Giants (5-7) look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they visit the Miami Dolphins (5-7). This marks the first meeting between the teams since 2011.

SCORPION (9p ET, CBS) — This is the last new episode until January 4th.

BONES (9p ET, FOX) — Repeat

JANE THE VIRGIN (9p ET, CW) — New

MAJOR CRIMES (9p ET, TNT) — New

NCIS: LOS ANGELES (10p ET, CBS) — This is the last new episode until January 4th.

THE GREAT HOLIDAY BAKING SHOW (10p ET, ABC) — The remaining bakers compete in three pastry challenges and the final three are revealed.

ADELE LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY (10p ET, NBC) — Adele performs a special one-night only concert in New York at Radio City Music Hall, her first concert in the U.S. since fall 2011.

SEASON FINALE: FARGO (10p ET, FX) — The acclaimed second season ends tonight. The show has been renewed for a 3rd season, to be set a couple of years after the events of season one.

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ENTERTAINMENT

QUIET BOX OFFICE WEEKEND _ The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 notched its fourth-straight week atop the box office over a very quiet weekend. Games made just $11.3 million to hold on to No. 1. Ron Howard’s whaling tale In the Heart of the Sea debuted in second with $11 million.

WILL SMITH FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020? _ Will Smith dropped a bombshell during an interview that aired on yesterday’s (December 13) CBS Sunday Morning. Smith not only spoke of his new role in the movie Concussion, but ​Will said he might run for president: “If people keep saying all the crazy kinds of stuff they’ve been saying on the news lately about walls and Muslims, they’re going to force me into the political arena. I mean, I gotta be the President. Come on! What else would I run for?” | VISIT THE PRO AUDIO PAGE FOR A CLIP

TAYLOR SWIFT WILL RELEASES CONCERT FILM ON APPLE MUSIC _ Taylor Swift celebrated her 26th birthday Sunday by announcing a concert film shot during her 1989 tour will be released December 20. The documentary will be available via Apple Music. Taylor tweeted: “Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes. I have a little surprise for you. #1989WorldTourLIVE @applemusic” — along with a trailer for the film. | TRAILER

TAYLOR SWIFT BOOK COMING NEXT YEAR _ Swifties, get ready: You have a book to write. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Taylor Swift’s first record, Simon & Schuster will publish the first major book about the superstar artist. And it’s her biggest fans who are providing the content. The book, coming next October, will be oversized and illustrated to give it a scrapbook-like feel, stuffed with fan art, concert photos, and the best writing published about Swift during the past decade, beginning with the first press release for her 2006 self-titled debut album.

… To suggest a favorite piece about Taylor, fans should email tips@swiftfanbook.com. Taylor herself is not involved and hasn’t endorsed the project.

TAYLOR SWIFT WANTS TO TRADEMARK SWIFTMAS AND 1989 _ Taylor Swift is trying to trademark the name of her newest album — 1989 — the name of one of the hit songs on that album — Blank Space — a lyric from that song — And I’ll Write Your Name — the title of an unpublished novel Swift wrote as a teenager — A Girl Named Girl — and the term for Swift’s random acts of kindness — such as writing a check to help pay off the student loans of a fan who made a video mashup of Swift having fun with her friends. That term is “Swiftmas”.

MIKE AND MOLLY’ CANCELED _ The upcoming sixth season of CBS’ Mike & Molly will be its last. Co-star Rondi Reed announced Sunday in a Facebook post: “Before you hear it elsewhere (and some already have) this is the final and sixth season of Mike &  Molly on CBS. It is also a shortened season (13 episodes) after the announced full renewal of 22 episodes back in March by the network. We are done taping as of January 27, 2016, and I am not sure exactly when/if the episodes will all be aired. The network has its reasons, and I will not get into a debate, discussion or campaign to get them to change their minds. Other venues were explored by WB and Bonanza Productions (Chuck Lorre) after CBS announced their intentions, but did not turn up a future for our show. It is a fact and we have known for a few weeks. I remain extremely grateful to have been a part of this and to have worked with a fabulous bunch of folks over the years. I have learned a lot about many things, including the business we call show. Also grateful for all the fans and for the personal support I have received over the (almost) six seasons. Stewart Talent has guided me every step of the way on this journey and for that I am also forever grateful.”

ADELE HAS A SHORT NEW HAIRCUT _ The season finale of Britain’s X Factor meant another surprise from Adele: The pop superstar, who previously teased her newest album with a 30-second commercial during the reality series, showed off a short bob haircut while performing on Sunday’s night episode. The cut is several inches shorter than what she’s lately been sporting. | PHOTO

HARRISON FORD SNEAKS INTO FORCE AWAKENS EVENT _ Harrison Ford sneaked into an Australian fan event for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and almost went unnoticed. An already exciting event for fans, a select group of Australians were treated to ten minutes of the upcoming sequel at the IMAX Theatre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour. Little did they know that Han Solo himself was among them. Ford managed to stay hidden throughout most of the event, sneaking in during the preview, and once it was over, he “stood up out of his seat. As if by magic, a spotlight hit the actor.” Ford told the audience at the sneak peak event: “Let’s make a deal — don’t tell your friends what you’ve seen here today.”

ED SHEERAN TAKES A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA _ Ed Sheeran is signing offline. The British singer announced his plans to take a break from social media on Sunday in a message posted to his fans on Facebook and other accounts like Twitter and Instagram. Ed wrote: “Hello all. I’m taking a break from my phone, emails and all social media for a while. I’ve had such an amazing ride over the last five years but I find myself seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes so I’m taking this opportunity of me not having to be anywhere or do anything to travel the world and see everything I missed.”

CELEBRITY DEATH HOAXES 2015 _ Some of the celebrities who have had to watch themselves be “killed”.

• Adam Sandler: In September a fake news site reported that the actor died after battling depression for a long time. The news was made believable with “quotes” from his wife Jackie and even a police statement. Many heartbroken fans even wrote eulogies for him, while others expressed disbelief.

• Jackie Chan: The martial arts star took matters in his own hands when a death hoax about him spread online. He posted on his official Facebook page: “I was shocked by two news reports when I got off the plane. First of all, don’t worry! I’m still alive.”

• Maggie Wheeler: The actress best known as Janice from the long-running sitcom Friends, too, became the target of death hoax stories in August, when some websites claimed she was found dead in her bedroom. They even claimed she possibly suffered a heart attack.

• Arnold Schwarzenegger: Fake reports in August claimed the Los Angeles Police Department responded to a 911 emergency call and found the actor’s unresponsive body in his bedroom. They even quoted the LAPD chief of police to make it seem realistic. The reports were debunked after the former California governor was later spotted at a restaurant in Los Angeles.

• Rowan Atkinson: The “Mr. Bean” actor was rumored to be dead yet again in August after a Facebook page titled “RIP Rowan Atkinson” went viral.

HULK HOGAN TRICKED BY SICK HIV PRANK ON TWITTER _ Hulk Hogan fell victim to yet another social networking prank Sunday after he re-tweeted a photograph of a user’s “sick sister”, which was in fact an image Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on The X Factor. The person in question tweeted a picture of the star, alongside the caption: “Hi @HulkHogan my sister is HIV positive can she have a RT please.” Hulk failed to recognize that the shot was of Cheryl and replied: “Tons of love and positive prayers for your sis, God’s got her, everything will be good. Only love. HH.”

… Twitter users were quick to notice the mistake, with one posting: “He’s done it again, good lord,” while another added: “His cluelessness is unreal haha.”

… Twitter users branded the prankster a “sick inhumane person” after the incident.

EVA LONGORIA ENGAGED _ Eva Longoria is engaged. The actress announced her engagement on Sunday by posting a photo to Twitter shortly after boyfriend Jose Antonio Baston proposed to her in Dubai. The photo, which shows Longoria and Baston kissing in a desert with her engagement ring, is captioned, “Ummmm so this happened…#Engaged #Dubai #Happiness.” Longoria and Baston, the president of the Latin American media brand Televisa, have been dating since 2013.

PRISON BREAK SEASON 5 CONFIRMED _ Ever since the news came out that Prison Break would be coming back for a fifth season, fans have wanted to know all of the details. This new version of Prison Break is considered a sequel, and it will all start a few years after Prison Break originally ended. Currently the cast is only confirmed for 10 episodes at this time, but of course, if ratings are good on the new Prison Break then they could find a way to continue it.

… If you remember how Prison Break came to an end, Wentworth Miller’s character was dead, but he will be back once again.

RONDA ROUSEY KEEPS PROMISE, ATTENDS MARINE CORPS BALL _ Ronda Rousey kept her promise to Marine Lance Cpl. Jarrod Haschert on Friday when she attended the Marine Corps Ball with him. Haschert sent Rousey a message back in September asking if she would go with him and Rousey agreed. Following her loss to Holly Holm, many wondered whether she would indeed follow through, but on Friday she was there with Haschert.

… This was Rousey’s first public appearance following her loss to Holm. Rousey told ESPN The Magazine last week that she’s been “really [expletive] sad” and hasn’t left her house much since the loss.

BEATLES WHITE ALBUM SIGNED BY MEMBERS OF THE MANSON FAMILY _ A curious item recently turned up on iOffer.com. Listed for sale is a copy of The Beatles White Album, allegedly autographed by Charles Manson and members of his “family”: Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Charles “Tex” Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. It can be yours for only $49,005.00 The White Album contains the song Helter Skelter, very significant to the whole Manson saga.

SHELTON AND STEFANI RUMORED (AGAIN) TO BE ON PATH TO PARENTHOOD _ Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton have inspired countless tabloid rumors since they went public with their relationship earlier this year, and now several stories are circulating around the Web that the couple are already talking about having a baby together. Although their relationship isn’t very old several media sources say that she and Blake are very serious about one another and are planning to start their own family. Stefani — who has three boys with Gavin Rossdale — has confirmed through her reps that she is not pregnant, but that isn’t stopping the rumor mill from churning.

BLAKE SHELTON AND GWEN STEFANI NOT ENGAGED _ Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani may be heating up their relationship since confirming dating rumors over a month ago, but that doesn’t mean the new couple is ready to settle down just yet. According to new tabloid rumors surrounding Blake and Gwen’s budding relationship, the couple were rumored to have gotten engaged last week after Blake reportedly flew Gwen home to his native Oklahoma to meet his parents. The tabloid report further alleges that Blake then “surprised [Gwen] with a marriage proposal” and that he hopes to tie the knot with Gwen “in the spring.” Sources close to Gwen and Blake call the proposal claims “untrue.”

INDEPENDENCE DAY SEQUEL TRAILER RELEASED _ The first trailer for the long-awaited Independence Day sequel, called Independence Day: Resurgence, debuted Sunday afternoon. Will Smith won’t be back as the lead, but Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox are returning. Also joining the cast will be “The Hunger Games” star Liam Hemsworth. Independence Day: Resurgence will be in theaters June 24. | TRAILER

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AUDIO

NEW TO THE PRO AUDIO PAGE

• SONG: Gift Card by The Snake Oil Willie Band

• TOPICAL: Star Wars commercial – 5 days

• CELEBRITY: Will Smith on running for president (CBS Sunday Morning interview)

• TV: Teaser for ESPN’s Star Wars- Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel

• MOVIE: Chris Hemsworth on weight loss during In The Heart Of The Sea.

• HOLIDAY: Clips from the album All I Want For Christmas Is a Goat.

• TOPICAL: Obama reads mean tweets is one of YouTube’s top virals of 2015.

• TOPICAL: Harrison Ford comments on Trump liking him in Air Force One.

• CONTEST: Mystery Voice – Vin Diesel

• CONTEST: Mystery Voice – Bill Gates

• TOPICAL: Fox News commentator fired for calling Obama a bad name (caution).

• SONG: Too Fat for the Chimney by Gisele Mackenzie (1957). Use as an intro to a Christmas break or for a comparison of songs then and now.

• TOPICAL: Ellen recently helped Kim Kardashian with baby names.

• TOPICAL: President Obama speaks to the country on Sunday, December 6.

• REAL CALLER AUDIO: Family Christmas traditions.

• OFFBEAT: President Obama sings Jingle Bells.

• TOPICAL: Roger Ebert in 1983 defends Star Wars.

• DROP: Seinfeld clip about Festivus. (See 12/1 issue)

• DROPS: Funny Christmas clips package — many clips!

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BITS & BREAKS

DO YOU GET YOUR PETS GIFTS?

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: Do you — or does your spouse — get your pets gifts? What kind of stuff do you buy? Anything crazy?

GOOD CREMATION QUESTION

Someone wrote to their local newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois (The Pantagraph) to ask, “A recent ad advertised ‘basic cremation’ for $1,595. That raises the question of how extensive that service is and implies there is a pricier option to choose. If so, what would the cheaper cremation be? Rare? Medium rare?”

TOP TEN MOVIES

  1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, $11.3 million
  2. In the Heart of the Sea, $11 million
  3. The Good Dinosaur, $10.5 million
  4. Creed, $10.1 million
  5. Krampus, $8 million
  6. Spectre, $4 million
  7. The Night Before, $3.9 million
  8. The Peanuts Movie, $2.6 million
  9. Spotlight, $2.5 million
  10. Brooklyn, $1.9 million

… One year ago this week the number one movie was Exodus: Gods and Kings.

… Five years ago this week the number one movie was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

… Ten years ago this week the number one movie was The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

… Twenty years ago this week the number one movie was Toy Story.

IN THEATERS FRIDAY

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (PG-13) A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983).

• Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, John Boyega, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Kenny Baker, Lupita Nyong’o.
website, trailer, reviews

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP (PG) Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami… and dump them.

• Jason Lee, Christina Applegate, Kaley Cuoco, Anna Faris, Bella Thorne
website, trailer, reviews

SISTERS (R) Two sisters decide to throw one last house party before their parents sell their family home.

• Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph
website, trailer, reviews

OPENING NEXT WEEK

• Concussion

• Daddy’s Home

• Joy

• Point Break

WEEKLY HOT LIST

Courtesy of morning show talent coach Steve Reynolds. The Hot List is made up of the topics everyone knows about.

  1. Christmas Shopping
  2. Star Wars
  3. Holiday Parties
  4. Donald Trump
  5. NFL Week #14
  6. Golden State Warriors
  7. Kim and Kanye Baby
  8. Paris Climate Deal
  9. Chipotle
  10. Meek Mill
  11. Prince
  12. Frank Sinatra 100
  13. Michelle Obama Raps
  14. Nicki Minaj
  15. College Bowl Games
  16. Adele

WHY DO PEOPLE PREFER TO GIVE AND RECEIVE GIFT CARDS?

A Wall Street Journal columnist answers questions about money and was asked: “This holiday season had me wondering: Why do people prefer to give and receive gift cards rather than cash, which you can use anywhere for anything?”

The WSJ columnist explains: “When we look around us, we feel guilt over our desire for many different things: fancy chocolates, pens, expensive headsets, electronic gadgets, etc. We want these things, but the guilt caused by our wants is powerful, so it sometimes stops us. When we get money, we’re likely to feel guilty about spending it on our more self-indulgent desires. But when we get a gift card, the guilt is much reduced and sometimes eliminated.”

“Interestingly, the particular level of guilt alleviation depends on the type of gift card. For example, if the card is an American Express gift card, it is basically the same thing as money, and it doesn’t ease much guilt. But if the gift card is restricted to a particular store, that money suddenly becomes more valuable. A dollar without guilt is worth more than a regular dollar.”

… Go to the PRO AUDIO page for a gift card song!

WOMEN LIKE THE WAY MEN PARK THEIR CARS

The secret is now out: women really do admire the way male drivers’ park, reverse and take charge during a breakdown. And men admit that they feel the same about the way women drivers remember to take food on trips and ask for directions when lost. A British auto parts chain surveyed 2,000 drivers to see if stereotypes still existed.

Things women love about male drivers:

  • The way men know what to do if the car has a flat tire or breaks down
  • How they park in tight spaces
  • Their skill at maneuvering and reversing
  • Their sense of direction

Things women hate about male drivers:

  • Tailgating – driving too close to the car in fronts rear bumper
  • Driving too fast
  • Using a phone while driving
  • Road rage
  • Refusing to ask for directions

Things men love about women drivers:

  • That they always think to pack food and beverages for trips and organize food stops
  • That they will ask for directions when lost
  • Their courtesy to other drivers and the way they let others out during busy times
  • The way they don’t lose their temper or have road rage when driving
  • The way they keep talking so you don’t fall asleep on long trips

Things men hate about women drivers:

  • The time they take to maneuver in and out of parking spaces
  • That they put on makeup and do their hair at stop lights
  • The length of time they take to get moving after a light turns green
  • The way they turn and talk to passengers instead of watching the road
  • That they don’t know how to use lanes properly

SUM UP YOUR LIFE IN SIX WORDS OR LESS

• Quite often confused; was never satisfied.

• Failure was apparently an option here.

• I chased him, he caught me.

• Jump right in and play.

• Don’t even try to plan it.

• Just keep doing the next thing.

• Found my path. Walked it fearlessly.

• Didn’t do what I should have.

• Half over but feels like new.

• Learned it. Used it. Forgot it.

• Not as bad as I expected.

• Astonished I’ve made it this far.

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: Sum up your life in six words or less!

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FUN & GAMES

WORLD’S EASIEST CHRISTMAS CONTEST

Play some holiday jingling bells behind a song in your current rotation. People guess the song. They’re always right ’cause it’s so darn easy.

NEWS QUIZ!

If your only source of news is TMZ, you won’t win…

• The US Postal Service is testing a “notification” service that emails customers what? (Images of the envelopes of their letter-size mail)

• A hair stylist in Spain is cutting customers’ hair with fire and what? (Swords)

• An 81-year-old grandmother has become the oldest person to finish what sporting event? (Beer Mile)

• LeBron James signed a lifetime deal with what company? (Nike)

• Researchers found that text messages that end with these come off as less sincere. (Periods)

• A Florida burglar was hiding from police one night when he got eaten by what? (An alligator)

• Just in time for Christmas, the largest one of these ever was unveiled in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Stocking. 1,600 pounds)

• For those stuck riding in economy class, United Airlines says its bringing back what? (Snacks)

• Major cemeteries in Moscow will soon be offering this for free. (Wi-Fi)

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JOKE OF THE DAY

A woman calls the town psychiatrist and cries, “Doctor, you’ve got to come as soon as possible. My husband has gone totally batty!” The shrink rushes over. The worried wife says, “Thank God you are here, doctor. Just go down the hall. He’s in the last room on the right.” The shrink goes in the room and sees the woman’s husband sitting on the edge of the bathtub, dangling a fishline in the toilet. He goes back to the wife and says, “Yes, this is very serious. But why didn’t you call me sooner?” “Who had time?” the wife asks. “I’ve been cleaning fish all week.”

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VIDEO OF THE DAY

3-year-old Ansleigh explains why she cut her hair.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY


Source: unknown

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LAST MINUTE ITEMS

• Dress your bearded dragon as Princess Lea.

• The best Star Wars tattoos.

• I’m a financial planner, and here are the 11 best pieces of advice I can give you about money.

The Best and Worst Journalism of 2015. Includes a nod to John Oliver.

• Dude Perfect’s RC edition.

• When your radio show prep service gives you a list… do the work.

• Top 25 News Photos of 2015.

• Hard to believe it’s been a year since we got this “special” Michael Bay Edition Star Wars trailer.

• We actually bought these $15 Amazon headphones — and they don’t suck.

Trailer Town is a beautifully designed site featuring a curated feed of the latest trailers.

• Blog: Boomerang is your awesome show producer and digital assistant.

• Time to Elf Yourself again?

• Is it illegal to drive with a dog on my lap?

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COUNTRY DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 14, 2015

• 1932: CHARLIE RICH was born. He died in 1995 of a blood clot to his lung while traveling to a show in Florida.

• 1961: JIMMY DEAN’s Big, Bad John became the first gold country single.

• 1973: LORRIE MORGAN made her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 13.

• 1993: TOBY KEITH’s self-titled debut album was certified gold. Hits included Should’ve Been A Cowboy, A Little Less Talk (And A Lot More Action) and Wish I Didn’t Know Now.

• 1993: MERLE HAGGARD filed for bankruptcy.

• 1997: LEANN RIMES made her acting debut in the made-for-TV movie Holiday In Your Heart, based on a book she co-wrote.

• 2000: TIM MCGRAW underwent an emergency appendectomy in Nashville.

• 2004: KENNY CHESNEY’s When The Sun Goes Down was named Album of the Year by Billboard Magazine.

• 2005: Walk the Line, a bio-pic based on the life of JOHNNY CASH, was nominated for a Best Comedy or Musical Golden Globe. Stars Joaquin Phoenix (Johnny) and Reese Witherspoon (JUNE CARTER CASH) also received nominations for Best Actor and Actress in a Comedy or Musical. Reese would go on to win the award in her category.

• 2006: SUGARLAND scored its first number one with Want To.

• 2009: KENNY CHESNEY was named one of the top ten touring acts of the decade after grossing well over $400 million.

• 2010: THE JUDDS were the final country act to appear on CNN’s Larry King Live.

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COUNTRY AUDIO

NEW TO THE COUNTRY AUDIO PAGE

• KELLIE PICKER on filming the new season of I Love Kellie Pickler.

• FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE and Christmas.

• GARTH BROOKS loves TRISHA YEARWOOD’s cooking but he makes a Breakfast Bowl. (Classic Kimmel clip. On 12/10 they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.)

• REBA MCENTIRE on getting the same Christmas gifts as her sister.

• CARRIE UNDERWOOD feels very blessed in her career.

• TIM MCGRAW loves football.

• KEITH URBAN talks about his dad.

• KEITH URBAN’s father has died. He helped wife Nicole get through the death of her father in 2014.

• LEANN RIMES sings Christmas tunes with fans using Sing! app.

• KIX BROOKS remembers a certain Christmas Eve call about a baby.

• CARRIE UNDERWOOD talks about her song Heartbeat.

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COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

The ZAC BROWN BAND’s 5th Southern Ground Music & Food Festival is set for April 16-17 at in Charleston, South Carolina. Country performers will include THOMAS RHETT, KACEY MUSGRAVES, HUNTER HAYES, CAM, OLD DOMINION and A THOUSAND HORSES with musicians from other styles also appearing. Members of the ZBB will also be performing and the band will close both nights with a super set that will include surprise guests. Past surprise guests have included KENNY CHESNEY, KENNY ROGERS, John Fogerty and John Legend.

DOLLY PARTON’s Coat of Many Colors drew 13 million viewers when it aired Thursday night (December 10) on NBC. JENNIFER NETTLES played Dolly’s mom in the movie based on her 1971 hit of the same name. Dolly’s next television movie based on one of her hits will be Jolene.

GARTH BROOKS is the highest paid country artist of 2015 according to Forbes. He comes in at No. 3 overall with $90 million in concert, album and other revenue. TOBY KEITH comes in at No. 16 with $53 million, JASON ALDEAN at No. 19 with $43 million, LUKE BRYAN at No. 20 with $42 million and KENNY CHESNEY at No. 21 with $42 million. TIM MCGRAW lands at No. 24 on the list with $38 million and FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE come in at No. 27 with $36.5 million brought in this year.

JASON ALDEAN is inviting fans to pull the lever on his newly-launched interactive gambling app. Jason Aldean Slot Machines is a free app that combines Jason’s love of Las Vegas with country music. The app is an interactive experience that hosts slot machines based on his biggest hits.

REBA MCENTIRE left a star-studded Las Vegas stage Friday night for an equally star-studded backstage, where she ran into Johnny Depp. Reba has been performing along with BROOKS & DUNN at The Colosseum at Ceasars Palace. Depp and his wife, Amber Heard, had flown in for a “rare” Vegas visit to see the show. | IMAGE

DAVID NAIL and wife Catherine welcomed twins, a boy and a girl, Saturday morning (December 12). Their names are Lawson Brent and Lilian Catherine. Brent is David’s middle name.

OLD DOMINION will perform their debut hit, Break Up With Him, as well as new single Snap Back, December 21 on NBC’s The Today Show.

On December 18, the Lifetime Network will air the Women in Music special with footage from the gala held in New York Friday (December 11). LORETTA LYNN received the Career Milestone Award from MARTINA MCBRIDE and KELSEA BALLERINI earned the Rising Star Award, which she received from Hillary Scott of LADY ANTEBELLUM.

JOSH TURNER recently bagged himself a wild boar during a hunting trip to California’s Tejon Ranch. The hunt was filmed for airing on The Outdoor Channel in February of next year.

CRAIG MORGAN will serve as spokesman for LINE-X, a company that provides protective coatings and truck accessories.

KELSEA BALLERINI and CHRIS STAPLETON will help ring in 2016 as part of Nashville’s New Year’s Eve Bash on Broadway.

JUSTIN MOORE will perform February 13 along with LOCASH (I Love This Life) at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania celebrating the best in outdoor activities and sponsored by the National Rifle Association and the Outdoor Channel.

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 15, 2015

This is day 349 of 2015. There are 16 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Comedian and actor Tim Conway (The Carol Burnett Show) is 82

• Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 76

• Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five is 73

• Don Johnson (Miami Vice) is 66

• Helen Slater (The Legend of Billie Jean, City Slickers) is 52

• Adam Brody (The O.C.) is 36

• Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) is 34

• George O. Gore II (My Wife and Kids) is 33

• Camilla Luddington (Grey’s Anatomy) is 32

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1791: The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, took effect following ratification by Virginia. Among other things, these amendments guarantee freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to peaceably assemble, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.

• 1938: Ground was broken for the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

• 1939: The movie “Gone With the Wind” had its world premiere in Atlanta.

• 1944: Bandleader Glenn Miller was killed when his U.S. Army plane disappeared over the English Channel.

• 1966: Movie producer Walt Disney died at age 65.

• 2001: The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after 11 years and $27 million to fortify it, without fixing its famous lean.

• 2004: American telecommunications giants Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. announced they would merge in a $35 billion deal.

• 2006: Romanian police said they were looking for two burglars who broke into a woman’s apartment and left her some money. The 86-year-old told police two young men, wearing masks, trashed her apartment. She said they rummaged for money or valuables but found only her wallet with the equivalent of a few bucks inside. The burglars then gave the woman all of their loose change — and left without taking anything.

• 2009: The Washington, D.C. City Council voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

• 2009: Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner makes its maiden flight from Seattle, Washington.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Bill of Rights Day

• Cat Herders Day. A day for those of us who feel like we’re tasked with the impossible, Cat Herders Day recognizes the frustration of trying to manage the unmanageable.

• Gingerbread Latte Day

UPCOMING

• December 19: Start of College Football Bowl Season

• December 21: Winter begins (11:48 PM ET)

• December 23: Festivus

• December 24: Christmas Eve

• December 25: Christmas Day

• December 31: New Year’s Eve

• January 1: New Year’s Day

• January 11: College Football National Championship (University of Phoenix Stadium, ESPN)

• January 18: Martin Luther King Day

• February 7: Super Bowl 50

More holidays – Updated with 2016 holidays.

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