COUNTRY December 17, 2015

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 17, 2015

This is day 351 of 2015. There are 14 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) is 70

• TV talker Chris Matthews is 70

• Eugene Levy (American Pie, Best in Show) is 69

• Barry Livingston (Ernie Douglas on My Three Sons) is 62

• Bill Pullman is 62

• Director-producer Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber) is 59

• Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) is 46

• Sean Patrick Thomas (The District) is 45

• Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) is 41

• Giovanni Ribisi (Saving Private Ryan, Avatar) is 41

• Milla Jovovich (Zoolander, The Fifth Element) is 40

• Emma Bell (The Walking Dead) is 29

• Graham Rogers (Quantico) is 25

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1903: The Wright Brothers made their first powered and heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

• 1969: The United States Air Force closed its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”

• 1969: An estimated 50 million viewers watched singer Tiny Tim (Herbert Buchingham Khaury) marry Miss Vicky (Victoria Budinger) on NBC’s Tonight Show.

• 1975: Lynette “Squeakie” Fromme was sentenced in a Sacramento, California, federal court to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Ford.

• 1989: The Simpsons debuted on Fox-TV.

• 1994: A Boston man was arrested at a hospital after taking two live lobsters from a supermarket tank and stuffing them down his pants. Police called it shoplifting.

• 2003: A bank robber in Tularosa, New Mexico, lost a bid to overturn his conviction by arguing the stupidity of the crime proved he was too drunk to be responsible. The defendant argued  his attempt to rob the same bank teller who moments before had refused to cash his check was stupid enough to show he was inebriated. A compelling argument, but the court didn’t buy it.

• 2005: In Ireland, a hazardous slick of broken eggs caused traffic chaos on a rural road after a truck carrying thousands of hens lost its load. Chickens that were freed by the accident began laying eggs right in the road. Some 7,000 chickens were loose.

• 2008: Time magazine named Barack Obama as its Person of the Year.

• 2012: NASA completed a successful mission to map the Moon’s gravity field.

• 2014: After a number of major movie theater chains said it would not show The Interview, Sony announced it was pulling it’s planned Christmas Day release. Theaters had received threats from hackers over the planned showing of the Seth Rogen film.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Re-gifting Day. The third Thursday of December is the most common day for a holiday office party. According to research, 4 in 10 regifters target coworkers as the recipients of their regifts.

• Wright Brothers Day

• Maple Syrup 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

600 million: Cats living with humans. Another estimated 600 million live independent of people.

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NEWS ATTACK!

A restaurant in China got into trouble with its customers for adding an extra charge to the bill to cover the expense of a new air filtration unit. [Pollution is so bad in China that restaurants don’t have Smoking and Non-Smoking sections. They have Choking and Non-Choking.]

Some Chinese are so desperate for clean air that they’ve been buying bottled air from Canada. [Customers report that they can breathe much better and are so much more polite.]

Have you seen that video of the man in Oklahoma who was so upset at a hotel that he rammed his truck through the lobby’s glass entrance? [Is it really that big a deal if they forget to leave a little chocolate candy on your pillow?]

Have you seen that video of the man in Oklahoma who was so upset at a hotel that he rammed his truck through the lobby’s glass entrance? [So how angry is he going to get at the DMV when they take away his license?]

People who have seen the preview love the new Star Wars. [It’s hard to believe that there’s actually going to be a hit movie that doesn’t include Jennifer Lawrence.]

The estimate is that during this upcoming holiday period one third of Americans will hit the road. [And the other two-thirds of us will pull the shades, get very quiet, and pretend that we’re not home.]

A guy in Houston, with help from his friends, backed up traffic on a major highway so that he could propose to his girlfriend. [It’s a good thing for him that she said yes. Legally, a wife can’t be made to testify against her husband.]

The Internet is filled with the complaints of people who can’t find Kylie Jenner’s line of lipstick because it’s all sold out. [People are having to think of something completely different for grandma’s Christmas present.]

A rare recording of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game of basketball, has been found in which he describes the very first basketball game in 1891. He said it ended in a massive free-for-all fight with several injuries. [He blamed himself. He said that he never should have originally called it hockeyball.]

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NEWS & NUGGETS

CALIFORNIA: SLOW DOWN ON SELF-DRIVING CARS _ California unveiled draft rules Wednesday that would slow the public’s access to self-driving cars of the future until regulators are confident the technology is safe. That cautious approach requires that the cars have a steering wheel, and a licensed driver must be ready to take over if the machine fails. Google has pushed self-driving cars the hardest, already building a prototype without a steering wheel or pedals. A company spokesman said Wednesday Google was “gravely disappointed” by the draft rules.

NOW YOU CAN FIND OUT HOW BORING YOUR SELFIE IS _ Researchers at MIT (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab) have created an algorithm they claim can predict how memorable or forgettable an image is almost as accurately as a human. The algorithm performed 30% better than existing algorithms and was within a few percentage points of the average human performance. The team has put a demo of their tool online where you can upload your selfie to get a memorability score and view a heat map showing areas the algorithm considers more or less memorable. | LINK

… EDITOR: We uploaded some selfies and got our memorability ranking. Upload yours and share them on social media.

APP WILL PAY YOU TO GO ON A WALK _ There’s an app that will pay you to go on a walk. Bitwalking tracks steps — just like a standard fitness tracker or pedometer. As your steps rack up, so does your money. The smartphone app keeps a counter of currency along with distance traveled so users can see cents stacking up through the day.  As the money comes in, Bitwalking takes on an additional role as a digital wallet, storing the Bitwalking dollars (BW$) and allowing users to partake in transactions — like sending some of the money to friends or cashing it in at the app’s marketplace.

… It takes 10,000 steps to generate one BW$ — which is equal to $1. And if you think attaching your smartphone to your dog’s collar and letting it run around the park will rack up hundreds of dollars, forget it — there’s a cap on earnings at three BW$ per day.

BUSINESS OWNER SHAMES PANHANDLERS WITH OWN SIGN _ Two panhandlers at a busy intersection in Muscatine, Iowa, had a sign claiming they were “broke and hungry.” But when a nearby business owner offered them a job to make some cash, they declined — so he wrote a sign of his own. It said: “Offered these guys a job. They said no. Don’t give money.” He stood next to the panhandlers holding it.

FACEBOOK LETS YOU REMOVE BAD MEMORIES FROM YOUR YEAR IN REVIEW _ 2015 is almost over and Facebook is ready with a fresh dose of — hopefully happy — nostalgia. Facebook’s Year in Review feature, which offers a look back at some of your top Facebook photos from the past year, is now live. This year, the social network has redesigned the feature to look like a photo strip and has made it more customizable to help filter out sad memories.

… The change comes following backlash over the feature last year, after some people criticized year in Review for surfacing memories they’d rather not be reminded of, like photos of exes or of friends who had died. This year, Facebook has made the feature fully customizable so users can swap out any of the photos they don’t want to appear with another image that they uploaded or were tagged in. And Facebook says it took a new approach to choosing the photos, in attempt to filter out potentially problematic memories.

US POSTAL SERVICE TO HOVERBOARDS: YOU’RE GROUNDED _ The US Postal Service has a message for hoverboard makers: Keep those things off our airplanes. USPS is limiting shipping options for self-balancing scooters due to safety concerns after reports that some hoverboards have caught fire. The Postal Service said: “Effective immediately and until further notice, the Postal Service will ship the hoverboards only using Standard Post/Parcel Select, which travels on ground transportation, due to potential safety hazards pertaining to lithium batteries.” USPS said it made this decision “out of an abundance of caution” after major retailers stopped selling some brands of hoverboards and several airlines banned them from planes.

SAN DIEGO BECOMES FIRST MAJOR US CITY TO COMMIT TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY _ After a landmark accord in Paris last week that aims to lower greenhouse gas emissions, San Diego is the first of the United States’ major cities that has committed to taking up the cause. After a unanimous City Council vote, San Diego, the eighth-largest city in the US, vowed to shift to 100% renewable energy sources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half, in the next 20 years. The city is the largest municipality that has taken this sort of step.

WOMAN SUES AIRBNB AFTER FINDING HIDDEN CAMERA IN RESIDENCE _ A woman who stayed at an Irvine, California, Airbnb rental in December 2013 filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court this week accusing the rental company of negligence for failing to vet hosts before allowing them to post listings. According to the complaint, which also accuses the residents who listed the home of violating privacy laws and inflicting emotional distress, a camera found hidden in the residence captured “personal and intimate” conversations between the woman and her partner, as well as the woman in an undressed state. On the third day of a proposed month-long stay in the home, the couple discovered a small camera after noticing a light coming from a living room bookshelf. The couple promptly filed a complaint with Airbnb and moved out of the property.

REMEMBER, YOU CAN BUY YOUR KIDS A BULLETPROOF BLANKET FOR XMAS _ Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy-for child? You can now buy them their own personal bulletproof blanket to use in case of an emergency at home or school. Developed in 2014, the Bodyguard blanket has recently made headlines again as the headlines talk of mass shootings like San Bernardino and the cancellation of the nation’s second-largest school district Tuesday. The company claims that the blanket provides “resistant protection against 90 percent of all weapons that have been used in school shootings in the United States.”

TEENS WARNED (AGAIN) ABOUT FIRE CHALLENGE _ A new social media craze where young people deliberately set themselves on fire for attention has claimed ts first serious injury in Britain. 11-year-old Oliver Sharp suffered severe burns when he was dared on Saturday night. He was alone in his bedroom when he set his T-shirt on fire. The “fire challenge” shows people, mostly teens, filming themselves pouring baby oil, nail polish remover and other flammable liquids over their bodies before taking a light to the doused area and watching it go up in flames. The next step is to put the fire out as quickly as possible by jumping into a bath or pool of water. Thousands of videos of have been uploaded on YouTube and Facebook of people attempting the challenge, showing individuals engulfed by flames while onlookers scream in the background.

THREAT FACES PLAYSTATION NETWORK AND XBOX LIVE THIS CHRISTMAS _ Last year, both Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live were taken down on Christmas by a DDoS Attack — that is, a coordinated barrage of falsified incoming traffic on their servers. On a day when so many people will be opening brand new systems and trying to get online, that’s a huge problem, and now another group has threatened to make this year an equally blue Christmas. The Phantom Squad has said: “We are going to shut down Xbox live and PSN this year on Christmas. And we are going to keep them down for one week straight”

LAYAWAY ANGELS PAY FOR $306,000 IN GIFTS AT FOUR WALMART STORES _ Just hours after “Santa B.,” a so-called layaway angel, shelled out $79,000 to pay for toys and other gifts at a Pennsylvania Walmart, another generous person was paying off $106,000 in balances on layaway orders at two Walmart stores just a state away in Ohio. In all, the man paid for $70,000 in layaway balances at one store, and $36,000 at the second.

… Another mystery Santa, who may be a different person from Santa B., paid off $100,000 worth of layaway tabs at each of two Walmart stores in Florida.

JAPANESE WOMEN LOSE FIGHT TO KEEP LAST NAME AFTER MARRIAGE _ A 19th-century law forcing married couples to share the same surname has been upheld by Japan’s Supreme Court. The top court’s Grand Bench — its highest ruling body — said the law did not violate the constitution. The surname rule is a throwback to Japan’s feudal family system, in which all women and children came under the control of the male head of the household.

… In a separate decision, the court decided that another law, dating from the same period and requiring divorced women to wait six months before remarrying, was in violation of the constitution. But judges stopped short of abolishing the waiting period, saying only that a ban lasting more than 100 days was unconstitutional — a ruling which suggested that a shorter period was acceptable.

FAMILY PREPARED FOR INJURED TODDLER’S FINAL BREATHS BEFORE MIRACLE _ New Zealand 17-month-old Daniel Milliken will never walk again after an accident at home. Daniel has spent ten days in a hospital after a television toppled from a cabinet, crushing his head. Daniel’s family sat down with a doctor on Monday. They were told his brain injury was so severe he might stop breathing when the ventilator tube was removed. Relatives gathered in Daniel’s room on Tuesday and “prepared to watch him die”. Doctors let Daniel’s mother cradle him while they removed the tubes. Daniel began to cough before breathing on his own. A doctor on Tuesday night confirmed Daniel was well enough to leave the intensive care unit. Daniel has started to regain consciousness as doctors wean him off morphine.

KITTEN RESCUED FROM CONVEYOR BELT AT RECYCLING PLANT _ A worker at a Northern California recycling center saved a tiny kitten from certain death when he spotted the animal heading down a conveyor belt. Tony Miranda was sorting recyclables when he found the pink-nosed, white-pawed cat between the debris and scooped it up. It’s not clear how the kitten got in with the trash, but it may have survived a ride in a dump truck before a tractor pushed it onto one of two conveyor belts.

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WACKY-BUT-TRUE

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: WOMAN GETS HER STOLEN TRUCK BACK THANKS TO VIRAL AMATEUR SKETCH _ Zaira Salazar of Sonora, Mexico, was having a bad week. First, someone stole her truck. Then, having no photo of it, she posted a drawing on Facebook, hoping people would help her find it. The photo was a simple drawing, and while many people made fun of it or used it to create some pretty hilarious photoshopped pics, it ended up being shared so many times Zaira got her truck back. | PHOTOS

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS CHARGED ‘AIR CLEANING FEE’ _ A restaurant in eastern China has been caught charging customers an “air cleaning fee” on top of their food bills. Diners were charged about 15-cent each to cover the cost of purifying the air inside. Cities in the region have been enveloped in thick smog in recent weeks so the restaurant’s owners recently purchased an air filtration system to improve the dining experience — and covered the cost by passing it on to customers.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: GUN SAFETY INSTRUCTOR SHOOTS PASTOR _ A California (Modesto) pastor is recovering after being shot during a gun safety class. Tom Smith, a family pastor who also helps with church security, was shot by his own gun safety instructor.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: POLICE FORCE FIGHTS ITSELF _ Called to address declining morale on its police force and the subsequent firing of its police chief, tempers flared at a town council meeting in Hymera, Indiana, and an argument broke out before shoving began and several punches were thrown. Order was restored only when police from neighboring towns rushed to the town of 800 and intervened at the meeting.

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ON TELEVISION

THE BIG BANG THEORY (8p ET, CBS) — In the last new episode of the year, Amy and Sheldon spend the night together for the first time. New episodes return Jan. 7th.

DISNEY PREP & LANDING (8p ET, ABC) — In this animated special, an elite unit of elves ensures that homes around the world are prepared to be visited by Santa Claus.

HOW MURRAY SAVED CHRISTMAS (8p ET, NBC) — In this animated special, a cranky deli owner is forced to fill in for Santa one Christmas.

AMERICAN COUNTRY COUNTDOWN’S TOP 10 STORIES OF 2015 (8p ET, FOX) — Hosted by Darius Rucker, this one-hour special will count down country music’s most talked-about moments of the year, and feature interviews with the biggest headline makers. There will also be performances by Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean and Little Big Town. Kelsea Ballerini, Cam, Charles Kelley, Maddie and Tae, Kix Brooks, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt and Shania Twain are also set to appear.

IHEARTRADIO JINGLE BALL (8p ET, CW) — Elvis Duran hosts the concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. Scheduled performers include The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Selena Gomez, 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato, and Nick Jonas.

LIFE IN PIECES (8:30p ET, CBS) — This is the last new episode until January 7th.

PREP & LANDING: NAUGHTY VS. NICE (8:30p ET, ABC) — In this animated special, Lanny and Wayne race to recover classified North Pole technology that falls into the hands of a naughty kid.

MOM (9p ET, CBS) — Octavia Spencer returns as Regina in the last new episode until Jan. 7th.

KELLY CLARKSON’S CAUTIONARY CHRISTMAS MUSIC TALE (9p ET, NBC) — In this repeat from 2013, Kelly Clarkson and guests celebrate the holidays. Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, William Shatner, and Heidi Klum are among the guests appearing.

MODERN FAMILY (9p ET, ABC) — Repeat

WORLD’S FUNNIEST (9p ET, FOX) — Comics April Richardson, Loni Love and Julian McCullough are the featured panelists in this new edition.

BARBARA WALTERS PRESENTS: THE 10 MOST FASCINATING PEOPLE OF 2015 (9:30p ET, ABC) — In this 90-minute special, Barbara Walters interviews some of the year’s top newsmakers, including Bradley Cooper, Amy Schumer, Tracy Morgan, Ronda Rousey, Bernie Sanders, Misty Copeland, and Donna Karan.

2 BROKE GIRLS (9:30p ET, CBS) — John Milhiser (Saturday Night Live) guest stars in this last new episode until January 7th.

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (9:30p ET, CW) — Repeat

RUNNING WILD WITH BEAR GRYLLS (10p ET, NBC) — This special episode features President Obama, as he and Bear explore the Alaskan wilderness.

ELEMENTARY (10p ET, CBS) — Reed Diamond (Wayward Pines, Agent’s of SHIELD) guest stars in the last new episode until January 7th.

TOP CHEF (10p ET, Bravo) — World-renowned chef Jose Andres appears in this new edition.

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ENTERTAINMENT

SCRIPTED SHOWS HIT RECORD 409 IN US THIS YEAR _ Think there’s nothing on TV? You’re too picky. 409 scripted shows aired in the U.S. in 2015, nearly double the number from six years ago. The survey of scripted shows included broadcast channels like CBS, cable networks like AMC, premium networks like HBO and online operators such as Netflix.

… The total doesn’t include reality shows, news programs, sports events, made-for-TV movies, specials, daytime dramas or children’s shows.

… There were 376 scripted shows last year. There were just 211 in 2009.

DWAYNE JOHNSON AND GIRLFRIEND WELCOME BABY GIRL _ Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his girlfriend Lauren Hashian have welcomed their baby girl. Hashian gave birth to their daughter on Wednesday. This is the first child for Lauren and Dwayne, as a pair. Dwayne Johnson has another daughter named Simone from his ex wife Dany Garcia.

OLIVIA WILDE POSTS NUDE PIC OF BABY, INTERNET FREAKS _ Actress Olivia Wilde has come under fire for posting a picture of her son’s backside. As you might’ve guessed, it’s stirring things up on the Internet. The seemingly harmless picture of her 19-month-old son Otis shows his naked backside. Wilde captioned the Instagram pic “Naked Cowboy” because Otis is wearing a cowboy hat. Some people are blasting Wilde for posting “nude photos” of her child on the Internet; others find the pic to be too darn cute. | PHOTO

BARBARA WALTERS NOT FIRED FOR “SCREWABLE” REMARK _ (CAUTION) According to Entertainment Tonight, during a taping of Barbara Walters’ annual Most Fascinating People she told Bradley Cooper she finds him screwable. Walters said, “I could just sit and stare at you but that would take too much time. But I find you very screwable.”

… Some Twitter users are wondering why Barbara would be allowed to say this without repercussions from ABC TV. One tweet asked, “If CBS’ Charlie Rose said that to Sandra Bullock he wouldn’t have had time to pack up his office.”

YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE HOOKED ON NETFLIX _ If you think you might be watching a bit too much Netflix lately, you’re probably right. According to a new report (by bandwidth-management company Sandvine) Netflix continues to dominate prime-time Internet traffic into homes in North America. Netflix alone accounted for more than 37 percent of that downstream traffic in September and October. That’s double the volume of its closest competitor, YouTube. But the report also shows that some Netflix competitors — namely Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube — also saw their share of traffic increase, as entertainment viewing continues to play a more prominent role in overall Internet activity.

NETFLIX SOCKS WILL PAUSE YOUR VIDEO IF YOU FALL ASLEEP _ It never fails: you settle in for a Netflix marathon, but you doze off halfway through the second episode. Now the streaming company has released plans for a do-it-yourself project that will automatically pause your video when you fall asleep. How does it work? Simple: you just need to sew a custom pair of socks with built-in motion sensors and infrared lights that can pause your TV. The project requires a bit of knitting know-how as well as a bit of electronics expertise. | VIDEO

KALEY CUOCO IS DATING PAUL BLACKTHORNE _ Kaley Cuoco is reportedly back on the dating scene. According to Us Weekly, the 30-year-old Big Bang Theory star is dating Arrow actor Paul Blackthorne, 46. Kaley and Paul are both huge animal lovers, often taking to social media to show their support of various animal conservation organizations.

THRILLER BECOMES FIRST 30-TIMES MULTI-PLATINUM ALBUM _ Michael Jackson’s Thriller has become the first album to be certified 30-times multi-platinum in U.S. sales, topping more than 30 million sales in America. Jackson reigns as the best-selling artist of all time, totaling over 100 million in sales for Thriller worldwide and one billion total in sales to his credit.

BILL HADER HELPED CREATE BB-8’S VOICE IN THE FORCE AWAKENS _ Bill Hader has been outed as helping to create the voice for the lovable BB-8 droid — the one that looks like a volleyball you’ve probably seen rolling around toy stores.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU INVITES KIDS TO WATCH TO THE FORCE AWAKENS _ A handful of lucky kids got to attend a special screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Tuesday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The hotly anticipated film doesn’t open nationwide until tonight (Thursday) but Trudeau, a Star Wars fan, arranged a private viewing and invited 11 kids from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to join him.

… Trudeau, who dressed up as Han Solo when he took his own kids trick-or-treating on Halloween in October, said of the movie: “I can tell you it is as good as I had hoped it was.”

THE FORCE AWAKENS MAKES AFI’S LIST OF THE TOP FILMS OF 2015 _ The American Film Institute (AFI) has named Star Wars: The Force Awakens as one of its top films of the year. AFI is a film organization that educates filmmakers and honors the heritage of the moving picture arts in the U.S.

Listed in the film category in alphabetical order are:

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Inside Out
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Room
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Straight Outta Compton

The AFI also recognized the following shows as the best of the small screen:

  • The Americans
  • Better Call Saul
  • Black-ish
  • Empire
  • Fargo
  • Game of Thrones
  • Homeland
  • Master of None
  • Mr. Robot
  • Unreal

THE CHRISTMAS MOVIES PEOPLE IN YOUR STATE GOOGLE MOST _ The website Estately used data from Google to find out which movie people in each state searched for the most. The results make for a pretty interesting read and as it turns out, only nine Christmas movies came out on top across the nation.


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AUDIO

NEWEST ON THE PRO AUDIO PAGE

• CONTEST: Mystery Voice – Ron Howard

• REAL CALLER AUDIO: Santa doesn’t always wrap presents. Apparently some kids wake up to unwrapped gifts under the tree?

• TV: SNL Tina Fey-Amy Poehler promos.

• SONG: Grandma Got Molested at the Airport (radio edit)

• CONTEST: Mystery Voice – Will Smith

• FUNNY: Dog doesn’t like Barbra Streisand. PHONER THIS: What sound or song drives your dog nuts?

• SONG: The Gift Card Song (InterPrep awesome radio edit!)

• 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: 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

MEN ARE AWFUL AT GIFT WRAPPING!

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: The legend goes that all men bad at gift wrapping. Are there any men out there willing to say they’re awesome at it?

YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND THE STAR WARS CRAZE

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: Anyone willing to admit they don’t understand the Star Wars craze?

WHAT’S YOUR CUSTOMER SUPPORT STORY?

We all have stories about calling customer support and having a bad experience. But if you’re in customer support, what’s the strangest or dumbest call you’ve received?

… One computer tech support guy asked a caller: “What Internet browser are you using?” The caller replied, “That’s an idiotic question. Windows XP.”

… Then there’s the question asked of a computer store employee: “Do you have a wind-proof router? The wind keeps blowing my wifi signal away.”

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: “What’s your customer support story?”

PHONER: SANTA DOESN’T WRAP ALL PRESENTS?

News to us: Santa doesn’t wrap all presents. Apparently some parents tell Santa not to bother, and so their kids wake up on Christmas morning and find their unwrapped gifts under the tree.

… Get three radio-ready calls on the PRO AUDIO page.

THE NON-TRADITIONAL GIFTS KIDS WANT

The non-traditional gifts kids want most:

• 41% want “quality time with their family”

• 38% want to go to Disney World/Land

• 20% want a puppy

• 19% want to go to the new Star Wars movie

• 9% want a new brother or sister

PSYCHOLOGY FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

• People are happier when they’re kept busy. It keeps them feeling positive.

• Chocolate discharges the same chemical in your body as when you feel love.

• A 20 second hug releases chemicals in the body that help you trust the one you’re hugging.

• Studies suggest that losing your phone triggers the same panic as a near death experience.

• The brain feels rejection as pain.

• Your mind wanders about 30% of the time.

• You can’t multi-task.

• We’re only capable of being close with about 150 people.

• When you remember a past event, you’re remembering the last time you remembered it.

• 80% of conversations are complaining.

• People who volunteer are more satisfied with their lives.

• Your brain is more creative when it’s tired.

• Relationships are more important for your health than exercise.

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FUN & GAMES

TRIVIA: One in four kids say their parents need to do a better job at what? (Hiding Christmas gifts)

TRIVIA: Twenty-one percent of adults don’t do this Christmas tradition. (Put up a tree)

MYSTERY VOICE

Question: Who is this?

Answer: Ron Howard

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JOKE OF THE DAY

A guy walks out on his porch one morning and sees a snail on his front steps. He gently pushes the snail off the steps with his toe, into the bushes where he won’t get squished. Two years later the guy gets a knock at his door. When he answers, he looks down to see the snail, who says, “What the heck was that all about?”

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VIDEO OF THE DAY

State Street Ballet from Santa Barbara was on tour performing The Nutcracker when they got stuck at the Denver International Airport for five hours. Here’s how they coped.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY

Do engineers spell-check?


Source: imgur

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LAST MINUTE ITEMS

• Enjoy a snowy escape.

• How one guy keeps track of his luggage.

• 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.

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COUNTRY DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 17, 2015

• 1955: TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD topped the country and pop charts with Sixteen Tons.

• 1961: PATSY CLINE recorded the hit She’s Got You for Decca Records.

• 1998: GARTH BROOKS’ Double Live album was certified multi-platinum for sales of 12 million copies.

• 1999: REX ALLEN SR. died after injuries sustained from being hit by a car in his driveway. He was 78.

• 2001: GARTH BROOKS’ divorce from wife Sandy was finalized.

• 2002: BRAD PAISLEY made a guest appearance on the ABC sitcom According To Jim.

• 2004: SHANIA TWAIN’s Greatest Hits album was certified double platinum.

• 2004: TOBY KEITH’s Greatest Hits 2 album was certified double platinum.

• 2007: CARRIE UNDERWOOD’s album Carnival Ride was certified gold, platinum and double platinum. Carrie was named Country Artist of the Year by Billboard magazine that same day.

• 2009: TAYLOR SWIFT was named Most Intriguing Person of the Year by People magazine.

• 2009: Dean Sheremet filed for divorce from LEANN RIMES.

• 2012: JASON ALDEAN and LUKE BRYAN got new tattoos together.

• 2013: FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE received a gold single for Stay.

Sharon White of THE WHITES is 62.

TRACY BYRD is 49.

LITTLE TEXAS member Dwayne Propes is 49.

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COUNTRY AUDIO

NEW TO THE COUNTRY AUDIO PAGE

• THOMAS RHETT recalls his favorite Christmas presents.

• LUKE BRYAN needs a new co-host for the ACM awards.

• TIM McGRAW on the best Christmas gift as a kid.

• CAM was nervous about her Untamed album.

• TIM McGRAW remembers when Christmas changed for him.

• CAM says the best way to listen to her album Untamed is to turn it up.

• 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.

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COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS

The Academy of Country Music has revealed several more artists performing during the ACM Party for a Cause, April 1-3, 2016 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. CARRIE UNDERWOOD, DIERKS BENTLEY and KENNY CHESNEY will serve as headliners while KELSEA BALLERINI, SAM HUNT, CAM, LEE BRICE, CHRIS YOUNG, CHRIS JANSON, CHRIS STAPLETON, KELLIE PICKLER, KIP MOORE, FRANKIE BALLARD, MADDIE & TAE and OLD DOMINION will play the main stage. LAUREN ALAINA, KELLEIGH BANNEN, CHRIS LANE, LINDSAY ELL, JANA KRAMER, JACKSON MICHELSON and BROTHERS OSBORNE will play the Party Stage with more artists to be announced. Proceeds will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy’s charitable arm.

The numbers are in for 2015 and the ZAC BROWN BAND’s Homegrown is the top song and most played (Mediabase). Other top honorees include LUKE BRYAN for Best Male Artist and Top Overall Artist; CARRIE UNDERWOOD for Top Female Artist; FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE for Top Duo or Group; and KELSEA BALLERINI for Top New Artist.

CAM’s Burning House is a million seller, being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

KENNY CHESNEY’s The Big Revival Tour drew 1.3 million fans this year, enough to land him third on Billboard’s list of top tours for 2015, coming in behind One Direction (2.3 million fans) and TAYLOR SWIFT (1.9 million fans).

There are not a lot of country songs on The New York Times‘ list of the best songs of 2015. But four songs did make the cut: JANA KRAMER’s I Got the Boy, CHRIS JANSON’s Buy Me a Boat, CHRIS STAPLETON’s cover of Tennessee Whiskey, and ASHLEY MONROE’s The Blade.

THE BAND PERRY’s Kimberly Perry and her husband (J.P. Arencibia) have a pair of new puppies. Kimberly introduced Moose and Bear to fans on her Instagram page. The two dogs appear to be Labrador Retrievers. | IMAGE

DARIUS RUCKER plays host tonight (Thursday) for FOX’s American Country Countdown Top 10 Stories of 2015 special. The show will count down the Top 10 moments in country music for the year and will include performances by CARRIE UNDERWOOD, JASON ALDEAN and LITTLE BIG TOWN with appearances by KELSEA BALLERINI, CHARLES KELLEY (LADY ANTEBELLUM), CAM and MADDIE & TAE.

With his Mission Possible turkey fry last month, TRACY LAWRENCE raised $63,000 for the Nashville Mission. The event also included a concert with special guests like DARRYL WORLEY and LORRIE MORGAN.

FAITH HILL is being honored by her home state of Mississippi with a marker on the Country Music Trail at the corner of Main and Mangum Streets.

JOE NICHOLS, LOCASH (I Love This Life) and GRANGER SMITH (Backroad Song) are among the additions to WE Fest, taking place August 4-6 of next year in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Other performers will include ERIC CHURCH, TIM MCGRAW, LEE BRICE, BILLY CURRINGTON and MONTGOMERY GENTRY.

CHARLEY PRIDE will be honored with the Ameripolitan Music Awards’ Master Award during their February 16 ceremony in Austin, Texas. ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL frontman Ray Benson will host the show. The Master Award has only been given out once — to the late RAY PRICE — and honors Charley for his musical legacy.

STELLA PARTON, younger sister of DOLLY PARTON, has recorded a tribute album of tunes written by Dolly. It’s expected to hit stores January 18, the day before Dolly turns 70.

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 18, 2015

This is day 352 of 2015. There are 13 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Roger Mosley (helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin on Magnum, P.I.) is 67

• Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones is 72

• Steven Spielberg is 69

• Movie critic Leonard Maltin is 65

• Ray Liotta is 60

• Comedian Ron White is 59

• Brad Pitt is 52

• Stone Cold Steve Austin is 51

• DMX is 45

• Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time) is 37

• Katie Holmes is 37

• Christina Aguilera is 35

• Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) is 26

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1865: The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Georgia, fulfilling the two-thirds requirement for ratification, and banning slavery in the United States.

• 1932: The Chicago Bears defeated the Portsmouth Spartans 9-0 in the first ever NFL Championship Game. Because of a blizzard, the game was moved from Wrigley Field to the Chicago Stadium, the field measuring 60 yards long.

• 1984: Madonna scored her first number one pop hit with “Like a Virgin.”

• 1995: Houston police warned residents that a con man already had sold $25-thousand worth of water he claimed astronauts brought back from the moon. NASA assured police there was no such thing as “moon water.”

• 1996: The Oakland, California, school board passed a resolution officially declaring “Ebonics” a language or dialect.

• 1997: Comedian Chris Farley was found dead in his Chicago apartment. He was 33 years old.

• 1999: Environmentalist Julia ”Butterfly” Hill came down after living two years in the top of an ancient redwood tree in Humboldt County, California, to protest logging.

• 2004: The U.S. officially forgave all of the $4.1 billion owed the government by Iraq and urged other creditors to do the same.

• 2005: A motorist ran over the Nativity scene at a church in Watsontown, Pennsylvania. Sadly, the same thing happened the year before.

• 2006: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned; Robert Gates was sworn in as the new Secretary of Defense.

• 2012: Signatures on an online card for Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims surpassed 1 million.Rock Hall of Famer Keith Richards is 70

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day

• International Migrants Day

• Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

• Underdog 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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DATEBOOK WEEKEND

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 19

• Cicely Tyson is 81. Tim Reid is 71. Mike Lookinland (The Brady Bunch) is 55. Jennifer Beals is 52. Magician Criss Angel is 48. Kristy Swanson is 46. Tyson Beckford is 45. Alyssa Milano is 43. Jake Gyllenhaal is 35.

• Oatmeal Muffin Day.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20

• John Hillerman (Magnum P.I.) is 83. Former Kiss drummer Peter Criss is 70. Alan Parsons is 67. Michael Badalucco (The Practice) is 61. David Cook (American Idol) is 33. Jonah Hill is 32.

• Games Day. Sangria Day. Go Caroling Day.

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