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• Rita Moreno is 87
• Brenda Lee (Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree) is 74
• Teri Garr is 71
• Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue is 60
• Gary Dourdan (C.S.I.) is 52
• Hailee Steinfeld is 22
IT HAPPENED TODAY
• 1946: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.
• 1972: Apollo 17 became the sixth mission to land on the Moon.
• 1994: A burglar in Brede, Holland, hammered through a factory roof and four inches of concrete, then drilled into the safe. It was empty. The factory had been closed for ten years.
• 2008: Australian astronomers announced that the fabled star that led the wise men to that chilly stable where Jesus was born was most likely a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter that occurred on June 17.
• 2012: British physicist Stephen Hawking won the $3 million Fundamental Physics Prize, the most lucrative academic prize in the world.
• 2015: Playboy magazine published its last nude issue, featuring Pamela Anderson on the cover. It would begin publishing nude photos again in early 2017.
• International Mountain Day
• Have a Bagel Day
• App Day
• December 21: Winter begins (5:23 PM ET)
• January 6: Golden Globes
• January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
• January 22: Oscar nominations
• February 24: Oscars
21 billion: Value of location-targeted advertising in the U.S. in 2018.
Guess what’s coming back to television. Court TV. [That sounds like really bad timing for everyone at the White House.]
The hit movie Crazy Rich Asians died in Asia, but the new Aquaman movie is a blockbuster there. [Of course, they had to make a few cultural changes. For example, he’s not called Aquaman but The King of All Sushi.]
The White House wants to reclassify nuclear waste as less harmful. [The updated label will read: “Now in new fruit flavors!”]
Scandal-plagued Papa John’s is trying to win back lost customers with a new rewards program. [Go an entire day without saying something racist and you get free breadsticks.]
Steph Curry said that he doesn’t believe that humans ever went to the moon. [Please tell me that his kids aren’t homeschooled.]
Jennifer Aniston says her marriages were actually very successful. [Kinda like my singing career.]
Jennifer Aniston says her marriages were actually very successful. [So does that mean that she still celebrates her anniversaries?]
A notice about a potluck dinner was supposed to be emailed to just one department in the Utah state government, but it was accidentally sent to 25,000 state employees who were angry that people kept hitting “reply all” and clogging up their inbox with message after message. [And the worst part is the confusion resulted in preventing government workers from ALMOST getting some work done.]
A UPS delivery guy in Chicago got a shock when he was standing at a homeowner’s door when a wild squirrel suddenly jumped on him. [While he was distracted, the squirrels buddies stole the van.]
NASA’S NEW HORIZONS SPACECRAFT IS 4 BILLION MILES FROM EARTH _ One of the most ambitious projects in NASA’s history is drawing to its climax as the New Horizons spacecraft nears the most distant asteroid in our Solar System. It is expected to reach Ultima Thule on New Year’s Day and will perform several flybys of the 25-mile long space rock one billion miles beyond Pluto. The project has spent more than a decade hurtling through the Solar System since it launched on January 19, 2006 and passed Pluto in 2015.
… New Horizons is so far adrift of planet Earth now that its messages take up to six hours to reach us, despite them traveling at the speed of light. It is believed Ultima Thule was created from the same cloud of interstellar debris as the primordial sun, Earth and other planets. The Ultima flyby will be the farthest exploration of any planetary body in history.
… Ultima Thule got its name from a medieval term for anywhere beyond the known world.
HOW TO GET THROUGH A HECTIC DAY _ Need a way to help yourself get through a hectic day? Use this ancient accupressure move to stimulate your nervous system meridian, which is the pathway by which energy travels through your body. Close your eyes and grasp the bottom of each earlobe between your thumb and forefinger. Briskly rub them, moving your fingers from bottom to top and back again. Do this for 20 seconds and see how you feel.
JIMMY JOHN PAYS OFF WALMART LAYAWAYS _ The founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain paid off the layaway account off 330 people at three Walmart stores in Champaign, Illinois, where Jimmy lives. The pay-off cost him $80,000.
HEY BOSSES, STOP FORWARDING JOKES _ Hey bosses, it’s not 2002, so stop forwarding funny jokes emails. Almost 90% of employees said owners, bosses and managers who forward joke/funny emails should be spending their time on something else.
IT PAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT _ Researchers say losing weight is easier when there is money on the line. The University of Pennsylvania scientists say weight-loss programs that reward people with money — and remind them of the cash they stand to lose if they fail — provided a powerful incentive to lose weight compared with more conventional approaches.
COPS CHARGE GAMER FOR LIVESTREAMING ASSAULT _ A gamer in Sydney, Australia, heard on a live-stream allegedly hitting a woman was charged with assault by police Monday, after the incident went viral on social media. The 26-year-old was using the Twitch video platform to broadcast himself playing Fortnite when the alleged assault happened on Sunday night. Footage shared on Twitter showed the man, who was not named, shouting to someone off-screen “I said I’ll be out soon” before moving away from the computer monitor. A woman’s voice is later heard saying “woman basher” and yells “you hit me in the face, don’t you dare touch my face, you hear that, all you people there?” The argument continues, with further yelling and crying off-screen as the man moves to and from his monitor and shouts “leave me alone”. In a second video, more yelling is heard between the pair as a child nearby cries.
… Someone watching the live feed called officers, who arrested the man at his home.
GOOGLE+ BUG EXPOSES NON-PUBLIC PROFILE DATA FOR 52 MILLION USERS _ Two months after disclosing an error that exposed the private profile data of almost 500,000 Google+ users, Google on Monday revealed a new leak that affects more than 52 million people. The bug allowed developers to access names, ages, email addresses, occupations, and a wealth of other personal details even when they were set to be nonpublic.
… Google says it’s in the process of notifying consumer users who were affected.
INSTAGRAM NOW LETS YOU SEND VOICE MESSAGES _ Tired of the same old, text-based DMs? Good news: Instagram now lets you send voice messages. On Monday, the photo-sharing app added a feature that lets you share short audio messages with friends. If you’ve ever used voice messaging on Facebook Messenger, this will feel familiar: Hold the microphone button down, record a short message and send as part of a chat.
… Instagram does add it’s own twist: If you don’t want to hold the microphone button you can simply open your DMs and hold your phone to your ear — a quiet beep will sound and whatever you say next will automatically be recorded. You’ll still have to look down at your phone and tap on the ‘send’ icon.
OBAMA POKES FUN AT HIMSELF IN NEW PSA _ Barack Obama has staged all sorts of gimmicks to promote Healthcare.gov, including going on Between Two Ferns. But this year is different. In a new video public service announcement urging people to sign up for 2019 coverage under the Affordable Care Act by the December 15 deadline, the former president insists he’s going to play it straight. Just enroll, he says, in all seriousness … until the end of the video, that is. • VIDEO
WHY YOUR AD BLOCKERS DON’T WORK ON FACEBOOK _ Facebook likes to make a big deal about giving users more control over their privacy, but the company’s support ends the moment you begin using a tool offered by someone else. According to a recent report from the BBC, Facebook works hard behind the scenes to make it as difficult as possible for users to take advantage of ad blockers.
… According to the report, Facebook layers in dozens of lines of code in every page to prevent ad blockers from working. It fools ad blockers by breaking up the word “sponsored” into small chunks, or by inserting a bunch of extra letters. What’s worse, these efforts make the entire site less efficient, and also get in the way of screen reading technology for visually impaired users.
CATHOLIC NUNS EMBEZZLED $500K TO GO GAMBLE IN VEGAS _ Two nuns pocketed up to half a million dollars from a Catholic School in order to go to casinos. The California-based sisters allegedly embezzled the money from fees, donations, and tuition belonging to St. James Catholic School. The nuns had told parents that the school (in Torrance) was operating on a shoestring budget. The paper reports that the $500,000 figure “represents only what auditors have been able to trace in six years’ of bank records” and that many more cash transactions may be unaccounted for.
REMEMBER THIS? A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK: WOMAN DO MORE TRIP CHAINING _ Ever hear of the phrase “trip chaining”? A study says women make complex trips with multiple stops in the family car far more often than men. The study (out of Canada) has found that “trip chaining” — the practice of stopping at intermediate points during a journey — is a woman’s domain. The study said the longer the trip chain — stopping for coffee, dropping children off at school, picking up dry cleaning, all on the way to work — the more likely the driver was a woman. Men and women were equally likely to make two-stage trips, but women led men in complex trips of three, four or five and more stages.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: GRANNY GOT A GUN _ A grandmother in the UK was sent a machine gun intended for a police station through the mail after an address mix-up. Police explained a gun supply company made a mistake with the address.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: WOMAN GAVE BIRTH IN TACO BELL PARKING LOT _ A Pennsylvania woman gave birth to a newborn baby girl last week after she couldn’t make it to the hospital. Kelsey Sturm said she began driving to the hospital after she woke up with contractions. Baby Maddie just couldn’t wait, so Sturm pulled over into a Taco Bell parking lot and called 911. Sturm said after the birth, “I think that we at least deserve some nachos out of this because that happened.”
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: 9-YEAR-OLD GIRL CALLS 911 AFTER HER MOM TELLS HER TO CLEAN HER ROOM _ A nine-year-old girl Ontario, Canada, girl called 911 Saturday because her mom asked her to clean her room.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: PEN CAP FALLS OFF AND GETS STUCK IN GUY’S EAR FOR A YEAR _ Almost everyone knows that you’re not supposed to put anything small into your ear, but that usually doesn’t stop us. From cotton swabs to fingers, we almost all itch around in our ears from time to time. One desperate man had a really itchy ear one day, so he decided to grab a pen. Unfortunately the man didn’t notice that while he was scratching, the pen cap fell off and got lodged inside his ear. As shared on a recent episode of The Doctors, a year later, the man had to have surgery to remove the cap and a year’s worth of ear wax.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: ROBBER FORGETS TO REMOVE SANTA PANTS _ In Australia, a man planned to rob a bank and needed a disguise, so he bought a Santa suit. Then, armed with two pieces of pipe taped together to look like a gun, he held up a bank for over $13,000. He ran out and jumped into a nearby trailer, where he pulled off the Santa suit. Next, he headed for his getaway vehicle — a bicycle he had chained to a telephone pole a block away. Unfortunately he had forgotten to take off the pants of the Santa suit. That’s how the cops spotted him.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: ESCAPED PRISONERS TRY HAILING A CAB _ In Brazil, a couple of guys tunneled out of jail. That part of their escape was well planned. It was when they found themselves outside that things went wrong. Their tunnel emerged just outside the prison gates and they popped out and immediately began trying to hail a cab. As you might imagine, this attracted the attention of several prison guards.
WACKY-BUT-TRUE: DRUGS IN THE EAR _ German police charged a man with drug possession after officers spotted a small quantity of heroin concealed in his ear when he entered a police station to check if he was on their wanted list.
THE VOICE (8p ET, NBC) — The Top 8 perform solos and duets.
NCIS (8p ET, CBS) — New. A murder investigation leads to a newborn baby who has no identification and no apparent ties to a family.
THE CONNERS (8p ET, ABC) — New. Dan reunites with an old friend. Katey Sagal and Matthew Broderick guest star.
SUPERGIRL (8p ET, CW) — The 3-part crossover with Arrow and The Flash concludes.
TREE OF LIFE: A CONCERT FOR UNITY AND PEACE (8p ET, PBS) — The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and violinist Itzhak Perlman memorialize the victims of the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October.
DARCI LYNNE: MY HOMETOWN CHRISTMAS (9p ET, NBC) — This new holiday special features singing ventriloquist and America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer, along with her puppet pals Petunia, Oscar, Edna and Katie. Special guests include Kristin Chenoweth, Pentatonix and more.
BLACKISH (9p ET, ABC) — New. The Johnsons can’t agree on what movie to see on their traditional Christmas trip to the theater.
FBI (9p ET, CBS) — New. An illegal arms broker-turned-informant is assassinated.
HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT (10p ET, NBC) — New. Celebs playing are Tony Hale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lauren Ash, Jameela Jamil, Ron Funches and Ana Gasteyer.
NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (10p ET, CBS) — New.
DISNEY MAKES HISTORY AGAIN WITH $7 BILLION AT GLOBAL BOX OFFICE FOR 2018 _ Disney has topped $7 billion at the global box office for 2018 — with three weeks left in the year. Disney reached the milestone on December 9, marking only the second time in history that any studio has hit that mark. Disney set the record in 2016 with $7.6 billion. Avengers: Infinity War led the way with $2 billion, followed by Black Panther with $1.35 billion and Incredibles 2 with $1.24 billion for the first, second, and fourth place on the worldwide-gross list for 2018. Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came in third with $1.3 billion.
CHRIS PRATT HAS LOST WEIGHT WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING _ The latest celebrity to jump on the intermittent fasting bandwagon is Chris Pratt. The Guardians of the Galaxy star is famously fit after years of training for his various superhero roles, and this time around he’s trying out the popular diet plan, which involves fasting for most of the day and eating only during a shortened time period.
QUEEN’S BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY NAMED MOST-STREAMED SONG FROM 20TH CENTURY _ Bohemian Rhapsody is the world’s most-streamed song from the 20th Century, as well as the most-streamed Classic Rock song of all time. On Monday (December 10), the original song and official video for Bohemian Rhapsody, taken from the group’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera, surpassed 1.6 billion streams globally across all major streaming services.
… The track was first released as a single on October 31, 1975.
… It was Queen’s first Top 10 in the US. In the UK it went to #1 for 9 consecutive weeks, a record at the time.
MARTINI-SWILLING SPY JAMES BOND IS A SEVERE ALCOHOLIC _ Martini-loving spy James Bond has a severe drinking problem and should seek help. Researchers (University of Otago) argue in a new paper titled “License to Swill” that “there is strong and consistent evidence that James Bond has a chronic alcohol consumption problem at the ‘severe’ end of the spectrum.” During his six decades on screen, a drink touched the secret agent’s lips an average of 4½ times per movie.
… Bond’s biggest binge was in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, where he downed six of his signature Vesper Martinis.
COURT TV TO RETURN TO TELEVISION _ Court TV is coming back to your screen. For more than 20 years, Court TV brought high-profile courtroom dramas, including the trials of O.J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers and Casey Anthony, into American living rooms. The new Court TV network will launch in May 2019 and run 24 hours a day, seven days a week on cable, satellite, etc.
… Like the original Court TV, the network will be devoted to around-the-clock coverage and analysis of the nation’s top trials.
SHARKNADO-RELATED LEGAL DRAMA _ Tara Reid is suing the production company behind the six films of the Sharknado franchise for punitive damages of $100 million. Reid claims her contract includes a provision barring the use of her likeness in products related to gambling, tobacco and alcohol. Lo and behold, there is evidently Sharknado branded alcohol, slot machines and video gambling devices. Reid received $300,000 total to appear in the fifth and sixth movies.
TOXIC AVENGER MOVIE IN THE WORKS _ The Toxic Avenger is getting a reboot. The original 1984 comedy centered on a mild-mannered janitor at a health club who’s chased out a second story window by bullies and lands in a drum of toxic waste. The chemicals cause him to transform into the Toxic Avenger, who has superhuman size and strength and stands up to bullies and corruption.
… The Toxic Avenger became successful after a long run as a midnight movie in New York City, leading to the sequels The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
THE NEW GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS TRAILER STOMPS IN _ A new Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer has stomp in. The movie comes to theaters on May 31. • VIDEO
Find these audio files on the PRO AUDIO PAGE.
• DROP: Hello.
• DROP: Let’s approach with caution.
• BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE: The Holderness Family is back with a parody of Baby, It’s Cold Outside.
• SANTA SHARK: The Baby Shark gang is back with Santa Shark. • FULL VIDEO
• DROPS: Many Christmas/holiday audio drops.
ELF ON THE SHELF
If you’re a parent doing the Elf on the Shelf thing, the calls from other parents about their mischievous elves can be fun. Here are 75 Elf on the Shelf ideas.
5 GROSS THINGS CONSUMER REPORTS BUYS FOR TESTING
Consumer Reports has a huge lab for testing everything, from vacuums to cooking oils to furnace filters. And to test, you gotta have supplies — like dust and hair. Some of the stuff Consumer Reports buys a lot of:
Household dust for air purifier tests. CR buys dust by the bottle primarily for air purifier tests, which use a particle counter to measure how well each model clears the test room in its labs.
Sebum for all-purpose cleaner tests. Sebum is better known as skin oil. CR buys it by the bottle to test a number of products, including all-purpose cleaners. For that project, CR combines sebum with shaved bath soap, clarifying shampoo (no conditioner, moisturizer or other additives), and hard water. We spray the sudsy mixture onto tiles multiple times, rinsing off each application with hard water. Eventually, the tiles show buildup resembling the soap scum you may find in your own shower. Then, like you, CR tries to clean it off.
Coon-cat hair for vacuum tests. Pet owners want the best vacuums from CR’s tests to clean up after their shedding cats and dogs. Looking for ways to improve their pet hair testing, in recent years they added tougher tests that assess how well upright, canister and small vacuums pick up pet hair without getting it tangled in the vacuum’s brush rolls. To do that CR buy the hair of Maine coon cats because it’s especially long.
Wet sawdust for snow blower tests. So how does Consumer Reports test snow blowers before the snow begins to fall? For a consistent test on all snow blowers CR uses wet sawdust, which simulates the consistency of snow, feels like snow, and acts like snow when it meets a snow blower. And just to be sure, they run check tests against the real stuff when it’s available.
Blood for laundry tests. Because it is so hard to remove, CR uses actual blood to test laundry detergents and washing machines.
SILLY QUESTIONS ASKED ON CRUISE SHIPS
Some of the dumbest, as reported by ship staff:
• What do you do with the beautiful ice carvings after they melt?
• Which elevator do I take to get to the front of the ship?
• Does the crew sleep on the ship?
• Is this island completely surrounded by water?
• Does the ship make its own electricity?
• Is it salt water in the toilets?
• What elevation are we at?
• What time is the Midnight Buffet being served?
MOST POPULAR TOYS FROM THE PAST 55 YEARS
- 2017: L.O.L. Surprise and Fingerlings
- 2016: Hatchimals
- 2015: The Star Wars BB-8 toy droid
- 2014: Frozen dolls
- 2013: Tekno the Robotic Puppy
- 2012 – Wii U
- 2011 – Leappad
- 2010 – iPad
- 2009 – Zhu Zhu Pets
- 2008 – Nintendo Wii
- 2007 – iPod Touch
- 2006 – PlayStation 3
- 2005 – Xbox 360
- 2004 – Nintendo DS
- 2003 – Robosapiens
- 2002 – Furreal Cat
- 2001 – Pogo Stick
- 2000 – Razor Scooter
- 1999 – Pokemon
- 1998 – Furby
- 1997 – Tamgotchi
- 1996 – Tickle Me Elmo
- 1995 – Beanie Baby
- 1994 – Power Rangers
- 1993 – Talkboy
- 1992 – Barbie Dream House
- 1991 – Super Nintendo
- 1990 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- 1989 – Game Boy
- 1988 – Starting Lineup
- 1987 – Jenga
- 1986 – Laser Tag
- 1985 – Nintendo
- 1984 – Transformers
- 1983 – Cabbage Patch Kids
- 1982 – BMX Bikes
- 1981 – Lego Train
- 1980 – Rubik’s Cube
- 1979 – Atari
- 1978 – Simon
- 1977 – Star Wars Figurines
- 1976 – Connect 4
- 1975 – Pet Rock
- 1974 – Tonka Toy Trucks
- 1973 – Walkie Talkie Sets
- 1972 – Uno
- 1971 – Space Hoppers
- 1970 – Lite-Brite
- 1969 – Chemistry Set
- 1968 – Hot Wheels
- 1967 – Battleship
- 1966 – Twister
- 1965 – Operation
- 1964 – G.I. Joe
- 1963 – Easy-Bake Oven
TRIVIA: 87% of the world’s population has what? (Some sort of illness or sickness)
TRIVIA: Worldwide, 36 miles of this grows each day. (Hair. Not sure if that’s only human hair or human and animal. Sorry.)
TRIVIA: Seven in 10 American dogs receive what? (Christmas gifts)
RANDOM CHRISTMAS TRIVIA QUESTIONS
• In Frosty the Snowman, who brought Frosty back to life? (Santa Claus)
• Who lost $8,000 in It’s a Wonderful Life? (Uncle Billy)
• In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, what biological shortcoming made the Grinch so mean? (His heart was two sizes too small)
• What was Scrooge’s first name? (Ebenezer)
• Where was I when I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus? (On the stairs)
• What was the name of Rudolph’s dogsled driving friend? (Yukon Cornelius)
• In The Night Before Christmas I sprang from my bed to see what? (What was the matter)
• Name the three reindeer whose names begin with a “D”? (Dasher, Dancer, Donner)
• What was the first gift my true love sent on the sixth day of Christmas? (Six geese-a-laying)
• Game-show host Bob Barker is 95
• Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean) is 69
• Jennifer Connelly (voice of Karen in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Oscar for A Beautiful Mind) is 48
• Regina Hall (Scary Movie movies) is 48
• Mayim Bialik (Blossom, The Big Bang Theory) is 43
• Lucas Hedges (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Manchester By The Sea) is 22
IT HAPPENED TODAY
• 1914: The largest one-day percentage drop in the history of Dow Jones Industrial Average occurred, down 24.39%.
• 1989: The U.S. issued a patent (#4,885,809) to Charles Muchmore of St. Bernard, Ohio, for his Portable Pocket Spittoon, a flesh-colored plastic flask-like container for tobacco chewers who prefer to spit more privately.
• 1992: A Norway court ruled that Oslo University did not have to re-admit a 39-year-old student until he bathed. The astrophysics major, who had lived in a cave for 14 years, sued the university for a half-million dollars after he was expelled for stinking.
• 2000: A divided U.S. Supreme Court halted the presidential recount in Florida, effectively making Republican George W. Bush the winner.
• 2003: Keiko, the killer whale made famous by the “Free Willy” movies, died in the Norwegian fjord that he’d made his home.
• 2003: A disabled cyclist who fell into an icy river was saved when he used his false leg as a float. Brian Denman grabbed the plastic limb which had come off as he lost balance and slid down a bank. He clung to it in the dark for half an hour until fire crews hauled him from the River Tone in the UK.
• Gingerbread House Day
• Poinsettia Day
• Cocoa Day
• December 21: Winter begins (5:23 PM ET)
• January 6: Golden Globes
• January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
• January 22: Oscar nominations
• February 24: Oscars