PRO December 16, 2014

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 16, 2014

This is day 350 of 2014. There are 15 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• TV journalist Lesley Stahl (60 Minutes) is 73

• Writer-producer Steven Bochco is 71

• Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top is 65

• Benjamin Bratt ( Law & Order, The Cleaner) is 51

• Miranda Otto (Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) is 47

• Michael McCary of Boyz II Men is 43

• Krysten Ritter (Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl) is 33

• Amanda Setton (The Mindy Project, Gossip Girl) is 29

IT HAPPENED TODAY

• 1707: The last recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan occurred.

• 1770: Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany.

• 1773: The Boston Tea Party took place as American colonists boarded a British ship and dumped more than 300 chests of tea overboard to protest tea taxes.

• 1985: Reputed organized-crime chief Paul Castellano was shot to death outside a New York City restaurant.

• 1998: President Bill Clinton ordered a sustained series of air strikes against Iraq by American and British forces in response to Saddam Hussein’s continued defiance of UN weapons inspectors.

• 2000: President-elect George W. Bush selected Colin Powell to become the first African-American secretary of state.

• 2003: President George W. Bush signed the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 into law. The law established the United States’ first national standards for the sending of commercial email and requires the Federal Trade Commission to enforce its provisions.

• 2007: British forces formally handed over to Iraq responsibility for Basra, the last Iraqi region under their control.

• 2007: Presidential candidate Ron Paul raised a record amount of money online in a single day: over six million dollars in 24 hours.

• 2010: Larry King concluded his CNN talk show after 25 years.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Chocolate Covered Anything Day

UPCOMING

• Chanukah/Hanukkah (first day): December 17

• Christmas Day: December 25

• New Year’s Day: January 1

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NUMBER FOR THE DAY

4.4: Percentage of people who dream in black and white.

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NEWS ATTACK!

After that incident involving South Korean Air Lines and macadamia nuts the sale of the nuts has skyrocketed in South Korea. [Amazon is desperately hoping that a South Korean Air Line official soon gets into a fight over the Kindle Fire.]

Paris’ famous and gargantuan Louvre Museum is slated to undergo an overhaul to make it less likely for visitors to get lost. [For example, they’re getting rid of the corn maze.]

South Dakota’s Department of Transportation had a snazzy new campaign to encourage drivers not to instinctively overcorrect their steering when their vehicles begin to slide on icy roads, however, critics complained about the racy language in the campaign’s double entendre slogan: Don’t Jerk and Drive. [So they pulled it. No, wait, that doesn’t sound right.]

PetSmart has sold itself for $8.7 billion. [The sale will be finalized once federal regulators review the paperwork and complete the de-worming.]

Lindsay Lohan says that she’s enjoying London, and has no intention of returning to LA. [London is perfect for her since she could never remember which side of the street to drive on anyway.]

Scientific American reports that a rare Australian turtle is close to dying out. It’s the only turtle that can breathe through its rear end. [The reason it’s almost extinct is that anytime it’s critically ill no one wants to give it mouth-to-rear resuscitation.]

A new study is underway to determine if passenger jets can be flown safely by just one pilot in the cockpit. [Apparently, pilots and co-pilots are just like the rest of us — they also get tired of fighting over the armrest.]

A hallucinogenic mushroom was found growing in the Queen’s Buckingham Palace garden. [So, that’s how she’s able to put up with that wacky family.]

A laboratory in South Korea is doing good business cloning pet owners’ dogs for $100,000. [Let’s see, clone a dog for $100,000 or find a free lookalike on Craigslist?]

The stat legislature of Montana has banned the wearing of Spandex. [So stay away, Superman!]

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NEWS & NUGGETS

CULTURE IS MERRIAM-WEBSTER’S 2014 WORD OF THE YEAR _ Whether popular, corporate or entitled, “culture” was named word of the year by U.S. dictionary Merriam-Webster on Monday as a flexible catch-all that can easily identify a subject, idea or issue. Merriam-Webster defines culture as the beliefs, customs and arts of a “society, group, place or time.” The word was boosted by media coverage about “celebrity culture,” “company culture” and “rape culture” dominating media and public conversations. It was chosen for its large amount of online lookups and significant increase in lookups from last year, Merriam-Webster said.

PEOPLE WHO FEEL YOUNGER MAY LIVE LONGER _ Everyone dies, but a new study says feeling sprightly might suggest a person has more time left than people who feel their age or older. Older people in the UK who felt at least three years younger than their chronological age were less likely to die over the next eight years than those who felt equal to or older than their actual age.

BLINDFOLDED MAN SOLVES RUBIK’S CUBE IN 21 SECONDS _ A Polish Rubik’s cube master beat his own record by solving a puzzle in 21.17 seconds… while blindfolded. Marcin Kowalczyk, who held the previous record for blindfolded Rubik’s cube solving with a 23.19-second finish, memorized the cube and completed the puzzle in 21.17 seconds at a Speed Cube competition in Poland.

$21K OFFERED TO RETURN WIDOW’S DONATED WEDDING RINGS _ Remember the story last week of the widow who donated her wedding rings to the Salvation Army? Another anonymous donor is stepping up to buy the rings for $21,000 — so she can return them to their generous owner. The diamond engagement ring the woman placed in a kettle in Boston with a note that the jewelry should be sold and the proceeds used to buy toys for needy kids was valued at about $1,500 on its own, but its new buyer is shelling out more than 10 times that for the ring and the wedding band that goes with it. The buyer is also a widow, who says the rings should go back where they belong.

… A Massachusetts Salvation Army Major said the rings got multiple offers, but the $21,000 bid won out.

MODERN BASEBALL CARD PIONEER DIES _ In 1951, Sy Berger sat at his kitchen table with a ruler, scissors and cardboard to create the first modern-day baseball card. That single card launched an niche industry and turned the Brooklyn, New York-based Topps company into a household name. Berger died Sunday of natural causes. He was 91.

… Topps was founded in 1938 as a chewing-gum company, making cards with figures like Davy Crockett and Hopalong Cassidy. In 1951, the company went into baseball cards. Berger revolutionized the typical black-and-white cards by adding a color photo, stats and a copy of the player’s signature. He also persuaded players to sign exclusive contracts with Topps, paying them up to $125 a year for the privilege.

FIRST DAUGHTER’S ALLEGED PREG. STARTED ON FAKE NEWS SITE _ Rumors that Malia Obama is pregnant have been zipping around the Internet after a satirical website published a report about the president’s daughter that many people mistook for truth. The story about the reported pregnancy came from Empire News and was actually published back in November, but started to gain traction this week when it was shared on a fake Fox News page on Facebook. The report claimed that Malia Obama was a few months pregnant, and that the father’s identity was not disclosed.

… Empire News is a site similar to The Onion, with a number of fake news stories. Other fake stories including the reported Bin Laden shooter being attacked by “street thugs” after trying to collect a debt from a neighbor, and another story about retailers starting to refer to Christmas as “presents day.”

DENMARK FILES FIRST OFFICIAL CLAIM ON NORTH POLE _ Denmark filed an official claim on the North Pole, making it the first country to do so. Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard hailed the claim on the North Pole an “Historical moment!” The submission, filed by both Denmark and Greenland on Monday with the United Nations, was authorized by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. Under the U.N. Convention, nations may extend their continental shelf 200 nautical miles from their coast. If the claim exceeds 200 nautical miles, however, scientific and technical data must be submitted for consideration by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

FACEBOOK MIRACLE: HOMELESS MAN HOME FOR XMAS _ A homeless man in Ireland will have his Christmas wish come true when he sits down for dinner with his family for the first time in 12 years after being reunited with them through Facebook. George Cunningham told a newspaper photographer that his main concern over the holidays was simply finding somewhere he could sit down and have a Christmas dinner. When George’s photograph was put on Facebook the response was incredible with dozens of people offering to pay for his meal or even host him themselves. As interest in George’s story grew, the photographer was contacted by George’s sister, who had not spoken with her brother for 12 years.

COW ESCAPES BUTCHER’S SHOP _ A 1,000-pound cow about to be slaughtered for meat escaped from a butcher’s shop and ran for its life. The cow jumped over the six-foot fence at the shop and fled through the streets of Pocatello, Idaho. After jumping over the fence, it charged across a busy road nearly causing motor vehicle accidents. Police tried to stop the rampaging 1,000-pound animal but had to shoot it after an hour of pursuit.

GEORGE W. BUSH’S ADVICE: DON’T PAINT YOUR MOM OR WIFE _ George W. Bush doesn’t readily offer political opinions, but when it comes to portraits, he has some advice: “Never paint your wife or your mother.” Bush’s new book about his father includes a portrait he painted of his dad, the 41st president. The 43rd president also painted his wife, Laura. The verdict? She didn’t like it and neither did one of their daughters. So he scrapped it.

STUDENT’S VOW TO HELP HOMELESS MAN WHO OFFERED HER HIS LAST $4 _ A woman in England (Leyland) lost her bank card while out and about but only realized it when she went to get money for a taxi ride home. That’s when a homeless man approached her with his only change — $4 — and insisted she take it to pay for her taxi. The woman, who is studying for her Masters degree in fashion and promotion, didn’t take the money but was so touched by the man’s kind gesture that she has made it her mission to help him. Identified only as ‘Robbie’ the man appears to have come to the aid of many, returning wallets to pedestrians and offering his scarf to keep people warm. And now the young woman will spend 24 hours with Robbie to raise money to help him get back on his feet.

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WACKY-BUT-TRUE

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: RESIDENTS HOLD ROBBERS AT GUNPOINT _ Three backwoods bandits were dumb enough to rob a family of heavily armed Alabama residents — who caught them while being interviewed about the burglary. The victims of the home break-in (near Warrior) caught the alleged intruders Sunday afternoon and held them at gunpoint until cops could arrive. The victims were being interviewed about their break-in when the alleged burglars drove by their home as they fled a different break-in. The victims said they recognized the burglars from home surveillance video.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: TRAFFIC WARDEN SLAPS TICKET ON SANTA’S SLEIGH _ It seems even Santa isn’t entitled to special parking privileges after a traffic warden in England slapped a parking ticket on his sleigh. And now Father Christmas and his little helpers face a $55 fine. Santa had stopped his sleigh to transfer some items from his personal vehicle. In the few moments he was away from the sleigh the traffic warden swooped in and slapped a ticket on it.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: MAN OPENS PLANE’S EMERGENCY EXIT BEFORE TAKEOFF _ A passenger on a Chinese airline flight opened an emergency exit door to get a breath of fresh air as the plane prepared for takeoff. The crew immediately closed the door and changed the man’s seat.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: CREMATED REMAINS DONATED TO GOODWILL _ Goodwill employees discovered a grave error Friday at the chain’s store in Lafayette, Indiana. Sorting through a sizable lot of donated household items they found two small, white boxes filled with cremated human remains. Each ash-filled box was marked with a name and date, which was used to reunite the dearly departed with their next of kin.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: COUPLE LOCKED INSIDE A KEYLESS CAR _ If you believe automotive technology is developing faster than humanity can keep up with comprehending it, this news story will prove your point. A couple in New Zealand almost didn’t make it out of their car alive when they couldn’t figure out how to exit it. Their inability to exit their Mazda had them locked inside a keyless car for almost 13 hours. A series of events led the couple to believe they were stuck in their newly-purchased Mazda3 hatchback in their garage with no way of escape: the remote keyless entry fob was outside the car and the car manual was left in the house. Rather than thinking to unlock the vehicle the traditional way, as it has been done for decades, the couple attempted to break through the glass with a car jack and honking the horn. The couple was discovered by neighbors the next morning. The couple naturally blamed much of their confusion about how keyless entry works on their dealership salesman.

WACKY-BUT-TRUE: NUTELLA JAR POSES AIRPORT TERROR RISK _ A pregnant mom was ordered to hand over her chocolate spread to airport staff because it posed a terror risk. Kara Harrison was returning from a short break in London with her husband when a security guard spotted two jars of Nutella in her carry-on luggage. Kara said: “They told me the chocolate was dangerous and had to be confiscated. I was distraught.”

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ON TELEVISION

NCIS (8p ET, CBS) — New

ELF: BUDDY’S CHRISTMAS MUSICAL (8p ET, NBC) — This new animated special is based on the popular film Elf and the hit Broadway show Elf: The Musical. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) stars as Buddy. The voice cast also includes Mark Hamill, Ed Asner, Fred Armisen, Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, and Gilbert Gottfried.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (8p ET, ABC) — ABC again airs this Christmas classic.

SEASON FINALE: MASTERCHEF JUNIOR (8p ET, FOX) — The will prepare a three-course menu and the winner will get a $100,000 prize.

THE FLASH (8p ET, CW) — Repeat

NCIS: NEW ORLEANS (9p ET, CBS) — New

DISNEY PREP & LANDING (9p ET, ABC) — An elite unit of elves makes sure homes are ready for Santa. Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice follows.

SEASON FINALE: THE VOICE (9p ET, NBC) — Ed Sheeran, Hozier, Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, Jennifer Hudson and Lynyrd Skynyrd will all appear on tonight’s finale before the winner is announced.

NEW GIRL (9p ET, FOX) — Repeat

THE VICTORIA’S SECRET FASHION SHOW (9p ET, CW) — Repeat

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

PERSON OF INTEREST (10p ET, CBS) — New

FOREVER (10p ET, ABC) — Repeat

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ENTERTAINMENT

SONY HACK: AMERICAN HUSTLE FEMALE STARS MADE LESS _ Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams may have earned Oscar nominations for their roles in 2012’s American Hustle, but their paychecks on the film still came up short. Lawrence and Adams were paid less than their male co-stars and director David O. Russell for their work on the film, according to leaked emails among Sony executives.

MARK CUBAN: PEOPLE NEED TO LEARN THAT NO EMAIL IS SAFE _ Last week an email exchange between Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko and Mark Cuban was revealed. The discussion involved the billionaire investor’s contract negotiations for his role on the hit TV show Shark Tank, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Television. Cuban wasn’t pleased with Sony’s offer of $30,000 per episode for season 5, $31,200 for season 6, and $32,488 for season 7, and responded via email: “seriously? no chance… this is beyond an insult and it shows no one cares about the investments I have made or the entrepreneurs. now it’s really business. I will negotiate like any other deal I would do. you may want to start cutting me out of the promos”

… When we asked Cuban for comment on his salary negotiations, he simply responded: “I look at it as a positive that I had direct access to Steve [Mosko]. Now we communicate via Cyber Dust.” Cyber Dust is Cuban’s new free texting app. Described as “WhatsApp meets Snapchat,” it allows users to send messages and photos that disappear after 30 seconds.

BILL COSBY’S WIFE SPEAKS UP _ Bill Cosby’s wife, Camille, spoke out in support of her husband Monday, and suggested that the media has been quick to report unvetted accusations against him. Camille Cosby said in a statement that her husband has been unfairly victimized by the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled against him recently. Bill, she said, is the man that the public has long known through his work. “A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know. It is also a portrait painted by individuals and organizations whom many in the media have given a pass,” she said.

FROZEN’ DIRECTOR APOLOGIZES TO PARENTS FOR ‘LET IT GO’ _ At this time last year Frozen was still on its way to becoming a box office phenomenon and marketing juggernaut. The movie had just opened in theaters a month before and the accolades and box office had yet to pile up. Eventually the film would become the first animated feature to cross the $1 billion mark, become the most successful animated film ever and pick up a pair of Oscars, including one for Best Animated Feature. Now Frozen is everywhere and the last year has been a crazy one for the film’s makers, including co-director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee. As she tells the Hollywood Reporter, her interaction with parents has even taken on a different tenor: “A year ago, I’d meet people who, when they found out who I was, they’d say, ‘Oh, we love the songs! We sing them all the time.’ Now they’re like, ‘Yep, we’re still listening to those songs.’ I’ve gone from, ‘Thank you,’ to, ‘Sorry!'” | Frozen’s Let It Go

EDDIE REDMAYNE IS MARRIED _ Eddie Redmayne married his fiancee Hannah Bagshawe on Monday in Somerset. The British actor — who stars in The Theory of Everything — wed his love of nearly three years in an evening candlelit ceremony.

KENDALL JENNER IS THE MOST POPULAR MODEL OF 2014 _ If you felt like Kendall Jenner was everywhere this year, you’re right. Kendall has been named the most popular model of 2014, according to Tumblr. The social media platform uses a combination of reblogs, web traffic, and follower growth over time to create its list.

… Kendall had a tremendous year, walking in runway shoes for major fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs, Balmain, Chanel, and Givenchy. She also appeared in spreads for Vogue, the cover of Teen Vogue, and was named the face of Estée Lauder.

… Tumblr’s top five was rounded out by Cara Delevingne, who recently posed with Kendall for the cover of Love Magazine, Candice Swanepoel, Miranda Kerr, and Kate Moss.

‘INTERSTELLAR’ ROCKETS PAST $100 MILLION WORLDWIDE IN IMAX THEATERS _ Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar continues to soar on the big screen, becoming the fourth film ever to surpass $100 million worldwide in Imax theaters. The film, released on November 5, has earned more than $621 million worldwide.

GABY HOFFMANN WELCOMES DAUGHTER _ It’s a girl for Girls’ Gaby Hoffmann. The actress gave birth to her first child last month.

RECORD RATINGS FOR ‘SONS OF ANARCHY’ SERIES-ENDER _ Sons of Anarchy concluded its seven-season run on Monday, December 9 with 9.26 million viewers, which was a series high.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS FINISHES FILMING AMERICAN HORROR STORY _  Neil Patrick Harris has wrapped up filming his guest-starring role on two episodes of American Horror Story, something that pushed him outside his comfort zone. NPH tweeted: “Just finished filming my last scene for ‘American Horror Story’. I need to take a shower. Wash off all this horror.” Neil Patrick’s own hubby, David Burtka, is also to guest star.

JENNIFER ANISTON SAYS MOTHERHOOD PRESSURE IS UNFAIR _ In a magazine interview, Jennifer Aniston was asked to name the most difficult thing she’s ever battled in the press. She answered, “The accusation that I’ve put my career before the want, the desire to be a mother. This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is.” She said the intense scrutiny feels like “an unfair pressure” on women, not just her.

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AUDIO

Audio Archives

FUN DOG NAMES

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

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

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

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

COMFORT FOODS

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

GRANDMA GOT MOLESTED AT THE AIRPORT

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

CHRISTMAS CLIPS

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

CHARITY CLIPS

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

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BITS & BREAKS

NEW ON DVD TODAY

THE BEST (AND WORST) HOT DOGS TO BUY

‘Tis the season to eat hot dogs. Er, maybe not. But once the holiday cookies and hams are done we’ll be eating regular food again. The food blog Daily Meal blind-tasted eight brand-name hot dogs readily available in most grocery stores. Here’s how they ranked.

  1. Nathan’s Famous Beef Frank
  2. Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Franks
  3. Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters
  4. Trader Joe’s All Natural Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs
  5. Applegate Farms: The Super Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dog
  6. Ball Park Beef Franks
  7. Hebrew National Beef Franks
  8. Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters

WHAT WILL COST MORE IN 2015

DealNews.com has a rundown of more than a dozen items that will likely see a price hike in the coming year, some because they’re more in-demand, others because of resource shortages.

• Bourbon. It may or may not be experiencing a bona find shortage, but it has definitely seen increased sales in recent years.

• Expensive steak and pork tenderloin. Be prepared to pay more as the already soaring price of beef and pork will continue to rise.

• Guacamole. If the predicted avocado shortage happens prices will rise. The higher cost of avocados was already one of the contributors to Chipotle’s first menu price change in years.

• Chocolate The world is apparently short on that too, with farmers in Africa taking a hit from too-dry weather and a fungus that wiped out a third of their crops.

• Coffee. It will probably continue to cost you more, following a drought in Brazil.

PROOF THAT MEN ARE BIGGER IDIOTS THAN WOMEN

They’ve been numerous studies that show men are more likely to show up in the ER for accidental injuries. But then men are more likely to be playing contact and high risk sports, or be employed in higher risk occupations. But, according to a medical journal (owned by the British Medical Association), there is a separate class of risk that suggests men are idiots. Or, at least, bigger idiots. That class of risk is the idiot risk — activities that are defined as “senseless risks”, where there’s no real pay-off for the risk and where the outcome is horrifying.

So this medical journal looked at winners of the Darwin Awards to analyze the level and number of ‘idiot risks’ that men take versus women. For those unfamiliar with the Darwin Awards: To be nominated, one must essentially have died at their own hands doing something so opposite of common sense that they’re demise has actually improved the evolutionary gene pool.

Former winners have included:

• A man who hitched a ride in a shopping cart by attaching it to the back of a train. He was dragged to his death.

• A terrorist who mailed a letter bomb but didn’t put enough postage on it. The letter was returned, and without thinking, he opened it. Kaboom.

• Three men played their own version of Russian roulette by alternatively stomping down on an unexploded Cambodian landmine, all the while drinking shots. The mine exploded and took all three men with it.

• The man who allowed his cousin to saw off his leg in an insurance scam. The cousin severed a major artery and the man bled to death.

• The man who decided to commit armed robbery in a store. A gun store. Filled with guns. And customers with guns. Plus, there was a police patrol car parked outside.

… The medical journal reviewed all Darwin Award winners over a 20-year period. Of the 318 verified nominations in the sample, 282 Darwin Awards were awarded to men and only 36 to women. Men make up 88.7 per cent of Darwin Award winners.

THE GROSSET THING YOU’VE EVER DONE TO SAVE MONEY

What is the grossest thing you have done to save money? That’s a question posed to readers of the consumer website Consumerist.

• “I’d save the excess milk from my cereal in the morning to be used the next day (and maybe the next).”

• “I called fast food 800 number to complain about their horrible dining experience so I could get free meals.”

• “I’d eat rice with cinnamon for breakfast, rice with soy sauce for lunch, and rice with ketchup for dinner. If I was feeling very saucy I would mix the soy sauce and ketchup.”

• “I drove from Washington to Alaska one summer. I bought a sleeping bag in Canada, used it every night for nearly a month, then returned it on the way home.”

• “I picked popcorn buckets and drinks out of the trash at the movie theater to get refills for 25 cents.”

• “I took a night job at the grocery store to make some extra money and because I thought I would be able to sneak some food home. Getting food out of the store ended up being very difficult because they were careful to watch you while leaving. It was pretty easy to eat stuff while in the store though, you just needed a decent hiding spot — mine was the bathroom. I once ate a whole blueberry pie while sitting in a toilet stall.”

FB icon Start it on Facebook, take it to the phones: What’s the grossest or weirdest thing you’ve ever done to save money?

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FUN & GAMES

TRIVIA: The most money ever paid for one of these was $585,000. (A pet. It was a dog — a Tibetan mastiff.)

TRIVIA: Americans eat 300,000 tons of this each year. (Yogurt)

VOICE I.D.

I’m going to play a clip of a celebrity speaking. The first person to identify him or her wins.

Stephen King 1 | Stephen King 2 (which offers a small clue)

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JOKE OF THE DAY

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well that the farmer had accidentally left uncovered. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway, so it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Now, most people think that’s the end, but it isn’t. The donkey later came back and bit the hell out of the farmer who had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected, and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock. So the real moral from today’s lesson? When you do something wrong and try to cover your you-know-what, it always comes back to bite you.

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VIDEO OF THE DAY

Pitbull terrified of pineapples.

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IMAGE OF THE DAY

Trust.


Source: unknown

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LAST MINUTE ITEMS

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

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

• GIF: Panda dodges laser blasts.

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

• Parking lot incompetence.

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

• Trailer: Terminator: Genisys.

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

Poo Doh.

• Download Our Boring Radio Station App.

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

• Random request generator.

• If toddlers texted.

• Remove your personal info from data brokers.

• What if George Lucas was making the new Star Wars movie instead of JJ Abrams?

• The safest gift to get anyone on your holiday list.

• The world sends us garbage, we send back music.

• So you want to own a food truck?

• Comedian does spot-on impressions of celebrities stuck in traffic.

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DATEBOOK: DECEMBER 17, 2014

This is day 351 of 2014. There are 14 days remaining.

BIRTHDAYS

• Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) is 69

• Hardball host Chris Matthews is 69

• Eugene Levy(American Pie, Best in Show) is 68

• Paul Rodgers is 65

• Barry Livingston(Ernie Douglas on My Three Sons) is 61

• Bill Pullman is 61

• Director-producer Peter Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber) is 58

• Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) is 45

• Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story) is 40

• Giovanni Ribisi(Saving Private Ryan, Avatar, Phoebe Buffay’s half-brother Frank on Friends) is 40

• Milla Jovovich (Zoolander, The Fifth Element) is 39

• Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) is 35

• Emma Bell (The Walking Dead) is 28

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.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• Chanukah/Hanukkah (first day)

• Wright Brothers Day

• Maple Syrup Day

UPCOMING

• Christmas Day: December 25

• New Year’s Day: January 1

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