Audio • Bits & Breaks • Datebook • Datebook Tomorrow • Entertainment • Fun & Games • Image of the Day • Joke of the Day! • Last Minute Items • News & Nuggets • News Attack • Number for the Day • Television • Video of the Day • Wacky-But-True
This is day 358 of 2015. There are 7 days remaining.
• Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) is 56
• Designer Kate Spade is 53
• Ricky Martin is 44
• Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer is 42
• Ryan Seacrest is 41
• Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time, True Blood) is 38
• Louis Tomlinson of One Direction is 24
IT HAPPENED TODAY
• 1818: “Silent Night” was composed by Franz Xavier Gruber and Josef Mohr.
• 1851: Fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.
• 1931: New York City construction workers, at the future site of Rockefeller Center, dragged in a 12-foot Christmas tree and decorated it with tin cans and paper. The first official Rockefeller Center tree, with 700 blue and white lights, appeared two years later.
• 1953: NBC’s Dragnet became the first network-sponsored television program.
• 1968: The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures that became the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, one of the most watched programs in history.
• 1999: A 5-year-old girl in North Wales turned orange after drinking too much Sunny Delight, a popular fruit drink containing beta carotene. Doctors said the drink was harmless and there was no risk of toxicity, but they suggested to the girl’s parents she should try a variety of drinks.
• 2000: The Miami Dolphins edged New England Patriots 27-24, but the teams left the field with three seconds left on the clock. Thirty-six minutes later, they were called back to the playing field to play the final 3 seconds. The final score did not change.
• 2002: Laci Peterson was reported missing from her Modesto, California, home, by her husband, Scott, who was later convicted of murdering her and their unborn son.
• 2007: An inmate sued the Utah Department of Corrections for denying him his right to practice an ancient Nordic religion while behind bars, saying that in order to properly practice his religion, he needed items including a Thor’s Hammer, a rune staff and a sword.
• 2009: A woman jumped barriers in St. Peter’s Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict the 16th as he was walking down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass; the pope was unhurt.
• 2014: A live Ebola sample was mistakenly sent to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control laboratory that did not meet safety and security standards for handling the virus.
• Christmas Eve
• Egg Nog Day
• 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
2.5 million: Gift cards Starbucks will sell today (December 24).
Have you seen that video of the World Cup skiing finals in Italy where a huge drone falls from the sky, and almost hits a skier as he’s competing? [It was scary, but exciting, so now they’re making it an official event.]
Have you seen that video of the World Cup skiing finals in Italy where a huge drone falls from the sky, and almost hits a skier as he’s competing? [The near disaster has everyone spooked so it pretty much puts the damper on the proposed, but highly controversial, courtroom drones.]
SeaWorld San Antonio has had its third whale turn up dead in just the last six months. [There’s no question about it. Obesity kills.]
You can now no longer opt out of having a full body scan at the airport. [But if you cooperate, they’ll give you a keepsake glossy 8 x10 suitable for framing.]
A woman gave surprise birth in a Mississippi Kmart parking lot two weeks early. [That’s right. She had intended to give birth in the parking lot two weeks from now.]
Madonna’s 15-year-old son says that he’s tired of living with her. [Something her ex-husbands can definitely relate to.]
The big viral Facebook post everyone is talking about is an illustration of a group of snowmen. The object is to find a panda hidden somewhere in the illustration. [Pandas are notoriously difficult to find among the general population of snowmen due to their use of heavily encrypted email communication.]
According to the Elf on the Shelf story, you’re not supposed to disturb the elf or you’ll ruin Christmas. A panic-stricken nine-year-old New Jersey girl called 911 after accidentally knocking her elf onto the floor. [Well, that’s what the best holiday traditions are all about — scaring the living daylights out of children.]
A hacker has been arrested for stealing the upcoming scripts for TV shows and movies. [Yeah, I suppose a few years in prison is totally worth the price of getting a sneak preview of the next episode of Mom.]
A Vatican newspaper has trashed the new Star Wars movie. [That’s odd. Usually, single guys with no girlfriends absolutely love Star Wars.]
NORAD SANTA TRACKER IS LIVE _ Christmas is just hours away and children who are wondering, “Where is Santa Claus right now?” will soon be able to get an instant answer with the NORAD Santa Tracker. Starting today, anxious kiddos around the world will be able to locate Santa online, on a mobile phone, tablet, in OnStar equipped cars, and even the old-fashioned way — by making a phone call. There are five different ways to keep tabs on the Jolly Old Elf and his eight tiny reindeer this year:
… Online: Follow Santa’s journey online by heading over to NoradSanta.org.
… Mobile Apps: On the go on Christmas Eve? Download the official NORAD Santa Tracker app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android smartphones and tablets.
… In The Car: Locate Santa’s while you’re on the road if you have an On Star-equipped car. Just press the blue OnStar button in your vehicle and request and update.
… Social Media: Keep up with the latest information on Santa’s travels on NORAD’s various social media accounts. Follow NORAD on Facebook and Twitter (@NoradSanta) for instant updates and check out the videos on their official YouTube page.
… Telephone: While tracking online gives kids a great visual as to where Santa Claus is, a phone call to NORAD headquarters can be just as exciting. In the U.S., call 877-HI-NORAD (877 446-6723) and a staff member will give you Santa’s exact location.
TACO RESTAURANT TURNS ROBBERY FOOTAGE INTO COMMERCIAL _ Two burglars broke into a Las Vegas-based taco place on December 16, with the entire heist caught on security cameras. Frijoles and Frescas Grilled Tacos has since turned the footage into a funny commercial, announcing that these guys must have been totally crazy for their tacos to shatter some glass to get inside. And they were so tunnel-visioned by their munchies that they took the cash register instead of some tacos. | VIDEO
ELF ON THE SHELF MISHAP CAUSES 7-YEAR-OLD TO CALL 911 _ According to the holiday story book The Elf on the Shelf, Santa Clause sends out scout elves to report back to the North Pole about the naughty or niceness of kids in their homes, returning to the North Pole every night and the children’s home before they wake up in the morning. If the elf is touched, however, it may lose is magic and not be able to report to Santa. This week, a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally touched her family’s shelf elf, which caused her some holiday panic. She ended up calling 911 for assistance. Almost immediately after being connected to a dispatcher, the girl seems to realize that she’s overreacted and perhaps made a bit of a mistake. She also told the authorities not to come check the scene out. Unfortunately for little girl, the police not coming wasn’t an option. Police are legally required to follow-up on/investigate calls to 911, even when they involve The Elf on the Shelf. An officer who got to the door was greeted by the agitated girl, who tried to send him on his way, shooing him back to the police station with a “you can go now.” The responding officer stuck around at the scene of the Elf on the Shelf disaster long enough to determine that nobody was in danger and that the girl knew the rules about when and why to call 911.
PORCH PIRATE SAYS IT WAS MEANT TO BE _ A man driving through a Florida town (Apopka) spotted three packages on the front porch of a home. Security camera footage shows him backing into the driveway, getting out to make two trips to load the packages into his car, and driving away. When police stopped Jordanie Lacorse he explained to officers that taking the packages “was like it was meant to be.” Officers disagreed and took him to jail.
HAVE BAD HANDWRITING? THE USPS HAS YOUR BACK _ Christmas is the busiest time of year for both Santa and the United States Postal Service. But while Santa has magic on his side, the USPS must rely on technology to make its deliveries. The service expects to distribute about 15.5 billion pieces of mail during the 2015 holiday season, which is more than 2 times the number of people on Earth. About two percent of the time the address on a package is illegible. Bad handwriting, water damage, archaic fonts and those plastic windows on letters all cause trouble for the computers. That’s where Karen Heath and her staff at the Remote Encoding Center in Salt Lake City step in.
… The U.S. Postal Service has a massive 78,000-square-foot branch, tucked away in the Utah capital, that deciphers illegible addresses. On a normal day, about 5 million pieces of mail are funneled through this branch, but as it creeps closer to December the number can be as high as 11 million. With just under 1,700 employees, the Center employees tackle all of the United State’s illegible addresses in 33 different shifts that operate 24/7.
MAN TRIED TO SELL ALLIGATOR FROM TRUNK _ An man in the UK was arrested by police after they discovered an alligator in the trunk of his car.
SHE WAS A HE AND HE ROBBED MEN _ A man in Singapore was sentenced to four years in prison after posing as a female flight attendant to pick up men in nightclubs and then rob them. The man dressed in women’s clothes, called himself Michelle, and stole credit cards, cash and phones from the men while they were asleep.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (8p ET, NBC) — James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore star in this Christmas classic.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (8p ET, ABC) — This classic is followed by Charlie Brown Christmas Tales.
THE BIG BANG THEORY (8p ET, CBS) — Repeat
TV’S FUNNIEST ANIMATED STARS: A PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA SPECIAL (8p ET, FOX) — This repeat is a celebration of the 40 most iconic, groundbreaking and beloved animated characters.
MR. MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (8p ET, CW) — In this animated 1962 special, Mr. Magoo is featured in an adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
A CHRISTMAS STORY (8p ET, TBS) — TBS once again celebrates Christmas with a 24-hour marathon.
LIFE IN PIECES (8:30p ET, CBS) — Repeat
IT’S YOUR 50TH CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN (9p ET, ABC) — In this repeat, Kristen Bell hosts a celebration honoring 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
MOM (9p ET, CBS) — Repeat
WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (9p ET, CW) — Two repeats air back to back.
2 BROKE GIRLS (9:30p ET, CBS) — Repeat
ELEMENTARY (10p ET, CBS) — Repeat
THE GREAT CHRISTMAS LIGHT FIGHT (10p ET, ABC) — Repeat
• CUTE KIDS: Kids share what they leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve.mp3
• DROP: Seinfeld clip about Festivus.
• PARODY: Hello Parody (Hella Cravings). Suggested use: Just a few seconds as a bumper into anything about holiday food, New Year’s resolutions, etc. (Source video)
• STAR WARS: Star Wars The Force Awakens fan reactions 1
• STAR WARS: Star Wars The Force Awakens fan reactions 2
• DROPS: New Year audio clips package
• BED: Jingle Bells – Robbie Hardkiss Remix
• REAL CALLER AUDIO: Santa doesn’t always wrap presents. Apparently some kids wake up to unwrapped gifts under the tree?
• SONG: Grandma Got Molested at the Airport (radio edit)
• 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!)
• HOLIDAY: Clips from the album All I Want For Christmas Is a Goat.
IN THEATERS THIS WEEKEND
THE BIG SHORT (R – OPENED WEDNESDAY) Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.
CONCUSSION (PG-13) In Pittsburgh, accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play.
DADDY’S HOME (PG-13) A mild-mannered radio executive strives to become the best stepdad to his wife’s two children, but complications ensue when their freewheeling and freeloading real father arrives, forcing him to compete for the affection of the kids.
JOY (PG-13) Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.
POINT BREAK (PG-13) A young FBI agent infiltrates an extraordinary team of extreme sports athletes he suspects of masterminding a string of unprecedented, sophisticated corporate heists. “Point Break” is inspired by the classic 1991 hit.
NEW ON DVD THIS WEEKEND
• War Room
GETTING RID OF UNWANTED GIFT CARDS
There’s a good chance a gift card will be among the presents you get over the holidays. But what if it’s one you don’t really want? Several websites solve the problem of unused gift cards, allowing consumers to buy, sell or swap cards for ones they know they will actually use. Surveys estimate that at least seven in 10 Americans will buy a gift card this holiday season.
A few sites where you can sell your unused/unwanted gift cards:
• Gift Card Granny compares various card-buying sites with one click.
• Coinstar Exchange is a kiosk where you push your card in and get cash on the spot. You’ll have to search their website to find a kiosk near you.
WORST CHRISTMAS FILMS
• A Christmas Story 2 (2012)
• Santa With Muscles (1996)
• Jingle All the Way (1996)
• Jingle All the Way 2 (2014)
• Four Christmases (2008)
• Home Alone 3 (1997)
• Home Alone 4 (2002)
• Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1962)
• A Christmas Romance (1994)
• Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever (2014)
• Surviving Christmas (2004)
• Deck the Halls (2006)
• Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)
• A Christmas Without Snow (1980)
• Black Christmas (1974)
• A Christmas Carol (1999)
• National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2 (2003)
• Eight Crazy Nights (2002)
ITEMS TEACHERS HAVE RECEIVED AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Teachers were asked to share the interesting and offbeat Christmas gifts they’ve received from students.
• A half-eaten package of candy.
• A dozen freshly gathered eggs.
• A Ziploc bag of vegetable soup.
• A bottle of inexpensive rum.
• A caged hamster, which became a class pet.
• A package of dress socks.
• A Spider-Man tie. The teacher didn’t care about superheroes.
• Several teachers say they’ve received a half-bottle of perfume or cologne swiped from mom’s dresser.
• A used Christmas card on which a child had scratched through the recipient’s name and written: “I picked this card especially for you, and I hope you like it.”
SURVEYS & POLLS
According to a study by a psychologist, during which season are grownups the grumpiest?
According to the School of Biosciences at the University of Westminster in London, England, which is more hygenic in public restrooms:
- Paper towels*
- Using the hand dryer
* Paper towels. Hand dryers can blow potentially dangerous bacteria at you.
According to a Harris Poll, when redecorating, what is the number one thing husbands and wives disagree on?
- Quality (in essence, price)
WHO SAID IT?
“It’s always a bad practice to say ‘always’ or ‘never’.”
• Barack Obama*
• Donald Trump
• Bill Clinton
A Department of Agriculture representative stopped at a farm and talked with the old farmer, telling him, “I need to inspect your farm.” The old farmer said, “OK, but don’t go in that field right over yonder.” The Agriculture representative went red in the face and lectured, “Sir, I have the authority of the U.S. Government behind me. See this ID card? It means I am allowed to go wherever I wish on any agricultural land — no questions asked or answered. Do you understand!?” The farmer nodded politely and went about his work. Later, he heard loud screams and saw the Ag rep running for the fence. Close behind was the farmer’s huge-horned prize bull. The bull was mad and was gaining on the government man at every step. “HELP!” the Ag man screamed. The old farmer called out, “Show him your ID card! Show him your ID card!”
Gets knocked out, tries to leave, fails.
Vitamins made with vegetarians.
Thanks to subscriber Dan Preston!
• New year countdown.
• A quick way to create and share a note.
• 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.
• We actually bought these $15 Amazon headphones — and they don’t suck.