Contact Us

 

Red, White & Blue Blog


Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


Thursday, December 31, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Carrie Underwood is joining Oprah Winfrey, first lady Michelle Obama and Tyra Banks as part of PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) new "Fur-Free and Fabulous" campaign. The posters are currently hanging in Washington, D.C. Metro stations to promote the city's "Make D.C Fur-Free" campaign.

FAST FACTS

  • Carrie is a vegetarian.
  • She was voted PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian in both 2005 and 2007.


Kenny Chesney picked up a couple of furry friends as Christmas presents for his girlfriend earlier this month. The singer flew to the Bardstown-Nelson County Airport in Kentucky with his galpal, Amy Colley, to buy two puppies -- female teacup MaltiPoos and named them Molly and Dolly. According to The Kentucky Standard, Kenny sat on the couch and let a puppy crawl up on his chest and lick his face, and he laughed and said the puppy loved him.

FAST FACTS:

  • Kenny graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1990 with a degree in marketing.
  • Kenny's middle name is Arnold.
  • One of Kenny's favorite songs is Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes."
  • Some of the odd jobs Kenny had were as a telemarketer and a mailroom sorter.

What are some of your favorite stars doing to welcome in the New Year, not to mention a new decade? Many of them are working to help fans celebrate, however several artists have taken the time off around the holidays and will hit it hard when they return to the road in mid-to-late January. Some artists have resolutions and some are very helpful with their own hangover cures for those who imbibe too much on New Year's Eve.

Jack Ingram will be ringing in 2010 while performing at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas.

Diamond Rio takes part in FOX News' All-American New Year's Eve special tonight.

Randy Houser will toast 2010 in Kennesaw, Georgia at Cowboy's Concert Hall.

Eli Young Band will bring in the New Year at the Verizon Wireless Theater in Houston, Texas.

If you happen to be in Music City for New Year's Eve, you can catch Jeffrey Steele headlining the spectacular show at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon. His special guest is former Trick Pony member Ira Dean.

Keith Anderson will be hanging around his hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, ringing in the New Year at the Buffalo Run Casino. He tells us he'd rather be on stage on the biggest party night of the year. "New Year's Eve, unless I'm playing, I'd much rather be at home. I used to, before I had my deal and used to travel all the time, we would usually go and try to find something fun to do. But it just gets so long by the time New Year's Eve hits, you're pretty much toast. (laughs)"

Bucky Covington usually likes to be on stage for New Year's Eve. He says, "My favorite spot to celebrate New Year's, hands down, would easily be on a stage, because people love to go out and have a good time on New Year's. So, I would love to be a part of that. Or sitting at home with my brother, family and friends, and just laying back and watching the ball drop in New York. And you can guess the rest."And Bucky will be performing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina .

Justin Moore will be counting down the seconds until 2010 at The Village in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Gloriana is set to play Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington on New Year's Eve.

Billy Dean, along with his Big Band, will perform in Tallahassee, Florida.

Sarah Buxton tells us her favorite New Year's Eve memory is when she played a gig in Nashville. "Probably my favorite New Year's Eve was a show that Jedd Hughes and I did at The Basement here in Nashville. We started playing at nine o'clock and we played until like two in the morning. His band, and they were my band too, and we just rocked out all night. And all of our friends came, and we drank champagne, and it was too much fun."

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, who are spending the New Year on stage at a resort in Rancho Mirage, California, are just like the rest f us when it comes to New Year's resolutions. Eddie tells us: "My New Year's resolution is the same one as usually everybody's. It's always you want to lose a little weight, you know. I definitely want to spend time with the family. And I definitely want to make great music, brother, and hang with you and have a great time and see all our friends out on the road playing and just have a great time." However, Troy reminds us of one significant difference -- "You know, I'm on the same lines -- everybody wants to lose a little weight. And you know, I want to be a good dad and I want to be a good husband and I want to get out there and win over the hearts of our fans and continue making great music."

Some people use New Year's Eve as an excuse to imbibe many adult beverages, and Dierks Bentley says he doesn't really have a cure for the inevitable hangover that may occur on New Year's Day. "I think January first is universally accepted as a day off. So, I mean a little hair of the dog, I guess. But just water and stay on the couch, I guess. There's no real sure-fire cure for that."
Chuck Wicks disagrees. He has one tip for curing a hangover: ["Sleep. Sleep it off, or drink more. That always works. If you stay drunk you never have a hangover. I'm a genius. I'm a genius. I think I've made a breakthrough. Ladies and gentlemen, if you stay drunk, you'll never be hung over."

Tracy Lawrence agrees, saying the best cure for a hangover is alcohol. "There ain't nothing better than the dog that bit ya. Bloody Marys and mimosas -- trust me. Just get back on it."

Lee Brice, who is in his hometown of Sumter, South Carolina "to ring in this exciting new year of my life with my friends," explains what works best for him when he has a hangover. "There's the hair of the dog approach, which is to just stomach whatever you were drinking the night before -- a really stiff one, and you'll feel better immediately. Or my favorite actual hangover cure is the actual process of sleeping in on the couch, watching football, eating like Chinese food or something, or something with cheese and meat and bread and fries and ketchup and ranch dressing. (laughs) That's the cure for me -- just sitting around all day, letting it pass, relaxing."

Newcomers Steel Magnolia says 2009 was a year they'll never forget, especially with winning CMT's Can You Duet and getting signed to a record deal. Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones explains: "Just, I think, definitely winning the show was a huge milestone this year, and getting the deal with Big Machine, obviously. The radio tour. The radio tour was just amazing. Working with Dann Huff . . . I think there's a whole number of things. The Grand Ole Opry debut was a huge thing for us. Yeah, just a lot of big things happened."



Jimmy Wayne has been preparing for his "Meet Me Halfway" walk, which kicks off Friday morning. In fact, he secured a sponsorship from Marmot for his attire and supplies to help keep him warm and comfortable during the nearly 17-hundred mile walk. He tells us, "I have a sponsorship from Marmot. They've provided me with the attire that I'll need to withstand the cold temperature, sleeping bag, tent. And again, I'm just simulating being homeless. I, obviously, have the means to pick up the phone and call if I get stranded or if something happens, if I'm in danger. And I'll have money, unlike these kids. I can stop by and buy food. I'm not gonna be homeless. I'm gonna walk from here to Arizona. I'm gonna sleep outside, but I'm not gonna go hungry. (laughs)"
  • Jimmy wants to not only raise awareness of the plight of homeless teens and children, but also raise funds for organizations that benefit homeless and at-risk youths.
  • Jimmy plans on walking from Monroe Harding in Nashville to Phoenix, Arizona (which is halfway across America) beginning Friday (January 1st) at 10 a.m. CT.

Phil Vassar has a great sense of humor, especially when it comes to making fun of himself. That humor even spills over at his shows, where at his merchandise tables, there are tank tops that read "Future Mrs. Vassar." In an interview with The Boot, he was asked if there will be a future Mrs. Vassar, and if the third time (he's been married, and divorced, twice) will be a charm. First off, Phil jokes the shirt wasn't his idea, but states, "I have no plans for [getting married anytime soon]. I have started to date again. But bringing somebody around my kids again . . . that terrifies me. What if they're nuts? And they usually turn out to be in my experience!" He adds, "But seriously, I've got to do the right thing when it comes to that."
  • Phil's new album, Traveling Circus, is in stores now.
Kris Kristofferson and Rosanne Cash are reportedly on board to star in a new musical created by John Mellencamp and horror book author Stephen King. The show, called Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County, is set to debut in Atlanta in September of 2010.

Other celebs reportedly scheduled to participate in the musical include Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow and boxer Joe Frazier.

  • John and Stephen have been collaborating on Ghost Brothers for the past 10 years.
  • The musical is about a Mississippi family in the 1950s who are struck by tragedy.
  • A special edition package of Ghost Brothers will be available for purchase sometime next year. It will include the show's book, a two-CD cast recording of the entire production and a CD with John Mellencamp's songs by themselves. The package will be produced by T-Bone Burnett.

Taylor Swift's "Love Story" is being played in the background of the trailer for the upcoming feature film, Letters to Juliet.

Taylor Swift's Fearless tops the 2009 country chart in Australia. Lee Kernaghan's Planet Country is Number Two, followed by Keith Urban's Defying Gravity. Also in the Top 10 are Keith's Greatest Hits collection, 18 Kids, Tim McGraw's Southern Voice and Carrie Underwood's Play On.

Brad Paisley says he's not going to add acting to his resume any time soon. He tweeted earlier this week, "An According to Jim I guested on was on tonight. I watched it. I think I, uh, will stick to music."

Shania Twain will carry the Olympic torch through her hometown of Timmins, Ontario in Canada on Friday (New Year's Day). Log onto CTVOlympics.ca/torch at 7 p.m. ET to watch her run. The Winter Olympics are set to begin on February 12th in Vancouver.

Merle Haggard postponed his January 7th show in Mesa, Arizona, due to a scheduling conflict, to May 9th.

Condolences go to country duo The Bellamy Brothers, whose mother Frances passed away on December 24th. A private funeral has already been held. She was 85.

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Kitty Wells and her husband Johnny Wright give their final public performance in Nashville.
  • Guitarist Eddy Shaver, son of singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, died of a heroin overdose at age 38 in 2000.
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame, which had been in the same Nashville location for 33 years, closes its doors. A new museum facility in downtown Nashville opens five months later in 2000.
  • Wynonna and Naomi Judd reunite in Las Vegas for their first full-length concert in eight years. The show also serves as the kickoff of a reunion tour that would extend into June in 1999.
  • Country Music and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pianist Floyd Cramer dies of cancer at 64 in 1997.
  • Ricky Nelson died in an airplane crash near DeKalb, Texas, at age 45 in 1985.
  • Roy Rogers and Dale Evans married in 1947.

ON THE TUBE TODAY

THE COLLECTION/GAC 3:00 PM (ET)

Rascal Flatts

ORIGINS: JOSH TURNER/GAC 9:30 PM (ET)

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

· Verne Troyer (actor, Austin Powers's Mini-Me) (41)

· Frank Langella (actor, Dracula, Good Night and Good Luck, Superman Returns, Starting Out in the Evening, Frost/Nixon) (70)

· Don Novello (actor-comedian, Saturday Night Live's Father Guido Sarducci) (67)

· J.D. Salinger (author, The Catcher In The Rye) (91)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Grand Ole Opry star Del Reeves, who had his biggest hit in 1965 when "Girl on the Billboard" topped the country chart, died on New Year's Day in 2007. He was 74, and had been suffering from an unspecified illness for some time.
  • Jamey Johnson moved to Nashville in 2000.
  • "Wild One" became Faith's Hill's first number one in 1994.
  • Johnny Cash performed at San Quentin prison in 1959, with Merle Haggard in the audience.
  • Sun Records released "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins in 1956.
  • Hank Williams was pronounced dead at Oak Hill General Hospital in West Virginia in 1953, after passing away in the back seat of a Cadillac, en route to a show in Canton, Ohio.

LATEST CELEBRITY GOSSIP:

IT'S SIR PATRICK STEWART NOW: Is this better than being captain of a starship? Patrick Stewart, best known in the United States as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has been knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. His name popped up on the New Year's List of honorees.

ERIK GATES OF MYTHBUSTERS DIES: Erik Gates, the "Amateur Rocket Expert" for the Discovery Channel show MythBusters, has been killed in a freak accident at a work site in California, according to CNN. He was 47. Gates reportedly fell 30 feet from a skylight while doing electrical work on a roof in Newbury Park, California. He was an owner of Gateco Electric, which was employed at the site.

CARLY POPE INJURED IN CARJACKING: Carly Pope was rushed to a Vancouver hospital on Tuesday after a car thief smashed up her BMW, with her still in the passenger seat. TMZ reports that Pope's brother was driving the car when a man jumped onto the hood. When the brother got out to investigate, the carjacker leaped into the driver's seat. Police say that the suspect hit three other cars before finally crashing into a building. The actress, the suspect and a pedestrian were taken to a hospital for treatment. Pope was released the same day, and the suspect was taken into custody. Criminal charges are pending. Pope had a starring role in the WB comedy Popular. She has since appeared in 24, Californication and Dirt.

BROOKE MUELLER'S ARREST HISTORY RELEASED: The wife of Charlie Sheen has her own troubled history, according to Florida documents posted by RadarOnline. Brooke Mueller has been arrested twice, in September 1996, for driving under the influence and again in March 2001 for cocaine possession, a 3rd degree felony. There are conflicting reports on whether the couple is headed for divorce court or marriage counseling in the wake of a Christmas Day incident at their rented home in Aspen, Colorado that ended in Sheen's arrest on domestic violence charges.

  • Sheen's sitcom Two and a Half Men held steady in the ratings this week. The top-rated CBS comedy drew an estimated 11.1 million viewers for a repeat on Monday, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. A year ago, it pulled 11.9 million. Sheen and the rest of the cast are expected to be back at work on Monday after the show's holiday break.

TIGER WOODS IS NOT AS DUMB AS WE FEARED: Earlier reports that Tiger Woods and his Number 1 mistress Rachel Uchitel have been partying all over Palm Beach over the holiday season are not true, according to celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents Uchitel. Allred told RadarOnline: "Ms. Uchitel has had absolutely no contact with Tiger Woods for quite some time, and has not seen him or had any communication with him since she has been in Palm Beach."

  • Oh, and, uh, happy birthday, Tiger. The world's best golfer and possibly the world's biggest public relations nightmare since Saddam Hussein celebrated his 34th birthday yesterday (Wednesday).

CHIEF GETS JAIL TIME IN PARKER-BRODERICK SURROGATE CASE: Former Ohio police chief Barry Carpenter has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for entering the home of the surrogate who bore twins for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Carpenter was convicted last month on charges of receiving stolen property, theft in office and evidence tampering, but was acquitted of other counts, including burglary. Prosecutors said he stole items related to her surrogacy from Michelle Ross' home in May, and conspired with the police chief of a neighboring town to sell the items to celebrity photographers. Carpenter resigned two weeks ago as police chief in Martins Ferry.

SIGOURNEY WEAVER TO HOST SNL: Sigourney Weaver is way hot again. Hotter than she's been since Aliens and Ghostbuster days. Hot enough to host Saturday Night Live on one of its first new shows of 2010. The star of Avatar will be there on January 16th. You'll recognize her because she really is extremely tall, although she's not usually blue. And speaking of extremely tall, NBC great Charles Barkley opens the SNL season a week earlier, on January 9th.

BRAD PITT AND KIDS DO TIMES SQUARE: Brad Pitt and sons Maddox and Pax acted just like normal tourists on the loose in Times Square on Wednesday, at least if you didn't notice the four giant security guards surrounding them. The star, 46, and his younger brother Doug took the boys to the noisy arcade restaurant Dave & Buster's for a little shoot-'em-up action, UsMagazine.com reports. Pitt and Pax, age 6, won a giant stuffed animal playing The Big One. Then Pax and Maddox, age 8, got to work on the life-size guns of the war game Razing Storm. They have pics--which show that Brad still has that horrible scraggly beard that makes him look like a serial killer.

ROSIE'S GOT A NEW GAL PAL: Rosie O'Donnell has a new girlfriend, named Tracy Kachtick-Anders, her representative has confirmed. Kachtick-Anders is a Texas-based artist and an activist for adoption rights who has six children of her own. Rosie has four, so that's going to make for some loud dinner parties.

PETA'S PEOPLE: The animal rights group PETA has chosen Ellen DeGeneres for its Woman of the Year, and Tim Gunn as its Man of the Year. De Generes is a vegan, and has highlighted vegan recipes on her talk show. Gunn has banned the use of fur from Project Runway and from the company Liz Claiborne, where he is chief creative officer.

JON AND HAILEY MAY BE TALKING: Oh, please, both of you, just shut up! Ex-television reality star Jon Gosselin and his ex-girlfriend Hailey Glassman reportedly are ready to talk to each other long enough to declare a truce in their public yelling-and-spitting match. You'll remember he accuses her of trashing his new apartment and breaking his valuable Ming vase on Christmas, and she says she had nothing to do with it, and anyway, he probably did it himself.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

THE BIGGEST LITTLE INDEPENDENT MOVIES: Looking for something good to pop into the DVR? The movie news site indieWIRE has a list of the top grossing independent movies of the decade. Here they are:

1. The Passion of the Christ, 2004 (Newmarket) $370,274,604

2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2003 (IFC Films) $241,438,208

3. Juno, 2007 (Fox Searchlight) $143,395,265

4. Slumdog Millionaire, 2008 (Fox Searchlight) $141,319,928

5. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000 (Sony Pictures Classics) $128,078,872

6. Traffic, 2000 (USA) $124,115,725

7. Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004 (Lionsgate) $119,194,771

8. Paranormal Activity, 2009 (Paramount) $107,753,000

9. Brokeback Mountain, 2005 (Focus Features) $83,043,761

10. March of the Penguins, 2005 (Warner Independent) $77,437,223

COMIC CONTEST MAY BE BACK: NBC may bring back the show Last Comic Standing, a talent show that ran for six seasons ending in 2008. EW.com reports that the show will be re-launched, with a new host replacing Bill Bellamy. It will air next summer. The show pits comedians against each other in a competition for a development contract with NBC.

WHAT KILLED THE JEFF DUNHAM SHOW?

The fans of Jeff Dunham are intensely loyal. And his detractors are equally intense in their loathing of the comic, who is politically incorrect to put it mildly. So it's big television news that Comedy Central has canceled The Jeff Dunham Show after only a couple of months on the air. They had pretty good reasons: It debuted as the highest-rated premiere ever on Comedy Central. But 55 percent didn't go back for Episode 2, and by December it was averaging less than two million viewers. And the critics, as AOL's TV section notes, were savage. Time magazine called him "politically incorrect, gratuitously insulting and ill tempered." The New York Times said that Dunham might just be "the most offensive person on television." A Web site called Videogum went farther, calling the show the "worst thing in the entire world," and that was just the headline.

THE RETURN OF REGIS PHILBIN!

After a long leave of absence, Regis Philbin returns to Live with Regis and Kelly on January 4th. The veteran television host has been off the air since late November, recovering from hip-replacement surgery. Now 78 years old, Philbin will rejoin co-host Kelly Ripa for some more daytime chat. His guests on his first week back are expected to include Amy Adams, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Allen and Chris Meloni.

  • Regis got his first national television role in 1967 as the sidekick for Joey Bishop on the short-lived late-night The Joey Bishop Show. He has been on the air, on local or national television programs, ever since. According to Wikipedia, Philbin set a Guinness World Record for "Most Hours on Camera" on his August 20th, 2004 show, topping Hugh Downs. At that time, he had spent a total of 15,188 hours on television.

INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From Jamie M on omg.com: "Regis is the man...Kelly and Her "man" make me sick!"
  • From jobena on omg.com: "Don't like him or the show. Won't be watching"
  • From pine nut on omg.com: "he needs to retire"

CHECK IT OUT: Regis Philbin's exhaustive bio is on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regis_Philbin

ANNA KENDRICK IS THE 'IT GIRL' OF 2010

You heard it here first. Anna Kendrick Is The 'It Girl' Of 2010. Well, okay, you could have read it first on Popeater, but still. The site says Hollywood is buzzing about actress Anna Kendrick as a top prospect for female breakout star of 2010. She seems to be as good a choice as anybody. If you're a Twilight fan, you've seen her in every one of the movies in the series in a smallish role, as Bella's BNF (best non-fanged friend). She got a bigger role in Up in the Air, and nominations for a Golden Globe and a SAG award along with it. Although she's only 24, it turns out she's a showbiz veteran. She won a Tony nomination at the age of 12 for her performance in the play High Society, and made her film debut in 2003 in Camp.

CHECK IT OUT: More on Anna Kendrick is available at IMDB.com: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0447695/

BEN AFFLECK IS EVERYBODY'S BABY

What a world we live in. A West Coast sperm bank reportedly offers hopeful moms-to-be the option of picking a celebrity look-a-like as a donor. The California Cryobank lets them choose a donor who looks like their favorite actor, athlete, musician, television star, or at least "anyone famous enough to be found on the web," according to the Hollyscoop site. And the top choice for baby look-a-likes is: Ben Affleck. There's tough competition, too. The Cryobank has a long list of look-a-likes, so you can opt for a baby who looks like Robert Downey Jr. or Robin Williams, Viggo Mortensen or Vin Diesel. There's plenty more information on the California Cryobank site, including vial prices. But it doesn't have a section of tips for explaining to friends and family why your new baby looks just like Ben Affleck.

CHECK IT OUT: California Cryobank has a site: www.cryobank.com

HEADLINE NEWS!!


EIGHT AMERICANS KILLED IN AFGHAN SUICIDE BOMBING: Eight American cilivians and one Afghan were killed Wednesday (December 30th) in a Taliban suicide bombing at a military base in Afghanistan. A Reuters report said CIA employees were among the Americans killed. According to reports, the bomber blew himself up in the gym on the base on Khost province, and the Taliban claimed he was wearing a military uniform. Meanwhile, four Canadian troops and a reporter embedded with their unit died when their armored vehicle hit a bomb while on patrol south of Kandahar. Michelle Lang, a 34-year-old health reporter with the Calgary Herald, was the first Canadian journalist to die in Afghanistan.

YEMEN GOES AFTER AL-QAIDA: Yemeni forces raided an al-Qaida hideout and set off a gun battle Wednesday (December 30th) as the government vowed to eliminate the group that claimed it was behind the failed Christmas Day bombing attempt on a Northwest Airlines jet. A government statement said at least one suspected militant was arrested. U.S. investigators said the would-be bomber, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has told them he got training and instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen, a poor and lawless country. Yemeni forces backed by U.S. intelligence carried out two major strikes against al-Qaida hideouts this month, before the attempted plane attack, reportedly killing more than 60 militants.

  • Meanwhile, AP reported that a man tried to board a commercial jet in Somalia last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe in a case bearing striking similarities to the Detroit airliner plot. The Somali man was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Daallo Airlines flight took off, headed to Djibouti and Dubai.
  • The Netherlands and Nigeria said yesterday they would begin mandatory use of full-body scanners on U.S.-bound planes. Abdulmuttallab was able to get through security screening in both of their countries while wearing his "underwear bomb."

IRANIAN HARDLINERS RALLY, CALL FOR DEATH OF OPPOSITION LEADERS: Tens of thousands of hardliners took to the streets of several Iranian cities Wednesday (December 30th) in support of the Islamic nation's clerical rulers at state-sponsored rallies, some chanting calls for the execution of opposition leaders. Some of the demonstrators wore white funeral shrouds to symbolize a willingness to die in defense of the current rulers. The government gave all civil servants and employees a day off to attend rallies and organized buses to bring schoolchildren and supporters from rural areas to the protests. The rallies came after opposition demonstrations Sunday (December 27th) that triggered the worst bloodshed since the height of the unrest over the summer after the disputed presidential election.

LIMBAUGH ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL WITH CHEST PAIN: Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was taken to a Honolulu hospital yesterday (December 30th) after suffering chest pains and was resting comfortably last night, his radio program said in a statement. Local TV station KITV reported that paramedics took the 58-year-old Limbaugh to the hospital in serious condition from the Kahala Hotel and Resort, where he was staying while on vacation in Hawaii.

  • Limbaugh revealed in 2001 that he had lost most of his hearing due to an autoimmune inner-ear disease, and had an electronic device implanted in his skull to restore his hearing. Two years later, Limbaugh acknowledged he was addicted to pain medication he'd been taking for back pain, and went into rehab.

TODAY'S FYI:

HIGH SCHOOLERS TO HELP WITH TIMES SQUARE BALL DROP: Twelve high school students from around New York City will help Mayor Mike Bloomberg ring in the new year tonight (December 31st), joining in pushing the button that begins the midnight drop of the crystal ball in Times Square, the New York Daily News reported. The students are high school seniors from city public schools ranked among the 100 best in America by U.S. News and World Report. Principals from the 12 schools that made the list chose who would represent them. Celebrities or famous New Yorkers are often invited to do the honors, and last year Bloomberg was joined by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

SWINE FLU NOT AS CONTAGIOUS AS OTHER PANDEMIC FLUS: A new study found that swine flu is less contagious than other new flus that have caused pandemics in the past. Specialists from Imperial College London and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied infection patterns in 216 people with swine flu in the US. and 600 people living with them. They found that when someone in the home had swine flu, the odds of other family members catching it are about 13 percent, although children are twice as susceptible. That's less than the rate during flu pandemics in 1957 and 1968, when 14 to 20 percent of household members were infected. With ordinary, non-pandemic flu, the spread rate varies widely, from five percent to 40 percent of household members.

RUSSIA MAY SEND SPACECRAFT TO KNOCK ASTEROID OFF COURSE: The head of Russia's space agency said Wednesday (December 30th) that a spacecraft may be sent to knock a large asteroid off course to reduce its chances of hitting the Earth. Anatoly Perminov said the space agency would be meeting soon to consider a mission to the asteroid, called Apophis, and might eventually invite NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese space agency and others to join the project. News of this possible mission comes despite U.S. scientists saying that it's extremely unlikely that Apophis will hit Earth. When the 885-foot asteroid was first discovered in 2004, its chances of hitting our planet in 2029 was estimated to be 1 in 37. But further studies have ruled out the possibility of an impact that year, and only indicate a small possibility of a hit in 2036 -- 1 in 250,000, and 2068 -- 1 in 330,000. Perminov wouldn't give details of the possible project, saying they still needed to be worked out, but he did say it wouldn't involve nuclear explosions.

MOST RIDICULOUS LAWSUITS OF 2009: The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform has announced the top five finishers in its first annual Most Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Year poll. Nominees were drawn from the winners of a monthly ridiculous lawsuit poll chosen by visitors to the website FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org. The top five are:

  1. Illegal immigrants sue rancher who stopped them on his property at gunpoint and turned them over to the Border Patrol.
  2. Polish tourist sues Egyptian hotel, claiming daughter got pregnant from swimming pool.
  3. Holocaust denier sues Auschwitz survivor, alleging memoir contains "fantastical tales."
  4. Double murderer sues to claim his victims' classic Chevy pickup.
  5. Neighbor sues woman for smoking in her own home.

Links to the news stories about these lawsuits are at: http://facesoflawsuitabuse.org/poll/

ABC REPORTER ENGAGED TO WHITE HOUSE BUDGET CHIEF: Romance has blossomed in Washington, as ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga has announced the she's engaged to White House budget director Peter Orszag. According to a story posted on ABC's website, the couple met in May at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Before becoming head of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, the 41-year-old Orszag had served as director of the Congressional Budget Office. Golodryga, who's 31, joined Good Morning America in 2007, and has worked the economy and business beat and reported on the housing and credit crisis.

SPORTS:

TEXAS TECH COACH FIRED: Texas Tech fired football coach Mike Leach Wednesday (December 30th), after he took the school to court to try to overturn his suspension for alleged mistreatment of an injured player. Receiver Adam James has alleged that Leach twice made him stand in small, dark rooms while the team practiced after he was diagnosed with a concussion. News of Leach's firing came as the team is preparing for the Alamo Bowl against Michigan State on Saturday. Leach said later in a statement, "Texas Tech's decision to deal in lies and fabricate a story which led to my firing, includes, but is not limited by, the animosity remaining from last year's contract negotiations. I will not tolerate such retaliatory action; additionally, we will pursue all available legal remedies."

PACQUIAO FILES SUIT AGAINST MAYWEATHER: Manny Pacquiao filed a lawsuit Wednesday (December 30th) alleging that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and others in his camp defamed him by falsely accusing Pacquiao of using performance-enhancing drugs. The suit further complicates efforts to reach an agreement for a proposed blockbuster fight on March 13th between the two welterweight boxers. The fight has been held up by demands by the Mayweather camp that both fighters submit to random blood and urine tests leading up to the bout.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY & New Year's Day

New Year's Eve


CBS
  • MEDIUM (repeat)
  • CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (repeat)
  • THE MENTALIST (repeat)

NBC

  • 30 ROCK (repeat)
  • 30 ROCK (repeat)
  • 30 ROCK (repeat)
  • 30 ROCK (repeat)
  • NBC'S NEW YEAR'S EVE WITH CARSON DALY - The countdown to 2010 begins in Times Square.

FOX

  • BONES (repeat)
  • FRINGE (repeat)

ABC

  • WILD HOGS - A group of middle aged friends looking for adventure, hit the open road and encounter the adventure they were searching for. Starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy.
  • DICK CLARK'S PRIMETIME NEW YEAR'S ROCKIN' EVE WITH RYAN SEACREST 2010 - The Black Eyed Peas are slated to perform.

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • SUPERNATURAL (repeat)

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

NEW YEAR'S DAY
Friday, January 1st, 2010

CBS

  • GHOST WHISPERER (repeat)
  • MEDIUM (repeat)
  • NUMB3RS (repeat)

NBC

  • THE BIGGEST LOSER (repeat)

FOX

  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREGAME - Live.
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Allstate Sugar Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Florida

ABC

  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL - Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
  • BETTER OFF TED - A misunderstanding leads Sheila to falsely accuse Ted and Linda of sexual harassment.
  • SCRUBS - Turk tries to find a replacement best friend; Elliot offers some advice to exhausted Lucy.
  • BETTER OFF TED (repeat)
  • 20/20 - Investigative reporting.

CW

  • SMALLVILLE (repeat)
  • SMALLVILLE (repeat)

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)

SATURDAY

NBC

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - (repeat)

SUNDAY

CBS

  • NCIS (repeat)
  • COLD CASE (repeat)
  • COLD CASE (repeat)

NBC

  • FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA - NFL Highlights.
  • NFL FOOTBALL - Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets.

FOX

  • THE SIMPSONS - When a columnist begins interviewing Grampa about his life, Homer becomes jealous of his newfound fame.
  • THE CLEVELAND SHOW - Cleveland visits his old high school and discovers ther is no longer a baseball team.
  • FAMILY GUY - Peter gets amnesia after hitting his head; Lois tries to help jog his memory but gets fed up when Peter starts hitting on other women.
  • AMERICAN DAD - Francine wants Stan to get rid of his gas-guzzling SUV; Steve tries to help an old friend.

ABC

  • EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION - Weather man Sam Champion and the Muppets help the team rebuild a home and daycare for a family in St. Paul, Minn.
  • DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES - In the aftermath of the plane crash, the residents of Wisteria Lane think about what their lives might have been like had they made different choices.
  • BROTHERS & SISTERS - Kitty's life is in jeopardy as the Walkers frantically search for a bone marrow donor.

E!

  • KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS - Kourt gives Scott an ultimatum after he fails to take her pregnancy seriously; Bruce stands up to Kris after she confiscates his ATM card.


FLORIDA MAN CALLS 911 FOR A RIDE TO A BAR: A Florida man was arrested after he allegedly called 911 claiming he'd been beaten and shot, hoping this story would get him a ride to a bar. Gregory Oras reportedly called 911 three times before his arrest, telling the dispatcher he had a broken nose and bleeding ears and claimed people were shooting at him. The officers said the man was looking for a ride to another bar. The report also shows that Oras kicked an officer in the knee before being Tasered, as a way to subdue him. (AP)

MAN SETS BEER CAN ALARM AND FIGHTS INTRUDER: A North Dakota man set empty beer cans in front of his door to alert him to intruders and reportedly ended up fighting with an alleged burglar. Police were reportedly called to the scene after a report of two elderly men attacking each other. The alleged burglar appeared drunk and police thought it possible that the man assumed he was entering his own home. (AP)

MAN TRIES TO CARJACK TOWTRUCK AFTER CRASHING: A Hartford man crashed his car into a utility pole and then allegedly tried to carjack a towtruck who tried to help him. The man allegedly punched the towtruck driver, who got out of his truck to try to help him, and tried to steal the truck. But the driver called the police and the man ran away. He was found and was arrested. (The Hartford Courant)

MAN GETS HIS 11TH DIVORCE: A 50-year-old Jerusalem man was granted his 11th divorce after claiming his wife told him he did not work and had been living off her income. The man says he gets a divorce about every 2 years. Although he has so many divorces under his belt, the man says he never has trouble finding women. He claimed, "I send out a hook in all directions, and the fish come on their own." (Fox News)

READY TO DO A 'DIGITAL STRIP SEARCH?

The next time you fly, get ready to do a "digital strip search" at the airport. Security experts say that the man who tried to blow up an international flight over Detroit last week might have been stopped at the airport security check, if a full-body imaging machine had been used. The imaging machine shows the contours of the body, and reveals any foreign objects hidden under clothing. Machines are already in use at 19 airports in the United States. Orders are in for 150 more machines, and there are plans to make them the standard screening method at U.S. airports, according to The New York Times. That has privacy advocates in an uproar. A coalition of 24 rights groups protested the decision in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. They say it is too intrusive.

EASIER WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT:

Here's what we've all been looking for. A few tips on losing weight that do not include exercising self-control. They're from Dr. Oz, the TV doc, and he says they work because they're based on biology, not willpower.

  • Eat a 100-calorie snack a half-hour before dinner to take the edge off your appetite. It takes a half hour for your brain to tell your stomach it isn't all that hungry.
  • Drink water instead of a sugary soft drink with meals. Fructose screws up your brain's ability to understand that your stomach is full and you should stop eating already.
  • Eat a high-fiber breakfast. Fiber digests slowly, so it's satisfying longer and you're less likely to crave a late-morning snack.

CHECK IT OUT: More tips from Dr. Oz are on Oprah's site: http://www.oprah.com/article/health/wellnessandprevention/pkgnewyear/201001-omag-dr-oz-weight-loss

LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES:

If you're looking for love in the New Year, here are some excellent resolutions to make, from British relationship expert Dr. Pam Spurr, in the London newspaper The Daily Mail. She says there are just three things you must do, and none of them are about losing weight or getting a dose of Botox:

  • First, widen your circle of opportunity. Don't go to the same coffee bar every day, or hang out with just a few best buddies. Go to new places and see new people.
  • Make a good first impression. When you're out and about, be aware of your body language and facial expression. A smile and a confident look makes you more approachable.
  • Get a new attitude. If you've been moping about how unlucky in love you are, you're probably giving off bad vibes. Cheer up and people will be drawn to you.

TAX BENNIES YOU CAN STILL USE IN 2010:

It's no wonder Americans are confused about the various tax credits that were put in place as economic stimulus programs this year. But one thing that is NOT true is that they all expire tonight at midnight. In fact, you can get a home energy tax credit for various energy efficiency upgrades to your home into 2010. Some people are still eligible for the first-time homebuyers credit, too. The details are pretty complicated. But it's all explained in detail at the IRS site, www.irs.gov. Click on the headline: "Tax Benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."

ANOTHER REASON TO TOAST IN THE NEW YEAR:

Since it's New Year's Eve, this is as good a time as any to talk about how good drinking in moderation is for you. Let's put the stress on that word "moderation." Getting sloppy drunk won't do you or anyone else any good. But here's a round-up from MSNBC of major studies that show that just a few drinks a week does a body good:

  • Post-menopausal women who drink up to seven alcoholic drinks a week have a smaller risk of dying from any cause, compared to abstainers. The benefit for white women was greater, 19 percent compared with only six percent for black women.
  • Older people who are light drinkers are 50 percent less likely to develop dementia.
  • Women who drink lightly are less likely to develop hypertension. Bad news for guys, though: It increased their chances of high blood pressure.
  • Still, men who have several drinks a week are more than 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack.
  • A little white wine appears to improve lung function.

SO, BOTTOMS UP, AND HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Listen Tomorrow Morning to the Jessi & Friends Morning Show as I do shots of JD to show the affects of alcohol!

Tomorrow morning I will be drinking shots of Jack Daniels live on the air! Join me on the Flag with CP and the CHP! CHP will be monitoring my alcohol use and doing breathalyzer tests and other sobriety tests on me to show you the affects of alcohol. I am doing this to raise Public awareness of drinking and driving and how quickly alcohol affects all of us. Because I want you to have a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR and NOT be tempted to get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking! ! A big thank you to our Friends Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, Fox Creek Urgent Care, Brake Masters, Valley View Medical Center and Mill Tours for helping me raise drunk driving awareness in the Tri-State area! CYA in the morning!!!

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

What are some of your favorite stars doing to welcome in the New Year, not to mention a new decade? Many of them are working to help fans celebrate, however several artists have taken the time off around the holidays and will hit it hard when they return to the road in mid-to-late January. Some artists have resolutions and some are very helpful with their own hangover cures for those who imbibe too much on New Year's Eve.

Jack Ingram will be ringing in 2010 while performing at Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas.

Diamond Rio takes part in FOX News' All-American New Year's Eve special tonight.

Randy Houser will toast 2010 in Kennesaw, Georgia at Cowboy's Concert Hall.

Eli Young Band will bring in the New Year at the Verizon Wireless Theater in Houston, Texas.

If you happen to be in Music City for New Year's Eve, you can catch Jeffrey Steele headlining the spectacular show at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon. His special guest is former Trick Pony member Ira Dean.

Keith Anderson will be hanging around his hometown of Miami, Oklahoma, ringing in the New Year at the Buffalo Run Casino. He tells us, he'd rather be on stage on the biggest party night of the year. "New Year's Eve, unless I'm playing, I'd much rather be at home. I used to, before I had my deal and used to travel all the time, we would usually go and try to find something fun to do. But it just gets so long by the time New Year's Eve hits, you're pretty much toast. (laughs)"

Bucky Covington usually likes to be on stage for New Year's Eve. He says,"My favorite spot to celebrate New Year's, hands down, would easily be on a stage, because people love to go out and have a good time on New Year's. So, I would love to be a part of that. Or sitting at home with my brother, family and friends, and just laying back and watching the ball drop in New York. And you can guess the rest." And Bucky will be performing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina .

Justin Moore will be counting down the seconds until 2010 at The Village in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Gloriana is set to play Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington on New Year's Eve.

Billy Dean, along with his Big Band, will perform in Tallahassee, Florida.

Sarah Buxton tells us her favorite New Year's Eve memory is when she played a gig in Nashville. "Probably my favorite New Year's Eve was a show that Jedd Hughes and I did at The Basement here in Nashville. We started playing at nine o'clock and we played until like two in the morning. His band, and they were my band too, and we just rocked out all night. And all of our friends came, and we drank champagne, and it was too much fun."

Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, who are spending the New Year on stage at a resort in Rancho Mirage, California, are just like the rest f us when it comes to New Year's resolutions. Eddie tells us, "My New Year's resolution is the same one as usually everybody's. It's always you want to lose a little weight, you know. I definitely want to spend time with the family. And I definitely want to make great music, brother, and hang with y ou and have a great time and see all our friends out on the road playing and just have a great time." However, Troy reminds us of one significant difference --"You know, I'm on the same lines -- everybody wants to lose a little weight. And you know, I want to be a good dad and I want to be a good husband and I want to get out there and win over the hearts of our fans and continue making great music."

Some people use New Year's Eve as an excuse to imbibe many adult beverages, and Dierks Bentley says he doesn't really have a cure for the inevitable hangover that may occur on New Year's Day. "I think January first is universally accepted as a day off. So, I mean a little hair of the dog, I guess. But just water and stay on the couch, I guess. There's no real sure-fire cure for that."
Chuck Wicks disagrees. He says his tips for curing a hangoverr is "Sleep. Sleep it off, or drink more. That always works. If you stay drunk you never have a hangover. I'm a genius. I'm a genius. I think I've made a breakthrough. Ladies and gentlemen, if you stay drunk, you'll never be hung over."

Tracy Lawrence
agrees, sayingg the best cure for a hangover is alcohol. "There ain't nothing better than the dog that bit ya. Bloody Marys and mimosas -- trust me. Just get back on it."

Lee Brice, who is in his hometown of Sumter, South Carolina "to ring in this exciting new year of my life with my friends," explains what works best for him when he has a hangover. "There's the hair of the dog approach, which is to just stomach whatever you were drinking the night before -- a really stiff one, and you'll feel better immediately. Or my favorite actual hangover cure is the actual process of sleeping in on the couch, watching football, eating like Chinese food or something, or something with cheese and meat and bread and fries and ketchup and ranch dressing. (laughs) That's the cure for me -- just sitting around all day, letting it pass, relaxing."

Newcomers Steel Magnolia says 2009 was a year they'll never forget, especially with winning CMT's Can You Duet and getting signed to a record deal. Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones explains: "Just, I think, definitely winning the show was a huge milestone this year, and getting the deal with Big Machine, obviously. The radio tour. The radio tour was just amazing. Working with Dann Huff . . . I think there's a whole number of things. The Grand Ole Opry debut was a huge thing for us. Yeah, just a lot of big things happened."

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner are apparently no longer an item. The two have split, and according to a source who told People magazine, "It was never a big deal to begin with. They went out on a few dates and realized this was just not going anywhere." Citing busy schedules and living far apart (she in Nashville and he in L-A) were a couple of factors in the breakup.
  • The day after Lautner hosted Saturday Night Live, he flew to Nashville to surprise Taylor for her 20th birthday, and sometime after the party, the two decided they'd be better off as friends.
  • The couple met on the set of the new Valentine's Day movie, and had been spending time together since October. The New Moon actor attended a couple of the 20-year-old singer-songwriter's shows; the pair were spotted at an L-A Kings hockey game, different restaurants for dinner and more.
Carrie Underwood will attend next week's People's Choice Awards, where she's vying for Best Female Artist, along with Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Britney Spears and Pink, as well as for Best Country Artist against Taylor, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts.
  • Hugh Jackman, Taylor Lautner, Mariah Carey, Sandra Bullock, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Carrell and LL Cool J are also among the stars expected at the show next week.
  • The People's Choice Awards, hosted by Queen Latifah, will take place live from L-A's Nokia Theater on CBS.
Steel Magnolia are enjoying their recent success with not only winning the second season of the CMT show, Can You Duet?, but also the grand prize of getting a record deal with Big Machine, home to Taylor Swift. Their debut single, "Keep on Lovin' You," is rising up the country charts, and they've been on a continuous radio tour, chatting and performing at stations around the country.

The two are just now able to look back on this year and take stock of what's been happening. The on-and-off stage couple Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey share their thoughts with us: JOSHUA: "It's been more than we probably expected right off the bat, I think, and I think it's kind of like being in the weeds, you're working your butt off and every once in a while, you get a chance to look up and catch a glimpse of what's going on. I think that as of lately, when we cracked the Top 25, it's kinda hitting us now, so." MEGHAN: "I think just about now is when we're starting to realize 'Oh Gosh, we just did all this in about the last four or five months, just working really hard.' And just to have all this happen is cool."

Meghan and Joshua first met when she was a karaoke host at a club in Nashville's Printer's Alley.
  • Meghan is from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, and she began her stage career at age 15, opening for such acts as Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, Blake Shelton and others.
  • Joshua is from Charleston, Illinois, and counts Waylon Jennings among his influences.
Phil Vassar has written songs for himself, as well as for stars such as Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson and Jo Dee Messina. Now, he's heading to the Great White Way, by writing music for a new Broadway play, based on the 2007 independent movie Waitress. He's working with Barry Weissler, who's won Tony Awards for Annie Get Your Gun and Chicago.
  • Phil tells The Lynchburg News and Advance, "It's such a great story. We're staying as close as we can to it." He's already written about 10-12 songs for the project, and there's still a handful more to go before its completed.

SIDE NOTES:

  • Phil just released his new studio album, Traveling Circus, which he produced by himself.
  • Phil wrote "I Will Remember You" with Kenny Chesney. The song appears on his album, Traveling Circus.
Justin Moore took a day away from the family to go hunting. He tweeted that he was getting up at 4:00 AM in 20-degree weather. He said the upside was "watchin' the sun come up in a blind will make it all worthwhile. Nothin' better."
  • Justin did have a few issues, however. He forgot his flask, and apparently, a bunch of squirrels were bothering him while he was waiting on the deer to arrive. He tweeted, "Dear squirrel family . . . I'm deer huntin', but I WILL kill a mess of y'all if you don't stop playin' around me! Thanks for your time. Sincerely JM."
  • Last night, Justin tweeted that he didn't get a deer, but that he was going to go squirrel hunting today and figured he wouldn't come home empty-handed, with all the trouble he had with the pesky critters yesterday. He mentioned something about making some "squirrel dumplings."

SIDE NOTES:

  • Justin kicks off his opening gig on the 2010 leg of Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night tour, along with Miranda Lambert, on January 7th in San Antonio, Texas.
  • Justin and his wife are expecting their first child -- daughter Ella Kole near the end of January.
Martina McBride is spending time in Kansas with her parents, and she's having a blast, but she's also learning a few things while she's out there. In fact, she caught a glimpse of this huge ring around the moon. She tweeted to ask if anyone knew what it meant, and the explanation was a lunar halo. She wrote, "It was really awesome to see. Apparently, they are quite common, but it was a first for me!"

LeAnn Rimes invited her parents to join her and actor-boyfriend Eddie Cibrian at her L-A home for Christmas. According to People, Eddie spent part of the day with his son, and then joined the singer later in the day.

Taylor Swift attended the surprise birthday party for Paramore's Hayley Williams, donning roller skates and listening to Hanson.

In other Taylor news, her official website, TaylorSwift.com looks a lot different than it used to, and it now features a lot of new items for fans. The site offers a feed of Taylor's latest Twitter updates, and fans can have their own profile on her site in the Taylor Nation section, which should launch in the coming weeks.

Keith Urban's "Only You Can Love Me This Way" was chosen as the song for the first dance at Kevin Jonas' recent wedding to his wife Danielle. The pair were married December 19th in Huntington, New York.

Jimmy Wayne is gearing up for his nearly 17-hundred mile walk beginning on New Year's Day. He tweeted last night, "All my Marmot clothes are packed in zip lock bags and labeled. Makes search and unpacking, etc. easier, and they stay dry!"

Julianne Hough apparently left her car on, but not running, all day outside the recording studio she was working at. Apparently, most of the musicians, as well as the producer, tried to jumpstart it, but no luck. Not sure how she got her car started finally.

David Nail's new single will be titled "Turning Home," which was written by Kenny Chesney and Scooter Carusoe.

Chuck Wicks has been writing songs for his upcoming album and plans to head back into the studio on January 4th.

ON THIS DAY:

  • 1939 The film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke and Thomas Mitchell, premiered.
  • 1940 Los Angeles opened its first freeway to the public.
  • 1951 The Roy Rogers Show debuted on NBC-TV.
  • 1953 The first color TV sets went on sale for about $1,175.
  • 1954 The 24-minute shot clock was used in professional basketball for the first time.
  • 1963 The John F. Kennedy half-dollar was authorized by Congress.
  • 1963 Let's Make A Deal debuted on NBC-TV with host Monty Hall.
  • 1978 Woody Hayes was fired as Ohio State's football coach, after punching a player from Clemson University during the Gator Bowl game.
  • 1980 The Wonderful World of Disney was cancelled by NBC-TV after more than 25 years on TV. It was the longest-running series in prime-time television history.
  • 1983 "Dr. J.," Julius Erving, of the Philadelphia 76ers, sank a free throw in the third quarter to become the ninth professional basketball player to score 25,000 points.
  • 1992 The film Lorenzo's Oil, starring Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon, opened in theaters nationwide.
  • 1993 President George H.W. Bush made his final foreign trip in office. He stopped in Somalia to visit U.S. troops aiding famine victims.
  • 1995 Elton John was awarded the CBE -- Commander of the British Empire. A few years later, he was knighted by the Queen.
  • 1999 Sarah "Sadie" Clark Knauss, listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest person with a verifiable date of birth, died in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at age 119.
  • 1999 Former Beatle George Harrison fought off a knife-wielding intruder who broke into his mansion west of London and stabbed him in the chest. (Michael Abram was later acquitted of attempted murder by reason of insanity.)

TODAY'S CELEBRITY GOSSIP

KOURTNEY AND KIDDY GET A MAGAZINE COVER: Kourtney Kardashian has only been a mom for about a week, but she's already thinking about giving her newborn a sibling. "Right now I'm obsessed with Mason and want to give him all my time. But being with him has definitely made me think about having another one," Kourtney told Life & Style magazine, which got the first photo of Kourtney, 30, with baby Mason Dash Disick for its current cover. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star told the magazine that she and sister Kim Kardashian are only 18 months apart in age. "Growing up, we did everything together. It would be nice for Mason to have a little brother or sister that many months apart too."

A BEVERLY HILLS CHRISTMAS: After years of estrangement and some very public squabbling, actress Tori Spelling and her mom Candy Spelling have made up. At least they were together for a Christmas dinner in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, according to US magazine. Candy, 64, and Tori, 36, were there, along with Tori's husband Dean McDermott and their children Liam and Stella, McDermott's son Jack, and Tori's brother Randy Spelling and his girlfriend. Earlier in December, Candy told UsMagazine.com of her patched-up relationship with her daughter: "I'm so happy. That's all I want to say about this topic -- I'm happy."

HELIO CASTRONEVES DANCING FOR JOY: Dancing With the Stars champion Helio Castroneves and his girlfriend Adriana Henao are the parents of a baby girl, born Monday. The 3-time Indy 500 winner, who is 34, announced the news on his Twitter feed. Mikaella weighs in at seven pounds and three ounces. It's their first child.

BRITTANY MURPHY DEATH CERTIFICATE RELEASED: The actress' cause of death is listed on the document as "deferred." As reported earlier, it will take from four to six weeks for test results to determine the precise cause of her death at age 32.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

JEFF DUNHAM SHOW CANCELED: Comedy Central will not renew The Jeff Dunham Show for a second season, TVGuide.com has confirmed. The show, which features the comedian and his puppets, premiered in October with an audience of 5.3 million, making it the most-watched premiere in Comedy Central history. But ratings dropped steeply. The season finale this month drew only 1.3 million viewers.

BRAD PITT AS PROFESSOR MORIARTY? It could happen. With the box office success of the new Sherlock Holmes, the inevitable sequel may include a part for Brad Pitt as Professor Moriarty, the arch-villain who matches wits with Holmes. That's according to Rob Shuter, columnist for Popeater.com. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are reportedly already committed to the sequel.

THE REAL SNOOKI: In Touch Weekly got "Snooki" of Jersey Shore to pose without makeup. We're startled to report that somebody who's kind of cute is hiding under all that mascara and teased hair. And, in other news from Jersey Shore, the list of those embarrassed by the show now includes: The Jersey Shore! Part of the reality television series was taped in the borough of Seaside Heights, with the borough's permission. Now, the borough government has issued a statement saying that it "did not solicit, promote or participate in the filming of this show."

HAPPY 40TH, ALL MY CHILDREN: Celebrity couple Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, who met on the set of All My Children and later eloped, will return as guests on the ABC daytime soap next month as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Hayley and Mateo, as their characters are called, will guest star on the January 4th and 5th episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

COTILLARD AND TARANTINO GET FILM HONORS: The Palm Springs International Film Festival will present actress Marion Cotillard with its Desert Palm Achievement Award, and will honor director Quentin Tarantino with its Sonny Bono Visionary Award, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cotillard, who received the fest's Breakthrough Performance Award in 2008 for La vie en rose, is currently appearing in the musical Nine, and co-starred in Public Enemies. Tarantino, whose most recent film is Inglourious Basterds, will receive the award named after the festival's founder. The awards gala will be held Jan. 5 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

AVATAR GETS AN HONORABLE MENTION: The movie Avatar is "noteworthy," but that doesn't mean it's one of the finest films of 2009. That's according to the American Film Institute, which chose the sci-fi spectacular as one of the noteworthy events in cinema of the year, citing its technical achievements and their likely impact on futuremoviemaking. But it's not on AFI's list of the best movies of the year. Their "best" list includes Coraline, The Hangover, The Hurt Locker, The Messenger, Precious, A Serious Man, A Single Man, Sugar, Up, and Up in the Air.

  • AFI cited another major cultural trend of 2009 that it doesn't think is quite so favorable. Reality television, the institute said, "crossed a line in 2009 as the cultural craving for celebrity moved in a dangerous new direction." AFI pointed to the balloon boy hoax and the phenomenon of "Octomom."
  • AFI is a non-profit organization created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

TIGER WOODS SCANDAL LEADS TO INVESTOR LOSSES

Tiger Woods' scandalous extra-marital affairs with numerous women, which came to light after a November 27th car accident at his Florida home, has certainly lost him his professional reputation. But according to financial reports, the scandal has also lost money for millions of investors. According to a study by two economics professors from the University of California-Davis, the sex scandal may have lost shareholders of companies endorsed by the golf champion up to $12 billion.

  • The study was released Monday (December 28th) by UC researchers Victor Stango and Christopher Knittel. "We estimate that shareholders of Tiger Woods' sponsors lost $5 to $12 billion after his car accident, relative to shareholders of firms that Mr. Woods does not endorse," the researchers wrote.
  • In a statement, Stango added, "Our analysis makes clear that while having a celebrity of Tiger Woods' stature as an endorser has undeniable upside, the downside risk is substantial, too."
  • Woods is considered to be the wealthiest athlete in sports, and had previously had endorsements worth up to $100,000. Several companies have since severed ties with the golfer, while others say they will keep current campaigns but reconsider their relationships going forward.

CHECK IT OUT:

CHARLIE SHEEN'S CAREER IS DOING JUST FINE

Charlie Sheen's private life may be a mess, but his career is doing just fine. And that's not likely to change, despite his arrest on Christmas Day on allegations of domestic abuse. How can that be, when only weeks ago, Tiger Woods was driven out of golf and into seclusion by his own scandal? Well, it's all about public image, and nobody every thought Charlie Sheen was America's sweetheart. "Charlie Sheen has bounced back from various scandals, and I don't think anyone expects anything more from him," public relations expert Vanessa J. Horwell, of ThinkInk PR, told CNN. "Bad-boy behavior is part of his persona that's been a work in progress since the 1980s. He has bounced back time and time again." In short, Sheen has known scandal before and every arrest, divorce and indiscretion has become part of his bad-boy image, making him essentially scandal-proof.

  • Meanwhile, RadarOnline combed Sheen's arrest report and discovered that he has 10 tattoos, and four more that are in the process of being removed. One reads "Back in 15 Min." Another has a picture of Charlie Brown with "mom" in a word balloon. Others display a burning Marlboro cigarette, a stingray and a baseball. Sheen has four more tattoos that he is having removed, including an open zipper with an eyeball popping out, a Yankees tattoo, a Japanese samurai and angel wings. Already gone: The tattoo of the name Denise Richards, his ex-wife.
INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From sillylemur on radaronline: "All the people who feel sorry for "poor ol' Charlie" need to learn more about his past, and educate themselves on the realities of domestic abuse. I suggest reading some Lundy Bancroft."
  • From lenore on radaronline.com: "Leave ol' Charlie alone. I like him - what I know of him - but wouldn't want to be married to him. She was drinking (also?) a lot they said. Give up on gold digging starlets."
  • From bones on radaronline.com: "Charlie has a history of domestic and substance abuse. He needs to be in jail before he really hurts or God forbid kills someone. Thank God this didn't happen at his own home- where he probably access to handguns."

CHECK IT OUT: In the latest episode of Two and a Half Men, Charlie coaches Jake on the art of infidelity! See it at: http://www.cbs.com/primetime/two_and_a_half_men/

LOVE AND HATE AT THE MOVIES

Fans of the Twilight series swamped a poll of the best and worst of the year at the movies on MovieFone's site, giving wins to their favorite and its stars in four categories. New Moon won best movie of the year and "best chick flick." Robert Pattinson got "sexiest male star" and Taylor Lautner got "male breakout star" of the year. But seriously, folks, George Clooney got best actor for Up in the Air, and Sandra Bullock won best actress for The Blind Side. Here are some dishonorable mentions:

  • Worst Movie: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (but it was also "best action movie)
  • Worst Actor: Jack Black in Year One
  • Worst Actress: Megan Fox in Transformers (but she also got "sexiest female star")
  • Most Disappointing Movie: Bruno
INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From kramer at MovieFone.com: "I don't really like Twilight, but I'm in love with Kristen Stewart"
  • From tony at MovieFone.com: "are these people kidding? New moon sucked , its just a dumb chick flick , and transformers 2 made more than any other movie this year."
  • From brandon at MovieFone.com: "Will this effect Razzie selection?"

CHECK IT OUT: See all the MovieFone Poll winners and losers: http://insidemovies.moviefone.com/2009/12/18/year-end-movie-poll/

ALLEGED LETTERMAN EXTORTIONIST CITES REPORTED TIGER DEAL

Robert Halderman, the man accused of attempting to extort money from Late Night host David Letterman in return for his silence about Letterman's involvement with women on his show's staff, has a new argument in his own defense. Documents obtained by TMZ.com indicate that Halderman's lawyer is asking that the charges against him be dismissed, because none of Tiger Woods' mistresses have been locked up! The document in the Letterman case notes that at least one of Tiger Woods' mistresses is reported to have gotten a multi-million settlement in return for shutting up. "Their behavior was capitalist, not criminal," the lawyer concludes. Halderman's lawyer says his client essentially just "offered to sell his very marketable story to David Letterman." Celebrity misdeeds have "significant fair market value" and are "routinely suppressed through private business arrangements," the document adds. It should be noted that no payments from Tiger Woods to any of his mistresses have been confirmed.

  • In an online poll accompanying the TMZ story, 72 percent thought the new legal argument was "BS." Only 28 percent responded "Free Halderman!"

INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From wewhocare on tmz.com: "And they wonder why we hate lawyers."
  • From Papparazzo on tmz.com: "What an idiot lawyer. Robert Halderman didn't sleep with Letterman -- he tried to blackmail him."
  • From jerseyshore on tmz.com: "Did this attorney ever think that it was Tiger who initiated the Hush Money!!!!!!!!!"
  • From paul on tmz.com: "The Tiger defense? More like the 21st century's Twinkie Defense. ;)"

BETHENNY FRANKEL 'FESSES UP TO AIRBRUSHING

You can't tell a lie to that hardboiled news hound Matt Lauer. The Today Show host forced Bethenny Frankel to 'fess up at last: That enormous naked photo of her looming over Times Square in New York City has been airbrushed. "There was a rogue boob they took out," the Real Housewives of New York City star told Lauer yesterday (Tuesday) in an interview. Frankel is covering her breasts with her hands in the picture. Before and after versions show that a photo editor tastefully erased the over-exposure, and also removed her tan lines. A closer look reveals signs of overall airbrushing. The photo is the latest in anti-fur organization PETA's "I'd Rather Be Naked" ad series. "It's a little airbrushed, but the truth is, here it is. I don't care," Frankel said. The actress is the latest to be caught up in a controversy over whether actresses and models are routinely being airbrushed into a perfect beauty that no one possesses.INTERNET

COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?

  • From SP on gothamist.com: "They made her look about 20 years younger, but even so I'd still hit it.
  • From howboutdemcowboys on gothamist.com: "Rogue boob? Sounds like a Chris Farley movie that was never made."
  • From oneofthem on gothamist.com: "anybody else think better in the before?"

CHECK IT OUT: See the "before" and "after" photos of Frankel: http://gothamist.com/2009/12/29/real_houswives_bethenny_embraces_ai.php#comments

WATCH YOUR BACK, CATHERINE ZETA JONES

You just can't stop yourself from reading a story with the headline: "Catherine Zeta Jones Hates Cute, Defenseless Animals." That's the headline on a story from cocoperez.com, which warns the actress wife of Michael Douglas that she can pretty much count on being featured prominently in the next "worst dressed" list from PETA, the animal rights activist group. A PETA vice president has already released this warning shot: "Among the most vulgar offenders this year is Catherine Zeta Jones, who can't seem to leave her room in New York without covering herself head to toe in the dried-out skins of several species - not just fur coats but leather pants and crocodile bags. She looks more like a serial killer than a star."

  • Past losers in the PETA hit list include Paris Hilton and Christina Ricci, who stopped wearing fur (at least in public) after making the list.
CHECK IT OUT: More from PETA: http://www.peta.org/

HEADLINE NEWS!!

OBAMA SAYS U.S. INTELLIGENCE HAD INFO AHEAD OF ATTEMPTED ATTACK: President Obama said Tuesday (December 29th) that the intelligence community had information that should have been pieced together that would have triggered red flags and possibly prevented the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab on a Northwest Airlines jet. "There was a mix of human and systemic failures that contributed to this potential catastrophic breach of security," Obama said. He called the shortcomings "totally unacceptable." The New York Times reported that the government had intelligence from Yemen before Christmas that leaders of a branch of al-Qaida there were talking about a Nigerian being prepared for a terrorist attack. AP cited government officials as saying that there were initial indications that Yemen-based radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki -- who reportedly corresponded with Fort Hood killer Major Nidal Malik Hasan -- was involved. Abdulmutallab's name had been put in a government advisory system, but never made it onto lists that would have kept him off airplanes or caused his U.S. visa to be revoked, despite his father's warnings to U.S. Embassy officials in Nigeria last month.

IRAN INTENSIFIES CRACKDOWN: Iranian security forces intensified their crackdown on opposition supporters Tuesday (December 29th), arresting a reported 10 more people, including the sister of Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, and main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi's brother-in-law, and limiting the movement of another top opposition leader, Mahdi Karroubi. Iran also accused the U.S., Israel and Britain of being behind Sunday's sometimes violent protests that left eight people dead and were the biggest since the aftermath of June's disputed presidential election.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE UP IN DECEMBER: The Conference Board's monthly Consumer Confidence Index out yesterday (December 29th) rose in December for the second month in a row, to 52.9, from a revised 50.6 in November. While the bump up is good news, it's still far short of the 90 that would signal a solid economy. Economists watch the consumer confidence numbers closely because consumer spending on goods and services accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. The consumer confidence index hit a historic low of 25.3 in February.

TODAY'S FYI:

SEAN GOLDMAN'S BRAZILIAN FAMILY TO CONTINUE LEGAL BATTLE: Nine-year-old Sean Goldman is back in New Jersey with his father after he was returned to David Goldman on Christmas Eve by order of a Brazilian Supreme Court judge. But the boy's Brazilian family said Tuesday (December 29th) that their legal battle hasn't ended, and they'll fight to regain custody. Lawyers for the relatives say they'll continue with a request from Sean's Brazilian grandmother to allow the boy to make his wishes known in court. The request was initially denied, but the Supreme Court hasn't issued a final ruling on it. Sean was taken by Goldman's then-wife, Bruna, told her native Brazil in 2004 for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. But she remained in Brazil with their son, got a divorce and remarried. Goldman has been fighting to get his son back since, first battling his ex-wife, and then after she died last year in childbirth, the boy's stepfather and Bruna's relatives.

GM OFFERING BIG DISCOUNTS ON SATURNS, PONTIACS: There are big deals to be had on Saturns and Pontiacs if you act quickly, with the Wall Street Journal reporting Tuesday (December 29th) that General Motors is offering deep discounts on the vehicles in order to sell the leftover inventory of the two brands it will soon shut down. According to the report, GM will pay dealers $7,000 for every new Saturn or Pontiac left on their lots if the vehicle is moved to dealer-operated rental or service fleets. That will allow dealers to sell the vehicles at a discount, although they'll be labeled as used, because the dealer would technically be the first owner. The deal ends on January 4th. GM is shutting down Saturn and Pontiac as part of its restructuring plan, and will likely close down Saab as well. Meanwhile, the Hummer brand is being sold to a Chinese heavy equipment maker. GM will be left with four core brands: Buick; Chevrolet; GMC; and Cadillac.

KARL ROVE AND WIFE DIVORCE: Karl Rove, the former top strategist for President George W. Bush, and his graphic artist wife Darby, have divorced after 24 years of marriage. The two have a son together, 20-year-old college student Andrew Rove. A spokeswoman said yesterday (December 29th) that the divorce was finalized last week, and that the couple made the decision, quote, "mutually and amicably" and maintain a strong friendship. The marriage was Rove's second.

SURVIVOR OF USS COLE BOMBING DIES AT 31: A 31-year-old survivor of the USS Cole bombing died last week, nine years after the October 2000 terrorist attack in which he lost his left foot. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Johann Gokool was an electronic warfare technician aboard the Cole, and was in the ship's mess hall at the time of the attack, which took place during a refueling stop in Yemen. Seventeen sailors were killed and 39 others injured. Gokool's sister, Natala, told AP yesterday (December 29th) that her brother suffered severe post-traumatic disorder and panic attacks so violent that he'd go into seizures and even fractured his wrist several times. He was found dead last Wednesday (December 23rd) by one of the brothers he lived with, and the cause of death is unknown. But Natala said the family believes the seizures just become too much for his body. She said Gokool went to many specialists, but no one could find the cause of the violent panic attacks. She said, "My parents and brothers and I always knew that unless somebody could figure out what was wrong with him, it would probably kill him."

CENSUS BUREAU PROJECTS NEW YEAR'S DAY U.S. POPULATION: With 2010 just days away, a year in which the every-10-years census will take place, the Census Bureau is projecting what the U.S. population will be on New Year's Day. There will be a population of 308,400,408 on January 1st, up just over 2.6 million from New Year's Day 2009, an increase of 0.9 percent. In population predictions for the month, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the U.S. in January 2010, and one death every 12 seconds. Net international migration is expected to add one person every 37 seconds in the month, causing an increase in the total population of one person every 14 seconds.

SPORTS:

SUSPENDED TEXAS TECH COACH SEEKS COURT ORDER TO BE IN ALAMO BOWL: Suspended Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is seeking a court order that would allow him to coach the team in the Alamo Bowl on January 2nd. Leach was suspended Monday (December 28th) while the school investigates a complaint from receiver Adam James -- the son of former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Craig James -- and his family. After James was diagnosed with a mild concussion after being injured on December 16th, the player alleges he was twice forced to stand in small, dark rooms, not allowed to sit or lean on anything, while the team practiced, told by Leach he'd be kicked off the team if he came out. Leach said in an affidavit that he'd never intentionally harm or endanger any player, and that he hadn't been given any evidence that what he did violated university rules. The lawyer said, "He was not hurt by what happened in the equipment room. And Mike did not do anything to worsen the situation, in fact he put him in a safer environment by being inside."

POLL: COLLEGE FOOTBALL FANS WANT PLAYOFFS: A majority of college football fans want to scrap the current Bowl Championship Series and replace it with a playoff system that's similar to college basketball, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday (December 29th). According to the survey, 63 percent want to get rid of the current system, while 26 percent want to keep it. Among those on the side of the majority here is President Obama, who said shortly after his election last year that there should be a playoff system.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


CBS

  • THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE (repeat)
  • GARY UNMARRIED (repeat)
  • CRIMINAL MINDS (repeat)
  • CSI:NY (repeat)

NBC

  • THE OFFICE (repeat)
  • THE OFFICE (repeat)
  • THE OFFICE (repeat)
  • THE OFFICE (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW (repeat)

FOX

  • GLEE (repeat)
  • GLEE (repeat)

ABC

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR, CHARLIE BROWN - While other Peanuts plan a holiday, Charlie Brown struggles with 'War and Peace.'
  • THE MIDDLE (repeat)
  • MODERN FAMILY (repeat)
  • COUGAR TOWN (repeat)
  • EASTWICK - The ladies agree never to reveal what they did to Jamie; sparks fly between Kat and her new neighbor (Jerry O'Connell), a single father with a dark secret.

CW

  • ONE TREE HILL (repeat)
  • GOSSIP GIRL (repeat)

A&E

  • DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER - Dog tries to match wits with a tricky target who has been in trouble with the law since he was a juvenile.
  • STEVEN SEAGAL LAWMAN - A suspicious call sends the team on a neighborhood chase; deputies search a dark neighborhood.

MTV

  • THE REAL WORLD - (season premiere) Eight strangers move to Washington, D.C.; the roommates dive into drama.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

COUPLE CAUSES CHAOS AT WALMART: A Tennessee couple reportedly caused a scene at Walmart when the husband tried to steal $2,000 worth of goods and was spotted by an off duty cop. When the officer showed the shoplifter his badge, the man claimed it was fake and tried to leave the store with a cartfull of unpaid goods. The officer arrested him just before the man's wife faked a heart attack and claimed she did not know her husband. When a witness said the couple had been brousing the store together, the wife attacked the witness in the parking lot. The witness was able to stab the woman with a pocket knife. The male suspect has been charged; charges against the wife are pending. (AP)

FUNERAL HOME GIVING FREE BURIALS TO DRUNK DRIVERS: A Georgia funeral home is reportedly offering free burials to drunk drivers between now and Thursday at noon. Drivers can visit Maguire, Jennings and Miller Funeral Home and sign a contract saying they plan to drink or take drugs and then drive on New Year's Eve. If the driver dies in a wreck that day, the driver will receive a free burial. The burial package includes a casket, grave, limousine and preparation of remains. The funeral home claims that the program is meant to save lives by making partygoers think twice about drinking and driving. (AP)

TEENAGERS USE PLASTIC LEG TO COMMIT ROBBERY: Three drunken teenagers reportedly armed themselves with a knife and a plastic toy leg then tried to rob a man of his groceries. When the teenagers demanded his shopping bag he gave it to them, was not hurt and ran to the police station. The teenagers have been arrested and charged with assault using a stick, a knife and a plastic toy leg and stealing groceries with $24.25. (The Dominion Post)

MAN TRIES TO ROB BAR HE WAS DRINKING IN: An Oregon man was arrested after he allegedly tried to rob the same bar in which he had been drinking. The man had reportedly been drinking at MacEnzi's Bar and Grill and left around 10 PM before returning 25 minutes later with a beanie pulled over his face. He alledgedly grabbed a bag of money, pushed the bartender and ran out. The bartender recognized the man, who has been arrested. (AP)

PERK UP: COFFEE IS GOOD FOR YOU:

It sounds too good to be true, but the latest research suggests that coffee is good for you, and a lot of coffee is even better. Harvard researchers found that one to three cups daily of caffeinated coffee can slightly reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, now at epidemic levels among Americans. But drinking six cups or more a day can cut a man's risk of diabetes by 54 percent and a woman's risk by 30 percent. Web MD notes that coffee can also lower your risk of Parkinson's disease and colon cancer. It's the latest of hundreds of studies that suggest that coffee may be something of a health food, especially in higher amounts.

CHECK IT OUT: WebMD has more about coffee and your health: http://men.webmd.com/features/coffee-new-health-food

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST POST-HOLIDAY DEALS:

You may be surprised to learn that you haven't missed the best prices of the season. According to SmartMoney, America's retailers have wised up to the fact that the crowds of people right after Christmas are using gift cards, and may not demand the lowest prices. So, stores are putting off the deepest discounts until later. Like right now, and on into the first few days of the new year. Here are SmartMoney's picks for the best shopping bargains:

  • Best Buy: HP TouchSmart all-in-one computers are at their best price now.
  • WalMart: Holiday discounts on electronics have been extended. Plus, there are half-off deals on toys and holiday items.
  • Toys 'R' Us: There's a "Buy One, Get One Half-Off Sale" on through January 2nd.
  • Macy's: The best discounts, up to 70 percent off, are online through December 29th. Use the coupon code MERRY to get free shipping. Avoid the in-store coupons, most good only if you put the charges on your Macy's card.
  • Blissworld.com: Get up to 70 percent off on skincare and other products, plus free shipping over $25.
  • Barnes&Noble: It's half off on many books and calendars, and up to 90 percent off on some other items.
  • Piperline.com: The online shoes and accessories site for Gap has markdowns up to 40 percent.
  • ALDO: Take an extra 30 percent off sale shoes and accessories through January 4th. Free shipping over $100.
  • 80's Purple: Use the code THANKYOU at check-out to get an extra 20 percent off your entire purchase at this online fashion boutique.

FORGET ABOUT GINGKO, TRY THESE MEMORY TIPS:

A new study finds that gingko, the ancient herbal remedy that has been touted as food for your brain, actually does little to slow the decline of the aging brain. In a study led by the University of Virginia School of Medicine, elderly people taking ginkgo supplements showed no notable differences in scores on brain-function tests than those who took placebo pills. The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. We found these tips from Health.com that may be more effective in keeping the old brain working:

  • Floss every day: Did you know plaque is bad for your brain? It is.
  • Exercise your brain: Do a crossword puzzle or other brain-teaser regularly. Video games are great for your brain, too.
  • Exercise your body: Twenty minutes of sustained movement three times a week will keep the blood flowing to your brain.
  • Eat fish: Omega-3 fatty acid is good for your memory. Fish like salmon are excellent sources, and yoghurt is, too.
CHECK IT OUT: More tips on boosting your brain power are available at Health.com: http://living.health.com/2009/08/24/15-surprising-memory-boosters/

DID YOU KNOW?

RARE FULL MOON WILL LIGHT UP NEW YEAR'S EVE: Who needs fireworks? This New Year's Eve, we'll have a full moon to light up the revelry. It will be a rare occurrence: the second full moon in a month. (The last was on December 2nd.) Since a full moon occurs every 29.5 days, most years have 12 of them. The "extra" is seen only every 2.5 years. The last was seen in May 2007. Of course, a second full moon on New Year's Eve is even rarer, falling every 19 years.

ELEGANT ITALIAN-STYLE LEFTOVERS: We found this great way to get rid of any and all of the little bits of vegetables left over in your refrigerator from the holidays. In fact, it will work just about any time, and it's so tasty it seems almost deliberate. Here's the recipe for a vegetable frittata (that's an Italian style omelette), from top London chef Angela Hartnett, as featured in The Times of London:

Pre-heat the grill. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and sauté bits of bacon or ham. Add any roughly chopped leftover vegetables, and some diced cooked potatoes. Add a chopped onion and sauté just until it's all heated through. Beat some eggs in a bowl, season, then pour into the pan, tilting it to draw the egg from the sides into the center until the egg is set underneath. Sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan and put under the grill until the top is just set. Scatter with chopped basil or parsley and serve.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Q: What country is the world's biggest producer of coffee?
A: Brazil, by a wide margin. The country exports more than two million tons of coffee a year, compared with number 2, Vietnam, with less than a million tons. Colombia is in third place with about 700,000 tons a year, according to Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

The Rock Band video game is getting a little more country. It's adding seven more songs, including songs by Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Martina McBride to the Rock Band online Music Store for download, available today. These songs originally appeared in the Country Track Pack, which was released earlier this year, but now they're available as individual tracks.

  • The tracks are available today on X-box 360 and Wii, and they'll be ready for the PlayStation 3 system on January 7th.
  • The tracks include Alan's "Good Time," Jason's "She's Country," Cross Canadian Ragweed's "Cry Lonely," Keith's "I Told You So," Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine," Martina's "This One's for the Girls" and Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler."
  • Alan's number-one hit, "Good Time," has some tongue-twister lyrics, but after a little practice, he says they roll off his tongue as easily as a classic fast-food jingle. "First time we started working that thing up live, yeah, I thought, 'Man, I don't know if we'll be able to get those words out.' You know, after you do it a few times, it comes pretty natural: 'I've been working all week, I'm tried, and I don't wanna sleep, I wanna have fun, it's time for a good time.' It's like 'two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun."
  • Jason loves the idea that his chart-topping hit, "She's Country," is part of the interactive video game, Rock Band. He and his own band have been big fans of Guitar Hero, playing it on the tour bus when they're on the road. "When they told me about Rock Band, that was, that was pretty neat, you know. And so, I'm excited. I'll definitely be going and getting the game and seeing if I can play my own song on there."]

Carrie Underwood took to her official fan club site to chat about what she received for Christmas this year. She mentioned among the great presents she got this year, were a "pair of pink warm fuzzy socks to keep my tootsies nice and toasty." The Oklahoma native also talked about her best gift -- "I think you all know what Santa left under the tree for me this year . . . a fiance! Woo hoo!" Carrie and pro hockey star Mike Fisher got engaged last week, and word has it her ring cost around $150,000.
  • Carrie added that her rat terrier, Ace, "is finally going to have a dad! We all couldn't be happier!!!"
  • While their travel plans were cut short due to the "mess of snow and ice," they did spend some time in her hometown of Checotah, where she "ate so much on Chrismas Eve that I thought I might actually get sick! But it was soooo gooood!"
  • Carrie has yet to set a wedding date, but Mike recently mentioned they're looking to tie the knot sometime next summer, according to Us magazine.
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles will help celebrate the musical contributions and cultural legacy of Bruce Springsteen at the annual Kennedy Center Honors tonight. She and pop star Ben Harper perform a medley of The Boss' songs, including "Glory Days," "My Father's House" and "I'm on Fire."
  • The show, which also includes tributes to Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry and Robert De Niro, airs tonight at 8:00 PM (ET) on CBS.

FAST FACTS:

  • Jennifer grew up in Douglas, Georgia.
  • Jennifer was once the lead singer for a group called Soul Miner's Daughter.
  • Jennifer was a majorette in her high school band.
  • Jennifer has the word "Believe" tattooed on her wrist.

A new featurette on Taylor Swift's upcoming feature film debut, Valentine's Day, has been released (you can see it on YouTube), and it includes scenes from the film as well as commentary from some of its cast. In the background, the clip previews Taylor's new song, "Today was a Fairytale," which is featured on the movie's soundtrack.
  • Valentine's Day stars Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Lautner, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah, among others.
  • The film is due in theaters nationwide February 12th, while the soundtrack is expected to hit stores three days earlier.
  • Taylor says as a songwriter, she's drawn to love. "It's interesting how you think that you're the only person going through something, and then you realize that there are millions of people who have felt that exact same way at that exact same time in their life, and they've cried on their bathroom floor at the exact same time. And it's just so interesting to me that we are so drawn to love, and we can't stay away from it. It's a flame, and we cannot stay away."]
  • The soundtrack also features Taylor's "Jump Then Fall," which is included on her Fearless: Platinum Edition album, Jewel's "Stay Here Forever," Willie Nelson's "Where You Live," Steel Magnolia's single "Keep On Lovin' You" and songs by Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone and Maroon 5, among others.

Jason Aldean credits his wife, Jessica, with teaching him patience. He tells OK magazine, "I've always been a very impatient person. Being married to her, she's taught me how to be a little more patient, thank goodness. It's probably something I needed." His wife, whom Jason wed in 2001, says the "Big Green Tractor" singer has made her more outgoing. She says, "He's so chatty. When we first met, I was super quiest, so the more I've been around him, the more I talk."
  • The couple has two daughters, six-year-old Keeley and two-year-old Kendyl, and the younger one has started going to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so when Jason's not on the road, those are usually their date days. "We usually spend those days hanging out or maybe go to a movie or whatever. That's about the only alone time we get these days." Jessica's also been taking golf lessons, so the two sometimes go out and play a few rounds.

SIDE NOTES:

  • Jason decided to extend his Wide Open tour into 2010. He's taking along fellow Georgian Luke Bryan on the trek, which kicks off Janury 22nd in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Jason will open for Brooks and Dunn's The Last Rodeo tour next year, as well. Brooks and Dunn will begin saying their farewells in Sacramento, California on April 23rd.
Gloriana has been gaining fans since the release of their first single, "Wild at Heart," and their opening gig on Taylor Swift's Fearless tour. In fact, they've made such an impression on one Seattle fan, that he decided to go on the road with them, without their knowledge.
  • The band's Mike Gossin tells The Boot, "This man managed to sneak past security and get under the bus in one of the bays. Tom [Gossin] went to go get some clothes, and he was hiding under the bus! It was so crazy and we have it on video! You should have seen him jump . . . it was hilarious!"
  • Tom says this guy, named Dave, is apparently the group's Number One Fan. "He was in my bay, and I've been missing a couple of boxer shorts ever since."
  • Gloriana is currently headed up the country charts with their new single, "How Far Do you Wanna Go."

FAST FACTS:

  • Gloriana member Cheyenne Kimball won first place on the television talent show, America's Most Talented Kid at age 12.
  • Tom and Mike Gossin of Gloriana, who were raised in Utica, New York, were once members of the band, Madison Rose. The group starred in a pilot for a VH1 reality show.
  • The fourth member, Rachel Reinert, is a native of Marietta, Georgia. After attending a performing arts school, she was signed to a publishing deal at the age of 15.

Uncle Kracker's hit single, "Smile," has gone gold. It's been certified a Gold Digital Single by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling more than 500,000 units. Uncle Kracker says he didn't write the upbeat song for anyone in particular. It came about simply because he wanted to write something positive: "It was just creative writing 101 I guess I'd be lying if I said I wrote it for Mel or the kids. I wrote that with two of my buddies. I was like, 'Man, let's just write something positive -- something that just feels good and positive.' And I was like, 'Why don't you make me smile.' Something like that. It just started really quick, and the song came quick. And we just decided that's what we were gonna do one afternoon, and after a few hours, we just ended up with 'Smile.'"
  • The track appears on Uncle Kracker's new Happy Hour album.
Taylor Swift has a soft spot in her heart for animals. She recently tweeted, "When I drive past herds of deer, I always feel the need to caution them on the dangers of traffic, usually addressing them as 'Bambi.'"

Charlie Daniels Band Museum located in downtown Nashville was robbed early yesterday morning. More than $200 was taken from the cash register, but none of the band's memorabilia was taken in the burglary.

Police currently have no suspects at this time.

Julianne Hough was at Blackbird Studios in Nashville (which is owned by Martina McBride's husband John) to track a handful of songs. She wrote three of the four songs and said she was "super stoked" about being in the studio.

Rodney Atkins headlines a free street party in downtown Nashville on New Year's Eve.

LeAnn Rimes has been tapped to host and perform at the National Final of this year's Colgate Country Showdown talent show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on January 14th.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. A successful recording artist and actor in his own right, he also wrote "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" for Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson and "Texas (When I Die)" for Tanya Tucker.
A. Ed Bruce

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!

JAY LENO SHOW/NBC 10:00 PM (ET)

Dolly Parton

20/20/ABC 10:00 PM (ET)

Tim McGraw

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

Jessica Andrews (26)

  • Ed Bruce (70)
  • Ted Danson (actor, Cheers) (62)
  • Mekhi Phifer (movie and TV actor, ER) (35)
  • Paula Poundstone (comedienne) (50)
  • Jude Law (actor, The Holiday, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Alfie) (37)
  • Jon Voight (actor, Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, Coming Home, The Champ, Mission: Impossible, father of Angelina Jolie) (71)
  • Mary Tyler Moore (actress, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ordinary People) (73)

ON THIS DATE


  • Alan Jackson spent the first of five weeks at number one with "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" in 2001.
  • George Jones was awarded the first platinum album of his career for I Am What I Am in 1983.
  • Jeanne Pruett recorded her signature song, "Satin Sheets", in 1972.
  • Capitol released Merle Haggard's live Okie From Muskogee album in 1969.
  • The first commercial record made in Nashville is cut by Sheb Wooley in 1945.
  • The bowling ball is invented in 1862.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

CHARLIE SHEEN'S WIFE SPOTTED OUT AND ABOUT: Brooke Mueller seems to have bounced back from the Christmas Day domestic incident that led to her husband Charlie Sheen being arrested on felony assault charges in Aspen, Colorado. People.com has got a pic of her popping out of a chauffeured SUV in the town, smiling and looking well. Sheen was released on an $8,500 bond Friday and has returned to Los Angeles. The star of the sitcom Two and a Half Men reportedly has not been formally charged, but was ordered to appear in court on February 8th.

  • Meanwhile, Charlie has found one sympathetic friend to talk over his troubles with, according to TMZ. It's the rocker Slash. The rock legend revealed that he and Sheen have talked, and Sheen is doing "Okay."

JOHNATHON SCHAECH AND JANA RAE KRAMER ARE ENGAGED: Actor Johnathon Schaech and actress Jana Rae Kramer got engaged over the holiday. "It was the best present ever," he told PEOPLE magazine. She is a star of One Tree Hill. He played a singing sensation in the movie That Thing You Do and was previously married to Christina Applegate.

JON GOSSELIN CONVICTED IN COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: Who trashed former reality tv star Jon Gosselin's apartment in New York over the Christmas holiday? He did it to get attention. At least that's the suspicion of 72 percent of the people who responded to a poll on People.com. Only 20 percent think his ex-girlfriend Hailey Grossman did it to get attention, even though her name was signed to a note left at the scene. The remaining 9 percent think it was an unfortunate crime and somebody else did it.

"THANKS" FROM ROMAN POLANSKI: Still under house arrest in Switzerland, movie director Roman Polanski has posted his thanks to people who have sent him messages of support while he attempts to avoid extradition from Switzerland to the United States over a 1977 case in which he was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old. Polanski's message appeared on the web site of a friend, the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy. The Swiss Justice Ministry is expected to decide next year whether to extradite Polanski, whose films include The Pianist, Rosemary's Baby, and Chinatown.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS


MERYL STREEP AND YO-YO MA ARE DISTANT COUSINS: You may be surprised to discover that Meryl Streep, Mike Nichols, Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria are all very distant cousins, according to The New York Post. It came to a surprise to all of them, apparently. They lent their DNA to be analysed for a documentary on PBS called Faces of America, with Henry Louis Gates Jr. The four-part series, set to air in February, explores the geneaology of 12 famous Americans.

IT'S LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TYRA SHOW: Tyra Banks has announced that the fifth season of The Tyra Show will be its last. But don't get all unfashionably frazzled about it. America's Next Top Model is returning for its 15th season in February, and Banks will continue to do her ABC show True Beauty. Banks wants more time to focus on her launch of Bankable Studios, a film production company currently reviewing possible projects.

BUT HE SORT OF LOOKS LIKE A HOBBIT: In an interview with Access Hollywood, Tobey Maguire killed off the rumour that he will play the lead in the upcoming film The Hobbit, the prequel to the blockbuster Lord of the Rings movies. He said nobody has approached him about the movie, or sent him the script. Somebody ought to, though. He sort of looks like a hobbit, doesn't he? Maguire will next be seen at the Golden Globes ceremony, where he's nominated for his role in Brothers.

CHECK IT OUT: The man looks like a hobbit! http://www.starpulse.com/Actors/Maguire,_Tobey/

HALLE AND COLIN GO TO THE GLOBES: Halle Berry, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox are the latest stars to be named as presenters for the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards show, to be televised on NBC on January 17th. Previous names named include Mickey Rourke, Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts.

THE MOST PIRATED MOVIE: The movie most often illegally downloaded off of the Internet in 2009 was: Star Trek, according to PerezHilton. That's not surprising, really. Geeks are known to be obsessed with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock and the whole gang.

ATTACK OF THE BLOCKBUSTER MOVIES!

Movie fans may well be asking, "Why do they release all the good movies at once?" But in Hollywood, movie producers are very, very happy. A raft of hit movies led by Avatar hauled in $278 million. That's the best weekend in the history of the movie business, according to Entertainment Weekly. It wasn't just the giant blue people from Pandora that people went to see, although Avatar alone brought in $75 million. Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, was right on their heels with $65.4 million. Even pesky Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel made $50.2 million, although a lot of parents probably had to be dragged kicking and screaming to that one. Grownups with a choice saw the R-rated comedy It's Complicated, with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin earning a solid $22.1 million

TYRA BANKS ANNOUNCES END OF TALK SHOW

Onetime supermodel and current television entrepreneur Tyra Banks says she is ending her daily syndicated talk show. "This will be the last season of The Tyra Show," Banks told People.com on Monday (December 28th). "I've been loving having fun, coming into your living rooms, bedrooms, hair salons for the past five years." Instead, Banks will continue to produce and appear on America's Next Top Model, which is going into its fifteenth season in the U.S. this February and has versions in several other countries. She also produces the syndicated program True Beauty.

  • The statuesque model also plans to focus on launching Bankable Studios, the film arm of her TV production company. The goal of the studio is to bring "positive images of women to the big screen," according to a statement.
  • "My next huge steps will allow me to reach more women and young girls to help us all feel as fierce as we truly are," Banks said.

COULD TIGER WOODS POSSIBLY BE THIS FOOLISH?

If this story is true, golfer Tiger Woods is a lot dumber than anyone would have thought. Entertainment Tonight is reporting on its Web site that Tiger and his reported Number 1 mistress, Rachel Uchitel, were spotted holding hands and mingling with about 300 other guests on Sunday night at a party in a private mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Some even say the couple is living together in Palm Beach, where Woods' yacht is reportedly docked. Uchitel was photographed on the beach there recently. There are also reports that the couple was seen partying together on Saturday night at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach.

  • Two professors at the University of California estimate that shareholders of companies that had endorsement deals with Woods have lost about $12 billion since the scandal about his marital infidelities broke. "Our analysis makes clear that while having a celebrity of Tiger Woods' stature as an endorser has undeniable upside, the downside risk is substantial, too," said Victor Stango, professor of economics.

HEATH LEDGER'S LAST APPEARANCE

Heath Ledger's last film made a quiet debut over the Christmas weekend. The wild fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was screened in only a few American theaters, and made only about $130,000. Industry insiders say that the distributor didn't want the movie going up nationwide against a packed list of holiday movie contenders like Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. It is expected to go into wider release early in the new year.

  • Heath Ledger died almost one year ago before completing Doctor Parnassus. His role was completed by an all-star cast of his friends, including Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. (It's hard to imagine how one role can be played by four actors, but reviewers say the movie is so weird anyway that it sort of works.)
  • The director and screenwriter of the film is Terry Gilliam, a graduate of Monty Python and director of the equally strange 1985 movie Brazil.

HEADLINE NEWS!!

OBAMA VOWS TO FIGHT TERRORISTS; AL-QAIDA BRANCH CLAIMS FAILED PLANE ATTACK: President Obama vowed in a televised statement Monday (December 28th) to use, quote, "every element of our national power" to keep Americans safe, speaking three days after a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up an Northwest Airlines jet minutes before it landed in Detroit. Obama said, "The United States will more than simply strengthen our defenses. We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us." He also called the plot "a serious reminder" of the need to continually adapt security measures against changing terrorist threats. Officials said Obama had deliberately not spoken out until now, an effort to balance the need for him to show concern, but not unduly elevate a botched incident and encourage other would-be attackers. Meanwhile, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attempted attack by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, saying it was in retaliation for a U.S. operation against the group in Yemen. Yemeni forces, helped by U.S. intelligence, carried out two airstrikes against al-Qaida operatives this month in the lawless country.

IRAN HOLDING BODIES OF DEAD PROTESTERS, DETAINS OPPOSITION FIGURES: Iranian authorities said Monday (December 28th) that they were holding the bodies of five anti-government protesters, including the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who'd been killed during violent protests the day before in Tehran. The move appeared to be an attempt to prevent activists from using their funerals as a platform for more anti-government demonstrations. Iranian state television reported that eight people overall died in the violence. Meanwhile, pro-reform websites and activists said the government detained at least eight prominent opposition figures, and hardliners issued statements urging the judiciary to take action against the opposition for violating Islamic principles and insulting the head of Iran's religious leadership, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. President Obama condemned the crackdown on the protesters, saying of the opposition efforts, "It's about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran's leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away."

U.S. MAN ARRESTED IN NORTH KOREA: North Korea said Tuesday (December 29th) that it it had detained a U.S. citizen who entered its territory, apparently confirming a report that an American activist crossed into the isolated communist nation to raise awareness about its human rights abuses. Twenty-eight-year-old Robert Park walked over a frozen river from China into North Korea last Friday, according to other activists. He told Reuters ahead of doing so that it was his duty as a Christian, and that he was carrying a letter calling on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to step down. The U.S. doesn't have diplomatic relations with North Korea, and an administration official said they'd asked Sweden, which looks after U.S. interests in the country, to seek information. Park, who is a Korean-American, told Reuters he wouldn't seek U.S. help. He said last Wednesday, "I don't want President Obama to come and pay to get me out. But I want the North Korean people to be free. Until the concentration camps are liberated, I do not want to come out. If I have to die with them, I will."

TODAY'S FYI:

BRISTOL PALIN FIGHTING FOR FULL CUSTODY OF SON: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol is fighting her ex-fiance, Levi Johnston, for full custody of their one-year-old son, Tripp. Eighteen-year-old Bristol filed the petition on November 3rd, seeking sole custody and child support. She also is seeking a visitation schedule for Johnston, and claims he's exercised only, quote, "sporadic visitation rights." Johnston denies that he's avoided his responsibilities, and is seeking joint custody. Palin requested in November that the proceedings be kept closed, but an Alaska judge denied her request on Christmas Eve, making the custody battle public.

OBAMA RUSHES FROM GOLF COURSE WHEN FRIEND'S CHILD IS INJURED: President Obama rushed from the golf course where he was playing with friends from Chicago during his Hawaiian vacation yesterday (December 28th) and sped to his rented compound after learning that a friend's child had been injured while playing on the beach. Am ambulance raced to the compound and left with lights flashing, but the child of Eric and Cheryl Whitaker was described as having a relatively minor injury that didn't require stitches. Obama returned to the golf course after a brief delay, and a White House official said the first family was fine.

FEWEST LAW ENFORCEMENT DEATHS IN 2009 IN 50 YEARS: A report out Monday (December 28th) from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that the number of law enforcement deaths in 2009 was the lowest in 50 years. There were 124 police officers killed in the U.S. this year, compared to 133 in 2008, and the lowest number since 108 were killed in 1959. Texas had the most police officers killed in the line of duty, with 11, followed by nine in Florida, eight in California, and seven in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Looking at the decade as a whole, there were an average 162 officers killed a year, compared to 160 in the 1990s, 190 in the 1980s, and 228 in the 1970s, which was the deadliest decade for law enforcement. However, the past decade contained the 9/11 attacks, in which 72 officers died.

WEBSITE TMZ FOOLED BY JFK HOAX PHOTO: Celebrity gossip website TMZ.com was fooled yesterday (December 28th) by a photo it claimed showed future president John F. Kennedy cavorting on a yacht with naked women, but which turned out to be a hoax. The worn photo shows two naked women sunbathing on a yacht and two more nude women skinny dipping, while a man who looks similar to Kennedy is seen sunbathing on board. TMZ claimed the recently-discovered photo was from the 1950s, and crowed it could have changed the course of history if it had been discovered before the 1960 presidential election. But Playboy magazine told TMZ the photo ran as part of a 1967 feature in its magazine called "Charter Yacht Party: How to Have a Ball on the Briny with an Able-Bodied Complement of Ship's Belles." TMZ said it obtained the photo after it had been locked away in a car salesman's drawer for years. He died 10 years ago, and one of his son's found the photo.

SPORTS:

BEARS BEAT VIKINGS 36-30 IN OT: The Chicago Bears topped the Minnesota Vikings 36-30 in overtime last night (December 28th), getting the Monday Night Football win on a 39-yard touchdown from quarterback Jay Cutler to Devin Aromashodu with just over nine minutes left. Vikings' QB Brett Favre made a stellar fourth-down touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 16 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime. That had capped a Vikings comeback from being down 23-6 in the third quarter, but the team couldn't pull out the win in overtime. This was Minnesota's third loss in four games. [Look in "Last Night's TV Audio" for soundbites from the game.]

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


CBS
  • NCIS (repeat)
  • THE 32ND ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS - Mel Brooks, composer Dave Brubeck, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, Robert DeNiro and Bruce Springsteen are honored.

NBC

  • PARKS AND RECREATION (repeat)
  • PARKS AND RECREATION (repeat)
  • PARKS AND RECREATION (repeat)
  • PARKS AND RECREATION (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW (repeat)

FOX

  • THE BENCHWARMERS - A millionaire helps three nerdy guys form a baseball team to compete against all the mean Little Leaguers. Starring David Spade, Rob Schneider, Jon Heder and Jon Lovitz.

ABC

  • RUDOLPH'S SHINY NEW YEAR - Rudolph the reindeer comes to the rescue when an evil bird kidnaps the New Year baby.
  • SCRUBS (repeat)
  • BETTER OFF TED (repeat)
  • 20/20 - Investigative reporting.

CW

  • 90210 (repeat)
  • MELROSE PLACE (repeat)

MTV

  • TEEN MOM - Amber and Gary's arguing reaches a boiling point; Catelynn struggles to find a home; Farrah chooses protection.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS


MAN STEALS TRUCK FULL OF CHEESECAKE: A Florida thief stole a refrigerated truck filled with $40,000 worth of cheesecake. The owner of the truck told police he took the keys and walked away from the vehicle only to find that the truck was gone when he came back. The victim says he has all the keys to the truck in his possession. The contents of the trucks, cheesecakes, are worth an estimated $40,000. The police reportedly have no leads on the tasty goods. (Orlando Sentinel)

FLORIDA MAN TRASHES HIS OWN APARTMENT AS 'ART': Two Florida men were arrsted after reportedly wrecking one of the men's apartment with a sledgehammer and croquet balls. The men claimed they were turning the apartment into an art gallery. The men claimed they took down the walls and destroyed objects including mirrors and windows to create a mural. The damage is estimated at $12,000. (Gainsville.com)

MISSOURI POLICE FIND GIFT -WRAPPED MARIJUANA: Missouri troopers reportedly seized about 20 pound sof marijuana from a car they stopped for speeding. Some of the marijuana was wrapped in gift paper while some was in a suitcase. The two female occupants gave permission for the troopers to search their vehicle and were taken into custody. (AP)

DONKEYS ESCAPE FROM LIVE NATIVITY SCENE: A Colorado live nativity scene went awry when two donkeys escaped. The borrowed donkeys were being held in a fenced-in enclosure for the event when they pushed their way through the fence. A churchgoer noticed the missing animals who were eventually caught by the sheriff's deputy after he saw footprints in the snow. (AP)

GET A BIG BANG FOR YOUR BLU-RAY BUCKS

If you found a Blu-ray player beneath your Christmas tree, you'll want to try it out with a bang, or maybe a whole range of movie special effects. Here, from PC World, are some new titles available on Blu-ray that are guaranteed to maximize your home theater's bells and whistles.

  • STAR TREK: The latest movie version of the old sci-fi warhorse introduces a younger Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock and, more to the point, it has cool explosions and hand-to-hand combat with Romulans.
  • UP: Float away to South America in a balloon-borne house, and let the movie's storm scene give your sound system a workout.
  • SILVERADO: You'll never get a better armchair view of America's spectacular Western scenery.
  • THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA: Speaking of America's spectacular scenery, this recent PBS documentary is a guided tour of our national treasures, and they're even more amazing in Blu-ray than in the original high-definition.

TRY THESE 6 NEGLECTED SUPER-FOODS


Some foods that are seriously good for us just get no respect in the American diet. Men's Health

magazine suggests you juice up your diet with a bigger bite of these:

  • Celery: It's no mere garnish. Celery is loaded with bone-healthy silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids. It can lower blood pressure and reduce belly fat.
  • Seaweed: Most Americans only eat it if it's wrapped around sushi, but seaweed is packed with calcium and potassium. Buy sheets of seaweed in a health store, use a coffee grinder to grind it to powder, and use it as a salt substitute.
  • Hemp Seeds: No, they won't make you high, but they're rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce risk of heart attack or stroke, and they have lots of protein. Add them to cereals or salads.
  • Scallops: These babies are 80 percent protein, and contain magnesium and potassium. They're easy to prepare, too. Just season, sear in olive oil, and eat.
  • Dark Meat: Chicken or turkey legs have a little more fat than the white meat, but most is the "good" unsaturated kind. So, you feel fuller longer, eat less later, and get the heart-healthy benefits of higher levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol.
  • Lentils: Lentils have a huge amount of belly-filling fiber, and more folate than spinach. They're a great substitute for rice or pasta in any dish.

HARD LESSONS OF 2009

We've all heard the basic "must dos" of personal financial planning. But 2009 was the year that we found out what can happen when you don't do them. To help you avoid repeating past mistakes, here are four financial goals to strive for in 2010, from Jill Schlesinger of CBS MoneyWatch.com:

  • Always keep six months expenses in reserve. Yeah, right, we said. But nearly 40 percent of those who lost their jobs this year were out of work for at least 27 weeks.
  • Beware of credit card debt: We played with easy money for years. Now it's time to get off that merry-go-round.
  • Be diversified: When real estate crashed and stocks followed, the people who walked away even, or maybe a little ahead, were invested in a combination of stocks and less-risky bonds.
  • Don't stop contributing to your IRA: Those who panicked when their IRA accounts plunged missed a fast trip back to a healthier balance.

HOW TO PICK A PARTY DRESS

Here's some good advice on how to buy a party dress for the New Year's weekend. Our fashion expert is Hilary Rose, a columnist for The Times of London, so of course she calls it a "party frock." Anyway, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Choose a more glamourous version of the kind of thing you wear every day. Sounds obvious, but you'll look and feel your best.
  • Don't be seduced by novelty. You'll never wear it again, and you might not want to wear it the first time.
  • Don't forget accessories. Pick something that goes with shoes and purse and jewelry you already own, unless you're prepared to buy the works.

IN SEARCH OF THE 'REAL' SHERLOCK

Thee hit film Sherlock Holmes is once again stirring up interest in history's most famous fictional detective. Off-screen, of course, you must look for him in London, which teems with sites featured in his film and print adventures. If you're going, here are a few must-see sites from The Los Angeles Times writer John Lee:

  • Church Of Saint Bartholomew The Great: The new movie Sherlock shows the famous dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, but when the action moves indoors, you're actually seeing the ancient interior of St. Bartholomew the Great. This is not only the setting for the new movie's crypt scene, but has been seen in other films including Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Other Boleyn Girl.
  • Baker Street: The London Underground can take you straight to the heart of Sherlock's home territory. A Sherlock statue stands right outside the Tube station, and Number 221b Baker Street is a museum devoted to his life and work.
  • "In the Footsteps of Sherlock Holmes" Tour: Ask your concierge about this two-and-a-half-hour tour of Holmes hotspots, from the grand restaurant Simpsons-in-the-Strand to the notorious back alleys of Victorian London.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Q: Whose notorious murder occurred on this date, December 28th, in the year 1170?

A: Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered inside Canterbury Cathedral by followers of his former friend, England's King Henry II.

Bad Memories Shredded Ahead of New Year on Good Riddance Day

The third annual Good Riddance Day was held in New York's Times Square Monday (December 28th), during which New Yorkers and tourists could put bad memories through an industrial-sized shredder and look for a fresh start in 2010. The day was organized by the Times Square Alliance as part of the buildup to the New Year's Eve ball-drop celebration. People lined up to either put some bad memory in the shredder, throw it in a dumpster, or pound on it with a sledgehammer. AP gave some examples, including one man who shredded a newspaper story about the New York Giants 41-9 loss Sunday to the Carolina Panthers that ended their playoff hopes, and a woman who shredded a piece of paper with "writer's block" written on it, saying she's going to write a musical. Among the things being sledgehammered were an old computer and fattening office snacks. The winner of a $250 prize for the most creative item shredded was 12-year-old Alissa Yankelevits of Los Angeles, who's visiting her grandparents in New York. She shredded the memory of a counselor on a school trip who was later featured on the TV show, America's Most Wanted. She told AP, "I just spent a week with him. It was really terrifying, because I just found that out."

Monday, December 28, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

The Blind Side, featuring Tim McGraw, has earned more than $150-million since its release in theaters. The film has earned a Golden Globe nomination and possible Oscar buzz for its other star, Sandra Bullock.

  • In an interview with a special edition of ABC's 20/20, director John Hancock explains once he had Sandra in place to play Leigh Anne Tuohy, he needed someone pretty strong to play her husband, Sean. "I realized that there would be a lot of actors that would become wallpaper quickly," explains Hancock. "I needed someone that was comfortable in his own skin, and had the kind of a self-effacing sense of humor." That's where Tim comes in, who has admitted he was reluctant to take on another dad or football movie, especially after his roles in Friday Night Lights and Flicka. Tim says, "I read it and just fell in love with the . . . characters and the people. And I gave it to my wife to read, and she loved it as much as I did. It's just rare that you come across a story . . . that moves you that much.
  • The special edition of 20/20 airs tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 10:00 PM (ET).

SIDE NOTES:

  • Tim will kick off the eighth season of PBS' Soundstage January 21st.
  • Tim is scheduled to be on the sidelines of the Outback Bowl between Auburn and Northwestern on Friday to salute a group of Marines being honored at halftime. The country star and football native will also be one of the VIPs on the field during the coin toss.

All Taylor Swift wanted for Christmas this year was "soft furnishings" such as pillows, curtains, sheets and more for her new pad she's moving into very soon. She's been renovating the condo she bought, with some help from her mom Andrea. It's kind of a bittersweet moment for the 20-year-old, who tweeted, "The last Christmas with all of us under one roof. How weird is that? Merry Christmas to you guys, hug your families."

SIDE NOTES:

  • Taylor was named the breakthrough star of the year in a new online poll, beating out Susan Boyle and Lady Gaga. She garnered 43-percent of the vote in the survey conducted by Popeater.com.
  • Taylor will perform at the Grammy Awards on January 31st.
  • Taylor has released her new single, "Fearless," the title track to her multi-platinum sophomore album.
  • Taylor kicks off the 2010 leg of her Fearless tour Down Under in Brisbane on February 4th.

Dierks Bentley is gearing up for a big year in 2010, what with not one, but two albums on the way. He spent part of the Christmas holiday in the recording studio working on both his bluegrass and country albums. He twittered his necessities for laying down tracks -- "Budlight, several types of whiskey, coffee, water and a dog named Jake . . . essential studio 'must haves.'"
  • Dierks also had some good luck and bad luck over the holiday, including a phone call from the legendary George Jones, who sang a few lines of a Christmas song to him.
  • Dierks also experienced a busted pipe with water leaking through the second floor of his house. He tweeted, "Daughter is too old for me to cuss in front of anymore. Does saying, 'Crap on a stick' count?"

Kellie Pickler is climbing the country charts with her single, "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You," which is about a lost relationship. The video shows Kellie crying her eyes out, but her inspiration didn't come from a lost love or an old boyfriend. The singer tells us that when it came to shedding tears on camera for the very first time, she drew upon thoughts of her beloved grandmother, who passed away a few years ago. "When we were shootin' the video, I remember the director, he told me, 'I want to get a shot of you, of you cryin'.' And I'm like, 'Uhh, okay.' I'm like, 'Okay, I've never done this before.' He gave me a few minutes to kind of take myself to a place that would make me cry. So I just . . . I started thinking about my grandmother and, you know, my grandma raised me, and she passed away when I was fifteen, and so I still have a hard time. I struggle every day with accepting the fact that she's not here anymore. Then I got to thinkin' about how difficult it is for me that she's not here with me at this particular moment, on this video shoot. I just kind of took myself to that place, and it just came pourin' out."

SIDE NOTES:

  • "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You" is the third hit from Kellie's self-titled sophomore album. The collection also features "Best Days of Your Life" and "Don't You Know You're Beautiful."
  • Kellie hits the road again on Taylor Swift's 2010 leg of the Fearless tour March 4th in Tampa, Florida.
  • Kellie spent Christmas with her songwriter boyfriend, Kyle Jacobs, where it snowed around 12-15 inches. She said it was her first white Christmas. She also took along her TWO dogs -- yes, two. Besides "MooMoo," she now has "Pixie," which looks to be another Chihuahua.

There's nothing like the bond between mother and child, and that holds true for Keith Urban's daughter Sunday Rose and her mother, Nicole Kidman. The Oscar-winning actress is turning down a few roles so she can remain at the couple's Nashville-area home with their nearly 18-month old daughter. She says, "I just can never be away from her, so she comes wherever I go . . . Have baby, will travel. She's okay on planes, but honestly, we stay in Nashville a lot. That's why I don't work that much."
  • Nicole did star in the new musical, Nine, shortly after Sunday's birth and says she has her daughter to thank for the curves she shows off in the film. She told USA Today, "I was wrapped into that dress. I was! That's when I had big boobs from the milk! That's the benefit of the breast feeding."


Charlie Daniels will be featured in a new ad campaign for Geico Insurance, called "Rhetorical Questions." If you watch any television at all, you've probably heard Geico's famous tagline, "15 minutes could save you 15-percent or more on car insurance." With that in mind, the new campaign asks the question, "Could switching to Geico really save you 15-percent or more on car insurance?" Some of the "answers" include, "Is Ed 'Too Tall' Jones too tall?;" "Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?;" "Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?" The answer, of course, is Yes!

SIDE NOTES:

  • The ads begin running on television today.
  • Charlie's Geico commercial will also be posted on charliedaniels.com beginning today, as well.

Kenny Chesney has achieved more in his career than he ever thought possible -- his record-breaking tours, Entertainer of the Year awards, multiple Number One hits and more. But there are a couple of things on his to-do list that have nothing to do with music.
  • He tells us one of them is . . . swimming. "There's certain things I'd like to do, you know, away from the music business. I'd like to swim with sharks. That'd be great. I was watching this thing on TV the other day how these people would go and get in these cages and swim with sharks. It was like, 'Wow!' That'd be a rush. you know, I saw that movie (The Bucket List). I don't want to jump out of an airplane. I don't like heights. I don't want to bungee jump, you know? There are other things that'd make you feel alive that that. So, yeah, one day I'd love to do that. I'd love to swim with sharks. It'd be a big rush for me. To be that close to a great white, it'd be really, really awesome."

Carrie Underwood became the first country artist in history and the only American Idol winner to achieve 10 Number One singles from their two albums. When her hit "Cowboy Casanova" -- the debut single from Play On -- topped the country chart, she added another single to her list, which now totals 11.

GAC's Top 50 Videos of 2009, hosted by Martina McBride, premieres tonight at 8:00 PM (ET).

Chris Young went to see the Robert Downey film, Sherlock Holmes, on Christmas Day with his family, and recommended it to Eddie Montgomery via Twitter.

Jimmy Wayne, who was fighting a cold on Christmas Day, watched The Christmas Story three times.

JESSICA SIMPSON LAUNCHES BATHING SUIT COLLECTION

Jessica Simpson launches a new collection of swimwear this week. Jessica told Stylelist.com, "My spring collection was inspired by my favorite vacation and the jet-setting getaways I dream about." She calls the looks, "fun and flirty, but still so classic."

When the site asked Jessica for advice on how to feel comfortable in a bathing suit, she replied, "You have to be comfortable in your own skin because when you feel good about yourself, you are going to look great no matter what you're wearing."

  • The collection retails $40 - $100 and is available December 30th at Jessicasimpsoncollection.com.

CHECK IT OUT

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. Which of Joe Diffie's Number One hits was re-recorded in 2005 for use in ads for Applebee's Restaurants?
A. "Pick Up Man"

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE!

COUNTRY AT THE WHITE HOUSE/GAC 9:30 PM (ET)

Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

John Legend (singer) (31)

  • Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) (49)
  • Joe Diffie (51)
  • Denzel Washington (actor) (55)
  • Edgar Winter (musician) (63)
  • David Archuleta (American Idol) (19)
  • Seth Myers (Saturday Night Live) (36)
  • Sienna Miller (actress) (28)
ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY
  • "One Way Ticket(Because I Can)" became LeAnn Rimes first number one hit in 1996.
  • Miley Cyrus' parents, Billy Ray and Tish, were married in 1993.
  • Legendary record producer "Mutt" Lange married Shania Twain in Northern Ontario, Canada in 1993.
  • "Have Mercy" hit number one for the Judds in 1985.
  • Hank Williams Junior, at the age of 14, makes his first recording for M-G-M Records in 1963.
  • Charley and Rozene Pride tie the knot in 1956.
  • Chewing gum is patented in 1969.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

BRITTANY MURPHY LAID TO REST: Actress Brittany Murphy was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills on Christmas Eve, after a quiet funeral service for friends and family that included an emotional eulogy by her husband, British screenwriter Simon Monjack. Murphy was 32. She died at her home on Dec. 20.

  • Los Angeles police investigating Murphy's death have concluded that there are no signs that a crime occurred. An autopsy has been conducted, but the official cause of death will not be determined until tests of any substances found in her system are completed.

SIGOURNEY WEAVER DRAGGED INTO COURT BATTLE: The name of actress Sigourney Weaver has popped up unexpectedly as a defendant in a nasty $5 million court battle between two cosmetic company executives in New York. Anthony Minuto is suing his former business partner, Vincent Longo, a makeup artist whose famous clients have included Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, Hillary Clinton, Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow. According to The New York Post, Longo dumped Minuto from their business, Vincent Longo Inc. Now, Minuto says Longo owes him 25 percent of the company and nearly $5 million in damages. It turns out that Weaver owns a minority stake in the company, and that's why she's named as a defendant.

RENEE ZELLWEGER BONDS WITH BRADLEY COOPER'S PARENTS: Guess this thing between Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper is getting serious. The actress spent Christmas week in Los Angeles with him and his parents, Gloria and Charlie Cooper, according to People magazine. Bradley got his breakthrough role this year in the hit movie The Hangover.

  • Oddly, both have very brief marriages in their pasts. Cooper was married for four months in 2006 to actress Jennifer Esposito, while Zellweger had her own four-month marriage in 2005, to country star Kenny Chesney.

BRAD AND ANGELINA DONATE TO A WORTHY CAUSE: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have donated $100,000 to the American SOS Children's Villages, an alternative foster care organization dedicated to helping orphaned and abandoned children. There are now 500 villages in 132 countries. The American Children's Villages are in Illinois and Florida.

BUT ANGELINA SOMETIMES TALKS TOO MUCH: In an interview with a German magazine that is now reverberating around the English-speaking world, Angelina Jolie said she doesn't believe in monogamous relationships. The actress told Das Neue (dahs NOY eh) she believes open romances can work just as well, if both partners agree to it. Jolie said, "Neither Brad nor I have ever claimed that living together means to be chained together. We make sure that we never restrict each other." She also said the famous couple can get fiery in private, adding, "The sparks fly at home if the nice Brad fails to see that he's wrong and reacts in a defiant way."

NO TURKEY FOR MICHAEL LOHAN: Dina Lohan hosted all her kids, including Lindsay, Ali and brothers Michael and Cody, for Christmas this year. She told The New York Post: "We always have a big celebration. We always invite all manner of strays and friends to join in." But not her ex-husband Michael Lohan. Then again, Dina said she had just seen him the day before Christmas Eve, in court, where she's suing him for alleged nonpayment of $40,000 in child support. Michael Lohan had no comment.

NICOLAS CAGE IS NOT BEING SUED FOR $36.7 MILLION: A lawyer for broke actor Nicolas Cage says he is NOT being sued for $36.7 million by a real estate company that charges him with fraud. He's only being sued by a real estate company, Red Curb Investments, for failure to pay back about $3 million in loans. Attorney Marty Singer made the clarification to People magazine.

SUSAN SARANDON IS NOT DATING A PING PONG MOGUL: Rumours move so fast these days that some of them both started and ended during the long holiday weekend. Susan Sarandon is not dating her 31-year-old business partner, a representative of the actress said in a statement. Her relationship with Jonathan Bricklin is strictly business, according to the statement. Sarandon, now 63, split with her longtime partner Tim Robbins, 51, last summer.

TILA TEQUILA IS ONLY A LITTLE PREGNANT: The next time Tila Tequila announces she's pregnant, the media is going to demand to see the ultrasound. The reality star recently posted on Twitter: "Im pregnant!!!!" and "BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I am going to become a SURROGATE MOTHER for my brother & his Wife!!!" According to Access Hollywood, she now says she was merely announcing her intention to carry a little niece or nephew. Tila also announced her engagement to Johnson & Johnson heiress Casey Johnson earlier this month, but don't count on it.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

THE NEXT AMERICAN IDOL: American Idol will return on January 12th and 13th with a two-night, four-hour premiere featuring auditions in Boston and Atlanta, the Fox network announced. Auditions also are scheduled in Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, Los Angeles and Denver. The big change this season, of course, is the addition of Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul as a judge, although Ellen isn't expected to appear until February, after the tryout rounds. Guest judges at the auditions will include Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Kristin Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris, Joe Jonas, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry and Shania Twain.

  • In related news, Fox reportedly wants to order at least three more seasons of American Idol, with or without on-air appearances by evil genius Simon Cowell. Cowell reportedly wants to bow out of his judging duties to concentrate on another television show he's hoping to import from Britain to America.

ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES ON FILM: Identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss may become household names soon. In case you don't know their names already, they settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over allegations that he stole their idea for the social-networking site. Since then, the twins have been pursuing MBAs at Oxford and spots on the US National Crew Team. Now, their battle with Zuckerberg will be dramatized in a movie called The Social Network, according to The New York Post. It's an adaptation of a book by Ben Mezrich, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. Asked how he felt about the casting of Armie Hammer as the twins, Cameron joked, "He's too good-looking to be playing Tyler." Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones and Jesse Eisenberg will also be in the movie.

LAWMAKERS WANT JERSEY SHORE AXED: A group of Italian-American legislators from New Jersey have joined the ranks of those protesting the MTV reality show Jersey Shore. The New Jersey Italian American Legislative Caucus wrote that the show is "wildly offensive" and promotes derogatory ethnic stereotypes. They asked that it be immediately canceled. At least three other Italian-American organizations have publicly protested the show. MTV says it "depicts just one aspect of youth culture."

WHO'S A HAS-BEEN? Who's the most over-exposed celebrity on the planet? When the Popeater site popped that question in a poll, the answer came back: It's Jon Gosselin, by a wide margin. He got 55 percent of the votes of those who participated in the poll. Distant runner-ups include Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.

CHARLIE SHEEN FACES FELONY ASSAULT CHARGES IN ASPEN

Some wild and contradictory stories are floating around the Internet gossip mill, but one fact is certain at this hour: actor Charlie Sheen was charged with felony assault in Aspen, Colorado, after a Christmas morning argument with his wife. Sheen was arrested on felony charges of second-degree assault and menacing, and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, according to The Los Angeles Times. Sheen's third wife, Brooke Mueller, reportedly called 911 from their rented home. He's out on bail, but will have to appear in Aspen to answer the charges on February 8th, 2010. Here's the latest:

  • Sheen is back in Los Angeles, while his wife remains in Aspen. They are headed for divorce court or marriage counseling, depending on which source you believe.
  • His wife originally claimed he had choked her or pulled a knife on her, or both, but may have recanted her original report, according to conflicting reports.
  • Both Sheen and his wife have histories of alcohol abuse.
  • Charlie Sheen is among the highest paid actors in television, earning about $1.5 million per episode for his hit sitcom Two and a Half Men. The official statement from Aspen police referred to him as "Carlos Irwin Estevez, also known as the actor Charles I. Sheen." He's the son of actor Martin Sheen, born Estevez.

INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From sylviaofspokane on eonline.com: "AS A RETIRED RN WHO SPENT TIME WORKING ON A REHAB AND DETOX UNIT(3.5YRS). I HAVE MUCH SYMPATHY FOR CHARLIE. HIS TV SHOW ALONE MUST HAVE PUT STRESS ON HIS SOBRIETY. EVERY DAY AT WORK HE HAD TO RELIVE ALL THE (GOOD TIMES) HE HAD WITH HIS ADDICTIONS. THIS IS A POWERFUL PULL BACK TO ADDICTIONS. IF IT IS TRUE(WHICH I BELIEVE IT IS) THAT HE DID NOT WANT TO SOCIALIZE AWAY FROM WORK IT WAS WHAT HE WAS TAUGHT TO DO IN REHAB. IT IS SAD HE MARRIED A PARTY GIRL WHO WANTED TO CASH IN ON HIS CELEBRETY."
  • From DesertPenguin on latimes.com: "Really, is anyone surprised this LOSER is in trouble w/ the law ... again?"
  • From Eddie on latimes.com: "I find it funny how people love to jump to conclusion when stories first break. Can you please wait and see what comes out as the days progress??"

CHECK IT OUT: Charlie Sheen's bio and filmography can be seen on IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000221/

JUDE LAW AND SIENNA MILLER TOGETHER AGAIN?

British actors Jude Law and Sienna Miller seem to be rekindling their romance. It's been four years since she booted him out for having an affair with the nanny who looked after his children. But that was then. Recently, they've been starring in rival Broadway shows. And now, they're in Barbados having a little post-Christmas holiday and celebrating their birthdays together. She'll be 28, while Law is turning 37. Sources told The New York Post: "Sienna has always maintained she and Jude are soulmates despite their past troubles."

CHECK IT OUT: There's an interview with Jude Law and Sherlock Holmes co-star Robert Downey Jr. on MoviesOnline: http://www.moviesonline.ca/movienews_17584.html

REALITY TV'S MOST OUTRAGEOUS MOMENTS

Are you getting all wrapped up in these "Best" and "Worst" of the decade stories? One of our favorites focuses on the decade's biggest trend in television, and it's called "Reality TV's Most Outrageous Moments of the Decade," by Matthew Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter. He writes: "The Reality Television Decade that began with Susan Hawk's "rats and snakes" speech on Survivor has ended with Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi getting punched in the face on Jersey Shore." Here are a few of his memorable moments in between:

  • The Hot tub threesome on The Real World: Las Vegas, on MTV in 2002: "These days the intramural sexual escapades of Real World housemates have become an integral part of the show. But when Brynn, Steven and Trishelle decided to have a steamy threesome on the third day of filming the Vegas season, they officially set the bar for all future Real Worlders -- and every copycat show with a Jacuzzi."
  • "Fairplay" lies on Survivor, on CBS in 2003: "On Season 7 in the Pearl Islands, Jonny "Fairplay" Dalton pulled off what host Jeff Probst called the "greatest lie in Survivor history," pre-arranging with a friend to announce that his very alive grandmother had died so Fairplay could win a reward challenge."
  • Sharon throws the ham, on The Osbournes on MTV in 2002: "The proliferation of celebrity diary shows shouldn't obscure how fresh and interesting Ozzy Osbourne and his real-life Addams Family were back in 2002. In episode 4, when trash-talking wife Sharon throws a ham onto the noisy neighbors' property, a genre of reality TV was born."
CHECK IT OUT: See the whole "Outrageous Moments" List: http://reporter.blogs.com/best_of_2000s/2009/12/top-10-most-outrageous-reality-tv-moments-of-the-decade.html

THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND'S TOP TEN MOVIES -- DECEMBER 25-27


  1. Avatar, $75 million
  2. Sherlock Holmes, $65.4 million
  3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, $50.2 million
  4. It's Complicated, $22.1 million
  5. Up in the Air, $11.8 million
  6. The Blind Side, $11.7 million
  7. The Princess and the Frog, $8.7 million
  8. Nine, $5.5 million
  9. Did You Hear About the Morgans?, $5 million
  10. Invictus, $4.4 million
The 3-D sci-fi epic Avatar was the top film for the second weekend in a row, falling off only three percent from last week and helping to set a new weekend box office record of $278 million, beating the previous mark of $253 million in July 2008 on the weekend The Dark Knight opened.

Opening big in second place was Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Ritchie's newest version of author Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective, starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and Jude Law as his assistant Watson. Debuting at Number Three was Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, the follow-up to 2007's original, which took in $50.2 million over the weekend and $77.1 million since opening last Wednesday. It stars Jason Lee, David Cross and Zachary Levi and the voices of Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Matthew Gray Gubler, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate.

The romantic comedy It's Complicated, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, opened in fourth place, while Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, moved up into fifth place as it expanded even further in wide release. However, director Rob Marshall's Nine, the adaptation of the Broadway musical which was itself a take on Federico Fellini's classic film 8 1/2, came in disappointingly at Number Eight in its first weekend of wide release. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and singer Fergie.



In theaters is the new romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers, It's Complicated, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski. The film follows Jane, played by Streep, who has an amicable relationship wit her ex-husband and father of her three grown children, Jake, played by Baldwin. But when Jane and Jake's flame re-ignites things get complicated;especially when Adam, played by Martin, Jane's architect becomes part of the love triangle.
  • It's Complicated is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Now in theaters is the latest movie from Juno director Jason Reitman, Up In The Air, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman and Danny McBride. The story follows Ryan Bingham, played by Clooney, a corporate downsizing expert whose life on the road is threatened just as he gets close to his goal of ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the woman of his dreams.
  • Up In The Air is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.
In theaters is the highly anticipated latest version of Sherlock Holmes from director Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams. Sherlock Holmes follows Holmes, played by Downey, and Watson, played by Law, as they battle a new nemesis on a brand new adventure to unravel the deadly plot that could bring down the country.
  • Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.


Now in theaters is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring Jason Lee, Justin Long, Jesse McCartney and Zachary Levi. The animated movie centers on the chipmunks, now in the care of Dave's nephew, played by Levi, trying to save their school's music program by winning a battle of the bands contest but the competition gets tougher after sparks starting flying when the chipmunks meet Brittany, Eleanor and Jeannette also known as The Chipettes.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is rated G and has a running time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

BENICIO DEL TORO STARS IN WOLFMAN REMAKE

Benicio Del Toro (I LOVE HIM!) will be soon be opening his new movie The Wolfman, a remake of a 1979 horror film. The new version will be rated "R" for gore when it opens in early February. But sources tell The New York Post that Del Toro is now developing another remake, of the cult classic TV series T.H.E. Cat. The dark, stylish NBC show ran for only one season in 1966. It starred Robert Loggia as a circus performer-turned hired gun named T. Huett Edward Cat, also known as T.H.E. Cat.

  • The series was inspired in part by Alfred Hitchcock's movie To Catch a Thief, and coincidentally, that too may soon be remade. George Clooney is rumored to be interested in the role played by Cary Grant, and January Jones of Mad Men is his pick for the Grace Kelly role.

HEADLINE NEWS!!


SECURITY BEING REVIEWED AFTER ATTEMPTED PLANE ATTACK: The administration has announced a sweeping review of aviation security, including the systems for placing suspicious people on watch lists and detecting explosives before passengers board flights, after the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines jet with 278 passengers and crew on board as it was minutes away from landing in Detroit on a flight from Amsterdam. Investigators said Sunday (December 27th) that they believe the suspect, 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to ignite a mix of the explosive PETN and possibly a liquid explosive that he'd hidden in a pouch below his torso. It set off popping, smoke and some fire, but didn't detonate as passengers and crew subdued the suspect. Abdulmutallab, a devoted Muslim, said after his arrest that his plan originated with al-Qaida in Yemen. However, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said there's no indication yet that Abdulmutallab is part of a larger terrorist plot, although his possible ties to al-Qaida are still under investigation. There were reports over the weekend that new security measures in the wake of the attempted attack may include barring passengers from getting out of their seats within one hour of landing and from holding anything in their laps.

  • A second Nigerian man on the same Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was detained Sunday after he locked himself in the plane's bathroom for a long time. It turns out the man was sick with food poisoning, and investigators concluded he didn't pose any threat.

AT LEAST FIVE KILLED BY SECURITY FORCES IN IRAN PROTESTS: At least five people were killed Sunday (December 27th) when Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters in Tehran, according to the opposition websites and witnesses. A nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was reported to be among the dead. There were also reports of fierce clashes in four other Iranian cities. Accounts of violence couldn't be independently confirmed, however, because of government restrictions on media coverage. For their part, police denied using firearms, and said dozens of officers were injured and more than 300 protesters were arrested. Demonstrators reportedly confronted security forces, throwing stones and setting their motorcycles, cars and vans on fire, and tried to cut off roads with burning barricades. The clashes marked the bloodiest confrontation since the height of unrest in the weeks after June's disputed election.

HOUSE LIKELY TO BEND TOWARDS SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL: After the Senate passed its version of a health insurance reform bill last Thursday (December 24th), early on Christmas Eve, the next step is for negotiators from the House and Senate to meet next month to reconcile that bill and the one approved by the House into a final version that can be sent to President Obama for his signature. Scraping together the 60 votes needed in the Senate to avoid a Republican filibuster took weeks, and two Congressional Democrats acknowledged yesterday (December 27th) that the House will likely have to bend towards the Senate version in the final legislation. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey said on Fox News Sunday, "If we are going to have a final law, it will look a lot more like the Senate version than the House version." On the same show, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said he recognizes the realities in the Senate. But at the same time, he said that before the House gives up the public option -- which isn't in the Senate bill -- they'd want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in the final bill that will keep down premiums.

TODAY'S FYI:

POPE'S SECURITY TIGHTENED AFTER CHRISTMAS EVE INCIDENT: Security had been tightened around Pope Benedict the Sixteenth yesterday (December 27th) as he waded into a crowd of well-wishers in Rome, just days after he was knocked down by a woman at Christmas Eve Mass. The 82-year-old pontiff kept to his busy Christmas schedule despite the incident, in which a woman jumped a barricade in St. Peter's Basilica and pulled the pope to the ground as she was taken down by guards. Benedict, who was unhurt, got up quickly and celebrated the Mass. The Vatican said the woman was mentally unstable and identified her as 25-year-old Swiss-Italian Susanna Maiolo, who had jumped the barrier at Christmas Eve Mass in 2008 as well, but failed to get to the pope. She was being kept in a hospital psychiatric ward.

GOLDMAN CALLS XMAS EVE RETURN OF HIS SON A 'MIRACLE': David Goldman told MSNBC that the return of his son Sean on Christmas Eve after a five-year legal battle in Brazil was "a miracle." In the interview set to air this morning on NBC's Today show, Goldman told Meredith Vieira, "There was 364 other days that he could've been, if he ever were going to come home. But it was Christmas Eve. Somebody's up there for sure." Nine-year-old Sean was handed over to his father early Thursday (December 24th) at the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, but only after his Brazilian stepfather and other relatives of his late mother paraded him past the media in protest of a Brazilian court order that the boy be returned to his father. Goldman told Vieira of the scene, "I hope [Sean] doesn't have lifelong nightmares of that day." Goldman, Sean, and some of Sean's American cousins spent the holiday weekend in Orlando, visiting Disney World and getting reacquainted. Goldman, who lives in New Jersey, told Vieira that Sean was concerned about how much snow there was there and how cold it might be. "He was saying, 'I need to get boots. I need a winter coat.'"

  • Sean was taken by Goldman's then-wife to her native Brazil in 2004 for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. But she remained in Brazil with their son, got a divorce and remarried. Goldman has been fighting to get his son back since, first battling his ex-wife, and then after she died last year in childbirth, the boy's stepfather and his mother's relatives.

NEW CRYSTAL FOR TIMES SQUARE NEW YEAR'S EVE BALL: Organizers of the Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop unveiled the design yesterday (December 27th) for new triangles for the crystal ball. The new Waterford crystals feature an interlocking ribbon pattern woven into a Celtic knot to illustrate the theme for 2010, "Let There Be Courage." Some 288 of the ball's 2,668 Waterford crystal triangles will be replaced with ones with the new pattern for this year's ball drop. Also demonstrated yesterday was a new "Clink-Clink" iPhone app for virtual toasts, which Waterford helped design. It allows two people make a virtual toast with images of Waterford champagne flutes and cocktail glasses on their iPhones.

CHINA CLAIMS WORLD'S FASTEST TRAIN: China unveiled what it says is the world's fastest train Saturday (December 26th), Agence France Presse reported. The train has an average speed of 217 miles per hour, and will run between the cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan, reducing the 664-mile trip from 10 1/2 hours to just three hours. By comparison, Japan's high-speed trains operate at 150 miles per hour and France's run at an average speed of 172 miles per hour.

HOUSTON NEIGHBORHOOD HIT BY 22 ARSON FIRES IN FIVE MONTHS: Houston has been rattled by 22 arson fires that have taken place in the historic neighborhood called the Heights since August. Most of the fires have taken place in the middle of the night and almost always in abandoned buildings. Some structures have been set on fire more than once, with one hit four times. A suspect was charged last month for starting one of the fires, but he hasn't been charged with any of the other arsons and the fires continued even after his arrest. The Heights is a neighborhood of more than 40,000 people, with tree-lined streets and Victorian-style homes, as well as as antiques stores, coffee shops and art galleries.

SPORTS:

NFL SCORES -- WEEK 16: Here are the results of this week's National Football
League games. (Home teams are listed in italics):

Friday, December 25th

  • San Diego Chargers 42, Tennessee Titans 17

Sunday, December 27th

  • Atlanta Falcons 31, Buffalo Bills 3
  • Cincinnati Bengals 17, Kansas City Chiefs 10
  • Cleveland Browns 23, Oakland Raiders 9
  • Houston Texans 27, Miami Dolphins 20
  • New England Patriots 35, Jacksonville Jaguars 7
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, New Orleans Saints 17 (Overtime)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Baltimore Ravens 20
  • Carolina Panthers 41, New York Giants 9 -- Giants were embarrassed in their final game at Giants Stadium before moving to the new Meadowlands Stadium next year.
  • Green Bay Packers 48, Seattle Seahawks 10
  • Arizona Cardinals 31, St. Louis Rams 10
  • San Francisco 49ers 20, Detroit Lions 6
  • Philadelphia Eagles 30, Denver Broncos 27
  • New York Jets 29, Indianapolis Colts 15 -- The Colts got their first loss of the season after going 14-0 in a stunning upset by the Jets.
  • Dallas Cowboys 17, Washington Redskins 0

Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN:

  • Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (8:30 p.m. ET)

TERRELL OWENS GETS 1,000TH CAREER RECEPTION: Terrell Owens got his 1,000th career reception yesterday (December 27th), becoming only the sixth player in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes. However, it came in a lopsided 31-3 loss by his Buffalo Bills to the Atlanta Falcons. The 36-year-old Owens came into the game needing only two catches to reach 1,000, and he got them both in the second quarter. He finished the game with four catches for 39 yards. Owens, who began his NFL career in 1996, reached the milestone in 203 games; only Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice did it in fewer. The other players with 1,000 receptions are Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Isaac Bruce.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


Monday, December 28, 2009


CBS
  • HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (repeat)
  • ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (repeat)
  • TWO AND A HALF MEN (repeat)
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY (repeat)
  • CSI: MIAMI (repeat)

NBC

  • COMMUNITY (repeat)
  • COMMUNITY (repeat)
  • COMMUNITY (repeat)
  • COMMUNITY (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW (repeat)

FOX

  • HOUSE (repeat)
  • LIE TO ME (repeat)

ABC

  • PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END - Will, Elizabeth and Barbossa unite to save Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' locker. Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.

CW

  • ONE TREE HILL (repeat)
  • GOSSIP GIRL (repeat)

TNT

  • MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE - Owen and Melissa go to a charity function with Joe's ex-wife and her new boyfriend; Joe goes to dinner with his bookie.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) -(repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) -(repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR WEARING SANTA SUIT TO SCHOOL: A Pennsylvania high school student was suspended for wearing a Santa Claus outfit to school. When 18-year-old Michael Hance, a senior at Wallingford's Strath Haven High School, told his principal he planned to dress as Santa and pass out candy canes for Christmas, he was told not to because it would be a distraction. Hance decided to go with his plan anyway and was removed moments after he walked into his first class on Tuesday (December 22nd). The school released a statement saying that he was suspended for "defiance of authority." (AP)

INDIAN GOVERNER RESIGNS OVER ALLEGED SEX TAPE: The 86-year-old governor of Andhra Pradesh, Narain Dutt Tiwari, resigned after a local TV station broadcast a sex tape showing him with three women. The tape's release prompted women's rights groups to protest and demand Tiwari's resignation. Tiwari's office says the tape is fabricated, but the governor resigned anyway. (AFP)

'BAREFOOT BANDIT' ELUDES US POLICE: After a string of burglaries and escapes spanning six years, an 18-year-old has been named Time magazine's "most wanted teenage thief" for 2009. Colton Harris-Moore has a criminal record that stretches back six years to when he was just 12 years old. The teen -- referred to as the "Barefoot Bandit" -- now has a cult following including a Facebook fan page. Harris-Moore's mother Pam Koehler says, "He's smart. He took an IQ test a few years ago and he's three points below Einstein." Meanwhile, a Hollywood producer says he wants to make a movie out of the 'Bandit's' life. Island County, Washington sheriff Mark Brown says, "He's an adult felon! I will not have him made into some kind of folk hero." (AFP)

DID YOU KNOW?



CHECK IT OUT: The Art of Returning Gifts: http://tinyurl.com/ybosskq

CLOSE TO HALF OF NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS REPORTEDLY SUCCESSFUL: According to AskMen.com, about 40 percent of New Year's resolutions are successful after the first six months. This figure comes from Dr. John Norcross, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, and Dr. Norcross and his colleagues actually think that the figure (which they reached through two extensive studies) is pretty impressive. New Year's resolutions date back to the Romans, who would tell their resolutions to Janus, the two-faced, two-direction god of good conduct.


MISTLETOE AS CANCER TREATMENT? Scientists have found an extract of the plant -- usually used as an excuse for secret admirers to steal a kiss -- could help to fight bowel cancer. The Daily Mail reports that patients who had the mistletoe treatment regularly injected into their blood had fewer side-effects from toxic chemotherapy and radiotherapy and survived longer than those who did not. The extract is thought to help the body's immune system fight tumours and speed up the disposal of toxic 'debris' left by chemotherapy. The scientists treated 429 cancer patients with the mistletoe jab and compared them with 375 receiving conventional care. The results, published in the journal of The Society For Integrative Oncology, showed only 19 percent of those in the mistletoe group suffered side-effects from toxic treatments, compared to 48 percent in the other group. They were also 32 per cent more likely to still be alive five years after starting therapy.


SYMPATHY PAIN EXISTS: The Daily Mail reported that in a recent study, a third of subjects claimed to feel real pain in the same part of the body as the victim they were watching. Psychologist Dr Stuart Derbyshire made the discovery after inviting 123 college students to watch video clips and photographs of patients and sports stars in pain. The videos included a footballer breaking his leg, a tennis player turning over his left ankle and a patient getting an injection in the hand. All the students said that, for at least one of the images or videos, they had an 'emotional reaction' - such as feeling sad, disgusted or fearful. But a third also claimed to feel real pain in the same part of the body as the person they were watching. Some experienced tingling or aching, others felt a heavy or stabbing pain. For some the pain was fleeting -- others complained that it lasted for several seconds.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE 2009 IS OVER (CollegeCandy.com)

Do something ballsy. We're about to embark into a new decade here! Take the initiative and do something that the "2000-2009 You" would've been terrified of. Ask that guy you've been eyeing (and Fbook stalking) since last January to chill (or meet you at the bar) over break. Kiss a stranger (okay, maybe not a total stranger. There's a lot to worry about these days!).

  • Make some NY resolutions. Put it in writing that you plan to ditch the nasty social smoking habit you've acquired (and only recently found out about via Facebook photos). Sign up (and pay) for a weekly yoga class now so you'll think twice about slogging down that third cranberry and vodka, since you'll know you have to perform a downward dog in front of hot instructor in t-minus 7 hours.
  • Use My Year In Status'. This little ditty randomly selects status updates from the past year and creates a customizable page of your 2009 (mis)adventures. Necessary? No. A hilarious stroll down memory lane? Hell to the yes.
  • Make an end-of-2009 playlist. Let's be honest, 2009 was full of some quality tunes (admit it, you liked "Use Somebody" . . . the first 200 times), so throw them all together on your very own "Now That's What I Call Music." But don't just include the top songs of 2009; you should also add jams specific to your year.
  • Do at least one thing that is so 2009. Sign up for a Twitter account, even if you think "tweeting" sounds like a sexual innuendo. Force yourself to go see "Twilight: New Moon," even though Kristen Stewart makes your skin crawl. (Okay, I guess a DVR marathon of The Vampire Diaries will suffice). Hop on stage and interrupt someone while they make an acceptance speech, telling them they don't deserve it. Learn the "Single Ladies" dance so you can bust it out at your NYE party when it inevitably plays. Twice.

HOW NOT TO LOOK LIKE A TOURIST WHEN YOU TRAVEL (AskMen.com)

Do your homework: It always helps to have some background information on where you're going. Knowledge of the local customs or history can help you avoid sticking out -- or even offending the locals. You don't want to try to get a meal in a small town in Spain, for example, when everyone has closed up shop for their afternoon siesta.

  • Know the currency: Familiarize yourself with the exchange rate so you don't have to figure out how much the local money is worth every time you pay for something. Avoid having to say things like, "How much is this worth in American dollars?" Find out the exchange rate the day before you leave, apply it to a $10 purchase, and use this scale to calculate the value of your expenditures.
  • Get familiar with your surroundings: You can buy maps and guidebooks for most major cities around the world in big bookstores or on the internet. If you do your prep work, you're much less likely to be caught off guard by cabbies who like to take the scenic route. Furthermore, you don't want to get lost, or appear lost, in public.
  • Learn a few words of the language: Get as familiar as you can with the local language. You don't have to be fluent, but it's very helpful to memorize a few basic words, handy phrases (such as "Where's the bathroom?") and common slang.
  • Get directions discreetly: Ever see a tourist standing on a street corner with a huge map unfolded? Would you want to look that clueless? If you do get lost, find a quiet place to open up your map -- a store or restaurant will do, providing they let you sit down for a while. Local businessmen and merchants, being established in the area, are also more likely to know the neighborhood and to give you better directions than passersby.
  • Dress the part: Make sure your clothes are appropriate for the local culture and climate. Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt may be great for St. Petersburg, Florida, but they won't fly in St. Petersburg, Russia. Don't wear souvenir clothes that will give you away as a tourist instantly.
  • Don't carry heavy bags or other accessories you won't need. If you bring your camera, don't leave it hanging around your neck all day, or even in your hand. Keeping it at the hotel will not only allow you to blend in better, but you'll be less likely to have it damaged or snatched.
  • Keep a low profile: Always be polite and unobtrusive. Remember, you're a visitor, so act as you would expect someone who is visiting your home to act. If there's a misunderstanding, don't lose your cool. Keep in mind that yelling won't help you be better understood.
  • Stray off the beaten path: If you can, avoid traveling in high season. You'll get a better feel for your destination if you're there when the other tourists are gone, plus you'll get better rates on airfare and accommodation. Stay away from the obvious tourist traps. When picking restaurants, try some local cuisine instead of visiting a chain that you have back home.
  • Get help from the locals: If you already know someone who lives where you're going, get them to help you and show you around. They'll know where all of the good places to go are, and you'll likely be better treated if you're with a local. Making new friends there isn't a bad idea either -- just be wary of scams.

CHRISTMAS FROM YOUR FAVORITE COUNTRY STARS

The presents under the tree have been opened, broken ribbons in the trash and gifts you didn't want have been returned and exchanged for something you could use. We've heard from some of your favorite country artists about their Christmas gifts and what they did over the holidays.

  • Sugarland's Kristan Bush tweeted, "Merry Christmas! I got a yo-yo, a toy airpane, a record player and a bunch of my favorite albums on vinyl."
  • Miranda Lambert got a few things for her kitchen -- "Time to make blueberry muffins in my new muffin pan. Yay!"
  • Taylor Swift surprised some children at the Monroe Carrell Jr Children's Hospital with a performance on Christmas Eve.
  • Joe Nichols received a Tshirt stating, "I tweet naked," from his mother-in-law for Christmas.
  • Miranda's boyfriend, Blake Shelton, tweeted a picture of some of the gifts he received, which included alcohol and guns.
  • Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman got what they wanted for Christmas -- time together with their faily. The couple took daughter Sunday Rose to children's mass on Christmas Eve.
  • Kellie Pickler spent her holiday in Minnesota with her songwriter boyfriend, Kyle Jacobs, and went to the Mall of America. While there, she picked up the 2009 holiday Barbie.
  • On Christmas Eve, Martina McBride's daughter Ava made Santa Claus a cookie and a brownie in her Easy Bake Oven.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

TRACK SANTA'S RIDE!

THE KIDS ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS! Track Santa's ride around the world with your family tonight!! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL....

www.noradsanta.org

MY CHRISTMAS CARD TO YOU! XOXOXXO JESSI

I know this is not a country song and it the quality of the sound it not that great but the lyrics are exactly what I feel in my heart. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL my Flagger Friends!! Much love to you all....Jessi

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Kenny Chesney had the top grossing country tour of the decade with $455.6-million. He landed at Number Three overall, right behind the Dave Matthews Band ($529.1 million) and Celine Dion ($522.2 million). Toby Keith is the second top grossing country tour of the decade (and Number 11 overall) with $274-million, while Rascal Flatts is number-three with $222-million (Number 16 overall).

While Kenny won't be launching a big production tour next year, he will most likely miss his fans. He explains what he sees from his perspective on stage. "It's unbelievable to see the passion that people have for havin' a good time out there with us. I've seen people bring boats and use 'em as coolers. I've seen so many crazy things that it just, I tell ya, for me to go out there and do that. It reminds me of why we're there. It reminds me that, no matter what's goin' on in their life, too. And for a couple hours later on that night, we get to have a shared moment -- and we're gonna make that shared moment the best we can make it."

SIDENOTES:

  • Kenny has sold 8.6 million tickets over the past 10 years.
  • Kenny is nominated for a Grammy with the top touring act of the decade, Dave Matthews, for "Down the Road," which is up for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.
For many of us, being in a school Christmas play was just part of growing up, and Kenny Chesney is no exception. He was a "star" even as a child. "I think one time I held the star, you know, and did it behind them. You know, I didn't . . . never did show my face. I was holding the star going through the night. That's all I did. I remember doing that one year. But all my other buddies was Joseph and Mary and all that stuff. I never did, really, get out on stage that much. Never really did sing in the Christmas play and . . . no, I was pretty scared to get up there then!" (laughs)

Craig Morgan is having a little fun with a playful Christmas version of his current hit, "Bonfire," and while he was initially reluctant to record a Yuletide edition, he talked himself into it! Craig tells us,"When we first started talkin' about it, I'm like, 'Man, how are we gonna do this . . . without it bein' too cheesy?' Initially, I said, 'No," I wasn't gonna do this, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be somethin' that'd be a lot of fun to do while we're touring, right up to the holidays. And I sat down and started piddling with it a little bit, and five minutes later, we had it finished, and I called my co-producer. And I was on the road touring out in Georgia somewhere, and he brought a . . . brought the studio down, set it up in a hotel room, and I re-recorded the vocals over the top of the original tracks, and that's what we ended up with."SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . ended up with.) So Craig worked it up, got his producer to come out on the road, and you can be listen ing for it now on your favorite station!
  • The holiday version of "Bonfire" can be streamed online on Craig's MySpace page at myspace.com/craigmorgan.
  • The regular version of "Bonfire" is featured onCraig's current album, That's Why.

George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" will be featured in the Library of Congress historical archives and will be included in this weekend's The Sounds of American Culture radio program. George will appear, as well as the song's co-writer Bobby Braddock.
  • George has said that he initially thought "He Stopped Loving Her Today" was too sad to be very popular, but, at one of the lowest points of his career and personal life, he made it one of country music's defining and most enduring songs.
  • Since 2002, the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Board has named a limited number of recordings each year to the National Recording Registry. The recordings are considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
Faith Hill has many great Christmas memories, especially since becoming a mother. But she does recall one of favorite Christmas presents as a child.["[My] favorite Christmas present was a little wooden baby bed with a little baby doll in it. I think I asked for a little baby doll. We lived in Philadelphia, Mississippi this time. I think I was probably, I think I was five years old. And we had one of those silver Christmas trees, and I remember having that and a baby bed with a little baby in it. And my mom still has that baby bed."

Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" is CMT's Top Music Video of the Year. The network's year-end Top 20 Countdown will air on Christmas Day at 11:30 AM (ET), featuring all of the top videos for the year.

Sarah Buxton "Outside My Window" has climbed into the Top 20 on the country singles charts. It's from her debut album, which arrives in stores February 23rd.

Vince Gill and Julianne Hough are expected to appear at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), taking place in Anaheim, California, January 14th-17th. The trade show features thousands of the latest musical instruments, products and more. Quincy Jones, Gene Simmons, Yoko Ono, Ace Frehley, Stevie Wonder and Peter Frampton are also scheduled to appear.

Darius Rucker appears on ABC's Good Morning America on Christmas Day to perform the holiday favorite, "Candy Cane Christmas." The song is currently available for download at i-Tunes.com.

Bucky Covington will perform at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Nashville for its official re-opening on December 29th. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Arthritis Foundation of Tennessee.

American Idol finalist Danny Gokey, who just released his debut country single, is scheduled to make his Grand Ole Opry debut January 8th at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. In other news, Dannny will perform the National Anthem prior to the NFL matchup between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday (December 27th).

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. Grey's Anatomy star Katherine Heigl's brother-in-law is a member of which country trio?
A. Lady Antebellum (It's Charles Kelley)

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!



ABOARD THE SANTA TRAIN/GAC 6:00 PM (ET)

Wynonna

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD: A PBS SOUNDSTAGE SPECIAL EVENT/PBS 8:00 PM (ET)

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD/GAC 8:00 PM (ET)

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

Ryan Seacrest (35) (TV host)

  • Ricky Martin (38) (singer)
  • Diedrich Bader (43) (actor)
  • Mary Higgins Clark (novelist) (82)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!


N THIS DAY

  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill took baby Audrey home from the hospital in 2001, 18 days after she was born eight weeks premature.
  • N-B-C erroneously lists Chet Atkins among the famous people who had died that year. Chet calls C-N-N, Hard Copy and A Current Affair, and tells them (borrowing from Mark Twain) that reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated in 1994. (Atkins died in 2001 of cancer, at age 77.)
  • Tom Cruise marries Nicole Kidman in 1990. The two later divorce.
  • "When You Say Nothing At All" hit number one for Keith Whitley in 1988.
  • Kix and Barbara Brooks have their first child, Molly Brooks in 1986.
  • Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers top the Billboard country chart with "Houston" in 1983.
  • Alan Jackson proposed to Denise, his girlfriend of three years, in 1978.
  • Pam Tillis shattered her face in more than 30 places in a car accident in 1973, requiring multiple surgeries over the next five years.
  • Jack Greene began a seven-week stay at number-one on the Billboard country chart with "There Goes My Everything in 1966.
  • Glen Campbell filled in for Brian Wilson in the Beach Boys for the first time in 1964.
  • Franz Gruber of Oberndorff, Germany, composes the music for "Silent Night" to words written by Josef Mohr in 1818.

COFFEE BREAK: FRESHLY BREWED ENTERTAINMENT AND GOSSIP NEWS


JOHNNY KNOXVILLE IS A DAD AGAIN: Johnny Knoxville and his girlfriend Naomi Nelson are the parents of a newborn son. People magazine confirmed that Nelson gave birth to Rocko Akira Clapp on Sunday (December 20th) night in Los Angeles. Knoxville has a 13-year-old daughter from his previous marriage.

ANGELINA JOLIE DOESN'T BELIEVE IN FIDELITY? Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may not be exclusive. The actress is quoted in an interview with a German women's magazine, Das Neue as saying, "I doubt that fidelity is absolutely essential for a relationship. It's worse to leave your partner and talk badly about him afterwards." She supposedly adds, "Neither Brad nor I have ever claimed that living together means to be chained together. We make sure that we never restrict each other."

'MISTER ED' ACTRESS DIES: Connie Hines, who played Wilbur's wife on the popular 1960s television show Mister Ed died last week at the age of 78. Her former co-star Alan Young told the Los Angeles Times that Hines passed away at her Beverly Hills home from complications relating to heart problems. Hines also appeared in the 1960 film Thunder in Carolina and TV shows like The Millionaire, Johnny Ringo and Riverboat.

BRITTANY MURPHY FUNERAL SET FOR CHRISTMAS EVE: RadarOnline.com reports that Murphy's funeral is to be held on Christmas Eve at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills and is listed as "strictly private.

JOHNNY KNOXVILLE IS A DAD AGAIN: People magazine reports that Knoxville and his girlfriend welcomed son Rocko Akira Clapp on Sunday.

TIGER WOODS POPULARITY TAKES PLUNGE: A CNN poll found Woods had a 34 percent favorable rating and 49 percent unfavorable mark last week.

MORGAN FREEMAN BUYS PRIVATE JET: Gulfnews.com reports that Freeman purchased a brand new private jet from Emivest, a private investment company in the United Arab Emirates.

'SEX AND THE CITY' TRAILER RELEASED: Check out what's coming: http://tinyurl.com/y86w6xl 'MISTER ED' ACTRESS DIES: Connie Hines, who played Wilbur's wife on the popular 1960s television show Mister Ed died at the age of 78 from complications of heart problems.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

'SEX AND THE CITY' TRAILER RELEASED: The first Sex and the City trailer has hit the web. The preview doesn't offer too many plot hints, but promises exotic locations, extravagant clothes and adventures with girlfriends and lovers. Check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/y86w6xl

GOLDEN GLOBE PRESENTERS ANNOUNCED: Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Mickey Rourke will be among the presenters at next month's Golden Globes. Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio were previously announced as presenters for the January 17th show, which will be hosted by Ricky Gervais. Roberts is also a nominee this year in the category of best comedy actress for her performance in Duplicity.

SUSAN BOYLE CONTINUES DOMINATING CHARTS: Susan Boyle will reportedly dominate the Billboard 200 chart for a fourth consecutive week. MTV reports that Boyle's debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, will top the chart again next week after selling an additional 661,000 copies. Since its release last month, Boyle's disc of covers and holiday favorites has sold nearly 2.5 million copies.

HUGE DROP IN TIGER WOODS POPULARITY AS SCANDAL UNFOLDS

Tiger Woods' popularity has unsurprisingly suffered greatly since his adulterous scandal has unraveled. A CNN poll found that the golfer had a 34 percent favorable rating and 49 percent unfavorable mark last week -- down from a 60-to-25 favorable-to-unfavorable margin less than three weeks ago, after the scandal first broke.

  • The New York Post noted that Tiger's unwillingness to speak about his situation is most likely to blame for the dip.

DR. CONRAD MURRAY THE SUBJECT OF NEW TV SHOW?

Dr. Conrad Murray, the cardiologist who will likely be charged with the murder of superstar Michael Jackson, reportedly struck a deal with a British film company for a new documentary. According to TMZ.com, Murray allowed a film crew to follow him around during his first day back at his Houston medical clinic on November 23rd. The footage -- which also follows Murray to his church -- will be part of a one-episode TV special.

  • A spokesman for Dr. Murray says the production company was "interested in the reaction of patients to his return," and that the good doctor has not received any money for the project. Just when the Murray documentary will get on the air is not determined, as the doctor reportedly told the crew that he would not consent to have it broadcast until after the Michael Jackson investigation is complete. That could take years.
  • "There is no proposed deal," said Murray spokeswoman Miranda Sevcik. "They were thinking about doing something in the future, but it's been blown way out of proportion. We have them on an ironclad contract saying if they show anything, we can sue them. So they won't touch the stuff."
  • The doctor returned to his practice because he needs the income. He claims that he has not been paid for his services as Jackson's personal physician during the weeks he was rehearsing for his London shows, and was charged by a Los Angeles judge with paying child support for his young son. Murray was the person responsible for administering the powerful sedatives that ultimately killed the King Of Pop on June 25th.

JAKE GYLLENHAAL REPORTEDLY VACATIONING WHERE HE INTENDED TO PROPOSE

Jake Gyllenhaal is reportedly recovering from his split from Reese Witherspoon in the same location where he planned to propose to her. Popeater.com reports that the actor is vacationing at the exclusive Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California, which describes itself as "providing the ultimate accommodations for a romantic getaway for those seeking a luxurious escape for a honeymoon, anniversary, or a relaxing vacation."

  • A source told the website, "It's so sad watching his friend try to cheer him up in the infinity pool when you know it was Reese that was supposed to be next to him wearing a diamond ring."

BRITTANY MURPHY FUNERAL TO TAKE PLACE TODAY

Brittany Murphy's funeral will reportedly take place today (December 24th) at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. RadarOnline.com reports that the service is listed as "strictly private."

Meanwhile, there's speculation that Murphy may have a post-mortem singing careering. E! reports that music executives are looking to see if Murphy, who sang alongside Paul Oakenfeld and in films like Happy Feet, may have any unreleased songs.

  • An executive said, "Obviously this isn't a Michael Jackson thing, but people are definitely interested in Brittany and her story. Depending on what she may have recorded and what kind of quality it is, she could end up having a hit song or two."
  • In other news, TMZ.com reports that the actress's home is already a stop on "Haunted Hollywood Tours." A van for the company was seen driving past the house in which Murphy died just two days after her death.

NATALIE PORTMAN DENIES NEW ROMANCE RUMORS


Reports have circulated claiming Natalie Portman is dating the older brother of Miley Cyrus's boyfriend. Star magazine reported that the actress and Star Trek actor Chris Hemsworth began dating after they were cast together in the upcoming movie Thor, however her Portman's rep told GossipCop.com that the rumor is untrue.

A source had told Star "Sparks have been flying since their first meeting. He seems to have a crush on her, and she clearly loves the attention." Thor is scheduled to start shooting in January.

  • Cyrus has reportedly been dating Hemsworth's younger brother Liam since the pair shot The Last Song together six months ago.

KATE GOSSELIN REPORTEDLY DROPPED FROM TALK SHOW PILOT

Kate Gosselin has reportedly been dropped from the talk show pilot she shot earlier this year opposite Paula Deen and several other women. RadarOnline.com reported in September that Gosselin was one of several hosts tapped for a Momlogic TV pilot, but the website said that executives dropped the reality mom because they thought she was "too controversial."

Regardless of Gosselin's involvement, Radar noted that it's unlikely the show will be picked up. The website described the program -- dubbed "The View for working moms" -- as being on life support. A source said that it is still on the schedule to be sold at the convention where television shows are pitched, but an insider said there is little chance it will make it.

  • In other news, Radar reported that Kate will likely be back on TLC in the spring with a new show, although the concept has not been made public.

SUSAN SARANDON AND TIM ROBBINS SPLIT

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins have split up after more than 20 years together. Sarandon's rep confirmed that the relationship -- which held strong for over two decades despite the lack of a marriage license -- has ended.

Teal Cannaday told People magazine, "Actress Susan Sarandon and her partner of 23 years, actor Tim Robbins have announced that they separated over the summer. No further comments will be made."

  • The couple, who met on the set of Bull Durham, have two sons together; 20-year-old Jack and 17-year-old Miles. Sarandon, at 63, is 12 years older than Robbins.
  • Sarandon previously commented on their decision not to marry, saying, "I won't marry because I am too afraid of taking him for granted or him taking me for granted -- maybe it will be a good excuse for a party when I am 80."
  • Sarandon has a 24-year-old daughter from a previous relationship with director Franco Amurri.

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEKEND!


Opening tomorrow (December 25th) is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, starring Jason Lee, Justin Long, Jesse McCartney and Zachary Levi. The animated movie centers on the chipmunks, now in the care of Dave's nephew, played by Levi, trying to save their school's music program by winning a battle of the bands contest but the competition gets tougher after sparks starting flying when the chipmunks meet Brittany, Eleanor and Jeannette also known as The Chipettes.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is rated G and has a running time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Opening tomorrow (December 25th) is the new romantic comedy from Nancy Meyers, It's Complicated, starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski. The film follows Jane, played by Streep, who has an amicable relationship wit her ex-husband and father of her three grown children, Jake, played by Baldwin. But when Jane and Jake's flame re-ignites things get complicated;especially when Adam, played by Martin, Jane's architect becomes part of the love triangle.
  • It's Complicated is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Opening tomorrow (December 25th) is the highly anticipated latest version of Sherlock Holmes from director Guy Ritchie and starring Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams. Sherlock Holmes follows Holmes, played by Downey, and Watson, played by Law, as they battle a new nemesis on a brand new adventure to unravel the deadly plot that could bring down the country.
  • Sherlock Holmes is rated PG-13 and has a running time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.
Opening tomorrow (December 25th) in wide release is the latest movie from Juno director Jason Reitman, Up In The Air, starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman and Danny McBride. The story follows Ryan Bingham, played by Clooney, a corporate downsizing expert whose life on the road is threatened just as he gets close to his goal of ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the woman of his dreams.
Up In The Air is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

HEADLINE NEWS!!


Thursday, December 24, 2009


JOHN KERRY'S WIFE HAS CANCER: Senator John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, is battling breast cancer. The 71-year-old revealed her diagnosis in a Pittsburgh-Post Gazette Op-Ed on Wednesday (December 23rd), writing that she was diagnosed and treated for stage one cancer in both breasts, first detected at an early stage during an annual mammogram. The once First Lady-hopeful added that she has had two operations and her prognosis for a full recovery is good. In her piece, Heinz-Kerry also made it clear that she disagreed with a federal panel recommendation last month that women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms.

HISTORIC HEALTH CARE VOTE HAPPENING: At press time, the U.S. Senate was poised to vote on passage of a historic health care reform bill on Thursday morning (December 24th), following 23 straight days of debate in which Republicans aimed to score political points against President Barack Obama by bringing the legislation down with the help of a handful of conservative Democrats. A procedural vote passed 60 to 39 on Wednesday evening (December 23rd), clearing the way for the final vote and an upcoming conference with the House of Representatives to meld their two bills together into one final package. The Senate bill extends coverage to 31 million Americans, bans insurance companies from denying coverage or dropping customers due to illness, and aims to both slow the growth of spending and cut the deficit.

ARMED MAN IN WHEELCHAIR TAKES FIVE HOSTAGE: An armed man in a wheelchair took five people hostage in a western Virginia post office on Wednesday (December 23rd), forcing police to cordon off a three-block area crowded with holiday shoppers. According to the Associated Press, there were no injuries although shots had been fired, and the man had made no demands except to ask for a pizza. The man appeared to have five pounds of explosive strapped to his chest. The man's motive for taking the people hostage was not determined.

GUANTANAMO MAY STAY OPEN UNTIL 2011: Despite President Obama's pledge to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba by January, the now-notorious base may have to stay open until 2011. According to the Associated Press, that's because it will take the government months to complete the purchase of an Illinois prison and upgrade it to hold enemy combatants. Republicans have pledged to delay votes on funding to upgrade the Thomson Correctional Center, a state facility located about 150 miles from Chicago. The government cannot buy the facility until March, after which it will need approximately 10 months of construction. More than 560 inmates have been released from Guantanamo since 2002, with 198 remaining.

TODAY'S FYI:

STUDY FINDS AIRPORT RESTAURANTS LACKING IN FOOD SAFETY: A recent inspection of nearly 800 restaurants at 10 airports found dangerous food conditions. USA Today, which conducted the study themselves, found tuna salad and turkey sandwiches stored in warm temperatures, raw meat cross-contaminating ready-to-eat items, rat droppings, and kitchens without soap. David Jefferson of the Tarrant County, Texas health department told the paper, "The grab-and-go sandwich problem, it's a constant battle." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that every year there are 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses in the U.S.

WOMAN SUING AFTER BEING MISDIAGNOSED WITH STDS: A New Jersey woman says that a Harlem hospital nearly destroyed her life and wrecked her marriage after misdiagnosing her with terminal HIV, hepatitis and herpes. Maria Osorio told the New York Post that she went to a screening at the Harlem Hospital earlier this year after seeing an ad on TV offering a $15 mammogram. When a nurse offered her a free instant cheek swab and blood test, too, she accepted and was told she had HIV. She told the paper that she lashed out at her husband, who tried to defend himself. She alleges that almost three weeks later, the hospital called to say she was perfectly healthy, but no one apologized to her for the mistake. Osorio filed a medical-malpractice notice of claim against the city in state Supreme Court in Manhattan last week.

U.S. RETAILERS STAY OPEN PAST MIDNIGHT IN HOLIDAY PUSH: Some U.S. retailers have been keeping their doors open 24 hours the past few nights in a final push for holiday sales. Macy's has kept 12 stores open in big cities like New York, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Best Buy and Kmart have done the same with several of their store locations as well. Chief industry analyst at the NPD Group tells Reuters, "What retailers are looking to do is get any leg up on the competition to get what little dollars are available . . . We're seeing a new tradition form right in front of our eyes." The National Retail Federation expects that U.S. retail sales will fall one percent from a year ago. Retailers will release December sales results in two weeks.

MORE PEOPLE GET NEWS FROM YAHOO NEWS THAN CNN: According comScore -- a digital measuring service -- more people get their online news from Yahoo News rather than CNN or news properties of the New York Times. In November, comScore reports that Yahoo News had 138 million unique visitors worldwide, while CNN had 66 million and the New York Times properties' combined had 92 million. Google News attracted 100 million unique visitors worldwide, making the top two sources of online news Yahoo News and Google News.

JAILBREAK FUGITIVE UPDATES FACEBOOK PAGE: An escaped prisoner named Craig Lynch is on the run but still manages to find time to update his Facebook status. The 28-year-old was serving a sentence for aggravated burglary when he escaped from a prison in eastern England back in September. British police are trying to use Lynch's updates to figure out where he is hiding. A police spokeswoman told CNN, "Obviously we're taking what he's saying on Facebook with a pinch of salt because he's now aware that people may be reading what he's writing." There have been several status updates since the news of his updates broke -- the most recent of them being -- "Well what can i say fellow friends. The run is nearly over. Sorry some of you had to find out like this. I know some of you might take offense that i never told you personally. But you know me. I Trust No One. Its the only way to be."

11 AREAS WHERE JOBS ARE INCREASING: MetroMonitor, a "quarterly, interactive barometer of the health of America's 100 largest metropolitan economies" recognizes 11 metropolitan areas where they saw increases in employment in the last quarter.

The metros that saw positive job growth are:

  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
  • New Orleans, Metarie-Kenner, Louisiana
  • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, New York, Pennsylvania
  • Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Virginia-Maryland-W. Virginia
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Syracuse, New York

SPORTS:

MLB UMPIRES SIGN 5-YEAR CONTRACT: Major League Baseball and it's umpires have come to an agreement on a five-year contract that runs through 2014. Owners are expected to vote on the deal on January 14, and umpires will vote on ratification four days later. After a number of missed calls during the playoffs, MLB wanted the rule that prohibited umpires from working the World Series in consecutive years lifted as well as more control over postseason assignments. Negotiators said they wouldn't discuss the specifics of the deal before ratification.

MICHAEL VICK WINS EAGLES' COURAGE AWARD: Michael Vick was awarded the Ed Block Courage Award, voted on by his teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick's teammates rewarded him for the tough journey he took in order to return to the NFL after spending 18 months in a federal prison for his role in a dogfighting ring. "It means a great deal to me," Vick said Wednesday. "I was voted unanimously by my teammates. They know what I've been through." The Ed Block Award honors players who exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage. All 32 NFL teams select a recipient, and each winner will be honored at an awards ceremony in Baltimore on March 9.

ON THE TUBE TODAY & HOLIDAY WEEKEND


Thursday, December 24, 2009


CBS
  • CSI: NY (repeat)
  • CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (repeat)
  • THE MENTALIST (repeat)

NBC

  • IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - (1946) A suicidal family man and do-gooder sees life a new way thanks to his guardian angel. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Thomas Mitchell.

FOX

  • BONES (repeat)
  • FRINGE (repeat)

ABC

  • DISNEY PREP & LANDING (repeat)
  • THE MIDDLE (repeat)
  • MODERN FAMILY (repeat)
  • COUGAR TOWN (repeat)
  • GREY'S ANATOMY (repeat)

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • SUPERNATURAL (repeat)

TNT

  • RAISING THE BAR - Richard defends a law student who poured a beer on a police officer who demnaded he respect the national anthem; Marcus prosecutes a father accused of robbing a store to feed his children.
  • RAISING THE BAR - Jerry defends a massage therapist accused of touching a client inappropriately; Judge Kessler's boyfriend asks her for a favor.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - The View's Last Minute Throw Together Christmas Show

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

Friday December 25th, 2009
Christmas Day

CBS

  • GHOST WHISPERER (repeat)
  • MEDIUM (repeat)
  • NUMB3RS (repeat)

NBC

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE PRESENTS: A VERY GILLY CHRISTMAS (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW (repeat)

FOX

  • 'TIL DEATH - Eddie and Joy try to live without complaining, but Eddie finds that repressing his true feelings makes him sick; Kenny works as a mall Santa.
  • 'TIL DEATH - Eddie and Joy visit his parents in Florida and find out that the older couple are separating.
  • 'TIL DEATH - Joy's boyfriend with Eileen, Eddie's ex-girlfriend, causes problems.
  • 'TIL DEATH - Kenny's wife kicks him out of their apartment, so Eddie invites him to stay at his house.

ABC

  • PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST - Jack Sparrow must find a way to avoid the clutches of ghostly pirate Davy Jones and his crew or be damned for all eternity. Starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy and Geoffrey Rush.

CW

  • SMALLVILLE (repeat)
  • GRANDMA GOT RUNOVER BY A REINDEER - A boy embarjks on a journey to find his missing grandmother and prove that Santa Claus is real.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - (repeat)

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat)
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - (repeat)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - (repeat)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat)
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)

SATURDAY

NBC

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (repeat)

SUNDAY

CBS

  • JESSE STONE: THIN ICE - A police chief lands in trouble with the council after a shootout on the streets of Boston. Starring Tom Selleck, Kathy Baker, Kohl Sudduth and Leslie Hope.
  • COLD CASE (repeat)

NBC

  • FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA - The day's NFL highlights.
  • NFL FOOTBALL - Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

FOX

  • THE SIMPSONS (repeat)
  • THE CLEVELAND SHOW (repeat)
  • FAMILY GUY (repeat)
  • AMERICAN DAD (repeat)

ABC

  • THE SOUND OF MUSIC - A woman leaves her convent to become the governess to Capt. Von Trapp's seven children in Austrua before World War II. Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker and Peggy Wood.

E!

  • KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS - Khloe gets excited when she thinks she's pregnant; Kim's tendency to tell little white lies get her into big trouble.

DID YOU KNOW?

SANTA ROBS A BANK TO PAY HIS ELVES: Nashville, TN police say a man dressed as Santa Claus robbed a local bank claiming he needed the money to "pay elves". A bank teller asked him to remove the sunglasses he was wearing, but he refused and then reached into his sack for a gun. He warned the tellers not to put blue dye packs in the with the money or he'd come back and kill everyone. (WKRN)

FAMILY FINDS BABY SEAL IN THEIR BACKYARD: A family in Kent, England found a baby seal in their backyard, 18 miles from the sea. The family said they discovered the seal when they heard their dog barking at it and say it got into their pond and ate some of their pet goldfish. The family at first thought it was a "huge slimy cat". Wildlife officials say they believe the seal got lost from it's mother during a storm at sea, but that the seal is a good weight and was not starving when they found it. (BBC News)

SALON GLUES WOMAN'S EYES SHUT: An English woman got more than she paid for when her eyes were accidentally glued shut during a "lash tinting" at a beauty salon. During the treatment, her eyes became irratated and swelled up causing her to go to the hospital where she received perscription eye drops, but a week later she woke up with her eyes seemingly glued shut. With warm water she was eventually able to pry them open before returning to the hospital for treatment on her scars. (Stylelist.com)

SEA OTTERS DELAY FLIGHT: Officials say two sea otters are responsible for an 80-minute flight delay out of Houston, Texas on Tuesday. They say the shortly before takeoff, two sea otters being stored in the cargo deck got loose and had to be restrained before the flight could take off for Columbus, Ohio. (KHOU.com)

DID YOU KNOW?

IS SANTA A BAD INFLUENCE? Public health expert Dr. Nathan Grills says Santa Claus is a bad influence. Ananova.com reports that Grills said Father Christmas is a bad role model -- and encourages obesity, drink-driving and risk-taking. He added that Santa must be over the limit while driving his sleigh, after all those beers, brandies and sherries -- and he doesn't even wear a seatbelt. Grills told the British Medical Journal, "To create a supportive environment for Santa's dieting we should cease the tradition of leaving him cookies, mince pies, and milk, brandy, or sherry. This is bad not only for Santa's waistline but for parental obesity. Santa might also be encouraged to adopt a more active method to deliver toys - swapping his reindeer for a bike or walking or jogging."


AMERICANS SPENT TONS ON TIME ONLINE: A Harris Interactive poll suggests that adult Internet users are now spending an average of 13 hours a week online. About 14 percent spends 24 or more hours a week online, while 20 percent of adult Internet users are online for only two hours or less a week. Harris concludes that the average hours spent online have increased from 7 hours from 1999 to 2002, to between 8 and 9 hours in 2003 to 2006, and surged after that.

CHRISTMAS TREE STATISTICS (Christmastree.org)

TREE TYPE: MEAN AVERAGE DOLLARS SPENT

  • Real Trees $36.50
  • Fake trees $60.63

PRE-CUT VS. CUT YOUR OWN: Percentage of all trees purchased

  • Pre-Cut 80%
  • Cut My Own 20%

WHERE PEOPLE BUY REAL TREES

  • Choose & Harvest Farm 31%
  • Nursery/Garden Center 11%
  • Chain Store (Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc.) 24%
  • Retail Lot 7%
  • Non-profit Group (Boy Scouts, churches, etc.) 18%
  • Other 9%

REGIFTING RULES TO ABIDE BY (Yahoo)

Rule #1: Thou shalt not regift anything you've already used. This is the single most important rule. Don't try to fudge it. Think of this rule as your excuse to give that gently-worn sweater to a worthy charity, instead of racking your brains trying to think of a friend who won't remember seeing you in it.

  • Rule #2: Thou shalt carefully examine your regift from every angle. Check for gift notes tucked into the box. Check for inscriptions on the first ten pages of the book. Check for damage. And for the love of sweet pickle juice, check for monograms and personalization.
  • Rule #3: Thou shalt be certain, beyond a doubt, that the person who originally gave you the gift does not know, and never will know, the person you're regifting it to.
  • Rule #4: Thou shalt regift with the same care and generosity with which you, er, regular-gift. Wrap the gift nicely, include a thoughtful card, and observe your usual gift-giving discretion. You wouldn't tell a friend how much you paid for a gift you bought, right? You don't need to tell her how much you didn't pay, either. (Total honesty might make you feel better, but it probably won't have the same effect on the recipient.)
  • Rule #5: Thou shalt only regift things that other people might actually want. On the "do" list: Bottles of wine and champagne are almost universally welcome regifts. Other good regifts: new toys, bestselling books, unused (and unopened) beauty products, edible goodies that not only are fresh but also look fresh, music (anything that wasn't the big hit of last year, that is), and picture frames you've taken the trouble to put great pictures into.

GIFTS FOR NEW-PARENT FRIENDS (Lemondrop.com)

Type: Brand New Parents

What to Gift: This couple wavers between talking about how tired they are and how amazing their lives are now that they have a new baby. Give them a gift basket that says, "Welcome to parenthood! Now stop complaining." Items include:

  • His and Hers Pillow Cases (for those late night debates)
  • Baby Sleeping, Do Not Disturb Signs (so baby's naps go uninterrupted)
  • Placenta Teddy Bear (for novelty's sake)
  • Mom Jeans (a "cheeky" welcome to the club token)

Type: Parents Who Travel

What to Gift: Smart Baby Case (complete with air purification unit, LED screen and auto-diaper functions!)

Type: Parents With a Crazy Kid

What to Gift: Put together a basket that will help your friends -- and everyone else -- stay sane. Items include:

  • Leash (for the kid)
  • Hill Pill (for the parents)
  • Nyquil and Popsicle Containers (for sleepy time)
  • New Parent Apology Cards (for public outings)

Type: Environmentally Obsessed Parents

What to Gift: Anything that involves cloth diapers, butt-wash spray (yes, it exists) and fleece wipes are all good. Buy a gift basket from your friend's favorite overpriced eco-baby store and watch her squeal with delight.

WHY IT'S BETTER TO BE SINGLE DURING THE HOLIDAYS (YourTango.com)

  • Fewer gift to buy. Without a significant other, you're giving yourself the gift of one less purchase. It's been a tough 12 months -- why not splurge for that deep tissue massage your shoulders have been asking for all year?
  • The chance to meet new loves. As Twanna Hines, who writes a dating blog Funky Brown Chick, says, "single for the holidays doesn't have to mean solo." There are holiday parties to attend, New Year's Eve bashes brimming with champagne and eligible singles at every corner fresh (and freshly buzzed) from office parties. Use these social events as your very own holiday dating service. If you start to view it as such, at the very least, you'll see that you really aren't missing very much by being single.
  • French kisses under the mistletoe. Kissing someone new under the mistletoe is 100 percent more exciting than kissing the person you kiss every day.
  • More friendly encounters. Hines, who's single, looks forward to Thanksgiving with her girlfriends. It's a tradition that she's upheld since college, and she's happy a significant other doesn't disrupt the pattern.
  • Silent nights. All the blinking Santa lights veering on seizure-inducing? "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" making you want to remove your own (or somebody else's)? We feel you. And since the only people you have to please are you and yourself, feel free to draw the shades and enjoy the silence.
  • Fewer liars lying. Mark Maurice, a NY-based entrepreneur, had to use some creative story-telling to get out of spending last Christmas with his ex-girlfriend's family. "They are absolutely insane," he says, wide-eyed. "At some point or another, I always ended up cornered by her Robert DeNiro-like Meet the Parents father and her crazy mother, who kept dropping wedding hints." Deciding that he would give himself the gift of a Solo Holiday, Maurice ended up spinning a tall tale involving an 11th-hour business meeting. When his web of deceit unraveled two months later, so did his relationship.

WHAT GUYS THINK WHEN GIRLS OFFER TO PAY ON DATES:

Five guys weight in on Lemondrop.com:

  • Guy #1: "The reach is transparent, yes, but necessary. It seems entitled to not make some gesture to help pay, even if the girl knows the guy won't actually take her up on it. It's just an awkward moment all around, though, and you can't escape it."
  • Guy #2: "I want her to do a blatantly ceremonial reach. The guy should always pay on the first date; it's part of the old-fashioned mating dance. I don't care about 'this economy'; the economy of romance hasn't changed."
  • Guy #3: "If the 'reach' is obviously insincere, then I consider it to be a bunch of B.S. and a telling sign that the girl isn't as straightforward as I'd like her to be. I'm very open and likely would have already told her that I was paying prior to the meal. If she balked at the idea and demanded to contribute half of the funds, then before the meal is the right time to make her stance known. After the meal is over, the only stance I want her in is . . . well . . . I'll stop there."
  • Guy #4: "I generally appreciate the reach. In certain minority cases the onus might fall on the woman to pay (like if she clearly asked the guy out), ergo the emergence of the lesser known 'male reach.' I would make the finer point that there's a noticeable difference between the more common 'reach' bluff and a bone fide 'reach' with a serious intention to split the check. Obviously, I give more credit for the latter."
  • Guy #5: "The reach for the check, I'm presuming we're discussing? I would never discourage other end of date 'reaches.' I appreciate the gesture, but do not mind at all if it's skipped on a first date. A lack of 'thank you' is a bit poor form, in my opinion, but also excusable -- once. Two times with no acknowledgment is a deal breaker."

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Christmas Eve birthday boy Ryan Seacrest hosted what ESPN show when he was 19-years-old?

A: Radical Outdoor Challenge

  • Radical Outdoor Challenge was a television show on ESPN that aired in 1993 that was hosted by a then 19 year-old Ryan Seacrest in his first major television role as well as Jerry Bernardo and Sharon Swainson. The show featured three children competing against each other in various outdoor competitions held on a property in Thomaston, Georgia. Various graphical non sequiturs were interspersed with the footage of the show, intended to give the show a "radical" quality. An episode of the show was featured in a 2006 episode of Cheap Seats on ESPN Classic.

Balloon Boy Parents Get Jail Time

The "Balloon Boy" parents have been slapped with some jail time. According to the Associated Press, the parents who pulled the balloon boy hoax in hopes of getting a reality TV show this year were sentenced to jail Wednesday (December 23rd). The boy's father, Richard Heene, got 90 days, and his wife, Mayumi Heene, was hit with 20 days. They also received four years probation.

Richard will serve the first 30 days of his sentence in jail. During the last 60 days, he'll spend weekends and nights behind bars so that he will be able to work during the day. The term begins January 11th. Reports say that Richard held back tears during the sentencing, saying, "I do want to reiterate that I'm very, very sorry. And I want to apologize to all the rescue workers out there, and the people that got involved in the community. That's it." Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence for the husband, saying that a message needs to be sent to promoters who attempt hoaxes to get publicity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum are among the performrs announced for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards next month. Other performers include Beyonce, Maxwell and the Black Eyed Peas.

  • The 20-year-old, who is up for eight Grammy awards including the overall Album and Record of the Year categories, appeared last year with pal Miley Cyrus to perform her hit, "Fifteen."
  • Lady Antebellum has two nominations: Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals and Best Country Song (with Tom Douglas) for "I Run To You."
  • The 52nd annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles on January 31st at 8:00 PM (ET/PT) on CBS.

FAST FACTS:

  • Taylor is second only to Beyonce in the number of nominations for the Grammys. Taylor has eight, while Beyonce leads with 10.
  • The Grammy Awards were originally called the Gramophone Awards.
  • Alison Krauss has the most Grammy Awards for any female with 26.

Jimmy Wayne announced at a press conference yesterday that he was going to walk halfway across America from Nashville to Phoenix, Arizona to help raise awareness, and hopefully funds, for homeless teens and organizations that help those teens. He will begin his nearly 1700 mile journey -- officially titled the Meet Me Halfway campagin -- at 10:00 AM on New Year's Day (January 1st), averaging approximately 25 miles a day, until he reaches his destination.
  • Jimmy will be carrying a backpack with a few amenities, including a sleeping bag and his cell phone and plans to sleep outside for the most part. He may stop to take a shower or sleep in a truck stop or homeless shelter. Jimmy explains to us that he just decided to do this about a month ago after meeting an 18-year-old Albuquerque homeless boy. He explains to us why he wanted to do the walk,"I've got to do something. The time is right. there's not much going on, perfect timing, the beginning of the year, the coldest, right dead in the winter, I think I'm gonna walk halfway across the country and just raise some awareness. And I want to do something like that, 'cause I felt like that was gonna be a statement, not just doing a free show, you know. Not just putting the word out there, I've done that enough. I want to do something grand, like walking across the United States is a big statement."
  • The North Carolina native, who grew up in the welfare system and was sometimes forced to live in abadoned trailers or warehouses, will document his adventures via Twitter. He also says that a website dedicated to his mission will most likely be up and running when he takes off, and will be able to trace his route and find his exact location via GPS.
  • We asked Jimmy what the hardest thing about being homeless for him was, and he said "being hungry." "Probably being hungry was the hardest part to me about being homeless. Man, when you're hungry, there's no feeling like that. It's hard to explain. It drains your energy. Everything about you changes when you're hungry. Even now, I mean, if I get hungry, I get ill. (laughs) So, that's probably the most of my worries, the nutritional part about this hike, if you will, this walk. But the other stuff I can take care of. I think I'll be fine. I'm just simulating being homeless. I'm not gonna kill myself, if you will."
  • Jimmy has a couple of shows that he has to fulfill contractually, and he'll walk to the nearest airport, pick up his ticket and fly to his show. Once he's finished with his appearance, he'll fly right back to the town he left and continue on his walk.

SIDENOTES:

  • While Jimmy is showing the plight of homeless youth, he will not be without one or two comforts. He's being sponsored by Marmot, who will supply his clothing and hiking attire and gear.
Faith Hill stars in the 11th annual A Home for the Holidays special airing tonight at 8:00 PM (ET) on CBS. Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood are among the special guests, as well as Mary J. Blige, Jenna Elfman and Shakira.
  • Faith explains why she participates in the show year after year. "It's a program that focuses on about 20 children that we try to find homes for. And every year all 20 have been adopted into homes and being an adopted child myself I just have a special place in my heart for you know, adopted children, children in foster care, children's homes."

  • This is Faith's second time to host the special (and third time appearing on the show), which will share people's personal stories about foster care adoption.
FAST FACTS:
  • Faith released her first Christmas album, Joy to the World, in 2008.
  • Faith recorded "Where Are You Christmas" for the soundtrack to the 2000 feature film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, starring Jim Carrey.
  • Faith was adopted by Edna and Ted Perry shortly after her birth.
Tim McGraw's "Something Like That" is the most popular song of the decade, according to Nielsen BDSradio, which monitors radio stations across the nation. The tune, released in 1999, was played 487,343 times, beating out the most popular song on Top 40 radio, Usher's "Yeah!," which was spun 416, 267 times on the radio.

FAST FACTS:

  • "Something Like That" is from Tim's 1999 album, A Place in the Sun.
  • A Place in the Sun also features the hits, "Please Remember Me," "My Next Thirty Years" and "My Best Friend."
  • In 2006, Tim received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it's located near Julie Andrews and William Shatner.

LeAnn Rimes has agreed to a divorce settlement with her estranged husband, Dean Sheremet, who filed for divorce from his wife of seven years last Thursday. A confidential settlement was agreed to later that day, and Dean asked for the singer to pay spousal support, plus all attorney fees and costs. According to People, the divorce deal states, "The (settlement) shall not be filed in this proceeding due to the parties' mutual desire to maintain their respective rights to privacy." The divorce is scheduled to be final June 19, 2010.

Reba McEntire's "Consider Me Gone" climbed to Number One on both the Billboard and the USA Today/Country Aircheck charts this week, making it her 34th chart-topper. Reba exclaimed, "My Valory Music Company family gave me the best Christmas gift ever -- a Number One Record . . . 2009 has been great. Thirty-four Number Ones are great. And I feel like we are just getting started!"
  • "Consider Me Gone" is from Reba's current album, Keep on Loving You.

FAST FACTS:

  • Reba first hit the top of the charts with "Can't Even Get the Blues" in 1983.
  • In 1976, Reba released her debut single, "I Don't Want to Be a One-Night Stand," and it peaked at only Number 88.
  • Keep on Loving You, featuring "Consider Me Gone" and "Strange," is Reba's 26th studio album.

For the fashion plate she is, Carrie Underwood is not a big shopper, especially at Christmas. She says, "I hate shopping for Christmas presents. I kind of wander around aimlessly in malls and stores and whatnot, thinking, 'Now what would . . . fill in the blank . . . what would this person like? Hmmm. Oh, yeah, that looks like her! Okay, I'll get that.'"
  • Christmas for Carrie hasn't changed that much since she was a young girl growing up in Checotah, Oklahoma. She still gets together during the holidays with her family, which includes her parents, two sisters and more, and her mother still cannot stay mum about what she got everyone for Christmas. Carrie explains to us, "One thing you learn in my family is that my mother is . . . um . . . a blabbermouth. And ever since I was little, I have known every single Christmas present I have ever gotten, ever. I'm not one for surprises, and yeah, I've always known my presents before Christmas. But I didn't have to, like, sneak around and find out what they were, 'cause Mom told me."
  • Carrie can now add a new fiance to the family gatherings, as she and professional hockey player boyfriend, Mike Fisher got engaged over the weekend.

When shopping for Christmas gifts, Brad Paisley usually gets them at the last possible moment, but he says it's just part of his genetic makeup. "I'm pretty last minute. Most guys, I think, are like me. You just don't invest enough, you don't think ahead and plan it. I really do end up somewhere like the mall or something on the 24th. It's a shame. It's really a waste of what should be a fun day, 'cause you know, here I am scrambling around going, 'Oh, I think they'll like that.' They may have never heard of it, and I don't know what is necessarily, but let's buy it! And I could give it to somebody. (laughs) You end up buying all these things, and it's just a waste."Hopefully, he won't be shopping at the last minute for his two sons, Huck and Jasper . . . they would end up with a Dora the Explorer doll.


Miley Cyrus has reportedly broken the record for the largest-ever attendance at the U.K.'s O2 arena. London's The Mirror reported that the 17-year-old beat out the likes of Beyonce, Bon Jovi and Coldplay to set the record after drawing 16,196 fans to the venue.
  • Meanwhile, Poison rocker Bret Michaels recently praised Cyrus in the wake of their collaboration on a recording of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." He told MTV, "She's one of the few musicians -- and I want to use that word cause she can actually play and sing -- she's one of the few people who can pull it off and give it her own flair and make it sound good. (She) nailed the song. She really knew what she was doing. She got in there and picked the guitar up. It was one of those nights that just worked. It was fun."
Guitarist Billy Burnette who was once a member of Fleetwood Mac underwent quintuple-bypass surgery on December 16th in Nashville. According to Spinner.com, Burnette, who is now part of John Fogerty's band, checked into the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Burnette is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Burnette, who is 56 and the son of rockabilly pioneer Dorsey Burnette, joined Fleetwood Mac in 1988 following Lindsey Buckingham's departure prior to the Tango In The Night tour. He was in the band through 1996 and featured on 1990's Behind The Mask and 1995's Time.

  • Legendary artists who've record songs by Burnette include Tammy Wynette, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Everly Brothers, Cher, Bette Midler, and Rod Stewart.

Taylor Swift's run-in with Kanye West at this year's MTV Video Music Awards was voted the Number Three Top 20 Music Moments of 2009 in Billboard magazine. Michael Jackson's death was ranked Number One.

Carrie Underwood showed off her new bling Monday night. She was sporting a very big engagment diamond ring she received from her new fiance, hockey player Mike Fisher, over the weekend as the Ottawa Senators took on the Boston Bruins.

American Idol finalist Danny Gokey has titled his debut country album, My Best Days, after his single "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me," due for release in March. Danny is featured in today's issue of USA Today, and a performance of him performing "O Holy Night" at idolchatter.usatoday.com.

The Zac Brown Band released an emotional video for their new single, "Highway 20 Ride," yesterday on i-Tunes.

Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and her hubby Jimi Westbrook tweeted last night, "Been putting a crib together for the last hour...sweet success....finally." The two are expecting their first child.

Kellie Pickler had a date night with her boyfriend, songwriter Kyle Jacobs, Monday night. The two went to see the new filme, Did You Hear About the Morgans? Kellie tweeted, "I wish I could trade bodies with Sarah Jessica Parker." The film also stars Hugh Grant.

Martina McBride got a little frustrated the other night when she went to Blockbuster to redeem some old gift cards. The clerk told her they had expired. She tweeted her frustration, "How can gift cards EXPIRE!? That is so lame." We tend to agree.

Miranda Lambert's Revolution was named the Best Country Album of 2009 by Entertainment Weekly.

COUNTRY TRIVIA


Q. "Hard Candy Christmas" is from which Dolly Parton film?
A. The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW/SYNDICATED (CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS)

Tim McGraw, Sugarland

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD/GAC 5:00 PM (ET)

A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH FAITH HILL/CBS 8:00 PM (ET)

Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire

GAC NIGHTS/GAC 8:00 PM (ET)

Sugarland, Jason Aldean

ALAN JACKSON: PRECIOUS MEMORIES/GAC 9:00 PM (ET)

LARRY THE CABLE GUY'S HULA PALOOZA CHRISTMAS LUAU/CMT 9:00 PM (ET)

Billy Currington, Zac Brown Band

LARRY THE CABLE GUY'S STAR STUDDED CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA/CMT 10:30 PM (ET)

Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

Corey Haim (actor, The Lost Boys) (38)

  • Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) (45)
  • Carla Bruni (model, singer, First Lady of France) (41)
  • Susan Lucci (All My Children) (63)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Sugarland tops the Billboard country chart with "Want To" in 2006.
  • Aaron Tippin tops Billboard's country chart with "That's As Close as I'll Get to Loving You" in 1995.
  • Naomi Judd becomes a grandma, as Wynonna gives birth to Elijah in 1994.
  • Ronnie Milsap's "A Woman in Love" goes to number-one on Billboard's country chart in 1989.
  • The soap opera The Young and the Restless debuts on C-B-S in 1973.
  • Merle Haggard recorded "The Fightin' Side of Me" at L.A.'s legendary Capitol Recording Studios in 1969.
  • Willie Nelson rescued his guitar Trigger, as well as a bag of marijuana stashed inside the case, when his Ridgetop, Tennessee home burned in 1969.
  • Epic Records released Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" in 1968.
  • Jack Greene is inducted into the Grand Ole Opry by his old boss, Ernest Tubb in 1967.
  • Lefty Frizzell hit number one with "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" in 1950.
  • The poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" by Clement Moore, also known as "'Twas the Night before Christmas...," is published in 1823.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

QUAIDS PLEAD NOT GUILTY: Randy and Evi Quaid appeared in a Santa Barbara courtroom on Tuesday (December 22nd) where they pleaded not guilty to felony charges of defrauding an innkeeper. The plea came at their arraignment following their arrest in Texas over the weekend. A bench warrant for their arrest had been issued after they failed to appear in court. RadarOnline.com reports that the warrant was recalled Tuesday and the couple is once again free until a preliminary hearing on March 1st.

ARREST WARRANT ISSUED FOR 'REAL HOUSEWIFE': An arrest warrant has been issued for one of the Real Housewives of Orange County. TMZ.com reports that Lynne Curtin and her husband Frank were scheduled to appear in court on Monday (December 21st) to answer questions about the $1.2 million judgment they had been ordered to pay a former business partner, but did not show up. Earlier this year the couple was evicted from their home for not paying their rent.

JUDE LAW'S ASSISTANT DATING RACHEL MCADAMS? Jude Law's personal assistant may have landed a high-profile girlfriend. The New York Daily News reports that the Sherlock Holmes leading lady was spotted around New York City last weekend with Law's right-hand-man, Ben Jackson. A witness told the paper, "They were laughing a lot and looked like they were having a good time."

JON GOSSELIN FAILS TO SELL CAR: Jon Gosselin reportedly tried to sell his BMW for profit on the same day that his divorce was finalized. TMZ.com reports that Gosselin showed up at a Pennsylvania car exchange last Friday (December 18th), looking to trade the luxury vehicle for a 2008 Subaru STI plus $4,000 in cash. The dealership reportedly rejected the deal and Jon drove away in the same car in which he came.

ARNOLD STANG DIES: Actor Arnold Stang died of pneumonia on Sunday (December 20th) at the age of 91. Stang was a radio, theater, film and television actor famous for his nerdy looks. He played alongside Milton Berle on the radio in the 1950s, starred as Frank Sinatra's sidekick in the 1955 movie The Man with the Golden Arm, and was a member of the ensemble comedic cast of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963.

ROMAN POLANSKI REPORTEDLY SUING FRENCH MAGAZINES: Roman Polanski is reportedly suing French magazines for publishing photos taken when the 76-year-old Oscar-winner returned to his chalet in Swiss Alps to serve time on house arrest. Legal sources told AFP that the director feels that the photos infringed his privacy. Polanski and his wife reportedly want $110,000 in damages.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

KARDASHIAN SHOW BREAKS E! RECORD: Last Sunday's (December 20th) episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians was the most-watched telecast in E! history. The Hollywood Reporter announced that the show trumped the record previously held by the 2002 premiere of The Anna Nicole Smith Show after drawing 4.2 million viewers.

KRISTEN JOHNSTON REPLACING PAULA ABDUL ON 'UGLY BETTY': Kristen Johnston will appear on Ugly Betty next month in the cameo role intended for Paula Abdul. The actress told New York Magazine that the part had to be altered to accommodate the casting change. She said, "It was all, like, hot-flash jokes. So I rewrote it. And now they get it. She's an aged-up, dresses-like-Lindsay-Lohan party girl, who, like, is like, 'OMG!' and wears leggings and has lined lips outside the lip line."

NEW RICKY GERVAIS SHOW TO AIR ON HBO: Ricky Gervais will lend his voice to a 13-episode animated comedy series that will air on HBO next year. The network announced that The Ricky Gervais Show will be based on the comedian's popular podcasts. The show will also feature the voices of Gervais's longtime collaborator Stephen Merchant and their friend Karl Pilkington -- whose musings often inspire the series' offbeat storylines.

FOX TO REPLACE 'AMERICAN IDOL' WITH NEW SIMON COWELL SHOW?


Simon Cowell is reportedly planning to leave American Idol at the end of next season. The mogul's brother Tony Cowell said on his weekly radio show, "Meanwhile, Simon prepares for a new season of 'Idol,' or should I say his last season of 'Idol' -- OK, I will [say it], because it is."

He added, "As I sit here in the sunny Caribbean with my family, a press statement is being prepared which will confirm what everyone expected: Simon will leave 'Idol' at the end of 2010 to concentrate on bringing the American version of 'The X Factor' to US TV in 2011."

  • The New York Post reports that Fox is close to signing Cowell and X Factor to a new deal -- and might drop Idol all together. However, the paper notes, it's still possible that Fox could keep both shows, replace Cowell with a new judge and air both shows.

CHECK IT OUT: Helpful tips when trying out for American Idol: http://tinyurl.com/yc98deh

TIGER WOODS CURRENTLY HOLED UP WITH RACHEL UCHITEL?


Reports are circulating that Tiger Woods is currently holed up in Florida with his first reported mistress, Rachel Uchitel. In Touch magazine claims that despite reports, Woods is not on his yacht, but a secret boat that is docked near Uchitel's Palm Beach condo.

A source told the magazine, "They have been sleeping together the entire time since the scandal broke."

  • When asked by E! News if she is indeed spending time with Woods, Uchitel responded via text saying, "I got a house here and 2 girlfriends have been here the entire time. I have family that lives in Palm Beach also, I planned this before November."

CHECK IT OUT: See all the women linked to Tiger Woods: http://tinyurl.com/ygvkss6

BRITTANY MURPHY'S WIDOWER SPEAKS OUT

Brittany Murphy's widower Simon Monjack is speaking out, denying rumors that his late wife overdosed on drugs and suffered from an eating disorder. Monjack, who was in the couple's home when Brittany died on Sunday (December 20th), told People magazine, "These rumors that she was anorexic? It's crazy -- she was slim, but that was her natural physique. This is what's killing all of us? How did it happen? Her mum, myself and her family -- we want to know why we lost our baby."

  • He added that Murphy did suffer from a heart murmur but did not require medication for the ailment. He acknowledged that she'd been suffering from laryngitis in the days leading up to her death, but said the actress was treating it with herbal tea, ginger and lemon.
  • Monjack acknowledged that Murphy appeared to be underweight, saying, "She tried to gain weight but had one of those metabolisms -- a high metabolism -- but enjoyed food as much as anyone. I wish I could show all the receipts from the take out restaurants.'

MONJACK DEFENDS HIMSELF

Monjack's character has been questioned in the wake of his wife's death, which he finds troubling. He said, "So many people have their views of us, but they never met us or sat down with us. I'm not perfect, but I don't think anyone is . . . I am feeling beyond devastated. I was in love with Brittany and Brittany with me."

Responding to reports that he initially asked that an autopsy not be performed on Murphy, Monjack said, "My initial reaction to the autopsy was -- they're going to cut her open -- I couldn't bear it. That would break her mother, but we realized we needed to know. I look forward to getting the results."

  • He added, "We are faced with this ridiculous reality that people out there believe she felt, 'Oh, poor me, I'm fat, I'm thin.' Brittany didn't see beauty as a physical thing, which I'm bloody lucky for. I know there was a disparity in how we looked and I'm no movie star, but she always saw the person."

EVA LONGORIA PARKER LAUNCHING SIGNATURE SCENT

Eva Longoria Parker is the latest celebrity to launch her own fragrance. The Desperate Housewives star announced that her trademark scent, Eva, will be available in more than 1,000 stores worldwide beginning in April.

She talked about the new venture telling Women's Wear Daily, "I have always been somewhat allergic to all perfumes and really wanted to create something that every woman could wear. So I decided to create my own fragrance that is light, fresh and unique. I think the scent of a woman is extremely sexy and this scent will prove that."

  • The actress noted that the project wasn't an easy one. She said, "I never knew how complicated it was to create a unique scent that hasn't already been done. But I enjoyed the process."

CHECK IT OUT: Fake celebrity perfumes suggested by Twitter users: http://tinyurl.com/yd6u7f2

JOAN RIVERS RETURNING TO E!

Joan Rivers is returning to E!. Variety reported that the 76-year-old will appear on the network for a pair of primetime "Fashion Police" specials that will recap red carpet events beginning with the Golden Globes. For her first special, Rivers will be joined by Khloe Kardashian Odom, Giuliana Rancic and Jay Manuel. Her daughter Melissa will produce the programs.

Rivers worked in a similar role at E! for several years until contract-renewal negotiations broke down in 2004. She then did red carpet events for the TV Guide Channel until 2007.

  • Rivers said of her return, "I am delighted to be back on E! and to have the opportunity to say what I think about the fashions on the red carpet. Most of all, I am thrilled to have my daughter Melissa producing. I know with Melissa at the helm, I can relax and say what I really want."

CHECK IT OUT: Best one-liners from Joan Rivers roast: http://tinyurl.com/yk3nfsg

HEADLINE NEWS!!


SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL PASSES ANOTHER VOTE HURDLE: Democrats are confident of passage later this week of the Senate health reform bill after the measure survived another procedural vote Tuesday (December 22nd), getting the 60 votes needed to avoid a GOP filibuster. Meanwhile, Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an agreement to vote on final passage at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Christmas Eve, fulfilling President Obama's desire to get a bill passed in the Senate by Christmas. In an interview with the Washington Post yesterday, Obama said the Senate legislation accomplishes 95 percent of what he wanted on health care. The Senate measure would still have to be reconciled with the health care bill passed by the House in November before final legislation would go to the president.

BRAZIL'S CHIEF JUSTICE RULES N.J. MAN CAN TAKE HIS SON HOME: Brazil's chief justice ruled yesterday (December 22nd) in favor of a New Jersey man who's been fighting a five-year legal battle for his son, ordering Brazilian relatives of the boy to turn over 9-year-old Sean to his father, David Goldman. The boy was taken by Goldman's now-deceased ex-wife to her native Brazil in 2004 for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. But she remained in Brazil with her son, got a divorce and remarried. Goldman has been fighting to get his son back since, first battling his ex-wife, and after she died last year in childbirth, the boy's stepfather and his mother's relatives. There was still a chance for the Brazilian family to appeal to the country's highest appeals court, but the chances of success seemed slim. Law enforcement was reportedly on guard in case the Brazilian family did not transfer Sean, and Interpol had been notified to make sure the boy was not flown out of Brazil.

TODAY'S FYI:

FRESHMAN DEM CONGRESSMAN DEFECTS TO GOP: Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama announced yesterday (December 22nd) that he's defecting to the Republican Party, saying, "I can no longer align myself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy, and drives us further and further into debt." The 67-year-old Griffith was narrowly elected last year in a district where John McCain beat Barack Obama badly in the presidential contest, but he denied yesterday that his party switch had anything to do with concerns about being re-elected next year. Since coming to Congress in January, Griffith has had one of the most conservative voting records of any House Democrat. His defection means the Democrats now have 257 House seats to the GOP's 178.

FIRST LADY AND OBAMA KIDS VISIT CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha visited the Children's National Medical Center yesterday (December 22nd), where Mrs. Obama visited with the young patients -- with first dog Bo along to cheer them up -- and then read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to more children in the hospital atrium. Malia and Sasha took turns reading the book Snowmen at Night aloud, and then all three of them answered questions. When asked what the president would be getting for Christmas, the first lady said she couldn't give it away, but said it was, quote, "sports stuff," and Sasha drew laughs when she said in response to a question about how this first Christmas in the White House would be different for them: "It will be easier to get on the plane." The Obamas will spend Christmas in the president's home state of Hawaii, continuing their family's tradition.

PRINCE WILLIAM SPENDS THE NIGHT ON A LONDON STREET: Britain's Prince William spent a night sleeping on a London street last week to highlight the plight of the country's homeless teens. He spent the chilly night huddled behind garbage bins with Seyi Obakin, the chief executive of the British homeless charity Centrepoint, of which William is a patron. The 27-year-old future heir to throne said Tuesday (December 22nd), "I hope that by deepening my understanding of the issue, I can help do my bit to help the most vulnerable on our streets." Homelessness was one of the charitable causes of William's late mother, Princess Diana. She had also been Centrepoint's patron, and took William and his brother to spend time at a homeless shelter when her oldest son was just 13.

ANN NIXON COOPER, LAUDED BY OBAMA ON ELECTION NIGHT, DIES AT 107: Ann Nixon Cooper, the centenarian lauded by Barack Obama in his election night victory speech last November, died Monday (December 21st) at her Atlanta home. She was 107. In his election night speech, Obama called Cooper an example of the "heartbreak and hope" of the past century, noting she was born at a time when neither women nor blacks could vote, but lived to cast her ballot for the first black president. In a statement Tuesday, the president praised Cooper, saying of her life, "It was a life that captured the spirit of community and change and progress that is at the heart of the American experience; a life that inspired and will continue to inspire me in the years to come."

SNOOPY NAMED TOP DOG IN U.S. POP CULTURE: Peanuts character Snoopy was named the top dog in pop culture yesterday (December 22nd) by the American Kennel Club as part of its 125th anniversary celebration. The lovable beagle came out on top in an online poll in which 76,000 people voted. The top 10 finishers were:

  1. Snoopy
  2. Texas A&M's mascot Reveille
  3. Scooby Doo
  4. Eddie from the TV show Frasier
  5. Pound Puppy toys
  6. The painting "Dogs Playing Poker"
  7. The song "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?"
  8. Georgetown mascot Jack the Bulldog
  9. The song "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
  10. Brian Griffin from TV's animated show Family Guy

SPORTS:

PACQUIAO-MAYWEATHER FIGHT IN JEOPARDY: The proposed blockbuster fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was thrown into jeopardy Tuesday (December 22nd) with a demand from Mayweather's camp that both fighters be subjected to Olympic-standard drug testing in the weeks leading up to the bout. Mayweather's side charges it was told Pacquiao wouldn't agree to blood testing within 30 days of the fight because of personal superstitions. But Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, said he'd be okay with some testing, as long as it wasn't too close to the fight. The much-hyped bout, which promises to be the richest ever, had widely been expected to be formalized this week, to take place at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. Both fighters would likely make more than $25 million.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

CBS

  • THE 11TH ANNUAL A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH FAITH HILL - Celebrities present inspirational stories of adoption; musicians include Mary J. Blige, Reba McEntire, Shakira and others; Faith Hill performs.
  • CRIMINAL MINDS (repeat)
  • CSI: NY (repeat)

NBC

  • MERCY (repeat)
  • MERCY (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Julie Scardina and animals; African Children's Choir

FOX

  • GLEE (repeat)
  • GLEE (repeat)

ABC

  • DR. SUESS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS - Boris Karloff narrates the animated tale of the Grinch and merry Whoville.
  • THE MIDDLE (repeat)
  • MODERN FAMILY (repeat)
  • THE MIDDLE (repeat)
  • COUGAR TOWN (repeat)
  • COUGAR TOWN (repeat)

CW

  • ONE TREE HILL (repeat)
  • GOSSIP GIRL (repeat)

A&E

  • STEVEN SEAGAL LAWMAN - Deputy Chief Seagal and his team find themselves in a desperate situation trying to help two men who have been robbed and shot.

E!

  • JONAS BROTHERS - Charting the popularity of the Jonas Brothers through interviews with Joe, Kevin and Nick.

MTV

  • REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES CHALLENGE - Unseen footage from the season.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary J. Blige

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Alec Baldwin, Jay Thomas, Darlene Love
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Julie Scardina & animals, African Children's Choir
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Elijah Wood, Derek Fisher, Dwayne Perkins
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Paris Hilton, Chef Jose Andres
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Joy Behar, Jonny Lee Miller, the Muppets
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS


MAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING AND EATING A RARE TIGER: A man in China was sentenced to 12 years in jail for killing and eating a rare Indochinese tiger. The villager, Kang Wannian was gathering freshwater clams and claimed to have killed the tiger in self-defense. Four of the villagers who helped Kang eat the tiger were also sentenced to three to four years in jail. Kang was sentenced 10 years for killing a rare animal and two years for possession of firearms. The local court claims that he did not need a firearm to gather clams. (Reuters)

TWO MEN ARE ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO TRADE A LIZARD FOR LIQUOR: Police arrested a 44-year-old man and an 18-year-old teen for stealing a lizard from the Eagles Landing Pet Hospital and allegedy trying to trade the reptile for alcohol. Police say that the two men went to at least two liquor stores trying to swap the 18-inch bearded dragon for alcohol. The bearded dragon, named ''Big'', has been returned to the veterinary clinic. (AP)

MAN WAS SENT TO JAIL AFTER REFUSING TO PAY FOR A $3000 CAB RIDE: A man was jailed in Tennessee after taking a $3,000 taxi ride and refusing to pay for it. This Miami man told the taxi driver that the woman he was visiting would pay for the 1,600-mile drive once they had arrived. The woman claims that she had no idea why he came to visit her, and that she made it very clear that she did not have any money to pay the driver.


DID YOU KNOW?


DIVORCE VOUCHERS OFFERED AS HOLIDAY PRESENTS: A London law firm is offering Christmas gift vouchers for divorce advice. MSNBC reported that the firm, Lloyd Platt & Company, which normally charges 325 pounds ($530) an hour, said that 60 have been sold for the price of 125 pounds for a half hour session with a divorce lawyer. The firm's founder, Vanessa Lloyd Platt, said she had been amazed at the response to the vouchers. "They seem to appeal to an enormously widespread spectrum of people looking for that 'must have' gift for Christmas."

IS 'XMAS' OFFENSIVE? Blogger Jill Fehrenbacher announced that she's lost fans after writing "Merry XMas" on her website. She tweeted about the drop, writing, "Hate mail of the day: I'm unsubscribing from your newsletter because you took the christ out of christmas! (by spelling it xmas)."


WHISKEY GIVES YOU WORSE HANGOVER THAN VODKA: Dark alcohols like whiskey lead to more painful hangovers than clear ones with the same proof. Researchers at Brown University paid 95 healthy drinkers to spend one night drinking whiskey, one downing vodka and a third night imbibing a placebo. The order of the nights was randomized, and participants drank the same amount of liquor (or placebo) each time. According to the study's findings, the whiskey made the drinkers feel more hung over when compared to vodka.


WOMEN WORSE AT PARKING THAN MEN: Women are worse at parking than men according to a report in the Telegraph. Female drivers take an average of 20 seconds longer to park their cars but are still less likely to end up in the middle of the bay, research suggests. As part of the test 65 people were asked to park an Audi A6 family saloon in a standard-sized parking space. Dr. Claudia Wolf from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, who led the study, said that the research confirmed previous findings that men have better co-ordination and spatial awareness than women, and take more risks behind the wheel.

HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE (Men's Health)


PLAN YOUR HOLIDAY GETAWAY

  • Do This: Take her (farther) away. Women favor gifts of travel over 17 other perennial holiday presents, according to market research. "Travel gifts from significant others have a lot of residual value. She'll never forget it, and it's something she wouldn't buy for herself," says Sherri Athay, author of Present Perfect, who commissioned the research.
  • Not That: Stuff the stocking with another year of last-minute impersonal gifts. Candy, electronics, and magazine subscriptions all rank at the bottom of the list of a woman's favorite gifts, and for good reason: They're all likely to be used up, rendered obsolete, or thrown away soon. And they show no imagination. Give her something she can't replace.

WHEN YOUR CAR IS STUCK IN THE SNOW

  • Do This: Grab those traction mats that you wisely purchased back in the fall. Shove one under the front of the tires that get power (or the back of the tires, if that's where you're heading). Anyone pushing should be at the corner of the car, not directly behind it, to stay out of the way if it bucks, says Chuck Roberts, a spokesman for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
  • Not That: Don't bother carrying kitty litter in your trunk. Scattering it in front of the tires is useless: It'll sink into the snow. Also, don't use plywood under the tires; it can become a projectile that can hurt the pusher, the car, or another car, says Amy Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association. And don't gun the engine. "The more your wheels spin, the faster the snow will melt and the more stuck you'll be," says Roberts.

WHEN YOU'RE WAITING IN THE AIRPORT WITH SMALL KIDS

  • Do This: Take them hunting. Give them special airport dollars to buy food for the plane ride. Play "I Spy." Guess how many steps it is between gates 18 and 20. It's focused, it's fun, and they're burning off energy and learning how to adapt to uncertainty. And they're developing the habit of listening, says Jeff Bostic, M.D., a child psychiatrist in Boston.
  • Not That: Don't rely on DVDs or video games. You want kids moving--save the batteries for the plane ride. And don't promise a reward with "If you're good . . . " It's an endless trap, Dr. Bostic says. Instead, praise behavior as it happens. "I love how you helped your brother. You get to pick the lunch place." Show them that good deeds will lead to more good deeds.

WHEN YOU NEED TO CHECK IN WITH THE OFFICE

  • Do This: Call between 2:30 and 3 p.m. You'll cover the guts of the day with enough time left to respond to something if necessary. Checking in by e-mail is fine, but it's secondary. "If it's tremendously urgent, it wouldn't come in e-mail," says Jeff Davidson, M.B.A., author of Breathing Space.
  • Not That: Don't pull the old "Gotta go--I'm on vacation" sign-off. That's abdicating responsibility. Have some pity on the poor stiff stuck in the office. Spare him 5 minutes and say, "Hold on, I want to see what Amy's doing with her sand castle," to remind him you're off the clock.

WHEN YOU'RE PLANNING FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE

  • Do This: Book a corner table in the main room of a restaurant with close friends and your lady. You can watch the room as entertainment without getting caught in the chaos. You're with people you care about, so you can tell stories and she can bond with her friends, which makes for a memorable evening, says Nancy Slotnick, author of Turn Your Cablight On.
  • Not That: Don't suggest a quiet night together. You can have a quiet night together anytime; she'll just feel like she's missing out. The evening should involve dressing up and dancing. The duds make her feel special; dancing kicks up endorphins and acts as foreplay, Slotnick says. Never a bad thing. If you insist on being reflective, schedule a somber midwinter walk for the afternoon of January 1; the Rose Bowl won't kick off until 5 o'clock eastern time.

WHEN YOU'RE BUILDING A SNOWMAN

  • Do This: Watch the clock. Sculpt your snowman between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and "the sun will warm the snow so it's wet enough to stick," says Mark Mason, a member of the professional snow-building group Team Snowtastic. "If you wait until later, it could be too slushy."
  • Not That: Don't roll up half of the woods. Rake the yard clean the night before a big snowfall, or try to harvest snow from driveways or patios, where twigs, sticks, and rocks won't clutter your creation. "Leaves and rocks absorb more sunlight and heat, and make it melt faster," says Mason.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

According to AskMen.com, approximately how many centenarians (people aged 100 or older) live in the U.S. today?

A: 95,000

  • The 1990 U.S. census counted 37,000 centenarians and the most recent estimates suggest they number around 95,000 today. What's their secret? Genetics plays a role, but so does having a lot of friends, being part of a tight family, having a reasonable amount of self-esteem, and dealing with stress by letting it go, according to Dr. Thomas T. Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University

What Things Changed Our Lives in the Past Decade?

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, AP put together a list of 50 things that changed our lifestyles since the turn of the millennium in 2000. Some of items they chose are:

  • blogs
  • Blackberrys
  • digital cameras
  • cell phones
  • Crocs
  • cougars -- the women, not the animals!
  • Facebook
  • going environmentally green
  • iPods
  • Netflix
  • organic food
  • reality TV
  • sexting
  • Starbucks
  • tattoos
  • Large, flat TV screens
  • Uggs
  • Wikipedia
  • yoga
  • YouTube

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Rumors have been swirling around Music City for the past few weeks that Carrie Underwood is engaged to NFL hockey player Mike Fisher . . . that rumor has been confirmed! Mike actually just popped the question only yesterday, and told the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, "We're both obviously excited and very happy and so, exciting times for sure."

  • Carrie and Mike met backstage at one of her concert's in March of last year. Neither confirmed their relationship until her CD, Play On, was released last month, and the liner notes contained a message to her boyfriend. "You are the most amazing addition to my life! You are such a wonderful person and have had such an amazing hand in the building of this album and in the growth of me as a person. I love you so much! You make my life better in every way. I thank God for you every day."
  • No date for the wedding has been set, and no other details about the proposal have been released.


Not only did Carrie Underwood receive an engagement ring as an early Christmas present from her hockey-playing beau, Mike Fisher, she also had another surprise -- her debut album, Some Hearts, was chosen as Billboard's Top Country Album of the Decade. Also included in Billboard's year-end special double issue is her smash hit, "Before He Cheats," as the only female showing in the Top 20 Hot Country Songs of the Decade at Number 8.

SIDE NOTES:

  • Carrie appears on television twice this week. First, she stars in an encore presentation of her FOX Christmas show, Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special tonight at 8:00 PM (ET). On Wednesday, she's set to perform her current single, "Temporary Home," when she appears on the CBS special, A Home For The Holidays, hosted by Faith Hill, on Wednesday at 8:00 PM (ET).
  • Carrie is featured on the cover of Self magazine -- on newsstands now -- and she reveals she keeps a food diary where she jots down everything she eats and calories consumed each day.

Taylor Swift has been voted The Associated Press' Entertainer of the Year. The 20-year-old was chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers across the country in a survey of AP members. She joins last year's winner Tina Fey and 2007's choice, Stephen Colbert.
  • Taylor says, "I am so honored and so excited. This was so unexpected, and I could not be more grateful."

FAST FACTS:

  • Taylor began performing at the age of 10, singing at karaoke contests, fairs and festivals.
  • She was 12 when she began writing songs and playing guitar.
  • Some of her influences include LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill and her own grandmother, who was a professional opera singer.

George Strait usually doesn't do anything spectacular for Christmas. He and his family usually spend the holidays down at their spread in Texas. He tells us, "Well, we've been spending Christmas at the ranch for the last few years, and that's kind of a tradition for us. And fortunately, my son still likes to come down there and have Christmas there with us. We usually end up having Christmas at three houses now. We go to my dad's and then we go to my wife's mothers, so Christmas is a busy time."
  • The legendary performer also recalls fun Christmases of his childhood when he'd see family members he hadn't seen in a long time. "At Christmastime, we always kinda got together at my grandparents and had Christmas there. It was a lot of fun 'cause you saw cousins that you hadn't seen in a while. Those are the memories that I have gettin' to spend a few days with them, opening presents. It was just a lot of fun back then."


Keith Urban played Secret Santa to a teenage boy in a guitar shop over the weekend. According to Australia's Courier Mail, the boy was trying out a "fuzz pedal" (guitar effects device) at Tym Guitars in Fortitude Valley when Keith and members of his band walked in the store. The awesome Aussie and his crew tried out a bunch of different guitars and finally decided on a 14-hundred-dollar Australian guitar. Keith asked the owner of the shop, "How much is the pedal that kid's playing?" He replied, "$450," to which Keith said, "Put it on my card with the guitar." The owner asked the star if he wanted him to tell the boy, and he said to wait until after he left. On the way out, Keith shook the kid's hand and wished him Merry Christmas. The boy asks, "Was that Keith Urban? He said 'Merry Christmas to me.'" And then the owner told him, "Yeah, and he just bought you that pedal." The boy was so overwhelmed that he started shaking. What a great Christmas story!

If you're looking for a last minute gift for your music lover in time for Christmas, you may want to download Blake Shelton's new project, Blake Shelton: The Essentials. The digital hits collection, which features such songs as "Austin," "Some Beach," "Home," "The Baby" and "She Wouldn't Be Gone," is available exclusively at i-Tunes for three weeks beginning today.
  • Also, Blake's new single "Hillbilly Bone," featuring pal Trace Adkins, is available at all digital retailers beginning today.

SIDE NOTES:

  • Blake's new album, titled Hillbilly Bone, will feature six brand-new songs and arrive in stores early next year. The six-pak value-priced collection will feature the title track.
  • Hillbilly Bone will be Blake's first studio release since 2008's Startin' Fires.


Julianne Hough is eager to check her mailbox at Christmas, because she loves getting Christmas cards. She says it's because she learns about what her friends and family have been doing throughout the past year. "I love opening them and seeing the pictures and just seeing kind of through the year how much their families have grown. For me, I've got millions of little nieces and nephews and cousins, so for me, I love it because you get to see how much they've grown in a year and their cute little smiles and everything. So, I love receiving Christmas cards."
The singer-dancer may love getting those reminders about Christmastime, but one thing she doesn't particularly like doing is counting down the shopping days left before December 25. "I am terrible. I shop on Christmas Eve (laughs), and I definitely pick the last minute things. I love shopping for my family. I think that's the most fun about Christmas is being able to give your family what they've asked for, just little hints that they drop, 'cause you know they drop them. And you can kinda pick them out, and sometimes they don't even know what you're getting them. They've never even said anything, and you just have this awesome idea for 'em."
  • Julianne has been busy shooting a new movie, as well as writing songs for her upcoming album.

Tim McGraw is the ONLY male in a housefull of women, but the singer doesn't really mind the uneven balance of hormones in his home that much. In order to keep the ball rolling with so many different schedules -- both he and wife Faith Hill have busy careers, while daughters Gracie, Maggie and Audrey are going in different directions with school projects -- it's best to give the women "options." Tim tells Men's Journal, "They make the decisions. I grew up in a house with just my mom and two sisters. Now I live in a house with my wife, my daughters, a female maid -- and my assistant is a woman. I'm just the figurehead king. And I love it!"
  • Of course, it's not quite that simple for the women of the house. The Louisiana native admits that Faith is often frsutrated by his lack of communication. "She's very patient with me [but] I don't let her in on my thought processes enough. I think sometimes she forgets because we live in a house of women and I have to say, 'I'm a guy. We don't talk about everything.'"

Taylor Swift can be seen making out with reported boyfriend Taylor Lautner...in the trailer for the new movie Valentine's Day. The pair play a high school football star and cheerleader voted homecoming king and queen and are among the stars in the romantic comedy due out early next year. In the feature trailer, Taylor gushes, 'Oh my gosh, I totally love him," to which the male Taylor says, "And I'm crazy about her." The film opens nationwide February 12th, and also stars Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Kathy Bates, Patrick Dempsey and Anne Hathaway, among others.

Randy Houser was named Country Aircheck's top New Artist of 2009. He also has a couple of songs in the Top 100 of 2009 -- "Boots On" at Number 17 and "Anything Goes" at Number 75. He's climbing the country charts with his new single, "Whistlin' Dixie," from his upcoming album due out next year.

Montgomery Gentry recently shot the video for their new single, "Oughta Be More Songs About That," at the Donelson (Tennessee) Bowling Alley. The song is from their upcoming album due out next year.

Brad Paisley's album American Saturday Night is listed among The Washington Post's Top 10 albums of 2009.

Jimmy Wayne will announce plans to walk halfway across America to raise awareness of the plight of homeless children, teens and young people during a press conference in Nashville tomorrow.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. Which young country singer's grandmother was a professional opera singer?
A. Taylor Swift

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!


LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY/ABC 9:00 AM (ET)

Nicole Kidman

MOVIE FLICKA/FX 10:00 AM (ET)

Tim McGraw

CROSSROADS/CMT 12:00 PM(ET)
Taylor Swift

CARRIE UNDERWOOD: AN ALL-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL/FOX 8:OO PM (ET)

Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD/GAC 9:00 PM (ET)

STARS FOR STRIPES WOUNDED WARRIORS RETURN/GAC 10:00 PM (ET)

Craig Morgan, Chris Young

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!


  • Chuck Meade (BR-549) (49)
  • Rick Nielsen (lead guitarist, Cheap Trick) (63)
  • Ralph Fiennes (actor, Schindler's List, The English Patient, Red Dragon, The Constant Gardener, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Reader) (47)
  • Diane Sawyer (Good Morning America co-host) (64)
  • Hector Elizondo (actor, Pretty Woman, Chicago Hope, Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries movies) (73)
  • Jordin Sparks (sixth season American Idol winner) (20)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Jason Michael Carroll performs "Alyssa Lies" when he makes his Grand Ole Opry debut at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2006.
  • O, Brother Where Art Thou? opened in New York and Los Angeles in 2000.
  • Clint Black's One Emotion is certified platinum in 1995.
  • Martina McBride's first daughter, Delaney Katharine, was born in 1994.
  • The Judds score their second number-one hit as "Why Not Me" tops Billboard's country chart in 1984.
  • Merle Haggard hit number one with "If We Make It Through December" in 1973.
  • Hank Williams recorded "Lovesick Blues" in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

ALEC BALDWIN HAS BUTT DOUBLE IN NEW MOVIE: Alec Baldwin used a butt double in his new film, It's Complicated. Director Nancy Meyers admitted to USA Today that the actor said, 'Mine's beautiful. However, I don't want to do that.'" Baldwin also clarified a report in Men's Journal that he's planning to quit acting after his 30 Rock contract expires in 2012. He said, "It's ridiculous. What I wanted to say is I wanted to do other things." Co-star Meryl Streep added, "He's not quitting acting. He was just telling me what he is doing next. I can't tell you what it is. I'm just saying: He's not quitting."

BRODY JENNER AND GIRLFRIEND SPLIT: Brody Jenner and Jayde Nicole have called it quits after having dated for more than a year. Sources close to The Hills stars confirmed that they finally ended things for good after a tumultuous relationship that was often highlighted on the MTV reality drama. 23-year-old Nicole hinted at the split last week, tweeting, "'Sometimes when you truly love someone you have to let them go.' I never really understood that quote until now."

'SESAME STREET' ACTRESS DIES: Sesame Street actress Alaina Reed Hall died of cancer last week. An Ohio radio station confirmed that the actress, who starred as Olivia for 12 years on the show, passed away after a battle with breast cancer on December 17th at the age of 63. In addition to working on the show, Hall starred on the sitcom 227.

COURT WON'T DISMISS POLANSKI CASE: A California appeals court rejected Roman Polanski's bid to have his sex case dismissed on Monday (December 21st). The court's opinion stated, "We encourage all participating parties to do their utmost to ensure that this matter now draws to a close in a manner that fully addresses the issues of due process and fundamental fairness raised by the events of long ago." However, the court said they are "deeply concerned" about the concerns raised by Polanski's lawyer, who argued earlier this month that misconduct in the case was grounds for dismissal of a charge of having unlawful sex with a minor.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

BRYAN SINGER RETURNING TO 'X-MEN' FRANCHISE: Bryan Singer has reportedly signed on to direct the latest film in the X-Men series. PerezHilton.com reports that Singer told reporters last week that he's "very excited" to be back on board with the franchise. The project will be titled X-Men: First Class.

SUSAN BOYLE TO SING NEW BOND SONG? Susan Boyle is reportedly being considered to record the theme song for the next James Bond movie. ContactMusic.com quotes Monty Norman, composer of the classic 007 theme music, as having said, "They'll think seriously because she's got the right kind of sweeping voice." Others who have recorded Bond theme songs include Paul McCartney, Madonna and Duran Duran.

NEW CASTING ON 'TRUE BLOOD': Lindsay Pulsipher of The Beast has been cast as Crystal, a new love interest for Ryan Kwanten's characters Jason in the upcoming season of HBO's True Blood. PerezHilton.com reports that the twosome apparently share an "electric connection."

BRITTANY MURPHY AUTOPSY INCONCLUSIVE; INSIDERS RECALL ACTRESS'S 'INNER DEMONS'

An autopsy on Brittany Murphy's body was completed Monday (December 21st), however TMZ.com reports that nothing was found that pointed to a cause of death. Sources told the website that there were no signs of foul play and the body appeared "normal." The coroner will not determine the cause of death until the toxicology report, as well as the histopathology (study of her organs and tissues) and neuropathology (study of her brain) reports have been submitted.

  • A source told RadarOnline.com, "Autopsy surgeons took a slice of her brain for testing. It will be 5-6 weeks for test results to come through."

REPORTS OF MURPHY'S UNHEALTHY LIFESTYLE EMERGE

As fans and friends continued to mourn the 32-year-old's death, reports painted a picture of a troubled actress who may have struggled with drug abuse and an eating disorder. Sources told People magazine that Murphy suffered from "a lot of inner demons."

Clueless director Amy Heckerling said, "She seemed to go through a change on Clueless. Maybe she felt like she was not the, like, skinny, pretty girl, you know? And then the next few movies she was, you know, thinner, blonde . . . going out with Eminem and Ashton Kutcher."

  • Another friend agreed saying, "A lot of her problems were due to poor self image. She wore extraordinary amounts of makeup, tons of fake eyelashes, got her teeth capped, dyed her hair blonde, lost weight -- she wanted to be a beauty. She didn't want to be the fat girl from Clueless. She didn't eat a lot. She would drink copious amounts of coffee."
  • Others noted that Murphy seemed especially troubled towards the end of her life. One insider said she was "unfocused" on the set of her films and one source on her most recent indie flick, Something Wicked, claimed that Murphy "was barely there ... She'd go in and out of consciousness in the middle of takes."

FAMILY SAYS MURPHY WAS ILL BEFORE DEATH

Meanwhile, Murphy's family said that she was ill with flu-like symptoms in the days before she died. TMZ.com reports that Murphy began vomiting early Sunday morning and told family members she was feeling very sick. Sources say various prescriptions were found in the home written for Brittany Murphy, husband Simon Monjack, and Brittany's mom.

OTHER MURPHY UPDATES

TMZ.com reports that Murphy has a will that she executed before meeting husband Simon Monjack. In it, she reportedly left her estate to her mother.

Monjack told Access Hollywood on Monday, "My world was destroyed yesterday."

Her half-brother -- who hadn't seen her since 2001 -- said, "People come into the town with their dreams and get chewed up alive and those who make it get chewed up alive anyway. And that's what happened to Brittany. She's a casualty of that town."

BARBARA WALTERS DENIES FRANK LANGELLA ROMANCE RUMORS

Barbara Walters is denying rumors that she and actor Frank Langella are romantically involved. Gossip about the two surfaced after the 80-year-old View co-host brought 71-year-old Langella to a recent public event. The New York Post reports that they were also together in Washington for the Kennedy Center Honors.

Walters told the Post, "Frank and I have been friends for many years and will continue to be friends for many years, but it's not a romance."

  • The paper noted that Langella used to date Walters' View co-star Whoopi Goldberg.

RANDY QUAID AND WIFE FLEE TEXAS TOWN AFTER BEING RELEASED ON BAIL

Randy and Evi Quaid hit the road on Monday (December 21st) after being released from a Texas jail. RadarOnline.com reports that the couple posted bail after being arrested over the weekend on a bench warrant that was issued on December 15th when they failed to appear at yet another court appearance in connection with an unpaid hotel bill in Santa Barbara.

The mayor of Marfa, Texas told RadarOnline.com, "They were both released from jail after posting bail and we saw them packing-up some belongings into their car and driving off. They had not been in the town for a long time but just turned up out of the blue recently just before they were arrested."

  • He added, "We had to tow their large truck from outside their building because we wanted to paint some new parking lines and word must have got out to them because they came back to get the truck. It doesn't look like they are going to be in Marfa over Christmas and the New Year now and I cannot say what will happen to them in the future."

HEADLINE NEWS!!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


OBAMA PRAISES SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL PASSING KEY TEST VOTE: President Obama yesterday (December 21st) praised the Senate health reform bill passing a key test vote in the early morning hours of the day, saying the reform will make a, quote, "tremendous difference for families, for seniors, for businesses and for the country as a whole." Hours after the 60-40 vote, which was just enough to avoid a Republican filibuster, the bill won the endorsement of the American Medical Association. Next up are procedural votes today and Wednesday, with an expected final passage vote planned for Christmas Eve. After that, the Senate measure would still have to be reconciled with the health care bill passed by the House in November.

GOVERNMENT LIMITS TIME ON STRANDED PLANES TO THREE HOURS: The federal government yesterday (December 21st) imposed a three-hour limit for how long passengers can be kept waiting on the tarmac on delayed planes before they must return to the gate and let people off. Airlines could be fined a whopping $27,500 per passenger for each violation. In addition to the three-hour rule, airlines will also be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and maintain operable bathrooms. The airline industry said it will comply with the new regulation, which goes into effect in 120 days, but said it would lead to more canceled flights and more inconvenience for passengers.

ATTACKS STOP TOP IRANIAN DISSIDENT CLERIC'S MEMORIAL SERVICE: Attacks by opponents of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most senior dissident cleric who died Saturday night at age 87, stopped his memorial service yesterday (December 21st) in the Shiite holy city of Qom. Shots were reportedly fired and the car of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was attacked as he left the service, after huge crowds turned out to mark Montazeri's funeral. According to a conservative website, some 2,000 attackers disrupted Montazeri's service and it was stopped halfway through. Montazeri was an architect of the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah, and he was named to succeed revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran's top authority, but had a falling out with him over the mass execution of prisoners. In August, he said that the authorities' handling of street unrest following the disputed presidential election, quote, "could lead to the fall of the regime," and denounced the clerical leadership as a dictatorship.

TODAY'S FYI:

CRIME DOWN DESPITE RECESSION: FBI data released Monday (December 21st) showed that crime has fallen despite the recession, a change from other economic downturns dating back decades in which crime rates went up. Murder and manslaughter fell a significant 10 percent in the first half of 2009, while violent crime overall was down 4.4 percent and property crimes dropped by 6.1 percent. Sociologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who has studied crime trends, offered some possible explanations to AP for why the crime rate in this recession is bucking the trend:

  • Extended unemployment benefits and other government economic stimulus have cushioned and delayed the blows for many people.
  • With more unemployed people home, it's harder for thieves to break into homes unnoticed.
  • So-called "smart policing" efforts by big cities are still driving down crime rates, and these cities tend to have an outsize impact on crime statistics.

MEXICO CITY LAWMAKERS LEGALIZE GAY MARRIAGE: Mexico City's local assembly voted yesterday (December 21st) to legalize gay marriage, making the Mexican capital the first in Latin America to approve same-sex marriage. Leftist Mayor Marcel Ebrard is expected to sign the measure, which was approved by lawmakers by a 39-20 vote. The change would give gay couples rights they were denied under the city's civil unions law, including being able to adopt children, apply for bank loans together, inherit wealth, and be included in their spouse's insurance policies. Mexican President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party has vowed to challenge the gay marriage law in the courts.

  • Seven countries allow gay marriage: Canada; Spain; South Africa; Sweden; Norway; Belgium; and the Netherlands. In the U.S, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire permit same-sex marriage.

NAZARETH HOME DISCOVERED FROM TIME OF JESUS: In a timely discovery for the Christmas season, Israeli archeologists announced yesterday (December 21st) that they have unearthed a dwelling in Nazareth, Jesus' boyhood home, that dates back to his era. The buried home is the first dating to that era 2,000 years ago that has been discovered in Nazareth, which is now a mostly Arab city in northern Israel with about 65,000 residents, but in Jesus' time was a hamlet of about 50 poor Jewish families. Archeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority, said of the humble dwelling, "This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with. It's a logical suggestion."

PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY GET SWINE FLU SHOTS: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have both gotten their swine flu vaccinations, the president on Sunday (December 20th) and Mrs. Obama a few days earlier. The president said Monday that the vaccine is safe and encouraged everyone to get vaccinated now that earlier restrictions limiting the shots to high-risk groups have been lifted, and it's available to the general public. Obama's daughters, Malia and Sasha, who, as children, were in a high-risk group, were vaccinated in October.

ROCK THE VOTE SAYS DON'T SLEEP WITH HEALTH CARE REFORM OPPONENTS: Rock the Vote has come up with a unique way for supporters of health care reform to help get it passed -- don't have sex with anyone who's against the reform effort. Fox News reports that the youth advocacy group is pushing the campaign in an online video and a pledge on its website. The video produced by comedy site FunnyorDie.com isn't subtle in getting its message across, employing bleeped-out language for lines like this: "We will vote against you, work against you, and once again, just in case your forgot, never ever, never ever, never ever, never ever f*** you." Appearing in the video are actors Eva Amurri from Californication and Zach Gilford from Friday Night Lights.

SPORTS:

GIANTS TOP REDSKINS 45-12 IN 'MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL': The New York Giants kept themselves in playoff contention last night (December 21st) with a 45-12 Monday Night Football win over the Washington Redskins. The Giants dominated the game in Washington's home stadium, scoring on six of their first seven possessions and had a 24-0 lead by halftime. Quarterback Eli Manning completed 19 of 26 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

BRODEUR SETS NEW NHL SHUTOUT RECORD: Veteran New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur set another NHL record last night (December 21st), recording his 104th career shutout to break Terry Sawchuk's 40-year-old record. The Devils won the game 4-0 over the Penguins in Pittsburgh. The 37-year-old Brodeur got the shutout record just two games after setting the NHL mark for regular-season appearances by a goaltender. Brodeur is also the NHL's winningest goalie, with 580 wins in his 16 seasons, all of them with the Devils.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


CBS

  • NCIS (repeat)
  • NCIS: LOS ANGELES (repeat)
  • THE GOOD WIFE (repeat)

NBC

  • THE BIGGEST LOSER (repeat)
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Dane Cook

FOX

  • CARRIE UNDERWOOD: AN ALL-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL - (repeat) The singer performs holiday songs alongisde other stars, including Dolly Parton and Brad Paisley.

ABC

  • AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS (repeat)
  • SCRUBS - J.D. seeks Turk's approval; Lucy tries to find the courage to perform a medical procedure; Drew and Denise make things official.
  • BETTER OF TED - Lem's mother, a brilliant scientist, visits and begins an affair with Dr. Bhamba.
  • CHRISTMAS AT THE WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL - President and Mrs. Obama discuss White House preparations for the holidays.

CW

  • 90210 (repeat)
  • MELROSE PLACE (repeat)

MTV

  • TEEN MOM - Catelynn's family lashes out; Amber and Gary come to blows; Farrah discovers the difficulties of dating.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Susan Sarandon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Boys Like Girls

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Susan Sarandon, Michael Symon, Colbie Caillat
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Dane Cook
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Lance Armstrong, Carson Daly, Kid Cudi
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Kathy Griffin, Harry Connick Jr.
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Tom Arnold, Hannah Teter, Michael McDonald
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

ANGRY WOMAN DESTROYS $1,000 WORTH OF PERFUME: A very angry Georgia shopper destroyed a display stand holding $1,000 worth of perfume. The woman lost her cool when a cashier told her she could not return her items without a receipt. (AP)

MAN HIJACKS PARKING GARAGE: A Brooklyn man faces charges of burglary and criminal impersonation after he operated a closed parking garage and kept the profits. Police say the man broke into a closed city-owned parking garage, reopened it, and charged customers to park. Police chased the man off on the second day of his scam and took his DNA off a soda can to prove he was there. (AP)

WOMAN MAKES 48 FALSE 911 CALLS: Colorado sheriff's officials arrested a woman who made 48 false 911 calls in a four-month span and charged her with attempting to influence a public servant, false reporting and resisting arrest. According to the sheriff's department, the woman made the calls from a pre-paid cell phone, saying she was going to kill herself or have officers shoot her, and once made a call saying her mother was having a heart attack. Police were finally able to locate her with help from a phone company. (AP)

PHONE THIEF GIVES SELF AWAY IN PHONE CALL: A British man who's a former under-16 billiard champion faced charges of stealing a cell phone, after the victim called the phone and asked for the thief's name and address. Police say they believe the thief's stupid decision was "an act of bravado," but it backfired on him and led to a quick decision from the jury, which found him guilty of robbery. (Telegraph)

DID YOU KNOW?

AVERAGE AFFAIR IS TWO YEARS LONG: AskMen.com reports that the average length of an adulterous affair is two years. According to the infidelity statistics compiled at infidelityfacts.com, affairs last two years, slightly more than half of all American marriages end in divorce, and a surprising 17 percent of people polled admitted to some form of infidelity (physical or emotional) with a brother or sister-in-law.

THE 'PERFECT FACE' IS AVERAGE: The Daily Mail reported that scientists calculated the ratios of the perfect face -- and found they correspond to the typical woman. Beauty, researchers say, can be measured according to how close together a woman's eyes are and the distance between her eyes and mouth. They found the ideal measurements, as a proportion of the overall size of a female face, were close to the average of all female profiles. Celebrities whose faces are in perfect proportion include Jessica Alba, Liz Hurley and Shania Twain.

CHECK IT OUT: See the formula: http://tinyurl.com/ybxfpn7

ARTISTIC GUYS ARE HAPPIER: Artistic and cultural pursuits make men happier and less likely to suffer from depression. Asylum.com reports that Norwegian researchers studying the mental well-being of almost 50,000 people -- using questionnaires, interviews, clinical examinations and blood samples -- found that activities such as painting, playing a musical instrument or going to the theater raised the level of happiness among both genders. Artistic endeavors even beat out money or employment situation. In addition, for men, artistic and cultural pursuits made them less susceptible to depression. The researchers came to these results after controlling for socioeconomic status, chronic illness, smoking and alcohol.


HYGIENE HABITS (Women's Health)

  • 31 percent don't shower daily
  • 39 percent wash their hair every day.
  • 68 percent don't floss on a regular basis.
  • 90 percent of women wear their bras multiple times before washing.

HOW TO HINT TO HIM WHAT YOU WANT FOR THE HOLIDAYS (Lemondrop.com)

Osmosis: This might be crazy, but we're talking about something important: gifts. Print out a picture of the stuff you want, give it a kiss, and tuck it ever so gently under your boyfriend's pillow. Sure, "learning by osmosis" is an old wives tale, but if this works you can be sure you and your man are telepathically connected. Or at least that he changes his pillowcase.

  • Ask him what he wants: "Popping the question" seems like a dead giveaway, but this method has legs. Guys really are that clueless. Simply ask your mate what he'd like to receive, and wait for him to ask the obligatory question in return.
  • Lie: Got your eye on some fancy new underwear? Tell him there's an in-store model promotion the next day at Victoria's Secret. Dying for a couples getaway? Tell him the unveiling of "Call Of Duty 4" takes place at a Bahamas resort. This strategy is a little scuzzy, but he'll never know the difference. Who cares about morals on Christmas, anyway?
  • Use social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.): It's lame, but it gets the message across. The trick is to mix it up and post a suggestion or two every day for a week. Give the man some options. To be sure you get what you want the most, play with the wording. Maybe the other items get a standard "This is cool!", and the denim leggings get a "Holy Mother of God I MUST HAVE THESE!!!" You could even add "if only I had the money" for woe-is-me emphasis, if you're into the victim thing.
  • Beer treasure: This is almost too easy. Buy your wonderful boyfriend a six-pack of his favorite beer. Tape a printed picture of what you want onto each of the beers. (He'll notice at least one of them.) Have a laugh, and toast to success.
  • Write it on the bathroom mirror: Step 1: Take a hot shower. Step 2: Write "I Love Denim Leggings and Want Them for Christmas" on the foggy mirror. Step 3: Wait five minutes and tell him he needs to take a shower (even if he doesn't). This will result in him mocking you and possibly calling you pathetic, but hey, you'll accomplish your goal.
  • Give him a list . . . in July: Do you hate the element of surprise and enjoy being extra organized? Maybe you have a weird phobia about opening mystery gifts in front of people. If these traits sound familiar, keep things easy and make your Christmas wish list in July.
  • Tell his best friend: Your boyfriend and his best friend are likethis, so you know whatever you tell one will get back to the other. Make sure your S.O. gets the message by spilling your wish list to his BFF on the sly. You can pass the info along when your boyfriend hits the bathroom at a party, or even by sending an email with the subject 'Super Secret Christmas List.' Works like a charm.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

What hugely popular website has just 35 employees?

A: Wikipedia

  • According to AskMen.com, while it takes some 900 employees to keep Facebook running, over 13,000 to support Yahoo!, and more than 20,000 to run Google, the user-edited and monitored online encyclopedia Wikipedia requires just 35 employees, and unlike all the other sites in the top sites worldwide (as ranked by Alexa.com), Wikipedia is nonprofit and runs almost entirely on user donations.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ACTRESS BRITTANY MURPHY DIES IN L.A.

Actress Brittany Murphy died early Sunday after going into cardiac arrest at her home in Los Angeles. Attempts by paramedics to revive her at the scene were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead on arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Murphy was 32 years old. A child actress from the age of nine, Murphy's breakthrough role came in 1995's Clueless, and she later appeared in Just Married, Eight Mile and Little Black Book. She had been the voice of Luanne on the cartoon King of the Hill since 1997. She married screenwriter Simon Monjack in May 2007.

  • On December 1, we reported that Murphy had been fired from her latest film project, set in Puerto Rico.
  • According to Roger Friedman of The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy had been hired for the movie, The Caller, but was fired before even starting filming. Friedman says: "There are stories all over the Internet about the couple's drug taking, and their bad behavior in Puerto Rico."
  • Of her career, Friedman says: "Murphy, it should be noted, was no slouch. She worked all the time, even if her 14-year career had devolved into a kind of B-movie marathon."
  • Late Sunday, an official with the Los Angeles coroner's office told MSNBC.com that Murphy may have died of natural causes. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says the cause of Murphy's death "appears to be natural." He says she apparently collapsed in the bathroom Sunday morning, and authorities are looking into her medical history.
  • According to IMDB.com, Murphy won Teen Choice Award nominations for her appearances in Just Married in 2003, Eight Mile in 2002, and Little Black Book in 2004. But she also got a worst-actress Razzi nomination for Just Married.
  • In 2005, Maxim magazine named Murphy to its Top 10 "Hot List." The magazine said: "These are the women whose names are on the lips of people the world over, whose careers are headed for the dizziest heights and whose looks will scorch the back off your retina."

The Los Angeles Times reported late yesterday (Sunday) that police have opened an investigation into Murphy's death.

CELEBRITIES REACT:
Response to Murphy's death from other celebrities on Twitter was fast. Perhaps the most poignant of these came from Ashton Kutcher, who was once linked romantically with Murphy:

  • From Ashton Kutcher: "2day the world lost a little piece of sunshine. My deepest condolences go out to Brittany's family, her husband, and her amazing mother Sharon. See you on the other side kid."
  • From Jessica Simpson: "Brittany Murphy was an incredible ray of Light to so many people. Her smile was contagious. My prayers are with her family and loved ones."
  • From Fred Durst: "RIP Brittany Murphy. What a sweet human being. My prayers are with her friends and family."
  • From Soleil Moon Frye: "am beyond words by the loss of Brittany Murphy. I was so blessed to know your grace. My heart goes out to your mama+ loved ones."

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

TAYLOR LAUTNER GETS HIS KICKS: New Moon breakout star Taylor Lautner will star in an upcoming action adventure movie called Cancun, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie is the first film from a new production company run by Taylor and his dad, Dan Lautner. The story is about a kid on spring break in Cancun who is fighting to save friends being held hostage by a drug cartel. Major martial arts mayhem is expected to ensue.

AMERICAN IDOL SHIFTS TIME SLOT: The Fox network is moving the time slot for American Idol by one hour, to 9 p.m Eastern Time beginning January 27th, reports Entertainment Weekly. The lead-in for Idol will be Human Target, a new series based on a graphic novel about a bodyguard, starring Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. Idol's ninth season kicks off with a two-hour special on January 12th at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. It will keep its old 8 p.m. slot until the end of the month when it moves to 9 p.m.

WHITE COLLAR RETURNS: The USA Network has ordered a second season of the dramedy White Collar, about a white collar criminal turned FBI consultant, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show starring Matt Bomer had a solid though not spectacular start in its first season, and hit a high note with its finale last fall, when 5.5 million viewers tuned in.

21 JUMP STREET LEAPS TO BIG SCREEN: The television series that made Johnny Depp a teen sensation in the 1980s is going to be made into a big-screen movie, Variety reports. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directing team that made Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, reportedly are in talks with Columbia Pictures to direct the feature film.

RACE OF THE TITANS: The action movie Clash of the Titans is in a race to the finish, The Los Angeles Times reports. The movie is due in March. But star Sam Worthington says they're still shooting additional scenes for the remake of the 1981 action adventure based on ancient my

TODAY'S CELEBRITY GOSSIP

SHANE SPARKS FACES MOLESTATION CHARGES: Shane Sparks, a judge on the MTV show America's Best Dance Crew, was arrested Friday and charged with eight counts of child molestation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, according to TMZ.com. One victim, who is at least 10 years younger than Sparks, is cited in the charges. The crimes allegedly began in 1994 and continued for several years. Sparks' lawyer called the charges "extortion, Hollywood style" and said they are without merit. Attorney Steve Meister told TMZ that Sparks "knows he is innocent and will fight to clear his name." Sparks reportedly posted $590,000 bail on Saturday night and was released.

  • Sparks, 40, won an American Choreography Award for his work on the 2004 film You Got Served. He is a nominee for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for his work on season three of So You Think You Can Dance.

BUNDCHEN'S BABY'S BENJAMIN BRADY: Eleven days after the birth of their first son, supermodel Gisele Bundchen and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have announced the baby's name: Benjamin Brady. Gisele finally made the announcement on her Web site, with this message: "I am living a very special moment in my life, Benjamin is a blessing and I could not be happier. I would also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and 2010 with lots of light! Kisses, Gisele.'' Same to you, lady.

JON AND KATE NO MORE: A judge in Pennsylvania finalized Jon and Kate Gosselin's ten-year marriage on Friday. As expected, she got custody of their eight children. Also on Friday, TLC said it is still committed to a new reality television show focusing on Kate and her new life, to air starting in Spring 2010. The network scrambled to cut Jon out of Jon & Kate Plus Eight after the couple announced they would split in an episode last June that was watched by 10.6 million viewers.

KATE HUDSON THROWS A PARTY: Actress Kate Hudson is famous for her Halloween parties, but it looks like she's changing her tradition. She threw a Christmas party on Friday night at in Pacific Palisades, California. People.com notes that it was a star-studded gathering as always. But a notable missing person was Kate's former boyfriend, Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez. He has reportedly been spending time at his home in Miami since he and Hudson broke up earlier this month.

TILA TEQUILA TWEETS: "I'M PREGNANT!" Tila Tequila has announced on Twitter that she is pregnant, and that she is carrying the baby as a surrogate mother for her brother and his wife. "That is my xmas present to them," she tweeted. Born Tila Nguyen, she appeared in an MTV reality show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. Gawker.com speculates that the whole thing is a pretty smart pitch for a new reality show.

SOPHIA LOREN OWES NOTHING TO SPAGHETTI: Screen Goddess Sophia Loren, now 75 years old, flatly denies the most famous quote attributed to her over her long career. She never, ever said: "Everything I am I owe to spaghetti." In an interview on CBS News' Sunday Morning program, Loren said: "It's not true. So silly. Can you imagine?" The Italian actress' latest role is in the new all-star musical film Nine.

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

LeAnn Rimes' husband has filed for divorce in a Los Angeles courtroom, three months after announcing their separation. According to People, 29-year-old Dean Sheremet cited "irreconciable differences" as the end of their nearly eight-year marriage. This past summer, LeAnn began a relationship with CSI: Miami actor Eddie Cibrian, who is also divorcing his wife Brandi Glanville.

  • Dean is seeking spousal support and attorney fees from LeAnn, according to the papers, which were filed Thursday in Superior Court.
Taylor Swift, who is currently at the top of 2009's album sales chart, could have her crown taken away by Susan Boyle, whose debut album, I Dreamed a Dream, has already sold 1.8 million copies since its release on November 24th, according to Billboard. Taylor's Fearless has sold 2.7 million units this year, and more than 4.8 million copies since its release in November 2008. And Boyle, who has owned the top spot on the album sales chart, has a good chance of surpassing Taylor if her sales hold up over the next few weeks.

Taylor explains the idea behind the title song, "Fearless." "What drew me to that title is writing that song about it and that fearlessness of falling in love. No matter how times you've been hurt, you have to have this undying belief that love can last forever. We all do. We all somewhere deep inside us believe in that or else we wouldn't keep on going back."

FAST FACTS:

  • Forbes magazine ranked Taylor as 2009's 69th most powerful celebrity, earning $18 million dollars.
  • Taylor was named Billboard's Artist of the Year for 2009.
  • When Taylor was in the fourth grad, she won a national poetry contest with a three-page poem titled "Monster in My Closet."

Can you imagine having your every move documented in the press? How about having your dating life put in front of a microscope? Well, that's exactly what 20-year-old Taylor Swift is having to go through. Her relationships with the Jonas Brothers' Joe Jonas and actor Lucas Till, and now, New Moon star Taylor Lautner, have been in the spotlight repeatedly.
  • Most of them know to keep quiet about the details, but Lucas Till, who appears in the Hannah Montana: The Movie and as Taylor's love interest in the video for "You Belong With Me," has opened up about their brief dating life. He tells MTV News he really liked Taylor, but says "there was no friction because we were too nice." He explains, "We just really both liked each other . . . [but] most relationships work out 'cause you get along and then you don't, and then you make up and its passionate, and with us I really just liked her as a friend. That's the only reason that didn't work out."

Tim McGraw says he's pretty surprised by the success of his latest movie, The Blind Side. While he's pretty comfortable when it comes to picking songs, movies are another matter. He tells Knoxville (Tennessee) NBC affiliate WBIR, "You do these movies because you read the script and you like it, but you never really know how it's going to turn out. It makes you sort of nervous, because when you're done, it's not like your album, where you can go in and mix it and do all the little tweaks you want to do."
  • The Louisiana native, whose films include Friday Night Lights, Flicka and The Kingdom, has control over his music career, but had to get used to relinquishing the reins when it came to acting. "You just give your permission to use your performance and go away. And they have so many takes of everything you do and you don't have any choice of which take they use. You just have to let them go, so you never know how it's going to turn out."
  • The film has certainly exceeded expectations jumping to number one at the box office three weeks after its release.

SIDE NOTES:

  • Tim begins shooting scenes for his upcoming film, Love Don't Let Me Down, next month in Nashville. He'll star alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in the film about a country singer.
  • Tim says he also wants to be part of an ensemble cast in an action film. He says, "That would be great to do the mob. I could pull out my Italian accent."

Alan Jackson has, like a lot of us, several Christmas traditions. He and wife Denise have three daughters, and while the oldest is now off the college, they still keep those traditions alive. Alan says, "We don't let anybody open any presents until Christmas morning, after Santa Claus comes. We don't let them get up on their own and take off, you know, everybody has to wait and kind of get situated, and maybe have a cup of coffee, and then we start all of the regular Christmas morning activities, opening presents, taking pictures and video. We have music going, you know, I try to keep Christmas music going in the background. I like to turn that on before I let them come down to the tree and everything."

Craig Morgan doesn't believe in faking it! He says for his family, a live Christmas tree is the only way to go. He tells us there's even been times when he could've gotten thrown in the slammer for cutting his own tree. "There's no way we would use a fake tree. We might have a fake tree out in the shop (laughs), but's always a real tree. And it used to be a tree that we went and cut ourself forever and ever. I mean, there was a few times when we cut 'em off the side of the road and probably shouldn't have (laughs). We were helpin' the interstate keep their side roads clean. We looked at it as a positive, you know? Always a real tree."

SIDE NOTES:

  • Craig, who spent 10 years in the Army in the 101st annd 82nd Airborne Divisions, just returned from a weeklong USO Tour to Guam and Okinawa yesterday. He left for the trek, which featured him performing a series of four shows, on December 13th.
  • Craig will be opening for Carrie Underwood during her Play On tour next year, which kicks off March 11th in Reading, Pennsylvannia.

Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar" has been named as the number-one most played song on jukeboxes this year. AMI Entertainment Network -- one of the world's largest jukebox manufacuturers -- compiled a list of the top 100 jukebox songs of 2009.
  • Other country songs making it into the top 10 were Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" at number-three, and Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," which rolled in at number-four.
  • Nickelback's "Rockstar" came in at number-two.

FAST FACTS:

  • "I Love This Bar" held the top spot on the Billboard country chart for five weeks. It was the lead single from Toby's 2003 album, Shock'n Y'all.
  • Shock'n Y'all also featured the hits "Whiskey Girl" and "American Soldier."
  • Toby once played defensive end for the semi-pro football team, the Oklahoma City Drillers.
One of Jon Bon Jovi's sons was rushed to the hospital early yesterday (Sunday, December 20th) from the family's home in Middletown, New Jersey. According to TMZ, he was taken in an SUV to the Riverview Medical Center in Redbank following a first aid call at around 2 a.m. Police say the incident was not serious, and that the boy was released later that morning. It's unknown which of Bon Jovi's sons went to the hospital.
  • Bon Jovi has a 16-year-old daughter, Stephanie Rose, and three sons, Jesse James Louis, 14, Jacob Hurley, 7 and Romeo Jon, 5, with his wife of 20 years, Dorothea Hurley.

Keith Urban and his family have been reunited in Australia to spend the holidays together with daughter Sunday Rose and the rest of their extended family. But before his actress wife Nicole Kidman headed back to Oz following her promotional tour for the new movie, Nine, he was spotted shopping for gifts at London's Harvey Nichols department store, picking out some sweet fragrances, including the Absinthe Verte.

The holiday version of Craig Morgan's "Bonfire" is available for digital download today.

The recent Oprah Winfrey Show, which featured holiday performances by Tim McGraw with Alicia Keys and Sugarland with Jennifer Hudson, is scheduled to re-air on Wednesday.

If you have a clean driving record and need a job, you may be able to get one driving around a country music artist. You can sign up for the Celebrity Bus Drivers Academy, which will have its first training session in early March near Nashville. When you're done with the training, they'll also try to place you with an artist.

Toby Keith's record label, Show Dog Nashville, has partnered with Universal South (home to Joe Nichols, Randy Houser, Phil Vassar and the Eli Young Band). Toby said in a statement released on Friday that the combined label will be named Show Dog-Universal, and he'll serve as the label's principle, with Mark Wright (head of Universal South) as the label's president.
  • Toby says, "Show Dog-Universal will still have the feeling of being an independent label with strong and personal relationships with all our artists. That is what Show Dog Nashville and Universal South have always been about, but combine the two labels and you have a powerhouse with more staff and better opportunities for our artists."
  • Show Dog Nashville's roster includes Toby, as well as Trailer Choir and Mac McAnally, among others.
  • No other details about the merger have been released.

FAST FACTS:

  • Toby formed Show Dog Nashville in 2005.
  • Toby made his acting debut in the 2005 film, Broken Bridges, which co-starred Kelly Preston, as his love interest.
  • Some of Toby's hobbies include hunting, fishing, golfing and collecting baseball memorabilia.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. Which female superstar denied being a singer at the age of 19 to secure a job at a Nashville music publishing company?
A. Faith Hill

ON THE TUBE TODAY!


ABOARD THE SANTA TRAIN/GAC 8:00 PM (ET)

Wynonna

ON THE SET WITH REBA: CONSIDER ME GONE/GAC 10:00 PM (ET)

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

  • Lee Roy Parnell (53)
  • Andy Dick (actor-comedian, NewsRadio, Old School, Less than Perfect) (43)
  • Phil Donahue (former talk show host; husband of Marlo Thomas) (74)
  • Chris Evert (former tennis star) (55)
  • Jane Fonda (actress/workout guru/activist) (72)
  • Samuel L. Jackson (actor, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars: Episodes I, II & III, S.W.A.T., The Incredibles) (61)
  • Jane Kaczmarek (actress, Malcolm in the Middle) (54)
  • Ray Romano (actor, Everybody Loves Raymond) (52)
  • Kiefer Sutherland (actor, Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, Phone Booth, 24; son of Donald Sutherland) (43)
  • Marilyn Scott (jazz singer) (60)
  • Betty Wright (R&B singer, "Clean Up Woman") (56)
  • Julie Delpy (actress, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset) (40)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Toby Keith's "Who's Your Daddy" lands at Number One on the Billboard country chart in 2002.
  • Deana Carter is arrested for driving under the influence after Nashville police stop her for speeding in 2001.
  • Josh Turner makes his Grand Ole Opry debut, performing "Long Black Train," in 2001.
  • Brooks & Dunn top the Billboard country chart with "My Next Broken Heart" in 1991.
  • The Electric Horseman, the film starring Willie Nelson and Robert Redford, premiered in 1979.
  • Elvis Presley goes to the White House to volunteer his services to President Nixon in the fight against drugs in 1970.
  • Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" earns him a Number One on the Billboard country chart in 1968.
  • Jack Greene joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1967.
  • Hank Williams recorded "Cold, Cold Heart" in 1950.

WEEKEND MOVIE WRAP-UP

The 3-D science-fiction epic Avatar opened big in first place at the weekend box office, taking in $73 million domestically and $159.2 million overseas. Director James Cameron's first film since 1997's blockbuster Titanic stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver in a 22nd century story about a paraplegic ex-Marine sent from Earth to infiltrate an alien race of 10-foot-tall blue people on the distant moon Pandora. The movie was made using motion-capture technology that captured actors' performances blended in with computer animation.

The romantic comedy Did You Hear About the Morgans? opened in fourth place. It stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant as a couple whose crumbling marriage gets a fresh chance when they are sent into the witness protection program after seeing a murder. Oscar buzz-heavy Up in the Air, starring George Clooney as a corporate hit man addicted to the frequent-flyer life as he travels the country firing people for downsizing companies, moved up into the top 10, in eighth place, as it widened to more theaters ahead of its nationwide expansion this week.

  • Last week's top movie, Disney's animated The Princess and the Frog, fell to second place.

THIS WEEKEND'S TOP TEN MOVIES -- DECEMBER 18-20

  1. Avatar, $73 million
  2. The Princess and the Frog, $12.2 million
  3. The Blind Side, $10 million
  4. Did You Hear About the Morgans?, $7 million
  5. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $4.4 million
  6. Invictus, $4.2 million
  7. A Christmas Carol, $3.4 million
  8. Up in the Air, $3.1 million
  9. Brothers, $2.6 million
  10. Old Dogs, $2.3 million



NATALIE WHITE VICTORIOUS IN 'SURVIVOR' FINALE

Survivor: Samoa has got its million dollar winner, and it's not Jaison Robinson. Natalie White emerged on top in last night's (December 20th) finale, while Russell Hantz came in second.

Robinson was voted off in the finale after Hantz cut him from the alliance, and Jaison's hometown newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, says he's really mad. He and Russell had had a pact since day two, but then, the Tribune notes, Russell had a pact with just about everyone from day two.

Here are the Survivor: Samoa results, straight from the Survivor Fandom blog site, complete with editorial comments that do not necessarily reflect the views of this station:

  • The first immunity challenge was won by Brett, the only member from the original Galu tribe, his third win for immunity in a row.
  • The final four of Foa Foa was split up and Jaison was sent to the jury.
  • The second immunity challenge came down to Russell and Brett. Russ won his first immunity necklace and Brett was sent to the jury.
  • The final three were Mick, Natalie and Russ, and they were questioned by the jury members.
  • Natalie won Survivor: Samoa after an amazing speech by Erik, and Russ came in second. Of course, Russ should have won as he is one of the best players ever.
  • However, Russell did win the $100,000 Viewers' Choice prize.

HEADLINE NEWS!!


HEALTH REFORM BILL PASSES KEY SENATE TEST VOTE: Landmark health care reform legislation passed a key Senate test vote early Monday (December 21st), getting 60 votes to overcome a Republican filibuster. There will be a few more procedural votes over the next few days, but Senate passage of the bill by Christmas is now all but assured. After that, there will have to be reconciliation between the Senate bill and the one previously passed by the House before a final bill can be sent to President Obama for his signature. Democrats finally secured the 60th vote they needed when Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska announced Saturday that he'd vote for the bill. In exchange, the conservative Democrat won tougher abortion restrictions, as well as extra money for his state's Medicaid program. The bill would extend coverage to more than 30 million currently uninsured Americans, and ban insurance company practices including denial of benefits on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the legislation would reduce deficits by about $132 billion over a decade, and possibly much more in the 10 years after that.

EAST COAST DIGS OUT FROM SNOWSTORM: Residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and New England have begun digging out from a weekend snowstorm that dropped record amounts of snow in some places and disrupted travel and shopping on the final weekend before Christmas. Washington, D.C., got 16 inches of snow on Saturday, the most ever there for a single day in December, and Philadelphia got its second-largest snowfall in records dating back to 1884 -- 23.2 inches. In the New York City area, Long Island got the worst of the storm, with some two feet of snow, while the city itself got 11 inches. The storm actually began Friday where it caused flooding as rain in Florida, and knocked out electricity in the Carolinas, before turning to snow as it moved north.

IRAN'S TOP DISSIDENT CLERIC DIES: Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Iran's most senior dissident cleric, died in his sleep early Sunday (December 20th) of a heart attack. He was 87. Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi urged supporters to attend Montazeri's funeral Monday, declaring it a day of national mourning. Montazeri was an architect of the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah, and he was named to succeed revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran's top authority, but had a falling out with him over the mass execution of prisoners. Montazeri spent five years under house arrest until 2002, but remained a leading opposition voice until his death. In August, he said that the authorities' handling of street unrest following the disputed presidential election, quote, "could lead to the fall of the regime," and denounced the clerical leadership as a dictatorship.

TODAY'S FYI:

EUROSTAR TRAINS CANCELED AFTER PASSENGERS STUCK IN CHUNNEL: Eurostar, the only passenger train between Britain and the rest of Europe, has been shut down indefinitely, suspended since late Friday (December 18th), when five trains were stranded inside the Channel Tunnel, trapping more than 2,000 passengers, some for more than 15 hours. Eurostar said Sunday it had traced the problem to weather conditions in northern France, which has seen its worst winter in years. Eurostar said that engineers have recommended they make modifications to the trains' snow shields to prevent snow from being sucked into the power car, which is believed to have caused the problems. Upgrades are already being done, and test runs planned, but a spokesperson couldn't guarantee service would resume by Tuesday. The 15-year-old Eurostar provides service between London and Paris or Brussels in about two hours.

STOLEN AUSCHWITZ GATE SIGN FOUND: The famous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the entrance gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland has been found by police after it was stolen Friday. Police said early Monday (December 21st) that the sign -- which means "Work Shall Set You Free" -- was found in northern Poland, and that five men had been detained for questioning. The sign had been cut into three pieces, each containing one of the words. Auschwitz is now a memorial site, which will be marking the 65th anniversary of the death camp's liberation next month. Police wouldn't speculate on the motives of the thieves.

CDC ESTIMATES 1 IN 110 U.S. CHILDREN HAVE AUTISM: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest estimate Friday (December 18th) that about 1 in 110 U.S. children have autism. That's up from about 1 in 150, which had been the CDC's estimate until recently, and agency behavioral scientist Catherine Rice said the increase may be due in part to better diagnosis and changes in how well records are kept. For decades, an autism diagnosis was only given to children with severe language and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. However, its definition has gradually expanded to include a group of milder, related conditions. Health officials have urged increased screening for autism, saying early therapy can improve how well affected children develop.

MCCAIN SAYS UNDERSTANDS PALIN BLACKING OUT HIS NAME ON VISOR: Senator John McCain said yesterday (December 20th) that he understands Sarah Palin's explanation for why she blacked out his name on a "McCain/Palin" visor from their 2008 presidential campaign while on vacation in Hawaii. McCain said on Fox News Sunday that he has no problem with the blacked-out name, and that he and his wife remain close to Palin and her husband. After Palin was photographed wearing the visor with McCain's name blacked out in Hawaii, she denied it was meant as a slight against her former running mate. She said in a statement, "In an attempt to 'go incognito,' I Sharpied the logo out on my sun visor so photographers would be less likely to recognize me and bother my kids or other vacationers. . . . I adore John McCain, support him 100 percent and will do everything I can to support his re-election." Palin cut short her vacation after the visor flap, blaming the decision it on the paparazzi.

U.S. PRISON POPULATION TO DECLINE FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1972: The U.S. is likely to see a decline in its prison population for the first since 1972, a reversal from the steadily rising inmate population since the early 1970s as states enacted get-tough policies sending more people to prison and giving them longer sentences. But with the economic crisis putting huge strains on state budgets, states are reconsidering how many people they're sending to prison and how long they're keeping them there. At the same time, the crime rate continues to fall nationwide. Some 739,000 prisoners were sent to state and federal prisons in 2008, about 3,500 more than were released, for just a 0.8 percent growth rate. That's the smallest increase this decade and way down from the 6.5 percent average annual growth of the 1990s. Overall, there were more than 1.6 million people behind bars in the U.S. at the end of 2008.

SPORTS:

NFL SCORES -- WEEK 15: Here are the results of this week's National Football
League games. (Home teams are listed in italics):

Saturday, December 19th

  • Dallas Cowboys 24, New Orleans Saints 17 -- Saints' get their first loss of the season, leaving the Indianapolis Colts as the only still-undefeated team.

Sunday, December 20th

  • New England Patriots 17, Buffalo Bills 10
  • Arizona Cardinals 31, Detroit Lions 24
  • Atlanta Falcons 10, New York Jets 7
  • Tennessee Titans 27, Miami Dolphins 24 (Overtime)
  • Houston Texans 16, St. Louis Rams 13
  • Cleveland Browns 41, Kansas City Chiefs 34
  • Oakland Raiders 20, Denver Broncos 19
  • San Diego Chargers 27, Cincinnati Bengals 24 -- Chargers won on a 52-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding with three seconds left.
  • Baltimore Ravens 31, Chicago Bears 7
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 37, Green Bay Packers 36 -- Pittsburgh won on a 19-yard TD on the final play from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace.
  • Philadelphia Eagles 27, San Francisco 49ers 13
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24, Seattle Seahawks 7
  • Carolina Panthers 26, Minnesota Vikings 7

Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN:

  • New York Giants at Washington Redskins (8:30 p.m. ET)

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

CBS
  • HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (repeat)
  • ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE (repeat)
  • TWO AND A HALF MEN (repeat)
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY (repeat)
  • CSI: MIAMI (repeat)

NBC

  • THE SING-OFF - The winning group is announced; Nastasha Bedingfield, Bobby McFerrin, Boyz II Men and Smokey Robinson are slated to perform.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Jeff Bridges, Adam Lambert

FOX

  • HOUSE (repeat)
  • LIE TO ME (repeat)

ABC

  • I WANT A DOG FOR CHRISTMAS - Lucy and Linus' little brother, ReRun, turns to Snoopy and Spike for holiday cheer.
  • FIND MY FAMILY - A woman searches for her birth mother after losing her adoptive mother to ovarian cancer; a woman looks for the son she gave up for adoption when she was a teenager.
  • CASTLE (repeat)

CW

  • ONE TREE HILL (repeat)
  • GOSSIP GIRL (repeat)

TNT

  • THE CLOSER - Brenda investigates the case of a female police officer who denied being a victim of spousal abuse prior to her husband being shot by a cop answering a domestic disturbance call. Mary McDonnell guest stars.
  • MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE - Joe tries to teach his son golf; Owen tries to get his sales figures up; Terry gets into his character a little too much.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat)
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand
THE VIEW -
A performance by the cast of Broadway's 'Ragtime'

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Maggie Gyllenhaal, John Witherspoon, a Top Ten List presented by Stewie
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Jeff Bridges, Adam Lambert
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Christina Applegate, David Gregory, Silversun Pickups
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Renee Fleming, Jim McDonald
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Martha Stewart, Jeffrey Ross, Julian Casablancas
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT - (repeat)

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

QUADRUPLETS ACCEPTED TO YALE: Quadruplets Ray, Kenny, Carol and Martina have all been accepted to attend Yale University next fall if they choose to stay together. It is the first time Yale has ever accepted quadruplets, marking an impressive feat for the teens who have faced adversity before - they were born 2 months premature. The family said whether or not they receive financial aid will be a major factor in their decisions to attend. (New York Times)

NAKED MAN RUINS CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS: Vero Beach, Florida police said a naked man destroyed Christmas decorations outside a Carvel ice cream store. The man was caught on the store's security cameras, but the damage is said to be less than $50. The naked Grinch was identified, but the owner of the store said he does not wish to press charges, but would not promise the same result if he returns. (Sun-Sentinel)

MAN PAYS $72 FOR TACO: The manager of a Taco Bell in Ohio said drunk man paid him $72 for a single taco and said "Merry Christmas" before leaving the restaurant. He said the man refused to take back the money, and expected him to return for it, but he never did. Police are holding on to the money as evidence, but it is not claimed in 60 days, the manager can keep the money. (AP)

KANSAS SUPERMAN SAVES GIRL: A Kansas man was able to lift a car off of a six-year-old child pinned underneath, according to the girl's mother and witnesses. The mother described the man as "Superman" after he rescued the girl who became trapped after a car pulling out of a driveway accidentally ran her over. The man said he has no idea how he was able to lift the car. The girl suffered only minor injuries. (ABC News)


DID YOU KNOW?

GIFTS FOR GUYS: Guys can be so difficult to buy presents for. Since we're sure you left your guy's gift until last, here are three suggestions from Oprah.com. All are books. Specifically, they're "heroic biographies" for the hero in your life. They are: Open, the autobiography of Andre Agassi; True Compass, the autobiography of Edward M. Kennedy, and Where Men Win Glory, by Jon Krakauer, the story of Pat Tillman, the football hero who volunteered for the war in Iraq and was killed by friendly fire.

COLD MEDICINE RECALL: About 700,000 packages of Vicks Dayquil cold medicine were recalled Friday because the packaging was not child-resistant, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall is of Vicks Dayquil Cold & Flu 24-Count Bonus Pack Liquicaps with the UPC no. 3 23900 01087 1. The packages were sold between September 2008 and December 2009. The caps were not child-resistant, and did not have the statements: "This package for households without young children" and "should be kept out of the reach of young children." No injuries have been reported, but the commission says that serious illness or death could occur if a child swallows several of the pills. If you bought the product, get a refund or coupon from Proctor and Gamble Co. by calling 800-251-3374.

BOOZE NEWS: If you've always thought that red wine leaves you feeling worse the morning after than white, then you were right. A Brown University study has found that the severity of a hangover is affected by the colour of the alcohol being drunk. Darker drinks are the worst offenders. So, over-indulging on whisky will give you a bigger headache than too many vodkas. But here's one more fact from the study that argues for moderation, no matter what your poison is: People who drank white wine or vodka may have felt better, but they performed just as badly at work the next morning as those who drank whisky or red wine.

COFFEE CUTS DIABETES RISK: Drinking more than three cups of coffee or tea a day cuts the risk of diabetes, researchers say. Studies collated at the University of Sydney show that regular tea and coffee drinkers have a 25 per cent lower chance of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to those drinking the beverages occasionally or not at all. Even decaf works, so it's not the "caff."

ORCHID CARE: Except maybe in Hawaii, orchids used to be seen only in greenhouses belonging to hobbyists who spent their spare time caring for them. But now, these exotic beauties can be found in supermarkets, and at reasonable prices. If you're still scared to bring one home, here are a few tips from a gardening expert at the British newspaper The Guardian that will keep it blooming, and even re-blooming:

  • Keep your orchid in a northern-facing window, and make sure there's no draft.
  • Water only once a week; just pour a few ounces of water into the pot, or stand it in the sink and drench it completely for a minute to simulate a tropical shower.
  • If your home's water is "hard," boil it and let it cool before watering.
  • Don't cut off those greyish curling things sprouting from the plant; they're roots.

Cookies FOR SANTA!

video

Maine Could Become First to Put Cancer Warning on Cell Phones

A Maine lawmaker wants to make her state the first to require that cell phones carry warnings that Say they could cause brain cancer, although scientific results are mixed and there's no consensus that they do cause harm. Although some other countries do require cell phone warnings, nowhere in the U.S. does yet. But in addition to this Maine effort, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the nation's first to require the warnings.

Democratic state Rep. Andrea Boland of Maine has gotten legislative leaders to allow her proposal to come up for discussion during the 2010 session. She wants warnings to be put on cell phones and their packaging warning of the potential risk of brain cancer from the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the devices. The warnings would recommend that users, especially children and pregnant women, keep cell phones away from their head and body by using things like speakers or headsets.

Friday, December 18, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Taylor Swift closes out this year with one last history-making first. Her brand new single, "Fearless," is the first to already be certified gold before it ships to country radio, according to GAC. It's one of three songs to be certified gold for sales of more than 500,000 copies without ever being released as a single. The other two are "You're Not Sorry" from the Fearless CD, and "I'm Only Me When I'm With You," from Taylor's self-titled debut release.

  • Among Taylor's digital hardware is a quadruple-platinum award for selling four million copies of her chart-topping hit "Love Story."
  • MTV has named Taylor their #2 Woman of the Year. Their #1 woman and man of the year will be revealed on Friday (December 18th).

FAST FACT

  • Taylor will resume her sold-out Fearless tour in Australia on February 4th. She will play seven shows down under before returning to the U.S. to begin shows here on March 4th in Tampa.

Loretta Lynn's recent concert cancellations have fueled rumors that the legend is extremely ill. Loretta was diagnosed with the flu, but some reports are suggesting that she is fighting for her life, according to the tabloids and perezhilton.com. On the contrary, says Loretta's daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell. She told the AP that her mother is "feeling great" and planning a trip to her home in the Bahamas over the holidays. Patsy adds that Loretta will resume her tour in January.

A source told The Globe, "Loretta has a long-term serious respiratory problem which only gets worse with age... She has to take a break during her shows to use her inhaler so she can carry on. Loretta's stubborn. She wanted to play the dates, but her doctors told her point-blank she needed to rest for weeks... Doctors have told Loretta for the last year or more she can't continue touring."

Keeping Loretta from performing would be a death sentence for the singer, according to the unnamed source who quoted Loretta as saying, "You tell me I can't sing anymore, you might as well dig the hole and throw dirt on me."

  • She is scheduled to be in Los Angeles later next month to receive her Lifetime Achievement Grammy from the Recording Academy.
  • Loretta's upcoming plans include working on a greatest hits album next year. The project will reportedly be produced by John Carter Cash, the son of Johnny and June Carter Cash.

Lady Antebellum's latest single, "Need You Now," has been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of over one million copies. The track is the lead single from their upcoming sophomore album, also called Need You Now, which is due out on January 26th.

"Need You Now" has set a new record for the longest reign at Number One one this year, spending five consecutive weeks in the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song also cracked the Top Five on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

  • Fans will be able to purchase new material off the Need You Now album before its release as part of the band's iTunes Countdown. "Need You Now" and Lady A's brand new single, "American Honey," will officially kick off the countdown beginning on December 21st. One new track will be released at iTunes each week leading up to the album's debut next month.

FAST FACTS

  • Lady Antebellum will perform at the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young next month.
  • The trio are nominated for Grammys for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals and Best Country Song for their recent Number One hit, "I Run To You." The 52nd annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast on live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 31st on CBS.

Brad Paisley will be celebrating his first Christmas as the father of two young boys this year. Eight-month-old Jasper and two-and-a-half-year-old Huck will likely get a visit from Santa Claus just as Brad always did as a kid, even when questioning Santa's very existence.

Brad tells us that one year he conjured up a plan to prove once and for all whether St. Nick was real. "When I was in third or fourth grade I was starting to get the hint that maybe their wasn't a Santa Claus. Which there is, by the way. I wanted to prove it once and for all, so I stuck a tape recorder, pressed 'record,' and stuck it behind the Christmas tree and left in on hoping that I was gonna hear whoever was gonna place the presents there. But I, uh, forgot to plug it in."

  • Brad will resume his American Saturday Night tour on January 7th in San Antonio, Texas.
  • He has tapped Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore to open the shows.

For Blake Shelton, the Christmas holiday means being at home in Oklahoma and spending time with family and close friends. Blake tells us there is one song that sums up the holiday season in the Shelton family. "Robert Earl Keen wrote a song called 'Merry Christmas From The Family.' That's my Christmas and has been every year. We just get together and hang out. We never have a formal Christmas. If you want to know what Christmas is like at our house, listen to . . . I think Montgomery Gentry has a version of the song -- listen to that and that's us."

Now that he's an adult, Blake says he appreciates the Christmas holiday much more than he ever did as a child. "We just sit around and catch up because I'm not home that much anymore. None of us are, so it's our one chance to get together and usually nothing's new, so we just sit around, hang out together and drive around or drink beer and talk. It's more fun for me bein' an adult during Christmas time because it stops being about stupid stuff and starts being about family, so I enjoy these Christmases way more."

  • Blake's new single, "Hillbilly Bone," featuring Trace Adkins, will be available for purchase on iTunes beginning December 22nd.
  • His first show of the new year will be on January 14th in Mescalero, New Mexico.

Michelle Branch is itching to release her new solo album, Everything Comes And Goes. Due to some record label issues, she still doesn't have a release date for the country-tinged set -- although her single, "Sooner Or Later," is doing well. Branch tells The Boot, "I'm so anxious. I've never had an album in my possession this long. My first two records I did in like 35 to 40 days. Anxious isn't even the right word. I don't know how I can elaborate on that any more."

Branch is even hitting up Twitter to voice her frustrations, noting this week: "I wonder if I died in a car accident or checked myself into rehab if WB would finally release my record. What? Oops, not my inside voice." After hearing back from some fans, Branch went on to brainstorm a "publicity stunt," joking: "Okay. Sounds like you all want me to live (so do I, believe me), and rehab sounds boring, so I'm admitting it now: I SLEPT WITH TIGER WOODS!!!"

  • The album was originally scheduled to come out this fall, but has been pushed back to a 2010 release.
  • Branch says, "I'm really proud of this music. I worked my butt off on this record, and I feel like it's my 'coming out' record. It's been six years since I've had a solo record out, and this one's in a different genre. Hopefully the fans will like it."

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. What star's first band was named Unclethumbtack?
A. Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!

ORIGINS: JOSH TURNER/GAC 12:00PM (ET)

JOE NICHOLS: MY MILITARY DIARY/GAC 1:00PM, 7:00PM (ET)

STARS FOR STRIPES WOUNDED WARRIORS RETURN/GAC 5:00PM (ET)
Chris Young, Craig Morgan

ON THE STREETS/GAC 10:30PM (ET)
Dierks Bentley, Phil Vassar

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!

  • Randy Houser (34)
  • Cledus T. Judd (45)
  • Katie Holmes (actress, Dawson's Creek, Batman Begins; wife of Tom Cruise) (31)
  • Christina Aguilera (singer) (29)
  • Keith Richards (Rolling Stones guitarist) (66)
  • DMX (Rapper) (39)
  • Tara Conner (Miss USA) (24)
  • Brad Pitt (actor, Interview With The Vampire, Fight Club, Ocean's Eleven, Troy, Ocean's Twelve, Babel) (46)
  • Steven Spielberg (director, Jaws, E.T., the Indiana Jones movies, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, War Of The Worlds) (63)
  • Ray Liotta (actor, Field Of Dreams, Goodfellas, Hannibal, Identity) (54)
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (professional wrestler, real name Steven Williams) (45)
  • Rachel Griffiths (actress, Six Feet Under, Brothers & Sisters) (41)
  • Bobby Keys (saxophonist, longtime Rolling Stones sideman) (66)
  • Elliot Easton (lead guitarist, the Cars, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the New Cars) (56)
  • Sam Andrew (guitarist, Big Brother & the Holding Company) (68)
  • Alex Ligertwood (former vocalist, Santana, "Winning") (63)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Carrie Underwood returned to the U.S. after performing for American troops in Iraq and Kuwait during her first USO tour in 2006.
  • Tim McGraw's "Back When" went to Number One in Billboard in 2004.
  • Trace Adkins entered Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in Nashville to treat alcoholism in 2002.
  • Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits album was certified gold and platinum on the same day in 2000.
  • Faith Hill made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 1993.
  • Johnny Paycheck earned his first gold album for Take This Job And Shove It in 19

TODAY'S CELEBRITY GOSSIP

ALLEGED STALKER OF JENNIFER GARNER ARRESTED: The man who is accused of stalking actress Jennifer Garner is facing criminal charges after police arrested him outside the nursery school where her daughter, Violet Affleck, is enrolled, TMZ reports. Steven Burky is charged with two counts of felony stalking and two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order. The charges include an allegation that Burky broke a restraining order filed against him last year by Garner and her husband, Ben Affleck. Garner has claimed in court documents that Burky has been stalking her since 2002. The restraining order was granted after Burky sent Garner "packages and letters containing delusional and paranoid thoughts."

PADMA LAKSHMI'S FAVORITE MOMENT: Padma Lakshmi has had a big year, earning an Emmy for hosting Top Chef, launching a jewelry line and, last but best, getting pregnant. But her favorite moment of the year, she tells People magazine, was her keynote address at MIT. She was there to talk about her struggle with endometriosis, a leading cause of infertility, and to help inaugurate a new MIT center that will search for a cure for the disease. She told the magazine: "This year I was able to co-found the Endometriosis Foundation of America. It was a way to use something I've struggled with and turn it into something positive. This was my proudest achievement."

CANCER SCARE FOR MELANIE GRIFFITH: Photographers caught a candid picture of actress Melanie Griffith earlier this week sporting a black eye. The explanation is scary. The actress says the bruising was caused by surgery to remove early stages of skin cancer from her face, according to TMZ.com. She said it was caught early, and no complications are expected.

DEMI MOORE DISSED ON TWITTER: Poor Demi Moore. The actress and enthusiastic Twitter user shared an outtake from a Santa Monica photoshoot for Harper's Bazaar with her followers online. She tweeted: "Had the priviledge of working with a giraffe yesterday he was beautiful gentle and so amazing!" Then some follower tweets this insult: "sorry but you look old. specially your neck & cheeks at the second shot." Demi wasn't taking any of that: "I'm 47 how am I supposed to look?" she shot back. Man, it's tough being a celebrity these days. When she last appeared on the cover of W magazine, people hooted that she'd been Photoshopped back to her teens. Now she appears wearing her real face, and they tweet insults.

PARIS HILTON HAS A PIG: The latest living, breathing fashion accessory to the stars apparently is the micro-pig. Paris Hilton took along her tiny piglet, called Ms. Piglet, when she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. According to The Daily Mail of London, Victoria Beckham bought two micro-pigs for her husband David Beckham as a Christmas present, and Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, gave his sister a pair of them. Paris told Ellen that she also has six dogs, two frogs, two bunnies and an African parrot who loves the music of the Black Eyed Peas.

JENNIFER JONES DIES AT AGE 90
Jennifer Jones, who won an Oscar for playing Saint Bernadette in the 1943 movie The Song of Bernadette, died at her home in Malibu yesterday at age 90. She last appeared on screen in The Towering Inferno in 1974.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

HARD TIMES FOR REAL HOUSEWIVES: You know hard times are here when even The Real Housewives of Orange County get hit. This season, we'll reportedly see Lynne Curtin's family get evicted from her Laguna Beach home. Executive Producer Douglas Ross says: "We happened to have been there with our cameras . . . as part of our normal schedule when they were served the eviction notice. It's one of those great reality TV moments that happened to be caught because we were in the right place at the right time."

BIG LOVE PRODUCERS JUST LOOKING FOR TROUBLE: The people who bring you the HBO television drama Big Love apparently think there's just not enough controversy in the saga of a polygamous family. So they're adding a gay storyline. That ought to stir things up, especially since the Mormon faith prohits homosexuality. Of course, the Big Love folks are NOT Mormon, although they live in Utah. The Mormon faith has long banned polygamy, and although HBO likes controversy they're not fools. Anyway, the creators of the show "plan to explore a same-sex relationship between two male characters involved in a fictional breakaway sect at the center of the series." The series returns with new episodes January 10th.

TINA FEY AND STEVE CARRELL TOGETHER AGAIN: Date Night, their big-screen debut as a couple, hasn't even opened yet, but Tina Fey and Steve Carell are set to star in another comedy together. The two reportedly have signed to co-star in Mail Order Groom, about a love-starved woman who imports a husband from Eastern Europe.

HANDY MANNY SPINOFF COMING SOON: The Disney Channel will launch the spinoff of its popular kids series Handy Manny, to be called Handy Manny School for Tools, on January 25th, Variety reports. Wilmer Valderrama stars as the voice of Handy Manny. But the shorts introduce 11 new characters in the form of hardware tools, including Beamer the laser level, Zip the power socket wrench and Sneeze the shop vac.

SANDRA BULLOCK'S TIME TO SHINE

It used to be a fact of life in Hollywood that actresses dropped dead, professionally that is, on their 40th birthday. The casting calls just stopped coming. But Sandra Bullock is having the best year of her life, professionally and personally, at age 45. Her latest movie The Blind Side could well be her most successful ever, and her performance won critical raves and nominations for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Meanwhile, her other 2009 movie, The Proposal, got her a second Golden Globe nomination, in the comedy acting category. On the personal side, she and husband Jesse James just last week won a court battle for custody of his 5-year-old son with his ex-wife. Entertainment Weekly notes that the custody battle got Bullock some rare and probably unwanted face time in the tabloids. She and James mostly live quietly outside Austin, Texas, with their three children. She's known locally as the owner of Bess Bistro in downtown Austin, famous for its shepherd's pie and baked lasagna.

  • "Being a movie star is a joke," she told Entertainment Weekly magazine. "It's all such a crapshoot. You just have to sit back and go (a) beyond your control, (b) good marketing, and (c) struck a weird chord."
  • And on that age issue, please note that Meryl Streep is doing pretty well this year, too, and still getting romantic leading roles at age 60 in movies like this year's Julie & Julia and It's Complicated.

SIMON COWELL MAY BOW OUT OF AMERICAN IDOL

Entertainment mogul and reality show mean man Simon Cowell is so determined to make his planned American edition of the British series The X Factor a hit that he may bow out of his on-air duties on American Idol next season, according to The Times of London. Cowell has terrorized contestants and riveted audiences of American Idol for the show's entire eight-year run. He earned $36 million for the work last year, and this year reportedly will make as much as $45 million. But that's not even his full-time job! Cowell is reportedly in talks with the Fox network to air the American version of The X Factor. Nobody at Fox or Idol is commenting.

  • The X Factor, a huge hit in Britain, also is a talent show, but the focus is on coaching contestants.

HUSH! DIANE SAWYER IS ANCHORING ABC WORLD NEWS

This Monday, Diane Sawyer replaces Charles Gibson as the anchor of the nightly ABC World News broadcast. It used to be big news when a new anchor took the chair at one of the broadcast networks. CBS certainly made a big noise when they replaced the veteran anchor Dan Rather with Katie Couric. Years earlier, Walter Cronkite's handover to Rather was seen as the end of a television era. But this time, it's practically a secret. Sawyer, long-time co-anchor of Good Morning America, is making her night-time debut during a slow holiday week, and with virtually no advance promotion.

Sawyer is only the second woman, after Couric, to serve as sole anchor of a network nightly news broadcast. Andrea Peyser, a columnist for The New York Post, says: "To say that elevating Sawyer is anything other than affirmative action is a fantasy that the network must face."

CHECK IT OUT: See the ABC World News site at http://abcnews.go.com/WN/

HEADLINE NEWS!!

NELSON STILL NOT ON BOARD SENATE HEALTH BILL: Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson, the lone remaining holdout of the 60 votes needed to pass health insurance reform legislation in the Senate, was still not on board yesterday (December 17th). After a day of negotiations, Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, continued to want stricter language ensuring federal funds aren't used to pay for abortions via insurance. Meanwhile, there was growing upset on the left over the bill, which has had the public option and Medicare buy-in scrapped in order to gain the support of a handful of conservative Democrats whose votes are needed to block a Republican filibuster. Among those unhappy is former Democratic National Party Chairman Howard Dean, who says he thinks the bill should be rejected. The White House scrambled to counter liberal objections, and former President Bill Clinton -- who himself failed to win a health care overhaul in the 1990s -- weighed in, saying, "Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder, both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

CLIMATE SUMMIT LIKELY TO PRODUCE POLITICAL DEAL, NOT LEGALLY BINDING: World leaders at the international climate change summit worked into the early morning hours Friday (December 18th) ahead of the arrival in Copenhagen of President Obama and other world leaders for the close of the two-week gathering. It appeared likely that what would finally be produced would be a political declaration of targets for cuts in greenhouse gases emissions and billions in aid for poor countries to deal with climate change. But it would fall short of the goal of two years of intense negotiations of producing a legally binding pact, leaving emissions cuts unresolved. Talks in Copenhagen were hampered by growing distrust between rich and poor nations, with both sides blaming the other.

INSURGENTS INTERCEPT VIDEO FEEDS FROM U.S. PREDATOR DRONES: It was reported yesterday (December 17th) that insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to intercept live video feeds from unmanned U.S. Predator drones, which are used for surveillance and intelligence collection. However, although militants could see the video, AP cited a senior defense official as saying there's no evidence they were able to jam the electronic signals from the drones or take control of them. However, the video feeds can provide critical information about what the military may be targeting. The Wall Street Journal reported that insurgents in Iraq used off-the-shelf software programs to regularly capture drone video feeds, beginning at least a year ago, because the aerial drones had unprotected communications links. The military first learned about it in December 2008 when a militant captured in Iraq had files of intercepted drone video feeds on his laptops. Defense officials said the issue has been addressed, and the Pentagon is working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The military had known about the vulnerability for more than a decade, but assumed enemies wouldn't be able to exploit it.

TODAY'S FYI:

SWINE FLU VACCINE WIDELY AVAILABLE IN NEARLY HALF THE STATES: After weeks of shortages, the swine flu vaccine is now widely available in nearly half the states, enough so that everyone in those states can get it, not just people in high-risk groups. Health authorities now face the challenge of continuing to persuade people to get vaccinated, even as the number of swine flu cases is waning, to guard against another possible wave of the disease. CDC officials estimate the H1N1 swine flu has sickened one in six Americans, the equivalent of 50 million people, and killed about 10,000 since it was first identified in April.

FLORIDA MAN FREED 35 YEARS AFTER BEING WRONGLY CONVICTED: James Bain was freed from prison in Florida on Thursday (December 17th), 35 years after being convicted of a crime he didn't commit. The Innocence Project had taken up Bain's cause, and DNA testing recently revealed that he was innocent in the 1974 kidnapping and rape of a nine-year-old boy. The 54-year-old Bain, who said he hopes to go back to school, told reporters he wasn't angry, explaining, "No, I'm not angry. "Because I've got God." Bain is entitled to $1.75 million from the state under a Florida law passed last year that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison.

  • According to the Innocence Project, Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide.



NELSON STILL NOT ON BOARD SENATE HEALTH BILL: Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson, the lone remaining holdout of the 60 votes needed to pass health insurance reform legislation in the Senate, was still not on board yesterday (December 17th). After a day of negotiations, Nelson, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, continued to want stricter language ensuring federal funds aren't used to pay for abortions via insurance. Meanwhile, there was growing upset on the left over the bill, which has had the public option and Medicare buy-in scrapped in order to gain the support of a handful of conservative Democrats whose votes are needed to block a Republican filibuster. Among those unhappy is former Democratic National Party Chairman Howard Dean, who says he thinks the bill should be rejected. The White House scrambled to counter liberal objections, and former President Bill Clinton -- who himself failed to win a health care overhaul in the 1990s -- weighed in, saying, "Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder, both politically for our party and, far more important, for the physical, fiscal, and economic health of our country."

CLIMATE SUMMIT LIKELY TO PRODUCE POLITICAL DEAL, NOT LEGALLY BINDING: World leaders at the international climate change summit worked into the early morning hours Friday (December 18th) ahead of the arrival in Copenhagen of President Obama and other world leaders for the close of the two-week gathering. It appeared likely that what would finally be produced would be a political declaration of targets for cuts in greenhouse gases emissions and billions in aid for poor countries to deal with climate change. But it would fall short of the goal of two years of intense negotiations of producing a legally binding pact, leaving emissions cuts unresolved. Talks in Copenhagen were hampered by growing distrust between rich and poor nations, with both sides blaming the other.

INSURGENTS INTERCEPT VIDEO FEEDS FROM U.S. PREDATOR DRONES: It was reported yesterday (December 17th) that insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to intercept live video feeds from unmanned U.S. Predator drones, which are used for surveillance and intelligence collection. However, although militants could see the video, AP cited a senior defense official as saying there's no evidence they were able to jam the electronic signals from the drones or take control of them. However, the video feeds can provide critical information about what the military may be targeting. The Wall Street Journal reported that insurgents in Iraq used off-the-shelf software programs to regularly capture drone video feeds, beginning at least a year ago, because the aerial drones had unprotected communications links. The military first learned about it in December 2008 when a militant captured in Iraq had files of intercepted drone video feeds on his laptops. Defense officials said the issue has been addressed, and the Pentagon is working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The military had known about the vulnerability for more than a decade, but assumed enemies wouldn't be able to exploit it.

TODAY'S FYI:

SWINE FLU VACCINE WIDELY AVAILABLE IN NEARLY HALF THE STATES: After weeks of shortages, the swine flu vaccine is now widely available in nearly half the states, enough so that everyone in those states can get it, not just people in high-risk groups. Health authorities now face the challenge of continuing to persuade people to get vaccinated, even as the number of swine flu cases is waning, to guard against another possible wave of the disease. CDC officials estimate the H1N1 swine flu has sickened one in six Americans, the equivalent of 50 million people, and killed about 10,000 since it was first identified in April.

FLORIDA MAN FREED 35 YEARS AFTER BEING WRONGLY CONVICTED: James Bain was freed from prison in Florida on Thursday (December 17th), 35 years after being convicted of a crime he didn't commit. The Innocence Project had taken up Bain's cause, and DNA testing recently revealed that he was innocent in the 1974 kidnapping and rape of a nine-year-old boy. The 54-year-old Bain, who said he hopes to go back to school, told reporters he wasn't angry, explaining, "No, I'm not angry. "Because I've got God." Bain is entitled to $1.75 million from the state under a Florida law passed last year that automatically grants former inmates found innocent $50,000 for each year they spent in prison.

  • According to the Innocence Project, Bain spent more time in prison than any of the 246 inmates previously exonerated by DNA evidence nationwide.

DOMINO'S IS CHANGING ITS PIZZA: Domino's Pizza made the surprising announcement this week that it's substantially changing its pizza recipe, with marketing head Russell Weiner explaining, "We're basically relaunching Domino's Pizza." The revamped pizzas, which will be available in all Domino's store by December 27th, will have butter, garlic and parsley added to the crust, shredded mozzarella with some added provolone instead of diced mozzarella, and a sweeter sauce with a more pronounced red pepper flavor. So why is Domino's doing this? According to Yahoo! Finance, a recent survey of pizza consumers found that Domino's ranked at the bottom of all the major chains for taste, along with Chuck E. Cheese. Still, Domino's ranks higher than any other pizza chain in overall customer satisfaction, and analysts warn that changing their basic product could be a big mistake, pointing to the disastrous example of New Coke.

SURVEY RANKS STATES WHERE PEOPLE ARE THE HAPPIEST: A new study ranking states on happiness found that, unsurprisingly, people in states that do well in quality of life studies tend to be the happiest. Among the factors that correlated with higher levels of happiness are living in states that are sunny and outdoorsy and do well on surveys comparing climate, crime rates, air quality and schools. Ranking first in happiness was Louisiana, although the researchers noted part of the survey occurred before Hurricane Katrina struck. Following it were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona. At the other end of the scale, New York ranked last in happiness. The researchers suggested the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of that unhappiness.

BRAZIL'S SUPREME COURT BLOCKS RETURN OF BOY TO AMERICAN FATHER: Brazil's Supreme Court yesterday (December 17th) blocked the immediate return of a nine-year-old boy to his American father, ruling the boy must stay in the country while it considers a request that the child's testimony be heard in the case, which has now dragged on for five years. The ruling came the day after a Brazilian federal appeals court ordered that Sean Goldman be returned to his father within 48 hours, and just a few hours after David Goldman arrived in Brazil to take his son back. The Supreme Court's ruling means Sean will remain in Brazil at least until February 1st, following the justices' return from a recess. In 2004, Goldman's wife took Sean to her native Brazil for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation, but she never returned. She eventually got a Brazilian divorce from Goldman and remarried. Goldman was already seeking his son's return under an international treaty when his former wife died last year in childbirth. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Congress have all urged the boy's return, but previous legal rulings favorable to Goldman have all been blocked by Brazilian courts.

SPORTS:

COLTS BEAT JAGUARS 35-31, REMAIN UNDEFEATED AT 14-0: The Indianapolis Colts remain undefeated for the season at 14-0 after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 35-31 last night (December 18th) in Florida. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns, including one for 65 yards to Reggie Wayne with 5:23 remaining in the game to put the Colts ahead for good. Indianapolis is now the third team in NFL history to go 14-0, joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots. The New Orleans Saints, who are still undefeated, could join them if they beat the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. (December 19th). Indy also extended its NFL-record winning streak in the regular season to 23 games.

BENGALS CHRIS HENRY DIES ONE DAY AFTER FALLING OUT OF TRUCK: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry died early Thursday (December 17th), one day after falling off the back of a pickup truck near Charlotte, North Carolina, during what police said was a domestic dispute with his fiancee. He was 26. Henry had reportedly jumped into the bed of the pickup as his fiancee was driving away, and at some point he fell off the back. He was away from the Bengals after suffering a season-ending broken forearm in a game last month. Henry was arrested five times during his five-year NFL career, on charges including assault and marijuana possession. But his teammates said Henry had turned his life around and was determined to leave his troubled past behind.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

SURVEY RANKS STATES WHERE PEOPLE ARE THE HAPPIEST: A new study ranking states on happiness found that, unsurprisingly, people in states that do well in quality of life studies tend to be the happiest. Among the factors that correlated with higher levels of happiness are living in states that are sunny and outdoorsy and do well on surveys comparing climate, crime rates, air quality and schools. Ranking first in happiness was Louisiana, although the researchers noted part of the survey occurred before Hurricane Katrina struck. Following it were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona. At the other end of the scale, New York ranked last in happiness. The researchers suggested the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of that unhappiness.

BRAZIL'S SUPREME COURT BLOCKS RETURN OF BOY TO AMERICAN FATHER: Brazil's Supreme Court yesterday (December 17th) blocked the immediate return of a nine-year-old boy to his American father, ruling the boy must stay in the country while it considers a request that the child's testimony be heard in the case, which has now dragged on for five years. The ruling came the day after a Brazilian federal appeals court ordered that Sean Goldman be returned to his father within 48 hours, and just a few hours after David Goldman arrived in Brazil to take his son back. The Supreme Court's ruling means Sean will remain in Brazil at least until February 1st, following the justices' return from a recess. In 2004, Goldman's wife took Sean to her native Brazil for what was supposed to be a two-week vacation, but she never returned. She eventually got a Brazilian divorce from Goldman and remarried. Goldman was already seeking his son's return under an international treaty when his former wife died last year in childbirth. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Congress have all urged the boy's return, but previous legal rulings favorable to Goldman have all been blocked by Brazilian courts.

SPORTS:

COLTS BEAT JAGUARS 35-31, REMAIN UNDEFEATED AT 14-0: The Indianapolis Colts remain undefeated for the season at 14-0 after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 35-31 last night (December 18th) in Florida. Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns, including one for 65 yards to Reggie Wayne with 5:23 remaining in the game to put the Colts ahead for good. Indianapolis is now the third team in NFL history to go 14-0, joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots. The New Orleans Saints, who are still undefeated, could join them if they beat the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. (December 19th). Indy also extended its NFL-record winning streak in the regular season to 23 games.

BENGALS CHRIS HENRY DIES ONE DAY AFTER FALLING OUT OF TRUCK: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry died early Thursday (December 17th), one day after falling off the back of a pickup truck near Charlotte, North Carolina, during what police said was a domestic dispute with his fiancee. He was 26. Henry had reportedly jumped into the bed of the pickup as his fiancee was driving away, and at some point he fell off the back. He was away from the Bengals after suffering a season-ending broken forearm in a game last month. Henry was arrested five times during his five-year NFL career, on charges including assault and marijuana possession. But his teammates said Henry had turned his life around and was determined to leave his troubled past behind.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE


Friday, December 18, 2009


CBS
  • FROSTY THE SNOWMAN - An animated adaptation of Romeo Muller's story. Narrated by Jimmy Durante.
  • FROSTY RETURNS - A snow removal spray threateans magic Frosty (voice of John Goodman).
  • MEDIUM (repeat)
  • NUMB3RS (repeat)

NBC

  • LAW & ORDER (repeat)
  • DATELINE NBC - Investigative journalism.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Glenn Beck, Kate Gosselin

FOX

  • DOLLHOUSE - Victor's contract with the Dollhouse expires; Echo is sent into her worst nightmare after being deemed too dangerous.

ABC

  • SUPERNANNY - Jo tries to help two parents who work full time and have four children under the age of five.
  • 20/20 - Investigative reporting.
  • 20/20 - Investigative reporting.

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)

STARZ

  • CRASH - TBA

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - John Krasinski, Robin Thicke, Shaheen Jafargholi
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Tea Leoni

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Tobey Maguire, Tom Dressen, Alicia Keys
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Glenn Beck, Kate Gosselin
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Sam Worthington, animal expert Nigel Marven, Foreigner
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - John Krasinski, James Cameron, Mary J. Blige
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Judi Dench, Michelle Rodriguez
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Jude Law, Abby Elliot, Ronnie Spector
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - Snoop Dogg

SATURDAY

NBC

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE - James Franco hosts, Muse performs

SUNDAY

CBS

  • SURVIVOR: SAMOA - (season finale) Castaways compete for cash.
  • SURVIVOR: SAMOA - The Reunion.

NBC

  • FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA - The day's NFL highlights.
  • NFL FOOTBALL - Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers

FOX

  • THE SIMPSONS (repeat)
  • THE CLEVELAND SHOW (repeat)
  • FAMILY GUY (repeat)
  • AMERICAN DAD (repeat)

ABC

  • THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE - Scott Calvin, aka Santa, contends visiting in-laws and a scheme by mischievous Jack Frost to freeze him out of Christmas. Starring Tim Allen and Martin Short.
  • DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (repeat)

E!

  • KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS - Khloe needs professional help to deal with her anger issues toward Scott; Rob ends up in the hospital after unknowingly taking a drug.

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

CRASH LEAVES INTERSTATE STICKY: A truck carrying adhesive spilled on Interstate 24 in Nashville, Tennessee, causing all lanes to be closed. The crash occurred when the truck went into the left lane to avoid construction and hit the back of another truck in front of it. The truck driver sustained non-life threatening injuries and is expected to recover, while crews spent all night trying to clean the adhesive off the road, a job made more difficult by the freezing temperature. (WSMV)

FAT MAN ACQUITTED FOR DUI FOR BEING FAT: A North Hampton, New Hampshire man has be found not guilty of drunk driving after he convinced jurors that he was too fat to pass a sobriety test. The man refused a Breathalyzer test and then failed field sobriety tests, which he and his lawyer argued were unfair because he is obese. (Seacoast Online)

MUSIC TEACHER TAKES KIDS TO HOOTERS: An Arizona music teacher whose students performed for the president at his inauguration has been put on administrative leave after she took 40 students to Hooters. The teacher was accompanying the students to a performance in downtown Phoenix and took the kids to lunch at the Hooters restaurant, claiming that it was the only place that could accommodate all of the students. (AP)

BOY SCOUT RETURNS PURSE WITH $2,000 INSIDE: An 11-year-old North Carolina Boy Scout found and returned a stolen purse with nearly $2,000 inside. The boy and his siblings were helping plant trees at a local park when they found the purse. They called the police who contacted the owner of the purse. The boy was rewarded with $100. He gave his mom $40 and spent the rest on a football jersey. (AP)

DID YOU KNOW?

TRUTH IN NUTRITIONAL ADVERTISING: If you think you're making wise choices at the supermarket, Consumer Reports has some fine print for you. Some of the nutritional claims on packaging are not exactly false, but you might call them misleading. Here are some examples of "tricks" the organization says lead consumers astray, and the "truth" behind the labels:

TRICK: Added nutrients can camouflage junk.
TRUTH: You might get a reasonable amount of fiber per serving from Pop-Tarts with added fiber, but it comes along with high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. Even with some fiber or vitamins thrown in, junk food is still junk.

TRICK: "Made with" highlights a minor ingredient.
TRUTH: Terms "made with" or "made from" are virtually meaningless because they don't tell you how much of an ingredient was actually used. For example, the first mention of fruit in the ingredients list for Mixed Berry Nutri-Grain bars is "apple purée concentrate," after high-fructose corn syrup, glycerin, and sugar.

TRICK: "Less" is more than you might think.
TRUTH: "Less sodium" cans of Hormel Chili have less than the regular version, but it still packs 710 mg per serving, about 30 percent of your daily allotment. "Less" or "reduced" just means it has one-quarter less of a nutrient or of calories than the regular version.

TRICK: The label makes it sound like it's a good-for-you food, but it's not.
TRUTH: Just because items like Welch's fruit snacks are fat-free doesn't make them a healthful food. You are better off with real fruit which is also fat-free and far more nutritious than candylike fruit snacks.

ZHU ZHU PETS OVERRUN THE WORLD: If you're worried about those stories that say Zhu Zhu Pets are so popular that they're hard to get hold of, worry no more. WalletPop.com says Toys R Us, the nation's largest toy retailer, has vowed that they won't run out of their stock of the "must-have" toys of the season before Christmas. Not to be outdone, Walmart is hosting a special Zhu Zhu Pet shopping event beginning the Monday, December 21st through Wednesday, December 23rd. The chain says it will have Zhu Zhu Pets available at all of its stores beginning at 7 a.m.

BUT DON'T WAIT FOR THE HOLIDAY CLEARANCE SALES: A national retail sales group says that holiday shoppers who wait until the last moment in hopes of finding clearance sales are going to be disappointed. The National Retail Federation says that retailers anticipated modest sales this year. So, they didn't load up on merchandise as they did last year. They're hoping to avoid having to give the stuff away just before or just after the holidays. Meanwhile, sales appear to be running just one percent higher than last year's. So steep price-slashing on popular gift items is unlikely.

MARRIAGE IS GOOD FOR YOU: Marriage really is good for your health, psychologists say, but you are far more likely to suffer mental disorders when the relationship ends. According to the British newspaper The Daily Mail, a study of nearly 35,000 people across 15 countries found husbands and wives are less likely to suffer depression and anxiety when they are together. However, it found that ending marriage, whether through separation, divorce or death, is linked to an increased risk of mental health disorders. Women are more likely to resort to substance abuse, while men are more likely to become depressed. The New Zealand study concludes that being married is good for the mental health of both genders, not just women, as previous studies had found.

SANTA CLAUS, LOSE THE JELLY BELLY: Santa Claus is a lousy role model, a public health expert writes in the British Medical Journal. First of all, he's fat. He loves cookies. He doesn't wear a helmet during extreme sports such as chimney climbing. He reportedly has even been spotted smoking an occasional cigar. Nathan Grills suggests that jolly old Saint Nick swap his traditional snacks of cookies and milk in favor of sharing carrots with Rudolph. He also should stop hugging snotty-nosed kids who have colds. Just think of the germs he's spreading. We hope everyone gets that he's kidding. A politically-correct Santa Claus is a horrifying thought.

Car Dealer Threatens Legal Action Over Twitter, Facebook Complaints

Is what you write on Twitter or Facebook subject to legal action? That might be tested in Florida, where a man who complained on those social networking sites about his negative experiences with a local auto dealer received an attorney's letter demanding he remove what it charged were defamatory comments or face possible legal consequences. Columnist Rush Lemmon of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers wrote that the "cease and desist" letter Thom Alascio received said Route 60 Hyundai of Vero Beach would consider the matter closed if he removed the existing comments and didn't make any more.

Alascio began complaining online in early October because he didn't like how he was treated by Route 60 Hyundai's service department. Over the course of 13 days, he had 18 tweets on Twitter, 13 of which made reference to the dealership, and 28 status updates on Facebook, with 17 mentioning Route 60 Hyundai. Although some of the comments were more innocuous, others were sharper, and he in at least two posts called the dealership "crooks." Despite the legal threat -- which he received six weeks after his last post about Route 60 Hyundai -- Alascio says he's not backing down.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Light Hero .....this is TOO COOL!

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Taylor Swift has landed the cover of People's "Most Intriguing of 2009" issue, which hits newsstands on Friday (December 18th). She obviously made the unranked list, along with such newsmakers as TLC reality show star Kate Gosselin, America's Got Talent phenomenon Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga, John Travolta and Chris Brown.

Taylor was dubbed the "golden girl" by the magazine for her numerous awards and big record sales numbers in 2009.

  • Taylor told People that all the success won't change her her. She said, "You can stay the same person, even if everything around you changes. I would like to think everybody out there isn't just waiting for me to trip and fall and stumble out of a club drunk. People know I'm not a party girl. I'm not hiding some dying urge to be out clubbing right now."
Rascal Flatts went into the studio and recorded a new Christmas song last week as a gift to their fans for their support throughout the year. Their special version of "Away In A Manger" is available for free download at rascalflatts.com/gift. The song is also headed to country radio.
  • Jay DeMarcus said, "This song is a celebration to our fans. From the bottom of our hearts, we are so proud and grateful for all the work you put into promoting Rascal Flatts each and every day."
  • Rascal Flatts will head out on the third and final leg of their American Living Unstoppable tour on January 15th in Uncasville, Connecticut.
  • The trek, which also features special guest Darius Rucker, will wrap on March 13th in Oklahoma City.

CHECK IT OUT:



Trace Adkins has fond memories of his childhood Christmases. The singer says that although he had a happy childhood, nothing compares to the celebrations he attends now with his own family, as he tells us: "I can remember all the Christmases I had when I was a kid and how exciting it was and everything. But they all just pale in comparison to Christmases now, you know? Being a father, just seeing the joy that it brings to those kids. That's much more special than anything I can remember from when I was a kid. So Christmases now are something that I really look forward to because of that."
  • Trace has five daughters ranging in age from five to 24. He also has one granddaugher.
  • The second issue of the Luke McBain comic book series, which is based on Trace's image and likeness, is currently in stores. The first issue of the four-part series was released in early November and sold out at the distributor level in two days.
  • Trace recently shot the pilot for a TV show called Tough Trade. He played a bodyguard named "Scared."

Toby Keith is feeling some heat from the Asian community after his performance at the Nobel Peace Prize concerts last week in Norway. While sharing the stage and a rap song with concert host Will Smith, Toby made what is being called a racist gesture after briefly pulling at the corner of his eye when Will said the word "yellow" in the following line of a song called "Rappers Delight." It goes, "to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow." Toby also pointed at Will on the word "black" and at himself on the word "white."

A spokesman for the Asian American Justice Center told TMZ that Toby "embarrassed himself and his country, denigrated the Nobel Peace Prize and offended Asians and Asian Americans by using a crude, racist hand gesture." Someone from the Media Action Network for Asians added, "By doing this, he is telling his Asian fans, 'You don't matter, you're not on my radar."

A spokesperson for Toby defended the singer saying, "No one at the concert thought Toby was out of line. Everyone was impressed with his rapping skills and that's it . . . all of the artists liked each other, hung out, and it was a very friendly, genuine, and supportive atmosphere."

  • You might recall that Miley Cyrus got into some trouble earlier this year after pictures of her making this same slant-eyed gesture surfaced on the internet.

CHECK IT OUT:



Dierks Bentley is supporting UNICEF with a 30-second video public service announcement featuring his Grammy nominated song, "Beautiful World," with special guest Patty Griffin.

BMI honored Steve Wariner at a luncheon earlier this week by presenting him with Million-Air Awards for writing and publishing four songs that have reached new million performance levels. "Nothin' But the Taillights," recorded by Clint Black, has been played more than three million times; "Where the Blacktop Ends," recorded by Keith Urban, has more than two million spins; "Holes in the Floor of Heaven," Steve's 1998 CMA Single and Song of the Year has more than two million spins, and his former Number One hit, "I Should Be With You," has passed the one million mark.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. In 1984, Dolly Parton recorded a multiplatinum-selling Christmas album called Once Upon A Christmas with which fellow artist?
A. Kenny Rogers

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!

COUNTRY MUSIC AT THE WHITE HOUSE/GAC 11:30AM (ET)

Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride

THE GREATEST: 40 SEXIEST MUSIC VIDEOS/CMT 12:00PM (ET)
Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney

INTRODUCING: GLORIANA/GAC 4:00PM (ET)

ORIGINS: JOSH TURNER/GAC 8:00PM (ET)

JOE NICHOLS: MY MILITARY DIARY/GAC 9:30PM (ET)

STARS FOR STRIPES WOUNDED WARRIORS RETURN/GAC 10:00PM (ET)
Craig Morgan, Chris Young

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

  • Joe Nichols claimed the top spot on the Billboard country chart with "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" in 2005.
  • Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits became the singer's second quadruple-platinum album in 2004.
  • Brad Paisley guested on the ABC-TV sitcom, According to Jim, starring Jim Belushi and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, in 2002.
  • The Lee Ann Womack single "I Hope You Dance" was certified gold in 2001.
  • Joe Diffie took "Pickup Man" to Number One on the Billboard country chart, where it stayed for four weeks, in 1994.
  • Clay Walker's self-titled debut became his first gold album in 1993.
  • Restless Heart charted a Number One single on the Billboard country chart with "A Tender Lie" in 1988.
  • Patsy Cline recorded "She's Got You" for Decca in 1961.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

REESE WITHERSPOON AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL SPLIT: Golden couple Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal have called it quits after nearly three years together, according to Us Weekly. The pair met on the set of the film Rendition, and their romance began in March 2007. At the time, Witherspoon was still recovering from her 2006 divorce from Ryan Phillippe, her husband of seven years, with whom she has two children, Ava, 10, and Deacon, 6. Us Weekly says Gyllenhaal, who is 29, wanted to marry, but Witherspoon, now 33, wasn't ready. Another source adds, "No one cheated. There was no drama."

IT'S ALMOST OVER FOR JON & KATE: The sad end is almost here for Jon and Kate Gosselin's marriage. A source told RadarOnline.com that Kate is "thrilled" with an arbitrator's decision of how to divide the couple's property and money. Her lawyer confirmed that the couple's divorce finalization is imminent.

IT'S REALLY OVER FOR KATE & A-ROD: There are two sides to every story, and when both sides are celebrities, they have ways of being heard. Earlier in the week, we heard that Alex Rodriguez broke it off with Kate Hudson because she was clingy and temperamental. Now, we hear that Kate was worried about Rodriguez's wandering eye. "Kate has some trust issues with A-Rod," a friend of the Nine star told Life & Style magazine. "She doesn't know for sure if there is another woman, but there's a girl she thinks he has a crush on. She's been worrying about other women for a while and is definitely the jealous type." In any case, that relationship is over.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER'S DOUBLE HAPPINESS: Sarah Jessica Parker showed off pics of her new twins Tabitha and Marion on Late Night With David Letterman. The twins are not, she stressed, identical: "'They will be six months at the end of this month and they are physically, intellectually, spiritually, geographically, politically, ideologically and religiously as different as two small six-month olds could be," she told Letterman. Parker and her husband, actor Matthew Broderick, also have a son, James Wilkie, age 7. James Wilkie is adjusting well to his sisters. His mother says: "He's been very hospitable and he's amused by them occasionally."

BUT WHAT'S BABY BUNDCHEN'S NAME, BRADY? It's been more than a week since the birth of Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen's baby, and they haven't named him yet! What's the hold-up here? E!Online's Kristin Dos Santos came up with a pretty good reason. And she ought to know, because She had a half-Brazilian baby of her own to name: "Portuguese names can be very difficult for Americans to pronounce, and vice versa," she told colleague Leslie Gornstein. "I loved Dylan, but that is pronounced Jillan in Portuguese. Jack is pronounced Jhackie. Names that both English and Portuguese speakers can pronounce easily tend to be Latin such as Marcus, Lucas, Tomas, etc." Okay, we'd better give Tom and Gisele a while longer.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

BAD-MOUTHING THE GLOBE NOMINEES: The meanest gossip isn't just about Hollywood, it's from Hollywood. Nikki Finke, writer of the "Deadline Hollywood" column for LA Weekly, offers a roundup of the nasty-grams she's been getting via email ever since the Golden Globes were announced. Most of the hits are aimed at damaging nominees' chances of getting the Globes and/or Oscars for their work. Some highlights: Studio bosses are bad-mouthing the movie The Hurt Locker, because they don't want to see awards wasted on a movie few people saw. Others are bad-mouthing Tobey Maguire, saying he only got nominated because his pal Leo DiCaprio thew a party for him and invited all the Golden Globe voters, giving out Blu-Ray players as party gifts. And everybody else is dissing Inglourious Basterds because it was produced by Harvey Weinstein, who has in the past dissed everybody else.

CHECK IT OUT: For all the latest bad-mouthing, see http://www.laweekly.com/2009-12-17/news/let-the-golden-globes-and-etc-bad-mouthing-begin/

BAD-MOUTHING THE JERSEY SHORE CAST: Then again, don't count out New York for that "meanest gossip" prize. A writer for Manhattan-based Gawker.com saw the cast of Jersey Shore play a game show on The Jay Leno Show and afterwards declared: "We are not buying for a second that a living human can be as dumb as Snooki was on Leno" last night (Wednesday). Just because she thought that the name of the vice president of the United States was "Krone." And that the United Nations is in Europe, or maybe Albany.

NEW ALICE TRAILER IS OUT: A new trailer has been released for Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. The film starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Mia Wasikowska hits conventional, 3D and IMAX 3D theaters on March 5th.

CHECK IT OUT: The trailer can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjMkNrX60mA

NEW IRON MAN 2 TRAILER DEBUTS: Are you ready to watch Robert Downey Jr. do battle with Mickey Rourke, with a little help or hindrance from Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson? Yes, it's the Iron Man 2 sequel. It won't hit the big screen until 2010, but some preview footage is available now, courtesy of Apple.com.

CHECK IT OUT: Iron Man footage can be seen now at http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/ironman/

LINDSAY LOHAN'S FASHION CAREER IN JEOPARDY: The head of the Paris fashion house Emanuel Ungaro has resigned just two months after hiring Lindsay Lohan to design a fashion collection that was widely ridiculed. Mounir Moufarrige thought hiring Lohan as "artistic adviser" would give the grand but aging brand an "electric shock." It did. Fashion critics howled at the buttocks-exposing mini-dresses and heart-shaped nipple pasties. A company spokesman said Lohan would stay on in her role, but he didn't say for how long.

ROY DISNEY DIES AT AGE 79: Roy Disney, nephew of the most famous name in animation history, died yesterday (Wednesday) in Newport Beach, California, according to Variety. He was 79 years old. Roy Disney was the son of Roy Oliver Disney, who co-founded the "Mouse House" with his brother Walt Disney. The younger Disney began working for The Walt Disney Company in 1954 as an assistant director. In the final decades of his life, Disney was credited with helping to spearhead the company's return to its classic animation roots. Disney headed the animation department when it launched instant classics including The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He was the last member of the Disney family to be actively involved in the company.

AVATAR OPENS TONIGHT IN MIDNIGHT SCREENINGS

Are you ready to enter the alien world of Pandora? Plenty of other people are, it seems. Hundreds of theaters across the country have scheduled screenings for midnight tonight (Thursday) for the first showings of Avatar, the much-anticipated mega-budget sci-fi movie. Ticket sellers report brisk advance sales for tonight, and hundreds of weekend showings in 3D and Imax theaters are sold out. Initial critical reviews have been positive, saying the movie is visually breathtaking if a bit simple-minded in the plot department. Which is exactly what they said about one of director James Cameron's earlier efforts, Titanic.

  • Earlier this week, Avatar won a Golden Globe nomination for best drama of the year.
  • Sci-fi fans are enthusiastic about the innovative motion-capture technology created for the film, which they expect will have an impact on the way big movies are made in the future.
  • A reviewer at chron.com says: "Avatar isn't a perfect film - and a few clichés short of a great one - but at its best, it'll fry your brain."

CHECK IT OUT: The Avatar preview is online at http://www.avatarmovie.com/

IS IT SPLITSVILLE FOR TIGER WOODS AND HIS WIFE?

Golfer Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, are living separately, and she will make their split official right after Christmas, according to MSNBC.com gossip columnist Courtney Hazlett. Her sources point out that Elin emerged from seclusion twice this week, giving photographers a chance to snap shots of her without her wedding ring. "She knew what she was doing when she stepped out and pumped gas without her wedding rings," said one source. "There are plenty of people who would have filled the tank for her so she wouldn't even have to be photographed."

  • Meanwhile, some of the media's coverage of the Tiger scandal simply doesn't add up. For instance, The New York Post reports that Woods paid girlfriend Rachel Uchitel $3 million to keep quiet. It also reports in the same story that Woods is still in touch with Uchitel and wants to leave his wife to be with her. Both stories are attributed to "Uchitel sources." So, if she says he paid her $3 million to shut up, why is she still talking?

CELEBRITY MEN IN THE DOGHOUSE, 2009 EDITION

When People magazine's editors came up with their latest annual "People of the Year" issue, they must have had to wrack their brains to come up with a category that adequately describes the celebrity screwups who disgraced themselves in 2009. Thus was born the new category, Men in the Doghouse. This year's dishonorees include golfer Tiger Woods, rapper Kanye West, singer Chris Brown, reality star Jon Gosselin, and TV talk show host David Letterman. Do we even have to remind you what any of these guys did? Surely not. Let's go on, then, to list the "People of the Year 2009," according to People magazine:

Taylor Swift: The Golden Girl
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie: The Power Pair
Kate Gosselin: The Mother of All Reality Stars
Barack & Michelle Obama: The First Couple
Mo'Nique: The Breakout Star
Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III: The American Hero
Sandra Bullock: The Hotshot
Oprah Winfrey: The Departing Diva
Susan Boyle: The Surprise Hit
Rihanna: The Resilient Star
Jaycee Dugard: The Survivor
Khloe, Kim, & Kourtney Kardashian: The Sister Act
Britney Spears: The Comeback
Sarah Palin: Rogue Author
The Real Housewives: The Enemies Next Door
Ellen DeGeneres: The New Girl
Neil Patrick Harris: The Host with the Most
Tyler Perry: The Mogul
Michael Jackson's Children: The Descendants
Lady Gaga: The Shock Star
John Travolta: The Heartbroken Dad
Chaz Bono: The Trailblazer
Robert Pattinson: The Heartthrob
Ryan Reynolds: The Leading Man
Padma Lakshmi: The Mom-To-Be

IS MEGAN FOX THE 'IT GIRL' OF 2009?

Megan Fox, the "It Girl" Of 2009? Jeff Labrecque, EW.com's Popwatch blogger, begs to differ. Maxim and E! are counting down the Hottest Moments of 2009, and way up there on their joint list as the year's "most sizzling spectacle" is Jennifer's Body. The blogger concedes that Megan is hot, but says it seems "grossly hyperbolic" to call her "the ultimate Hollywood It girl: a multi-talented actress with A-list appeal." Especially since the high school horror flick actually sort of bombed at the box office. He didn't nominate any alternative "It" Girl, but he did write that he thought
Johnny Depp and Marion Cotillard's love scenes in Public Enemies were "steamier than anything Fox was selling." Fair enough.

HEADLINE NEWS!!

SENATE DEMS TRYING TO GET NELSON AS 60TH VOTE ON HEALTH REFORM: Senate Democratic leaders and the White House are working to get the support of conservative Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska for the health insurance reform bill, the 60th and final backer they'd need to fend off a Republican filibuster. Nelson, who's seeking stronger restrictions to ensure federal money doesn't go to pay for abortions in the insurance system the bill would establish, met three times in the past nine days with President Obama. Nelson remains the lone holdout among the 58 Democrats and two independents, after Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut forced the removal earlier this week of a proposed Medicare expansion. The Democrats are also working against the clock, struggling to get the bill passed by Christmas. Pressing the case, Obama told ABC News that, quote, "the federal government will go bankrupt" if the health care bill fail, saying Medicare and Medicaid are on an unsustainable path if no action is taken.

CLIMATE SUMMIT TALKS STRUGGLE: Negotiators continued to struggle at the international climate change summit in Copenhagen, as world leaders, including President Obama, are set to begin arriving for the close of the two-week session. Still unresolved are the questions of emissions targets for industrial countries, billions of dollars a year in funding for poor countries to deal with climate change, and verifying the actions of emerging powers like China and India to ensure that promises to reduce emissions are kept. Meanwhile, the Obama administration must find ways to meet the demands by other nations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions without promising more than Congress will allow.

IRAN TESTS MISSILE: Iran test fired an upgraded version of an advanced missile capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe yesterday (December Th) in an apparent show of strength aimed at discouraging attacks on its nuclear facilities. Wednesday's test, the third for the missile since it was unveiled in May, fueled calls for tougher sanctions against Iran. Negotiations over Iran's nuclear program have been deadlocked for months, and the U.S. has warned that Tehran is running out of time to accept a deal to have uranium enriched outside country or face new sanctions. The U.S. and its allies accuse Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear weapon, but Iran claims its nuclear program is intended solely to generate electricity.

TODAY'S FYI:

ESTIMATE PUSHED BACK FOR WHEN WHITE AMERICANS WILL NO LONGER BE MAJORITY: The Census Bureau released figures yesterday (December Th) pushing back by eight years to 2050 the estimate for when whites will no longer make up the majority of Americans. That change from last year's prediction of 2042 is due to a slowed influx of immigrants because of the recession and strict immigration policies. The U.S. currently has 308 million people, two-thirds of whom are non-Hispanic whites. Under the new projection, the population should increase to 399 million by 2050, with whites making up 49.9 percent. The Hispanic population, currently at 15 percent, will rise to 28 percent, while the black population is expected to remain virtually unchanged at 12.2 percent. Asians are predicted to increase from 4.4 percent of the population to six percent.

STUDY: PEOPLE IN ONE-THIRD OF NATIONS FACE RELIGIOUS RESTRICTIONS: People in one-third of the world's nations are restricted from practicing religion freely, either because of government laws and policies or hostile acts by individuals or groups, according to a study released yesterday (December Th) by the Pew Research Center. However, that amounts to 70 percent of the world's population, because some of the most religiously restrictive countries have high populations. According to the study, of the 25 most populous countries, people in Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and India face the most religious restrictions. Conversely, the U.S., Brazil, Japan, Italy, South Africa and the U.K. have the least amount of religious restrictions.

THE YEAR'S TOP QUOTES, YOUTUBE VIDEOS AND PR BLUNDERS: As we approach the end of 2009, all sorts of lists are being released about the past year. Following are ones that round up the year's most memorable quotes, most popular YouTube videos, and biggest PR blunders.

Memorable Quotes: Yale University librarian Fred Shapiro has released his fourth annual list of the year's top 10 most memorable quotes. Shapiro picks quotes for his list that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times. (Soundbites are attached for six of the following.)

  1. "Keep your government hands off my Medicare." -- Attendee at a health care reform town hall meeting in South Carolina, quoted by The Washington Post
  2. "We're going to be in the Hudson." -- Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger telling air traffic controllers he was going have to land his crippled US Airways jet in the Hudson River. (SOUND)
  3. "There's an app for that." -- Apple's iPhone advertising slogan
  4. "You lie!" -- GOP Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, shouting out during President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress in September. (SOUND)
  5. "The Cambridge police acted stupidly." -- President Obama commenting on the arrest of black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at his Massachusetts home (SOUND)
  6. "I'm going to let you finish, but Beyonce has one of the best videos of all time! One of the best videos of all time!" -- Kanye West, interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards (SOUND)
  7. "Um, you guys said that we, um, did this for the show." -- "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene, during a CNN interview before it was known his parents' had pulled off a hoax. (SOUND)
  8. "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel.'" -- Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, posting on her Facebook page about health insurance reform
  9. "The governor is hiking the Appalachian Trial." -- Spokesman for South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, regarding Sanford's disappearance in June. The governor was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina.
  10. "You give me a waterboard, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders." -- Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, during a CNN interview (SOUND)

Most Popular YouTube Videos: For the first time since its 2005 inception, YouTube has released a list of its most-watched videos of the year. The top video, which was Susan Boyle's breakout performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" on Britain's Got Talent, attracted more views worldwide than the next three most-watched combined. (Links are attached)

  1. Susan Boyle -- http://bit.ly/TnRKo
  2. "David After Dentist" -- A 7-year-old boy shown recovering from dental work that left him groggy and disoriented and wondering if he'd ever feel normal again. -- http://bit.ly/1Srd76
  3. "JK Wedding Entrance Dance" -- A elaborate routine performed down the aisle at a wedding by bride and groom Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz and their bridesmaids and groomsmen to the Chris Brown song, "Forever." --http://bit.ly/Z7vMw
  4. Movie trailer for 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' -- http://bit.ly/4aSC9
  5. Evian Water -- Three different versions of an ad showing diaper-wearing babies performing roller-skating stunts. -- http://bit.ly/VCy0C

Biggest PR Blunders: Fineman PR has released its 15th annual list of the top 10 PR blunders of the year. Among the most memorable on the list are:

1st Place -- The back-up Air Force One jet sparked panic in lower Manhattan on April 27th when it flew low while circling the Statue of Liberty and the skyline, trailed by an F-16 jet. The whole thing turned out to be a photo op, one of a series of flights to get pictures of the plane in front of national landmarks.

3rd Place -- Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein drew fire when he said in a November 8th interview that his bailed-out company, which then turned around and is set to hand about $16.7 billion in bonuses, was, quote, "doing God's work."

6th Place -- Kanye West stormed onstage at MTV's Video Music Awards during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech and said Beyonce should have won.

7th Place -- KFC worked with the Oprah Winfrey Show to promote its new Kentucky Grilled Chicken with a two-day Internet coupon to get one of the new sandwiches for free. But they had to rescind the offer when millions downloaded the coupon and they couldn't meet the demand.

8th Place -- Target drew fire for its promotion of an "Illegal Alien" Halloween costume that came with an orange jumpsuit, extraterrestrial mask and a green card.

SPORTS:

TIGER WOODS NAMED ATHLETE OF THE DECADE: Tiger Woods was named Athlete of the Decade yesterday (December 16th) by The Associated Press in a vote that began last month before the sex scandal surrounding him broke. Still, more than half the ballots were returned after the November 27th car accident that set off the stories of his multiple extramarital affairs. Coming in second was Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour de France six times this decade, and tennis ace Roger Federer, who has won more Grand Slam singles titles than any other man, was third.

HALLADAY, LEE TRADE FINALIZED: A four-team, nine-player trade involving Cy Young Award-winning pitchers Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee became official yesterday (December 16th). The Toronto Blue Jays sent Halladay to the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies in return for three minor leaguers, including outfielder Michael Taylor. In turn, the Phillies sent Lee to the Seattle Mariners for three prospects. Toronto then sent Taylor to the Oakland A's for minor league third baseman Brett Wallace.

BENGALS CHRIS HENRY SERIOUSLY INJURED: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry is reportedly "battling for his life," according to his agent, after falling out of the back of a pickup truck yesterday (December 16th) during what police described as a domestic dispute with his fiancee. According to police, the dispute began at a North Carolina home just before noon and then Henry jumped into the bed of the pickup truck as his fiancee was driving away. At some point, he fell out of the truck. Henry was away from the Bengals after breaking his left forearm during a game against Baltimore on November 8th.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

We don't need no sinking snail mail! E Christmas Cards!!!

http://www.jacquielawson.com/cards_christmas.asp

ON THE TUBE TODAY!



CBS

  • SURVIVOR: SAMOA - A shocking betrayal leaves one nervouc castaway on the chopping block and bring everyone's strategy into question.
  • CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION - The CSIs want to find out how a recent gun store shootout may be connected to a young woman who may have committed suicide.
  • THE MENTALIST - While examining a crime scene where a baseball scout is found murdered, a ball hits Jane in the head and he flashes back to his childhood.

NBC

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE PRESENTS: A VERY GILLY CHRISTMAS - Holiday sketches from past years include appearances by Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and Justin Timberlake; Gilly, played by Kristen Wiig) appears in new sketches.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Sam Worthington, Mary J. Blige

FOX

  • BONES (repeat)
  • FRINGE (repeat)

ABC

  • GREY'S ANATOMY (repeat)
  • GREY'S ANATOMY (repeat)
  • PRIVATE PRACTICE (repeat)

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)

BRAVO

  • THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY - TBA

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - Craig Ferguson, Zoe Saldana
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan, Emily Blunt, a performance by the cast of Broadway's 'Memphis'

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Jude Law, toy expert Shannon Eis, Matisyahu
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Sam Worthington, Mary J. Blige
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - John Krasinski, Claire Smith, Robin Thicke
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - Rachel McAdams, Johnny Galecki, Allison Iraheta
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Sigourney Weaver, Hank Stuever
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Paul Shaffer, Boyz II Men
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - Jason Reitman, Kenna, Franz Ferdinand
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat)
LOPEZ TONIGHT -

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

GEOLOGIST ACCUSED OF STARTING EARTHQUAKES: A Swiss geologist is on trial for allegedly causing earthquakes while drilling deep underground for rocks that can produce clean energy. The drilling caused two earthquakes in 2006, including one that registered at 3.6 on the richter scale. His company has already paid 9 million Swiss francs for the damage caused by the quakes. The project was shut down last week when it was discovered drilling could lead to more quakes. The geologist could face up to five years in prison for deliberately damaging peoples' property, though he said the townspeople knew the risks. (Telegraph)

TEEN RUNS UP $22,000 CELL PHONE BILL: A 13-year-old Californian ran up a $22,000 cell phone bill after he downloaded 1.4 million kilobytes of data last month. The teen's father's plan does not cover data usage, so they were charged by the megabyte. The company said they will credit his account for the full amount and the father has suspended the teen's account. (AP)

STOLEN MONEY MAILED BACK TO BANK: A Pennsylvania bank received an envelope full of money that was stolen when the bank was robbed earlier this month. The FBI will not say how much money was stolen, but say about 80% was returned. They are scanning the envelope for fingerprints and other clues. (AP)

DRUNK SANTA STUMBLES OUT OF CAR, ASKS FOR REINDEER: Wisconsin police say witnesses pointed them to a man dressed as Santa Claus who stumbled out of a car near a playground, approached children in a schoolyard, hugged them and asked if they knew the whereabouts of his reindeer. The man was arrested for open intoxicants and the driver of the vehicle was arrested for drunk driving. (AP)

TIPS ON TIPPING:

One of the stressful parts of the holiday season is trying to figure out who you really should tip, or give a gift to, and how much you should spend doing it. Here are a couple of pointers from RealSimple magazine: Private trash collectors should get $10 to $30 each, although if they work for your town, check to see whether they're allowed to accept tips. If you have a cleaning lady, she should get a week's pay or the gift equivalent. If you have an assistant, you should give a gift or gift card worth at least $50, but more if you're a real big shot or your assistant is invaluable.

DON'T HAVE A LOT OS $$$ FOR XMAS??? CHECK THIS OUT!

OPRAH'S FAVORITE THINGS: A truly meaningful gift can cost little or nothing. That's the message from Oprah.com on some of her favorite "things" for the holidays. Some of the suggestions:

  • Make a scrapbook, collage or photo album of mementoes for someone you've shared great experiences with.
  • Offer to take on a massive chore, like reorganizing closets or cleaning the basement, for a friend who has little time or less energy.
  • Put together a book of favorite recipes for someone who loves to cook, or who loves your cooking.
  • Offer free lessons in something you're good at, like dancing, or Spanish, or yoga.

CHECK IT OUT: See RealSimple's entire holiday gift-giving checklist: http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/etiquette/holiday-tipping-giving-checklist-00000000000220/

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

What character did Mickey Mouse replace?

A. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, according to Mickey's biography on Wikipedia. Walt Disney created Oswald for Universal Studios, but after a spat with a studio boss, Disney dumped the rabbit. His next character evolved into Mickey, whose official birthday is November 18th, 1928. Sadly, Walt Disney's nephew Roy Disney, who was a power at the company for many years, died this week at age 79.

Parents Refuse to Cut Four-Year-Old Son's Hair to Conform with School's Dress Code

The parents of a pre-kindergartner in Balch Springs, Texas, are refusing to cut his hair to conform with his school's dress code, so the four-year-old boy is now in in-school suspension, in which he's separated from the other students and does class work alone in the library with a teacher's aide. Taylor Pugh's parents say the boy plans to eventually cut his hair, which covers his earlobes and shirt collar, and donate it to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. His mother told AP that her son is, quote, "an individual. He wants his long hair." And his father, tattoo artist Delton Pugh, said, "I don't think it's right to hold a child down and force him to do something . . . when it's not hurting him or affecting his education." The suburban Dallas school had originally planned to suspend Pugh altogether, but decided it was too harsh, and settled on in-school suspension.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Kenny Chesney's success over the past 10 years has landed the singer at Number Three on Pollstar's "Top North American Touring Acts of the Decade." In that time, Kenny's treks have grossed $434.4 million, beating out the likes of such icons as the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Madonna. Kenny is the only country act included in the Top 10.

  • The Dave Matthews Band tops the list with $529.1 million, followed by Celine Dion in second place with $522.1 million.
  • In other Kenny news, his Greatest Hits II CD has been certified gold for sales of 500,000 units.

FAST FACTS

  • Kenny played to more than one million fans on his latest Sun City Carnival tour. This was his eighth consecutive year of playing to more than a million fans.
  • The Sun City Carnival tour included 15 NFL stadium shows, several of which were sold out in mere minutes.

Rascal Flatts have wrapped up their tour for the year and are enjoying some downtime with family and friends. While Jay, Joe Don and Gary's family's each have their own holiday traditions, all three have one thing in common -- a must-see Christmas movie which they watch each year. "(Jay) Christmas Vacation. (Joe Don) Oh yeah. (Jay) Chevy Chase. It's awesome! I love it. (Joe Don) There's so many good lines. That's a great one. (Gary) Mine with my girls is we have to watch The Grinch every year with Jim Carrey playin the grinch. (Jay) Halloween four is always a good one (laughs). (Gary) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. (Joe Don) I just throw on some Friday The 13th movies too every now and then just to change it up. (Jay) Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of my favorites . . . (laughs)."

In all seriousness, Gary offers a holiday message: "Hey everybody, this is Gary LeVox (from) Rascal Flatts and just wanna wish you and your family a very merry Christmas! Happy holidays! Seasons greetings to our military, our military families, everybody out there! Know that you're in our thoughts and our prayers and we just wish you the happiest of holidays!"

  • Rascal Flatts will resume their American Living Unstoppable tour on January 15th in Uncasville, Connecticut. This is the last leg of the trek, which also features special guest Darius Rucker.
Garth Brooks' show at the Wynn Encore in Las Vegas is a new experience both for the superstar and his fans. Most nights Garth will only be accompanied by his guitar and perhaps a special guest, but he won't necessarily be singing the songs that made him famous. He told us he'll be borrowing tunes from fellow singers across all genres, in addition to taking requests and even letting the audience in on a few new songs that have never been heard before. "My thing I can do that's new to you is stuff I've had forever that I've never played. There's some songs that are unfinished. I'll pull them out, and I'll say, 'This is what I was saying at this point,' and I'll get up to this point and if I get what I get from them, they'll go, 'Oh, come on, you gotta . . . !' That's as far as I got and that's as far as I can get the machine to go, so that would probably be the only new stuff other than new of other people's stuff -- stuff you've never heard me do."

But as Garth tells us, that all depends on the level of trust he develops with fans each night. "It's gonna be how much we trust each other because with the art of youtube now what's new isn't new very long, so you gotta be careful with that and that's some of the things we'll talk about."]

  • Garth got his feet wet with his first set of live performances last weekend at the Wynn Encore in Las Vegas, but he won't grace the stage again until the weekend of January 1st.
  • Tickets to Garth's first 20 shows at the Encore Theater were immediately sold out.

Carrie Underwood graces the cover of the January issue of Self magazine, but it's what she says on the inside pages that really grabs your attention. For starters, millionaire Carrie says that she has big plans for her fortune, saying "Before I die, I want to get rid of all my money." Her newly formed charity, C.A.T.S. (Checotah Animal, Town and School Foundation) is one way to make that happen through annual donations.

Carrie also says that she's really looking forward to being a wife and mother, but she has already set a limit when it comes to kids. She tells Self, "Two kids is good; three is fine. Four? Somebody's getting something done, because we ain't having five!"

Other topics open for discussion -- her intolerance for messiness and getting whipped into shape by The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels. Carrie said, "I have Exercise TV on cable. Jillian Michaels's videos will kick your butt. She's my trainer, and she doesn't even know it!"

  • The January issue of Self will hit newsstands later this month.
Faith Hill wraps up 2009 as the only artist in any musical genre to have two of the Top 10 most played songs of the decade, according to Nielsen BDS. "Breathe," which was released in 1999, holds the Number Four spot, while the 2000 hit, "The Way You Love Me," sits at Number Six. Both songs are included on Faith's Breathe CD, which has sold more than eight million copies in the U.S. alone.
  • Faith said, "When I heard this I didn't even know what to say. I was absolutely floored. The idea that these songs have connected the way that they have, with so many people, is just magical to me. Tt's a tremendous honor. It's what inspires me to continue to make music."
  • Faith is currently working on her seventh studio album.

FAST FACTS

  • "Breathe" spent six weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart, 17 weeks at Number One on the Hot Adult Contemporary and one week on the Adult Top 40 Chart. The song also reached Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
  • "The Way You Love Me" spent four weeks at the top of the Billboard Country Charts in May of 2000 and was a Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 and AC track.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. What is the name of Carrie Underwood's publishing company?
A. Carrie Okie MusiC.

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

GOOD MORNING AMERICA/ABC 7:00AM (ET)
Darius Rucker

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD/GAC 12:00PM (ET)

KEITH URBAN LOVE, PAIN & THE WHOLE CRAZY WORLD TOUR LIVE/GAC 4:30PM (ET)

COUNTRY AT THE WHITE HOUSE/GAC 8:00PM (ET)
Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Charley Pride

INTRODUCING . . . GLORIANA/GAC 9:30PM (ET)

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS


  • Jeff Carson ("Not On Your Love," "The Car") (46)Benjamin Bratt (actor, Law & Order) (46)
  • Lesley Stahl (CBS journalist) (68)
  • Flo Rida (Tramar Dillard, rapper) (30)
  • Liv Ullmann (actress) (71)
  • Billy F. Gibbons (singer-guitarist, ZZ Top) (60)
  • Tony Hicks (guitarist, the Hollies) (64)
  • William "The Refrigerator" Perry (former NFL player turned pitchman) (47)
  • Benny Andersson (of ABBA, "Dancing Queen") (63)
  • Miranda Otto (actress, The Lord Of The Rings, War of the Worlds) (42)
  • Scott Storch (music producer) (36)
  • Anna Popplewell (actress, The Chronicles Of Narnia films) (21)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY

  • Rascal Flatts' "My Wish" topped the Billboard country chart in 2006.
  • George Strait's 50 Number Ones became the third quintuple-platinum album of his career in 2004.
  • Shania Twain's Greatest Hits was certified triple-platinum in 2004.
  • Brad Paisley was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry by Little Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Sealy, dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in 2000.
  • Tim McGraw claimed the Number One spot on the Billboard chart with "My Next Thirty Years" in 2000.
  • The Trisha Yearwood album (Songbook) A Collection Of Hits went double platinum in 1997.
  • Kenny Rogers' single "The Gambler" went to Number One in 1978.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

RANDY AND EVI QUAID ON THE LAM AGAIN: That crazy couple, actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, have missed yet another court date regarding the allegation that they skipped out on a $10,000 hotel bill. A judge in Santa Barbara issued an arrest warrant and slapped them with another $40,000 in bail. That's on top of the $40,000 bail they posted last month, which they forfeited when they failed to show yesterday. Santa Barbara Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter told PEOPLE magazine: "Now they are felony fugitives."

ELIN NORDEGREN IS ONE CLASSY LADY: Tiger Woods' wife stepped out again in public, taking their children Sam Alexis, 2, and Charlie Axel, 10 months, along for the ride to pick up takeout food at a Thai restaurant near their Florida home. According to e!online, members of the media hounded Elin with tough questions about her marriage while she was loading the kids back into the car. She ignored them totally. Her husband has not been seen in public since the November 27th accident outside their home that started off a storm of publicity about his extra-marital affairs.

  • And, here's a not-so-classy lady: Porn actress Holly Sampson is currently in talks with Vivid Entertainment about starring in a porn film based on her one-night stand with Tiger Woods, US Magazine reports.

MICHAEL LOHAN ARRESTED: On Monday, Lindsay Lohan's father Michael Lohan denied reports that he was arrested this past weekend. "I was never arrested over the weekend," he said. Then, he was arrested. Lohan was charged with criminal contempt for violating an order of protection against him. He is alleged to have attempted to call his former fiance after being ordered by a court to leave her alone. His ex-wife Dina Lohan also says she has an outstanding restraining order against him. Michael Lohan has been released on bail, and told e!online yesterday that he plans to present authorities with evidence exonerating him from "false accusations."

  • In other Lohan family legal news, Lindsay Lohan is "in compliance" with the terms of her DUI probation, a California judge said, but he told her to get a move on with the alcohol education classes, according to Usmagazine.com. The judge said Lindsay must start "attending every single week" to fulfill the more than six months of class time required by the court-imposed deadline of July 15, 2010. Lohan, 23, did not appear in court.

KERRI WALSH EXPECTING A BABY: Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh hopes to play volleyball at the 2012 games in London. But first, she's going to have a second baby. Kerri told People magazine that she is pregnant, and will take the year off. She'll have plenty to do. She and her husband Casey Jennings also have a son, Joseph Michael, who is just 6 months old.

ACCUSED LETTERMAN BLACKMAILER HAS SCARY THOUGHTS: The CBS producer accused of trying to shake down David Letterman for $2 million thought the talk show host might get him fired, burn his house down or even kill him, according to excerpts of tapes released by Manhattan prosecutors and reported by The New York Post. "I'm not sure how crazy this guy is, or um, how dangerous he might be," producer Robert Joel Halderman is caught on tape saying to a lawyer for Letterman who was secretly wearing a wire. "So, just for safe keeping, I'm going to keep a copy of everything." That "everything" included emails and other material romantically linking the talk show host to several female staffers. As we all know now, Letterman didn't burn the guy's house down. He just got him busted.

JON GOSSELIN SAYS HE'S BROKE: Former reality TV star Jon Gosselin can't pay his legal bills, Fox News reported yesterday (Tuesday). Gosselin ran out of dough after the TLC cable network, home to the now defunct Jon and Kate Plus 8, was granted a preliminary injunction last week that forced its former star to stop making public appearances. An insider says he has warned his lawyers that he can't pay them now, and won't be able to later if he loses against TLC. In an only-in-showbusiness twist, Gosselin's lawyers are a father-son team that was introduced to him by Lindsay Lohan's father, Michael Lohan.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS RETURNS! SpongeBob SquarePants has won another season on Nickelodeon, which has ordered 26 more episodes of the children's show, Variety reports. A SpongeBob 10th anniversary special on November 6th drew 7.7 million viewers, making it the top-ranked basic cable program of the week.

RUSSELL CROWE GETS SOME ACTION: Have you been waiting for Russell Crowe to take on another hyper-action role like Gladiator? Well, wait no more. The trailer for his Robin Hood is out. Judging by the trailer, this movie has got lots of action. Think Gladiator, but a few centuries ahead and set in an English forest instead of in a Roman forum. Veteran action director Ridley Scott reunites with Crowe for the new epic period piece. Insiders say the movie attempts to add a few historically accurate details to the story about an outlaw who robs from the rich to feed the poor. And they also added Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian.

JOE THE WEREWOLF: Joe Manganiello reportedly has landed the most important new role for season 3 of True Blood: that of werewolf Alcide Herveaux. Manganiello is best known as barkeeper Owen on One Tree Hill. Other casting decisions so far: Theo Alexander as vampire Talbot; Marshall Allman as Sam Merlotte's younger brother Tommy Mickens; Grant Bowler as werewolf Coot; Shannon Lucio as Bill's first wife; Alfre Woodard as Lafayette's mom, and James Frain as bad vampire Franklin Mott.

AFTER AVATAR: The much-hyped sci-fi movie Avatar is about to open, at 12:01 a.m. this Friday, December 18th, to be exact. But director James Cameron is already looking forward to his future mega-budget movies. He has reportedly been selected to produce a remake of the 1966 sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage, according to Variety. And he's already thinking about two sequels to Avatar. All of the above movies will use new technology developed for Avatar, although Fantastic Voyage may or may not feature ten-foot-tall blue people. And you can forget about all of them if Avatar isn't the record-buster that Hollywood is confidently expecting from the Titanic man.

WHY SANDRA BULLOCK IS 'SLACK-JAWED' WITH AMAZEMENT

Actress Sandra Bullock was gracious in her response to her two Golden Globe nominations, announced yesterday (Tuesday). "I am beyond stunned," said Bullock. "Just to be included in the company of these amazing women I have so admired through the years has left me slack-jawed with awe." Here's her competition for the Globes:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

Emily Blunt - The Young Victoria
Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side
Helen Mirren - The Last Station
Carey Mulligan - An Education
Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Sandra Bullock - The Proposal
Marion Cotillard - Nine
Julia Roberts - Duplicity
Meryl Streep - It's Complicated
Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia

On the guy side, actor Robert Downey Jr. thanked "my great director Guy Ritchie and the rest of the team whose collaboration and camaraderie helped make this new incarnation of Sherlock Holmes possible."

The nominees for the two movie leading man categories are:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY

Matt Damon - The Informant
Daniel Day-Lewis - Nine
Robert Downey Jr - Sherlock Holmes
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - (500) Days of Summer
Michael Stuhlbarg - A Serious Man

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart
George Clooney - Up in the Air
Colin Firth - A Single Man
Morgan Freeman - Invictus
Tobey Maguire - Brothers

Overall, the most Golden Globe nominations were received by the movie Up in the Air. It got six nominations in all, for best movie drama, best actor (for George Clooney), best supporting actress in a drama (Anna Kendrick) and best directing and screenplay (both for Jason Reitman).


CHECK IT OUT: See all the Golden Globe nominations for movies and television:
http://www.goldenglobes.org/nominations/

THE BEST TELEVISION SERIES EVER!

This is always good for an argument: the Golden Globe nominations for best television comedy and drama are out. According to this week's nominations, here are the best television comedies and dramas of the year:

Best Television Series - Drama

Big Love (HBO)
Dexter (SHOWTIME)
House (FOX)
Mad Men (AMC)
True Blood (HBO)

Best Television Series - Comedy

30 Rock (NBC)
Entourage (HBO)
Glee (FOX)
Modern Family (ABC)
The Office (NBC)

Here's some early reaction: The Web site zap2it.com is amazed that Breaking Bad didn't get nominated in the drama category. And you may notice that not one single dramatic series from the old "Big 3" broadcast networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) was nominated.

BUT HERMIONE GRANGER IS A LOUSY QUIDDITCH PLAYER

Emma Watson is the top-grossing actress of the 2000s. That's according to The Guinness Book of World Records, based on the $5.4 billion total box office so far of the Harry Potter movie series, in which Watson co-stars as Hermione Granger. But Perez Hilton, who is kindly keeping track of all these lists for us, notes some of these totals can be disputed. Dame Maggie Smith tops Emma, since she appears not only in the Potter series but in Gosford Park and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. And, Guinness names Samuel L. Jackson as the highest-grossing actor of the 2000s. But Entertainment Weekly lists Alan Rickman, who is in the Potter series plus Love Actually and Sweeney Todd. And speaking of Sweeney Todd, what about Johnny Depp? He's not far down the list, given the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And don't forget Gandolf himself, Sir Ian McKellan of The Lord of the Rings.

  • Remember, we're not talking about paychecks here, but box office receipts. The most recent list from Forbes magazine puts Will Smith and Cameron Diaz on top of the pay list.

CHECK IT OUT: For more of the biggest, fastest and largest on record, see the Guinness Book of World Records site: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/

WHAT'S MICHELLE PFEIFFER'S SECRET?

At age 50, actress Michelle Pfeiffer is as gorgeous as ever, so showbizspy.com asked her to tell her secret to staying that way. Unhappily, the secret is hard work. "It requires incredible discipline," Pfeiffer says. "You have to accept it. If you want to be fit, one cannot eat like a pig, and must exercise. That's the way it is, and I hate it. There is no miracle cure, and no secret diet." Between films, she admits she pigs out and hides. Pfeiffer emerged fit as ever for her latest film, Cheri.

  • Some critics are arguing that Pfeiffer should have been nominated for a Golden Globe this week for her performance in Cheri. They think she was overlooked because the film was released in June. Hollywood memories are short!

BETHENNY FRANKEL IS NAKED IN NEW YORK

Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel is standing naked right in the middle of New York's Times Square. Her nude billboard is the latest ad from PETA's Fur? I'd Rather Go Naked campaign. In a statement, Frankel says she used to wear fur, until PETA converted her. Frankel says: "I went to a cocktail party, walked outside on Fifth Avenue, and a PETA protester was holding up a skinned animal. I looked at it, and it made me sick." The actress, who is 39, boasted in The New York Post that she was already pregnant when she shot the ad, and she was pleased with how it turned out "because it doesn't look like there's been any airbrushing."

  • Speaking of sick, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice took the PETA ad as a chance to hiss at Bethenny via Twitter. Giudice, 36, Twittered yesterday: "To quote Bethenny: 'I just threw up a little in my mouth.'" She pointed out that Bethenny could hardly have shown her pregnancy when the photos were taken back in August. And anyway, she says, "I'm not buying the airbrushing thing in any case." Teresa is still angry because Bethenny told TV Guide in an interview that Giudice is her "least favorite housewife" because she is "whiny and unintelligent."

INTERNET COMMENTS: AGREE OR DISAGREE?
  • From sunshine4ever on omg.com: "They need to concentrate on these people who have dog fights and neglect the dogs/puppies and cats/kittens. You never see them going after that type of trash."

CHECK IT OUT: See Bethenny Frankel's new PETA ad at: https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2727

HEADLINE NEWS!!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


OBAMA UPBEAT ON GETTING HEALTH REFORM BILL PASSED: President Obama was upbeat yesterday (December 15th) about soon getting a health insurance reform bill passed in the Senate, speaking after a White House meeting with the Senate Democrats. Obama said that the latest version of the bill -- which doesn't include a public option or a Medicare buy-in -- includes, quote, "all the criteria that I laid out" in his September speech before a joint session of Congress. He said, "It is deficit-neutral. It bends the cost curve. It covers 30 million Americans who don't have health insurance, and it has extraordinary insurance reforms in there to make sure that we're preventing abuse." After Senator Joe Lieberman was apparently appeased when the Medicare buy-in was dropped, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska remained the only known holdout among the 60 senators who make up the Democratic caucus, and whose votes are all needed to block a Republican filibuster. Nelson wants changes to increase restrictions on abortion coverage in the insurance marketplace the bill would establish.
  • Meanwhile, the Senate yesterday rejected an amendment to permit the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other nations, with the 51-48 vote short of the 60 required to avoid a GOP filibuster.

U.S. TO MOVE SOME GITMO PRISONERS TO ILLINOIS JAIL: The Obama administration said yesterday (December 15th) that it will move some Guantanamo Bay detainees to an Illinois prison and hold U.S. military commission trials there. The government will buy the Thomson Correctional Center in northwestern Illinois -- which as sat vacation for eight years -- and increase security at it to house some of the detainees, believed to be less than 100, as well as other federal inmates. Residents of the area are generally happy with the idea because of the jobs it will bring, but Republicans quickly objected, charging it will be too risky. Administration officials countered by saying U.S. prisons already house more than 340 inmates linked to terrorism, and that al-Qaida has used the existence of the Guantanamo Bay prison as a recruiting tool. The Thomson facility was built in 2001 to maximum security specifications, and the government will enhance it to exceed security standards at the country's only "supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado, where there has never been an escape or external attack.

TODAY'S FYI:

WASHINGTON, D.C., COUNCIL APPROVES SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Washington, D.C.'s city council voted 11-2 yesterday (December 15th) to approve same sex marriage, putting it on the brink of becoming the sixth place in the country to legalize gay marriage Mayor Adrian Fenty is set to sign the legislation as soon as the end of the week, but gay marriage opponents vowed to increase their effort to get Congress or a court to block the initiative during the 30-day congressional review period. But in order to defeat the measure, they face the unlikely task of getting the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and President Obama to all block the legislation. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts, with New Hampshire set to join the small club when its law goes into effect on January 1st.

SOME SWINE FLU SHOTS BEING RECALLED: Hundreds of thousands of swine flu vaccine shots for children have been recalled because the doses lost some strength, government health officials said Tuesday (December 15th). The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur for children between six months and three years old, were distributed across the country last month and most have already been used, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CDC flu expert Dr. Anne Schuchat said that parents don't need to do anything and shouldn't worry if their child got one of the recalled shots. Tests done before the shots were shipped showed that the vaccines were strong enough. But tests done weeks later indicated the strength had fallen slightly below required levels, for reasons that are still unclear.

EVANGELIST ORAL ROBERTS DEAD AT 91: Oral Roberts, who, along with Billy Graham, helped pioneer TV evangelism in the 1950s, died Tuesday (December 15th) of complications of pneumonia after being hospitalized following a fall on Saturday. He was 91. In addition to his leading role in religious TV, Roberts also laid the foundation for the "prosperity gospel," the doctrine that says God rewards the faithful with material success, and played a significant role in the growth of charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. However, Roberts' ministry had some tough times in the 1980s, including when he was widely ridiculed for saying that God would kill him if he didn't raise $8 million. Roberts had been semi-retired in recent years.

BOEING'S 787 DREAMLINER DEBUTS: Boeing's new 787 jetliner finally made its debut yesterday (December 15th), taking a long-delayed inaugural flight of about three hours over Washington state as it begins an extensive testing program. Unlike other passenger jets, which are made mostly from aluminum and titanium, the 787 is the world's first commercial plane to have nearly all of the fuselage and wings made of lightweight composite materials. According to Boeing, the 787 will be quieter, produce lower emissions, and use 20 percent less fuel than comparable planes, while providing a more comfortable cabin with better air quality and larger windows. Boeing already has orders for 840 of the 787 jets, with the first delivery set for Japan's All Nippon Airways late next year.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT TRAFFIC LIGHTS HAVE UNFORESEEN DRAWBACK: U.S. cities that have installed energy-efficient traffic lights in an effort to be environmentally conscious and save money are discovering a drawback. The bulbs don't burn hot enough to melt snow and so can become crusted over in a storm, a problem that's been blamed for dozens of accidents and at least one death. The LED bulbs use 90 percent less energy than the incandescent bulbs, partly because they don't waste energy by producing heat. Possible solutions are being tested, including installing weather shields, adding heating elements like those used in airport runway lights, or coating the lights with water-repellent substances.

SPORTS:

MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STALKING ESPN'S ERIN ANDREWS: Illinois insurance executive Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty Tuesday (December 15th) to interstate stalking, admitting secretly shooting nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in hotel rooms. Andrews, who appeared in court, urged the judge to give Barrett a harsh sentence, saying she hopes, quote, "he never sees the light of day." Andrews said she's constantly reminded that Barrett's videos appeared online, subjecting her to cruel taunts from fans while working as a sideline reporter. She also spoke about now being a little bit paranoid when she checks into hotel rooms, and about sometimes having nightmares. Barrett has admitted renting hotel rooms next to Andrews three times and shooting two videos of her while she was naked through her door's peephole, which he'd altered. He was accused of posting the videos online and trying to sell them to celebrity gossip site TMZ. The judge allowed Barrett to remain free pending his sentencing on February 22nd.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

CBS

  • THE NEW ADVENTURES OF OLD CHRISTINE - Christine reluctantly attends her neighbor's holiday block party, where she discovers a juicy secret.
  • GARY UNMARRIED - Gary buys a boat to help Tom impress a girl, but his scheme does not go as planned; Gary must turn to Allison's boyfriend for help.
  • CRIMINAL MINDS - TBA
  • CSI: NY - When a reformed drug addict is found dead in an alley, the teams learns he may have been the victim of a premeditated plot.

NBC

  • THE SING-OFF - The five remaining groups must perform songs selected by the judges and popular medleys from major artists.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Sigourney Weaver, John Weaver

FOX

  • SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - (season finale) Adam Lambert, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, the Groovaloos and Mary J. Blige are slated to perform; the winner is announced.

ABC

  • DISNEY PREP & LANDING (repeat)
  • THE MIDDLE (repeat)
  • MODERN FAMILY (repeat)
  • COUGAR TOWN (repeat)
  • EASTWICK - Roxie plans a dinner party for Jamie and Darryl; Kat tries to heal every patient she encounters; Max asks Joanna for help solving a famous Eastwick murder.

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)

FX

  • NIP/TUCK - Sean experiences a moral and ethical dilemma when asked to perform surgery on a prison inmate; Kimber questions how far she will go to keep Christian when they receive life changing news.

MTV

  • REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES CHALLENGE - The contestants reflect on their individual experiences and strategies.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - Paris Hilton, Lewis Blackwell
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Alicia Keys, Anna Kendrick

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Robert Downey Jr., Martin Short, Kris Allen
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Sigourney Weaver, John Weaver
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Wanda Sykes, James Cameron, Myg Kaplan
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - Ty Pennington, 8-year-old Chicken Whisperer Joshua McCarthy, Norah Jones
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Bob Barker, Greta Van Susteren
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Sarah Jessica Parker, Deepak Chopra, Raekwon
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - Joel David Moore, David Guetta, Gossip
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Hugh Grant
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Tom Brokaw
LOPEZ TONIGHT - David Beckham, Mariah Carey

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

MAN SHOOTS ROBBER WITH ARROW: Police say a Kelso, Washington man shot an arrow at a man who was trying to break in to a nearby vacant house, striking him in the buttocks. Police say the man took his hunting bow and followed the fleeing prowler for three blocks and fired the arrow after the man refused to stop. The 32-year-old victim was treated for his wounds and released from a hospital. Police say no arrests have been made and that charges against both men could be possible. (AP)

WEIGHTLIFTER GIVES BIRTH DURING TRAINING: A Chilean Olympic weightlifter got the shock of her life when she gave birth while training, without even knowing she was pregnant. Elizabeth Poblete called her doctor after she felt ill a week ago while she was training at a gym, and ended up giving birth prematurely to a two-and-a-half pound boy. Doctors say she was probably six months pregnant and that the training and diet of female weightlifters can cause irregular menstruation, making it difficult to recognize pregnancy. (AFP)

TOW TRUCK THIEF STEALS CARS FROM COPS: The New York Police Department said a thief stole three cars from their impound lot by towing them away. The man drove his tow truck into narcotics unit headquarters and used forged ownership paperwork to take the cars, which he then sold for scrap at a Brooklyn junkyard. He was arrested and charged, but has pleaded not guilty. (My FOX Atlanta)

BANK ROBBERS CAUGHT BECAUSE OF CUSTOM PLATES: Five men have been charged in Britain in relation to a bank robbery after witnesses were able to catch the license plate of their blue BMW that read "J4MES". That led police to James Snell, his brother and two other men who reportedly smashed the window of a bank using a manhole cover and got away with 104,000 pounds. The Snell brothers and another man admitted to the robbery, while another man denied the charges and was convicted in a separate trial. (The Sun)

DID YOU KNOW?

BECAUSE MEN ARE JUST BIG BABIES, THAT'S ALL: Now there's scientific evidence to back up the universal belief among women that a man with a cold is just a big whining baby. According to a report in WebMD, researchers at England's University of Glasgow studied nearly 1,700 people and found that men are more likely than women to overrate their common cold symptoms. The researchers theorize that men and women have different thresholds for perceiving and reporting symptoms, rather than actual differences in symptoms. Meaning, women take a couple of pills and go about their business. Men stay in bed groaning and moaning a lot while insisting that they are surely dying.

Check It Out: Watch the hilarious "Man Cold" video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXLHWmjA5IE

WHEN 'HOLIDAY TUMMY' HITS YOU HARD: Is all that holiday fun making you sick? It's a common problem during this season, when we're all doing too much eating, drinking, traveling and partying. Here are some suggestions for the common ailments of the holidays, courtesy of Redbook magazine and WebMD:

  • HEARTBURN: The diagnosis: too much gravy and pie! The cure: take an antacid such as Pepto-Bismol, Maalox, Tums or Rolaids. Better yet, prepare before you hit the buffet by taking a stomach-acid blocker such as Pepcid Complete or Tagamet HB200, And try to keep upright for a few hours after a feast, to help your digestion.
  • BLOATING, GAS AND CONSTIPATION: The diagnosis: too many rich foods you don't usually eat, and less real activity. The cure: A laxative such as Miralax or Colace, which might take two or three days to get you back to normal. For fast relief, go for a stimulant laxative like Ex-Lax or Correctol, but take it when you're home for the night because they can work embarrassingly fast!
  • FOOD POISONING OR STOMACH FLU: The diagnosis: We don't want to say that a Christmas church supper can be dangerous, but when you eat out you can pick up bacteria like eColi from food, or a stomach flu from contact with a lot of other people. If stomach cramps, vomiting or diarrhea are severe, call your doctor. If your symptoms are relatively mild, hang in there for several days, but if they persist, call your doctor.

CHECK IT OUT: More holiday cures from Redbook and WebMD can be found at http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/queasy-crampy-bloated

PHONE 'SEXTING' IS GROWING AMONG YOUNGER TEENS: It got Tiger Woods in a world of trouble, but at least he's a grownup. Cellphones, and the enormous variety of content that is now available via them, has led inevitably to an increase in "sexting," that is, sending sexually explicit messages, photos or videos by phone to friends. Thirty percent of 17-year-olds say they have received "sexting" photos or video messages, according to a report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Eight percent of them say they have sent such images. Among teens ages 12 to 17 years old, 15 percent say they have received nude or nearly nude images of someone they know, while 4 percent say they have sent such photos. Among 12- and 13-year olds, 6 percent say they have received "sext messages."

  • In an interview with MSNBC.com, Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.org, said parents need to talk to their kids about sexting. And leave out the moral arguments, because they won't listen. Explain the real dangers: They could be horribly embarrassed, harrassed or stalked if sexy photos of themselves wind up in the wrong hands or in the wrong place--like on the Internet. They could even be arrested, if their pictures are found by pornography investigators.

CHAMPAGNE IS GOOD FOR YOU: Get ready to welcome 2010, and don't hesitate to break open a bottle of bubbly. According to London's Daily Mail, a group of British researchers have found that champagne is loaded with polyphenols, the plant chemicals that have been found to widen blood vessels and ease strain on the heart and brain. It appears to have more of the good stuff than red wine, and much more than white wine. Earlier studies have found that white wine has only a small amount of polyphenols, while red wine has enough to make a difference if drunk regularly in moderation.

TRIMMING THE CHRISTMAS GIFT LIST: We've all heard that this is going to be a more frugal holiday for a lot of folks, even those who still have jobs. But you might want to know how your plans for gift-giving stack up against those of others. The New York Times says that thrift has become a habit for many American consumers. They've cut the list of those who'll get presents from 16 to 10 this year. The gifts will be more modest. Think home-made, home-baked, recycled and useful rather than brand-new and frivolous. But one gift recipient still has it made: an American Express survey finds that family pets stay on the gift list even when friends or family members get chopped.

  • Overall, Americans households are expected to spend an average of $390 on Christmas gifts this year, down from $418 last year, according to a business research group.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Q: What movie won the Best Picture Award at the first Golden Globes ceremony in 1945?

A: The Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association held its first gala social event in 1945 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Going My Way won for Best Picture, while Ingrid Bergman and Alexander Knox were named Best Actress and Best Actor for their performances in The Bells of St. Mary and President Wilson, respectively.

Four Men Fired for Playing Fantasy Football

Fidelity Investments, one of the world's largest providers of financial services, isn't kidding when it says playing fantasy football isn't allowed. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said four employees in Fidelity's Westlake, Texas, office were fired over fantasy football. Fidelity officials investigated the matter after they intercepted work e-mails discussing the league. Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio explained, "We have clear policies that relate to gambling. Participation in any form of gambling through the use of Fidelity time or equipment or any other company resource is prohibited. In addition to being illegal in a lot of places, it can also be disruptive. We want our employees to be focused on our customers and clients."

Cameron Pettigrew, who was the commissioner of his fantasy football league, told the newspaper he knew Fidelity had a policy against playing fantasy football at the office, but he said the policy was poorly communicated and ignored by leadership. Pettigrew, though, said he never sent any fantasy football e-mails at work or using his work e-mail address. But the investigators found two instant messages that had fantasy-football-related material.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Taylor Swift decided that it was better to give than to receive this year. In honor of her 20th birthday on Sunday (December 13th), Taylor donated $250,000 to public schools across the country that she has either attended or learned from in some capacity over the years. The money is earmarked for books, programs and teachers' salaries.

  • Taylor said, "Something I wanted to do at the end of this amazing year and especially on my birthday was give back to something I really believe in, which is education. The schools that I went to and the amazing people I got to learn from really turned me into who I am, and I wanted to give back."
  • The superstar did make some time for a little shindig as well this weekend. She hosted about 50 close friends and family members at a Christmas-themed party at her parents' Hendersonville, Tennessee home. Taylor and her mom reportedly did most of the baking and cooking for the gathering, which was said to include Taylor's boyfriend, actor Taylor Lautner.

Garth Brooks has filed a lawsuit against the Integris Canadian Valley Regional hospital in his hometown of Yukon, Oklahoma claiming breach of contract, according to reports. Garth made a donation of half a million dollars to the hospital some four years ago and is now seeking that money back after the hospital failed to hold up their end of an agreement to build a Living Center in the name of his late mother, Colleen.
  • Colleen died of cancer in 1999.

Luke Bryan celebrates his very first Number One hit this week with "Do I," the debut single from his latest CD, Doin' My Thing. The song tops the Country Aircheck/MediaBase chart.

Luke co-wrote "Do I" with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood from Lady Antebellum.

  • He tells us that Doin' My Thing trumps his debut CD, I'll Stay Me. "I would always hear myself and be like, 'Man, I just wanna be better, I wanna be better, I wanna be better,' and I think three years of playing a lot of shows and really learning more and more about my voice, and I think it's been able to help me sing better, you know, which in turn makes me go different places with songs. It makes me try songs I wouldn't have necessarily tried. You know, it just kind of expands everything."
  • Earlier this month, Luke wrapped up his first headlining tour in his home state of Georgia. Additional dates are already planned for 2010, but won't be announced until after the first of the year.
  • Luke will also be a special guest on Jason Aldean's Wide Open tour beginning in January.

Josh Turner will release a deluxe version of his new album, Haywire, on February 9th. The enhanced CD will include the 11 songs that appear on the standard version -- which will also be in stores on February 9th -- as well as two previously unreleased songs and live audio tracks of his hits "Your Man" and "Long Black Train." The music video for Josh's debut single, "Why Don't We Just Dance," will be part of the package along with behind-the-scenes footage of Josh in the recording studio talking about each song on the album.

FAST FACTS

  • Josh will be the subject of GAC's one-hour Origins series premiering on Thursday (December 17th) at 8 p.m. ET.
  • "Why Don't We Just Dance" climbs to Number 13 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart this week.

Carrie Underwood's Christmas memories with her family are plentiful, but one in particular stands out. Her 80-something-year-old paternal grandmother came to visit, and Grandma was always cold despite the temperature outside. Carrie tells us the family's attempt to warm her up made for one hot holiday. "We had blankets on her, we had like robes on her. We were trying to cover Grandma up, and Dad being the good son that he is built a fire when it's not cold outside anyway. It was a really mild Christmas, and the temperature gauge in the room was over 80 degrees, so my sisters and I all went to my room and raided my closet and were putting shorts and tank tops on because it was so hot in the house, just because we were trying to make Grandma comfortable. It was a funny thing."
  • Carrie was presented with the Nashville Symphony's Harmony Award during the annual Symphony Ball held on Saturday (December 12th) at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville.
  • She will kick off her Play On tour this spring.
Sugarland recorded 10 songs for their new Christmas album, Gold And Green, but Jennifer Nettles has her definite favorites. She says that two of the five that she and musical partner Kristian Bush wrote made the short list, as well as a Christmas classic. "'Gold And Green' which is obviously the title track, which to me has such a beautiful sentiment to it and feels like a classic Christmas song, and then 'Coming Home' which is like gospel, revival . . . (Kristian Bush) Jesus comes home. (Jennifer) Yep, and then 'O Come O Come Emmanuel,' which is just beautiful and haunting and longing and the celebration in the chorus. To me it's the perfect Christmas song."
  • Gold And Green was released in October.
  • The duo are working on a new album, the followup to their 2008 Love On The Inside CD.
Phil Vassar's fifth studio album, Traveling Circus, hits retail outlets today (Tuesday, December 15th). Phil took a different approach to making this project, producing it himself and hiring his road band to play on the CD. Phil's friend, high school art teacher Jason Erwin, created the album art, while up-and-coming photographer Wes Aldridge shot photos for the new album.

The video for Phil's new single, "Everywhere I Go," was filmed and produced in Florida by aspiring videographer Chris Cella with his friends and former film school classmates.

  • Phil co-wrote "Everywhere I Go" with hit songwriter Jeffrey Steele.

SIDE NOTE

  • Phil is wishing fans a merry Christmas with the gift of five free holiday songs. To download the Phil Vassar Acoustic Christmas, log onto philvassar.com/christmas for his recordings of "Silent Night", "Little Town Of Bethlehem", "Holy Night", "What Child Is This" and "Away In A Manger", featuring his oldest daughter, Haley.

Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney made the Top 10 list of 2009's highest-grossing tours based on ticket sales. Taylor lands at Number Four with her Fearless tour, sandwiched between Phish and Britney Spears. Kenny holds the Number Nine spot this year with his Sun City Carnival trek.

In other Taylor news, her Fearless CD has now sold more than five million copies.

Lady Antebellum has been added to the list of performers honoring Neil Young as the 2010 MusiCares Person of the Year on January 29th in Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event will benefit MusiCares, which provides support for music people in financial, medical or personal crisis.

Kellie Pickler headlined a Country Crossing-sponsored concert at the Dothan Civic Center in Dothan, Alabama over the weekend that raised more than $16,000 for the Wiregrass Area United Way Food Bank.

George Jones and wife, Nancy, are inviting the public to their home on Friday (December 18th) in Franklin, Tennessee where they will be collecting toys for needy families throughout Middle Tennessee. In exchange for the donations, fans can enjoy a visit with Santa as well as the couple's famous Christmas light display.

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. What husband and wife team had a big hit in 1976 with their single, "Suspicious Mind"?
A. Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE TODAY!

ON THE STREETS/GAC 1:30PM, 5:30PM, 10:30PM (ET)
Phil Vassar, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins

FAITH HILL, JOY TO THE WORLD/GAC 8:00PM (ET)

LARRY THE CABLE GUY'S HULAPALOOZA CHRISTMAS LUAU/CMT 9:00PM (ET)

KEITH URBAN LOVE, PAIN & THE WHOLE CRAZY WORLD TOUR LIVE/GAC 9:00PM (ET)

RON WHITE: THEY CALL ME TATER SALAD/CMT 11:30PM (ET

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS TODAY!



  • Don Johnson (actor, Miami Vice, Nash Bridges; former husband of Melanie Griffith) (60)
  • Tim Conway (actor, The Carol Burnett Show) (76)
Carol Burnett Show outtakes - Tim Conway's Elephant Story

  • Rodney Bingenheimer (famed Hollywood DJ, known as "the Mayor of Sunset Strip") (62

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!



  • Jason Michael Carroll made his first trip to Nashville in 2004.
  • Keith Urban's self-titled solo debut album was certified platinum in 2003.
  • Breathe became Faith Hill's best-selling album, as it was certified quintuple-platinum in 2000.
  • Anne Murray was joined by Dave Loggins at Number One on the Billboard country singles chart with "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" in 1984.
  • Alan Jackson married his high school sweetheart, Denise, in 1979.
  • Naomi Judd graduated from the nursing program at California's College of Marin in 1977.
  • The Everly Brothers recorded "Let It Be Me" in New York City, the first time they recorded outside of Nashville, in 1959.
  • Johnny Cash's classic "Folsom Prison Blues" was released on Sun Records in 1955.
  • Hank Williams wed Audrey Sheppard Guy in 1944.

CELEBRITY GOSSIP


TAYLOR SWIFT TURNS 20: Stop calling her a teen sensation! Taylor Swift celebrated her 20th birthday on Sunday. True to her squeaky-clean reputation, she did not celebrate at some fancy club, reports e!online. The party was at her home in Tennessee, and she and her mom stayed up until all hours the night before cooking and baking up a storm of Christmas-themed goodies.

KOURTNEY KARDASHIAN WELCOMES A BABY BOY: Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to a healthy baby boy early Monday. Mason Dash Disick weighs in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and measures 19.5 inches. True to family tradition, a publicist was on the phone within an hour of the birth to give the news to E!News and Life&Style for joint release. The new daddy is Kourtney's boyfriend, Scott Disick.

ELIN NORDEGREN SPOTTED: Photographers captured a shot of Tiger Woods' wife Elin Nordegren pumping gas near her home in Florida over the weekend. And enquiring eyes were quick to spot that she is no longer wearing her wedding ring. At least it seems to put to rest the reports that she's gone back to Sweden. And she looks fabulous in the picture, by the way. Neither she nor Tiger had been seen since November 27th, when a car accident outside their home set off a flood of reports about the golf star's infidelities.

More of the latest Tiger headlines:

  • Joy Behar apologized on The View yesterday (Monday) for calling Tiger gal pal Rachel Uchitel a "hooker." Apology accepted, replied Rachel's lawyer.
  • Rachel Uchitel has received several threats to her life via her cellphone and her Facebook page. She has shut down her Facebook page.
  • ABC News reports that British tabloids and American magazines are offering payments of $100,000 to $200,000 to women who had affairs with Tiger. Maybe that's why 10 or so women have come forward to talk about him so far.
  • In case you're wondering if this matters to anyone except Tiger and his family, here's one more item: Viewership of last week's Tiger-less Chevron World Challenge dropped 54 percent from the previous year, when he was among the competitors, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • HERE IS A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR ALL MY FRIENDS SURE TO MAKE YOU SMILE! XOXOXO JESSI


ORLANDO BLOOM IS STILL SINGLE: Despite recent reports, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr are not engaged, the actor's representative tells People. The couple began dating in 2007, and spent a romantic Thanksgiving together at the opening of Marrakesh's La Mamounia hotel.

TARA REID POSES: Tara Reid, former Taradise star, will appear in the January/February issue of Playboy. Having suffered through botched plastic surgery, a stint in rehab, and a public wardrobe malfunction, Tara says: "I've grown up a lot, and it's time for people to see who I am." Well, this ought to show them all right.

LINDSAY LOHAN UNLOADS: Does she need the money, or what? Lindsay Lohan has put some old stuff she doesn't want anymore up for sale on her site, LohanHouse.com. Her Frye boots will cost you $275, and a Zac Posen top is $35.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

MORE AWARDS FOR GEORGE CLOONEY AND MERYL STREEP: The movie The Hurt Locker has picked up another prominent award. The little-seen drama was named by the New York Film Critics Circle as best film of the year yesterday (Monday). Director Kathryn Bigelow won as best director for the same film. The director and her movie, about bomb disposal experts in Iraq, won the same top awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics group on Sunday. George Clooney was named best actor by the New York critics for both his performance in Up In The Air and for his voice work in the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox. Meryl Streep was named best actress for her role as chef Julia Child in Julie and Julia.

JERSEY SHORE SPONSORS PRESSURED TO PULL ADS: The Italian-American group UNICO is continuing to pressure sponsors to stop airing its commercials during the MTV reality show Jersey Shore, TMZ reports. Domino's Pizza and an insurance group pulled their ads after the debut episode of the show. Now, UNICO has sent letters to Papa John's Pizza, Nivea, LG Electronics and Burger King, demanding that they stop supporting the show, which they call "discriminatory, insulting and Italian-bashing."

  • The Italian-American organization claims victory on one point: MTV has at least stopped using the terms "guido" and "guidette" in promo clips and on their web site.

LEONARDO DiCAPRIO JOINS VIKING HORDES: Leonardo DiCaprio has signed on to star in a historical drama set in the brutal world of the Vikings, according to Variety. The film is to be directed by Mel Gibson, who previously spilled a lot of ancient guts in Apocalypto and Braveheart. Shooting on the unnamed Viking saga is expected to begin in late 2010.

  • Before he goes off to sack a few cities with Mel, DiCaprio will appear in Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, which opens Feb. 19. He also just finished a movie with director Christopher Nolan, Inception.
  • Gibson will be seen soon as the star of The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster. It's about a man who talks to a hand puppet. (Don't we all?)

30 ROCK'S GRIZZWALD CHAPMAN NEEDS KIDNEY TRANSPLANT

Actor Grizzwald "Grizz" Chapman, who plays a security man for Tracy Morgan on the NBC comedy 30 Rock, is suffering from kidney disease. The actor, who is 35, will talk about his struggles today (Tuesday) on The Dr. Oz Show. The 6-foot-11, 378-pound Chapman is receiving dialysis treatments three times a week for severe hypertension. He is on a five-year-long waiting list for a kidney transplant, but has to lose 75 pounds before he can be considered a candidate for the surgery.

  • Chapman admits that he ignored his high blood pressure for more than decade, and didn't even take medication for it.
  • Dr. Oz says of Chapman: "He's got a winning spirit, and if we follow his story carefully, everyone's going to learn a lot from it."

A ZOO IN SEVILLE CLOSES FOR TOMKAT

It's so nice taking the baby to the zoo when it's not crowded. In fact, if you're Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, you get the zoo to just shut the whole place down so you can visit with your 3-year-old daughter. One day last week, the Hollywood couple took daughter Suri to the Guillena Mundo Park Zoo outside Seville, Spain. Tom is there to film Knight and Day with Cameron Diaz. Zoo officials closed the zoo to the public so the family could just have the place to themselves. Suri reportedly was very pleased. "She loved stroking a newborn tiger cub, twin baby jaguar cubs and a baby donkey, so small it looks like a ball of fluff," a zoo official told reporters.

CHECK IT OUT: Visit Seville's zoo at http://www.zoodesevilla.es/

ROBERT DOWNEY JR. PLAYS SHERLOCK HOLMES

If it succeeds, this is the movie that is expected to kick off the next big multi-part movie franchise: Robert Downey Jr. is starring in a new and very offbeat version of Sherlock Holmes, opening on Christmas Day. The movie, with Jude Law co-starring as Holmes' loyal sidekick Doctor Watson, is directed by Guy Ritchie, best known in America as Madonna's British ex-husband. Even if most movie-goers love it, you have to wonder how fans of Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective will react to this latest movie version. The Hollywood Reporter asked Downey if detective fiction fans will recognize his Sherlock Holmes. Downey replied: "Well, we got invited to the annual Baker Street Irregulars ball in New York, so I guess we haven't fallen too far from the tree." (For those who don't know, the Baker Street Irregulars are serious students of Holmes.)

  • Director Ritchie wanted to get away from previous "stuffy" Hollywood versions of the famous Victorian detective's adventures. So expect a lot of action and even romance from this pic!

CHECK IT OUT: Watch the trailer at http://sherlock-holmes-movie.warnerbros.com/

HEADLINE NEWS!!

OBAMA URGES BANKERS TO LEND MORE, BACK REFORMS: President Obama strongly urged top bankers Monday (December 14th) to help boost the fragile recovery by increasing lending to small businesses and to support his administration's proposed overhaul of financial regulation. Obama said at a meeting with top banking executives, "America's banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry, and now that they're back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy." Some bankers pledged to increase lending and exercise more caution over outside compensation for their employees, but they also said they are getting mixed messages, since federal regulators are cracking down on banks to lend more wisely and forcing them to keep larger amounts of capital to protect against future losses, meaning there's less money available to lend.

SENATE DEMOCRATS MAY DROP MEDICARE BUY-IN PROPOSAL: Senate Democrats appeared ready yesterday (December 14th) to drop a proposed Medicare expansion from health insurance reform legislation in the face of opposition from Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who said he'd join the GOP in filibustering legislation if it was included. Lieberman is among four conservative Democratic senators opposed to the public option, and the Medicare buy-in was a compromise in return for dropping the government-run plan.

DISCORD AT CLIMATE CHANGE SUMMIT: The atmosphere at the U.N. climate summit grew more tense and divisive Monday (December 14th) after talks were suspended for most of the day's session. The area of contention was developing nations' suspicions that industrial nations were trying to soften their commitments to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and evade penalties for missing their targets. Talks were stopped for most of the day, resuming only after the conference president assured developing countries she was not trying to kill the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which requires industrial nations to cut emissions and imposes penalties if they fail to do so.

IRAN TO PUT THREE U.S. HIKERS ON TRIAL: Iran said Monday (December 14th) that a court will try three Americans who wandered across the border from Iraq last July. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki did not say when the trial would begin or what the Americans were charged with, other than that they had, quote, "suspicious aims." Last month, Iran's chief prosecutor said the three -- two men, both 27, and a 31-year-old woman -- were accused of spying. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the Iranian move was "totally unfounded" and appealed anew to authorities to release the hikers.

TODAY'S FYI:

GORE WARNS POLAR ICE COULD DISAPPEAR IN NEXT DECADE: Former Vice President Al Gore made his first appearance at the climate change summit in Copenhagen yesterday (December 14th), where he said that new computer modeling suggests the polar ice cap at the North Pole could be nearly ice-free during some of the summer months within the next five to seven years. Just eight months ago, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had given a longer time period, predicting a disappearance of this ice by 2030, and at one point, scientists had believed this wouldn't happen until the end of the century. But there have been several years of dramatic retreat of polar sea ice, and scientists say the makeup of the frozen north polar sea has changed significantly in recent years, as much of the thick, multi-year ice has given way to thin, seasonal ice.

STUDY FINDS LOOKING YOUNGER ASSOCIATED WITH LIVING YOUNGER: A new study from Denmark has found an apparent association between looking younger and living longer. Researchers came up with their conclusions by studying 1,800 pairs of twins over age 70. They first had three groups of people who didn't know the twins guess their real ages by looking at them, and then tracked how long the twins survived over seven years. They found that those who looked younger than their actual age were far more likely to survive, even after adjusting for other factors like gender and environment. The bigger the difference in perceived age within any twin pair, the more likely it was that the older-looking twin died first. As a possible explanation, the scientists found that people who looked younger also tended to have longer telomeres, a key DNA component that's linked to aging. People with shorter telomeres are thought to age faster.

WHAT ITEMS BECAME OBSOLETE THIS DECADE?: When the year changes to 2010 at midnight on December 31st, it will not only mark the end of 2009, but the end of the first decade of the 21st century. To mark the end of the decade, New York magazine put together a list of, quote, "everyday stuff rendered obsolete in the aughts." It includes:

  • answering machines
  • lickable postage stamps
  • foldable road maps
  • cathode ray tube TVs
  • incandescent light bulbs
  • paid pornography
  • smoking in bars
  • rolodexes
  • fax machines
  • cassette tapes
  • floppy disks
  • phone books
  • polaroid photos

OBAMA BROTHER NAMED CHINESE 'IMAGE AMBASSADOR': One of President Obama's half-siblings, brother Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo, was named a "volunteer image ambassador" over the weekend for the Chinese city of Shenzhen, were he lives. He was also given a "five-star volunteer" award, with state media noting that Ndesandjo held a concert earlier this year to raise money for victims of last year's massive earthquake in China. Ndesandjo has mostly kept a low profile since his half-brother rose to fame and power, but he has written a recent novel that he says drew on his painful child under an abusive father. The late Barack Obama Sr. was father to both Ndesandjo and the current U.S. president. Ndesandjo briefly met with President Obama in November during the president's trip to China.

SPORTS:

49ERS BEAT CARDINALS 24-9: The San Francisco 49ers beat a sloppy Arizona Cardinals team 24-9 in Monday Night Football last night (December 14th). Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw two interceptions and was sacked four times in a game that saw seven turnovers by the team. San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith finished 19 of 355 for 144 yards, including TD passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

AP REPORTS BASEBALL DEALS INVOLVING HALLADAY, LACKEY AND MATSUI: The Associated Press was reporting last night on trades involving Roy Halladay, Jim Lackey and Hideki Matsui, citing unnamed sources for their information:

Halladay: The NL champion Philadelphia Phillies have a tentative agreement to acquire 32-year-old star pitcher Roy Halladay in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays, and the 2003 Cy Young Award winner was in Philadelphia Monday (December 14th) for a required physical to complete the deal. AP said Philly is set to give up pitchers J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton and outfielder Dominic Brown in the deal. Halladay is the most prized pitcher on the trade market, a six-time All-Star who went 17-10 with a 2.79 ERA for the Blue Jays last season and led the majors with four shutouts and nine complete games.

Lackey: The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative agreement with 31-year-old pitcher John Lackey, the top pitcher on the free-agent market, on a five-year contract worth $16 million to $17 million a season. The 31-year-old Lackey spent all of his eight seasons in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels.

Matsui: World Series MVP Hideki Matsui has reached a preliminary agreement with the Los Angeles Angels on a one-year deal worth about $6.5 million. Matsui was a free agent following seven years with the New York Yankees after coming over from Japan, where he was a huge star. Matsui won the MVP for the world champion Yankees despite starting only three of the six World Series games that were played. The 35-year-old Matsui, who's been slowed by his surgically-repaired knees, would be the Angels' primary designated hitter.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

CBS

  • NCIS - When the enlisted son of retired colonel turned preacher is found dead, the team thinks he may by the victim of a hate crime.
  • NCIS: LOS ANGELES - The team tries to track down a Marine's old unit after he is murdered by an exploding cell phone.
  • THE GOOD WIFE - When a judge overturns a plea deal arranged by Alicia, she looks into his motivation; Diane is made an offer she can't refuse.

NBC

  • THE SING-OFF - Two groups leave as the competition heats up.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Christina Applegate, Nick Lachey

FOX

  • SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - The top six contestants perform.
  • GORDON RAMSAY: COOKALONG LIVE - The chef provides step by step instructions for cooking a three course meal; Cedric the Entertainer, Alyson Hannigan and LeAnn Rimes are slated to join Chef Ramsay in the kitchen.

ABC

  • THE CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS - Linus helps Charlie Brown with what Christmas is all about, then 'Charlie Brown Christmas Tales' features a vignetter of each 'Peanuts' character.
  • SCRUBS - While their wives are out of town, JD and Turk attend a med student's party; Kelso says goodbye to Ted and Gooch.
  • BETTER OFF TED - Veronica tries to pump Rose for information when a wave of layoffs hits Veridian; the lead character of Linda's first children's book is the spitting image of Phil.
  • THE FORGOTTEN (repeat)

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)

MTV

  • TEEN MOM - Maci contemplates a break up; Farrah's family disapproves of her new guy; Amber struggles to get her GED; Catelynn feels distant from her daughter.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - John Mayer, the final six contestants on So You Think You Can Dance
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Sigourney Weaver, Sam Worthington, Snoop Dogg

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Sarah Jessica Parker, Leona Lewis
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Christina Applegate, Nick Lachey
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino & Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Norah Jones
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - Zach Braff, Nigel Lythgoe, Michael McDonald
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Criag's 1000th Show with his Wavy the puppet, Kristen Bell, Maria Bello, Jason Schwartzman, Jason Segel & his puppet Dracula, the Broken West
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Jason Reitman, Anne Burrell
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - Dita Von Teese, Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto, Ben Gleib
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Ray LaHood
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Alicia Keys
LOPEZ TONIGHT - Constance Marie, Belita Moreno, Valente Rodriguez, Luis Armand Garcia, Masiela Lusha, Aimee Garcia

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

SALVATION ARMY FINDS RARE GOLD COIN: A Connecticut Salvation Army chapter found a 1881 "half eagle" coin that was dropped into their holiday donation kettles. The half eagle is the U.S.'s first gold coin and was worth $5 during its circulation from 1795 to 1929. A spokesman for the organization said they are having the coin appraised, but it appears to be worth between $250 and $400. (AP)

17-YEAR-OLD EARNS MASTERS DEGREE: A 17-year-old Austrian boy has earned his master's degree in computational intelligence at Vienna's University of Technology. The boy earned his high school diploma at 15, a bachelors degree in software and information engineering, and will now be working toward a doctorate in computer science. He is the son of a writer and could read and write at age 3. (AFP)

FARMERS POTTY-TRAINING PIGS: Taiwanese farmers have begun potty-training their pigs after proposed water pollution fees were proposed to keep the animals from defecating in nearby rivers. Farmers have created pig "toilets" and say the feces from other pigs attracts them to use the area making clean-up easier. Taiwan has about six million pigs.

INTRUDER ARRESTED WHILE TAKING BATH: A Texas man was arrested in the bathtub after he broke into a home, according to Tyler, Texas police. The arrest came after police received a call around 3:30 AM from a resident saying someone had broken down his door, causing him to flee the house. When police arrived the intruder was taking a bath, and after a brief struggle he was arrested on misdemeanor criminal trespassing. (AP)

DID YOU KNOW?

NEW FACEBOOK SETTINGS MORE REVEALING? Facebook has been asking its users to modify their privacy settings in an effort to streamline the settings, which some of its 350 million users find confusing, according to CNN. But the changes already are being panned by some critics. Basically, you'll no longer be able to restrict access to the following information: your name, image, city, gender, networks, and your "fan pages." The Electronic Frontier Foundation objects to the changes. It says: "These changes are especially worrisome because even something as seemingly innocuous as your list of friends can reveal a great deal about you. In September, for example, an MIT study nicknamed 'Gaydar' demonstrated that researchers could accurately predict a Facebook user's sexual orientation simply by examining the user's friends list."

  • In short, if you're a "fan" of anything controversial or highly personal that you don't want to share with your officemates or relatives or the general public, curb your enthusiasm on Facebook.
HAVE A MERRY GREENER CHRISTMAS: Since many of us are trying to adopt a "greener" lifestyle, we might as well carry that commitment through the holiday season. Here are a few tips from lemondrop.com:
  • Light up your holidays with LED Christmas lights, which use 35 to 80 percent less energy. They're available at major stores including Kmart and Target.
  • If you're giving any electronics as gifts, give rechargeable batteries with them. Or consider a solar-powered charger as a gift.
  • Instead of giving a present, send a donation in a friend's name to an environmental charity. You can check that a charity is well run at Charity Navigator.
  • Be creative and save a tree! Use newspapers, magazine pages and take-out menus as gift-wrap.

CHECK IT OUT: For free evaluations of charitable organizations, see http://www.charitynavigator.org/

WATCH YOUR FRUCTOSE: The sweetener fructose, a cheap sugar substitute made from corn that is used in many processed foods and drinks, may be partly to blame for increasing heart disease and childhood diabetes, according to a new study. In the University of California study, volunteers who ate a diet with lots of fructose developed more fat cells around the heart, liver and other organs. Their bodies also showed signs of the kinds of food processing abnormalities associated with diabetes and heart disease. The control group got their calories from other sources. Though people in the two groups gained the same amount of weight, people in the control group did not show the same danger signs. A biologist who led the study told the British newspaper The Guardian: "This is the first evidence we have that fructose increases diabetes and heart disease independently from causing simple weight gain."

MARIJUANA USE AMONG TEENAGERS IS UP: American teenagers are smoking fewer cigarettes than in the past. They're also less likely to binge drink or to use methamphetamines. However, marijuana is becoming more popular. That's according to a survey of 47,097 students by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This is the 35th year for the annual study, which tracks the habits of teenagers in grades 8, 10 and 12. The study also finds more teenagers are getting high on prescription pain pills and attention-deficit drugs. Researchers say that the increase in pot smoking may be due to the national debate over medical use of marijuana. That debate may make it seem less harmful. Among this year's 12th graders, 20.6 percent said they used marijuana within the past month, compared with 19.4 percent in 2008 and 18.3 percent in 2006. It's still down from a peak in the late 1990s, however.

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION

Who was the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous creation?

A: Conan Doyle based Sherlock Holmes on Dr. Joseph Bell. Conan Doyle, who had studied medicine, had been impressed as a young medical student by the distinguished physician's extraordinary powers of observation.

New York City Health Department Ad Shows Man Drinking What Looks Like Fat

The New York City Health Department has released an intentionally disgusting ad in an effort to keep people from drinking sugary beverages that shows a man drinking a glass of what looks like fat. He's shown opening a soda can and pouring the yellowy-orange glop mean to look like fat into a glass. He then picks it up and drinks it, leaving globs of the fat on his face. The message then says that drinking just one can of soda a day can add up to 10 pounds of weight in year. Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that sugary drinks are a large part of the obesity epidemic, the New York Daily News reported.

See the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F4t8zL6F0c

Monday, December 14, 2009

CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR WORK TODAY

The question is, which word or phrase bothered you the most? Chances are, it is "whatever." In a recent Marist College poll of 938 U.S. adults, nearly half of Americans, 47%, said "whatever" is the most annoying word of all, most likely because it can be used to pointedly dismiss others as being inconsequential. The top 5 most annoying words:

  1. Whatever, 47%
  2. You know, 25%
  3. It is what it is, 11%
  4. Anyway, 7%
  5. At the end of the day, 2%

Interestingly, if you're traveling to the Midwest, it might be especially wise to leave your store of "whatevers" at home. Fully 55% of residents in that region dislike the term, while only 19% of them disapprove of "you know." In contrast, 35% of Northeast residents say "whatever" is most annoying, while 32% are most bothered by "you know."

Forget all of those clever pick-up lines and quippy comebacks to flirt right just look your target in the eye and smile to show you're attracted. Researchers have found that "social cues" including smiling and eye contact or simply telling someone you find them attractive are very important in developing a romantic relationship. "Our latest research highlights how crucial a role these social cues play in attraction," says psychologist Dr. Ben Jones, one of the authors of a study published in the journal Psychological Sciences. Although experts say that successful flirting relies on many factors, including confident body language, good grooming and use of humor, it appears the basics making eye contact and smiling can go a long way on their own because they impart a sense of interest and warmth.

Are you too polite to tell a colleague he smells? Would you tell your boss her sexy blouse is inappropriate for the office? CareerBuilder.com asked 4,400 workers just how bold they would be in the office when it comes to telling embarrassing things to their colleagues. It turns out that most of us are weenies. We would rather see someone with spinach in her teeth all afternoon than tell her about it. Also, we're more likely to tell someone who is at our level or below than we are someone who has seniority over us in the workplace. Would you tell a co-worker this?

"Your hair is messy."

  • Same level co-worker, 33%
  • Lower level co-worker, 30%
  • Higher level co-worker, 13%

"You need a breath mint."

  • Same level co-worker, 33%

    Lower level co-worker, 29%

  • Higher level co-worker, 14%

"You need a shower."

  • Same level co-worker, 28%
  • Lower level co-worker, 29%
  • Higher level co-worker, 11%

So how many would tell a higher level co-worker his or her dress was not appropriate for the office? Only 10% thought they could do that.

Most Americans would prefer to be stranded on a deserted island with their pets than with their significant others. In fact, about two-thirds of the 1,100 pet owners who took the survey conducted by Petplan, a company that offers health insurance for dogs and cats, chose their pet over their partner. More than half of the responders say they throw parties for their animal companions, while 70% share their bed with them. Another 63% cook for their pets and 68% admit they dress up their furry friends.

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Craig Morgan has released an all-new holiday-themed version of his current Top Five hit, "Bonfire." The song will be available for digital purchase on December 21st.

Craig said, "One day I was just playing around with this song and also riffing on some Christmas stuff I was thinking about putting in the show, and then I started messing with the lyrics. Within about ten minutes I had this new version, and everyone got a kick out of the idea . . . so we decided to run with it!"

The idea to record the song was so last-minute that Craig had no time to get into the studio, so he actually recorded it in the bathroom of Room 418 at the Holiday Inn Express in Kennesaw, Georgia. Craig's producer and engineer brought some portable recording gear to the singer before a recent show there, and voila!

  • Craig is finishing out the year with a run of tour dates leading up to a USO trip later this month. This will be his second trip overseas to entertain the troops since October.
  • Craig is also filming episodes of his own TV series, Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors. The show will begin airing on both GAC and the Outdoor Channel next year.

CHECK IT OUT: To hear the new Christmas Version of "Bonfire," click here: http://www.myspace.com/craigmorgan


Taylor Swift tops Billboard's Top 20 Artists Of The Year list, as we already told you, but she's not the only country act getting some love from the publication. Rascal Flatts comes in at Number 19, due to their 38 chart appearances this decade and their two chart-toppers ("Here" and "Here Comes Goodbye") this year.

Rounding out the list is the Zac Brown Band at Number 20. The rising group also had a couple of Number One hits this year with "Chicken Fried" and "Toes." They won the Academy of Country Music's Top New Vocal Duo or Group award and are are up for three Grammys, including Best New Artist. The Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on January 31st.

  • The other Top 20 artists include Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Nickelback, Kelly Clarkson, Kings of Leon and Kanye West.

Brooks & Dunn will be among the honorees at the 2010 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala being held on March 22nd at Nashville's Hutton Hotel. The duo will receive the inaugural Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award in recognition of their career as the most successful duo in any genre, having sold more albums than all others in the Nielsen/SoundScan era.
  • Other honorees include singer Michael Bolton, Tenneessee Governor Phil Bredesen, and The Honorable William H. Frist, M.D.
  • Individual tickets to the Honors Gala are $500 and $1000. For more information on the Honors Gala log onto HonorsGala.org.

FAST FACTS

  • Brooks & Dunn will begin their very last tour as a duo on April 30th in Spokane, Washington.
  • The Last Rodeo tour will wrap on August 8th in Chicago.
  • The trek will kick off with opening act Jason Aldean, followed by Gary Allan later in the run.
Michelle Branch was supposed to release her third solo album this year, but due to record label issues, the singer now expects to be out with Everything Comes And Goes in 2010. She's also working on lining up a tour with a full band. Details about the album and tour dates haven't been announced yet.

When Branch isn't working on music, she's spending time with her 4-year-old daughter, Owen. One of their favorite activities to do together is baking. Branch tells People.com, "Once I had my daughter, Owen, I enjoyed baking that much more. It's such a mother-daughter thing to do. It all comes down to being with family and doing something for your family." She adds, "I think that's why we get an urge to bake at the holidays. We all get an urge to be close and spend time with each other over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie." Branch also talks about how Owen loves all sorts of food -- from sushi and clams to vegetables. She says, "I think part of the reason is we've always had her involved in our food decisions."


2010 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE), as January ushers in what would have been "The King's" 75th birthday. Reuters reported that plans are in motion for a new Cirque du Soleil production based around Elvis, movie marathons, a Facebook application, and a cruise. On Thursday (December 10th) Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley were on hand at Elvis' Graceland home for a cake cutting for the 75th birthday celebrations. Elvis would've turned 75 on January 8th.

Among the highlights of next year's celebrations will be an all-new exhibit of Elvis stage costumes, an all-day Elvis movie marathon on TCM on January 8th, a new Elvis "Jailhouse Rock" doll from the Barbie collection -- and the Cirque du Soliel production Viva Elvis which will open at the end of January at the 2,000-seat theatre at the Aria Resort & Casino, which is part of the MGM Mirage complex.

  • A busy year for Elvis is nothing new to those who knew "The King" best. Elvis' longtime bandleader and lead guitarist James Burton says that if Elvis had his druthers he would have never had time off of the road: "We would go out on tour for like a couple of weeks and then maybe have a couple of weeks off. He would just pull his hair out in between those two weeks, because he was ready to go back to work."
  • Elvis Presley remains among the highest earning dead celebrities. In 2009 his estate raked
Garth Brooks was joined by special guest Trisha Yearwood during his weekend shows in Las Vegas. They collaborated on their hit "In Another's Eyes," and then he accompanied her on guitar as she sang "Walkaway Joe," her hit duet with Don Henley.

Love And Theft's new video for "Dancing In Circles" begins airing online and on the video networks beginning today (Monday, December 15th). The clip was shot in the streets of downtown Nashville.

Another new video comes compliments of Phil Vassar. His "Everywhere I Go" clip was filmed in Florida and is currently playing on GAC and CMT.

Cledus T. Judd has a new parody out called "Tiger By The Tail (The Tale of Tiger Woods)." The lyrics include, "Well, she beat Tiger all to hell, it's plain to see / Hit him in his golf balls from the black and blue tees / She was teed off from a tough lie, he tried to tell / And looks like she beat Tiger all to hell."

COUNTRY TRIVIA

Q. Who were the original co-hosts of the television series Hee Haw?
A. Buck Owens and Roy Clark

COUNTRY ON THE TUBE

TOP 20 COUNTRY COUNTDOWN/GAC 10:00AM (ET)

Gloriana

THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON/CBS 12:35AM (ET)
Reba McEntire

CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS


  • Vanessa Hudgens (actress/singer, High School Musical) (21)
  • Patty Duke (actress, The Miracle Worker, The Patty Duke Show, Valley Of The Dolls) (63)
  • Dee Wallace Stone (actress who played the mother in E.T.) (61)
  • Michael Ovitz (Hollywood bigwig) (63)
  • Tia Texada (actress, From Dusk Till Dawn, Phone Booth, Third Watch) (38)

ON THIS DAY IN COUNTRY!

Dierks Bentley married his high school sweetheart, Cassidy Black, in Mexico in 2005.

  • Toby Keith made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2002.
  • Montgomery Gentry singer Troy Gentry married Angie McClure in Maui in 1999.
  • LeAnn Rimes made her acting debut in the ABC-TV movie Holiday In Your Heart in 1997.
  • Lorrie Morgan debuted on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 13 in 1973.
  • Jimmy Dean's Columbia recording of "Big Bad John" was the first country single to be certified gold by the RIAA in 1961.
  • Flatt & Scruggs released "Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms" and "I'll Just Pretend" in 1951

WEEKEND MOVIE WRAP-UP

Disney's animated family film The Princess and the Frog finished at the top of the box office in its first weekend of wide release. The movie, a 1920s New Orleans take on the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale The Frog Prince, is Disney's first hand-drawn, instead of computer-created, animated movie in five years. It also features Disney's first African-American princess, a young woman turned into a frog when she kisses one. The movie features the voices of Anika Noni Rose, John Goodman and Terrence Howard.

The sports drama Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, opened in third place. In it, Freeman portrays South African leader Nelson Mandela, who uses an underdog World Cup run by the country's rugby team to help unite the racially divided nation.

  • Last week's top movie, The Blind Side, fell to second place.

THIS WEEKEND'S TOP TEN MOVIES -- DECEMBER 11-13

  1. The Princess and the Frog, $25 million
  2. The Blind Side, $15.5 million
  3. Invictus, $9.1 million
  4. The Twilight Saga: New Moon, $8 million
  5. A Christmas Carol, $6.9 million
  6. Brothers, $5 million
  7. 2012, $4.4 million
  8. Old Dogs, $4.39 million
  9. Armored, $3.5 million
  10. Ninja Assassin, $2.7 million

CELEBRITY GOSSIP

TIGER'S HOME VISITED BY CHILD WELFARE OFFICIALS: Yet more sordid headlines are raining down on Tiger Woods, once the poster boy for squeaky-clean all-American success. RadarOnline is reporting that Florida child and family welfare officials made a visit to the golfer's mansion near Orlando on Saturday, presumably to check on his two-year-old daughter and 10-month-old son. An agency spokesman would reveal no details, but said the agency routinely investigates following an incident of domestic violence. That is what may or may not have occurred November 27th, when Tiger either crashed his car or was assaulted by his wife Elin Woods after an argument about his infidelity. In other Tiger news over the weekend:

  • The consulting firm Accenture Limited has become the first major sponsor to cut ties with the golfer. In a statement Sunday, the firm said Tiger "is no longer the right representative for its advertising."
  • One of the alleged girlfriends who just cannot stop talking says she was with Tiger when he got the news that his father had died. Jamie Jungers told the British tabloid The News of the World: "I was beside him wearing nothing but a pair of panties" when Woods got the call.
  • In a rare show of restraint, the magazine Playgirl says it will not run a series of nude photos that it has obtained. A magazine spokesman told People magazine it is not possible to absolutely authenticate that the photos are of Tiger Woods.

CSI'S JONATHAN TOGO BOOKED ON FELONY DOMESTIC CHARGES: CSI Miami star Jonathan Togo was released on $50,000 bail after being booked on felony charges related to a physical altercation with his girlfriend at his home in the Hollywood Hills, according to RadarOnline. The incident occurred early Saturday morning, RadarOnline reports. Togo was released hours later, looking bruised and disheveled. Police investigated after receiving a 911 call from the home.

TAYLOR LAUTNER ACES SNL APPEARANCE: He's only 17, but New Moon co-star Taylor Lautner is getting kudos for his performance as guest host on NBC's Saturday Night Live over the weekend. During his monologue, the good sport and martial arts expert beheaded a life-sized Kanye West cut-out for notoriously heckling his "really close friend" Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Awards last summer. He also announced that he's really, really good friends with a country music cutie, namely Reba McEntire.

MELISSA RYCROFT'S NEW HUBBY IS NO CAD: Melissa Rycroft has totally bounced back from that awful night when she was dumped on live television by Bachelor cad Jason Mesnick. The brunette beauty and one-time Dallas Cowboys cheerleader walked down the aisle in Mexico on Saturday with hunky insurance agent Tye Strickland. She and Strickland met three years ago in their hometown of Dallas, and dated briefly before she signed up for reality show The Bachelor. He caught her again on the rebound from her humiliation on the show, when Mesnick famously announced during the finale that he'd picked the wrong woman and preferred runner-up Molly Malaney. Rycroft has since appeared on ABC's Dancing With The Stars and is a features correspondent on Good Morning America.

  • Rycroft has said that being jilted is "one of the best things that has happened to me in my life."

NO COUP FOR PRINCE WILLIAM: Prince William may be doing a few extra chores for his granny in future, but don't call him "The Shadow King." That's the word from the Palace, after a report that the eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, and heir to the throne after his father Prince Charles, will be taking on more official duties in future. The speculation began after British newspaper The Daily Mail obtained an uncensored version of royal financial documents that suggest that more money is to be budgeted for Prince William. A spokesman for the royal family responded that there are no plans for William, who is now 27, to take on the queen's duties. Granny is still going strong at 83.

LINDSAY LOHAN, SELF-DESCRIBED SAINT: What a gal! Lindsay Lohan, in India to film a BBC documentary about child trafficking, claimed on Twitter that she saved the lives of 40 Indian children in just one day, and urged her fans to "Please try and do something to make a difference for others." Lohan apparently was talking about children freed last week from a New Delhi sweatshop and later reunited with their families. Gawker.com says the operation took place hours before Lohan and the BBC film crew even landed in India.

SALSA GRANNY WOWS THE WORLD: Watch out, Susan Boyle. There's a new worldwide Internet sensation who makes the Scottish singer look like an amateur. Seventy-five-year-old Sarah Jones, known as "Paddy," wowed the audience and won about $15,000 with an amazing and acrobatic performance of salsa dancing on the Spanish version of America's Got Talent. "I'm living proof age is no barrier," she told The Times of London. Paddy, who lives in Spain, took up salsa dancing five years ago, after the death of her husband.

HOLLYWOOD NEWS

JERSEY SHORE PULLS VIOLENT CLIP: MTV has decided to pull a scene in an upcoming episode of Jersey Shore that shows Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi getting punched in the face by a man at a nightclub. The network also removed a preview clip from YouTube, although the preview was shown previously on air. In a statement released Friday, MTV said: "What happened to "Snooki" was a crime and obviously extremely disturbing. After hearing from our viewers, further consulting with experts on the issue of violence, and seeing how the video footage has been taken out of context to not show the severity of this act or the resulting consequences, MTV has decided not to air "Snooki" being physically punched in next week's episode." The man was identified by The New York Post as New York gym teacher Lou Ferro. Ferro was arrested after the incident. The assault left Polizzi with an injury to her mouth. The network said the episode will still make clear what happened that night and will air a message at the end of the show listing available resources for those in abusive relationships.

  • MTV earlier had said only that it would air the episode and run the public service announcement afterwards.
  • Jersey Shore has come under fire by Italian-Americans, who claim the show exploits a stereotype. Italian-American celebrity Alyssa Milano told Usmagazine the show -- about eight self-described "guidos" and "guidettes" on the Jersey Shore -- "upset" her. UNICO National, the nation's largest Italian-American service organization, has asked MTV to cancel the show.

UNCHARTED 2 GRABS MOST PRIZES AT VIDEO GAME AWARDS: The action adventure Uncharted 2: Among Thieves ran away with three top prizes including Game of the Year at the Spike TV Video Game Awards on Saturday night. It also was named top game for the PlayStation 3 console and won for its graphics at the ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. The night was a victory for video game fans, too, as some of Hollywood's biggest stars lighted up the event, burnishing claims that video games are the new big player in Hollywood. Stevie Wonder was the crowd favorite, receiving a three-minute standing ovation when he appeared to present the Best Music Game award to The Beatles: Rock Band. Snoop Dogg and The Bravery also performed. And Green Day announced that they would be featured in a standalone title by game maker Harmonix, Green Day: Rock Band, to be released next year. Jake Gyllenhaal was there to present the Game of the Year award, and to promote his action movie based on the Prince of Persia games, due out next summer. A major no-show of the night was (ahem!) Tiger Woods.

Other major awards:

  • Best Performance by a Human Male: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition (Activision Publishing).
  • Best Performance by a Human Female: Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Activision Publishing).
  • Best Voice: Jack Black as Eddie Riggs in Brutal Legend (Electronic Arts).
  • Stevie Wonder had a serious message for gamers, too: "I want to see the companies that make these video games make them accessible so that people like myself can enjoy them too," Wonder said before presenting the best music game award to "The Beatles: Rock Band."

CHECK IT OUT: See the top performances of the night and clips from the winning games at: http://www.spike.com/network/spike

The full winners' list can be found at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/spike-tv-announces-2009-video-game-awards-winners-79149557.html

NATALIE PORTMAN TO KICK ZOMBIE BUTT. Natalie Portman is the latest of many actresses to play Elizabeth Bennett in a film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, but this one at least adds quite a plot twist. Portman signed on to produce and star in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the best-selling "expanded version" of the classic by Seth Grahame-Smith. His version adds a little action to Elizabeth's blossoming love affair with Mr. Darcy, in the form of a deadly virus that turns quiet English villagers into zombie killers.

POLANSKI FILM FINDS A BUYER: A Hollywood studio will distribute jailed director Roman Polanski's latest film, The Ghost Writer. The thriller stars Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor in a story about a former British prime minister producing a memoir with a ghostwriter. Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the Twilight movies, announced Friday it had bought North American rights to the Polanski movie and will release it in the first half of 2010. Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland, after his arrest in September to face charges of having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in the United States in 1977.

MERLIN'S BEARD! WILL HARRY POTTER GET NAKED?

Daniel Radcliffe may appear nude in Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows, the next installment of the series about the boy wizard of Hogwarts. The movie's director, David Yates, tells the British newspaper The Telegraph: "There are a couple of scenes in the new film in which he will undress, but we're still thinking about how we present it."

  • Theater-goers already saw the young actor bare all in a stage version of the drama Equus.
  • The nudity, if it is shown, would occur in the film version of the scene during which Ron is forced to watch a vision in which Hermione and Harry embrace.

HALLE BERRY HAS A SECRET LIFE

Here's a sweet story about a celebrity, for a change. It turns out that Halle Berry has quietly been volunteering on a night shift at a Los Angeles shelter for battered women. A former shelter resident told The Sunday Times of London that she had no idea that the woman she called "Halle Baby" who told silly jokes to her children was a movie star. Berry told the newspaper: "I saw my mother battered, and could not do anything to stop it. My father was tyrannical, lashing out at her for no reason. I felt the effects that had on our family." Berry has revealed her secret role now because the shelter she works at and five other shelters run by an organization called Jenesse Center have fallen into financial difficulties during the recession. She has taken on a more public role to help them raise money to

CHECK IT OUT: For more about the Jenessee organization, see: http://www.jenesse.org/#SlideFrame_1

ELLEN DeGENERES AND TAYLOR SWIFT TOP POP POLLS

Two online polls currently running on Popeater.com show which way the popularity winds are blowing for a number of Hollywood stars. As of last night (Sunday) the site's "Breakthrough Star of the Year" poll garnered the most votes, in order, for the following: Taylor Swift, Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga and, far behind, the Kardashians and Chris Pine. Actually, the Kardashians and Pine got so few votes that it's possible that only people named Kardashian and Pine are voting for them. And in another poll, Popeater asked which celebrities you would want to spend Christmas with. In order of vote numbers, they are: Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift and, far behind, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or Brangelina. Presumably no one wants to spend Christmas in company with that many noisy kids.

MATT DAMON PRAISES NELSON MANDELA

No world leader in our lifetime has surpassed Nelson Mandela. That's according to Matt Damon, who co-stars in Invictus, the new movie from Clint Eastwood about an episode in the South African leader's career. "Mandela convinced everybody to not go to war. That involves a lot of personal responsibility," Damon told Fox News at last week's Los Angeles premiere. "South Africa had the greatest political leader in the world in our lifetime. Period." Damon plays rugby team captain Francois Pienaar in the movie, which is set in 1995, after Mandela's election and the end of white apartheid rule in South Africa. The movie, which opens Friday, stars Morgan Freeman as Mandela.



CHECK IT OUT:
Watch the trailer at:
http://invictusmovie.warnerbros.com/

See a biography of Nelson Mandela at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

HEADLINE NEWS!!


LIEBERMAN AGAINST MEDICARE BUY-IN: Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said yesterday (December 13th) that he's opposed to allowing uninsured people age 55 to 64 to buy Medicare coverage, part of compromise health insurance reform legislation put together last week in the Senate that dropped the public option. Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, threatened to join Republicans in filibustering legislation if it includes a Medicare buy-in. AP cited Democratic aides as saying that when Majority Leader Harry Reid had asked Lieberman about the Medicare provision last week, he supported the idea, a contention backed by Lieberman's generally favorable public comments about it at the time. Lieberman also opposes a public option.

DEAL ELUSIVE AT CLIMATE SUMMIT BETWEEN RICH AND POOR NATIONS: As the climate change talks in Copenhagen enter their second and final week, environment ministers continued to try to break an impasse among the 190 attending nations between rich countries and poor ones over greenhouse gas emissions. Countries like China and India say the industrialized world must make bigger cuts in emissions and help poor nations pay for a shift to more environmentally-friendly growth and adapt to a warmer world. But richer countries say the developing world's carbon emissions are growing so fast those countries must curb emissions. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the Danish capital on Saturday (December 12th) in a march that was largely peaceful, but turned violent towards the end when demonstrators smashed windows and set cars on fire. Nearly 1,000 people were detained. A much smaller march Sunday was shut down because it hadn't been authorized, and police detained more than 250 protesters for disturbing the peace, almost everyone who took part in the protest.

HOUSE PASSES SWEEPING FINANCIAL REGULATION REFORM: The House on Friday (December 11th) approved the biggest changes in financial regulation since the Great Depression, passing sweeping reforms designed to protect the financial system and avoid the type of crisis that brought the system to the brink of collapse last fall and led to the Great Recession over the past year. All of the House Republicans voted against the bill, joined by 27 Democrats, as it passed 223-202. President Obama, who has pushed for financial reform legislation, praised the measure's passage. Republicans and banking and Wall Street lobbyists have been fighting reforms, and will continue to do so as the debate moves to the Senate. Any Senate legislation would have to be reconciled with the House measure before a bill can be sent to Obama for his signature.

ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER BERLUSCONI INJURED IN ATTACK: Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was injured as he signed autographs at the end of a rally in Milan yesterday (December 13th) by an attacker who threw a statuette at him, hitting him in the face. The stunned 73-year-old Italian leader suffered a broken nose, two broken teeth, and injuries to the inside and outside of his lip. He was held at a hospital overnight for observation as a precaution. Immediately arrested was a 42-year-old man who police said had a history of psychological problems, but no criminal record.

TODAY'S FYI:

HOUSTON VOTERS ELECT GAY MAYOR: Houston on Saturday (December 12th) became the first major U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor, as Annise Parker defeated Gene Locke with 53.6 percent of the vote in a run-off election. Parker, who was city controller for five years, and former city attorney Locke, who are both Democrats, faced off after neither got more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 3rd election. Conservatives and anti-gay activists mounted an intense -- but ultimately unsuccessful -- campaign against the 53-year-old Parker, who's been with her partner for 19 years and has two adopted children with her. Houston is the fourth-largest American city. Smaller cities that have elected openly gay mayors include Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Oregon.

SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST LADY FILES FOR DIVORCE: South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford revealed Friday (December 11th) that she'd filed for divorce, six months after Governor Mark Sanford disappeared for several days, revealing upon his return that he'd gone to Argentina to visit his mistress, a woman he called his "soul mate." Jenny Sanford said Friday that she tried many times to reconcile with her husband since then, but their 20-year marriage couldn't be repaired. The Sanfords have four sons, who have lived with their mother at the family's Sullivan Island home since she moved out of the governor's mansion in August. In a statement Friday, Governor Sanford blamed himself for the collapse of their marriage, and said, "Jenny is a great person, and has been a remarkable wife, mother and first lady." Jenny Sanford, a former Wall Street executive who helped launch her husband's political career, is writing a memoir.

PALIN ENDS BOOK TOUR IN ALASKA: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ended her book tour Sunday (December 13th) in the state she used to lead, holding the final signings for her memoir, Going Rogue, at two Air Force bases. The events at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage and Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks were the first book signings for the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee in her home state, and came five months after she resigned as governor with a year-and-a-half left in her term. Going Rogue has sold more than one million copies since being released last month.

SPITZER CALL GIRL GETS 'N.Y. POST' COLUMN: Ashley Dupre, the former high-priced call girl whose trysts with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer led to his resignation last year, has gotten her own New York Post column. The newspaper has hired the 24-year-old Dupre to write a weekly advice column on sex, love and relationships. The first column that appeared in Sunday's (December 13th) paper was illustrated with photos of Dupre wearing glasses and a conservative suit with a half-unbuttoned blouse and six-inch heels.

SPORTS:

NFL SCORES -- WEEK 14: Here are the results of this week's National Football
League games. (Home teams are listed in italics):

  • New Orleans Saints 26, Atlanta Falcons 23 -- Saints remain undefeated at 13-0.
  • Baltimore Ravens 48, Detroit Lions 3
  • Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 14
  • Indianapolis Colts 28, Denver Broncos 16 -- Colts remain undefeated at 13-0. They also broke the consecutive regular-season win record with their 22nd. Denver receiver Brandon Marshall broke the NFL's single-game record with 21 receptions
  • Buffalo Bills 16, Kansas City Chiefs 10
  • New England Patriots 20, Carolina Panthers 10
  • New York Jets 26, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3
  • Minnesota Vikings 30, Cincinnati Bengals 10
  • Miami Dolphins 14, Jacksonville Jaguars 10
  • Houston Texans 34, Seattle Seahawks 7
  • Tennessee Titans 47, St. Louis Rams 7
  • Washington Redskins 34, Oakland Raiders 13
  • San Diego Chargers 20, Dallas Cowboys 17
  • Philadelphia Eagles 45, New York Giants 38

Tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN:

  • Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (8:30 p.m. ET)

ALABAMA'S INGRAM WIN HEISMAN TROPHY: Alabama tailback Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy Saturday (December 12th) in the closest vote in the award's 75-year history, finishing 28 points ahead of Stanford running back Toby Gerhart. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy came in third, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fourth, and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was fifth. Ingram, the third consecutive sophomore to win the Heisman since Tebow became the first in 2007, has been the backbone of Alabama's offense, rushing for a school-record 1,542 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns.

  • This is Alabama's first-ever Heisman, which is awarded annually to college football's best player of the year.
  • Top-ranked Alabama will play Number 2 Texas in the BCS national title game on January 7th.

(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)

ON THE TUBE TODAY!

Monday, December 14, 2009


CBS
  • HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER - The gang struggles to quit smoking; Robin clashes with a new, jaded co-worker.
  • ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE - Worried that she will ruin Christmas, as she has in the past, Billie tries to hide from her parents that she and Zack are living together.
  • TWO AND A HALF MEN - Charlie coaches Jake on the art of infidelity while his girlfriend is away for Christmas.
  • THE BIG BANG THEORY - Leonard is horrified when his mother (Christine Baranski) visits.
  • CSI: MIAMI - Eric Delko returns as an expert witness for the defense, pitting himself against his old team.

NBC

  • THE SING-OFF - (series premiere) Eight a capella groups from across the country compete to win a recording contract; hosted by Nick Lachey.
  • THE JAY LENO SHOW - Anna Kendrick, James Cameron

FOX

  • HOUSE (repeat)
  • LIE TO ME - A disgruntled farmer threatens the nation's capital during a political protest; Loker must act as a baby sitter when a 3rd grad frield trip gets stuck in the Lightman offices.

ABC

  • JENNIFER HUDSON: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - The singer goes to Chicago to relive childhood Christmases by performing at her neighborhood church and the music academy where she studied.
  • FIND MY FAMILY - A man from San Antonio searches for the son his then girlfriend gave up for adoption 30 years earlier; a woman from Santa Clarita, California, wants to reconnect with her birth monther.
  • CASTLE (repeat)

CW

  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)
  • THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (repeat)

TNT

  • THE CLOSER - Several old cases are reviewed after a crime lab used by the LAPD is discredited; Provenza's old partner comes out of retirement to help on a case they closed seven years ago.
  • MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE - Joe starts to think about finding an apartment; Owen ends up with an embarassing dealer car; Terry tries to track down the person who almost ran him over.

DAY TIME TALK SHOW

THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - Ray Romano, Marie Tillman
THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW - (repeat)
THE VIEW - Charles Gibson, Ashley Dupre

LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS

THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - Hugh Grant, Zoe Saldana, Alicia Keys
THE JAY LENO SHOW (NBC) - Anna Kendrick, James Cameron
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN (NBC) - Tom Arnold, Cheryl Hines, Adam Lambert
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat)
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Joshua Jackson, Lake Bell, Reba McEntire
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - Kate Hudson, Giovanni Ribisi, Chevelle
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Sigourney Weaver
THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - Snoop Dogg
LOPEZ TONIGHT - Mark Harmon, 50 Cent

OFF BEAT BRIEFS

DETROIT POLICE MISTAKE FILM SHOOT FOR CRIME SCENE: For the second time in weeks, Detroit police officers interrupted a film shoot because they thought they were witnessing a real shoot-out. Michigan has recently hosted many more film shoots, as they are offering tax credits to filmmakers, but the increased filming has also led to some mishaps. In this case, the crew did not have a proper permit to film in the city, and the officers were not aware. (The Detroit News)

WOMAN ARRESTED ON DWI, STEALS AMBULANCE: An Oklahoma City woman was arrested for driving while intoxicated and brought to a hospital for a blood test when police say she stole an ambulance. Supposedly searching for her boyfriend, she led police on a chase that led them to her home around 2:30 a.m. Friday. In handcuffs, she told a reporter that she had a "pretty good time" driving the stolen ambulance. (KTUL)

PREGNANT WOMAN COMES TO OFFICER'S RESCUE: A group of rowdy teens attacked a Texas police officer when the most unlikely of heroes came to his aid -- a nine-months-pregnant woman. She said she was driving by when she saw the officer in trouble and knew she had to do something. She pleaded with the teens to stop and pulled one off of the officer, which was enough to send the teens running. Police later tracked down the three teens and they were arrested.

WISCONSIN POLICE SHOOT DOWN RUNAWAY STEER: Wisconsin sheriff's deputies had to shoot a steer after it escaped after being unloaded from a truck. The bovine ran into a residential area and knocked down a fence, which caused a local school to be on lockdown for about an hour while the officers tracked it down. (Chicago Tribune)

DID YOU KNOW?

AMERICANS SIT, A LOT: A study finds that on average, Americans spend 56 hours per week sitting, Women's Health Magazine reported. According to the magazine, the "sitting disease is literally killing us." Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic said, "Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to do one thing: move. As human beings, we evolved to stand upright. For thousands of generations, our environment demanded nearly constant physical activity."

IT'S HARDER FOR MEN TO DATE AFTER BREAKUPS: Date.com, Matchmaker.com and Amor.com found that 85% of men who responded to their admittedly unscientific poll confessed they "get depressed and upset" after a breakup and don't date for a long time while only 8% of females felt the same way. The women said that after a short lull, they'd be right back out on the market.


TRAFFIC TO SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FALLING: Unique visitors to Twitter fell for the third successive month, dropping 2.43% overall, to 22,481,568, according to Compete.com. More concerning for the network was a -7.24% dip in overall visits. Overall, traffic to all social media fell, with Facebook losing -0.47% to 128,339,156 unique visitors for November, but gaining 3.51% to 2,601,399,595 visitors overall. Friendfeed fell sharply, down 20.95% to just 552,147 uniques, and has now lost almost half of its unique visitors since peaking at 1,044,326 in August. Overall visitors fell 26.62%. LinkedIn, which has been the social media star the past five or six months, fell for the first time since May, losing 6.93% of unique visitors, and 11.53% overall.


WHY IT'S OKAY FOR GUYS TO WATCH 'GLEE' (Asylum.com)

  • Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and Jessalyn Gilsig: Eye candy! Yes, other shows have this too, but the eye candy here don't just brood and pout; Michele has the comic chops to carry the show as annoying overachiever Rachel; Agron has been good as the conflicted, pregnant Cheerio Quinn; and no one can play stone-cold crazy quite like Gilsig.
  • Ryan Murphy: The show's creator / executive producer isn't exactly used to doing "OMG" kind of television. He and his writers may be channeling modern teens in the show, but some of the dark elements of his other show, "Nip/Tuck," tend to creep in during every episode.
  • Jane Lynch: Some viewers don't like Lynch's character of ruthless Cheerio coach Sue Sylvester, claiming she's a handlebar mustache away from being Snidely Whiplash. But someone needs to be the alpha male on that show, and Lynch plays a good one. Cocky, aggressive and willing to do anything to crush the little gleesters, it's been fun to watch her in her limited screen time. Good to see the veteran comic actress finally getting her due.

SEXUAL STATISTICS (Book of Odds)

  • The odds a woman has had sex on a first date are 1 in 6.06
  • The odds a man has ever paid for or been paid for sex are 1 in 6.64
  • The odds the most recent sexual encounter of a man between 18-59 years old lasted less than one minute are 1 in 9.09
  • The odds a male 15-44 years old has ever had any sexual contact with a male are 1 in 16.67
  • The odds a married man has ever had an extramarital sexual partner are 1 in 4.13
  • The odds a male between 15-44 years old used a condom during his last sexual encounter are 1 in 2.53
  • The odds a male between 15-44 has had 15 or more female sexual partners in his lifetime are 1 in 4.42
  • The odds a male 15-44 has had no female sexual partners in his lifetime are 1 in 10.31
  • The odds a man 15-44 will visit a pornographic Web site at least once in a month are 1 in 3.31

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION


According to AskMen.com, who was the first American college football game between?

A: Princeton University and Rutgers University

  • Bearing significantly more resemblance to rugby and soccer than to today's enormously popular NCAA football, the first American college football game took place in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in early November of 1869. It pitted Princeton University against Rutgers University, with the latter taking the game 6 to 4.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WHY DO WOMEN DUMP MEN??

5000 women were interviewed by Men's Health and Glamour to find out why women dump men. Top reasons are:

  • Fight Too Much, 26%
  • No Chemistry, 18%
  • Found Someone Better, 14%
  • Cheated, 11%
  • Wouldn't Commit, 11%
  • Wasn't Husband Material, 9%
  • She Wouldn't Commit, 8%
  • Lousy Sex, 3%

18% would dump a man for kissing another woman, 9% would if you got caught flirting.

If you're ever been in a marriage or live-in relationship with a member of the opposite sex, you know that arguments over money can be "doozies." Now Money magazine has revealed from a recent poll that 71% of adults admitted to having "money secrets." Some say the reason people hide cash is because they feel "deprived" by the other spouse. Some couples know about the stashes but don't "ask." Sometimes it's just that there is a "secret" that's bothersome to the other partner. But, experts say honesty is the best policy. So, what about you? Ever had a secret stash?

More people file for divorce in January than any other month of the year, according to a poll of divorce attorneys by the Staten Island Advance. "It's the month for people who deferred things over the holidays -- either because they don't want to spoil the family's celebrations, or because they feel they will be able to work things out over the holidays," divorce attorney Jay S. Baum told the newspaper. Christmas -- and the extra time couples spend together over the holidays -- can highlight problems in a relationship. Then holiday bills come due in January, exacerbating those existing tensions.

KFLAG COUNTRY MUSIC UPDATE

Carrie Underwood will take her new music to the fans when her Play On tour kicks off on March 11th in Reading, Pennsylvania. The 45-date trek will feature special guests Craig Morgan and Sons of Sylvia. The North American leg of the Play On tour will run through May 30th in Spokane, Washington. Tickets for all shows go on sale on December 18th.

FAST FACTS

  • Carrie played to 1.2 million fans on her 2008 Carnival Ride tour.
  • Her Play On CD debuted at Number One on both the pop and country charts.
  • Since its release early last month, the album has sold more than 700,000 copies, giving Carrie the highest first-week sales of the year for any solo country artist.
  • Sons of Sylvia recorded a duet with Carrie on the Play On CD called "What Can I Say." The group, formerly known as The Clark Brothers, won FOX's Next Great American Band.
Garth Brooks begins his five-year run at the Wynn Encore hotel in Las Vegas tonight (Friday, December 11th). These shows will be unlike any that fans have seen from him over the years. Gone are the band and the pyro. The new shows are just Garth and a guitar, the way he began his career, he tells us:"First of all, this is how this all started out -- Willie's Saloon in college -- one guy show. Then what happened was we'd go out on tour and we'd play, and there were some crowds you'd run into, and you guys have been to these shows, where you couldn't outlast 'em. They were just gonna go, so you ran out of bullets, so you drag your guitar back out there and it's just you again. And here it is. You play stuff in highschool, everything from Seger to going to college hearing Strait . . . The day that you're in the driveway and you stop because you hear, 'Operator, please connect me' -- these things, and it just starts."

Garth says he has grown used to being alone in the spotlight. "When it came down to the one-guy show, when the band and everybody to