Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009 - Blog


Yesterday, a group of researchers from Monash University in Australia published a study in the "British Medical Journal" outlining why they think Santa Claus is a BAD ROLE MODEL for your children.

Here's their logic . . . --According to the study, the current idea of Santa promotes dangerous and unhealthy behaviors, including:--Obesity--Smoking . . . because some depictions of Santa show him with a pipe or cigar--Driving under the influence . . . because he drinks brandy while he's out delivering gifts --Speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and showing a general disregard for the rules of the road--Extreme activities such as "roof surfing" and "chimney jumping" (???)--And, presumably, he also promotes animal cruelty by forcing reindeer to pull his sleigh . . . not to mention other criminal behavior, such as breaking and entering.

According to the study, quote, "We need to be aware that Santa has an ability to influence people, and especially children, towards unhealthy behavior."--Fortunately, the researchers came up with some suggestions on how Santa can clean up his image. Get this:#1.) Instead of riding in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, Santa could walk, jog or ride a bike.#2.) And instead of filling up on cookies and alcohol, Santa could eat carrots and celery sticks. (Yahoo News)


Let's face it . . . your typical mall Santa is a little creepy. And getting your kid to smile for the photo while sitting on Santa's lap is like planning the D-Day invasion. --But never fear: We've got a list of tips to get your kid to crack a smile . . . from a website called Check it out:

#1.) Reverse psychology . . . the logic is that when you tell your kids NOT to do something, it increases the chances that they actually WILL. #2.) Making funny faces#3.) Telling Santa that your kid wants something ridiculous for Christmas like, say, a "ball of snot." The hope is that Junior then will chime in and tell Santa what he REALLY wants for Christmas.#4.) Fart jokes#5.) And, finally, when all else fails . . . you can always resort to BRIBERY. (Holidash)

(--Fart jokes, manipulation, bribery . . . isn't the Internet full of terrific parenting advice???)(--And now, please enjoy some photos taken with sketchy mall Santas here . . .)


Now it's time to recognize the NAUGHTIEST little kid in the world . . . an unidentified 4-year-old boy from Middle Valley, Tennessee (--about 20 miles northeast of Chattanooga). --On Monday, he woke up in the middle of the night. And from there . . . well . . . you're really not going to believe what this kid did. Get this . . .

#1.) He snuck out of his mom's house.#2.) He broke into the home of a neighbor . . . a guy named Logan Pugh.#3.) And he opened all the presents underneath Logan's Christmas tree. But it doesn't end there . . . #4.) Eventually, the boy's mother realized he was gone and called the police. When they showed up, they found him at the end of the street wearing a DRESS he'd stolen from Logan's house, and DRINKING A BEER.

To recap, the little boy broke into Logan's house . . . opened all his Christmas presents . . . stole a dress . . . and drank a beer from his refrigerator. --Logan says, quote, "I don't know how a 4-year-old could think of this. He got in and out of the house without waking anybody up. They found him at the end of the street DRINKING A BEER, walking around like it was nothing . . . I don't know what he was thinking."

Child Services has removed the boy from his mother's home. He's now staying with relatives. (WRCB News 3 - Chattanooga)


These days, it seems like we only ever hear about kids who are making BAD choices and screwing up their lives. So we'd like to recognize a GOOD kid for a change . . . an 11-year-old Boy Scout from Greensboro, North Carolina, named Edward Myers.

On Saturday, Edward, his mother, Donna, and his two siblings were helping neighbors plant trees at a nearby park when he spotted a waterlogged purse on the bank of a creek. --When Edward opened it up, he noticed a wallet containing nineteen $100 bills. If you failed math class, that adds up to $1,900. --Apparently, the purse had been stolen from a car on Thanksgiving weekend. But the thief had only taken the $30 that was in the wallet's main pocket, without noticing the $1,900 in the side pocket.

Long story short, the police were able to track down the owner of the wallet. And, as a reward, she gave Edward one of the $100 bills. --Edward used $60 of his reward money to buy a Carolina Panthers jersey. And, true to form, he gave the rest to his mother. (--Way to be, Edward. If only we all were a little more like you.) (Greensboro News and Record)


Nobody's seen TIGER WOODS since before Thanksgiving . . . and nobody knows what he's been up to. --But if you believe the various tabloid reports, he's been spending his time eating cereal, watching cartoons and golfing by himself at night.

The "eating cereal and watching cartoons" thing comes from "Showbiz Spy". They claim that's how Tiger is coping with his problems. --He may watch something other than just cartoons, but one thing he CAN'T watch is ESPN . . . because they're constantly running updates on all the problems that his RESTLESS GENITALIA caused him.

A so-called "source" says, quote, "There is a real concern among his friends that he is dealing with the situation in a very unhealthy way. I've been trying to get to him and can't. It's very frustrating." --Meanwhile, "Us Weekly" says Tiger has been hitting a local golf course late at night to blow off steam.

A source says, quote, "He goes after dark so he can't be seen. For him, what's more therapeutic than hitting golf balls, the thing he's best at in the whole world?"


The gossip media is sticking to its story that ELIN NORDEGREN is divorcing TIGER WOODS. --A so-called "source" told ABC News that, quote, "A divorce is 100% on." But it may not happen anytime soon.

The source says, quote, "She's going to take her sweet time. She wants all the dirty laundry to be out on the table before she signs anything." --Tiger and Elin are still getting therapy . . . but the source says that the sessions just amount to Tiger, quote, "apologizing over and over again."

Tiger Woods has lost a few sponsors . . . but he may have also gained one. The New York City strip club Scores is offering Tiger $1 million to be their pitchman AND their human resources director.

Part of the deal would include Scores opening a new "Tiger Woods Room". (--This is obviously nothing but a publicity stunt. But it worked. At least it did on me.)


Cincinnati Bengals receiver CHRIS HENRY died at the hospital yesterday . . . a day after he fell out of the back of a moving pickup truck during a dispute with his fiancée. He was 26.

Henry . . . who was sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken forearm . . . got into an altercation with his fiancée at her family's home near Charlotte, North Carolina.

She got into the truck and drove away, but he jumped in the back as she was pulling out. Henry was found in the street about a half-mile away.

Homicide detectives are investigating the case . . . but no charges have been filed. At least not yet. (--As we learned from Michael Jackson's death, "homicide" isn't the same as murder. It just means someone is responsible for someone else's death. In this case, they're obviously trying to determine whether to pin this on Henry's fiancée.)

Police released two 911 calls that were made Wednesday. The first was from a woman who was following behind the truck. She said Henry was shirtless, with his arm in a cast, and was pounding on the truck.

The second call came from a man who discovered Henry already lying in the road, unconscious. (--You can listen to the calls here . . .)

Henry died at about 6:30 yesterday morning. --After the team found out about Henry's death, quarterback CARSON PALMER called the players together and suggested they dedicate the rest of the season to Henry and the wife of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer . . . who died unexpectedly in October.

The Bengals will wear stickers on their helmets in Henry's memory when they play the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. --Bengals owner Mike Brown released the following statement . . . quote, "We knew him in a different way than his public persona. He had worked through the troubles in his life and had finally seemingly reached the point where everything was going to blossom.

"And he was going to have the future we all wanted for him. It's painful to us. We feel it in our hearts, and we will miss him." -Henry had numerous scrapes with the law over the years, and was suspended five times during his NFL career. He was released by the Bengals in 2008, but owner Mike Brown had a change of heart and gave him another chance.


A website called The Daily Beast set out to determine which celebrity has the most impact . . . in terms of dollars raised . . . for his or her pet charity. And they found that celebrity to be . . . JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

What they did was take the biggest the celebrities and look at the charity each of those celebs is most associated with.

Then they calculated how much awareness each celebrity brings to his or her pet cause in print, on TV and online. They also factored in personal donations to the charity from each celebrity. --Explaining exactly how they calculated all of this would bore you, quite frankly. So let's skip all that and get right to the dollar amounts.

On the following page, you'll find the 10 most impactful celebrities . . . along with the charities they represent, and the amount of money they generate for it every year . . .#1.) JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Shriner's Hospital for Children, $9.3 million#2.) MADONNA, Raising Malawi, $5.5 million#3.) PAMELA ANDERSON, PETA, $4.8 million#4.) OPRAH WINFREY, Oprah's Angel Network, $3.9 million (--In related news, Oprah just gave $1.5 million to the Ron Clark Academy, a private, inner-city middle school in Atlanta.)#5.) BONO, ONE Foundation, $3.6 million#6.) ANGELINA JOLIE, UNHCR, $3 million (--That's the U.N.'s refugee agency.)#7.) RIHANNA, UNICEF, $2.3 million#8.) GEORGE CLOONEY, United Nations, $2.2 million#9.) SALMA HAYEK, UNICEF, $1.6 million#10.) SHAKIRA, UNICEF, $1.3 million


Children of the '80s warned Hollywood to keep its stinking paws off "Clash of the Titans" . . . but some studio went ahead and remade it anyway. The new version doesn't come out until March, but the trailer hit the Net yesterday. (--Check it out . . .) don't see any silly, anachronistic mechanical owls, so at least they did SOMETHING right.)


Director BRYAN SINGER is returning to the "X-Men" franchise. He says, quote, "I, just yesterday, signed a deal to do an 'X-Men: First Class' picture, which is kind of cool. I'm very excited."

Singer wrote and directed the first two "X-Men" movies, but backed out of the third to make that misguided "Superman Returns" movie. (--"X-Men: First Class" is a comic book that follows the adventures of the first five X-Men: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Iceman and Angel.) (--If they follow the timeline set forth in the previous films, however, Angel and Iceman CAN'T be part of the original X-Men. Singer would have to find another way to deal with that.)


A few months ago, THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS announced that they'd ended their nearly two-year hiatus . . . and had started work on their next album. --But one member won't be back. Yesterday, guitarist JOHN FRUSCIANTE confirmed speculation that he'd left the band . . . again. And it isn't REALLY breaking news . . . John actually walked away a while ago. --In a post on his website, he says, quote, "When I quit the band, over a year ago, we were on an indefinite hiatus.

There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy and that goes both ways."

John has been a part of the band's most successful periods. He joined in 1988, just before they released their breakout album, "Mother's Milk". Then, he quit in the middle of the "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" tour in 1992.

It was not a friendly split. John was regularly butting heads with the Peppers, especially singer ANTHONY KIEDIS, over the band's sound. John was also using heroin at the time, and was not comfortable with how popular they'd become. --He then rejoined the band in 1998 . . . after rehabbing for heroin addiction. -But even though John says there was "no drama" this time . . . he quit for the same reason he left 15 years ago.

He says, quote, "To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction. Upon rejoining, and throughout my time in the band, I was very excited about exploring the musical possibilities inherent in a rock band, and doing so with those people in particular. --"A couple of years ago, I began to feel that same excitement again, but this time it was about making a different kind of music, alone, and being my own engineer.
"I really love the band and what we did. [But] over the last 12 years, I have changed, as a person and artist, to such a degree that to do further work along the lines I did with the band would be to go against my own nature.
"There was no choice involved in this decision. I simply have to be what I am, and have to do what I must do. Sending love and gratitude to you all." --The Red Hot Chili Peppers have not officially commented on John's departure. So there's no word on a replacement. There's talk that they're working with a guitarist named Josh Klinghoffer . . . but his status with the band is unclear.


If you've somehow managed to avoid signing up for Facebook, I commend you on your ability to "buck the trend." But I also think you should know that Facebook is saving the world . . . one profile at a time. Here are three perfect examples . . .#1.) Jonathan Pavlin is a student at the University of Florida. On Monday morning, Jonathan realized that someone had stolen his car from outside his apartment building.

So Jonathan started a Facebook group asking people to keep an eye out for his car . . . an orange Mazda 3. And less than 48 hours later, someone spotted Jonathan's car just a few miles from where it was stolen, and called the police. --Jonathan's car has since been returned to him. (WCJB News 20 - Gainesville)(--You can link to the full story here . . .)
In 1989, two teens named Christopher Astle and Emily Yanich-Fithian discovered a newborn baby girl someone had abandoned on the doorstep of a townhouse in Fairfax, Virginia (--about 20 miles west of Washington, D.C.).
After calling the police, the authorities took the baby, and a few months later she was adopted. End of story, right? Wrong. --Two weeks ago, Christopher and Emily each received a message on Facebook from a 20-year-old college student named Mia Flemming. --She wanted to know if they'd once found a baby left at a stranger's door. And if so, she wanted to thank them because the little girl was HER. (Washington Post)(--You can link to the full story here . . .)

50-year-old John Burge lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (--in the eastern part of the state). He has polycystic kidney disease, and two years ago he was placed on a donor list behind 80,000 other people. As of September, he was still waiting. --That's when his son, 22-year-old Matthew, posted a status update on Facebook asking if anyone would be willing to donate a kidney to his dad. Less than 30 minutes later, 24-year-old Nick Etten responded that if they had the same blood type, he'd do it.

The transplant was scheduled to take place yesterday. (KCRG News 9 - Cedar Rapids)(--You can link to the full story here . . .)


#1.) Here's the past decade . . . in seven minutes. Terms: Newsweek video "The Decade In 7 Minutes")

#2.) JOEL SCHUMACHER directed this "sexting" PSA that features a naked girl explaining why sending her boyfriend dirty text messages isn't a big deal. Terms: "A Thin Line" Joel Schumacher "Public Nudity" PSA)

#3.) These foreign news anchors put a puppy up on the news desk . . . and were shocked when it promptly took a dump. (--The guy on the right squeals at :17.) Terms: dog poops during live news segment video)

#4.) A minor league hockey game was delayed when a bat flew onto the ice. But three hockey players eventually teamed up and killed it by shooting it into the boards like a hockey puck. (--The killing begins at :16.) Terms: "Gamblesr win batty game" video)

#5.) Check out Gawker's compilation of the 100 Best Viral Videos of 2009 . . . in three minutes. Terms: the top 100 videos of 2009 in less than 3 minutes)

Most people have less money this year than they did last Christmas. And when you're on a tight holiday budget, re-gifting can be a good way to save a little money . . . but only if you do it right. Here are five steps to help you re-gift with class . . .

STEP #1.) MAKE SURE YOU WON'T GET CAUGHT. Obviously, make sure you never re-gift something to the person who gave it to you. But you also need to make sure they don't find out if you give their gift to someone else. --So don't re-gift within the same extended family, and don't re-gift to a friend of the person who gave you the gift in the first place.

STEP #2.) GIVE IT SOME THOUGHT. Don't re-gift something just to be rid of it. Match your unwanted gifts with people who might actually like them.
STEP #3.) USE NICE WRAPPING PAPER. Don't just put a bow on something and throw it under the tree. You're less likely to get caught if you use nice wrapping paper and ribbon, or a holiday gift bag and tissue paper.
STEP #4.) INCLUDE A CARD. Cards don't cost much, and they make your present seem more legit. Plus, it adds a personal touch.STEP #5.) PAIR IT WITH SOMETHING ELSE. A recycled gift doesn't have to be the only thing you give the person. If you don't think it's nice enough, buy something inexpensive to go with it. (

Christmas is next week, and Hanukkah ends tomorrow, so this weekend is all about the holidays. But that doesn't mean you should postpone looking for some romance in your pants. Here are five holiday date ideas you can do as a couple . . .

#1.) GO FOR A WALK AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Bundle up, hold hands, and take a walk through your neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights and decorations.

#2.) GO SHOPPING. Sure, the mall is going to be a zoo . . . but having another person with you will make the experience way more bearable. Plus, if you haven't found a gift for the person you're with, this is a perfect opportunity to find out exactly what they want.

#3.) GO TO THE THEATER. There are a ton of holiday concerts, movies, and plays around this time of year, so do something different and enjoy an evening of culture together. I recommend the "Nutcracker". (???)

#4.) DECORATE THE TREE. This is your last chance to finish decorating your tree before Christmas, so heat up some hot cocoa and bust out the holiday decorations.

#5.) GO ICE SKATING. Even if neither one of you knows how to ice skate, it's still a fun thing
to do as a couple. You can grab onto each other and hold hands as you skate around the rink. (The Frisky)


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