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Friday, December 29, 2017

Today In History...

In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in England.

In 1813 The British burn Buffalo, New York, during the War of 1812.

In 1837 Canadian militiamen destroy the Caroline, a U.S. steamboat docked at Buffalo, New York.

In 1845 Texas becomes the 28th U.S. state.

In 1848 Gas lights are installed at the White House for the first time.

In 1851 The first Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) chapter opens in Boston, MA.

In 1890 The Wounded Knee massacre takes place in South Dakota. 300 Sioux Indians are killed by U.S. troops sent to disarm them.

In 1913 The first movie serial, "The Adventures of Kathlyn," premieres in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1934 Japan renounces the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 and the London Naval Treaty of 1930.

In 1940 During World War II, Germany begins dropping incendiary bombs on London, England.

In 1949 The first UHF TV station begins regular operations in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

In 1952 The first transistorized hearing aid is offered for sale in Elmsford, New York.

In 1975 11 are killed, 75 are hurt, when a terrorist's bomb explodes at LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

In 1983 The Rev. Jesse Jackson leaves New York on his successful mission to Syria to secure the release of U.S. Navy pilot Robert O. Goodman Jr., who had been shot down during a raid in Lebanon.

In 1984 Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi claims victory in parliamentary elections as his Congress Party captures more than a two-thirds majority in the lower house of Parliament.

In 1985 2 days after terrorists murder 20 civilians at the Rome and Vienna airports in Italy, Libya's Khadafi calls them "heroes."

In 1986 Former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dies at age 92.

In 1987 Cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko ends a recond 326 days in space.

In 1987 NASA delays the planned June launch of the space shuttle -- the first since the Challenger disaster -- because a motor component failed during a test-firing of the redesigned booster rocket.

In 1988 The FAA, responding to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, announces tightened security measures for U.S. air carriers at 103 airports in the Middle East and Western Europe.

In 1989 Playwright Vaclav Havel is elected president of Czechoslovakia by the country's Federal Assembly, becoming the first non-communist tohold the post in over forty years.

In 1991 Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian President Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia would create its own army.

In 1992 Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello resigns.

In 1992 New York Governor Mario Cuomo commutes the sentence of Jean Harris, the convicted killer of "Scarsdale Diet" author Herman Tarnower.

In 1992 David and Sharon Schoo of St. Charles, IL, are arrested at O'Hare International Airport as they returned from vacation for leaving their young daughters at home, alone.

In 1992 The United States and Russia announce an agreement on a nuclear arms reduction treaty.

In 1994 U.S. officials confirm the release in North Korea of Army helicopter pilot Bobby Hall, 12 days after he was captured in a shoot-down in which co-pilot David Hilemon was killed.

In 1995 Japan's finance minister announces the resignation of the deputy finance minister over several scandals, including the ministry's cover-up of trading losses at Daiwa Bank's New York office.

In 1996 Government leaders in Guatemala sign an accord ending 36 years of civil conflict.

In 1996 North Korea apologizes for sending a spy submarine into South Korean waters.

In 1997 Hong Kong begins killing 1.4 million chickens to stem the spread of a mysterious bird flu that had already killed four people.

In 2001 A fire sparked by a fireworks explosion in downtown Lima, Peru, kills 274 people.

In 2003 Actor Earl Hindman, who'd played the mostly unseen neighbor Wilson on "Home Improvement," dies at age 61.

Born On This Day...

In 1946 Singer, Marianne Faithfull (As Tears Go By) (70)

In 1776 Inventor, Charles Macintosh (patented waterproof fabric)

In 1800 Inventor, Charles Goodyear (vulcanization process for rubber)

In 1808 Andrew Johnson, 17th U.S. president (1865-69)

In 1809 English statesman, William Ewart Gladstone

In 1859 Venustiano Carranza, president of Mexico (1915-20)

In 1876 Spanish cellist/composer, Pablo Casals

In 1879 World War I aviation hero, Billy Mitchell

In 1881 Heaveyweight boxing champ, Jess Willard (1915-19)

In 1891 Businesswoman, Joyce Clyde Hall (founded Hallmark Cards)

In 1894 Actor, Emory Parnell (The Life of Riley)

In 1900 Jazz musician/singer, Willie Humphrey [d: 6-7-94]

In 1903 Jazz trumpeter, Clyde McCoy (wah wah sound) [d: 6-11-90]

In 1907 Dr. Robert Clifton Weaver, first black to serve in U.S. Cabinet

In 1909 Actor, Thomas Beck (Charlie Chan movies, Priest-Heidi) [d: 9-23-95]

In 1917 Los Angeles mayor, Tom Bradley (1973-93) [d: 9-29-98]

In 1919 Journalist, Jim Murray (founded Sports Illustrated) [d: 8-16-98]

In 1920 Actress, Viveca Lindfors (The Way We Were) [d: 10-25-95]

In 1922 Novelist, William Gaddis (The Recognitions) [d: 12-16-98]

In 1932 Actress, Inga Swenson (Gretchen Kraus-Benson) (84)

In 1933 Actor, Joseph Maher (Sister Act) [d: 7-17-98]

In 1934 Actor, Ed Flanders (Dr. Westphall-St. Elsewhere) [d: 2-22-95]

In 1934 Broadcast journalist, Tom Jarriel (20/20) (82)

In 1936 Football Hall-of-Famer, Ray Nitschke (Packers) [d: 3-8-98]

In 1936 Actress, Mary Tyler Moore (Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore) (80)

In 1937 Actress, Barbara Steele (Julia-Dark Shadows) (79)

In 1938 Actor, Jon Voight (Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy, Heat) (78)

In 1939 Country singer/songwriter, Ed Bruce (77)

In 1941 Singer/flautist/harmonicist, Ray Thomas (Moody Blues) (75)

In 1942 Actress, Angel Tompkins (Bees, Prime Cut, Murphy's Law) (74)

In 1946 Folk singer/actress, Marianne Faithful (70)

In 1947 Actor, Ted Danson (Sam-Cheers, Three Men & A Baby, Mike-Ink) (69)

In 1947 Drummer, Cozy Powell (Black Sabbath, Whitesnake) [d: 4-5-98]

In 1950 Singer/guitarist, Robert Parissi (Wild Cherry) (66)

In 1950 Actor, Jon Polito (Crosetti-Homicide) [d: 9-1-16]

In 1951 Singer, Yvonne Elliman (If I Can't Have You) (65)

In 1951 Singer, Laurel Masse (The Manhattan Transfer) (65)

In 1952 Ballerina, Gelsey Kirkland (Nutcracker) (64)

In 1955 Guitarist/producer, Neal Geraldo (Pat Benatar) (61)

In 1955 Actress, Charlayne Woodard (Fresh Prince, Days of Our Lives) (61)

In 1958 Astronaut, Nancy Jane Sherlock (STS-57 STS-70, STS-88, STS-109) (58)

In 1959 Former football player, Mervyn Fernandez (Raiders) (57)

In 1959 Actress, Leslie Graves (Brenda-Capitol, Death Wish II) [d: 8-23-95]

In 1959 Comedian/actress, Paula Poundstone (57)

In 1960 Actress, Patricia Clarkson (Murder One, The Green Mile) (56)

In 1961 Guitarist, Mark "Cow" Day (Happy Mondays) (55)

In 1964 Actress, Kimberly Russell (Sarah-Head of the Class) (52)

In 1965 Singer, Dexter Holland (Offspring) (51)

In 1965 Actor, John Haymes Newton (Melrose Place, Superboy) (51)

In 1966 TV host, Mystro Clark (Soul Train) (50)

In 1966 Actor, Jason Gould (Bernard-The Prince of Tides) (50)

In 1969 Actress, Jennifer Ehle (Backbeat, Pride & Prejudice) (47)

In 1970 Singer/songwriter, Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) (46)

In 1970 Actor, Kevin Weisman (Gone in 60 Seconds, Alias) (46)

In 1972 Actor, David Fumero (Cristian-One Life To Live) (44)

In 1972 Actor, Jude Law (Cold Mountain, Sky Captain, Alfie) (44)

In 1974 Actor, Mekki Phifer (Dr. Gregory Pratt-ER) (42)

In 1975 Actor, Shawn Hatosy (The Faculty, Inventing The Abbotts) (41)

In 1975 Playmate, Kalin Olson (August-1997) (41)

In 1976 Actor, Jason Shane Scott (Will-One Life To Live) (40)

In 1979 Actor, Diego Luna (Open Range, The Terminal) (37)

In 1983 Country singer, Jessica Andrews (33)

In 1984 Actor, Sean Stone, (The Doors, Natural Born Killers, Nixon) (32)



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

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Friday, December 22, 2017

ON THIS DAY

In 1775, the colonists organized a Continental Navy fleet. It was a cool thing to do, as long as you didn't end up being one of the rowers.

On this date in 1807, Congress passed the Embargo Act, which cut off all trade with Europe. Not to be confused with the Escargo Act, which resulted in a line of salt being drawn around the entire U.S.

In 1864 during the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman sent a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, saying, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."
  • Of course, the toughest part was finding that much wrapping paper. 
  • Lincoln responded with, "Do you have anything smaller? You know, like theater tickets? 
  • Talk about taking a chance! How awkward would that one have been to exchange. 

On this date in 1882, Ed Johnson switched on the first Christmas Tree with electric lights in his home in New York City. So blame him.
  • Ed also had the privilege of discovering that when one goes out, the rest don't stay lit. 
  • The cork-popping sound that followed was from down at the electric company. 
  • It was a beautiful, beautiful site... for 17-seconds until the first bulb burned out. 
  • Next time you're way up on that ladder and looking for someone to curse, think fondly of Ed. 
  • Several hours later, after figuring out which bulbs were burned out, the lights came on! 

On this date in 1982, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was closed for two hours due to a severe storm and high winds. On that same day, Tony Bennett's heart was blown from San Francisco over to Oakland.

In 1989, Romania's hard-line president, Nicolae Ceausescu, was toppled from power in a popular uprising. Those tend to be much more effective than unpopular uprisings.



TODAY IS

Meghan Trainor is all about that bass and 24 today.

Actress and writer Heather Donahue turns 43 today. She gave us "The Blair Witch Project" and refuses to take it back. She didn't really die in that movie. However, her career did.

Ralph Fiennes turns 55 today. He spells it Ralph Fee-enus but it's Ray Fines. He was "Old No Nose Guy" -- Voldemort -- in the Harry Potter movies and the latest "M" in the bond movies.

Luther Campbell of '2 Live Crew' turns 57 today. (BEEP)-in' birthday to you, (BEEP)-in' birthday to you.

First Full Day Of Winter -- The National Energy Commission says to winterize your home this winter make sure you check for air leaks, check your insulation & weather stripping and don't forget to check your heating system. That's great advice for most of the country, but what about those warmer climates like Southern California and Florida? 

Make sure you have enough SPF-30 handy for those "brrrr" 75 degree sunny days.
A supply of clean, long sleeve t-shirts for those chilly winter days.
Keep your lawnmower sharpened... that "dead, dormant" lawn will still need to be mowed twice a month.
Fuzzy head covers to keep your driver and 3-wood warm during those frigid 65-degree days on the golf course.
Charcoal, cold beers and blue & gold board shorts to wear at those NFL tailgate parties.
Ladies, you may have to drop the hem an inch or so on your mini-skirts to stay warmer at those outdoor happy hours.
Make sure your strappy sandals straps are at least 3/8" wide. You'll need the extra "warm" toe-coverage when partying on Saturday nights, and those 5-inch stilettos may need to come down to 4-inches... with the occasional sprinkle you won't want to slip and fall on those treacherous sidewalks.
And most importantly... try to locate the extra sheet for your bed to keep "toasty warm" at night.

Music Calendar...

In 1958 "The Chipmunk Song" by the The Chipmunks with David Seville hits #1 on the U.S. top 40 chart and stayed there for 4 weeks.

In 1962 "Telstar" by the Tornadoes hits #1 on the U.S. top 40 chart and stayed there for 3 weeks. (It was the first British group to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.)

In 1972 Joni Mitchell's album "For The Roses," containing the single "You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio," is certified gold.

In 1973 "Band On The Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings enters the U.S. albums chart.

In 1975 A suitcase with $85,000 in receipts is stolen from Ike & Tina Turner.

In 1976 Isaac Hayes ("Theme From Shaft") files for bankruptcy.

In 1976 The Doobie Brothers' LP "Best of the Doobies" goes platinum.

In 1977 Styx's album "The Grand Illusion" is certified platinum.

In 1978 Faces drummer Kenny Jones becomes the Who's new drummer after the death of Keith Moon, 4 months earlier.

In 1978 The stage version of Harry Nilsson's "The Point" opens in London with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz.

In 1979 Paul McCartney, the Who, Elvis Costello, the Clash and Rockpile appear at a 3-concert benefit series at London's Hammersmith Odeon for the People of Kampuchea.

In 1979 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen enters the U.S. top 40 chart.

In 1979 "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes hits #1 on the U.S. top 40 chart and stayed there 2 weeks.

In 1984 CBS Records announces plans for the release of Mick Jagger's first solo album, set for the following February.

In 1984 "Sugar Walls" by Sheena Easton enters the U.S. top 40 chart.

In 1984 "Like A Virgin" by Madonna hits #1 on the U.S. top 40 chart and stayed there for 6 weeks.

In 1986 Paul Simon's album "Graceland" is certified platinum.

In 1989 Edie Brickell makes her acting debut as a lounge singer in "Born On The 4th Of July."

In 1990 "All The Man That I Need" by Whitney Houston enters the U.S. top 40 chart.

In 1991 Gregg Allman makes his acting debut playing a drug dealer in the film "Rush."

In 1993 Michael Jackson, fighting back against child molestation allegations, issued a video statement in which he said he was "totally innocent of any wrongdoing."

In 1993 Wilson Picket is sentenced to probation for driving drunk two years earlier across the lawn of his neighbor: Englewood, NJ, Mayor Donald

In 1993 Ace of Base's single "The Sign" is released.

In 1994 One day after Snoop Doggy Dogg is busted on pot charges in Lake Charles, LA, five members of his entourage are arrested in fight at a riverboat casino hotel.

In 1994 Pearl Jam announces they'll sell tickets to their show through a mail-order service in order to avoid Ticketmaster, whom they accused of holding a monopoly on ticket sales.

In 1997 "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden is certified gold.

In 1998 James Brown holds his annual toy give-away for poor kids at the Imperial Theatre in Atlanta.

In 1999 Jessica Simpson's album "Sweet Kisses" is certified gold.

In 2000 Madonna and British film director Guy Ritchie get married in the Scottish Highlands.

In 2002 Joe Strummer, lead singer of The Clash, dies at age 50.

In 2014 British singer Joe Cocker, known for his cover of "With a Little  Help From My Friends," and the ballad "You Are So Beautiful," dies of lung cancer. He was 70.

Today In History...

In 1772 Moravian missionaries construct the first schoolhouse west of Allegheny.

In 1775 A Continental naval fleet is organized in the rebellious American colonies under the command of Ezek Hopkins.

In 1807 Congress passes the Embargo Act, seeking to force peace between Britain and France by cutting off all trade with Europe.

In 1864 During the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman sends a message to President Lincoln from Georgia, saying, "I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah."

In 1882 Ed Johnson switches on the first Christmas Tree with electric lights in his home in New York City.

In 1894 French army officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggers worldwide charges of anti-Semitism.

In 1919 The U.S. deports 250 alien radicals.

In 1941 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington for a wartime conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1944 During the World War II Battle of the Bulge, the Germans demand the surrender of encircled American soldiers at Bastogne, Belgium. U.S. soldiers hold out until other Allied forces arrived 4 days later.

In 1963 An official 30-day mourning period following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy ends.

In 1964 A Lockheed SR-71 spy aircraft reaches a record speed of 3,530 kph.

In 1971 The United Nations General Assembly votes to ratify the election of Kurt Waldheim to be secretary-general.

In 1977 3 dozen people are killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westego, Louisiana, explodes.

In 1982 The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is closed for two hours due to a severe storm and high winds.

In 1983 PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, driven into exile from Lebannon by Palestinian rebels, stops in Egypt, where he received a warm welcome from President Hosni Mubarak.

In 1984 In a case that draws national attention, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shoots and wounds 4 teenage boys on a Manhattan subway, after one of them approached him for five dollars.

In 1986 The experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, nears the end of its non-stop, round-the-world flight as it flew along Mexico's Pacific coast toward California.

In 1987 The Reagan administration criticizes Israel's handling of the Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories, particularly the military's use of live ammunition against civilians.

In 1988 Brazilian enviromentalist Francisco Mendes Filho is shot and killed.

In 1988 South Africa signs an agreement to end its 73-year control of Namibia.

In 1989 Romania's hard-line president, Nicolae Ceausescu, is toppled from power in a popular uprising.

In 1989 Playwright Samuel Beckett dies in Paris at age 83.

In 1991 21 sailors returning from shore leave to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Saratoga drowned when the Israeli ferry they were traveling on capsized.

In 1991 The body of Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage who had been murdered by his captors, is found dumped along a highway in Lebanon.

In 1992 A Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashes, killing 157 people.

In 1992 President-elect Clinton chooses Warren Christopher to be his secretary of state and tapped Les Aspin to be defense secretary.

In 1993 Russian President Boris Yeltsin promises not to abandon his free-market policies.

In 1994 North Korea hands over the body of American pilot David Hilemon, killed when his helicopter was shot down over the communist country three days earlier.

In 1994 House Democrats chastise Speaker-to-be Newt Gingrich for accepting a $4.5 million book advance from Rupert Murdoch.

In 1995 Actress Butterfly McQueen, who played the scatterbrained slave Prissy in "Gone With the Wind," dies at age 84.

In 1996 Peruvian guerrillas, holding more than 360 hostages at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, free all but 140 of their captives.

In 1996 Eight workers are killed in an explosion at the Wyman Gordon Forgings metal-fabricating plant in northwest Houston.

In 1997 Gunmen attack an Indian village in southern Mexico, killing 45.

In 1997 Actress Hunter Tylo, whose pregnancy got her fired from TV's "Melrose Place," is awarded $4.9 million for wrongful termination.

In 1998 A third Chinese dissident, Qin Yongmin, is sentenced to prison for trying to organize an opposition party.

In 2000 Defeated Missouri Senator John Ashcroft is chosen as nominee for attorney general in Bush administration.

In 2000 President Clinton grants clemency to 62 people, including former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, convicted of misuse of public funds.

In 2001 Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers.

In 2001 Hamid Karzai is sworn in as prime minister of Afghanistan.

In 2003 A 6.5 earthquake hit California's central coast, killing two people.

In 2017 The first full day of Winter.

Born On This Day...

In 1696 English general, James Oglethorpe (colonized Georgia)

In 1727 Attorney, William Ellery (signed the Declaration of Independence)

In 1856 U.S. Secretary of State, Frank Kellogg (1925-29, Nobel-1929)

In 1858 Italian operatic composer, Giacomo Puccini

In 1862 Baseball Hall-Of-Fame Manager, Connie Mack (Philadelphia A's)

In 1869 Poet, Edwin Arlington Robinson

In 1903 Biophysicist, H. Keffer Hartline (Nobel-1967) [d: 3-17-83]

In 1905 Poet/essayist, Kenneth Rexroth (Beat movement) [d: 6-6-82]

In 1907 Actress, Peggy Ashcroft (A Passage To India) [d: 6-14-91]

In 1911 Astronomer, Grote Reber (built first radio telescope) [d: 12-20-02]

In 1912 Claudia "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson [d: 7-11-07]

In 1914 Actor, Emil Sitka (The Three Stooges) [d: 1-16-98]

In 1917 Game show host, Gene Rayburn (Match Game) [d: 11-29-99]

In 1921 Country singer, Hawkshaw Hawkins (Ozark Jubilee) [d: 3-5-63]

In 1922 U.S. Speaker of the House, James C. Wright, Jr. (1987-89) [d: 5-6-15]

In 1922 Actress, Barbara Billingsley (June-Leave It To Beaver) [d: 10-17-10]

In 1926 Actress, Peggy Castle (Lily-The Lawman) [d: 8-11-73]

In 1926 Country singer/songwriter, Freddie Hart (Easy Loving) (91)

In 1934 Auto racer, David Pearson (3-time NASCAR champ) (83)

In 1936 Actor, Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope, Last Man Standing) (81)

In 1938 Country singer/songwriter, Red Steagall (79)

In 1944 Baseball player, Steve Carlton (Phillies) (73)

In 1944 Drummer, Barry Jenkins (Animals) (73)

In 1945 Broadcast journalist, Diane Sawyer (60 Minutes, Primetime Live) (72)

In 1948 Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Steve Garvey (Dodgers, Padres) (69)

In 1948 Singer/guitarist, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) (69)

In 1948 Actress/singer, Lynne Thigpen (FM, The District) [d: 3-12-03]

In 1949 Singer/bassist/songwriter, Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees) [d: 1-12-03]

In 1949 Singer/songwriter, Robin Gibb (Bee Gees) [d: 5-20-12]

In 1949 Football player, Ray Guy (Raiders) (68)

In 1951 Austalian golfer, Jan Stephenson (LPGA Rookie of the Year, 1974) (66)

In 1953 Actress, Bernnadette Stanis (Thelma-Good Times) (64)

In 1957 Talk show host/author, Susan Powter (Stop the Insanity) (60)

In 1957 Singer, Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue) (60)

In 1960 U.S. heavyweight boxer, Tyrell Biggs (Olympic-Gold-1984) (57)

In 1960 Rap singer, Luther Campbell (2 Live Crew) (57)

In 1960 Country singer/songwriter, Chuck Mead (BR5-49) (57)

In 1961 Actress, Catherine Oxenberg (Amanda-Dynasty) (56)

In 1962 Actor, Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Maid in Manhattan, Spectre) (55)

In 1968 Actress, Lauralee Bell (Cricket-Young & The Restless) (49)

In 1972 Singer/actress/model, Vanessa Paradis (White Wedding, Heartbreaker) (45)

In 1974 Actress, Heather Donahue (Blair Witch Project) (43)

In 1980 Actor, Chris Carmack (Luke Ward-The O.C.) (37)

In 1984 Actor, Greg Finley (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) (33)

In 1986 Actor, Jeffrey Wood (In The House, Sunset Beach) (31)

In 1989 Singer, Jordin Sparks (American Idol-Season 6) (28)

In 1993 Singer, Meghan Trainor ("All About That Bass") (24)

In 1995 Actor, Remy Thorne (First Strike, Miss March, Rubber) (22)

In 1998 Actress, G Hannelius (Den Brother, Dog with a Blog) (19)

In 2004 Actor, Bryce Gheisar (A Dog's Purpose, Wonder) (13)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Born On This Day...

In 1804 British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli (1874-80)

In 1823 Scientist, Jean Henri Fabre (insect anatomy and behavior studies)

In 1829 Teacher, Laura Bridgman (was blind, deaf and mute)

In 1859 French poet, Gustave Kahn (free verse)

In 1872 Children's author, Albert Payson Terhune

In 1874 Juan Bautista Sacasa, president of Nicaragua (1932-36)

In 1879 Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin (1922-53)

In 1889 Scientist/geneticist, Sewall Wright (population genetics)

In 1890 Geneticist, Hermann Joseph Mueller (artificially induced mutations)

In 1891 U.S. Speaker of the House, John W. McCormack (1962-70)

In 1892 Golf Hall-of-Famer, Walter C. Hagen

In 1904 Engineer, Francis Bacon (hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells) [d: 5-24-92]

In 1905 Author, Anthony Powell (March Of Time) [d: 3-28-00]

In 1908 Sylvester "Pat" Weaver (created Today & Tonight Shows) [d: 3-15-02]

In 1911 Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Josh Gibson (over 800 homeruns) [d: 1-20-47]

In 1917 German writer, Heinrich Boll (Group Portrait With Lady) [d: 7-16-85]

In 1918 U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Donald Regan (1981-85) [d: 6-10-03]

In 1918 U.N. secretary-general, Kurt Waldheim (1972-81) [d: 6-14-07]

In 1920 Songwriter, Luigi Creatore (Can't Help Falling In Love) [d: 12-13-15]

In 1922 Ventriloquist, Paul Winchell (Jerry Mahoney, Tigger) [d: 6-24-05]

In 1924 Football coach, Joe Paterno (Penn State) [d: 1-22-12]

In 1928 Actor, Ed Nelson (Peyton Place, Runaway Jury) [d: 8-9-14]

In 1934 Bandleader/composer, Hank Crawford [d: 1-29-09]

In 1935 Talk show host, Phil Donahue (Phil Donahue Show) (82)

In 1937 Actress/activist, Jane Fonda (Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home) (80)

In 1938 Actor, Larry Bryggman (John-As The World Turns) (79)

In 1940 Singer, Ray Hildebrand (Paul of Paul & Paula) (77)

In 1940 Singer/songwriter, Frank Zappa (Mothers of Invention) [d: 12-4-93]

In 1941 Actor, Jared Martin (Dusty-Dallas, War Of The Worlds) (76)

In 1943 Guitarist/songwriter, Albert Lee (The Crickets) (74)

In 1943 Actor, Jack Nance (Twin Peaks) [d: 12-30-96]

In 1944 Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas (New York Philharmonic) (73)

In 1946 Actor, Josh Mostel (City Slickers, Billy Madison, Big Daddy) (71)

In 1946 Guitarist/singer, Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) [d: 2-6-98]

In 1948 Actor, Barry Gordon (Gary-Archie Bunker's Place) (69)

In 1948 Actor, Samuel L. Jackson (A Time To Kill, Jackie Brown, Avengers) (69)

In 1948 Baseball player, Dave Kingman (Mets, Yankees, Giants) (69)

In 1952 Actor, Dennis Boutsikaris (Money Monster, Batteries Not Included) (65)

In 1953 Singer, Betty Wright (Cleanup Woman, Dance With Me) (64)

In 1954 Tennis player/commentator, Chris Evert (NBC) (63)

In 1955 Actress, Jane Kaczmarek (Paper Chase, Malcolm in the Middle) (62)

In 1956 Country singer, Lee Roy Parnell (61)

In 1957 Actress, Lisa Gerritsen (Bess-Mary Tyler Moore Show) (60)

In 1957 Actor, Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond, Mooseport) (60)

In 1959 Runner, Florence Griffith-Joyner (Olympic-3 Gold-1988) [d: 9-21-98]

In 1960 Baseball player/coach, Roger McDowell (Mets, Orioles) (57)

In 1960 Baseball player, Andrew Van Slyke (Mariners) (57)

In 1962 Country singer, Christy Forester (Forester Sisters) (55)

In 1965 Actor, Andy Dick (NewsRadio, Less Than Perfect) (52)

In 1965 Actress, Danielle Von Zerneck (General Hospital) (52)

In 1966 Actor, Kiefer Sutherland (A Few Good Men, 24, Designated Survivor) (51)

In 1966 Actress, Karri Turner (Lt. Harriet Boumont Sims Roberts-Jag) (51)

In 1968 Actor, Khrystyne Haje (Simone-Head of the Class) (49)

In 1969 Actress, Julie Delpy (Killing Zoe, Crime & Punishment) (48)

In 1970 Singer, Delious Kennedy (All 4 One) (47)

In 1971 Singer, Natalie Grant ("Held," "Alive") (46)

In 1971 Singer/guitarist, Brett Scallions (Fuel) (46)

In 1974 Australian golfer, Karrie Webb (43)

In 1978 Actor, Michael Anthony Vitar (The Mighty Ducks) (39)

In 1982 Actor, Tom Payne (The Walking Dead) (35)

In 1982 Country singer, Luke Stricklin (35)

In 1983 Actor, Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) (34)

In 1986 Actress, Kaitlyn Dever (Last Man Standing, Bad Teacher) (31)

In 1992 Football player, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Packers) (25)

In 1992 Rap singer, Anth Melo ("I Love It," "Take It Off") (25)

In 2003 Singer, Lexi Drew (L2M) (14)

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Mindy Kaling Gives Birth to First Child, Welcomes Daughter Katherine Kaling. Congrats to Mindy Kaling! E! News has exclusively learned that the 38-year-old actress welcomed her first child, a baby girl named Katherine Kaling on Dec. 15. Back in July, E! News learned that Kaling was pregnant with her first child and that it was "an unexpected surprise." She broke her silence about her pregnancy the following month, saying on NBC's Today show that she is "really excited" to become a mom. "I'd like to be the fun mom, I know I'm gonna be the dorky mom," she added. "So if I can be kind of fun too, I think that would be nice." Kaling, who is notoriously private, has not revealed the identity of her baby's father. She is not currently publicly linked to anyone romantically. "My professional life is the only thing that I feel I have a lot of control over -- romantic stuff is a little bit more mysterious," she told American Way magazine in an interview published in September. Also that month, Kaling's Mindy Project co-stars spilled the beans about the sex of her child. The actress confirmed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October that she was expecting a girl. "I am not waiting," the actress told Ellen DeGeneres. "I wanted to know way early." Kaling's Wrinkle in Time movie co-star Oprah Winfrey had also talked to the press about her baby. "At first it was like, 'OK, if anyone was going to announce big news about your private life, Oprah Winfrey is the person,'" she said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "You can't complain that much about it. You also can't be like, 'Hey, Oprah, zip it.' Because she's almost like a religious figure." "I actually thought, 'Well, OK, if there's one person I have to tell my daughter about that revealed her existence to the world, Oprah's pretty good," Kaling added. "At a certain point, I was like, you can't take it back, so I thought -- there are worse things." (Eonline)

Eva Longoria Is Pregnant! Actress Expecting First Child With Husband Jose Bastón. There's about to be a new addition to the Longoria household! Eva Longoria and husband Jose Bastón are expecting a baby boy, her rep confirms to E! News. This will be the couple's first child together. Longoria has been open about wanting to have children of her own -- she has also praised being a stepmother to her husband's three children from a previous marriage -- in past interviews. "If it happens, it happens, if it's meant to be it would be a blessing," she told Ocean Drive magazine last year. And even earlier than that, the 42-year-old explained how neither she nor her hubby feel as though they've been missing out on certain aspects of parenthood simply because they hadn't had a child of their own. "[My stepchildren] have been such a gift in my life," she told People. "I don't feel like we're lacking because we don't have a baby." But now it seems that the husband and wife have been blessed (four times over!) by the news that Longoria is expecting her first bundle of joy in the coming months. After her whirlwind wedding in May 2016, E! News caught up with the star to get some inside details on her special day. "[Our wedding] was so magical. We had so much fun as you can see from all the posts from everybody," she told us at the premiere of her new movie Lowriders. "It was the funniest wedding I had ever been to. I'm glad it was mine." Congratulations to Longoria and Bastón on their pregnancy news which is bound to be just as (if not more) magical! HOLA! was first to break the news. (Eonline)

New parents Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova are going all Donald Trump to make their Miami mansion a fortress of privacy for their twins. We broke the story ... Anna gave birth to the twins, a boy and a girl, and while she was secretly pregnant, the couple started building a huge 16-foot-tall wall around their Miami home. Construction started in late summer, deep into Anna's 2nd trimester. According to city building permits, they're also adding a 2-story single family residence to their property -- along with baby-proofing measures, like a "child barrier for pools." The wall makes sense. Privacy is totally Enrique and Anna's M.O. -- since they clearly went through a whole pregnancy without anyone ever knowing. The docs say the home makeover will cost $600k when it's all said and done. (TMZ)

Lala Kent isn't keeping her married man a secret anymore. In exclusive photos and video obtained by Page Six, the "Vanderpump Rules" star, 27, can be seen kissing Hollywood producer Randall Emmett at a FabFitFun event at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills on Dec. 7. "They were side by side the whole time, but they weren't doing the PDA snuggly thing," an insider told Page Six of the pair. "They didn't leave each other's side." Emmett, 46, is the executive producer of "Power." He is married to actress Ambyr Childers, who starred in "Ray Donovan." The couple has two children. "He was definitely being more cautious than her," the insider said. "They weren't being shy about [their relationship]. Even when they left, they were together but he was still two feet in front of her. She was hugging people and taking photos when she was leaving." (Page Six)

Janet Jackson Is 'Back Together' With Jermaine Dupri. As Janet Jackson wrapped the United States leg of her State of the World tour on December 17, she was also rejoicing in new beginnings. During the show's after party in Atlanta, the five-time Grammy winner was joined by a surprise guest: Jermaine Dupri. A source tells Us Weekly exclusively: "They were cuddled up and holding hands." Eight years after Jackson, 51, and the music producer, 45, ended their seven-year romance, they're picking up right where they left off. As the insider tells Us, "They are 100 percent back together and in love." Jackson's escapade started after her tumultuous April split from husband Wissam Al Mana, father to her 11-month-old son, Eissa. When the singer was with Al Mana, she and Dupri "had zero communication -- she would not talk to him," notes the insider. So when she ended their marriage, "Jermaine reached out," says the source. "They are getting to know each other all over again." Dupri recently raved exclusively to Us Weekly about his ex's tour. "I haven't seen [it]. But I have seen a couple clips from the show," the rapper said at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The 90s Game Changers event in Hollywood in September. "The tour looks good." Following their 2009 split, Jackson gushed over her former love. "Jermaine is one of my best friends," she told Atlanta's The Bert Show at the time. "I love him to death. We're still connected. We're still good friends. We still talk." "We're there for one another," she continued. "I think it will remain that way for the rest of my life." (US Weekly)

How Battling Cancer Changed Val Kilmer's Perspective on Fame. Val Kilmer is opening up about his two-year fight against throat cancer and how it's changed his outlook on life. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 57-year-old actor admitted he was "too serious" about having an A-list career. "I'd get upset when things like Oscars and recognition failed to come my way," he told the magazine. However, his perspective changed when he received his cancer diagnosis. Shortly after, his daughter Mercedes, 26, was involved in a car accident, leaving her in the hospital with her father. "I was just, you know, miserable, distraught, sitting next to these two," Kilmer's 22-year-old son Jack told THR. Rumors of Kilmer's health problems started spreading in 2015. The Kiss Kiss Bang Bang star denied having a tumor in January 2015. His rep had previously told E! News the actor was "undergoing tests" for a "possible tumor" at a Los Angeles hospital. Kilmer emerged from the hospital two weeks later after experiencing an undisclosed "complication." He then denied having a tumor a second time in October of that year. "There's a rumor I'm unwell again and in hospital which is totally untrue," part of his Facebook post at the time read. "I was in to verify I have no tumor or infection of any kind which was verified by the very caring experts at UCLA." Michael Douglas also fueled the rumors when he reportedly suggested Kilmer had cancer in 2016. Kilmer responded to the comments on Facebook and called his co-star from The Ghost and the Darkness "misinformed." But in April, Kilmer said he "did have a healing cancer" and that his "tongue is still swollen altho healing all the time." According to THR, Kilmer has undergone chemotherapy to fight the cancer. And while the Top Gun actor's perspective on fame has changed, he still has strong ambitions. "I would like to have more Oscars than anybody," he said. "Meryl Streep must feel pretty good, you know? It must feel nice to know that everyone loves her. It's about being loved." To read the full interview, check out The Hollywood Reporter's Dec. 18 "Hollywood Legacies" issue. (Eonline)

Jessica Chastain is standing by former E! News host Catt Sadler, who told PEOPLE exclusively on Tuesday she had left the network after learning that her male co-host Jason Kennedy earned "double" her salary and had been "for several years." "It's almost insulting because you know you work really hard," Sadler, 43, said of the decision to leave her job of nearly 12 years. "I'm a single mom of two kids [sons Arion Boyd, 12, and Austin Boyd, 16]. I've given my all to this network. I've sacrificed time away from my family and I have dedicated my entire career to this network. And when you learn something like that, it makes you feel very small and underappreciated and undervalued. It's heartbreaking." Learning of the story on Twitter, where Sadler had linked to an entry on her personal website TheCattwalk.com about her exit, Chastain stood firmly on Sadler's side. "WOW this is so disappointing," the two-time Oscar nominee wrote. "When are companies like @e_entertainment going to understand that women should be paid fairly. 1/2 of her male counterpart is not appropriate." It's not the first time Chastain has used her voice to fight for the cause. She had long been an advocate for equality of women in the workplace, even banding together with Hollywood hotshots Queen Latifah, Frieda Pinto, Juliette Binoche, Ziyi Zhang and Twilight director Catherine Hardwick to form a non-profit production company dedicated to women empowerment called We Do It Together. "There's no excuse," Chastain told Variety in October 2016. "There's no reason why [an actress] should be doing a film with other actors and get paid less than her male costars. It's completely unfair. It's not right. It's been happening for years and years and years. I think it's brave to talk about it. I think everyone should talk about it." "I'm working hard to break free of stereotypes that the film industry has created and nurtured around women," she told Town & Country in their December/January issue. "If I'm in a situation where I have equal experience to the actor and my role is just as significant, there is no reason why I should be paid less. It's not really part of my world anymore, because I just won't accept it." Sadler began working at E! News in 2006, the same year as Kennedy, and has gone on to serve as a red carpet correspondent and anchor shows like the two-hour live daytime talk show, The Daily Pop. She told PEOPLE Tuesday she had attempted to negotiate a higher salary with E! News after learning that network executives wanted to extend her deal. Although Sadler was hopeful that she would be able to extend her contract, "not only did [E!] refuse to pay me as much as my male counterpart, but they didn't come close -- nowhere close, not even remotely close." In a statement to PEOPLE, an E! spokesperson said on behalf of the network and Kennedy, "E! compensates employees fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender. We appreciate Catt Sadler's many contributions at E! News and wish her all the best following her decision to leave the network." While the decision to part ways from the place she has called home for more than a decade was a difficult one, Sadler is focused on "this obligation that I now have, which very much informed my decision that I too have to be an agent of change." "If I stay and do the easy thing, I don't serve myself and I don't serve every other female in the world. It's like I now feel inspired and empowered by these women before me who refused to be silent," she said, referencing Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou. "And I now join them in what I believe to be a very important movement towards creating change." (People)

Country star Michael Ray's definitely NOT singing "I'm Lovin' It" ... after a minor collision at McDonald's got him busted for DUI and drugs. The Eustis PD was called to McDonald's just after 3 AM Wednesday in Florida after Michael's 2012 Jeep hit the car in front of him while waiting in a drive-thru line. According to the police report, obtained by TMZ, cops say Michael told them his foot slipped off the pedal. Cops say Michael had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, reeked of alcohol and he stumbled when he got out of the car. Cops say he told them he was coming from a bar. They conducted a series of sobriety tests, which cops say Michael bombed. He was arrested for DUI and felony possession of weed oil, which cops say they found while searching him. Michael's expected to be released from jail soon. We've reached out to Michael's reps, so far no word back. (TMZ)

Sylvester Stallone is ready to demand police investigate a woman who, he's been told, filed a report claiming he raped her 27 years ago ... TMZ has learned. Stallone's attorney, Marty Singer, tells us he believes the woman recently filed a false police report with Santa Monica PD. Singer says this all started more than a month ago when a media outlet, not TMZ, informed him the woman was alleging Stallone raped her in 1990 in his Santa Monica office. Stallone denies the allegation. He admits he had spent 3 days with her during a 1987 movie shoot in Israel. He was single, she was not a minor and he says there was never a rape. He also denies he saw her at all in 1990. Sources with direct knowledge tell us the media outlet that contacted Singer refused to publish the woman's story due to a lack of corroborating evidence, and because, at that time, she had not filed a police report -- not in 1990, and not at any time since then. We're told the woman finally did file a police report with Santa Monica PD in mid-November. However, the media outlet still did not publish. Our sources say it appears she filed the report in an effort to get the story out to the public, but failed. However, Singer says a different reporter called him Tuesday and stated, definitively, that the woman -- who sources say was once married to a convicted killer-for-hire -- had now filed a police report. Singer says he contacted Santa Monica PD late Tuesday night to confirm the report, but the investigations division was closed. He tells us IF he confirms Wednesday morning she did indeed go to police and accuse Stallone of rape -- Stallone WILL file a complaint requesting she be investigated for filing a false police report. (TMZ)

McKayla Maroney wants convicted molester Dr. Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics to pay for the hell they put her through ... according to a new lawsuit. The Olympic gymnast blames Michigan State University for hiring Nassar when they knew he was a child molester. According to the suit, she's also pissed USA Gymnastics forced her to sign a confidentiality and non-disparagement clause as part of her settlement with Team USA. She says they were silencing her, and she only agreed to sign it because she was in a desperate situation. McKayla says she needed the money in Dec. 2016 to pay for psychological treatment to recover from the trauma caused by Nassar. As we've reported ... McKayla says Nassar molested her with his un-gloved hand before competitions. He was convicted earlier this month of criminal sexual misconduct and possession of child pornography. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison for the child porn conviction. He is still awaiting sentencing for the assault convictions. At least 78 women filed a very similar lawsuit against Nassar, MSU and USA Gymnastics. (TMZ)

Heather North -- the long-running voice of Daphne Blake in the classic cartoon, "Scooby-Doo" -- has died. The actress passed away late last month. A report says she died at her home in Studio City following a long illness. Heather first voiced the famous character in the second season's premiere in 1970. She went on to voice Daphne all the way through 2003. Heather also had roles in "Days of Our Lives," The Barefoot Executive," "Mr. Novak," and "The Fugitive." She was married to H. Wesley Kenney, the Emmy-winning producer whom she met on "Days of Our Lives." Kenney died in 2015. A memorial service is set for Wednesday at 11:30 AM at First Christian Church in Studio City, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported Heather's death. She was 71. #RIP. (TMZ)

Reggie 'Combat Jack' Osse dead at 48. Hip-hop has lost one of its most important voices. Attorney-turned-podcast host Reggie "Combat Jack" Osse has died at age 48 from colon cancer, reports Hot 97. Osse was the host of the famous podcast "The Combat Jack Show" and had an array of influential guests from Russell Simmons to RZA and more. Members of the hip-hop and Hollywood communities have been tweeting their reactions and condolences. Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg shared, "Hip Hop has lost one of its most important historians and voices... we had serious ups and downs but I was so happy we had made things good... Rest In Peace to my friend Combat Jack... " Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee expressed her condolences adding, "Lost for words right now. My prayers to the beautiful children and family @Combat_Jack leaves." Actress Naturi Naughton, who stars on "Power" and played in "Notorious," tweeted, "My heart is so heavy. We lost @Combat_Jack & he was truly one of the great ones! Thank you... " In October, Osse announced he was diagnosed with colon cancer, adding, "I got hit with some real life sh-t." He underwent surgery and chemo treatment and encouraged everyone to "take care of your health." Funeral arrangements have not be announced. (PageSix)

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Prince Harry Gets a Promotion Ahead of His Wedding to Meghan Markle. Next year is already shaping up pretty well for Prince Harry! Not only has he set his May 19 wedding date with Meghan Markle, but he's also just received news of a big promotion. After 64 years, Prince Philip has stepped down from his role as the Captain General of the Royal Marines, handing the duties over to Harry with Queen Elizabeth II's approval. "The Queen has been pleased to give her formal approval to the appointment of His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales as Captain General Royal Marines," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. Philip was given the honorable role of Captain General in 1953 after King George VI's death. Meanwhile, Philip announced his retirement last May and carried out his final public engagement with the Royal Marines. On Aug. 2, he attended a parade at Buckingham Palace to mark the Royal Marines 1664 Global Challenge. It was the last of his 22,219 solo official engagements, carried out since 1952. We're certain Prince Harry will follow properly in suit! (Eonline)

Meghan Markle Joins Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton for Her First Christmas Lunch With Queen Elizabeth II. To grandmother's house we go! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended Queen Elizabeth II's annual pre-Christmas luncheon at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. The royal was photographed driving his fiancee to the event. The bride-to-be wore a black and white dress by the British brand Self Portrait, as well as diamond earrings by the Canadian company Birks. Her future husband opted for a formal suit and tie. Prince William was also photographed driving his wife Kate Middleton to the luncheon. Their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte rode along in the back seat with their nanny. Still, these weren't the only royals to attend. The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla and Prince Charles also attended the event as did Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Princess and Prince Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra. They were joined by Katherine, Duchess of Kent and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. The Queen traditionally hosts the luncheon before departing for her private Sandringham estate, where she'll celebrate the holidays. While Harry is surely glad to spend the holidays with his bride, it isn't customary. Markle is the first royal fiancee to celebrate Christmas with the royal family. Royal admirers may recall how Kate only spent the holidays with William after they tied the knot in April 2011. However, the royal family surprised us all when it was revealed the former Suits star was the special guest at the Queen's staff Christmas party last week. Harry also attended the event held at Windsor Castle. In addition, a Kensington Palace spokesperson confirmed Markle will spend Christmas with the royal family at Sandringham. It's been a busy week for the couple. On Tuesday, Harry was promoted to Captain General Royal Marines -- taking over the role from Prince Philip. Markle was also dubbed Woman of the Year by Hello! magazine. The two are scheduled to tie the knot on May 19, 2018 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. (Eonline)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Broadway? Rachel Bloom Is Actively "Pursuing It." If Rachel Bloom has her way, Broadway could get a whole lot crazier. The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator and star told Variety she has a Broadway musical written titled Broadway Crazy -- but that's not the only crazy idea: She's actively looking at bringing the story of Rebecca Bunch and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to stage. "We are actively looking into it and pursuing it," Bloom told Variety about bringing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Broadway. This would be after the CW series wraps. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is in season three now and Bloom has been open about her desire to do four seasons of the show. "It's four at most. It's a series that lives in being finite," Bloom previously told E! News. "It's because [co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna] is a screenwriter. She was like, 'I just want to map out the whole series.' We spent months just marinating the characters and really mapping it out. Our ratings aren't amazing, so I don't think CW would be like, 'Please give us 10 seasons!' It works to our advantage in that sense." She echoed those sentiments to Variety as well and revealed details of her other musical. And then there's Broadway Crazy, which she describes as Thoroughly Modern Millie meets 42nd Street. "Basically, it's about a girl who escaped from a mental institution, this takes place in the '20s, to become a Broadway star," she said. But there are a lot of similarities between Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Broadway Crazy, specifically the main character's penchant for burning things down, so would she have to change Broadway Crazy or just acknowledge, "well this is going to be a lot of the same s -- t"? Movies have a long history of becoming musicals on stage, but TV shows are another story. Currently SpongeBob SquarePants is on Broadway and NBC has been working on bringing Smash's in-series musical Bombshell to Broadway since 2015. "There is a still a lot of love for Smash and a rabid fan base out there, and we're thrilled to be able to keep the dream alive as we work towards bringing Bombshell to theatre audiences," Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement. "Smash was ambitious because every episode was a complicated musical for television and we also built the foundation of the musical-within-the-musical about Marilyn's endlessly fascinating and tumultuous life. Over the course of two seasons an entire Bombshell score was written to service Smash storylines, and now that show will have a chance to stand on its own." Would you see Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Broadway? Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Fridays, 8 p.m. on The CW. (Eonline)

Neil Patrick Harris does weddings. Neil Patrick Harris is available for weddings. We hear that at a party for the star's Modern Luxury cover, he was overheard joking to the mag's recently engaged VP James Aguiar and fiance Mark Haldeman, that "they should do a pop-up ceremony right there at the party and that he would officiate," says a spy. Bergdorf Goodman's Linda Fargo "interjected that she was already getting her license to do the honors." Also at the bash at Mr. Chow were designer Todd Snyder and Alex Lundqvist. Magician Jonathan Bayme kept guests entertained. (TMZ)

Hugh Jackman is just crazy about his wife. The actor opened up about his 21-year marriage to wife Deborra-lee Furness during the latest edition of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on People TV), saying one of the reasons he loves their relationship so much is because they formed their bond before the Wolverine star became famous. "One of the great pieces of fortune in my career, it started late, but that Deb and I were already set together, a team, madly in love, like literally before it all happened," Jackman tells PEOPLE's editor-in-chief Jess Cagle. "We can kind of see all the ups and downs for what they are. Our priority is our family, and we're there for each other no matter what." The Greatest Showman actor, 49, says he actively reminds himself that he wouldn't be where he is today without his wife. Calling Furness, 62, his "rock," Jackman says he always makes his wife a priority -- no matter what the occasion may be. "Even at the Oscars, I walk out, I put my hand on my heart and I always look to Deb in the audience," he says. "Straight afterwards, I will not see anybody in my dressing room until Deb's been in. Because that is my foundation, that is the rock, that is the foundation of our family, and therefore my life." The couple met on the set of the Australian drama Correlli in 1995 and have two kids together, Oscar, 17, and Ava, 12. Jackman says that while his career may hit highs and lows, he can always count on his wife and family to be there for him. "Underneath the surface where it's real, and where it's still and where it's deep, that is the love I have with Deb." The Greatest Showman opens Dec. 20. (People)

Jane Fonda was fêted at a "pre-celebration" for her upcoming 80th birthday, sources tell Page Six, at the chic Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, home of former White House decorator Michael S. Smith and his partner, former Ambassador to Spain and Andorra James Costos. In a toast to Fonda, whose birthday is Thursday, Smith declared, "80 is the new 20" to roaring applause from a crowd that included Sally Field, Brie Larson, Diane Keaton and Marcia Gay Harden. Other guests at the party with music by buzzy jazz singer Chris Norton and DJ Rashida included Chelsea Handler, Jon Hamm, Lauren Hutton, Lisa Kudrow, Maria Shriver, Michael Patrick King, Rashida Jones, Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen, Rosanna Arquette, Wanda Sykes, architect Frank Gehry and former pol Barbara Boxer. Smith and Costos' cocktail menu for the occasion included "Holiday Sidecars" made with Remy 1738, as well as ginger mint rickeys, cava from Barcelona, Spain, and 3 Kilos Gold vodka. Partygoers noshed on a feast of roast beef tenderloin, salmon and zucchini cakes, black truffle and Parmesan pasta, root vegetable gratin, balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate salad. (Page Six)

Phaedra Parks is having a good ole fashioned French provincial sale ... which has less to do with 18th Century Paree, than it does 21st Century ATL. "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star's unloading her 4-bedroom, 6 bath home which she bought in 2013 for $845k. Phaedra could be turning a nice profit since she's listed it for $1.195 million. That's the bargain price, too -- she initially put it on the market in July for $1.499 mil. The pad has a pool, nice yard and a sweet covered patio area for chilling through hot ATL summers. As for why Phaedra's bolting -- we're told she has another home in Atlanta. So, this beautiful spread was just her backup. Nice. (TMZ)

Could Chris Martin Be Walking Gwyneth Paltrow Down the Aisle at Her Next Wedding? We're on rumor patrol! Gwyneth Paltrow and boyfriend Brad Falchuk are reportedly engaged, and rumors have been swirling that she wants her ex-husband Chris Martin to walk her down the aisle. Sounds kind of insane but could it be true? Before you freak out, this rumor is definitely false. Gwyneth has made no public plans regarding her nuptials, and it seems no matter how conscious their uncoupling, they're definitely not that chummy. (Eonline)

The UFC is talking to Floyd Mayweather about a REAL fight in the octagon ... with Dana White saying it's a "realistic possibility." "We're talking to Floyd about doing a UFC deal," White told ESPN. "It's real. He was talking about [boxing] Conor McGregor. Was that real? Have you heard Floyd talk about many things that aren't real? He usually tips his hand when he's in the media and then that sh*t ends up happening." White added, "We're interested in doing something with Floyd. Everything is a realistic possibility. Mayweather vs. McGregor f*cking happened. Anything is possible." (TMZ)

Air Force Veteran Granted Dying Wish to See Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Star Wars superfan Ron Villemaire didn't need the power of The Force to fulfill his dying wish; just the kindness of strangers. The 69-year-old air force veteran and cancer patient, who is in hospice care in New Hampshire, wanted to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was released last week. His daughter, Elizabeth Natalie Louise Ngo, bought tickets for a showing but he was unable to attend due to pain. WMUR-TV reported. Ron, who has been a fan of Star Wars since the first movie was released in 1977, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer earlier this year and has undergone chemotherapy and radiation. So Elizabeth started promoting the hashtag #RonsLastJedi, tweeting at Disney, which owns the franchise, and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. The campaign caught the attention of a couple of local fire departments and the family was also interviewed by WMUR-TV. On Saturday, Ron's wish was granted. It started with a bedside visit from a man dressed as Darth Vader, who told him, "Ron Villemaire. You have been summoned by the Emperor." First responders then transported him via ambulance to a theater, where members of Star Wars fan clubs and the 501st New England Garrison, a unit of the 501st Legion, greeted him sporting Star Wars costumes and props. He and his family were then treated to a private screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. "I hope God will bless each and every one of them just the way I feel blessed right now. He's definitely with me right now," Ron told WMUR-TV. "It's just unbelievable all these people are here, and thank God for Star Wars fans!" "This, I'll tell you right now, is my favorite movie so far," Ron told FrameofMindPhoto.com, adding that he gives Star Wars: The Last Jedi five out of five stars. "I loved it too although I must admit I was worried about his comfort so I missed a lot," Elizabeth tweeted. "It's ok I know I can see it down the road. I was just He was so happy. I couldn't stop looking at his reaction. He yelled at the screen a lot lol." "It was incredible. We are so blessed," she added. "We don't know how long we have, but we'll always have these memories." (Eonline)

'JEOPARDY!' HOST ALEX TREBEK Tells Contestant Her Job Must've Been Hard ... CUZ SHE'S A WOMAN. Answer -- These 3 words don't need to be said when asking a female "Jeopardy!" contestant to describe her military experience. What is "For a woman?" Correct! Unfortunately, Alex Trebek did NOT nail that one on Tuesday night's episode. While interviewing Lisa Beth Davis about being a retired Army Master Sergeant, he made what came off as pretty sexist commentary. To her credit, MSgt. Davis took it all in stride and handled it like a pro. Too bad she finished second -- would've loved to see Alex chat with her the second time around. (TMZ)

Music

Donald Fagen Discusses the Future of Steely Dan in First Interview Since Walter Becker's Death. Donald Fagen has given his first in-depth interview since the death of Steely Danco-founder Walter Becker back in September. On Rolling Stone's Music Now podcast, Fagen reveals that he had hoped to record another Steely Dan album, but Becker wasn't interested. "Walter had some health problems, and especially after 2011-12, I think just being ill for so long, he had a little bit of a personality change and he was much more isolated, and he kinda wasn't that interested in working on Steely Dan records anymore," Fagen says. "It also might have to do with the specter of doing an album that would be on the same standard that we did previously. Maybe that scared him a little bit, or maybe he didn't have the energy. I did ask him once in a while if he wanted to do something -- and he'd usually say, 'Yeah, sure,' but then he wouldn't call me or whatever, so it was obvious that he lost some of the enthusiasm." Since Becker's passing, Fagen has continued to tour with the rest of the live band under the name Steely Dan, but he doesn't necessarily want to keep doing that. "I would actually prefer to call it Donald Fagen and the Steely Dan Band or something like that," he says before explaining that promoters have insisted that he call it Steely Dan for commercial reasons. "That's an ongoing debate. To me, Steely Dan was just me and Walter, really -- it was like a concept we had together." (Billboard)

Khalid & Imagine Dragons Release Booming Medley Of 'Thunder/Young Dumb & Broke'. "American Teen" singer Khalid has teamed up with alt-rock maverick band Imagine Dragons for a mash-up of their respective smashes "Thunder" and "Young Dumb & Broke." The song was released digitally on Tuesday (Dec. 19) after the two acts recently performed the medley at the American Music Awards in November. The track begins bare, with booming kick drums, a crisp snare, rattling hi-hats and Khalid's warm vocals. But less than a minute in it swiftly transitions into the familiar boombing strains of "Thunder," with Imagine Dragons lead vocalist Dan Reynolds taking the driver's seat, leading the song into a chorus which intermixes both tunes seamlessly. The monster mash-up caps a strong musical year for both Khalid and Imagine Dragons, with both nominated for Grammys. "Thunder" remains at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, after having spent 33 weeks charting; the single peaked at No. 4. Khalid's "Young Dumb & Broke" peaked at No. 22 on the Hot 100, spending 22 weeks on the charts. Imagine Dragons have established a reputation for performing unexpected medleys, having also previously recorded and performed a mash-up of "M.A.A.D. City" and "Radioactive" with Kendrick Lamar at the 2014 Grammy awards show. (Billboard)

Katy Perry Teases Marie Antoinette-Style 'Hey Hey Hey' Video. "Katy-Claus is coming down ur chimney," the singer promises. Christmas is coming early for Katy Kats. Katy Perry began teasing the video for the fourth single from her Witness album on Tuesday (Dec. 19), with a series of Marie Antoinette-themed stills that suggest fans will get an elaborate "Hey Hey Hey" video on Wednesday (Dec. 20). An eagle-eyed Kat spotted Perry on the set of the clip last month and now we have proof courtesy of the singer in a series of pics in which she's in full towering wig, hoop skirt and beauty mark regalia. One of the sneak looks has Perry wearing one of her eyeball-themed Witness stage outfits while surrounded by courtiers with the promise "TOMORROW." At press time the posts had collectively racked up nearly two million views. The posts also include a brief preview of the video -- time-stamped Nov. 4-5 -- in which we see Perry goofing on set in a short black bob wig and some behind the scenes looks at the filming of the clip. "Katy-claus is coming down ur chimney tomorrow with a visual gift ok," she wrote. (Billboard)

Jani Lane's estate is screwing Jani Lane's ex-managers out of the dough they earned by selling off his catalog for a shockingly high price ... according to the lawsuit they just filed. The late Warrant frontman's managers -- Just Having Fun Productions -- filed the suit, claiming Jani's estate has yet to pay them some heft commissions. According to the suit, the managers engineered a deal to sell a chunk of Jani's music to a publishing company. The deal was worth $3.75 million, and in the suit the managers say they're entitled to 15% of that amount ... which is $562k. However, they say they offered the estate a discount ... a mere 12.5% ... but still haven't gotten paid. Jani died in 2011 from alcohol poisoning. Just Having Fun is suing for fraud and breach of contract, and they're no longer offering that discount. They want the full $562k. By the way ... gotta give 'em props for getting nearly $4 mil for the catalog. How many times can ya play "Heaven" and "Cherry Pie?" (TMZ)

Movies

Star Wars 'Last Jedi' Toy Shipments Down Sharply From 'Force Awakens'. Retailers are trying to gain a sense of "what the steady state" of product for the franchise is, an analyst says. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a hit, but The Force may not be as strong for Disney when it comes to merchandise sales this year. Panjiva, a data company that tracks the giant shipping containers that arrive at U.S. ports, says 6,587 of them with Star Wars gear were shipped in the seven months leading up to The Last Jedi, but that's down 47?percent from the seven months leading to Rogue One in 2016 and off 56 percent from the same time period ahead of The Force Awakens in 2015. Once the containers land in the U.S., these products go to Walmart, Amazon.com and every other retailer. Panjiva research analyst Chris Rogers says that part of the problem is the recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by Toys R Us, which not only has the giant retailer ordering less product but has spooked the industry. Also, retailers are trying to gain a sense of "what the steady state" of Star Wars product is, as 2015's The Force Awakens was the first, and therefore a curiosity, after a 10-year hiatus since Revenge of the Sith. Consumer Products and Interactive Media is Disney's smallest segment, but it can little afford another disappointment after reporting operating income of $373 million, a 12 percent decline, in the most recent quarter because of weak sales of Cars 3 toys. Nearly 80 percent of this year's Star Wars haul hails from China. The containers are about half the size of a big semitruck, and each one can hold about 6,000 Stormtrooper action figures, which happen to be among the biggest products this year. Adds Rogers, "Hasbro ships Stormtroopers by the container-full." Other product, according to the bills of lading, include: "Star Wars Space Punch" (a drink); "Star Wars Handbags" from Loungefly; "Star Wars Chewbacca Pillows" (mostly headed for Kohls); and, for Disney theme parks, "Star Wars Glow Ears." And, of course, there are lots of Legos, including the $800 Millennium Falcon. Legos, in fact, might be the only Star Wars-related toy that ships as much this year as in previous ones, as Panjiva's data doesn't include Lego shipments driven in from Mexico, which is increasingly common for that particular product. Sometimes, says Rogers, it takes a little investigative work to glean exactly what's inside the shipping containers. For example, the Sphero BB8 electronic toy that has been popular since the droid was introduced in The Force Awakens is labeled: "Robotic Ball." While sales of the merchandise may not stack up compared to the past few Christmases, the movie will do its traditional massive business. Eric Wold of B. Riley FBR estimates The Last Jedi will generate domestic box office of $785 million, off a respectable 16 percent from the $937 million generated by The Force Awakens two years ago. "Merchandise is falling back, but it doesn't mean Disney won't make a killing," says Rogers. (Hollywood Reporter)

'Bright' Screenwriter Max Landis: No, My Dad Didn't Give Me My Big Break. The hot screenwriter gets candid about his "complicated" relationship with director father John Landis and how his upbringing helped him get ahead (it's less than haters think). A lot of people I know whose parents are powerful and famous go out of their way to present themselves as an underdog. I feel bad presenting myself as a wounded underdog because I'm never going to seem that way to someone who's at film school in Wisconsin. But my story is a little bit complicated because I had a poor relationship with my parents. I had emotional problems and significant learning disabilities -- something called dysgraphia, where I cannot write with my hand. It's like written dyslexia. When I try to write with my hand it comes out in these garbled hieroglyphics that are incredibly hard to read. The letters stack on top of each other. I also have a lot of emotional problems. I had a lot of anxiety as a kid and it was very stressful for my parents. They are big personalities, and they weren't ready for this nut job to fly into their lives. They worked very hard with the school systems to try to make an environment where I could succeed. Even with all their work, I failed. I was horribly depressed. And I ended up at a special education school in Connecticut, and my parents were very much the enemy in my mind. I always loved writing. By the time I was 20, I had written about 24 scripts -- not good scripts, but a lot of them -- and that led to me reconnecting with my dad. His career had mostly slowed down, and he was not really in a position to feed me the world, but at the same time, there is never a day that I don't feel tremendously lucky. What is always interesting to me is how many people who were raised in the industry with way more powerful parents than I had, like Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams, and it's not brought up because their parents weren't famous. My first "break" came from an agent, David Kopple, who read a script of mine called Hometown Hero. He didn't say, "I'm your agent now." He said, "You should meet with some management companies," which someone who sent a blind submission could have done. But I am not blind to my privileges, not just being from a Hollywood family but also being an upper-class white guy in Los Angeles -- and the name didn't hurt. Yet for all the people who have famous parents and are out there trying, it's incredible how many are out there and not trying, who will say they are a director, writer or an actor but never direct anything or write or act in anything. Their Instagrams get huge because they're on yachts in Italy all summer, and I'm in an office in Canada at 2 a.m. trying to figure out shooting schedules. If your father is a carpenter, and he's a well-known carpenter and you become a carpenter, nobody's like, "Look at this asshole. He got his father's tools." If your mother runs a restaurant and you take over, no one's shitting on you, because that's what families do. But in entertainment, it really does often feel like there's only so many slots, so you feel like that guy is taking a slot that maybe he didn't earn. (Hollywood Reporter)

TV

The Voice Season 13 Crowns a Winner: Chloe Kohanski. Congratulations are in order! The Voice has crowned its newest winner, Chloe Kohanski! The 23-year-old rocker from Nashville was on Team Blake, meaning that not only is Blake Shelton People's reigning Sexiest Man Alive, but he's also the reigning Voice champ. Apparently, that man can do anything. Kohanski impressed throughout the season, and particularly killed it during a duet with Billy Idol during Tuesday night's finale, which also included performances from Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato Sia, Charlie Puth, N.E.R.D., and Chris Blue, as well as collabs with Bastille, Vince Gill, Jessie J, Norah Jones and Bebe Rexha. Our own poll after Tuesday night's show predicted that Chloe would reign supreme, and it also predicted that Red would come in fourth place, Brooke would come in third, and Addison would come in second, which is exactly what ended up happening. Clearly, Chloe was meant to win this thing. The Voice will return to NBC in February with Clarkson as a coach. (Eonline)

David Letterman's return to the talk show world has been shrouded in mystery, but this video reveals a huge puzzle piece -- youngest ever Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai. Malala was spotted leaving a taping of Dave's Netflix show in NYC Monday night. She says it went great, and best we can tell -- she's guest #2 of 6. Rumor is Barack Obama was Dave's first guest a month ago. Dave's not confirming that, or much at all, about his new gig. It's unclear who the next 4 guests will be, but we did see 2 other famous possibilities. John Krasinski and Emily Blunt were spotted leaving the studio, but they could've just been guests in the audience. Again, Letterman ain't saying much. Malala's gotta be great though. Pretty sure it's Dave's first time sitting down with a 17-year-old Nobel winner who fought for girls' rights to education, and survived the Taliban. (TMZ)

'Vikings' Creator Launches TV Banner, Strikes MGM Deal for 'Ronin' Adaptation. Michael Hirst has set up Green Pavilion Entertainment alongside longtime producing partners Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn. Michael Hirst, the BAFTA-nominated showrunner and creator of both Vikings and The Tudors, has launched his own independent production company alongside his longtime producing partners Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn. Green Pavilion Entertainment will develop and produce high-end dramas for international and domestic markets and is set to work with established writers and directors, alongside emerging talent. In addition to the announcement, made Wednesday, the company revealed that it has struck an exclusive first-look deal with MGM Television. As part of the multiyear deal, Green Pavilion is developing Ronin, a television series inspired by the 1988 spy thriller starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno. Hirst, O'Sullivan and Flynn previously collaborated with MGM TV on the hit History Channel show Vikings, which was recently renewed for a sixth season. To bolster Green Pavilion's team, Sharon Remmer has been named creative director. Remmer was previously head of drama in charge of development and production at Frank Spotnitz's Big Light Productions, with her recent credits including The Man in the High Castle and Medici: Masters of Florence. "Green Pavilion has been a long time in the making," said Hirst. "Everyone involved in this new venture has experience developing and making premium content which appeals to international audiences. Having MGM Television as an ally in this venture will help us to build on our strengths and draw the best writers, directors and creative talent in the industry to our projects." Added Mark Burnett, MGM's president, television group and digital, and Steve Stark, MGM's president, television production and development: "Michael Hirst, Morgan O'Sullivan and James Flynn have brilliantly shepherded Vikings for the past five years and, during that time, we have witnessed first-hand the quality of artists and talent that this team have expertly assembled to produce premium content on a massive scale. We look forward to continue working with their whole team at Green Pavilion." (Hollywood Reporter)

Plan for restrictions at Interstate 19 and State Route 86 (Ajo Way) overnight Thursday, Dec. 21

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises drivers to plan for restrictions at I-19 and SR 86 (Ajo Way) beginning Thursday evening and continuing to the early morning on Friday, Dec. 22.
The right lane on northbound I-19 will be closed at milepost 62 from 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, to 5 a.m. Friday, Dec. 22, for barrier wall concrete placement.
The southbound I-19 off-ramp to Ajo Way will be closed from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.
Westbound Ajo Way will be narrowed to one lane from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.

During these restrictions, motorists can use the 22nd Street exit off Interstate 10 or the Irvington Road exit off I-19.

For more information about this project, visit the project website. For questions and comments, call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855.712.8530 or email Projects@azdot.gov.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT's Traveler Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

This Day in Music History – December 20th

This Day in Country Music History – December 20th

Innovation | Marine Maker Course

Amphibious Assault Breach | Marines

All Hands Update: USO Cookie Caravan

All Hands Update: U.S. Navy Doctors Conduct Humanitarian Mission to Amazon

All Hands Update: Headlines

DLA Troop Support Pacific: We Live Logistics

USACE Installs Micro Grid to Bring Power to Homes Near Patillas

NSTA Platoon Live Fire Exercise Social Media

Anniston Army Depot Christmas Cheer 2017

Ship to Shore Marines conduct Amphibious Assault

Spangdalem Housing Welcome Video

WEIRD NEWS

Cop Gets Pulled Over-Then Kills Himself!

Tragedy in California where an off-duty San Francisco police officer killed himself moments after he was pulled over by Richmond police. Authorities say a Richmond police officer made the traffic stop around 1:30pm but heard a gunshot as he approached the black coupe in a shopping mall parking lot. Unable to see inside the vehicle due to "heavily tinted" windows, the officer called for backup and responding officers used a "shotgun-propelled beanbag to break the suspect's windshield." Lt. Felix Tan told reporters the man inside was "alone and deceased." Sources have named the deceased officer as Antonio Cacatian, a nine-year veteran of the force who was under investigation for sex with a minor in Las Vegas. Nevada authorities had reached out to their Richmond counterparts for help. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Sandals Did Me In!

In Arlington, Arizona, 18-year-old Hipolito Rodriguez has been arrested for shooting at power plant employees in the desert-and it was his sandals that did him in. According to deputies Rodriquez was wearing unique sandals that exactly matched the prints left at the shooting scene. The sandals were made from recycled tires and numbers from those tires made the distinctive shoe prints at the scene. Later officers searched Rodriquez's home and found a shotgun they believe was used in the murders. When they interviewed Rodriguez, they found he had meth on him. He was booked into jail on two counts of aggravated assault and one count of promoting prison contraband. (AZFamily.com)

How America Treats Veterans

Believe it or not, we've got a whole slew of predatory lending schemes going on in this country-that are targeted specifically at veterans! These schemes are reminiscent of the toxic practices seen during the housing boom and targeted at thousands of veterans nationwide who have VA home loans. The abuses involve serial re-financings that generate hefty fees for lenders and loan brokers but leave borrowers in worse financial shape than they were before the transaction. Fortunately the Feds are planning a major crack down on this scum of the earth. Lenders are dangling teaser interest rates, "cash out" windfalls and lower monthly payments, sometimes using shady marketing materials that resemble official information from the Department of Defense. Not infrequently, officials say, borrowers end up in negative equity positions, owing more on their loan balance than their house is worth. Officials at the Government National Mortgage Association, better known as Ginnie Mae, say some veterans are being flooded with misleading re-fi offers and are signing up without assessing the costs and benefits. Some properties are being refinanced multiple times a year, thanks to "poaching" by lenders who aggressively solicit competitors' recent borrowers to re-fi them again and roll the fees into a new loan balance. The bottom line for VA borrowers: Look skeptically at all re-fi promotions. Run the numbers to see whether refinancing will leave you better off -- or deeper in debt. If you're not sure, get help from a financial person you trust. (Boston Herald)

Beware the Army General Facebook Scam

The FBI is investigating after a 70-year-old Oklahoma woman said she was duped out of more than $225,000 by someone posing online as a US Army general stationed in Syria. Phyllis Lindsey says she was contacted on Facebook by someone alleging to be "Gen. Lester Holmes." The widow says they began talking and a "romance happened really fast." You can guess what happened next. An FBI affidavit says Lindsey made four wire transfers in October. She believed the money was being used as payments for the delivery of luggage containing his discharge papers and money. The fourth wire transfer was frozen after Lindsey's son found she was being scammed and contacted the FBI. Records show the transfer for $100,000 was recovered this month from an Atlanta bank. (The Oklahoman)

Disney's Hall of President Now Features Trump

Disney World's revamped Hall of Presidents reopened yesterday and there have been some changes. The center stage spot is now held by an animatronic President Trump with Barack Obama shifted to the side. Robot Trump, which stands between Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, moves its hands as it recites dialogue the president recorded earlier this year. Robo-Trump says, "Above all, to be American is to be an optimist -- to believe that we can always do better -- and that the best days of our great nation are still ahead of us." The Hall of Presidents debuted in 1971 and has featured a speech from every sitting president since Bill Clinton. Reviews from visitors who got a preview of the animatronic Trump on Monday were mixed, with those who voted for the flesh-and-blood Trump most impressed by the robotic version. But on social media, some called the figure "creepy," while others said it looks a lot more like Jon Voight than the president. (Orlando Sentinel)

Death by Menorah

A menorah is to blame for the fire that roared through a Brooklyn home on the sixth night of Hanukkah, killing a mother and her three young children. The fire department released a statement saying the accidental blaze was caused by an "unattended lit menorah." Neighbors said the family kept the menorah in a living room window throughout the eight-day holiday, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights. Mother Aliza Azan was found dead on the second floor of the single-family home near the children who perished: 11-year-old Moshe, 7-year-old Yitzah, and 3-year-old Henrietta. The children's father and two teenagers were hospitalized in critical condition. A sixth child and a cousin escaped. Nigro says the children's father saved two of his older children from the fire and was seriously burned trying to get back inside the burning house. Firefighters warned that unattended candles, overloaded outlets and power strips, "and many of the holiday traditions we all hold dear" often cause fires. (New York Post)

What the What?

The two apps responsible for a lot of the infidelity in the world are going at each other. The infamous Ashley Madison has threatened to sue a rival, accusing it of copying its trademarks. Ruby Life, the firm which owns Ashley Madison, has ordered hook-up app CasualX to immediately change its branding and slogan or face legal action. The cheating website is concerned that CasualX, which markets itself as "the Tinder for casual sex," advertises its services with the words "Life is boring. Desire a fling?" Ashley Madison feels this is too similar to its own slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair." It also called on CasualX to stop using a picture showing a masked woman pressing a finger to her lips, which is allegedly similar to an image used by Ashley Madison. Just to keep all this straight, Ashley Madison is dedicated to helping married people have affairs, while CasualX is just interested in helping anyone enjoy a bit of no-strings-attached sex. And in case you've forgotten, back in 2015, Ashley Madison was hit by hackers who exposed the identity of up to 35 million users-causing some of those users to commit suicide out of shame. (Metro)

DID YOU KNOW?

  • About 80% of those on Facebook say they never un-friend an ex. 
  • 65% of couples say on their last vacation, they had an argument because one of them would not stop checking their work email. 
  • Gloves are the top item people are most likely to buy in the wrong size. 
  • 32% of people haven't worn a swimsuit in public in 5 over years. 
  • 12% of us don't take our prescriptions even after we've paid for them. 
  • 15% of people have taken a selfie seven times before they are satisfied with the photo.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Following that deadly train crash on Monday that left three dead in Washington state, Alaska airlines has cut airfares from Seattle to Portland to help out travelers. 
  • Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez hopped a private jet last Saturday and flew from L.A. to Seattle, then slipped into a place called the Sugar Factory in the Seattle burb of Bellevue. There, they spent some romantic one-on-one time in the Chocolate Lounge, where they indulged in a frosty 60 oz. drink called the Ocean Blue. 
  • TMZ says that Selena's mom is so upset about her getting back together with the Biebs that she's been hospitalized. 
  • Samsung has announced some mid-range Galaxy phones are on the way, the A8 and the A8-plus. 
  • Did you know that all of Bill Murray's brothers, Bill, Joel and Brian, all appeared with him in the movie, "Scrooged?" 
  • Putting the ex in Xmas, J-Lo and ex-husband Marc Anthony were spotted together in New York City. 
  • Get this -- Britain's biggest ever warship, the new $4.2 billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, has a leak and needs repairs. 
  • Mark Salling played Puck on "Glee." This week, he pled guilty to possessing child pornography and most likely will be off to 4-7 years in prison. 
  • Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova are parents: a boy and a girl named Nicholas and Lucy-born on December 16. How gorgeous are those babies? 
  • The Dow has risen over 5,000 points in a year for the first time ever in its history. 
  • Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth. 
  • Jack in the Box has sold off Qdoba to an investment firm, for $305 million. 
  • A guy in Cincinnati who puts up a zombie nativity scene each year says this will be his last. Too many hassles about it. 
  • In Ireland, two straight senior men are getting married because, by doing that, one won't have to pay an inheritance tax on a house when the other dies. 
  • Nationally, permits for single-family housing units hit an all-time high in November. 
  • Mark Wahlberg says he hopes to get down to 6% body fat for his next movie. 
  • ISIS has put out a video, claiming that it has hacked the U.S. Army and State Department and is sending assassins to employees' homes. 
  • Berkshire-Hathaway stock has hit $300,000 a share. Yes, you should have. 
  • Robin Wright is going to star in the final season of "House of Cards." 
  • NBC is working on reviving "The Office." Do you want it back? 
  • Sarah Palin's son, Track, was arrested over the weekend after coming over and beating up his father. He was charged with felony first-degree burglary and misdemeanor fourth-degree assault. 
  • The new leader of Austria is Sebastian Kurz and he's 31 years old. 

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