Thursday, December 19, 2013
353rd day of the year.
There are 6 days left until Christmas 2013
There are 12 days left until New Year's Eve 2013
Today is Regifting Day, National Hard Candy Day, Oatmeal Muffin Day and Look for an Evergreen Day
Less than a week to go before Christmas. Do you know where your panic button is?
Jake Gyllenhaal turns 33 today.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
DUCK DYNASTY: Phil Robertson Suspended Over Anti-Gay Comments
Duck Dynasty will have to roll on without Phil Robertson. The founder of the Duck Commander Co. was suspended Wednesday for anti-gay comments he made in an interview with GQ. In the interview, which was released Wednesday, he likened homosexuality with bestiality as a form of deviant behavior.
A&E Networks, which runs the show, said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
TARGET SECURITY BREACH: Secret Service Investigating Incident
Bad news for those who recently did some holiday shopping at a Target store. The Secret Service confirmed Wednesday that they're looking into a potential massive data breach involving consumers' credit card information.
- the breach started around Black Friday at nearly all Target stores across the U.S. and involves the theft of the information that's stored on the back of credit cards in a magnetic strip.
Source: USA Today
MOVIES: Opening nationally this week: Anchorman 2, Walking with Dinosaurs, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks
Lindsay Lohan is back in the recording studio. You have been warned.
Video advertising arrived on Facebook today.
The Bank of England announced that it will start issuing plastic money instead of paper.
Justin Bieber recently announced that he would retire after the release of his new album
Warner Brothers is making a feature film out of Gilligan’s Island.
DEMI LOVATO: X-ed Out!
"X" no longer marks the spot for Demi Lovato -- who's stepping down from her gig as a judge on X Factor.
People magazine reports that Demi is abandoning ship as the singing competition continues to plummet in the ratings.
Simon Cowell tells Perez Hilton he has several people he'd like to see judge The X Factor.
The Daily Mail claims Toys 'R' Us stores will be open nonstop from 6 a.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Christmas Eve
IT REALLY IS THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
It's the most wonderful time of the year. That's what the song says, anyway. But do people agree? Well, apparently so. A Harris poll asking people to name their favorite holiday of the year found that Christmas is tops for Americans. Thanksgiving came in second, followed by Halloween in third, the Fourth of July in fourth, and Easter in fifth.
PAUL WALKER: Gruesome Death Photos for Sale
A camera-toting ghoul is trying to make a fast buck off the death of Paul Walker -- by peddling photos of his charred body inside the wrecked car where he died.
According to Globe magazine, the creepy cameraman arrived on the scene before firefighters could rope off the wreckage and began snapping shots. A source tells the mag, “The image is truly horrifying. The picture… shows the bodies of the two victims and makes sure you can’t miss them by outlining the corpses in color. The bodies are severely burned and can be clearly seen lying inside the vehicle. Walker’s body is still fairly intact. He has fallen backwards and his arms are spread apart. He is completely burned. [There are] no more clothes on his body.”
For the record, Globe did not run the photos in question.
PIPPA MIDDLETON: Engaged!
Fellas, your chance to be near-royalty is gone -- Kate Middleton's hot sister Pippa is engaged.
Banker Nico Jackson popped the question on a recent vacation in India. Her wedding will take place next year.
One Mega Millions Lottery Winner Comes Forward ... Ira Curry, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, won half of the $648 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot. She is 56 and took a lump sum payment of $120 million. Curry bought one ticket at the last minute and played a combination of family birthdays and her family’s lucky number, seven. The store that sold the winning ticket gets $1 million. Thuy Nguyen (PR: Twee Nwee-in) received a check for $1 million because he sold the winning ticket from California
A new survey by RetailMeNot reveals that 42% of people will return at least one holiday gift. Other findings:
- 50% of consumers plan to buy gifts for themselves during end-of-year sales
- 21% of people plan to regift
- 13% of people will donate unwanted gifts
- 30% of people have purchased a present after the holidays were over for someone they knew wouldn't see it until afterwards
FAST FOOD IS EASIER WITH iDRIVE-THRU (THE FUTURE)
With recent advancements in technology, fast food has gotten faster than ever.
For example, five Wendy's locations in New York have been perfecting a hands free device called the iDriveThru, which utilizes an electronic payment in drive-thru lanes to make the payment process that much quicker.
It’s kind of the same thing as the E-Z Pass system that's used on toll roads – with everything mounted on your windshield.
When you show up at the drive-thru, your tag's data is read by sensors – and actually allows customers to get a personalized greeting, while the payment is taken automatically.
You’re in, you’re out – and you don’t even have to reach for your wallet.
Now only if they’d invent a machine to get the French fries that fall behind your seat in the car. (Time)
Good Housekeeping ran an article on holiday tipping that generated some good calls. Among the areas addressed:
Postal Service -- Employees may receive gifts valued at $20 or less, per occasion. There's a $50 annual cap per giver. The USPS frowns on cash gratuities.
Teachers -- Giving money isn't customary and many schools prohibit teachers from accepting tips. She recommends a gift to a teacher should be a personal expression of appreciation, something moderately priced that you and your child have selected.
Frequent baby-sitter -- One or two evenings' pay plus a small gift from your child.
Barber -- Cost of one cut and maybe a small gift.
Beauty salon staff -- $10 to $60 each, a larger amount and maybe a small gift to those who do the most for you.
Day-care providers -- $25 to $70 each (on the higher end if only one or two providers) plus a small gift from your child.
Daily dog walker -- One day's pay.
Frequent housecleaner -- One day's pay.
Massage therapist -- One session's fee.
Newspaper deliverer -- $10 to $30.
Private nurse -- Gift, not cash.
Nursing-home workers -- Gift, not cash.
Trash collectors -- $10 to $20 each.
Frequent yard worker -- $20 to $50.
NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE QUIZ
This was the first song ever broadcast from space. What is it?
ANSWER: "Jingle Bells." The astronauts aboard the Gemini 6 in 1965 played a joke on mission control, reporting that they'd seen a command module with eight smaller modules piloted by someone in a red suit orbiting the earth. They then sang "Jingle Bells."