Wynona Judd is engaged! The country star's boyfriend/bandmate Scott "Cactus" Moser proposed on Christmas Eve.
The couple, who currently tour together as Wynonna and the Big Noise, have been dating since late 2009. Moser, 54, is also the longtime drummer for the band Highway 101.
This will be Judd's third marriage. The 47-year-old has two children: Elijah, 17, and Grace, 15, with her first husband, Nashville businessman Arch Kelly III, who she split from in 1998. Wynonna tied the knot with her former bodyguard, D. R. Roach in 2003 -- but they divorced in 2007.
WYNONNA'S GOOD YEAR
The engagement marks a comeback of sorts for Wynonna, who suffered a health scare in March of 2010, and survived a head-on car collision four months later. Since then, the singer has lost 55 pounds and reunited with her mother Naomi for a reality show.
Wynonna is reportedly at work on her eighth studio album.
Eric Church has a couple of suggestions on how to cure a New Year's Day hangover. He told us, "The best hangover cure -- I've got two. One is 5-hour Energy (bottles), because of all the B-vitamins that are in it. You can start pounding those, and it's either gonna work or It's gonna keep you up and prolong your misery. But the other one I have is just take two Advil and a beer in the morning. Hair of the dog, man -- that works every time."
Eric will be hitting the road in January for a headlining run called the Blood, Sweat & Beers tour. He will play more than 50 shows with special guest Brantley Gilbert and rotating acts the Cadillac Black, Blackberry Smoke, Sonia Leigh, Jon Pardi and Drake White.
The trek kicks off on January 19th in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Two women who tried faking injuries to profit from the tragic Sugarland stage collapse last August are facing prison time. The Indy Star reported that Stephanie Murry, 25, and Sandra Hurn, 38 have been hit with fraud charges for attempting to collect $22,500 from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund and the Indiana Tort Claim Fund.
The women weren't even in attendance at the tragic show.
The scheme was uncovered when an Indiana State Fair Commission official told State Police of two "questionable" claims. In her documents, Hurn mistakenly said that Sugarland performed "a couple of songs" before the stage collapsed, while in actuality -- the band never took the stage on the night in question. She allegedly went to the hospital after the disaster to create a paper trail in support of her claim and later falsified medical documents so it appeared she had sustained an injury.
After questioning, Hurn confessed to the scam. Murry has been charged with forgery, perjury, and attempted theft, while Hurn faces a further theft allegation.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said of the situation, "I do not understand the mentality of someone who would look at the circumstances of that night and see the potential for financial profit from this kind of scheme. Most of us would look at those circumstances and feel sympathy and a desire to help assist the real victims in any way we could."
Hurn faces a maximum of 36 years in prison, while Murry is facing 14 years.
Seven people were killed during the collapse, which was caused by heavy winds.
Taylor Swift earned nearly $100 million from touring in 2011, making her the second highest-grossing act of the year in North America. Pollstar determined that U2 topped the list, having raked in $156 million for 25 shows in 21 North American cities.
Swift landed in the runner up spot, having earned $97.7 million by playing 80 dates in 59 cities on her Speak Now tour. Kenny Chesney rounded out the top three after bringing in $84.6 million.
The top 25 acts in North America for 2011 grossed a total of $1.19 billion, down slightly from $1.24 billion last year.
Top 5 Highest-Grossing Acts of 2011 in North America
U2: $156 million
Taylor Swift: $97.7 million
Kenny Chesney: $84.6 million
Lady Gaga: $63.7 million
Bon Jovi: $57 million
Brad Paisley will likely spend the upcoming holiday at home with his family instead of partying the night away. He told us that most nights, he opts to stay in -- including holidays like New Year's Eve.
Brad explained, "I would rather stay home any day of the year, even if it is New Year's Eve. I mean, all I care about is being around people I like. I am not a big fan of just crowds."
Brad's new Camobunga! 2012 World Tour kicks off on January 12th in Grand Rapids, Michigan with special guests The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery.
Singer Kelly Clarkson thought nothing of it when she tweeted that she liked presidential candidate Ron Paul. The singer tweeted, "I love Ron Paul. I liked him a lot during the last republican nomination and no one gave him a chance. If he wins the nomination for the Republican party in 2012 he's got my vote. Too bad he probably won't."
After receiving some negative feedback on Twitter, Clarkson wrote, "I am really sorry if I have offended anyone. Obviously that was not my intent. I do not support racism. I support gay rights, straight rights, women's rights, men's rights, white/black/purple/orange rights. I like Ron Paul because he believes in less government and letting the people (all of us) make the decisions and mold our country. That is all. Out of all of the Republican nominees, he's my favorite."
After clarifying her stance, Clarkson was still hit with hate tweets. She then wrote, "Man my eyes have been opened to so much hate tonight. If y'all ever disagree with something I say please don't feel the need to attack me. I will listen to what you say and any articles or viewpoints you have when you say it with respect. Being hateful is not a healthy way to get people to see or hear you. I was raised to respect people and their decisions and beliefs and I hope you will grant me the same decency. If you don't agree with me simply unfollow me. It's really that easy. I hope you don't because I would love the chance to hear what you have to say but if you're so blinded by hate you can't seek peace and progress then that is your unfortunate prerogative."
Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill will not open at the Banks in Ohio this week as previously planned. The restaurant was scheduled to open at the end of December, but it's taking longer than expected to complete.
A message on the restaurant's Facebook page said, "We really really wanted to be open by now but we just are not quite there yet. . . The last phases of construction are taking longer than we expected and we will not be able to get inspected this week."
The 16,000 square foot place will feature music and dancing, several TVs, a mechanical bull, an 88-foot guitar-shaped bar, two VIP rooms, an exclusive private dining room available for rental, an outdoor patio and a gift shop.
Although they still plan to open soon, there is no definite date at the moment.
I Love This Bar & Grill currently has three locations -- all in Oklahoma.
Neal McCoy has decided to stay in his hometown to shoot the music video for "A-OK" -- the first single off his upcoming album. He told KYTX-TV, "I've been on the road a bunch this year, just like every year . . . Instead of taking more time away from my family, I said it'd be great if we could shoot this thing in Longview." Neal even included local residents in the video.
Blake Shelton is gearing up for the next season of The Voice, which he predicts will be "even more dynamic." He told The Boot that he plans to pick "polarizing voices," because that's what worked for him during season one. He explained, "There were a lot of great singers on that show, but there was only one Dia and one Xenia. They are so different from any other voices you ever hear. That's what the show means to me." The Voice will premiere after the Super Bowl on February 5th.
Danny Gokey's rep has revealed a little bit of inside info about the singer's holiday proposal to girlfriend Leyicet Peralta. His rep told People that the couple ended up shopping for the ring together after Danny purchased one that was too big for Leyicet's finger. As for the actual proposal, Danny took her to the place they had their first date and serenaded her with the song, "You Are So Beautiful" before asking her to marry him. The couple will be married on January 29th.
Q. At what prison did Merle Haggard serve a three-year sentence earlier in his life? A. San Quentin
GEORGE CLOONEY PARTIES WITH FELLOW A-LISTERS IN MEXICO: There's an A-list party going on in Mexico this week. RadarOnline.com reported that George Clooney and his girlfriend Stacy Keibler are hanging out with Alex Rodriguez, supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber in Cabo San Lucas. The group was spotted lunching together on Wednesday.
ASHTON'S REP SAYS NEW WOMAN IS JUST A FRIEND: The woman Ashton Kutcher spent Christmas in Italy with is just a friend -- according to his rep. A spokesperson for Kutcher denied rumors that he is dating writer-director Lorene Scafaria, telling People magazine, "They are just friends. They are working on a potential project together about an Italian soccer team."
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD REPORTEDLY LENDS A HAND TO KRIS JENNER: Kathie Lee Gifford reportedly called Kris Jenner to commiserate about the sweatshop allegations that recently surfaced, claiming that several Kardashian products are produced in Chinese factories under horrific conditions. More than a decade ago, it was revealed that Gifford's then popular clothing line was being manufactured in Honduras by children. A source told Radar, "Kathie Lee reached out to Kris last week. The two have been friends for over 30 years. Kathie Lee knew exactly what the family was going through, and she just wanted to give her support and offer some advice to Kris."
JEREMY LONDON REPORTEDLY FACING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CHARGE: Jeremy London will be charged with domestic violence for allegedly attacking his estranged wife Melissa Cunningham during an argument about custody of their son. TMZ reported that cops have been trying to talk to London for weeks to question him about the fight, and recently began communicating with his lawyers. Now a rep for the District Attorney told TMZ that they decided to charge London with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence, which could land him a year in jail.
ZOOEY DESCHANEL AND JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT RECORD A DUET: Check out the (500) Days of Summer costars singing "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
VANESSA LACHEY TRIED OUT FOR 'X FACTOR': Vanessa Lachey revealed that she auditioned for the host gig on X Factor that eventually went to Steve Jones. Nick Lachey's new wife said about the job, "They went with a British guy [Steve Jones]. You can't get more polar opposite, so I am OK with that. Now if the host was a brunette girl in her early 30s, I would be like 'wait a minute!" Lachey has since been tapped as the new co-host on ABC's Wipeout.
ANNE HATHAWAY TALKS CATWOMAN: Anne Hathaway is opening up about The Dark Knight Rises, in which she stars as Catwoman. The actress discussed the famed role with the Los Angeles Times, saying, "What's come before doesn't limit or even affect this new version. It doesn't affect me because each Catwoman -- and this is true in the comics as well - she is defined by the context of the Gotham City created around her. Catwoman is so influenced by Gotham and whoever is creating Gotham at the time. Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman was informed by Tim Burton's Gotham and Eartha Kitt was informed by Adam West's Gotham. You have to live in whatever the reality of the world is and whatever Gotham is."
'MISSION IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL' IS A HIT: Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol has already grossed over $250 million. THR.com reported that the latest Tom Cruise action film has earned $86.2 million domestically and $170 million internationally so far -- for a grand total of $256.2 million. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is also raking in the cash, having earned nearly $100 million domestically and a worldwide total of $146.1 million.
NORTH KOREA WARNS NO POLICY CHANGE TOWARDS SOUTH KOREA: North Korea warned Friday (December 30th) that there'll be no softening of its position toward South Korea's government after Kim Jong Il's death earlier this month, as it labeled his son and successor, Kim Jong Un, "Great Leader" for the first time. The isolated communist nation's powerful National Defense Commission said North Korea was uniting around Kim Jong Un, referring to him with the Great Leader title previously used for his late father. One day earlier, Kim had been pronounced Supreme Leader of the ruling party, military and people.
UNEMPLOYMENT, HOUSING NUMBERS OUT: The Labor Department reported yesterday (December 29th) that the number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week rose 15,000 to 381,000. However, the less volatile four-week average fell to 375,000, which is the lowest level since June 2008. There was also a mildly positive report on housing, with the National Association of Realtors saying the number of people who signed contracts to buy homes rose in November to its highest level in a year and a half. At the same time, the Association noted that the number of canceled contracts is also up. While the economy is improving, threats remain in 2012, the European debt crisis most prominently. Europe is expected to fall into recession as banks reduce lending and countries cut spending and raise taxes in response to the government debt crisis.
CENSUS BUREAU PROJECTS NEW YEAR'S DAY POPULATION: The U.S. Census Bureau has predicted that the nation's population on New Year's Day will be 312,780,968, an increase of 2,250,129 people, or 0.7 percent, from last New Year's Day. In January 2012, one birth is expected to occur every eight seconds in the U.S. and one death every 12 seconds, while immigration is expected to add one person to the population every 46 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and immigration will combine for a population increase of one person every 17 seconds.
SAMOA TO LOSE FRIDAY IN TIME ZONE CHANGE: Samoa will not have a Friday, December 30th, this year, as it's set to lose the day in a time zone change. The island nation in the South Pacific has dropped a time zone alliance with the U.S. that dates back to 1892 and is moving 24 hours ahead to be in sync with its neighbors in Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Samoa's prime minister has said the time zone switch would make it easier for the country to trade with key partners. This is the second major change for Samoa in recent years, after they switched in 2009 from driving on the right hand side of the road to the left side, also in line with New Zealand and Australia.
Nearby American Samoa will remain on the other side of the dateline and be a day behind.
FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES BEING READIED IN BP OIL SPILL: The Wall Street Journal reported this week that U.S. prosecutors are readying what would be the first criminal charges against employees of British oil company BP related to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 oil rig workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Prosecutors are reportedly focused on several Texas-based engineers and at least one of their supervisors, contending they may have given false information to regulators about the risks associated with the Gulf of Mexico well while it was being drilled. Conviction of such a felony charge carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. BP itself is expected to face broader criminal charges, including violations of the Clean Water Act.
NYC MAYOR SAYS WORK ON 9/11 HAS STALLED OVER FINANCIAL DISPUTE: New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said Thursday (December 29th) that work on the National September 11 Memorial Museum has stalled because of a financial dispute, and it won't open on time next year. The underground museum at the World Trade Center site had been scheduled to open in September on the 11th anniversary of the attacks, one year after the opening of the memorial. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum foundation has been fighting for months with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over who's responsible for paying millions of dollars in costs related to the project, and that's led to the work being stopped.
About 10,000 people a day visit the 9/11 memorial, and more than one million have been to it since it opened to the public on September 12th. Those numbers put it on par with New York City landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.
LAST TWEETS OF SOME WHO LEFT US THIS YEAR: The New York Times Magazine compiled the final tweets of some of the famous people who died in 2011. Following are a few of them:
Elizabeth Taylor -- "My interview in Bazaar with Kim Kardashian came out!!!"
War photographer Tim Hetherington, who died covering the Libyan conflict -- "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."
Indy racer Dan Wheldon, who died in an October crash -- "Green!!!!"
Bruce Springsteen saxophonist Clarence Clemons -- American Idol Finale May 25, Gaga & Big Man "The Edge of Glory" Really look forward to this one!!! much love"
BAYLOR TOPS WASHINGTON 67-56 IN RECORD-SETTING ALAMO BOWL GAME: Baylor beat Washington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl last night (December 29th), a thrilling, back-and-forth game that set a new record as the highest-scoring regulation bowl game in history. The previous record for points in regulation, 102 total points, had been held by the 2001 GMAC Bowl between Marshall and East Carolina. That game went to double overtime and ended with a combined 125 points, which remains the overall bowl record. This was the first bowl game win since 1992 for Baylor, which boasts Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin had just an average game, however, going 24 of 33 for 295 yards, throwing one touchdown pass and running for another. In fact, he was outshone by Washington quarterback Keith Prince, who was 23 of 27 for 438 yards and four touchdowns, and also ran for another three scores.
(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE - Four siblings join forces with Aslan, the lion, to free the mystical land of Narnia from the White Witch's wintry spell. Starring Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Mosley and Anna Popplewell.
THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat) THE VIEW - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS
THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat) THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC) - (repeat) JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat) THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat) LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat) LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat)
THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS - Taylor copes with her troubled marriage while the rest of the women go to Hawaii for a get away except Kim keeps missing her flight.
IT'S A BRAD, BRAD WORLD - (series premiere) Brad lands R&B singer Keri Hilson, to dress for the MET Ball.
DAY TIME TALK SHOW
THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat) THE VIEW - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS
THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat) THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC) - (repeat) JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat) THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - Tim Meadows, Eliza Doolittle, Myg Kaplan LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat) LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - TBA THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat) THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat) CONAN - The CONAN "Best Of" Spectacular
TOURIST TRIES TO CHECK GUN AT 9-11 MEMORIAL: A woman visiting the September 11th memorial in New York City on Wednesday (December 28th) was arrested after she asked to have her gun checked. Meredith Graves was at memorial when she saw a sign that read, "No guns allowed," so she found a security guard and asked if she could check her .32-caliber pistol. The guard took her to a police officer to whom Graves repeated the question. The officer arrested her on a felony weapons-possession charge but later released her after she posted $2,000 bond. Graves has a full legal carry permit in Tennessee. Her court date has been set for March 19th. (New York Post)
YEAR-OLD CHEESEBURGER HASN'T CHANGED MUCH: A Canadian nutritionist who has been keeping a McDonald's cheeseburger on her kitchen counter since last December, as an experiment, says the burger "hasn't changed much" since she set it out in 2010. Melanie Hesketh says she purchased the burger last December 29th with no ketchup or mustard and left it out on the counter. The only noticeable change is that the bun is stale, but she says there is no sign of bacteria, mold or maggots even though it "still smells slightly like a burger." Hesketh explained, "Obviously it makes me wonder why we choose to eat food like this when even bacteria won't eat it." She said she'll keep the burger forever because "it's a good conversation piece." (Examiner)
NEW YORKERS CELEBRATE GOOD RIDDANCE DAY: More than 250 people in New York City's Times Square got together for the fifth annual Good Riddance Day to shred papers with bad memories from 2011. A Times Square Alliance rep said the shredded paper will be recycled "into paper cups, paper towels, and toilet paper" which, "is appropriate for a lot of these good riddances." (New York Daily News)
POLICE CAUSE $12,000 IN DAMAGE WHILE SEARCHING FOR DRUGS IN CAR: A New Jersey man said police in Pompton Lakes did $12,636.42 worth of damage to his car during a futile search for hidden drugs. 28-year-old Darren Richardson said that when he was pulled over on September 23rd, police called in a sniffer dog because an officer could smell marijuana. Richardson was charged with disorderly conduct, for arguing with officers, and had his car impounded. When he got the car back, three weeks later, he said his 2004 BMW 325i was destroyed due to the police search for drugs. His insurance company declared the car a "total loss." No drugs were found in the car. Richardson has filed complaints against the department for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The police have launched an internal affairs investigation. (UPI)
'HAIR OF THE DOG' WON'T CURE HANGOVERS: The "hair of the dog" -- the notion that having a drink can relieve a hangover -- only makes a hangover worse. Dr. Aaron Michelfelder of the Loyola University Health System says there are several things people can do to avoid the misery of a New Year's hangover. Before a party, plan to drink moderately -- a maximum of five drinks for men and three drinks for women during a minimum 3-hour period -- and to prevent inflammation, take an anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen or Aleve. After the party Michelfelder reminds everyone to not drink and drive and to get as much sleep as possible. He advises, "The morning after: Take another B vitamin, drink lots of water and exercise if you can. During vigorous exercise, blood circulates three times as fast as it does when you are sitting on the couch and the faster you circulate blood through your liver and kidneys, the faster your body will remove the toxins. However, what won't work is more alcohol or coffee." (UPI)
NEW CALENDAR DESIGNED THAT AVOIDS LEAP-YEARS: Mathematicians and economists at the John Hopkins University in Baltimore have designed a new, leap-year-free calendar -- meaning that birthdays, holidays and Christmas would fall on the same day every year. It is different from the Gregorian calendar, also known as the Christian calendar, that is used by the western world. In the leap-year-free calendar, each year would be 364 days long, and every five or six years there would be a week-long 'mini-month' to keep the calendar in tune with the solar cycle, instead of using leap years. The sheer predictability would save the economy billions - and could save money for individuals, too, as interest calculations couldn't be 'rounded up' by lenders. In addition, under the new calendar September would have 31 days as would March, June and December. All the rest would have 30. (Daily Mail)
TOP 10 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR 2012 (statisticbrain.com)
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION STATISTICS (statisticbrain.com)
45% of Americans usually set New Year's Resolutions;
17% infrequently set resolutions;
38% absolutely never set resolutions.
Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions.
19% achieve their resolutions every other year.
49% have infrequent success.
24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.
Of those who do set resolutions (these add to more than 100% because some people set multiple resolutions):
34% set resolutions related to money
38% set resolutions related to weight
47% set resolutions related to self-improvement or education
31% set resolutions related to relationships
It appears that the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions
39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
The less happy you are, the more likely you are to set New Year's Resolutions. This is especially true for those who set money-related resolutions: 41% are not happy, 34% are moderately happy, and 25% are happy.
WHAT NOT TO DO BEFORE 2012 (Daily Mail)
SUGGEST A RELATIONSHIP TALK: This tends to happen just after Christmas, fuelled by one too many glasses of fizz. The response is usually a) Sighing; b) Resigned face and sighing; or c) Saying 'Not that again . . . .' and offering Quality Street as a distraction.
EMAIL IN YOUR NOTICE: After discussing your boss's defects at length over Boxing Day you decide he/she doesn't deserve you. You craft a stinging resignation email. It is 12.45am on 29 December. Do not -- repeat, DO NOT -- press send. Oops! SORT OUT YOUR WARDROBE: You take practically every item you own to Oxfam in a fit of zeal. Wardrobe duly streamlined, you get home to empty cupboards and drawers -- and realize you have nothing to wear tomorrow, let alone on New Year's Eve.
GET ON THE SCALES: Don't do it! This is not the time to even think about diets or joining a gym -- not while there are 60 sausage rolls, some cheese straws and the remainder of the soggy trifle to Hoover up. There's also the small matter of your neighbor's 'Bring a Dish' do on New Year's Eve.
BOOK AN ABSEILING BREAK: 2012 -- the year when you are going to stop playing it safe! This year you won't be self-catering in Cornwall. Adventure beckons! Remind yourself of that in May when you're about to leap off a cliff secured only by a very thin rope.
VOW TO STOP DRINKING: You may not be able to face a sherry now, but soon you will be asking: 'Is the sun over the yard arm yet?' and relatives will exchange worried looks about your probable drink habit.
START YOUR NOVEL: After all, everyone has a book in them, don't they? Once you've spent two hours staring at a computer screen on which all you've typed is, 'The Plot', you will understand that they don't.
HIRE FANCY DRESS: Go to the hire shop on the 30th and you'll find all the best outfits have gone. Want to see in 2012 dressed as a Smurf?
TAKE BACK PRESENTS: After finding the gift receipt, desire to return the offending item is urgent. But the shops are full of bargain-hunters and empty of stock. Just shove it in a drawer and give it to someone else next year.
TACKLE SOME DIY: This is not the ideal time to re-felt the garage roof or re-tile the en suite. By midday, you will no longer be talking. Sit down, have a mince pie and come back to it all later. Say, about March?
Poll Shows Americans Hopeful About 2012 As Americans get ready to ring in the new year this weekend, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that they're hopeful about what 2012 will bring, while nearly 70 percent say 2011 was a year they'd rather forget. In the survey, 78 percent said they're optimistic about what the coming year will bring for their family and 62 percent feel that way about what it will bring for the country. With economic concerns still at the front of everyone's mind, 37 percent said they expect economic improvement in the next 12 months, compared with 24 percent who think the economy will get worse again. On a personal financial level, 36 percent think their household's financial situation will improve over the next year, while 11 percent think it will get worse.
Bad Memories Shredded Ahead of the New Year on Good Riddance DayThe fifth annual Good Riddance Day was held in New York's Times Square on Wednesday (December 28th), during which New Yorkers and tourists could put bad memories through two industrial-sized shredders and look for a fresh start in 2012. The day was organized by the Times Square Alliance as part of the buildup to the New Year's Eve ball-drop celebration. People lined up to either put some bad memory in the shredder, throw it in a dumpster, or pound on it with a sledgehammer. All the shredded paper will be going to good use, set to be recycled into paper cups, paper towels and toilet paper.This Year's 'Banished Words' List
Michigan's Lake Superior State University released its annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" today (December 30th), compiled from submissions sent to the school from English speakers around the world. Following are the 12 words and phrases on the 37th annual list:
Amazing -- This word received the most nominations. Alyce-Mae Alexander of Florida wrote, "The word has been overused to describe things only slightly better than mundane. I blame Martha Stewart because to her, EVERYTHING is amazing!"
Shared Sacrifice -- Scott Urbanowski of Michigan wrote, "Usually used by a politician who wants other people to share in the sacrifice so he/she doesn't have to."
Occupy -- Spread with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, and Bill Drewes of Michigan wrote, "Now people use it all the time, i.e. 'I guess we will occupy your office and have the meeting there.' 'We are headed to Grandma's house -- Occupy Thanksgiving is under way."
The New Normal
Pet Parent -- Lynn Oullette of New York wrote, "Do pet 'owners' not love their pets as much pet 'parents' do?"
Win the Future -- Used by politicians on both the left and the right.
Trickeration -- Gene Bering of Texas wrote, "This one seems to be the flavor du jour for football analysts. What's wrong with 'trick' or 'trickery?'"
Thank You in Advance -- Mike Cloran of Ohio wrote, "This is a condescending and challenging way to say, 'Since I already thanked you, you have to do this.'"
Jason Aldean's 2011 will go down in his history book as an unforgettable and career-changing year. The singer says that all his hard work over the last several years began to really pay off in spades over the last 12 months. Jason tells us: "I think 2011 for me, obviously, I kind of feel like has been my coming out party a little bit, you know, even though I've been around since 2005 this was kind of the year for whatever reason that everything just fell into place, all aspects of my career from the touring to the songs to the albums to the . . . even recognition at award shows which is something in the past we hadn't really gotten a lot of, and then all of a sudden that's happening, so it's just been crazy.
Jason says he still has to pinch himself about some of the feats, honors and awards that have come his way this year. "I'm still kind of shocked at some of the stuff that's gone on. I feel like it was our coming out party this year and people that really didn't notice what we were doing before, I think this year it was kind of hard to ignore it almost, and not that we did anything different than we've been doing the last few years. We kept going out, playing our shows, doing the things we always did and for whatever reason it just exploded this year."
Jason goes into 2012 with his very first Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Performance for his Number One hit, "Dirt Road Anthem." The Grammy Awards will air on CBS on February 12th.
Carrie Underwood hasn't spent a lot of time in the limelight during 2011, but that is all set to change in the new year. She tells us: "Oh gosh! I mean, 2011 for me, I've been kind of quietly working. I've been doing a lot of writing, but being able to be at home (and) still work but be at home and still enjoy being a newlywed, because I am still a newlywed. Next year's gonna be the crazy year, but I think my 2011 has really been defined by working for 2012 and just being able to have fun with my husband."
Carrie will release a new album in the coming months. The first single from the new project is expected to be released in the early part of 2012.
She will likely be in the stands at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday (January 1st) to cheer on her husband, Mike Fisher, when the Nashville Predators play against the Calgary Flames.
Carrie's Play On album was released in 2009.
Tim McGraw's former record label, Curb Records, is slowly releasing one new song after another fromEmotional Traffic, the last album Tim recorded for the label but has not yet been released. They started with "Better Than I Used to Be" almost immediately after a Nashville court ruled that Tim had fulfilled his contractual obligation to Curb. The latest release on iTunes is called "Right Back Atcha Babe." Emotional Traffic is scheduled to be released on January 17th.
Sunny Sweeney has decided to permanently mark her wedding anniversary. The singer and Jeff Helmer tied the knot on 11/11/11 in Las Vegas, and now Sunny has tattooed the roman numeral 11 (XI) on the inside of her upper arm. Sunny says the new ink is her eighth or ninth tattoo.
The clock on 2011 is winding down and it's time to start thinking about next year. Taylor Swift, the members of Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley are among the celebs making resolutions for the new year.
Taylor told the AP, "I think my goal for the next couple of years would be to make departures in little ways and do things a little differently, and try to maintain a balance between always providing your fans with what they've always liked from you and continuing to write all my own songs, but I'd love to make collaborations in different directions that aren't exactly expected."
Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott are vowing to strike a better balance between their professional and personal lives. The newly-engaged Dave said, "Next year we've got a pretty heavy touring schedule, but we've learned this fall how to balance that, how to have a good time at home. All of us are good and cognizant about having our loved ones out with us when we can and being able to get home when we can. So I think continuing to find the balance, which is where we get our inspiration and where our songs come from, is this personal life."
For Miranda Lambert, 2012 will be all about songwriting. She said, "I'd love to actually write a song that was nominated for song of the year. That would be a huge thing to me. Eventually over the next five years I'd maybe like to win entertainer of the year -- when I've earned it."
Brad Paisley says 2012 is the perfect time to set some new goals, since he's already achieved the major ones that he held himself to over the years. He said, "I have a career that's on a bit of autopilot in the sense that I feel I can rest easy a little bit more . . . I don't feel that people are just going to leave me. They're not going to just move on. We do well, and it's a great feeling. I guess I've just learned to be a little more comfortable with who I am."
Wade Hayes is resting comfortably at home following his recent surgery for colon cancer. Tasteofcountry.com reports that the singer was admitted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville earlier this month after being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. The surgery reportedly went better than doctors originally expected. Just nine days after the surgery, Wade was discharged and sent home, where he spent Christmas with family and friends.
Wade said, "I'm getting a little better every day. I am very thankful for all the prayers and support. Please keep it coming!"
Wade is best known for his hit "Old Enough to Know Better," which topped the country charts in 1995.
His latest album, Place To Turn Around, was released in 2009 and is available through his website.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has just announced six new dates -- including a last minute New Year's Eve (December 31st) concert at Nashville's Riverfront Park as part of the city's "Bash on Broadway." The show -- which is free to the public -- will take place on Broadway between 1st and 4th Avenues beginning at 7:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
Skynyrd has also just added May stops in Mahnomen and Red Wing, Minnesota and summer concerts in Varysburg, New York and Atlanta, Georgia.
Frontman Johnny Van Zandt told us that like all of Skynyrd's greatest works, the band's upcoming album is inspired by two things -- the band's love of America and its fans: "Again, if it ain't broken, don't try to fix it. Y'know what, we write about things that we done, or things that have happened to the people around us. It's for the common people, man. It's for the people that made this great country of ours. That's what the heck I always say we write about, y'know?"
UPDATED: Lynyrd Skynyrd tour dates (subject to change): December 31 - Nashville, TN - Riverfront Park February 11 - Biloxi, MS - Hard Rock Live Biloxi February 12 - Tampa, FL - Busch Gardens Tampa Bay February 16, 17 - Niagara Falls, ON - Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort February 18 - Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand At Foxwoods May 18 - Mahnomen, MN - Shooting Star Casino May 19 - Red Wing, MN - Treasure Island Resort & Casino *May 25 - Indianapolis, IN - Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 26 - Little Rock, AR - Riverfest Little Rock at Downtown Little Rock July 7 - Varysburg, NY - Buffalo Hill Village September 1 - Atlanta, GA - Turner Field
Skynyrd recently released a live CD/DVD collection called Live From Freedom Hall. The set features some of the final live performances of recently departed Skynyrd members, the late Billy Powell and Ean Evans.
CHECK IT OUT: Skynyrd performing "Call Me The Breeze" live in 2010:
Q. Dolly Parton is the fourth of how many children? A. Twelve
ON THE TUBE
ORIGINS: RODNEY ATKINS/GAC 1:00PM (ET)
DAY JOBS/GAC 3:00PM (ET) Gary Allan, Eddie Montgomery, Josh Kelley
CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL: COUNTRY'S NIGHT TO ROCK/GAC 5:00PM (ET) Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich with Gretchen Wilson, Luke Bryan, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride with Lauren Alaina, Brad Paisley with Alabama, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner with Scotty McCreery, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson
BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR RIDES AGAIN/CMT 8:00PM (ET) Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy
KENNY CHESNEY: SUMMER IN 3D/GAC 10:00PM (ET)
BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR/CMT 10:30PM (ET) Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy
LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN/CBS 11:35PM (ET) Shelby Lynne
ARE BRADLEY AND ZOE OFFICIALLY A COUPLE? Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana are reportedly a hot new couple. E! News reported that the two are just starting to tell family and friends that they're an item. Although Zoe's rep recently denied romance reports, E!'s source said, "They are totally dating." The two recently filmed a new movie, The Words together. Zoe called off her engagement to longtime love Keith Britton in November.
JIM CARREY DATING STUDENT: Jim Carrey has a new girlfriend. The New York Post reported that the 49-year-old actor is dating Russian-born Anastasia Vitkina, who is a student in New York. The pair was first spotted together in October -- not long after Carrey professed his love for actress Emma Stone in a video on his official website. At the time he said, "Emma, I think you're all the way beautiful. Not just pretty, but smart and kind-hearted. And if I were a lot younger, I would marry you."
DEBRA MESSING MOVES ON WITH 'SMASH' COSTAR: Debra Messing wasn't single for long. Us Weekly reported that the actress -- who recently announced her split from husband Daniel Zelman -- is dating actor Will Chase, her costar on the new NBC drama Smash.
A source told the magazine, "Debra and Will have been together for about six weeks. She is completely smitten with him."
While the Us Weekly source noted that Will didn't break up Debra and her husband -- the insider claims that Chase has left his wife of two years, stage actress Stephanie Gibson.
HEF'S EXES DEFEND HIM IN DOG FIGHT: Hugh Hefner's exes Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson are coming to his defense in his doggie custody battle with former fiance Crystal Harris. After Hef revealed that Crystal asked for their dog back, Holly tweeted to her, "Why did you voluntarily give the dog to Hef (who loves him too) after you left, only to ask for him back a few months later?" Kendra's take on the situation? She wrote to Hef, "That dog loves you so much. [Crystal] abandoned him and now she wants him back. She's mean, mean, mean."
EVERYONE WANTS EMMA WATSON'S HAIR: Jennifer Aniston no longer has the most sought-after Hollywood hairstyle. When it comes to actress haircuts to emulate, Harry Potter star Emma Watson'scropped mane is the most desirable. The Wall Street Journal reported that Watson -- and Justin Bieber -- were the fastest-rising searches for celebrity haircuts on Google this year.
ELIZABETH HURLEY'S SON WANTS TO ACT: Elizabeth Hurley's son wants to follow in her professional footsteps. The actress tweeted of her nine-year-old Damian, "Oh lord, my son is begging me to find him an agent so he can become a child actor."
JULIANNA MARGUILES' SON SCARED OF SANTA: Julianna Margulies says that her three-year-old son Kieran is scared of Santa. She told People magazine, "I tried last year at our Christmas party and he wouldn't get on Santa's lap and hid behind me. This year I actually asked our production, 'Could you have Santa in the light?,' because they always had him in a dark corner and that scared my kid. But I think most kids are afraid of Santa, until they get to 6 or 7."
'FAST FIVE' WAS MOST PIRATED MOVIE OF 2011: Vin Diesel's action sequel Fast Five was the most pirated movie of 2011. TorrentFreak.com reported that the movie was illegally downloaded 9.3 million times this past year. The Hangover Part II was the second-most pirated film, with 8.8 million downloads. Rounding out the top three was Thor with 8.3 million.
MORE 'X FACTOR' RECORD DEALS? Three more X Factor contestants will reportedly be signed to record deals. According to PerezHilton.com, Simon Cowell plans to sign Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, and Astro to Sony's co-owned Syco Music. Melanie Amaro will still be Simon's top priority, but he reportedly told sources that he would "mad" to let the three other contestants go.
OSCAR VOTING BEGINS: The Oscar ballots are out. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed nomination ballots for the 84th annual awards earlier this week. Completed ballots must be returned by January 13th and the nominations will be announced on January 24th. The show will be broadcast live on February 26th.
NORTH KOREA CALLS KIM JONG UN 'SUPREME LEADER': North Korea on Thursday (December 29th) declared Kim Jong Un, the son and successor of the late Kim Jong Il, "supreme leader" of the ruling party, military and the people in the government's first public endorsement of his leadership. The designation came during a memorial for Kim Jong Il, at which Kim Jong Un stood flanked by top party and military officials, including his father's younger sister and her husband, who are expected to serve as mentors to young and inexperienced new leader. Hundreds of thousands of mourners filled Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang and other plazas in the center of the capital in the second day of funeral ceremonies for the late absolute leader of the isolated communist nation, who died of a heart attack on December 17th at age 69.
U.S. WARNS IRAN AGAINST CLOSING VITAL OIL SHIPPING WATERWAY: The U.S. strongly warned Iran Wednesday (December 28th) against closing the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf waterway that carries one-sixth of the world's oil supply. Iran threatened twice in the past two days to stop traffic through the vital waterway if the U.S. imposes new sanctions targeting its oil exports. Pentagon press secretary George Little said, "This is not just an important issue for security and stability in the region, but is an economic lifeline for countries in the Gulf, to include Iran. Interference with the transit or passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated." Iran's threat reflect its concerns over the prospect that the U.S. will impose sanctions over its nuclear program that would severely hit its biggest revenue source, oil.
HOLIDAY SHOPPERS SHOWED UP ON BLACK FRIDAY, THEN WAITED FOR BARGAINS:Increasingly bargain-conscious consumers created something like two shopping seasons this year, turning out in droves for Black Friday and then waiting for big discounts to kick in again as it got close to Christmas, with a lull in between. For the week that ended November 26th, which included Black Friday, stores had the biggest sales surge from the week before since 1993, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. But then the two weeks after Thanksgiving weekend showed the biggest percentage sales decline since 2000. During the final two weeks before Christmas, sales surged again, by the highest rate since 2005.
ROMNEY WAY AHEAD IN PREDICTION MARKETS, IF NOT IN POLLS: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is way ahead in the prediction markets, the Yahoo! News blog "The Signal" reports, even if he isn't in the polls. Prediction market data from Betfair and Intrade indicate that the former Massachusetts governor has a nearly 70 percent likelihood of winning the Republican nomination, while his closest competitor, Newt Gingrich, is only at 9.5 percent. Rep. Ron Paul comes in at 7.7 percent, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman at 3.9 percent. The polls, however, show Gingrich still clinging to a small lead, despite plunging back down. Real Clear Politics' aggregated poll trend has Gingrich at 27.6 percent among Republican voters to Romney's 24.8 percent and Paul's 12.2 percent.
POLICE FATALITIES IN U.S. UP 13 PERCENT IN 2011: The number of U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty rose 13 percent in 2011 from the year before, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. There were 173 federal, state and local law enforcement officers killed in 2011, up from 153 in 2010. This year's figures also represent a 42 percent jump from 2009, when 122 officers were killed. Gunfire was the number one cause of death, killing 68 officers, followed by traffic-related accidents, which killed 64. Other causes of deaths included job-related illnesses, falls, drownings and stabbings. Craig Floyd, the chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said, "Drastic budget cuts affecting law enforcement agencies across the country have put our officers at grave risk, At a time when officers are facing a more cold-blooded criminal element and fighting a war on terror, we are cutting vital resources necessary to ensure their safety and the safety of the innocent citizens they protect."
'N.Y. TIMES' MISTAKENLY OFFERS DISCOUNT TO MILLIONS: TheNew York Times yesterday (December 28th) mistakenly offered a 50 percent discount for 16 weeks to millions of people, when an email intended to be sent to a few hundred subscribers who'd recently canceled went out instead to 8.6 million people who'd given their email addresses to the Times. The newspaper initially honored the discount, even for people who were already paying full price and had no plans to cancel, but stopped doing so for people who'd received the email in error by early afternoon.
VENEZUELAN PREZ CHAVEZ SPECULATES U.S. COULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CANCER:Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wondered Wednesday (December 28th) if the U.S. could be responsible for his cancer and is infecting Latin America's leaders with the illness. Five current or former presidents in the region have battled the disease in the past few years, including Chavez, who claims to have beaten an unspecified cancer. Speaking at a military event, Chavez said, "I don't want to make any reckless accusations," but called the spate of cancers, quote, "very, very, very strange." He asked, "Would it be strange if [the U.S.] had developed a technology to induce cancer, and for no one to know it?" The anti-American Chavez added, "I don't know. I'm just putting the thought out there."
JASON TAYLOR, NFL'S ACTIVE SACKS LEADER, RETIRING AFTER THIS SEASON: Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor, the NFL's active sacks leader who's sixth on the all-time list, announced yesterday (December 28th) that he's retiring after this season, his 15th in the NFL and 13th with the Dolphins, who are 5-10 this year. The 37-year-old Taylor said, "Sunday's my last game. I might even change my cell phone number so they can't reach me." Owner Stephen Ross released a statement that said, "[Taylor's] contributions on the field as one of the greatest players in team history will be remembered by Dolphins fans for years to come. He will always remain an integral part of the Dolphin family." Taylor's achievements also include six fumble returns for touchdowns, an NFL record, and being named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2006, but he never made it to the Super Bowl.
Taylor may be familiar to non-football watchers as the runner-up to Kristi Yamaguchi on the sixth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars in 2008.
(Headline News, FYI and Sports stories were compiled in part from reports by the Associated Press and Reuters.)
THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW - (repeat) THE VIEW - (repeat)
LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS
THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) - (repeat) THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC) - (repeat) JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) - (repeat) THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON (CBS) - (repeat) LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) - (repeat) LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY (NBC) - (repeat) THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat) THE COLBERT REPORT (COMEDY CENTRAL) - (repeat) CONAN - (repeat)
MAN PROPOSED WITH STOLEN RING: Police in Vermont say a man proposed to his girlfriend with a ring he stole from a Zales jewelry store. Ryan Jarvis has been charged with stealing a $3,200 ring after tips led police to Jarvis' fiance's Facebook page where she posted pictures of it. The 25-year-old confessed and police say the fiance had no knowledge that the ring was stolen. (Huffington Post)
911 CALLER: 'I ATE TOO MUCH FOOD': Florida police said they arrested a woman who called 911 because she ate too much food. According to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Mary Ellen Lisee called 911 from a Traveler's Inn Motel in Fort Pierce. A deputy responding to the call said he saw a woman "jumping up and down" and yelling in room 108. A man staying in the same room identified the woman as his girlfriend. Lisee appeared intoxicated and told the deputy that she called the emergency number because, "I ate too much food." The arrest affidavit states, "She then began repeatedly yelling that she had not consumed cocaine in over a year." She was arrested for misusing 911 and disorderly conduct. (Daily Mail)
MAN BROUGHT BEER TO AA MEETING: A Cincinnati, Ohio man who was reportedly "very intoxicated" brought beer to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Police said 45-year-old Darrin Porter came to the meeting place drunk and wandered the hallways until employees escorted him out. When Porter returned to the 12 Steps House, the police had to be called. Officers said there was a "strong odor" of alcohol on Porter's breath. He was charged with disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business. (UPI)
IS GETTING ENGAGED ON A HOLIDAY A MISTAKE? Christmas is a popular day for people to get engaged -- but it may backfire. TheStir.com noted that holiday engagements often take away from the holiday. For instance, if you pop the question on Christmas -- Christmas will be the day they got engaged rather than Christmas.
BABY CRIES INCREASES TESTOSTERONE PRODUCTION: Hearing a crying baby can increase testosterone production. Parenting is generally associated with a decrease in testosterone production, but a University of Michigan study indicated that the picture may be more complex, at least in situations where a crying child is involved. Researchers separated participants into four groups -- some were given the task of calming down a lifelike crying infant doll, some were given dolls that couldn't be calmed, some only listened to recordings of crying, and a fourth group sat in silence. Men who calmed the infants saw a decrease in testosterone levels, men who couldn't calm them saw no change, and men who could only hear crying but couldn't do anything about it experienced a 20% increase in testosterone. (AskMen.com)
PHONES ARE BECOMING OUR MAIN CAMERAS: More than a quarter of photos and videos are being taken with smartphones, giving point-and-shoot cameras and camcorders a run for their money. An online survey by the NPD Group found the percentage of photos and video taken on smartphones grew from 17 percent last year to 27 percent this year -- and those taken with cameras and camcorders dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent. (UPI)
BEST JOBS FOR WOMEN IN 2012 (Forbes)
No. 1: Postsecondary Teachers
Annual earnings: $59,000-$94,260
Projected growth: 15%
Job openings: 55,000
No. 2: Anthropologists
Annual earnings: $54,000
Projected growth: 28%
Job openings: 450
No. 3: Oceanographers
Annual earnings: $72,800
Projected growth: 26%
Job openings: 100
No. 4: Natural Sciences Managers
Annual earnings: $116,020
Projected growth: 15%
Job openings: 2,000
No. 5: Clergy
Annual earnings: $43,970
Projected growth: 13%
Job openings: 21,800
HOW NOT TO KISS (TheFrisky.com)
Iguana: Characterized by cool, dry lips, and a tiny pink tongue, Lizard Lips is about as arousing as, well, a small reptile crawling around your mouth. One victim noted, "He'd dart his tongue in and out at a million flicks per second. Kissing is supposed to get you hot, not give you calluses."
The Excitable Puppy: I don't know who is telling these boys that there's nothing hotter than a mid-makeout tongue bath, but I heard from a lot of sopping sisters. "He licked from forehead to nose to chin and back again," is how one woman described her first kiss. "Like the way my 80-pound Labrador licks my face. Even though it was my first makeout sesh, I knew my companion was cursed with bad skills."
The Rattlesnake: You know the scenario. . . he's cute, you're tipsy and so you lean in lay one on him and, BAM! His tongue is halfway down your throat, pulsing like a piston. "The tongue should flick lightly -- not thrust like a video on BET," instructs Victoria, a filmmaker who knows her way around a liplock.
The Tasmanian Devil: I was on the fence about one guy I was dating until we had our first makeout. His kiss was like being set upon by a team of angry ferrets. A sensuous bite on the neck can be hot, but a series of sharp nips to the jawline, decidedly less so.
The Venus Flytrap: "It was like his neck was on a hinge," Sarah relays over cocktails. "This gave him the ability to open his mouth about six inches." I dated one of these too -- his mouth would open so wide that he'd cover my mouth and nose, making it impossible to breath. And yes, while I realize the Venus Flytrap is not technically an animal, it eats bugs and that's good enough for me.
The Skunk: The breath of death was listed as a kiss-killer by most people surveyed. "In my mind I said let me give you the number of my gastroenterologist, or at least a mint!" David shared via email. In reality he said nothing to the offender -- he simply never called her again. "I'm a very polite person," he explained.
The Possum: As you should know, there is more to kissing than just shoving your tongue in and letting it lay there. "The unfurling of the tongue, and then not moving it . . ." Sarah shudders, too horrified to go on. "Too much tongue is the number one component of a bad kiss," she continues. "When it fills your mouth and you feel like some cheap bologna sandwich has been stuffed in there -- that is the ultimate bummer."
Kangal Fish: Used in exotic pedicures to nibble away the dead skin on your feet and hands, the KF-style smooch is also quite cleansing. "I had a woman do this odd thing where she ran the tip of her tongue along the face of my teeth, as if she was trying to clean them," shares David, obviously on a roll. Sarah has also experienced this, and was neither amused nor aroused. "It reminded me of those cheesy Pearl Drops toothpaste commercials from the '70s."
According to what calendar will the world end in 2012?
Have you ever made online purchases after you've had a few drinks? If so, you're not alone, with the New York Times reporting that Internet merchants are well aware of drunken shopping and try to take advantage of it. Online retailers cite traffic patterns and anecdotal evidence to support the contention that tipsy people are shopping over the Internet, with the busiest time for many being in the evening and night. Sales peak around 8 p.m., and people are increasingly placing orders later into the night. The Weekreports that many companies send shoppers' email offers in the evening to take advantage of this peak time, and the potentially tipsy shoppers driving it, but they aren't explicit about it, not wanting to be seen as taking advantage of drunk customers. At the same time, retailers would be smart to be wary, since those purchases can easily be returned once the shopper sobers up, which can cost the sellers in shipping and processing costs.
Mothers Holds 'Nurse-In' at Target Stores
Mothers held a "nurse-in" at Target stores across the country Wednesday (December 28th) meant to raise awareness about controversies over nursing in public. The demonstration was organized after a recent incident in a Houston Target in which a mother who was nursing in a remote area was told by staffers to move into a fitting room. The woman, Michelle Hickmann, described a lot of employees confronting her, saying, "Basically I got harassed by a whole handful of women Target employees." Hickmann complained to Target's corporate headquarters and the company sided with her, saying it's always been their policy to make women feel comfortable when breastfeeding. Hickman says about 150 stores in the U.S. were involved in yesterday's protest and more than 5,800 joined a Facebook group in support. The local NBC affiliate in Chicago said a protest there last about 30 minutes and involved about a dozen mothers breastfeeding inside the Target Starbucks, with support from the store.
Kellie Pickler will celebrate her first wedding anniversary on January 1st. She and husbandKyle Jacobs surprised everyone with their nuptials on New Year's Day in Antigua.
Kellie tells us: "I can't believe it's been almost a year since Kyle and I got married. I've been so blessed. He's the prize, so I'm glad he's stuck it out as long as he has so far, and I hope that he can stick it out forever. But we're gettin' ready to celebrate our one-year anniversary on January 1st, and we are very excited about it. Somethin' special that we know we're gonna get every anniversary is fireworks. So, we are lookin' forward to that."
Fans can expect new music from Kellie in 2012. The CD, called 100 Proof, will be in stores on January 24th.
Kellie's self-titled latest album was released in 2008.
It's biggest hit was "Best Days of Your Life," a Top 10 hit which Kellie co-wrote with Taylor Swift.
Lauren Alaina might add acting to her resume. The 2011 American Idol runner up tells the National Ledger that she's definitely thinking about it, saying "I have discussed that a little bit. Someday I'd love to do acting, but I feel I'm not really ready for it in my career."
Lauren has enough on her plate already for 2012. She will join Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party tour at the end of January, but before that, she performs on on FOX's American Country New Year's Eve Livespecial on Saturday (December 31st).
Lauren hopes for a repeat of 2011 in 2012 saying, "I just want it to be as good a year as 2011 has been. It's been such an incredible year -- so many doors have opened to me that I dreamed of opening. Literally everything I've ever wanted to do, I've been able to do in the past year."
Lauren released her debut album, Wildflower, in October.
Her latest single, "Georgia Peaches," is climbing the charts.
Dolly Parton is in the process of writing her life story for the Broadway stage. Dolly recently told WENN, "I probably won't be in it but I'll find a way to introduce it somehow, maybe the older me."
Dolly wrote the music and lyrics to the 2009 musical adaptation of 9 to 5, which closed on Broadway after five months.
Dolly said, "9 to 5 didn't make it on Broadway but it didn't sour me. I learned all this stuff from it."
The legend returns to the big screen in Joyful Noise, which co-stars Queen Latifah. The movie opens in theaters in January.
In the past, Dolly has mentioned she'd like Kristen Chenoweth to play her in the story of her life.
Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker will perform as part of the festivities surrounding Super Bowl XLVI early next year. The two will be among the performers at the Verizon Stage in downtown Indianapolis between January 27th and February 5th. Bret Michaels, En Vogue, Edwin McCain and Patti Labelleare among the other performers. A complete lineup and schedule will be announced in January.
Jake Owen will headline the Bud Light Orange Bowl Game Day Fan Zone in Miami Gardens, Florida as part of the Discover Orange Bowl's pre-game entertainment on January 4th. Jake is a native of Vero Beach, Florida.
LeAnn Rimes and hubby Eddie Cibrian just left several days of vacation in Cabo in time to head back to Los Angeles, re-pack and hit the airport again, only this time for colder weather. LeAnn, Eddie and Eddie's two sons left the warm sunshine on Monday (December 26th) and headed to Colorado for some time on the slopes. LeAnn tweeted, "Getting 4 of us dressed and ready for the snow takes an army. Ready for the slopes!"
Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift were the only three country acts to make this year's "Celebs Gone Good" list, compiled by DoSomething.org. Blake and Miranda together come in at Number 14 -- he held disaster relief concerts; she aided domestic abuse victims via the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation -- while Taylor closes out the list at Number 20 for performing several charity concerts and donating $1 million to various causes. Lady Gaga tops the list, in large part because of her Born This Way Foundation.
Lee Greenwood will participate in a very special tribute to 60 of San Antonio's fallen military heroes when he performs the National Anthem and "God Bless the USA" at the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas on December 29th. The Valero Alamo Bowl will pit the Washington Huskies against the Baylor Bears.
Q. What country legend tried out for the New York Mets in 1962 but was turned down? A. Charley Pride
ON THE TUBE
BROOKS & DUNN: THE LAST RODEO/GAC 10:00AM, 6:00PM (ET)
ORIGINS: CHRIS YOUNG/GAC 1:00PM (ET)
DAY JOBS/GAC 3:00PM (ET) Neal McCoy, Chuck Wicks, Rodney Atkins
BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR: ONE FOR THE ROAD/CMT 8:00PM (ET) Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy
CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL: COUNTRY'S NIGHT TO ROCK/GAC 9:00PM (ET) Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich with Gretchen Wilson, Luke Bryan, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock, Sara Evans, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride with Lauren Alaina, Brad Paisley with Alabama, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Josh Turner with Scotty McCreery, Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson
BLUE COLLAR COMEDY TOUR RIDES AGAIN/CMT 10:30PM (ET) Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy
RITA WILSON TO RETURN TO 'THE GOOD WIFE': Rita posted on Twitter, "FYI for The Good Wife fans... I will be coming back this season as Viola Walsh. The B*tch is Back!" The show returns to CBS on January 8th.
KIM KARDASHIAN PAID $600K TO PARTY ON NEW YEAR'S EVE: According to the New York Post, Kim will make $600,000 for attending several New Year's Eve parties at the Las Vegas club, Tao.
JEREMY RENNER INSPIRED BY TOM CRUISE: Jeremy Renner said he learned a lot from Tom Cruise during the filming of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. He told the Huffington Post that Tom was the one who called and offered him the role. He explained, "I couldn't say no, and it all worked out, and I've learned a lot from the guy this past year." He went on to say, "He was very hands-on, and makes you feel part of it, so it was the opposite of intimidating, it was inspiring."
DAN AYKROYD JOINS 'DOG FIGHT' WITH WILL FERRELL: According to The Wrap, Dan Aykroydwill have a part in the political comedy "Dog Fight" alongside Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. The movie, due August 10th, is also produced by the three actors and Adam McKay.
GIULIANA RANCIC BACK AT WORK TWO WEEKS AFTER DOUBLE MASTECTOMY: Giuliana Rancic is happy to back at work, just two weeks after she had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. The E! News host tweeted yesterday (December 27th), "Back at work today since surgery. Excited to be on set of @ENews. I've missed my 2nd family (co-workers and you guys!!!) #thankful."
ANIMAL PLANET RENEWS 'WHALE WARS' FOR FIFTH SEASON: Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will return to Animal Planet for a fifth season next June.
BUFFY MOVIE REBOOT SEARCHING FOR NEW SCREENWRITER: According to a report on the L.A. Times blog, Hero Complex, producers of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie are already looking for a new screenwriter. A source told the blog that Whit Anderson's script was rejected, and that "she had reinvented some of the lore and it was pretty cool but in the end there just wasn't enough on the page."
'GLEE' SPOILER ALERT!: A possible set list for the upcoming Michael Jackson tribute episode of Gleehas surfaced online. PerezHilton.com posted the list, warning that readers and fans should "take this with a grain of salt." The songs are as follows:
- "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"-- Blaine - "Bad" -- New Directions & Warblers - "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" -- Finn & Rachel - "Smooth Criminal" -- Santana & Sebastian - "Never Can Say Goodbye" -- Quinn - "In The Closet" -- Brittany & Santana - "We Are The World" -- New Directions & Warblers - "Black And White" -- Puck - "Ghost / Monster" -- New Directions - "Beat It / Billy Jean" -- Warblers - "The Way You Make Me Feel" -- Kurt - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" -- Artie
PARIS HILTON HAS A NEW 'DO: Over the Christmas holiday, Paris traded in her blonde locks for long brunette ones. A picture posted to X17Online.com showed the heiress with a long, brunette 'do but it is unclear if she is wearing a wig or if she dyed her hair.
CAROL CHANNING'S HUSBAND DIES AT NEARLY 92-YEARS-OLD: Carol Channing lost her husband Harry Kullijian on Monday (December 26th), after he suffered from an aneurism. Kullijian was Carol's fourth husband. He would have celebrated his 92nd birthday yesterday (December 27th).
PRINCE PHILIP OUT OF THE HOSPITAL: Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband, was released from the hospital yesterday (December 27th) -- four days after he was airlifted to Papworth Hospital in Cambridge for emergency heart surgery. Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that the Prince is "very much looking forward to rejoining his family."
KENDALL AND KYLIE GET PUPPIES FOR CHRISTMAS: Kim's 16-year-old half-sister, Kendall Jenner tweeted on Christmas Eve, "OMG OMG OMG!!!! Best Xmas present ever!!!!!!! 2 beautiful puppies!!!!! Ahhhh thanks mom and dad!!!!" The sisters then posted a barrage of photos of new puppies -- a boy named Louis and a girl named Vuitton.
FORMER 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE' WRITER FOUND DEAD: On Monday (December 23rd), comedy writer Joe Bodolai was found dead in an apparent suicide, at a hotel in Los Angeles. Insiders tell TMZthat a bottle of antifreeze and Gatorade was found in the room. Police said that there was no suicide note, however, 63-year-old Bodolai wrote a blog post entitled "If This Were Your Last Day Alive, What Would You Do?" on the day of his death. In the post he listed his regrets -- among them, the "inability to conquer my alcoholism" and, "most of all, the pain I have caused and am now causing my sons and the love of my life, my ex-wife Bianca." Bodolai worked on skits for Saturday Night Live in the early 80's and co-wrote the first draft of Wayne's World with Mike Myers.
FORMER 'REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK' STAR'S DISCRIMINATION CASE DISMISSED:Cindy Barshop is in the clear after a judge dismissed a discrimination case filed against her by one of her former Completely Bare salon employees. Altovise Collier claimed that other employees at the waxing salon joked that she was hired to "inject some color" into the business and that when Collier talked about those comments she was fired. According to the New York Post, the case was dropped due to lack of evidence. Following the drop, Barshop said in a statement, "I'm so happy that the truth has come out. I've never looked at people based on race, religion, creed, or color. I see people for who they are.