December 19, 2016: Monday ONAIRprep

***DAILY DOSE OF WEIRD NEWS – FREE TO AIR! (Need to receive this earlier than when it’s posted? Get FTP access and receive a fully-produced version FREE with a customized tag specifically for your station or show! Contact me with your ONAIRprep username for details!)

AND NOW… ON WITH THE SHOW!

PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION: 20161219

WELCOME TO THE SHOW!

Good news! My Dad called last night. He just finished assembling my new bike from Christmas 1978.

BIBLE VERSE OF THE DAY

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” —Luke 2:8-11

Matthew 19:26 = Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

[Zechariah said,] “Praise be to the Lord, God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he said through his holy prophets long ago.” — Luke 1:68-70

HEARTLIGHT DAILY VERSE, PRAYER & THOUGHT

(From VerseOfTheDay.com)

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. — 1 Corinthians 12:18-20

Thought: The Apostle Paul reminds us that God assigns our roles in the Body of Christ. Several principles interact with God’s choice. First, be faithful in what God has given you to do — until we are faithful in/with little things, he will not entrust us with big ones (Luke 16:10-13). Second, if we don’t use what he has given us, it will be taken away (Matt. 25:14-30). Third, we reap what we sow — sinful or irresponsible behavior can create consequences that limit the effectiveness of our service (Gal. 6:7-8). Bottom line — let’s be faithful with what God has given us, let’s serve him when given new opportunities, and let’s honor him with our choices so that Satan cannot use our failure to interfere with our service!

Prayer: Dear Father and LORD of heaven and earth, please help me see my opportunities to serve in your Kingdom. Please grow my effectiveness in your service so that I can bring you glory and be a blessing to the Body of Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayers for Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.

BIRTHDAY VERSE” OF THE DAY (The chapter and verse corresponds to the month and the day!)

Romans 12:19 NIV = Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

TODAY IS MONDAY – DECEMBER 19, 2016

(NOTE: Some holidays may be duplicated due to various calendars reporting conflicting dates)
WEIRD, WACKY, STRANGE, ZANY, ODD, BIZARRE, QUIRKY, UNUSUAL HOLIDAYS!
THERE ARE ONLY
06 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.

Today is NATIONAL OATMEAL MUFFIN DAY. ***Do you know the muffin man? The muffin man? The muffin man? Do you know the muffin man? He lives on Drury Lane! (audio clip)

Today is CHOCOLATE PIZZA DAY.

Today is NATIONAL BUILD A SNOWMAN DAY.

Today is E-MAIL SANTA CLAUS JUST IN CASE HE DIDN’T GET YOUR LETTER DAY.

TODAY IS ALSO…

(None today)

COMING UP NEXT (Just a list, we are not endorsing the holidays posted below.)

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20

International Human Solidarity Day
Games Day
Link
Mudd Day
National Sangria Day 
Link
Poet Laureat Day

World Day of Prayer and Action for Children Link

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21

Ann & Samantha Day  Link
Celebrate Short Fiction Day
Crossword Puzzle Day
Forefathers Day
Humbug Day
International Dalek Remembrance Day
Link
National Flashlight Day (Shortest Day of The Year)
National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
Link
Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day
Short Girl Appreciation Day (Shortest day of the year)
World Peace Day/Winter Solstice
Winter (Winter Solstice) 5:44 AM EST
Yalda
Yule

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22

(None today)

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 23

Human Light Celebration

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24

Chanukah (12/24-1/1)
Christmas Eve
Egg Nog Day Link

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25

‘Phabet Day or No “L” Day
Christmas
Christmas Pudding Day Link

MONDAY, DECEMBER 26

Boxing Day (Canada)
National Candy Cane Day  Link
National Thank-you Note Day
National Whiner’s Day

ON THIS DAY

45 B.C.: Julius Caesar popped in unannounced with 2,000 men for dinner at Cicero’s country villa. Cicero wrote his friend Atticus that he entertained the group “in style,” but that Caesar was not the sort of guest to whom you’d say, “Do please come again on your way back.”

1776: Thomas Paine published his first ”American Crisis” essay. He wrote, ‘These are the times that try men’s souls.”

1843: “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

1922: 24-year-old Theresa Vaughn was tried for bigamy in England. In five years she had accumulated 62 husbands.

1927: George Scott and Frank Elliot became the only drivers ever to travel by car 4,200 miles across Canada without gasoline. They talked 168 passing motorists into towing their car, which did not have a motor.

1944: American Christian songwriter Andrew Robert Culverwell was born. He wrote “Born Again” and “Come On, Ring Those Bells.”

1955: At Sun Records in Memphis, Carl Perkins recorded his original million seller “Blue Suede Shoes.”

1957: Meredith Wilson’s musical play “The Music Man” opened on Broadway.

1960: Frank Sinatra recorded “Ring-A-Ding-Ding” and “Let’s Fall in Love” in his first session with his own record company, Reprise Records.

1973: Comedian Johnny Carson created a minor crisis when he mentioned during a Tonight Show monologue a news item that said toilet paper was disappearing from store shelves. Within a few days toilet paper actually became scarce in some areas.

1975: Advertising executive and storyteller C.W. McCall earned a gold record for his novelty hit “Convoy,” a single about truck drivers and their run-ins with the law. It reached #1 on both the country and pop charts.

1980: Santa Claus robbed a bank in Berkeley, California, by threatening to blow it up. A short time later, police arrested a hefty 50-year-old man with a sack full of money, still wearing his Santa outfit.

1985: ABC Sports announced that it was severing ties with Howard Cosell and released him from all TV commitments. “The Mouth” continued on ABC Radio for another five years.

1989: The U.S. issued a patent (#4,887,552) to James Hayden of Cincinnati for his Electrically Lighted Dog Leash and Collar. Powered by a 9-volt battery, the leash device contributes to dog-walking safety after dark.

1995: Two bandits tried to rob Z’s Sports Tap bar in Chicago where a police retirement party was underway. The 100 off-duty police officers arrested the suspects at the scene without a fight.

1997: ”Titanic,” the highest-grossing movie in history, opened in North American theaters.

1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton became only the second U.S. president to be impeached when the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment, charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice. In the subsequent trial, however, he was acquitted.

2001: Research by the Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada determined the most effective way to get rid of a fruitcake is to drive over it with an SUV or kick it like a football. Dropping a fruitcake from the roof of a two-story building or shooting it with a submachine gun was not effective at all.

2003: Image designs for the new design for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center revealed a sloping spire to reach 1,776 feet.

TODAY IN CHRISTIAN HISTORY

1734: Count Nicholaus von Zinzendorf, founder of the modern Moravian church and a pioneer in ecumenism and missions, is recognized as a minister by the theology faculty of Tubigen, Germany.

1790: An interdenominational meeting opens in Philadelphia to create the First Day Society to strengthen Sunday observance.

1808: Death of Horatius Bonar a leading Scottish minister of his day and author of many hymns, such as “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.”

1904: Sundar Singh sees a vision of Christ three days after burning a Bible, an act that left him so miserable he was preparing to throw himself under a train. The teenager immediately began to preach the gospel to others at great risk to himself. ³When we have left this life, we shall not have a second chance of bearing the cross for Christ.²

1947: The Dead Sea scrolls are discovered, and soon are recognized as one of the greatest archaeological finds of the twentieth century for the light they cast on scripture, and especially on the times of Christ.

1950: Bill Wallace, missionary surgeon to China, is taken captive in a pre-dawn raid by the Communists and placed in a cell where he is brutally interrogated as an American spy and finally murdered.

HOLLYWOOD, SPORTS AND CELEBRITY FIGURE BIRTHDAYS

  • actress (Jody Lynch on “Party of Five”, Lucy Hatcher on “The Practice”) Marla Sokoloff 36 (audio clip)

  • actor (Jarhead, Proof, The Day After Tomorrow) Jake Gyllenhall 36

  • actress (Commando, “Who’s the Boss”, “Melrose Place”, “Charmed”) Alyssa Milano 44 (audio clip)

  • actress (Dude Where’s My Car, Big Daddy, The Phantom, Buffy The Vampire Slayer) Christy Swanson 47

  • actress (Bette Porter on “The L Word”, The Grudge 2, Runaway Jury, Flashdance, “The Chicago Code”) Jennifer Beals 53

  • actor (William Barnett on “That 70’s Show”, Ray Campbell on “Sister Sister”, Venus Flytrap on “WKRP in Cincinnati”) Tim Reid 72 (audio clip)

  • actress (Because of Winn Dixie, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Help) Cicely Tyson 83

BEE-BOP BIRTHDAYS

(Music Artist Birthdays From SongFacts.com)

1894 : Paul Dessau

1915 : Charlie Ryan

1941 : Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire)

1944 : Zal Yanovsky (The Lovin’ Spoonful)

1944 : Alvin Lee (Ten Years After)

1945 : John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

1957 : Doug Johnson (Loverboy)

1958 : Limahl (Kajagoogoo)

1968 : Kevin Shepard (Tonic)

SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE

THE MEANING OF THE CANDY CANE?

Was the candy cane made as a representation of the story of Christ?

According to legend there was a candy maker who wanted to invent a candy that would tell the story of Jesus. First of all, he used a hard candy because Christ is the rock of ages. The flavor of the cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop. Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in the Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. Jesus is the pure Lamb of God, come to be a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The color white was used to represent the perfect purity of the spotless and sinless Son of God. A large red stripe was used to represent the blood that He shed upon the cross to cleanse us from our sins. Three thin red stripes were added to remind us of the stripes He received Finally, the candy was made in the shape of a shepherd’s staff to remind us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. (Book, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996)

This story is FALSE. Read the truth here.

CHRISTIAN ARTIST NEWS

This is just a tiny sample of the 5-6 pages of material you could be receiving three days a week from ChristianRadioShowPrepServices.com!

Audrey Assad was recently featured in the Tennessean newspaper. In the article Audrey opens up about pornography addiction and repression. She posted: Tough to talk about it but I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Jamie Grace will release her next album in early 2017. This week Jamie finally announced the release for her first project in several years. She says her new album will be available on February 10, 2017.

Meredith Andrews is asking for prayer after taking her daughter to the emergency room this week. Meredith posted: She has second degree burns on both palms from touching a hot glass fireplace cover. My sweet girl is going to be ok but will be in quite a bit of pain this week, and I would so appreciate any prayers for complete healing. 

A rough day for Jonny Diaz. He posted: We had to say goodbye to our dog, Bodie, today. He really was a once in a lifetime kind of dog. Unfortunately, his cancer came back and was making the things he loved painful. He will be missed very much.

Danny Gokey: Christmas to me is all about celebration, no matter where you live or what your Christmas traditions look like, we all celebrate the season together around the world! My wife, Leyicet is from Miami, and Christmas in Miami is much different with palm trees and beautiful ocean breeze than the blizzards we get in Milwaukee where I’m from. When I went to write original songs for my Christmas album, we were playing around with a tropical beat and decided to do something a little different to talk about the fact that no matter how you celebrate, Christmas is really found in the heart!

Moriah Peters has finally found a reason to be happy about cold weather. The California native is out with a new sweater in her online store. She said: The weather outside is frightful but this sweater is so delightful. However, the sweater comes with a warning label. Moriah says: ***WARNING*** The wearing of this comfy pullover could result in never wanting to take it off. http://moriahpeters.com/shop

 

Casting Crowns Mark Hall is also a youth leader and this week he released a New Millennial version of 12 Days of Christmas. He posted: there’s only time for 4 days of Christmas and they all got gift cards… done.

Selah member Amy Perry says the Christmas season is off to a rough start. She reported that some Christmas packages were stolen off their porch earlier this week.

Only David Crowder would feature a plunger in his holiday decorations. Check out his idea of a festive way to use a plunger… https://twitter.com/crowdermusic/status/809094276508426241/photo/1

Third Day recently asked their fans to select the best song from their Christmas Offerings album. Now the votes are in and members of the band say “O HOLY NIGHT” was selected as the best song.

NEWS KICKERS

(No news on the weekends. As on ONAIRprep subscriber, you can get a fully-produced, customized version of the Daily Dose of Weird News FREE with a station or show specific tag! Email darren@onairprep.com for details!)

NEW NEWS KICKERS…

A man in Oregon tried to buy a snowmobile off Craigslist using a pound of pot. When he showed up for the sale he was arrested since the seller happened to be a state trooper.  ***This is just so wrong, it’s completely insane… I mean, being misleading about an item for sale on Craiglist?  Who does that?

Dolly Parton’s fundraiser for the Tennessee fire victims the other night has raised just under $9 million so far.  ***It’s almost as much as what Dolly has spent on plastic surgery!

New research (James Cook University) could drastically reduce the impact the agricultural industry has on the global environment. A professor of aquaculture at James Cook University in Australia has been studying the effects seaweed can have on cow’s methane production. They discovered adding a small amount of dried seaweed to a cow’s diet can reduce the amount of methane a cow produces by up to 99 percent.  ***Forget the cows – start putting seaweed in Taco Bell menu items!

A hospital in northern Italy said Wednesday it had achieved a world first by successfully transplanting a kidney in the place of the spleen in a six-year-old girl. ***That’s cool, but who knew body parts were interchangeable?  It’s like we’ve never realized that we’re all secretly Mr. Potato Head.

An 86-year-old jewel thief who has kept jewelry sellers on their toes since the 1970s has struck again, this time by slipping a $2,000 diamond necklace into her pocket. Doris Payne was arrested Tuesday at a Von Maur department store outside Atlanta. Authorities have said Payne has lifted pricey baubles from countless jewelry stores around the world in an illicit career that has spanned six decades. Authorities have said she has used at least 22 aliases over the years and probably got away more often than she was caught, though she has done several stints in prison.   ***This woman deserves a feature-length movie about her life!  Sounds like she could even finance it herself! https://yhoo.it/2hNY6Qc

Recently at a mall in Amarillo, Texas, Evangelical pastor David Grisham took it upon himself to announce to a line of children waiting to meet Santa Claus that Santa is, in fact, not real.  ***Which is obviously WRONG, because Santa was RIGHT THERE in front of a line of kids waiting to talk to him.

Squirrels have declared war on Christmas lights across the United States. In Seattle this month, homeowner Margaret Rican filmed a squirrel’s repeated theft of her Christmas light bulbs. She said “He has stolen 150 in 24 hours. Meanwhile, this week, the Boston Globe reported that a band of squirrel outlaws had repeatedly caused outages of the holiday lights adorning 60 trees on Boston Common. And on Wednesday, the Canadian Broadcasting Co. revealed that squirrels have been destroying the lights that cast a glow on a park in Toronto.  ***It looks like we could use Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB rifle right about now.  http://wapo.st/2huEPXv

A small Indiana town is without a police force after the entire department resigned earlier this week. Bunker Hill’s town marshal and four unpaid reserve deputies submitted their letters of resignation during Monday’s town council meeting. In his letter of resignation, Town Marshal Michael Thomison accused the council of asking him and his deputies to “be involved in illegal, unethical, and immoral things.” Those activities included requests for confidential information and criminal background checks on fellow council members. Thomison told local reporters that deputies were threatened when they refused those requests and were forced to share one set of body armor while dealing with criminals. He also says after he was diagnosed with cancer last year, the council informed him it would be making him part time to get out of providing his health insurance, which was “costing the town way too much money.” When informed of the resignation of the town’s entire police force, the council president said: “It is what it is.” County deputies will patrol the town until a new marshal is hired. ***Sounds like they need to keep the cops and get rid of the city council.

NEWS KICKER EVERGREENS…

Seven out of ten Americans will resolve to lose weight in the coming new year. ***Meaning seven out of ten Americans won’t lose weight in the coming new year.

A survey of more than 7,000 U.S. mothers reveals that the average mom rates her stress level an 8.5 out of 10. What’s got them so stressed? For 46 percent of moms, husbands are a bigger source of stress than kids.  ***I’d like to take this moment to apologize to my wife.  Okay… moving on…

What if you could be fat but avoid heart disease or diabetes? Scientists trying to break the fat-and-disease link increasingly say inflammation is the key.  In the quest to prove it, a major study is under way testing whether an anti-inflammatory drug – an old, cheap cousin of aspirin – can fight the Type 2 diabetes spurred by obesity.  And intriguing new research illustrates how those yellow globs of fat lurking under the skin are more than a storage site for extra calories. They’re a toxic neighborhood where inflammation appears to be born.  ***So I can be fit and healthy if I just take Ibuprofen?

 Scientists have known for a long time that lycopene, the chemical that gives tomatoes their red color, fights cancer. Now, new research indicates the yellow liquid surrounding the tomato’s seeds prevents heart attacks and strokes. The fluid keeps the blood from forming clots, which can clog arteries, interrupting blood flow to the heart or brain.  ***So from now on, be sure to ask for your pizzas with EXTRA sauce.

A recent study offers evidence to support what many people have learned for themselves: never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Researchers found that people who hadn’t eaten all afternoon chose more high-calorie foods in a supermarket than those who were given a snack just before food shopping.  ***Following the same rule, you probably also should not go clothes shopping while naked.

WONDER WOMAN (This feature will be disappearing in 2017)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TODAY’S EPISODE… “Vacuum of Space”

DAILY COMEDY CLIP (This feature will be disappearing in 2017)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD TODAY’S EPISODE… Scott Gregory, “British Baseball”

AS THE JUNGLE TURNS – WEEKDAY VERSION

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD MONDAY’S EPISODE

CHRISTMAS 01 of 09

OPEN: And now, FancyMonkey.com, (Show Name), and (Station Call Letters) bring you another inspiringly inspiring inspirational story in the never-ending deep-jungle soap-opera saga that is As the Jungle Turns!

CLOSE: Do you get the feeling Gruffy Bear is NOT going to get a good night’s sleep? And what does this all have to do with Christmas? Find out next time – As the Jungle Turns!

AS THE JUNGLE TURNS – SATURDAY/SUNDAY VERSION (This feature will be disappearing in 2017)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE EPISODE FOR THE WEEKEND OF DEC 24/25 & DEC 31-JAN 01

OPEN: And now, FancyMonkey.com, (Show Name), and (Station Call Letters) bring you As the Jungle Turns! Last time, after thinking that the giant gorilla might just want to be friends (rather than eat the animals one at a time) they decided to go back to the footprints. Millard wasn’t too keen on the idea, seeing as he was almost made a meal of the last time, but they went back anyway. And suddenly…

CLOSE: So making friends with the gorilla didn’t work… will the animals try again to sell all of their possessions and move out of the jungle? Will they ever stop running and being scared? Tune in again next time to find out… As the Jungle Turns!

***You may simulcast “As the Jungle Turns” on the Internet stream of your live broadcast only. Any other Internet use of “As the Jungle Turns” in whole or part including podcasting of your live broadcast is a violation of copyright law. Thank you for your cooperation on this vitally important issue. If you have any questions, please e-mail us and ask about “Jungle Jam & Friends the Radio Show” usage.

MOMENT OF DUH

Job hunting becomes a colossal Moment of Duh for one man!

Juan Rivera left his home in Juarez, Mexico, last week. He slipped into El Paso, Texas, and went to Riverside, California, to look for a temporary job. When he couldn’t find work, he asked someone which train headed back to El Paso. But the train went to the wrong city. So he got on another train, then another. Somehow he ended up in Mankato, Minnesota, in the middle of the night. Wearing only jeans and three shirts, Rivera walked to a convenience store and crawled into a trash bin to stay warm. But at about 5:30am Monday, a garbage truck dumped the contents of the trash bin, including Rivera, into the truck. When the truck got to its next stop, Rivera crawled out the back and the driver called 911. He was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries. Although he entered the country illegally, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had no interest in him. Having broken no local laws, and considering his harrowing experience, Rivera was free to go. He spent the night at a Salvation Army before being put on a bus for home.

TOP TEN

TOP HOLIDAY MOVIES

Back when Blockbuster was still a thing, they conducted a survey and found that 61% of families watch a particular holiday movie every year as a key part of their holiday celebrations. Here are the top 10:

  • “The Santa Clause 2”

  • “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

  • “A Christmas Story”

  • “It’s A Wonderful Life”

  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”

  • “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The 1966 cartoon version)”

  • “White Christmas”

  • “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

  • “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (The 2000 live-action version)”

  • And at the top of the list… “The Santa Clause”

THE FILES OF LAW & DISORDER

A Christmas story – in the files of Law & Disorder!

FILE #1: James Craig Wilson planned to spend the afternoon decorating for the holidays. Instead, upset by mishaps with his outdoor Christmas lights, he grabbed his .45-caliber pistol and began firing into the ground behind his suburban home. He ended up in the Clark County Jail for investigation of reckless endangerment. Wilson told sheriff’s deputies he started getting angry when he found the lights were tangled. His wife had balled them up and tossed them in the garage after last Christmas, he said. As he tried to unroll the string of lights in his driveway, his daughter returned home and drove over the lights. Wilson told his wife not to be alarmed while he shot off some rounds in the back yard to let off steam. He sent his daughter across the street to tell a reserve deputy who lives there that no one had been hurt. Soon after, five deputies arrived and arrested him. “I thought discharging my gun would help me discharge my anger,” Wilson said. “I guess I’m going to lose my concealed weapons permit.”

FILE #2: There was caroling in the court in Nashville, Tennessee! A traffic court judge was in the holiday spirit and decided to let some drivers off without a fine if they’d sing “Jingle Bells.” Judge Mark Fishburn says his singing alternative was a spur-of-the-moment thing and notes that dropping traffic charges is common this time of year.

FILE #3: Police arrested 43 year old Ray Nugent on attempted murder charges, and bank robbery, only to realize that it wasn’t him at all. After having him spend 13 days in the slammer, police realized that they had mistaken him for his fugitive twin brother. Ray has filed a $13 million dollar lawsuit against the County. And says his little brother won’t be getting a Christmas present this year!

STRANGE LAW: In Britain, it is illegal to consume a mince pie on Christmas Day.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS

A man steals a refrigerator in order to get the urine samples!

Authorities say a man was arrested for stealing a small refrigerator from a probation office used to store urine samples, including his own. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said a 26-year-old man stole the fridge after testing positive for drug use. Police said he went to the office Sunday, shot out a window to get inside and removed the locked refrigerator. Probation officers gave investigators a list of names of those whose drug samples were stored in the stolen fridge. Investigators tracked down the suspect at his home where they found shards of glass with blood on them. The fridge is still missing, but the man was being held at the Alachua County jail. He’s charged with arson, destroying evidence, burglary and larceny.

PHONER PHUN

How about these jewelry store commercials that try to make you think if you don’t get her a piece of their overpriced glitter for Christmas you’re a loser and she’ll never love you? Drives me crazy. Ladies, is jewelry really the number on thing that you want for the holidays? And if not, what IS the number one thing you want for Christmas?

BIBLE BRAIN BUSTER!

QUESTION: Who said ,”We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;”?

ANSWER: Paul (Corinthians 4)

QUESTION IMPOSSIBLE

QUESTION: Before 1863 this was free in the U.S. After 1863 we had to start paying for it. What is it?

ANSWER: Mailing letters – using the U.S. Postal Service

TRUE OR FALSE

Pay attention! If our next player doesn’t answer all ten T/F questions correctly we start all over from question #1! First person to answer question #10 correctly is our winner!

1. Frosty the Snowman had a carrot for his nose. (False – it was a button.)

2. Frosty came to life when a hat was placed on his head. (True – a “magic” top hat.)

3. The original title of the poem, “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas?” is actually “A Visit With Saint Nickolas.” (True – written by Clement Clark Moore in 1822.)

4. Cutting down fir trees and decorating them began in Sweden. (False – it began in Medieval Germany.)

5. Santa has seven reindeer… eight including Rudolph. (False – it’s NINE reindeer including Rudolph. The others are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner <or Donder> and Blitzen.)

6. Myrrh, one of the gifts presented to the infant Jesus, is a perfume. (True – it’s a perfume made from gum resin of trees in Eastern Africa, India and Arabia.)

7. Frankincense, another one of the gifts presented to Jesus at his birth, is a flower. (False – it’s another aromatic tree resin used as incense.)

8. Every snowflake is different, but they all have the same number of sides. (True – they all have six sides.)

9. In the story, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?”, the dog’s name was “Ebeneezer”. (False – it was Max.)

10. The average length of sitting in Santa’s lap at Macy’s Department Store is 63 seconds. (False – it’s only 37 seconds.)

TABLOID MATCH GAME

You have to match the blank in the tabloid headline with the word or phrase that has been removed!

KIM JONG-UN _________ MINNIE MOUSE (MARRIES)

PYONGYANG, North Korea — Mickey Mouse and North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, married on state TV.

Kim Jong-un has long been a fan of Disney.  When he was a little boy, his father, Kim Jon II, had him watch Disney cartoons for hours every day.  Some say this was to distract his son, others say it was a way to keep his son entertained.

Kim Jong-un fell in love with Minnie Mouse at age 12 and finally his dream has come true.  On Saturday, the new leader of North Korea married Minnie Mouse on State TV.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency said Kim was “happier than anyone had ever seen any leader of North Korea in over fifty years.”

Nobody dare tell Kim Jong-un that there was a woman in the Minnie Mouse costume.  ”To do so would mean death,” said an unnamed source in North Korea.

THE WAY TOO EARLY IN THE MORNING TO UNDERSTAND THE PUNCHLINE EVEN AFTER TWO CUPS OF COFFEE JOKE OF THE DAY 

JOKE #1

A woman went to the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. “What denomination?” asked the clerk.

“Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this?” said the woman. “Fine . . . give me 50 Catholic ones and 50 Baptist ones.”

JOKE #2

When the driver of a huge trailer lost control of his rig, he plowed into an empty tollbooth and smashed it to pieces. 
He climbed down from his truck to survey the wreckage and within a matter of minutes, a truck pulled up and discharged a crew of state department of transportation workers. 
The men picked up each broken piece of the former tollbooth and spread some kind of creamy substance on it. Then they began fitting the pieces together. 
In less than a half hour, they had the entire tollbooth reconstructed and looking good as new.

“Astonishing!” the truck driver said to the crew chief. 

”What was the white stuff you used to get all the pieces together?”

The crew chief said, “Oh, that was tollgate booth paste.”

JOKE #3

One day, a man walks into a dentist’s office and asks how much it will cost to extract wisdom teeth.  “Eighty dollars,” the dentist says.

“That’s a ridiculous amount,” the man says. “Isn’t there a cheaper way?”

“Well,” the dentist says, “if you don’t use an anesthetic, I can knock it down to $60.”

“That’s still too expensive,” the man says.

“Okay,” says the dentist. “If I save on anesthesia and simply rip the teeth out with a pair of pliers, I could get away with charging $20.”

“Nope,” moans the man, “it’s still too much.”

“Hmm,” says the dentist, scratching his head. “If I let one of my students do it for the experience, I suppose I could charge you just $10.”

“Marvelous,” says the man, “book my wife for next Tuesday!”

USELESS FACTS

A worker digging in Peru found a fossilized glyptodon, a prehistoric armadillo the size of a small car.  ***MARLAR: Experts believe it was run over by a prehistoric Humvee.

Virginia’s tourism agency is ditching some hand gestures that appear in some of its ad campaigns. The images are of people making heart symbols with their hands. Virginia’s official tourism slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers.” But it turns out the gesture is also used by a violent street gang in Chicago.  ***MARLAR: So you are either telling someone you love them, or you’re saying, “I’m gonna put a cap in you, Sucka!”

FEATURED FUNNIES

WORRIED ABOUT SANTA CLAUS

Dear Santa,

We’re worried about you. From your rosy red cheeks to your legendary girth to your all-night sleigh ride around the world, you may be at risk for diseases, maladies, mishaps and lawsuits that send chills through our Santa-loving hearts. The latest warning comes from the National Rosacea Society in Barrington, Illinois. Dermatologist Dr. Jerome Litt says you have “a clear-cut case of rosacea,” a skin condition that also affects millions of Americans, particularly at middle age. Unable to examine you personally, the good doctor based his finding on a well-circulated report that your “cheeks were like roses, (your) nose like a cherry.” And rosacea can be aggravated by holiday stress, hot chocolate and overexertion…all things you may encounter this time of year. The one bright note in Dr. Litt’s message is that certain antibiotics can help, and he advises you to see a North Pole dermatologist. But the news about your facial tint is only our latest source of concern. A careful examination of what we know about you and your lifestyle raises a host of other trouble signs –

  • OBESITY: Frankly, Santa, this may be your biggest area of concern. Studies show overweight men have more than double the normal risk of heart attacks and increased chances of many other diseases. We’ve seen the pictures; we’ve noticed you in the malls. And we’ve heard that your tummy shakes “like a bowl full of jelly” when you chuckle. On this, we’ll take part of the blame. All these years, we’ve set out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. With 102 million homes in the U.S. alone, even if 1 in 100 homes put out two cookies and a cup of milk, that would make an overnight snack of 2,000,000 cookies and 63,750 gallons of milk. Maybe it’s time for Mrs. Claus to get you a BoFlex. But be sure to consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen.

  • PIPE SMOKING: You’ve been pictured with a pipe, and even though an apologist in The New York Times once claimed it’s only a prop, a witness who encountered you in his home said “the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.” According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, pipe and cigar smokers have twice a nonsmoker’s risk for lung cancer, four times the risk for larynx cancer and two to three times the risk for cancers of the mouth and esophagus. Even if the pipe’s just a prop, it might be a good idea to lose it. Remember, you’re not just a saint, you’re a role model.

  • STRESS: Dealing with Christmas wishes from millions of kiddies could certainly put one on the emotional hot seat. And anxiety can surpass even smoking as a risk for certain heart problems. On this point, though, we have some good news A medical news service says laughter–as evidenced by your trademark “Ho, ho, ho”–is one of the best stress-busters going.

  • SOOT: We admire your ability to slip up and down the average chimney, an opening about 12 inches by 16 inches. But creosote flakes on the chimney walls are toxic and can lead to respiratory problems. Brent Rigby of Emerald City Chimney Sweeps in Kirkland, WA, said his people never actually go into a chimney, and wear protective masks when they reach up through the fireplace to vacuum the soot.

  • RSI (REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY): Cards and letters by the bagful arrive on your doorstep through regular mail, but this year we’ve noticed you’re also receiving, and answering, e-mail through numerous Internet addresses. We applaud that you’ve moved forward onto the information superhighway, but we caution you: Too much keyboard work can result in painful injuries to the hands, wrists and arms.

  • DEER MITES: Close, continuous contact with your trusty reindeer means if they get mites, so might you, says Dr. David DuClos, a veterinary dermatologist in Lynnwood, WA. Watch out for itchy rashes, and keep the deer out of your bed.

  • FROSTBITE, HYPOTHERMIA: You usually bundle up, and that’s good. A Weather Service satellite recently showed the temperature at the North Pole was 13 below zero, and high winds are common. Exposure to such conditions can cause frostbite in minutes.

  • MALL THUGS: You spend a lot of time in shopping malls, so you already know things are getting a little tough out there. Try not to walk back to your sleigh at night alone.

  • MEMORY TROUBLE: It’s been said that you make a list, then check it twice. Are you just being careful, or are you developing a little memory problem?

  • SAD (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER): This time of year, there is virtually no daylight at the North Pole, and a lack of sunlight can trigger depression in some people. Maybe a full-spectrum light would help keep you jolly.

  • VIRAL INFECTIONS: A young witness saw you kissing Mommy underneath the mistletoe last night. You know this is cold and flu season, don’t you?

  • JET LAG: Fatigue, dizziness and insomnia are all dangers that travelers face when they cross through several times zones. And few travelers cross all 24 of them in one night, like you do.

  • SLEIGH ACCIDENTS: We’ve seen plenty of pictures of you in that sleigh, but never with a seat belt, and we’d sure hate to see you get hurt. By the way, when you cruise through metropolitan areas, be sure to cover the load. You wouldn’t want to have an accident that would boost your insurance rates would you? Which reminds us: You DO have insurance, don’t you?

IT MUST BE TRUE BECAUSE I HEARD IT ON THE RADIO!

WE MYTH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS

I don’t want to frighten you, but you may have been giving your children some misinformation when telling them the Christmas story!

You may not know it, but there are a lot of myths surrounding Christmas… and some of those myths are within the story of Jesus’ birth! In fact, you may have been telling your own children some falsehoods! Let’s take a look at some commonly held but inaccurate beliefs about the Christmas story.

  • Myth No.1: “There were three wise men.” In fact, the Bible does not give any number of wise men at all.

  • Myth No.2: “Christ was born on December 25.” It is generally agreed that shepherds would not be

  • watching their flocks by night on December 25 because of the frosts at that time of year. December 25 has been celebrated as the date of Christ’s birth only since the 4th century, when Christians used this to supplant a Roman festival. His date of birth is actually unknown.

  • Myth No.3: “The wise men visited Christ in the stable.” Despite all those nativity scenes you see with the wise men in a manger with Jesus, the Bible says they visited Him in a “house” (Matthew 2:11). The family had obviously long left the stable in Bethlehem. This is reinforced by Herod’s attempt to kill Jesus by decreeing that all babies in the area who were “two years old and under” were to be killed. There would be no need to include 2-year-olds if Jesus was a new-born.

Now, go forth and continue telling the Christmas story armed now with the truth!

INSPIRATIONAL INSPIRATION

AN ANGEL IN THE DESERT

Sharon and I were finally ready to start on our first vacation/honeymoon. Sharon had never had a vacation in her life, she usually just visited relatives. She and I were looking forward to our first trip together though we were tight on money.  Our goals was to head west from Oklahoma City to see northern New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, to Silverton and Durango in Colorado, to Leadville, up to Yellowstone National Park, then meander home.

The plans were nice on paper, but reality hit us in Amarillo when her 1986 Cougar started chugging and we barely made it to the gas station.  I thought perhaps she had some bad gas and as the tank was fairly empty, I felt confident a full tank would cure the ill.  So off we went again.  However, just outside of Tucumcari, New Mexico, the car would barely do 20 mph.  The car had a serious problem.  We would have to change our vacation plans in all likelihood.

The only repair shop open on Saturday gave us grim news.  The catalytic converter was bad and it needed to be replaced.  The cost was about 250 (1988) dollars. Also, to add injury to insult, we would have to wait until Monday for the part.

I told the man about my wife, who had terminal cancer, about this being our honeymoon, but to fix it and we would adjust our venue.  He looked at me in the eye and said, “If you buy me breakfast and get an oil change, this car will be ready in an hour.”

I fed him breakfast and paid him 19.95 for an oil change.  What he had done was illegal, he removed the converter and then told us the car would run much better and we could use either leaded or unleaded gas.

This man saved our vacation and ensured we had many memories of our trip. I thank this angel in the desert.

B.J. Cassady, Guthrie, Okla

DRIVE TIME DEVOTIONAL

Everybody has a good excuse for not attending church. If you take those excuses and apply them to other things we do (or don’t do), like eating, they might look like this list: I don’t eat any more because:
1. I was forced to eat as a child.
2. People who eat all the time are hypocrites; they aren’t really hungry.
3. There are so many different kinds of food, I can’t decide what to eat.
4. I used to eat, but I got bored and stopped.
5. I only eat on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter.
6. None of my friends will eat with me.
7. I’ll start eating when I get older.
8. I don’t really have time to eat.
9. I don’t believe that eating does anybody any good. It’s just a crutch.
10. Restaurants and grocery stores are only after your money.
Giving a lame excuse for not attending church or for not getting involved in ministry is just as silly as giving up eating. Church attendance for the Christian is as important as regular, balanced meals. Without spiritual food, we will die. (1 Peter 2:2).

LEFTOVERS

SANTA TREATS

No wonder Santa is fat – do you have any ideas how many calories the guy consumes every Christmas Eve?

According to The American Dietetic Association (ADA), if Santa drinks a glass of whole milk and eats two butter cookies at every American household he visits, he will consume a shocking 14 billion calories and 6.1 billion grams of fat in one night alone!

  • Try skim milk instead of whole, saving 64 calories and eight grams of fat for each glass he drinks.

  • Offer Santa “skinny nog” — a mixture of skim milk and low fat egg nog or use dry egg nog mix with skim milk to save 145 calories and 18 grams of fat per serving.

  • Leave Santa gingersnaps or graham crackers in place of higher fat cookies conserving 169 calories and eight grams of fat per serving.

  • Opt to give non-food gifts, like food and nutrition books, subscriptions to health newsletters, exercise tapes or equipment and gift certificates.

  • And, according to Zanecosky, carrots, celery, apples and pears are great treats for Santa as well as his reindeer. “With a little planning, it will be easy to expand Santa’s food choices without expanding his waistline.”

LIFE… LIVE IT

CHRISTMAS CARDS

The type of Christmas card you buy reveals your true personality according to Dr. Ellnor Kinarthy. The expert tells what each type of card says about you:

  • Family photos: You’re a busy person who likes new and different experiences, like living in different places, eating at new restaurants and tasting different foods. But Christmas gives you time to pause and reflect on how much family and friends mean to you.

  • Humorous: You’re a fun-loving optimist who can see the humor in even bad situations, but you’re also very sensitive to other people. You’re a good listener who gives friends a shoulder to cry on. In addition, you love animals and are inclined to have pets.

  • Santa cards: You’re a people-oriented person who likes going to big parties and enjoys making new friends. You consider all those tasty Christmas foods the best part of the season, and like Santa, you have a tendency to put on a little weight.

  • Christmas trees: You take pride in your personal appearance and your home. You have an artistic nature and are very creative. Your strong sense of beauty shows through in your home, which probably looks like it was professionally decorated.

  • Current themes (like Santa compiling his list on a computer): You are very future-oriented and want to be ready for what tomorrow brings. You like video games, new car shows and all the latest gadgets. You may also be well-informed about investments.

  • Religious scenes: You spend lots of time deep in thought and you value the true meaning of Christmas. You like to help others and often donate time and money to charity. You value the traditional family in which the wife stays home while the husband goes off to work.

  • Winter scenes: You’re very competitive and throw yourself into everything, even your hobbies. But you enjoy pictures of winter because they remind you that it’s also important to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the season.

JUST FOR FUN

DIARY OF A SNOW SHOVELER

  • December 8 at 6:00 P.M. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I sat for hours watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow.

  • December 9: We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a lovelier place in the whole world? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect time.

  • December 12: The sun has melted all our lovely snow. What a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry and that we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful. Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter that we’ll never want to see snow again. I don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man. I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

  • December 14: Snow, lovely snow! Got 8 inches last night. The temperature dropped to minus 20F. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn’t huff and puff so.

  • December 15: Twenty inches more are forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4×4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and two extra shovels. Stocked up on milk and bread and extra food for the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska after all.

  • December 16: We were hit with an ice storm this morning. I fell on my rear on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Man that hurt. The wife laughed for an hour and I thought this was very cruel.

  • December 17: Temperature still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Power was off for 5 hours. I had to pile on the blankets to stay warm. I had nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should have bought a wood stove, but I won’t admit it to her. I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room.

  • December20: The power came back on., but we had another 14 inches of that stupid snow last night. More shoveling. Took all day. Doggone snowplow came by twice. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower but, they’re out. Might have another shipment in sometime in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

  • December 22: Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white stuff fell today and it’s so cold it probably won’t melt until August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out and shovel and then I had to go to the bathroom. By the time I got undressed, went to the bathroom and dressed again, I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he’s too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

  • December 23: Only 2″ of snow today. And it did warm up to 0. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she? Nuts??? Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She said she did but, I think she’s lying.

  • December 24: Another 6″ snow. Packed so hard by the snowplow I broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch that jerk who drives that snowplow, I’ll drag him through this snow by his frozen nose. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open presents, but I was busy watching for that evil snowplow.

  • December 25: Guess what? Twenty more inches of that white…YOU KNOW WHAT tonight. Snowed in! The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. I hate snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s insane. If I have to watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” one more time, I’m going to kill her.

  • December 26: Still snowed in. Why the devil did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my nerves.

  • December 27: Temperature dropped to 30-below and the pipes froze.

  • December 28: Warmed up to a high of 15-below. Still snowed in. It’s driving me crazy.

  • December 29: Ten more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

  • December 30: Roof caved in. The snowplow driver is suing me for a million dollars for the bump on his head. The wife went home to her mother. Nine inches predicted.

  • December31: Set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

  • January 8: I feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?

FUN LIST

TOYS REMOVED FROM STORE SHELVES THIS YEAR

  • Upper GI Joe

  • Jack In The Box 360

  • The Laugh And Learn Nitrous Tank

  • Overstock Dot Com’s Empty Milk Crates

  • Barrel Full Of Dead Monkeys

  • Playschool’s Poisonous Dart Shooter

  • Thomas The Exploding Tank Engine

  • Un-sanded Wooden Blocks With Splinters Hanging Out

  • Little Tikes’ Totally Tubular Technological Tongue Twister Tooth Training Taffy-Time Talker

  • I Don’t Care Bears

  • Lettuce Patch Kids

  • Winnie The Pooh-Pooh

  • The Playdoh “Tastes Like Candy” play set

  • The “My First Worm Farm” pet kit

  • Skinby, the prematurely-balding Furby

  • G.I. Joe with Wet, Hacking Cough

  • Do-It-Yourself Jigsaw Puzzle (jigsaw included)

  • The Moldable-Face Michael Jackson Doll

  • Torro’s Lil’ Tyke Tiller with real blades

  • Tummy Tuck, Child’s Interactive Playset

  • Baby’s First Crossbow

  • Pete The Speech Impediment Parrot

  • The Exact-O Juggling Razor Blade Set

  • Lick The Light Socket Home Perm Kit

  • Mattel’s Box Of Broken Glass

  • Box O’ Badgers

  • Sparky The Paper-Clip Eatin’ Electrical Outlet

  • Lil’ Traffic Dodger Kiddie Scooter

  • Junior Jumper Cables

  • I Can Do It Myself! Jr. Credit Card Counterfeiting Kit

  • Wacky Acid

  • Ooooh I Bet That Hurts! The Pain Tolerance Game

  • Mr. Stumpy The Junior Chainsaw

  • Mr. Stick’s Assault On The Bees Nest Game!

  • Squash-O The Faulty Car Jack

  • Baby’s Backseat Megaphone

  • Ronco’s Really Sharp Eyestick

  • Etch-a-Scratch

  • Little Arson Annie

  • Whammo’s Pit Bull Teasing stick

  • Hasbro’s Slippery Steps

  • Black & Decker Silly Driller

  • Roof Hanger Paratrooper Outfit

  • Remco’s Pocket Hive

  • Traffic Tag

  • Will It Burn? From Parker Brothers

  • Chimney Explorer

  • My First Ferret Farm

  • Ooh – You’re Blue! – the Hold-Your-Breath Game

  • Shreddy The Garbage Disposer

  • Hooked On Litigation

  • Baby Boom The Lil’ Tykes TNT Game

  • Lil’ Sharpshooter ‘Eye-Dotter’ BB Gun!

  • My Very Own Atom Smasher

MORE SHOW PREP STUFF…

YOU GOTTA LOVE IT!

(From 2001 – one of my favorite stories of all time.) You may have heard that the State of Missouri didn’t want to allow the KKK to ”adopt” part of a highway (a section of Interstate 55). Unfortunately, the Klan took the case to the Supreme Court and won their right to do so. So free speech wins… even though it’s the KKK that is victorious. Or are they? Missouri retaliated in a very ingenious move. They still honored the U.S. Supreme court’s decision to allow the KKK to ”adopt” the highway and post their sign attesting to their adoption, but… get this… Missouri renamed that particular section of the highway, ”Rosa Parks Freeway. Now the KKK has essentially agreed to be responsible for a highway named after a well-known civil rights activist. (I’ll give you a moment to regain your composure here…) So what does the KKK have to say about all of this? Ironically, they say it’s a “hate crime and it’s wrong”!  Takes one to know one.

OTHER STUFF I WANT TO CRAM INTO TODAY’S PREP

Two Missouri families made a rare discovery, learning through DNA testing that their daughters, whom they adopted from different Chinese cities, are actually half-sisters. USA Today reports that the families, both of Weldon Springs, developed a close relationship in 2008 during an adoption meeting for waiting families. After adopting, the families noticed their daughters looked nearly identical. And their similarities went beyond appearance. The parents said “They pout the same way” and “Their personalities are the same.” Now DNA testing confirmed what the families suspected. The tests show it’s 99.99% likely the two are half-sisters.  http://fw.to/S3TWs8J

Insight for Living is out with a Christmas page on their web site. Officials say the goal of the page is to help readers see the nativity story through the eyes of the everyday people whom God chose to involve. resources include audio messages, a radio theater production, a beautiful picture book, and more. http://ow.ly/9sWB306WqcS

The holiday season is supposed to be a time for relaxing and celebrating with friends and family. However, that’s not always the case. Rates of depression, family and relational conflicts, disappointment, loneliness, and isolation, all increase during the last few months of the year. But the good news is that it can be managed effectively if we know what to anticipate. Check out “20 Ways To Chill Out This Christmas.” http://bit.ly/2h6AebG

Good news for chocolate lovers. According to Yahoo News, Nestle said it had devised a new technology that has the potential to reduce sugar in some of its confectionery products by up to 40 percent without affecting the taste. The company recently announced that its researchers have found a way using only natural ingredients to change the structure of sugar particles. By hollowing out the crystals, Nestle said each particle dissolves more quickly on the tongue, so less sugar can be used in chocolate. Nestle will begin to use the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products from 2018. https://yhoo.it/2gp3BYk

AND I LEAVE YOU WITH THIS THOUGHT

When I’m feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor’s dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.

THE TICKET Movie Reviews with MARIE ASNER

Marie Asner has been reviewing films for over 30 years. Her outlets include radio, print and Internet. For more in-depth movie reviews of the following films, visit www.Tollbooth.org. Ratings from 1 (Low) to 5 (High).

DECEMBER 16, 2016 thru JANUARY 01, 2017…

 Why Him?—James Franco takes on the role of the son-in-law from Hades. Who would want him?  The daughter of Bryan Cranston, that’s who. The daughter is played by Zoey Deutch. Franco has lots of money, but acts and dresses like a scarecrow. “Why Him?” is rated R. No rating.

A Monster Calls—(now opening from an earlier date) A young boy (Lewis MacDougall) finds that his mother is quite ill.  He doesn’t know how to cope and it doesn’t help that his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) is not a sympathetic person. What to do? Here comes a “monster” in the shape of a large tree (voice of Liam Neeson) to help the boy. “A Monster Calls” is rated PG. Rating of 3 and bring hanky. 

Manchester By The Sea—A story of grief, several times over, loss and trying to cope are all in this film that suits actor Casey Affleck fine. He plays Lee, who suddenly finds himself guardian to a teenage nephew when Lee’s brother (Kyle Chandler) and the boy’s father dies. What to do? Face up to life or keep trudging along. “Manchester By The Sea” is rated R. Rating of 3. Bring hanky.

Neruda—Luis Gnecco stars as the famed Spanish poet who finds his past membership in the early Communist party comes back to haunt him.  Also in the cast are Gael Garcia Bernal, Alfredo Castro and Mercedes Morau. “Neruda” is rated R. Subtitles. No rating.

Passengers—A science fiction film of trying to help humanity…in a big way. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star as two people, among many, who are traveling in deep sleep to another planet.  When something awakens the two, they realize something is very wrong and they have to help…and fight. “Passengers” is rated R. Rating of 2 for fans.

Sing—This animated film concerns a singing contest…with animals.  Yes, there is a mother pig (voice of Reese Witherspoon), the theater owner, a koala bear (voice of Matthew McConaughey) and a rockin’ porcupine (Scarlett Johansson). You can imagine what happens during the contest. Also lending their voices are Seth MacFarlane, Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton and Nick Kroll.  “Sing” is rated PG. Rating of 3 for fans.

(Opening moved ahead from an earlier date) The Space Between Us—On a colonization voyage to Mars, it is discovered that one of the female astronauts is pregnant.  This results in the first child, a boy, being born on Mars, but in that atmosphere, gravity, etc. Fast forward to teen years, and the kid (Asa Butterfield) knows about Earth and even has a girl friend, Britt Robertson (Skype) he communes with.  However, something happens and Asa ends up on Earth. “The Space Between Us” is rated PG 13. Rating of 2 for fans.

Gold—Try, just try to recognize Matthew McConaughey in the role of Kenny Wells who goes to Borneo to find gold. You read that right.  His girlfriend, Bryce Dallas Howard, faithfully follows him.  People will do just about anything to get rich in a hurry.  Also in the cast are Edgar Ramirez and Corey Stoll. “Gold” is rated R. Rating of 2 for fans.

Hidden Figures—This is an unusual title for a film and another might have better explained the film’s content.  It is about three black women who are top mathematicians and work to put the first space flights and astronauts into earth orbit and beyond. Prejudice is prevalent here. Stars include Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae. “Hidden Figures” is rated PG 13. Rating of 3.

Paterson—Adam Driver (“Star Wars”) is a bus driver whose name is Paterson and he lives in Paterson, N. J. The film concerns a week in his life and how he and his wife (Golshiften Farahani) handle problems. “Paterson” is rated R. No rating.

Jackie—Now opening from an earlier date, Natalie Portman stars as Jackie Kennedy in the few days before the funeral of President Kennedy. Portman takes the role and goes with it to bring you into that era of assassination of a  president and the aftermath in the country and his family. Also in the cast are Peter Sarsgaard and Billy Crudup. “Jackie” is rated R. Rating of 3 for fans. Bring hanky.

Live By Night—Ben Affleck stars and directs this movie about gangsters and their rise to the top in Boston.  Based on a Dennis Lehane novel and set in the 1920’s. There is back-stabbing, love and the rest of crimes included. Also starring in the film are Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning and Zoe Saldana. “Live By Night” is rated R. Rating of 2 for fans.

20th Century Women—Annette Bening shines in this film of three generations of women in the mid-1970’s and how they cope with changing times. The cast includes Elle Fanning (great work), and Greta Gerwig. Wonderful soundtrack, too.  “20th Century Women” is rated R for sexual content. Rating of 2.

A Kind Of Murder—Here is another adaptation of a Patricia Highsmith novel. The film stars Patrick Wilson and Jessica Biel who are not happy in their marriage. Along comes Eddie Marsan, whose wife has passed away and they become friends.  However, suspicion lurks here.  “A Kind Of Murder” is rated R. No rating.

Julieta—This is a Spanish language film directed by Pedro Almodovar. It concerns a mother’s (Emma Svarez)  search for a missing daughter. Also in the cast are Daniel Grao and Adriana Ugarte. “Julieta” is rated R. No rating.

Collateral Beauty—Will Smith plays a man who has suffered a tragedy in his life. His friends worry about him and decide to help, though in unconventional ways. Also in the cast are Helen Mirren and Edward Norton. “Collateral Beauty” is rated PG 13. Rating of 2 for fans.

Fences—The stars of this film, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, already have Tony’s for their roles in the Broadway version.  Now, Washington stars and directs this film that is set in the middle 1960’s and tells how working class African-Americans cope with problems. August Wilson wrote the play. “Fences” is rated R. Rating of 3 for fans.

The Founder—Ray Kroc made McDonalds a global name with unique marketing. However, the real founders were the McDonald brothers (played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll).  Kroc is played by Michael Keaton. This is a study in how to build a business, ruthless though it may be. “The Founder” is rated R. Rating of 2 for fans.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story—Felicity Jones is the female lead in this “stand alone” story in the “Star Wars” saga. The story is about when the Death Star was being built and the Rebels were trying to get the plans. Also in the cast are Ben Mendelssohn and Riz Ahmed. Get your light sabers ready. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is rated PG 13. Rating of 3 for fans.

Assassins Creed—This film is yet another adaptation of a game board.  Here, Michael Fassbinder takes on the role of a man in the 15th century Aguilar) and at the same time, in this century (Callum). Those fighting outfits are reminiscent of “The Arrow.” Also in the cast are Marion Cotilliard and Jeremy Irons. “Assassins Creed” is rated R. Rating of 2 for fans.

Note: ”Patriots’s Day” and “Silence” are now set to open the middle of January, 2017.

Happy New Year 2017. – Marie Asner

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