December 23, 2016: Friday 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!)




If I sound a little weird it’s because I haven’t had a chance to de-ice my nose.


When King Herod had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'” –Matthew 2:4-6

Psalm 30:5 = For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

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



Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. — Romans 12:21

Thought: A friend used to remind me that the number one goal in dealing with difficult people or circumstances is this: Don’t become what you hate. He wasn’t talking about hating the person, but he meant that we don’t want to become evil, wicked, petty, and sinful in our actions and motivations. We don’t overcome the Devil by underhanded and dishonorable means. We overcome evil, we drive it back into the abyss, by doing what is right and filling our hearts and lives with goodness. There is no greater example of overcoming evil with good than Jesus.

Prayer: Holy God, please bless me with character as I resist those who are critical, cynical, and vengeful toward me. Please help me respond in a way that reflects the character and Lordship 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

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

Proverbs 12:23 NIV = A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.


(NOTE: Some holidays may be duplicated due to various calendars reporting conflicting dates)

Today is NATIONAL PFEFFERNUESSE DAY, a day to make those spicy cookies that are a Christmas tradition in Europe. Don’t forget to add the Puderzucker. They’re just not Pfeffernuesses without the Puderzucker.

Today is POPCORN POPPING DAY. ***Much easier to pronounce than Pfeffernuesses.

A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS PUBLICATION DAY. On this day the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was first published by the Troy Sentinel in 1823. This Clement Moore poem is generally known as “The Night Before Christmas.” (audio clip)

And, today is FESTIVUS. According to Wikipedia, Festivus is a secular non-commercialized holiday celebrated on December 23. It was created by writer Dan O’Keefe in 1966 and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a screenwriter for the TV show “Seinfeld”, as part of a comical storyline on the show on December 18, 1997 in the “The Strike”. The holiday’s celebration, as shown on “Seinfeld”, includes an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole,” practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles”. Celebrants of the holiday sometimes refer to it as “Festivus for the rest of us.” Since then, the name “Festivus” has also begun to be used as a general term for any type of December party not affiliated with the season’s other events. (audio clip)


Human Light Celebration

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


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


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


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


Free Balloon Day Link  (SpongeBob Squarepants)
Howdy Doody Day
Visit The Zoo Day Link


Holy Innocents Day
Endangered Species Act Day
National Chocolate Da  Link

Pledge of Allegiance Day


Tick Tock Day


Bacon Day Link
Falling Needles Family Fest Day
No Interruptions Day


First Nights
Global Champagne Day  Link
Leap Second Time Adjustment Day
Look On The Bright Side Day Link
Make Up Your Mind Day
New Years Eve
New Year’s Eve Banished Words List
New Year’s Dishonor List
Universal Hour of Peace Day
World Peace Meditation Day


Copyright Law Day
Commitment Day Link
Ellis Island Day
Euro Day
First Foot Day Link Link
Global Family Day Link
Mummer’s Parade
New Years Day
New Year’s Dishonor List Day
Polar Bear Plunge or Swim Day Link
World Day of Peace Link
Z Day


55-MPH Speed Limit Day
Blue Monday Link
Divorce Monday Link
Happy Mew Year for Cats Day
National Buffet Day Link
National Motivation and Inspiration Day Link
National Personal Trainer Awareness Day Link
National Science Fiction Day Link
National Weigh-In Day
Pet Travel and Safety Day Link
Rose Bowl Game
Thank God It’s Monday” Day
Tournament of Roses Parade Day


1617: The first American penal colony was established by royal proclamation, providing for the exile of habitual criminals to the colony of Virginia.

1776: Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” ***Obviously referring to last-minute Christmas shopping.

1823: The Clement Moore poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” was published in New York by The Troy Sentinel. It began “Twas the night before Christmas….”

1873: The Women’s Temperance movement began in Hillsboro, Ohio, when ladies led by “Mother” Stewart marched into a saloon and ran off the customers. ***Which, oddly enough, doesn’t seem to indicate much temperance.

1928: The National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent, radio coast-to-coast network.

1942: Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. troops in Alaska to begin a Christmas tradition of taking shows to American forces that continued through six different decades.

1946: The University of Tennessee refused to play Duquesne University because the Duquesne basketball team included a black player.

1951: The TV western drama “Hopalong Cassidy” last aired on NBC and moved into syndication. It starred William Boyd as Hoppy and Edgar Buchanan as sidekick Red Connors. Boyd had purchased the TV rights to his feature films of the 1940s and made a fortune with the TV series.

1964: The Beach Boys appeared for the first time on “Shindig.” The group performed “Little Saint Nick,” “Dance,

Dance, Dance,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Monster Mash.”

1982: Actor Jack Webb, Dragnet’s Sergeant Joe Friday died of a heart attack at age 62. Flags flew at half-mast at police stations throughout Los Angeles.

1987: The movie “Good Morning Vietnam” starring Robin Williams opened at theaters throughout the U.S.

1994: Singer Wynonna gave birth to Elijah Judd Kelley.

1995: A federal bankruptcy judge in Los Angeles ruled that the rights to The Three Stooges belonged to the legal heirs of Larry Fine, Curly DeRita, and Moe Howard. Rights to the Stooges films had been tied up in court for years.

1998: Police in Leesburg, Virginia, caught a robber because during one burglary the suspect took a break and called to consult a psychic hot line. And he gave the psychic his real name. The call cost the homeowner $250, but it help police nab their man.


1569: Russian czar Ivan IV (“the Terrible”) has Philip, bishop of Moscow, killed in his prison cell after the bishop criticized Ivan’s policies and mass executions.

1648: Robert Barclay, the most prominent theologian in the early Quaker church, is born in Gordonstoun, Scotland. His Apology for the True Christian Religion (1676) is considered the classic exposition of Quaker principles.

1652: John Cotton, the most eminent minister in colonial Massachusetts and considered “the father of New England Congregationalism,” dies. When he fell ill earlier that year, his followers observed a comet (or “attendant to the stars”), which “continued all that while and until his buryal . . . then disappeared.”

1925: Edith Warner’s remains are laid to rest. She had been a missionary 33 years in Niger and explored areas never before seen by a white person.


  • actress (Planet of the Apes) Estella Warren, 38
  • actress (“All My Children”) Susan Lucci 67 (audio clip)


(Music Artist Birthdays From

1689 : Joseph Bodin de Boismortier

1926 : Harold Dorman

1929 : Chet Baker

1935 : “Little” Esther Phillips

1939 : Johnny Kidd

1940 : Eugene Record (The Chi-Lites)

1940 : Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane)

1941 : Tim Hardin

1943 : Derek Smalls (Spinal Tap)

1945 : Ron Bushy (Iron Butterfly)

1946 : Robbie Dupree

1949 : Adrian Belew

1949 : Ariel Bender (Mott the Hoople)

1949 : Luther Grosvenor (Spooky Tooth)

1951 : Johnny Contardo (Sha-Na-Na)

1958 : Dave Murray (Iron Maiden)

1959 : Victoria Williams

1966 : Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)


Who made chewing gum popular?

One of the prime candidates is not somebody you would connect to chewing gum. You’ve probably heard of him, but only if you “remember the Alamo.” He was the commander of the Mexican troops who attacked and killed the Texans defending this San Antonio mission in 1836: General Santa Anna. Santa Anna won that battle but his country lost the war and the territory of Texas. The General ruled Mexico for a while and then, in exile, ended up in–of all places–Staten Island, New York. He brought with him his habit of chewing chicle, the sap of a Mexican tree. An inventor he befriended, Thomas Adams, was inspired by Santa Anna’s habit to turn chicle into a commercial product. Adams later added flavor to it and it became modern chewing gum, making one of America’s most reviled villains also an unsung hero of its popular culture.


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

Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall says someone with a lot of spare time has started another Twitter account under his name. How would you know which is the real Mark Hall and which is the fake one? Mark says: the fake one would be the one with only 25 followers.

Getting older isn’t always easy. Jimmy Needham posted online: dear trampolines, you were more pleasant when I was 10. He added: having a back attack.

Kutless member James Mead has the perfect excuse for not running. He posted this week: My dog ate my Nike Air Prestos.


Casting Crowns Jaun Devevo: “When they’re building a new Lowes where do they get the materials?”


Dan Bremnes hasn’t fallen out of bed in a long time and now he knows why. A follower from Canada recently wrote Dan on twitter. The mom of 5 boys shared: for 1 month now our 6 year old prays at dinner that “Dan Bremnes doesn’t fall out of his bed.” And I have no clue why. Dan replied: well it’s been awhile since I fell out of my bed.


Mercyme front man Bart Millard says a comb can change everything. Think he’s exaggerating? Check out his before and after picture!


Insight from Casting Crowns Jaun Devevo: If my life ever depends on me doing a forward roll, I would like to be buried at sea thank you.


Jason Gray says the St. Louis airport might want to rethink their tornado drill schedule, especially in the middle of December. Jason posted: The bus dropped me off at the St. Louis airport at 2:30 AM and apparently they run tornado drills at 3 AM–which was during the hour I had hoped to curl up on the floor and try to grab an hour of sleep before my flight. He did, however, try to put a positive spin on the experience. Jason added: At least I can rest easy knowing that I will be alerted in the event of a December tornado.


Tenth Avenue North front man Mike Donehey has been trying to think up ways to help foster a sense of empathy and compassion for the world in his children and he says he just had an idea. Mike’s suggestion: Once a week or month, have a rice and beans dinner. Then take the money you would have spent and have the kids help choose who to bless.


Citizenway says they suspect Jonah might have written a short book following his experience in Ninivah. The band posted a comic featuring a book by Jonah titled How to Run From God. They say the book only included one word: DON’T!


Casting Crowns Megan Garrett posted this week: There is nothing quite as perfect as chili for dinner on a cold, rainy night, and my chili recipe is the BEST. Want to try it for yourself? Megan was willing to share:

2 lbs browned ground beef

2 cans black beans (drained)

2 cans whole kernal white corn (drained)

1 can diced tomatoes, 

1 can original Rotel

1 can Mexican Rotel

1 packet dry taco seasoning

1 packet dry ranch dressing

Dump it all into a pot and let simmer for a couple of hours. Top with sour cream and mild cheddar. Eat with Frito scoops.


(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 for details!)


In Boston, five adults were arrested at a Chuck E. Cheese after getting into a fight with police.  ***Season’s Beatings!

Arizona has become the first state to require that cursive handwriting be taught in schools.  ***So fifty years from now we’ll know what state of the union in which to go searching for someone who can read the Declaration of Independence.

Tom Arnold claims he has Apprentice outtakes of Trump saying very racist words, using sexually condescending language, and calling his son a ‘retard.’  ***So don’t expect Tom Arnold to be alive on January 21st.

NBC is launching an all-Olympics channel next year.  ***Hey look – another cable channel I won’t be watching but I’ll be forced to pay for!

Cheerleading has been granted three-year provisional status in hopes of becoming an Olympic sport. ***But if cheerleading becomes a sport… who is going to cheer on the cheerleaders?  And what happens to football games that currently have cheerleaders – do they only get a pep squad?

A McDonald’s in Missouri is bringing back all-you-can-eat fries. ***Well, that’s one day to cut down on overpopulation.

Super Mario Run was released one week ago and it’s already setting records. In its first four days alone Mario had over 40 million downloads, which breaks records for Apple’s mobile software store. ***Mario has been running since 1981 when we saved the girl in Donkey Kong.  You’d think after 35 years he might be a little tired by now.


What do most letters to Santa ask for?  You might be surprised! U.S. Postal Service workers who handle letters addressed to Santa at the North Pole say more letters ask for basics — coats, socks and shoes — rather than Barbie dolls, video games and computers.  ***Question – what’s the post office doing reading my personal letter to Santa?

According to a study by the American Library Association, more than nine out of 10 adults surveyed believe that libraries will remain necessary in the future despite the rise of the Internet. ***Oh c’mon… it’s a poll done by the American Library Association!  Of COURSE their survey is going to favor libraries; that’s where they found the people to take the survey!

Many older Americans get repeat colon cancer tests they don’t need and Medicare is paying for it, suggests a study that spotlights unnecessary risks to the elderly and a waste of money.  Almost half of the Medicare patients in the study had had a colonoscopy less than seven years after getting normal results from an earlier test. The test is recommended just every 10 years, starting at age 50, for people at average risk whose initial test is normal.  ***Wait a minute.  So people were getting colonoscopies more often than they needed to?  Who does that?  Sounds like Medicare might have a few candidates here for MENTAL health screenings.

Believe it or not, you really CAN catch “cooties.” The word cooties likely comes from the Malay word “kutu,” which means “body lice.” ***So instead of using imaginary “cootie spray” you should use a can of Raid.

WONDER WOMAN (This feature will be disappearing in 2017)


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




CHRISTMAS 05 of 09

OPEN: And now,, (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: You have to admit that Marvy does have a point regarding the stores displaying Christmas merchandise in September! Tune in again next time, for 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.


A demolition crew creates a really big Moment of Duh!

A wrecking crew in Texarkana, Arizona, was recently sent to demolish a condemned home. Apparently these were not very well educated wrecking crew workers, because they couldn’t figure out their left from their right. Turns out they demolished the wrong home – on the other side of the street.



10.  Anne of Avonlea/Anne of Green Gables Collectors Edition with 74 minutes of extra footage

9.  Any knick-knack

8.  Tickets to the ballet

7.  Another new tie

6.  A Bath and Body Works Soap Basket

5.  New teddy bear pajamas

4.  Vacuum cleaner

3.  A weekend seminar on “Getting in Touch With Your Feelings”

2.  Pair of fuzzy bunny slippers

1.  A nose and ear hair trimmer (OK, well maybe.)


Adam Vickers and Kyle Wisdom punk’d a friend — but police aren’t laughing.

FILE #1: According to authorities the pair staged a murder scene, making it look like Wisdom killed Vickers. The target of the practical joke, Daniel Maerz, panicked and called the cops. Police in Central Point, Oregon, rushed to the scene and even ordered the lockdown of a nearby elementary school. Officers say the two jokers had been drinking quite a bit. Both men were busted and now face a number of charges, including conspiracy to commit a crime. Maerz was arrested, too, for possession of speed.

FILE #2: The mayor of a Brazilian town is trying to pass a law making it illegal for residents to die.  Mayor Roberto Pereira da Silva came up with the idea because the town’s (Biritiba-Mirim) only cemetery is full.  He wants to pass a law that would force relatives of people who die in the town face fines or even jail.  The law would make it an offense for the town’s 28,000 citizens to not look after their health properly.  ***MARLAR: I’m going to take a wild guess and say the mayor moonlights as a Fitness Center owner.

FILE #3: A foiled Jersey City bank robber left one bank after the teller informed him that he wouldn’t honor a hold-up note.  A half hour later the same guy left another bank empty-handed because, according to the teller at the second bank, there was “no cash.”

STRANGE LAW: In Florida, a special law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.


A wannabe Santa scares children while looking for his reindeer.

It wasn’t exactly the Santa experience dreams are made of. In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, a drunken Santa Claus prompted a mom to call 911 after he stumbled into her yard apparently looking for his reindeer and scaring her kids. Officers ticketed 55-year-old Thomas Arnold for having an open beer in a car. But, the kids say they knew right away this wasn’t the Santa they know and love. 9-year-old Katie Dockerty said, “He smelled like alcohol. So I knew it wasn’t the real Santa because Santa doesn’t drink alcohol!” Katie says the Santa that ended up in her lawn was loud and had really dirty hands and he tried to put his hat on her little sister. Six-year-old Zoe described him in one word: “Drunk.”


Do you take advantage of the occasion when you see mistletoe, or do you avoid it at all costs?

What forgotten Christmas tradition should churches revive?


QUESTION: Who was described as being a “wild donkey of a man?”
ANSWER: Ishmael, Hagar’s son. (Genesis 16:12)


QUESTION: In 2002, when a man tried to rob a lottery ticket shop in Munich, Germany, the shop owner’s wife sprayed the thief with what holiday item?

ANSWER: Christmas glitter spray. The would-be thief was so stunned he ran out and left his wallet on the counter. Still covered in glitter, he reported the theft of his wallet at a nearby police station. Police immediately arrested him.


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. Eggnog is the modern variation of wassail. (True. Wassail was a popular Christmas drink in Victorian England. It comes from the Old English expression “waes hael,” meaning “to your health.” It was made of eggs, curdled cream, nuts, spices, roasted apples and mulled ale.)

2. Christmas trees in the home originated because of banned Christmas plays outdoors. (True. The pine tree was used in Europe in the 14th century as part of miracle plays performed in front of cathedrals. They were decorated with apples, symbols of the Garden of Eden. When the church banned the plays, people put trees in their homes and decorated them with wafers representing the Eucharist. The wafers evolved into cookies, fruit and, later, ornaments.)

3. Mistletoe was used to cure mouth sores. (False. Considered by the Romans as a charm against evil, mistletoe is brewed by the French to cure stomachaches.)

4. The Macy’s department store was the first to introduce annual Christmas bonuses. (False. Department store owner F.W. Woolworth believed that happy employees worked better under stress. He started the Christmas bonus tradition in 1899 with $5 to each worker for every year of service — but not exceeding $25, which was a lot of money in those days.)

5. Until 1875, employees were expected to report to work on Christmas as if it were any other day. (True… unless Christmas fell on a Sunday.)

6. The first commercial Christmas tree ornaments could open to reveal candies. (True – small toys, candies and other treats were hung on boughs for the kiddies. Too bad we don’t do that anymore.)

7. Santa originally had only two reindeer in front of the sleigh. (False. Folklore holds that one reindeer originally pulled Santa’s sleigh. In 1823, Clement C. Moore gave him eight in “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” A story by Robert L. May in 1939 introduced Rudolph, who was immortalized in Gene Autry’s 1949 classic song “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”)

8. Using an “X” in place of “Christ” in the word Christmas began during the political correctness movement. (False. The “X” in Xmas stands for the letter Chi, the first letter in the Greek word for Christ. Essentially, writing “Xmas” is the same as writing “Christmas” – and it means exactly the same thing, despite those who would argue the point otherwise.)

9. The wise men actually saw the star twice. (True. Once in the East to set them on their journey, and again to lead them from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.)

10. December 25th was not celebrated as the birthday of Christ until the year AD 440. (True)


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


Monstrously obese, former comedian Louie Anderson has found a new way to lose weight, which landed him in The Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas.

Anderson is a regular customer at the infamous Heart Attack Grill, on Freemont Street, where patrons over 350 pounds eat free. Anderson was between meals, and was famished, so he ordered his  long-time nurse Abie Geisberg fight traffic on Las Vegas Blvd, so that he could graze on a twenty pound cheeseburger.

After eating three pounds, Anderson’s stomach began shaking violently. The ground began to tremble under his chair and restaurant patrons started running out the door in fright.  Anderson’s stomach began to rip open and fragments of hundreds of pounds of food and waste began to cover the table, the patrons, and walls of the restaurant.

Nurse Geisberg tried to hold Anderson’s stomach together, but was covered instead with chunks of unchewed meat, fish bones, cow intestines, and mutton. ” I told him not to put extra onions on his burger,” Geisberg told WWN, “he must have tried to pass gas and something took a wrong turn in his intestinal tract.”

The shaken customers who got part of the food shrapnel were taken to the Trauma Unit of County Hospital where they were treated for minor cuts and lacerations.  Trauma counselors are on hand for all survivors.

Anderson underwent five hours of intensive surgery where his entrails were sewn together with tension cables, used in building and supporting bridges. Anderson is thankful that there were no casualties, “next time I eat a twenty pound cheeseburger, I’ll make sure I take a dump before I go.”

Anderson, who  is expected to make a full recovery, can be seen on reruns of The Family Feud on The Game Show Network.



The game show contestant was only 200 points behind the leader and about to answer the final question – worth 500 points!

“To be today’s champion,” the show’s smiling host intoned, “name two of Santa’s reindeer.”

The contestant, a man in his early thirties, gave a sigh of relief, gratified that he had drawn such an easy question. “Rudolph!” he said confidently, “and, …Olive!”

The studio audience started to applaud (like the little sign above their heads said to do,) but the clapping quickly faded into mumbling, and the confused host replied, “Yes, we’ll accept Rudolph, but could you please explain… ‘Olive?!?'”

“You know,” the man circled his hand forward impatiently and began to sing, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed. *Olive,* the other reindeer…”


A little girl was wearing one of those Medical Alert bracelets. Someone asked her what the bracelet was for.

She replied, “I’m allergic to nuts and eggs.”

The person asked, “Are you allergic to cats?”

The girl said, “I don’t know. I don’t eat cats.”


Sally was puzzled recently by the odd messages she kept getting on her voice mail. Day after day, all she’d hear, from friends, family, and customers alike, would be their message and then they’d ALL say, “BEEP.”

She discovered the solution to the BEEP riddle when she dialed her own phone number. 

Her message said, “I’m not available right now, so please leave a beep after the message.”


An Italian judge ordered a 220-pound teenage thug to lose weight on the theory that his low self-esteem made him a bully.  ***Even if it doesn’t work, at least he won’t have a need to steal other kids’ lunch money.

Looking for a safe place to drive to? If you’re planning to relocate, or are planning a road trip, All State Insurance says that Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the safest town in America to drive in.  ***Unfortunately, there’s nothing there worth driving to.



The pastor gave the children’s story during the worship service. He used the “Twelve Days of Christmas” to make a point and said that a boy was so much in love with his girlfriend that he gave her a present 12 days in a row. The pastor really involved the children in this story by asking them what the gifts were day by day. They were doing quite well until they reached the eleventh day. There was a long pause, and finally one young boy raised his hand and gave the answer: “Eleven pastors preaching!”


Santa boycotted by children?!

Hundreds of Bulgarian schoolchildren boycotted a visit by Santa Claus after he failed to grant their wishes for good exam grades the year before.  Almost every child at the high school in Shoumen, in the north east of the country, had flocked to the specially built grotto last year to ask Santa for A grades in their exams.  Afterwards many of the kids did not even study for their tests and were furious when they found they had failed. This year most kids boycotted the visit with only a small delegation of kids turning up wearing Santa beards made of their exam papers.


CHRISTMAS, by John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain.
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hooker’s Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that villagers can say
‘The Church looks nice’ on Christmas Day.

Provincial public houses blaze
And Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says ‘Merry Christmas to you all’

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children’s hearts are glad,
And Christmas morning bells say ‘Come!’
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true? and is it true?
The most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window’s hue,
A Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?

And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant.

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare –
That God was Man in Palestine
And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests”. –Luke 2:13-14

A couple of years ago, I clipped an article about how singing in the choir may have a noteworthy effect on your health.  The University of California at Irvine found increased levels of disease-fighting proteins in the mouths of choir members after singing some choral masterpieces.  This protein boost seemed directly related to the singers’ states

of mind, which was described as happy or euphoric.  I’m sure that every choir director in the land clipped this article to show to his or her choirs.

Speaking of choirs, can you even imagine the size of the great company of the heavenly host that appeared to the shepherds that night long ago on the hill outside of Bethlehem?  Can you imagine a choir that would fill the sky?  I know our translation today doesn’t mention the heavenly host singing, but I have to imagine that to hear them must have seemed like music.

Praise music so wonderful to change those shepherds.  Praise music so beautiful that it moved those shepherds to go to the manger.  And I guess music so powerful to make the shepherds healthier.  Why not?



Darlene Jespersen believes that unless you are a clown, your boss doesn’t have the right to make you wear makeup.

… but that’s the position she says she’s in. Jespersen says she was fired from her job as a bartender at Harrah’s casino in Reno, Nevada — because she refuses to wear makeup. She says she’s always clean and well groomed, but never uses cosmetics. After 21 years on the job, Jespersen says she was humiliated because she refused to “look like a clown.” She claims to be a victim of sex discrimination — noting that men aren’t required to wear makeup on the job. A spokesman for the casino won’t comment on the specifics of the case. But he says customers want Harrah’s female workers to look good and wear makeup.



A few tips for dad – before he tackles the assembling of toys this Christmas!

The dads who read Men’s Health magazine have spent hundreds of Christmas Eves assembling toys — from basketball hoops to Easy-Bake Ovens.   Dads (okay, MEN in general) know the agony of the missing part, of directions translated from Farsi, of batteries not included. Here’s what you can learn from our mistakes:

  • Always read the directions before starting.  Men often find themselves at step 63, only to realize that the triangle thingies should have gone on the axle doohickeys before the linchpins were inserted into the sprocket slots.
  • Disassembling is guaranteed to take the wind out of your wassails.
  • Have a Phillips-head screwdriver, a hammer, and pliers handy. No improvising with kitchenware. Using a corkscrew on a bike chain brings no comfort or joy.
  • Spread a white sheet on the floor and arrange the parts in groups. It’s easy to lose parts in the pattern of the Oriental rug.
  • Don’t tighten any screws or nuts until you’ve finished. A little wiggle room really helps.
  • Beware of these warning signs: Banging a screw with your heel; turning a bolt with your teeth; sweating profusely; feeling your blood pulse in your temples.  If you begin to experience any of these warning signs, it’s time to put down the Allen key.



Everybody is so cautious and concerned about gaining weight during the holidays… which is sad, because that takes some of the joy out of the season.  This is the one time of the year that you should throw all caution to the wind and enjoy yourself.  So, I’ve come up with my own diet… the Darren Marlar Holiday Eating Plan.  Here are the rules:

  • Carrot sticks – avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving carrot cake instead.

  • Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly.  Like anything else worthy of having in this world, it’s rare. In fact, it’s even rarer than diamonds.  You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip?

  • If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

  • As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim milk, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

  • Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free.  Remember college?  It’s like that.

  • Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Years. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. Now is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

  • If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention.

  • Same goes for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three slices. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Certainly not Labor Day.


Each of these synonyms is a common Christmas song or saying. How many can you translate?

  • Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their belief. (Oh Come All Ye Faithful)

  • Listen, the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds. (Hark The Herald Angels Sing)

  • Nocturnal time-span of unbroken quietness. (Silent Night)

  • An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the terrestrial sphere. (Joy To The World)

  • Embellish the interior passageways. (Deck The Halls)

  • Exalted heavenly beings to whom hearkened. (Hark The Herald Angels Sing)

  • Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival. (It Came Upon A Midnight Clear)

  • The Christmas preceding all others. (The First Noel)

  • Small municipality in Judea southeast of Jerusalem. (Oh Little Town of Bethlehem)

  • Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders. (Little Drummer Boy)

  • Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males. (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)

  • Tranquility upon the terrestrial sphere. (Peace On Earth)

  • Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals. (Frosty The Snowman)

  • Expectation of arrival to populated area by mythical masculine perennial gift-giver. (Here Comes Santa Claus)

  • Natal celebration devoid of color. (White Christmas)

  • In awe of the nocturnal time span characterized by religiosity. (Oh Holy Night)

  • Geographic state of fantasy during the season of mother nature’s dormancy. (Winter Wonderland)

  • The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of far eastern heads of state. (We Three Kings)

  • Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted metallic, resonant cups. (Jingle Bells)

  • In a distant location the existence of an improvised unit of newborn children’s slumber furniture. (Away In A Manger)

  • Proceed forth declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation. (Go Tell It On A Mountain)

  • Jovial Yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by us. (We Wish You A Merry Christmas)



If you’re throwing a Christmas party in the next couple of days, keep listening… I have some helpful advice for you to make that Christmas party easier for you and more entertaining for your guests!

Well, It is holiday time, which means that it’s holiday hosting time. So I have some tips that will make your holiday get-together special, based on my experiences as a successful party host. (I’ll pause for my bride to stop laughing…)

  • Spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. At my parties, I want to be mingling with my guests, making sure that everybody is enjoying him or herself and relaxing myself. Plus I have to stay out of the kitchen as part of my plea bargain with the health department.
  • Don’t avoid serving pre-cooked food. I always go down to a good professional bakery to pick up desert, I get my salads from a local deli, and I do the same with my appetizers. In fact, the last party I had, the RSVP card indicated right on it “Original” or “Extra Crispy.”
  • And finally, for maximum enjoyment for everyone, mix and match your friends: Like everybody else, my friends are divided up into groups based on their interest. So I like to take a few friends from one group, and introduce them to friends from another group. The most interesting dinner party I threw included some of the members of my bride’s Pampered Chef club and some of the guys who come over to my house to watch Wrestling Pay Per View events. We’ll remember that Christmas the rest of our lives….


Which is better for breakfast: oatmeal or cold cereal? The answer is unequivocally oatmeal. It will not only leave you feeling more satisfied and full than an oat-based, ready-to-eat cereal, but also help you to eat less at lunch. During the research project, those who consumed the oatmeal four hours after eating reported greater feelings of fullness, as well as decreased feelings of hunger and desire to eat. Eating less later in the day translates into fewer calories — and a lower number on the bathroom scale. Why? Oatmeal has more soluble oat fiber than cold cereal, which is a more satiating fiber. Plus, oatmeal is one of the top foods you can eat to naturally help lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Yahoo News has found some of the most spectacular Christmas trees from around the world and now they are sharing them in a 67 second video.

An Alabama second-grader didn’t want her fellow classmates to go without this holiday season. So she took it upon herself to give everyone a present. Abby Henderson gave each of the 430 students at Southview Primary School in Opelika, Alabama, a gift that included a toy, pencils, candy and a holiday cup. Her mom says the 8 year old paid for the $200 in supplies by doing jobs around the house between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas break.

The Transportation Security Administration is out with their list of the most unusual items found at airport checkpoints over the past year. According to NBC News, items on the list include:

1. Five dead endangered seahorses found inside an oversized bottle of brandy,

2. a replica of a suicide vest

3. a trailer hitch cover shaped like a hand grenade

4. a five-bladed flogger

5. a Hello Kitty-themed firearm

6. a movie prop corpse


I’ve decided to start treating my work responsibilities a bit differently, and I’m taking my cue from the late great Mark Twain. “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”


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 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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