Bob's Stuff

I'm Bob and this is my Stuff.
Posts from December 2013
by Bob posted Dec 23 2013 10:18AM
Filed Under :
Location : Chester
by Bob posted Dec 19 2013 4:40AM

A Jack Daniels' "master distiller" gave KELLIE PICKLER and her husband an entire barrel of Tennessee Whiskey.  It was actually 280 bottles, plus the empty barrel that the whiskey had matured in . . . because it looks cool.



They also got free stuff like a neck medallion, a brass plaque and a framed certificate of ownership.  (Here's a pic of the three of them with the barrel.)



It's not clear why Kellie got the free booze, but it's probably related to her knocking back three shots of Jack last month on "Ellen".


Santa didn’t make an early delivery to the home of Kellie Pickler and her husband, Kyle Jacobs—but Jack Daniel’s did! Actually, it was master distiller Jeff Arnett who delivered an entire barrel of the distillery’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey to the couple earlier this week.

Kellie and Kyle did get the actual barrel, along with its contents conveniently packaged in 280 bottles. They also received a customized neck medallion, a brass plaque and a certificate of ownership.

Sounds like the perfect choice of adult beverage to toast Kellie’s newest single, “A Little Bit Gypsy.” Cheers!

by Bob posted Dec 19 2013 4:30AM

Last week, in Greenville, South Carolina, someone spotted a DOG hanging off a second-story balcony by its leash.  The leash was attached to a harness, not a collar on the dog's neck, so he wasn't choking . . . but it still looks heartbreaking.



The person submitted the photo to the cops . . . and put it on Facebook where it circulated around.



The cops went to the condo and found the person who'd dangled the dog off the balcony was 23-year-old Tyler Smith.  He was watching his dad's dog and was apparently TOO LAZY to walk the dog so he could pee.  So he dangled him instead.



His dad told reporters he was, quote, "appalled by his son's actions." 



Tyler was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.  Fortunately, the dog was okay.

Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
Location : GreenvilleSouth Carolina
People : Tyler Smith
by Bob posted Dec 18 2013 4:29AM

With so much of seasons past slipping into nostalgia, we went digging through the attic and found five former holiday fixtures being slowly relegated to oblivion. Once considered staples on par with the tree and dinner with all the trimmings, they're becoming as forgotten as last night's eggnog:


1. The office holiday party

The days of Sterling Cooper Price or even startups are over and most offices are lucky if the folks in the front office throw a cheese tray and some Cokes  in the conference room, never mind booze-soaked holiday parties with executive assistant piggyback races and posteriors pressed against the copy machine glass.

Nearly 70% of all U.S. offices plan to hold holiday parties this year, according to a survey from staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's down markedly from the 90% of firms that let loose in pre-recession 2007, but hides a bit of holiday cheer for the 95% of office parties that will have the same budget for their events as they did a year ago.


2. Tinsel

In the mid-20th century, Christmas trees weren't needle-laden conifers that represented a bit of nature right in your living room, but a plantlike form encased in an aluminum shell.

Tinsel dates back to 17th century Germany, when little strands of silver were used to make trees sparkle from the light of flickering candles attached to it. Covering a tree with silver wasn't the cheapest decorating solution in the world, so tinsel was usually reserved for folks with enough coin to throw away precious metals every year.

That all changed as cheaper materials were introduced in the early 20th century. The good news was that boxes of tinsel became ubiquitous and could turn any tree into a sparkling crystal centerpiece. The bad news? Some of that tinsel was aluminum mixed with lead that helped it hang better on tree branches, but also exposed generations of children to lead poisoning and brain defects.

The aluminized paper that followed was slightly safer and far more ubiquitous, but had the nasty habit of catching fire when it came into contact with the high-wattage C6 lights of the time. By the time the tinsel formula switched to the far less flammable polyvinyl chloride, tastes had changed and a buying public tired of constant hazards such as poisoning, fire and pet intestinal blockage had moved on. Though still used in some homes today, tinsel has become as obscure of a shimmery holiday item as one of its mid-century contemporaries.



3. Aluminum trees

It was the 1950s: Cars were made with winglike fins and fake rocket taillights, "Googie" architecture made cut-rate hotels look like apartments from The Jetsonsand Sputnik was still hurtling its little four-pronged self through orbit.

It was the Space Age, and even the tried-and-true had to be cast aside for something far more futuristic. During the late '50s, production of $25 Christmas trees with foil branches and aluminum needles soared as homeowners loved the efficiency of a tree with no needles to sweep and baby boomers with visions of a far-out rocket-powered future in their heads could stare at the gleaming metallic wonder in their living rooms.

Trees were pink, blue, silver or whatever color the color-wheel projector below shone on them. The best part was that the tree, the ornaments, the stand and all the other accessories could be placed in one box and packed away tidily until the next holiday season.

Unfortunately, pop art's holiday answer to the pink flamingo was imperiled by a tiny bald cartoon character and his blanket-toting, Bible-quoting friend. When Charles Schultz's A Charlie Brown Christmasmocked gaudy pink aluminum trees as hollow, soulless totems to commercialism and made a tattered natural tree branch into a national folk hero and the embodiment of Christmas Spirit, it signaled disaster for aluminum tree sales. The war and civil strife that ended the decade would do little to help the aluminum tree's ostentatious, artificial image.



4. High-wattage lights



Go out shopping for Christmas lights this season and you'll come across mini lights, LED lights, C7 big-bulb lights and C9 bigger-bulb lights.

What you won't find is grandma and grandpa's C6 lights, with good reason. Those C6 bulbs were bright, lovely and festive, but insanely hot. In the words of the folks at FamilyChristmasOnline, they "got hot enough to set fire to anything combustible if left in contact long enough." When the paint chipped off of these bulbs, as it tended to do frequently, they let loose a glaring white light that not only overwhelmed the color of the rest of the bulb, but would singe anything it came into contact with.


These bulbs eventually gave way to the cooler-burning C7 bulbs that looked just as lovely, but also burned fairly hot. Manufacturers still advise turning them on their bases so their bulbs don't come in contact with a tree's needles and set it ablaze. The large C9 lights are just bad news for indoor use altogether and best kept outside.

All of these varieties started to take a backseat during the 1970s when smaller, cooler and more energy-efficient mini lights came into vogue. They're still a pain to fix if a bulb goes out in a strand, but a 50-foot string costs just $1.38 to operate for 300 hours, compared with $8 for a C7 strand of the same size, according toConsumer Reports.

The biggest threat to the big, hot bulbs, however, is LED technology. While more expensive in stores than their incandescent brethren, LED lights burn for more than 4,000 hours compared with less than 2,000 for standard bulbs, cost 14 cents to operate a 50-foot string for 300 hours compared with $8 for C7s and $11 for C9s, going by Consumer Reportsfigures. Incandescent bulbs may be brighter, but the cooler-burning LEDs give owners a better shot of starting one of the average 300 fires caused by Christmas lights each year or being among the 14 people who die in said fires.

Even worse for the big bulbs, the LEDs even come in faux C6, C7 and C9 styles, reducing those original firestarter bulbs to dangerous relics.





5. Spray cans of fake snow

It probably seemed like a fun idea at the time, but hindsight makes us wonder why this wasn't doomed from the start.

Unlike tinsel or cigarette-lighter hot Christmas lights, the fake snow of the 1930s through World War II never had to worry about being considered a fire hazard. That's largely because the fake snow popularized by The Wizard of Oz and Bing Crosby's Holiday Inn was made of flame-retardant asbestos. Yep, nothing like a little mesothelioma to brighten up the holiday.



Even when asbestos was taken out of the mix, changing attitudes toward aerosols and some municipalities' refusal to recycle Christmas trees coated in the stuff put the squeeze on spray cans of the stuff. Now exiled to certain craft stores and eBay, aerosol cans of fake snow exist on the fringes of holiday decor.

A quick look at the remaining cans' warnings about flammability and potential death from swallowing any of the sprayed snow makes it very clear why today's decorators prefer just-add-water packets of super absorbent polymer to the spray cans of Christmas past.





6. It's A Wonderful Life

For generations of Americans, A Christmas Story wasn't the holiday movie that seemed to be on every day leading up to Christmas.

Director Frank Capra's 1946 classic It's A Wonderful Life and its tale of working stiff George Bailey and his nagging need to put others before himself was aired ad infinitum during the late 1970s and 1980s after a clerical error let the film's copyright lapse and slipped it into the public domain. Local stations still paid royalties on it, as it was based on Phillip Van Doren Stern's short story The Greatest Gift, but were given a deep discount as the images themselves were no longer owned by anyone.



All things considered, it really wasn't so bad. An entire generation grew up knowing how to give a housewarming gift after George and his wife Mary gave poor bar owner Giuseppe Martini bread, salt and wine to go with his new Building and Loan-financed home. It learned to always double-check your pockets during trips to the bank after Uncle Billy loses an $8,000 deposit. Most importantly, it learned that some holiday traditions are worth sharing as often as possible.

Until they aren't.

Republic Pictures heard just about enough of America singing "Auld Lang Syne" and weeping every year without anyone getting a cut of it and enforced its claim on the film's copyright in 1993. That copyright went to Paramount and after sprawling parent company Viacom bought Republic in 1998.

Since the copyright clampdown, former GE (holding and recent Comcast subsidiary NBC has held the broadcast license on the film and been particularly stingy about it. It's A Wonderful Life now airs only twice a year: Once on Christmas Eve and, this year, on Saturday, Dec. 3.

For Gen Xers, there'll always be the memory of ever-present Jimmy Stewart and his sentimental moral victory over evil bank manager Henry Potter. For the generations that have come since, there's this: George never gets to travel, doesn't kill himself after the angel shows him his life story, goes running like a madman through Bedford Falls, is greeted by anyone who's ever meant something to him in the film, given loads of money, toasted by his war hero brother as "the richest man in town" and told by the most gratingly precocious child actress in history that her teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.

Oops, spoiler alert. Merry Christmas, Viacom and NBC!


by Bob posted Dec 18 2013 4:21AM
The "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" season finale got 10.2 million viewers, but that was still a ratings low for the series.  7.5 million people stuck around for the live reunion where Tyson Apostol was revealed as the winner.



After 27 seasons, you'd think people would be tired of it by now.  But despite the steady drop in the ratings, "Survivor" was just renewed for two more seasons.



"The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" also did pretty well with 9.7 million viewers.  It was also the week's most tweeted about show with 1.5 million tweets.  The Heisman Trophy presentation was next, followed by the American Country Awards.



NBC's a cappella competition, "The Sing-Off", got a strong lead-in from "The Voice" to return with 8.4 million viewers for its 4th season premiere.  However, that fell to 6 million on the second night, and was down to 4.6 million by the third.



Here are the Top 10 shows in the ratings:



1.  "NCIS", CBS, 19.3 million viewers.


2.  "The Big Bang Theory", CBS, 17.7 million viewers..


3.  "Sunday Night Football", NBC, 16.4 million viewers.

     . . . The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 30-20.


4.  "Monday Night Football", ESPN, 16.2 million viewers.

     . . . The Chicago Bears beat the Dallas Cowboys, 45-28.


5.  "The OT", Fox, 15.8 million viewers.


6.  "NCIS: Los Angeles", CBS, 15.2 million viewers. 


7.  Monday's performance on "The Voice", NBC, 13.2 million viewers.


8.  Tuesday's results for "The Voice", NBC, 11.5 million viewers.


9.  "Criminal Minds" repeat, CBS, 11.2 million viewers.


10.  "Blue Bloods", CBS, 10.9 million viewers.


(Here are your source links for the Top 25 shows on cable and broadcast.)

Filed Under :
Location : Los AngelesVictoria
People : Tyson Apostol
by Bob posted Dec 12 2013 1:30PM

An 18-year veteran of the NBC procedurals “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU” is leaving the franchise. reports that longtime star Dann Florek, who has become a familiar presence as police Captain Donald Cragen, taped his final episode Friday.

Florek first played the character in the first season of the original “L&O” series, which debuted in fall 1990. Florek left the series after its third season, the report notes, but was brought back in 1998 for a TV movie, “Exiled: A Law & Order Movie." He then joined the “SVU” spinoff when it premiered in 1999.

Florek remained on the job at "SVU" for 15 consecutive seasons.

He previously had a run on NBC's "L.A. Law," along with a number of guest appearances on shows including "Hill Street Blues" and "21 Jump Street." Florek has also directed a number of "L&O" episodes.

Filed Under :
by Bob posted Dec 11 2013 4:11AM
A market research company recently polled over 2,000 adults . . . and asked them what holiday song they most LOOK FORWARD to hearing . . . and which holiday songs they wish would GO AWAY.



Here are the Top 10 Holiday Songs People Look Forward to Hearing:



1.  "Silent Night"


2.  "White Christmas"


3.  "Jingle Bells"


4.  "O Holy Night"


5.  "Little Drummer Boy"


6.  "The Christmas Song"


7.  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"


8.  "All I Want for Christmas Is You"


9.  "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"  (???)


10.  "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"



In the same survey last year, "Winter Wonderland", "Carol of the Bells" and "Silver Bells" made the Top 10.  This year, they were replaced by "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "All I Want for Christmas Is You", and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town".



Not surprisingly, there was some overlap between the LOVE and HATE lists.



Here are the Top 10 Holiday Songs People Wish Would Go Away:



1.  "Jingle Bells"


2.  "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"


3.  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"


4.  "The Twelve Days of Christmas"


5.  "White Christmas"


6.  "Silent Night"


7.  "Jingle Bell Rock"


8.  "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"


9.  "Frosty the Snowman"


10.  "Alvin and the Chipmunks' 'The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)'"



"Little Drummer Boy" and "Feliz Navidad" made the Top 10 in last year's survey.  They were replaced by "Frosty the Snowman" and "The Chipmunk Song" this year.



(These responses were all "unprompted," which means that the people surveyed were not choosing among pre-selected options.)

Filed Under :
by Bob posted Dec 10 2013 4:13AM

A website called 24/7 Wall Street analyzed beer sales and found there are nine beers that have plummeted in sales since 2007.  Here are the nine beers Americans don't seem to want to drink anymore . . .



1.  Michelob Light, down 70%.


2.  Budweiser Select, down 62%.


3.  Milwaukee's Best, down 59%.


4.  Miller Genuine Draft, down 56%.


5.  Old Milwaukee, down 54%.


6.  Milwaukee's Best Light, down 40%.  (Apparently the word "Milwaukee" in the name of your beer is just sales POISON these days.)


7.  Heineken Light, down 37%.


8.  BUDWEISER, down 29%.


9.  Labatt Blue, down 28%.


Filed Under :
Location : Milwaukee
by Bob posted Dec 10 2013 4:00AM
The toys kids are requesting most this year are things with names like Furby Boom, Teksta Robotic puppy, and LeapPad Ultra.  I don't even know what to make of that.



A website called MyHeritage wanted to figure out the ten most wanted Christmas toys from 100 years ago . . . so they dug through actual kids' letters to Santa that newspapers published in 1913.



And the top 10 they came up with shows kids in 1913 had MUCH simpler requests.  Check it out . . .



1.  Candy.


2.  Nuts.


3.  A rocking horse.


4.  Dolls.


5.  Mittens or gloves.


6.  A toy train.


7.  Oranges.


8.  Books.


9.  Handkerchiefs.


10.  Ice Skates. 



And the top 10 THIS year are: 



1.  The Furby Boom.


2.  Teksta Robotic Puppy.


3.  The LeapPad Ultra.


4.  The Flying Fairy.


5.  Big Hugs Elmo.


6.  Barbie Dream House.


7.  Giggly Monkey.


8.  Nerf Gun.


9.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


10.  Legos. 


by Bob posted Dec 9 2013 11:13AM

We're interviewing W. Bruce Cameron this Wed. Dec 11th at 9:30 on the Morning you'll have a chance to win a copy of the book!!

The Latest from W. Bruce Cameron

See below for a special charity promotion, good only for pre-orders!

When a neighbor dumps a pregnant dog on Josh, it causes more than a little panic—Josh has never owned a pet of any kind, and the prospect of puppies just seems too much to handle. Josh is dealing with a bad breakup and the prospect of spending Christmas entirely alone, and right now “alone” is how he prefers to be. But with the help of Kerri, a rescue worker from the local shelter, Josh learns about dogs, puppies, Christmas—and true love.

Moving, heartwarming, and hilarious, this is a book to read to children and to give to friends. It is a fast-paced page-turner with exactly the sort of message you want to read during the holidays.

Kirkus reviews is famous for not liking much of anything, but they say about The Dogs of Christmas: “a book about dog lovers by an author who understands the canine soul.”

If you enjoyed W. Bruce Cameron’s other dog books, you are going to love The Dogs of Christmas!

by Bob posted Dec 9 2013 4:33AM
"The Sound of Music Live!" attracted nearly 19 million viewers to come in second place in the ratings . . . just behind "Sunday Night Football".



Even though a lot of them were "hate-watching" it, CARRIE UNDERWOOD'S acting was still popular enough that NBC is considering another live musical for next year.



The "Bonnie & Clyde" mini-series was another ratings surprise.  It was simulcast Sunday night on three networks . . . History Channel, A&E, and Lifetime . . . for a combined total of 9.8 million viewers.  That dropped to 7.4 million the second night.



Here are the top 10 shows:



1.  "Sunday Night Football", NBC, 19.1 million viewers.  The New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers, 31-13.


2.  Carrie Underwood's "The Sound of Music Live!", NBC, 18.6 million viewers.


3.  "The Big Bang Theory", CBS, 15.6 million viewers.


4.  "Monday Night Football", ESPN, 15.5 million viewers.  The Seattle Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints, 34-7.


5.  "The OT", Fox, 14.6 million viewers.


6.  "Big Ten Championship Football", Fox, 13.9 million viewers.  Michigan State upset Ohio State, 34-24.


7.  "NCIS", CBS, 12.6 million viewers.


8.  Tuesday's results episode of "The Voice", NBC, 12.1 million viewers.


9.  Monday's performance episode of "The Voice", NBC, 12 million viewers


10.  "The Blacklist", NBC, 11.7 million viewers.



And here are some additional ratings you may or may not be interested in:



•  "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" got 9.7 million viewers.  Mariah Carey performed for the 81st annual tree lighting. 


•  The 23rd season finale of "The Amazing Race" got 9.2 million viewers.  Jason Case and Amy Diaz were the winning team.


•  "SNL Christmas" featured holiday-themed sketches from "Saturday Night Live" and it drew 7.4 million viewers.


•  The "CMA Country Christmas" attracted 7.4 million viewers.


•  This year's "Charlie Brown Christmas" repeat had 7.1 million viewers on ABC.


•  "The Grammy Nominations Concert" drew 5.3 million viewers.  You can revisit the list of nominees here.


•  "Thursday Night Football" got 4.6 million viewers.  The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Houston Texans, 27-20.


•  The 8th season premiere of "Primetime: What Would You Do?" drew 3.3 million viewers.


•  The series premiere of "Mob City" on TNT got a disappointing 2.3 million viewers.  It's the new series from ousted "Walking Dead" creator, Frank Darabont


•  The 4th season premiere of VH1's "Mob Wives" attracted 1.3 million viewers.



(Here are your source links for the Top 25 shows on cable and broadcast.)

by Bob posted Dec 5 2013 4:32AM
The throngs of screaming teenage girls have moved on from "Twilight" . . . but its stink is still lingering JUST enough to affect an entire generation of dogs.



A website called just released its list of the top puppy names of 2013, based on more than 925,000 puppies entered into their database this year.  And the number one name for female puppies is Bella . . . the main character from "Twilight".



The rest of the top 10 names for female puppies are:  Daisy, Lucy, Molly, Sadie, Sophie, Lola, Chloe, Zoey, and Maggie.



The top name for male puppies this year was Max.



The rest of the top 10 are:  Buddy, Charlie, Rocky, Cooper, Duke, Bear, Jack, Bentley, and Toby.




Filed Under :
People : CharlieZoey
by Bob posted Dec 5 2013 4:27AM
We all know fast food's bad for you.  But here are five ways that it's seriously messing with your BRAIN . . .



1.  The golden arches are designed to make you hungry.  The combination of bright red and yellow somehow jumpstarts your metabolism. So you automatically get hungry when you see a McDonald's sign.



2.  When you eat fast food, you have to keep eating it . . . or you'll get depressed.  Studies found that eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet changes the chemical activity in your brain. And if you stop, you'll get anxious and sad.



3.  Fast food can be as addictive as drugs.  There are tons of studies about how eating fatty, sugar-filled foods can lead to compulsive behavior and stimulate your brain the way hard drugs do. The studies are usually on rats and mice, but still.



4.  Fast food makes it harder to appreciate beauty.  Researchers claim that just SEEING fast food logos can limit your ability to appreciate art and music.  Because now you're more restless, and geared toward instant gratification.



5.  You can't make good financial choices.  Researchers interviewed people about money, and the people who were standing near a fast food restaurant during the interview made the worst decisions.



(Men's Health)

by Bob posted Dec 4 2013 5:41AM

It's what you eat, not where you keep it that contributes to weight gain, right? Yes and no. The way you've organized your kitchen can make all the difference with your stay-slim plan. Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, Good Housekeeping Research Institute's nutrition director, shares how your current setup may not support your healthy-eating goals.


1. The Cookie Jar Is on the Countertop
Leaving a container loaded with treats in plain sight provides unrestricted access to what should remain an occasional indulgence. Clear containers tempt a sweet tooth even more.


Instead: Replace the jar of sugary goodies with a bowl of whole fruits such as apples, oranges, or bananas to encourage healthier snacking. Keep junk food out of sight and in a hard-to-reach location to dissuade unhealthy munching, says Cassetty.


2. You Pack Snacks in Sandwich-Size Baggies
Large plastic baggies are helpful when packing a sandwich for lunch, but they aren't doing your waistline any favors when it comes to snacks. "Filling a sandwich bag with nuts might mean noshing on a whopping 1,000 calories!" Cassetty warns.


Instead: Stock your pantry with snack-size bags for portioning an appropriate amount of on-the-go goodies. For nuts, an 125-calorie diet-friendly portion equals 18 almonds, 20 peanuts, or 30 pistachios.



3. Your Plates & Glasses Are Too Large
Larger platter sizes contribute to over-serving and overeating, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Steer clear of oversized wine glasses as well, says Cassetty. In a Good Housekeeping Research Institute study, testers poured themselves the perfect amount -- 5 ounces -- when equipped with a smaller stem. But when pouring into a larger glass, almost half of the group gave themselves 2 ounces more on average -- that's the equivalent of 50 extra calories!


Instead: Use a 9- or 10-inch salad dish to plate your food, and stick with a 10- or 12-inch wine goblet -- a little larger than a champagne flute and way smaller than the fish-bowl size glass you find at many restaurants.


4. Your Plates Aren't Colorful Enough
Top chefs aren't the only ones who should care about how their meals looks plated. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Consumer Research, diners who used plates that were a similar color as their meal ended up serving themselves more food than participants with more colorful dishes.


Instead: Invest in red dinnerware, which can reduce calorie intake by 40%, according to researchers. Red plates and cups can also lead you to have less snacks and soft drinks, according to a 2012 study in the journal Appetite. "If you aren't in the market for new dishes, try setting the table with a red tablecloth or placemats instead," suggests Cassetty.



5. You're Hiding Your Produce
You can easily forget about fruit and veggies by stashing them at the back of your fridge or in opaque crisper drawers. Keeping them there too long leads to spoiled food and wasted money.


Instead: Prepare salads ahead of time and store them at the front of your fridge, so fresh veggies remain a priority, says Cassetty. If you have room in your grocery budget for the extra expense, save the time and effort required for chopping and cleaning fresh produce and buy them precut and prewashed. "I'm a busy working mom so these cheats allow my son and me to eat healthfully and spend extra time together," she says.


6. Your Kitchen Is Disorganized
If food prep isn't easy or you can't find certain pans or ingredients, you may be tempted to call for takeout -- and that's going to impede your healthy-eating plan, says Cassetty.


Instead: Make sure your cookware and go-to ingredients are readily available and easy to find. "A food processor can make quick work out of chopping onions and julienning veggies, but if you relegate it to the back of the cupboard, you may wind up underusing it," says Cassetty. "I also give valuable counter space to my indoor grill -- perfect for making chicken, fish, and even veggies with very little added oil."


7. You're Not Planning Meals in Advance
When you have a mile-long to-do list, finding time to plan the first steps of dinner prep can be tough. Realizing you forgot to defrost the chicken for tonight's dish can derail a meal and your diet -- especially if you order in Chinese or hit the supermarket's buffet counter.


Instead: Set reminders in your smartphone, so you don't forget to remove meat from the freezer or to pick up lemons on your way home from work. "Isn't it called a smartphone for a reason? I'm pretty sure it's because it can outsmart busy people," jokes Cassetty. "I can't tell you how many times this has saved me." If you're not into high-tech to-do lists, there are always old-fashioned sticky notes -- leave them on your refrigerator door, cabinets you open frequently or other kitchen spots you might hit on a busy morning.

Filed Under :
by Bob posted Dec 4 2013 4:28AM analyzed the names of the 550,000 babies registered on their site this year, and just released a list of the most popular baby names of 2013.



The most popular name for boys was "Jackson," beating "Aiden," which held the top spot for the last eight YEARS.  And "Sophia" topped the girls' list for the fourth year in a row.



For boys, the top 10 names are Jackson, Aiden, Liam, Lucas, Noah, Mason, Jayden, Ethan, Jacob, and Jack.



For girls, it's Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Mia, Ava, Lily, Zoe, Emily, and Chloe . . . which is almost exactly the same as last year.



But there WERE some interesting trends.  The name "George" was up 37% as a GIRL'S name . . . probably because of the Royal baby, Prince George.



"Kanye" was up almost 40%, "West" was up 22% as a first name, and "Kim" was up 12%.  But apparently no one else is naming their baby "North." didn't find a single "North" in their database.  Also, "Miley" was only up 3%.



And the cast of "Duck Dynasty" made waves, with the name "Korie" rising 89% in popularity, "Mia" 44%, "Phil" 32%, and "Sadie" 23%.



( /



(Check out the top 100 lists here.)

by Bob posted Dec 3 2013 4:11AM
You might THINK you just scored the best deals of your life on Black Friday.  But a lot of the most popular Christmas gifts are actually cheaper AFTER the holidays.  Here are 12 things you SHOULDN'T buy before Christmas.



1.  Big-screen TVs.  The best deals come AFTER Christmas, usually in late January.  They're trying to sell everyone a new TV right before the Super Bowl.  On average, the deals on HDTVs 55 inches and larger are 10% lower than on Black Friday.



2.  Furniture.  New models are usually released in February and August.  So stores give their best deals in January and July, to clear out the old inventory.



3.  Skis.  You get much better sales in March and April, at the end of ski season.



4.  Bicycles.  September is the best time to buy, with discounts of 25% or more.  Manufacturers bring out new models in the fall.  And bikes often don't change much from year to year, so it's smart to buy the older model for less.



5.  Cars.  The last week of the year is the best time, because dealers will negotiate more.  They get manufacturer incentives based on the calendar year, so it's their last chance to cash in.



6.  Caribbean cruises.  The off-peak months give you the cheapest rates.  And spring is better than fall, because you don't have to worry so much about hurricanes.



7.  Luggage.  The biggest markdowns are usually in March, because sales drop after the holiday travel season, and don't pick up again until people start planning summer vacations.



8.  Jewelry.  Everyone wants to buy jewelry for Christmas gifts, so sellers don't offer good deals.  The best time is right after Valentine's Day, after all the suckers just paid full price.



9.  Linens.  Let your in-laws sleep on the old sheets.  The big white sales come in January.  It's actually a tradition that goes back to the 19th century.



10.  Perfume.  Same as with jewelry.  Everyone buys it for Christmas and Valentine's Day, so you should wait until late February.  And the lowest prices will be online.



11.  Suits.  Buy them in January, when the fall and winter collections go on sale to make room for the spring collections.  If you need a spring suit, buy it in July.



12.  Broadway tickets.  January and February are the best times to see a show.  During January's Broadway Week, you can often get two-for-one deals.


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by Bob posted Dec 3 2013 4:04AM

Man, the people in Japan REALLY have different tastes than us sometimes.  Yesterday, a new flavor of Cheetos debuted in Japan . . . and they taste like a thick, milky CREAM STEW.



The bag even shows the yellow-ish Cheetos and a bowl of a white, creamy stew with broccoli and carrots floating around in it.  There's no word on whether they'll come to the U.S., but really, we don't want 'em.


by Bob posted Dec 3 2013 3:47AM

A comedic actor known for his work on a seminal TV sketch comedy series has died. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jay Leggett, known for his appearances on Fox’s “In Living Color,” died of natural causes at 50.

Leggett reportedly died after spending Saturday deer hunting near his Wisconsin hometown of Tomahawk. Emergency crews responded to a call at a cabin and found family members performing CPR on him, the story says.

Leggett co-wrote, appeared in and produced the feature film “Employee of the Month,” starring Matt Dillon and Christina Applegate, and co-wrote “Without a Paddle,” starring Dax Shepard and Seth Green. He performed on the 1993-94 season of “In Living Color,” and appeared in other TV shows including “ER,” “Ally McBeal” and “The Drew Carey Show.”

He produced and starred in the Spike TV series "Factory," which had a six-episode run in 2008.

CNN notes that Leggett was an avid deer hunter, and produced the 2011 documentary "To the Hunt: Deer Season in Tomahawk, Wisconsin."

CNN reports that Leggett "collapsed and died next to his all-terrain vehicle at the end of a hunt on the first day of gun deer season in his native Tomahawk, Wisconsin, according to Lincoln County sheriff's spokesman Mike Caylor. A deer that Leggett had killed was strapped to the ATV."

The CNN report quotes a sheriff's statement saying: "The victim had returned to the cabin from his deer stand on an ATV. When he got off the machine he collapsed and was found unresponsive by family members who immediately started CPR."


by Bob posted Dec 2 2013 4:35AM

The Ravens-Steelers Thanksgiving Game Won in the Ratings

21.1 million people tuned in to watch the Baltimore Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving.  Lady Gaga's Muppet special aired that same night but it tanked with only 3.6 million viewers.  Here are the top 10 shows:



1.  "Thanksgiving Night Football", NBC, 21.1 million viewers.  The Baltimore Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 22-20.


2.  "60 Minutes", CBS, 18.1 million viewers.


3.  "Sunday Night Football", NBC, 17.7 million viewers.  The New York Giants beat the Washington Redskins, 24-17.


4.  The "Dancing with the Stars" 17th season finale, ABC, 14.8 million viewers.  "Glee's" Amber Riley won it with Derek Hough.


5.  Monday's "Dancing with the Stars", ABC, 14.6 million viewers.


6.  "Monday Night Football", ESPN, 13.2 million viewers.  The San Francisco 49ers beat the Washington Redskins, 27-6.


7.  "NCIS: Los Angeles", CBS, 12.3 million viewers.


8.  "The Walking Dead" mid-season finale, AMC, 12.1 million viewers.


9.  "Person of Interest", ABC, 11.9 million viewers.


10.  Monday's episode of "The Voice", NBC, 11.5 million viewers.  (Tuesday's episode got 10.3 million viewers.)



And here are some additional ratings you may or may not be interested in:


•  Garth Brooks' "Live From Las Vegas" concert special drew 8.9 million viewers.  It aired on CBS last Friday.


•  "Saturday Night Live: SNL Thanksgiving" attracted 4.4 million viewers.  It was a collection of their best Thanksgiving sketches over the years, but they were smart enough to air it the night BEFORE the holiday.


•  The "2013 Soul Train Awards" on BET drew 4.1 million viewers.  K. Michelle won Best New Artist.  (You can surf through the rest of the winners here.)


•  Lady Gaga's "Muppets Holiday Spectacular" tanked on ABC.  Only 3.6 million people tuned in on Thanksgiving night.



(Here are your source links for the Top 25 shows on cable and broadcast.)


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by Bob posted Dec 2 2013 4:24AM has put together a list of the Biggest Flops of 2013.  The Wikileaks movie "The Fifth Estate" is at #1.  It was made for $28 million, and took in only $6 million in global box office.



Here's the list:



1.  "The Fifth Estate":  Made for $28 million, grossed $6 million


2.  "Bullet to the Head":  Made for $25 million, grossed $9 million


3.  "Paranoia":  Made for $35 million, grossed $13.5 million


4.  "Parker":  Made for $35 million, grossed $17 million


5.  "Broken City":  Made for $35 million, grossed $19 million


6.  "Battle of the Year":  Made for $20 million, grossed $11 million


7.  "Getaway":  Made for $18 million, grossed $10.5 million


8.  "Peeples":  Made for $15 million, grossed $9 million


9.  "R.I.P.D.":  Made for $130 million, grossed $78 million


10.  "The Big Wedding":  Made for $35 million, grossed $22 million

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