Bob's Stuff

I'm Bob and this is my Stuff.
by Bob posted Dec 17 2014 4:21AM
Heading to the RIU Playacar in Riviera Maya area of Mexico. All Inclusive, direct flight out of MILWAUKEE and bus ride from West Bend to airport Sat March 14th to Sat March 21st. Only 42 spots! Watch for details here or call Shooting Star Travels at 335-9990

by Bob posted Dec 17 2014 4:20AM

Ratings for the "Sons of Anarchy" Finale, "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show", and More Finales and Premieres

Here's a quick rundown on the three shows that had their series finales last week . . . The final episode of "Sons of Anarchy" had 6.4 million viewers. The disturbing conclusion of "Gracepoint" was seen by 4 million people. And HBO's "The Newsroom" went off the air with 1.6 million viewers.

As for premieres, "Undercover Boss" returned for its sixth season with 8.9 million viewers . . . the fifth season premiere of "Mike & Molly" had 8.1 million, and THE ROCK'S inspirational new TNT show "Wake Up Call" debuted with 848,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" attracted 9.3 million viewers, and this year's Barbara Walters special "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014" had 7.8 million viewers. Here are last week's Top 10 primetime shows:


Primetime Total Viewers for the week ending December 14, 2014:

Rank Shows R=Repeat S=Special P=Premiere Net # Viewers (Live+SD) (000)
1 NBC Sunday Night Football-12/14/2014 NBC 24251
2 Big Bang Theory, THE-12/11/2014 CBS 15485
3 OT, THE-12/14/2014 FOX 12746
4 FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3-12/14/2014 NBC 12391
5 60 Minutes-12/14/2014 CBS 11383
6 VOICE-TUE-12/09/2014 NBC 11191
7 Blue Bloods-12/12/2014 CBS 11091
8 VOICE-12/08/2014 NBC 10841
9 MOM-12/11/2014 CBS 10746
10 RUDOLPH RED-NOSE REINDEER-12/09/2014 SR CBS 10644
11 NCIS 9PM-SPECIAL-12/09/2014 SR CBS 10301
12 Criminal Minds-12/10/2014 CBS 10117
13 SCORPION-12/08/2014 CBS 9995
14 Modern Family-12/10/2014 ABC 9694
15 SURVIVOR-12/10/2014 CBS 9466
16 Two and a Half Men-12/11/2014 CBS 9301
17 VICTORIA'S SECRET FASHION-12/09/2014 S CBS 9286
18 Undercover Boss 12/14-SP-12/14/2014 S CBS 8922
19 Hawaii Five-0-12/12/2014 CBS 8774
20 NCIS: LOS ANGELES-12/08/2014 CBS 8728
21 Mentalist, THE-12/14/2014 CBS 8369
22 MIDDLE, THE-12/10/2014 ABC 8108
23 MYSTERIES OF LAURA-12/10/2014 NBC 8087
24 MIKE & MOLLY-12/08/2014 P CBS 8060
25 BARBARA WALTERS PRESENTS-12/14/2014 S ABC 7780

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Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All numbers are live viewing plus same day DVR viewing.


CABLE RATINGS:

Rank Shows Net Day Time Viewers Live+SD (000)
1 NFL REGULAR SEASON L ESPN Mon 08:15P-11:46P 13958
2 THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NFLN Thu 08:27P-11:35P 7669
3 Sons Of Anarchy FX Tue 10:00P-11:53P 6393
4 Gold Rush DISC Fri 09:00P-10:01P 4261
5 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 09:00P-10:00P 3811
6 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 08:00P-09:00P 3761
7 MAJOR CRIMES TNT Mon 09:00P-10:00P 3586
8 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 10:00P-11:14P 3530
9 HALL ORIGINAL MOVIE HALL Sun 08:00P-10:00P 3502
10 SPORTSCENTER: L ESPN Mon 11:46P-01:30A 3456
11 HALL ORIGINAL MOVIE HALL Sat 08:00P-10:00P 3420
12 TOY STORY 3 DSNY Sat 09:00A-10:50A 3380
13 LIBRARIANS, THE TNT Sun 08:00P-09:00P 3374
14 SUNDAY MOVIE FAM Sun 06:00P-09:00P 3317
15 SATURDAY MOVIE FAM Sat 08:00P-10:00P 3277
16 TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGO DSNY Fri 08:30P-08:55P 3266
17 Big Bang Theory, THE TBSC Tue 09:30P-10:00P 3158
18 HEISMAN TROPHY L ESPN Sat 08:00P-09:08P 3151
19 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Wed 08:00P-09:00P 3077
20 American Horror Story FX Wed 10:00P-11:04P 3071
21 Big Bang Theory, THE TBSC Tue 09:00P-09:30P 3041
22 Big Bang Theory, THE TBSC Sat 10:30P-11:00P 3015
23 TOY STORY 3 DSNY Fri 06:40P-08:30P 2944
24 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Tue 08:00P-09:00P 2942
25 TNF PRE-KICK NFLN Thu 08:00P-08:27P 2941

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Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings above Live+SD (live viewing plus same day DVR viewing)-

by Bob posted Dec 17 2014 4:02AM
If you haven't bought your kid a Christmas present this year, and somehow don't KNOW what they want . . . you could do a lot worse than just buying them what all their friends are getting.

eBay just released its list of the most popular toy for Christmas this year in all 50 states. Here are five things we noticed on the list . . .

1. Some type of video game is most popular in 19 states. Games like "New Super Mario Bros." for Nintendo DS and "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" for PlayStation and Xbox came up the most frequently.

2. Legos are number one in 10 different states.

3. Barbie only won three states . . . the Barbie Fashion Doll Clothing Set is on top in Arizona, Minnesota, and South Carolina. And "Frozen" toys only won four states: Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

4. The Furby is still alive . . . it's number one in Alabama.

5. And finally, a huge shout-out to Nebraska, keeping it the most real of any state . . . the number one toy there is a John Deere tractor.

(eBay)

(You can see the results for every state here.)

by Bob posted Dec 15 2014 4:19AM
Santa Carrying Shopping Bags

December is a month traditionally cluttered with sales. That might sound like a dream come true for some, but it actually makes shoppers vulnerable to overspending, especially since the National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to increase by 4.1 percent. Conflicted by year-end sales, free shipping promotions and an unforgiving holiday countdown, it's easy for shoppers to give in to the first discount they see.

NewDeals, a website that shares daily online shopping deals, cautioned shoppers to be vigilant in November; they must be sharp in December, too, because many products you see on sale pre-Christmas will be significantly cheaper post-Christmas. It's understandable that nobody wants to give gifts late, but if you have the luxury of trading gifts after Dec. 25, or if you happen to be shopping for yourself, here's a list of items you should buy after the holidays.

1. CLOTHING AND APPAREL

Apparel is the one item you absolutely shouldn't buy before Christmas. Sure, you're bound to see various clothing deals leading up to the holidays, but 45 percent of all after-Christmas sales are for clothing. Moreover, the majority of post-Christmas apparel deals are among the biggest discounts of the year. Basically, you'll save more on the majority of items if you wait.

Shoppers looking to save a few bucks should especially avoid buying items from the Gap (and its sister sites Piperlime and Banana Republic). These stores save their biggest percent-off discounts for the day after Christmas. Other brands that offer better post-Christmas sales include 6pm, Express, Macy's and New York & Co. Our rule also applies to luxury brands. Brooks Brothers, Saks, Calvin Klein and Betsey Johnson hold above-average after-Christmas sales, so if you can manage it, you'll want to avoid buying anything from them before the holidays.

You do risk inventory issues, though.

2. FITNESS GEAR

We applaud anyone who starts their resolutions in December, but if getting fit is your top priority in 2015, hold off any purchases until January, because that's traditionally the month that offers the best deals on exercise equipment. For instance, last year, Sears' pre-Christmas fitness sale was trumped by its after-Christmas sale, which took an extra 10 percent off items that were marked 40 percent off already. NordicTrack, Weider and Powerline are just a few of the brands that see better discounts after the holidays.

Come mid-January, deals get even better, with sales from stores such as Amazon, Sports Authority and Wal-Mart jumping into the foray. Expect these retailers to offer fitness gear discounts that range from 40 to 90 percent off. Even fitness accessories see better discounts in January, so whether you're looking for workout gear or exercise machines, it pays to wait until after the holidays.

3. MOST CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

November brought an astonishing number of TV and laptop deals, many of which shattered our carefully picked predictions. Though many of those deals will bleed into December, you'll want to be cautious of what tech you buy. Every January, manufacturers convene in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, where the year's new TVs, laptops and gadgets are unveiled.

For December shoppers, that means the tech you buy today will be outdated within weeks. And even if you don't mind owning a previous generation, it also means you could see bigger savings on those items in February and beyond, when the new merchandise starts making its way into store shelves.

4. HOME FURNITURE

Just as January marks a new month for consumer electronics, so does February for furniture. Traditionally, most new furniture collections debut in January and February, which makes the new year the best time for furniture deals, since many items will be on clearance.

Horchow, West Elm, Home Depot, Target and Crate and Barrel are just a few of the major retailers that heavily discount their collections in January. You'll even see a few mattress sales, although we've found that the best mattress deals come in April. Expect to see furniture clearance sales that take between 40 percent and 75 percent off regular prices. Meanwhile, mattress sales will see slightly more modest discounts of 40 to 60 percent off from retailers like Sears and JCPenney. By comparison, the best furniture sales in December will take just 15 percent to 30 percent off regular prices.

5. LAPTOPS

Black Friday triggered an explosion in record-breaking laptop deals. Budget laptops dropped to $100, whereas more powerful mainstream machines hit $300, both of which were unprecedented. This month we're again seeing a surge in laptop deals, with an emphasis on 15-inch laptops that rely on Intel's mainstream processor, the Haswell Core i5 CPU.

But as great as these deals seem, 2015 is guaranteed to bring better offers because manufacturers are expected to roll out laptops that use Intel's next-generation Broadwell Core M processor. (There are some Core M systems available today, but wider distribution is expected in early 2015.) For consumers, that means any laptop you buy today will likely be even cheaper in the coming weeks. For comparison, when deals on Haswell laptops first appeared in June 2013, deals on previous-generation Ivy Bridge machines fell an extra 8 percent in price that month.

6. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Buying Christmas decorations after the holiday season might seem counter-intuitive, but in terms of savings, it's a no-brainer. Starting Dec. 26, many stores will sell their holiday decor at prices that are up to 75 percent off. Even if you don't use them immediately, these holiday items can be stored for December 2015. You can find these deals from mainstream stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, Target and Pottery Barn.

So remember: The temptation to make all your purchases during December's first sales is strong, but if you can wait, post-Christmas sales might offer the better bargain. And if you can resist both the sales and a second helping of Christmas cookies, you're stronger than we are.

Filed Under :
Topics : Business_Finance
Location : Las VegasNew York
People : Betsey Johnson
by Bob posted Dec 11 2014 3:56AM

Weekly TV Ratings . . . Including "Toy Story", "Peter Pan" and James Franco with Seth Rogen on "Naked and Afraid"

Despite everyone's love of Pixar, the "Toy Story That Time Forgot" holiday special only attracted 6.8 million viewers. It even had fewer viewers than "Peter Pan Live!", which fell just outside our Top 10 with 9.2 million viewers.

As for the other holiday specials, NBC's "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" had 9.5 million viewers . . . ABC's "CMA Country Christmas" had 8.9 million . . . and "A Very Grammy Christmas" had 4.7 million on CBS.

Meanwhile, the series premiere of TNT's "The Librarians" had 5.4 million . . . and the James Franco and Seth Rogen edition of "Naked and Afraid" drew 2.3 million viewers on the Discovery Channel.

Here are last week's Top 10 primetime shows:

1. "Sunday Night Football's" Chargers-Patriots game, NBC, 21.2 million viewers.

2. "The OT", Fox, 14.8 million viewers.

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

4. "Monday Night Football", ESPN, 11.8 million viewers.

5. "Football Night in America", NBC, 11.5 million viewers.

6. "60 Minutes", CBS, 11.5 million viewers.

7. Monday's episode of "The Voice", NBC, 11.3 million viewers.

8. Tuesday's episode of "The Voice", NBC, 11.2 million viewers.

9. "NCIS: New Orleans", CBS, 10.6 million viewers.

10. "Saturday Night Football", ABC, 10.1 million viewers.


Primetime Total Viewers for the week ending December 7, 2014:

Rank Shows R=Repeat S=Special P=Premiere Net Viewers (Live +SD) (000)
1 NBC Sunday Night Football-12/07 NBC 21150
2 OT, THE-12/07 FOX 14754
3 NCIS-12/02 R CBS 11582
4 FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3-12/07 NBC 11510
5 60 Minutes-12/07 CBS 11475
6 VOICE-12/01 NBC 11275
7 VOICE-TUE-12/02 NBC 11231
8 NCIS: NEW ORLEANS-12/02 R CBS 10621
9 Saturday Night Football-12/06 ABC 10146
10 Big Bang Theory, THE-12/04 R CBS 9637
11 CHRISTMAS-ROCKEFELLER CEN-12/03 S NBC 9516
12 PETER PAN LIVE!-12/04 S NBC 9211
13 I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SP-12/07 SR CBS 9063
14 Modern Family-12/03 ABC 9019
15 CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS-12/01 S ABC 8902
16 SURVIVOR-12/03 CBS 8706
17 Mentalist, THE-12/07 CBS 8704
18 MOM-12/04 CBS 8606
19 Castle-12/01 ABC 8445
20 Two and a Half Men-12/04 CBS 8103
21 CSI-12/07 CBS 7887
22 STALKER-12/03 CBS 7467
23 Chicago Fire-12/02 NBC 7364
24 Shark Tank-12/05 ABC 7217
25 Person Of Interest-12/02 R CBS 7100

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Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All numbers are live viewing plus same day DVR viewing.




CABLE RATINGS:
koa-misi-cameron-wake-reshad-jones-chris-ivory-nfl-miami-dolphins-new-york-jets-850x560
Monday Night Football topped cable viewership for the week ending December 7, 2014 with 11.753 million viewers. The Librarians was the most watched scripted program with 5.353 million viewers.
Rank Shows Net Day Time Viewers Live +SD (000)
1 NFL REGULAR SEASON L ESPN Mon 08:17P-11:23P 11753
2 THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NFLN Thu 08:26P-11:35P 9114
3 LIBRARIANS, THE TNT Sun 08:00P-10:04P 5353
4 Sons Of Anarchy FX Tue 10:00P-11:56P 5053
5 Gold Rush DISC Fri 09:00P-10:00P 4311
6 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 08:00P-09:00P 4227
7 TNF PRE-KICK NFLN Thu 08:00P-08:26P 4178
8 HALL ORIGINAL MOVIE HALL Sun 08:00P-10:00P 4141
9 EATEN ALIVE DISC Sun 09:00P-11:02P 4109
10 MAJOR CRIMES TNT Mon 09:00P-10:00P 4019
11 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 09:00P-10:00P 3952
12 BIG SCREEN MOVIE FAM Fri 08:00P-10:30P 3698
13 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 10:00P-11:05P 3471
14 TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT FAM Sun 08:00P-08:30P 3388
15 HALL ORIGINAL MOVIE HALL Sat 08:00P-10:00P 3361
16 American Horror Story FX Wed 10:00P-11:06P 3303
17 SPORTSCENTER: L ESPN Mon 11:23P-01:00A 3302
18 TNF POST-GAME NFLN Thu 11:40P-12:10A 3077
19 REAL HOUSEWIVES ATLANTA BRAV Sun 08:00P-09:00P 3062
20 ELF FAM Mon 08:00P-10:00P 3030
21 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Mon 08:00P-09:00P 2977
22 TOY STORY 3 FAM Sat 06:30P-09:00P 2963
23 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Thu 08:00P-09:00P 2960
24 THE SANTA CLAUSE FAM Tue 08:00P-10:00P 2928
25 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Tue 08:00P-09:00P 2883

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Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings above Live+SD (live viewing plus same day DVR viewing)-
by Bob posted Dec 9 2014 5:32AM

Show me a sprig of mistletoe hanging at a holiday party and I'll show you at least one person who cracks jokes about stealing kisses from fellow revelers. Everyone knows it's tradition to smooch under the festive greenery but where exactly did the kissing custom come from?

Traditionally, folks looking for a smooch would pluck a berry from the sprig and present it as a gift to potential partner in exchange for a kiss. But once the white berries have all been plucked from the plant, its role as a make-out instigator apparently expire.

1. It's a symbol of the great state of Oklahoma. While the official state flower is the Oklahoma rose, mistletoe is the state's floral emblem.

2. Mistletoe is a parasite, sort of. Most types of mistletoe are "hemi-parastic" because they take root in already existing trees or shrubs and pull nutrients from their host's root system.

3. The plant is toxic to pets. Keep Fido away!

4. For centuries, mistletoe has been used to treat various ailments and illnesses. Though despite lots of speculation and attention, there is not strong evidence to support its efficacy in treating cancer.

5. Mistletoe was believed to be a charm against bad luck.

6. Mistletoe is spread from bird droppings. After birds ingest the seeds and leave behind their waste on unsuspecting twigs or branches, mistletoe sprouts up!

7. Mistletoe is ancient, but the modern tradition is only a few hundred years old. Signs of affection shared under the under the plant have origins in ancient Druid and Norse cultures. But it wasn't until much later-during the 18th and 19th centuries-that it took on its modern-day part in Christmas celebrations. Around this time, British households started hanging mistletoe in their homes during holiday celebrations. Slate reports that in an 1820 story, writer Washington Irving hints at the saucy nature of the decor, writing, "the mistletoe, with its white berries, hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids." But what else is there to know about this festive plant?

Filed Under :
Location : Oklahoma
by Bob posted Dec 9 2014 4:15AM
If you're flying somewhere this month, don't even both asking a flight attendants to do any of these seven things . . . because they're not ALLOWED to.

1. Give you any kind of medication. Only a medical doctor can give you something from the plane's medical kit. Flight attendants can't even give you aspirin.

2. Stow your bag. Too many flight attendants get injured, so they're not allowed to anymore. If you can't lift it, they'll tell you to check it. Or another passenger can help.

3. Call ahead to hold a connecting flight. People ask for it all the time, and it never happens. They also can't ask the pilot to do it, or ask him to fly faster.

4. Accept a cash tip, unless you offer it more than once. Most flight attendants ARE allowed to accept tips, but you have to offer two or three times before they can say yes.

5. Have a drink with you. They're not allowed to drink ANY alcohol, just like the pilots. They all get randomly tested.

6. Force people to change seats. They might be willing to ask someone if they'll switch with you, so you can sit with a friend. But they can't MAKE them move.

7. Let you sit in first class when seats are available. The only way to get up there is to pay extra or use miles. Although we're calling B.S. on this last one. Has anyone out there been 'upgraded' to an empty first class seat by a cool flight attendant? I've seen it happen.

P.S. For those of you out there thinking anything about a "mile high club" shame on you. They're too busy.

by Bob posted Dec 8 2014 6:09AM

Most children today have grown up watching the classic Christmas special 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' that was filmed using stop-motion animation. As the winter holiday season fast approaches and you settle down to watch 'Rudolph' on television, check out these ten cool facts that you didn't know about one of themost famous Christmas specials of all time.

1. Character Names Were Inspired By Real People

Clarice Rudolph the Red Nosed ReindeerChristmas-specials.wikia.com

According to Ken Muller, brother of 'Rudolph' screenwriter Romeo Muller, the original name for Hermey the Elf was supposed to be "Herbie" in honor of a childhood friend. Meanwhile Clarice, Rudolph's girlfriend, was named after the future bride of another friend.

2. Rudolph and Friends Were Created in Japan

Santa and His ReindeerTvparty.com

Japan has long been known for its love of animation (anime anyone?). But did you know that 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' was actually filmed in Japan? Yep! In fact, many of the Rankin/Bass stop-motion "Animagic" specials were produced in Japan.

3. A Pack of Hounds

Yukon CorneliusSuperMegaMonkey

Yukon Cornelius has an interesting sled dog team. Instead of Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes, his rag-tag team of pooches include a Poodle, a Cocker Spaniel, a Saint Bernard, a Dacshund and a Collie.

4. Even Toys Have Self-Esteem Problems

dolly for sue rudolphYouTube

On the Island of Misfit Toys, Dolly for Sue seems perfectly normal on the outside, and for decades fans have debated as to why she was there. Producer Arthur Rankin finally revealed on NPR in 2007 that Dolly considers herself a misfit due to her low self-esteem issues and psychological problems. She a doll who feels that she is unlovable.

5. Elven Romance

Hermey the ElfChristmas-specials.wikia.com

At the end of the movie, eagle-eyed fans will notice that the elf Hermey can be seen flirting and dancing with a pretty young female elf, with the implication that romance is in the air. (Aragorn and Arwen 2.0 anyone?)

6. Sam's Inspiration

Burl IvesRankinbass.com

The songs that were sung by Burl Ives, who was the voice actor for the character of Sam the Snowman. The animators also created Sam to look like the burly Ives.

7. General Electric Made A Killing on the Merchandise

Burl Ives RudolphTradeBit.org

The company General Electric sponsored 'Rudolph' for the first three broadcasts and they had quite the innovative marketing scheme at the time: they put out print ads featuring the characters from '64 to '66 and when you purchased any General Electric product, they gave out copies of the soundtrack album as a premium.

8. Bringing Christmas Back to Life

Santa Claus and RudolphExpeditionmom.com

The original puppets of Santa Claus and the younger Rudolph were eventually purchased by a new owner after going on tour in 2007. Since they were in absolutely horrible condition– Santa had half of his mustache missing while Rudolph was missing his famous nose — the new owner spent $4,000 for them to be restored to mint condition by stop-motion animation studio Screen Novelties International.

9. He is the Chosen One

Baby RudolphAcartoonchristmas.com

In the original script, Rudolph was supposed to be delivered to Donner and his wife via a stork, but after General Electric chose Burl Ives to be the narrator, they scrapped the scene so that in the film, Rudolph is born normally like any other reindeer.

10. Even the Misfits Were Ignored. Again.

misfit toysYouTube

In the original script, while Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon Cornelius promise to visit the Island of Misfit Toys and bring them back, they never do so. After the special aired, Rankin-Bass were inundated with angry letters from kids demanding that the Misfit Toys be helped. To console the children, they produced a short scene where Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the reindeer arrive on the Island and deliver the Misfits to new homes. This scene has shown on TV since 1965. Power to the little ones!

by Bob posted Dec 5 2014 4:14AM

Thanksgiving Day Football Won the Week . . . Plus Ratings for the "DWTS" Finale and "The Mentalist" Premiere

The Thanksgiving Day game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks was last week's most-watched show. Meanwhile, the "Dancing with the Stars" season finale had 16 million viewers in fifth place and the midseason finale of "The Walking Dead" had 14.8 million viewers.

Here are last week's Top 10 primetime shows:

1. The 49ers-Seahawks "Thanksgiving Day Football" game, NBC, 22.9 million viewers.

2. "Sunday Night Football's" Chiefs-Broncos game, NBC, 21.1 million viewers.

3. "60 Minutes", CBS, 18.4 million viewers.

4. "NCIS", CBS, 16 million viewers.

5. Tuesday's "Dancing with the Stars" season finale, ABC, 16 million viewers.

6. Monday's "Dancing with the Stars", ABC, 14.9 million viewers.

7. The midseason finale of "The Walking Dead", AMC, 14.8 million viewers.

8. "NCIS: New Orleans", CBS, 14.5 million viewers.

9. "College Football: Auburn vs Alabama", ESPN, 13.5 million viewers.

10. "Madame Secretary", CBS, 13.2 million viewers.

The Saints-Ravens game on "Monday Night Football" was just outside our Top 10 with 12.8 million viewers. The seventh season of "The Mentalist" returned with 10.9 million. And the "Soul Train Awards" pulled in 3.1 million viewers on BET.

Primetime Total Viewers for the week ending November 23, 2014:-

Rank Shows R=Repeat S=Special P=Premiere Net # Viewers (Live+SD) (000)
1 NBC NFL TH SPECIAL-11/27/2014 S NBC 22850
2 NBC Sunday Night Football-11/30/2014 NBC 21105
3 60 Minutes-11/30/2014 CBS 18358
4 NCIS-11/25/2014 CBS 16014
5 DANCING W/STARS SP-11/25-11/25/2014 S ABC 15982
6 Dancing with the Stars-11/24/2014 G ABC 14874
7 NCIS: NEW ORLEANS-11/25/2014 CBS 14472
8 MADAM SECRETARY-11/30/2014 CBS 13242
9 FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 3-11/30/2014 NBC 12064
10 DWS: ROAD TO THE FINALS-11/25/2014 S ABC 11313
11 Criminal Minds SPECIAL-11/26/2014 S CBS 11005
12 Mentalist, THE-11/30/2014 P CBS 10895
13 VOICE-11/24/2014 NBC 9600
14 Castle-11/24/2014 ABC 9550
15 VOICE-TUE-11/25/2014 NBC 9370
16 SCORPION-11/24/2014 G CBS 9274
17 Person Of Interest-11/25/2014 CBS 9043
18 SURVIVOR-SPECIAL-11/26/2014 S CBS 8902
19 NCIS: LOS ANGELES-11/24/2014 CBS 8821
20 FOOTBALL NT AMERICA PT 2-11/30/2014 NBC 8349
21 CSI-11/30/2014 CBS 8303
22 STALKER - SPECIAL-11/26/2014 S CBS 8293
23 Big Bang Theory, THE SP-11/27/2014 SR CBS 8194
24 CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGVING-11/26/2014 SR ABC 8126
25 MOM - SPECIAL-11/27/2014 S CBS 7303


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Nielsen TV Ratings: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All numbers are live viewing plus same day DVR viewing.


CABLE SHOWS:

Rank Shows Net Day Time Viewers Live+SD (000)
1 Walking Dead AMC Sun 09:00P-10:02P 14807
2 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PRIME L ESPN Sat 07:45P-11:50P 13529
3 NFL REGULAR SEASON L ESPN Mon 08:15P-11:39P 10872
4 KELLY FILE, THE FOXN Mon 09:00P-10:00P 7256
5 KELLY FILE, THE FOXN Mon 10:00P-10:19P 7235
6 TALKING DEAD AMC Sun 10:02P-11:00P 6575
7 CNN TONIGHT CNN Mon 10:21P-11:00P 6302
8 Anderson Cooper 360 CNN Mon 09:00P-10:00P 6265
9 Anderson Cooper 360 CNN Mon 10:00P-10:21P 6171
10 COLLEGE FOOTBALL AFT L ESPN Sat 03:35P-07:10P 5964
11 COLL FTBL SCOREBOARD L ESPN Sat 07:10P-07:45P 5763
12 HALL ORIGINAL MOVIE HALL Sat 08:00P-10:00P 5750
13 CNN TONIGHT CNN Mon 11:00P-12:00A 5410
14 Hannity FOXN Mon 10:19P-11:00P 5043
15 SPORTSCENTER 12AM L ESPN Sat 11:50P-01:00A 4801
16 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 08:00P-09:00P 4734
17 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 10:00P-11:06P 4012
18 WWE Entertainment USA Mon 09:00P-10:00P 3992
19 NEWS DECK W/S.SMITH, THE FOXN Mon 11:00P-12:00A 3975
20 Gold Rush DISC Fri 09:00P-10:00P 3764
21 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Mon 08:00P-09:00P 3694
22 THE COLLECTION FROM HHOF HALL Sun 08:00P-10:00P 3586
23 CNN TONIGHT CNN Mon 12:00A-01:00A 3536
24 JESSIE DSNY Fri 08:00P-09:00P 3500
25 THE OREILLY FACTOR FOXN Tue 08:00P-09:00P 3386

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Nielsen Ratings Data: ©2014 The Nielsen Company. All Rights Reserved. All ratings above Live+SD (live viewing plus same day DVR viewing)-

by Bob posted Dec 3 2014 4:02AM

The holiday season can be full of surprises: unexpected gifts and guests, chance encounters with old friends, and maybe even an important question with a sparkling ring attached. Not every holiday surprise is a good one and when it comes to spending, unanticipated fees and charges are especially unwelcome.

The chaos of the holiday season can leave anyone feeling unorganized and vulnerable to the unexpected. To avoid being unpleasantly surprised by your credit card bill come January, take heed of these 10 holiday shopping gotchas.

1. Store card discounts.
You may be tempted to take advantage of an extra 10 or 15 percent discount by opening a new store card. However, these cards have low credit limits and high interest rates, a combination that can prove dangerous to your credit score if not carefully managed. Ultimately, it's best to avoid these cards unless you shop with the store frequently and can commit to paying off balances in full each month. Instead, stick to one credit card that provides cash back or miles and earn rewards faster.

2. Gift card restrictions.
Several doorbusters and Black Friday deals were accompanied by store gift cards, but these gift cards aren't what they seem. They're more like coupons, which means they can skirt the Card Act's rules about restrictions and expiration dates. Instead of tucking these away for a rainy day, use them to offset the cost of gifts remaining on your holiday shopping list.

3. Refund limitations.
Getting a refund for an item you no longer want can get painful fast if you don't know the store's return policy. You may miss the return window since some stores have different return timeframes for specific products, namely electronics and contract cell phones. You may also get saddled with a merchandise credit instead of a refund, which will be a big disappointment if you don't shop at the store often. In this case, you have the option of exchanging your gift card for cash using GiftCardGranny.com, or re-gifting it if you’re feeling especially generous!

4. Extended warranties.
Extended warranties are typically offered for electronics and appliance purchases and are often considered by cautious consumers who want to protect their investment. These warranties are also money makers for retailers who keep 50 percent or more of the cost for themselves. The manufacturer's warranty is typically sufficient, plus most major credit cards offer extended coverage when you make the entire purchase on the card. For more information on these policies, consult Consumer Reports' detailed guide.

5. Restocking fees.
You were thrilled about your new laptop purchase a couple weeks ago, but now you're feeling buyer's remorse or perhaps finding it doesn't have all the bells and whistles you expected. Returning it may mean you receive less back than what you paid because of restocking fees, which are typically around 15 percent of the purchase price when it comes to electronics. To avoid restocking fees, read the fine print before you make your purchase. Otherwise, read the return policy and keep gadgets in their original packaging. Stores like Sears will waive restocking fees on unused consumer electronics if they're returned in the original box and contain all the accessories and instructions.

6. Free shipping minimums.
Free shipping offers are everywhere this holiday season, but increasingly merchants are requiring minimum order thresholds of $50, $75 and even over $100 before you get free delivery. If you have to spend more to qualify for free shipping then it's not free. Avoid adding more items to your online cart by holding off until the retailer promises free shipping on all orders. You can take advantage of such promotions on Dec. 18, this year's Free Shipping Day, when hundreds of retailers waive minimum order requirements, offer extra discounts and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

7. Return shipping charges.
Ordering online is quick and simple, but it could become costly if you don't read return policies. Especially if you need to send something back, you may be facing a return shipping fee. Always review the company's website for return policies and inquire if online order can be returned to a local brick and mortar store at no charge. You can also open a live chat with customer service to learn what your other options may be, or to request return shipping fees be waived. You'll never know 'til you try!

8. "Buy more, save more" promotions.
The phrase "buy more, save more!" has likely flashed across your computer screen or greeted you at store entrances more than once this holiday season. Instead of offering 20-percent off your purchase, retailers have increasingly promoted tiered savings, like $10 off $50, $20 off $100 or $30 off $150 in an effort to boost purchase orders. Though $30 in savings seems like a better value than just $10, often the discount in each deal is the same. Don't be tricked by this clever marketing strategy and enjoy whatever savings your budgeted spending gets you!

9. Surprise gifts.
After carefully planning your gift budget, nothing throws off your spending like an unexpected gift that you need to reciprocate. Factor this possibility into your budget now and have some inexpensive, ready-made gifts available for that moment. Holiday beverage or treat mixes, ceramic travel mugs or even an old fashioned plate of homemade cookies should do the trick.

10. Layaway cancellation.
Stores like Walmart and Toys 'R Us advertised free layaway programs this year by waiving start up fees. However, most still carry a $10 or $15 cancellation penalty, a detail often overlooked by shoppers mesmerized by program headlines. Before you open a layaway account, read the fine print and make sure you can make necessary payments in full before the end date to dodge the cancellation fine.

###

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized shopping expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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Topics : Business_Finance
People : Andrea Woroch
by Bob posted Dec 2 2014 4:27AM

Here are the top 10 college football towns:

1. Wisconsin (Madison)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

While campaigning in 1978, Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Lee Sherman Dreyfus offered a brief assessment of his state's capital. Madison, he allegedly said, was "30 square miles surrounded by reality." The story sounds apocryphal, but it's not.

In the '90s, Capital Times columnist Doug Moe tracked down Dreyfus aid Bill Kraus, who remembered his boss making the snarky quip on the stump. Never mind that Madison is actually about 77 square miles. Over the last 36 years, the line has been repeated ad nauseum.

Why? Because Madison is kind of idyllic. And in the fall, the Badgers are at its heart. In 2012, Madison mayor Paul Soglin told USA TODAY that he "couldn't imagine a better place to go to a college football game."

"The People's Republic of Madison" — which depending on your point of view, is both a term of endearment and an insult — has long been considered one of America's best college sports towns. It recently ranked No. 1 on both Sports Illustrated's list and USA Today's list.

What makes it so great? Let's start with the fact that even when it's cold and covered with snow, the city is picturesque. Located between Lakes Mendota and Monona, Madison has no shortage of great water views. There are also plenty of places to gorge. This is important for football fans. Naturally, beer, cheese curds, and sausages are the way to go. On its website, State Street Brats, a sports bar that specializes in encased meats, has a good primer on what to order:

Q: What is the difference between a White Brat and a Red Brat?
A: If you've ever had a delicious brat before, you've probably had a white brat. The WHITE BRAT is a traditional pork brat, soaked in beer and onions before being grilled to perfection. The RED BRAT is our specialty that you can only get here. It is a mixture of pork and beef that is smoked and then butterfly cut. It is particularly tasty with cheddar cheese melted on top!

Noted.

And then there's the football. Going to a game at Camp Randall Stadium, the Badgers' 97-year-old home, is a unique experience. Every week, between the third and fourth quarter, the suds-fueled student section causes a ruckus during "Jump Around."

The school briefly nixed the earth-rattling tradition in 2003, when the stadium was being renovated. But after students vocally expressed their displeasure and Camp Randall was deemed safe, it returned. After games — win or lose — a big chunk of the crowd sticks around for the Fifth Quarter, during which the Badger Band puts on a show.

It's a giant party, one that every sports fan should experience at least once. One of my biggest regrets in college was not going to visit Madison when my cousin was a student at Wisconsin. Get there if you can.

Last year, Soglin offered a resolution to establish Madison's official motto as "77 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality" with, as the State Journal pointed out, "a provision to change the size as the city continues to grow." After all, Madison's geography may change, but the city's ethos never will.

2. Texas (Austin)

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Comparing Austin to other places on this list is a little unfair. Without football, it's still an amazing place to visit. There's great live music, dozens of bars on 6th Street, and most importantly: barbecue. I'm not going to attempt to pick the best place for barbecue in Austin, because there are lots of opinions. But if you're planning a food pilgrimage, this should help.

3. Michigan (Ann Arbor)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Big House is college football's biggest stadium — and the third biggest in the world — but that's far from Ann Arbor's only attraction. Make sure to go to Zingerman's Deli for sandwiches and Fraser's Pub for a few cold ones. On game days, the entire town seemingly turns into one massive tailgate.

4. LSU (Baton Rouge)

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

In Baton Rouge, tailgating is a gluttonous, boozy art. Saturdays pre-kickoff are filled with beer, cocktails, and a seemingly endless variety of foods. And fans get creative. When Florida's in town, people eat alligator. It's perfect.

5. Texas A&M (College Station)

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, the Daily Beast called Texas A&M the happiest college in America. At least part of that happiness is derived from school spirit, of which there is a ton in College Station. The night before every home game, thousands of people pack Kyle Field for Midnight Yell Practice, which is basically the world's biggest pep rally. (Before away games, Midnight Yell Practice is held on campus.)

6. Georgia (Athens)

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Athens, where R.E.M. got its start, is known for its music scene. The home of the University of Georgia is also home to an outpost of one of the best fast food restaurants in the country. The Varsity, an Atlanta institution that calls itself "The World's Largest Drive-In", opened a location in Athens in 1932. Go there on game day for a chili cheese dog and a Frosted Orange.

7. Auburn (Auburn)

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The population of Auburn, Alabama, is only about 60,000, but man, do they support their football team. After big wins, fans flock to Toomer's Corner, which they cover in toilet paper. If you go to Toomer's Drugs, make sure to order a lemonade. In 2001, Esquire ranked it No. 1 on its list of "162 Reasons It's Good to Be an American Man." The blurb reads, "When God was a little boy and he needed money, he put up a card table outside His folks' house. This is what He sold."

8. Alabama (Tuscaloosa)

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama football is a religion. For example: Legendary former Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant doesn't just have a statue built in his honor — he has a museum. The Paul W. Bryant Museum opened in 1988 and is dedicated to showcasing the history of Crimson Tide football. Also: In the early 2000s, a $28 million bridge was built in Tuscaloosa. Naturally, it was dubbed the Paul Bryant Black Warrior River Bridge.

9. Boise State (Boise)

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

The closest professional sports team is 345 miles away — and that's the Utah Jazz. The closest NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks, is 600 miles away. My point? In Boise, the Broncos are everything. How much does Boise love football? Despite the fact that it's not exactly a tropical paradise, the city has hosted a bowl game since 1997. It's now aptly called the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

10. Tennessee (Knoxville)

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The setting in Knoxville is unlike any other in the country. On Saturdays, the Tennessee River, which runs through downtown, is crawling with boats full of hardcore fans. (They call themselves the Vol Navy.) And if you're into nature and not just football, the picturesque Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a 45-minute drive away.

Honorable mentions

Colorado (Boulder); Florida (Gainesville); Missouri (Columbia); Notre Dame (South Bend); Ohio State (Columbus); Oklahoma (Norman); Penn State (State College); Virginia Tech (Blacksburg)

by Bob posted Dec 2 2014 4:21AM

It's the most wonderful time of the year and, if you're lucky, it's also the weirdest.

If it's truly the thought that counts, then you should be thinking about some strange things for the weirdo in your life.

Why not get some chocolates shaped like dog or cat poop? Or an ugly Christmas sweater showing Santa peeing in the snow?

Of course, no nutball would ever turn down a nose-shaped soap dispenser.

No matter how picky your favorite freak is, there's something for them in the annual HuffPost Weird News Christmas Gift Guide.

  • Santa Yoda Yard Ornament
    On your yard put this Yoda ornament. It's a sure way to force your interest in sci-fi on the neighbors.
  • Gun Lamp
    PureHome.com
    The Bill of Rights not only guarantees the right to bear arms, but it allows Americans the right to have lamps with gun-shaped bases. Regardless of where your views fall in the gun rights battle, it's safe to say there are many Americans who would love to use this for target practice.
  • Moguard
    TheMoguard.tilt.com
    The best products solve a problem that is plaguing mankind, and so do the weirdest products. The Moguard solves the pesky problem of beer suds soaking your cool mustache. Be careful: Too many craft beers at the local hipster bar and you may forget to bring your beer-soaked $9 Moguard home. Oh, that's probably what the manufacturer is hoping.
  • Lighted Fireplace Sweater
    Festified.com
    Going to an ugly Christmas sweater party this year? This is the guaranteed winner.Simply download a burning fireplace app to the your iPad and stick in the pouch around your tummy. You can put something else on the screen, but then you will look like a Teletubby, not a fireplace.
  • Baby Santa Beanie And Beard
    Take it from a parent: You have one Christmas, maybe two where the kid is unable to really object to the humiliating outfits you may put on them. Make the most of this time, by making the little nipper where this Santa beard and hat. You can say you just want to keep the child warm, but you're not fooling anyone.
  • Old Man Peeing Liquor Beverage Dispenser
    If you're like us, you believe that liquor tastes best when dispensed from the genitalia of an old man statue. Make sure you tell the person you're giving it to, "Hey, urine for a treat."
  • Guinea Pig Candy Cane Headband
    Buying holiday-appropriate presents for guinea pigs and their owners has been difficult in the past. PetSmart seems to be making up for this consumer product hole with these candy cane antlers. Don't have a guinea pig? Catch a rat in the garage. It won't mind being pushed into service.
  • Yellow Snow Sweater
    TipsyElves.com
    If you want to take the piss out of the holidays, this is the perfect sweater.
  • Pre-stained Underwear
    Julian Molinero/ Realm 29 Films.
    You have to be unusually close to a person for underwear to be an appropriate Christmas gift. And it's definitely a weird relationship if they give you underwear that includes a pre-stained skidmark on the back. Some gifts are better opened in private.
  • Runny Nose Shower Gel Dispenser
    TheGiftsForMen.com
    Let's face it: Getting gel in the shower is a hassle. You risk back injury bending over to get the bottle on the floor or waste valuable shelf space that could be used for hair conditioner. This Runny Nose Shower Gel Dispenser sticks on the wall, thus saving space. The fact that it looks like a nose oozing strange-colored mucous is just icing on the cake.
  • Pet Poop-Shaped Candy
    EatCandyCrap.com
    Chocolate is a great gift, but can seem a little generic. If you buy candy shaped like dog and cat poop, there is no doubt that your loved ones will know you were thinking of them (whether or not they like what you were thinking is not your problem). And unlike normal pet poop, this product is endorsed by a celebrity --- former 'Brady Bunch' cast member Susan Olsen -- so it has to be good (or at least not taste like actual animal feces).
  • Twirling Spaghetti Fork
    HogwildToys.com
    If you're like us (and, hopefully, you're not), you've never been able to master the act of twirling spaghetti on a fork. Thank goodness for technology. This handy-dandybattery-operated fork does the work for you so you don't have to look more foolish than you already do.
  • Santa Sleigh That Fits On Pet's Back
    You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall the time Santa used your dog to deliver his presents? Neither do I, but this Santa Ride-Along Costume can turn your pooch into a temporary reindeer. That is, unless he turns around and pulls the thing off with his teeth.
  • Hip Hop Chocolates
    http://hiphopchocolate.com
    The cost of getting someone two turntables and a microphone could make a dent on your holiday gift budget, but these hip hop chocolates that come in the shapes of cassette tapes, soundboards and boom boxes will be a sweet alternative.
  • Moose Mitt
    Oven mitts are a basic product: A glove that is able to handle hot temperatures. Utlitarian, but boring. That is, unless your oven mitt comes in the shape of a moose head. Think of all the fun you'll have imitating Bullwinkle as you pull the turkey out of the oven. Think of all the irritation your loved ones will experience after the second time you imitate Bullwinkle as you pull the turkey out of the oven.
  • Ring With A Mohawk On It
    Trovea.com
    Jewelry is always appreciated, but it's not always edgy enough for some people. Thank goodness for the Punckette, the first ring I've seen with a mohawk. It's a stylish way to tell the world, "I don't need to follow your false rules about what really matters! Can you lend me a dollar so I can buy antiseptic for my new belly ring?"
  • Polaroid Toilet Dispenser
    TheGiftsForMen.com
    Toilet dispensers are basic enough, but their design causes people to argue over whether the roll should go over the top or not. The Polaroid Toilet Paper Holdersolves that by housing the roll in a replica of an old school camera. Now the big argument won't be about the toilet roll but whether or not the holder is secretly taking pictures.
  • Santa Tuna Fishing Inflatable
    Santa may only work one day a year, but that doesn't mean he doesn't daydream about his vacation. Unlike those boring old conventional inflatables that feature Santa on his sleigh, this inflatable puts him on a boat fishing marlin. One word of warning: It doesn't float very well. Yeah, we tried it. Yeah, we know we're idiots.
  • Guitar Made Out Of Oil Can
    BohemianGuitars.com
    Recycling rocks, especially this guitar. Bohemian Guitars use an old oil can for the body and the result is a cool-looking instrument that is also helpful for the environment. The can is hollow and has a screw-off top, making it perfect for smuggling things when you're on tour, man. One drawback: The oil can is wider than most guitars and that can make your beer belly look even bigger when you're onstage.
  • Uncorked Board Game
    Uncorkedgame.com
    Chances are, you may get more than a few bottles of wine for Christmas. That's perfect for this boozy board game where legal adults try and come up with bizarre ways to describe the wine they're drinking. Hopefully, it doesn't last as long as, say, Monopoly, because there is some DUI potential if that's the case.
Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
by Bob posted Dec 2 2014 4:17AM

Most American four-year-olds can tell you all about beloved Christmas characters like Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman. But in other countries, talking about Rudolph and his ilk might earn you little more than a blank stare. Here's a look at some holiday characters who might not be familiar to Americans, but play a big role in celebrations around the world.

1. Zwarte Piet

ZP-S

The Dutch equivalent of Santa, Sinterklaas, rolls into town via steamship from his home in Spain, and he's always got Zwarte Piet ("Black Pete") in tow. Although for years Black Pete was depicted as Santa's slave, since the 1950s he's been toned down a bit and is now thought of as Santa's mischievous helper—a scamp who will also put naughty children in a bag and take them back to Spain. Despite being recast as Santa's friend or devoted, albeit non-slave, servant, Black Pete still incites quite a bit of controversy, as many Dutch people feel that a subservient character in blackface and an afro wig is more than a little racist.

2. Krampus

krampus
This terrifying horned monster is part of the Christmas tradition in Austria and other surrounding countries. If children are good, Saint Nicholas brings them toys. If they're bad, though, they've got to face Krampus' wrath. The clawed, hairy beast is said to punish naughty children by stealing their toys, smacking them with a birch rod, and even tying them in a sack and chucking them into a river. Getting a lump of coal in your stocking doesn't seem like such a terrible fate in comparison, does it?

3. Belsnickel

In northwestern Germany and in some Pennsylvania Dutch communities, children get visits from the somewhat less intimidating Belsnickel instead of Krampus. Belsnickel, a man covered in head-to-toe fur, sneaks a sock or shoe full of candy into children's rooms. Like Krampus, though, Belsnickel will put his foot down; if the children have been naughty, they'll wake up to a shoe full of coal or switches.

4. Le Pere Fouettard

Le Pere Fouettard is another of Saint Nicholas' enforcers, this time in Eastern France. This bearded, black-robed character carries either a whip or a rod, and while St. Nick hands out toys to the good children, Le Pere Fouettard is said to beat the naughty ones. Even though he may not be as visually terrifying as Krampus, some origin stories for Le Pere Fouettard are pretty grisly. He's said to be the murderer of three boys who's now stuck working for St. Nick to atone for his sins.

5. Gryla

santa-helper
Naughty children in Iceland have to fear being caught by Gryla, an ogress who lives in a mountain cave but comes out each year to plague bad kids during Christmas. During the 18th century, Gryla was such a terrifying figure—her mythology at the time included eating the bad children, not just scaring them—that a public decree banned the use of Gryla to strike terror in the hearts of the poorly behaved.

6. Ded Moroz

DM
Ded Moroz ("Grandfather Frost") is the Slavic equivalent of Santa Claus, but he acts just a bit differently from the St. Nick Americans are used to. Ded Moroz carries a magical staff everywhere, and instead of sneaking down chimneys to deposit gifts before disappearing into the night, he actually shows up at New Year parties to give kids their gifts.

Ded Moroz had a tough time in the Soviet Union. Between the Russian Revolution and 1937, he didn't come at all due to a ban on Christmas-like New Year's traditions. When Joseph Stalin came into power, he ordered that Ded Moroz wear a blue coat so that no one would confuse him with the Western Santa Claus.

7. La Befana

Children in Italy don't have to worry about Santa, but they definitely want to remain on the good side of Befana. On January 6th each year, Italian kids wake up with the hope that Befana, a shawl-wearing old lady who rides a broomstick, will have come down their chimneys to leave a sock full of candy rather than a lump of coal.

8. Olentzero

In Basque communities, Olentzero comes to town on Christmas Eve to deliver children's holiday gifts. Although Olentzero—an overweight man who wears a beret, smokes a pipe, and dresses like a Basque farmer—is now a beloved character who comes bearing gifts, he used to have some violent enforcer-type aspects to his personality; children heard that if they didn't go to sleep, Olentzero would hurl a sickle down the chimney. The message was clear: go to sleep or Olentzero will come cut your throat.

9. Tio de Nadal

log

Tio de Nadal is a Catalan character that's also known as "Caga tio," or "pooping log." Starting with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, Catalan families host a tio, which is a small hollow log propped up on two legs with a smiling face painted on one end. Each night the family gives the log a few morsels of food to "eat" and a blanket so it will "stay warm" throughout the evening.

On Christmas or Christmas Eve, the family then orders the hollow log to "defecate" small gifts. Family members sing songs and hit the log with sticks in order to speed its "digestion," and the log gradually drops candies, nuts, and dried fruits that the family shares. When a head of garlic or an onion falls out of the log, all of the treats are finished for the year.

by Bob posted Dec 1 2014 5:04AM
Last Wednesday, 11-year-old Elijah Martinez and his nine-year-old cousin Jason Rivera were building a snow fort in Newburgh, New York. But a plow went by, the driver didn't see them, and they got buried under five feet of snow.

Luckily they were in a pocket of air. But no one could hear them . . . and their parents didn't get worried until three hours later, when they didn't come home.

At that point their family went looking for them. Then nine cops and a police dog joined in, around midnight.

One of the cops was a guy named Brandon Rola, who happened to see a shovel sticking out of the snow pile. And on a hunch, he picked it up and started digging . . . but didn't find anything.

Luckily, he didn't stop. He says he just felt compelled to keep digging in that spot for some reason. And on his ninth or tenth shovel full of snow, he saw a BOOT.

Once that happened, everyone joined in, and it STILL took 25 minutes to get to them. But somehow both kids survived, and they're expected to make a full recovery. According to police, they were buried for about seven hours total.


Filed Under :
Location : New YorkNewburgh
by Bob posted Dec 1 2014 4:38AM
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can stop giving thanks and talk about how awful everything is. Welcome to December!

A new survey asked 1,000 people over 50 to name the biggest regrets in their lives. Here are the top 10 . . .

1. Not seeing enough of the world, 23%.

2. Not saving enough for retirement, 19%.

3. Marrying the wrong person, 18%. (Yikes.)

4. Not telling their parents how much they meant to them, 17%.

5. Picking the wrong career, 16%.

6. Spending too much time at work, 16%.

7. Not spending enough time with their children, 15%.

8. Worrying too much about what other people thought, 15%.

9. Not learning to play an instrument, 15%.

10. Not asking their grandparents more about their lives before they died, 15%.

The survey also found the top 10 things on people's bucket lists . . .

1. Go on a cruise around the world.

2. Fall in love again.

3. Fly first class.

4. Live abroad.

5. Have grandchildren.

6. Travel abroad.

7. Swim with dolphins.

8. Start their own business.

9. Go on a safari.

10. Write a book.

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