Andrew Tobias: America's Resurgence is Real
Whether you like him or not, do yourself a favor and watch the President's year-end press conference.… It just might get you into the holiday spirit, knowing that things are looking up and that - in the steady, rational leadership of the man charged with more responsibility than any other on the planet - we have, for two more years, a gift that keeps on giving.
Jake Heppner: 35 Tip Jars Even A Cheapskate Couldn't Resist Filling With Money (Distracify)
"Those who work for tips are at the mercy of their customers. Sometimes, particularly during slumps in the economy, it pays to do whatever you possibly can to put the public in the mood to part with their hard-earned money. The people who made these signs for their tip jars are attempting to use humor to inspire generosity; it's probably the best approach." - Neatorama
Lisa Skye: "Where Aren't They Now? 11 Overlooked Deaths of 2014 (Pt. 1)" (Cracked)
It was an awful year for great talents dying before their time, from Phillip Seymour Hoffman to Robin Williams. But in between those headline-grabbers, we lost other great and fascinating people who you knew when they were famous, but whose deaths probably didn't trend on Twitter for more than a few hours. So, every year at this time, Cracked likes to stop and memorialize the less famous deaths that probably flew under your radar: …
George Raymond Wagner (March 24, 1915 - December 26, 1963) was an American professional wrestler best known by his ring name Gorgeous George. In the United States, during the First Golden Age of Professional Wrestling in the 1940s-1950s, Gorgeous George gained mainstream popularity and became one of the biggest stars of this period, gaining media attention for his outrageous character, which was described as flamboyant and charismatic.
George debuted his new "glamour boy" image on a 1941 card in Eugene, Oregon; and he quickly antagonized the fans with his exaggerated effeminate behavior when the ring announcer introduced him as "Gorgeous George". Such showmanship was unheard of for the time; and consequently, arena crowds grew in size as fans turned out to ridicule George (who relished the sudden attention).
Gorgeous George was soon recruited to Los Angeles by promoter Johnny Doyle. Known as the "Human Orchid", his persona was created in part by growing his hair long, dyeing it platinum blonde, and putting gold-plated bobby pins in it (which he deemed "Georgie Pins" while distributing them to the audience). Furthermore, he transformed his ring entrance into a bona-fide spectacle that would often take up more time than his actual matches. He was the first wrestler to really use entrance music, as he strolled nobly to the ring to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance", followed by his valet and a purple spotlight. Wearing an elegant robe sporting an array of sequins, Gorgeous George was always escorted down a personal red carpet by his ring valet "Jeffries", who would carry a silver mirror while spreading rose petals at his feet. While George removed his robe, Jeffries would spray the ring with disinfectant (which reportedly consisted of Chanel No. 5 perfume), which George referred to as "Chanel #10" ("Why be half-safe?" he was famous for saying) before he would start wrestling. Moreover, George required that his valets spray the referee's hands before the official was allowed to check him for any illegal objects, which thus prompted his now-famous outcry "Get your filthy hands off me!" Once the match finally began, he would cheat in every way he could. Gorgeous George was the industry's first true cowardly villain, and he would cheat at every opportunity, which infuriated the crowd. His credo was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!"
Charlie was first, and correct, with:
It was apparently the wrestler Gorgeous George (1915-1963)
For some reason Google image search gives me George Orwell (1903-1950). I'll just go with it.
Alan J said:
Damn... Dick Shawn, hunh?
I did not know that.
That is a very bizarre story.
I liked Dick Shawn; thought we has brilliant in
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
and The Producers
I don't know today's trivia either: "...always cheat"
I thought it was Jesse Ventura.
If it isn't him, then maybe it's...
ONE of those old-time pro wrestlers I suppose.
I know Muhammad Ali
The quote is first attributed to Gorgeous George Wagner, also a pro wrestler.
Thanks for that picture of Napoleon Solo. That, and the shot of Bailey's my husband put in my coffee, got my day off to a great start.
Gorgeous George Wagner
Dastard Dale of Diamondy Springs, Norcali answered:
Gorgeous George (George Wagner). An All-American Icon! Stephanie Bellars claimed she was Gorgeous George. How dare she! OG was much purtier! Feel like I'm on my way to Bakersfield. Aaahhhhaaa, GG would have loved Festivus!
I don't know and I don't seem to be able to coax an appropriate answer out of Google!
DJ Useo replied:
That was spoken by Gorgeous George. I'm surprised I know that.
As a kid I used to enjoy professional wrestling matches, but he passed on before my time.
I did see Dick the Bruiser wrestle, & he actually bled all over my boots. Not fake blood, either!
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CBS begins the night with a RERUN'NCIS', followed by a RERUN'NCIS: The 3rd One', then another RERUN'NCIS: The 3rd One'.
On a RERUNDave (from 12/16/14) are Anna Kendrick and Charli XCX.
On a RERUNCraig (from 11/6/14) are Marion Cotillard, and Ross Mathews.
NBC starts the night with the FRESH'One Direction: The TV Special', followed by the RERUN'Michael Bublé's Christmas In New York', then the RERUN'Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale'.
Scheduled on a FRESHJimmy Fallon are Jerry Seinfeld, One Direction, and Big Sean.
On a RERUNSeth Meyers (from 11/27/14) are Larry, Hilary & Josh Meyers.
On a RERUNCarson 'The Scab' Daly (from 11/11/14) are Robin Lord Taylor, the So So Glos, and Steven Johnson.
ABC opens the night with the infomercial posing as seasonal programming 'Shrek The Halls', followed by another informercial posing as seasonal programming 'Toy Story That Time Forgot', then a FRESH'The Year: 2014'.
On a RERUNJimmy Kimmel (from 12/11/14) are Blake Shelton and Laura Dern.
The CW offers a RERUN'The Flash', followed by a RERUN'Supernatural'.
Faux has a RERUN'New Girl', followed by a RERUN'The Mindy Project', then a RERUN'New Girl', followed by a RERUN'The Mindy Project'.
MY recycles an old 'L&O: CI', followed by another old 'L&O: CI'.
AMC offers the movie 'The Santa Clause 2', followed by the movie 'Home Alone 2: Lost In NY'.
[6:00AM] BBC World News
[7:00AM] BBC World News
[8:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 8 - A Matter of Honor
[9:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 9 - The Measure of a Man
[10:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 10 - The Dauphin
[11:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 11 - Contagion
[12:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 12 - The Royale
[1:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 13 - Time Squared
[2:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 14 - The Icarcus Factor
[3:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 15 - Pen Pals
[4:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 16 - Q Who
[5:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 17 - Samaritan Snare
[6:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 18 - Up the Long Ladder
[7:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 19 - Manhunt
[8:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 20 - The Emissary NEW
[9:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 21 - Peak Performance NEW
[10:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 22 - Shades of Gray NEW
[11:00PM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 13 - Time Squared
[12:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 14 - The Icarcus Factor
[1:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 15 - Pen Pals
[2:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 16 - Q Who
[3:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 17 - Samaritan Snare
[4:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 18 - Up the Long Ladder
[5:00AM] Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 2 - Ep 19 - Manhunt (ALL TIMES EST)
Bravo has 'Real Housewives Of BH', another 'Real Housewives Of BH', followed by a FRESH'Real Housewives Of BH', then a FRESH'Girlfriends' Guide To Divorce', followed by a FRESH'Watch What Happens Live'.
FX has 'Mike & Molly', another 'Mike & Molly', followed by the movie 'Christmas With The Kranks'.
History has 'The Curse Of Oak Island', another 'The Curse Of Oak Island', followed by a FRESH'The Curse Of Oak Island', and 'Pawn Stars'.
[6:00AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-CLIP SHOW 2
[6:30AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-REESE'S PARTY
[7:00AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-FUTURE MALCOLM
[7:30AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-BABY
[8:00AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-BABY
[8:30AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-DAY CARE
[9:00AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-VEGAS
[9:30AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-CHRISTMAS
[10:00AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-CHRISTMAS TREES
[10:30AM] MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE-WATCHING THE BABY
[11:00AM] SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
[1:30PM] THE CHÂTEAU
[3:30PM] LET'S GO TO PRISON
[5:30PM] BOOGIE NIGHTS
[9:00PM] THREE KINGS
[11:30PM] BOOGIE NIGHTS
[3:00AM] THREE KINGS
[5:30AM] COMEDY BANG! BANG!-THE LONELY ISLAND WEAR HOLIDAY SWEATERS & WHITE PANTS (ALL TIMES EST)
[8:45AM] For Your Consideration
[10:30AM] A Mighty Wind
[12:30PM] The Fabulous Baker Boys
[5:30PM] The River Wild
[10:00PM] The Next Three Days
[12:45AM] The Happening
[5:15AM] The Writers' Room-Sons of Anarchy
[5:45AM] Love Lust-Love Lust & Sex Symbols (ALL TIMES EST)
SyFy has all old 'CSI: The Original One' all night.
On a RERUNConan (from 10/15/14) are Chelsea Handler, Nicholas Hoult, and Gerard Way.
A WWI sculpture on display outside the reception of the Britannia Stadium after the English Premier League soccer match between Stoke City and Chelsea, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1914 Christmas truce during the World War One, in Stoke on Trent, England, Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. The ceremony marks the Christmas Day truce 100 years ago when rival WWI troops stopped fighting, left the trenches and are said to have played football instead. The 8-feet clay sculpture, by artist Andy Edwards from Stoke, titled All Together Now, shows two soldiers, one British, the other German, greeting each other at their side with a football.
Photo by Rui Vieira
"Americans have known about many of these acts for years," the Times editorial board stated on Monday. "But the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality."
In its editorial, the Times said the "sadistic" techniques outlined in the committee's report "are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of 'severe physical or mental pain or suffering.' They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture."
"It is no wonder that today's blinkered apologists are desperate to call these acts anything but torture, which they clearly were," the Times continued. "As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal."
Revellers celebrate as the sun rises during the winter solstice at Stonehenge on Salisbury plain in southern England December 22, 2014. The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night of the year.
Photo by Dylan Martinez
Temperatures in Finland rose almost twice as fast as in the rest of the world over the past 166 years, meteorologists said Monday, supporting claims global warming hits higher altitudes hardest.
Since 1847 "the average temperature in Finland has risen by more than two degrees," the Finnish Meteorological Institute said.
"During the observation period, the average increase was 0.14 degrees per decade, which is nearly twice as much as the global average."
The worrying weather was reported in the annual Arctic Report Card, compiled by 63 scientists in 13 countries, and was released on December 17 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
Workers polish a snow sculpture ahead of the 16th Harbin Ice and Snow World in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, December 22, 2014. The 16th Harbin Ice and Snow World will be officially opened on January 5, 2015. Picture taken December 22, 2014.
Photo by Sheng Li
Nearly half of Americans believe Sony Pictures made the wrong decision by canceling the theatrical release of the comedy "The Interview," the film that provoked a cyberattack on the studio, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday.
Forty-seven percent of respondents said they disagreed with Sony scrapping the film last Wednesday, after several movie theater chains chose not to screen the raunchy satire that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Another 29 percent of those polled said they agreed with the decision to pull the film, which had been slated for a Christmas Day release, while 24 percent said they did not have an opinion.
The online poll, conducted from Dec. 18-22, suggests that Americans mostly agree with President Barack Obama when he said last Friday Sony "made a mistake" by canceling the release and bowing to the intimidation of the hackers. He expressed concerns over self-censorship in Hollywood.
The Obama administration's new point person on White House-Senate relations previously worked as a lobbyist to promote the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Marty Paone, formerly a lobbyist with Prime Policy Group, was hired by the White House last week to be the deputy assistant for legislative affairs where he will be responsible for working with the Senate on White House legislative priorities, but he will be excluded from issues related to the pipeline.
The Center for Responsive Politics shows Paone and his firm received $280,000 in 2013 and 2014 from the In Situ Oil Sands Alliance, a group of four companies working to develop oil sands in Alberta, Canada, that would be exported to the United States should Transcanada's Keystone XL pipeline be constructed.
Ethics guidelines prohibit executive agencies from hiring anyone who has lobbied the agency in the past two years, which Paone has done at the Executive Office of the President, said a memorandum by the Counsel to the President.
The White House waived that restriction, citing "public interest" as the reason for Paone's hiring.
A piece of a meteorite is displayed in an old frame in the Museum of Domenico Agostinelli in Dragona, near Rome October 30, 2014. Agostinelli, 74, has a passion that has led him over the past 60 years to pick up and collect things of all types, from antique art to everyday objects of the past and present. His collection includes a 65-million-year-old dinosaur egg, meteor fragments, a car that once belonged to American mob boss Al Capone, a lock of hair of Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi, toys, weapons, musical instruments of all kinds and many more.
Photo by Tony Gentile
When American freight trains delivered cargo after World War II, the steam-belching beasts commonly had seven people aboard - an engineer, a conductor, up to four brakemen and a fireman.
Trains have since grown much longer, seemingly stretching to the horizon and often taking 20 minutes to pass through a crossing. And crews have been reduced in size - to five people in the 1970s and two in 1991. Now U.S. railroads want to put a single person in charge of today's huge locomotives, taking another step toward a future in which the nation's rail-cargo system increasingly could resemble toy train sets - highly mechanized networks run by computers or distant controllers.
For the moment, freight trains generally have two people aboard - an engineer who drives the train and a conductor who oversees the long line of cars. Railroad executives want to reduce that to a lone engineer, saying advances in safety systems, including a new automatic braking system under development, could minimize risks.
The one-person crew idea is being pitched at a time when railroads are working to increase train length because delivering more cars usually is more profitable, and they're working to expand capacity to handle even more freight as the economy improves.
As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for his land, Ruiz insists, "I'm not going to run."
Ruiz's property on the banks of Nicaragua's Rio Grande sits in the path of a $50 billion transoceanic waterway set to break ground on Monday.
Nicaraguan officials will start building access roads on state-owned land as the first step in creating a canal expected to rival that of Panama - a project supporters say will directly employ 50,000 people and dramatically boost the country's GDP.
The project is slated to open a huge waterway over what is now the town of Rio Grande, an evangelical-dominated community of 2,000 people with only a dirt road amid fields of corn, beans, banana and sorghum. Everything within 10 kilometers (6 miles) would be subject to expropriation.
Many complain President Daniel Ortega is giving too much away to HKND, the Hong Kong-based company set to develop and operate it. Landowners fear they'll be displaced without fair compensation. Environmentalists accuse the government of ram-rodding past mandated reviews and ignoring the threat that cargo traffic will pose to Lake Nicaragua, the country's main source of fresh water.
A participant wearing a tiger mask performs during the "Paseo del Pendon", a traditional artistic march in Chilpancingo, December 21, 2014. The "Paseo del Pendon" (walk banner) is a traditional celebration in the streets of Chilpancingo to mark the begin of the the year-end festivities in the city.
Photo by Jorge Dan Lopez
Caesars Entertainment Corp. says it will buy an affiliate as it tries to smooth the reorganization of a struggling division and balance its debt load.
The Las Vegas casino giant says the merger with Caesars Acquisition Co. will give it $1.7 billion in cash it needs to guarantee loans in a proposed bankruptcy deal it's pitched to creditors of its debt-heavy operating division.
The announcement follows news Friday that the corporation had a signed plan with some of its Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. creditors to file for bankruptcy by mid-January and reorganize its finances without visitors to its hotel-casinos noticing a difference.
Creditors have criticized the corporation in the past for stripping assets away from the operating arm to other divisions.
The United States helped a Cuban spy imprisoned in California artificially inseminate his wife back in Cuba, a goodwill gesture while Washington and Havana were engaged in secret talks on restoring diplomatic ties, U.S. officials said on Monday.
Now Gerardo Hernandez and his wife, Adriana Perez, are expecting his baby in two weeks, even though he was locked up for 16 years without conjugal visits. It will be a girl called Gema, Cuban official media said.
Hernandez was serving a double-life sentence at the U.S. federal penitentiary in Victorville until his release on Wednesday as part of a prisoner swap, which was completed the same day the United States and Cuba announced they would restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years.
"We can confirm the United States facilitated Mrs. Hernandez's request to have a baby with her husband. The request was passed along by Senator (Patrick) Leahy, who was seeking to improve the conditions for Mr. Gross while he was imprisoned in Cuba," the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, had long been active in attempting to free Gross, who was arrested in 2009 for bringing banned telecommunications technology into Cuba for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
She joined the National Theatre Company in the early 1960s, playing a number of lead roles, and continued playing major roles on stage for several more decades.
Whitelaw won several acting awards, including a British Academy Award for best supporting actress.
She told the Independent newspaper in a 1997 interview that she was not frightened of death: "Oh, no. Death's not one of those things that frighten the life out of me," she said, adding that getting on stage with the curtain about the rise was much more daunting.
His London-based agent, Barrie Marshall, said Cocker died Monday of lung cancer in Colorado, where he has lived for the past two decades.
Cocker, a song interpreter more than a songwriter, first became known through his hit cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," and a characteristically manic performance at the first Woodstock festival in 1969. His raucous "Mad Dogs & Englishmen" tour of 1970 produced a film and a recording that went gold.
He had a top 10 hit in 1975 on the aching ballad "You Are So Beautiful," with his voice cracking on the final emotional note and won his first Grammy Award in 1983 for his "Up Where We Belong" duet with Jennifer Warnes, which was the theme of the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman."
Cocker, who received an Order of the British Empire in 2011 for his contribution to music, released 40 albums and continued to tour after the hits dried up.
Cocker moved to Crawford, Colorado, a town of fewer than 500 people, in the early 1990s. He and his wife, Pam, ran a children's educational foundation - the Cocker Kids Foundation - that raised funds for the town and schools, and ran the Mad Dog Cafe for several years in town, said Tom Wills, publisher of The North Fork Merchant Herald, a local community newspaper.
Wills said Cocker bought about 40 acres of property and built a hillside mansion - which he called Mad Dog Ranch - when he moved to Colorado.
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