For the past few years, Reddit.com has been hosting a MASSIVE, worldwide Secret Santa gift exchange online. You enter it, buy a gift for a random person, and get a gift from someone else somewhere in the world.
Even though tens of thousands of people have participated, the gift exchange never really got a ton of media attention . . . until now. Because a 24-year-old named Rachel in New York signed up, and her Secret Santa turned out to be . . . BILL GATES.
Rachel got her gift in the mail. Bill Gates donated a COW in her name to a family in a third-world country through a charity called Heifer International.
He also sent her a book and stuffed cow . . . and a photo of himself holding up the charity certificate and the cow for proof.
Rachel posted about her experience online, basically gushing over Bill Gates and her random luck of being paired with him. She also apologized for one of the items on her Christmas wish list . . . an iPad.
There's no word on what Bill Gates got from HIS Secret Santa. (Reddit Gifts / Metro)
A 61-year-old blind man named Cecil Williams fell onto the subway tracks in New York on Tuesday. But his seeing eye dog Orlando jumped down, licked his face to wake him up, and they both survived by ducking UNDER an oncoming train.
Then the story took a sad turn when it was revealed that Cecil wouldn't be able to KEEP the dog, because it turns 11 next month and has to RETIRE. But his insurance won't cover the cost of non-service dogs, and Cecil can't afford a pet.
Well, we're happy to report that's no longer the case. Because a businessman in New Jersey has offered to pay for Orlando's expenses for the rest of his LIFE. And an animal center in New York has offered him free medical care.
But it looks like Cecil can now pay some OTHER bills too. Because for the past three days, people have been donating to his cause on IndieGoGo and GoFundMe.com.
And the last time we checked, the total was over 110 THOUSAND DOLLARS. If you want to donate, the IndieGoGo campaign runs through December 31st. Also, Cecil will be getting a NEW guide dog that WILL be covered by his insurance.
(NY Post / NY Daily News)
I like this study because it's so aggressive and polarizing . . . it's a ranking of America's BEST cities of the year.
To figure out the best cities, the real estate blog Movoto looked at all of their other rankings of cities this year . . . like smartest cities, hardest working cities, most exciting cities, funniest cities, and more . . . and did a meta-analysis of all of them.
So their list of the best cities of the year is all based on how cities scored in more than a dozen OTHER rankings.
And the BEST city in America this year was . . . Portland, Oregon. It's the number one city for movie lovers, the number two nerdiest city, and tied for fourth in cities for food lovers and funniest cities.
The rest of the top 10 are: Atlanta . . . Seattle . . . San Francisco . . . Washington D.C. . . . Raleigh, North Carolina . . . San Diego . . . Denver . . . Miami . . . and Las Vegas.
They included 50 cities total in their analysis. The 10 WORST cities of the year are: Fresno, California . . . Memphis . . . Detroit . . . El Paso . . . Jacksonville . . . Indianapolis . . . San Antonio . . . Oklahoma City . . . Milwaukee . . . and Nashville.
(Movoto) (You can see the rankings for all 50 cities here
If you lose your phone, what's the ONE THING you're MOST worried about someone else seeing? According to a new survey, the most popular answer is . . . our BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION.
52% would be most worried about people seeing their bank info . . . only 8% say they'd be worried about someone seeing naked photos of themselves or others.
Of course, that difference is mainly because people don't HAVE naked photos on their phone . . . despite what the media tells you about EVERYONE constantly sexting and Snapchatting and catfishing and such.
Only 10% of people surveyed said they had naked photos of themselves or someone else. But . . . that does mean MOST of them were worried about other people seeing those photos if they lost their phones.
So, bottom line: If you have naked photos, you don't want people to see them. If you don't have naked photos, you worry most about your bank account.
The survey also found 10% of people would worry about other people seeing the PORN on their phone . . . and 15% would worry about people seeing their web browsing history. (Daily Mail)
There was probably at least one Christmas where something RIDICULOUS happened with your family and you realized, "Oh yeah, we're NOT a Hallmark card."
What's the funniest CHRISTMAS DISASTER your family ever had? Here are five of our favorite stories . . .
1. "My 26-year-old brother got drunk on Christmas Eve with his friends, came home, and accidentally climbed into bed with my parents."
2. "My dad got new sweatpants, tried them on, and passed gas. Only some poop accidentally came out and ruined his new sweatpants. He was furious."
3. "My brother-in-law's father got really drunk, shoved the Christmas tree up the chimney and yelled, 'Christmas is cancelled.' There was fire going in the fireplace at the time."
4. "My dad bought my mom lingerie. My sister and I were about 10 and five, and we found the gift hidden and made mom open it . . . then we thought it looked like a Tinkerbell outfit so we had her model it. She did, to cover up what it really was."
5. "There was a sewage backup . . . and suddenly, water filled with human waste started backing up through all of the sinks and toilets. It flooded the house and it took us hours to find a plumber on Christmas. We ended up at McDonald's." (Reddit)
Of the approximately 55% of people who set holiday shopping budgets this year, more than 35% will spend more than they planned. And now, several stores are making it even easier to clean out your bank account.
Toys ‘R’ Us just announced they will stay open 24 hours a day from 6 am December 21 until 9 pm Christmas Eve (for a grand total of 87 straight hours). They’re not alone- Kohl’s will also be opening its doors 24/7 prior to the holiday, adding up to 100 straight hours.
Company executives say the extended hours are to help consumers maximize the remaining pre-Christmas shopping days by allowing them to hit the stores when it’s most convenient for them. It’s safe to say all retail employees want for Christmas is a nap.
There are less than two weeks left in the year . . . and you're probably thinking, "Two weeks. Two INSANELY BUSY weeks." So is everyone else.
According to a new survey, the average person goes to 44% more parties and social events in December than any other month.
18% of people say they HATE turning down any party this month because they're afraid of missing out.
43% have at least one day where they juggle at least three events in one night.
People also escalate their social media use in December. 14% of people admit they post photos on Facebook to show off the parties they're going to . . . and 8% of people have gone to a party JUST to check in there on social media. (Daily Mail)
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger's "I'll Be Back" the Best Movie Catchphrase Ever?
According to a new poll by a British streaming service called LOVEFiLM, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER'S "I'll Be Back" is the Best Movie Catchphrase Ever. It was followed by "Bond. James Bond" . . . which is from, like, every James Bond movie. Here's the Top 10 . . .
1. "I'll be back." "The Terminator", 1985
2. "Bond. James Bond." All of them. (???)
3. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." "Mary Poppins", 1964
4. "Who you gonna call?" "Ghostbusters", 1984
5. "Elementary, my dear Watson!" "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", the original 1939 version starring Basil Rathbone as Holmes.
6. "Heeeere's Johnny!" "The Shining", 1980
7. "Run Forrest Run!" "Forrest Gump", 1994
8. "You talking to me?" "Taxi Driver", 1976
9. "Goooood morning, Vietnam!" "Good Morning Vietnam", 1988
10. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." "Apocalypse Now", 1979
You didn't win the big Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday. But like most lottery winners, it probably would have ruined your life anyway. Not this guy though.
Last May, a 64-year-old from Calgary named Tom Crist was golfing in Palm Springs when he got a phone call from lottery officials in Canada . . . telling him he'd won $40 MILLION. (That's about $37.5 million U.S.)
And he didn't tell anyone about it . . . including his kids . . . until this past Monday, when lottery rules stipulated that he had to go in and have his photo taken.
But he wasn't keeping it a secret so he could hoard it all for HIMSELF. It turns out Tom is retired and pretty well off. So he doesn't really NEED the money. And instead of keeping it, he's donating all of it to CHARITY.
Tom lost his wife of 33 years to cancer in 2012, and says he knew what to do with the money as soon as he got the call.
For now, he's putting it all in a trust fund, so he and his kids can handpick charities to give it to. But he says a large chunk of it will go to help fund cancer research. And on Tuesday, he donated $1.2 million to a local cancer center in Calgary.
(CBC News / CTV News / KHON2)
Let this be a cautionary tale about walking and staring down at your phone . . . it can be REALLY dangerous. Of course, we know this will have ZERO effect on anyone's behavior, but whatever . . . we can try.
On Monday night, a female tourist was walking down a pier in Melbourne, Australia . . . and checking Facebook on her phone.
And she was SO ENGROSSED with Facebook that she stopped paying attention to where she was going . . . and walked RIGHT OFF THE PIER.
Turns out she couldn't swim . . . so she just floated on her back in VERY COLD WATER for about 20 minutes until the cops could fish her out.
She admitted she'd walked off the pier while checking Facebook, and they took her to the hospital, where she was treated and released.
And even though the water almost definitely destroyed her phone, the cops say she, quote, "kept hold of her mobile phone throughout the entire ordeal." (Gawker / Victoria Police News)
This survey comes from Canada, so we're not sure if it applies down here . . . because, clearly, Americans party WAY harder than Canadians. I mean . . . we're the country behind Spuds MacKenzie AND Four Loko.
But . . . according to a new study out of Canada, partying is DEAD and SLEEP is the new hot trend.
TWO-THIRDS of people say they'd rather get a good night's sleep than go out for a fun night. Even among people 18 to 24, 55% say they'd pick sleep over partying.
Overall, 26% of people say they go into work feeling tired either every day or most days. (Conference Board)
Thinking of Proposing on Christmas? There's a Decent Chance Your Girlfriend Wants You to Wait Until Valentine's Day
If you're planning on PROPOSING to your girlfriend on Christmas . . . and we're guessing at least a few of you are . . . we apologize in advance for making you even MORE nervous and anxious about how it's gonna go.
A new survey found that even though Christmas is the most popular holiday for proposals, a LOT of women don't think it's the ideal time to propose.
The survey found that 32% of women think Christmas Eve is the best day of the year for a proposal, and 13% think Christmas day is best. So that's about half of women who are cool with a Christmas proposal.
BUT . . . 30% would rather you wait until Valentine's Day, 9% wish you'd wait until New Year's Eve, 5% wish you'd wait until New Year's Day, and a very strange 6% wish you'd wait until HALLOWEEN.
That being said . . . if you do propose on Christmas, I doubt she'd say no JUST because it's not Valentine's Day or Halloween. Feeling confused? Sorry. Best of luck, big guy. (FemaleFirst)
Another Mega Millions has come and gone, and it’s safe to say you probably didn’t win (well, we sure didn’t). But while two lucky folks in California and Georgia are counting their combined fortune of $636 million, experts are pondering what makes people play the lotto in the first place, despite their incredibly poor odds of winning.
While it may seem backwards to spend money on lottery tickets when money is tight, psychologists say that during tough economic times, playing the lotto can actually ease financial fears by providing a glimmer of hope for a better future. Some people buy a ticket because of “anticipated regret,” i.e. fear of not playing and missing their chance at the big bucks.
And then there’s the fact that the average person just can’t wrap their mind around the concept of probability. Good thing, considering your odds of winning the Mega Millions are about one in a bazillion.
We've got a study here that can basically sum up every argument you've EVER had that's either temporarily or permanently affected your relationship with a friend, family member, or significant other.
A study out of New Zealand has found it feels better to be RIGHT than to be HAPPY. In other words . . . you ultimately feel better sticking to your guns in a fight than just giving in to the other person to re-establish the peace.
The study wasn't exactly scientific . . . they only tested ONE couple, which is as small of a sample size as you can have . . . but we still think there's merit.
For the study, they had a husband ALWAYS agree with his wife. He would never argue, never question her, and never do anything but agree and smile. The wife didn't know about the study.
By the 12th day, the guy had to stop. His wife had become SO cocky about always being right that she'd become WAY more critical of everything he did. And he couldn't take it anymore.
At the start of the experiment, the husband gave his quality of life a score of seven out of 10 . . . by day 12, he said it was down to a three. The wife started at an eight . . . and was so self-contented she wouldn't tell the researchers her score on day 12. (Los Angeles Times)
There's a "Gilligan's Island" movie in the works. JOSH GAD, who played Steve Wozniak in the movie "Jobs", is going to co-write it AND play one of the parts. There's no word which one.
We also don't know if it'll take place in the present day. The original series ran for three seasons in the 1960s.
But either way, this brings up the obvious question: Who would YOU cast in a "Gilligan's Island" movie? Here are my picks:
Gilligan: Justin Long
Skipper: John Goodman
The Professor: Steve Carell
Mary Ann: Jennifer Lawrence
Ginger: Christina Hendricks
Mr. Howell: Tom Hanks
Mrs. Howell: Meryl Streep
Christmas is expensive enough without racking up a huge energy bill too. Here are ten good ways to save energy over the holidays. Although with Christmas a week away, you might have to deploy some of these NEXT year.
1. Use LED lights on the tree and in decorations. You can light your whole tree for the same energy used by ONE old-school seven-watt incandescent Christmas light. And LEDs last ten times longer.
2. Use timers to shut off your yard displays at night.
3. Switch out your non-holiday lights for those CFL bulbs in any guest rooms and common areas. Especially if you're having people overnight. Every CFL bulb you install saves you $50 over its lifetime.
4. Remind everyone to turn lights and ceiling fans OFF when they leave a room. For one ceiling fan and one light, turning them off when the room is empty is worth $7 a month on your electric bill.
5. Use the interior light when you need to check on food, instead of opening the oven door. It keeps a lot of heat from escaping, and your food will cook faster.
6. Use glass or ceramic pans for cooking food in the oven. They heat up faster than metal pans, so you can set a lower temperature for the same cook time.
7. Use small appliances to cook side dishes. For the things that can fit, a crock pot, microwave, or toaster oven will save a lot of energy over using the regular oven.
8. Turn off your desktop computer. A laptop uses 50% to 80% less energy than a desktop. And an iPad is even better.
9. Get Energy Star appliances. For larger appliances, always look for the Energy Star logo. You can reduce energy usage by up to 40% over models that don't have it.
10. Use solar-powered pathway lights. They're cheap to buy and you never plug them in. And your grandma doesn't fall coming up the sidewalk, so it's a win all around. (PRNewswire.com)
31-year-old James Costello of Malden, Massachusetts was one of the victims in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15th. He was standing near the finish line with his friends, and suffered severe burns that required several surgeries and skin grafts.
You might remember the photo of him that circulated, where he's walking away from the blast site, and his clothes are ripped to shreds. Three people he was with lost legs, including his two brothers.
Anyway, after his surgeries, they transferred him to a rehab facility in Boston, where his story took a turn for the better. He met a nurse named Krista D'Agostino, and not long after they met, they started DATING.
Now James, Krista, and other victims and first responders are in Europe on an all-expenses-paid trip sponsored by a company called Vantage Travel. And while they were in France, they got ENGAGED.
Over the weekend, James posted photos of the ring on Facebook along with a message that said, quote, "I now realize why I was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my best friend and the love of my life." (WCVB / Boston Magazine)
A study at the University of Sydney in Australia found that the smaller a dog is, the more likely he is to be aggressive, wild, noisy, and obsessed with humping things.
And the researchers actually compared it to the Napoleon complex in short men . . . where they overcompensate for their height by being angrier and more aggressive.
It's true across all breeds of dogs . . . so the smallest Great Dane is more likely to hump your leg than the biggest Great Dane, and the smallest teacup poodle is more likely to hump your leg than the biggest teacup poodle.
(Sydney Morning Herald)
I feel like every kid thinks he's going to grow up to be a MILLIONAIRE . . . you know, just because he's SO special and SO unique that people will just hand him money. Eventually you adjust your expectations.
But . . . are you making LESS MONEY right now than you realistically THOUGHT you'd be making at this age?
In a new survey, HALF of Americans say . . . yes.
34% say they're making just about what they expected at this age . . . and only 16% are making more than they expected.
Women are more likely than men to say they're making less than they thought they'd be making, 55% to 45%. (PR Newswire)
This isn't exactly in the Christmas spirit, but whatever. We want you to think back on the WORST Christmas present you've ever received. Here are some of the best ones we've heard . . .
1. "I got a used gift card with only $3.75 left on it."
2. "When I was seven, my grandma bought my cousin a PlayStation 2. I'm the exact same age . . . and she got me a 'Shrek' lunch box."
3. "I was unemployed and got a large, gift-wrapped box from my parents. It was a stack of job applications from local businesses."
4. "When I was seven I unwrapped a gift and found a Dustbuster box. I thought my present was inside the box . . . turned out my present WAS the Dustbuster, so I could vacuum the stairs easier."
5. "My mom gave me a jar of sugar with a note about how sweet I was. Then, two days later, I came home and found she'd used the sugar to bake cookies."
6. "My great-aunt had a live-in caretaker. He unexpectedly died. The next year, when I was seven, I got a VHS copy of his funeral for Christmas."
7. "My grandpa gave everyone in the family bright orange rape whistles for Christmas . . . even the men."
8. "A guy I was dating gave me a self-help book for women with daddy issues. He was dead serious and insisted I was molested as a child. I was not." (Reddit)
Heads up: Christmas is exactly one week away. If hearing that sends you into a state of panic because you haven't done ANY shopping yet . . . well, at least you're not the only one. Not even CLOSE.
According to a new survey by "Consumer Reports", a full 31% of people who plan on giving gifts haven't bought a SINGLE one so far.
And of the people who HAVE started their Christmas shopping, HALF are less than halfway done.
Only 11% of people say they're completely done with their Christmas shopping. (Sacramento Bee)
A website called CarInsuranceComparison.com just released a new list of every state ranked from BEST to WORST DRIVERS.
The rankings are based on five categories: Deaths per 100 million miles driven, citations for failure to obey lights and seatbelt laws, DUIs, speeding tickets, and careless driving tickets.
And the worst drivers in the country are in . . . Louisiana. The rest of the bottom 10 are: South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Montana, and North Dakota.
Vermont has the best drivers in the country. The rest of the top 10 are: Utah, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Oregon, Maine, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Iowa, and Massachusetts.
If you end up with a hangover this holiday season, here are six ways to deal with it at work the next day . . .
1. Strategize. You need to decide whether it's better to suck it up, or call in sick. If you're still drunk, you might wreck your reputation if you go in. But if you miss an important meeting . . . same deal. Weigh the risks, and decide accordingly.
2. Exercise. Working out may seem like the LAST thing you can do. But when you move, oxygen gets to your cells and increases the rate of detox.
3. Eat healthy. Stay away from fats and heavy carbs. It's a day to take it easy on your stomach. Experts recommend stuff like soup, toast, or vegetable juice.
4. Lay low. This is not a day for big decisions. Do simple, routine tasks that you're not likely to mess up. And if you can, avoid clients and co-workers.
5. Don't tell people. It's just not professional. And you don't want it getting back to your boss.
6. Take breaks. If you're really suffering, take a few minutes alone in the break room or restroom. Slow, deep breaths are supposed to help. (New York Post)
Online daters prefer tall men
Size does matter after all. A study found short men are at a disadvantage on internet dating sites.
The research, which was based on more than 80,000 interactions between male and female online daters, revealed tall men get contacted significantly more often by women than their shorter counterparts, and that every additional inch of height a man has corresponds to an increase in female attention.
So what’s the magic number when it comes to height? According to online dating women, the ideal man is 6ft. He also looks like Ryan Gosling and owns a yacht, but that’s another matter.
This goes to show how incredible modern medicine can be . . . and also how BIZARRE it can be.
A 20-something industrial worker in China named Xiao Wei suffered a HORRIFIC accident at work back on November 10th, that completely severed his right hand off. (His name is pronounced "Shao," like "shower.")
So his co-workers grabbed the hand and rushed him to the hospital, where doctors said it WOULD BE possible to reattach it . . . except part of his ARM was also crushed. So to keep the hand from dying . . . they temporarily sewed it onto his ANKLE.
Earlier this month, Xiao's doctors decided his arm had finally healed enough. So they removed the hand from his leg and reattached it.
At this point, he's still not out of the woods. But his doctors say they're hopeful the hand will eventually be fully functional again. (Sky News / BBC News / Metro)
Start hoarding your incandescent light bulbs, because as of January 1, 2014, the government is pulling the plug. Thanks to 2007 legislation that set minimum efficiency standards for light bulbs, traditional incandescents will soon be phased out and replaced with CFL and LED bulbs.
The looming deadline has many Americans stocking up at stores like Home Depot, whose six-month stockpile is rapidly dwindling. But contrary to popular belief, 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs won’t be entirely discontinued as of January 1- manufacturers will just be forced to improve them so they draw less wattage.
Consumers will find the newer, energy-efficient bulbs take some getting used to- not only do they give off a different-colored light than traditional bulbs, but they’re also a lot more expensive. The trade-off, of course, is that they last longer and consume less power.
This time of year, pretty much EVERY day seems unproductive . . . we're all counting down the hours until we're off for the holidays. So this survey on productivity is a little ill timed . . . I guess keep it in mind for next year?
A new survey of about 300 HR managers around the country asked them to name the day of the week when employees are usually most productive. Here are the results . . .
1. Tuesday, 39%.
2. Monday, 24%.
3. Wednesday, 14%.
4. Thursday, 3%.
5. Friday, 3%.
So people are most productive at work on Tuesdays . . . and least productive on Thursdays and Fridays. The survey also found that employees are least productive after 4:00 P.M. and most productive between 10:00 A.M. and noon. (PR Newswire)
According to a new survey, over a third of Americans will be taking a trip during the holidays that requires at least one overnight stay. Check out the top 10 things people DREAD about staying with family this time of year.
1. Being woken up before you want to be.
2. Having to wait in line to use the bathroom.
3. Getting into an argument with a relative.
4. Eating a meal made by someone who can't cook.
5. Being forced to participate in weird family traditions.
6. Your kids finding their presents early.
7. Long conversations with relatives you don't like.
8. Having to sleep on an air mattress, or on the floor.
9. Having to share a room with a relative.
10. Accidentally seeing a family member NAKED. (PR Newswire)
This wasn't totally unexpected: "Family Guy" brought back Brian the Dog last night. Brian was killed off on the November 24 episode, when he got hit by a car. There was an immediate uproar on the Internet.
But last night, Stewie went back in time and saved him. Brian's response was, quote, "Thank you for saving my life. A lot of other families would have just gotten another dog and moved on."
After the episode aired, show creator SETH MACFARLANE Tweeted, quote, "I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be [effing] high.
"Oh and hey . . . thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude."
Beyoncé's Surprise Album Is a Phenomenon . . . and It's Selling Like Crazy
The iTunes exclusive "visual" album is selling for $15.99, and contains 14 tracks, which are not available individually until this Friday. It also includes 14 videos, with other bonus video content. It's unclear if or when it'll be released on CD.
Of course, in order to get these sales numbers in a case like this, word of mouth is EVERYTHING . . . and Beyoncé succeeded with that.
The "New York Daily News" reports that the album generated more than 1.2 million Tweets in just 12 hours, including a "Tweets per minute" spike of 5,300, which was roughly 300 more than "Sharknado" notched during its peak halfway through its original telecast.
Over the weekend, Beyoncé put out a video explaining that she wanted to unleash an album . . . as a surprise, with all the videos done . . . so that people could absorb it all at once.
She said, quote, "Now people only listen to a few seconds of a song on their iPods. They don't really invest [in] a whole album. It's all about the single and the hype . . .
"I wanted to make this body of work, and I feel like it's something that's lost in pop music. I wanted people to have a different first impression . . . not just listen to a 10-second clip, but to actually be able to see the whole vision of the album."
Beyoncé Broke the Internet: The Best Reactions Online
BEYONCÉ effectively BROKE THE INTERNET by suddenly releasing a new album on iTunes at midnight on Thursday night. Here are some of the reactions from celebrities and others online:
Katy Perry: "Don't talk to me today unless it's about Beyoncé. Thanks."
Demi Lovato: "Um . . . Beyoncé just dropped a surprise album?!!?! #SooooGood #OnRepeat . . . I'm literally FUH-REAKING OUT over this . . . the music vids?!!?! I CANT HANDLE THIS MUCH FIERCENESS . . . #NoJoke #Dying . . .
"HOW IS ANYONE NOT TWEETING ABOUT #BEYONCÉ RIGHT NOW?!!?!?"
Lady Gaga: "Good Morning! . . . Welcome back, Honey B. We missed you! <3"
Diplo: "Did Beyoncé explode or something? What's goin' on? Confused."
Snoop Dogg: "My girl Beyoncé just changed da game!"
Alicia Keys: "Love this!! Shine on mama!!!! ;-) @Beyoncé."
Cher: "I haven't heard it, but how can you NOT love Beyoncé?"
Pete Wentz: "I think Beyoncé just broke the Internet."
Abigail Breslin: "The new Beyoncé album is so perfect. Wow."
Ryan Phillippe: "Queen B brought that dirt. Into it."
Leslie Grossman from "Popular": "Just booked a double sesh with my shrink to talk about the surprise Beyoncé album. I'm serious. Random fireworks just went off in my neighborhood, and I genuinely believe it is Beyoncé-related . . .
"I need guidance: Do I wake my kid up to tell her about Beyoncé? It seems super important and in the future she will appreciate it right?"
Meanwhile, here's a good Tweet from some non-celebrity: Quote, "Beyoncé is so unoriginal. The other members of DESTINY'S CHILD release albums that nobody knows about all the time."
(Buzzfeed.com has a great rundown of some other good non-celebrity reactions to the album.)
Hot chocolate is delicious all by itself . . . but alcohol makes it BETTER Here are 15 great ideas for SPIKING hot chocolate. Buzzfeed.com has links to all the recipes.
1. Pumpkin pie hot chocolate. Add white chocolate, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie liqueur.
2. Mint hot chocolate. Add tequila and peppermint schnapps.
3. Nutella hot chocolate. It actually doesn't have Nutella in it. You just put in some brandy and Frangelico.
4. El Dorado hot chocolate. All it takes is rum and cinnamon liqueur.
5. Oaxaca Chaka Cocktail. Put hot chocolate together with cinnamon and tequila. (The name is pronounced "Wa-HAH-ka CHAH-ka." Named after a state in southern Mexico.)
6. Red Wine hot chocolate. Use bittersweet hot chocolate and red wine.
7. The hot chocolate martini. Add vanilla vodka and Bailey's. Plus two maraschino cherries.
8. Hot mint chocolate toddy. Add Kahlua and peppermint schnapps. Maybe some little marshmallows and chocolate flakes if you want to go next-level with it.
9. Frozen hot chocolate margarita. This one is frozen hot chocolate, tequila, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier. With chocolate sprinkles instead of salt.
10. Orange hot chocolate. Add Pisco and Grand Marnier.
11. Coconut white hot chocolate. White hot chocolate and coconut rum.
12. Peppermint hot chocolate. Just add peppermint schnapps.
13. "Grown Up" hot chocolate. Add marshmallow vodka and homemade Bailey's marshmallows.
14. Bacon and hazelnut hot chocolate. Add bourbon and Frangelico, and dip a piece of bacon right in there like a stirring stick.
15. Irish hot chocolate. Add Guinness, whisky, and Bailey's. (Buzzfeed.com)
When you drop change in a Salvation Army bucket, you feel generous, right? Especially since you have to deal with all that incessant bell-ringing. Well, you ARE generous . . . but only compared to some.
Earlier this month, a Salvation Army worker in Kokomo, Indiana checked his bucket, and found a GOLD COIN. It turned out it was a gold KRUGERRAND from South Africa, worth about $1,200.
And if you're thinking some poor schmuck just made a MISTAKE and grabbed the wrong coin from his pocket, that's not the case. Because this is the FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW it's happened in Kokomo.
According to a Salvation Army spokesman, the coin will buy about three weeks worth of groceries for the 1,000 people the chapter helps feed every month. (Kokomo Tribune)
The Mega Millions jackpot tomorrow is worth $550 million . . . that's the fourth-highest jackpot in history. Sounds like it would be the greatest Christmas present in history.
But there's a catch. The Mega Millions odds are now WAY WORSE than they used to be. It's because the system changed in late October. You used to have to pick five numbers from one to 56. Now you have to pick five numbers from one to 75.
You also have to pick the one Mega Millions number. They actually reduced the choices for that . . . it used to be a number one through 46, now it's a number one through 15.
BUT . . . with these tweaks, the odds still got way worse. They used to be one in 176 million . . . now they're one in 259 million.
On the plus side, that means the odds are lower that ANYONE will win . . . so the jackpot could keep going up. It could be close to a BILLION DOLLARS right around Christmas. (Los Angeles Times)
You obviously know the cliché "laughter is the best medicine" . . . it's been around since before any of us were born and it'll be around after we're gone. Even though now there's PROOF it's not true.
Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham in England have found that laughter is NOT the best medicine.
The study did find some situations where laughter is an important part of the medical process . . . like patients whose conditions improved when clowns went to the hospital.
But they also found a lot of cases where people had suffered from bad asthma attacks, ruptured their hearts, torn their throats, or lost control of their bladder functions because of laughter.
And while those cases aren't likely, the researchers say it's also not likely that laughter will help you. Basically . . . the odds are, laughter won't have any effect either way.
The Ten Most Instagrammed Places This Year Include Times Square, the Disney Parks . . . and Some Shopping Mall in Thailand?
Instagram just announced the ten most Instagrammed places this year, and every single iconic landmark in the entire world lost out to . . . a shopping mall in Thailand.
Somehow, the most Instagrammed spot in the world this year was the Siam Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand. It looks like a nice mall and all . . . but we're REALLY not sure why it's so popular to photograph. Anyway, here's the top 10 . . .
1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand.
2. Times Square, New York.
3. Disneyland, Anaheim, California.
4. The Bellagio fountains, Las Vegas, Nevada.
5. Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
6. The Staples Center, Los Angeles.
7. Central Park, New York.
8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles.
9. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand.
10. The High Line park, New York. (Instagram)
If you thought mall Santas had a magical power to make little kids cry BEFORE, this takes it to a whole different level.
A mall Santa at the Brent Cross Shopping Center in London is going to give kids LIE DETECTOR TESTS this week . . . to find out if they're actually naughty or nice.
Kids who go to the mall from Wednesday through Friday will get a surprise lie detector test with questions like, "Have you been good this year?" and, "Do you always clean your bedroom?"
Afterward, the kids and their parents will get a report on how the kid performed on the test.
The mall says they're doing it to, quote, "instill a sense of honesty among children." There's no word on whether the parents will have to give CONSENT to have their kids hooked up to the polygraph. (ABC News)
Seven Random Christmas Facts for Monday
There are a bunch of new surveys about Christmas. Here are the seven best things they found . . .
1. It would take the average parents $1,400 to buy everything on their kid's Christmas list.
2. The average person will lose about three pounds preparing for Christmas . . . but will gain about six pounds by the end of the year.
3. 3% of Americans who celebrate Christmas won't be exchanging gifts.
4. 95% of Americans celebrate Christmas . . . but only 62% of Americans will go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
5. 62% of people say they'll read your whole long Christmas letter, 24% will at least skim it . . . and 14% apparently don't care what your family has accomplished this year.
6. The majority of people say hosting Christmas is more stressful than going to the dentist.
7. And finally, 6% of people say they'd rather be alone in a desert than at home with their family on Christmas.
(NBC 5 - Salt Lake City / FemaleFirst / Gallup / Newstrack India / West Country / FemaleFirst)
Weird things people leave behind in the holiday shuffle
It’s the season of giving…and leaving behind, apparently. The lost and found boxes at malls, gyms and airports always seem to overflow around this time of year. Certain places in Syracuse, New York recently took inventory. Just in the month of November, lost items at the ShoppingTown mall included an Avengers movie puzzle, a new leather bag, one tube of hair dye and bike helmets.
At a local Gold’s Gym, the lost array of forgotten things included Axe body spray, one gray Ugg boot, a container full of Designer Whey strawberry-flavored protein powder and an inhaler. And at the shopping center Destiny USA, people seemed to have left behind some very important things. Wedding rings and engagement rings were among the lost-and-found haul! Here’s hoping Santa brings these people some replacements!
According to a new study, the average family will drive 413 MILES over the next few weeks for Christmas activities. Here's how that breaks down . . .
Six trips to the store to buy food and alcohol, 24 miles.
Three visits to grandparents, 102 miles.
Two visits to in-laws, 72 miles.
Three trips to see other family members and go to their parties, 102 miles.
Two visits to see old friends, 82 miles.
Picking up family on Christmas Day, 19 miles.
Three quick, miscellaneous last-minute trips, 12 miles.
On Monday, a 45-year-old man in northern Italy named Luigi Barbanera was sitting at a stoplight on his way home from work, when he saw a woman on the street screaming for help.
So Luigi . . . who works as a prison guard . . . immediately jumped out of his car, and realized WHY she was screaming. It turns out there was a two-year-old boy standing on the ledge of an open third-story WINDOW.
So while the woman called 911, Luigi positioned himself underneath it. And sure enough, the kid lost his balance and FELL . . . but Luigi was right there to CATCH HIM.
The impact knocked Luigi to the ground, and the kid ended up with a bloody nose. But other than that, they were both fine.
It turned out the boy's mother was doing laundry while he took a nap. And she didn't hear anyone on the street yelling. Now Luigi is getting the hero treatment, and he's all over the news in Italy.
He says he was only in the area because his wife had asked him to stop at the bank, adding that fate just put him in the right place at the right time.
There was a sign language interpreter on stage at NELSON MANDELA'S memorial on Tuesday, signing what all the world leaders said . . . including PRESIDENT OBAMA.
There's just one problem. It turns out the guy was a COMPLETE FAKE.
He didn't know sign language AT ALL, and was just moving his hands around randomly. You and I might not have noticed, but obviously deaf people knew IMMEDIATELY, and started pointing it out on Twitter.
But no one's quite sure how a bogus sign language interpreter managed to get hired for one of the biggest events in South African history. His name hasn't been released.
But now the guy who did the interpreting is defending himself, and says he was having a schizophrenic episode.
There's still PLENTY of time to return Christmas gifts and get something better. So listen to this carefully.
A new survey came up with the top 10 gifts that men and women DON'T WANT for Christmas. Check 'em out . . .
Men don't want: Socks, a bad sweater, books they've already read, cheap cologne or toiletries, slippers, a mug, a calendar, chocolate, a handkerchief, or second-hand stuff.
Women don't want: Cheap perfume or toiletries, cheap jewelry, make-up that isn't right for them, a bad sweater, candles, second-hand stuff, books they've already read, chocolate, a scarf, or a calendar.
So what SHOULD you get someone? A separate study in the "Journal of Consumer Research" says you shouldn't try to come up with unique gift ideas for everyone . . . you'll just end up overthinking it and FAILING.
Instead, come up with ONE good idea and buy the same thing for everyone on your list. Yes, the gift will be a little more generic . . . but that could be a GOOD thing, since it will also be something that's POPULAR and everyone likes.
If you're like most people, you'll make it through Christmas morning just fine. Then by mid-day, you'll be on the verge of LOSING it.
A new survey pinpointed the EXACT time when fighting over the holidays is at its peak. And it happens at . . . 3:18 P.M. on Christmas Day.
Two-thirds of people say there's absolutely NO CHANCE their family will get through the day without at least one solid argument. Here are the top eight things we fight about during the holidays.
1. Who gets to control the TV remote.
2. Who has to wash the dishes.
3. Cheating at board games.
4. What to eat for Christmas dinner.
5. How the tree should be decorated.
6. How the house should be decorated.
7. Who has to COOK dinner.
8. Bad Christmas presents.
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.
This might come as a surprise, but it probably shouldn't: Science is now PROVING that happiness is a choice. You can teach yourself to think in certain ways to stay happy . . . no matter what else goes on around you.
Studies show that some of the most effective ways to stay happy are also the simplest things to do. They have nothing to do with changing your lifestyle or being more successful. Here's a list of seven easy things you can do to make yourself happier.
1. Just TRY. A recent study asked two groups of people to listen to happy music. One group was told to make an effort to be happier, and the other was told not to do anything. And the first group ended up feeling better at the end of the study.
2. Make happiness your number-one goal. If happiness is more important to you than anything else, you'll get rid of things that make you unhappy. And you'll do more things that lead to happiness, like being around happy people.
3. Linger on the positive moments. Our brains tend to emphasize negative experiences more, and react more strongly to them. So you have to put extra effort into getting the most out of the GOOD things that happen.
4. Meditate. It's relaxing, and it makes you calmer and more aware. Just about every study shows that regular meditation has big psychological benefits.
5. Give yourself reasons to smile. People who smile after thinking positive thoughts can put themselves into a better mood. But phony smiles, without any positive thoughts behind them, cause worse moods and social withdrawal.
6. Be grateful. If you make an effort to show gratitude to people around you, you'll also tend to appreciate simple pleasures, and stay happier overall.
7. LET yourself be happy. A lot of older people regret that they didn't "let" themselves be happy in life. You have to ALLOW yourself to laugh and be silly sometimes. If you get used to being unhappy, you forget that laughter should come naturally
With holiday travel coming up, you know you're just PRAYING that empty seat next to you is filled by a quiet, 92-pound, childless woman who smells fantastic. Good luck with that.
A new survey put together a list of the absolute WORST people on airplanes. Here's the top 10 . . .
1. Inattentive parents.
2. Seat kickers.
3. People who smell awful.
4. People who are drunk and keep buying booze to get MORE drunk.
5. People who won't stop talking to you.
6. People who blast the music over their headphones so loud, you can hear it.
7. People who recline their seats for the entire flight.
8. People who abuse the carry-on policy.
9. People who grab the back of the seat in front of them.
10. People who cut the line to board, or to get off.
Big moments in your life aren't official until you post about them on Facebook, right? Facebook just released their list of the top 10 life events that Americans posted about most frequently this year. Check 'em out . . .
1. Starting a new relationship.
2. Getting married.
3. Getting engaged.
6. Ending a relationship.
7. Having a baby.
8. Getting pregnant.
9. The anniversary of first meeting a friend or significant other.
10. The death of a loved one.
That list lines up pretty well with the overall worldwide top 10, although people in other countries are more likely than us to post about getting a pet or a PIERCING.
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 . . .
3. A rocking horse.
5. Mittens or gloves.
6. A toy train.
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.
Here's even more proof that life is better for the beautiful people, and totally unfair for the rest of us trolls.
Researchers looked at more than 8,000 men and women in Wisconsin, analyzed each person's career, and tried to figure out what factors had the strongest connection with success.
And they found GOOD LOOKS had more of an impact on people's success than IQ, education, or their parents' education.
In fact, good looks are really the ONE THING that guarantees a successful career.
The researchers say it could be because good looking people are CONFIDENT enough to get good jobs . . . or because employers subconsciously want to hire better-looking people.
We've got the results here of three new studies you should REALLY like. Here are three surprising things science now believes are GOOD FOR YOU . . .
1. Self-Lovin'. A new study from the University of Sydney in Australia has found that vigorously fondling yourself can fight all sorts of illnesses, including cervical infections and urinary tract infections for women, and prostate cancer for men.
They also found it lowers the risk of developing diabetes, can help treat insomnia, and can fight depression.
2. Alcohol. A study out of Tel Aviv University in Israel has found that a reasonable amount of alcohol can lead to a longer life. They found caffeine has the OPPOSITE effect and might even shorten your life.
3. Not Texting People Back. It's modern phone etiquette to text people back quickly . . . but maybe you shouldn't. A new study found people who train themselves to ignore their phone when it buzzes or makes an alert are HAPPIER.
People who are able to relax and not constantly check their phones had less anxiety and stress than people who are always monitoring new messages.
Former South African President NELSON MANDELA passed away yesterday. He was 95.
Current President Jacob Zuma announced his death in a statement . . . adding, quote, "He passed on peacefully in the company of his family . . . He's now resting. He's now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son.
"Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss."
Mandela had been in bad health over the past several months. In June, he was hospitalized for a recurring lung infection and pneumonia. His lungs had been weak ever since he got tuberculosis during the 27 years he spent behind bars.
He had been released from the hospital in September . . . and continued his treatment at home . . . even though he was still in pretty rough shape.
Mandela was a political prisoner from 1962 to 1990. He fought to abolish apartheid and worked to end poverty. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 . . . and became the first black president of South Africa in 1994. He held the position until 1999.
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013): The Tributes
As you'd expect, a lot of people have commented on NELSON MANDELA'S death. Here are some highlights:
President Obama: "[Mandela] achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he's gone home, and we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth."
Idris Elba, who plays Nelson in the new movie, "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom": "What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
By the way, Nelson DID see that movie . . . one of the producers says, quote, "He saw Idris Elba as the old Mandela in the Mandela prosthetics and he [said], 'Is that me?' And it was very cute and he smiled and laughed, so it was very good."
Morgan Freeman, who portrayed Nelson in the 2009 movie "Invictus", wrote a long piece on Mandela for "Time" magazine. Among other things, he said, quote, "[Nelson] and I became friends back in the 1990s . . .
"When, during a press conference, he was asked whom he would want to portray him in a film. To my everlasting honor, he mentioned ME, and thus began our 20-year relationship . . . His legacy lives on in all of us."
Prince William: "We were just reminded of what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was . . . and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family." (Here's video.)
Samuel L. Jackson: "Never met a better person in my life than Nelson Mandela. My sympathy to his family and his country."
Anderson Cooper: "Mandela is gone. There is no one else like him. I remember [his] Election Day in 1994. Standing in line with elderly South Africans voting for the first time in their lives."
John Legend: "What a heroic, beautiful life Mandela lived. Rest in peace."
Rihanna: "One of the greatest men who's ever lived!!! We will never forget the things this man has taught us, and we will never truly comprehend the level of strength that it took for him to endure many of his years!! Thank you #Mandela. You made your people proud! We'll always love you for it!"
Kendrick Lamar: "Advising all my young ones that follow me to research a small piece of Nelson Mandela Life. That's how you pay your respect . . . GO!"
Lindsay Lohan: "'A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.' - Nelson Mandela."
Queen Latifah: "God Bless You Mr. Nelson Mandela! Your Strength, Humanity, Intelligence, Honesty and True Grit are unmatched in my lifetime!"
Ryan Seacrest: "'We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.' - the great Nelson Mandela."
Gwen Stefani: "R.I.P. Nelson Mandela." (And she linked to the SPECIALS' song, "(Free) Nelson Mandela". Here it is.)
Busta Rhymes: "RIP 2 ONE OF OUR LAST TRULY GREAT KINGS AND GOD OF OUR UNIVERSE, THE LATE GREAT NELSON MANDELA!!! I WILL 4EVER LOVE U GREAT MAN & GREAT MIND."
Larry King: "Sad to hear about the passing of Nelson Mandela . . . he was the greatest figure of the 20th century . . . a fascinating man."
LL Cool J: "Nelson Mandela. What a difference one person can make. #RestEternally."
And of course, Bono wrote an entire essay.
Paris Hilton: "Just landed and heard the sad new about Nelson Mandela. He was a true hero and the world is a better place because of him. May he rest in peace . . .
"[And] whoever made that stupid fake tweet lacks respect to the loss the world is mourning right now. Same goes for all the blogs who ran with it."
She's talking about a FAKE Tweet that was photoshopped to make it LOOK LIKE she confused Nelson with MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., but it didn't actually come from her account.
It said, quote, "RIP Nelson Mandela. Your 'I Have a Dream' speech was so inspiring. An amazing man."
("The Onion" also came out with an amusing story titled: Quote, "Nelson Mandela Becomes First Politician To Be Missed." Here's the link
Nelson Mandela, one of the Twentieth Century’s most beloved and respected men, died Thursday at his home. He was 95. South African president Jacob Zuma broke the news of Mandela’s death to his countrymen (many of whom knew Mandela simply as Madiba), saying, “Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father.”
In a statement, President Barack Obama highlighted Mandela’s influence on the entire world, saying, “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.
He no longer belongs to us. He belongs with the ages.” Born Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in the village of Mvezo, Mandela would go on to help form the youth league of the African National Congress and began his lifelong commitment to end racial oppression and apartheid. Imprisoned for 27 years, he was set free in 1990 and four years later became the nation’s first black president.
One of Mandela’s many memorable quotes was one of his last: “I would like to be remembered not as anyone unique or special, but as part of a great team in this country that has struggled for many years, for decades and even centuries. The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”
Every single sitcom in history that's featured someone hanging Christmas lights has had a HI-LARIOUS twist where the person falls off the roof and winds up in the hospital. So be careful this year . . . don't end up a cliché.
According to a new report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year, more than 15,000 people went to the emergency room due to Christmas decorating injuries.
One out of three were from FALLS . . . 11% were from cuts . . . and 10% were from people throwing out their backs.
Christmas injury totals have been going up every year since 2009, when about 12,000 people were hospitalized.
The CPSC also says there are an average of 200 Christmas tree fires a year. Over the past three years, those fires have resulted in TEN DEATHS. (LiveScience)
In the first case of its kind in the state of New York, a pair of divorcing women are taking their bitter canine custody battle to court. Both Shannon Louise Travis and her soon-to-be-ex, Trisha Bridget Murray, want full custody of Joey, a 2-year-old miniature dachshund. Murray calls the pup “her soul mate” and says she couldn’t live without him.
On the other hand, Travis says Joey should belong to her because she cares for and financially supports him. While there’s no legal precedent for such lawsuits in New York, courts in other states have treated animals like human children in similar pet custody cases.
In this instance, Manhattan Justice Matthew Cooper will allow both Travis and Murray to present oral arguments for why they should get to keep Joey. That’s certainly throwing them a bone.
Since we're all swimming in extra cash over the holidays, here's a quick guide on holiday tipping . . . WHO you're supposed to tip, and how MUCH.
1. Mailmen. They can accept gifts worth up to $20, but not cash or gift cards. UPS and FedEx workers CAN accept cash. And paperboys should get 10 to 20 dollars, or a small gift. Paperboys are people who deliver something called a "newspaper."
2. Doormen. At least $20, and up to $100. A handyman should get between $20 and $50 if they helped you out a lot, and a super should get cash or a gift card worth $50.
3. Day care workers. Cash is best. Think about pitching in with other parents and giving each worker between $100 and $300.
4. Teachers. A small gift, or something for the classroom.
5. Babysitters. Between one day and one week's worth of pay. The same goes for people like hairstylists, housekeepers, gardeners, and personal trainers.
6. Garage Attendants. Cash, or a gift worth between $10 and $50.
7. Garbage Men. Around $20, or a $20 gift. If you give cash, make sure they're allowed to accept it. You don't NEED to tip anyone who works on salary, or anyone who OWNS a business. (U.S. News & World Report / WSJ / Huffington Post)
Your Kids Won't Appreciate You Until They Turn 27
If you've got teenagers and you're just counting down the days until they finally grow the eff up and start appreciating how you've devoted your entire life to them . . . bad news. Maybe you should count the YEARS instead.
According to a new survey, your kids won't appreciate you until they turn 27.
THAT'S when people finally realize just how much their parents sacrificed for them, how much they STILL rely on their parents, and just how ungrateful and horrible they were to their parents as kids.
The survey also found kids start to see their parents as vulnerable at 14, and finally start getting to know their parents on their own terms at 28. (Daily Mail)
Lottery Officials Track Down the Winner of an Unclaimed Jackpot . . . To Tell Her She Won $47 Million
What if you hit the jackpot, but lost the lottery ticket? Tough luck, right? And for the rest of your life, you'd feel like an idiot who COULD have been a millionaire. Well, not necessarily.
About a year ago, someone in Ontario, Canada bought a winning ticket for a jackpot worth $47 MILLION. But they never came forward to collect it. Several months later, someone called in and CLAIMED to be the winner, but they didn't have the ticket.
So officials went to the store where the ticket was sold, checked the credit card records and surveillance video, and determined the person WASN'T the real winner. But it turned out the ticket WAS bought with a credit card.
So last week, 55-year-old Kathryn Jones heard a knock on the door, and opened it to see several lottery officials . . . who informed her that SHE was the real winner.
It turns out Kathryn LOST the ticket before she was able to check the numbers. But they were able to prove she'd won by checking the credit records and watching video from the store.
Kathryn still has to go through some red tape, but she'll be able to collect the money in about 30 days. (Gawker / CTV News)
Dating during the holidays is always tricky. So if you want to steer clear of any awkwardness, here are six things you should avoid doing at all cost . . .
1. Moving too fast in a new relationship, just because you're scared of being alone.
2. Inviting someone you recently started dating home for the holidays, just so you won't be the only single family member.
3. Spending WAY too much on a gift and making the other person feel uncomfortable.
4. Hooking up with an ex because you're feeling lonely.
5. Expecting a proposal.
6. Prolonging a dying or dead relationship just so you can be together for Christmas.
The Best TV Moments of the Year . . . According to "Rolling Stone"
"Rolling Stone" has put out a list of The 20 Best TV Moments of the Year . . . and perhaps not surprisingly, the infamous "Red Wedding" episode of "Game of Thrones" is #1.
The series finale of "Breaking Bad" followed at #2.
Some other notable entries on the list include: MILEY CYRUS' train-wreck performance at this year's "VMAs". It's #8.
Elsewhere, TINA FEY and AMY POEHLER'S hosting of this year's "Golden Globes" is #10 . . . STEPHEN COLBERT performing DAFT PUNK'S "Get Lucky" is #12 . . . the Travel Channel's "Rock My RV with Bret Michaels" is #14 . . .
STEVIE NICKS' guest appearance on "American Horror Story: Coven" is #15, even though it won't air until NEXT year (???) . . . and the weird JIMMY KIMMEL / KANYE WEST showdown closes out the list at #20.
Think you're a linguist with a tongue made of pure gold? Try THIS out, big guy.
Scientists at MIT believe they've created the world's HARDEST TONGUE TWISTER. They engineered it based on their research into which phonic combinations cause people the most difficulty.
And the result is: Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.
(There was some confusion online about whether the last word was "cold" or "cod." A lot of reporting said "cold." But the actual press release says "cod," and we talked to the head researcher, who confirmed that.)
One of the researchers says, quote, "If anyone can say this phrase 10 times quickly, they [deserve] a prize."
It's true . . . it's REALLY hard. You'll be begging for the sweet, simple relief of "she sells seashells by the seashore."
Anything is better than being alone. At least, that’s the attitude among men and women who are willing to settle for less in relationships in order to avoid loneliness. A study found fear of being single drives many people to seek out mates who aren’t good fits for them and to stay in relationships even if they’re unhappy.
Look on the bright side, singles- no one to steal the covers or leave the toilet seat up! That’s got to count for something…right?
You probably have something like 100 apps on your phone . . . but only use a few of them regularly. But sure, ONE DAY you'll get around to all of them.
A new study figured out the top 10 apps people actually USE the most. Facebook was the most used app by FAR . . . people use it four times more than the next closest app, which is Twitter. Here's the full list . . .
3. Candy Crush Saga.
8. Angry Birds.
9. Chrome web browser.
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 VetStreet.com 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. (VetStreet)
(You can see the top 50 names for both female and male puppies here
I know shopping during the holidays is a pain, and it would be easier if you didn't have to actually MOVE while you do it. But isn't that what the INTERNET is for?
A 35-year-old woman named Zemenay Auditore wanted to go to the Apple Store at a mall in Peabody, Massachusetts on Monday night. (About 20 miles north of Boston.)
And she claimed to have some sort of leg injury, so she asked mall security for a wheelchair. Then, a security guard was nice enough to push her over to the Apple Store, and back to her car when she was done.
But once she got to the car, Zemenay decided she needed to KEEP shopping, at which point the security guard said he had to get back to work, and couldn't keep pushing her around. And Zemenay decided that was OUTRAGEOUS. So she called 911.
When police showed up, they told her it was NOT an emergency, and warned her not to do it again. But she DID call back after that, and requested an AMBULANCE this time.
But apparently she didn't actually need one, because the cops came back, radioed in that they were dealing with a, quote, "out-of-control" woman, and arrested her for disorderly conduct. (The Salem News)
A lot of celebrities have admitted to being bullied when they were kids. The "National Enquirer" collected some of their stories . . .
SANDRA BULLOCK spent part of her childhood in Europe. When she returned to the U.S. in junior high, she was in the middle of puberty and had a lisp. She says, quote, "I was not well-liked. I called it ass-kicking . . . they now call it bullying."
She adds, quote, "I've made peace with the fact that the things I thought were weaknesses or flaws were just me. I like them."
TIGER WOODS was attacked by sixth-graders on his first day of kindergarten . . . quote, "They tied me to a tree, spray-painted the N-word on me and threw rocks at me . . . I had to outrun all these kids while going home."
You just know LADY GAGA was always different. She says, quote, "I was called really horrible, profane names very loudly in front of huge crowds of people, and my schoolwork suffered at one point. I was so ashamed of who I was."
TOM CRUISE learned how to fight back against bullies. He says, quote, "Your heart's pounding, you sweat, and you feel like you're going to vomit . . . but I know if I don't hit that guy hard, he's going to pick on me all year."
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE got picked on because he didn't play sports . . . quote, "I got slurs all the time because I was into music and art. I was an outcast in a lot of ways. “But everything that you get picked on for, or you feel makes you weird, is essentially what's going to make you sexy as an adult."
ROBERT PATTINSON also took crap for being into the arts. Quote, "I got beaten up by a lot of people when I was younger . . . [behaving like an actor] apparently provoked a lot of people into hitting me."
MILEY CYRUS got pushed around by the bigger girls growing up in Tennessee. She says, quote, "They took it beyond bullying. I was scrawny and short. They were fully capable of doing me bodily harm."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year Is . . . Science?
Well this certainly isn't a SEXY choice for the WORD OF THE YEAR.
Yesterday, the editors at Merriam-Webster announced that their Word of the Year for 2013 is . . . SCIENCE.
Their main definition of science is, quote, "knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation."
They say searches for the definition of "science" are up 176% from 2012 . . . most likely because science has been, quote, "lurking behind the headlines" this year during political debates on subjects like climate change and education.
It's also possible that in the 24-hour cable news era, where the goal is to scream the loudest and not necessarily deliver any actual news, people are hoping to cut through the noise to get to the root of what's being discussed.
Last year's Merriam-Webster Word of the Year was a tie between socialism and capitalism . . . which are also words whose definitions have been obscured by today's rhetoric. (Time / Merriam-Webster)
BabyCenter.com 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." BabyCenter.com 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%. (Multivu.com / BabyCenter.com) (Check out the top 100 lists here
I'm sure you're Facebook friends with a few people you don't really LIKE. You stay friends to keep tabs on them. But are you friends with people you actually HATE? And do they hate you BACK? Now there's a way to find out.
There's a new web app called Hate With Friends. When you use it, you look through your Facebook friends and click on the people you secretly HATE.
Then, if any of those people use Hate With Friends and pick YOU, you both get an alert that your hatred is mutual.
If only one of you hates the other, there won't be an alert, so it will stay one person's secret. Check it out at HateWithFriends.com.
Last week, 24-year-old Jared McCowen of DeFuniak Springs, Florida was caught shoplifting at a Walmart. And his haul was definitely attention grabbing.
Jared stole five Xbox games . . . and one single Band-Aid.
According to the police report, Walmart security spotted him stealing the Xbox games in the electronics department. But as he removed the games from their packaging, he must've cut himself.
Because security followed him to the pharmacy section, where he grabbed a box of Band-Aids, took ONE out, and put it on his finger. Then he left the store without paying for the games OR the Band-Aid.
He was arrested for felony grand theft. (Northwest Florida Daily News)
A Kid Lost His Wallet . . . and "Santa" Mailed It Back to Him
It's not clear exactly where this happened, but it's blowing up online.
A little kid in the first grade lost his wallet at a Walmart recently. But he got it back in the mail, along with a letter . . . from SANTA. The package even had a return address for the NORTH POLE.
In the letter, "Santa" talked about how his elves have been working extra hard on the kid's gift this year.
Then at the bottom, it said, quote, "While I was making sure you and other girls and boys were being good at Walmart, I found your wallet and thought you would like it back. Love, Santa."
And the person who posted the letter also wanted people to know that, quote, "Santa is real and all around us." And they challenged OTHER people to carry out a random act of kindness this year. (Huffington Post / Reddit)
It sucks when you have to buy a Christmas present for someone you don't even like. So here's a stupid list of five ideas that will make THEM suffer too.
1. A frustrating game. Something with confusing instructions, or some logic puzzle that's impossible to figure out.
2. A jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece. It involves a deliberate act of sabotage, but they can't prove anything . . . which is even more infuriating. And they don't find out until they get to the END of the puzzle and can't finish it.
3. A bug lollipop. You've seen these before . . . clear lollipops with grasshoppers or scorpions inside. They can throw it away, or take the challenge. You win either way.
4. Wilted flowers. There are actually websites that will deliver them already wilted, for the biggest possible insult. Check out thepayback.com.
5. A magic trick that doesn't work. They sell these at novelty shops. Everything will look like they're doing it right, but the coin never disappears.
Looks like a lot of us worked off our Thanksgiving dinners by doing laps around the mall. Forty-five million people went shopping last Thursday, an increase of nearly 30% over last year. But even the best Thanksgiving Day deals couldn’t beat Black Friday, which saw 92 million Americans hitting the stores.
Overall, more than 140 million people were expected to seek out deals during the holiday weekend, up from 139 million in 2012. Many waited until yesterday to start crossing off their holiday lists. A projected 131 million took advantage of Cyber Monday deals from various online retailers.
But despite the countless sales and promotions, experts say spending during the holiday weekend actually declined around 3% this year, possibly because many sales started as early as last Monday.
It Would Cost You $27,393 to Buy Everything From the "12 Days of Christmas"
I'm sure there's SOMEONE out there who's thinking, "It might be really cool if I bought all the stuff from 'The 12 Days of Christmas' this year. I guess I'm off to the strip club to find nine ladies dancing."
PNC Financial just released their annual study on what it would cost to buy everything from the song. And this year, you'd have to spend . . . $27,393.17. That's up 7.7% from last year, when it cost $25,431.18.
But that's only the price if you buy everything ONCE. Technically, if you want to go by the song, every day you have to RE-BUY everything from previous days.
Like, on day three, you'd give three French hens . . . but also two more turtle doves and another partridge in a pear tree.
So if you follow it that way, you'd spend $114,651.18.
The cost increase this year comes from a 10% rise in the price of hiring 10 lords-a-leaping . . . apparently men who can jump are at a premium in late 2013? Also, the price of four calling birds is up 15.4% and nine ladies dancing is up 20%.
(You can see the individual cost of all 12 items here
Yes, Your Significant Other Does Have Selective Hearing
If you feel like your significant other sometimes tunes you out . . . well, congratulations on being like EVERYONE else. And . . . it's TRUE.
According to a new study out of England, both men and women really DO tune out words they subconsciously don't find relevant.
For the study, the researchers picked stereotypically "male" words like "beer" and "football" . . . and stereotypically "female" words like "chocolate" and "shopping."
Then they had men and women listen to a conversation, and report on what they heard.
Men were more likely to remember the parts that featured the male words and forget the other parts . . . women were more likely to remember the parts with female words and forget the rest. (Daily Mail)
A 98-Year-Old Man Died, and Everyone Thought He Was Poor . . . But It Turns Out He Had $188 Million and Left It All to Charity
98-year-old Jack MacDonald of Seattle was known for being frugal. He lived at a modest retirement community, clipped coupons, hated paying for coffee, and wore sweaters with holes in them, according to friends.
But almost none of them knew the truth until he passed away this past September. It turns out Jack was a secret MILLIONAIRE who'd worked as a lawyer and made a bunch of money in the stock market.
But last week, his estate revealed that Jack left the majority of his money to three charities: The Seattle Children's Hospital, the University of Washington School of Law, and The Salvation Army.
And the grand total was just under $188 MILLION . . . which makes it one of the largest charitable donations in the United States this year.
According to his stepdaughter, Jack preferred letting people think he was broke . . . partly so they wouldn't try hitting him up for money all the time. He was buried in his family plot in Ontario, Canada, and requested there NOT be a memorial service.
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. (Kiplinger.com)
Paul Walker Was Killed in a Car Crash on Saturday
Actor PAUL WALKER was killed in a HORRIFIC car crash on Saturday afternoon. He was just 40 years old.
Paul was most famous for starring in the "Fast and the Furious" movies. He played Brian O'Conner in all the movies except the THIRD one, "Tokyo Drift". Here's what you need to know:
Paul was in Valencia, California . . . just north of Los Angeles . . . to attend an event his charity organization was putting on for typhoon victims in the Philippines.
The event was co-sponsored by a high-performance car shop called Always Evolving, which is owned by a former race car driver named Roger Rodas. Roger was a close friend of Paul's, and Paul was an investor in his shop.
At around 3:00 P.M., Paul and Roger decided to go for a joy ride in Roger's 2005 Porsche Carrera GT . . . in an industrial park near the shop.
But Roger lost control, they crashed into a light pole, and the car immediately EXPLODED. Roger and Paul were both killed instantly.
Employees from the shop heard the crash and rushed over . . . but they couldn't put out the fire. The fire department eventually got there and put it out, but by that point the car was burnt to the point of being unrecognizable.
The Los Angeles County sheriff's department says speed was a factor. A 45 mile per hour speed limit sign was attached to the light post they hit.
A witness to the wreckage said, quote, "It was clear the car had hit two trees then finally hit a street lamppost. Parts of the car were strewn everywhere on the street, as far as 150 feet."
"I didn't see any skid marks. Where the car had crashed was on a long straightaway. How fast they were going, I don't know."
The road near the crash site showed burned rubber and doughnut marks. But officials don't know if the marks in the road are related to the crash. Since this was just outside the car shop, there may have been other "joy rides" in the area.
Paul's 15-year-old daughter Meadow was at the charity event . . . along with Roger's eight-year-old son . . . and both may have witnessed the crash.
Paul's other movies include "Eight Below", "Into the Blue", "She's All That", "Running Scared", "Flags of Our Fathers", "Varsity Blues" and "Joy Ride".
Here's the statement Paul's people made on his Facebook page, confirming his death:
"It is with a truly heavy heart that we must confirm that Paul Walker passed away today in a tragic car accident while attending a charity event for his organization Reach Out Worldwide."
"He was a passenger in a friend's car, in which both lost their lives. We appreciate your patience as we too are stunned and saddened beyond belief by this news."
"Thank you for keeping his family and friends in your prayers during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you apprised on where to send
Paul Walker's Death: The Celebrity Tributes
As you'd expect, many of PAUL WALKER'S former co-stars have commented on his tragic death this weekend. Here are some highlights:
Paul's co-stars from the "Fast and the Furious" franchise:
Vin Diesel: "Paul was a good man. RIP my friend . . . sorry to the Walker family. Brother, I will miss you very much. I'm absolutely speechless. Heaven has gained a new Angel. RIP."
Jordana Brewster: "Paul was pure light. I cannot believe he is gone."
Ludacris, who RHYMED his tribute: "Your humble spirit was felt from the start, wherever you blessed your presence you always left a mark, we were like brothers and our birthdays are only one day apart, now you will forever hold a place in all of our hearts."
Dwayne Johnson: "All my strength, love and faith to the Walker family during this heartbreaking time. We find our strength in his light. Love you brother."
Tyrese Gibson: "My heart is hurting so bad no one can make me believe this is real. God, I pray that you send clarity over this, 'cause I just don't understand. My heart hurts, it's broken. No one can convince me that this is real.
"Prayer warriors, please pray real hard for his only child, his daughter and family . . . My God . . . My God . . . I can't believe I'm writing this."
His co-stars from "She's All That":
Rachael Leigh Cook: "Paul was a truly good person in a town of questionable characters . . . a real life tragedy if there ever was one."
Sarah Michelle Gellar: "May Paul be in peace. To his family, you are in our thoughts and prayers."
Gabrielle Union: "There are no words. Someone please say this is just another absurd Internet hoax." (Initially a website claimed this was a hoax. But sadly, THAT was the hoax.)
His co-star from "Varsity Blues":
James Van Der Beek: "Thoughts and prayers tonight are with Paul Walker's friends and family, especially his little girl. So sad. Very heavy heart tonight. I just remember him as being so effortlessly golden. He had that way about him, that 'thing.'"
His co-star from "The Skulls":
Joshua Jackson: "Damn. Hard to imagine someone so full of life taken so soon. My thoughts go out to your family. RIP Pauly Walker."
His co-star from "Into the Blue":
Jessica Alba: "RIP Paul Walker. He was a lovely person . . . so sweet and grounded. My heart goes out to his family."
His co-stars from "Flags of Our Fathers":
Ryan Phillippe: "Paul was a good dude. Conscientious and not caught up in Hollywood. He knew there was more to life, and lived like it. Nice to know you brotha."
Jamie Bell: "Had the pleasure of meeting Paul when we worked together. My thoughts are with his family and friends."
Production on "Fast and Furious 7" Is Being Delayed . . . But the Movie Reportedly Won't Be Scrapped
PAUL WALKER was in the middle of shooting the seventh installment in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise at the time of his death.
The "Hollywood Reporter" says there has already been a meeting to try to determine the movie's fate . . . and supposedly, the plan is to delay production, but NOT to scrap the movie. There's no official word on any of this yet.
The movie was supposed to come out on July 11th . . . but that probably won't happen.
Two other movies starring Paul are about to be released: There's the Hurricane Katrina drama "Hours", which is supposed to come out on December 13th . . . and "Brick Mansions", which is in postproduction.
"Brick Mansions" is an American remake of a 2004 French action movie called "District B13", about an undercover cop trying to stop a bombing.
The Monday after a holiday weekend is always a struggle, but here’s some good news: we’re at our most productive at 10:00 Monday morning! We also feel as alert as we will all week.
This means Monday mornings are the best time to tackle your to-do list, since anything on it that doesn’t get done by the end of the day is unlikely to get accomplished, according to a poll. But be warned- one thing that shouldn’t be on that Monday to-do list is going out on a date.
Another survey revealed dates scheduled on Mondays are the most likely to be cancelled. The top date cancellation excuses include illness, needing to work out and being too tired. If you’re looking for love, shoot for Saturday instead- it’s the most popular date night.
Everything about this SCREAMS "April Fool's Day prank" . . . but it's real.
Last night, JEFF BEZOS . . . the founder and CEO of Amazon . . . was on "60 Minutes" to announce the newest Amazon venture: Delivery by FLYING ROBOT DRONES.
It was such a big announcement that Bezos had kept it completely secret until the show aired.
He says if Amazon can get FAA approval, they'll be able to deliver your packages by flying robot drone within the next four or five years.
The service will be called Amazon Prime Air. And the drones are so fast that you'll have the product delivered to your home approximately HALF AN HOUR after you order it. Welcome to the amazing, slightly frightening future.
(Mashable / "60 Minutes")
A Mugger Randomly Sees His Victim on Facebook . . . And Apologizes 35 Years Later
For 35 years, a 53-year-old guy named Michael Goodman has been telling a story about how he tried to MUG a guy in New York in the late '70s. But he was arrested by plain-clothes cops, who happened to see it.
According to Michael, he was trying to impress a friend by walking up to a stranger and stealing his bus pass, and he's always felt terrible about it. He ended up getting three weeks of community service.
Well, his victim was a guy named Claude Soffel, and Michael never forgot his name. Then last month, Michael was reading a random post on Facebook . . . and saw a "Claude Soffel" in the comments section.
So he assumed it was the same guy, and posted a lengthy apology, explaining that he's always felt guilty about it and hoped Claude would forgive him. And it turned out it WAS the same guy.
A few hours later, Claude responded to Michael's message and ACCEPTED his apology, saying quote, "Clearly [you're] a bigger man today." (NY Post)
Real Simple put together a list of five easy tips to make your day awesome. And some of them might surprise you . . .
1. Eat the same breakfast every morning. The idea is that your morning is less stressful if your first meal is already decided. And you're supposed to make it healthy, like oatmeal or an omelet. Last minute choices tend to be stuff like donuts.
2. Savor your morning coffee. It may sound crazy to slow down when you've got things to do, but experts claim that you should try to ENJOY what you're drinking, instead of mindlessly gulping it down.
3. Write out an "ignore" list. This is pretty much the opposite of a "To Do" list. Make a list of all the non-essential stuff that you can ignore . . . like emails that you don't need to answer, vacuuming, and anything else that you can postpone.
4. Take some time to zone out. You're supposed to get to a place where you're not thinking about anything. But don't make it that complicated. Just let yourself listen to music, play a game, or watch TV, guilt-free.
5. When you ask "how are you?", actually listen to the answer. It's a throw-away question, and we don't really pay attention to what people say in response. But try to. It's supposed to lift your spirits, and help you connect. (Real Simple)
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