Monday (01-27): Holocaust Memorial Day. Chocolate Cake Day, Punch the Clock Day. Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. THOMAS CRAPPER Day (anniversary of his death in 1910). Crapper was a London plumber who heavily promoted the modern flush toilet but did not invent it. He held nine related patents, one for the floating ballcock, but none for the flush toilet itself.
More on Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day: (always the last Monday in January) In 1957, two New Jersey engineers --MARC CHAVANNES and AL FIELDING-- were trying to make a plastic wallpaper with a paper backing for "a trendy new textured wallpaper." It obviously never caught on. However, they realized their "invention" could be used to cushion things that were being packed, and thus, Bubble Wrap was born. Of course, it's great stress relief for some people, and if you don't have some handy, you can always use virtual Bubble Wrap.
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering begins in Elko, NV (Jan 27-Feb 1). The U.S. Nationals Snow Sculpting Championship Competition is taking place in Lake Geneva, WI. (Jan 27-28).
Birthdays include: MIMI RODGERS (Walden's mom on "Two & A Half Men" --58); BRIDGET FONDA (50); actors PATTON OSWALT (45) and ALAN CUMMING ("The Good Wife" --49). ESPN blowhard KEITH OLBERMANN (55), RUPERT BONEHAM ("Survivor" --50) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS (59), NFL player-turned-broadcaster CRIS COLLINGSWORTH (55).
Also, dancer MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV (66). JAMES CROMWELL ("Babe" and "The Artist" --74) NICK MASON of Pink Floyd (70), former "SNL" house band leader, guitarist G-E SMITH (62); SETH JUSTMAN from J Geils (63), GILLIAN GILBERT from New Order (53) rapper LIL JON (43) and MIKE PATTON from Faith No More (46). JAKE PAVELKA ("The Bachelor' --36)
Country singers: TRACY LAWRENCE ("Sticks and Stones") is 46 and Kentucky Headhunters' RICHARD YOUNG is 59. Dodi al Fayed's dad, MOHAMED AL-FAYED, is 84. The late blues legend BOBBY "Blue" BLAND woud have been 84 as well. The late TROY DONAHUE, DONNA REED, SKITCH HENDERSON and the immortal ROSS BAGDASARIAN (the guy who created Alvin and the Chipmunks) were also born on this date.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (Rock me, Amadeus!) was born on this date in 1756. By the age of 20, Wolfie had already composed at least 30 symphonies, 9 operas, 6 sonatas, 5 violin concertos, and a host of other pieces.
Anniversaries: HILLARY CLINTON went on the "Today" show to claim that the allegations of her husband's affair with MONICA LEWINSKY was "a vast, right-wing conspiracy" (1998).
--20 years ago today: Figure skater TONYA HARDING appeared before reporters in Portland, OR, to say that while she'd had no prior knowledge of the attack on her rival, NANCY KERRIGAN, she had failed to report "things I learned about the assault" afterward (1994).
--"LaVerne and Shirley" debuted, 1976.
--30 years ago, MICHAEL JACKSON's hair caught on fire while singing "Billie Jean" during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in front of three-thousand fans, 1984.
--The tragic Apollo I space craft fire took place at Cape Kennedy, 1967, killing GUS GRISSOM, ED WHITE and ROGER CHAFFEE.
--The electric incandescent light bulb was patented by THOMAS EDISON, 1880. This resulted in the tragic loss of millions of moths.
--First demonstration of television, 1925. They said it would never catch on.
--The NEW SEEKERS picked up a gold record for "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing," 1972. It was one of those rare cases in which the Coca Cola commercial jingle proved to be so popular that it was made into a full-blown song.
--Famous last words on this day in 1985 when DAVID LEE ROTH announced, "VAN HALEN is not breaking up and you can quote me on that." Pretty sure he says that every year.
--Science fiction author and Scientology founder L-RON HUBBARD died, 1986. He was 74. "How to rise from the dead. Page 360."
--21years ago, WWF wrestler ANDRE the Giant died of a heart attack at 46. 30 pallbearers.
--23 yrs ago, one of the best Super Bowls ever in 1991 when BILL PARCELLS and the NY Giants beat the Buffalo Bills, 20-19. With four seconds left, Bills' kicker SCOTT NORWOOD missed a 47-yard field goal attempt wide right. You know what they say: If the shoe fits, shank it.
Many people don't remember that the Bills were favored to win that game. There was also a war going on in the Persian Gulf and pre-game hype was about equally divided between football and precautions taken against possible terrorism. The game went off with incident and the late WHITNEY HOUSTON kicked things off at Super Bowl 26 with a killer rendition of the National Anthem (1991).
No winner in Saturday night's drawing for the Powerball Lottery. That means Wednesday night's drawing is valued at $171 million ($97.6 million cash value). Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, DC and the U-S Virgin Islands. Chances of winning the grand prize (all five numbers plus the powerball) are 1 in 175.2 million.
First there was Target, then Nieman Marcus. Now, another possible data breach may have happened at Michaels Stores.
The arts-and-crafts company announced on it's website that it may have been the victim of an attack involving theft of credit or debit cards that had been used at Michaels. It's working with federal law-enforcement authorities and computer-security experts to determine exactly what happened.
A warning to shoppers: The FBI warns that more cyber attacks like the massive breach at Target stores are coming.
According to a three-page confidential FBI report seen by Reuters, that's the Bureau's conclusion after finding some 20 hacking cases in the last year used the same type of malware as in the Target hacking. Specifically, it's "memory-parsing" software known as a "RAM scraper," and it steals the transaction data from a credit or debit card's magnetic strip during the brief moment of the transaction process where the info isn't encrypted.
It's not a new software, just a beefed-up one that avoids detection by anti-virus software, and it's being sold in underground forums for relatively cheap --about $6,000 in one case-- which makes the crime attractive to a wide range of crooks.
A cyber security expert tells NPR that magnetic strip cards are "totally unprotected" and "about the worst security that you can put into a payment system." While chip-enabled cards are far more secure --with data hidden behind encryption-- Visa says it had only issued about 3.5 million chip cards as of mid-last year; the majority of users probably won't have them in their hands until next year. Upgrading merchant terminals and ATMs will take even longer.
Meanwhile, Target last week announced plans to eliminate 475 jobs from its corporate office in Minneapolis.
Valentine's Day shopping:
In their study of how a thousand consumers plan to purchase Valentine's Day gifts this year, Adroit Digital finds online will shine: 59 percent said they would skip the stores and purchase a gift online which included using either a smartphone or tablet.
But shipping is a dealbreaker. Nearly two-thirds would shop elsewhere if shipping’s not free and almost half (48 percent) won’t hit “submit” unless they are getting a legit Valentine’s Day special.
Men are planning for the big day: almost half of men surveyed (47 percent) said they plan to purchase Valentine's Day gifts in the first week of February, while just 27 percent of women had the same idea. Instead, 48 percent of women will purchase gifts in the second week compared with just 25 percent of men.
Mailing a letter today?
Those of you who still use the US Mail will find that a first-class letter will cost you 49 cents to send today instead of 46. It's the largest rate increase in 11 years, but will only be in effect for about 24 months. That's because the Postal Service is using it to recoup the millions of dollars it lost during the recent economic downturn.
Also, the cost for mailing a postcard will go up to 34 cents; there are additional costs for other postage rates as well.
It looks like POPE FRANCIS is coming to the U-S next year.
The National Catholic Reporter quotes Vatican sources as saying Francis hopes to attend the 2015 World Meeting of Families, which runs from Sept. 22-27 in Philadelphia. But don't expect confirmation until the event draws near, part of Vatican security protocol ahead of any trip by the pontiff.
The U-N General Assembly meets in September, and the Reporter suggests that Francis would head to New York City as well to address the world body.
Mike Bradley: Has NSA confirmed this from their wire taps?
Procter & Gamble announced Friday that one of their biggest financial challenges in 2014 will be your disgusting, dirty face.
The consumer company in charge of Colgate, Johnson & Johnson, and Gillette (among others), reported stagnating sales in their typically thriving "grooming market." The rise of trendy facial hair is the apparent culprit of declining profits. P&G's earnings have dropped 15.5 percent since this time last year.
The COO of the P&G says he isn't worried: "While the incidence of facial shaving is somewhat down, the incidence of body shaving is up, and we can take advantage of that and plan to do that as well." Gentlemen, start your razors
A new study says that liberal arts majors earn the same amount as college grads with other majors. The study showed liberal arts majors started out near the bottom of all college graduates in terms of salary, but as they got older, they out-earned their peers who majored in science and mathematics or engineering and other professional and pre-professional fields by around $2-thousand dollars a year. Engineering majors made $97,751 at their peak earning ages; science and math majors also make $86,550 at their peak earning ages.
This weekend's hot movies (Box Office):
As expected, the ICE CUBE movie, "Ride Along," was number one again over the weekend. The only debuting movie, "I, Frankenstein," was a distant sixth. The rest of the top-10:
10. "Devil's Due," $2.8 million,
9. "The Wolf of Wall Street," $5 million,
8. "August: Osage County," $5.1 million,
7. "American Hustle," $7.1 million,
6. "I, Frankenstein," (debut), $8.3 million,
5. "Frozen," $8.8 million,
4. "Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit," $9 million,
3. "The Nut Job," $12.3 million,
2. "Lone Survivor," $12.6 million,
1. "Ride Along," $21.2 million.
A couple of French robots were the big winners at the Grammy Awards. DAFT PUNK won five awards, including the two top categories, Album of the Year for "Random Access Memories," and Record of the Year for "Get Lucky." The robots changed outfits a few times but never took off their helmets or said a word.
Best Song went to the hottest thing to come out of New Zealand since lamb, LORDE, and her massive hit, "Royals."
MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS scored four Grammys, including Best New Artist. PHARRELL WILLIAMS also got four, including Producer of the Year, but why was he wearing a Smokey The Bear hat all night?
In an real upset, TAYLOR SWIFT didn't win anything, but Sir PAUL McCARTNEY won three Grammys, including Best Rock Song for his NIRVANA collaboration, "Cut Me Some Slack."
The show was long and dragged a bit. There really was no need for LL COOL J to host. JAY-Z had the best line of the night. After he accepted his Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Holy Grail" with JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Jay-Z said he now had a new sippy cup for his baby daughter, BLUE IVY.
One major improvement this year was the sound. Everything sounded great and the Staples Center in Los Angeles continues to prove to be the best venue for the Grammy Awards.
Here's a brief list of the Grammy winners:
--Record Of The Year: "Get Lucky," Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
--Album Of The Year: "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk
--Song Of The Year: "Royals," Lorde
--Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
--Best Pop Solo Performance: "Royals," Lorde
--Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Get Lucky," Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
--Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Steppin' Out," Herb Alpert
--Best Pop Vocal Album: "Unorthodox Jukebox," Bruno Mars
--Best Dance Recording: "Clarity," Zedd Featuring Foxes
--Best Dance/Electronica Album: "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk
--Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "To Be Loved," Michael Bublé
--Best Rock Performance: "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
--Best Metal Performance: "God Is Dead?," Black Sabbath
--Best Rock Song: "Cut Me Some Slack," Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear
--Best Rock Album: "Celebration Day," Led Zeppelin
--Best Alternative Music Album: "Modern Vampires Of The City," Vampire Weekend
--Best R&B Performance: "Something," Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway
--Best Traditional R&B Performance: "Please Come Home," Gary Clark Jr.
--Best R&B Song: "Pusher Love Girl," Justin Timberlake
--Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Unapologetic," Rihanna
--Best R&B Album: "Girl On Fire," Alicia Keys
--Best Rap Performance: "Thrift Shop," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz
--Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Holy Grail," Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake
--Best Rap Song: "Thrift Shop," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz
--Best Rap Album: "The Heist," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
--Best Country Solo Performance: "Wagon Wheel," Darius Rucker
--Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "From This Valley," The Civil Wars
--Best Country Song: "Merry Go 'Round," Kacey Musgraves
--Best Country Album: "Same Trailer Different Park," Kacey Musgraves
--Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling): "America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't," Stephen Colbert
--Best Comedy Album: "Calm Down Gurrl," Kathy Griffin
--Best Musical Theater Album: "Kinky Boots,"
--Best Music Video: "Suit & Tie," Justin Timberlake Featuring Jay Z
--Best Music Film: "Live Kisses," Paul McCartney
Return to: Mike Bradley Blog