Charles Osgood introduced the stories for December 19, 2010: Six days to go until Christmas morning. Wrapping is to presents what a cover is to a book. Erin Moriarty does the cover story for December 19 on dust jackets of books. The art of the book cover. Second, "batter up," on cookies, presented by Martha Teichner. When is a cookie, a jewel? Third, Harry Smith on Matt Damon. Are you uncomfortable being a leading man? A walk in the park with Matt Damon. Fourth, Bill Geist on "tis the season" on family Christmas card photos. Awkwardfamilyphotos website. Santa Claus makeover, holiday travel.
Headlines: The Senate voted to repeal don't ask, don't tell. Senate Republicans blocked a bill on immigrants getting citizenship. Victory for Amanda Knox. Blizzards in parts of Europe. Winter storm system causes flooding in California. Forecast: rain in the west; 30s in the east.
The first part of the substantive show was about S.2965, on the passage of the repeal don't ask, don't tell. Zoe Dunning was interviewed. Mike Almy of the Air Force. The vote was 65-31, with 8 Republicans including Susan Collins of Maine. Joe Lieberman called it one of his best days in the Senate. John McCain opposed. In a poll, 2/3 of US troops had indicated repeal wouldn't matter. 1300 gays had been ousted from the military since the Clinton times. Lt. Colonel Victor Farenbach.
The cover of the book can be as memorable as the book itself. Jamie Rabb of Grand Central Publishing was interviewed. A good cover tells you what kind of book it is.
Jackets on crime novels of dark. Different covers for "Twilight" were used in different parts of the world. "We do judge a book by its cover." It's a billboard, they are like carnival barkers." Mendelson on "The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo." What does the future hold for the book cover in an internet world. With ebooks, gone? In last year, sales of ebooks up 193%. In the beginning, in the 15th century, book covers were to protect the book. "Leaves of Grass" book cover was designed by Walt Whitman. in 1880's dust jacket. Example of "The Great Gatsby," with cover worth 8 times more. Chip Kidd did Jurassic Park cover. Remember what happened with Jaws. Toni Boyette, a book buyer, was interviewed: 50% I'm drawn to a book cover. Buying a book isn't just about reading it; it's about owning it. It speaks about who we are.
The Sunday Morning Almanac for December 19, 2010: The New York "Champs and Chumps" was first published by Robert Ripley on December 19 
. Opened his museum at Chicago's Worlds Fair in 1933. Documented his travels on film. Died in 1949 at the age of 58. There is a Believe or Not Museum in New York City. World's largest collection of shrunken heads. Robert Ripley was born on Christmas Day in 1890. [Local Philly channel 3 overlayed a commercial on the presentation of the Almanac.]
"Tis the Season" with trips on travel. Music from Easy Rider. Robert Stack from Airplane. Every airplane is full and costs are up 59% from last year. Charging for checked luggage and fee for pillow. "Project Runway." 22 takeoffs per hour, but scheduled as many as 34 per hours. One airline wants to charge $34 for carryon. Tips: #1. Book on a Wednesday. #2. Get to airport early; place everything metal in your carryon (phones, etc.); dress after security. #3. Two types of bags: Carryon and lost. Thus, ship bags ahead before you yourself fly. Lots of travelers--43 million flying this holiday season.
Twas the night before Christmas, but Mo Rocca does a makeover for Santa. "in the nick of time." Santa as an account for FedEx. Paul Tronzer of FedEx. Move elv workshops near FedEx distribution centers. Gregory Moan of Popular Science writes about Santa. Dressed for success? Tim Gunn on outfits for Santa. A weighty issue. Dr. Travis Stork of The Drs. If you sit too long in one spot, risk of blood clots.
Martha Teichner on cookies followed immediately. Gourmet Magazine does a Christmas cookie each year, with the various cookies of Gourmet summarized in the Cookie Book. Cajun Macaroon in 1941. Honey cookie. Conde Nast closed Gourmet Magazine. In 1993, December was the cookie issue. Cookies glazed with Gran Marnier and dusted with edible gold. (Pande Peace). Candied orange peel. Ruth Reichel was editor in chief. Lavish,priceless jewelry. Cookies playing dressup. Delicious makebelieve. [It seemed like the special issue on cookies for December 1993 never published [?]]
Google offerred final word on words in the last week. Story by John Blackstone is a recycle of a story from CBS News. Copied 5.2 million books. Linguist Nundburg. Books Ngram viewer. The word teenager. Groovy. War, peace.
Train travel. North by Northwest. Then a picture of the Acela. 300 Amtrak trains crisscross America daily. Amtrak does not own much of the track; they have to pullover. The Amtrak's Acela can go 150 mph. but 86 mph between NYC and DC. Increase of 6% over 2009.
JibJab: Osgood dancing with Santa Claus. 2004: Bush v. Kerry race. Starring you videos. Year end review animation. World wide review previewed on Sunday Morning featuring Obama and Biden. In one scene, Obama and Biden exit a JetBlue plane on a chute.
Harry Smith does a Sunday profile on Matt Damon. The Bourne Ultimatum. Damon lives in New York. The Talented Mr. Ripley. Less self-interested than interesting. Character actor rather than leading man. If I have a good character to play that takes care of everything. The Departed. The best people who have directed movies in last 20 years have worked with Matt Damon. That's the horse you are betting on. Once you say "yes" everything you do in servie of the director. Damon didn't see True Grit. Adaptation of the book, not re-make the movie. 15,000 competed for Halley Steinfeld's part. 1988: Mystic Pizza. Now has done 50 films. All the Pretty Horses. Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting (1997). I'm a nobody with director approval. Dropped out of Harvard to pursue film career. Damon grew up in Cambridge.
Water.org. Likened Sarah Palin's VP run to a bad Disney movie. Living the life he dreamed of.
"Receiving the most Christmas cards." Faith Hoenstine. 26.10 on cards and postage. Mail volume is down.
Travel on buses. Dingy, noisy, crowded, uncomfortable. But times have changed. 750million trips per year. Megabus. Boltbus. LimoLiner. Switching to cruises. $299 for a seven night trip.
Bill Geist on Christmas pictures. Family Christmas card photo. Awkward family photos created by Mike Bender. Daughters matching outfits and father not wearing a shirt. Awkwardness generation gap. 80,000 submissions. Then, they did a book which became a best seller. A show at ABC that is being developed for next season. This is the true season of awkwardness: people forced to be together. My gosh he has hit upon something simple, but brilliant, like the pet rock.
[Next week on Sunday Morning: hail, and farewell.]
In 1944, Mel Torme did "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," rendered by Gharles Osgood on December 19, 2010.
Moment of nature: Partridges on the desert near Beatty, Nevada
, otherwise known for its turkey bingo. Some wild burros, too.