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by Jenna posted Nov 26 2014 10:51AM
I found this AWESOME article regarding Cyber Monday shopping by Andrea Woroch, a nationally-recognized shopping expert for Kinoli Inc. ... hope you find it as useful as I do!! - Jenna

Cyber Monday has taken the crown for the heaviest online shopping holiday for the past few years, with total sales more than doubling between 2006 and 2013. Last year, Cyber Monday generated over $1.7 billion in Internet sales and is poised to make history again this year as retail experts predict an increase in overall e-purchases.

To capitalize on the growing popularity of this online shopping event, e-retailers are promoting Cyber Monday sales like crazy and the overwhelming number of offers can make the buying process confusing if you don't have a plan. Browse with less stress and know when and where to snag the best bargains with these nine savvy shopping tips.

1. Protect your payment. Whenever shopping online, always use a secure network (no Cyber Monday purchases during your Starbucks coffee break!) and look for the "https" when checking out. If you're ordering from a laptop or desktop, double check that your anti-virus and spyware software is up to date. For a list of the most popular cyber scams and what to look for, check out this advice from tech guru Shelly Palmer.

2. Price plot and bookmark. Research prices on the products you plan to shop for now so you can identify the real deals from the duds. Come sale time, retailers may inflate the original price to make a deal or sitewide sale look like a better value. After all, 40-percent off sounds more appealing than 15-percent off! Once you've found the products you want to purchase at the best prices, bookmark pages for price checks and speedier checkout.

3. Set sale alerts. Retailers fluctuate prices throughout the day based on what the competition is offering, so comparing prices and tracking sales is essential to knowing the best time to buy. To find the best price, install the InvisibleHand browser add-on which alerts you when an item you're looking at is less expensive at another site. Avoid overpaying by using the free PoachIt Web tool which alerts you if something you bought goes on sale later in the day. You can then ask customer service to match the lesser price by opening live chat or calling customer service.

4. Sign up and follow to save. Stay on top of Cyber Monday sales by subscribing to your favorite brands' and stores' e-newsletters. You may even get a new subscriber coupon code which you can often use on top of the sales. You should also consider following those brands and e-retailers on Facebook and Twitter for instant updates on Cyber Monday promotions throughout the day. Stores will be posting and tweeting new product deals and may even offer exclusive coupons to social media fans via their social networks. You can even create separate lists on Twitter to aggregate all the retailers in one place for faster browsing.

5. Stock up on codes. Keeping track of all the deals on Cyber Monday is overwhelming, especially if you're working and don't have much time during break. Use the Cyber Monday category on to find all the best deals and coupon codes in one place.

6. Read Return Policies. Shopping online is incredibly easy. The return process isn't as straight forward, however, so read up on the return policies of the e-retailers you plan to shop with. Look for free return shipping, or return-to-store options, to avoid a return shipping fee. If you're buying electronics, beware of any restocking fees and know if you can expect a refund or a merchandise credit.

7. Check for a discount e-gift cards. Shop sites like Gift Card Granny for any available online gift cards that you can apply to your order on Cyber Monday for extra savings. Since these act like cash, they are infinitely stackable too, and arrive in your inbox within minutes so you can apply it to your order almost instantly for deeper discounts. For example, you can save up to 5-percent off Overstock gift cards and 13-percent off Macy's and JCPenney gift cards.

8. Beware of Shipping Costs. Many retailers offer free shipping on Cyber Monday, but some simply reduce their minimum order requirements. Factor in the cost of shipping while comparing deals so you don't end up paying more at one store to cover delivery. Another way around shipping fees is to purchase from an online store who has a brick-and-mortar location in your area and select free site-to-store delivery. As retailers increasingly rely on their physical stores to fulfill online orders and delivery items faster, this is a great way to get e-purchases quickly while avoiding shipping costs. Plus, orders are often ready the same day so you also get the instant gratification of picking up your Cyber Moday deals quickly!

9. Wait it out. If you aren't wooed by the deals or simply don't have time to shop because you're stuck in meetings, don't worry; there's still plenty of time to get huge savings! In fact, some goods like jewelry and winter apparel are better deals the week before Christmas. You can also take advantage of Free Shipping Day sales on Dec. 18: not only do retailers offer free shipping with delivery by Dec. 24, but many offer extra discounts for more value.

by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
We knew it was coming.

When Robin Williams passed away earlier this year, he left behind a handful of completed film projects.

One of them was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

It's due out on Christmas Day, and features Robin reprising his role as Teddy Roosevelt.

Check out the trailer for a little glimpse of Robin.

One of this lines is oddly prophetic. "I think it's safe to say that we're in a bit of trouble."

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by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
Maybe it's time for the signmakers in Los Angeles to invest in SpellCheck - or maybe just a proofreader.

Earlier this month, a sign sub-contractor installed a new highway marker on the northbound side of the 710 Freeway.

The sign marked the exit for Olympic Boulevard.

Except it said "Olimpic" Boulevard instead.

It took someone at CalTrans a full day to recognize the problem. A few days later, it was covered up with a black tarpaulin. And it will be replaced by the sub-contractor at no charge to the city.

Except for the cost of the embarrassment of having hung in there in the first place.
Filed Under :
Location : Los Angeles
by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
Stumbled on this one while doing a little surfing today.

What happens when you pit the Dark Knight against the Dark Sith Lord?

An epic battle, for sure.

Check out this very well-done bit of fantasy lore, pitting Robin's best bud, Batman, against Luke and Leia's papa, Dark Vader.

Filed Under :
People : Dark VaderLeiaLuke
by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
On Monday, the costume that Bert Lahr wore as the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz, went up for auction.

It was part of a group of memorabilia offered for sale at Bonhams auction house - "TCM Presents: There's No Place Like Hollywood."

Other items up for sale included Sam's piano from Casablanca, a gown worn by Marilyn Monroe, and Clark Gable's jacket from Gone With the Wind.

As you sit and maybe watch The Wizard of Oz over the holidays, think about this.

That outfit worn by the King of the Forest just sold for $3 million.
by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
On Monday afternoon, President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor to singer Stevie Wonder, TV journalist Tom Brokaw, and Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Oh, and he gave one to his girlfriend too.

That would be Meryl Streep, the actress.

“I love Meryl Streep,” the president said in front of all assembled "Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There's nothing either of them can do about it.”

No real scandal there. Just a nice bit of affection.

Oh, and he poked a little fun at his love too - pointing out that she sang Abba - "which, you know, that's something."

by Mike Stanz posted Nov 26 2014 3:00AM
It's the first "genetically-modified hybrid."

With those ominous words, we welcome you to Jurassic World.

It's 23 years later, and the interactive park envisioned by Richard Attenborough's character in the original Jurassic Park movies is up and running.

It's a hybrid between Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens, featuring real live dinosaurs - plus a new concoction, cooked up by the scientists.

That would be the "genetically-modified hybrid," and of course, it will run amok.

Check out the trailer for the film - the film will be released in June of 2015.

What do you think? Exciting and new - or just a rehash of the originals?

by Mike Stanz posted Nov 25 2014 3:00AM
At first glance, this story reads like something the folks at The Onion would make up.

But as you read on and look at the source, it looks like it's a legitimate story.

There's a town in Poland called Tuszyn that's looking for a mascot for its new playground.

But the town officials categorically rejected Winnie the Pooh.Why?

They say the cartoon bear is "inappropriately dressed" and his sexuality is "dubious."

You have to read the story.

It's laugh out loud funny - and sad, all at the same time.

(And if it turns out this ISN'T real - nicely played, whoever pulled this off!)
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Topics : Social Issues
by Mike Stanz posted Nov 25 2014 3:00AM
Critics are saying this skit from last weekend's Saturday Night Live marks a return of the show's political comedy chops.

They resurrected the old ABC show, Schoolhouse Rock, and tossed in President Obama's recent executive order concerning immigration, and presented a tutorial on how things work on Capitol Hill.

What do you think: does it Hit the Mark, or Miss By a Mile. (I fall in the latter category, but I'm interested to see what other people think.)


Oh, and by the way - if you want to read how the skit is entirely wrong on the fact side anyway, check out this article by ThinkProgress.
Filed Under :
People : Obama
by Mike Stanz posted Nov 25 2014 3:00AM
Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute announced a fascinating find over the weekend - a video of the rare deep-sea anglerfish, also known as the Black Sea Devil.

The film was shot off the coast of Monterey, California, about 1900 feet below the surface.

The scientists were very excited, as they believe it's the first video of this species, "alive and at depth."

The narration is a little dry, and the fish is not pretty. Still, it is fascinating...


Want some chuckles, though? Check out this little video, called "True Facts About the Angler Fish," produced by the same institute.

Filed Under :
Location : Black SeaCaliforniaMonterey
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