Pistons’ Casey: We all have to be and do better

Pistons coach Dwane Casey, 63, wonders if anything has changed from the time when he was an 8-year-old boy walking into a white school in Kentucky, feeling helpless and like he was unseen, not heard and not understood.
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The High Note: Why Tracee Ellis Ross ‘only got better with age’

Tracee Ellis Ross says it’s “absurd” that women over 50 have ever been “counted out”.
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The High Note: Why Tracee Ellis Ross ‘only got better with age’

Tracee Ellis Ross says it’s “absurd” that women over 50 have ever been “counted out”.
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PC Gaming Has Never Been Better With the Latest CPUs for Gaming

From entry-level to the ridiculously overpowered, these are the best CPUs for gaming.
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Poll: 73% of fans say Jordan better than LeBron

Michael Jordan or LeBron James? For NBA fans, the debate over the better NBA player will never end — but at the moment, MJ clearly has more fans in his corner.
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Charles Barkley said facing off against Michael Jordan in the 1993 NBA Finals was ‘the first time in my life that I felt like there was a better basketball player in the world than me’

"The best I've ever seen in my life is Michael Jordan," Charles Barkley said after the episode. "It was an honor and a privilege to play against him."

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A Parks and Recreation Special Could Not Have Been Better

Parks and Rec, Parks and RecreationNot since the death of Lil’ Sebastian have we cried so much about Parks and Recreation.
A Parks and Recreation Special was not sad by any means, and was in fact a very positive half…

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Sir Mick Jagger thinks the Rolling Stones are better than The Beatles

The 76-year-old rocker made the comment as he responded to Sir Paul McCartney’s notion that his band was better than the Stones.
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Sir Mick Jagger thinks the Rolling Stones are better than The Beatles

The 76-year-old rocker made the comment as he responded to Sir Paul McCartney’s notion that his band was better than the Stones.
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Better Call Saul: Season 5 Finale Review

Warning: This review contains full spoilers for Better Call Saul’s Season 5 finale, titled “Something Unforgivable.

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At the end of its penultimate season, Better Call Saul has elevated itself far beyond the meager status of “just” a Breaking Bad spinoff, to one of the best shows on television, period. Showrunner Peter Gould has successfully expanded the franchise with standout characters like Nacho Varga (Michael Mando), Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), and Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton), while not leaning too heavily on Breaking Bad callbacks (no Walter or Jesse cameos here) to make the series feel more substantial. In this week’s finale, titled “Something Unforgivable,” Gould also reminds us that he’s a helluva director, giving each of those aforementioned characters meaningful storylines that should carry over into the sixth, and final season.   

Lalo Salamanca vs. Nacho Varga

The build-up around Nacho’s eventual betrayal of the Salamanca clan has been really suspenseful stuff, and Dalton’s portrayal of Lalo has been one of the surprising highlights in Season 5. He’s a fantastic villain, like Gus, but with a bit more charm. As soon as Varga lets those heavily-armed assassins into Lalo’s compound, it’s clear Gould is setting us up for a “let’s see how he gets out of this one” moment, and it doesn’t disappoint.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2019/10/11/el-camino-a-breaking-bad-movie-review”]

Breaking Bad, as a franchise, has already established itself as a visually striking show. So whether it’s Jesse’s shovel-cam scene from Season 4 in the original series, or Lalo’s claustrophobia-inducing POV sequence as he crawls his way through a secret underground tunnel, we’re frequently treated to something unexpected and unique. The question now is (assuming Lalo doesn’t survive past the final season), who will take him down? While we don’t get an inner monologue from Lalo, he’s probably aware that Nacho betrayed him, and if that pissed off look is any indication, he’s gunning for Nacho first.

Although Nacho isn’t as verbose as Lalo due to the stoic nature of his character, his storyline has been gripping (if not also tragic) to watch this season. Gould and his team keep discovering ways for us to empathize with these “bad guys.” Nacho is a great example of this because even though he’s made his bed, so to speak, his desire to leave his life of crime behind in order to save his dad is an admirable trait that you can’t help but root for. As much as I love watching Lalo’s crazy antics week after week, I’m also rooting for Nacho to make it out of this alive.

Has Kim Gone to the Dark Side Because of Jimmy?

While Season 5 saw Jimmy McGill begin his transformation into sleazy attorney Saul Goodman, it’s Seehorn’s compelling portrayal of Kim who’s undergone the biggest metamorphosis. The last time we see Kim and Jimmy, the two are trying to figure out the best way to discredit Patrick Fabian’s Howard Hamlin. In a shocking twist, Kim actually tops Jimmy with a devious plan that even he thinks is taking it too far. It seems that just a short time ago, Kim was the moral foundation for Jimmy. But after last week’s toe-to-toe standoff with a psychopathic Lalo, Kim appears confident and poised to get her way at all costs.

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Kim might be the most fascinating character on the show, even surpassing Jimmy with her complexity. On one hand, Kim quit her prestigious law firm job to help people without the means to hire lawyers at her level, but on the other hand, she’s fine with Jimmy’s involvement with the cartels and is beginning to think of ways to defame someone who really doesn’t deserve it. Forget Jimmy going dark, will Kim break bad before this is all over?

And of course, we can’t forget about Jimmy, who still hasn’t quite gone full Saul Goodman yet. Watching him plead to Mike for Kim’s safety is a powerful indicator that he hasn’t quite turned into the crooked strip mall lawyer we know from Breaking Bad. This episode also effectively showcases Jimmy’s overall concern for Kim becoming like him, or even worse, a flat-out criminal. Since we already know the fates of Gus and Mike, some of the most significant questions surrounding Better Call Saul’s sixth and final season will be what happens to Kim, Nacho, and Lalo before this is all over? Thankfully, Gould ends Season 5 with some exciting possibilities instead of an infuriating cliffhanger.
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Avs players with coronavirus are feeling better

The three Avalanche players who tested positive for the coronavirus are feeling better, says Colorado coach Jared Bednar.
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Taylor Swift Performs a Moving Version of ‘Soon You’ll Get Better’ for ‘Together at Home’

The artists performing on Global Citizen’s “Together at Home” concert reached far and wide for thematically appropriate songs to sing, ranging from Stevie Wonder singing the late Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” as a medley with “Love’s in Need of Love Today” to Lizzo singing Sam Cooke’s classic “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Taylor Swift […]

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John Krasinski’s Virtual Prom With Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers Was Better Than the Real Thing

John Krasinski's virtual prom, Billie EilishWell that was delightful.
As part of his new YouTube show Some Good News, John Krasinski hosted a virtual prom for high schoolers whose own dances were cancelled because of the…

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Nordstrom’s Better Together Flash Sale: Save 40% for a Limited Time!

Ecomm: Nordstroms Better Together Flash SaleWe love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!.
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Rhule on Cam release: Teddy a better fit at QB

While expressing great appreciation for what Cam Newton did for the Panthers, coach Matt Rhule said it was best the team moved forward with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
www.espn.com – NFL

Nordstrom’s Better Together Flash Sale: Save 40% for a Limited Time!

Ecomm: Nordstroms Better Together Flash SaleWe love these products, and we hope you do too. E! has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not E!.
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Stockton vs. ‘The Glove’: Who was better?

One is the NBA's all-time leader in assists and steals. The other may be the greatest defensive guard in league history. Let's debate their merits.

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Before suing NSO Group, Facebook allegedly sought their software to better spy on users

Before suing NSO Group, Facebook allegedly sought their software to better spy on usersFacebook’s WhatsApp is in the midst of a lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance outfit NSO Group. Last year brought news of an exploit that could be used to install one of NSO’s spyware packages, Pegasus, on devices using WhatsApp. The latter sued the former over it, saying that over a hundred human rights activists, journalists and others were targeted using the method.



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‘The Match’ sequel should be much better

The first version of Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson was too serious and mistakenly held on PPV. The addition of two NFL stars should spice it up if the event happens at all.

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‘The Match’ sequel should be much better

The first version of Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson was too serious and mistakenly held on PPV. The addition of two NFL stars should spice it up if the event happens at all.

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‘The Match’ sequel should be much better

The first version of Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson was too serious and mistakenly held on PPV. The addition of two NFL stars should spice it up if the event happens at all.

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Roswell, New Mexico’s Amber Midthunder Says Rosa’s Problems Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

Roswell, New MexicoRosa came back from the dead, and so did all of her problems.
At the end of season one of Roswell, New Mexico, Rosa (Amber Midthunder) was brought back to life after she was discovered…

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From Better Things to RHONY, These Are 12 Shows Perfect to Catch Up On

Better ThingsWhile hanging out indoors and doing your part with social distancing, cleaning is bound to happen–including your DVR. Yes, we’re talking about the shows you started and had every intention to…

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Ed O’Brien is feeling ‘better’ after suspecting he had coronavirus

The Radiohead guitarist revealed last week he thought he had the virus after suffering flu-like symptoms, but he is now “really fine”
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Roswell, New Mexico’s Amber Midthunder Says Rosa’s Problems Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

Roswell, New MexicoRosa came back from the dead, and so did all of her problems.
At the end of season one of Roswell, New Mexico, Rosa (Amber Midthunder) was brought back to life after she was discovered…

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Payton ‘cleared,’ feeling better after positive test

Saints coach Sean Payton said he is “doing well” after he tested positive for the coronavirus last week and continued to preach the importance of social distancing.
www.espn.com – TOP
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Tom Hanks and wife ‘feeling better’ after COVID-19 diagnosis

Tom Hanks says he and his wife Rita Wilson are “feeling better” after being treated for coronavirus.
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Brunello Cucinelli Believes Better Times Will Return, Like the Swallows

CUCINELLI’S RAY OF HOPE: The times may be dark, but Brunello Cucinelli always sees some light. The Italian entrepreneur sent a letter on Thursday to those who attended the unveiling in September 2018 of the Hamlet of the Spirit, the village of Solomeo he restored. Thinking of happier moments, Cucinelli said the letter was “dictated” by his feelings at such a moment now — although he never mentioned the coronavirus by name.
“Who sends the swallows? Almost always, when I’m away on business during the first days of March, I call home and ask if the swallows have returned to Solomeo. I ask this question for two reasons: because I’ve loved them since I was a child, and because sometimes, I’ve heard, they stop coming back to some countries; maybe they don’t fit in there anymore, and I find this a little unsettling.” This is how Cucinelli begins his musings, adding that the swallows are so punctual that one could set one’s clock by them. And sure enough, on Wednesday, they appeared. Cucinelli views them as “one of the most beautiful gifts of Creation,” rejoicing at their arrival, “but in this slightly less easy year I sort of saw in them

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Ellie Goulding performs better when she’s nervous

The ‘Burn’ hitmaker may have a lot of experience performing but she admits she finds her shows go better when she’s got a bit of stage fright.
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Gaming at Full HD Just Got Better With These 144hz and HDR Panels

It’s time to upgrade your hertz! Here’s our top picks for the best 1080p 144Hz gaming monitors.
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YouTuber Kian Lawley ‘became a better human’ after 2018 race controversy

The 24-year-old was fired from a film inspired by Black Lives Matter in 2018 after a video resurfaced of him using racial language.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Met Office to get £1.2bn supercomputer to better predict severe weather

A supercomputer which can forecast weather and climate 18 times faster than current technology is set to be developed.
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Scott vs. Jay: Who's the Better Partner?

Where can we find one for ourselves? From giving advice to going the extra mile, here are our favorite S.O. moments of Scott & Jay. Watch on E!
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Kerr: Wiggins a better positional fit than Russell

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday that the team traded D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins because he views Wiggins as a better fit for Golden State’s style of play.
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Dynamo: How Crohn’s made me ‘150% better at magic’

The magician recalls how his poor health nearly robbed him of the use of his hands to perform.
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Stormi Webster’s 2nd Birthday Party Is Better Than Her First, Thanks to Mom Kylie Jenner

Stormi Webster, Kylie Jenner, InstagramStormi Webster’s celebrating another trip around the sun with the most lavish birthday celebration.
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott are celebrating their little one’s birthday with…

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Ranking Chiefs and 49ers players from 1-53: Which team has the better roster?

Here’s what insiders told us this past week.
www.espn.com – NFL

Make Your Wireless Network Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Now that gaming over a wireless network isn’t terrible anymore, here are the best gaming routers to get you online.
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Bills’ Allen takes loss hard: ‘I’ve got to be better’

Bills quarterback Josh Allen took Saturday’s wild-card loss to the Texans personally, saying, “Teams go how their quarterbacks usually go, and I’ve got to be better for this team.”
www.espn.com – TOP
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Barnwell’s NFL playoff primer: Which teams are better (and worse) than you think

Past Super Bowl comps. Quietly important players. And how all 12 teams are better (and worse) than you think.
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AI ‘better than expert radiologists’ at spotting breast cancer

An artificial intelligence programme has been developed that outperforms clinical experts in detecting breast cancer in mammograms, according to researchers.
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Jets’ Gase: Talked to RB Bell about better 2020

Jets coach Adam Gase said the team might break out some old Steelers tape in an attempt to create a comfort level for Le’Veon Bell, who had a historically bad year in his first season with New York.
www.espn.com – NFL

Big Ben: I’ll be back ‘stronger and better’ in 2020

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who’s been on the injured reserve list since his Week 2 injury, tweeted reassurances he’d be back on the field in 2020.
www.espn.com – NFL

Ray Tracing, Better Textures, More FPS: Get It All With the Best GPUs

If you’re looking for the best graphics card, whether it’s RTX, GTX, or one of AMD’s latest Radeon Navi cards, this guide will help you decide on the best card for 1080p, 1440p, or 4K gaming.
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Ray Tracing, Better Textures, More FPS: Get It All With the Best GPUs

If you’re looking for the best graphics card, whether it’s RTX, GTX, or one of AMD’s latest Radeon Navi cards, this guide will help you decide on the best card for 1080p, 1440p, or 4K gaming.
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Survivor: Island of the Idols Finale: Jeff Probst Apologizes to Kellee Kim and Promises That the Show Will Do Better

Kellee Kim, SurvivorSurvivor had a lot to talk about during the reunion portion of its season 39 finale.
This was a season that got fully overshadowed by the inappropriate behavior of one man and the way…

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Survivor: Island of the Idols Finale: Jeff Probst Apologizes to Kellee Kim and Promises That the Show Will Do Better

Kellee Kim, SurvivorSurvivor had a lot to talk about during the reunion portion of its season 39 finale.
This was a season that got fully overshadowed by the inappropriate behavior of one man and the way…

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Better shape up: Grease stars don movie costumes four decades on

Fans hopelessly devoted to Grease got the chance to re-live the classic musical when stars of the box office hit donned their costumes for the first time in 41 years.
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J.C. Penney Cozies Up With Hallmark in Hopes of a Better Holiday

The holidays are in motion at Hallmark Channel and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., with the companies announcing a strategic partnership this week as part of Hallmark’s 10th anniversary of its “Countdown to Christmas.”
It seems the retailer is hoping to bolster last year’s “conspicuous” holiday slippage. What proved to be a good holiday sales season for most retailers, left J.C. Penney wanting. Stores closed earlier this year and this summer, bankruptcy rumors stirred — so a good holiday season this time around is essential for a turnaround.
The partnership with J.C. Penney will involve “custom on-air content, digital and live activations, exclusive in-store retail displays” centering on the debut of “Christmas at Dollywood.”
Just this week, the 117-year-old retailer added a new chief digital officer, Karl Walsh, as the latest tweak in Penney’s rebuild of its top management over the past year, as reported by WWD.
Other than the new strategies in digital, Penney’s also brought on a pilot into resale this summer with the help of ThredUp, as part of its broader reinvention and clamor for department stores to stay relevant.
A movie premiere at Village East Cinema on Thursday night in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan kicked off the partnership, with Penney’s

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TideBuy Black Friday Sale 90% Off+ Extra Coupon

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Cyber Monday 2019: The Best Deals Are Better Than Black Friday

Cyber Monday 2019 is here! Black Friday might be over, but that doesn’t mean the best deals have left the scene. There are still great deals on Amazon Fire TV and Echo Dot, Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox consoles, iPads, laptops, and TVs. Additionally, some of the best deals we saw during Black Friday that sold out will make one last hurrah on Cyber Monday. Finally, there will be brand new Cyber Monday deals that we’ve never seen before. We’ve listed all those deal and more from reputable vendors like Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy. We’ll keep updating this article as we find new deals.

Our Top Ten Cyber Monday Deal Picks

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Joe Anglim and Sierra Dawn Thomas’ Survivor Wedding Is Better Than Any Reward

Sierra Dawn Anglim, Joe Anglim, Survivor, WeddingThe tribe has spoken! It’s time to say “I Do.”
Over the weekend, former contestants Joe Anglim and Sierra Dawn Anglim exchanged vows in a romantic wedding ceremony at The…

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Belichick: NFL 100 process made me better coach

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is part of the blue-ribbon panel to select the NFL 100 All-Time Team, said the process has made him a better coach.
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There’s Never Been Better Options for a 4K TV for Gaming

The 4K gaming is here and to make the most of it you’re going to want the best 4K TV for gaming.
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Allen Kovac’s Eleven Seven Label Group Rebrands as Better Noise Music

Eleven Seven Music and Eleven Seven Label Group, founded by industry veteran Allen Kovac in 2006, has rebranded as Better Noise Music. The new entity is home to rock acts Five Finger Death Punch, AWOLNATION and Mongolia’s The HU; Better Noise Nashville has also signed country-rock act in Cory Marks; and Better Noise International’s roster […]

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Now that gaming over a wireless network isn’t terrible anymore, here are the best gaming routers to get you online.
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Miscarriages: Calls for better care for women in Wales

Women who have experienced multiple losses say there is not enough support in Wales.
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This Is Us Is Expanding Its World for the Better

This Is UsThis Is…the most excited we’ve been about This Is Us in quite a while.
While the show dazzled us with its twist-filled first season, it struggled over its next couple seasons to…

E! Online (US) – TV News

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Retro Gaming Has Never Been Better Thanks to These Retro Gaming Consoles

Retro mini consoles are awesome, and feature games from way back to WAY, way back. Here’s our top picks.
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The Pats are all-in with AB now, for better or worse

By declining to sit Antonio Brown against the hapless Dolphins, the Patriots showed what they take most seriously: winning. Is anyone surprised?

Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games

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Ultra HD Gaming Has Never Looked Better or Cheaper With These 4K TVs

The 4K gaming is here and to make the most of it you’re going to want the best 4K TV for gaming.
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Colts ticket holders deserve better from Irsay

What responsibility does the franchise shoulder, given that it was selling a product showcasing Andrew Luck while simultaneously preparing for his departure?

Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games

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Morey: ‘Factual’ Harden a better scorer than MJ

Rockets GM Daryl Morey has always championed his players, and he has gone to a new extreme in praising James Harden, saying his star guard is a better scorer than Michael Jordan.
www.espn.com – NBA

Profits and Revenues Slide, but Are ‘Better Than Expected,’ Says ITV

ITV revenues and profits were in negative territory in the first half of the year, but CEO Carolyn McCall said the results were better than expected. The boss of Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster had previously said 2019 was partly about mitigating losses for the company, as major advertisers brace for Brexit. “The economic and political environment […]

Variety

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For Jaguars’ Nick Foles, bigger feats have come with better feet

Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo says Foles’ footwork is better than it was when they worked together with the Eagles.
www.espn.com – NFL

Leg fat ‘better than belly fat’ for older women

Carrying fat on legs protects postmenopausal women from heart disease, a study suggests.
BBC News – Health
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Will a Sick Natalie Get Better In Time for a London Photo Shoot?

The "Relatively Nat & Liv" star falls ill during their business trip–so will she be able to pull it together or will Sophia have to step in? Watch "Nat & Liv" this Sunday at 10|9c on E!
E! Online Videos (US)

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Russ gets better of Lillard in chippy Game 3 win

With OKC backed into a virtual must-win, Russell Westbrook cranked up his intensity Friday night, scoring 33 points and aiming plenty of trash talk at Blazers star Damian Lillard as the Thunder took Game 3.
www.espn.com – TOP
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This Star Wars Day Is Better Than Every Other Star Wars Day

This Star Wars Day Is Better Than Every Other Star Wars Day

We have new Star Wars movies now—and they’re great!—and an ever-expanding world of fandom to enjoy. That’s why this should be the best May the Fourth ever. The post This Star Wars Day Is Better Than Every Other Star Wars Day appeared first on WIRED.
WIRED

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Better Call Saul: Season 2 Finale Review

Full spoilers for Better Call Saul: Season 2 continue below.

F–k. Chuck.

Of all the despicable characters in Vince Gilligan’s Better Call Saul/Breaking Bad universe, Chuck McGill has got to be the worst. Move over, Skyler haters. Marie was never this bad. The lengths that Chuck will go to in order to destroy his brother get more calculating and hateful with each season, and now he’s truly out for blood.

As Better Call Saul has evolved and figured out what it’s going to be about, it’s the Jimmy vs. Chuck story that’s proven to be its heart. Their pattern is always the same. Jimmy, for all that he’s a crook and scummy lawyer, is all earnestness when it comes to trying to win his brother’s affection. For Chuck, that’s never going to happen, and he’s developed an insurmountable wall separating himself from his brother that will never be broken down.

Continue reading…

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Better Call Saul: Michael McKean on Coming to Love Chuck

Full spoilers for Better Call Saul’s Season 2 finale, “Klick,” continue below.

There is at least one person who loves Chuck McGill beyond his brother Jimmy, and that is actor Michael McKean. Even as Chuck turns into a straight villain out to take down his corner-cutting, rule-breaking younger brother, McKean is going to be the first person to defend him.

McKean got on the phone to talk about the cliffhanger at the end of Better Call Saul’s Season 2 finale, how he relates to Chuck and how he portrays his character’s illness. He also (barely) teased what’s to come and whether any of these characters will get any peace.

Continue reading…

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Review: 5 ‘Smart’ Baby Gadgets That Claim to Make You a Better Parent

The author and his test baby (Photo: JR Raphael).

Yahoo Tech

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A New Study Says Taller Men Make Better Husbands

But only in the short term.

Lifestyle – Esquire

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One Day to a Better Body: 77 Proven Lessons and Shortcuts to Build Big-Time Muscle

One Day to a Better Body: 77 Proven Lessons and Shortcuts to Build Big-Time Muscle


If you have a minute, you can improve how you train. Using the easy-to-follow format of Muscle & Fitness’ popular column "One Minute Lesson," this fully illustrated guide provides concise, definitive answers to 77 training questions. Inside you’ll find tips and shortcuts from the experts that are sure to improve your routine, and put you on the fast track to a better body. For example, did you know locking out joints on certain movements is safe? Or that a weight belt can actually weaken your abdominal muscles?
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Larry David Was Pretty, Pretty Good As Bernie Sanders, But This Comedian Is Even Better

The Internet agreed that “Seinfeld” co-creator and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David did a pretty, pretty good impression of Democratic presidential candidate (and fellow Brooklyn native) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on “Saturday Night Live.” Even Sanders himself loved it, joking that he’ll invite David to his campaign rallies because “he does better than I do.”

But here’s one that rivals David’s portrayal, from comedian James Adomian, who performed his own Sanders impression last week at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York.

Watch Adomian as Sanders in the clip above, participating in a “debate” with Donald Trump, played by comedian Anthony Atamanuik.

And here’s David again, in case you missed it.

 

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Lamar Odom’s Condition Continues to Improve, Source Says the Kardashians are “In Much Better Spirits”

More good news about Lamar Odom: a source close to the Kardashians told People his medical improvement has the family “in much better spirits.” "The family is still totally consumed by what's going on with…


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Play Better Longer, Peak Performace & Injury Prevention for Golf

Play Better Longer, Peak Performace & Injury Prevention for Golf


A scientifically based and player proven golf fitness program. Includes a 12 week exercise progression designed to systematically establish a foundation of postural stability, efficient movement, and muscle balance then builds peak strength and power. You will develop the physical skills needed to consistently repeat a good golf swing, increase power and distance to your shots, and help prevent, reduce and possibly eliminate golf related pain and injury.
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Things Go Better in Groups: Five Hardcore Group Sex Shorts

Things Go Better in Groups: Five Hardcore Group Sex Shorts


Bestselling erotica author Cindy Jameson presents five hardcore group sex shorts that explore when happens when a couple just isn’t enough. This collection has lesbian sex, swinger sex, wife swapping, and even public sex! It’s about as hot as erotica can get, so be sure to wear gloves when you handle your kindle!1. HOT WIVES PLAY STRIP POKER (First Time Swingers – Episode Eight) (Wife Swap Chronicles)Sarah Greggor is back with her tales of men who like to say, “fuck my wife” and women who like wife sharing. Her guest on her wildly popular show, The Wife Swap Chronicles, is Jane, a woman who wants nothing more than to tell her husband, “fuck my friend.” This time, a game of strip poker starts up the action, and this game is just filled with action! Two hot wives and their husbands decide to play strip poker one Friday night. The slutty housewives both want to have sex with their husband’s friend and what better way to get some wife swap action started than to get naked together. This strip poker game will get the friends better acquainted than they ever dreamed of.2. Taking on the Two of Them (A First Threesome erotica story – Part Four) (Threesome Camping Trip)Who would have believed I was getting a threesome? I cheated on my wife with her best friend! Now, both of them decided to give me the time of my life. Some guys are just really lucky, I guess.3. SWINGING ON THE BEACH (Wife Sharing on Vacation – Episode Three) (Wife Swap Chronicles)Sarah Greggor is back on the air talking to first time swingers, and her guest this time is Janice, a lovely hot wife with the body of a nymph. She’s on the wildly popular Wife Swap Chronicles radio show to tell about the vacation she took with her husband that landed them on a clothing optional beach with a couple so sexy that a wife-swapping party was anything but optional.4. ALLISON’S AWAKENING (A First Orgasm and First Lesbian erotica story) (The More the Merrier)Allison has never had an orgasm, and after a particularly frustrat

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The Fixer: How to Make Too-Tight Shoes Fit Better

Technically I’m your standard size six in shoes, but show me an end-of-season sale rack and suddenly I’m Googling “foot crunches” (I’ll save you some time: not really a thing!) and swearing I can squeeze into a five-and-a-half. That’s inevitably led to a closet full of torturous toe-pinchers that would have become very lovely, very expensive paperweights if not for a little trick I discovered about a year ago.

too-tight-shoes

What you should do: First, put on a clean pair of the thickest sweat socks you can find, followed by the offending shoes. Fire up your blow dryer on the highest setting and blast the most uncomfortable spots with hot air. I’ve found it helps to wiggle, bend, and stretch your feet in every direction possible during this process, continuing until you feel the shoes starting to give and stretch a bit. Once you’re comfortable, turn off the dryer and keep your feet in the shoes as they cool.

Still too tight? Add a second—or even a third—pair of socks and repeat the process a couple of times. Then wear them around the house for a few days to make sure they’re dancefloor-debut-worthy.

Have a harrowing style dilemma? It’s no match for The Fixer, always on call: Tweet your dilemma to @glamour_fashion with the hashtag #thefixer.

For more on The Fixer:
How to Make an Old Coat Seem Brand-New

Speaking of expert fixes, did you know that there’s an art to stacking jewelry? Not to worry, it’s easy. Celeb-jeweler Jennifer Fisher shows you how it’s done here:



Dressed
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Better Homes and Gardens Calorie-Smart Meals

Better Homes and Gardens Calorie-Smart Meals


The perfect companion for cooking delicious and varied meals that fit into a healthy eating plan Better Homes and Gardens Calorie-Smart Meals is a must-have recipe collection of tasty meals that don’t break the daily calorie bank. This is an easy-to-use, modern guide to preparing simple, healthful dishes, with chapters organized by calories, covering meals under 300, 400, and 500 calories plus snacks under 200 calories and desserts under 250 calories. With more than 150 recipes and more than 100 gorgeous photos, the book helps cooks make health-conscious meals such as Peruvian-Style Chicken Tacos (under 300 calories), Pumpkin-Parmesan Risotto (300-400), and Wild Mushroom Ravioli Skillet (400-500). Each calorie level includes recipes good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so cooks have flexibility to put together a meal plan that suits their lifestyle, calorie needs, and preferences.

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18 Really Simple Ways To Make Today Better

On days when things seem a little dark, a change of perspective, a mantra or a loving reminder is sometimes all it takes to see a little light. Chocolate cake is helpful, too.

The hashtag #MakeLifeBetterIn3Words has been trending on Twitter lately, highlighting the fact that simple actions, thoughts and reframing can be all it takes to pull yourself out of a rut. We scoured a bunch of tweets and selected 18 inspirational three-word phrases that help those figurative rainclouds dissipate. Check out the words that make life better below, then share your own on Twitter or in the comments section. 

Also on HuffPost:

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

What Every Woman Should Know About Looking Better in Clothes

“Your sleeve is a 26,” Zac Posen tells me as he prods at the arm of my blazer. “Actually, 25 3/4.”

We’re perched in a back corner of his atelier for a photo-shoot fitting. Together we’ve decided that I’ll wear a shapely skirt suit, and though it’s my size—a 12—it does not fit. The skirt is so tight it won’t zip up. The jacket fits in the shoulders but drowns out my waist. And the mermaid shape is so snug I can’t walk at all. As you can imagine, I’m embarrassed—and briefly consider running for the door.

Lauren-Chan-Zac-Posen

But Posen is unfazed. In fact, he’s already remeasuring so he can tell where to pin, let out, and take in the garments. “Alterations,” he tells me, “are the game changer when it comes to the perfect fit.” And once he’s done, voila: The skirt zips, the jacket accommodates, and I can move. “The right tailoring can make any garment work for any body,” says Posen. “And it can make you feel confident—especially when, these days, a lot of clothing is two-dimensional, but in real life every body is different, and women have curves.”

As a size 12, those words hit home for me. I often feel left out by fashion: In a standard size range, a 12 is regularly too tight; in a plus-size range, even the smallest 14 is too wide. I’ve learned to shop around this conundrum, but I’m still left standing in a fitting room feeling defeated more than I’d like to admit. And I’m not alone. Women of many body types struggle to fit properly into clothing—so let’s do something about it! Isn’t it time we stop trying to fit into our clothes and have our clothes fit us instead? Here are a few suggestions on how to start:

Step One: Ignore Your Size
That’s right—ignore. Sizes vary between countries, companies, and even articles of clothing. The U.S. government has been attempting to fix this problem via regulation since the 1940s, but instead, the situation has actually gotten worse, with the arrival of vanity sizing—in which bigger garments are tagged with smaller numbers to entice customers (that’s why the 00 now exists). “The mentality that the lowest size is best needs to go out the window,” says plus-size model and fashion designer Candice Huffine. “It’s just a number that somebody made up”

Her advice? “Try on several sizes, bigger and smaller,” she says. “Some people have tag phobia: They don’t want to buy a bigger size because of the number on the label. If you care about that, cut the tags out when you get home!”

Step Two: Shop for Your Biggest Part
It’s an easy truth that changes everything: Buy an item to fit the widest part of your body and take the rest of the garment in. That means no more jackets that gape open and muffin-top-inducing jeans. (Amen!)

“I’m a fan of blazers,” says Huffine. “But when I find one that fits through my shoulders and bust, the waist is often too big. I buy for my broadest part, then create an hourglass by taking in the midsection.”

So what does this mean for your shape? If you’re pear-shaped, buy to fit your bottom and take in elsewhere. “I have a small waist and bigger hips,” says celebrity stylist Sara Paulsen, who’s worked with Mindy Kaling. “I often wear A-line and flounce-hem skirts, which balance my proportions. I buy to fit my hip, then take the waist in—I sometimes even nip a fitted skirt right under the butt to create a flattering curve.”

If you’re muscular, the widest part of your body may be your shoulders and biceps. “I tend to have to fit my arms in jackets and take the body in,” says Hannah Bronfman, the founder of fitness site HBfit.com. “I always buy a size larger and make adjustments.”

Height can also make it more difficult to wear off-the-rack clothing. “It’s really hard for short girls to wear midi skirts,” says celebrity stylist Kate Young—whose clients include Selena Gomez and Natalie Portman. “They make you look shorter. Either go maxi—to the floor—or have the hem taken up above the knee.”

Tall women face the opposite dilemma. “Finding clothes that really fit my body has been a lifelong struggle,” says cover girl and denim designer Karlie Kloss. “Growing up, I found that if pants were long enough, they were much too big; if they fit in the waist, they were way too short.” If that sounds like you, buy a length that fits and have a tailor adjust the waist—or look to the solution Kloss herself invented, a Frame Denim line with 40-inch inseams. (Hudson Jeans and the Gap also offer extended lengths.)

Runway-for-bodies

Step Three: Master E-Shopping
When shopping online, it helps to know your bust, waist, and hip measurements; most sites translate their sizes into those numbers. Also, consider brands that take fit into account: Rent the Runway shares photos of customers in each item (with their honest reviews), so you can see how a piece works on a variety of shapes and sizes. There are also companies that help with fitting woes; True Fit, for example, works with brands like Jason Wu and Marc Jacobs to generate suggestions based on your sizes, previous purchases, and its own e-commerce database.

Step Four: Make Your Alterations
The next step is the all-important nipping and tucking. Find a good tailor by asking a trusted boutique, department store, or dry cleaner in your area for a recommendation. If you’re technologically inclined, try in-home tailoring services like Mend and zTailors. Here are a few things a tailor will be able to do to your garments:

  • Create your shape and size. Generally, you can hem or take a seam in as much as four inches; any more will throw the look of the garment off. And ask your tailor to follow the lines of your body. “If you’re working with a dress or jacket, fit the shape of your back,” says Posen. “It’s curved, not a straight line!”
  • Make more room. “People tend to think that you can only make stuff smaller, but you can make things a little bigger too,” says Young. “If a dress is hugging a bit, you can often find some room in the zipper or the side seam to let out.” You can also cut a slit or vent in a dress.
  • Find the right length. “With skinny pants, you can wear any heel height, since the hem should grace the top of the shoe,” says Young. For wide-leg pants, which should hit the floor, “buy two pairs and have one altered to wear with flats and one to wear with heels.” If you buy only one, hem it to work with the heel height you wear most often.
  • Streamline your silhouette. A tailor can close up pockets in a pair of pants,
  • add hook-and-eye closures between gaping buttons on a shirt, or create darts under the bust or in the back of a top to create cleaner lines. If you always tuck in shirts, remove the bottom few buttons so they don’t show under clothes.

Step Five: Consider Custom-Made
Still unsatisfied? Look into made-to- measure clothing, either from a tailor or via sites like eShakti and small boutiques on Etsy. It can be expensive (shirts start at around $ 100, and a full suit can run upwards of $ 1,500) but worth it, at least for frequently worn items. “Custom-made clothing is economical,” argues Posen. “If you take good care of them, your garments can last for a long time.”

Huffine’s made-to-measure must is a cocktail dress—like the Sophie Theal- let she wore to this year’s Pirelli calendar launch. “I needed to wear a bra and I wanted to wear Spanx, so she designed around that,” she says. “In the end, the gown was something I knew I would be comfortable and feel like myself in.”

And that, of course, is the point. The outfit I reach for when I want to feel like my best self? You guessed it: Posen’s expertly tailored skirt suit. With it on, I stand taller, smile bigger, and behave more confidently. “We need to stop letting fashion make us uncomfortable,” says Huffine. “When something is tailored to fit you perfectly, it takes all worry away. Your garment isn’t fighting against you—it’s working with you.”

So the next time you’re standing in the fitting room, remember: It’s not you that needs to be altered. It’s your clothes.



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10 Ways Gratitude Makes Your Life Better

It’s no accident that all of the major world religions employ some form of gratitude in their rituals. It’s simply because it makes our daily life better, even if you’re not religious nor spiritual.

Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful and showing appreciation for what is in our lives. And thankfulness and appreciation are a pathway to a life of happiness and well-being. When you pause and recognize all of the wonderful things in your life, you feel happier. Appreciation keeps us focused on what is already good in our lives, and opens up the doorway to more goodness to flow into our lives. Gratitude also equips us to handle setbacks and failures in a more resilient way. Science is producing mounting research that our lives are much better when we practice gratitude.

And indeed, gratitude does make your life better in the following ways…

1. You Feel More Satisfied
Not completely happy with your life? Gratitude is a lasting feeling that sustains you longer than other fleeting sensations. Grateful people are more satisfied with their lives because they focus more on what they do appreciate in their life. When you practice gratitude, you take time to appreciate the things that you’re thankful for in your life. And this means that you won’t be longing as much for what’s missing in your life, because you won’t pay as much attention to it.

2. You Motivate Others
When you say “thank you” to someone, they feel that you appreciate what you did for them, even if just a little bit. Saying “thank you” is therefore a powerful motivator for others to keep helping you again, because you are rewarding them with your appreciation. Have you ever noticed how it feels when someone doesn’t appreciate what you did for them? It makes you not want to help them again in the future because they don’t appreciate it. Small thank you’s go a long way, whether it’s a simple text message or a thoughtful email, you can never show someone enough gratitude.

3. You’re Happier
Grateful people are happier. They’re more in tune with what’s going well in their lives and focus more on the positive. When you actually count your blessings (I’m grateful for today’s beautiful weather, for my new shoes, for my close friends, etc) it puts you in a positive and uplifting mood. It’s very enjoyable to recognize the things that you might have been taking for granted, and to feel joy for having them in your life.

4. You’re More Resilient
Throughout your life you’ll experience many setbacks and failures. So having good coping skills is vital for us to have a thriving and successful life. When life knocks you down yet you still practice gratitude, you can humbly appreciate the temporary defeat as a learning lesson. When you’re faced with challenges, you can thank God or the Universe for giving you an opportunity to practice your patience and strength. When you’re grateful you focus more on the opportunities that failures give you, rather than its negative consequences.

5. You Deepen Your Social Ties
Gratitude has the power to deepen your social bonds and connections with others. When you live in a state of gratitude, you have better relationships with your peers. It also enhances your ability to form and nurture relationships, as your friends and family members experience the positive vibes of your appreciation for them and for life. Your energy changes when you’re grateful, and you go from being a “downer” to being a positive person. And this is very attractive to everyone else around and strengthens your relationships.

6. You Have Better Health
Gratitude has been linked to better physical health, as well as better sleep and reduced stress levels. You can live a much better life when you’re grateful because as you improve your relationship to the world, you feel better within your body. Grateful people take better care of themselves as they appreciate their health more.

7. You Increase Your Self-control
As David DeSteno says, “When you’re faced with a chal­lenging temptation in the moment, rather than solely trying to exert willpower, simply stop­ping and thinking of some­thing you’re grateful for should enhance your ability to make a wiser decision.” As life coach Peter Lambert says, gratitude gives you more patience and makes you less selfish.

8. Your Relationships Improves
When you’re more grateful and generous to the people who you care most about, your relationships improve. Not only will they feel more appreciated by you, but when they feel more appreciated and cared for, they’ll reflect positive feelings back towards you. As opposed to taking each other for granted, when you truly appreciate your significant other, your relationship becomes more magical again.

9. You’re Less Materialistic
When you appreciate what you already have, you realize that a bigger house or a new car are not the things that will really make you happier deep down. In fact, material things can actually feel sort of empty and meaningless. But when you’re thankful that you have a roof over your head and plenty of food to eat — something not everyone around the world has — you won’t be as tied to physical things anymore.

10. You Enrich Your Children
Research has shown that when you encourage gratitude in children, it has some remarkable effects. It turns out that kids who are grateful are happier, experience less volatile emotions, and feel that life has more meaning to them.

Gratitude is an emotion that’s worth cultivating as it will make your life better. You can start simply, by thinking of five things in your day today that you’re grateful for. There’s no doubt that we all want to be happy, have good relationships, and good health. The only thing you need to do to create more of these good things in your life, is to cultivate the gratitude within you.

Do you want to feel more grateful and happier in your life? A life coach will teach you how to practice gratitude and be happier. Click here to learn more about life coaching and how it can change your life. With an online personal life coach you can find your path in life, reach your goals, and be happier.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

11 Animals At Weddings Who Are Better Dressed Than Guests

By Rachel Torgerson for TheKnot.com

Sorry, but we just can’t resist rounding up our favorite pictures of animals attending weddings. We get new ones every day, and they’re just way too cute not to share. Whether it’s Burrito the donkey who loves cheesing for the camera at Arizona weddings, Spicy the pup who walked with a human ring bearer down the ceremony aisle, or Rosie the bunny who wished she could rock her wedding floral collar every day, animals who attend weddings in people clothes are probably one of the cutest things out there.

So here are the 12 best-dressed animals from our real weddings gallery, in no particular order.

1. This pooch who stole the show in his on-trend mint bow tie:

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YELLOW FEATHER PHOTOGRAPHY

Such a well-behaved ring bearer, and dressed so stylishly!

2. This proper dachshund, who thought a longer neck tie was the right choice:

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KIM PAYANT PHOTOGRAPHY

This little weiner dog is so puffed up with pride to see his parents on their wedding day!​

More from The Knot: 7 Hot Wedding Hairstyle Ideas

3. This maltese pup, who may have put the first two to shame with his glitzy look:

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SOMETHING BLUE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Katie and Erik dressed him in a pinstriped tuxedo and shimmery gold bowtie at their glam, New Jersey wedding.

4. This schnauzer flower girl, who may not have loved dressing up, but still looked fabulous:

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CLY CREATION

​This schnauzer pup was dressed to the nines in her sparkly, black ball gown.

More from The Knot: 8 Royal Wedding Tiaras That’ll Make You Wish You Were an Actual Princess

5. This bunny in a flower collar, because animal posts don’t always have to be all about dogs:

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LOVELY AND LIGHT

The florist at this South Carolina wedding even made a special pet floral collar for Rosie the bunny with bright pink, orange and purple roses.

6. These puppies, who couldn’t wait to give their dad a kiss once they got to the end of the aisle:

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RISING LOTUS PHOTOGRAPHY

​Jennifer and Jeremy’s rescue dogs Kote and Otis were also given a special part in the ceremony. “Everyone knows how much we love our rescue dogs, they are like our children,” says Jennifer. The dogs were walked down the aisle so each could be kissed by Jeremy. “It was a sweet moment that we will always cherish,” says Jennifer.

7. This dog, who walked in tandem with a human ring bearer — hard to tell who is cuter here!

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EMILY WREN PHOTOGRAPHY

The ring bearer and Ashley and Gabby’s dog Spicy walked down the aisle together at the couple’s New Jersey ceremony.

8. These corgis, who also walked in tandem:

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PERSON KILLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY

​Lauren and Marc’s three dogs were part of the ceremony, walking down the aisle together and of course posing for photos with the bride and groom.

9. This fluffy big dog, who felt like the whole tux would have “over-done” it, so he went for a bib

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KRISTEN TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

This big guy made sure to make an even bigger impression at the Rochester, Michigan, nuptials of his parents in a printed tuxedo bib.

10. This huge St. Bernard, who may have taken this groomsmen for a run:

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IMAGEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Carly and Patrick’s dog, Keidis (named after the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Patrick’s favorite band), wore a custom tuxedo that the couple ordered on Etsy. Then, he tugged one of the groomsmen down the aisle.

11. This little guy, who thought a shiny suit would make him stand out in a crowd:

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KANE AND SOCIAL

This yorkie stayed chic in his satin suit at a Miami, Florida, wedding.

More from The Knot:
How to Actually Pay For Your Wedding
Bachelorette Party Game Guide
10 Lipsticks Perfect For a Summer Wedding
Etsy Plus 23 Alternative Places to Register

Also on HuffPost:

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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Matt Damon Has A Ponytail, So Your Summer Just Got Better

Matt Damon may have reached maximum badass levels in the “Bourne” films, but his hair is reaching maximum badass levels right now. Ladies and gentlemen, Damon has a ponytail — we repeat, a ponytail.

matt damon

During a Thursday press conference for the 2016 film “The Great Wall,” Damon showed off his signature casual style in a button down shirt and jeans. But the real fashion moment came courtesy of his long hair, pulled back into a low pony.

Just when we thought men with long hair was a trend of the past (aka, 2014), Damon is bringing back the look with as much enthusiasm as Jared Leto’s braid.

Oh, and for guys who are looking for a new ‘do, growing out those locks may not be a bad idea. Celebrity groomer Diana Schmidtke told the Huffington Post that long hair is the easiest style for guys. Think of the versatility: man buns, braids, top knots — the list goes on.

matt damon

H/T The Cut


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Just Played Destiny: The Taken King – Better Guns vs Empty Wallets (E3 2015 Impressions)

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From the wonderful additions to the terrible PR, Destiny’s presence at E3 2015 nearly sent us off the deep end during last week’s GT Live.
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High School Made You A Better Person

What has not cankering Time made worse?

Viler than grandsires, sires beget

Ourselves, yet baser, soon to curse

The world with offspring baser yet.

—Horace

Since the days of the poet Horace, adults have always fretted about the moral decay of the younger generation. Ninety years ago, for example, the New York City Board of Education issued a report in which they decried the decline of character among New York City’s school-aged children. Their tone was eerily similar to Horace’s. To the authors of that report, the remedy for the sorry moral state of our school-aged children was clear: They needed character education, the aim of which “should be to develop clear-cut conceptions of positive virtues, to present the principles of right living that will govern boys and girls in making moral decisions.” They described their charges’ lack of such principles in the following terms:

The shock comes when we learn their code of morals. These same delightful young people believe that it is all right if they can “get away with it.” They lack respect for parents and for authority. To copy home-work is entirely honorable if they are not caught. Forging a signature is a simple way of saving a lot of trouble. “Cutting” is to be commended if they can “get by.” Thieving is a matter of almost daily occurrence. Cheating is no disgrace if the offender is not detected. . . . When called to account they are seldom sorry that they have offended, but they are extremely sorry they “got caught.” . . . They have adopted the code of the street because they have never learned a higher code of morals.

Today, parents, teachers, and political leaders seem no less worried about the sorry moral state of our children, and the schools still get the lion’s share of the blame. According to a recent survey, 93 percent of American parents of K-12 students view “the development of strong morals and ethics” as a “critical” or “very important” responsibility of our schools, but only half of the parents surveyed believed the schools were doing an acceptable job at it. Reinforcing the sentiment that the country needs a boost to its character quotient, presidents have proclaimed a “National Character Counts Week” every year since 1994, and, not to be outdone, the Senate has passed similar resolutions virtually every year since 1996. In that first presidential proclamation, President Bill Clinton issued this rallying cry:

As we seek to instill important values in a new generation of Americans, we must redouble our efforts to improve student learning, responsibility, and sense of belonging. We must revitalize the American ideal of community if our schools are to achieve their full potential. Adults, children, teachers—all of us must set an example. All of us can make a new beginning. Schools need to emphasize the fundamentals: building character and creating a stronger sense of self-worth.

Over the past two decades, private foundations, non-profit organizations, and individual school systems have responded to the call, designing and implementing programs designed to boost and fortify character. There are some encouraging report cards. One review of eighty-seven evaluative studies of forty-five different character education programs indicated that, in general, these programs do appear to be effective. How effective, and for how long, remains open to debate. But are we asking the wrong questions and looking in the wrong place? Under the hot light that has been trained onto “character education” in the schools over the past two decades, we’ve lost sight of a more fundamental fact about education for character. Character-building has always been one of the central goals of this nation’s educational philosophy, and by many measures, our educational system continues to succeed splendidly—even without any explicit programs of “character education” added on. Is character something that can be explicitly designed and targeted, or should it be seen as an offshoot of other kinds of learning experience?

What Is School For?

Let’s take a step back and consider this question in a broader perspective. Thomas Jefferson’s educational philosophy exerted a profound effect on how the American system of public education would grow and develop. In his “Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia,” Jefferson defined six fundamental goals of a basic public education:

• “To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business;
• To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing;
• To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties;
• To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either;
• To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment;
• And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.”

Contracts. Morals. Duties. Rights. Order. Justice. Faithfulness. Diligence. The education Jefferson wanted the American system to dispense was, among other things, a moral education.

In Jefferson’s time, of course, significant limits were imposed on the education of women, people of color, and even white men who were not part of the property-owning class. Nonetheless, Jefferson’s view of education as a force for shaping character was highly influential in his own day, and it has remained so as educational access has increased and as membership in the civic community has been granted to many of those previously excluded. Indeed, for as long as we have been sending children to school on the American taxpayer’s dime, we have understood, as Jefferson did, that character education is a critical step in preparing young people to contribute to the republic as citizens and to take proper responsibility for their own destinies.

If we don’t appreciate the intrinsically character-building nature of our educational system, it is because we take it for granted. The moral dividends of education are hiding in plain sight, like water to the fish. This is because few of us are old enough to remember a time in American life when most children didn’t get at least a high school education. Think about it: today, high school graduation rates are higher than at any other time in history: In 1900 only one quarter of our children graduated from high school, but today more than eighty percent do. (For high-income families, the rate is even higher; for low-income families, it’s conspicuously lower.)

We can bring the hidden moral benefits of school to light so that we can better understand how a basic education improves the morality and character of young people—even at a time when the great majority of children complete high school. Social scientists have developed some ingenious methods for uncovering those hidden moral benefits. They mine historical data, they conduct longitudinal studies, and—most importantly—they examine the results of “natural experiments” that societies unwittingly conduct when policy changes randomly cause some groups of students to receive more education (or better education) than other groups of students. These natural experiments might occur, for instance, because of state-by-state differences in the passage of laws that raise the minimum ages at which people can enter the work force, or because of policy changes that abolish school enrollment fees or other barriers to entry. And these experiments tell a consistent story: The more education children receive—the earlier in life they start school, the later in life they finish, and the higher the quality of that education overall—the better the effects on character and conduct seem to be.

Education Reduces Crime

First, let’s consider the effects of education on crime. For decades, criminologists have known that educational attainment—the number of years of schooling people receive—is one of the best predictors of people’s likelihood of getting into trouble with the law: the more schooling, the less trouble. However, this association does not necessarily imply that education reduces crime. It is possible that involvement in crime reduces young people’s likelihood of staying in school (which would imply that causality runs in the opposite direction). Moreover it’s possible that there are various environmental and genetic factors involved that both reduce education and increase crime, thereby creating a spurious association between them. To draw firmer cause-and-effect conclusions, we need more information.

This is why the natural experiments to which I hinted above are so valuable. The story these natural experiments tell, according to the economist Lance Lochner, support the hypothesis that schooling makes crime go down. In the United States, for example, a one-year increase in a state’s average level of schooling (which might be precipitated by a state’s passage of a law that raises the minimum age at which children can enter the work force from, say, age fifteen to age sixteen) reduces the crime rate by more than 10 percent, and the likelihood that an individual will ever be incarcerated falls precipitously if that person has received about ten years of schooling or more. Similar results have been obtained in similar natural experiments from Great Britain and Italy. Overall, the research suggests that a one percentage point increase in the U.S. high school graduation rate would reduce the economic costs of crime by two billion dollars each year.

We are in a good position to conclude that education really does reduce people’s likelihood of being involved in property crimes and violent crimes. However, refraining from crime is merely one element of character. What about the other aspects of character that we look to education to shape? Here, too, we find evidence that education makes a positive contribution.

Generosity with Time and Money

More than forty studies indicate that education is associated with higher rates of charitable giving and community volunteering, even after taking into account potential confounding factors such as age and income. We shouldn’t get too excited about these studies, though, because few of them permit firm conclusions about cause and effect. However, two fascinating natural experiments do suggest that education might be the cause and generosity might be the effect.

In the first of these experiments, researchers found that students who had won a random lottery that enabled them to attend a private school for a reduced fee were subsequently more generous in their donations to several non-profit charities than were students who had not won the lottery. In another experiment conducted in Kenya, girls who received scholarships that provided them with cash grants and coverage of their school fees for two years were slightly more fair and generous in sharing money with an anonymous partner than were girls who applied for scholarships but did not receive them.

Citizenship

Civic engagement has long been known to be correlated with educational attainment, but only recently have natural experiments been conducted that enable us to determine whether the effects of education on civic engagement are of the cause-and-effect variety. According to natural experiments by Thomas Dee, a one-year increase in the minimum age at which U.S. children can leave school and enter the workforce increases their likelihood of registering to vote. It also increases people’s likelihood of actually voting by about forty percent. Likewise, schooling increases people’s newspaper readership, interest in elections, and interest in public affairs in general. An educated electorate apparently makes for a politically engaged electorate.

Trust, Tolerance, and Respect for Others

Finally, education appears to promote trust, respect, and tolerance for differing points of view. For nearly eight decades, in fact, psychologists have known that the most prejudiced people in any society tend to be the least educated. Also, both within and across societies, there is a strong positive correlation between the average number of years of schooling people obtain and the extent to which they trust others in general. What’s more, people who are surrounded by highly educated people within their own communities and states are more trusting and tolerant in general than those who are surrounded by less educated people. Thus, education can apparently build trust in two ways: by making you more trusting of your neighbors, and by making your neighbors seem more trustworthy to you.

Here too, the natural experiments just aren’t as plentiful as one might like, so it’s hard to make ironclad cause-and-effect conclusions. However, there are a couple of notable exceptions. For instance, the economist Kevin Denny took advantage of some major educational reforms that occurred in Ireland in 1968 (expensive fees required to obtain a secondary education were abolished) in order to estimate the causal effects of secondary education on attitudes toward homosexuals. His work shows that every year of additional education a student received as a result of this policy change led to a 5 percent increase in someone’s likelihood of agreeing strongly with the statement that “gays and lesbians should be free to live life as they wish.” Denny then went further and showed that one-year increases in the minimum legal age for leaving school—changes that occurred in different years for Ireland, England, Wales, and Scotland—also raised people’s tolerance of gays and lesbians. Using similar natural experiments from the United States, Thomas Dee found that increases in education strengthened people’s convictions in one of the bedrock foundations of liberal democracies—namely, the belief that minority groups and politically unpopular groups (including not only “homosexuals,” but also “anti-religionists,” and “communists,” as well) deserve to have their rights to free speech protected.

How Education Builds Character

Just how does modern school-based education by itself—independently of any add-on character education initiatives—exert these salutary effects on people’s character? How is it that we do not seem to need explicit ideological content in order to make the next generation more law-abiding, generous, politically engaged, trusting, and tolerant?

Nurture and Nature

First off, as I mentioned above, it’s possible that much of the relationship between education and virtue is due not to the causal effects of education on virtue, but rather, to other factors that raise people’s educational levels while at the same time influencing their character. For example, some of the environmental factors (such as, characteristics of one’s family or neighborhood) that make people more likely to stay in school might also be involved in keeping them out of trouble with the law, or in motivating them to be more generous with their time and money.

Similarly, to the extent that there are genetic factors responsible for both educational attainment and character, the appearance that education causes character may be due features of the human genome rather than of our schools. In 2013, a consortium of researchers identified three genes with single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs (variations in DNA sequences that cause some people to have, say, a molecule of guanine at the same location within a single gene where other people have a molecule of cytosine) that were linked to educational attainment. Each of the three SNPs accounted for about one month of additional educational attainment; jointly, they explained about 2 percent of the individual differences in educational attainment. Even more fascinating is the fact that these three SNPs also accounted for about 2 percent of the variability in people’s IQs. This pattern of findings suggests that some of the relationship between education and IQ itself can be attributed to common genetic factors rather than to the effect of IQ on educational attainment (or the effect of educational attainment on IQ). If these SNPs (or others that have yet to be identified) are likewise involved in creating individual differences in, say, charitable giving or trust, then we’d be right to credit the relationship between educational attainment and virtue to our genes rather than to our schools.

Economists’ Darlings

In addition, there are two explanations that many economists like. The first is called incapacitation, and it is based on one of the fundamental facts of our universe: you can’t be in two places at once. Every hour or day spent inside a school is an hour or a day that is not spent selling drugs, stealing cars, or breaking into other people’s homes. According to the incapacitation explanation, education doesn’t encourage character. It prevents crime in the same way that house arrest does.

The incapacitation explanation holds some water. An experiment by Brian Jacob and Lars Lefgren and a separate natural experiment by Jeremy Luallen indicate that property crimes by juvenile offenders are more common on days when school is out of session (for example, due to teacher in-services or teacher strikes). This pattern is consistent with the incapacitation explanation. You can’t commit property crimes out in your community if you are locked inside the school. However, there’s a wrinkle: on the same days when the rates of juvenile property crimes are lowered by school attendance, rates of juvenile violent crimes are raised—probably because peer interactions while at school create opportunities for students to fight each other. There’s more to school’s salutary effects on character than incapacitation can explain on its own.

Another idea that economists like is that education provides people with skills (reading and arithmetic, for instance) that increase their value as workers. This basic truth applies across all occupational levels. All workers, no matter how menial their labor, are more valuable to their employers (and thus obtain higher wages) if they can read, write, and do basic figuring. As a result of the wage premium that comes from possessing even these basic skills, an educated worker encounters higher opportunity costs for an hour of crime than does an uneducated one. The greater your value to a legitimate employer, in other words, the more you stand to lose in the legitimate labor market by diverting your time and effort into criminal activity. The wage premium from education therefore very likely presents a major disincentive to pursuing a life of crime.

A Curriculum for Character

Explanations based on common genetic causes, common environmental causes, incapacitation, and the wage premium all have their uses, but they’re just the tip of the explanatory iceberg. Education itself—the skills, knowledge, and other cognitive tools that people learn through a formal education—almost certainly prepares our minds for character and virtue in more substantive ways as well.

Literacy, for instance, makes all sorts of moral miracles possible. In a community of readers and writers, it becomes possible to specify a set of rules that will govern the community’s behavior, and then to record those behaviors on an external memory device (papyrus, stone tablets, or a hard drive in a server farm somewhere). It’s also easier to follow a rule you can see with your mind’s eye and not just hear with your mind’s ear.

There’s more to literacy. Once rules are written down, they more readily become objects of scrutiny. Once the rules are externalized, objectified, and made public, community members can more readily turn those rules into objects of study. A rule that is externalized into print form—a rule that exists outside of our private mental representations of it—becomes a thing. Things can be studied, interrogated, and disputed. Moreover, because of the sophisticated moral discourse that writing and reading make possible, rules and laws might ultimately be revised, altered in scope, or chucked altogether. Protesting or seeking to modify unjust rules that are blindly observed but not formally codified is a bit like hunting the ever-elusive snipe. Once rules are codified, however, the odds of changing an arbitrary or bigoted rule may tilt slightly in the reformer’s favor.

Literacy, of course, has other beneficial effects on the development of character as well. Once we can read and write, we can keep external records of our debts, credits, and promises to others (and theirs to us). With external records of this nature in place, it becomes easier to enforce our contracts without conflict, and it becomes harder to shirk our obligations without dishonor. Writing then, becomes a commitment device that reduces the gap between the ideals we held for our behavior six months ago and what we actually feel like doing today.

What about numeracy? When you’ve mastered the basic arithmetic and then moved on to understand the calculation of percentages and the effects of compounding over time, your understanding of how numbers work affects your capacity to understand how the world works. This understanding informed by numeracy can be extraordinarily powerful goads to particular kinds of virtue. For example, some experience with the concept of interest rates allows one to appreciate the long-term benefits of saving and of patience.

In one important survey-based study, more than forty-two thousand British adults were asked to indicate which of two hypothetical rewards they preferred. The two rewards differed not only in their amounts (£45 vs. £75), but also in the amount of time participants would have to wait to obtain them (three days if they chose the £45 reward, but three months if they chose the £75 reward). If you preferred the smaller reward, you could get it more or less right away, but if you preferred the larger reward, you’d have to wait a while.

Education made a big difference in the choices people made. Participants who completed eleven or fewer years of education were substantially more likely to choose the smaller-but-sooner reward than were participants who completed additional years of education. The less education you had, more likely you were to prefer to take the money and run, even though turning down the larger-but-later reward implied walking away from an investment that would grow with an interest rate in excess of 700 percent per year. (At the time of this writing, many banks in the United States are trying to lure people into opening savings accounts by tempting them with interest rates of 1 percent per year.) The association between education and patience wasn’t spuriously caused by the effects of education on adult income, either: better-educated people were more patient even after statistical controls were put in place to control for any causality-muddling effects of age, gender, and income.

Of course, what makes patience a virtue is not only its financial benefits, and we aspire to have education be associated with patience understood and practiced in a broader way. Patience is a virtue because of the crucial role it plays in honesty, fidelity, responsibility, trust, regard for others, and healthy living. To take just one example of the broader character dividends that come from patience, consider cooperation. Building and maintaining successful cooperative relationships requires us to resist the temptation to have a cut-throat, take-no-prisoners attitude toward our interactions. To the extent that we take our neighbors’ interests into account when trying to obtain good outcomes for ourselves (rather than pursuing a scorched-earth policy by which we always try to maximize our short-term gain, no matter how costly it is to our partners), those partners will seek us out in the future for more interaction. Working repeatedly with partners who trust you can be much more productive than seeking out new partners for every new venture because of the bridges you burned with your previous partners.

Education also provides people with a set of general-purpose reasoning skills that cannot help but improve our character. If they have already stipulated that Socrates is a man and that all men are mortal, then all reasonable people must necessarily agree that Socrates is mortal. By application of this same syllogistic reasoning, we can derive some moral conclusions. For example, if we all agree that (a) John is a human and (b) all humans are entitled to a set of basic human rights, then all reasonable people must conclude that John is entitled to that same set of basic human rights. The fact that, by virtue of his race, religion, sexuality, or politics, John is a member of a group that we dislike is irrelevant. No amount of special pleading can undo this iron logic (although it is possible through self-deception to shield oneself from its implications).

But the link of education and character is even deeper than that. Indeed, the secondary-school curriculum itself is shot through with character-relevant implications. The basic biology and neuroscience to which every high school student should have access before graduating sets the stage for many startling intellectual discoveries, such as the fact that humans are not the only sentient and social beings in world; there are many creatures that feel pain, suffer, and prefer certain fates over others. These facts are morally relevant—how could they not be?—and with proper guidance, learning them can be the occasion for students to thoughtfully contemplate how they wish to treat the other animals with whom we share this planet.

Psychology and history are morally relevant, too. The basic lessons of group dynamics that normally get covered in a twelfth-grade psychology course, when paired with the miserable lessons to be learned about the costs of war from a study of history, are available to help people resist the saber-rattling of sincere-sounding, smooth-talking leaders who would rush our nations into war in the wake of terror or the heat of vengeance. The literacy, numeracy, tools for reasoning, and cold hard facts about nature and history that make up a basic education don’t just make us smarter; they can make us better, too.

The Kids Will Be Alright

There is a joke about a recovering alcoholic, ten years of sobriety under his belt, who is always inviting a friend with a drinking problem to come with him to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. “I know the people who go to that meeting,” the not-yet-bottomed-out friend replies in a moment of candor, “they’re all just a bunch of hypocrites.”

“Well, if you think they’re hypocrites now,” the friend-in-recovery responds, “you should have seen them before they started coming to AA.”

We suffer from the same shortsightedness when we fail to appreciate the powerful role that education plays in shaping the character of our young people. Education on its own—without any fillers or additives, and without any specific ideological agenda—is character education, and it always has been. Sensible programs of deliberate character education should be developed and actively encouraged to supplement our children’s development of the virtues we all care about. But as we take advantage of opportunities for these sorts of character-education experiments, let’s all take a deep breath and admit for once and for all that Horace was wrong. Our offspring are not destined to be worse than we are. In the main, our kids are doing well, and we’re doing well by them. After all, 80 percent of the kids in this country are already receiving a full dose of the best character-education program we have to offer them—a comprehensive K-12 education. In the interest of character building, as we continue to look for meaningful ways to add character-specific content to our schools, let’s also keep trying to get a full dose to that final 20 percent who are still having to make do without.

§

This essay was originally published by the Center for Humans and Nature as part of their Questions for a Resilient Future series, “Mind and morality: where do they meet?” Questions for a Resilient Future is an online publication probing assumptions about nature and humanity’s place within it by gathering insights, across disciplines and regions, from leading scholars, artists, practitioners, and activists. At the Center’s website, you are invited to join the growing community of thinkers envisioning a more resilient future together.

Michael McCullough is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Evolution and Human Behavior Laboratory at the University of Miami. He is Senior Scholar at the Center for Humans and Nature. His most recent book is Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct (Jossey-Bass, 2008). He is currently working on a book about the evolutionary and cultural foundations of human generosity. Follow him on Twitter @McCullough_Mike.

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Social Media Has Spoken: Here’s How to Dress Better

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Twitter got stylish yesterday with users sharing quick bites of fashion advice. #3WordFashionAdvice was started by Comedy Central’s @Midnight, “home of the hashtag wars,” and per the show’s setup, they assigned a winner:

Aside from a few head-scratchers (multiple references to Tyrion Lannister and a few ringing endorsements for things like fanny packs and scrunchies), the Web came up with some other gems.






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Better Contractors Bureau Receive Tribute & Medicine Coupons by Charles Myrick of ACRX

ACRX Recognition Gallery: American Consultants Rx
http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.

The American Consultants Rx discount prescription cards are to be given free to anyone in need of help curbing the high cost of prescription drugs.

Due to the rising costs, unstable economics, and the mounting cost of prescriptions, American Consultants Rx Inc. (ACRX) a.k.a (ACIRX) an Atlanta based company was born in 2004. The ACRX discount prescription card program was created and over 25 million discount prescription cards were donated to over 18k organizations across the country to be distributed to those in need of prescription assistance free of charge since 2004.

The ACRX cards will offer discounts of name brand drugs of up to 40% off and up to 60% off of generic drugs. They also possess no eligibility requirements, no forms to fill out, or expiration date as well .One card will take care of a whole family. Also note that the ACRX cards will come to your organization already pre-activated .The cards are good at over 50k stores from Walgreen, Wal mart, Eckerd”s, Kmart, Kroger, Publix, and many more. Any one can use these cards but ACRX is focusing on those who are uninsured, underinsured, or on Medicare. The ACRX cards are now in Spanish as well.

American Consultants Rx made arrangements online for the ACRX card to be available at http://www.acrxcards.com where it can also be downloaded. This arrangement has been made to allow organizations an avenue to continue assisting their clients in the community until they receive their orders of the ACRX cards. ACRX made it possible for cards to be requested from online for individuals and organizations free of charge. Request for the ACRX cards can also be made by mailing a request to : ACRX, P.O.Box 161336,Atlanta,GA 30321, faxing a written request to 404-305-9539,or calling the office at 404-767-1072. Please include name (if organization please include organization and contact name),mailing address,designate Spanish or English,amount of cards requested,and telephone number.

American Consultants Rx is working diligently to assist as many people and organizations as possible. It should be noted that while many other organizations and companies place a cost on their money saving cards, American Consultants Rx does not believe a cost should be applied, just to assist our fellow Americans. American Consultants Rx states that it will continue to strive to assist those in need.

Weight Loss for African-American Women: An Eight-Week Guide to Better Health

Weight Loss for African-American Women: An Eight-Week Guide to Better Health


Offering a new approach to weight loss tailored specifically to black women, this guide empowers women to develop skills for weight management and healthy living. Providing simple nutritional information and exercises, it addresses the common misconceptions of many so-called diets–almost all of which overlook or ignore the ethnicity component so essential to black women–and replaces them with a sound, culturally sensitive plan for black women to lose weight and stay healthy. An appendix of health-care resources includes advice on finding a physician, alternative health clinics, fitness centers, and public health facilities, and a glossary explains common medical and nutrition terms.
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The New Algorithm That Wants to Make You a Better Dresser

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If computers have anything to do with it, crafting a perfect, compliment-attracting outfit will become less about stylish instinct and more about a string of numbers, run digitally and crunched to create a perfect combo.

Raquel Urtasun, a University of Toronto computer scientist, worked to develop software that compares your #OOTD-type photo with a library of highly rated looks studied on Chictopia, an outfit-sharing site that allows users to post pics and vote on others. From there, the program will offer suggestions based on similar outfits that scored well (for example, if you show it a pic of yourself wearing a color-block minidress, motorcycle jacket, and heels, it might suggest subbing out your stilettos for booties if similar outfits tracked higher with the different shoe type).

The program also takes into account your location, the background of the photo, and any clues you’ve provided in the description, like specifying that the outfit is for a particular situation.

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How the Presidency Made Me a Better Father

When you’re the President of the United States, you’re surrounded at all times — by aides, by press, by Secret Service, by crowds. It’s a bubble that’s hard to escape.

That’s what makes the people with whom you surround yourself in those rare private moments all the more important.

It just so happens that I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by women. They’re the most important people in my life. They’re the people who’ve shaped me the most. And in this job, they are my sanctuary.

People often ask me whether being President has made it more difficult to spend time with Michelle and our girls. But the surprising truth is that being in the White House has made our family life more “normal” than it’s ever been.

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Photo credit: Official White House photo by Samantha Appleton

When Malia was born, Michelle and I were fortunate enough to spend a blissful three months mostly at home with our baby girl. But then Michelle went back to work part time, and I returned to my schedule of teaching at the University of Chicago law school and serving in the state legislature. This meant that I would often be away in Springfield for three days at a time. Even when I was home in Chicago, I had papers to grade and briefs to write and evening meetings to attend.

As professionals, we were blessed with the resources for things like reliable child care and takeout when we were too exhausted to cook. Our jobs afforded us the kind of flexibility that many working families simply don’t have. Still, we each had a truckload of student debt, which meant that when we got married, we got poorer together. So we were counting every penny to manage our household bills, pay our student loans and maintain a full-time babysitter. The combined pressures sometimes put a real strain on our marriage, as they do for many working parents with young kids. After Sasha was born, Michelle was working while juggling our home life. I helped out, and I saw myself as a pretty enlightened guy. But the truth was, I helped on my terms and on my schedule, and the expectations and the burden disproportionately — and unfairly — fell on Michelle, as happens to many women.

Fortunately, we had the help of my wonderful mother-in-law, Marian, who lived just a few minutes away. Still, Michelle was understandably stressed and frustrated, and I suspect she felt a little like a single mom sometimes. Things didn’t get any easier when I was elected to the Senate and had to commute back and forth to Washington every week. Then our lives were thrown completely out of balance during a presidential campaign that kept me on the road almost constantly — leaving Michelle to carry an even heavier load for longer stretches of time.

That’s why I call her the rock of our family — because she is. She always has been.

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Photo credit: Michelle Obama/Instagram

Still, we didn’t know what to expect when I became President. We knew I might have even less time for our family. We knew that uprooting Malia and Sasha from their friends and school and community in Chicago would be challenging. So for good measure, we brought Marian with us to ease the transition and to be with them when Michelle and I couldn’t.

But to our surprise, moving to the White House was really the first time since the girls were born that we’ve been able to gather as a family almost every night. Michelle and I can go to parent-teacher conferences together. I’ve been able to make Malia’s tennis matches and Sasha’s dance recitals. Sasha let me help coach her basketball team — the Vipers. They won the title. I’ve even ex-perienced what all dads dread: watching my daughter go to her first prom. In high heels.

So it’s not always easy being a father of teenage girls. But it is pretty good to liveabove the store.

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Photo credit: Chicago Tribune photo by Pete Souza

Even with our jam-packed days, Michelle and I work hard to carve out certain blocks of family time that are sacrosanct. For example, at 6:30 p.m., no matter how busy I am, I leave work to go upstairs and have dinner with my family. That’s inviolable. My staff knows that it pretty much takes a national emergency to keep me away from that dinner table. As a night owl, I’d rather stay up late reading briefings and working on speeches after everybody has gone to bed anyway.

So for an hour or so at dinner, my focus is not on my day, but on theirs. I ask Sasha and Malia the usual annoying parental questions: How was school? What are your friends up to? Have you done your homework? What are you thinking about? In return, they spend a lot of time teasing me about my big ears or stodgy suits — and Michelle is always happy to join them.

Now they’re at an age when they’re well-informed, so they often ask me questions about issues. Like a lot of young people, for instance, they’re deeply interested in the environment. Like most in their gener-ation, they take it for granted that people shouldn’t be treated differently because of their gender or race or sexual orientation or disability. They have every expectation that they and young women just like them can grow up to be anything they want to be. The highlight of my day is just listening to their thoughts about the world and seeing what smart, funny, kind young women they’ve become. That hour recharges me and gives me perspective. And those moments where I can just be Dad — even if it’s “Daaaaaaad” — well, there’s nothing better.

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Photo credit: Callie Shell/Aurora photos

Michelle does her best to preserve that time, and it has made a huge difference. Like I said, she’s our rock. Whatever comes up, I know that they’ll be there for me. And I will always be there for them. These days, the girls occasionally miss a night because they’re so busy with school and activities. And like many parents of high school juniors who are excitedly touring college campuses, I’m already dreading that empty seat at the table when Malia goes off to school next fall. I can feel myself lingering at the table a little longer, trying to stave off the passage of time. But for as long as possible, I’m going to enjoy every minute of finally having us all together under one roof.

First Lady Nancy Reagan once wrote, “Nothing can prepare you for living in the White House.” She was right, of course. Nothing can prepare you. But your family can sustain you.

This post originally appeared on More.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson is Back on the Red Carpet—and She Looks Better Than Ever

Gillian Anderson—the woman perhaps best-known to American audiences as Dana Scully on The X-Files—has been spending a lot of time winning on the red carpet lately.

For most of us here on this side of the pond, Anderson’s name more or less faded from pop consciousness when the paranormal series ended in 2002—but the actress has recently returned to our screens in Hannibal and her acclaimed BBC show The Fall. (If you’ve heard of the latter, it’s likely because of her hunky costar: Christian Grey himself, Jamie Dornan.)

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Just in case you don’t recognize Anderson from her X-Files days, don’t worry, it’s not just you. As Dana Scully, she had reddish hair, wore boxy suits, and was overall pretty ’90s-ized. Over the past decade, she’s been nominated for BAFTA and Olivier awards, hosted Masterpiece Theatre, and morphed into a 21st century swan—like when she turned up in a sharply tailored, deep navy dress at a New York screening in 2014.

gillian-anderson-dress-nymphomaniac-premiere-2014

Other recent slam-dunk looks? Anderson’s Nicholas Oakwell gown at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards last fall:

gillian-anderson-dress-evening-standard-theatre-awards-2014

And this vintage Balmain couture at the BAFTAs last year:

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Before the BAFTAs, Anderson attended a celebratory dinner in a black dress with a striking plunge neckline. The dramatic look was perfect for showing off a matched set of emeralds.

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Are you a Gillian Anderson fan? Which of her recent looks is your favorite?

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Kittens Make Epic Fight Scene From ‘The Lion King’ So Much Better

Question: How do you improve on an epic scene from a classic Disney movie?

Answer: Swap out the animated characters for live kittens. Keep all the action the same, just with kittens.

Here’s an example, using the climactic fight scene from “The Lion King.”

Grown-up Simba? Bam! He’s a kitten now. Scar? DONE. Kitten-ized.

We can’t imagine how long it took for YouTuber Pasdidée to wrestle his actors into line, but it’s truly a work of art.

It is not, however, the only time someone recreated “The Lion King” with kittens.

H/T Time

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: For Better Or For Worse

Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: For Better Or For Worse


After nearly a year of crazy, things have finally settled down for Lucy B. Parker. But then Lucy''s mom and soon-to-be stepdad announce that they''re finally getting married–in a month–and Lucy''s life turns upside down. Wedding planning is hard enough, but when a reality TV crew ends up following the family around while it''s happening, the results are disastrous. Can Lucy save her mom''s wedding, and the family, or will everything fall apart?
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CDC Tweaking Flu Vaccine for Better Protection

Next season’s shot includes last year’s missing strain

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Little Boots premieres ‘Better In The Morning’ video

Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) has premiered the official video for her new single “Better In The Morning.” The video was directed
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Do Yourself a Favor and Watch Kelly Clarkson’s Amazing Cover of Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”

Dating back to her American Idol days, Kelly Clarkson is known for singing covers so good they rival the original track. (See examples here, here, and here.) But Clarkson's latest cover really excels: The singer…




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Why MoMA Protestors Are Demanding Better Treatment, In 11 Brilliant Posters

New York’s Museum of Modern Art held its annual “Party in the Garden” gala this week, beckoning black-tie-clad VIPs to generously support the institute by purchasing tables for anywhere between $ 25,000 and $ 100,000.

While the venerable guests partied, partially on behalf of banker David Rockefeller’s 100th birthday, a different kind of crowd huddled across the street from the museum, umbrellas and protests signs in hand.

“MoMA, don’t cut our health care,” a large, red banner read. “Modern art, ancient wages!” the crowd chanted.

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Like a scene out of “House of Cards,” around 100 members of Local 2110, the union chapter that represents MoMA’s technical and office workers, organized a timely protest in response to stalled negotiations between union members and the museum management.

“Our union went into negotiations with MoMA management with proposals to improve wages, healthcare, and the opportunity for advancement in certain sectors of the museum,” Emily Hall, an editor in MoMA’s Department of Publications and a Local 2110 member, explained to The Huffington Post. “All but one, I believe, were rejected, and instead we were presented with a proposal that shifts a greater burden of health care costs to employees.”

Negotiations — regarding staff healthcare costs, among other things — began in April; however, the most recent, a five-year collective bargaining agreement between the two parties, expired on May 20, and an extension is set to close on June 20.

According to Hall, and reiterated to HuffPost by Grace Kwon, who works in MoMA’s visitor services department, the museum is now asking staffers to pay a percentage of their health care premiums, including a percentage of surgery and childbirth costs, while increasing copays and instituting significant deductibles.

Proposed wage increases for staffers “barely cover these expenses,” Hall claims. “Many union members are essentially facing a pay cut.”

momaone

The gala protest lasted for two hours on Tuesday night, during which a smattering of red posters could be seen popping out amidst the rained-on masses. “Average MoMA senior staff salary: $ 349,000 / Average MoMA employee salary: $ 49,000,” one read. “MoMA endowment: $ 1,000,000,000 / 2014 was MoMA’s best year ever / Why cut back?” another asked.

Members of MoMA’s graphics department, along with writers and editors on the protester’s action committee, devised the strategy behind the posters. “There’s a long history of stunning social justice posters, which we would have loved to invoke, but we didn’t have much time,” Hall said. “In just a handful of days, the group came up with the posters’ slogans, which use MoMA’s very recognizable typeface. There’s some talk of making more of them.”

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The posters have become all the more relevant since Artnet’s Philip Boroff announced that MoMA Art Director Glenn Lowry was paid a startling $ 2.1 million in salary, bonus, and benefits in 2013. Furthermore, the Daily Beast reported that in MoMA’s fiscal year 2013, 990 return tallies the museum’s total assets and fund balances at a staggering $ 1,086,806,338.

MoMA has issued the the same statement to several media organizations in response to the protests: “The Museum of Modern Art has an outstanding staff. At this time, we are in the process of negotiations with Local 2110, and are optimistic that we will reach a positive outcome for the staff and all concerned.”

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MoMA’s decision to cut staff benefits amidst plans for expansion and a healthy endowment has left more than a few people surprised.

“Salaries for MoMA workers are not high to begin with,” Hall concluded. “The proposed expenses will make it difficult — if not impossible — for many of us to make ends meet … I think we’re hopeful about how strong the response has been [to the protests] among ourselves and in the public. We’re hopeful that it’s something the museum can’t ignore.”

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Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: For Better or For Worse

Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: For Better or For Worse


After nearly a year of crazy, things have finally settled down for Lucy B. Parker. But then Lucy’s mom and soon-to-be stepdad announce that they’re finally getting married–in a month–and Lucy’s life turns upside down. Wedding planning is hard enough, but when a reality TV crew ends up following the family around while it’s happening, the results are disastrous. Can Lucy save her mom’s wedding, and the family, or will everything fall apart?
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Overcome Food Addiction: Step By Step Guide to Solve Emotional Eating for a Better and Happier Life (Overeating & Diet) Reviews

SR – Better Version Of Daddy Babygrow / Baby Bodysuit 100% Organic Cotton

SR – Better Version Of Daddy Babygrow / Baby Bodysuit 100% Organic Cotton


Trendy long sleeve babies grow with a detailed design on the front, just below the envelope style neck opening. The added 3 nickel free poppers at the bottom ensure comfortable fit and easy changing providing more flexibility in the baby grow. Ideal for when you want to find the balance between practicality and fashion, these can either be used as a funky under baby vest or a trendy outfit with leggings. You wouldn?t put chemicals on your skin, so why have chemicals in your baby clothing? Spoilt Rotten have produced a range of baby clothes that are 100% Organic Cotton. No chemicals what so ever it used in our production process. NONE. Our Baby T-Shirts and Baby grows are made from a high quality 100% Organic cotton and abide by The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), The Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) and The Soil Association Why do we choose Organic Cotton at Spoilt Rotten? Did you know that traditional Cotton is the second most pesticide-laden crop in the world? Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. (cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite and trifluralin) are well known as dangerous chemicals. Organic Cotton on the other hand is grown in certified pesticide-free and herbicide-free soil using organic farming methods, covered in the Global Organic Textiles Standard. A babies skin is 5 times thinner than our own, allowing toxins to penetrate much more easily. With organic cotton you can be sure that during production no harmful chemicals were used which also makes it less likely to trigger allergies. Organic Cotton is also softer, for your babies skin, as the fibres have not been damaged by the chemicals. The print on the front of the garments are also non-harmful and no chemicals are used. They are all individually printed to order so you can be sure of a high quality standard.

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Fish Oil Tied to Better Brain Function in Older Adults

But small study doesn’t prove omega-3 fatty acids boost mental flexibility
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Shape Magazine's Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body-and a Better Life

Shape Magazine's Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body-and a Better Life


In Shape Your Life, Barbara Harris pinpoints the seven goals Shape magazine considers the benchmarks of total fitness-workouts, diet, spirituality, rest, emotions, body image and work-and provides a four-week personal transformation program that all women can use to make over their lives forever.
Brimming with photographs and results-producing programs for each element of fitness, Shape Your Life overflows with expert advice and inspirational wisdom. The seven chapters reflect the seven goals:
Your Workout details programs ranging from The Ultra-Efficient Cardio Workout to the Fit-in-20-Minutes Workout; Your Diet unveils The Shape Food Pyramid and Shape Pyramid Meal plan; Your Spirituality offers yoga and meditation exercises and steps to becoming more connected with others and with the natural world; Your Rest explains the health benefits of taking a rest; Your Emotions reveals how to reduce stress, identify triggers that cause anxiety and balance your emotions; Your Body Image provides the keys to building a positive view of your body at any size or shape; and Your Work explores how to make your work (corporate manager, self-employed businesswoman, stay-at-home mom) more productive and personally satisfying.
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6 Ways to Cultivate Better Relationships for More Happiness

Happiness is an elusive topic that has been studied and contemplated by many throughout history. While there are many theories and ideas of what it means to be happy, I decided to focus on the relational aspect of happiness in this blog. As an Imago relationship therapist and someone who specializes in helping my clients achieve happy and healthy relationships I have come to view much of happiness through a relational lens.

It is no coincidence that online dating and the wedding industry are extremely successful businesses. Human beings seek and crave close and intimate relationships. When we feel loved and connected we feel “whole.” However, romantic relationships are not the only or even primary source of relational happiness. Friendships and family relationships can be just as important. When someone in therapy is going through a difficult time a psychotherapist may often ask, “who is your support network?” This is an important question because the stronger the support network, the easier the recovery. Feeling loved and supported by a “tribe” is often essential to how happy we are. In fact, research even shows the mental and physical benefits of friendship.

Of course on the opposite end of the spectrum, relationships also have the power to make us extremely unhappy. Being in the wrong relationship or being surrounded by people who don’t make us feel good or take advantage of us can feel awful and drain us emotionally. Positive relationships enhance our happiness but negative relationships have the power to make us unhappy. Because relationships are so powerful it is important to know how to cultivate fulfilling relationships. Throughout our lives no one teaches us how to be in relationships. There are no classes in school that tell us how to have healthy and happy relationships. We are often just navigating them on our own and learning as we go.

Given that we are often uneducated on healthy relationships, what are some things one can do to cultivate better relationships with others? Here are a few tips:

1. Empathy: The most successful relationship dynamics are when each person involved in the relationship has a strong sense of empathy. Empathy basically means that you are consciously thinking about how another person might feel and acting respectfully and thoughtfully accordingly. I’ve seen a lot of relationships end because of the narcissism, selfishness or entitlement of one person. If you want to develop a real sense of intimacy and closeness with another person you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes. I believe that empathy is the foundation and core of any successful relationship.

2. Thoughtfulness and Generosity: When I use the word “generosity” I don’t mean that you should be buying your friends and family expensive gifts (or gifts at all). Generosity is emotional generosity. My grandfather died recently and some friends of mine wrote me really thoughtful cards which meant the world to me and made me feel really lucky. Even just checking in with someone on a regular basis to show you care is a sign of thoughtfulness and generosity. Showing appreciation through words, gift giving, verbal appreciation or any thoughtful gesture that shows someone you are thinking of them is also a form of thoughtfulness and generosity.

3. Consistency and Follow Through: I was raised with the mantra: “If you tell someone you’re going to do something, you do it” (thanks, dad!). Nobody likes someone who constantly bails, doesn’t follow through, or makes empty promises. You can only get away with flaky behavior for so long before people stop putting up with it.

4. Compromise and Fairness: All relationships should have some feeling of reciprocity. This doesn’t mean tit for tat but it means both parties in the relationship do not feel like the relationship is one sided or uneven. All strong relationships require a degree of compromise and fairness. People who consistently take from others and expect people to give and bend over backwards for them without lifting a finger are people who don’t have many friends or any friendships of real substance. They are users.

5. Don’t Ask People For Things Only When You Need Something: This was another childhood message I received that I am incredibly grateful for. Isn’t it the most infuriating thing when someone calls you only when they need something from you? All positive and healthy relationships should stem from something beyond just selfish needs. People are more inclined to want to do nice things for you when they feel like you really like them for who they are and not what you can do for them.

6. Boundaries: If you find yourself in a friendship/relationship with someone who has little or no empathy, is not thoughtful or emotionally generous, is flaky, does not compromise, or only asks for things of you when they need something from you, put up a boundary and either distance yourself from the person or end the relationship entirely. There is no point in having relationships that make you feel bad, drain you and leave you resentful.

This article was originally published on Lena’s blog at the Imago Center in Washington D.C. website

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Mad Men Understood Human Behavior Better Than Any Show on TV

Mad Men closed with its hero, adman Don Draper (Jon Hamm), sitting lotus-style on a hilltop in 1970, experiencing bliss, or something like it. Don had proclaimed ten years earlier that love was a lie invented by guys like him to sell nylons and that we’re all born alone and die alone, and now here he was in California, shorn of his job, his home, his marriage, his apartment, his car, and even his suit, meditating on a hilltop overlooking the ocean.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Ashley Madison - Have an affair. Married Dating, Affairs, Married Women, Extramarital Affair

Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body-and a Better Life

Shape Your Life: 4 Weeks to a Better Body-and a Better Life


With nearly five million people reading each issue, Shape is the #1 magazine for today's health-conscious women. Its mission and ever-present philosophy is: Being fit means more than having thin thighs and well-defined abs — it means living a balanced life. In Shape Your Life, Barbara Harris, pinpoints the seven goals Shape considers the benchmarks of total fitness — Workouts, Diet, Spirituality, Rest, Emotions, Body Image, and Work — and provides a custom-designed, four-week, personal transformation program that all women can use to make over their lives forever.

Brimming with photographs and results-producing programs for each element of fitness, Shape Your Life overflows with expert advice and inspirational wisdom on:

1.Your Workout: details programs ranging from The Ultra-Efficient Cardio Workout to the Fit-in-20-Minutes Workout; from The Body-Confident Workout to The Mind-Body Makeover.

2.Your Diet: unveils The Shape Food Pyramid and Shape Pyramid Meal plan, healthy kitchen makeovers, shopping guides, and more.

3.Your Spirituality: offers soul-nourishing yoga and meditation exercises and steps to becoming more connected with others and with the natural world.

4.Your Rest: explains the health benefits of taking a rest now and then — breaks, vacations, naps, and sleep — with tips, techniques, and mini-retreats for getting more healthful rest.

5.Your Emotions: reveals how to survive modern life with your sanity intact, reduce stress, identify triggers that cause anxiety, and balance your emotions.

6.Your Body Image: provides the keys to building a positive view of your body at any size or shape, as well as special confidence-boosting workouts.

7.Your Work: explores how to make your work, however you define it (corporate manager, self-employed businesswoman, stay-at-home mom), more productive and personally satisfying.
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Steroids No Better for Sciatica Pain Than Placebo, Study Finds

But taking prednisone was tied to small improvements in ability to perform daily activities
healthfinder.gov Daily News
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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On the ‘A’ w/Souleo: Rafia Santana’s ‘SELFiE’ Is Better Than Yours

The art of the selfie is under attack. From the Met Gala to the Cannes Film Festival to Coachella, high-profile events have recently instituted measures meant to limit or altogether delete the taking of selfies. But you can’t tell that to multimedia artist, Rafia Santana, with the debut of her SELFiE exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA).

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RAFiA SANTANA, PAiNT ME PUKiNG (2014)

“Anybody who thinks selfies are only vain wants to reduce the importance of a human being. I am not sure where the judgment comes from,” she said. “We should all be reflective of ourselves whether we are in a good place or bad place. Selfies help to bring us out of a bad place to uplift ourselves and connect with others.”

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RAFiA SANTANA, PAiNT ME (2014)

Resembling something out of an Afrofuturistic dreamscape, Santana’s work integrates digitally manipulated images with soundscapes that advance the selfie from candid shots to visual statements. Her process usually begins with a photograph of herself that is combined with other photos taken on her mobile device. The image is then enhanced via a tablet where she uses her hands to digitally paint and complete the work. Thematically the 25-year-old artist focuses on issues related to her self-identity as a young black woman dealing with daily reminders of race and gender challenges.

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RAFiA SANTANA, RAFiA (Above), 2014

“As a small short black woman I have had to always affirm my existence and place. In academic and male dominated spaces I have to push myself twice as far to get recognized for the things that I do well,” she said. “So these images are indicative of me standing my ground on this planet and showing how important I feel I am, as we should all feel we are. In the media we only see black people as coons and thugs. We don’t get to tell our own story as human beings that have good and bad. Being a kid growing up on the internet I realized that a good selfie image of yourself can make others see you in a better light. So it’s important to show ourselves in positive imagery.”

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RAFiA SANTANA, See Through (2015)

The public art exhibition, curated by Stephanie George, is on view until September 27.

****

The weekly column, On the “A” w/Souleo, covers the intersection of the arts, culture entertainment and philanthropy in Harlem and beyond and is written by Souleo, founder and president of event/media content production company Souleo Enterprises, LLC.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Veterans: Va Needs Better Visibility and Control Over Medical Center Purchases: Psad-81-16

Veterans: Va Needs Better Visibility and Control Over Medical Center Purchases: Psad-81-16


New – GAO reviewed the Veterans Administration’s (VA) medical center purchasing practices and made suggestions to improve procurement management as well as reduce operating costs. The VA Marketing Center purchases items that are stored and distributed through supply depots and manages supply schedule contracts for certain medical and food items. These centralized procurement programs give VA medical centers the opportunity to obtain supplies and equipment without having to independently solicit

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One Thing You Can Do to Know Yourself Better

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stocksnap.io by Daniel Bowman

The rain was coming down hard on the skylight in my living room just before 6 a.m. I breathed in the smell of my coffee before the first sip. I sat my mug down near the lamp on my favorite, mirrored, dragonfly table and picked up my notebook. I glanced down at my reflection and noticed how gravity tugged at my face. It made me think of other things that have been pulling at me lately. I wrote them down one by one — my gratitude and grudges and plans and petitions. I asked for grace, for guidance, for patience, for perspective.

In that moment, I realized how my journal has become an altar over the years, the place I lay my life before God. Coming to this altar each morning is the one thing I’ve done consistently for as long as I can remember.

I didn’t start out calling it anything specific or doing it with the intention of spiritual growth. Really, I just started writing things down because it helped me feel slightly sane. I could move the crowded and sometimes cruel dialogue out of my inner landscape into the physical world, where the words could run free (and hopefully away from me). Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

But what did work, is that the page itself never turned my words away — no matter if they were pitiful or brave, dark or light, caddy or compassionate, fearful or funny. The page would always take whatever I brought. And if I stayed on the page long enough, it would tell me wonderful secrets about myself. It would offer new perspectives, solutions, comfort, and even humor, as my hand moved across the lines.

For decades, I have decluttered my mind and my life in this way. Through it, I’ve learned that divine guidance flows steadily when we consistently show up to receive it.

People often ask me how I ended up doing what I do- following my dreams and pursuing my purpose. It did not happen with one big bang like some might suppose. But through a small, consistent practice, I got to know myself.

If you want one actionable step you can take without a lot of fuss, make a daily date with yourself and get quiet. There are no specific rules for this date except that you show up. This is not a call for “quiet-time” or “journaling.” Sure, you can write things down like I do — but you don’t have to; you can just breathe.

The point is to hold the space.

Breathe in deeply and breathe out the junk that’s trashing your inner landscape, because that is priceless real estate.

Breathe in purity; breathe out pollution. Breathe in patience; breathe out busyness. Breathe in peace; breathe out each problem. Breathe in courage; breathe out fear. Breathe in forgiveness; breathe out grudges. Breathe in trust; breathe out your need to be in control. Breathe in clarity; breathe out confusion. Breathe in love for yourself; breathe out condemnation. Breathe in compassion for others; breathe out judgment. Breathe in what you need, breathe out what you don’t.

Kept daily, this date with yourself will become your altar. It is in this place of quiet communion that will you learn to listen, to yourself and to Divine guidance. It is from this place your authentic heart will rise up and make itself known. As you begin to breathe and listen, you will find peace and strength and clarity for your life.

Don’t label it. Don’t table it. Just make the date.

Because this one little habit, done diligently, will set you on the road to follow your dreams and pursue your purpose.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

It Got Better

The recent gathering in Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” offered a chance for Americans to look back in horror and shame, as well in wonder, at how we have continued working to achieve “a more perfect union.” While “Bloody Sunday” was a major event in the civil rights movement, President Obama sagely noted that it also opened a door through which the women’s rights movement, the disabled Americans movement, and the LGBT movement passed on their way to proving that increased diversity can build a stronger American society.

Under the Obama administration, the progress made by the LGBT community has been remarkably rapid as well as poignant, profound, and provocative. It’s often hard for younger LGBT men and women to understand that, prior to the August 1966 riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco or the June 1969 riots in front of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, gay people often lived in a secret society with few friends who would publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation. There were no circuit parties or all-gay cruises.

In the following clip, Anthony Newley sings “Who Can I Turn To?” from the 1965 Broadway production of The Roar of the Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd. If you watch closely, you may notice certain “Streisandian” mannerisms in Newley’s performance. But you’ll also realize how much this song could have been an anthem for a severely oppressed LGBT population that had no political clout whatsoever.

Fast forward to today and ask yourself how much progress has been made since 1965. Watch this clip of Dan Savage being interviewed on CNN recently and see for yourself.

Two recent dramas about gay men trying to live their lives without apology recently entertained Bay area audiences. One dates back to the 1940s, focusing on the life of a gay mathematician who made major contributions to history, science, and is often described as the father of modern computing. The other is a documentary which focuses on two gay men in Seoul, South Korea, who are determined to have their wedding cake and eat it, too.

* * * * * * * * * *

Alan Turing’s reputation has undergone a major rehabilitation in recent years, to the point where there are now several plays, movies, and even an opera about the mathematical genius who, after being forced to endure chemical castration by British authorities, committed suicide on June 7, 1954 (a little more than two weeks prior to his 42nd birthday). Following a highly effective Internet campaign in 2009, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal public apology for Turing’s treatment by the British Government. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II pardoned Turing posthumously.

I first saw Hugh Whitemore’s play, Breaking The Code, during a June 1987 trip to London, when Derek Jacobi was starring as Alan Turing. In my review for the Bay Area Reporter, I noted that:

“Although Breaking the Code poses several provocative questions to audiences. whether or not to commit suicide is the least disturbing of them. More to the point: Once you’ve accomplished something unique, savored the best there is, or achieved the impossible, what do you do for an encore? If, because of the very uniqueness of your situation, you don’t create new challenges for yourself, do you mark time until life is over — or take action to end the meaningless years of waiting to die?”

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Watching the Theatre Rhinoceros production of Breaking The Code (directed by and starring the company’s artistic director, John Fisher, as Alan Turing), I was reminded of Turing’s intense stuttering, social awkwardness, and his useful connection with Winston Churchill. The production also brought home (in a horrifyingly poignant way) the inability of petty bureaucrats to think outside the box when confronted by a man whose intellectual brilliance far outshone their own.

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Ron Miller (Justin Lucas) teases Alan Turing (John Fisher) in
a scene from Breaking The Code (Photo by: David Wilson)

Turing’s pitiful naivete in reporting a minor burglary to the local police placed him square in the clutches of law enforcement. By admitting that he had been having an affair with Ron Miller, he essentially confessed to a crime of public indecency at a time when homosexual acts were considered criminal behavior. Borrowing from Wikipedia’s timeline, it’s interesting to note that:

  • In 1967, the Sexual Offenses Act decriminalized homosexual acts committed in private in England and Wales.
  • In 1972, the first Gay Pride Rally was held in London.
  • In 1975, a documentary about Quentin Crisp entitled The Naked Civil Servant premiered on Thames Television.
  • In 2000, Britain’s Labour Party abandoned the practice of barring homosexuals from serving in the nation’s armed forces.
  • In 2002, adoption rights were granted to same-sex couples.
  • In 2004, the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 was passed by the Labour Government.
  • In 2014 same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales and received Royal Assent. Queen Elizabeth II stated “Well, who’d have thought 62 years ago when I came to the throne, I’d be signing something like this? Isn’t it wonderful?”

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Alan Turing (John Fisher) relaxes with Nikos (Heren Patel)
in a scene from Breaking The Code (Photo by: David Wilson)

More than 60 years after Turing’s death via poisoned apple, Breaking The Code may seem a little quaint and stuffy to contemporary audiences who live in a world filled with rainbow tchotchkes, gay marriage in an increasing number of countries, and can turn to the Internet for any number of LGBT-related purposes. But with a cast led by John Fisher (who is steadily transforming into an old-fashioned actor-manager), Theatre Rhinoceros did a solid job of examining Turing’s nervous downfall.

Celia Maurice was sympathetic as Turing’s mother, Sara, while Kirsten Peacock scored strongly as his research partner, Pat Green. As the gay men in Turing’s life, Justin Lucas shone as Ron Miller with Heren Patel delivering sweet portrayals of a very young Christopher Morcom and a slightly giggly young Greek named Nikos. Patrick Ross, Michael DeMartini, and Val Hendrickson appeared in smaller supporting roles.

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Alan Turing (John Fisher) chats with Dillwyn Knox (Val Hendrickson)
in a scene from Breaking The Code (Photo by: David Wilson)

* * * * * * * * * *

Directed by Jang Hee-Sun, My Fair Wedding is a curious, but ultimately triumphant documentary that was screened at CAAMFest 2015. Potential viewers should be aware that a huge amount of text is thrown up onto different parts of the screen so that, at times, it almost seems impossible to follow the film.

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Poster art for My Fair Wedding

My Fair Wedding follows the events leading up to the marriage of two gay men on September 7, 2013 at the Kwangtong Bridge in Seoul. At 49, the mercurial Kimjho Gwang-soo is well known throughout South Korea’s LGBT community as a gay rights activist. His partner of nine years, Dave Kim, is 19 years younger and handles stress very differently.

Because both men are involved in South Korea’s film industry (one as a director and screenwriter; the other as a producer), their preparations for a same-sex wedding (which could also serve as an in-your-face political statement in a country that does not yet recognize marriage equality) are drenched in doubt, introspection, playful needling, and a lot of micromanaging.

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Kimjho Gwang-soo and his husband-to-be, Dave Kim,
shoot a trailer for their upcoming nuptials in
My Fair Wedding

Heterosexual couples preparing to wed rarely have to make plans for how to handle angry protesters crashing their nuptials. Nor would they stymie the efforts of their close friends to throw a surprise party for the two men on the night prior to their wedding ceremony.

When the protagonists say their vows in public (and perform a small musical theatre number), their friends and family happily take part in celebrating their union. Some hyperreligious Christians, however, try to ruin the event by angrily crashing the ceremony until they are forcefully removed from the festivities.

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Dave Kim and Kimjho Gwang-soo during their wedding in Seoul

There are long sequences in which the two men (who change costumes throughout their wedding from creamy white uniforms to black tuxedos and white wedding gowns) sit on a couch in their apartment and dissect their feelings and apprehensions. As the filmmaker explains:

“This documentary shows how two such different people manage to resolve conflicts between them when faced with a big problem. Also, it will show, through Dave Kim’s perspective, how he suddenly grows up while chasing after Kimjho Gwang-soo, whose life is full of ups and downs. You will also see how Kimjho Gwang-soo grows to realize a great love together with Dave Kim, who is 19 years his junior.”

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Kimjho Gwang-soo and his husband, Dave Kim

There are times during the last half hour of My Fair Wedding when a viewer can easily start tearing up. As the two men candidly discuss their hopes and fears for the future, one realizes that their relationship is just as emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually intimate as that of most newlyweds.

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Kimjho Gwang-soo and his husband, Dave Kim

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape

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Why Is Death Better Than Taxes?

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Science Reveals The Laziest Way To Better Your Mood And Maybe Your Relationship

Some people consider daydreaming a waste of time, but a new study has found that daydreaming about your significant other can boost your mood. It might even strengthen your relationship.

Fantasizing about your partner can increase feelings of love and connection toward that person, according to the U.K. study recently published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

“We are often reminded of the benefits of being present and living ‘in the moment,'” Dr. Giulia Poerio, a psychologist at the University of Sheffield and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post. “Our study shows that daydreaming about close others might be an effective way to make yourself feel better by mentally simulating contact with loved ones when it is not available in reality,” she added.

The researchers randomly sent text messages throughout the day to 101 study participants — both women and men, with an average age of 22. They were asked what they were daydreaming about at that moment and how they felt before and after their reverie.

The study found that daydreams unrelated to the person’s significant other didn’t seem to have any effect on the person’s mood. But after daydreaming about their partners, participants who described their relationships as satisfying reported an elevated mood and a surge in feelings of love and connection. The better the relationship, the more enjoyment was derived from the daydreams.

Researchers concluded that daydreaming may serve as a temporary substitute for social interaction when we can’t be with our loved ones.

“Daydreaming about close others may be an effective strategy to overcome negative social feelings in daily life, such as when feeling lonely or when separated from loved ones,” Poerio said. “It’s well established that interactions with loved ones can increase feelings of well-being, but our results suggest that the emotional benefit of others can also occur from our imagination.”

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Weddings – The Huffington Post
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Better Treatments Helping People With Enlarged Hearts Live Longer: Study

People with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are benefiting from defibrillators, other advances
healthfinder.gov Daily News
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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Better Than Home: Chats with Beth Hart, The Stone Foxes and Sugar Ray Norcia, Plus Buffalo Rodeo, Dida and Elaine Romanelli Exclusives

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A Conversation with Beth Hart
 
Mike Ragogna: Beth, your new album is titled Better Than Home. So what’s better than home?
 
Beth Hart: “Better Than Home,” the song, is about getting out of your hiding place and having the courage to live as loud as possible. It is about feeling the life that has been given and has been waiting for you all along.
 
MR: “Might As Well Smile” makes a very good point about trying to stay optimistic through personal challenges, headlines and hypocrisy.  To me, those are some excellent, tight lyrics. So how did you come up with this one?  
 
BH: I was going through depression and struggling with powerful cravings to drink. I got so fed up with it that I decided to write something positive to help me realize that all I really have to do is fake it till I make it. I realized that I needed to smile anyway, and find all the wonder in life that’s certainly worth some gratitude. And it really worked. I started to come up out of it. I really love that song.
 
MR: What are a couple more of your favorite songs on the album and what are the stories behind their creations?
 
BH: “St. Teresa” is one of my favorites. It reminds me of the importance of grace. One of the many wonderful things she said was that the definition of having grace was to give love and help someone that you think does not deserve it. This, to me, is unconditional love–going beyond our judgment and cherishing anyway. The song was inspired by the film Dead Man Walking. It’s so brilliant. It carries such weight.

I also love “As Long As I Have a Song.” It’s my first time opening up about my absolute love for writing. I talk about how when writer’s block happens it’s not just frustrating, it’s terrifying to think that maybe the thing that helps me to heal and pray has possibly been taking away. This song reminds me to always, always, always value the gift of writing and to be so thankful for it.
 
MR: What was the recording process this time around and which lucky musical pals came to the party?
 
BH: We recorded in New York City, then mixed in Los Angeles. Ed Cherney mixed, Rob Mathes and Micheal Stevens produced, piano was Rob Mathes and myself, guitars were Rob and Larry Campbell, bass was Zev Katz, and drums were Charlie Drayton. We spent seven days in the studio and it was real cool. I was surrounded by great people…and how can ya not love New York?
 
MR: Speaking of pals, you recently did a project with Joe Bonamassa who adores you in my interviews with him. But the adoration doesn’t stop there. What’s going on with all this Beth Hart luv?
 
BH: Well, I hope he loves me because I love and adore all the musicians in his camp and the producer, Kevin Shirley. We’ve made two records now and a live DVD together…but it’s not that kind of love. I have a husband who’s the sexiest man that’s ever lived!! And I adore my Scotty more than anything and anyone, forever!!!
 
MR: Nice. How would you define your music these days?
 
BH: I call it Americana–rock, blues, soul, story teller, gospel, and sometimes a sprinkle of jazz–all the stuff Americans invented. The best.
 
MR: I’ve interviewed you like thirty times now, if by thirty, I mean twice. We’ve basically talk about your latest project, which, of course, we’re doing again here. But let me ask you about your roots this time. Which artists were you listening to growing up and what songs really got to you?
 
BH: I listened to a ton of different genres. From classical–Beethoven, to jazz–Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Anita O’Day, to reggae–Steele Pulse, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, to soul–Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, James Brown,  Etta James, to blues–Howlin Wolff, Big Joe Turner, Robert Johnson, etc), to hard rock–Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Rush, Black Sabbath, Sound Garden, Alice In Chains, Tool, Les Claypool in Primus, to punk–Ramones, Black Flag Pattie Smith, to story tellers–Carol King, James Taylor, Ricky Lee Jones, Eagles, Tom Waits, etc.–and this long ass list could go on and on and f**kin’ on!

You know, sometimes the songs that really affected me were not from the artist catalogue of their music, like the song “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen. I never got into any of his other music, but that song to this day is in my top three lyrical masterpieces of all time. It so beautifully describes longing. It’s clever, but never reaching. It’s full of promise, but never a bullshit fairy tale. It’s the shit that writers should study on how to craft a great lyric. Also, The Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is perfect and so f**king true, but never preachy. There is a humility to knowing. I love it. The song “Summertime” is, to me, a musical feat. Just the music alone does it for me–soaring melodies, both gentle and powerful, like classical music, then a total blues style lyric over it. So fantastic. And last but not least, “Strange Fruit” by the great Billie Holiday and Nina Simone–genius!. This song musically is so gorgeous and DARK DARK DARK, which is so totally appropriate for the darkest of lyrics covering, in such a poetic way, the true depths of slavery, cruelty, and depravity. It’s brave, it’s honest, and it will never let us forget. It’s art.  
 
MR: What are the stories behind the transitions from music fan to performing musician to recording artist?
 
BH: The transition from fan, to performer, to recording artist for me was like learning how to dive…and each board got higher and higher. I wanted so much to do it, but I was afraid I’d be hurt. Now I’m used to being hurt and I know it is part of it, and that’s okay, because it also brings such love and joy. It’s totally worth it every time.
 
MR: What advice do you have for new artists?
 
BH: The best advice I can give is to do it because you have to, and try to never rate yourself or your work based on others’ reactions. This is very important. It’s a gift to enjoy, not to get more and more. If more comes than that’s awesome, but if more never comes don’t ever let that determine your worth. Have faith in everything and everyone, including yourself.
 
MR: Though there seems to be a healthier environment these days with new or emerging artists taking control of their own careers as opposed for depending on major labels to propel them. Yet it’s virtually impossible to have a huge career without those labels’ support and coordination and contacts. If you were starting now, how would Beth Hart approach getting her music discovered? 
 
BH: Oh I have no idea. I suppose I’d do what I did before, and that’s write and perform anywhere and everywhere constantly.
 
MR: How have your creativity and career evolved within a turbulent music scene’s sea changes?
 
BH: I honestly don’t focus on that, that’s what I have a manager and a label for. I have enough to jumble with taking care of myself and being creative. I also believe that God has me right where I’m supposed to be, always.
 
MR: So what surprises do you have waiting for the Beth Hart fans and newcomers?
 
BH: No surprises. I have a humble outfit, but we still give as much love and energy we possibly can each night. We play songs from all the records, so I always hope to make the audience feel very happy that they came.
 
MR: At this moment, are you where you want to be in your life?
 
BH: I really am enjoying and feeling so so grateful each day lately. This is a calm and peaceful time.

******************************

BUFFALO RODEO’S “BLUE SKY” EXCLUSIVE

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photo credit: Adam Wolffbrandt (www.http://www.adamwolffbrandt.com)

According to Buffalo Rodeo’s Zach Preston…

“Blue Sky” is the first single off Buffalo Rodeo’s upcoming EP, 123 Water, out March 6th. The band recorded this EP in a warehouse-turned-recording studio space in Horse Cave, KY, where we ostracized ourselves in a small town in the middle-of-nowhere. From those warehouse sessions came the songs that make up 123 Water. “Blue Sky” for me is a song about personal and spiritual realizations that I’ve observed growing up in a conservative religious household. Many times it felt like too much emphasis was put on what happens after I die, when most of us aren’t in control or completely aware of what’s happening in reality. It’s ultimately about living for what’s in front of you, until you can grasp the rest. Personally I think the rest is important just not as worthwhile as simple ethical lessons of respect, decency, or appreciation for what we already have.

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A Conversation with The Stone Foxes’ Spence Koehler & Shannon Koehler

Mike Ragogna: Spence, looks like you’ve got some “Locomotion” behind your Foxes First Fridays. See the lame thing I did there?

Spence Koehler: Ha! I’ll take it! It’s definitely been a fun new way of rolling out new songs, giving fans something fresh to look forward to at the beginning of each month. We’re happy to see that they’re into it too.

Shannon Koehler: More dad jokes please!

MR: [laughs] So this upcoming album, with one song being released a week over the course of a year when it will finally be released, will not only be a full album but somewhat of a travelog, also containing pictures, live recordings and more. How did the idea come about to approach your new album this way?

Shannon: It started a year and a half ago when we decided to add three old friends to the team, Brian “The Buffalo,” and Vince “Trish” Dewald, and Ben “Wang” Andrews. All three are multi-instrumentalist wizards, and as they joined one by one over that time, we jumped into the studio between tours to slowly develop our new sound. We play a live show that feels like we’re a high octane GT 500 engine, but we wanted to get that feel to translate to tape. We took the straight up rock n roll that all six of us love to play, and went through phases of punk, country, folk, and pop sounds. This collection is the documentation of that process. It’s nothing like the old school albums we’ve done before. With one song about heart problems and surgeries shortly followed by another about gentrification in SF, the songs all feel so different, but they come from the heart of the same rock ‘n’ roll band.

Spence: Plus, the way most people digest new music is shifting. We wanted to give everyone a fresh track each month that they could listen to for free. This method gave us an opportunity to feature each song for an entire month, which is rarely the case on a traditional record. For those who enjoy taking the time to listen to a record from front to back we are also going to release a full physical album, press vinyl etc. That release will include some studio B sides, live video from The Chapel residency we did in Nov. 2014, and photos of life in the studio and on
the road.

MR: How has your audience reacted to this approach so far? Were you ever
afraid it might demand more of their patience than they’re willing to give for such an ambitious approach?

Spence: At the merch table after shows people keep asking us about the new
tracks and when the next one is coming out, they seem to be digging it as much as we are. When we were brainstorming about how to release the songs, we discovered that we all love it when we find out that there’s a brand new EP or single up for download on “So and So’s” site. You don’t have to wait for a full album to drop later down the road, you can go listen to some of it right now.

Shannon: Our fans and friends have stuck by us through thick and thin, from our first show at a cafe/laundromat to headlining The Fillmore. We weren’t afraid to give our fans something new, in fact, we wanted to to give them the music for free as a thank you. We can’t do it without them, and we know that.   

MR: How many of the Twelve Spells have been completed?

Shannon: We’re actually in our friends studio, The Complex in downtown SF,
doing overdubs on the last tracks right now!  You know it’s going well when going to the studio feels like going to camp.  It feels like summer camp right now.  

Spence: Yeah, we have all the main tracking done, but the big final task is mixing the songs together as a group. We recorded with some well known dudes with impressive resumes and big time artist credits, but this time around we wanted to get back to the basics and do it ourselves. So far it’s felt really natural and great.

MR: Is there any older material or songs written over a year ago making it into this batch?

Spence: There are some old riffs I had saved away that we used, probably some old lyrics that Shannon found on a notepad under his couch among the cookie crumbs and dust bunnies.

Shannon: They weren’t under my couch, jerk face! Some of the songs are a year old, some of them were written two weeks ago about things that are in our newspapers. A lot of our lyrics come from our passion for social justice issues, and there’s always something worth standing up for and singing about.

MR: What do you think of the blues-rock scene these days?

Spence: For a while, it seemed like Jack White and The Black Keys ruled the world, everything they put out was monstrous and awesome, but I feel like that bubble has burst and bands like Alabama Shakes and Tame Impala are putting out the most honest forward thinking blues these days.

Shannon: Everybody is so damn good…our Bay Area brothers Strange Vine and Two Gallants, and even bigger boys that we look up to like My Morning Jacket and Wilco… We could go on forever, but we’re lucky to live in a time when there are so many great bands taking rock n’ roll and doing it their own way.   

MR: What’s been the biggest surprise about making music together over these last few years? The biggest evolution for the band or music?

Shannon: Honestly, we’re surprised to be talking to someone like you!  We never thought we were gonna get farther than that cafe/laundromat. Playing festivals like Outside Lands, starring in music videos, flying to other countries…it’s all gravy.

Spence: The band has evolved several times since the start. Adding Elliott on
keys was a big sonic change to the beef of our sound. Two–and sometimes three–guitars gives Ben and I the flexibility to back up and weave in and out of each other. The addition of Vince, our second lead singer and songwriter, has expanded our vocal range and lyrical depth. Probably the most visible change has been adding Brian as a second drummer, letting him focus on his beats and allowing Shannon to sing and play harmonica from the front of the stage with a full tilt band behind him.

MR: Has this First Friday program been working better than you planned or is it still a work in progress?

Spence: It’s definitely been working well, though one big unexpected challenge has been coming up with the artwork for not one, but twelve covers. We’re collaborating with our friend and fellow SF artist Giuliana Pinto, who has been doing incredible paint on cardboard backdrops and costume design for our covers. Each song is given a representative character and she takes it from there. We’re all taking our turn donning whatever crazy outfits she’s devised for the cover shoots. I let her dress me up in shimmering glitter, makeup and hairspray to pose as Ocean Man for the cover of “Like it ain’t Nothin.” Giuliana herself wore tights and a red cape in the BART station for the cover of “Cold Like a Killer.” All of them are shot in and around different parts of SF because this place is a big part of our inspiration.

Shannon: And as we said before, not all of the songs are completely done…yipes! So we’ve been in my room with a kick-ass mic and towels draped all over my walls singing, disturbing my neighbors, then running in to mix, sending it out to be mastered, all to get it back in time for the first Friday.

MR: Who do you listen to casually, like what bands or solo acts?

Spence: I’m on a country kick right now–Buck Owens, Flying Burrito Brothers, Ryan Adams. Bakersfield-style stuff.

Shannon: I’ve been digging a lot of Nick Cave, he’s got a song about how Miley Cyrus was the best girl he ever had. If I wrote that, I’d get kicked out of my band! Outside of that, I can never get enough of The Band, and if I need to get pumped up lately I turn Jay Z’s “Threats” waaaay up!

MR: How do you see your recordings and music growing over the next year? How will that effect musical output and touring schedule?

Shannon: We’re really gonna put our heads together when the spells are finished, but we’ve been loving the darker places the music and lyrics have gone. We like the hard hits, with Ennio Morricone licks, just a pinch of hip-hop when needed, and lyrics that talk about what’s happening right now. A lot of people sing about girls, and we do it here and there too, but Vince and I are passionate about peace and social justice issues that our generation can’t ignore.  We feel that rock ‘n’ roll has the power to move mountains, and we’re gonna keep playing till we move one.

Spence: We’ve had our days in most studios and home-recording environments and I think we’ve finally found a comfortable spot right in between at the Complex SF. It’s not a slick LA studio and it’s also not our musty used-mattress-lined garage. It’s kind of a glorified garage though, a Wayne’s World-style garage with some quality gear and a chill dude who knows how to run it. It’s important to have a good set of mics and preamps to get solid tones. We track most instruments live, all together in the same room, with a bit of bleed. If someone flubs a note, but the rest of the take is right on, we keep it. Then we dub vocals either at
home or at the studio. We try to get too bogged down in the process and let the tracks speak for themselves.

MR: What advice do you have for new or emerging artists?

Spence: Write more songs than you’re actually putting on your record, then choose the best. Our first two records were cut the moment we had enough material to fill an LP and I’m sure we could have done better if we were not so antsy to just get another record out. It’s nice to have options to choose from when you’re putting together an album.

Shannon: Play lots of shows. Play lots of shows. Eat some ice cream… And then play more shows.

MR: What advice would you have given to The Stone Foxes when they started out?

Spence: Play like it’s the last show you’ll ever play. We once drove all the way to Phoenix, Arizona, to play for a huge room full of empty chairs. But we played in to ourselves nonetheless and made it a hell of a good time for us and the few people who were there putting on the show. Two years later, the same promoter asked us to open for The Black Keys.

Shannon: There was a meeting after another bad show in Southern California
where our managers sat us down the next morning and told us we could never play that sh**ty again. I wish I could have told ourselves that two years earlier. Oh, and I would have also told myself, get a better van, you idiot.

MR: [laughs] What does the immediate future look like?

Shannon: We’re about to book it down to the desert and play a mess of shows
including the the VIVA Phoenix fest and a bunch of SXSW showcases. We have eight shows in four days in Austin, so we’re getting in shape so we can keep it high voltage! We also are continuing to collect healthy non-perishable foods at each show and take them to shelters and food banks as part of our Goodnight Moon Project. Donate food to those in need and we’ll give you a 7″ record, easy as pie. See what it’s all about at http://www.goodnightmoonproject.org.
 
Spence: This Friday, we’re releasing “I Want To Be You” in our next installment of #FoxesFirstFriday. Check it out!

******************************

DIDA’S “APOLOGY” EXCLUSIVE

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photo credit: Care Of Dida Pelled

According to Dida…

“‘Apology’ is the first release from my upcoming album Modern Love Songs. The core of the album is the idea that the same human feelings that have always existed, like songs of love and introspection are explored through a contemporary, personal perspective. On a musical and artistic level, I draw heavily from the great American songbook, and am constantly inspired by its great interpreters. In a way the direction of this album is a continuation of themes I find in those classic sources.

The song was written by my main collaborator, Tal Ronen. On the surface, it describes an experience familiar to New Yorkers, that of having caught a mouse. However, as the song progresses the separation between human and animal, captive and free, living and dying, begin to blur. Working with these ideas in mind, Iyar Dyoman directed this video. It features my parents, Peli and Dahlia Pelled.”

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A Conversation with Sugar Ray Norcia

Mike Ragogna: Sugar Ray, your new album is titled Living Tear To Tear. Why all these tears?

Sugar Ray Norcia: Well, I don’t think of it as sad! Just listen to the band cruising along taking you for a joyful ride. The lyrics on a lot of the songs deal with common human emotions some, of course, about troubles, troubles in a relationship or trouble with something or another but the music behind it is very uplifting and therapeutic to me.

MR: Do you have some idea of what your projects will be about as you begin the creative phase or do the songs tell you what it is as you dig into the writing and recording?

SRN: I don’t begin with a preconceived idea for a project other then to keep in mind what it is that we as a band do best and that is to play our own unadulterated, unbasterdized version of urban,electric blues.I also keep in mind the incredible talent of the players around me as I write material. “Monster” Mike Welch on guitar is just that…a monster. His style is electrifying,inventive,subtle and passionate. These are the things that make a dynamic performer. Anthony Geraci is on piano and sometimes Hammond organ. It’s a pure delight to hear the keyboards being played with such intensity and sensitivity while keeping it all in the right style that compliments our material. I’m not just saying….I know! Then there is Mudcat Ward on upright and electric bass and Neil Gouvin on drums. Man they are a dream team of a rhythm section…the bands nucleus. Playing with them is like being driven in a Lincoln Town Car or Cadillac. Mudcats smooth, steady bass lines complimented with Gouvins world famous shuffle on his coveted, vintage Slingerland “Radio King” drum kit is the s**t! Man, I have to stop and go get a beer and a harmonica. I make my own damn self-inspired!

MR: [laughs] How does it feel to have a 35th anniversary with the band?

SRN: It feels great! I think it would be fair to say that not too many bands have been together for 35 years. Mike Welch on guitar is the newest member of the band. He’s been with us for about 15 years. The rest of us have played together for 35, yes that’s right, 35 years, more or less. I figure that’s a total of about 155 years of experience!

MR: From your perspective, what happened on Living Tear To Tear that never happened before on previous recordings?

SRN: Oh I don’t know. To me everytime we step foot into the recording studio something special happens. We are there to play our best but it’s like a frozen moment in time. If we were to record the same song once a day for any number of days, each take would be a little different from the last. It depends on how you are feeling in the moment.It depends on how relaxed or tense you may be or how many drinks you may have had or what’s going on in your private life or what the mix sounds like in your headphones.All sorts of variables ultimately contribute to the final product. We usually cut a song once, one take with almost no overdubs.

MR: Were there any surprising moments on the album? Any songs that gave you a tough time? Any that ended up becoming favorites?

SRN: None of the songs gave us a tough time. If you don’t know your craft after all these years then something aint right with you! One of my favorite songs ended up being the slow blues I wrote called “Misery.” It comes from somewhere other that just your normal three chord blues progression. It comes from deep within your heart and soul. It’s hard to describe in words. We were all in another place…almost spiritual I would say. We were just lazily floating through blues heaven making chord changes in unusual places, riffing off each others creative ideas, all unrehearsed and free. Thats a great thing to happen.

MR: What do you think of the blues these days? Does it still have the chops to get out there every night and do it again?

SRN: Like anything else, the blues evolves in all it’s different forms and off-shoots.I myself am not a big fan of rock inspired blues or blues that’s over the top. There’s nothing wrong with that approach but like to keep it true to the 1950s style of amplified blues. I like old stuff….old cars, old amps, old radios, old wine, old stuff. Maybe that’s why my friends have been calling me “The Old Man” since I was about 20!

MR: You as the artist, what do you feel are the best things that you contribute to the blues?

SRN: I think it’s really what I just said. My band and I are keepers of the flame when it comes to preserving the integrity of authentic sounding urban blues. I think given the complexity and craziness of the world around us today that it is refreshing for a lot of blues fans on this planet to hear as they say…the real deal. Our most recent album Living Tear to Tear was honored with seven Blues Music Award nominations this year including Band of the Year and Album of the Year. For myself alone I have thirteen Blues Music Award nominations for the Bluetones last three CD’s and last year I won two Blues Music Awards for my contribution on an album called Remembering Little Walter which also received a Grammy nomination. That makes me a three-time Grammy nominated blues performer. Not too shabby for a 61-year-old Italian American from Stonington, Connecticut. You know what the great Muddy Waters once told me? He said, “Sugar Ray, you Italians got soul!”

MR: Sweet. Do you think the blues will last forever?

SRN: What’s that saying? The blues will never die. It’s true! As long as we live in this sin sick world, the blues will be around. Since the beginning of time man has had some degree of the blues. It’s just a fact of life man, a fact of life.

MR: Sugar Ray, what advice do you have for new or emerging artists?

SRN: I would have to say…be yourself. You’ve probably heard that before but man it’s so right.When you get to a place as a young or older artist where you can incorporate all of the musical stylings that you appreciate and form them like from a ball of clay into something that is uniquely your own then you really got something. Be yourself….nobody else is!

MR: There’s no way you’re ever going to retire, is there.

SRN: Well, no. An artist doesn’t really ever retire. One may say that he or she is retiring but it really aint so.You know I had an uncle who played real great jazz guitar for all his life and one day when he was around 60 years old or so he just three up his hands and said, “That’s it, I quit!” I was devastated. I urged him to go out and play but he just refused. He said “no damn it, I’m done.” No one could figure out how or why he just stopped cold until we all realized that he had developed a bad case of dementia and that was the reason he threw in the towel .So, as long as I have my health I’m in the game.

MR: Even though you perform and record the blues, are you happy?

SRN: Listen to track # 3 on our CD “Living From Tear to Tear.” It’s called “Things Could Be Worse.” My Dad always told me, “Son, at times, you may think you have it bad but look around you…things could be worse.”

I’ve been married to the same great woman for forty years…I’m happy.
I have a wonderful family…I’m happy.
I live in a beautiful house in the country on twelve acres…Im happy.
I have chickens, a cat and a great dog…I’m happy.
I write, sing and play the blues with one of the best blues bands on the planet…I’m happy!

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ELAINE ROMANELLI’S “25” EXCLUSIVE

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photo credit: Nejat, www.nejat.com

According to Elaine Romanelli…

“The song ’25’ is for everyone reaching a birthday and wondering what is ahead — and also for everyone looking back and laughing at the twists and turns. Most of all, it’s a celebration of feeling joyful, of living fully and loving your friends, right now, no matter your age.”


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Impersonating Celebrity Faces Is What This Woman Does Better Than Everyone

Hey, some people are great at painting or playing an instrument, others can make their face look like any celebrity.

Like this young woman, for example. Imgur user CellCow has become very good at recreating pictures of celebrities making funny faces. Like, scary good.

Here are just a few of the best. Even if they’re not exactly accurate, they’re still pretty funny. Check out the rest of CowCell’s albums at her Imgur page.

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