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Estrella Araiza To Head Up Guadalajara Intl Film Festival

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 06:01 AM PST

The Guadalajara Intl. Film Festival (FICG) has announced that Estrella Araiza, until now the festival’s head of industry and markets and director of the Guadalajara IntL. Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been promoted to the position of general director of the prominent Mexican festival.

She replaces Ivan Trujillo, appointed director of TV UNAM.

Araiza has long been a well-respected and liked figure in Mexican cinema, and has involved herself in various areas of the film business, focusing primarily on sales, acquisitions and distribution. In 2012, after a successful run as an acquisitions-sales executive at Guadalajara sales company Latinofusion, she and her partner Arturo Perez Navarro co-founded Vendo Cine, an international sales and distribution agency.

The promotion comes during a period of exciting growth – partly due to Araiza’s own efforts – evidenced by the addition of two new sections, a FICG TV Pitchbox organized by Filmarket Hub, and an animation competition intended to rival the best in Latin America.

“We are confident that with Estrella’s extensive experience and capabilities the FICG will continue with the mission of consolidating, supporting and empowering Mexican cinema at international levels,” an the Guadalajara Festival stated Saturday night.

Departing director Iván Trujillo Bolio has overseen the festival’s resilient stay near the top of the list of important and influential Latin American festivals and markets since assuming the role of general director in 2011.

In spite of the increased competition from festivals in Mexico launched last or this decade, FICG has maintained its prominence with support from the University of Guadalajara, the Mexican Film Institute (Imcine), the National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), the State Government of Jalisco, and the cities of Guadalajara and Zapopan.

Its mid-March date means it is also used by international sales agents to trawl recent production in the long run-up to the Cannes Festival.

“We extend our sincere congratulations to Iván Trujillo Bolio for his appointment as director of TV UNAM,” the statement added. “We wish him the best of luck and are convinced that he will do an excellent job.”

This year’s FICG will run from March 8-15.

Starz Releases ‘American Gods’ Season 2 Trailer (Watch)

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 06:00 AM PST

Starz has released a second season trailer for “American Gods,” which returns to the cabler Mar. 10, depicting the brewing war between Gods old and new in the series based on Neil Gaiman’s novel of the same name.

“When people first came to America they brought us with them,” the trailer begins, flashing images of Old Gods including Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and Mr. Nancy (Orlando Jones).

Quickly, the images become more modern and Sarah McLachlan’s “Dear God” plays. “Gradually they abandoned us,” the voiceover continues. “Now there are new Gods growing in America, and they want to destroy us.”

As Mr. Wednesday tosses Shadow (Ricky Whittle) a spear he tells him “war’s a-coming” and that he has a “big role” for him. The trailer also offers first looks at new characters for the season played by Sakina Jaffrey and Dean Winters.

In the second season of the drama series, the network promises, the battle will move “inexorably toward crisis point as the destinies of gods and men collide.” Mr. World (Crispin Glover) will plot revenge for the attack on him in the first season, while Shadow joins Mr. Wednesday, and a council at the House on the Rock erupts in chaos, which sends gods on quests across America.

American Gods” stars Whittle, McShane, Glover, Jones, Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Mouse Kraish, Omid Abtahi and Demore Barnes. In addition to Jaffrey and Winters, joining the second season are Devery Jacobs and Kahyun Kim, with Cloris Leachman and Peter Stormare guest starring.

Bryan Fuller and Michael Green stepped down as showrunners, replaced by Jesse Alexander. Craig Cegielski, Stefanie Berk, David Slade, Adam Kane and Gaiman also serve as executive producers.

Watch the trailer for the second season of “American Gods” below:

Film Review: ‘St. Bernard Syndicate’

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 05:21 AM PST

John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan may have received major award nominations this season for their fine work in “Stan & Ollie,” but there’s arguably a superior Laurel & Hardy tribute act to be found in the droll Danish comedy “St. Bernard Syndicate.” As a pair of bumbling losers who turn an already dubious business proposal — breeding and hawking St. Bernard puppies for the Chinese market — into a shambolically fine mess, actors Frederik Cilius and Rasmus Bruun have a passive-aggressive, oil-and-water chemistry that somehow recalls the bantering vintage duo as if stranded in a Dogme 95 comedy of embarrassment. A wily left turn into narrative filmmaking for celebrated docmaker Mads Brügger (“The Red Chapel”), “St. Bernard Syndicate” deftly extends the dry satirical streak of his non-fiction work into a more heightened vein of farce; rarefied cult status awaits.

Receiving a limited run in U.S. theaters around the same time as Brügger’s latest documentary “Cold Case Hammarskjöld” premieres at Sundance, “St. Bernard Syndicate” was a comparatively low-key presence on last year’s festival circuit — though it did earn honors at Tribeca for Bruun and screenwriter Lærke Sanderhoff. Perhaps the film’s quiet profile comes down to its essential slenderness: Witty and larkish in the moment, it isn’t about an awful lot more than it appears to be on the surface. That hardly matters when the execution is such deadpan perfection, taking equal tonal cues from Ricky Gervais, Aki Kaurismäki and early Thomas Vinterberg, and regarding its own escalating absurdity with both a wink and a dour grimace.

This is a world, after all, in which St. Bernard dogs are earnestly described as “the pandas of the West” and no one so much as cracks a smile in response. This is the pitch that Frederik (Cilius), a paunchy blowhard with not much to show for thirtysomething years on the planet, repeats to sell people on what we surmise is the latest of various hare-brained get-rich-quick schemes: to make the huge, slobbering mutts a must-have family accessory in China, kidnapping his father’s own treasured pet Dollar to use as his sales model.

At a school reunion, Frederik finds an unlikely partner and financial backer in Rasmus (Bruun), a wan, eager-to-please underachiever with, as it turns out, very little to lose. For what Frederik doesn’t know is that Rasmus has been newly diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is determined to live out one last adventure before his body gives out on him.

So it is that the unpromising, awkwardly matched pair — never friends at school, and only intermittently civil as adults — head to Chongqing, dog in tow, to make their fortune. There, things go about as well as you’d expect them to, only worse; hampered from the get-go by bad luck, bad judgment and a few truly cringe-worthy unforced errors. Brügger retains his documentarian’s eye throughout, as he and cinematographer Jonas Berlin shoot even the most antic setpieces with a cool, impassive gaze that only stresses their hilarity: Most memorable in this regard is a calamitous sales launch that successful mixes broad slapstick (as one character accidentally fires a confetti cannon into their crotch) with subtler reactive comedy, drenched in mortified sweat. Thankfully, though the film maintains this ironic vérité stance throughout, Brügger never fully sinks into a tired mockumentary format.

Both actors deserve much of the credit for the film’s scrappy appeal. Cilius and Bruun squabble with tetchy verbal energy and exploit their contrasting physiques and demeanors — Frederik imposing and short-fused, Rasmus reedy and wheedling — for maximum comic value, while empathetically maintaining a sense of real, doleful human tragedy beneath their shenanigans. And of course, any pooch-themed film is only as good as the dog at its center: As Dollar, in a film that deserves to eclipse “Beethoven” as the St. Bernard’s breed’s finest screen hour, a magnificent specimen named Odessa is lovable enough to make Frederik’s dead-end idea seem just about worth buying into.

Green Book enjoys success at the Producers Guild of America Awards

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 03:47 AM PST

‘Green Book’ won the coveted Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures at the Producers Guild of America Awards on Saturday night (01.19.19).

The Peter Farrelly-directed drama movie – which tells the story of a friendship between an Italian-American and a black pianist during a road trip – claimed the sought-after award at the ceremony at The Beverly Hilton ahead of hits such as ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, ‘A Quiet Place’ and ‘Black Panther’.

Director Peter Farrelly – who previously helmed ‘Dumb and Dumber’ – joked: “You know, when you make ‘Dumb & Dumber’, you don’t ever expect to get an award.”

Despite his success, Peter insisted he doesn’t judge his career by accolades.

He explained: “I don’t need awards. This award to me is like Warren Buffett winning the lottery.”

Elsewhere, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ won the Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures award.

Collecting the prize, producer Phil Lord said: “We tried hard to make a movie good enough for Miles Morales and his family to be in.”

Elsewhere, ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ won the Danny Thomas Award for Episodic Television, Comedy prize, overcoming competition from the likes of ‘Atlanta’ and ‘The Good Place’, while ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’ was named the winner of the David L. Wolper Award for Limited Series Television.

The popular show – which stars the likes of Edgar Ramirez, Darren Criss, Ricky Martin, and Penelope Cruz – explores the murder of iconic fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Another of the night’s winners was ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’, which won the Non-Fiction Television accolade at The Beverly Hilton.

Producers Guild of America Awards winners:

Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures:

‘Green Book’

Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

Norman Felton Award for Episodic Television, Drama:

‘The Americans’

Danny Thomas Award for Episodic Television, Comedy:

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

David L. Wolper Award for Limited Series Television:

‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’

Streamed or Televised Motion Pictures:

‘Fahrenheit 451’

Non-Fiction Television:

‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’

Live Entertainment & Talk Television:

‘Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’

Producer of Game & Competition Television:

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Short-Form Program:

‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’

Sports Program:

‘Being Serena’

Children’s Program:

‘Sesame Street’

Documentary Motion Pictures:

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

Khloe Kardashian: You don’t need a man to enjoy Valentine’s Day

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

Khloe Kardashian doesn’t “need a man to enjoy Valentine’s Day”.

The 34-year-old reality TV star – who has nine-month-old daughter True with NBA player Tristan Thompson – downplayed the importance of being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day during a cosmetics launch alongside her good friend Malika Haqq.

Speaking about her close bond with Malika, Khloe – who has been dating Tristan since 2016 – explained: “I think a lot of best friends can relate, especially when someone is going through a break-up or whatever.

“People always make this huge emphasis on Valentine’s Day, but you have each other.”

Khloe – who was previously married to Lamar Odom – insisted she can happily enjoy Valentine’s Day without having a man alongside her.

She told E! News: “You don’t always need a man to enjoy Valentine’s Day.”

Meanwhile, a source recently claimed that Khloe and Tristan won’t get engaged “any time soon”.

Sources claimed they won’t be progressing their relationship to the next level in the near future because they want to focus on their daughter.

A source said: “Khloe and Tristan are really focused on doing what’s best for True. They are not going to get engaged anytime soon. The focus right now is on whatever is best for True.”

Tristan is reportedly trying to regain the trust of the ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star after he was accused of flirting with other women just days before True’s birth.

The insider shared: “Tristan is trying everything he can to regain her trust, but Khloe is spending more time in LA because True has so many family members and such a support system there.”

Pete Davidson jokes about suicide scare

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

Pete Davidson joked about his suicide scare during a segment on ‘Saturday Night Live’.

The 25-year-old comedian sparked fears for his safety in December after he posted a candid message on his Instagram page, but Pete has now made light of that situation during a segment alongside John Mulaney on the popular comedy show.

John explained: “I’ve been spending time with Pete to try to show him that you can have a life in comedy that is not insane. A sober, domestic life.”

Pete – who was previously engaged to pop star Ariana Grande – quickly quipped: “Yeah, and after observing John’s life, I publicly threatened suicide. I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t make that joke.”

Pete alarmed fans with his candid Instagram post last month, when he admitted he didn’t know how much longer he can “last”.

He said on the photo-sharing website: “I’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last. All I’ve ever tried to do was help people. Just remember I told you so (sic).”

Prior to that, Pete said he hopes that being open about his own vulnerabilities “will help bring awareness and help kids like myself who don’t want to be on this earth”.

The comedian added: “No matter how hard the internet or anyone tries to make me kill myself. I won’t. I’m upset I even have to say this. (sic)”

Meanwhile, Ariana previously called on her social media followers to be more “compassionate and gentle with one another”.

She wrote on Twitter: “some of the s**t i read on here makes me sick to my stomach. it scares me the way some people think and i don’t like this world a lot of the time. if only we could be more compassionate and gentle with one another. that’d be sick. (sic)”

America’s Got Talent set for an overhaul?

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 03:00 AM PST

‘America’s Got Talent’ is reportedly set for a major overhaul.

The Simon Cowell-created show is being given a major shake-up by TV bosses, who are apparently planning to replace all of the judges except for Simon.

A source said: “The word on the street is they are replacing all ‘AGT’ judges except Simon. It started with [talk about replacing] Mel B and now it’s everyone. Tyra [Banks] is gone.”

Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel are also reportedly set to be replaced on the show, with Simon determined to bring some fresh blood into the judging panel.

An insider told the New York Post newspaper: “There hasn’t been much buzz about who’s replacing them … Simon’s ready for new judges.”

The speculation comes shortly after Simon, 59, revealed that he had the idea for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ – which is another part of the global ‘Got Talent’ franchise – while watching a rival music show.

The music mogul had a brainwave while tuning in to see a contestant perform poorly on another show, and Simon decided he would rather see animal acts trying to sing instead.

Simon – who also stars as a judge on ‘The X Factor’ in the UK – said: “It was just an idea I had in the kitchen one day, I was watching another competing music show and a girl was murdering ‘Get Here’ by Oleta Adams.

“I thought, ‘Do you know what, I would actually rather watch a show about a singing dog.’ And that’s how ‘Got Talent’ came along.

“And we developed it over a year and then we sold it. And this show will run for 20 years.”

Pamela Anderson misses kids since moving to France

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 01:00 AM PST

Pamela Anderson “misses” her children since moving to France

The 51-year-old actress has two adult sons, Brandon, 22, and Dylan, 21, but the two pair chose to stay in California when she told them she was relocating to the European country rather than move with their mother.

Pamela – who had her children with her first husband, Motley Crue drummer, Tommy Lee, 56 – is proud that her boys have their own lives in the US and was thrilled when the brothers decided to buy a house together to live in with each other, but she just “can’t wait” for the next time see her kids.

Speaking to Silvia Toffanin on Italy’s Canale5 TV show ‘Verissimo’, she said: “I miss my children. You know I live in France now and they have very busy lives. I can’t wait for the next time they’ll come visit me.

“They are 22 and 21 and they just bought a house together in California. They are very independent, I couldn’t be prouder of them. One is an actor and the other is a musician and they don’t need their mother anymore.”

Pamela tries to keep up to date with her boys lives from afar including their romantic endeavors, however, Brandon is more inclined to share the secrets of his love life than Brandon.

She said: “Brandon has an off-and-on girlfriend, Dylan depends … But they are very romantic. And they have great taste when it comes to women.

“They really care about me. They give me lots of presents, they invite me to dinner, they buy me flowers. It’s amazing.”

The former ‘Baywatch’ star relocated to France for her French soccer player boyfriend Adil Rami, 33, and although she is very happy with the sportsman she hasn’t thought about marriage – yet.

When asked if she thinks she will ever marry her beau, the four times married beauty answered: “Who knows? There is a slim chance.”

Ask Kim: Making the most of your 401(k)

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Q: My New Year’s resolution is to get serious about saving for retirement in my 401(k). Any advice?

A: Review your 401(k) elections to make sure you’re making the most of your plan. For example, contribution limits for 401(k)s increased by $500 this year. So if you’ve set up your contributions for a fixed-dollar sum, don’t keep the amount on autopilot if you want to salt away the maximum.

The maximum annual 401(k) contribution limit is now $19,000 for younger workers. If you’re 50 or older anytime in 2019, you’ll be able to contribute an extra $6,000 to your 401(k), bringing the total to $25,000. You can start making your catch-up contributions anytime in 2019, even if your 50th birthday isn’t until later in the year.

And if you can’t afford to put away that much, consider increasing your contributions at least a little this year, especially if you receive a raise. Even small increases can make a big difference over time.

Most employers also give you a choice between making traditional 401(k) contributions, which are pretax and grow tax-deferred until retirement, or Roth 401(k) contributions, which don’t get you a tax break upfront but can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement. Unlike with a Roth IRA, there’s no income limit to making Roth 401(k) contributions.

If most of your retirement savings is already in tax-deferred accounts, consider making some or all of your new contributions to a Roth 401(k). This can diversify the tax treatment of your retirement savings. If your employer offers both types of plans, you can direct new contributions to the Roth 401(k) rather than the pretax 401(k) at any time, says Marina Edwards, senior director for retirement for benefits consultant Willis Towers Watson.

Also check your portfolio at least once a year to see if your investment mix still matches your desired allocation. If your stock funds have performed better than your bond funds, for example, your portfolio may be more heavily weighted in stocks — and riskier — than you originally intended. By rebalancing, you would sell shares in your stock funds and add money to the bond funds to get back to your original allocation.

Or your 401(k) may have an automatic rebalancing feature that makes the changes automatically if your allocation strays from your original plan by a certain percentage.

If you don’t want to worry about monitoring the investments yourself, consider investing in a target-date fund. With this type of fund, investment professionals create a diversified portfolio based on your investing time frame, rebalance when necessary, and gradually shift to more-conservative investments as your target retirement date gets closer.

(Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

In-laws struggle to connect with son’s family

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Dear Amy: My wife and I are struggling on how to handle our relationship with our new daughter-in-law. No matter what, it seems impossible to draw her into the fold of our family and to shower her with love and affection.

She is moody and often cold and indifferent. She and my son live a couple of hours away in a major city, and both of them have big jobs that keep them busy.

Unfortunately, we are forced to compete for their time with her parents, who live much closer to them. This really hurts us because we now have a 1-year-old grandchild.

Even though we have sought to alternate holidays, she and her mother always have some excuse as to why they can’t come to our home. We have to wait until the day after. We are not asked to offer childcare advice.

We are constantly angry and hurt over her passive aggression. She was wonderful with us before they got married, but all that seems to be in the past. We have a very close relationship with our only son, who tries to make everyone happy.

His high-paying job is demanding and stressful. We worry about confronting this, adding to his stress, and possibly losing them both.

— Desperate in the Burbs

Dear Desperate: I’m going to offer you a different perspective.

Your daughter-in-law is relatively new to your life. She has a new baby, a demanding job, a husband with a demanding job and parents nearby. She is dealing with a lot.

And she has in-laws who are “constantly hurt and angry.”

You are casting yourselves as demanding and disappointed. She may sense your anger and reflexively turn away because she doesn’t know how to please you.

Try being the easy, kindly and cooperative in-laws and grandparents. Rather than insist that they visit you, maybe you could travel to their home once or twice a month for the day. Offer five or six hours of free time on a weekend for the parents to do errands or go out together. Or you could hang with the family for an afternoon and simply get to know all of them.

Think of this as a process which will happen in stages. And try to relax while it does.

Dear Amy: We have just survived another holiday season with our little nightmare of a nephew, “Boo.” Boo and his folks live in another part of the country and we all travel to spend a week at our ancestral home over the holidays.

Boo is six. His parents are wonderful people. Boo’s dad travels extensively for work and his mom has decided to “home school” him. I’m not sure what this home schooling consists of, because although he is very bright and spirited, Boo doesn’t know how to play with other children, can’t share, take turns, sit still for meals or do a puzzle.

My wife and I (and other family members) are all pretty seasoned parents. We love this kid to bits, but we also dread seeing him. We do see some marginal improvement between visits, but struggle biting our tongue when this little dude is running roughshod over other children (and adults) in the family.

Any suggestions?

— Uncle

Dear Uncle: The way you describe “Boo’s” behavior, his challenges are all related to behaving in a “pro-social” way. Yes, kindergarten would definitely help. But his parents are taking the tougher path.

When you see this little dude, force yourself to invite him on a kid-friendly outing (hopefully without his folks). Choose an activity that does NOT include bright lights, loud music, or too much adjacent action. Take him on a short hike, go sledding or to a child-friendly gym. Correct him if he is aggressive, redirect him and demonstrate calm and consistent adult behavior.

Make a point of relating: “Boo did really well at first, but then he pushed his cousin. Our kids went through this stage … do you want some suggestions?”

Even during brief visits, you could end up influencing both “Boo” and his parents.

Dear Amy: I was surprised by your response to “Rap-attacked Dad.” Dad was horrified by his teen son’s choice in music.

Honestly, I expected another narrow, knee-jerk Amy response. But in this case, you stood up for the teen. I loved your answer. Color me shocked.

— Pleasantly Surprised

Dear Surprised: Thank you. My mother’s long-ago embrace of Jethro Tull inspired me to understand that cultural literacy is enhanced when generations listen together — and talk about what they are hearing.

(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: ASKAMY@amydickinson.com. Readers may send postal mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or “like” her on Facebook.)

OMARR’S DAILY ASTROLOGICAL FORECAST, For release 01/20/19 for 01/20/19

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

BIRTHDAY GUY: Director David Lynch was born in Missoula, Mont., on this date in 1946. This birthday guy has received Oscar nominations for best director for “Mulholland Drive,” “Blue Velvet,” and “The Elephant Man,” respectively. He was also the creative force behind the cult hit series “Twin Peaks.” Besides film, Lynch has paintings on exhibit in Los Angeles and he has released several musical albums.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Enjoy romantic moments today but get back to work tomorrow. No matter how attractive and sociable you are the dishes still need to be washed. Success will come through hard work and effort in the week ahead.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You might feel you need a break from routines in the week ahead. It should be easy to find a partner willing to escape a humdrum schedule and liven things up. Add some hobbies or entertainments to your agenda.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Make fantasies become facts. You can let the creative juices flow and work out the details to make dreams come true. As this week unfolds work steadily toward achieving a worthy goal that uplifts your spirits.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Bury the hatchet. It makes no sense to let animosities block a key relationship in the week ahead. Let bygones be bygones. Kiss and make up or just shake hands and call it quits if that makes more sense.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Come to a turning point. This is a good day to make a firm commitment or pledge your heart. During the upcoming week you may enjoy cheerful outings with loved ones or a variety of pleasant social activities.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In the week ahead, a situation in your love life may require a tender touch or proof of your loyalty despite all odds. You might be willing to spend a bit more than usual to obtain something that pleases your spirit.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): In the week to come people might come to you for advice or to confide their innermost thoughts because they trust your sense of fair play. You will be at your best when you have someone by your side.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You can have fun, but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. However, you might be in the mood to spend more than usual this week to pamper and spoil the ones you love. Your kindness brings out the best in people.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Your genuinely generous and gregarious nature is in full bloom. You might attract an admirer or a helpful connection in the week to come. Embrace creative activities and let your inner child enjoy recess.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Dare to dream. Follow a whim in the upcoming week and there’s no telling where it may lead. Enjoy contact with interesting new people or grow closer to an attractive new hook up whenever you find time.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Don’t discount a sincere compliment in the week ahead. Someone who seemed to be “just a friend” might be sincerely interested in you. What seems like a mere flirtation could turn into a long-term relationship.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Sugar and spice, and everything nice, is great until you are subjected to a steady diet of it. In the week ahead, you may enjoy good times with loved ones but at some point must get back to necessary routines.

IF JANUARY 20 IS YOUR BIRTHDAY: Throw off the shackles and let your imagination fly free as a bird during the upcoming four to six weeks. You may be inspired, fanciful or more creative than usual. A new romance might have you on cloud nine but don’t make crucial changes in March because you think you are in love. Once the fantasy wears thin you might see things differently. April is an excellent time to focus on financial security as your negotiation skills are in good order and you are shrewder about finding ways to climb to the top. Your good judgment might earn you extra respect or recognition in October when you can easily make changes for the better. That is the best time to make a crucial decision about a romantic partner.

*Pluggers – Color Comic Panel – 20190120cpplc-s.jpg

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

LATEST LINE

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

—————————————

—————————————

             By J. McCarthy  

—————————————

New Orleans is 48-23-1 against the spread its last 72 games versus a team with a winning record. Los Angeles is 21-45 against the spread its last 66 road games versus a team with a winning home record. The home team is 7-0 against the spread the last 7 games in this series. Take New Orleans -3 for another Best Bet winner. Other plays include New England +3 vs. Kansas City and New England/Kansas City Over 56 1/2.

————————————————-

                      NFL  

————————————————-

 Favorite            Points   (O/U)       Underdog  

————————————————-

            Conference Championships   NEW ORLEANS           3      (57)         LA Rams   KANSAS CITY           3      (56.5)   New England  

————————————————-

                      NBA  

————————————————-

 Favorite            Points   (O/U)       Underdog  

————————————————-

 INDIANA               7 1/2  (219)      Charlotte   MINNESOTA             10 1/2 (227.5)      Phoenix   x-SAN ANTONIO        OFF     (XXX)    LA Clippers  

————————————————-

x-LA Clippers D. Gallinari is questionable.

————————————————-

               College Basketball  

————————————————-

 Favorite            Points               Underdog  

————————————————-

 Florida St            6            BOSTON COLLEGE   MARQUETTE             5 1/2            Providence   IOWA                  9                  Illinois   Duquesne              3         GEORGE WASHINGTON   DRAKE                 6 1/2           Missouri St   SOUTHERN ILLINOIS     8                   Bradley   UTAH                  2                  Colorado                     Added Games   MONMOUTH              1                      Iona   DENVER                3              Oral Roberts   NEBRASKA OMAHA        5 1/2          South Dakota  

————————————————-

                      NHL  

————————————————-

 Favorite            Goals     (O/U)      Underdog  

————————————————-

 Washington          1/2-1     (6.5)       CHICAGO   NY ISLANDERS        1/2-1     (5.5)       Anaheim   VANCOUVER          Even-1/2   (5.5)       Detroit   TORONTO            1-1 1/2    (6)         Arizona   Carolina           Even-1/2   (6)        EDMONTON  

————————————————-

               Home Team in CAPS  

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How to work successfully with remote employees

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

DEAR READERS: Working remotely, at least part time, is becoming a more accepted and common work arrangement. This presents new challenges for supervisors (especially for those who entered the workforce when working off-site wasn’t an option for anyone). What are some ways managers can make sure they get the most out of their remote employees? Are there certain procedures they should set up to ensure a seamless, successful, productive relationship with their remote workers?

Working remotely definitely can be a tricky proposition for both managers and the off-site workers they supervise, says Susan Peppercorn, executive coach and founder of Positive Workplace Partners.

Based on years of experience, Peppercorn offers the following tips to help managers work successfully with what she refers to “distributed staff members.”

1. Clarify deliverables and timelines.

When employees work remotely, it’s critical that both parties are on the same page when it comes to expectations around deliverables and deadlines. “Synching goals is important when people work in the same location, too, but if a misunderstanding occurs between supervisor and subordinate in the same place, they can resolve it face-to-face,” Peppercorn says. “It’s harder to course correct on the fly when the people you manage are physically distant from you, even part of the time.”

2. Discuss communication preferences.

Managers and employees often assume that they understand how and when they want to share information. That isn’t necessarily true.

“When a subordinate asks to work remotely, this is the time for the manager to clarify how they want to receive information, especially if they are unfamiliar with remote working arrangements,” Peppercorn says. “Do you want to have a daily check-in by video conference or phone? Do you prefer updates in writing in a project plan or a spreadsheet? Make sure your remote employees know what you expect. Don’t expect them to read your mind!”

3. Use technology to its fullest.

Technology offers enormous potential to bridge the physical divide a remote work arrangement creates. “If the supervisor is unfamiliar with the technology options that can be used, such as Slack channels, video conferencing, Google hangouts or other tools; it’s imperative they get comfortable with them — and ditto for their staff,” Peppercorn stresses.

(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at kfurore@yahoo.com.)

Retirement: How to spend and still sleep at night

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

My recent column, “Learning to live without a paycheck,” struck a nerve with readers.

Jim Barthen, who retired two years ago, writes that he was “truly on edge” the first time he didn’t receive a paycheck. “It’s really an adjustment, and the statement that the spending barrier is mostly psychological is so true.”

A number of you felt uneasy about the observation that retirees may be worrying too much about preserving their money. “It seemed like your column was implying that retirees can’t enjoy retirement without spending down all of their money,” writes David Greene. “To me, this sounds like the ‘keep up with the Joneses’ mentality.”

Don’t worry. We would never advise that retirees fritter away their savings. That’s your safety net to protect against catastrophic medical and other expenses. But it does appear that retirees are often reluctant to spend some of their money — for reasons that are as much psychological as financial.

Another reader, Gerald Johnson, offers a potential solution. “One’s annual expenses, including discretionary pleasures, require a budget,” he writes. “That gives you the ability to live the life you desire.”

Johnson is onto something. “Just having a financial plan in place means that people are more likely to spend some of their assets,” says Jamie Hopkins, retirement income program director at the American College of Financial Services. Retirees who have a guaranteed stream of income “actually have happier retirements,” he says.

Lori Lucas, CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, thinks it would “help people spend more optimally” if the financial services industry created more insurance-type products to protect against long-term risks or came up with a systematic withdrawal program.

In the meantime, you already have access to some products designed to ease your mind. Even without a pension, for example, you could create a steady income by buying an immediate fixed annuity. You give the insurance company a lump sum in exchange for a monthly check, usually for life; you can even buy an annuity with survivor benefits for your spouse.

Another option is a deferred-income annuity, often referred to as longevity insurance. You purchase the annuity when you’re in your 50s or 60s, but the payments don’t start for at least 10 years — so you know you’ll have guaranteed income in the future.

Not keen on annuities? Many insurers now offer combination policies that give you early access to a portion of your life insurance death benefit if you need long-term care. And long-term-care insurance itself is still an option. These policies have become more expensive, but there are ways to cut the cost — for example, by buying less inflation protection or shortening the coverage period. Couples can purchase a pool of benefits that can be used by either spouse.

The point is to take whatever measures you can to hedge medical and other risks so you feel more comfortable about enjoying yourself while you can — whether that means treating yourself to dinners out with your spouse or taking that dream trip on your bucket list.

(Janet Bodnar is editor at large at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

Savings Game: Financial resolutions for 2019

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

New Year’s resolutions can seem a bit contrived, but at the dawn of 2019 at least two factors — the recent stock market volatility and changes to the tax code — lend more urgency than usual to the task of putting your finances in order.

The following recommendations will put you on a good footing for financial security in the years ahead.

–Rebalance your portfolio. This is simply a matter of selling assets in your portfolio to maintain your chosen proportions of stocks and bonds. I do this at least once a year. The recent stock market volatility, which is unlikely to abate anytime soon, may have made portfolio adjustments necessary. If your common stock portfolio value has decreased substantially, you may want to dollar-cost average, purchasing more stocks and taking advantage of market fluctuations.

–Maximize your retirement account contributions. If you can afford it, you should make the maximum contribution to your 401(k). In 2019, that’s $19,000 ($25,000 for those aged 50 and older). Even if you can’t afford to contribute that much, you should at least make the minimum contribution necessary to receive the employer match.

If you haven’t maxed out your IRA contributions for 2018 ($5,500; $6,500 for those aged 50 and over), you have until April 15, 2019 to make your contribution.

Many retirees past the age of 70 1/2 still have earned income. Those retirees can no longer make traditional IRA contributions, but they can make Roth IRA contributions. You can initiate a Roth account as long as you have earned income.

–Plan to take any required distributions from retirement accounts. By law, you have to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your 401(k), traditional IRA and certain other retirement accounts every year beginning no later than April 1 of the year after you turn 70 1/2.

If you reach 70 1/2 in 2019, make sure you understand your options. You can postpone making your first RMD up to April 1, 2020, but if you do so you will have to take two RMDs in 2020, the last one by the end of 2020.

If you are required to take an RMD in 2019, you shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to make your withdrawal. As many found out in 2018, if you wait until December, you may be forced to make withdrawals at the wrong time. No one can predict when the stock market has its peaks and valleys.

–Protect the funds you’ll need for near-term expenses. Because of market volatility, and its likely continuation, don’t wait until the last minute to withdraw funds for expenditures you know you will face. Withdraw the funds you know you will need and keep those funds in vehicles you know are safe, such as money market accounts, Treasury bills and short-term bond funds.

–Get your estate in order. If you’re a head of a household and you haven’t created a will, do so now. There is no reason not to. If you care about your beneficiaries, it is mandatory to create one, and modify the will/trusts as conditions change.

For that matter, review the beneficiaries named in your retirement accounts and plans, and update them as necessary. As I have written before in this space, it is critical that the beneficiaries you identify in the documents maintained by the trustees of these accounts are up-to-date. You cannot override these selections in your will. If there have been major life changes that require changing your beneficiaries, don’t hesitate. Make those changes immediately.

Also create end-of-life documents such as a living will, a health care proxy, and/or a financial power of attorney.

–Consider using retirement accounts to make charitable contributions. Many taxpayers will no longer choose to itemize in 2019 because of the doubling of the standard deduction. If you are 70 1/2 or older — that is, at the age when RMDs apply — it’s a good idea to have the trustee of your IRA account make direct contributions to your charities, which allows you to take advantage of tax deductibility. If it turns out you won’t itemize on your next tax return, you would have reduced your taxes. You would still have the option to itemize if it’s worthwhile.

(Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at elliotraph@gmail.com.)

Investing: Lower your expectations

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Most financial pundits will tell you that the average annual return from large-company stocks since 1926 is 10.1 percent. If your investment horizon is a very long way off, you may well get that much. Over any given decade, however, there is a huge variation from the long-term average.

No one has a crystal ball, but you can make assumptions based on current economic trends, corporate earnings projections and stock prices. And that can give you an idea of how much to invest in stocks, bonds and cash over the next decade.

Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index averaged a 14.0 percent annual gain, including dividends, over the past 10 years. Don’t expect that for the next 10 years. Brian Singer, head of the Dynamic Asset Allocation Strategies team at institutional investment house William Blair, thinks large-company stocks — such as those in the S&P 500 — will gain a below-average 6 percent annually over the next decade.

You might increase your stock returns by investing abroad — especially in emerging markets, if you can tolerate the risk. It’s a matter of playing catch-up. Foreign stocks have lagged their U.S. counterparts over the past decade, particularly lately.

Foreign currencies have fallen against the U.S. dollar as well, and if they rebound, they could put some extra octane into your portfolio as returns earned abroad translate into more dollars here. “The odds are 90 to 10 that emerging markets will beat U.S. stocks,” says Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates. He’s forecasting a 9.7 percent annualized return for emerging markets over the next decade — about the same as their 30-year average. Foreign developed markets, where earnings growth is slower than in emerging markets, should return 7.5 percent annualized over the next decade, he says.

Bonds will disappoint. Government bonds have earned an annualized 5.0 percent since 1926. It’s unlikely that interest rates will return to the long-term average, which includes the towering yields of the 1970s and early 1980s. In today’s global and disinflationary economy, the 10-year yield is unlikely to rise above 4 percent, up from 2.9 percent recently. Mix in the likelihood of principal losses as yields drift higher (prices and yields move in opposite directions), and you get disappointing bond returns over the next 10 years. “We see a 2.5 percent to 4 percent annual return from bonds,” says Roger Aliaga-Diaz, senior economist at Vanguard’s Investment Strategy Group.

(John Waggoner is a senior associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

Spending: Teenagers can be pricey to insure

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

When a new teenage driver gets behind the wheel, parents can find that their annual premiums go up by a couple thousand dollars.

The reason is simple: Teens are lousy drivers. The crash rate per miles driven for 16- to 17-year-olds is about three times the rate for drivers 20 and older, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And, sadly, that variation is true for fatal accidents as well.

The news is not all bad, though. The number of crashes and deaths among teens in car accidents has declined significantly in the past 20 years or so. A big factor in that, insurance experts say, is states’ adoption of graduated licensing laws, which restrict nighttime driving and the number and ages of passengers that can be in the car with young (or new) license holders. Another reason is that fewer teens have been learning to drive — thanks in part to an economic downturn, as well as less interest in driving.

Unfortunately, the trend line for teen crashes has turned around and is now rising again. Exactly what that will mean for your wallet is hard to say. Insurance is regulated differently in each state and subject to local conditions. And your personal situation (your driving record, other coverage you may have, the cars you drive) is a big variable as well.

Even so, brace yourself. Rate analysis from Insure.com shows that adding a male teen driver to your policy raises your rate by 160 percent, or an average of about $2,300. For a female teen, it’s 125 percent, or about $1,800. The rate increase is even higher “if you have a teenager who gets a ticket, or in an accident,” says Penny Gusner, Insure.com‘s consumer analyst.

What can you do to mitigate that hit? Shopping around for insurance is always a good idea, as rates can vary significantly. Because insurers will give you discounts for carrying multiple coverages from the same company, you’ll want to consider your homeowners and umbrella insurance at the same time. That isn’t easy, no matter what the TV ads might tell you, so maybe plop the kid down next to you when you do the research. Your teen will learn something about how insurance actually works and how much it costs.

Young drivers can help cut the cost, too, with their academic performance. A number of insurers offer discounts for good grades, typically defined as earning a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Others will give modest discounts if your teen passes specific driver education programs.

And then there’s the vehicle your teen will drive. As a doting parent, you want your kid in the safest one, right? Here’s the catch: Features such as collision warning and automatic braking are fairly recent developments found on pricier cars that are more costly to insure. Unless your funds are unlimited, you’ll need to make a judgment call. One solution is to make sure your teen drives a car with at least stability control, which has been standard on all models since 2012.

(David Muhlbaum is senior online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

*Dick Tracy – Comic Strip – 20190120csdty-s.jpg

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

*Animal Crackers – Comic Strip – 20190120csack-s.jpg

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*Brewster Rockit – Comic Strip – 20190120csbre-s.jpg

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*Broom-Hilda – Comic Strip – 20190120csbhl-s.jpg

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*Gasoline Alley – Comic Strip – 20190120csgas-s.jpg

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*Middletons, The – Comic Strip – 20190120csmid-s.jpg

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 1/20/19

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Today’s Birthday (01/20/19). Community efforts reap rewards this year. Rigorous planning sets the stage for success. Domestic surprises could arise. Winter brings changes with a partner. Summer breakthroughs with health and fitness lead to a peaceful introspective phase. Plan and strategize. Together, you’re more powerful.

To get the advantage, check the day’s rating: 10 is the easiest day, 0 the most challenging.

Aries (March 21-April 19) — Today is an 8 — Collaborate with friends. Team efforts and projects are favored this month, with the Sun in Aquarius. Schedule carefully. Your social life gets extra fun.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) — Today is an 8 –Take advantage of opportunities to advance your career this month, with the Sun in Aquarius. Your status and influence are on the rise.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) — Today is an 8 — Travel beckons, with the Sun in Aquarius this month. You’re eager to leap boundaries, push limitations and discover. You’re learning by leaps and bounds.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Today is an 8 — Focus to grow family finances over the next month, with the Aquarius Sun. Consider long-term goals, and plot your moves. Try a new direction.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) — Today is a 7 — Collaborate, compromise and negotiate terms. A new phase in a partnership develops over the next month, with the Sun in Aquarius. Rely on each other.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Today is a 7 — Balance work with physical health over the next month with the Sun in Aquarius. Mental creativity is at maximum. Raise the level of your performance with practice.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) — Today is a 7 — Go for passion, fun and family adventures this month, with the Sun entering Aquarius. Practice hobbies, sports and games. Express your creativity. Fall in love.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) — Today is a 7 — Actions now have long-lasting benefit. Home improvement and family responsibilities are in the spotlight under the Aquarius Sun. Fill your place with love.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) — Today is an 8 — Writing projects benefit from the Aquarius Sun. Creative communications flower. Learn and retain complex material. Stick with the truth. Listen carefully and summarize.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Today is an 8 — Money comes easier this month, with the Sun in Aquarius. Push for positive cash flow. Profitable ideas abound. Agree on terms and conditions.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) — Today is a 9 — Go for your personal best. You have the advantage this month, with the Sun in your sign. Use your growing personal power and talent for good.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Today is a 6 — You get more done in private. Finish old projects, with the Sun in Aquarius. Savor solitude and introspection. Restore energy through rest and meditation.

(Astrologer Nancy Black continues her mother Linda Black’s legacy horoscopes column. She welcomes comments and questions on Twitter, @LindaCBlack. For more astrological interpretations like today’s Gemini horoscope, visit Linda Black Astrology by clicking daily horoscopes, or go to www.nancyblack.com.)

Brave bidding

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

With Bob Jones

Both vulnerable, North deals

NORTH

S-A J 10 5

H-K 2

D-A J 5

C-A K 4 3

WEST EAST

S-Q 7 4 S-K 9 8 3 2

H-A J 10 7 6 4 3 H-Q

D-Void D-10 8 4 3

C-10 8 6 C-Q 7 2

SOUTH

S-6

H-9 8 5

D-K Q 9 7 6 2

C-J 9 5

The bidding:

NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST

2NT Pass 3NT 4H

Pass Pass 5D All pass

Opening lead: Ace of H

West’s courageous four-heart bid would probably have shown a profit. Unless the defense is clairvoyant, West would escape for down two — a good result against the cold three no trump. South was not to be bullied and he persevered with five diamonds. Could he make it?

West gave his partner a heart ruff at trick two and East exited with a trump. South now had to find a way to avoid a club loser. Declarer won the trump shift in hand and ruffed his last heart with dummy’s ace. He cashed the jack of diamonds and the ace of spades, then ruffed a spade. South started to run the diamonds, reaching this position with two diamonds left:

NORTH

S-J 10

H-Void

D-Void

C-A K 4

WEST EAST

S-Q S-K 9

H-10 H-Void

D-Void D-Void

C-10 8 6 C-Q 7 2

SOUTH

S-Void

H-Void

D-7 6

C-J 9 5

South cashed another diamond, shedding dummy’s low club, and East couldn’t defend the position. A spade discard would see South lead a club to dummy and ruff a spade, setting up the jack. A club discard, instead, would see South cash both high clubs and ruff a spade to his hand for the good jack of clubs. Well played!

(Bob Jones welcomes readers’ responses sent in care of this newspaper or to Tribune Content Agency, LLC., 16650 Westgrove Dr., Suite 175, Addison, TX 75001. E-mail responses may be sent to tcaeditors@tribpub.com.)

Pro makes an amazing call at the final table

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Poker can be monotonous, at least as far as hands are concerned. Straights, flushes and full houses will get the heart beating faster, but what’s truly exciting these days is when a player makes an unbelievable call.

That’s exactly what happened when poker pro David Peters, who has more than $30 million in lifetime earnings, made a mindboggling call in a $5,000-buy-in, eight-handed no-limit hold ’em event at the Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open in Orlando, Florida.

At the final table, with eight players remaining and blinds at 5,000-10,000 plus an ante of 10,000, Will Givens raised under the gun, and Peters called from the big blind with Kd Qh.

Two picture cards (also known as “paint cards”) are certainly strong enough to call and take a flop with, so the preflop action was pretty standard.

When the flop came down Ad 9d 3c, Peters check-called a bet of 30,000. While he didn’t make a pair, Peters still had the nut no-pair hand plus a backdoor diamond draw. Given this, he opted to call and see another card.

The Ks turn paired Peters, but he still had to be cautious with an ace on board. He checked, and Givens bet 50,000. Whether or not he actually had an ace, Givens was betting as if he did. Not to be deterred, Peters called.

“I felt that there were a lot of small pairs, a lot of low suited connectors — queen-jack, jack-ten suited type hands — that would keep barreling,” Peters said, explaining his turn call.

When the Jd completed the board on the river, Peters checked for a third time and Givens moved all in.

Peters, who had the shorter stack with 228,000 behind, was put to the test. Could he really call with second pair against an under-the-gun raiser who bet every street?

He could, and he did.

Givens shook his head, showed a 5s 6s bluff, and said: “I think you’re the only player that makes that call. What a beastly call.”

Peters later explained his rationale for making such an incredible call:

“I was blocking the nut flush, and the ace, jack and nine are all out there, so there aren’t too many combos of flushes. I don’t think he’d bet that sizing on the flop with top set. I block queen-ten suited. I don’t think he’d immediately go all in with two pair or a set or hands like that. I thought there were a lot of hands like he had that are trying to blow me off a nine. I have a lot of weakish ace-x type hands that are obligated to call the turn. So, I felt he was trying to blow me off a lot of those hands. So, I called. It worked out.”

(Chad Holloway is a 2013 World Series of Poker bracelet winner and media director for the Mid-States Poker Tour. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadAHolloway.)

Sowing confusion

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Crafty declarers have been known to attack a weak suit in order to conceal the true location of their strength and induce a confused defense.

In a classic episode, a declarer at 3NT had 4-3-2 of clubs in dummy opposite his doubleton Q-J. He won the opening lead in a different suit in dummy and led a club to his jack. It held. So he went back to dummy and led a club to his queen. It held also, and he then had nine tricks.

“Partner,” declarer commented, “if only I’d held the ten, I could have brought in the whole suit.”

In today’s deal, West led a low spade against 3NT, and South won and counted seven tricks. A winning finesse in a minor suit would have given him two more, but since a losing finesse might be fatal, South tried for a combination shot: He took the ace of diamonds and then tried the A-K of clubs. When the queen didn’t fall, South let the ten of diamonds ride. Alas, West took the queen and ran the spades for down one.

South gave himself an extra chance, but he might have done better by returning a spade at Trick Two. It looks odd for South to lead a suit in which West has several winners, but South knows from West’s lead of the four that he had no more than five spades. By letting West take his tricks, South forces East to discard.

On the third and fourth spade, South discards two diamonds from dummy and two clubs from his hand. East can let go one heart, maybe two, but at some point he is almost sure to discard at least one diamond. Then South will be a favorite to pick up the diamond suit and make his game.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable

NORTH

S Q 10 6

H J 3

D 10 9 7 3

C A K 10 9

WEST

S A K 8 4 2

H 10 5 4 2

D Q 4

C 7 6

EAST

S 7 5

H Q 9 8 7 6

D 6 5 2

C Q 8 5

SOUTH

S J 9 3

H A K

D A K J 8

C J 4 3 2

South West North East

1 NT Pass 3 NT All Pass

Opening lead — S 4

Three stories and a letter

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Our topic for today: three stories and a letter.

The stories all made recent headlines. The first was about the state of Florida posthumously pardoning the Groveland Four, a group of African-American men who suffered torture, prison and murder after being falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1949.

The second concerns broad Republican condemnation of one of their own, Rep. Steve King, for an interview with The New York Times in which he questioned why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” should be considered offensive.

The third involves a directive — since rescinded — NBC News sent its writers, reporters and anchors about King’s words. “Be careful to avoid characterizing [King’s] remarks as racist,” it said, suggesting that the remarks instead be described as ‘what many are calling racist’.”

As for the letter: It was written by Martin Luther King Jr., whose 90th birthday the nation commemorates Monday. King famously penned the epistle from a jail cell in Birmingham in response to a group of white clergymen, eight moderate, principled men, who had condemned as “unwise and untimely” his demonstrations against segregation in their city.

One passage of King’s response seems especially apropos to this moment. In it, he confessed that he had become “gravely disappointed with the white moderate.” Too often, he said, they were “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice;” and preferred “a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.”

Added King: “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”

Make no mistake: King well knew that all over the South, liberal white kids were risking their lives for black freedom. He was calling out other white people, often older, more moderate white people like those eight men, for the tepidness and flaccidity of their commitment to racial reconciliation. This was 1963, but as the stories above suggest, that problem endures.

It is possible, for instance, to celebrate that Florida has finally done right by the Groveland Four — and yet, to also be disgusted that it takes 70 years for the state to belatedly admit its crimes and deliver some small measure of delayed “justice.”

It is possible to consider the GOP’s condemnation of Steve King all well and fine, yet also a little arbitrary and affected given that King has a history of racist rhetoric that passed without his party seeming to much notice or care — and that the GOP itself has a long record of thinly-veiled racism as obvious as the writing on Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

It is possible to concede that NBC has an interest in ensuring its people remain disinterested observers of events they report, yet feel that in asking them to refrain from calling obvious racism obvious racism, the network doesn’t embody journalistic rigor so much as it does white peoples’ too frequent refusal to call out such racism even when it’s right in front of them.

We may safely assume most NBC executives, Republican lawmakers and Florida officials would say — and probably believe — all the right things if you asked about their commitment to racial justice. Yet given a chance to put force behind that commitment, they failed. In Florida’s case, they failed for seven decades.

“The ultimate tragedy,” King once said, “is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” He was right.

If you are good, yet silent, maybe you’re not really as good as you think.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Truth is like elastic. You can stretch it a lot, but eventually it’s going to come snap back on you.

Monday, January 21, 2019

People who get carried away with themselves usually have to walk back alone.

Tuesday January 22, 2019

Did it ever occur to anyone that the reason Robin Hood robbed only from the rich is because the poor have no money?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

As you go down life’s highway, you can’t help but notice the traffic jam on the off ramp to Easy Street.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The minute you learn to stand on your own two feet, somebody ties your shoelaces together.

Friday, January 25, 2019

If money talks, then why is silence golden?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

It’s gotten so hard to find an honest man, it’s a lot easier to just settle for someone who’s crooked in the same way you are.

EXTRA

The brain is an amazing thing. It works perfectly right up to the time someone asks you a question.

bc-usmagazine-what’s-in-my-bag?:9us

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

WHAT’S IN MY BAG?

Lana Condor lets Us peek inside her deadly cute Louise et Cie purse

She may write love letters in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but in real life, Lana Condor carries those written to her by boyfriend Anthony De La Torre. “If I’m feeling sad, I’ll read them,” says the star of Syfy’s Deadly Class (premieres Jan. 16 at 10 p.m.). “They make me feel better.” Lana, 21, opens up for Us.

FELINE FANCY

“I’m embarrassed to even say my wallet is a $2 Hello Kitty wallet. I probably got it on the side of the street in New York. It’s so beaten up.”

LEGEND IN THE MAKING

“I have a little yellow gnome. My parents gave it to me in kindergarten because I believed in fairies and all that mystical stuff, so it reminds me of my family.”

A PIZZA HER HEART

“My iPhone X is in a Casetify case that has pizza on it and then a coffee sticker. Just supporting my faves.”

JET-SET SAVIOR

“I have 5Yina face masks. It’s an ancient Chinese medicine skincare brand. I get so dry on planes, so I use those.”

OMEGA OBSESSED

“For snacks, I carry salmon candy from a grocery store up in Canada called Urban Fare. They’re full of protein. I love them.”

KISS AND TELL

“I always have Colgate Wisps around because at work, I never know if I have to kiss someone.”

bc-usmagazine-‘i’m-proud-of-my-body’:9us

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

‘I’M PROUD OF MY BODY’

She spent years coping with eating disorders and body shamers, but Lady Gaga has fought back – and won

On Jan. 6, Lady Gaga glided up the steps of the Beverly Hilton theater, trailed by a sumptuous train and billowing folds of periwinkle silk taffeta, to collect her Golden Globe for best original song. The songwriting leading lady of A Star Is Born had shed her pop art-speriment persona (meat dress, anyone?)- if only for a while- to assume full starlet status; she’d officially gone Hollywood.

But instead of spending the next few hours schmoozing alongside A-listers at a flurry of industry parties, Gaga kicked off her 7-inch stilettos and cuddled up in bed with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles – as if to announce that she wouldn’t be playing by Hollywood’s rules; and that in the meantime, once the couture gown hit the floor, she’d eat what she pleases. (“Nothing like a bowl of sugar and a Golden Globe,” she later said, adding, “I was happy as a clam.”)

It was a small but important message from Gaga, who’s been open about her struggles with body image and selfesteem. In the last year she’s found a whole new level of self-acceptance; at a summer beach holiday in the Hamptons, in between sips of wine and canoodling with her fiancé, Christian Carino, she was photographed looking fit and proudly strutting her stuff in a skimpy black bikini.

COMING FROM BEHIND

In 2012, Gaga was already a power player with five Grammys to her name; yet it was her 30-pound weight gain that captured headlines. “When I heard it was on the news – where they talk about wars, the economy crashing and elections – I just thought, ‘This is…ridiculous,'” she said at the time. Though she tried to remain unaffected, claiming, “Everybody was telling me about it, and I didn’t really care,” the weight chatter still compelled the dimimutive star to admit she’d suffered from “bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.”

She’d also been the target of childhood bullies (she once confessed she was nervous about seeing high school classmates who “were horrible to me”). And her early career days weren’t exactly confidence boosters either: According to Brendan Jay Sullivan, Gaga’s friend who authored the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives, “We heard people say, ‘You’re not pretty enough for a pop star.’ And not behind her back, either – to her face.”

LOVE AND LIGHT

But these days, Gaga has officially put her inner demons on mute. She no longer struggles with disordered eating, and quiets the endless noise with physically and spiritually uplifting time-outs.

“She does yoga whenever she can,” says a source, “not just for the physical element but for the mental side as well. She loves being outside, at the beach or on a bike ride. When she’s getting fresh air and connecting, she’s always happiest.” Adds Harley Pasternak, the A-list trainer who’s worked with her on and off for the last decade, “Gaga has incredible energy… and is really in touch with her body.”

So much so that, after her midriff-baring Super Bowl performance in 2017 incited a chorus of body-shaming trolls, Gaga swiftly silenced the haters by posting a fierce pic from the night, midriff and all, with an inspiring message: “I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too,” she wrote.

“I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed… that’s the stuff of champions.” Spoken like a true Hollywood legend.

THEY STRUGGLED WITH BODY ISSUES TOO

HILARY DUFF

On screen since childhood, the Younger star said she feels “empowered by what my body can do” – but that her late teen years were focused on food and “wanting to fit into this image of a girl who isn’t me.”

KESHA

Receiving treatment for anorexia was a turning point for the Grammy nominee, who’s said that she started “slowly, slowly starving myself” when she first felt the pressure of fame.

DEMI LOVATO

The pop star has been open about struggling with bulimia since she was 8, and recently revealed that food “is still the biggest challenge in my life… When I do have moments when I slip up, I feel very ashamed.”

PORTIA DE ROSSI

The Arrested Development alum first struggled with bulimia as a child model, and was still fighting the disease while starring on Ally McBeal. “I was constantly looking for external validation,” she’s said.

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Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

25 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME

BY Jazz Jennings

The TLC star and YouTube personality, 18, tells Us about her life… and all that jazz

1. I wear tie-dye almost every day.

2. I’ve always loved mermaids. When I was 8, I got a sewing machine and made my first fabric mermaid tail. When I was 12, I started my own business making silicone mermaid tails.

3. I love watching anime, and have watched more than 30 different anime shows.

4. I’ve been made into the first transgender doll.

5. I love drawing. I sketch an eye almost every day.

6. I have four cats, named Nemo, Luna, Leo and Dunkin.

7. I enjoy giving massages to all my friends and family. I’ve been told I have a gift.

8. My favorite food is anything chocolate. I love chocolate milkshakes!

9. I’m not afraid of bugs at all, and can hold spiders and cockroaches without flinching. At a sleepover party in sixth grade, I chased all the girls around the house with a cockroach.

10. I love to crack body parts- especially other people’s.

11. I have a phobia of wrist tendons (called carpophobia related to my less severe venephobia (fear of veins).

12. I’m afraid of lizards, which sucks because I live in Florida, where they openly roam. I often find my cat Nemo bringing them back as a treat.

13. I sing constantly, and my song choices often reflect my current mood. When I’m not singing, my family knows something’s up.

14. I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. When I was 8, I was banned from playing at the competitive level for two years because I was told I had an “unfair advantage” being transgender.

15. My first car was passed down from my dad to my siblings and then to me.

16. I love all Disney movies (who doesn’t?), but my top three are The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and, of course, The Little Mermaid.

17. I drink a ton of water -usually two gallons a day.

18. I played the first animated transgender child, Zadie, in Amazon’s Danger & Eggs (in 2017).

19. My favorite movie is (2012’s) Cloud Atlas.

20. I’m very spiritual and love meditating with crystals.

21. I’m ranked No. 1 in my graduating high school class.

22. My favorite shoes are Birkenstocks.

23. I started playing varsity soccer when I was in ninth grade and was awarded rookie of the year.

24. I love doing beautiful makeup, but hate wearing it.

25. I just completed filming Denim, a 20-minute movie about a transgender girl who’s bullied in high school.

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Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

LOOSE TALK

“Of all the days I wasn’t at that Target!!!!!!!” Reacting to a photo that went viral of Beyoncé shopping at the store,

BUSY PHILIPPS

“Just getting fat.”

Responding to an Instagram user asking if she was pregnant,

TIFFANY HADDISH

“I was one of those weird people that loved being pregnant.”

On carrying daughter Alexis, 16 months,

SERENA WILLIAMS

“I’d like Viola Davis to wake me up every morning and be like, ‘Here’s your thought for the day,’ and I’d literally write it down.”

When asked about actresses who inspire her,

MELISSA MCCARTHY

“I mortify her. If I do anything silly in public, the blood drains from her face.”

On embarrassing daughter Apple, 14,

GWYNETH PALTROW

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Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

HOT HOLLYWOOD

CHRIS & KATHERINE

THEY’RE ENGAGED!

He put a ring on it! Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger announced their engagement on Instagram Jan. 14. “Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes! I’m thrilled to be marrying you,” Chris captioned a picture of the couple embracing (below). “Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go!” BEST WISHES Before he popped the question, the Avengers star, 39, asked permission from Katherine’s parents, Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Her family knew it was happening,” a source tells Us, which explains why her brother Patrick Schwarzenegger blushed when asked how he liked his sister’s boyfriend a day before the news broke. “He’s really great,” replied the model, 25. Even Chris’ ex-wife, Anna Faris (they split in 2017 and share son Jack, 6), showed support, commenting on their announcement: “I’m so happy for you both!! Congratulations!”

Gwen & Blake Inch Closer to ‘I Do’!

Keep an eye on Gwen Stefani’s ring finger! The former No Doubt frontwoman and her love of three years, Blake Shelton, “are going to be announcing their engagement very soon,” a source tells Us. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April, Gwen admitted she thinks about marrying the

42-year-old country star “all the time,” but the source explains she wanted to take things slow for the sake of her sons Kingston, 12, Zuma, 10, and Apollo, 4, who watched her messy divorce from their dad, Bush rocker Gavin Rossdale, in 2015. “Blake has always wanted to marry Gwen, but she’s always been extremely cautious because she has three kids to be mindful of.” When they do head down the aisle, expect that Gwen’s boys “will be a very big part of the wedding ceremony,” says the source. “Blake is extremely close to them.”

GROWING FAMILY?

Even without a ring, 49-year-old Gwen, Blake and her boys “are very much a family,” notes an insider. And the couple, who met as judges on The Voice, have dreams of making that family grow. In November, Us reported that they were looking into surrogacy after attempting for years to have a child together. “(Blake) wants his own child” with Gwen, explains a second source. “They’re determined.”

Real-Life Drama For 90 Day Fiancé Couples

For two couples on season 6 of the TLC reality show 90 Day Fiancé, the drama didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling. On Jan. 10, Jonathan Rivera confirmed that he and wife Fernanda Flores (below, right) called it quits before Christmas. “What happened was things change…and people change and I can’t help that,” says the realtor, 32, noting that Fernanda, 20, is “not a gold digger.”

GETTING UGLY

The fallout is messier for Larissa Dos Santos Lima and Colt Johnson, who got engaged just five days after their first face-to-face meeting and married in June 2018. Colt, 33, filed for divorce from the Brazilian native, 32, on Jan. 11, after she was arrested for domestic battery for the third time. “(Colt) had a swollen lip, and his gums and teeth were bloodied,” Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jay Rivera tells Us. The charges against Larissa were dropped in both previous incidents, and immigration lawyer Edward Schulman tells Us she could still qualify for a green card even if she’s convicted of this crime – but only “if (Colt) is still willing to continue sponsorship.”

Hollywood’s Oddest Jobs!

These celebrities moonlight in unexpected places

FRANKIE MUNIZ

The Malcolm in the Middle star, 33, owns Outrageous Olive Oils & Vinegar in Scottsdale, Ariz., with his fiancée. “We live and breathe this store right now,” he told a local paper. “We love it.”

NICK OFFERMAN

“Making things with my hands keeps me out of the pub. I mean that both literally and figuratively,” the Offerman Woodshop founder, 48, says about his passion for woodworking.

ERYKAH BADU

The singer, 47, became a certified doula in 2011. “I don’t charge,” she says. “I just enjoy being the welcoming committee.” The gig earned her the nickname Erykah Badoula.

JADEN SMITH

Just saving the planet! Jaden and Will Smith don’t want their ecofriendly water venture “to be a celebrity brand,” says the rapper, 20. Instead, Just Water was inspired by Jaden’s “love for the ocean,” says Will.

SPENCER PRATT

Long before stars began jumping on the crystal bandwagon, the Hills star, 35, was collecting gems. Now he hawks them online through Pratt Daddy Crystals. “Heidi is the CEO,” he tells Us.

KIM’S NEW GIG

Kim Kardashian is used to attention, but not this kind! Her work on prison reform has inspired inmates across the country to “flood her with requests for assistance,” a source tells Us. The reality star, 38, first enlisted her own lawyers in 2017 to help with the cases of two women sentenced to life: Alice Johnson (pictured), a nonviolent drug offender, and Cyntoia Brown, who was convicted of killing a man who paid her for sex when she was 16. Johnson’s sentence was commuted in June after Kim met with the president about her case. Kim’s next victory came on Jan. 7, when Brown was granted clemency.

MARIO BATALI

A Changed Man?

Mario Batali and his family have permanently relocated to their Lake Michigan vacation home since sexual assault allegations against him surfaced in 2017, and a source tells Us the chef, 58, has made a 180. Says the source, “Years ago, Mario was sort of snooty and unfriendly to locals.” Now he’s “close with the local chefs, farmers, sommeliers and other people in the food business. He holds doors and stops to talk with people.” Another development: He’s also “lost a ton of weight.”

BACHELOR COLTON

HIS TIME TO SHINE

This season on The Bachelor, Colton Underwood hopes to show America a different side of himself. In the past, when he was on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, “you guys never really got to see the lighthearted or the funny or the goofy or the weird side of me,” the former NFL star, 26, tells Us. Time will tell if viewers see Colton in a new light by the time he hands out the final rose, but he’s already making quite an impression on the ladies! Before the first group date, contestant Nicole gushed to Us that it was Colton’s fun personality that won her over. “Even though he seems so perfect and put together, (he has) this dry sense of humor,” says the Miami native, 25. “He’s witty,” interior designer Demi, 23, agrees. “He’s so lovable and huggable. It’s awesome to be in his arms… He’s very calming.” Sounds like your mission is accomplished, Colton!

MEGHAN & HARRY

SHE’S POPPED!

She’s a working mum-to-be! Kensington Palace announced Duchess Meghan’s new role as a patron of four charities on Jan. 10. Two of her new gigs, the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities, were passed on to her from her grandmother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II. The remaining two are with animal welfare charity Mayhew and an organization that helps unemployed and vulnerable women called Smart Works.

COUNTDOWN TO BABY!

It was while visiting women at Smart Works that the former Suits actress, who is due in late April, debuted her first actual maternity look, a chic black dress from Hatch (inset). Days later, she opted for a more colorful ensemble while visiting the town of Birkenhead, U.K., with Prince Harry. There, the 37-year-old told well-wishers that she and her husband, 34, would not find out the sex of their baby, opting instead for a “surprise.”

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Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

LOVES LIVES

EMILY & JOHN

Tears of Love

After John Krasinski, 39, revealed that he cried watching his wife, Emily Blunt, in Mary Poppins Returns, the actress couldn’t help but gush to Us about how honored she was. “It means so much to me,” says the 35-year-old. “It was wonderful to see him that emotional about it.” And for Emily, as a parent herself, playing the title character was a dream come true. Says the mom to Hazel, 4, and Violet, 2: “(It was) beyond special.”

WELLS & SARAH

Taking It Slow

“Everyone thinks we’re engaged,” Wells Adams tells Us about his relationship with Sarah Hyland, 28. “We’re not engaged!” And that’s because when you know something good is inevitable, you don’t rush it. “It’s gonna happen eventually,” says the Bachelor in Paradise star, 34. “But we’ll see! I gotta get the ring.” For now, the pair, who recently moved in together, are enjoying where they are. “We’re still kind of like feeling each other out.”

GARCELLE & TED

Reason to Smile!

Garcelle Beauvais has a new man in her life – and he’s not part of the Hollywood scene. “(This) is new to him,” the actress, 52, tells Us about boyfriend Ted Bunch. “He’s never done this… so it’s a little different.” Still, she’s happy – and her children, Oliver, 27 (with ex Daniel Saunders), and twins Jaid and Jax, 11 (with Mike Nilon), approve of her new man. Says the actress: “So far, so good. Everybody’s happy.”

It’s Heating Up!

James Franco, 40, and Isabel Pakzad, 26, are serious, a source close to the pair (together since 2017) reveals to Us, adding that they’re “very lovey-dovey.” In fact, the actor may finally be ready to settle down. “(They) have talked about getting engaged,” the source says.

BRADLEY & IRINA

Quality Time

Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk (who’ve been together since 2015) might be some of the busiest people in Hollywood – particularly this awards season, considering Bradley’s directorial debut with A Star Is Born. But for the actor, 44, and the supermodel mom – daughter Lea is 22 months – balancing life and work is no sweat.”You can find time for everything you love,” Irina, 33, tells Us. “So it’s easy.”

RAMI & LUCY

Love of His Life

Rami Malek is the champion. Not only did he win a Golden Globe for best actor in Bohemian Rhapsody, he also won over costar Lucy Boynton. Nearly two weeks after confirming their relationship, the star, 37, can’t stop raving about her! “She’s extraordinary,” Rami gushes to Us about the 24-year-old English actress, adding that she’s someone he looks up to. “She’s such a wildly talented human being and an inspiration.”

Night on the Town!

Parenthood is a wonderful challenge for Topher Grace, 40, and Ashley Hinshaw, 30. “(It’s) awful but amazing,” the dad to Mabel, 14 months, told Us at the Golden Globes on Jan. 6. The actress joked that they were taking advantage of their alone time: “We’re never going home!”

DANNY & KATE

A Baby for Danny

Kate Hudson thought she was done having children. But then, two years ago, she started dating Danny Fujikawa. “I was like, all right, well, I’ve got to pop them out for him,” the actress, 39, revealed on Jan. 10. So when she and the musician, 32, welcomed daughter Rani in October, it was a dream come true. “She just knew that she wanted a baby with him and hoped and prayed that it would happen,” a source says. “She knew he’d be a great dad.”

bc-usmagazine-hollywood-moms:9us

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

HOLLYWOOD MOMS

By Sophie Dweck / With reporting by Christina Garibaldi,

Marc Lupo, Emily Marcus & Kayley Stumpe

Rosario’s Teenage Dream

Rosario Dawson was always certain she was going to adopt an older child. “I remember (when) I was 5 years old,” the single mom to Lola, 16, recalls, “I came up with that very, very clearly: that I wanted to adopt, and I wanted to adopt older.” Now, since welcoming Lola into her family in 2014, the actress, 39, opens up about parenting a teenager to Us.

Q: What was it like adjusting?

One of the most difficult things about adopting an older child is that you miss out on those younger years.

Q: Do you cherish time with her?

If you get your child at 12, it really does go (so fast). And so it’s alarming. I’m selfish with time. I want her to be able to do as much stuff with me as possible.

Q: Does she want to date yet?

That’s never going to happen. Nope. So, 35? I want her to focus. It’s like, you’ll always be able to get a boyfriend or whatever you wanna have in the future, but right now this is your moment to take care of you.

Q: You played Mimi Marquez in 2005’s Rent. With Fox’s upcoming live musical airing soon, would you ever let Lola act?

My daughter has big curly hair. I have fantasies and dreams of her being a Mimi one day.

HER NEW REALITY

Last summer, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jionni LaValle decided they were ready for another baby. But because of stress, “it took time,” the mom to Lorenzo, 6, and Giovanna, 4, tells Us. They persisted until they finally learned she was expecting – this time another boy. “I basically spent $1,000 on pregnancy tests and just took one every single day until it happened,” the Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star, 31 – who announced the news in November – reveals. “I was like, ‘Ugh, thank God.'” And her husband, also 31, couldn’t be more thrilled. “He’s been waiting for me to get pregnant,” she explains. Unfortunately, the pregnancy has been less exciting for her. “I’m super nauseous,” she admits. “Much more than I was with my other two.” But that’s not stopping her from wanting one more. She adds: “I always pictured myself to have four kids.” Now, thinking back, with the baby due in June, “the timing was perfect,” she gushes. “Everything is just working out the exact way I wanted it to.”

Olivia’s Balancing Act

When Olivia Wilde directed Booksmart, “I launched into it with reckless abandon,” she tells Us, noting she “took it day by day.” That’s her philosophy when balancing her career with Otis, 4, and Daisy, 2, whom she shares with love Jason Sudeikis, 43. Says the mom, 34: “It’s (about) biting off as much as you can chew.”

All She’s Ever Wanted

Kelly Clarkson has one request for her kids: Don’t become singers. “I seriously hope they are tone-deaf,” the mom to River, 4, and Remington, 2 (with hubby Brandon Blackstock, 42), jokes to Us. “It’s a hard industry.” Instead, the Voice coach, 36, wants them to be “teachers or doctors or something.”

bc-usmagazine-inside:9us

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Inside Amazon Mogul’s

$160 BILLION DIVORCE

Two families are torn apart as Jeff Bezos’ affair is exposed. But sources tell Us why he’s relieved he got caught

Jeff Bezos tried to put a positive spin on things. When he took to Twitter on Jan. 9 to deliver the news that he and his wife, Mac Kenzie, were calling it quits after 25 years of marriage, he said, “We’ve had such a great life together as a married couple” and insisted, “We also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents (and) friends.”

If ever there was a dream divorce, this sure sounded like it. But the truth turned out to be far more complicated than Jeff let on.

The National Enquirer broke the bombshell news that the Amazon mogulhas been cheating on his novelist wife for at least eight months with actress and TV host Lauren Sanchez, whose husband, Patrick Whitesell, is one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agents. In fact, Jeff reportedly only publicly announced his split from MacKenzie because he knew the Enquirer was onto him. As Jeff is the world’s richest man, a secret affair could threaten his fortune (which is worth as much as $160 billion, depending on the stock market) in what would be the most expensive- and potentially ugliest – divorce in history.

A self-described “family man,” father of four Jeff, 55, first fell for Lauren, 49, in 2017, around the time of the release of the movie Manchester by the Sea, which Amazon distributed. She and Patrick- whose clients include A-listers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and whose entertainment company does millions of dollars of business with Amazon Studios each year – were guests at the Beverly Hills mansion he shared with MacKenzie, 48. “You can’t fight chemistry!” the smitten CEO reportedly whispered to Lauren behind Patrick’s back that night.

SNEAKING AROUND

While their spouses apparently remained clueless, Jeff and Lauren started carrying on an affair. They were first spotted together in October after a tryst at her Santa Monica, Calif., home and have since traveled to exotic destinations and five-star hotel hideaways on his $75 million private jet; enjoyed rendezvous at palatial private estates; and exchanged intimate selfies and texts. “I love you, alive girl,” he messaged the former Extra anchor in April 2018. “I will show you with my body, and my lips and myeyes, very soon.”

Lauren’s 13-year marriage was already on the rocks when she started seeing Jeff, sources say. But Patrick, who shares two young children with her, was still hoping to work things out. He was “totally stunned by the depth of his wife’s betrayal,” an insider tells Us – and with his business partner, no less. “He’s not so shocked that Lauren was cheating on him, but he’s upset that this story is out. It’s humiliating.”

Jeff’s infidelity was a bigger blow to MacKenzie, who figured out her husband was having an affair when she discovered a flight manifest that listed the only two passengers aboard his jet: him and Lauren. (Since the divorce news, she’s been holed up and thinking about her next steps.)

WEDDING BELLS?

Jeff’s told friends he’sin love with Lauren and intends to “let go” of his marriage with grace. Says the insider, “Jeff can get any woman he wants, but he feels he’s able to connect with Lauren on a deeper level.”

In fact, a source tells Us that Jeff and Lauren are actually relieved the story came out: “The circumstances of their relationship aren’t exactly ideal, but they’re two adults who are very much in love. There’s a sense of relief that it’s out there. It’s been a dark cloud hanging over them.”

And now that they’re out in the open, they’re planning for the future. “Wedding talk has already

begun,” says the source. “Lauren and Jeff are so committed to each other, nobody would be surprised if they’re engaged by the end of the year.”

THE PRICE OF LOVE

First, of course, they need to get divorced from their respective spouses. And for Jeff, that could cost him a pretty penny. He and MacKenzie reportedly didn’t have a prenup, which means she’ll get half of his money.

“MacKenzie’s maintaining a dignified silence in public, but behind closed doors she holds all the cards,” says the source. “She can get whatever she wants.” And that’s the best revenge of all.

“As for a specific amount, when you’re talking about someone with a net worth of billions of dollars, the sky’s the limit,” Seattle-based civil trial lawyer Anne Bremner tells Us. (The couple’s primary residence is in Washington state, so that’s where the divorce would likely be based.) Washington is a no-fault state, which means Jeff won’t be penalized financially for the affair – but he could still pay dearly for it. “Jeff Bezos is responsible to not only Amazon, but his shareholders, and these headlines are a nightmare for him professionally.”

For now, at least, putting his reputation on the line – and putting his wife and kids through emotional hell – is worth it for him. “This is the real thing,” the source says. “They wouldn’t have risked everything if it weren’t. Lauren hasn’t looked this happy in years, and Jeff’s head over heels in love.”

WHAT’S AT STAKE

LUXURIOUS HOMES

Jeff and MacKenzie own a whopping eight properties, including (left) a $23M home in Washington, D.C., and three apartments in one NYC building.

BILLIONS IN CASH

Depending on the stock market, Jeff is worth between $112 billion and $160 billion. (He’s followed by Bill Gates at No. 2 and Warren Buffet at No. 3.)

A TRICKED-OUT JET

His Gulfstream – the site of secret rendezvous with Lauren – is a $75 million ride.

TRILLION-DOLLAR BUSINESSES

Jeff paid $250 million to buy The Washington Post in 2013, and Amazon is valued at $1 trillion – yes, trillion.

FUTURE ASSETS

Jeff owns space-travel company Blue Origin, which reportedly has billions of dollars in funding.

WHO IS LAUREN SANCHEZ?

If Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend looks familiar, it could be because she was the original host of So You Think You Can Dance in 2005, and has been a longtime cohost of Good Day L.A. and a regular on Extra. She’s also acted on shows like Days of Our Lives and NCIS. “It’s unfortunate that some people will know her only because of her relationship with Jeff,” a source tells Us. “She’s an Emmy-winning journalist and a highly experienced pilot.”

The Albuquerque, N.M., native married her now-estranged husband, Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell, in 2005 (two kids, a boy and a girl, followed), and she has a 17-year-old son with former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez. “Lauren was a multimillionaire in her 20s, long before any man came into her life,” the source says. The Albuquerque, N.M., native married her now-estranged husband, Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell, in 2005 (two kids, a boy and a girl, followed), and she has a 17-year-old son with former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez. “Lauren was a multimillionaire in her 20s, long before any man came into her life,” the source says.

Lauren’s priority right now is her children, the source adds, and keeping their routine as structured as possible. She still shares a home with Patrick, and they do school runs together. The source tells Us, “She’s always been more than Patrick Whitesell’s wife, and she’ll be more than Jeff Bezos’ girlfriend.”

Don’t expect co-workers to be your counselors

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 12:01 AM PST

Q: I’ve been going through a hard time personally and occasionally I try to talk about what is happening with co-workers. However, I either meet with a completely useless comment like “poor you,” or people just want to change the subject. How can I get emotional support or advice from co-workers?

A: You really cannot in general expect to get emotional support or advice from co-workers. Obviously, it is normal and healthy to seek comfort and good advice when you are going through a tough time. However, employees are paid to do tasks and counseling each other takes time away from getting work done.

Good for you for recognizing you need help, but what you may not have realized is that most people are wired to either give you sympathy (poor you!) or avoid difficult topics. Realize most people who could actually give you good advice won’t because they usually experience people getting irritated if advised how to change their circumstances.

In therapy the worst part is when clients see how they are unconsciously incompetent and creating their own misery. Most of us are much more comfortable blaming others or our circumstances for suffering. Even in counseling clients get pretty annoyed at brave and competent therapists who are willing to tell them what they are doing that is ineffective.

What you are actually seeking is not friendship where people commiserate with you but good counseling where you will feel uncomfortable, learn skills and problem solve.

When clients first come to therapy, some tell me they think I am just an expensive friend. I reply by asking them what their friends do when they are upset. My new clients tell me their friends validate their viewpoints and express sympathy. As a therapist I do occasionally provide emotional comfort, but the bulk of how I work is to risk making clients mad by pointing out their ability to change.

Some clients will sweetly tell me they wished we were friends. I ask them if they believe I converse therapeutically with my friends. They say, “Yes!” I chuckle and point out I would have no friends if I told them the truths that my clients endure hearing from me.

The good news is you are that rare human being who is not just seeking to have people feel sorry for you. The other good news is you realize going it alone when you are under severe stress is foolish and unnecessary. The bad news is you are going to the wrong source to get concrete tools to navigate your difficult life circumstances.

To find a good counselor, ask the following questions; how many years have you personally been in weekly therapy (a decade is a low bar), do you emphasize education/tools or emotional comfort, and are you willing to risk losing me as a client to challenge me to change?

When the going gets tough the tough get help — just not from your co-workers!

The last word(s)

Q: I cannot stand my job and a lot of new positions open up in the beginning of the year. Would it be a good idea to quit my job so I can spend all my time seeking a better opportunity?

A: No, the secret of success is to have the impulse control to stay in uncomfortable circumstances when it benefits your future. You’ll always find it easier to find employment when you have a job.

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)

Oscars: With PGA Victory, ‘Green Book’ Becomes Best Picture Frontrunner

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 11:47 PM PST

Save for a pair of recent back-to-back discrepancies in “The Big Short” and “La La Land,” the Producers Guild’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures has been a fairly reliable barometer for the annual Oscar season outcome. At least, ever since both the PGA and film Academy expanded their top categories, sharing the ever mysterious preferential ballot for determining nominees and winners, it’s been safe to say whatever wins the producers’ honor is your best picture frontrunner.

Well, with a victory at the Beverly Hilton Saturday night, Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” is now your best picture frontrunner.

Universal and Participant Media’s heartfelt race relations drama — which has been through the ringer multiple times this season, weathering criticism that it’s antiquated, that it’s a regressive choice in the year of films like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Black Panther” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” that it took egregious liberties in the view of family members close to the production, that its director was notoriously inappropriate with co-workers in the past, that its co-writer subscribed to a 9/11 myth propagated by the sitting Commander in Chief — has taken its licks and soldiered on. It kicked off the season with a People’s Choice prize at the Toronto Film Festival and it sits here on the cusp of this year’s Oscar nominations announcement as the one to beat.

It’s quite a turn for Universal, which just last year repped a very different race relations contender in “Get Out.” Oscar glory has been elusive for the studio for nearly two decades, going back to 2001’s “A Beautiful Mind.” Oscar glory has in fact been elusive for all the major studios save Warner Bros., as the last 20 years have largely been about specialty distributors like Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Company at the Academy Awards. The story this season has been the return of the majors in force with films like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born,” and now it appears “Green Book” is the ringleader of the bunch.

Elsewhere on the evening, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was a somewhat surprising winner in the animated motion picture field. Sure, it’s dominated the critics’ circuit, but Disney is a force and “Incredibles 2” was still the favorite. Does this put Sony’s latter-year hit in the lead for the animated feature Oscar? It might, but don’t be too sure; it’s difficult to shake the memory of heavy favorite “How to Train Your Dragon 2” getting sideswiped by the Mouse House’s “Big Hero 6” not too long ago.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” however, remains virtually guaranteed to scoop up the Academy’s documentary feature prize. Morgan Neville’s film added yet another trophy to the collection Saturday.

The Directors Guild and SAG-AFTRA will weigh in in the coming weeks as the industry continues to have its say in advance of the Oscars. Films like “Roma” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” could triumph there (“Green Book” was not a SAG-AFTRA ensemble nominee). But for now, and with just over a month left to go, Farrelly and Universal sit in the driver’s seat.