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Fast Flatbread for Football Fans

Fri, 1/30/2015 6:09 PM

No matter which team you’re rooting for in tonight’s Big Game, your party menu will score when you serve these internationally flavored flatbreads. Use two pre-baked crusts, add the toppings, bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, then add your garnish. Touchdown!

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Categories: Entertainment

Showbiz Analysis with Kitten Bowl II Host and Animal Advocate Beth Stern

Fri, 1/30/2015 3:50 PM

Every week, model and author Beth Stern works and volunteers on behalf of shelter animals. In between caring for her own menagerie of pets, fostering kittens, and raising money and awareness for animal advocacy, Stern landed a television gig that was right up her alley. This Super Bowl Sunday, she returns to the Hallmark Channel to host Kitten Bowl II. The feline football championship pairs Stern with 92 adorable kittens, celebrity guests, and play-by-play announcers John Sterling and Mary Carillo. Beth Stern recently joined me for my podcast Whine At 9 to discuss Kitten Bowl II, animal adoption, and the inspiring story behind the recovery of her rescue cat Yoda.

Don’t miss Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl II on Sunday Feb. 1, 12/11c.

Beth Stern was thrilled when she got a call from Hallmark Channel again this year. “Talk about a dream job, I mean when I was called upon by Hallmark Channel last year to host the first ever Kitten Bowl, I was elated. I couldn’t even believe there was such a thing,” says Stern. “What I love about the Kitten Bowl is all of the participants, all of our “players” are up for adoption. So last year there were 72. This year we upped our game and all 92 kittens– we taped it a couple months ago– have since been adopted. It’s such a wonderful thing for me just because I’m all about rescuing animals and adopting.”

 Craig Blankenhorn Kitten Bowl II "players" (Photo credit: Craig Blankenhorn)

While she regularly fosters kittens, one of Stern’s other pet projects is reminding prospective owners to consider adopting older pets. “So often animals come into shelters where their owners have passed away. And they’ve been perfect pets for most of their lives. So there’s an adult animal sitting in a cage that’s completely trained, sleeps through the night, is past that puppy stage,” emphasizes Stern. “I work and I volunteer at North Shore Animal League, so I’m at a shelter environment every single week. And I see these senior pets sitting there looking, craning their necks looking outside of their cages waiting for their person to come back. So I always say check out the adult animals that are there first. You’re bound to take home a pretty perfect pet that’s already housebroken, trained, and just wants to be loved.”

Stern knows a thing or two about rescuing animals who may not be in the best of health. “When kitten season’s over, my husband (television and radio personality Howard Stern) and I take in hard luck cases at the shelter– older cats or older animals and we bring them home. And my husband talks about them on his radio show and they become instant rock stars and the applications start pouring in. So we’ve figured out this magical formula that’s working for adoption.”

But when Stern fostered a white cat who was failing to thrive, she didn’t anticipate that the cat would teach her family an important lesson. Yoda was in heart failure when vets confirmed he had about three to six months to live. “We decided at that point we were going to adopt him just to love him ’til his last breath.” But Yoda surprised them when he wandered into the Stern’s foster kitten room. Says Stern, “Well kitten season rolls around a few weeks after we adopted him, and he made his way into the foster room. And something just magical happened. He came to life. He started nurturing the kittens, grooming them, just taking care of them– not leaving that room at all.” Eight months later, to the surprise of his vets and the Sterns, Yoda was a healthy cat with a strong heart. Beth Stern decided to share Yoda’s story in what would become the bestselling children’s book Yoda: The Story of a Cat and His Kittens. Says Stern, “I thought, ‘Love and purpose has cured him and given him life.’ So I thought that that was such a beautiful message for adults, but in a way, I thought, ‘What a great story for kids.’ So that’s why I translated that into a children’s book.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Yoda’s story go to the 14,000 square foot expansion of the North Shore Animal League America’s existing shelter. “So Yoda is helping me save more lives. He’s just a little magic fluff puff; I just adore him. Only good has come out of this magic in my home,” beams Stern.

Watch preview videos of Kitten Bowl II here.

Listen to Nancy’s interview with Beth Stern here, on iTunes, or Stitcher Radio.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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Categories: Entertainment

James Middleton: It’s Sometimes ‘Frustrating’ Being Kate’s Brother

Fri, 1/30/2015 3:49 PM

In an interview with the magazine The Young Director, James Middleton has opened up about what it’s like to be the brother of one of the most famous women in the world, admitting that “[I]t does get frustrating,” to have the work he does constantly overshadowed by his relation to the Duchess of Cambridge.

“I work incredibly hard, just like every other person,” he says. “And aside from the fact—yes, I am the brother of someone very important—I am, at the end of the day, just James.”

James co-founded the company Boomf, which makes marshmallows printed with customers’ Instagram pictures, and says that his parents’ party-planning business provided the “stepping stones” for such a venture.

In November, James was interviewed by Good Morning America about the company’s American launch. He was able to confirm that Kate was “on the mend” following severe morning sickness due to her second pregnancy, and claimed that he wanted to be “the best uncle possible” to his nephew Prince George.

In the TYD interview, he went on to speak candidly about his dyslexia and how it has affected his life. “I feel like dyslexia is a strong point in me now,” he says. “For one, it makes you unique, and two, your brain just works differently; you will get to the answer of a solution but just in a different—maybe unconventional way.”

James and Kate are reported to be spending some downtime in each other’s company on the Caribbean island of Mustique, where Kate, Prince William and Prince George have joined the Middleton family to celebrate Carole Middleton’s 60th birthday. The private island boasts 74 luxury villas and is a regular getaway destination for Kate’s family.

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Categories: Entertainment

Performer and Entrepreneur Jimmy Osmond, the Ninth Possum, On Getting Healthy Fur-real

Fri, 1/30/2015 3:26 PM

I thought I “knew” Jimmy Osmond—at least a little bit. After all, I grew up watching him and his multitalented family dance and sing their way to entertainment icon status. Since then, Jimmy has had oodles of success off-stage as one savvy businessman who’s also retained allegiance to faith, family and ethics. He and his brothers and sister have sold over 100 million records, even as Jimmy spread his entrepreneurial wings to oversee the family’s merchandising. He’s appeared in movies, on countless television shows, and in musical theater here and abroad—the list is long. He’s also produced and financed a plethora of live productions from record-breaking concert tours to Las Vegas extravaganzas. As President of Osmond Entertainment, he’s been an executive producer for the major networks. He’s owned and operated production studio facilities and live performance theaters for over 25 years, acquiring the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in Branson, Mo. In Utah, Jimmy is Chairman of the Board of Osmond Real Estate and Development. He’s also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Miracle Network, and has been instrumental in raising more than $5 billion to benefit 170 children’s hospitals here and in Canada. Jimmy and wife Michelle have four children, and as an avid proponent of children’s literacy, he’s just published a new children’s book with a very familiar ring to it: the “Awesome Possum Family Band” (Regnery Kids; 2014; $16.99). Fans can join him and brothers Jay and Merrill on a cruise in the Western Caribbean March 30 – April 4. He’s been on a quest of his own to get healthier, and he’s winning. Read how here. Jimmy, tell us about your diet. Any particular nutrition plan you follow? As a child, performing in Vegas, I could be really naughty, eating grilled cheese or Monte Cristo sandwiches and drinking orange freezes, then traveling to do more than 100 shows a year. I was always a little chubby and people sometimes made fun of me. It was hard on my self-esteem—and hard on my body as I got older and heavier. I had to make a change. Four months ago I eliminated bread, sugar and dairy, and added a nutritional supplement. I’ve lost 36 pounds and stopped thinking about food as an emotional crutch. I very much want to set the right example for my children. What’s your workout or exercise routine? I want consistency in life at 51 and don’t want to be a muscular bodybuilder anymore—never liked the gym. I go on walks, and since I’ve lost weight, I have energy and I’m moving more. I know I can’t sustain five miles every day, though. What’s one health habit you’d still like to break? How are you doing with that? I was an ice creamaholic. I ate it every night and dairy seems to ‘stick’ on you. Now I have it once in a while and I feel so much more in control. That trickles down to other levels, and makes me more effective in my work. You suffered a surprise stroke in 2004. Had you experienced any warning signs? It was actually a transient ischemic attack that occurred due to a hole in my heart [a patent foramen ovale or PFO that doesn’t close as it should after birth]. A blood clot ‘popped’ in my head—not due to high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I went on stage and felt that ‘pop’ and then lost my vision, although I could see a little ‘pin’ spot. I thought it was a migraine and amazingly, I drove home. After a diagnosis by an echocardiogram, I had the defect surgically repaired at the University of Utah. I did feel the aftereffects for 10 years, and would sometimes get a numb feeling. I’m one hundred percent now! How have you altered or improved your lifestyle since that event? I want to be here for my amazing wife and kids—and my great life. At one point, it was difficult to get out of a chair, but I wanted to be out there kicking a soccer ball with them. I wanted to live. What would you say to other people whose blood pressure or cholesterol may be too high, who may be smoking, and who aren’t getting enough exercise—all risk factors for stroke? I needed something bigger than me to motivate me—that’s what a lot of people need. It’s funny where you get an extra boost of energy and mine came from my family and from my belief in God. I needed to do it for them, and for my brothers and sister. If you don’t love yourself, look around at who you do love and do it for them. Your family ties are remarkable. I mean in entertainment these days, there are families—and there are families. How do you sustain that loyalty and devotion? Sharing is so much more rewarding than padding your own pocket. My parents, Olive and George, were so service-oriented. They always prayed and asked, ‘Who can I help today?’ They lived the happiest lives of anybody I’ve ever known and they stood for something. What we put into life propels us forward. You’re a champion of children’s literacy. Why did you publish your new book now?    I’ve always been a cartoonist and used to have cartoon strip in Japan. I developed characters for Warner Brothers. A friend suggested I do an autobiography, like the rest of the family. I did the character design, along with Bob Ostrom, who also did the illustrations. What’s autobiographical here? I always wondered, ‘Where do I fit? I’m not as good-looking as Donnie, as good a singer as Marie, but I am going to be me.’ We’re like fish in an aquarium with Marie, the angelfish; Donnie, the shark; and Wayne, the clownfish. I’m the suckerfish, keeping the sides of the aquarium clean. I learned the discipline my parents gave us, along with self-esteem and direction. I found my peace. So many kids don’t have that. I wanted this book to be about that.

Regnery Kids Jimmy Osmond plays a possum's tune in his new book. (Regnery Kids)

You’re on the board of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and wow! The network has raised more than $5 billion. Why are you and the family so committed? A lot of people think that big children’s hospitals have plenty of money but they don’t. It takes organizations and corporate partners like we have to provide the funds to buy that extra piece of medical equipment. One hundred percent of the money stays local. I remember when my daughter had seizures, and the very piece of equipment helping her had our CMN balloon on it. When you’re a daddy, you’d give anything you have for your kid. I did so much with the program in the public eye and behind the scenes, but until my kid actually needed a hospital I didn’t really get it. Now I do. It’s really reached beyond what any of us ever thought would happen. It’s wonderful. Jimmy is so  inspiring, and so was my video interview with super diva Jenifer Lewis, now in The Wedding Ringer and on Black-ish, so why not watch it now? Then take a quick look at some recent health news headlines>>

Stephanie Stephens is certain that at age 45+, the best time of our lives is now. So what are we waiting for? She writes, produces, and hosts her multimedia channel, Mind Your Body TV, featuring timely health and lifestyle blogs, podcasts, and videos—also seen on YouTube and syndicated by AOL/On

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Categories: Entertainment

On the Anniversary of FDR’s Birth, Read His 15 Greatest Quotes

Fri, 1/30/2015 11:46 AM

On January 30, 1882 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born at his parents’ home in Hyde Park, New York. James and Sara’s only child would ultimately graduate from Harvard and Columbia Law School, marry Eleanor Roosevelt and have six children. Roosevelt who held post as a New York State Senator, Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Governor of New York became the 32nd president in 1933. In fact, FDR is the only president to be elected to an unprecedented fourth term. The man who created radical legislation and programs to help get the nation out of the Great Depression was known for his paternal, optimistic and humorous speeches.

Here are some of his memorable quotes.

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

“The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

“Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”

“Books can not be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can abolish memory… In this war, we know, books are weapons. And it is a part of your dedication always to make them weapons for man’s freedom.”

“A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.”

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.”

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

“…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

“Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.”

“To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.”

“Great power involves great responsibility.”

“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”

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Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: Get Ready for the Super Bowl!

Fri, 1/30/2015 8:08 AM

The Super Bowl is this Sunday and it turns out that pets are just as excited about it as football fans are–presumably because they think it’s a literal bowl of inordinate size. Whatever the reason, launch the gallery to see these Patriots and Seahawks fans all decked out for the big game.

Click here to see “Bill Belichick’s Adorable Disciples” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!

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Categories: Entertainment

Great Expectations: Meet Kyler Murray, Parade’s 2015 All-America Player of the Year

Fri, 1/30/2015 7:54 AM

Averaging 5 touchdowns per game his senior year, Texas powerhouse quarterback KYLER MURRAY leads our list of America’s best high school players. He and his fellow Parade All-Americans represent the highest level of excellence in American high school athletics, on the road to becoming gridiron legends themselves.

By Lars Anderson • Photography by Steve Williams


The education of the quarterback began when he was 8 years old.

On summer afternoons in Allen, Texas, Kyler Murray and his father would run drills at a local football field. Two of Murray’s grade-school friends would set up as receivers and four as defensive backs. Eyeing the line-up from a shotgun formation, young Murray would call the signals and yell, “Go!”

Dad Kevin Murray, a standout quarterback at Texas A&M in the 1980s, would position himself behind his son and tell him where to pass the ball—whether to throw a slant route, a dig, a post or an out. Over and over, under a tar-bubbling Texas sun, Murray taught his son the basics of “the route tree” and how to dissect a defense based on how it lined up.

“By age 12, Kyler was reading defenses at a fairly high level,” said his father. “Today there are very few things a defense can do that will surprise him.”

Indeed, the young quarterback soon came to dominate under the Friday night lights of big-time Texas high school football. His stats at Allen High speak to perfection: He went 42-0 as a starter and led his team to three straight state championships. In 14 games last season, Murray—now 5’10”, 180 pounds—threw for 3,971 yards and 45 touchdowns, and ran for  another 1,409 yards and 24 touchdowns.

For this rare and relentless offensive power, we selected Murray as our 2015 Player of the Year. The 17-year-old Texas star joins a legacy of Parade All-American quarterbacks—Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning among them—who not only distinguished themselves in high school, but went on to become legends in college, the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. By all measures of the game, Kyler Murray is poised to do the same.

See the Top 50 Parade All-America Players of All Time

Even with the promise of a bright career ahead of him, Murray remains humble and grateful. “The success I’ve had all goes back to my dad,” Murray says. “He gave me a head start by teaching me the game at such a young age.”

That head start built confidence along with All-American skills. The crowning hour of Murray’s high school career came several weeks ago in the Texas Class 6A Division I state title game against Cypress Ranch, played before 52,308 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Murray made it look as though he was back on the sunbaked field of his childhood, picking apart the defense, passing for 316 yards and scoring five touchdowns in   Allen’s 47-16 victory.

“Kyler is very, very special. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of oh-my-did-he-just-do-that? moments with him,” says Tom Westerberg, the head coach at Allen. “At least once a game, he’d throw a pass that left you just shaking your head and smiling. He’s got so much physical ability and the mental capacity to put it all together on the field. That comes from his dad and being around the game his entire life.”

That father-son football legacy goes back to 1982, when Kevin Murray was named the Dallas-Fort Worth area high school player of the year. Later, as a sophomore at Texas A&M, he threw for 1,965 yards (then a school record) and guided the Aggies to a Cotton Bowl victory.

In the state of Texas, the elder Murray became a legend. But he views the second act of his life—grooming his son and other aspiring football players—to be his most important calling.

Not surprisingly, colleges from coast to coast have been wooing his son since he was 14. Clemson offered him a scholarship when he was a sophomore. Last July, Murray gave a verbal commitment to Texas A&M, his father’s alma mater. Kevin Murray soon received dozens of text messages with variations of the same joke: How does it feel to be the second-best quarterback in the family? 

“I always respond that the plan all along was for Kyler to be better than me, and he will be,” says Kevin Murray. “He’s ready for whatever comes. No moment is too big for him.”

Even before he committed to A&M, Kyler Murray had become particularly intrigued with the incredible runs and throws of another alum, Johnny Manziel, one of 14 former Parade All- Americans who went on to win a Heisman Trophy. Murray and Manziel have become friends. “He’s like an older brother,” Murray says. “It’s great to have him on my side. The advice he gives me is invaluable.”

As Murray’s accomplishments piled up, one thing never changed: playing catch with his dad. Even in the dark of night, the two often retreat to their backyard for a throwing session, with Dad pointing out proper mechanics and footwork.

“Kyler is a high-character young man with parents who have kept him grounded and focused,” Westerberg says. “The   attention never got to him, and I think that bodes well for his    future.”

In the final minutes of Murray’s last high school game, his third state championship, the coach sent in a backup quarterback. As Murray jogged off the field, the crowd of more than 50,000 rose to its feet and sent
a roar-like thunder into the Texas sky. It was a fitting goodbye to the nation’s top high school

“It’s been a heck of ride,” Westerberg yelled above the din into Murray’s ear on the sideline as the two embraced. “Soak it all in. You’ll have more of this in your future.”

“Thanks, coach,” Murray replied. “I can’t wait.”

Lars Anderson is a 20-year veteran of  Sports Illustrated and the author of six books, including the New York Times best seller The Storm and the Tide

Meet the 2015 Parade All-American First Team


POS. NAME HT. WT. HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE* QB Kyler Murray 5-11 175 Allen (Allen, Texas) Texas A&M QB Ty Storey 6-3 220 Charleston (Charleston, Ark.) Arkansas QB Jake Browning 6-2 205 Folsom (Folsom, Calif.) Washington RB Jacques Patrick 6-2 230 Timber Creek (Orlando, Fla.) Florida State RB Markell Jones 5-11 205 Columbus East (Columbus, Ind.) Purdue RB Kellen Overstreet 6-0 190 Penney (Hamilton, Mo.) Wyoming WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 6-3 210 Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) Stanford WR Trent Irwin 6-2 190 Hart (Newhall, Calif.) Stanford OL Richie Petitbon 6-4 320 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) Alabama OL Tristen Hoge 6-5 300 Highland (Pocatello, Idaho) Notre Dame OL Martez Ivey 6-6 270 Apopka (Apopka, Fla.) Uncommitted OL Mitch Hyatt 6-6 270 North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.) Clemson OL Chuma Edoga 6-3 275 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) Southern Cal UTIL Christian Kirk 5-11 195 Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Texas A&M



POS. NAME HT. WT. HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE* DL Trent Thompson 6-4 295 Westover (Albany, Ga.) Georgia DL Byron Cowart 6-4 255 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) Uncommitted DL Albert Huggins 6-3 280 Orangeburg-Wilkinson (S.C.) Clemson DL Daylon Mack 6-1 330 Gladewater (Gladewater, Texas) Uncommitted LB Malik Jefferson 6-2 210 Poteet (Mesquite, Texas) Texas LB Justin Hilliard 6-2 230 St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) Ohio State LB Porter Gustin 6-5 240 Salem Hills (Salem, Utah) Uncommitted LB John Houston 6-3 210 Serra (Gardena, Calif.) Uncommitted DB Iman Marshall 6-1 190 Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) Uncommitted DB Derwin James 6-2 200 Haines City (Haines City, Fla.) Florida State DB A.J. Gray 6-2 210 Washington County (Sandersville, Ga.) Georgia Tech UTIL Deshawn
Capers-Smith 6-0 175 Warren Easton (New Orleans, La.) Texas A&M K/P Austin Seibert 5-10 195 Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.) Oklahoma



POS. NAME HT. WT. SCHOOL COLLEGE* QB Tucker Israel 6-1 200 Lake Nona (Orlando, Fla.) Clemson QB Brett Rypien 6-2 185 Shadle Park (Spokane, Wash.) Boise State QB Joe Burrow 6-4 210 Athens (The Plains, Ohio) Ohio State QB Alex Malzone 6-2 200 Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) Michigan QB Brandon Wimbush 6-2 205 St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) Notre Dame QB De’Andre Johnson 6-0 175 First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.) Florida State QB Will Hefley 6-5 205 Pulaski Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) Tulsa RB Dominick Bragalone 5-11 210 South Williamsport (Pa.) Uncommitted RB Reggie Gallaspy 5-11 205 Southern Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.) N.C. State RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn 5-11 210 Pearl Cohn (Nashville, Tenn.) Uncommitted RB Darrell Henderson 5-9 190 South Panola (Batesville, Miss.) Uncommitted RB Jamarius Henderson 5-11 215 Dale County Chr. (Ozark, Ala.) Uncommitted RB Larry Scott 6-0 205 Hubbard (Hubbard, Ohio) Michigan State WR Deondre Farrier 6-0 195 Lake Nona (Orlando, Fla.) East Carolina WR Damarkus Lodge 6-3 190 Cedar Hill (Cedar Hill, Texas) Uncommitted OL Maea Teuhema 6-5 340 Keller (Keller, Texas) LSU OL Lester Cotton 6-4 325 Central School (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) Alabama OL Drew Richmond 6-5 310 Memphis Univ. School (Tenn.) Ole Miss DL D’Andre Walker 6-2 220 Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.) Georgia DL Breiden Fehoko 6-3 295 Farrington (Honolulu, Hawaii) Texas Tech DL Tim Settle 6-3 300 Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, Va.) Virginia Tech DL Darian Roseboro 6-4 265 Lincolnton (Lincolnton, N.C.) N.C. State LB Ricky Deberry 6-3 240 Atlee (Mechanicsville, Va.) Oklahoma LB Roquan Smith 6-2 205 Montezuma (Macon County, Ga.) Uncommitted LB Asmar Bilal 6-3 205 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.) Notre Dame DB Holton Hill 6-2 185 Lamar (Houston, Texas) Uncommitted DB Minkah Fitzpatrick 5-11 180 St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) Alabama UTIL Kerryon Johnson 6-1 200 Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.) Auburn UTIL Austin Kafentzis 6-1 200 Jordan (Sandy, Utah) Wisconsin


*College selections are subject to change; choices listed current as of Jan. 8, 2015

HOW WE PICKED THE TEAM: In selecting the All-America Team, Parade contributor Brian McLaughlin, who also blogs about college football recruiting for Sporting News, considered all-state teams, state player of the year honors and statistics, as well as his own observations in person. On offense, he looked for players who had outstanding senior seasons while also exhibiting high-end college-level potential. When it came to defensive players, McLaughlin looked for elite playmakers—top athletes who could change games.

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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – January 30

Fri, 1/30/2015 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

A New Way to Predict a Heart Attack

Fri, 1/30/2015 5:13 AM

Heart disease is the No.1 killer in America, so it pays to know if you’re at risk. But figuring that out is a bit like reading a Ouija board, especially if you’re a woman. The predictive value of current screening tools in women is poor, says Leslie Cho, M.D., section head of preventive cardiology and rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. The good news: A simple new blood test may help.

The test, called the PLAC Test for Lp-PLA2 Activity, measures an enzyme that’s a marker for inflammation in the arteries. That inflammation encourages the formation of plaque and plays a key role in heart attacks and strokes.

If your PLAC numbers are high, they could tip the scales in favor of treatment. “Maybe you’d be started on cholesterol medication sooner rather than later,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., clinical associate professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at NYU School of Medicine. Some of these medications tamp down inflammation, even in people whose cholesterol levels are normal.

To Test or Not to Test?                

The test was first approved for people with existing heart disease, but the Food and Drug Administration recently green-lighted it, based on new data, for adults with no history of the disease. It’s most effective in women, especially African-American women.

If you have high cholesterol or already know you’re at increased risk for heart disease, you probably don’t need the test, says Goldberg, though it could provide a call to action. “Sometimes people need more evidence.”

Like many of the newer  heart screening tools, the PLAC Test may be most useful in people whose risk level isn’t already obvious, experts say. And it likely won’t be used alone.

“It’s an additional test that we can use to screen for heart disease risk,” says Goldberg. Getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and being screened for other risk factors, such as diabetes, are still important.

“I see the greatest use of PLAC testing in recommending stroke prevention efforts,” says Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., section head of preventive cardiology and rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. “Clearly high blood pressure is     a major risk factor for stroke, but measuring BP alone is not sufficient to capture those at increased risk.”

If the Ouija board spells a stroke or heart attack, getting on that treadmill or throwing salmon in the pan instead of a burger might suddenly seem worthwhile after all.

—Marianne Wait

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Categories: Entertainment

Those Tired, Droopy Eyelids

Fri, 1/30/2015 5:00 AM

S.J. in Manhattan Beach, California, writes:

Why do our eyelids seem so heavy when we’re sleepy?

Marilyn responds:

The levator muscles, which keep your upper eyelids open, get tired as the day passes, the way the rest of your muscles do. However, unlike your arms and legs, for example, the levator muscles are in constant use, so they’re a predictable accompaniment of general fatigue by the end of the day. Also, if your eyelids have excess skin, the effect will be more pronounced, making you feel even drowsier, as heavy eyelids are strongly associated with sleepiness. 

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – January 30

Thu, 1/29/2015 7:00 PM
Categories: Entertainment

Vote the Fit Kids of the Week and enter YOUR child for the next contest

Thu, 1/29/2015 3:41 PM
John Strickler - The Mercury Owen J. Roberts elementary school students warm up with some exercises before the Wildcat Run.

John Strickler – The Mercury
Owen J. Roberts elementary school students warm up with some exercises before the Wildcat Run.

By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury

Vote now for the Fit Kids of the Week from entries showing how they are staying active this WINTER on Facebook.

Fit Kid winners get their photo published in The Mercury newspaper, a Schuylkill Valley Sports gift card and a T-shirt.

Parents can start submitting BUDDY ACTIVITY photos for the next contest and winners will be announced on Feb. 13. Submit a photo of your child being physically active with a partner such as a family member, teammate, friend or pet to mercfitkids@gmail.com with their first name, age and town. This can include walking the dog, playing outside with a neighbor, group sports and more. The photo just has to display how a child is being fit with another person or a pet.


Each winning photo only gets one prize so please no matter how many children are in the photo, only enter one child in the contest per photo. Each of your children can still enter the contest just not for the same photo. Send in a separate photo for each child entering the contest.

For the current contest, photos were submitted of kids being fit during the winter in all sorts of ways including sledding, snowboarding and building snowmen. (To visit the photo gallery with all the submitted photos go HERE)

Facebook users can easily vote for the Fit Kids of the Week. Users just have to like the Fit for Life Facebook and then LIKE their favorite photo in the Fit Kids albums. Click the LIKE button or the thumbs up, if on mobile, on your favorite photo.

There were submitted photos for all three age categories this contest. Users can vote for the 1 to 6 years age category, 7 to 12 years age category and the 13 to 18 years age category.

The contest is a bi-weekly event and up to three kids can be announced as a winner each time. The age divisions are usually 2 to 6 years, 7 to 12 years and 13 to 18 years.

The deadline to submit BUDDY ACTIVITY photos for the next contest is noon Feb. 11. Please only submit one photo per child each contest.

Every other week there is a different activity for the contest such as playing sports, swimming and jumping rope. Each contest’s activity will be announced on the Fit for Life Facebook and on Twitter@MercFit4Life.

The Fit Kids for Life contest is sponsored by Schuylkill Valley Sports, The Mercury and the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.

For more information about the Fit Kids for Life contest, email mpatterson@pottsmerc.com. Also visit the rules and guidelines page.

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Categories: Entertainment

What I Learned About My Family From Parenthood’s Braverman Family

Thu, 1/29/2015 2:28 PM

I turned 35 this month, and it was only this past week that my mother told me why one part of our extended family hasn’t spoken to us for nearly 30 years.

As you might expect, the reason is some ridiculous old grudge. One that springs up when a family member dies, someone feels slighted, and they hold onto that anger for three decades. It’s extremely silly and unfortunate for everyone affected by it.

But do you know what the first thing I thought when I first heard this lurid little tale? I thought, “The Braverman family would never have let this happen.” And maybe I’m wrong about that, but I can’t help but feel that Zeek and Camille would have found a way 25 years ago to patch up the wounds before they started to fester.

Courtesy of NBC Monica Potter & Peter Krause in Parenthood. (Courtesy of NBC)

The Bravermans have been TV’s shining example of a living, breathing family that actually feels real since they made their first appearance on NBC on March 2, 2010. At least in their current iteration, that is. (Fans like me try to forget that the failed 1990 adaptation ever happened).

But it took me a good season-and-a-half to come around to the Jason Katims-led series. I watched that premiere in 2010, but shrugged it off pretty quickly.

You see, I had grown up watching the now classic 1989 Ron Howard film of the same name starring Steve Martin, and I loved the living hell out of it. I wanted nothing to do with a Braverman family dynamic that didn’t include Martin, Rick Moranis, Martha Plimpton, and Keanu Reeves. The pilot was trying too hard. I didn’t fall for it.

But then came Netflix and, one day, I decided to give Parenthood a second chance. And after binge-watching my way through 13 season-one episodes, I was hooked. Absolutely and unequivocally hooked.

Jason Katims’ series, starring the likes of Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Monica Potter, and Erika Christensen represented a wholly different, more fully formed version of the Bravermans. The seasoned Friday Night Lights showrunner had simply taken the most basic pieces of Howard’s film and made something all his own. It was touching and funny and warm-hearted in a way the film was not.

I still love that 1989 film, but the 2010 series (which concludes its 103-episode run on Thursday night on NBC) has cemented its place in a much larger piece of my heart.

Courtesy of NBC Mae Whitman in Parenthood. (Courtesy of NBC)

During the last five years (and six turbulent seasons) of Parenthood, I’ve grown into being a parent myself. My daughter just turned 6, so she’s grown up as the show has and I’ve gone from being someone who knew nothing about parenting to someone who has written about the joys of watching his child grow on several occasions.

What’s most impressive about the series, however, might be the fact that not only is it able to provide solid entertainment, hearty laughs, and several Kleenex-worthy moments just about every episode, but it also lays such a beautiful outline for what parenting could and should be. I never expected to learn much about parenthood from watching Parenthood, but looking back on the last six seasons I’ve learned way more than I could ever have imagined.

I’ve learned that families everywhere (just like mine) are crazy and screwed up and full of personalities that don’t always mesh. Even TV families that appear to have it all figured out most certainly do not and this has been true of the Bravermans all along. They’re a ragtag group of characters that fight and make big mistakes and don’t always make the best choices, but they own those choices hard, love each other even harder, and work through it. They don’t let silly grudges turn into 30-year-long feuds.

I’ve learned way more than I could ever have imagined I would learn about what it’s like to live with a child on the Autism spectrum, especially from a fictional network television series like Parenthood.

Courtesy of NBC Max Burkholder in Parenthood. (Courtesy of NBC)

Part of this has to do with the fact that the subject is so close to Jason Katims’ own real-life experience of having a son on the spectrum, but a lot more has to do with how amazing Max Burkholder (who plays young Max Braverman who has Asperger Syndrome) has been at portraying so nuanced a character while also contending with growing up on TV.

I’ve spoken to friends who have children on the spectrum and they’ve all told me that Max Braverman is the most realistic portrayal of someone with Asperger on television that they’ve seen maybe ever.

What’s most important about the character, however, is that I’ve learned to understand that no matter what your child is going through (whether it be mental or physical or developmental), there’s a way to make it work and to love that child even more than you thought was possible.

Some might joke that, in the past two seasons, Parenthood decided that the way you deal with those issues is by building your child their own charter school, but I’ll let Katims slide on that one.

Was the Chambers Academy storyline overindulgent and, at times, hard to handle as a viewer? Sure, but I also understand just how much pressure the show had been under from NBC these last few years and without big stories like Chambers Academy, we might not have seen Parenthood make it to season six at all.

I’ve learned that victories don’t come all that often when you’re struggling to make ends meet, be a good parent, do the right things for your children and for yourself but, when they do, you celebrate them in the best and biggest way you know how. If that’s by taking handfuls of Skittles and tossing them up in the air because you won class president and made good on your promise to deliver a vending machine, then so be it!

That image of Max victorious, surrounded by his classmates, enduring a seemingly endless Skittles rain near the end of season four is one that Katims and his team have gone back to several times now (most recently last week’s penultimate episode when Edgar, a student at Chambers Academy, hoists his successfully made soufflé over his head as students cheer and Max snaps photos).

In a way, it feels like this will be the image I most remember from Parenthood’s six-season run. It sums up so much about the way I feel about these characters. Victorious in the face of certain defeat, but taking the simple route to celebrating that victory because, really, all they need is each other.

If I were to list all the things I’ve learned about parenthood (and life) from this simple, family dramedy this story would end up being much longer than you have any interest in reading. I promise you that.

But it’s hard not to think about how I’ve learned that sometimes letting go is the right thing to do, even when it’s the hardest thing to do. How some people just can’t be fixed in a way that allows them to share in a part of your life. And how the right people in your life don’t always end up staying the right people in your life.

Courtesy of NBC The Parenthood series finales airs on January 29 at 10 PM on NBC. (Courtesy of NBC)

Things change. People move in and out of each other lives, but the one thing that always remains for the Bravermans (and hopefully for us) is family. It is the one true constant that maintains the breakage of time and money and divorce and infidelity and hardship and confusion and grudges that span several decades.

Do I wish I could talk to that estranged part of my family? Do I wish I could see them and break bread? Sure. Of course I do. But do I understand that, for some people, letting go of the ties that bind them into a situation are harder than for others? Absolutely.

But the 103 episodes of Parenthood have ensured that I will never let that happen to my own daughter. That she will never have to know what it’s like to find someone unwilling to budge. At least not her father. She won’t know the meaning of an anger so strong that it separates and divides for three decades.

Parenthood has taught me that even with those ties in place, and even with those grudges keeping us apart, that family is family. Always will be. Through heaps and heaps of Kleenex (the show has also taught me that it’s more than okay for a grown man to cry), I’ve gained perspective in ways I never imagined possible.

So if and when those family members finally decide that it’s been long enough – when they just can’t hold onto that silly grudge anymore – I’ll be there on the porch with a cup of tea, ready to welcome them into my home for a long chat.

I’d like to think Zeek Braverman would approve.

The Parenthood series finale airs on January 29 at 10 PM on NBC.

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Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: Mail Dogs

Wed, 1/28/2015 11:01 AM

In Winter Storm Juno’s wake, many people most likely won’t be getting their mail today and definitely didn’t yesterday. To tide you over until your service resumes, here’s your delivery for the day.

Click here to see “Blizzard Entertainment” and come back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!

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Categories: Entertainment

Exclusive Clip: How Technology Saved the 101 Dalmatians Animators From Drawing Millions of Spots

Wed, 1/28/2015 10:56 AM

The 1961 animated classic 101 Dalmatians still stands as one of the most successful (both financially and critically) films of the Disney animated classics. The 17th film in that series, the story is a familiar one to generations who have grown up watching both this animated version and the live-action version released in 1996. It’s charming and heartwarming and fun of fun-loving pups with spots all over them. How could you not love it? And now that it’s coming out of the vault, for the first time in years, in a beautiful Diamond Edition Blu-ray and Digital release, a whole new generation of kids can fall in love with 101 Dalmatians.

Parade is excited to premiere this exclusive clip from the 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack (which arrives in stores on February 10). The clip features legendary Disney animators Rolly Crump, Burny Mattinson, Floyd Norman, and executive Don Iwerks discussing how a revolutionary process (at the time) called Xerox helped make 101 Dalmatians possible. Instead of the animators having to draw and re-draw millions of spots on the Dalmatians while also making sure that they didn’t slip and slide around when the pups moved, they were able to use Xerox to simplify the process. They explain how the animators loved the new process but the man who was least pleased with it was the big man himself Walt Disney. It’s a really interesting clip.

101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere on February 10.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere on February 10. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere on February 10. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD & Disney Movies Anywhere on February 10. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
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Categories: Entertainment

Kate, William and George’s Vacation on Caribbean Island

Wed, 1/28/2015 10:03 AM

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George are reported have joined Kate’s family on the Caribbean island of Mustique to celebrate Carole Middleton’s 60th birthday.

Kate and William are believed to be staying close to the duchess’s parents Carole and Michael, and her siblings James and Pippa, in one of the private island’s 74 luxury villas. The Caribbean weather will no doubt come as a relief to Kate, who is now six months pregnant and who during the chilly British January has been busy with charity engagements and appearances.

Mustique is something of an annual destination for the Middletons, who celebrated Carole’s 59th birthday there last year with Kate and George. The journey to the island marked Prince George’s first trip abroad, at only six months old—good preparation for his three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia last April.

Mustique is also where controversial photographs of the duchess—then pregnant with George and wearing a bikini for a beach walk with William—were taken by a paparazzo, and subsequently published by French magazine Chi just five months after the same magazine printed pictures of Kate sunbathing topless in France.

This week, controversy again surrounds photographs of Kate, this time due to a photoshopped image of the duchess featured on the cover of Australian magazine Woman’s Day. The heavily-retouched photograph exaggerates Kate’s skin tone and eyes to the extent that she is almost unrecognizable.

But it seems unlikely that Kate herself will be too concerned with the issue; she’s busy spending some Caribbean downtime with her husband and son as her due date comes nearer. “It’s moving all the time,” she recently said of her unborn baby. “I can feel it kicking now.”

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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – January 28

Wed, 1/28/2015 6:00 AM

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__ __ __ 32 __ 12 __ __ __
__ __ 52 __ __ __ 04 __ __
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__ __ 18 __ __ __ 06 __ __
__ __ __ 20 __ 74 __ __ __
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Categories: Entertainment

Thinking About Me, Myself, and I

Wed, 1/28/2015 5:00 AM

L.B. in Tucson, Arizona, writes:

I ignore most grammatical errors, but it drives me up the wall to hear the word “myself” used incorrectly so often by newscasters and other television and radio personalities. Maybe they use the word “myself” when they’re not sure whether to say “I” or “me.” Can you give us some examples of correct and incorrect usages?

Marilyn responds:

I think this problem occurs because people often don’t like to use the word “me.” They think it sounds diminutive. So they avoid the word and wind up fumbling into incorrect grammar, instead. Following are straightforward examples of how the words “I,” “me,” and “myself” should be used: 1) I gave you a birthday party; 2) You gave me a birthday party; and 3) I gave myself a birthday party. All obvious, right? “I” is a subject pronoun, and “me” is an object pronoun. “Myself” is different: It’s a reflexive pronoun. The time to use “myself” is when you’re on the receiving end of action that you initiate, such as, “I treated myself to a box of chocolates.” 

These are less obvious examples of correct usage: 1) Robert and I recommended a movie to you; 2) You recommended a movie to Robert and me. These usages are incorrect: 1) Robert and myself recommended a movie to you; 2) You recommended a movie to Robert and myself. Also incorrect is: 3) You recommended a movie to Robert and I.

It’s easier to see the grammar error when you remove the other person from the statement. You wouldn’t say: 1) Myself recommended a movie to you; 2) You recommended a movie to myself, or 3) You recommended a movie to I.

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – January 28

Tue, 1/27/2015 7:00 PM
Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: Blizzard Entertainment

Tue, 1/27/2015 11:18 AM

It’s no World of Warcraft, but you can launch the gallery to see a whole bunch more photos of animals enjoying the snow–hopefully while you’re lying warmly inside your home, still with electricity.

Click here to see “Snow Days!” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!

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Categories: Entertainment
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2014 City salaries rose slightly

The salaries of Augusta-Richmond County employees remained relatively flat over the past year, but some people got big raises. Average full-time pay increased by 1.4 percent to $38,949.19.
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