Video game companies mark April Fools’ Day with events and faux products

San Jose Mercury - 10 min 15 sec ago

It’s April Fools’ Day and that means, things are going to get a little weird when it comes to your favorite video games and peripheral makers. This is time of year when you read things such as Pokemon appearing in Google Maps or Amazon’s AI assistant for pets.

Here are some of April Fools’ Day pranks from video game companies.

Cloud20 HeroAs an April Fools’ Day prank, HyperX unveiled a headset that lets you stay hydrated. (HyperX) 
Hyper X: The gaming peripherals maker is adding a new feature to its headsets — water. According to a news release, its HyperX Cloud20 Hydration Headset takes the popular phrase “stay hydrated” to a new level by integrating it into the headset. Its Ngenuity software allows users to customize hydration reminder intervals and check reservoir levels. At least, the art looks cool.

Razer: The company is finally living up to its name by creating a razor. They’re calling it the Razer Razer of course. It even has RGB if you ever want to see fancy rainbow lights while you’re getting a smooth shave.

When it comes to actual video game events, these are a little more real.

“Rainbow Six Siege” — Ubisoft’s tactical shooter is getting goofy with its Rainbow is Magic event. It’s definitely the most colorful celebration and it includes a new Bop the Teddy Game Mode. For hard-core fans, there’s even a G-Fuel collaboration with the game that features a new Unicorn Sunshine flavor and (I’m not making this up) a $44.99 collector’s box with a ton of “Rainbow is Magic” items. The in-game event runs through April 19.

“PUBG: Battlegrounds” — The popular shooter is tweaking the formula to last year’s Monster Chicken Royale mode by adding zombies to the mix as well as giving players special abilities. It’s a little out there, but it looks spectacular. Best of all, players can collect OP coins from zombies, unlucky players or chickens to buy temporary OP items for special powers.

“Pokemon Go” — Last year, players chased around Dittos. This year, it’s all about Pidgeys. The Tiny Bird Pokemon will appear en masse in the game. It’s a call back to a time early in the franchise when players complained that the only Pokemon available were pidgeys. This time around, the creature can be shiny and there’s an increased chance for players to encounter extra extra small Pidgey and extra extra large ones. If you don’t have a shiny Pidgey, today is a good time to grab one from 1 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

“Marvel Snap” — Second Dinner has a deal for those brave enough to waste spend money on it. The team is selling a Rock avatar and a Rock title for 400 gold. For those who don’t play the game, the Rock is one of the most useless cards except in certain situations where Carnage or Patriot is involved. The offer is essentially the video game equivalent of the “I Am Rich” app. You can intimidate others with your wanton disrespect for the value of money. To get in the spirit of April Fools’ Day, the team even put out a tongue-in-cheek explanation about why Rock is one of the best cards in the game. Just don’t forget to bluff and snap when you have a hand full of rocks. That’s an instant win.

The Rock offer is available for most of April 1.

Categories: Local News

How buyers leaving the Bay Area can avoid a shocking delay 

San Jose Mercury - 13 min 44 sec ago

Q: We sold our house after the first weekend. The home we are buying out of state is contingent upon the sale of our Bay Area residence. Yesterday, we received a repair list from the buyer’s agent. It is a long email with attached inspection reports. It came as quite a shock.

The homebuyers and their buyer’s agent know that we bought a home. Our house is full of moving boxes. They saw us busily preparing to move soon. The seller’s agent representing us believes that the homebuyers and their buyer’s agent are trying to take advantage of our situation. How can we save our home’s sale without high costs and delays?


A: Renegotiations during residential real estate transactions need to be appropriately formatted. If you are using the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) forms, insist that the buyer’s agent use C.A.R. Form Request for Repairs (C.A.R. Form R.R. Revised 6/22). Using Advanced Real Estate Solutions forms, employ the PRDS Addendum Regarding Repairs, Corrections, or Other Actions (Form RABC Revised 07/18). The current request via email needs to be corrected. Those C.A.R. and PRDS forms are highly structured and correspond to their real estate purchase contract brand.

Find out if the out-of-state sellers of the home you are buying will or will not allow more time to renegotiate, make repairs or resell the property. The three keys to negotiation are time, power and information:

·     If the out-of-state home sellers will grant you more time to make repairs or find a different homebuyer, you regain control of the Bay Area home sale narrative.

·     Utilizing the proper request for repair forms will grant you the power to negotiate with structure, timelines and eventual finality.

·     Armed with the information that investing in repairs will enable you to resell the property or sell for more money, you are empowered to control the current sale of your Bay Area home.

Home sellers can position themselves to negotiate from strength over weakness. First, home sellers should engage in complete presale inspections. Second, decide with the seller’s agent to prioritize deferred maintenance items needing attention. Lastly, before the first homebuyer sets foot on the property, also invest in enhancing the property. Retailers, theater owners and movie producers prepare diligently before the grand opening, open night and first box-office weekend. Full stop. Savvy home sellers do the same before the first open house. The commonality shares undeniable significance. The newness to the public only happens once.

For Housing Market Data in your area, visit Pat’s webpage for trends here. Do you have questions about home buying or selling? Full-service Realtor Pat Kapowich is a Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager and career-long consumer protection advocate. He is based in his hometown of Sunnyvale, California. Office: 408-245-7700; Broker# 00979413



Categories: Local News

ASK IRA: Has regression of supporting cast been the ultimate Heat setback?

San Jose Mercury - 22 min 20 sec ago

Q: Ira, I think that the worst thing that happened to this team was missing the NBA Finals last year by one missed Jimmy Butler three-point shot. That became our mantra, and our front office became complacent, deciding to run it back with the same group, hoping that everyone would improve. The problem is almost no one other than Jimmy Butler and maybe Bam Adebayo, for half the year, improved, while most of the Eastern Conference made personnel changes to get better, – Greg, Jacksonville.

A: Correct. Hindsight sort of makes that clear at the moment. Ultimately, the supporting cast regressed significantly. I’m not sure how that could have been anticipated. The upshot is that then required Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro to be great. That is a high bar to set for a single player, let alone a trio.

Q: Is playing for the Miami Heat one of the easiest jobs in professional sports? One can be as lackadaisical and mediocre as one wants while collecting millions. There’s no accountability and no one gets called out for bad performances. Losses to teams that others easily beat are just met with a shoulder shrug and a yawn. Easy peasy, yes? – Jimmy, Palm Beach Garden.

A: There are many ways to call for accountability. Erik Spoelstra is not one to call out players publicly. That doesn’t mean things aren’t said behind the scenes. But these also are different times. Once the money is paid – with just about all NBA contracts guaranteed – the motivation has to work in different ways. So, yes, you are correct, that even if you don’t care or offer less than complete effort, the paycheck doesn’t change. What it means, more than anything, is signing the right players. The Heat seemingly have taken missteps in that direction of late.

Q: Lose to Dallas on Saturday and it’s over. – Eddy.

A: No, there actually still will be four remaining regular-season games left. At this point, it’s almost as if the Heat are playing defense, to hold the No. 7 seed, and therefore get one or two home play-in games to try to make the playoffs. To that end, perhaps even more significant than the game Saturday against the Mavericks are the games over the final week against the Pistons, Wizards and Magic. Win those, and there likely still is at least No. 7.


Categories: Local News

Bring the Kids Along

N.Y. Times - 52 min 51 sec ago
We take our children on vacation to expose them to history, novelty and beauty.
Categories: Local News

Horoscopes April 1, 2023: Taran Killam, offer a lifeline

San Jose Mercury - 1 hour 13 min ago

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Asa Butterfield, 26; Hillary Scott, 37; Taran Killam, 41; Susan Boyle, 62.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum attends The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)Hillary Scott (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) 

Happy Birthday: Hang in there. Set your sights on your destination and let your intelligence and passion lead to success. Engage in something that brings you joy, surrounds you with people who make you proud, and feeds your energy and heart to the brim. Refuse to falter because someone else loses their way. Offer a lifeline, but don’t give away your soul. Your numbers are 6, 13, 19, 25, 32, 44, 49.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Keep an open mind, listen respectfully to what others contribute and offer positive solutions to existing problems. Getting along and maintaining peace will encourage positive results and deter you from making unnecessary and unaffordable purchases. 5 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Emotions will interfere with your plans. Turn a negative into a positive. Lay down some ground rules that motivate and inspire others to strive for peace over chaos and love over hate. Start a movement; be the one to make a difference. 2 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Choose to do what’s in your best interest. Trust your gut feeling and put your heart into something that makes you feel good about who you are and what you accomplish. A proposal you make will change your life for the better. 4 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Pick up the pace and knock things off your to-do list. The energy you expel will ease stress and encourage you to change your lifestyle to accommodate what and who you enjoy most. Live, learn and leave the past behind you. Romance is favored. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You don’t have to stand alone. Open conversations with people you trust to give good advice. You may not like what you hear, but follow through, and the result will help you change how others treat you. The possibilities are endless. 3 stars

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Pay attention to the way you present yourself to the world; the feedback you get will lift your spirits. Changing your surroundings will spark your imagination and give you something to consider about how or where you live. Romance is encouraged. 3 stars

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Idle time will lead to trouble. Keep your thoughts a secret for now. Gather facts, and assess situations and how someone feels about you before revealing your intentions. Physical fitness and being disciplined will pay off. 4 stars

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Refuse to let work problems upset your downtime. Focus on love and personal improvements rather than allowing outside influences to ruin your day. Find a creative venue you can enjoy with someone you love. Stick close to home. 2 stars

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): You can have it all if you say no to anyone trying to interfere with your plans. Make changes at home that help you budget your expenses. A financial gain is apparent if you play your cards right. Shared costs equal financial freedom. 5 stars

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Distance yourself from unpredictable individuals. A change you make at home should help you solve an emotional issue. Learn to say no when necessary. Avoid joint ventures, lending and borrowing, and make personal growth and romance priorities. 3 stars

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Put your energy where it will do some good. Nurture relationships and protect against injury or poor health. Handle money and investigate how to use your skills in an unusual way to bring in more cash. Challenge yourself to quit a bad habit. 3 stars

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Change your surroundings to suit your needs. Get rid of things you don’t need or use. Donating will encourage you to do more in your community to help those less fortunate. An emotional setback will make you question your next move. 3 stars

Birthday Baby: You are forceful, courageous and insightful. You are emotional and unpredictable.

1 star: Avoid conflicts; work behind the scenes. 2 stars: You can accomplish, but don’t rely on others. 3 stars: Focus and you’ll reach your goals. 4 stars: Aim high; start new projects. 5 stars: Nothing can stop you; go for gold.

Visit, or join Eugenia on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn.

Want a link to your daily horoscope delivered directly to your inbox each weekday morning? Sign up for our free Coffee Break newsletter at or

Categories: Local News

Bridge: April 1, 2023

San Jose Mercury - 1 hour 14 min ago

Mark Dahl of Richmond, Virginia, was declarer in today’s deal from a crucial match in the Mixed Swiss Teams at the Fall NABC. (West’s two clubs showed length in both majors; North’s two spades showed club length plus a spade stopper. Dahl’s 3NT was bold.)

West led a low heart, and East took the king and returned the jack. When Dahl’s queen covered, West played low to keep communication.

Declarer next led a club to dummy’s ace, getting the bad news; West threw a spade, so Dahl couldn’t profit by setting up the clubs. Instead, he led a club to his king, cashed four spade tricks and exited with his last heart. West took three hearts but then had to lead a diamond from his king. Making three!


At the other table, West led a spade against 3NT, and declarer got home with less difficulty. At Dahl’s table, the contract could have been defeated: East needed to play his jack of hearts at Trick One.

Dahl’s good play helped his team to a second-place finish in the event.


You hold: S A 4 H 6 2 D Q 5 2 C A 9 8 5 3 2. Your partner opens 1NT, and the next player bids two spades. What do you say?

ANSWER: Don’t bother to mention your clubs. Bid 3NT. Once in a great while, your partner will fail at 3NT when your side could have made a game — or at least gotten a plus score — at a club contract, but the nine-trick game is most likely to succeed, especially when you have semi-balanced pattern and a trick in spades.

East dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S A 4

H 6 2

D Q 5 2

C A 9 8 5 3 2


S 9 8 6 5 3 2

H A 8 7 5 3

D K 3

C None



H K J 4

D J 10 8 6 4

C Q J 6 4


S K Q 10 7

H Q 10 9

D A 9 7

C K 10 7

East South West North
Pass 1 C 2 C 2 S
3 H 3 NT All Pass
Opening lead — H 5

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Categories: Local News

Word Game: April 1, 2023

San Jose Mercury - 1 hour 14 min ago

TODAY’S WORD — CANTLES (CANTLES: KAN-t’ls: Parts; portions.)

Average mark 42 words

Time limit 60 minutes

Can you find 55 or more words in CANTLES? The list will be published Monday.

YESTERDAY’S WORD — THREATS tare tart taste taster tear teat test that theta threat trash treat tsar hare haste hate hater hatter hear heart heat hers rash rate rest earth east aster sate sear seat share shatter shear star stare start stat state stet

To purchase the Word Game book, visit Order it now for just $5 while supplies last!


1. Words must be of four or more letters.

2. Words that acquire four letters by the addition of “s,” such as “bats” or “dies,” are not allowed.

3. Additional words made by adding a “d” or an “s” may not be used. For example, if “bake” is used, “baked” or “bakes” are not allowed, but “bake” and “baking” are admissible.

4. Proper nouns, slang words, or vulgar or sexually explicit words are not allowed.

Contact Word Game creator Kathleen Saxe at

Categories: Local News

Russia Pounds Eastern Ukraine but Hasn’t Secured Decisive Breakthrough in Offensive

N.Y. Times - 1 hour 14 min ago
The eastern town of Avdiivka, which has been under assault since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion more than a year ago, bore the brunt of the latest attacks.
Categories: Local News

For Orioles on first opening day roster, being together was the best part

San Jose Mercury - 1 hour 34 min ago

Kyle Bradish went to bed Wednesday knowing he wasn’t due to pitch for a few days. The Orioles’ right-handed starter still had trouble falling asleep.

That excitement level was shared by Baltimore’s five other players who made their first opening day roster, with half of the six making contributions to the Orioles’ season-opening 10-9 victory Thursday over the Boston Red Sox.

Catcher Adley Rutschman’s path to superstardom continued with a home run on his first swing, four hits and a walk as part of a record-setting 5-for-5 day. Gunnar Henderson, Rutschman’s successor as baseball’s top overall prospect, drew two free passes as Baltimore’s designated hitter, one starting a four-run fourth inning. Right-hander Logan Gillaspie struck out the only batter he faced to end the bottom of the eighth. Like Bradish, outfielder Kyle Stowers and utility player Terrin Vavra didn’t appear in the opener, but each of three will have significant roles moving forward.

These six players all made their major league debuts last season as Orioles, with those initial appearances coming across five months. They collectively savored Thursday’s festivities at Fenway Park.

“We each came up at different points last year and got to experience our ‘firsts’ on our own,” Vavra said. “But this is something that we’re all gonna share together and we’re gonna be able to look back on and think about these guys and the moment that you were in it all together.”

Last year, Bradish was the first to arrive, making his first start in late April against Boston. Gillaspie came out of Baltimore’s bullpen in mid-May, with Rutschman’s long-awaited arrival four days later. Stowers’ first major league stint came as a substitute player during a June series in Toronto. Vavra was called up in late July, and Henderson’s debut came a month later.

The six had spent time together in the Orioles’ minor league system. On Thursday, they all got to be part of opening day festivities.

“Makes the moments more special,” Stowers said. “I think that’s why team sports is so great, because you’re sharing these moments with people you love and care about and people you’ve spent a lot of time with, so it makes it something that we’ll never forget and something we’ll be talking about for the rest of our lives.”

Entering spring training, Rutschman, Henderson and Bradish were all viewed as likely members of the roster, while Stowers, Vavra and Gillaspie had to battle for their spots. Vavra said he learned before the Orioles’ final spring training game that he made the team. Stowers let his family know he made the trip with the club to Boston but couldn’t guarantee whether he would officially make the 26-man roster until manager Brandon Hyde and executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias told him Wednesday.

Hyde said Gillaspie’s stuff and mindset left an impression and earned him a bullpen spot, but Gillaspie said he spent spring training “just waiting for a tap on the shoulder” for a meeting to tell him he was being sent to the minors.

“But the longer that I was there, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I might actually make it,’” Gillaspie said.

The first game and the 161 that follow matter equally in the standings, but there’s a significance that belongs to the commencement. Henderson called it “a dream come true” to make an opening day roster. Rutschman noted how season openers carried “a different energy” even during his time in college and the minors.

Before Thursday’s historic performance — Rutschman’s five hits set an opening day record for a catcher and an Oriole — he said he was interested in hearing what aspects of the day his fellow first-timers took away from the experience. That it came alongside one another was an early favorite.

“It’ll definitely be memories that we’ll cherish forever,” Henderson said. “We’re all good friends away from the field, and we enjoy spending time together. To be able to spend an opening day with each and every one of these guys is pretty special.”

Orioles at Red Sox

Saturday, 4:10 p.m.


Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM


Categories: Local News

Roof Collapse at Metal Concert in Illinois Kills 1, Injures 28

N.Y. Times - 1 hour 42 min ago
The disaster at a heavy metal concert in Belvidere, Ill., was one of several fatal storm-related episodes across the Midwest and South on Friday.
Categories: Local News

Ask Amy: I’m insulted by the name on his FaceTime account

San Jose Mercury - 1 hour 43 min ago

Dear Amy: I am a widow. I’ve been in a relationship with “Bernie,” a widower, for nine years. We live quite a distance apart and trade off spending weekends together.

When Bernie established a FaceTime account, he included his late wife’s name on it so that when he FaceTimes with me, the notification comes in as from “BernieandBernice.”

I have asked him to change it, and his reply is that he cannot change it and that he still “cares about her.” Obviously, he does not want to change it.

I take issue with this. It’s as though he is including her in our personal and sometimes intimate conversations.

Bernie says I am too sensitive; I say he is insensitive.

I feel it is disrespectful to me, and also to his late wife. It hurts me terribly every time I receive a FaceTime call from him. I have shed many tears because of this.

And if he were to email or contact friends of mine through FaceTime and the two names appeared this way, I would find it humiliating.

I have told only a few friends about this, who say they would never tolerate such insulting disregard.

What do you suggest?


Dear Tired: I am assuming that because Bernie lives on his own, he likely has photos, objects and memorabilia from their lives together, honoring her legacy.

The way I read your account, you believe he chose this particular handle for his FaceTime calls after you two started seeing one another, but FaceTime handles are often tied to an email account, and if he and his late wife shared an email account, this handle would automatically turn up on FaceTime.

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There are ways to change this. He could unlink FaceTime from his email address and have it only identified by his phone number (go to settings/FaceTime and “uncheck” the box next to the email address).

You are triggered and saddened by this very specific thing. This one thing. You have mentioned this to Bernie, and he remains intractable.

If receiving these FaceTime calls upsets you so much, then you should stop accepting these calls when they come in. Don’t make a big deal about it. Just tell him that you can’t seem to get over this particular hill.

Perhaps during one of your weekends at Bernie’s, you two might research other video chatting services to use where this issue wouldn’t surface.

Dear Amy: Many years ago, I left my wife and child. I’m not proud of what I did, and I acknowledge that I basically abandoned them. I did pay child support (most of the time), but I moved to another part of the country and basically started over.

I am a better man now. I have a solid marriage and two children I love and care for.

I have not seen my son from my first marriage since he was 9 years old. He is now in his early 20s and has contacted me. He obviously wants to have a relationship of some kind with me, but I don’t want to have one with him. I don’t think I can continue on the positive path I have in life if I have to go back and pick up the pieces from my previous mistakes.

I’m wondering how to tell him this. I’m hoping you can give me some ideas.

Divorced Dad

Dear Dad: If you aren’t brave enough to take on having any kind of relationship with your firstborn child, then you really aren’t a better man. You’re just a different version of the man you were. My interpretation of your issue is that you are hanging by a thread, and you know it.

I suggest that you tell your son much of what you say here, acknowledging that you abandoned him, that you are ashamed, but that you are not brave enough to have a relationship with him now. Express your fervent hope that he grows to be a better man than you’ve been.

Dear Amy: “Curious Mom” had recently hired an in-home therapist helping to care for her special needs son. Although the therapist provided good care, Curious had a number of concerns about her.

Thank you, Amy, for encouraging this mom to communicate her boundaries and expectations, using clear language.

These parents should use a “team” approach to their son’s care, and the therapist is an important team member.

 Experienced Reader

Dear Experienced: The team approach is a great way for this family to move forward. Thank you.

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You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

Categories: Local News

Venice Is Saved! Woe Is Venice.

N.Y. Times - 2 hours 13 min ago
Produced by Mona Boshnaq
Categories: Local News

China Draws Lessons From Russia’s Missteps in Ukraine

N.Y. Times - 2 hours 14 min ago
With an eye on a possible conflict over Taiwan, analysts have scrutinized the war for insights ranging from the importance of supply lines to the power of nuclear threats.
Categories: Local News

Indicted and Running for Office? It Didn’t Begin With Trump.

N.Y. Times - 2 hours 14 min ago
American politics has a long history of candidates who were indicted or convicted of crimes but sought office again.
Categories: Local News

Security Force or Anti-Arab Militia? Israelis Feud Over Far-Right Plan

N.Y. Times - 2 hours 14 min ago
The far-right security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, wants to create a national guard that he would control, saying it is needed to guarantee Israel’s security.
Categories: Local News

Street Lab Entertains Families In the ‘Open Streets’ of N.Y.C.

N.Y. Times - 2 hours 14 min ago
Street Lab is bringing pop-up reading rooms and playgrounds to New York City’s open streets and plazas.
Categories: Local News

Harriette Cole: They act like my down-and-out childhood was disgraceful

San Jose Mercury - 2 hours 14 min ago

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m having trouble navigating my relationship with my in-laws, particularly due to my background. My husband is from a wealthy family, and I was homeless for the majority of my childhood.

Every time I mention my upbringing, I feel their judgment, like I have nothing to be proud of.

I understand that they come from a different background and can’t possibly comprehend what I’ve experienced. I do, however, think they need to see that this upbringing helped shape me into a grateful, successful and strong person who wouldn’t trade her experiences for the world.

I just wish there were a way to show them the power and grace of my background and how much I’ve achieved despite any challenges that have come my way.

Any advice you have for me on how I can help my in-laws understand would be greatly appreciated.

Proud of My Past

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DEAR PROUD OF MY PAST: Stop focusing on getting your in-laws to understand and approve of you. Don’t feel like you have to justify yourself when you talk to them. You can be pleasant when you are with them and choose what you want to share depending on how much energy you want to devote to unpacking whatever they say to you.

Socioeconomic differences are some of the most difficult to navigate in relationships. You may not be able to change their view of you. That’s OK. Clearly, your husband sees you for all that you are, including your background.

Over time, as your in-laws learn more about you and see your life, they may open their eyes more broadly. For now, though, don’t exert too much energy trying to show them who you are. Live your life and surround yourself with others who love you for you.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son is best friends with a young man who is first-generation American. They go to college together, and this young man has been a positive influence on my son.

The two of them study together, and I have seen my son’s work ethic improve dramatically in just one year. When I asked him what happened to inspire his newfound academic discipline, he told me more about his friend.

The good thing is that this student is driven to do excellent work. The somewhat scary part is that his parents constantly threaten to send him back to Africa if he doesn’t bring home excellent grades.

I don’t want my son to feel that he will be penalized if he doesn’t get all A’s, even as I like how this discipline is impacting him. How can I talk to him about our values without passing judgment?

Discipline Vs. Balance

DEAR DISCIPLINE VS. BALANCE: Tell your son how proud you are of his accomplishments and his recent commitment to his academics. Acknowledge that he has his friend to thank for inspiring him to step it up.

Thank your son for sharing details about his friend’s family. Add that you want him to know that there are no such severe consequences that you would impose on him if he did not reach the highest standards. However, the consequences will come anyway, through the opportunities he will be afforded in life. So doing his best is the wise option so that he has the greatest chances of successfully achieving his dreams.

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Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Categories: Local News

Miss Manners: I made a big mistake with the office birthday cakes

San Jose Mercury - 2 hours 44 min ago

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an attorney at a small firm. When the staff member who used to buy birthday cakes retired, I picked up a cake for a birthday that was going to be observed right after she left.

I then bought the next birthday cake, which was for my favorite member of the firm. And then I bought a cake for the least-liked person in the office, fearing that his feelings would be hurt because no one else was going to rise to the occasion.

Now, there is an expectation that I will supply all birthday cakes. This expectation is harmful because I am the first and only woman attorney at the firm, and one of the youngest, as well. It’s also an expensive habit; the time taken getting the cakes equates to hundreds of dollars in billable hours, which I make up for by working later.

Do you have any suggestions on how to stop this cycle? I know that I’ve been part of the problem, but unfortunately my time machine is on the fritz.

GENTLE READER: Are there any junior staff members or receptionists at your firm? If so, Miss Manners suggests you solicit their assistance. Or build a rotating schedule among the attorneys.

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Or best of all, suggest to your firm that you abandon the practice altogether. Cake in the office is not enough of a treat (and is often the object of dread by those watching sugar, gluten and other ingredients) to warrant all of this expense and angst.

Surely a card would suffice instead. But please promise just to leave it in the break room for people to sign — rather than use billable hours going from office to office collecting signatures.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I dislike it when people fuss over me, but I have relatives who cannot seem to help themselves. Any attempt at a conversation always circles back to questions about whether I am too hot, too cold, whether I might like a brownie, or …

Attempts to change the conversation may work momentarily, but somehow always devolve back into fussing over me. I know they intend to be kind and hospitable, but it makes me feel a bit snappish after a while.

What is the politest way to say, “Can we please talk about anything other than whether I am too hot, too cold, might like a brownie …?”

GENTLE READER: If you do not want it, may Miss Manners please have the brownie?

Because it does sound as if your relatives are merely being hospitable, if perhaps (overly) concerned for your health and well-being. Or they are avoiding your chosen topics of conversation and trying to change them (in which case, the brownie thing suddenly makes more sense).

In any event, if you do not like it, you may simply say, “Thank you for your concern, but I assure you that my temperature and constitution are absolutely fine. Now, let’s talk about your tiff with Aunt Eloise.”

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Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

Categories: Local News

Dear Abby: She dumped me and then she died, and her family is being so unkind to me

San Jose Mercury - 3 hours 14 min ago

DEAR ABBY: My first long-term girlfriend ghosted me. She died soon afterward, and I’m left with a gaping lack of closure.

I’m 19. We had dated for four years and we were best friends. We didn’t live together but planned to in the coming months. I intended to marry her.

One day out of the blue, she cut me off. She had been acting depressed but convinced me she was fine when I (gingerly) confronted her about it.

She ghosted me the next day. She blocked me, changed her number and refused to speak to me when I showed up at her house. Everything to my knowledge had been fine between us.

Weeks later, she had a terrible accident at work, and died in the hospital. I learned about it only afterward, from her mother.

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Her parents have denied me access to her room, to some shared personal and sentimental belongings and wouldn’t let me adopt her pets, which were sent to the pound. Most painful for me, they asked that I not come to her funeral.

Her family believes that because we weren’t married and we hadn’t been dating at the time of her death that I had no place with her things after her death, even though we were best friends who spent almost half a decade together.

I never got to speak to her, say goodbye or receive any answers. My family isn’t being kind about the situation, either. They feel the same way as her family does.

I feel like a widow. I have many questions that will always be left unanswered. How do I move on from this?


DEAR MOURNING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. It is regrettable that your family hasn’t been supportive during this difficult time.

A way to move forward would be through grief counseling. Your doctor (or your family physician) should be able to give you a referral. However, if that’s not possible, consult your religious adviser or even the funeral director who handled your girlfriend’s service, because that person may have a resource for you.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 69-year-old divorced female. I dated a guy 40 years ago for about three years. I broke up with him because he wanted to be with me 24/7.

I’m classic rock; he’s totally country. Music is important to me. (I play piano.)

He was a great guy who was always there for me. We enjoyed a lot of vacations together. When we broke up, he said he wouldn’t call me. Three years later he called to tell me he was getting married, and asked me what had caused our breakup. I told him to give his fiancee some space.

Now he’s divorced and messaging me. He says he wants me back, he has never stopped loving me and is more in love with me now than ever.

I haven’t responded. What should I do?


DEAR TORN UP: How do you feel about him? If you think with the passage of time you could be happy with him, agree to see him. If not, tell him you felt smothered by him when the two of you dated, and you have no interest in resuscitating a dead romance.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


Categories: Local News

Inside Saudi Arabia’s Global Push for Nuclear Power

N.Y. Times - 4 hours 14 min ago
Despite qualms in Washington, Saudi officials have pressed the United States to help them develop nuclear power. But they are also exploring other options, including China.
Categories: Local News