Celtics could be the first NBA team to ever come back from down 0-3

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 15:02

Who could have possibly seen this coming?

The high and mighty Miami Heat have been humbled.

The same Heat team that bulldozed through both the Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks and took a 3-0 series lead over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals now look helpless, and after Thursday night’s Game 5 blowout loss in Boston, they could be beyond saving.

The same Miami dogs who nearly ripped out the Celtics’ hearts via the three series-opening victories now look like a herd of deer.

And with the Celtics closing the gap, the headlights are on.

Make it three straight disappearing acts by Jimmy Butler, who has scored just 59 combined points through the last three games despite opening this series with a 35-point night, followed by a 27-point outing in Game 2. Butler averaged 35 points in the first round against the Bucks but may have hit a wall here with a trip to the Finals on the line. He shot just 5-of-10 for 14 points in Miami’s Game 5 loss and is only two games removed from a 5-of-13 shooting performance for 16 points in Game 4.

“If we can get Jimmy in his comfort zones and his strength zones more consistently, he’ll be just fine, and we’ll work on that the next 48 hours,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said postgame. “But collectively, we do have to play with more intention and force and poise offensively, which they’re fully capable of doing.”

Butler’s 5-of-13 night came in a blowout victory. Thursday night’s puzzling performance was the byproduct of a blowout loss.

“I think today was our best defensive game, just how we were moving, how we were rotating,” said Jayson Tatum, who finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. “We tried to make guys uncomfortable and we were just there for one another. It’s not gonna be perfect. You’re gonna get beat, you’re gonna fall for a pump fake, but it just felt like we were all connected defensively.”

And quite possibly the most important sign of a pulse for this Celtics team comes in the form of an awakening for their dormant star.

Jaylen Brown has finally arrived.

Brown made just three of his first 25 three-point attempts of the series before shaking loose in Game 5 to shoot 3-of-5 from downtown. He recorded just his second 20-point game of the series and only turned the ball over once on Thursday.

Brown had six turnovers in Game 1 alone and 11 through the first three games of the series.

And now comes the historical context: The Celtics have already completed one of NBA history’s biggest feats.

The Celtics became the 15th team to have ever forced a Game 6 after trailing an NBA playoff series 0-3. Of the previous 14 teams, only three have ever forced a Game 7. No team has ever come back from down 0-3 to win a playoff series.

“Our backs are against the wall, and we’re sticking together and we’re competing at a high level to give ourselves a chance,” said Boston’s head coach Joe Mazzulla.

The Celtics, however, seem to have flipped a switch, and they’ve put the Heat in an unenviable position. The Heat were once the sharks, but now it’s the Celtics who smell blood. And after securing a Game 4 victory at Miami’s Kaseya Center, Boston has confidence. That team believes they can head to South Beach and do it again, and the Heat have to stave off a team that has now proven twice in a row they can beat them.

“Who cares about mood? We have a gnarly group. I think so much of that is overrated. It’s a competitive series,” Spoelstra said. “You always expect things to be challenging in the conference finals, and one game doesn’t lead to the next game. Based on all the experience that we’ve had, it doesn’t matter in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if you lose by whatever. We beat them by whatever in Game 3. It just doesn’t matter. It’s about collectively preparing and putting together a great game. We’ll play much better on Saturday, and that’s what we have to focus on right now.”

The Celtics have been one of the NBA’s three-best road teams all season long. They’ll need one more victory on the road to force Game 7, and in front of those TD Garden fans — and potentially a Heat team devoid of confidence — the Celtics could have a chance to make history.


Categories: Local News

Stefan Bondy: Carmelo Anthony wore his basketball joy on his face

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 15:02

It was the smile.

Even during those down years with the Knicks — those seasons of Phil Jackson’s triangle and dysfunction trickling from the top — the grin was never far from Carmelo Anthony.

It gave the viewer the sense, whether through watching his game or interacting with him in the locker room, that Anthony really enjoyed himself. He enjoyed playing the sport. He enjoyed his teammates. He enjoyed the media. He enjoyed stardom. He enjoyed New York City.

And that’s easier to root for. It’s easier to understand why an athlete on a nine-figure contract would smile. More relatable. So when Anthony was introduced at Madison Square Garden during Game 2 against Miami — just about three weeks before the future Hall of Famer announced his retirement — the arena exploded, as if those fans were pushing James Dolan through vocal force to retire No. 7. For over six seasons in orange and blue, he spoke to a generation of Knicks supporters with an isolation jumper and a smile.

You hate to drag a person down to prop somebody else up, but the contrast to Julius Randle is too stark and relevant to ignore. Anthony, who officially retired Monday on social media, was the anti-Randle. Not in their games, which have similarities. But in attitude.

One let the criticism roll off his back. The other, Randle, allows it to seep into his heart. To burrow and nest there. Anthony always had a thick skin. He took plenty of lumps in New York, sometimes responding with a sly comment or two. But always wearing a smile. Nothing was personal.

He stood in front of his locker after every game — after every defeat during the Jackson disaster — with an understanding that he’s the leader and spokesperson. Anthony’s peers adored the accountability, among other character traits. As I’ve been told by several folks who worked for the Knicks during Anthony’s time, “With other players, he was the most popular in the NBA. He’ll walk into a room and everybody gravitates. They love him..”

Anthony was also popular with the media. I started at The Daily News as an NBA beat reporter in 2010, and it felt like my first six years were consumed by Melo. The introduction was prolonged trade negotiations with Denver, an open battle between the Knicks and Nets to acquire the power forward.

In the middle of the rollercoaster trade talks, Anthony sat down with this cub reporter for an exclusive interview. He was too polite to big-time anybody. Years later at MSG, he was annoyed by a question from another reporter and ditched a scrum early. Within a minute, Anthony returned, apologized, and finished the interview.

Of course, these are the happier memories of a flawed player. There are many things Anthony could’ve done differently to win more games. He could’ve signed with the Knicks in free agency rather than force the franchise to unload all its assets in a trade. Anthony’s contract was a little bigger because of the maneuver, but the Knicks were depleted of pieces to build a contender around him.

He could’ve embraced playing off the ball or even off the bench earlier in his career. He could’ve better accepted Jeremy Lin’s stardom. He could’ve committed more to defense.

But you can’t argue with the numbers: Ninth overall in career scoring. Single-game scoring record for the Knicks. NCAA title. Three Olympic gold medals. Award-winning smile.


Categories: Local News

Luckland Casino Review UK: Is It Legit in 2023? Pros, Cons, and More

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 15:00


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Becoming one of the UK’s most popular online casinos is no mean feat, and Luckland is one of the few platforms that have reached this milestone.

So whether this online casino is safe or not is really out of the question. To that end, we will focus our Luckland Casino review on helping you find out if it’s the right gambling site for you – and if there are better options out there.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Luckland Casino Pros
  • Licensed by the UKGC and verified by iTechLabs
  • Over 1,400 casino games from 10+ providers
  • £2,000,000 in monthly jackpots
  • 100+ live casino games
  • £50 casino welcome bonus with 50 bonus spins
  • Competitive odds on various sports
  • Over 10 secure payment methods
  • Highly functional casino app
Luckland Casino Cons
  • Old-school website design
  • No live chat
Luckland Casino Bonuses
  • Welcome Bonus: Deposit a minimum of £20 to get your first deposit doubled up to £50. You will also get 50 bonus spins to use on Starburst.
  • Sports Betting Welcome Bonus: By placing a sports wager worth £15 or more as a new customer, you will receive a £10 bonus bet. Betting odds of 2.00 or higher are required, and the bet must be settled within 14 days.

New players only 18+. Min deposit £20. 40x wagering applies to match-up bonus. Offer valid for 1 week. 50 spins on Starburst. 40x wagering applies to spins. Full T&Cs Apply.

In the following part of our Luckland review, we will take a look at what makes this casino secure, the quality of its games, as well as all other bonuses you can look forward to as a regular player.

Let’s get started with the casino’s highlights.

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Best Stand-Out Features of Luckland Casino UK
  • Vast Game Selection: Luckland offers an impressive collection of over 1,400 casino games sourced from more than a dozen top-notch software providers, ensuring that players always have a new game to look forward to.
  • Extensive UK Sports Betting Markets: Luckland provides comprehensive coverage of all major UK sports betting markets, allowing punters to bet on their favourite events with ease.
  • Massive Jackpot Slots: With a monthly prize pool of £2,000,000, Luckland’s high-quality jackpot slots give players a chance to win really big.
  • Generous Casino Welcome Bonus: New players can enjoy a £50 casino welcome bonus along with 50 extra spins for the popular slot game Starburst.
  • Bonus Bets for Sports Bettors: All new sports bettors at Luckland receive £10 in bonus bets, providing a great incentive to explore the platform’s sports betting options.
  • Custom Bet Builder: Luckland’s custom bet builder feature allows punters to create personalised bets, enhancing their overall betting experience.
  • Secure Payment Methods: With over 10 secure payment methods, players can deposit and withdraw funds with confidence, knowing their financial information is protected. The list includes debit cards, PayPal, Skrill, and more.
  • Efficient Casino App: Luckland’s lightweight casino app (only about 30 MB) offers high functionality, enabling players to enjoy their favourite games and place bets seamlessly on the go.
Is Luckland Casino Legit?

Yes, Luckland is a legitimate online casino for UK punters. The site is owned by Aspire Global, a reputable name in the UK online casino scene.

Luck Land Casino supports multiple languages in addition to English and is fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, which ensures that all games are fair and secure. Furthermore, all the games are powered by reputable providers like NetEnt and Microgaming, and they are all further tested for fairness by iTechLabs.

As far as customer support is concerned, the Luckland Casino website has an extensive help centre where players can find answers to their questions or contact customer support for assistance.

How to Sign Up and Claim a Bonus at Luckland Casino UK?  

How to Sign Up and Claim a Bonus at Luckland Casino UK?

All you have to do to join Luckland can be summed up in 3 simple steps. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes tops. Here’s how to get it done!

1. Register Your Account

  • Follow this link to visit Luckland and click the Play Here button
  • Provide your email address, and create a username and a password. Click Next
  • Provide the required personal info, and set GBP as your currency
  • Tick the box to confirm you accept the T&Cs and that you’re 18+
  • Click Open Account.

2. Fund Your Account

  • Log in to your new casino account and enter the Luckland cashier
  • Set your preferred payment method and deposit 20 GBP or more
  • Claim the welcome bonus

3. Start Gambling Online

  • Enter the Casino section
  • Find your favourite casino game
  • Have fun!
In-Depth Luckland Casino Review: Why Should UK Players Use This Casino? 

In-Depth Luckland Casino Review: Why Should UK Players Use This Casino? 

Let’s now dive into our full Luckland review. We have examined this gambling platform based on the usual benchmarks we apply to every casino or online sportsbook we cover.

Before we even began assessing the quality of gambling games and betting markets, we confirmed that the site is SSL encrypted and licensed and regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission.

Let’s dive in.

Quality of Casino Games: 4.7/5

With over 1,400 games from top software providers like BetSoft, NetEnt, Microgaming, and more, there’s never a dull moment at Luckland.

Slots are front-and-centre here, but there’s also a great selection of over 114 live dealer games. However, keep in mind that the built-in search bar may not register the word “live” well, and the “table games” section doesn’t include all of them. To find your desired live game, either type its name or scroll near the bottom in “all games.”

Luckland offers an impressive selection of table games, including:

  • 22 Baccarat variants like Classic, First Person Baccarat, and Speed Baccarat
  • 65 Blackjack games featuring standard tables, VIP rooms, and unique versions like Power Blackjack and Lightning Blackjack
  • 3 live poker games, including Caribbean Stud Poker, Three Card Poker, and Texas Hold’Em Bonus Poker
  • 1 live Sic Bo room (Super Sic Bo by Evolution Gaming)
  • 41 real money roulette games, including European, American, and Lightning Roulette

Slots are available in spades, too, with over 1,100 online slot machines to explore. Some standout slot games you don’t want to miss are:

  • Spirit of Adventure by Pragmatic Play: Simple gameplay, polished graphics, and a max win potential of 5,100x.
  • Dance with the Devil by Skywind: Easy to play with stacked symbols, wilds, scatters, and frequent multipliers.
  • Legacy of Ra by Blueprint Gaming: Megaways design with 15,625 paylines, high payout frequency, and a max win potential of 50,000x.

Sports Betting Markets and Odds: 4.8/5

With a dedicated sportsbook page, top offers, favourites, highlights, bet builder, selectable odds format, and a live-updated list of active games, you’re in for a thrilling sports betting experience.

Luckland offers an extensive range of sports to bet on, including:

  • Football, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Formula 1 racing, Baseball, Golf, and Table Tennis
  • Lesser-known sports like Gaelic Hurling & Football, futsal, handball, and water polo
  • Winter sports such as ski jumping, alpine skiing, and biathlon

Not only that, but Luckland is also one of the best-equipped online sportsbooks when it comes to esports betting. You can wager on popular games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Overwatch, Call of Duty, League of Legends, and more.

With virtually all betting markets covered, Luckland offers separate international and country-specific options for each sport. For football betting, you’ll find an extensive list of props, including the first team to score, total goals, correct score HF/FT, and many more.

American Football fans can enjoy popular betting options like winner (outright), points spread, highest scoring quarter, and home/away team over/under, among others.

Bonuses and Promotions: 4.6/5

This online casino site offers a fantastic array of promotions to cater to every type of UK player. Here’s a quick rundown of the exciting bonuses you can expect:

Casino Welcome Bonus: As a new player, your first deposit is doubled up to £50, with a minimum deposit requirement of £20. This generous offer also includes 50 bonus spins, and you’ll have 21 days to meet the 40x wagering requirements.

New players only 18+. Min deposit £20. 40x wagering applies to match up bonus. Offer valid for 1 week. 50 spins on Starburst. 40x wagering applies to spins. Full Terms Apply.

Sports Betting Welcome Bonus: Place a sports bet worth £15 or more as a new customer, and receive a £10 bonus bet. Just make sure the betting odds are 2.00 or higher and the bet is settled within 14 days.

Daily Spin Frenzy: Want bonus spins every day? At Luckland, you can win 50 bonus spins by wagering £1,000, 25 extra spins by wagering £500, or 10 spins for £100 in wagered money. Remember, you have 24 hours to opt-in for this promotion.

Reload Bonus: Luckland rewards loyal players with various reload bonuses based on their deposit amount. Use the code LUCKY20 for deposits between £30 and £50 to get a 20% reload bonus. For deposits of £51 to £100, use code LUCKY30 to enjoy a 30% reload bonus. And lastly, for deposits of £101 and higher, activate a 40% reload bonus with the LUCKY40 code.

Please note that Terms and Conditions apply to each of the bonuses.

Payment Methods and Payout Speed: 4.7/5

At Luckland, funding your account and cashing out your winnings is a breeze, thanks to the variety of payment options available. With 11 supported payment methods, you’ll definitely find one that suits your needs.

Here’s a quick overview of the payment options and their respective payout speeds:

  • Visa & MasterCard: Withdrawal time ranges between 1 and 6 business days
  • Bank Transfer: Withdrawal time ranges between 2 and 6 business days
  • Trustly Payment Method: Withdrawal time ranges between 2 and 5 business days
  • PayPal Payment Method: Withdrawal time ranges between 0 and 2 days
  • AstroPay: Supports all currencies, withdrawal time is 3 days
  • MuchBetter: Supports all currencies, withdrawal time ranges between 0 and 2 days
  • Skrill: Supports most currencies, withdrawal time ranges between 0 and 2 days
  • PaySafeCard: Only available for deposits

Deposits with all payment methods are instantaneous, so you can start playing right away. However, keep in mind that certain deposit methods may exclude you from bonuses and promotions.

With Luckland’s convenient payment options and fast payout speeds, you can focus on what truly matters – having fun.

Related Article: Highest payout UK casinos

Mobile Optimization: 4.8/5

Take Luckland Casino with you wherever you go, thanks to their fantastic mobile casino app! Running smoothly on both iOS and Android devices, you’ll never miss a moment of the action.

The app is available for free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play, making it incredibly accessible for players on various platforms. With a user interface that’s identical to the website version, you’ll have no trouble navigating and enjoying your favourite games and sportsbook betting options.

While the app offers most of the popular games and features, certain casino functionalities are yet to be implemented, such as the auto spin. But don’t worry, the app is regularly updated to work on bug fixes and introduce new games, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience.

At just around 30 megabytes, the Luckland Casino app is fairly lightweight and won’t take up too much space on your device.

Customer Support: 4.5/5

At Luckland, they understand that excellent customer support is essential for a seamless gaming experience. Although there isn’t a live chat option available, reaching out to the customer support team is still easy and straightforward.

To get in touch, simply tap the “Contact Us” page located at the footer of the main page. You’ll be asked to provide your full name, email address, choose the topic of your inquiry, and write your message.

If you prefer an alternative way to contact Luckland’s customer support, you can use the document uploader feature, which is also accessible from the “contact us” page. This option allows you to send additional information or files that may help resolve your issue faster.

So, rest assured that the Luckland team is always there to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Just reach out using the available contact methods, and they’ll be more than happy to help.

Luckland Casino Review Overall Score: 4.68/5

When everything is summed up, Luckland Casino has landed a final rating of 4.68 out of 5. That’s basically as good as UK online gambling sites get from our team.

Luckland’s strongest points are its variety of casino games and sports betting options, as well as jackpot games that generate over £2,000,000 in monthly prizes.

This casino is safe, licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, and offers a generous deposit bonus for all new players. Thumb up overall.

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All Luckland Casino Bonuses & Promos for UK Players

New players only 18+. Min deposit £20. 40x wagering applies to match up bonus. Offer valid for 1 week. 50 spins on Starburst. 40x wagering applies to spins. Full Terms Apply.

Luckland Casino Welcome Bonus

Luckland Casino Welcome Bonus

At the Luckland casino site, your first deposit is doubled up to £50, with a minimum deposit requirement of £20. This promotional offer also includes 50 bonus spins for Starburst and comes with standard 40x wagering requirements. You have 21 days to meet these terms and cash out.

Sports Betting Welcome Bonus

Sports Betting Welcome Bonus

By placing a sports bet worth £15 or more on odds of 2.00 or higher as a new customer at Luckland, you will receive a £10 bonus bet. The bet must be settled within 14 days.

Daily Spin Frenzy

Every day at Luckland, you have the chance to win bonus spins. Wager £1,000 to receive 50 bonus spins, £500 for 25 extra spins, or £100 for 10 spins. All players are given 24 hours to opt in for this promotion.

Reload Bonus

Luckland offers various reload bonuses based on your deposit amount. Use the code LUCKY20 and deposit between £30 and £50 to receive a 20% reload bonus. For deposits of £51 to £100, use the bonus code LUCKY30 to get a 30% reload bonus.

Lastly, the LUCKY40 bonus code activates a 40% reload bonus for deposits of £101 and higher. The maximum bonus money you can score is £200, and the promo is only valid for players who have already made one or more deposits. This deal is available once per week.

Other Top UK Online Casinos Like Luckland

Luckland is indeed one of the best online casinos in the UK – but it’s certainly not the only one out there.

If you think that Luckland might not suit you the best, check out the three alternative real money online casinos we’ve listed for you below.

PlayOJO — Zero Wagering Requirements 

PlayOJO ??

First deposit only. 50 Free Spins on Book of Dead slot. Free Spin valued at £0.10. Full T&Cs apply.

  • Over 3,000 casino games
  • 50 bonus spins with no wagering requirements
  • 150+ live dealer games
  • One of the best bingo sites in the UK

If you’re looking for more games than Luckland, PlayOJO boasts an impressive selection of over 3,000 games, including more than 2,800 video slots, table games, and over 50 different types of roulette games.

The bonus and promo offerings at PlayOJO are quite attractive, especially for new UK punters. Upon signing up and depositing £10, players receive 50 extra spins for Book of Dead with no wagering requirements, payout limits, or win caps.

Alternatively, you can opt-in and get 50 bingo tickets for your first deposit of £10 or more. Regular players can take advantage of the OJOPlus program, which gives back a percentage of each wager placed as real money.

When it comes to payment methods and withdrawal speed, PlayOJO stands out with swift payouts delivered well ahead of estimated time frames. Players can fund their accounts through various secure payment options, such as debit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal.

A minimum deposit amount of £10 is required for all payment options. With PayPal, the minimum withdrawal amount is £20, and payouts can be received within 12 hours or less, making it one of the fastest and most convenient banking options available.

The user experience at PlayOJO is top-notch, with its mobile site featuring a user-friendly and intuitive interface. For those who prefer a dedicated app, PlayOJO offers one for download on both iOS and Android devices.

Furthermore, PlayOJO provides quick and friendly customer support between 6 am and midnight. However, it would be even better if they extended their assistance to be available 24/7.

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Grosvenor — Best Luckland Alternative for Sports Betting 

Grosvenor ??

New customers only. Min deposit and max bonus apply. Playable on selected games. Wagering requirements apply. Max win £2000. Full T&Cs apply.

  • Spotless reputation, launched in 2007
  • 30+ sports to bet on
  • Over 800 games

Grosvenor is the ultimate sports betting playground and stands out as our top pick if you want better betting options than Luckland. There are over 30 markets, ranging from major leagues to non-sporting events like TV and politics. You’ll never run out of options to bet on here.

Live betting is also available, and Grosvenor’s odds booster brings massive value to your betting slip.

When it comes to bonuses and promos, Grosvenor doesn’t disappoint. Upon registering, you’re eligible for Double The Odds — a promo that grants you a 100% odds boost for bets of £10 or lower. Also, the platform packs over 800 casino games and welcomes new customers with a deposit £20, play with £50 sign-up deal

Time-sensitive promotions like runner-up tennis refunds, horse racing money back, golfing free bets, and much more pop up across the board. Don’t forget about the Million Pound Picks, a free-to-play competition where you predict the first scorers in a match. Successfully predict 10, and you could win a whopping $1,000,000!

Payment methods at Grosvenor include MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, PaySafeCard, and Click to Play. Regulars at their brick-and-mortar establishments can also fund their accounts via the casino cage.

Payout times have improved significantly, with NatWest, Barclays, Nationwide, HSBC, RBS, TSB, Lloyds, and PayPal users receiving payouts within 3 hours — the quickest time among top UK betting sites.

Grosvenor’s user interface is clean, easy to use, and quick to load, whether you’re placing live bets or browsing the FAQ. The platform shines on mobile, boasting a neatly organised menu that saves time and ensures a smooth experience.

Customer support at Grosvenor is top-notch and readily available through live chat, email, or a toll-free line. The inclusion of phone communication sets them apart from many competitors. If you prefer addressing your issue publicly via social media, the Grosvenor Twitter page is your best bet, with active reps replying to comments and posts.

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Magic Red — Best Luckland Alternative for Classic Slot Games 

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18+, new players only. Bonus up to £25 and 25 free spins. Valid for 24 hours. Wagering requirements 35x. Full T&Cs apply.

  • Top-notch classic slot games
  • £25 sign-up bonus with 25 spins
  • High RTP online slots

Meet Magic Red online casino – filled with high-quality slot games and fantastic bonuses. With a selection of over 1,100 slot machines from 50 game studios, you’ll never run out of options.

Classic slots like Wolf Gold, Book of Dead, Starburst, Fire Joker, Eye of Horus, and 777 Surge are just a few of the gems you can find at this casino.

As a new customer at Magic Red, you’ll be treated to a welcome bonus of up to £25 and 25 bonus spins on your first deposit of at least £20. But remember, you’ll have 24 hours to use the bonus and meet the 35x wagering requirements to withdraw your winnings.

The extra spins are available only on Starburst, and the casino offers other unique bonuses, such as 10% weekend cashback on live casino losses and the signature Magic Spins Tuesday bonus.

When it comes to payment options, Magic Red has you covered. You can choose from Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Instant Banking, MuchBetter, Trustly, Paysafecard, Skrill, and Skrill 1-tap. We highly recommend using PayPal as the fastest withdrawal option.

Magic Red’s design is decent, but there’s room for improvement, particularly on the desktop version. However, the platform is safe, encrypted, and works seamlessly on iOS and Android devices via a mobile browser. So, you don’t need to download an app to start playing on the go.

Customer support at Magic Red is always ready to lend a helping hand through on-site live chat or email for less urgent matters. Expect a response within a day if you choose to send an email. This level of support ensures that you can enjoy your gaming experience without any worries.

In conclusion, Magic Red is an excellent choice for casino players seeking high payout rates, with numerous titles crossing the 96% mark.

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These UK casinos haven’t joined the crypto party yet. If you’re looking to use cryptocurrencies, check out our Bitstarz Casino review.

Other Luckland Casino Reviews by UK Players

An integral part of every review we conduct is checking public reviews from other players. That way, we can compare our findings with the community’s opinions and also give certain areas more attention.

Below, you can check some of the Luckland reviews we found on the internet.

Other articles you might be interested in:

Luckland Casino Review Verdict: Should You Join This Casino?

All things considered, Luckland is a legitimate casino and sportsbook that we can recommend to UK players seeking a licensed, safe, and fun gambling platform.

It offers a good mix of casino games and sports betting options, and it starts you off with a generous welcome bonus worth £50 and 50 bonus spins.

If the lack of live chat seems like a dealbreaker for you, then you might want to consider joining any of the alternative online casinos we’ve listed. After all – PlayOJO doesn’t have any rollover requirements, ever!

Wherever you end up playing, remember to have fun and gamble responsibly!

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for entertainment purposes only. You probably don’t need us to tell you that any form of gambling comes with risks and should not be undertaken as a solution to solve your financial troubles. It’s worth remembering the phrase…the house always wins!

If you suffer from a gambling problem or suspect somebody you know does, then we strongly suggest that you call the National Gambling Helpline at 0808-8020-133 to talk with an advisor for help and to make gambling safer for you or your loved ones.  Remember all gambling sites and guides are 18+ only.

Casino sites listed on our site may not be available in your region. Check your local laws to ensure online gambling is available and legal where you live.

Visit these free gambling addiction resources:

Affiliate Disclosure: This is an affiliate post. We don’t offer casino games ourselves. Instead, we help you find a place to play. When you go to a casino via our site and play there, we receive compensation.




Article paid for by: PlayTogga, partners@playtogga.com
The news and editorial staffs of the Bay Area News Group had no role in this post’s preparation.


Categories: Local News

MLB commissioner accuses Sinclair chairman of threatening Diamond Sports bankruptcy in streaming rights dispute

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:59

A simmering dispute between Major League Baseball and the Hunt Valley-based broadcaster Sinclair erupted into public view Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in court that Sinclair’s executive chairman threatened to force its Diamond Sports Group regional sports networks into bankruptcy, potentially hurting the league, if MLB refused to give it baseball game streaming rights.

Manfred made the accusations against David D. Smith, Sinclair’s executive chairman, while appearing at a bankruptcy hearing in Houston for the struggling Diamond Sports, according to reports of the hearing.

Diamond, a Sinclair sports network subsidiary that broadcasts MLB, NBA and NHL games, filed for bankruptcy reorganization in Texas in March, burdened by more than $8 billion in debt and struggling as viewers increasingly stream live sports instead of paying for cable television to view matchups.

The rocky relationship between Sinclair and the MLB emerged during Wednesday’s hearing. Reports said the hearing was scheduled to decide whether Diamond Sports, in bankruptcy, should pay a reduced TV contract value for four of the 14 MLB teams for which Diamond holds broadcast rights or, as MLB has requested, pay the full value or give up rights to the teams. The teams under consideration included the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins, the Cleveland Guardians and the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to The Athletic, a sports news website.

Diamond offered to pay full value if it was given direct streaming rights, a strategy MLB outside counsel James Bromley called “blackmail,” The Athletic reported.

Manfred said during the hearing that Smith had met with him in New York to pursue getting streaming rights for all of Diamond’s MLB teams, The Athletic reported. The broadcaster has been going after streaming rights while it was taking losses on the sports networks it bought in 2019 for $10.6 billion from The Walt Disney Co.

Manfred said in court that when he told Smith that Sinclair would not get streaming rights, Smith replied, “‘I put $2 billion into the purchase of these RSNs … so what I’m going to do is I’m going to keep this going long enough until I get my $2 billion out, OK? And then I’m going to start squeezing your clubs to take their rights fees down, OK, in order to make sure that I stay profitable in the RSN business. And if they don’t agree to that, I’m going to put the entity into bankruptcy, and then I’m going to selectively reject contracts,’” according to The Athletic.

A spokesman for Sinclair did not respond Thursday to a request for comment on Manfred’s remarks.

Diamond had said Tuesday that it has decided not to pay a rights fee owed to the San Diego Padres.

“While DSG has significant liquidity and has been making rights payments to teams, the economics of the Padres’ contract were not aligned with market realities,” a Diamond spokesperson said in a statement. “MLB has forced our hand by its continued refusal to negotiate direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming rights for all teams in our portfolio despite our proposal to pay every team in full in exchange for those rights. We are continuing to broadcast games for teams under our contracts.”

Meanwhile, MLB said Wednesday that it had begun to take over production and distribution of all San Diego Padres locally-distributed games. It said in a news release that the new arrangement gives fans the option of watching on TV or streaming digitally.

“While we’re disappointed that Diamond Sports Group failed to live up to their contractual agreement with the club, we are taking this opportunity to reimagine the distribution model, remove blackouts on local games, improve the telecast, and expand the reach of Padres games by more than 2 million homes,” said Noah Garden, MLB chief revenue officer, in the release.


Categories: Local News

Senate Leaders Race to Avert a Default

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:45
Also, we’re covering Russia’s increased attacks on Kyiv. Here’s the latest at the end of Thursday.
Categories: Local News

In era of team teardowns, SF Giants have balanced MLB competence with farm rebuild

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:45

It has taken a while for the first wave of hotshot prospects drafted and developed in the Farhan Zaidi era to arrive at the big league level for the San Francisco Giants.

But the kids are getting here now, as Casey Schmitt, Patrick Bailey and Ryan Walker are already giving the Giants a needed jolt of youth, energy and winning baseball.

More prospects seem to be on the way. Left-handed starter Kyle Harrison could come up at any point now. So could outfielder Luis Matos, maybe as soon as Friday. Shortstop Marco Luciano, outfielder Vaun Brown and right-handed pitcher Mason Black are headlining at Double-A Richmond. Left-hander Carson Whisenhunt may fly through the minors.

This is what Zaidi has been building towards since taking over as the Giants’ president of baseball operations in the fall of 2018.

“It’s exciting to have a number of players who are kind of at the doorstep when it hasn’t really felt like that the last few years,” Zaidi told The Athletic last month. “We’ve had guys that were further away and maybe a guy here and a guy there, but now it seems like you’ve got a group of players that are going to make their debuts this year who have a chance to be here for a long time.”

San Francisco Giants' Casey Schmitt (6) waits to congratulate teammate Patrick Bailey (14) after he connected for a two-run home run in the seventh inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, May 29, 2023. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)San Francisco Giants’ Casey Schmitt (6) waits to congratulate teammate Patrick Bailey (14) after he connected for a two-run home run in the seventh inning of their MLB game at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, May 29, 2023. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Unlike the Pirates, who the Giants just faced, and the Orioles, who arrive in San Francisco this weekend, Zaidi never stopped trying to put a competitive MLB team on the field.

The Pirates are coming off back-to-back 100-loss seasons and have only had one winning season since 2015 (an 82-79 year in 2018).

Then there’s Baltimore, which bottomed out even harder than Pittsburgh. The Orioles lost 115 games in 2018, 108 in 2019 and 110 in 2021.

(Fans can also see an organization fully burning a roster to the ground right now across the Bay with the A’s. Oakland’s 12-46 record has it on pace to finish 34-128 in 2023, a year after going 60-102.)

“Focusing on the future” at the expense of the major league teams at the time has some benefits, sure. Both teams have “earned” the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft multiple times, and they each have built up strong farm systems.

The Pirates started this season strong, opening with a 20-8 record before tumbling through May. They’re now 28-27 after taking two of three from the Giants. Pittsburgh has developed key pieces of its future in shortstop Oneil Cruz and third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes and has catcher Henry Davis, 2021’s No. 1 pick, and others coming up soon.

Then there are the Orioles, who turned things around last season and have surged to start the year, all while still holding baseball’s top farm system. Led by catcher Adley Rutschman, a former No. 1 overall pick, the Orioles are 35-21 coming to San Francisco.

But even if some teams have done the full cycle of “bottoming out to winning it all” before, there’s no guarantee of a World Series run. That was the case for the 2010s Pirates and Orioles, who ended decades of suffering for a grand combined total of one division win, six playoff appearances and zero wins in the League Championship Series, let alone the World Series.

A team can’t buy a title, but it can doom itself to ineptitude. The Giants haven’t done that.

Even when they had a horrendous 64-98 season in 2017, the previous front office of Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans tried to get back to winning baseball in 2018, trading for Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. That didn’t really work, but the attempt itself is noble.

Since Zaidi has taken over, the Giants have balanced trying to restock their farm system with a dizzying amount of roster arbitrage at the big league level.

The entire time, they’ve been competent and competitive in the majors. The Giants were still a .500 team in late August in 2019 before a poor September. They finished one game under .500 in 2020 and then ended up exactly at .500 in 2022.

And we all remember what a magical run 2021 was, even if it has started to feel more like a full-season fever dream than anything that could be replicable.

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Yeah, it’s been hard to get to know and love some of the Giants since Zaidi took over, especially in the way Giants fans have been used to with the likes of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner and others.

There certainly has been a bit of a mercenary feel to the Giants in recent years. Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodón have been like shooting stars, starring here briefly before settling down more permanently elsewhere. Michael Conforto could be on the same path this year.

But the Giants are closer to what Zaidi has been trying to build than ever before.

For the first time in a while, there are Giants players on the roster that fans can hope (and maybe even expect) will still be here nine or 10 years from now.

And Zaidi and the Giants didn’t force their fans to suffer through years of losing 100-plus games to get to this point.

Categories: Local News

A Black Girl Won the 1908 Spelling Bee. Her Family Is Searching for Her Medal.

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:39
At 14, Marie C. Bolden became the champion of what is believed to be the first national spelling competition in the United States. Her victory prompted a backlash.
Categories: Local News

Bicyclist critically injured in Concord collision; police say the driver of the car involved fled the scene

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:39

Police are searching for the driver of a car that hit a bicyclist in a hit-and-run in Concord on Wednesday night.

The 39-year-old male bicyclist was hit at 9:44 p.m. at Willow Pass Road and Diamond Boulevard, police said on social media. He was later transported to a hospital, where he was in critical condition Thursday.

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The suspect vehicle appeared to be a black Honda Civic. Police said the vehicle would have sustained damage to the front end, hood and possibly the front windshield and roof.

Anyone with information about the collision can contact traffic investigator K. Nanthasiri at (925) 671-5096.

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

Categories: Local News

Facing groundwater deficit, Phoenix halts new construction

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:34

By Ella Nilsen | CNN

Arizona officials announced Thursday the state will no longer grant certifications for new developments within the Phoenix area, as groundwater rapidly disappears amid years of water overuse and climate change-driven drought.

A new study showed that the groundwater supporting the Phoenix area likely can’t meet additional development demand in the coming century, officials said at a news conference. Gov. Katie Hobbs and the state’s top water officials outlined the results of the study looking at groundwater demand within the Phoenix metro area, which is regulated by a state law that tries to ensure Arizona’s housing developments, businesses and farms are not using more groundwater than is being replaced.

The study found that around 4% of the area’s demand for groundwater, close to 4.9 million acre-feet, cannot be met over the next 100 years under current conditions – a huge shortage that will have significant implications for housing developments in the coming years in the booming Phoenix metro area, which has led the nation in population growth.

State officials said the announcement wouldn’t impact currently approved developments. However, developers that are seeking to build new developments will have to demonstrate they can provide an assured water supply for 100 years using water from a source that is not local groundwater.

This story has been updated with more information.

Categories: Local News

Sale closed in Fremont: $1.5 million for a three-bedroom home

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:30
4260 Alder Avenue - Google Street View4260 Alder Avenue – Google Street View

The property located in the 4200 block of Alder Avenue in Fremont was sold on April 28, 2023. The $1,505,000 purchase price works out to $1,180 per square foot. The house, built in 1975, has an interior space of 1,275 square feet. The property features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage. It sits on a 6,090-square-foot lot.

Additional houses that have recently changed hands close by include:

  • On Perkins Street, Fremont, in July 2022, a 1,840-square-foot home was sold for $1,675,000, a price per square foot of $910. The home has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
  • In January 2023, a 1,074-square-foot home on Feliz Court in Fremont sold for $915,000, a price per square foot of $852. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
  • A 2,282-square-foot home on the 4300 block of San Juan Avenue in Fremont sold in August 2022, for $1,700,000, a price per square foot of $745. The home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.


Categories: Local News

San Jose kicks off its summer festival season this weekend

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:23

The calendar says June — though the weather still seems to be stuck in May — and that means it’s time to kick off San Jose’s festival season this weekend.

South First Street in downtown San Jose should be packed Friday and Saturday nights with the return of SubZERO festival — a DIY street fair that brings together artists, dancers and bands. Mighty Mike McGee will emcee the main stage between San Carlos and San Salvador streets, with four bands set to play Friday night and four more Saturday, starting at 6:15 p.m. There’ll be art vendors, food trucks and more music on the Beer Garden Stage at South First and William streets.

The first night of SubZERO coincides with the monthly South First Fridays art walk, so you can also explore galleries including the Anno Domini, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Quilts & Textiles. And if the music on stage isn’t your thing, you can pop into the California Theatre, where Symphony San Jose will have an open rehearsal for its upcoming performances of “Carmina Burana.” Check out the full lineup at southfirstfridays.com.

Meanwhile, San Jose’s Greek community — and anyone else who loves Greek culture and food — will be gathering at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church near The Alameda and San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood. The festival opens at 5 p.m. Friday and continues all day Saturday and Sunday, with dance performances, live music and tours of the church at 1260 Davis Street. Admission is $5, and you can get more information at www.saintnicholas.org/san-jose-greek-festival.

MONEY MATTERS: There’s good news on the way for several San Jose arts groups, courtesy of U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren who announced the National Endowment for the Arts is providing $185,000 to six projects. Here’s where the funding is going: the San Jose Museum of Art gets $60,000 for its presentation of “Yolanda López: Portrait of the Artist”; Teatro Vision is receiving $30,000 for its production of “La Muerte Baila”; CMTSJ is getting $25,000 to put on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”; San Jose Community Media Access Corp. is getting $20,000 for its DocuMentorMe program, the Taiko Community Alliance is receiving $20,000 for the North American Taiko Conference and the city of San Jose nets $30,000 for an artist-led community engagment program.

“San Jose is known for its rich and vibrant arts scene, and this funding will allow our community to lead the way as a hub for art and cultural diversity. I look forward to seeing these six projects move from ideas to exhibitions and presentations,” Lofgren said in the announcement.

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But hey, the arts aren’t the only organizations getting money (and the government isn’t the only one providing the dough, either). Shop With a Cop Silicon Valley Executive Director Darrell Cortez proudly points out the nonprofit has received a $20,000 grant from Adobe’s Employee Community Fund, which will go toward its Community Reading Buddies program for second- and third-grade students.

BROWSING HISTORY: Another June tradition is the Preservation Action Council of San Jose’s big rummage sale, which will take up the driveways and yards of several houses around 260 S. 13th St. this weekend. The potential finds include furniture, artwork, posters, books and other ephemera. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 2 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 3.

And you can celebrate your purchases at PACSJ’s “Roaring to Restoring Party” on June 23 at Georgie Huff’s historic home in Naglee Park. There’s going to be a speakeasy feel to the festivities, which will include wine tasting and a silent auction that includes a vintage Woolworth sign and a metal elephant sculpture created by Oregon artist Greg Congleton. You may recognize a certain columnist as a guest bartender, and tips (of the news variety) are always appreciated. Guests are being encouraged to come in fashions from any decade — it’ll be fun to see those 1970s lounge suits — and prizes will be awarded to the coolest fits. Tickets are on sale for $100 at www.preservation.org/roaring.

Categories: Local News

Patrick Queen on his future with Ravens: ‘This is where I want to play’

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:20

Patrick Queen stood at the microphone adjacent to the Ravens’ practice field in Owings Mills on Thursday fielding questions about his future in Baltimore. Nearby, general manager Eric DeCosta jogged up a set of stairs leading into the offices of owner Steve Biscotti’s castle.

For now, Queen remains a Raven. For how long remains to be seen.

Last month, the Ravens declined Queen’s fifth-year option, making the 23-year-old a free agent after this season — if he isn’t traded or signed to an extension before then.

“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Queen said during voluntary organized team activities Thursday. “You see guys go both sides of it and get paid either way.

“I’m not focused on the future. I’m focused on right now. If I take care of my business, all of that will fall into place.”

It just might not be in Baltimore.

While the Ravens’ decision to decline Queen’s option was anything but a surprise, it was perhaps telling.

Last season, Baltimore traded with the Chicago Bears for All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith. In January, Smith signed a five-year extension reportedly worth $100 million. A month later, Queen scrubbed all mentions of the Ravens from his social media accounts.

Then in April, Baltimore spent a third-round draft pick on Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson. Minutes later, Queen tweeted, “Sheesh.”

The writing seems to be on the wall, figuratively and literally.

Had the Ravens picked up Queen’s option, it would have come with a $12.7 million price tag in 2024. Should he have another season similar to the one he just had — when he set career highs in tackles (117), sacks (five), quarterback hits (14), interceptions (two) and passes defended (six) — tying up more top-end money at the position would likely be prohibitive for Baltimore.

Still, DeCosta insists that he wants to try to get the 2020 first-round pick out of LSU signed to an extension, though that might prove easier said than done.

“People want to jump to conclusions [and say], ‘Oh [Simpson] is going to replace Patrick,’” DeCosta said last month. “I can tell you this: Patrick Queen had a helluva year last year. Patrick Queen is a very talented, in my mind, Pro Bowl-type linebacker. He’s going to have a great year this year.

“We want Patrick Queen on this team; we want to keep him on this team. We will, at some point, try to get him signed, hopefully, to an extension if we can.”

Whatever happens, Queen said his focus is on just trying to be the best player he can. So far, that’s been pretty good.

Though he hasn’t lived up to quarterback Lamar Jackson’s hype of being “Ray Lewis Jr.,” he has shown steady improvement each of his first three years in Baltimore, with his Pro Football Focus grade climbing every season. That included going from a 43.5 overall mark in 2021 to 70 last season.

Yet, he has also struggled on occasion. In 2021, Queen lost his inside linebacker spot to 32-year-old veteran Josh Bynes and was moved to the weak side. He also played about five fewer snaps per game that season than he did in 2020.

Smith’s midseason arrival last year certainly helped, and now the two will have an entire offseason together.

“I put as the best two linebackers, no discussion about it,” said Queen, who added that he’s down to about 230 pounds in an effort to be in better shape and finish games stronger. “If you turn on the tape, you’ll see.”

He’s not far off. Over the final eight weeks of last season, PFF graded Queen as the 10th-best off-ball linebacker in the league.

But that catch-22 is exactly what could ultimately make him expendable, something he’s had to come to grips with even though he says he’d like to stay in Baltimore.

“Anything in life, you go through emotions,” Queen said. “And at the end of the day, it may take some others longer to get over it, and I just had many talks from many people and different outlooks on it.”

That included the front office, Queen said, adding that they let him know how they feel.

“This is where I want to play,” Queen said.

For now, that’s all he can worry about.


Categories: Local News

Bill Cosby faces a new sexual assault lawsuit

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:17

By Cheri Mossburg | CNN

Bill Cosby is being sued by Victoria Valentino in a new civil lawsuit claiming decades-old allegations of sexual assault, that her attorney shared with CNN and said it was filed in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Shortly after meeting Cosby in 1969, Valentino claims she and a friend had dinner with the comedian where they were given pills and later agreed to go to an office with him, according to the filing.

“After ingesting the pill, Plaintiff’s head began nodding and she struggled to keep her head up and stay awake. Plaintiff felt nauseated, and her head was spinning. She stated, ‘I want to go home now,’” according to the filing.

The lawsuit outlines in graphic detail allegations that Cosby raped Valentino, claiming “Plaintiff was incapable of consent by reason of being drugged by Cosby and physically helpless.”

Valentino filed the lawsuit under California’s new law that gives residents a three-year window in which they can file civil sexual assault lawsuits that would otherwise be barred by an expired statute of limitations.

According to the filing, she is seeking general, special and punitive damages, as well as attorney and court fees.

Andrew Wyatt, a representative for Cosby, said it is “deeply disturbing and disappointing that our lawmakers would push forward these ‘Look Back Windows,’ which are a sheer violation of all American’s Constitutional Rights. Statutes of Limitations reside in The Constitution, in order to protect those who are victims of a crime and to protect those that are accused of a crime. Unfortunately, these ‘Look Back Windows’ are brought to life because our political figures are being driven by click-baiters, likes and followers, in order to excel to their political aspirations.”

Wyatt adds that Valentino’s claims are “without any proof or facts” and asserts that there are “inconsistencies in her many statements.”

“The trauma he inflicted upon me affects not only me, but my children and grandchildren. By breaking my silence and speaking my truth, I hope this serves as my legacy to my family, and shows those survivors who have yet to find their voices, that hope and healing are possible,” said Valentino in a statement shared by her attorney.

Categories: Local News

Curb appeal: 10 ways to make your home’s exterior look welcoming

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:15

A few weeks ago, I told you how my offer to host a patio party triggered a major backyard refresh. But I didn’t stop there. In that Pandora’s-box way that happens when one home project detonates another, my backyard effort inspired me to take a good look around the rest of the house. (I was sorry I did.)

I’d let a few maintenance jobs slide out front. The paint on the front door was blistering and peeling. The door handle, new six years ago, had measles. Cobwebs and insect debris clung in the corners. The once glossy black mailbox was mottled and faded. It looked like we weren’t even trying.

As I assessed my home’s facade, I had the same thought that crosses my mind when I look in the mirror and see another sprig of gray or a new wrinkle: When did that happen!? Maintaining a home is like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. The job never stops.

Now that I was in spring clean-up mode, I capitalized on my momentum. I made a project checklist starting at the curb. Ugh, that mailbox. A while back my neighbor had texted me the name of the handyman who had recently repainted her mailbox “in case I was interested.” (Hint. Hint.) I called him up. He could fix that and take care of the front gate, too. Check, Check.

Meanwhile, I had the house pressure washed, fluffed up the flower beds and called my painter about the front door. He had painted the door deep orange (Sherwin-Williams Jalapeno) when we moved in six years ago. But the bright Florida sun has made it look five times its age. “It’s time,” he gently said. While he picked up a quart of exterior acrylic latex gloss, I got a new handle and lockset, which his guys replaced when they repainted.

Afterward, I took a step back to admire the sum of these small fixes — and heard the house whisper, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I whispered back.

Even though I rail at you about cutting clutter, as if that were the most important factor in maintaining your home’s appearance, how your home looks outside is even more important.

Late spring is a great time to spruce up the face your home shows the world. To take your home’s entrance from “I don’t care” to “please come in,” run through this 10-point checklist:

1. Walls and windows: Do a dirt check. If cobwebs, pollen, leaves, dead insects and other debris have taken up residence, give your exterior a good pressure wash. While you’re at it, consider whether it needs repainting.

2.  Mailbox: This is not some private container just between you and the mailperson. Your mailbox is on display every day. Wash it, paint it or replace it as needed.

3. Walk up: Whether a gate needs painting,or a walkway needs tending, make sure the path to your door looks tidy and cared for and is well lit.

4. Doormat: These largely ignored service items take a beating. A new one, generously sized, can make a welcome difference.

5. Door: Perhaps no single feature on a home’s façade matters more than the front door, yet these often look weathered and worn. Refreshing or replacing your front door can make a huge difference for a relatively small investment.

6. The handle: A home’s front door handle is its handshake. You want the finish to look new and the grip to feel good, not flimsy, in your hand. If yours needs replacing like mine did, replace it with the same brand. (Common ones are Kwikset, Schlage and Baldwin.) This way all the holes will align. Make sure the finish you choose matches or gets along with nearby metals on light fixtures and hinges.

7. Doorbell: Does it even work? Is the button chipped and yellow? Doorbells are easy to refresh, or you might want to upgrade to a security doorbell camera, like the Ring system.

8. Light fixtures: If these are the same exterior light fixtures your production-home builder stuck on, they are probably inexpensive and underwhelming. Consider updating them. Or, if you like them, give them a good cleaning. Remove dead bugs, replace burned out bulbs and wash the glass.Related Articles

9. Landscape: Spring is a good time to fertilize the lawn, re-mulch planter beds and plant annual color.

10. Accessories: Finish the job. If your home has a big porch, add or refresh the furniture. Consider putting container planters by the door and hanging a seasonal wreath. Now say, “Come on over.”

Join me next week for expert tips on how to upgrade your front door.

Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books, including “Downsizing the Family Home – What to Save, What to Let Go.” Reach her at www.marnijameson.com.

Categories: Local News

Ukraine’s Future Ties to NATO Are Main Topic as Western Nations Meet

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:14
The question of how to guarantee Ukrainian security loomed over a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Norway and a gathering of European leaders in Moldova.
Categories: Local News

Palo Alto: Chef Nobu shows off his new Japanese garden patio, and talks teamwork, tequila, De Niro

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:07

On this spring afternoon, chef Nobu Matsuhisa is wrapping up interviews about the new Japanese-style garden patio at his signature hotel restaurant, Nobu Palo Alto, and getting ready to head to the airport.

But he knows he has to leave time for the swarm.

Acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa takes a selfie with a Nobu Palo Alto restaurant-hotel employee while others wait their turn to meet him. (Linda Zavoral/Bay Area News Group)Acclaimed chef Nobu Matsuhisa takes a selfie with a Nobu Palo Alto restaurant-hotel employee. (Bay Area News Group) 

That’s when a dozen gleeful young cooks, servers and other hotel employees, thankful to have had a chance to meet the legendary chef and perhaps take part in some kitchen training with him during his few days here, encircle him on the patio, cellphones in hand. They want to record this moment with selfies.

Beaming, Nobu autographs menus and caps and stays for photos with every one of them, striking his usual pose, his finger proudly pointed at them. You are the one. The expressions on the faces of this diverse young group tell him all he needs to know about the success of his visit.

“Communication is a part of my job. It’s important to make good teams,” he had emphasized earlier. “Now they can say, ‘Chef Nobu taught me how to make it.’ ”

This was the famed chef’s first visit to the Nobu Palo Alto property since the pandemic, and it was timed with the completion of an impressive and serene Japanese-style garden patio. The hotel, which opened in the summer of 2017, has been in renovation and expansion mode for a good deal of that time.

We had a wide-ranging conversation with Nobu on that new patio, with his pride in the garden and his sense of humor both on display. Here’s an edited version.

A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu restaurant in Palo Alto on April 27, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu Palo Alto restaurant. The alfresco area can accommodate up to 54 diners. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

On the Japanese garden patio:

“People come here for good food, good service. Now we have one more reason … a good garden,” Nobu says.

The Palo Alto hotel restaurant is the first of the 56 restaurants in his multinational empire to feature a Japanese-style garden like this one. Noted landscape designer Shigeru Namba, in consultation with Montalba Architects, designed the space with Japanese-inspired plantings, drought-tolerant ground cover native to California and artistic boulders specifically selected and shipped from Japan.

Fittingly, this garden was created on expanded hotel space that was home to the Stanford Florists shop for many years.

The patio can accommodate 54 guests — 24 at tables and banquettes with a retractable awning to provide shade and 30 diners in an area that can be closed off from the elements, but not the garden view, with glass doors. Even Palo Alto pedestrians can get a peek, via a bronze gate at the street.

Sitting at one of the tables, Nobu notes that the cherry tree will blossom here at the same time every year as Japan’s iconic trees. The other plantings, tended five days a week by a knowledgeable team, will change with the seasons, as do gardens in Japan.

The garden still looks young, he says; he’s eager to see it mature. “After three to five years, it will become more established, like a zen garden.”

Black cod with miso is one of the menu items offered at Nobu restaurant in Palo Alto, California, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Nobu Matsuhisa is one of the most famous chefs in the world and he recently opened a branch of his international namesake restaurant (totaling 38 locations) Nobu in Palo Alto. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group)Chef Nobu’s signature dish is Black Cod with Miso. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group) 

On his signature dish, Black Cod with Miso:

“I started using black cod at my first restaurant in 1987, 36 years ago. Black cod was very cheap. In Japan, it’s very popular in the wintertime.” Then other chefs began featuring cod, he says, “and people start to love it, love it, love it, not just at Nobu but all over the world.”

He shared the recipe in his first cookbook, much to the surprise of his customers. But he has never minded divulging his secrets: “All the chefs can copy my food, but not my heart. They can make black cod, but not like Nobu.”

On the Peruvian influence:

Nobu, 74, studied and learned to cook in Japan, then moved as a young man to Peru, which he notes has a sizable number of Japanese immigrants. Naturally, an early fusion cuisine evolved. “My food is very simple, with best quality product, then I put the Peruvian influence, creating the Nobu style of food.”

His recipes still reflect a contemporary Japanese-Peruvian touch. The Palo Alto menu, for example, features Seafood Ceviche and Rock Shrimp Ceviche, and both the Prime Tenderloin of Beef and the Jidori Chicken may be ordered with a spicy, garlicky Anticucho sauce.

On tequila and teamwork:

Nobu occasionally sips sake, wine or Japanese whisky, but tequila is his drink of choice. He says it’s become a tradition to toast with tequila during after-dinner meetings with his kitchen teams around the globe. “Some of the young people are afraid to talk to me, but after one shot it’s easy.” Then the conversations and ideas start flowing.

He’s found a high-quality tequila that meets his standards, so a reserve sipping tequila made by QUI now sports his name. Want to try it? Though it’s in limited supply, his restaurants have a few bottles.

A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu restaurant in Palo Alto on April 27, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu Palo Alto restaurant. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

On partner Robert De Niro:

Nobu and the actor have been business partners for decades. “Bob is a good friend, a good partner. He trusts us. A lot of investors are interested in more money. For us, we’re always looking for the best quality. So we have a good relationship.”

Nobu quips that he’s more versatile than De Niro. “I’m a chef but I played in a couple of movies. He’s a great actor but never cooks,” he says, laughing. And he likes to tell the story of the “punny” headline about the two of them. Years ago, when Black Cod with Miso became popular in England, a London newspaper called the pair “The Godfather and the Codfather.”

Restaurant and hotel employees at Nobu Palo Alto pose with chef Nobu Matsuhisa, founder and co-owner. (Linda Zavoral/Bay Area News Group)Restaurant and hotel employees at Nobu Palo Alto pose with chef Nobu Matsuhisa, founder and co-owner. (Bay Area News Group) 

On what’s next:

More trips to visit his hotel restaurants, more new ones opening. Marrakech opened in January and Seville in April. Nobu is in Europe now, where another restaurant will open in San Sebastian, Spain’s foodie capital. Then it’s off to Mexico, where a Nobu residences property will open. He’ll take the month of August off and visit family in Japan.

Beyond that, he’s looking forward to collaborating with all of his chefs, sending them recipes, asking what they would do differently, seeking feedback. “I’m always looking for more quality, more new dishes.”

A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu restaurant in Palo Alto on April 27, 2023. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)A view of the new Japanese-inspired outdoor garden section of the Nobu Palo Alto restaurant. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group) 

Details: Since Nobu Palo Alto is also a hotel, Nobu’s kitchen team serves breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m., lunch from noon to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. at 180 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. For reservations, go to www.noburestaurants.com/paloalto/reservations.

Categories: Local News

Chicago White Sox face a challenging June — 7 straight series against teams with winning records, Aaron Judge and more Shohei Ohtani

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 13:57

The Chicago White Sox were looking to end May on a good note.

Instead they found themselves trailing by seven runs after four innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The Sox surrendered five homers — two by Shohei Ohtani — in the 12-5 loss.

“If you don’t regroup and come back with some energy (Friday), this thing can linger on, so it’s our responsibility to make sure we nip this in the bud and get back to work and bring some energy against Detroit and hopefully win a series,” manager Pedro Grifol said Wednesday. “But this thing can linger on and we’re not going to let it. I’m not going to let it.”

The Sox had a winning month, going 15-14. But they still find themselves 12 games under .500 at 23-35.

And plenty of challenges await them in June. Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

1. Say goodbye (for now) to the AL Central.

The Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Angels were the only teams with winning records the Sox faced in May.

June features only four games against teams with losing records — three against the Tigers (26-28) and the first of three at Oakland (12-46) with the final two games of that series July 1-2.

The Sox begin a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The teams met last week, with the Tigers winning three of four at Comerica Park. The Sox had their chances, holding seventh-inning leads in the final two games of that series, but lost 7-3 on Saturday and 6-5 in 10 innings the next day.

The Sox had at least one series against the rest of the American League Central in May, going 11-9 against the Twins (2-1), Tigers (1-3), Cleveland Guardians (4-2) and Kansas City Royals (4-3).

The three against the Tigers this weekend are the last games in the division for the Sox through the All-Star break. They won’t see another AL Central team until July 21 at Minnesota.

The Sox will see plenty of the AL West this month, with games against four of the five teams in that division.

2. Sox searching for an encore on the New York stage.

A highlight to the disappointing 2022 season came May 22 when the Sox swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees superstar Aaron Judge homered in the eighth to tie the opener, but the Sox scored twice in the ninth for a 3-1 win.

In the nightcap, Michael Kopech retired the first 17 batters before Rob Brantly broke up the perfect game with a two-out double in the sixth.

The Sox scored five with two outs in the eighth on RBI hits by Andrew Vaughn and Reese McGuire and a three-run home run by Tim Anderson for a 5-0 victory. The homer was the third hit of the game for Anderson, who was booed throughout the night by Yankees fans after words with Josh Donaldson and a benches-clearing incident the previous afternoon.

The Sox are back in New York from Tuesday through Thursday against the Yankees, who are 10 games over .500 (34-24) but in third place in the loaded AL East. Judge — the 2022 AL MVP — continues to be among the game’s best, leading the AL with 18 homers and a 1.089 OPS.

3. The Sox go west — twice.

The three games against the Yankees begin a stretch of seven consecutive series against teams with winning records.

After returning home June 9-11 for a series against the Miami Marlins (29-27), the Sox make the first of two West Coast trips in the month at the Los Angeles Dodgers (June 13-15) and Seattle Mariners (June 16-18).

The Dodgers (34-23) began the month with the best record in the National League and a half-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. The Mariners (29-27) are fourth in the AL West but have won seven of 10.

The Sox host the AL West-leading Texas Rangers June 19-21 and then the Boston Red Sox from June 22-25.

Th Rangers (35-20), winners in 10 of 13, have the AL’s second-best record. Despite having a winning record, the Red Sox (28-27) are last in the AL East and are 13-13 in their last 26.

The Sox head west again, facing the Angels June 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif., and then beginning the three-game series against the A’s on June 30.

The Angels (30-27) just won two of three against the Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, with Ohtani hitting three homers in the series. He’s second to Judge in the AL with 15 home runs.

Where the Sox stand by the time they get to Oakland could point to decisions ahead for the second half.


Categories: Local News

With Hannah Gadsby’s ‘It’s Pablo-matic,’ the Joke’s on the Brooklyn Museum

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 13:49
The Australian comedian turns curator in a show about Picasso’s complicated legacy. But it’s women artists the exhibition really shortchanges.
Categories: Local News

What Your Mustache Says About You

N.Y. Times - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 13:48
Why does every man who catches your eye have a mustache?
Categories: Local News

Photos: U.S. in serious talks to close Turkmenistan’s “Gates of Hell”

San Jose Mercury - Thu, 06/01/2023 - 13:36

As part of diplomatic efforts to fight climate change, American officials are negotiating a deal to help Turkmenistan curb its methane emissions, Bloomberg first reported Wednesday.

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The possible agreement could see the U.S. lending financial support to help the central Asian nation plug its planet-warming leaks, which include a burning 230-foot wide chasm in the Karakum Desert known as the “Gates of Hell,” which Soviet geologists first ignited in 1971 following a cavern’s folding beneath a rig drilling as part of natural resource exploration.

At the time, the scientists decided to burn off the gases rising into the atmosphere, expecting the fire would extinguish within a few days. Now 52 years later, the gas-fed flames are still burning in and around the 100-foot deep pit located near Darvaza, a town about 160 miles north of Ashgabat, the nation’s capital city.

Turkmenistan is the fourth-largest emitter of methane from the oil and gas sector worldwide, according to written testimony submitted by the U.S. State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism last March.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the father of Turkmenistan’s current president Serdar Berdimuhamedow and the nation’s former leader, reportedly ordered the nation to put out the fire at one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions in January 2022.

TO GO WITH AFP STORYA picture taken on May 3, 2014, shows people visiting "The Gateway to Hell," a huge burning gas crater in the heart of Turkmenistan's Karakum desert. The fiery pit was the result of a simple miscalculation by Soviet scientists in 1971 after their boring equipment suddenly drilled through into an underground cavern and a deep sinkhole formed. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, the scientists took the decision to set it alight, thinking that the gas would burn out quickly and this would cause the flames to go out. But the flames have not gone out in more than 40 years, in a potent symbol of the vast gas reserves of Turkmenistan, which are believed to be the fourth largest in the world. AFP PHOTO / IGOR SASIN (Photo by IGOR SASIN / AFP) (Photo by IGOR SASIN/AFP via Getty Images)May 3, 2014: Tourists visit “The Gates of Hell,” in the heart of Turkmenistan’s Karakum desert. (Igor Sasin/AFP via Getty Images)  July 11, 2020: The crater fire named “Gates of Hell” burns near Darvaza, Turkmenistan. (AP Photo/Alexander Vershinin)  TO GO WITH AFP STORYA picture taken on May 3, 2014, shows people visiting "The Gateway to Hell," a huge burning gas crater in the heart of Turkmenistan's Karakum desert. The fiery pit was the result of a simple miscalculation by Soviet scientists in 1971 after their boring equipment suddenly drilled through into an underground cavern and a deep sinkhole formed. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, the scientists took the decision to set it alight, thinking that the gas would burn out quickly and this would cause the flames to go out. But the flames have not gone out in more than 40 years, in a potent symbol of the vast gas reserves of Turkmenistan, which are believed to be the fourth largest in the world. AFP PHOTO / IGOR SASIN (Photo by IGOR SASIN / AFP) (Photo by IGOR SASIN/AFP via Getty Images)May 3, 2014: Tourists visit “The Gates of Hell,” in the heart of Turkmenistan’s Karakum desert. (Igor Sasin/AFP via Getty Images) 
Categories: Local News