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Formerly homeless, woman 'back on her feet' and bound for Philly marathon — NewsWorks

Formerly homeless, woman 'back on her feet' and bound for Philly marathon — NewsWorks | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Training for a marathon can change your life For one woman who s running in this weekend s Philadelphia Marathon that s an understatement Donna Blackwell 54 was addicted to alcohol or crack cocaine
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Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1' is only half awesome

Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1' is only half awesome | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” is only half awesome because it is only half a movie. Suzanne Collins’ final book in the trilogy has been segmented into two films, massacring the momentum the previous films had delicately built.

The popularity of “The Hunger Games” has spawned a number of dystopian film adaptations from young adult novels like “Divergent” and “The Giver,” but “The Hunger Games” films are still the reigning champions thanks to Jennifer Lawrence’s fantastic performance, director Francis Lawrence and writers Danny Strong and Peter Craig’s nimble balancing of character and plot.

“Mockingjay, Part 1” picks up shortly after the close of “Catching Fire.” The games are over and war has started. Katniss is recovering in the secret rebel camp in District 13. Her home -- District 12 -- has been scorched by President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and the other districts may soon see a similar fate. Her arena partner Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is now a prisoner and propaganda pawn for The Capitol. Under pressure by rebel leaders President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to be the face of the rebellion and unite the districts, Katniss faces the life-changing decision of retreating into solitude with her childhood pal Gale (Liam Hemsworth) or saving all of Panem. Obviously, it would be a short film if she retreated to solitude.

This is definitely the most mature of the “Hunger Games” films. While the first two films dealt with kids killing kids, “Mockingjay” elevates the violence to mass genocide; entire districts and populations are annihilated and a hospital filled with innocent civilians is bombed and destroyed. And then there are those public executions. Charming. This is targeted for young adults, but this might be one of the most violent young adult films ever made.

Jennifer Lawrence is again at her best as Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence has not really left the spotlight since the first “Hunger Games” film debuted in 2012 and she has shown incredible range over the past few years, but Katniss is her best character. She struggles with PTSD, wrestles with the thought of becoming a public hero or stay in hiding. She is angry, bitter and depressed and Lawrence certainly has the gift of pulling all of those off perfectly. For a massive genre film, it’s unique to have such a layered, compelling character usually reserved for adult dramas.

But greed has done more harm than good to this series. The current Hollywood trend (thanks for nothing “Harry Potter”) is to split films and TV shows into parts, which seriously harms story flow and momentum. We have seen this with the final “Potter” films, “Twilight,” “The Hobbit.” Even “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” unnecessarily split their final seasons up over a two year period. It’s frustrating for the viewer. It hurts the story. But sure, it makes some people very, very rich and that will always trump what’s best for the audience. For “Mockingjay,” the first 45 minutes is slow and repetitious before building to a fantastic mid-story climax – then just ends on a cliffhanger that’s not entirely enticing. This could be condensed considerably with little lost while fitting the entire story into a powerful single film.

Even though “Mockingjay, Part 1” is an incomplete movie, it features some dynamic, hair-raising scenes: the nail-biting rescue mission to free Peeta from the Capitol is one. Another -- which is one of the best sequences in the entire franchise -- features Katniss singing a lullaby to her team. Composer James Newton Howard wonderfully builds her simple melody into a full-scale call for action, uniting the rebels as they attack a dam that provides power to the Capitol.  A very cool sequence.

There’s some new blood in the cast this round. Julianne Moore is the stoic president of District 13. There was more of a contentious relationship between Coin and Katniss in the book which is almost non-existent here, which is disappointing because Moore versus Lawrence could have been good scene-chewing fun.  Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) is a Capitol deserter-turned rebel propaganda director and Jeffrey Wright (“Casino Royale”) is the rebel’s tech guru. The cast is rounded out by strong performances by returning champions Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, and Stanley Tucci. 

“Mockingjay, Part 1” could have been the best of the franchise if it was a complete film, but the segmentation has really done a disservice to the audience and Suzanne Collins’ story. That said, the completion of this excellent series next November can’t come soon enough.

Lionsgate. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 2 hours and 5 minutes. 
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How Do You Compare to the Average Road Racer?

How Do You Compare to the Average Road Racer? | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
How Do You Compare to the Average Road Racer?
Check your times against last year's averages for 5K, half marathon and more.
By Dan Fuehrer, Scott Douglas;
Image byRobert James Reese Published
July 11, 2014

If you're a 38-year-old woman who runs a 2:19 half marathon, or a 33-year-old man who runs a 28:46 5K, consider yourself a perfect representative of American road racers.

As seen in the graphic below, those were some of the median ages and times for finishers in the four most popular races in 2013: 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.

The stats, and many more like them, were released earlier this week by the industry trade group Running USA in its latest state-of-the-sport report. Look below the graphic on average finish times to see the good news about road race participation trends.

As the chart below shows, 2013 was another record year for race participation, with more than 19 million finishers at U.S. events. (Note: The figure is an aggregate of race finishers; the number of individual runners who finished a race is less, because the aggregate includes multiple race finishes by individual runners.)

As has been the case the last several years, a parallel story to the overall growth is the increase in women race finishers. In 2013, women accounted for 57% of U.S. race finishers, a record.

According to Running USA's data, there were a record 28,200 events in 2013, a 7% increase over the 2012 figure.

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In this week's PEOPLE: Chris Hemsworth Is PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive!

In this week's PEOPLE: Chris Hemsworth Is PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive! | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Chris Hemsworth: PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive 2014
See 26 bonus photos of Chris Hemsworth! Subscribe now to get instant access to our exclusive interview and photo shoot with the Sexiest Man Alive plus 26 bonus photos and other digital extras.

He continues to smite bad guys as a hammer-wielding Norse god in The Avengers, will fight off a terrorist hacker in Michael Mann's upcoming cyber thriller, Blackhat, and battle a whale in Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea, but there was no contest when it came to naming Aussie Chris Hemsworth this year's Sexiest Man Alive.

The actor, 31, thought it was "pretty funny" when he first heard the news – as did his wife, Spanish model Elsa Pataky, 38, whom he wed in 2010.

"I think you've bought me a couple of weeks of bragging rights around the house," he tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "I can just say to her, 'Now remember, this is what the people think, so I don't need to do the dishes anymore, I don't need to change nappies. I'm above that. I've made it now.' "

The Australian-bred Hemsworth also reveals that he prefers to sleep sans pajamas, has a signature dance move (with a spin!) and would rather be home in Australia, where he and Pataky live with their three kids – daughter India, 2½, and 8-month-old twin sons Sasha and Tristan – than anywhere else.

PHOTOS: Presenting 2014's Sexiest Men Alive

"We just had a big beach day with the kids, swimming and kicking the ball around," he says. "That was the first time in a long time we've done that. That's what it's all about."

As for that ripped body, Hemsworth, who puts on 20 lbs. of muscle for his role as Thor, says he tries to be disciplined when it comes to his diet and exercise but looks forward to his cheat days. "Then it's pizza, hamburgers, beer, sugary things," he adds. "Everything I'm not allowed to have!"

For more of our exclusive interview and photo shoot with Hemsworth, including his thoughts on being romantic and raising kids, pick up the newest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
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3 Reasons You're Not Getting Hired

3 Reasons You're Not Getting Hired | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |

By Rebecca Healy

Sending out lots of résumés with no responses? Or perhaps you're getting interviews, but not the job? While it may feel like you're doing everything in your power to land a new job, if you're having trouble closing the deal, it's time for another look. There are probably obvious reasons why you're not getting the job, and they need to be taken into consideration:

1. You don't have any connections. Connections are essential to getting a job, often allowing you to bypass writing a résumé, cover letter and the application process altogether. Connections make the entire job search easier. But if you're not getting a job, take a look at who knows you and what you do. You may not have any helpful connections to get you in the door because you don't network, or because you just haven't put yourself out there. Folks can't help you if they don't know what you need. If you don't use your connections, another candidate will be put at the front of the line – a candidate who used their connections.

To start building your connection network, start letting friends or family members know what type of job you want, and see if they know of anyone who may be able to help. If you don't feel your friend or family network is strong enough, start the networking process by going to an event or meetup in your desired industry. Chat up those around you, and make sure to grab business cards and follow up after. Invite your new contacts to coffee (on you), and start building those relationships. You've probably heard this advice before, but have you done it?

2. You're bad at selling yourself. Your cover letter and résumé are dry and terrible. You don't sound like yourself at all. Or maybe those documents are far too short or too long. Let's face it: You're floundering, and you're just plain bad at talking about yourself. But if you're bad at selling yourself, you'll never make it into the pile of "to interview" résumés.

Selling yourself isn't a bad thing; it mostly just takes preparation. First, keep a document of accomplishments. Then when you create your cover letter and résumé, highlight those results, rather than list what you did day to day in past positions. Stay confident in your tone, from paper to in person, and continue to describe the results you can bring to the position during your interview as well.

3. You're not conversational. If you make it to the interview, but don't get the job, consider your interview style. Beyond discussing why you're perfect for the job and highlighting your skills and results in past positions, you'll want to be conversational. Why? Employers want to like you. Likeable people are the best kinds of people to work with. So turn up the charm and enthusiasm. Show that not only are you fully competent, but you'll be interested in your job and get along with your manager and colleagues. Don't be overeager, but make sure to express your passion and commitment.

Part of being likable is listening attentively and responding appropriately. Ask questions, and be interested beyond what you've rehearsed in your interview prep. Remember, you are interviewing the employer as much as they are interviewing you. Relax, take a deep breath and just be your amazing, normal self.

When you're not getting the job, it's tough to stomach. But by taking a hard look at your job search process, you can ensure that you get further than ever before. By making changes in your network, your sales and your conversational skills, you'll get past the résumé stage, past the first and second interviews and into your very own corner office.
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Who Needs Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Who Needs Black Friday and Cyber Monday? | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Most Americans won't shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But those who do expect to spend $400 and $361 respectively.
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For Tommy Davidson, Philly's a little bit of heaven

For Tommy Davidson, Philly's a little bit of heaven | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Tommy Davidson arrives at the Tribeca Film Institute Annual Gala Benefit Screening Of 'This Is Where I Leave You' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on September 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
GALLERY: For Tommy Davidson, Philly's a little bit of heaven

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Molly Eichel, Daily News Staff Writer
POSTED: Thursday, October 30, 2014, 3:01 AM

TOMMY DAVIDSON, the comedian who made a name for himself on "In Living Color," has always had a special place in his heart for Philly.

The D.C. native, who will perform at Helium Comedy Club today through Saturday, filmed his first stand-up movie, "Illin' in Philly," here.

"Philadelphia is a cinch. You've just got to be careful of the Italians," Davidson said, with a laugh. "It's very easy to me because it's regular people, but if you get pretentious on them, they'll boo you. They'll feel it. They're sensitive to those who think they're better than others."

Not to mention, a show in Philadelphia changed Davidson's life. Davidson invited a woman and her children to a show about four years ago.

Amy Poehler Quizzes George R.R. Martin on 'Game of Thrones'
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"This woman had done something really nice for me. She worked at a check-cashing place and it was closed, but she was nice and let me in even though she didn't recognize me," he said.

About 15 minutes into Davidson's set, the woman died from a heart attack and passed away.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the house," he said.

Davidson felt it only right to thank patrons for coming to the truncated show.

"This woman walked up to me and had a smile on her face and said, 'What gift. Of all the people to walk her up to heaven, God chose you, so she could laugh her way up to the end.' From that day forward, I started looking at life a little differently."
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How to Take a Super Model-Approved Selfie

How to Take a Super Model-Approved Selfie | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
How to Take a Super Model-Approved Selfie

OCTOBER 22 4:00 PM


Photo: Katie Friedman

Constance Jablonski may be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen up close. Her skin is flawless and her hair has that perfect wave that women all over the world spend hours trying to mimic. No wonder Estée Lauder has kept her as one of their campaign models for the past four years, an honor held by big names like Carolyn Murphy, Stephanie Seymour, and Joan Smalls.

We caught up with Jablonski an hour before she jetted off to an event to find out her beauty must-haves, the best tip she learned on set, and (praise the Instagram gods!) what makes the perfect selfie.

If you had to choose only three things to put in a makeup bag to get prepped for a night out, what would they be?
That would be easy. That would be my compact mirror, my lipstick that I’m wearing, and I actually always have a solid perfume. I think it’s a great thing because you can put it on behind your ear and it’s very discreet. You [put] a little bit behind your ears and when you kiss people and say hi [they] get just a little bit [of your scent].

Tonight you’re wearing Estée Lauder’s Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Infamous, a very bold pink color!
I love to change my lip color. I usually tend to go for bright pinks or a real bloody red. I switch it around depending what I’m wearing, or the kind of event.

Other than makeup what else do you carry in your bag when you go out at night?
Bags are really small, so not much! I only take my phone and a credit card! I always give my keys to the doorman because I’m always afraid I’m going to lose them. I’m the worst!

You’re obviously a pro at taking photos. What’s one secret you’ve picked up from a photographer while on set that always helps you take a great photo?
The most important thing for a good picture is the lighting. Every photographer knows that. Lights will make the same picture look completely different. If you want [something] more moody, it’s nice to have light coming from the back. It goes through the hair, gives a very nice shadow on the face. I like the front light, because it’s like instant Photoshop. It makes your eyes pop, you don’t see any skin spots—it’s great!

Estée Lauder famously said, “Beauty is an attitude.” How does attitude play into taking a great photo?
Attitude is 50 percent of a great photo. If you look gorgeous and have the best hair and makeup and you do a duck face—this is the wrong way to do a picture. I don’t think the duck face is a good selfie picture!

I think most of Instagram would disagree with you! So, what is the best way to take a good selfie?
For me, the best selfie is more about why you do it. There has to be a reason behind it, like to show where you are–like you’re on location at a beautiful, exotic place. Make it more about the background. Or for me, tonight, to show my makeup. So depending on what you want to show, obviously the attitude is going to change. It has to make sense. A selfie that has meaning is cool. And good lighting!

For more beauty, fashion, and life inspiration you can actually use, click here.
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Tell Me About It: Benefits of living on your own

Tell Me About It: Benefits of living on your own | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: I moved back in with my parents after college to save money and have been here ever since (three years). I have a good job and support myself, but I just haven't felt motivated to move till now because of the savings.

But my boyfriend of almost two years says it cramps his style to visit me at my parents' home. After some discussion, we decided I would move in with him. I'm especially excited because it seems like a great way to stake out some independence without paying exorbitant rent or having to live alone.

I am supposed to move in two weeks, but he's no longer as excited about it as he was, and has started saying there's "no rush."

I'm not sure what to do now. Getting my own place is the obvious answer, but that would be expensive (what I was trying to avoid), lonely, and seems like a step backward in our relationship. What do you think?

Answer: The biggest backward step is to move in despite his doubts, and now yours - especially since he's not articulating them beyond a forehead-thumping, "Ah, er, no rush!" Plus, your primary motivator appears to be money, and that's not helpful, either.

So stay put; suggest to your boyfriend that if he has second thoughts, then out with them already; and have another look at the whole independence idea you grazed in your question. Why not a group house, or a roommate? That was the obvious answer to me. Roommate roulette can turn out badly, sure, but when it works it's a blast, and it costs much less than living alone.

Reader comment: Get your own place. Really. It will do you so much good in the end. I know it's hard to see, now, and the number in your bank account makes you feel comfortable, but there are so many lessons in self-sufficiency. You really, truly, learn to budget, which means you learn what's really important to you compared to what you like to have. You learn to look out for yourself, and that naturally comes with tiny but useful life skills like knowing how to unstick your garbage disposal or how you like to have things in your own space.

You learn, above all, that even if something catastrophic were to happen to the person you love, you can make it on your own, which makes you a much more stable partner in any relationship, and gives you room to figure out whether you're really with someone because you want to be with them, or because you feel you can't be without them even if that might make you happier. Get to know you. It's the best investment in a relationship you'll ever make.

Answer: Yes, "having to live alone" needed to be challenged - thanks for stepping in.

I write often about the importance of establishing a baseline - a sense of what fulfills you outside of a relationship. It's easiest to do while living alone, and nearly impossible, I believe, sliding from mom's house to a boyfriend's, or just reacting versus acting.

Among roommates, though, it's doable - and group living often has an expiration date as we calcify in our ways. Independence plus fun, while supplies last.
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The Best Way To Run With Your Dog -

The Best Way To Run With Your Dog - | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Proper run training for you and your most loyal companion.

Few cultures on the planet treat their dogs like Americans, and more specifically, Coloradans. We buy expensive organic chow and tricked-out, joint-preserving doggie beds. Our four-legged friends accompany us to the office, coffee shop-and, perhaps most importantly, on training runs as our loyal pacers and are reminders of all things joyful and humble about the sport of running.

Whether you’re preparing to adopt a dog or already have one who matches you stride for stride, it’s mutually beneficial to know how to run train properly with-and ultimately respect and protect-your favorite canine companion.

Puppy Love
Let’s start with puppies. If you’ve recently acquired a young dog or plan to do so (see sidebar on good running breeds), there are a few things to know when teaching your dog how to run with you.

First, don’t even start running with your puppy until he or she is not a puppy. Veterinarian Tim Hackett, Chief of Staff-Small Animals at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, says seven months would be the earliest he would recommend a dog begin run training.

Dogs must reach skeletal maturity first, which in giant breeds may not happen until up to 20 months, says Dr. Erick Egger, a professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery at Colorado State. According to Elizabeth Simpson, who as owner of Boulder-based Tenderfoot Training sees the dogs of many athletes, “When a young pup’s muscles tire, they cannot support the skeletal system and now you are grinding bone against bone and doing damage.”

Once your dog reaches skeletal maturity, best confirmed with a quick vet check-up, it’s time to start endurance training. Just like humans, dogs need to build up mileage progressively. “Treat your dog as you would a friend you are helping get started,” says Simpson. “Don’t ask too much and increase the time and difficulty only as he gets stronger.”

Hackett, who runs three paved miles every other day with his dog with one longer trail run per week, suggests starting with a mile a week while assessing recovery, watching how quickly heart rate and breathing return to normal and monitoring how your dog’s feet are holding up. Pad wear is arguably the most common injury in dogs that run regularly.

Elite runners might start run training by completing a full, fast-paced run, then picking up Fido for a comfy cool down, suggests Simpson.

Of course basic training will also be helpful for a younger dog just getting used to running in a controlled environment. “A well-trained dog is far more fun to run with than an ill-mannered dog who runs off, lunges at people, chases dogs or cars, and forces you to stop every two seconds because he has to mark another tree,” says Simpson.

Basalt-based author of Canine Colorado, Cindy Hirschfeld, who runs with her three-year-old mutt Tansy, has found a loophole. “We haven’t been very successful at training her on leash. She zigzags back and forth, which is a pain in the rear when you’re trying to run in a straight line!” Compromise between dog and master is found at off-leash areas, such as a non-wilderness designated National Forest trails or voice-command-allowed trails within Boulder’s Open Space system.

Training Tips
As you continue to increase your dog’s mileage and pace, it’s important to remember a pet is always at your mercy regarding breaks, explains Hackett. “Your dog will run as long as you do, whether she’s exhausted or not, so don’t drag her on your marathon training run,” says Hirschfeld, who caps pooch-accompanied runs at 10 miles.

Remember, too, that dogs don’t sweat like humans. They cool down through panting and disperse some heat through their feet. Neither of which are very efficient, Simpson points out.

Knowing your dog’s resting heart rate and respiratory rate so you can assess recovery is helpful, says Hackett. For example, a rapid heart and respiratory rate that doesn’t slow with rest is one of the first signs of heat exhaustion. Others include collapsing, altered consciousness or unresponsiveness, and high-pitched wheezing or gasping for breath.

Taking frequent water breaks, choosing shady running routes and working out in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler are also important to your dog’s safety. Hirschfeld taught her dogs to drink from a portable hydration pack and water bottles. Others prefer a collapsible nylon dog bowl.

A diet rich in meat protein and digestible calcium with lots of micronutrients, good bacteria and enzymes will help your dog maintain a healthy body and endure rigorous workouts, says Simpson. According to Hackett, “High-energy foods are fine, but you will still need to watch weight to be sure calories in equal calories out.” Joint-easing supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may be beneficial for older dogs.

Be careful not to feed your dog for an hour before and after you run. A dog’s stomach acts as a holding tank during digestion, explains Simpson, and eating too close to exercise time can make your dog vulnerable to dangerous gastric torsion or bloat.

Beyond endurance training, safety habits and diet tips, what’s most valuable is your relationship with your dog. “Running really takes up a small portion of your day and the rest of your time with your dog will be spent living a normal life,” says Simpson. “Your dog needs to be a good match for you and your lifestyle.”

Best Running Breeds
Young, short-haired, large-breed dogs with nice long noses are the best for running companionship, says Hackett. Consider a greyhound or lean Labrador retriever. Simpson recommends sight hounds, herders, setters, taller hounds, gun dogs, sled dogs or mutts that are a healthy mix of these breeds. Hunting breeds, except the Rhodesian ridgeback, may be unpredictable runners since they are genetically designed to hunt. Huskies work well for cold-weather endurance training. Avoid smaller dogs with short noses and legs, such as pugs and or bulldogs, and learn about each breed’s risk factors for long-term physical conditions such as hip or elbow dysplasia.
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Fall Foliage Map : Fall : Travel Channel

Fall Foliage Map : Fall : Travel Channel | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Fall Foliage Map
Filed Under: Fall
Ready to start leaf peeping this fall? Before you plan your fall foliage road trip, get the peak forecast from our partners at weathertrends360.

See weathertrends360’s recommendations for the best regions to see autumn’s spectacular color show this year.

Check out Travel's Best Fall Foliage Road Trips for 2013.

Northeast Region
The Northeast boasts some of the most breathtaking fall foliage displays around, and this will be an excellent year to catch a glimpse of the deciduous forests’ brilliant leaf colors. Favorable weather from mid-spring through summer in much of the Northeast set the stage for healthy tree growth, with a warm and wet mid- to late spring and a warm, but not blazing hot, summer.

As summer waned, warm days and cool nights became the predominant weather pattern in the Northeast along with below-normal rainfall. This weather pattern is set to continue through the peak of the fall foliage and is conducive to a burst of dazzling leaf color. The best fall foliage in the Northeast will extend from New York State down through the Appalachians, including most of Pennsylvania and northern sections of New Jersey.

When to Go: To catch the dazzling splash of color in the Northeast, the best time to visit is late September for higher elevations and areas farther north, while lower elevations and locations to the south will be best viewed in early October.

Mid-Atlantic Region
Favorable spring and summer weather conditions in the Northeast extended down into the Mid-Atlantic region, setting this stretch of the country up for an excellent leaf-peeping season as well. The best fall color will appear along the spine of the Appalachians from early to mid-October, as warm days and cool, but not freezing, nights and dry weather encourage the development of the bright red, orange and yellow pigments that are synonymous with the changing of the season.

A scenic ride down Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park will be a must this year, as the tree-lined roads and scenic overviews will offer some of the most exhilarating views of foliage anywhere in America this year.

When to Go: The brilliant array of color extends down into the Mid-Atlantic in early October for higher elevations and mid-October in lower elevations. Areas closer to the coast typically peak around mid-October.

Midwest Region
While the Midwest region will not offer nearly as widespread or as brilliant a view of the fall foliage as the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, there will still be some decent leaf peeping in the Upper Midwest. Trees began sprouting leaves during a cooler and wetter than normal spring in the Midwest, which was disadvantageous for leaf growth.

The weather turned more favorable in the summer, with near normal temperatures and sufficient rainfall in the Upper Midwest. The southern fringes of the region, however, suffered from cooler than normal conditions.

Hot weather in late summer and into early fall, along with a growing drought in the western half of the Midwest, has placed fall foliage in jeopardy, with southern areas expected to show poor color this year. However, the Upper Midwest will offer some opportunities for leaf-peepers.

When to Go: Early October will be the best time to head to the Upper Midwest for some leaf-peeping; southern parts of the region will peak toward mid-October with somewhat duller color.

Western Region
Hot weather from spring through late summer has put the Western region at risk of a humdrum and short fall foliage season. Drought conditions cause dull leaf colors, with many leaves shriveling up and turning brown instead of the bright hues expected this time of year; a hot and dry spring and summer have led to the development of drought conditions from the Southwest, through much of Oregon, Idaho and far western Montana.

Late summer and early autumn have yielded very heavy rainfall in the Northwest, but that’s not favorable for leaf colors, either. When it comes to rain, leaves have a bit of a Goldilocks-complex, with too much or too little rainfall both adversely affecting the foliage. Unfortunately, for West Coast leaf-peepers, this year’s fall foliage will be disappointing. For better leaf viewing, a trip to the Rocky Mountains will be warranted as good foliage is expected there.

When to Go: The peak of the season in the western region typically occurs from mid- to late October. However, this year many areas may peak closer to mid-October due to drought and a hot summer. For the brighter foliage in the Rockies, plan a trip a little bit earlier in October or even early September for the highest elevations.
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Three Things That'll Remind Her Of The Man You Really Are

Three Things That'll Remind Her Of The Man You Really Are | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
e've all been there. After a few years of being together, the spark starts to fade. It happens in every relationship — the question is, how do we get that fire roaring again? Fact is, we're creatures of habit, and habit quickly becomes boring. Well, with these three tips, you'll be back to the early days with your lady. Here's what you can do.
First off, bring back the date night. The classic dinner date is always a safe bet, but try being more adventurous. Go rock climbing, take a jiu-jitsu class together, go for a picnic. The possibilities are endless.

Next up, it's time to bring back the flirting. Remember the first time you had to win over your lady? You were charming, you flirted, you teased, you made her laugh. Just because you've been together for a while now doesn't mean that flirting should be stopped. Be fun, be spontaneous.

Last but not least, compliment her. Telling her she's beautiful is a tried and true one, but be more specific. Tell her you love her smile, or that she has a great laugh. Three compliments a day is what you're shooting for, here.
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20 Must-Try Dishes to Eat to Call Yourself a Philadelphian

20 Must-Try Dishes to Eat to Call Yourself a Philadelphian | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
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E-cigarettes could save over 50,000 lives in the UK, experts say

E-cigarettes could save over 50,000 lives in the UK, experts say | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
E-cigarettes could save over 50,000 lives in the UK, experts say
Critics of WHO bid to curb vaping believe the devices are powerful aid to help smokers quit tobacco

Some health experts claim e-cigarettes could help save more than 50,000 smokers' lives in Britain. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA
Sarah Boseley, health editor
Thursday 4 September 2014 19.05 EDT
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Switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes could save more than 50,000 smokers' lives in the UK, according to experts who are critical of the World Health Organisation's recommendations for curbs on vaping.

The WHO called on governments last week to regulate the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes and ban indoor vaping over concerns about the possibility that young people may be tempted to take up e-cigarettes and later change to tobacco. The government said it would not ban the indoor use of e-cigarettes, although more regulations over their marketing, sale and content were on their way.

But the public health community is split between those who are concerned that e-cigarettes may prove a stalking horse for the tobacco industry to re-normalise smoking and those who think they are a powerful smoking cessation aid. Prof Robert West and Dr Jamie Brown from University College London claim this week in the British Journal of General Practice that for every million smokers who switch from tobacco to e-cigarettes, over 6,000 premature deaths would be prevented in the UK every year. If all 9 million smokers took up e-cigarettes instead, 54,000 lives could be saved.

In a paper published in the journal Addiction other experts are critical of the review by a group of US-based experts, which provided much of the evidence for WHO's recommendations.

Prof Ann McNeill, lead author from the national addiction centre at King's College London, said: "We were surprised by the negativity of the commissioned review, and found it misleading and not an accurate reflection of available evidence. E-cigarettes are new and we certainly don't yet have all the answers as to their long-term health impact, but what we do know is that they are much safer than cigarettes, which kill over 6 million people a year worldwide."

The experts dispute the implication that e-cigarette use by young people is a problem. Take-up by non-smokers is very rare, they say. The review fails to acknowledge that e-cigarettes are not only less harmful than tobacco but that any toxins in them are a tiny fraction of what is found in a conventional cigarette. It also argues that e-cigarettes help smokers give up and not the reverse.

Prof John Ashton, the president of the Faculty of Public Health which welcomed the WHO report, said: "The average person on the street could be forgiven for being confused about what health professionals think about e-cigarettes." The faculty did not want to ban e-cigarettes, he said, but "we do want to be sure that any benefits they may have don't undo all the hard work that's been done over decades to save lives by reducing smoking. We are particularly concerned that 'vaping' may lead to young people starting to smoke cigarettes." The faculty agreed with the Addiction paper authors that more hard data on e-cigarettes was needed.
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Marine with robotic leg braces gets Bronze Star

Marine with robotic leg braces gets Bronze Star | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
In this photo provided by the U.S. Marines, U.S. Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, center, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, salutes during his awards and retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces at the ceremony, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. (AP Photo/U.S. Marines, Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier) The Associated Press


In this photo provided by the U.S. Marines, U.S. Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, center, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, salutes during his awards and retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces at the ceremony, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. (AP Photo/U.S. Marines, Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier)The Associated Press

In this photo provided by the U.S. Marines, Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, of the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, speaks during his awards and retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces at the ceremony, where he was awarded a Bronze Star. (AP Photo/U.S. Marines, Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier)The Associated Press

Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, along with his wife Maura and his service dog Shaggy, walks to his award and retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces during the ceremony at Camp Pendleton where he received a Bronze Star. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Nelvin C. Cepeda) NO SALES; COMMERCIAL INTERNET OUTThe Associated Press

Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, wears his Bronze Star during his retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces during the ceremony at Camp Pendleton where he received a Bronze Star. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Nelvin C. Cepeda) NO SALES; COMMERCIAL INTERNET OUTThe Associated Press

Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, center, is awarded a Bronze Star at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces during the ceremony at Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Nelvin C. Cepeda) NO SALES; COMMERCIAL INTERNET OUTThe Associated Press

Marine Capt. Derek Herrera, right, is awarded a Bronze Star as he stands with his wife Maura at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Herrera, who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan, fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces during the ceremony at Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Nelvin C. Cepeda) NO SALES; COMMERCIAL INTERNET OUTThe Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Marine who was left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan fulfilled a promise to himself on Friday and walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.

The crowd of 300 Marines was silent as Capt. Derek Herrera walked. All that was heard was the faint whirring of electric motors from the device.

Herrera then stood, holding onto one crutch. With his other hand, he saluted his commanding officer, who presented him the award.

"Your drive and determination are great and you will continue to do great things, " Lt. Col. John J. Lynch, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, told him at Friday's ceremony.

Herrera had vowed to walk at the event that also marked his retirement after 8½ years in the military, saying he wanted to leave the Marine Corps the same way he joined. He has gone from fighting on the battlefield to becoming a strong advocate for veterans.

"I'm not out of the fight and I'll continue on," he told his battalion on Friday, adding that it was "truly an honor and a pleasure to stand before you today."

Herrera was the first person in the United States to purchase the ReWalk system recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the company, ReWalk Robotics Ltd.

The special operations officer was honored with the Bronze Star for his actions on June 14, 2012, when the patrol he was leading came under heavy fire in Afghanistan. Herrera continued coordinating efforts while receiving treatment for his own spinal injury and collapsed left lung.

"The bravery and fortitude he displayed inspired his men to heroic feats as they valiantly fought to save the lives of their wounded team members and repel the enemy assault," wrote Maj. Gen. M.A. Clark in recommending Herrera be recognized with a Bronze Star.

Left paralyzed from the chest down, the 30-year-old Marine sought to be allowed to remain on active duty and has pushed himself to get back to walking. His last day on active-duty is Nov. 30.

The ReWalk is a robotic exoskeleton system that allows people with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk. Several competing products that use the technology — nicknamed "electronic legs" or "powered exoskeletons" — are also being used and tested in U.S. rehab hospitals. None so far are fast enough to entirely replace wheelchairs.

ReWalk was cleared by the FDA for personal use, although it has been on the market outside the United States since 2012.

The device consists of leg braces with motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance. A supportive belt around the patient's waist keeps the suit in place, and a backpack holds the computer and rechargeable battery. Crutches are used for stability, and the FDA requires an assistant be nearby. Herrera's wife assists him.

The MARSOC Foundation, a charitable fund for members of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, raised the money for Herrera to buy the $69,500 device.

Herrera is working on a master's degree in business administration at the University of California, Los Angeles and plans to start his own business.

"Every day is a choice to live, love, inspire, honor the fallen, make the world a better place and walk in the footsteps of giants," Herrera wrote in a Thanksgiving holiday column published by UT San Diego in 2013.
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The Dogs of War

The Dogs of War | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
The Dogs of War
Out in front of America’s troops, combat canines and their handlers lead the way onto the most dangerous battlefields on Earth.
By Michael Paterniti
Photograph by Adam Ferguson

Here is Marine Corporal Jose Armenta in his tent on the night before getting blown up in Afghanistan. He jokes with Mulrooney and Berry and the medic the guys have nicknamed “Christ.” He feeds and waters his dog, Zenit, a sable-coat German shepherd. He lets Buyes, who will be dead in three months, ruffle Zenit’s fur, for the radioman is crazy about the dog.

Then he takes Zenit outside in the waning light of this dusty, desert otherworld to train.

They’re happiest like this. Jose has Zenit sit, which the dog does obediently, and then Jose jogs 50 yards down and hides a rubber toy, a Kong, up against a mud wall, covering it with dirt. On Jose’s command, Zenit bursts forward, zigging in search of it, tail wagging. It’s an intricate dance. Voice commands met by precise canine action, always with the same end goal in mind—to find the toy. Tomorrow, on patrol, the objective will be finding not a toy but an improvised explosive device, or IED, one of the Taliban’s most brutally effective weapons against American troops here in what many consider the most dangerous province in one of the world’s most dangerous countries. And no dog can find every bomb every time.

For the past three months Jose’s been stationed at Patrol Base Alcatraz, at the edge of a town called Sangin in Helmand Province, without a “find.” Despite his optimism—the man always beams a disarming smile—the lack of finds is beginning to wear on him almost as much as the 100-degree heat, which feels even hotter rucking 75 pounds of gear.

As a Marine dog handler, Jose is a perpetual outsider, assigned to platoons that have been together for years, tight-knit combat brotherhoods that regard newcomers, especially dog handlers, with a high degree of circumspection. His job is to accompany that platoon, to clear a path through hostile territory for his fellow marines. But as thankful as they may be, Jose knows it’s natural for them to wonder: Is this guy any good? Will he fit in? How will he respond in that first firefight?

At this moment in August of 2011 the stated mission in Sangin is to secure the 320-foot-high Kajaki Dam, to keep the Taliban from blowing it up and flooding the Helmand Valley. The marines of Third Recon, in groups of a dozen or so, take turns disrupting the enemy, mapping active pockets of Taliban fighters. Jose and Zenit are asked to accompany practically every mission. Each time he and Zenit go out beyond the wire, they’re walking point along with a marine carrying a metal detector, making themselves the first targets as Zenit scours the area for any whiff of nitrate that might signal a buried IED. As exhausting as it is, Jose always says yes.

Maybe there’s a little chip on Jose’s shoulder, or maybe he feels there’s a lot to prove—to himself, to the marines of Third Recon, and to his family back home. Maybe he’s just doing his job, or maybe he needs just one find to allay whatever doubts he harbors about his—and Zenit’s—ability to do the job. In this place especially, the threat is palpable. Sangin is littered with IEDs and teeming with enemy fighters tucked behind thick mud walls. It’s where British forces, before pulling out of Sangin altogether in 2010, lost more than a hundred troops. It’s been a graveyard since for many Americans, and a place where numerous U.S. troops have received disfiguring injuries.

This is what a dog handler tries not to dwell on: the risk associated with the need to find bombs and with the possibility of missing one. On base you sometimes hear them go off in the distance, set off by a goat, an unsuspecting villager. Sometimes frantic locals will rush a bleeding kid up to Alcatraz for medical help. And the recent news about two fellow dog handlers, Jeremy and Jasco, in his deployment, has been bad. Both were blown up and lost their legs. Jose is clear about this: He’d rather die than lose a limb or some vital body part. He’d rather get waxed than be half a person. What you do to take your mind off the fear is just what Jose does now, as he has done for the past two years: You train your dog, do your job, leave the rest to fate.

The next morning, August 28, Third Recon knows that the Taliban have been busy. Alcatraz sits on a rise out in the cornfields, not far from a wadi, and intel has it that IEDs have been planted everywhere. “We knew someone was going to get hit on that mission,” Sgt. Ryan Mulrooney will say later. “Every day something was getting blown up. We knew going in there that it was a pretty risky movement.”

So for the first time since deploying to Afghanistan, Jose puts on his “blast briefs,” underwear made of Kevlar material to limit genital injuries, and he mounts his helmet cam hoping to document his first find. Then he puts an IV in Zenit to keep him hydrated in the heat.

The team moves out at 10 a.m. in ranger file, and Jose guesses it’s already 120 degrees. The marines work down the hill slowly, and when they hit the 611 highway, Jose feels a surge of adrenaline. His mouth goes cottony as he commands Zenit, orchestrating the dog’s every movement. The team veers through the corn to avoid the road, until they hit the wadi that runs parallel to the highway, eight feet deep and ten feet wide, empty of water.

Jose guides Zenit from bank to bank. Mulrooney, working the metal detector, calls out, “I think I got one here.” Jose approaches, looks at the humped, loose dirt with a wire showing, fixes Mulrooney with a smile, and says, “Yup.” The team leader is notified. Jose moves on, spies another device, and calls it out. Sensing a pattern, he sends Zenit to the far side of the wadi, where the dog freezes, tail wagging, nose suddenly working overtime. The change in behavior marks the spot. After nearly a hundred days out here, it’s their first IED as a team.

In his mind Jose throws an invisible high five and lets out a silent whoop. Trainers say, “Emotion runs through the leash.” Jose knows he needs to remain calm, to keep Zenit focused, but how can he not be excited? The team leader is notified again. Jose and Zenit continue down the wadi in the deathly heat. The sun blisters down on the men in formation slow-walking in each other’s footsteps, using shaving cream to mark safe spots. Just like that, three in a row. The riverbed is full of explosives—but where’s the next? With that question, Jose’s elation gives under the weight of duty. He and Zenit are the ones responsible for finding out.

Zenit—a 78-pound German shepherd with an irrepressible love for ball retrieval—was born on Halloween, 2007. He was bred by a private contractor in Europe, who gave him his odd name (pronounced ZEE-nit), the meaning of which, if there was a meaning, Jose never learned. Having passed a battery of medical tests, Zenit was procured by the U.S. military just after his first birthday and shipped to the kennel at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. There working dogs are initially trained by the 341st Training Squadron in “drive building, grip development, and environmental and social stability,” according to the Department of Defense. Days are regimented, the dogs released only at allotted hours for food and water, exercise, and training. It’s during these training sessions that the marines evaluate what role a dog is best suited for: patrol, detection, or tracking. Though the military resists discussing individual dogs, records indicate that Zenit spent 13 months in the Lackland kennels. Because dogs have short attention spans, his lessons would have lasted up to an hour or two each day, with some as short as three to five minutes at a time. At the course’s end Zenit was certified for explosives detection and patrol.

Yet when the two-year-old Zenit was finally paired with Jose on Okinawa, Japan, in 2010, the dog was still very much raw material. Having been passed over for deployment with his previous dog, Jose felt extra pressure to succeed with Zenit.

Not all military dogs are suited to combat. Some wither in the heat or become too excited by the sounds of gunfire or explosions, even after they’ve been desensitized to them in training. Some are too loyal, too lazy, or too playful. Each dog is its own particular, sometimes peculiar, universe. Still, certain breeds generally do better than others on the battlefield, such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, and especially the Belgian Malinois, which is known for being fearless, driven, and able to handle the heat.

But what works in a given environment may not work in another. History suggests that each battle situation calls for its own breed and tactics. Benjamin Franklin encouraged the use of dogs against the Indians. They “will confound the enemy a good deal,” he wrote, “and be very serviceable. This was the Spanish method of guarding their marches.” (Spanish conquistadores were said to have used bullmastiffs against Native Americans.)

During the Second Seminole War, starting in 1835, the U.S. military used Cuban-bred bloodhounds to track Indians in the swamps of Florida. Dogs were said to have guarded soldiers in the Civil War. During World War I both sides used tens of thousands of dogs as messengers. In World War II the U.S. Marines deployed dogs on Pacific islands to sniff out Japanese positions. In Vietnam an estimated 4,000 canines were used to lead jungle patrols, saving numerous lives. (Nevertheless, the military decided to leave many behind when the U.S. pulled out.)

At the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military had a force of roughly 2,500 military working dogs (MWDs). Some have entered our national lexicon as heroes in their own right: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois hailed for his work with the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden. And Rex, a shepherd; his handler, Mike Dowling, wrote a book about their harrowing exploits in Iraq, saying, “It was Rex who gave me the strength to get up and to carry on.”

This age-old bond between man and dog is the essence of our fascination with these teams: The human reliance on superior animal senses—dogs are up to 100,000 times more alert to smells than humans are. The seriousness of the serviceman’s endeavor, in contrast to the dog’s heedless joy at being on the hunt or at play. The selflessness and loyalty of handler and dog in putting themselves in harm’s way—one wittingly and one unwittingly—to save lives.

The image of dog and marine living as Lassie and Timmy, however, is not entirely accurate. In general, the military bureaucracy regards a working dog as a piece of equipment, something Jose understood the first time he saw Zenit’s ID—N103—tattooed in his ear. After their training sessions in Okinawa, Jose always returned Zenit to his kennel according to protocol, and he knew it was vital that he establish himself as the alpha in tone and action. “Dogs are like toddlers,” says Marine Gunnery Sgt. Kristopher Knight, who trained Jose and Zenit at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. “They need to be told what to do. They need to know that their primary drives—oxygen, food, water—are taken care of. Two betas will never get it right. One must be the alpha, and it must be the handler.”

The truth was, until Afghanistan and that August day in 2011, Jose would have repeated the party line. If Zenit stepped on an IED and was killed, Jose was pretty sure he wouldn’t have shed a tear. Theirs was a strictly professional relationship and needed to remain that way. If Zenit got blown up, Jose would start all over again with another dog.

Jose Armenta grew up tough, simply because nothing came easy. His family lived in East Los Angeles, where his parents were affiliated with gangs and split up when Jose was young. His mother, who was of Puerto Rican heritage, cared for the children as best she could; his father, of Mexican origin, came and went. One of Jose’s earliest memories is of the car accident that spared him and killed his little sister. He was five; she, four. The rent was often overdue, and sometimes his family simply jumped to another house, another school—15 in all. He was always the new kid, the outsider. In high school he lived in his garage, cranking heavy metal. He played drums in a band. He wore his hair in a Mohawk and pierced his nose.

But even the extremes of Jose’s rebellion were relatively tame: ditching class, drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, playing video games. Living in a violent world of real and wannabe gangsters, of random shootings, of drug dealing, he wanted to escape. What he wanted most was the opposite of that world: He wanted to be a marine.

In July 2007, at 18, he enlisted and found himself at Camp Pendleton. Having grown up rootless and without religion, he immediately fell in love with the military’s sense of tradition and ritual. He was nicknamed “Socks,” for his civilian uniform of baggy shorts and tube socks pulled up to the knee. Upon graduating from boot camp, he signed up for military police training and was eventually assigned to the U.S. base on Okinawa. As a class standout, he was also offered the chance to go to Lackland to begin training as a dog handler.

Jose had always loved dogs. During his erratic upbringing, they’d been ballast. At various times he’d owned a Dalmatian, a pit bull, and a Pekingese–chow chow mix named Bandit, legendary for once biting a friend on the posterior. But Jose understood that a military dog was an instrument he had to master, just as a technician had to understand sonar on a submarine or a drone operator had to learn to control a Predator.

The military, with its sharp edges and unyielding discipline—the thing that was saving him from the streets and his parents’ life—seemed a little more humane in those moments when he was rewarding a dog by roughing its neck fur or giving it some fawning praise. Though he instantly loved the work, he was also inspired by its higher purpose. One bomb found in the field might equal several lives saved.

Jose’s first impression of Zenit was that he seemed too sweet and a little unruly, still full of puppy energy. Jose already had a dog, a Malinois, but he was eager to try a shepherd and picked out Zenit himself.

A new working dog in the Marines learns to search for IEDs in small, incremental steps. After mastering basic obedience, the dogs are taught to recognize a range of odors associated with explosives, including ammonium nitrate, which is used in the majority of IEDs in Afghanistan.

Then they begin to practice an exercise known as “birding,” which is designed to let the handler direct the dog’s movements from a distance. First a handler unleashes the dog and orders it to move toward a hidden “bird launcher,” a remote-controlled catapult loaded with a tennis ball. Adherence to voice commands and hand signals is crucial and often hard-won. When the dog comes close to the launcher, the handler triggers it, and the ball rockets into the air. The dog gives chase and returns the ball to the handler, who praises and pats the dog.

As the dog gets better at following directions, the handler begins hiding items scented with all types of explosive materials in the surrounding terrain. By constantly moving the launcher and spreading scents both near and far, the dog becomes adept at searching large areas and alerting the handler to everything that smells like an explosive.

Eventually there’s no bird launcher, no tennis ball, just the scents. After finding each one, the dog is called back and rewarded with the Kong. And that’s what the process boils down to for a dog. An IED search is a game—identify a scent and get a toy.

Zenit was a motivated seeker—and perfect partner. In the fall of 2010 the pair was selected for deployment and sent to Yuma Proving Ground for a final three-week, boot-camp-like crystallization of everything a handler and a dog need in a war zone and for one final test to prove they are ready. In a fake Afghan village a handler and his dog must search out a complicated array of IEDs. Some are scented for the dog to find. Others are unscented but left exposed for the handler to spot. If together they find more than 80 percent, the pair receives final approval to go “downrange.”

“Jose was a bit of an East L.A. hood rat when he came into the corps,” says one of his supervisors, Sgt. Alfred Nieto. “But he and Zenit really knew what they were doing—that wasn’t in doubt. I think they grew up a lot together.”

After passing the training course at Yuma, the two boarded a transport, spent one night in Germany, and then flew to the Marines’ main base, Camp Leatherneck, in Afghanistan. From there Jose and Zenit were sent to Alcatraz. One moment they were in a fictional Afghan village in the desert of Arizona, the next they were in a real one, in Helmand Province, on their own.

Now it’s three months later. They’re in the wadi outside Sangin surrounded by IEDs. The finds are rapid-fire, oscillating between Mulrooney and Jose and Zenit. I got one ... Over here ... Yup.

Two years of training with your dog, three months in-country, every day with Zenit at your side, eating MREs, packing your gear—and your dog’s—humping, working, waiting, waking at midnight to make sure Zenit pees and poops in the designated spot, and suddenly everything, your life as a soldier and handler, your life as hood rat and outsider and striving human being, gets compressed into 15 minutes and 60 yards.

Jose believes he’s onto the pattern. It seems the Taliban have buried IEDs at the access points to the wadi, assuming the troops would feel safer out of sight down in the dry riverbed than exposed in the open fields. It’s all happening so quickly now. He takes deep breaths to tame his excitement and maintain focus.

A dog’s nose generally works best—or is most sensitive—in cool, calm weather. Odors become more volatile at higher temperatures, and wind can dilute and disperse them over a broad area, camouflaging their source. That’s the good thing: Down here there’s no wind. But it’s midday, bone-dry, and so fryingly hot Jose can taste the salt of his sweat as it trickles to his lips.

Zenit is working the far bank, tuned to Jose’s commands, ears perked, feet scrambling, excited too. The dog is looking for all those scents it knows will yield his toy. Where are they?

Over here a wide path leads from the berm into the wadi, and Zenit moves past it without any change in behavior. Jose follows at a distance, gauging his own steps. The men behind them follow at a distance, marking a shaving-cream route based on Jose’s progress.

At the path he veers from the most trafficked area and walks up a little rise. He takes a step, then another. Which is when the earth gives, and a deafening roar fills his ears.

When his eyes open, Jose is lying on his back. All he can see is the sky. He’s been blown 20 feet back into the wadi. He knows exactly what’s happening but can’t comprehend any of it. His mouth is full of dirt, and his body yowls, as if on fire. He can’t breathe. Mulrooney is the first to his side and cuts off his vest. Jose keeps repeating, “I f---ed up. Do I still have my legs?” And then: “Where’s Zenit?” Mulrooney says, “You’re good, man, you’re going to be fine.”

There’s a procedure out here when someone gets “got”—that’s what the men call a hit like this. The marines secure the area; the medic puts a T-POD, a tourniquet at the waist to stanch the bleeding, on Jose; Buyes calls in a chopper; and everyone works to beat the “golden hour,” the time within which the military endeavors to get a wounded soldier off the battlefield to increase his odds of survival.

But the closest chopper is already ferrying another wounded marine out of the area and takes two hours to arrive. Jose has lost a lot of blood but somehow stays conscious, asking again for Zenit. The dog, initially 20 feet from the blast, knows something has gone wrong. Zenit lies down next to Jose, his ears pinned to his head, which he lays on his paws. He stays there as they work to save Jose before the chopper arrives. According to protocol, both handler and dog are loaded on board and whisked from the spot.

A faraway light—Jose remembers that. He remembers letting himself slip toward it, overcome by a very tired feeling. This was on the chopper. He remembers sensing Zenit nearby. He remembers thinking about his three younger sisters and brother (never having had role models himself, he wonders who will be theirs), his fiancée (how will she find out?), and then his sister who died (is he about to see her?). He remembers turning from the faraway light, shaking off sleep, and reentering his body.

What followed wasn’t easy. He woke up in Germany, and ten days later he woke up again in Walter Reed hospital. There were 12 operations, a move to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Both legs had to be amputated above the knee. He slept 20 hours a day for a month. He dreamed that someone performed experiments on him with dolphins. He woke thrashing, calling for Zenit, only to learn that N103 hadn’t accompanied him home, had been reassigned to a new handler, also by protocol.

“I was furious,” Jose says. “And jealous. I never blamed Zenit for what happened. We were a team. If it was anyone’s fault, it was my own. I just wanted my dog.”

In different ways, it seemed, they were both itemized gear, until one of them didn’t work anymore. Back in Afghanistan, Zenit had been returned to Camp Leatherneck, where he soon went through what’s called a validation trial with another handler and then went on more than 50 foot patrols with other units. He had one more IED find.

At home, in the months after the operations, Jose waited for his incisions to heal, then worked to strengthen his core and what remained of his legs. He was given “shorties,” introductory prosthetics without knee joints so he could learn to balance and stand—and get used to the pressure on his legs. Later he received prosthetics with knee joints so he could learn to walk again.

Physical recovery is one thing; mental recovery is a much different matter. Jose’s wife, Eliana, whom he married six months after getting injured, remembers some very dark days: Jose, at 24, in a wheelchair in the house, drapes drawn, trying to come to terms with his new life. “I went from being this badass fighter to a young guy in a wheelchair,” Jose says. “Your mind doesn’t just make an easy switch. I’m not sure it ever will.”

Meanwhile, Jose was intent on getting Zenit back. “He was like my worn-out shield,” he says. “Every scratch tells a story. And nothing felt right without him.” Jose wasn’t the only one feeling a nagging sense of incompleteness. Some injured handlers had been able to adopt their dogs after the animals had been discharged. Others had begun asking for their dogs even though the canines remained on active duty.

No formal program exists in the military to reunite dogs with their injured handlers, and some of those handlers have found the process inscrutable and frustrating at a time when they needed clarity. For Jose, there were calls and paperwork, excruciating months of waiting. Eventually Zenit was sent to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California. More months passed, and finally in June 2012, after the Marine Corps approved the adoption, Jose and his wife road-tripped the three hours to the base. He approached Zenit in his wheelchair, and the dog covered him in slobbery kisses. “I couldn’t stop smiling,” says Jose. “For days. Actually I’m still smiling. It felt like the beginning to this new life.”

It’s twilight in San Diego. Jose is seated by the pool at his house, drinking a beer, taking a break from his prosthetics, throwing a tennis ball for Zenit. The dog took immediately to eating steak and sleeping on the couch when he first arrived. Jose spoils him as he never could before. The German shepherd’s glossy, sable coat flashes in the sun as he chases down each toss with happy zeal, then returns the ball to Jose, who keeps up a patter of “Good boy.” It’s a long way from war, yet the war seems ever present.

“For a long time I beat myself up over that day,” says Jose. “I kept wondering what I could have done differently. I think the IED was offset from where I had Zenit searching or was just buried too deep. They always say that no dog is 100 percent accurate.”

For more than a year after that day in the wadi Jose had to learn how to walk on his new legs. He went to rehab several times a week. “He always came in joking and upbeat,” says his physical therapist, Dawn Golding. “You could hear him cranking his motivational music when he walked down the hall.” Sometimes when he’s out for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, a kid may see his plastic-and-metal legs and ask if he’s a Transformer. “Nah, man,” says Jose. “This is what happens when you don’t eat your vegetables!” And then he flashes that huge smile.

He’s learned to sail and ski and has been on outings to Colorado and Alaska. He works as a dispatcher for the military police, on the 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. shift. He comes home to his wife, who is newly pregnant, and they take Zenit to the beach. “He’s like my quiet partner,” says Jose. “He bridges three worlds: the person I was before Afghanistan, the one I was there, and the one I became after. I joke that when he dies, I’ll get him stuffed and put him by the bed. But really I can’t imagine it. I don’t know what I’ll do then.”

Jose—brother and husband and soon-to-be father—cocks his arm and releases the ball, which arcs into the darkening sky like some forlorn hope. Before it takes a second bounce, Zenit has it in his mouth, racing to return it to his master.
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LinkedIn Users Are Suing The Site Over A Feature They Say Ruined Their Job Searches

LinkedIn Users Are Suing The Site Over A Feature They Say Ruined Their Job Searches | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.

By Aaron Taube

If you're one of LinkedIn's more than 300 million users, it's possible the professional networking site has helped you get a job.

But a recent lawsuit highlights a feature of the site that can allegedly have the opposite effect.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed last month, four lead plaintiffs claim their job searches were hampered by LinkedIn's "Reference Search," a product the site offers its premium members.

Reference Search works by giving a hiring manager or company a list of people in their network whose LinkedIn profiles indicate they have worked with a person the company is thinking about hiring.

The hiring manager can then use LinkedIn's "InMail" feature to reach out to the people on the list and get their opinion of the job candidate.

In theory, this feature could put job hunters at a disadvantage by taking the process of selecting references out of their hands, thus opening them up to criticism from past coworkers who had not first agreed to give them a positive review.

It also creates a scenario where the prospective employer could be given a list of people who had inaccurate job histories on their LinkedIn profiles, did not work closely with the job candidate, or are otherwise unqualified to discuss the candidate's abilities.

For instance, a review by Forbes reporter Susan Adams found that a Reference Search done on her provided the names of 62 people who worked at a company at the same time as her, but that only two or three of them knew her well enough to give an accurate assessment of her performance.

Here's what came up when I used Reference Search to find people who worked with me at a previous employer:


In addition to being potentially harmful to job hunters' chances, four LinkedIn users are claiming the "Reference Search" product is illegal in the US.

The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed last month in California and claims the product violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a 1970 law created to protect people from being unfairly denied a mortgage, credit, or employment based on a background check or credit report.

According to a document published by the US Federal Trade Commission, the FCRA gives people the right to know when they have been denied a job based on a background check and to dispute any inaccurate information that came up in the report on them.

The complaint against LinkedIn alleges that Sweet, one of the lead plaintiffs, was told by a hospitality company that it had decided to hire her for a job she had applied for on LinkedIn. Shortly after, the company allegedly told Sweet it had changed its mind. When Sweet asked why, the company said it made its decision based on a set of references Sweet had not provided herself, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs claim LinkedIn violates the FCRA by failing to tell companies that they need to notify job seekers when they lost out on a job because of information acquired through Reference Search.

LinkedIn spokesman Joe Roualdes told Business Insider in an email that the company planned to fight the lawsuit, adding that Reference Search merely organizes information that its users have already decided to make public.

"A reference search, which is only available to premium account holders, simply lets a searcher locate people in their network who have worked at the same company during the same time period as a member they would like to learn more about," Roualdes said.

James Davidson, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, declined to comment.
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The Millionaire Mindset: 6 Mistakes the Rich Never Make

The Millionaire Mindset: 6 Mistakes the Rich Never Make | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
By LearnVest

Income inequality. One percenters. The wealth gap. Unless you've been living under a rock lately -- or you avoid network news like the plague -- you're probably pretty familiar with these terms ... and the implication that true wealth in America is too exclusive for most of us to ever attain.

Well, the truth is you don't have to launch a blockbuster tech company, sport the last name Buffett -- or pursue the kind of career that could be featured in a Michael Lewis book. (Although let's be real -- those things don't hurt.)

It's a Matter of Control

What you do have to have? The right money mind-set, as well as the financially savvy habits that go with it. "The primary difference between the wealthy and the rest of us is that they're in control of their money -- they don't let money control them," says Jaime Tardy, a business coach and author of "The Eventual Millionaire," who has interviewed more than 150 millionaires on how they accumulated their wealth.

"They have taken the time to learn how to work successfully with money, and as a result, they are the captain of their ship," she says. "On the other hand, if you approach your finances from a place of fear or ignorance, you'll be like a boat floating around the ocean without a motor."

And that type of aimless attitude is what can lead you to make serious dollar-sucking mistakes - unless you learn to adopt some key good money habits of the wealthy.

So with that goal in mind, we rounded up the biggest financial blunders many people make - but prosperous folks avoid at all costs - so you can start to put their strategies into action to boost your own net worth.

1. You Refuse to Face Facts

If you're not a numbers person, it can be tempting to mentally cut yourself off from your finances, whether it's neglecting to stay on top of your investments or blatantly ignoring your bank statements. But that's a huge no-no - and those with sky-high bank accounts certainly don't amass big bucks by being blind to their balance sheets.

"If you don't have the facts about your financial situation, money will stream through your hands like water," Tardy says. The consequence? You could land in debt, make poor investments - or end up flat-broke when you retire.

The get-rich fix: "Some people assume that you have to be an investment banker to understand money, but the wealthy weren't born with some secret know-how-it's a gradual learning process," Tardy says. "If you're procrastinating about facing money because you're scared of what you'll find, you have to dive in. Even if it's not what you wanted to see, the truth will allow you to make decisions and move forward."

If you're starting from scratch, the first step is to gather some basic information from your bank account, like how much you earn and what you spend, so you can figure out what you're netting each month - and gauge whether your fiscal position is improving or getting worse. Once you have all the facts, you can start making thoughtful decisions about what you need to do in order to start growing your money.

On the other hand, if investing is your money blind spot, facing the facts might mean building up your knowledge base by listening to podcasts, signing up for a seminar or hiring a financial adviser. "Just make sure it's a trusted source," Tardy says. "Learn from people who are already where you want to be."

2. You Overspend

When you think about the type of lifestyles the rich can afford, you probably picture luxuries like a ski chateau in Chamonix or a closet full of Manolos. But wealthy people are more down-to-earth than you might imagine.

"Millionaires aren't out there buying Lamborghinis," Tardy says. "They make purchasing decisions based on their current financial status and their goals. They're rich because they're good at keeping money - not spending it."

The get-rich fix: Have your eyes started to glaze over from having the importance of proper budgeting hammered into you repeatedly? We get it. Despite their best budgeting attempts, some people still find it difficult to keep tabs on their spending.

Unfortunately, we can't give you a free pass to throw this crucial money to-do out the window - but Tardy does have a solution for making it a bit more bearable.

"Make budgeting a game by giving yourself an interesting new challenge every week," she says. "See how little you can spend on groceries, or even skip food shopping one week and invent meals using what you already have in the cupboards." The key is to identify the system (or mind trick) that you're most likely to stick with - and then do it.

3. You Neglect to Adjust Your Finances Following a Big Life Event

When you get married or a parent passes away, your bank account is probably one of the last things on your mind. But if you postpone adding your spouse to your will, canceling your joint account after a divorce or signing on to your new company's 401(k), your bottom line will take a hit.

"Successful people understand that every transition you go through has a financial implication - and they make sure to build a plan for those turning points," says Pete Bush, a certified financial planner with Horizon Wealth Management in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

The get-rich fix: Whenever your life takes a turn in a new direction, find time to sit down, look at your finances and adjust them accordingly. "Think about it like football," Bush says. "The coaches have a game plan heading in. But let's say the quarterback, running back and linebacker get hurt in the first quarter and are out of commission. Their original intention is now irrelevant, and they have to come up with a new blueprint."

Money-savvy folks understand that even when you're in the midst of a big event -- like sleep-training your 6-month-old -- it's still important to consider your balance sheet ... and open that 529 college savings plan that will help you save up thousands of dollars for the big financial burden coming in 18 years.

"Life transitions have many different components to them: logistical, emotional, spiritual, familial and, yes, financial," Bush says. "Count the financial piece among the others and give it equal weighting. It may not be the most urgent, but at least if you recognize up-front that it's in the mix, you can make a plan to deal with it."

4. You Waste Cash on Fees

It's one thing to burn through $100 on a fantastic meal at your favorite restaurant. Hey, at least you enjoyed yourself! But it's entirely another to trash 100 big ones on overdraft fees or missed payments.

"The difference between wealthy people and everyone else is that the rich watch where their money is going, and they protect their wealth by making sure none of it slips through their fingers," says David Bach, vice chairman of Edelman Financial Services and author of "Smart Women Finish Rich." "Rich people will rarely be caught paying their bills late, bouncing checks or carrying a high-interest credit card because they hate to waste money."

The get-rich fix: Automate, automate, automate. We're only human, after all, and we're bound to miss a payment or overlook a bill at some point. So put safeguards in place that will lower the risk of those inevitable blunders.

"Set up auto-pay features to take care of your key bills - mortgage, car payment, insurance, credit cards," Bach says. "Late fees can add up to a fortune."

Of course, that also doesn't give you license to simply coast. "Rich people read their statements, checking regularly for mistakes," Bach adds. "They know that if they catch errors on their bills, they can call their provider and get them fixed ASAP."

5. You Focus on Saving More -- But Not Earning More

If you've decided that you need to scale back on your spending, and your first inclination is to sacrifice your daily Starbucks fix or unplug every electronic item in your house when you're not using them - stop right there.

Millionaires aren't in the business of wasting money, but they also recognize the greater importance of earning additional income as a way to attain financial goals faster. "[Wealthy people] understand that while there is a limit on how much you can save, there is no limit to how much you can make," Tardy says.

In other words, even though slashing your expenses by $50 or even $100 a month will boost your bottom line a little bit - raking in thousands more from a salary bump will have a much greater effect.

The get-rich fix: If you're feeling a pinch, invest your time more wisely by seeking out ways to earn more. An obvious place to start is by examining your current salary. If you haven't asked for a raise recently, and know you're delivering value to your company, schedule a meeting with your boss to make your case for earning more.

Another strategy? Use the hour you would have spent researching the cheapest online purveyor of dish detergent to brainstorm ways to bring in a side income.

"The key is figuring out what skills you have that can be of value to others and then determining how to charge for that value, whether it is a side venture, helping a friend with a project, or some other way of plugging into an opportunity of trading your value for [someone else's] money," Bush says.

6. You Obsess Over Price- -- and Sacrifice Value

Sometimes our frugal intentions end up sabotaging us: You buy cheapie $50 shoes instead of a good-quality $200 pair that will last longer. Or you make repeated repairs to your gas-guzzling, circa 1992 station wagon rather than spring for a new model. But rich people know better.

"Wealthy people understand that the cheapest route isn't always the most valuable," Bush says. "They are able to take the long view and consider how what they pay today compares with the worth over time."

The get-rich fix: Part of the solution is changing your mind-set from "find the rock-bottom price" to "find the best value." Then do the math.

"Take the 'bargain' and 'value' options of whatever you're looking at-a mortgage, car loan, etc.-and run the cost out over a reasonable time for that transaction," suggests Bush. "Compare them both ways, taking into consideration your cash flow, and see which works best for your situation."

So let's say a car dealership offers a low rate or 0 percent interest if you finance a vehicle over three years versus a higher rate for five years. If you plan on keeping the car for seven to ten years, what is the total price of owning it over that time frame? The longer you finance something, the lower the monthly payments-but the more it costs over time. So it's not as much short-term pain, but it gives you less to build savings with over the long term.

Also, remember that enlightening experiences are inherently more valuable than material goods. "Once you have an abundance of stuff, you quickly realize that you don't need more of it," Tardy says. "Millionaires understand that valuing the experiences that change you as a person-be it travel or skydiving-will do more for you than just getting the iPhone 6, when the iPhone 5 worked just as well." (By the way, Tardy knows several millionaires who still have the iPhone 4.)

So start paying attention to what you are doing when you feel happiest and most alive-and put your financial efforts into creating more of those moments.
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Truck Stop: Wonderland Cakes

Truck Stop: Wonderland Cakes | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
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Truck Stop, Philadelphia Daily News
POSTED: Thursday, October 30, 2014, 3:01 AM

What to eat: Cupcakes? Pshaw! Wonderland Cakes offers "cake shots," an unusual, delicious alternative. These perfect parfaits come in a plastic tumbler with a spoon - layers of cake, mousse, syrup, frosting, fruit, preserves, liqueurs and even surprises like breakfast cereal and candy.

Their best shots: When we visited, the cake shots on the menu were Apple Spice Seductress, Peanut Butter Bombshell and Pumpkin Pinup. All tasted and looked as lovely as they sound.

Makin' whoopie: Yes, Wonderland bakers also make jumbo whoopie pies. We had a "pumpkin chocolate cutie" that would make the best Amish bakers swoon. Also in rotation: homemade fudge, tarts, pies, mini cheesecakes and dessert bars.

Art-school buddies: Business partners Klaudia Rodzen, 28, a Trenton native who now lives in South Jersey, and Nicole Mazzoni, 22, of Mayfair, met on their first day at the Art Institute of Philadelphia's pastry arts program. At school, both won excellence awards for design and creativity. They created Wonderland Cakes about two years ago, focusing on unique, "always hand-painted and stencil-free" special-occasion cakes. They launched their food truck last May.

Punk edge: Neither loved the soft, frilly style seen in so many bakery cases today. They appeal more to nontraditional customers and celebrations. "Our artistic style is retro pinup with a little bit of a punky edge, because that's who Nicole and I are as people," Rodzen said. "For someone who is a horror fan, say, we'd like to make them the scariest cake possible." Their dream is to be on the Food Network and produce a recipe book.

Best-sellers: The Peanut Butter Bombshell (chocolate cake, fudge, peanut butter buttercream), Va Va Voom Velvet (red-velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) and seasonal flavors like Apple Spice Seductress (with apples sauteed in bourbon).

Boozy Balls: Rodzen describes these as "a marriage between a cake ball and a truffle." One popular BB flavor is Irish Car Bomb Babe (chocolate cake soaked in Jameson, Baileys and Kahlua and dipped in chocolate).

Prices: $4 for cake shots and whoopie pies; $3 for a generous slab of fudge; $1 per Boozy Ball.

Where to find them: We visited Wonderland Cakes at the Navy Yard, but the truck also frequents festivals and popular food-truck hangouts like 33rd and Arch and LOVE Park. Check their website for locations daily.

Social stuff:; @w0nderlandcakes on Twitter and Instagram.
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A New iPhone Fashion App to Organize Your Feed

A New iPhone Fashion App to Organize Your Feed | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
A New iPhone Fashion App to Organize Your Feed
By Layla Ilchi

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Photo: Courtesy of Lou
During fashion month, it can be exhausting to open up Instagram, Twitter, or even Facebook — especially when everyone's posting the same front-row pictures at once. That’s where LOU comes in: a fashion app that collects what influential designers, bloggers, and models are posting to their social feeds and presents them on a single, comprehensive platform. (It was previously just an iPad app, but is now available  for iPhones.) It's a simple, easy way to consume fashion content on mobile, with dozens of content from pre-selected influencers (including the Cut!) alongside their last blog posts all in one place. 

Even if you're all apped out, think of it this way: Download it, and you'll (probably) never have to look at a blurry runway photo ever again. 
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Going DIY With Fashion's High-End Knitwear Trend

Going DIY With Fashion's High-End Knitwear Trend | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Snagging a knitting lesson at one designer's Brooklyn studio.
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SEPTA's ad refusal sparks free-speech fight

SEPTA's ad refusal sparks free-speech fight | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
WHEN an anti-Islamic group decided to advertise on city buses and billboards this fall with photos of a terrorist poised to behead an American and a Muslim leader smiling at Adolf Hitler, transit officials in New York and Washington, D.C., huffed their disapproval - but allowed the ads to run.

They had no choice, they said, because the ads were protected under the First Amendment.

SEPTA's officials disagreed and rejected the ads.

But the group behind the ads - the American Freedom Defense Initiative - won't surrender quietly. The New Hampshire-based group sued SEPTA in federal court last week, complaining that the transit agency violated AFDI's free-speech rights.

One local First Amendment expert says SEPTA picked an unwinnable fight.

"The most fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that you may never bar any message based upon the content of the message," said Burton Caine, a law professor at Temple University and past president of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "This is absolutely prohibited, what SEPTA is doing.

"Everybody has this same idea that they like the First Amendment," Caine said, "but when the speech is offensive, people will make all kinds of excuses why it's not protected. The whole point of the First Amendment is to protect speech that offends. No exceptions."

A federal judge said as much in 2012, ruling that the AFDI could post ads in New York City and Washington, D.C., that compared Muslim jihadists to "savages."

The AFDI ad that SEPTA rejected in June showed Haj Amin al-Husseini, a pro-Nazi Palestinian leader in the 1930s, smiling at Adolf Hitler beside the caption "Islamic Jew-hatred: It's in the Quran. Two thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop the hate. End all aid to Islamic countries."

SEPTA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said she could not comment on pending litigation.

AFDI has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Its president, Pamela Geller, is a far-right blogger who also founded the group Stop Islamization of America.
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Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea Flaunt Those Assets in 'Booty' Video

Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea Flaunt Those Assets in 'Booty' Video | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
We knew that Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea were going to bring us a steamy, twerking-filled 'Booty' video -- and let's just say they definitely delivered.
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Top 10 Apps to Teach Kids about Healthy Eating

Top 10 Apps to Teach Kids about Healthy Eating | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
Kids and healthy eating habits do not usually go hand and hand. Healthy eating habits are learned rather than just acquired, but have you ever tried to teach kids to eat healthy? Well, here is a bit of a secret: since kids are more involved than ever with technology, harnessing the power of that technology is a great way to teach them something as mundane as healthy eating. Check out these apps to get you started.

Nicolas’ Garden 

This one has to top the list because it was inspired by and partly designed by an eight year old kid! An app designed by a kid for kids to promote healthy eating, what could be better? This is a great little app that provides simple recipes that kids can help make (or make on their own). Kids love the fact that they can try out recipes, take pictures, share them with friends, and recommend recipes as well. Get the kids in your classroom interacting about healthy food options, and their parents are likely to thank you! Platform: iPhone Cost: Free. 

Nutrition and Healthy Eating!

A cute and engaging app for preschoolers and kindergarten students, kids will love the interaction with Bo and his friends. The app reinforces the food groups, as well as making healthy eating choices. Three games are included to reinforce concepts and make health and nutrition fun. Platform: iPhone and iPad Cost: Free.

Awesome Eats

Recommended for kids around six years of age, this is another fantastic healthy eating app. It may be a bit more advanced than Nutrition and Healthy Eating!, so makes a great follow-up. The app features 16 free levels that involve sorting, stacking, and plating a variety of foods from the garden. A total of 64 levels are available, including lessons on recycling. Platform: iPhone/iPad Cost: first 16 levels free.

Big Block Party

Everyone loves Elmo, and here is a great way to learn about healthy eating from our favorite furry friend! This app is actually an eBook designed for kids ages three to six. Flip through the pages to hear the story read. Be sure to tap on Elmo on each page to hear his questions, laughter, or other responses. Ten recipes are included. Platform: Windows Phone Cost: $1.99.

The Prisoner of Carrot Castle

Like the Big Block Party, this is another eBook type app designed to help kids learn about healthy eating choices. The storyline is engaging and can be read by the app or a person. Three simple puzzles are included to reinforce the ideas, and various elements of the pages are interactive (producing sounds and expressions). Platform: iPad Cost: $2.99.

Yummiloo Rainbow Power

Catchy tunes collaborate with bright colors to create an attractive app for kids age three to six. The basic premise is teaching the names of colors, fruits, and vegetables, which is accomplished through games that required tapping and placing items in a shopping care, while disposing of rotten food in the recycle bin. Other modes require rapid fire feeding of healthy snacks to one of the characters. Platform: iPhone/iPod touch (also iPad compatible) Cost: $1.99.

Yum Num’s Galaxy

Put a space twist on nutrition with this engaging app for kids age four and up. Meal orders are given to a cat who braves the dangers of space to gather ingredients and cook the meal. Various levels and storylines are available. The recipes can actually create healthy meals and are available for use. Platform: iPad Cost: $1.99.

Fooducate – Android – iPhone

Definitely for the older crowd, this app is great for teens learning healthy eating habits. One of the best features for kids in this age group is the ability to scan a barcode and see the nutrition grade for the food item (A to D). If the item does not get a passing grade, healthier options are suggested. The app can also be used to track calorie intake, dietary choices, and exercise: a great way to get teens started on the path to a healthy life. Platform: Android and iPhone/iPad/iPod touch Cost: Free.


A great app to teach kids about calories. Choose different foods and find out how much running or swimming you would have to do to burn those calories off. Helps kids learn to think before they put food in their mouths. Platform: iPhone and iPad Cost: Free.

Food Truth

This app will help kids learn about eating foods in season: why foods are healthier in their season, when to find which fruits and vegetables, and offer preparation tips and recipes. Platform: iPhone/iPad Cost: Free.
Chaitanya's curator insight, January 31, 2016 11:25 AM

In this new generation of fast growing techie moms, apps are very essential.. so here are few apps which help in planning healthy diet for kids and recepies and reminders...even I use nicolas' garden to educate my kids the importance of healthy eating...that is really an awesome app for both my kids and me...i usually suggest this app to my colleuges those who have young kids.

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Overview: How to Run Nonstop for 30 Minutes

Overview: How to Run Nonstop for 30 Minutes | Tom Cruise Edge of Tomorrow movie review |
If you're already running, here's how to eliminate walk breaks.
By Jennifer Van Allen (Google+)

If you've been exercising regularly and following a walk/run program for at least six weeks, you're ready to run nonstop for 30 minutes—without walk breaks. What does "exercising regularly" mean? That's some combination of running and walking for at least 150 minutes per week (roughly 30 minutes, five days per week). During those workouts you should have been running for at least twice the amount of time you spent walking.

(Not ready yet? Check out our Start Walking or Start Running plans. Or if you’re ready to go longer, or faster, check out our Run Longer and Run Faster plans.)

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare to run for 30 minutes.

Find your place. Map out a few safe, scenic, flat, traffic-free routes that you can cover in various weather conditions and times of day. Or try a track at a local school, where the terrain is flat and free of cars, and the distance is measured. Many schools’ tracks are open to the public when they’re not in use. Not ready to venture outside? Find a gym nearby with treadmills and hours that fit your schedule.

Pace yourself. When you first start out, the trick is to be consistent enough that you’re building strength and endurance, yet slow enough that you don’t get hurt. In order to do that, you’re going to need to do all of your training at an easy pace. Get into a rhythm that feels like you could maintain it forever. It should feel comfortable and conversational. “A lot of runners try to run too fast because they see other people and feel like ‘I’m not a runner unless I’m going X pace,’” says coach Jeff Gaudette, founder of RunnersConnect, an online training service. “If you run faster than you should, it’s going to hurt all the time and you’ll never get to a point where you can do it for 20 to 30 minutes.” Develop endurance first; speed will come later. 

Run relaxed. When you start running, it’s common to tense up a lot of the upper-body muscles that aren’t involve with running, which can sap the strength that your lungs and legs need. When running starts to feel difficult, do a “body scan.” Unfurrow your brow, unclench your jaw, bring your shoulders down away from your ears, and keep your hands loose. Avoid clenching your fists. Imagine that you’re holding a piece of paper between each thumb and forefinger.

Stay flexible. Use the training plan as a guide, but don’t hesitate to swap workouts around to fit them into your busy schedule. While longer sessions are ideal, if you’d like to split up the workouts into two or three sessions at first, that’s okay. Make time to work out—and take care of yourself—first thing in the morning, before meetings and family responsibilities can interfere. Set your clothes out in a brightly lit room so you can wake up without waking up everyone else in the house. Make a date with a buddy so you’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button.  Midday, block out the time on your calendar, and treat it like a meeting that you can’t miss. If you have to switch around your workouts from the morning to the evening, or vice versa, don’t be surprised if it takes awhile to adjust. You may have a sluggish, jet-lagged feeling at first. That should go away within two weeks. 

Get distracted. Tuning out—not in—can help you get through those tough first workouts, says Christy Greenleaf, a professor kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin. Recruit a friend to walk the neighborhood with you; watch your favorite sitcom while you’re on the treadmill; put together a workout mix with tunes that evoke happy memories. “Any way that you can focus your attention on something other than how your body feels will help,” says Greenleaf. 

Dress well. When it comes to running shoes and clothes, splurge, don’t scrimp. Worn-out shoes are one of the leading causes of injury; you should replace yours every 300 to 500 miles. Shop at a specialty running store where you can get guidance from experts on finding the pair that offers the fit and support that your feet need. (To find one, check out our storefinder.) While you’re there, invest in shirts, shorts, pants, and jackets made of technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin. This may feel like a luxury, but it will keep you comfortable and injury-free for hundreds of miles. Avoid wearing cotton, which absorbs moisture and causes chafing. 

Fuel up for your workouts. It’s okay to head out for a workout on an empty stomach, but you may have more energy if you have a wholesome snack and some fluids beforehand. Drink 8 to 16 ounces before you go; water is best. (No need for sports drinks on any workout that’s less than 75 minutes). Have a 200-calorie snack that’s low in fat and low in fiber (less than 2 grams of fiber per serving) before you head out. Eat at least 30 minutes before your workout. Each individual is unique in terms of digestion time, so you may need to eat closer to your workout or a few hours earlier than what’s prescribed here.

You might check out these great ideas for preworkout fueling:

1 cup low-fiber cereal with ½ cup skim milk
2 fig cookies
1 cup of berries with ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
3 graham cracker squares with 1 teaspoon of honey
1 orange
applesauce (without added sugar)
Get the plan. Start our Run Nonstop plan with a 3:2 running vs. walking ratio, and build up gradually so that eventually you can run for 30 minutes without stopping. Below is the first week of the plan. Get your Run Nonstop plan here.

Here’s more about the plan:
Length of plan: 7 weeks
Number of workouts a week: 4 days, with an optional fifth day
First workout: 25 minutes, with a run:walk ratio of 3:2 (about 1.9 miles)
Goal workout: Run 30 minutes with no walk breaks.
Room to maneuver: Want more of a challenge? Skip ahead when you’re ready. If the plan is moving too fast for you, spend two weeks or more at each stage.
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