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Daily Archive : Sunday November 10, 2013
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Ex-‘Wolf of Wall Street’ says he’s a changed man
Jordan Belfort insists he’s a changed man. The old Belfort was a notorious stock swindler who squandered profits from a boiler-room, “pump and dump” scheme on cocaine, prostitutes and other excesses — a story that became basis for two memoirs and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” an upcoming movie starring Leonardo DeCaprio. The new Belfort is a business consultant who claims he would never tell a lie.
Astrodome may see 1 last inning after ‘no’ vote
Indoor skiing. Amusement park. Water park. Sports memorabilia museum. Riverwalk, though there is only a bayou. And, most recently, a $217 million multipurpose facility. There has been no shortage of proposals for how to save the Houston Astrodome.
Driverless cars rumble toward the starting line
The era of the automated car, something akin to having an onboard computer perform as your chauffeur, awaits its moment like a morning sun just below the horizon. There are prototypes on the streets, states that allow test models on the highway and projections that you will be surrounded by them — or inside one — in little more than a decade.
The real broadband hurdle: Affordability
There’s been a lot of debate about whether the United States is falling behind the rest of the world on broadband speeds. Upgrading to the latest networking technology is essential for a faster Internet in the long run. But a country’s average speed is also affected by another factor: affordability. A high-speed plan will do nothing for you if its price is out of your reach.
As holidays near, AmEx focuses on small retailers
With the holidays approaching, American Express Co. will focus on small merchants who’ll take in billions of dollars in sales charged on American Express cards. Susan Sobbott, who heads the company’s small business operation, American Express Open, says that based on what she’s seeing, the holidays may not be the most robust for small retailers, but stores should show sales gains compared with last year.
User burnout could threaten Twitter’s prosperity
A growing number of celebrities, athletes and self-promoters are burnt out and signing off of Twitter. Many have gotten overwhelmed. Some people built big audiences on the short messaging service only to have their followers turn against them. Others complain that tweets that once drew lots of attention now get lost in the noise.
Hollywood targeted to give health care law a boost
The California Endowment, a private foundation that is spending millions to promote President Barack Obama’s signature law, recently provided a $500,000 grant to ensure TV writers and producers have information about the Affordable Care Act that can be stitched into plot lines. “We know from research that when people watch entertainment television, even if they know it’s fiction, they tend to believe that the factual stuff is actually factual,” said Martin Kaplan of the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center.
Mutual funds go from worst to first, again
Want to know which mutual funds are topping the performance charts this year? Check the ones that struggled last year. Consider the fund that’s leading all others. The Firsthand Alternative Energy fund (ALTEX) has nearly doubled this year, up 93 percent. The sharp flip in performance is another example of how quickly fortunes can turn for mutual funds that focus on narrow segments of the market, whether it’s alternative-energy companies, Indian stocks or gold miners.
Health law clock is ticking for sickest patients
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country with pre-existing chronic conditions such as cancer, heart failure or kidney disease who are covered through high risk-insurance pools will see their coverage dissolve by year’s end. They are supposed to gain regular coverage under the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover those with severe medical problems. But many of them have had trouble signing up for health insurance through the exchanges and could find themselves without coverage in January if they don’t meet a Dec. 15 deadline to enroll.
Dual economy: Companies profit despite weak growth
How are companies managing to earn so much money in a sluggish economy? And why aren’t their profits goosing the economy? For starters, weak job growth has held down pay. And since the recession struck six years ago, businesses have been relentless in cutting costs. They’ve also stockpiled cash rather than build new products or lines of business. And they’ve been earning larger chunks of their profits overseas.All of which is a recipe for solid profits and tepid economic growth.
U.S. Chamber, other business groups set sights on state courts
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is increasingly turning to state courts to press its members’ business interests, weighing in on everything from trucking operations to New York’s “soda ban” as it tries to build on its winning record at the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.
Career Coach: Managing a micromanager
The strange thing about micromanagement is that while people are quick to point out when others are doing it, they seem to have trouble recognizing when they do it themselves. I’ve never heard anyone admit to being a micromanager, and the people who are constantly telling us they are not micromanagers are often the worst culprits.
Work Advice: Turn that promotion around, not down
Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers.
Life & Entertainment
‘Thor: The Dark World’ bashes box office with $86M
Disney’s “Thor: The Dark World,” earning $86.1 million, dominated the weekend box office as it opened domestically at No. 1, according to studio estimates Sunday. Starring Chris Hemsworth, the Marvel superhero sequel earned $109.4 million when it opened internationally last weekend and brought in $180.1 million globally. Overall, it has grossed $327 million worldwide.
A look at what next-next-gen games could offer
The next generation of gaming is nearly here, but what about the generation after that one? Gamemakers at last week's Game Developers Conference Next in Los Angeles were already contemplating outside-the-box innovations — from wearable controllers to illuminated living rooms — that might follow the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Briana’s story: A tale of caution for concussions in women’s sports
A growing body of research suggests that — counter to the popular imagery of young men smashing into each other in football and hockey — female athletes suffer relatively more concussions than their male counterparts, and they struggle with more dramatic symptoms when they do. One example: two-time Olympic goalkeeper and Women’s World Cup champion Briana Scurry, who recently had brain surgery to end the chronic headaches she’s lived with for three years due to a career-ending concussion in 2010.
Stars align for telethon to aid US veterans
Connie Francis, Alan Alda and Joe Montegna are joining forces to help raise money for veterans suffering the wounds of war. The trio will host the Homeward Bound telethon to benefit victims of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
How can I tell my folks to end the negativity?
My parents are applying the screws to my relationship, my life and all of my decisions. They disapprove. I’m a happy, successful person in my early 30s and their attitude is a major negative force in my life. How do I make it go away without cutting them out?
Sunday picks: Chazz Palminteri brings 'Bronx' to the Arcada
Actor Chazz Palminteri brings his autobiographical performance "A Bronx Tale" to the Arcada. Find out about poet Carl Sandburg at the Elmhurst Historical Museum Saturday. Carlos Mencia brings his standup routine to the Improv Comedy Showcase in Schaumburg.
Cities in the mid-South help visitors find the Christmas spirit
If you have an itch to get out and get your Christmas fix, you’ll find no shortage of destinations that put on a happy holidays face for visitors, especially in the mid-South. Parades, light displays and holiday shows bubble over with Christmas cheer in November and December.
Filming last moments of Kennedy sobering for Lowe
On his first day on the set of “Killing Kennedy,” Rob Lowe saw Ginnifer Goodwin donning a replica of the pink suit worn by first lady Jacqueline Kennedy when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. “It made it real,” he said. It also set the tone for filming of the movie, which profiles the Kennedy family and gunman Lee Harvey Oswald. Filmed in Richmond, it premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, on the National Geographic Channel, several days before the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death in Dallas.
5 free things to do and see in Rome
Some of Rome's attractions are among the best-known spots on Earth. Few visitors need to be told to visit the Colosseum or the Trevi Fountain during their stay in the Eternal City. But here's a list of some other worthwhile things to see and do that tourists may want to add to their itineraries, and the best part is that they won't cost a dime.
Tori Spelling grows up in latest book
Tori Spelling has no problem sharing the intimate details of her life in her books. In her sixth book, “Spelling It Like It Is,” the actress sticks to the formula of her previous memoirs and goes behind the scenes of recent life events, including the birth of her third and fourth children, born 10 months apart. However, readers will notice something different this time around: Spelling seems to have developed more of a backbone.
Is dragon-shaped vase a hot commodity?
Q. Attached are pictures of a vase that my mother bought in the 1920s in an antiques shop in Brittany, France. I am told that the scene on the front was copied from a painting by Théophile Deyrolle and is titled “Les Joueurs de Boules, 1887.” I would greatly appreciate any information you can provide on this Quimper piece.
You can add a sink to your kitchen island
Q. We recently moved and our new kitchen has a nice island area with a natural stone countertop, but no sink! We have a basement under the kitchen, so I guess to save counter space or money the sink was never installed.
Fix leaky entry doors if you can’t purchase new ones
Q. My front door is wood with a window and the back door is metal. They are the original ones and neither is very efficient nor airtight. I cannot afford new ones. How can I improve their efficiency myself?
Caulking may help gaps in roof
Q. I am an elderly widow who needs roof repairs. Light is showing in around two chimneys, and I need several slates replaced. Two roofers claim they fixed the problem, but my neighbor checked and said that the light is still showing through and that this is not normal, since rain can get inside and cause damage. They said I do not need flashing.
Decor with built-in electronics
It’s one thing to have a beautiful, comfy bed. But what if it also included a TV screen, game console and dimmable, color-changing lights? The integration of technology into home décor has come a long way since clunky TV screens peered out of armoires and media cabinets; today’s super-thin screens can come embedded in the bathroom mirror or attached to the wall like pieces of art.
Hemsworth back as Thor, but he won't be type-cast
On the screen, Chris Hemsworth battles aliens as superhero Thor. But this day, his wounds are of the domestic variety. “I was trying to grate ginger,” said the 30-year-old actor, holding up his right hand to display bandaged fingers. “I wish I could say I was rescuing some old lady who was being robbed. But, really, I was just cooking in the kitchen.”
Far from an afterthought, accessories, lighting help define a room
The finishing touches of a room — like the lighting, ceiling fans, accessories and electronics — are the icing on the cake. They refine the mood of the room created by the walls, floors, doors and furniture. And they generally add the fun and further define the season or the person who inhabits a given space.
And they call this studio Moriah
One Hollywood film studio has commanded only A-list talent since its inception — Elizabeth Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock, Michael Douglas, Nicole Kidman — and they all worked for free. What kind of studio head has such pull? It’s Rabbi Marvin Hier, the mini-mogul of Moriah Films, the movie division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Editorial: The thin hope for peace from a war long ago
A Daily Herald editorial says that in addition to thanking vets, we must honor them by constantly working for peace.
Stunningly, you can’t have fun with every story
A request to the editorial department for "fun" stories drew an underwhelming response. DuPage/Fox Valley News Director Jim Davis says that's because much of our work is pretty serious. That doesn't mean there isn't room for fun.
Evangelicals and immigration reform
Columnist Michael Gerson: In the immigration reform debate, evangelicals have become a political prize claimed by restrictionists and reformers alike. Both sides have a case to make.
You cannot know when your time will be up
A Buffalo Grove letter to the editor: You are never prepared enough when your number is called. The numbers fall like on a roulette wheel. I’ve been there three times, beating the odds. Eventually they’ll catch up to me. They catch up to everyone. Let’s hope it doesn’t catch up to you before your time.
Ensuring car insurance is the real issue
A Palatine letter to the editor:While there are many other reasons that I am opposed to granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, the requirement that they will have to get insurance is good. This should be a requirement for all drivers, but when was the last time you were asked to provide proof of insurance when renewing either your driver’s license or license plates? If that were the case there would be no need for “uninsured motorist” coverage on our automobile insurance policies.
FTC, cite Obama for health care ‘ads’
A Glen Ellyn letter to the editor: The Federal Trade Commission has a broad mandate to protect consumers from fraud and deception in the market place. The president and his crew entered the health care marketplace when they created the Affordable Care Act.
Steppingstone to president’s dream
A Big Rock letter to the editor: If Victor Darst can say that “Republican politicians, pundits, conservative talk radio and Fox are ecstatic with the problems that have bugged the Affordable Care Act website,” then I should be able to say that President Obama is even happier with the outcome.