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USA Today December 23 2017

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SATURDAY
AN EDITION OF USA TODAY
Harry, Meghan
and the royal
wedding to come
12.23.17
Prince Harry and actress Meghan
Markle released engagement photos
ahead of their May 19 wedding. In Life.
GETTY IMAGES
IN BRIEF
Senate leaves for holidays with
health, NASA nominees in limbo
The Senate left town for the year
without acting on dozens of President
Trump’s nominees, including his picks
to head the Health and Human Services Department and NASA.
The Senate’s lack of action returns
the nominations to the White House,
which will have to renominate them in
January if Trump wants them installed.
Among the nominees in limbo are
former pharmaceutical company executive Alex Azar to run Health and
Human Services, Oklahoma Rep. Jim
Bridenstine to head NASA and Kansas
Gov. Sam Brownback for an ambassador’s post.
Alabama to certify Jones winner
of Senate race next week
Alabama election officials announced Friday that they will certify
Democratic candidate Doug Jones’ upset victory over Republican rival Roy
Moore on Thursday.
Jones defeated Moore on Dec. 12.
Moore was besieged by decades-old
accusations of sexual misconduct involving teen girls when he was in his
30s. He has denied the allegations.
Moore has not conceded. In a
Thursday letter to supporters, Moore
said he needs donations to investigate
what he calls reports of fraud and irregularities in the election.
Trump signs off on tax,
short-term spending bills
Wants Dems to work with
him on infrastructure next
President
Trump and
GOP
lawmakers
celebrate
passage of
tax reform
Wednesday at the
White
House.
Heidi M. Przybyla
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – President Trump
signed a sweeping tax overhaul on Friday that will slash corporate and individual tax rates, calling it a “bill for the
middle class and a bill for jobs” — and
was enthusiastic about the prospects
of more legislative victories next year.
Trump challenged Democrats to
work with him to secure infrastructure
funding next year, after his first major
legislative win passed Congress along
party lines.
“The Democrats very much regret
it. They wanted to be a part of it,”
Trump said of his political win. “But I
really do believe we’re going to have a
lot of bipartisan work done ... I really
believe infrastructure can be bipartisan.”
MICHAEL
REYNOLDS/
EPA-EFE
“People want it, Republicans and
Democrats,” Trump added. “I actually
wanted to save the easy one for the one
down the road.”
Trump also signed a bill to keep the
government funded until mid-January
— which he dubbed a “missile defense
Los Angeles won’t join California
in selling marijuana on Jan. 1
California kicks off recreational
sales on New Year’s Day, but Los Angeles officials announced Friday that dispensaries in the city won’t be part of
the celebration.
The city won’t begin accepting applications to sell legal recreational pot
until Jan. 3, and it could take a month
or more before those businesses are licensed with the city and state.
“There is certainly a
shift ... with people
thinking about themselves as more spiritual than religious.”
Kevin L. Ladd, professor
U.N. orders tough new sanctions
on North Korea over missile tests
of psychology
Israel to leave UNESCO over
‘attacks’ on Jewish state
USA SNAPSHOTS©
ago
70 years
today
the transistor was
successfully
demonstrated at
Bell Laboratories
by John Bardeen,
Walter Brattain and
William Shockley,
sparking a revolution
in electronics.
SOURCE The History Place
MIKE B. SMITH, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
See TRUMP, Page 2T
Prayer
may help
relieve
stress
Yet more seek wellness,
not religious, rituals
Yonat Shimron
Religion News Service
For many Americans, the days before Christmas are stress central.
There’s the scramble to fit in one
more shopping spree, the rush to post
Christmas greetings, attend church
services, volunteer at the soup kitchen, bake cookies, wrap gifts, fight
traffic.
And then, when families finally
gather, there are the simmering feuds
just waiting to erupt.
Americans are feeling stressed
during the holidays — and yearround.
The American Psychological Association’s newest Stress in America
survey of 3,440 adults shows the
public’s overall stress level remains
the same as last year’s, with an average level of 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 10,
with 10 being the most stress. But
how Americans respond to stress is
changing.
Notably, fewer Americans are
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions
against North Korea on Friday in response to its missile tests.
The sanctions include sharply lower limits on North Korea’s oil imports,
the return home of all North Koreans
working overseas within 24 months
and a crackdown on ships smuggling
banned items including coal and oil.
Israel has announced it is leaving
UNESCO, citing the U.N. cultural agency’s “systematic attacks” on the Jewish state.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Friday the decision was based on the organization’s
“attempts to disconnect Jewish history from the land of Israel.” He said Israel will leave the organization by the
end of 2018.
From staff and wire reports
bill” — and appeared buoyant hours before leaving for Mar-a-Lago, his private
Florida club, for the holidays.
Corporations, Trump said, “are literally going wild” about the reductions in
A man prays as he waits for Pope Francis to lead a Mass in Philadelphia in
2015. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
See PRAYER, Page 2T
Smart drones can identify sharks near shore
Lauren Williams
Special to USA TODAY
SYDNEY – As the start of summer
draws millions to Australia’s pristine
beaches, high-tech entrepreneurs
have developed a novel way to protect
bathers from unwanted visitors: smart
drones that identify sharks close to
shore.
Drones equipped with powerful artificial intelligence and imaging technology are being rolled out across Australia’s 11,500 beaches, which are
among the most vulnerable in the
world to shark attacks.
Already the drones have identified two
sharks and alerted lifeguards, who
evacuated beaches. WESTPAC LITTLE RIPPER
So far this year, 19 people in Australia
have been attacked by sharks, and one
person has died. Many beaches are pro-
tected with shark nets and patrolled by
helicopter. But environmentalists say
the nets injure and kill other wildlife. A
parliamentary study last week concluded shark nets should be phased out.
Now comes the “Westpac Little Ripper” drone, which uses hundreds of
thousands of photo images to identify
sharks. It learns over time to distinguish
sharks from other marine creatures or
surfers. The more it is deployed, the
smarter and more accurate it becomes.
Research has shown the drones have
about 90% accuracy identifying sharks,
compared with 20% to 30% accuracy by
the naked eye.
2T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
Trump
Adisorn
Gronski
and monks
from the
Atammaya
tarama
Buddhist
Monastery
remember
victims of
the 2014
mudslide
in Oso,
Wash.
Continued from Page 1T
the business tax rate. Republicans are
predicting the package — consisting of a
permanent rate reduction for corporations and temporary tax cuts for individuals — will spur further growth and
business investment.
Yet Democrats have criticized the
plan as a giveaway for the wealthiest
Americans. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, the largest cuts as
a share of income in the overall tax plan
will go to taxpayers in the 95th to 99th
percentiles of all earners. In 2018, taxes
would be reduced by about $1,600 on average.
And Trump’s assumption that infrastructure may be easier after the tax bill
remains to be tested. Democrats also
Corrections & Clarifications
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contact Standards Editor
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President Trump applies his
signature to several bills Friday in the
Oval Office. AFP/GETTY IMAGES
SOFIA
JARAMILLO/
say the tax bill, estimated to add to the
national debt by more than $1 trillion
over the next decade, leaves the U.S.
with few options for addressing critical national priorities, including struggling public schools, increasing mortality due to an opioid crisis and social
safety net programs facing looming
shortfalls — let alone a major infrastructure package.
Previously, Democrats and some
Republicans had floated the idea of using repatriated corporate profits, or
earnings brought back from overseas,
to upgrade the nation’s crumbling
roads and dilapidated mass transit
systems. Yet the tax package Trump
just signed allows corporations to repatriate an estimated $3 trillion in
overseas cash — but applied that expected windfall to offset lower tax
rates.
Further straining the national
purse, Congress just approved emergency disaster aid bills totaling $15 billion in September, $36.5 billion in October, and this week is arguing over
adding another $81 billion to address
California wildfires and Hurricanes
Harvey, Irma and Maria. Barring any
last-minute decision to pay for it, that
spending will be added to the 2018 deficit.
Trump was not originally scheduled
to sign the tax bill Friday. Trump said
media coverage spurred him to move
up a signing ceremony planned for
early next year.
“I didn’t want you folks to say I
wasn’t keeping my promise” to sign
the bill by the holidays, he said. “Every
one of the networks was saying ‘Will
he keep his promise? Will he sign it by
Christmas?’ ”
So Trump said he told his staff: “Get
it ready, we have to sign it now.”
THE HERALD/
VIA AP
Prayer
Continued from Page 1T
turning to prayer.
Only 29% of Americans polled said
they pray to relieve stress, a gradual
but consistent decline since the high of
37% recorded in 2008.
“Do people consider prayer or attending church not necessarily something that manages stress?” asked
Lynn Bufka, a psychologist with the
APA’s Stress in America team. “We
don’t know.”
And while a growing number of
Americans are turning to alternative
spiritual practices such as meditation
and yoga, they are still not widespread. Twelve percent of Americans
meditate or do yoga, up from 9% in
2016.
The two most popular ways to relieve stress? Listening to music (47%)
and exercising (46%).
Kevin L. Ladd, a professor of psychology at Indiana University-South
Bend, said it makes sense that, as society grows less religious in the traditional sense, fewer people are turning
to prayer.
“There is certainly a shift in the
American landscape, with people
thinking about themselves as more
spiritual than religious,” Ladd said.
“Rather than having specific traditions
offering some guidance in terms of
specific practices, individuals tend to
be creating their own practices that are
personally meaningful.”
For some that may mean an evergrowing menu of wellness activities
such as guided sleep meditation, sound
therapy or mindful travel — all intended
to reduce stress.
To be sure, prayer is not always a
panacea, said Blake V. Kent, who studies prayer at Baylor University. In a recent paper, Kent found that people’s
view of God determines whether prayer
is an effective way of managing stress.
“Where the perception of God is secure, warm and loving, then prayer is
associated with positive mental health
outcomes and coping with stressors,”
Kent said. “But when the perception of
God is distant or disconnected, prayer is
associated with negative outcomes.”
Still, prayer should not be dismissed
as an old-fashioned or ineffective method of relieving stress. In fact, its ritual or
rote nature may be a source of strength,
said Rabbi Geoff Mitelman, founding director of Sinai and Synapses, an organization that bridges the scientific and religious worlds.
“One thing that’s great about America is the level of choice we have,” Mitelman said. “But so much choice can add a
lot of stress. Prayer can help us restrict
our choices in a way that will ultimately
give us more happiness and fulfillment.
It can actually ease a bit of the cognitive
load we have to deal with on a daily basis.”
But ultimately, many religious leaders and psychologists agree that, prayerfully or otherwise, managing stress
can make life less … stressful.
Yonat Shimron is an RNS National
reporter and senior editor.
10 ways N. Korea’s Kim Jong Un
did his best to freak us out in ’17
Threatening Guam
Jim Michaels
USA TODAY
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, center, is hoping for bipartisan work
in 2018 on immigration and infrastructure. MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE
McConnell: 2017 a huge
success for Congress
For decades North Korea has
thumbed its nose at the international
community, frustrated successive administrations in Washington and
brought the world to the brink of war.
But this year, tensions between President Trump and North Korean leader
Kim Jong Un reached new highs.
Despite incendiary threats by
Trump, Kim has shown no signs of
backing down from developing
a nuclear weapon capable of
striking the U.S. mainland. So
Kim ended the year as he began
it: by defying the world and continuing on a dangerous path.
First test
Senate leader points to
tax cuts, Supreme Court
Herb Jackson
USA TODAY
Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell declared 2017 a huge success
Friday, saying in a year-end press conference that Congress has passed legislation to dramatically transform the nation and the economy.
Along with adoption of $1.5 trillion in
corporate and individual tax cuts that
President Trump signed Friday morning, McConnell noted that the Senate
repealed regulations adopted by President Obama’s administration and installed Cabinet officers who would continue the process.
“A combination of regulatory relief
and comprehensive tax reform ... is the
way to get the economy moving again,”
McConnell said.
McConnell also pointed out perhaps
the longest lasting success: The confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil
Gorsuch, who is likely to serve on the
court for decades. He recognized, however, that apart from nominations and a
narrow group of issues covered by strict
budget rules, the Senate needs 60 votes
to pass bills in the new year.
And the Republican majority will
drop from 52 to 51 because of the loss in
an Alabama special election by Republican Roy Moore, whose nomination
was backed by former Trump adviser
Steve Bannon but opposed by McConnell. “The political genius on display in
throwing away a seat in the reddest
state in America is hard to ignore,”
McConnell said when asked about
Bannon.
Looking toward the 2018 midterm
elections, McConnell said Republicans
had to be focused on “supporting people who can actually win” in November.
McConnell said he hoped there
could be bipartisan work in 2018 on
immigration and infrastructure and
believed a bill to relax regulations on
community banks had a good chance
of passage. “One thing you could say
about this year is it was pretty partisan,” McConnell said.
He did not rule out further votes on
trying to repeal Obamacare but said he
would need to see that an effort had
the votes to pass before he would bring
it up.
One major piece of unfinished business is funding to keep the government operating. Trump signed another short-term extension that runs
through Jan. 19 on Friday, but Democrats and Republicans need to reach
agreement on how much to lift budget
caps that otherwise could force cuts to
defense and domestic spending.
Kim threatened to launch a test missile toward Guam, a U.S. territory home
to key U.S. naval and air bases, a direct
threat against the United States. Trump
said he would retaliate with “fire and fury.” North Korea did not follow through
in firing a missile near Guam.
First hydrogen bomb test
In September, North Korea detonated
what scientists said was its first
test of a hydrogen bomb, the
sixth and most powerful explosion yet. It’s not clear whether
North Korea has mastered the
technology to place a warhead
on a long-range ballistic missile.
Kim Jong
Un
Three weeks after Trump
was sworn in, North Korea tested its
first missile of the year, a Pukguksong-2, a long-range ballistic missile.
Half-brother’s assassination
Kim’s exiled half-brother, Kim Jong
Nam, was poisoned with a toxic nerve
agent in Malaysia in February. Investigators believe the North Korean leader
ordered the killing of a potential rival.
Killing more rivals
Threatens U.S. aircraft
North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong
Ho in September said the United States
has effectively declared war on his
country and it has the right to shoot
down U.S. military aircraft. The U.S.,
which frequently flies warplanes in international airspace near North Korea
as a show of force, said it will not back
down from conducting the flights.
Extreme insults
Shortly after killing Kim Jong Nam,
the North Korean leader ordered the
execution of at least five senior government officials for making “false reports.”
Kim labeled Trump a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” (an old person who
is weak) in September amid an alarming
war of words between the leaders.
Trump has responded with his own insults, including mocking the North Korean leader as “Little Rocket Man.”
American captive dies
U.S. capital targeted
Otto Warmbier, a 22-year old University of Virginia student, was released in June after spending 17
months in prison. At first it appeared
North Korea was making a conciliatory
gesture toward the new administration. But Warmbier was returned in a
vegetative state and died less than a
week after returning home. He had
been sentenced to 15 years hard labor
on charges he tried to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel.
In the most recent missile test in November the North Koreans launched a
missile with a potential range of 8,000
miles, putting it in striking distance of
Washington, D.C.
Shooting at defectors
This week, a North Korean soldier defected, fleeing across the demilitarized
zone. It was the second such defection
in two months and fourth this year.
3T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017
NTSB:
Putin calls Trump’s national
security strategy ‘aggressive’ Amtrak
engineer
hit brakes
Russian president alleges
U.S. violated Cold War pact
Doug Stanglin
Bart Jansen
USA TODAY
USA TODAY
Russian President Vladimir Putin on
Friday called President Trump’s new
national security strategy “aggressive”
and claimed the United States and
NATO are engaged in a major military
buildup on Russia’s borders.
“The U.S. has recently unveiled its
new defense strategy. Speaking the diplomatic language, it is obviously offensive, and, if we switch to the military
language, it is certainly aggressive,” he
said, according to the state-owned
TASS news agency.
“We must take this into account in
our practical work,” he said.
Trump announced Monday the new
National Security Strategy, which singles out China and Russia as two countries that “challenge American power,
influence, and interests, attempting to
erode American security and prosperity.” In his speech, the president referred
to both countries as “rival powers.”
Putin, speaking at a Russian defense
ministry meeting outside Moscow, criticized what he called the creation of “offensive infrastructures” in Europe and
pointed to what he called violations of
the 1987 treaty on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range
missiles. The intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was signed by
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
and President Reagan.
The Russian leader alleged the U.S.
missile defense sites in Romania containing interceptor missiles also could
house ground-to-ground intermediaterange cruise missiles, which would be in
violation of the Cold War pact.
He added that U.S. launches of target
vehicles as part of tests represented another violation of the pact that bans all
land-based cruise and ballistic missiles
with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (310-3,410 miles).
Putin said Russia’s Defense Ministry
The train engineer involved in the
Amtrak crash near Seattle remarked
six seconds before the derailment that
the train was going too fast and then
appeared to apply brakes, federal investigators said Friday.
A video from Monday’s fatal accident showed the locomotive tilting
and the crew bracing for impact as it
headed at 80 mph into a 30-mph curve
near DuPont, Wash., according to investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
But while the engineer appeared to
apply brakes, he didn’t apply the emergency brakes, investigators said. The
final recorded speed was 78 mph. The
train’s speed and the posted speed
limit are likely to be key points for federal accident investigators, who are
trying to determine why the train — on
its inaugural run — flew off the track,
sending several rail cars off a bridge
overpass and onto a traffic-clogged interstate at 7:34 a.m. Monday.
NTSB based its latest findings on
video recorded inside the locomotive’s
cab and audio from a recorder facing
away from crew members. The crew
was not observed using personal electronic devices at the time of the crash.
The other person inside the cab
when the crash happened was an intraining conductor familiarizing himself with the route. Investigators have
said they are looking into whether the
engineer was distracted by the second
person or by something else.
The new information is part of an
ongoing investigation. The board has
not concluded what caused the crash
that killed three passengers, among
the 85 passengers and crew members.
The board said it will take a least a year
to investigate, determine a cause and
make recommendations to avoid another accident.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting in Balashikha, outside Moscow, on Friday. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK VIA AP
“should take into account” Western military strategies, adding that “Russia has
a sovereign right and all possibilities to
adequately and in due time react to such
potential threats.”
“Any change in the balance of power
and military and political environment
in the world should be monitored very
carefully, namely near Russia’s borders
and also in the strategically important
regions for our security,” he said.
He said Russia’s current nuclear
forces provide reliable strategic deterrence but added, “we need to further
develop them.”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei
Shoigu told the gathering that NATO
had doubled the number of its military
drills since 2012 near Russian borders
and said the number of NATO servicemen deployed in the area had jumped
from 10,000 to 40,000 in three years,
according to state-funded RT news
agency.
Ohio governor signs bill that
bans Down syndrome abortion
Opponents decry move, say
legislation shames women
The bill
signed
Friday by
Ohio Gov.
John
Kasich
takes
effect in
90 days,
on March
22, 2018.
Hannah Sparling
and Jessie Balmert
Cincinnati Enquirer
USA TODAY NETWORK
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s governor
signed a controversial bill into law Friday
that bans abortions after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome.
Gov. John Kasich, a Republican,
signed the bill despite concerns that it
could be found unconstitutional. Those
fears prompted him to veto a different
bill in 2016, a ban on abortions after six
weeks gestation known as the “heartbeat bill.”
In 2015 the governor told CNN he
would sign a ban on abortions based on
Down syndrome. The law will take effect
March 22, 90 days from now.
The GOP-backed bill penalizes doctors who perform abortions after a fetus
has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.
Physicians would face a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18
months in prison and a $5,000 fine. They
also could lose their license to practice
medicine and face lawsuits if a woman is
injured or dies because of the prohibited
abortion.
Just two other states have similar
laws. The legislation was found unconstitutional in Indiana, and North Dakota’s 2013 ban is not enforced because the
state’s sole abortion clinic does not perform the procedure after 16 weeks gestation.
Proponents say the law will save lives.
American women choose to terminate
pregnancies 50% to 85% of the time after
receiving a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome, according to a study published in
2012 in the medical journal Prenatal Diagnosis.
“Every Ohioan deserves the right to
life, no matter how many chromosomes
they have,” Mike Gonidakis, president of
Ohio Right to Life, said in a release after
the Legislature’s vote.
However, opponents say the ban is
SAM
GREENE/THE
CINCINNATI
ENQUIRER
Holiday high:
Elderly pair
planned to
give pot gifts
Sean Rossman
USA TODAY
An elderly California couple caught
with more than $300,000 worth of
marijuana during a cross-country road
trip told authorities they wanted to
give the pot out as Christmas gifts.
Patrick Jiron, 83, and his wife Barbara Jiron, 80, were both cited for marijuana possession during a Tuesday
traffic stop in York County, Neb.
York County deputies pulled the
couple over after spotting their 2016
Toyota Tacoma driving over the center
line and failing to signal on Interstate
80.
ROBERT F. BUKATY/ AP
“When a woman receives a
diagnosis of Down syndrome
during her pregnancy, the last
thing she needs is Governor
Kasich barging in to tell her
what’s best for her family.”
Kellie Copeland
Eexecutive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
one of many passed in recent years to
make abortion less accessible in Ohio,
that it shames women and that it will
prevent them from having honest conversations with their doctors following a
Down syndrome diagnosis.
“When a woman receives a diagnosis of Down syndrome during her pregnancy, the last thing she needs is Governor Kasich barging in to tell her
what’s best for her family,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL ProChoice Ohio, said in a statement following the bill’s signing.
“This law does nothing to support
families taking care of loved ones with
Down syndrome,” she said. “Instead it
exploits them as part of a larger antichoice strategy to systematically make
all abortion care illegal.”
The ban also has sparked debate
within the community of people with
developmental disabilities. Some worried that singling out a fetus with Down
syndrome would make a statement
that others were less worthy of life.
The deputies noticed the odor of
raw marijuana coming from the car.
Patrick Jiron then admitted there was
“contraband” in the car, the sheriff ’s
department said, and allowed the deputies to search the truck.
In the truck were 60 bags of marijuana with an estimated street value of
more than $300,000. Concentrated
THC also was inside the vehicle, the
sheriff ’s department said.
The couple, from Clearlake Oaks,
Calif., said they planned to give the
weed as Christmas presents to friends
and family in Boston and Vermont.
The couple also was cited for not
having a drug tax stamp.
The York News-Times reported Patrick Jiron was booked into the York
County Jail. Barbara Jiron was not taken to jail, the News-Times wrote, because of a medical issue.
4T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
A crystal ball fits right into the
otherworldly atmosphere.
A couple take a selfie as they celebrate midwinter at
the ancient monument in Britain.
The event brings out finery of all
styles and colors.
Revelers gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, on Friday to celebrate the winter solstice. PHOTOS BY NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE
Solstice: Long night’s
journey out of winter
The winter solstice has its roots as an astronomical event marked by the shortest period of daylight in the Northern
Hemisphere and the longest night of the year. The celestial phenomenon gave rise to cultural ceremonies and rituals that
helped govern the growing of crops and the breeding of animals. ❚ The pagan midwinter holiday of Yule gave way to
Christianity and is still with us in the form of seasonal traditions such as the Christmas tree and, naturally, the Yule log.
After the winter solstice, daylight gets longer and, eventually, temperatures get warmer. ❚ Stonehenge, the ancient ruin in
rural Britain, long has been Ground Zero for celebrations of the solstice, given its sense of mystery and its valued apparent
alignment to the solstice sunset. Current Stonehenge pilgrims bring their own sense of awe and whimsy, making the trek
to say farewell to winter, look to the ancient past or toast the future.
Some say the unicorn is the spirit animal for the solstice, a good fit
for the scene at Stonehenge.
A celebrant bends over backward at Stonehenge, which plays a
part in the history of ancient observations of the winter solstice.
5T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017
MONEYLINE
BITCOIN PRICES SUFFER SLUMP
AFTER HITTING ALL-TIME HIGH
The value of bitcoin continued a
weeklong decline with the cryptocurrency down nearly 18% to $12,900
midday Friday, according to data at
Coinbase, one of the largest bitcoin
markets. This largest bitcoin price
drop in 2017 came after the price
rose from less than $10,000 at the
end of November to just less than
$20,000 on Dec. 17. Bitcoin futures
were down 16.75% at $13,130 Friday,
according to the CME Group, which
launched bitcoin futures on Sunday.
SASCHA STEINBACH/EPA-EFE
UNITEDHEALTH PLANS $2.8B BID TO
GROW SOUTH AMERICA BUSINESS
UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s
largest health insurer, plans to spend
about $2.8 billion to buy outstanding
shares of Empresas Banmédica, a
health care provider and insurer operating in Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Minnetonka, Minn.-based UnitedHealth offers coverage in Brazil.
U.S. NEW HOME SALES SKYROCKET
17.5% IN NOVEMBER
Sales of new U.S. homes in November
rose 17.5% despite a continued
shortage of existing homes on the
market. New home sales jumped to a
seasonally-adjusted annual rate of
733,000 units compared with 624,000
in October, the Commerce Department says. That’s the biggest monthly gain since January 1992 and the
most sold in a month since July 2007.
SINCLAIR PROMISES TAX-REFORM
BILL BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES
Hunt Valley, Md.-headquartered Sinclair Broadcast Group said Friday it
will pay a special $1,000 bonus to its
nearly 9,000 full-time and part-time
employees, excluding senior level
executives. Sinclair joins several companies including AT&T and Comcast
also pledging to give workers bonuses once President Trump signed the
tax-reform bill — which he did Friday.
Teen’s unity dream filter
captures coding contest
Jefferson Graham
USA TODAY
VENICE BEACH, Calif. – When Zoe
Lynch got to design her own Snapchat
filter, she manipulated the image of a
brain into a peace sign, telling Snapchat and Google her dreams of having
the 7.4 billion people on this earth
more unified.
“That’s a lot of brain
power,” she said.
The South Orange,
N.J., teen winner of a
coding contest put on by
the two tech companies
said she was new to coding when she ran across
the contest in her Snapchat but learned to use
the Blockly coding tools
to build the geofilter,
which features the image
of a young black woman
under the title “Unstoppable.”
Since 2014, Google has Zoe
been reaching out to Lynch’s
young women for its Geofilter,
Made with Code initia- above.
tive, an attempt to make ZOE LYNCH
the tech industry less
male dominated and get future generations of women interested in coding.
This year, Google decided to reach
teens where they live — on the popular
Snapchat app. For the 2017 Made with
Code #MyFutureMe Challenge, Google
and Snapchat asked teen girls to create
an augmented reality animated filter
that could be superimposed. This taps
similar technology that produced last
summer’s dancing hot dog, an animated Snapchat filter users could use on
their physical surroundings. Lynch
won the contest.
It’s a different sort of move by Snapchat’s parent, which stands in contrast
to its other tech company competitors
by refusing to release the gender and
racial breakdown of its workforce —
data companies such as Google and
Facebook now say is key to setting
goals for making their workforce look
more like their diverse customers.
Snapchat is very popular with black
teens, for instance:
An Associated Press poll found
nearly nine in 10 black teenagers use
Snapchat, compared with just more
Zoe Lynch jumps for joy in front of Snap, Inc. headquarters in Venice Beach, Calif.
JEFFERSON GRAHAM/USA TODAY
than seven in 10 whites.
While Snap has said publicly that
having “a team of diverse backgrounds
and voices working together” is its best
shot at creating innovative products, internally and externally that process appears hamstrung. A string of high-level
female execs has recently left the company, according to the Information, and
Snap has only one woman on the board.
And users have blasted the company
for racism after it issued filters — the
popular overlays to photos and videos —
that allowed users to don a virtual
“black face” or “yellow face” by pretending to be Bob Marley or an anime figure.
Snapchat, which has nearly 175 million daily users, said it wanted to join
with Google to help teen girls see that
many of the features they use frequently, such as filters, are made with code,
said Jarvis Sam, head of global diversity
initiatives for Snap, Inc.
The contest attracted more than
22,000 applicants, who were asked to
create an image, not with basic hardcore
code, but with Blockly, an image-based
code program developed at Google.
The five finalists were flown to New
Orleans to attend a TEDWomen conference and a workshop with the Snap, Inc.
Lens Design team.
Lynch hopes to be an engineer when
she gets older, “because engineers do
cool things and impact the world in a
good way.”
Our quick guide to buying a streaming device
Dow Jones Industrial Avg.
24,850
9:30 a.m.
4:00 p.m.
24,782
They can open your TV
to hundreds of channels
YouTube.
(These services offer a way to see the
cable channels along with movie services, without having to authenticate.)
24,754
24,800
Jefferson Graham
24,750
USA TODAY
Our picks
LOS ANGELES – The holidays are a
great time to spend hours bingeing on
shows and enjoying Internet entertainment.
With so many options for your
shopping dollar, we’ve taken a full look
at the various product choices.
If you don’t have a smart TV with
streaming channels already built in or
aren’t planning to buy one, the best alternative is a streaming player. These
start at around $30, are super easy to
install and open your TV up to hundreds of on-demand channels.
More expensive models offer better
remotes, the ability to stream in higher-definition 4K and DolbyVision and
have connections via ethernet to a
stronger Internet signal than Wi-Fi,
which could be helpful with higherresolution movies.
❚ Best entry-level streaming player:
Roku Express. No frills, all the channels
and $30. If 4K isn’t a concern, you can’t
go wrong with this option.
❚ Lowest-priced streaming device
for watching 4K: Amazon Fire
TV and Chromecast Ultra are discounted to $55 for the holidays.
❚ Most channels available: Any Roku device. Amazon FireTV is missing
YouTube, and Google Chromecast lacks
Amazon Prime Video. Roku says it has
100-plus channels (most of which
you’ve probably never heard of past a
handful) to Apple’s 60. (Amazon refers
to “tens of thousands” of channels, apps
and Alexa skills.)
❚ Best setup: Amazon FireTV. When
we ordered it on Prime, Amazon had our
sign-in info already, and it arrived set
up, without having to log in.
❚ Best choice if you live in an Apple
world: Apple TV is an expensive choice,
starting at $149, but if you take a lot of
photos and videos on your iPhone, subscribe to Apple Music and podcasts and
rent movies from iTunes, they’re all
here, in one place.
❚ Our pick for overall choice: Roku
Express if you don’t care about 4K programming, the Streaming Stick +
($69.99) if you do (4K, more channels,
great remote, has Netflix, Amazon and
YouTube.)
If you need ethernet, the Roku Ultra,
$89.
24,700
-28.23
24,650
24,600
Friday markets
INDEX
CLOSE
Nasdaq composite
S&P 500
T-note, 10-year yield
Oil, light sweet crude
Gold, oz. Comex
Euro (dollars per euro)
Yen per dollar
6959.96
2683.34
2.49%
$58.30
$1275.00
$1.1852
113.31
CHG
y
y
x
x
x
y
y
5.40
1.23
0.01
0.09
7.70
0.0021
0.04
SOURCES USA TODAY RESEARCH, MARKETWATCH.COM
USA SNAPSHOTS©
51%
of messaging
application users
say messaging
has replaced
other types of
conversations.
?
Choices
There are five models from Roku,
the oldest and most popular streaming
device, plus two from Amazon, three
from Apple and two from Google.
Video game fans also can access
streaming media via the Xbox and
PlayStation game consoles.
Why streaming?
SOURCE Facebook Messenger survey of 9,264
messaging application users
JAE YANG, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
If you’re new to online entertainment, know that an entire world of
With 4K and HDR playback, Roku lets
you enjoy all your favorite shows
anytime. ROKU
programming is ready for you.
Subscription services such as Netflix
(starts at $7.99 monthly,) Hulu (starts at
$7.99 monthly) and Amazon Prime ($99
yearly, with expedited shipping and online entertainment) offer movies, TV
shows and original shows such as
Stranger Things, Orange Is the New
Black, The Handmaid’s Tale and Red
Oaks.
Beyond dedicated services, streaming players also offer cable TV channels
such as CNN, FX and Comedy Central
with on-demand viewing.
But to watch, you first need to prove
that you’re a cable subscriber by “authenticating” with your cable account
password.
Many so-called “cord cutters,” have
ditched cable and switched to streaming players to save big bucks off their average $100 monthly cable bill. According
to market research firm Leichtman Research Group, some 400,000 people
disconnected from cable in the third
quarter of 2017 (compared with 250,000
in the year-ago quarter), while some
535,000 added limited streaming options from Sling, DirectTV and
6T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
MONEY
Google Chrome
users may start
seeing fewer ads
Holiday
spending
surges 9.2%
Brett Molina
USA TODAY
Starting in February, Google’s Chrome browser
will block ads failing to meet standards laid out in a
program aimed at improving online advertising.
As more users to turn to third-party websites that
block all ads, Google has joined with other Internet
heavyweights such as Facebook to plan its own ad
blocking or filtering.
The Better Ads Experience Program organized by
The Coalition for
Better Ads, which
count
Facebook,
Google and Microsoft as board members, as well as news
publisher
News
Corp, aims to push
publishers to drop PAUL SAKUMA/AP
the worst kind of
ads, the ones that drive users to install blanket ad
blockers.
According to a post published on Google’s developers site, the company said Chrome will “remove all
ads from sites that have a “failing’ status” as outlined
by the program. In June, Google confirmed it would
participate in the Ads Experience Program.
Blockers can cause headaches for Web publishers
who rely on ads as a key source of revenue. By coming
up with an alternative for users who will winnow out
the worst ads, Google and its other Coalition members — whose revenue generally relies on digital ads
— hope to keep that ad window open.
In March, the program introduced the first set of
ad standards for desktop and mobile devices in North
America and Europe. The standards identify ad experiences “ranked lowest across a range of user experience factors, and that are most highly correlated
with an increased propensity for consumers to adopt
ad blockers,” The Coalition for Better Ads said in a
statement. These include auto-playing videos with
sound and full-screen ad rollovers.
Details on the timing were first reported by Venturebeat.
GETTY IMAGES
Zlati Meyer
USA TODAY
That jingle-jangle sound that you’ve been hearing
isn’t just sleigh bells.
Rather, it’s the sound of cash dropping into the
pockets of retailers at a faster pace this holiday season than at any time in the past four years, according
to a new report.
Retail spending rose 6.6% between Oct. 28 and
Monday compared with the same period last year,
according to a new report by credit card processing
company First Data. The firm also found that retail
online sales continued to outpace those at traditional
stores — 11% vs. 5.4%.
Overall spending on everything except gasoline
was up 9.2%, First Data said. For both overall and retail spending, 2017’s were the highest in four years.
Retailers are feeling holiday joy.
“People are spending money more freely than in
the last few years,” said Sam Pollard, co-owner of
Mud Puddle Toys in Marblehead, Mass. “We’ve been
pleased with the season overall.”
Last holiday season, the average tab was $70; this
year, it’s $75, Pollard added.
First Data points to high consumer confidence,
low unemployment and relatively favorable weather
as the reasons for this jump.
The report shows:
❚ Winners. In retail spending growth, the biggest
winner was the electronics and appliances category,
which jumped 11.8%.
❚ Losers. When it came to non-electronic entertainment, whether it was sporting goods, hobbies, books
or music, they were collectively down 0.7%.
❚ Hot regions. The Southwest and West were the
regions that saw the most growth, while the Mid-Atlantic area had the least.
The big city with the biggest spend was Houston,
which is recovering from Hurricane Harvey; Houston
saw retail growth of 21.9%, with the biggest bumps in
building materials, up 45%, and furniture, up 34%.
Consumer spending jumped $87.1 billion, or 0.6%,
in November, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data released Friday.
For Amy Routson, her Christmas budget was about
the same as last year — $1,000 for the 15 people on her
list. Where the 46-year-old Mechanicsburg, Pa., resident did spend more was on herself, because she confessed she has a bad habit of buying duplicates.
This year’s treats include a couple pairs of shoes, a
blanket and a slim-design travel water bottle. Routson’s 2017 self-splurge was $200 higher than last
year’s.
“A lot of people I know are feeling better this year,
and they’re doing more Christmas shopping. People
are feeling more secure about where the economy is
headed,” she said.
AMERICA’S MARKETS
ALL THE MARKET ACTION IN REAL TIME
MARKETS.USATODAY.COM
DJIA
DOW JONES
SPX
S&P 500
COMP
NASDAQ
RUT
RUSSELL
-28.23
INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE
-1.23
STANDARD & POOR'S
-5.40
COMPOSITE
-4.18
RUSSELL 2000 INDEX
CLOSE: 24,754.06
%CHANGE: -0.1%
YTD % CHG: +25.3%
CLOSE: 2,683.34
%CHANGE: -0.1%
YTD % CHG: +19.9%
THE MOTLEY FOOL
S&P 500’S BIGGEST GAINERS/LOSERS
A FOOLISH TAKE
GAINERS Company (ticker symbol)
% Chg
YTD
% Chg
39.01 +1.62
+4.3
-46.8
65.23 +1.92
+3.0
-9.4
28.25 +0.70
+2.5
-18.1
Price
$ Chg
Energy company’s CEO to resign effective Dec. 31.
Edison International (EIX)
Public utility up despite fears of California wildfire.
Kroger (KR)
NRG Energy (NRG)
28.16 +0.70
+2.5
+129.7
25.28 +0.62
+2.5
+14.2
223.12 +4.36
+2.0
+132.1
53.21 +0.99
+1.9
-7.3
Energy firm buoyed by need for backup generators.
The Motley Fool
NiSource (NI)
Utility firm rises on expectations for 2018 forecast.
Since the beginning of 2017, the S&P
500 has climbed 19%.
How does this compare to past
years?
Pretty well.
The average annual performance of
the S&P 500 since 1928 is 11.5%. The median comes in a little higher, at 13.9%.
More recently, this year is fourth on the
list of best performances since the beginning of the century.
Multiple catalysts have fueled stocks
over the past 12 months. But far and
away the most important one has been
hope that Congress will lower the corporate income tax rate.
President Trump vowed on the campaign trail last year to cut the corporate
tax rate from 35% down to 15%. As the
actual legislation made its way through
Congress, however, the rate ended up at
21%.
After Republican holdouts signaled
their support for the bill, the legislation
was signed by the president on Friday.
Why do lower taxes lead to higher
stock prices? It’s simple. If corporate
taxes are dropped, corporations earn
more money. And when corporations
earn more money, they create more
shareholder value, making investors
willing to pay a higher price for their
stocks.
The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news,
analysis and commentary designed to
help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.
Sector
Close
Chg.
4wk 1
YTD 1
Technology
Consumer discret.
Materials
Industrials
Financials
Health care
Consumer staples
Utilities
Telecom
Energy
64.54
98.98
60.34
75.40
28.05
82.91
56.87
52.45
60.50
71.97
-0.04
-0.19
+0.23
+0.02
-0.08
-0.27
+0.09
+0.08
-0.07
+0.15
+0.1%
+4.6%
+2.5%
+5.6%
+7.0%
+1.4%
+3.8%
-6.1%
+1.1%
+6.0%
+33.5%
+21.6%
+21.4%
+21.2%
+20.6%
+20.3%
+10.0%
+8.0%
+3.0%
-4.4%
TOP 10 MUTUAL FUNDS
Pioneer Equity adds grocer to investment portfolio.
John Maxfield
CLOSE: 1,542.93
%CHANGE: -0.3%
YTD % CHG: +13.7%
MARKET PERFORMANCE BY SECTOR
SCANA (SCG)
Putting 2017’s
stock returns
in perspective
CLOSE: 6,959.96
%CHANGE: -0.1%
YTD % CHG: +29.3%
Align Technology (ALGN)
Scanner firm rises on hope of high EPS growth.
Fund, ranked by size
Vanguard 500IdxAdmrl x
Vanguard TtlSMIdxAdmrl
Vanguard InsIdxIns x
Vanguard TtlSMIdxInv
Vanguard TtInSIdxInv
Vanguard TtlSMIdxIns
Vanguard InsIdxInsPlus x
Fidelity Contrafund
Vanguard TtInSIdxInsPlus
Vanguard WlngtnAdmrl x
NAV
247.63
66.91
244.26
66.89
18.08
66.92
244.27
122.92
120.96
72.50
Chg.
-1.30
-0.03
-1.34
-0.03
+0.03
-0.04
-1.35
-0.17
+0.18
-3.44
4wk 1
+3.5%
+3.3%
+3.5%
+3.2%
+0.9%
+3.3%
+3.5%
+1.2%
+0.9%
+2.7%
YTD 1
+22.2%
+21.5%
+22.2%
+21.4%
+26.3%
+21.5%
+22.2%
+32.7%
+26.4%
+14.7%
1 – CAPITAL GAINS AND DIVIDENDS REINVESTED
ONEOK (OKE)
TOP 10 EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS
Energy company increases natural gas processing.
Anadarko Petroleum (APC)
52.93 +0.97
+1.9
-24.1
88.70 +1.57
+1.8
+21.1
13.35 +0.23
+1.8
-18.7
Petroleum company’s shares rise with implied volatility.
C.H. Robinson (CHRW)
Logistics company jumps with long-term prospects.
Navient (NAVI)
Loan servicer/collector rises in active trading.
LOSERS
Company (ticker symbol)
Price
AMD (AMD)
$ Chg
YTD
% Chg % Chg
10.54 -0.35
-3.2
-7.1
63.29
-2.3
+24.5
Semiconductor maker slips on competition concern.
Nike B (NKE)
-1.48
Footwear manufacturer falls on lackluster sales.
Southern (SO)
48.50 -0.99
-2.0
-1.4
156.85 -2.80
-1.8
+35.7
106.02
-1.95
-1.8
+34.6
26.23 -0.47
-1.8
+14.1
-1.6
-21.5
Uniform provider falls as growth projected to slow.
Electronic Arts (EA)
Gamer may miss guidance on ‘Star Wars’ controversy.
H&R Block (HRB)
Tax preparer brings back Jon Hamm as spokesperson.
Allergan (AGN)
Close
267.49
28.05
46.50
27.73
22.89
10.84
157.37
70.11
36.63
10.06
Chg.
-0.09
-0.08
+0.39
+0.13
+0.26
+0.13
-0.18
+0.18
+0.07
+0.09
% Chg
...%
-0.3%
+0.8%
+0.5%
+1.1%
+1.2%
-0.1%
+0.3%
+0.2%
+0.9%
%YTD
+19.7%
+20.6%
+32.8%
...%
+9.4%
-14.0%
+32.8%
+21.4%
+0.5%
...%
INTEREST RATES
MORTGAGE RATES
Type
Prime lending
Federal funds
3 mo. T-bill
5 yr. T-note
10 yr. T-note
Type
30 yr. fixed
15 yr. fixed
1 yr. ARM
5/1 ARM
Close 6 mo ago
4.50%
4.25%
1.17%
1.16%
1.33%
0.95%
2.25%
1.76%
2.48%
2.15%
Close 6 mo ago
3.91%
3.80%
3.23%
3.02%
3.43%
2.97%
3.75%
3.13%
SOURCE: BANKRATE.COM
COMMODITIES
Regulators approve completion of nuclear power plant.
Cintas (CTAS)
ETF, ranked by volume Ticker
SPDR S&P500 ETF Tr
SPY
SPDR Financial
XLF
iShs Emerg Mkts
EEM
Barc iPath Vix ST
VXX
VanE Vect Gld Miners
GDX
Alps Alerian MLP
AMLP
PowerShs QQQ Trust
QQQ
iShares EAFE ETF
EFA
SPDR Lehman HY Bd
JNK
ProShs Ultra VIX ST
UVXY
164.90 -2.73
Pharmaceutical firm files for rehearing on patent ruling.
CVS Health (CVS)
73.41
-1.23
-1.6
-7.0
133.35
-1.99
-1.5
+19.6
47.26 -0.72
-1.5
-33.3
Commodities
Close
Prev.
Cattle (lb.)
1.20
1.20
Corn (bushel)
3.52
3.51
Gold (troy oz.)
1,275.40 1,267.30
Hogs, lean (lb.)
.70
.69
Natural Gas (Btu.)
2.67
2.60
Oil, heating (gal.)
1.97
1.95
Oil, lt. swt. crude (bar.) 58.47
58.36
Silver (troy oz.)
16.36
16.15
Soybeans (bushel)
9.49
9.49
Wheat (bushel)
4.25
4.27
Chg.
unch.
+0.01
+8.10
+0.01
+0.07
+0.02
+0.11
+0.21
unch.
-0.02
% Chg.
+0.2%
+0.2%
+0.6%
+2.0%
+2.7%
+1.0%
+0.2%
+1.3%
+0.1%
-0.5%
% YTD
+0.7%
...%
+10.9%
+5.8%
-28.4%
+15.6%
+8.8%
+2.6%
-4.7%
+4.1%
FOREIGN CURRENCIES
Currency per dollar
Close
British pound
.7478
Canadian dollar
1.2733
Chinese yuan
6.5783
Euro
.8438
Japanese yen
113.31
Mexican peso
19.7284
Prev.
.7473
1.2733
6.5852
.8423
113.35
19.4684
6 mo. ago
.7891
1.3244
6.8309
.8971
111.34
18.0800
Yr. ago
.8141
1.3492
6.9467
.9585
117.60
20.7680
Pharmacy faces challenge in deal with Aetna.
Aon (AON)
Health consultant slips in wake of CVS-Aetna merger.
Foot Locker (FL)
Footwear retailer down on sales outlook.
SOURCE Bloomberg and The Associated Press
FOREIGN MARKETS
Country
Frankfurt
Hong Kong
Japan (Nikkei)
London
Mexico City
Close
13,072.79
29,578.01
22,902.76
7,592.66
48,387.93
Prev.
13,109.74
29,367.06
22,866.10
7,603.98
48,503.31
Change
-36.95
+210.95
+36.66
-11.32
-115.38
%Chg.
-0.3%
+0.7%
+0.2%
-0.2%
-0.2%
YTD %
+13.9%
+34.4%
+19.8%
+6.3%
+6.0%
SOURCE Morningstar, Dow Jones Indexes, The Associated Press
7T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017
ROYALS REPORT
See the
new pics
of Harry
& Meghan
Erin Jensen
and Maria Puente
USA TODAY
Other engagement photos can call it a day.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released photos
from their engagement Thursday morning, and they
are a dream.
In one image, Harry has his arms wrapped about
the Suits actress, who is clad in a long-sleeve Ralph &
Russo gown from the fall/winter 2016/2017 collection
that features a bodice with embroidered gilded feathers and a silk organza skirt. Markle opted for a similar
look by Self-Portrait for Wednesday’s pre-Christmas
lunch at Buckingham Palace.
Markle’s gown can be seen in all its glory in a another, candid image that the couple released.
The pictures also provide another look at that gorgeous sparkler that Harry told the press he designed
himself, which features two diamonds from Princess
Diana’s personal collection and another from Botswana, where the lovebirds spent time together.
Kensington Palace shared on Twitter that the engagement pictures were snapped by fashion and celebrity photographer Alexi Lubomirski earlier in the
week at Frogmore House, the 17th century manor on
the Windsor Castle estate about a mile from the castle.
It’s best known as a former royal family home and is
the site of the royal burial ground, the cemetery that
surrounds the royal mausoleum, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are buried.
Frogmore House, which is open to the public, is still
used for occasional family functions, including wedding receptions. The fact Harry and Markle’s engagement photos were taken at Frogmore might be a sign
that the pair are considering the location for their reception.
Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of
Cornwall, got married in St. George’s Chapel and afterward, a reception for 800 was held at Windsor Castle.
But Harry’s and his bride-to-be’s reception might be
smaller and thus a better fit for Frogmore.
The photogenic couple will tie the knot on May 19 at
St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
ALEXI
LUBOMIRSKI/
AFP/GETTY
IMAGES
LIFELINE
BOOK REVIEW
STYLE STAR
MICHELLE
MONAGHAN
‘Usual Santas’ is naughty
and nice crime fiction
The Path star
Michelle Monaghan sported a
menswear-inspired houndstooth suit accented with a
velvet collar
and red leather
boots Thursday
for a Paley Center panel about
the Hulu series’
new season.
WIREIMAGE
USA SNAPSHOTS©
Steph Cha
Special to USA TODAY
CARLSON BY PAUL MORIGI/GETTY IMAGES
MAKING WAVES
MISS AMERICA PAGEANT
Former Miss Americas Mallory Hagan
(2013), Kate Shindle (1998) and
Gretchen Carlson (1989) called for the
resignation of pageant CEO Sam Haskell and the board of directors after
Huff Post published their crude
emails about all three women. In a
statement to USA TODAY, the Miss
America Organization said, “Upon
learning of these emails, the board of
directors acted immediately, forming
an investigative committee and retaining independent legal counsel to
conduct a full investigation of the
matter.” A member of the TV production team was fired as a result of that
investigation; however, Haskell’s fate
has yet to be decided.
54%
of Americans say
they’ve either hosted or
attended a holiday meal
where some “holiday
disaster” occurred.
GETTY IMAGES, INVISION/AP
IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY
WHO’S CELEBRATING TODAY
SOURCE Maytag via YouGov survey
of 1,183 adults
MIKE B. SMITH, KARL GELLES/USA TODAY
Noël Wells is 31. Eddie Vedder is 53.
Susan Lucci is 71.
It’s easy to forget, what with the
tinsel and caroling and warm fuzzy
feelings, that the original Christmas
story was full of blood lust and intrigue. The manger, the wise men, the
gifts — the nativity was just the happy
ending for the pregnant woman on the
run, seeking shelter from a murderous
king and the hit put out on all the baby
boys of Bethlehem.
The Usual Santas (Soho Crime, 400
pp., eeeE), Soho Crime — an imprint
dedicated to international crime fiction —
presents 18 Christmas
capers full of bloody
holiday spirit and ho-hohomicide. The collection
spans continents and
centuries as well as the
broad range of the genre,
offering farce and noir,
character study and gorefest, ghost story and
morality tale.
The cover features a
cartoon bandit Santa
Claus with a sack full of
loot, promising some
lighthearted Christmas fun, and the
anthology certainly delivers both
thrills and cheer. In the eponymous
story, Mick Herron’s “The Usual Santas,” a cadre of mall Santas put their
beards together to sniff out the impostor in their midst, who may or may not
be the true Father Christmas.
In Timothy Hallinan’s “Chalee’s Nativity,” two homeless children get into
the Christmas spirit, finding ways to
be generous on the streets of Bangkok.
A few stories imagine Christmas escapades for figures readers already
know and adore — Jane Austen searches for stolen diamonds in Stephanie
Barron’s “Jane and the Midnight Clear,”
and Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes
reunite for sexy espionage in Cara
Black’s “Cabaret aux Assassins.” Niccolo Machiavelli makes a fascinating pragmatic anti-hero in Gary Corby’s “The
Prince (of Peace),” scheming and conspiring, but not entirely without heart.
All is not love and joy, of course —
many stories are dark and violent,
bringing some serious winter chill to the
collection. Ed Lin’s “Martin” is a creepy,
evil little gem that probes at the secrets
and resentment festering
within a tight-knit group
of friends. In “Bo Sau
(Vengeance),”
Henry
Chang tracks the satisfaction of a blood grudge after
a chance meeting in a fastfood restaurant in New
York’s Chinatown.
What these Christmas
stories have in common is
the humanity at the core
of crime — the ugliness,
the anxiety, the generosity. In “When the Time
Came,” Lene Kaaberbøl
and Agnete Friis create a
Danish nativity with a birth at the scene
of a murder: a refugee in labor, a selfless
nurse and a small-time criminal who
helps them at his own peril.
The sheriff in Tod Goldberg’s “Blue
Memories Start Calling” — a quiet, contemplative story despite the horrific
crime at its center — makes a merciful
decision “not based on the nuts and bolts
of the law, but on how people feel inside,
on the mechanics of the human heart.”
The space between law and the dictates
of human nature proves fertile ground on
Christmas, as on any other day.
8T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
A good story
features
creatures
Vulptex
❚ Hometown: Crait, the salt-covered
mineral planet.
❚ What they are: They’re like foxes, if
foxes had horns and a layer of 25,000
crystals instead of fur. The magical
creatures’ coats refract light to show
shimmering rainbows of color.
Carly Mallenbaum USA TODAY
❚ Behind the scenes: The critters took
their look from an abstract piece of
crystal sculpture, Morris says. “The idea
was, ‘What happens if you replace fur
with crystals?’ ”
Without the inclusion of mystical creatures, a
galaxy far, far away would look just like, well,
Ireland. ❚ In Star Wars: The Last Jedi (in theaters now), in addition to the regular aliens,
droids and Chewbacca, filmmakers created
brand-new otherworldly species that injected
extra magic into filming locations such as Skel-
Vulptex call the otherworldly mineral planet Crait home. LUCASFILM
lig Michael, the real location of Luke Skywalk❚ Behind the scenes: The space horses, which have
more than 1 million strands of fur, were created completely by the digital-effects team. Actors performed
on a riding rig before ILM turned the imaginary animal
beneath them into a “huge, imposing physical presence (with) a very sympathetic look, because they’ve
been abused by the horrible culture of the racetrack.”
The key to the innocent expression? Big eyes.
er’s (Mark Hamill) remote island. ❚ So what’s
the deal with these new creatures?
Ben Morris, creative director at Industrial Light &
Magic (ILM), says his team of 1,000 artists created
more than the “expected fantasy” in director Rian
Johnson’s new chapter of Star Wars, contributing to
2,000 shots in the final film.
“Everything we created was in service of the story”
rather than “spectacle just for the sake of spectacle,”
Morris says. “Audiences have become too sensitized to
this kind of use of visual effects and can quickly become bored if there isn’t a compelling story to justify
the imagery.”
Morris chatted with USA TODAY about the new
non-human characters and how they got their looks.
Porgs
❚ Hometown: Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker’s remote island.
❚ What they are: “When we were
on Skellig Michael (which
stands in for Ahch-To), it had
tens of thousands of puffins,”
Morris says. It’s no surprise that
The Last Jedi’s now-famous porgs
look and act a lot like those
inquisitive seabirds, only fatter,
furrier, louder and beakless.
Caretakers
❚ Hometown: Ahch-To.
Caretakers have heads like fish, feet like birds and a
reverence for their island. JONATHAN OLLEY/LUCASFILM
❚ What they are: The fishlike anthropomorphic amphibians are the preservationists on their centuriesold island. Knock down a rock formation and you’ll tick
off the all-female fish-nuns.
the porgs seen onscreen were puppets, Morris says,
but their adorable eyes were too big to open and close
in real life. The visual-effects team added the blinking,
twitching and breathing to the playful creatures.
❚ Behind the scenes: Wait for the deleted scenes, Morris says, because then you might see what the male
caretakers (who were cut from the film) look like.
Human actors brought the bipedal animals to life, but
ILM turned their feet into birdlike ones.
Fathiers
❚ Hometown: Canto Bight, the wealthy city with
casinos and fathier races.
❚ What they are: “They’re the first thing (the director) wanted to speak about three years ago,”
when planning began on The Last Jedi, Morris
says. Though they’re enormous, rideable and reminiscent of the tauntauns in The Empire Strikes Back,
the fathiers are a “completely new species (that’s a)
mixture of a giant horse, dog, cat and lion,” Morris
says. The gentle giants can run 50 mph — which is why
they’re used for racing — and are large enough for a
6-foot-tall man to stand under their bellies.
❚ Behind the scenes: About half of
Porgs are odd birds. ED MILLER
MUSIC
Dr. Dre’s landmark
‘The Chronic’ turns 25
BB-9E
❚ Hometown: Starkiller Base.
❚ What he is: He looks a lot like good droid BB-8, but
the baddie is black with “more surface details, grills
and dark holes,” Morris says. Instead of BB-8’s higherpitched “wee” sounds, BB-9E’s noises are lower and
can sound like flatulence.
❚ Behind the scenes: BB-“hate,” as Morris’ team called
the droid, is a real robot. But visual-effects artists
post-production had to erase the reflection of the film
crew from his shiny body.
LISTEN UP
SONG OF THE WEEK
Patrick Ryan USA TODAY
Dr. Dre’s The Chronic was released Dec. 15, 1992. Twenty-five years later, we look back on some things you may not have known about the rap
icon’s seminal solo debut.
1
2
3
The cover art nods to the logo for Zig
Zag Rolling Papers — fitting, given
the album’s cannabis-inspired title.
Jackson Browne, ‘The Dreamer’
The album spent eight months in
the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart,
peaking at No. 3.
The legendary rocker has added his voice to the groundswell of support for
“dreamers,” the immigrants who entered the United States as minors as part of the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With DACA possibly
ending next year, Browne’s new song tells the story of an immigrant girl who is
brought to the USA to reunite with her father. It’s written and performed with the
Mexican-American roots band Los Cenzontles and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos.
Sung in English and Spanish, the song is a colorfully strummed tribute to America’s immigrant heritage from a singer who has spent decades layering the personal with the political in his songwriting. — Maeve McDermott
The Chronic is regarded as one of
the best-selling rap albums of all
time, with 7.5 million copies sold worldwide to date. It was bested by Dr. Dre’s
1999 follow-up, 2001, with 9.3 million.
4
It notched two hits on the Billboard
Hot 100 singles chart: Nuthin’ but a
‘G’ Thang, which peaked at No. 2, and
Let Me Ride, which reached No. 34.
Dr. Dre’s
solo debut
set the rap
standard for
years.
5
Let Me Ride won a Grammy Award
for best rap solo performance. The
album also earned a nod for rap performance by a duo or group, for Nuthin’ but
a ‘G’ Thang.
6
Dr. Dre discovered Snoop Dogg after
the latter freestyled over En Vogue’s
Hold On. As Snoop recalled to LA Weekly, Dre called him and said, “ ‘Man, that
(expletive) was dope. I want to get with
you. Come to the studio Monday.’ ”
7
The Chronic helped launch the career of Snoop, who had appeared on
Dr. Dre’s Deep Cover but made an unforgettable showing on 11 of the album’s 16
tracks — most memorably, Nuthin’ but a
‘G’ Thang.
8
The album also introduced the
world to rapper/producer Warren G,
who broke out with his own hit, Regulate, featuring Nate Dogg in 1994.
9
The opening drums of Led Zeppelin’s bluesy 1971 single When the Levee Breaks are sampled on Lyrical Gangbang.
10
James Brown’s Funky Drummer
also is sampled on Let Me Ride.
PLAYLIST
Garden Grove
Sublime
I’ve always been a fan of Sublime. They
transcended everything and bridged the
gap between so many cultures.
Where is My Mind
Pixies
One of my favorite songs of all time. Also
one of the best placements in a movie
ever. It captured the crazy inside Edward
Norton’s mind at the end of Fight Club.
Man in Black
Johnny Cash
The anthem of all anthems. One of my
favorite songs of all time. I feel like this
song captures his whole position as an
artist.
KEVIN WINTER/GETTY IMAGES
I’m So Tired
The Beatles
One of my favorite John Lennon songs.
FOR IHEARTMEDIA
Skywalker
Miguel ft. Travis
Scott
The melody’s amazing. One of the most
creative songs out right now.
Doves in the Wind
SZA feat. Kendrick
Lamar
One of my favorite projects of recent
memory.
Not My Job
Mac Dre
Best Mac Dre song of all time. Ask anyone.
New Freezer
Rich the Kid
Instant turn-up.
The Plan
G-Eazy
One of my favorite songs to make on the
album.
Ric Flair Drip
Offset & Metro
Boomin
The flow Offset came with was the coldest I’d heard in a minute.
GETTY IMAGES
FOR COACHELLA
11
Kanye West touted the album’s
influence on his music in an interview with Rolling Stone, calling it
“the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie
Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life. It’s
the benchmark you measure your album against if you’re serious.”
Dr. Dre and his producers are
credited with pioneering a new
sound known as “G-funk” on The
Chronic, whose live instruments and
synth-laden melodies were “a sharp
departure from the darker, sampleheavy East Coast-based sound that
dominated hip-hop at the time,” according to BET.
Although N.W.A had since disbanded, Eazy-E still received 25
to 50 cents for every copy sold of The
Chronic because of his deal with Ruthless Records.
12
13
G-Eazy has a lot to celebrate this month, with
No Limit, his single with
A$AP Rocky and Cardi B,
cracking the Billboard
Hot 100’s top 10 songs,
and his new album, The
Beautiful and the
Damned, out now. In
honor of his breakthrough 2017, the Bay
Area-bred rapper shares
a playlist of favorites and
influences with USA
TODAY.
9T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017
MOVIES
In theaters this weekend
A Bad Moms Christmas
eeEE
Plot: A trio of underappreciated women have
their holidays turned upside
down when their own bad
moms come to town.
Directors: Jon Lucas and
Scott Moore
Compiled from reviews by USA TODAY film critics
1 hour, 44 minutes
Justice League
Rating: R
Upside: Kathryn Hahn singlehandedly keeps the sequel
entertaining with over-the-top
crassness.
Downside: It’s missing a lot of
the cleverness and rebellious
nature of the hit original.
Plot: Batman (Ben Affleck)
and Wonder Woman (Gal
Gadot) gather a group of
superhumans to face an
invading alien threat.
Director: Zack Snyder
eeeE
eeee
Plot: A futuristic cop (Ryan
Gosling) unearths a discovery
that could throw the balance
between mankind and
bioengineered beings
into chaos.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
2 hours, 44 minutes
Murder on the Orient Express
Rating: R
Upside: A super-stylish and
deeply human sequel that
outclasses the original sci-fi
classic.
Downside: The runtime is a bit
staggering, but at least it’s
never boring.
Plot: A detective (Kenneth
Branagh) has to question
a slew of suspects when
a murder occurs on a
luxury train.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
1 hour, 49 minutes
Pitch Perfect 3
Rating: PG
Upside: Pixar’s most songfilled effort to date is a joyful
tale about identity and love
for family.
Downside: It’s unabashed in
its emotional manipulation,
though you won’t mind by the
time you realize it.
Plot: The Bellas reunite for an
international USO tour full of
musical competition, growing
up and daddy issues.
Director: Trish Sie
eeeg
Plot: A Mexican boy (voiced
by Anthony Gonzalez) has
musical dreams that lead him
to visit his deceased family in
the Land of the Dead.
Directors: Lee Unkrich and
Adrian Molina
eEEE
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Like all dysfunctional
holidays, this unfunny, crude
movie eventually ends and
everyone goes home.
Downside: Gibson is the
absolute wrong choice to play
Wahlberg’s womanizing,
boozing father.
Plot: New heroes and old
legends join the fray as the
Resistance tries to survive
against the resurging evil
First Order.
Director: Rian Johnson
eeeg
2 hours, 30 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Upside: This film gives Adam
Driver a chance to shine in a
stellar entry in the saga.
Downside: Even for a fun
“Star Wars” movie, the run
time is a bit much.
LUCASFILM LTD.
eeeE
Plot: A struggling actor
(Dave Franco) helps his
eccentric filmmaker friend
(James Franco) see his vision
through on his dream film,
“The Room.”
Director: James Franco
1 hour, 45 minutes
Thor: Ragnarok
Rating: R
Upside: James Franco is
hilarious and fantastic as
the eccentric indie director
at the heart of the film.
Downside: Some of the film’s
funniest moments might be
lost on those who haven’t seen
cult hit ‘The Room.
Plot: Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
rounds up a squad to keep
the goddess of death (Cate
Blanchett) from taking over
the realm of Asgard.
Director: Taika Waititi
eeeE
2 hours, 10 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Hemsworth gets
a chance to showcase his
comedic muscles along with
his beefy biceps.
Downside: The movie
struggles with tone and leans
zany to a fault.
MARVEL STUDIOS
A24
Plot: P.T. Barnum (Hugh
Jackman) risks everything to
put together a museum of
oddities and also creates a
family of outcasts.
Director: Michael Gracey
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Some catchy needle
drops (including George
Michael) go together with a
few fun callbacks.
Downside: The musical
theme has given way to more
insipid slapstick comedy and
strange secret-agent high
jinks.
1 hour, 40 minutes
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
The Greatest Showman
1 hour, 34 minutes
UNIVERSAL PICTURES
Plot: Dads Dusty (Mark
Wahlberg) and Brad (Will
Ferrell) are back with new
headaches — their own
visiting fathers (Mel Gibson
and John Lithgow).
Director: Sean Anders
The Disaster Artist
1 hour, 54 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Upside: Branagh is solid on
both sides of the camera,
especially as the awesomely
mustached supersleuth.
Downside: The all-star cast
is wasted on an overly
complicated, ponderous
murder mystery.
egEE
PIXAR
Daddy’s Home 2
eeEE
20TH CENTURY FOX
WARNER BROS.
Coco
Rating: PG-13
Upside: The A-list movie does
justice to its comic-book
characters and offers quite a
bit of underlying emotion.
Downside: A bad CGI villain,
narrative issues and a lack of
character development don’t
do the film any favors.
WARNER BROS.
STX ENTERTAINMENT
Blade Runner 2049
1 hour, 59 minutes
egEE
1 hour, 45 minutes
Wonder
Rating: PG
Upside: The soundtrack is
filled with amazing, catchy
showtunes from “La La Land”
songwriters Pasek and Paul.
Downside: Jackman’s
Barnum is the least interesting
aspect of his own biopic.
Plot: Life for the Pullmans
orbits around Auggie (Jacob
Tremblay), a child with
extreme facial irregularities.
When his parents (Julia
Roberts, Owen Wilson) decide
it’s time to stop home-schooling him, they pray the world
will welcome their son.
Directors: Stephen Chbosky
20TH CENTURY FOX
eeeE
1 hour, 53 minutes
Rating: PG
Upside: Fifth grade can
be a treacherous place,
but the good guys outrun
the school bullies in this
heartwarming tale.
Downside: There is no
downside. We could all use a
dose of goodness right now.
LIONSGATE
Irresistibly athletic.
Irresistibly lucrative.
Download our free app, now with virtual reality.
Feed your inner fan with in-depth player interviews,
up-to-the-minute scores, and the most thrilling moments in sports.
Download our free app,
now with virtual reality.
Tend to your growing financial future.
10T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
Stoops now Oklahoma’s biggest fan
George Schroeder
Columnist
USA TODAY NETWORK
NORMAN, Okla. — Boredom has not
been a problem. Well, check that. Every
so often, when he has awakened with
nothing to do and all day to do it, he has
been at a loss. But there’s a cure.
“I’ll go to the golf course,” says Bob
Stoops, recent retiree, adding: “I don’t
know what I’ll do in the winter.”
After 34 years in coaching, Stoops
seems relaxed and ready for whatever
comes next, even if he’s not sure what
that is. Since his abrupt announcement
is June, life has been, he says, “strange
and different” — but strangely good.
The strangest and best part, maybe,
is what has happened at Oklahoma.
Lincoln Riley, hand-picked by Stoops as
his successor, has taken the Sooners to
12-1, the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff. They face Georgia in a semifinal at the Rose Bowl.
Stoops has remained significantly invested, like a very interested fan with an
exclusive backstage pass. He is a regular
at Oklahoma’s practices and a familiar
figure in the halls of the Sooners’ new
football facility.
“It’s easy to be there,” he says.
Or not to be. For the last few months,
as Baker Mayfield and the Sooners
rolled to their third consecutive Big 12
championship and their second College
Football Playoff berth in three seasons,
Stoops’ workouts have lasted a little
longer. He has traveled with his wife
Carol. He has watched his sons’ high
school football games. And he has
played golf.
“I still don’t have a routine. … Every
day is different,” he says, and the only
thing wrong with that statement is it
doesn’t go far enough. For Stoops, everything is different.
It’s hard not to look at Stoops and
wonder: Doesn’t he need to prepare for
practice? Or watch film of Georgia? Or
text some recruits? But the only firm
item on his agenda this morning is to
meet Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione to shoot a promotional video.
There’s a high school basketball game to
watch. Not much else.
“None of it’s bad,” he says. “It’s been
good. I’m not as preoccupied. I’ve got
my own space. I’m able to see my boys
play more. It’s just finding a new routine.”
Bob and Carol Stoops check out the scoreboard on Nov. 25 as Oklahoma defeats
West Virginia. SUE OGROCKI SUE OGROCKI, AP
Major adjustment
That’s not to say it hasn’t been a significant adjustment. Stoops says the
first half of the season, or maybe twothirds, “wasn’t great.”
“It doesn’t mean it’s still not right,” he
says. “What I mean by that is, it was expected. I knew it would be that way. You
don’t just make that kind of life change
(away) from that regimented schedule
for 30 years as a coach and all of the sudden, it’s easy.”
But it was made easier because of
Stoops’ familiarity with Oklahoma’s
coaching staff — and starting with Riley,
their continued acceptance of his presence. In his 18 years as Oklahoma’s head
coach, Stoops rarely spent much time in
offensive meetings. But this season, he
often sat in on Riley’s quarterback
meetings, in part to become familiar
with that week’s game plan.
“This way I know what to anticipate
on Saturday,” Stoops says, “… so that I’ll
know when I watch it, what I’m seeing.”
Oh yeah, the watching. If Stoops has
unplugged, that means literally when it
comes to the headsets during games.
And that’s been perhaps the most difficult part of the transition.
The highlight clip from Stoops’ season came Sept. 9, his 57th birthday.
Along with his wife Carol and daughter
Mackenzie, he watched from a sky suite
as Oklahoma dismantled Ohio State,
perhaps the most impressive road victory of the season by any team. When
the Sooners scored a second-half touchdown, the broadcast flipped to Stoops
leaping to his feet and pumping his fist.
“I didn’t know the cameras were on
me,” he says. “I’m up there trying to
hide. All the time they seem to find you, I
don’t know how. But I got tired of sitting
there like, ‘Hey man, I don’t care what it
looks like. I’m excited. I’m genuinely excited and I’m gonna show it.’ ”
He remains genuinely invested in
Oklahoma’s success. His announcement came in June, he says, because
that’s when he made up his mind. There
wasn’t a health scare. And there weren’t
ulterior motives. Stoops had been mulling the idea for weeks, and looking back,
he believes it was perfect timing. He
handed Riley control of a very talented,
veteran roster, which provided a springboard for a stellar season and fed naturally into successful recruiting.
“I felt it proper for Lincoln and the
program,” he says. “It would empower
him immediately, having a strong and
good football team. And I felt the team
could handle it, me stepping out and
him stepping in, that with the leadership on the team it would be smooth and
seamless. The other part is, give Lincoln
the credit. No one is a ‘final four’ team in
June. Along with the other coaches, he
had the focus and keeping the team on
track. … It was as smooth and seamless
as it could possibly be. And that’s not
the case if (the coaching change) happens now.”
Is he coming back?
Stoops knows people wonder if he
might soon be back on a sideline somewhere. During the last few months, several suitors gauged his interest. He
turned them all away.
But here’s a theory: Stoops means
what he says right now about not returning, but maybe in a year or so he’ll
feel differently. He nods.
“That’s fair,” Stoops says. “Sometimes you get in life something you don’t
like … you have to do something different. But I don’t see that happening with
me. I’ll figure out a new path, and I’ll do
it.”
As important as anything else, retirement included making all of his twin
sons’ high school football games. Drake
and Isaac Stoops are seniors at Norman
North High School. In recent seasons,
Stoops had attended as many of their
games as he could. But he was typically
preoccupied with the next day’s game
plan, and he routinely left early. This
year, he made every game, and stayed
through to the end
“I think that’s the other part of why I
did what I did,” he says, “I was to be able
to be there more mentally and physically for my family as well as for myself.”
Although the image of Stoops celebrating in Ohio Stadium lingers, it’s another moment in another Ohio stadium
that might define how different this season has been. On Oct. 7, the day Oklahoma was upset at home by Iowa State, he
accompanied Drake on an official visit
to Athens, Ohio, where they attended
Ohio’s game against Central Michigan.
A week later, he skipped the Texas
game, too, though for a different reason.
“I can’t go down into the middle of all
that,” he says — though he laughs at the
idea of wading through the crowd at the
Texas State Fair.
“Too many people,” he says. “No good
place to sit and watch it.”
That was part of the problem: Just
watching. He spent the first two-thirds
of the season trying to figure out how to
watch games, and where best to watch
them (for home games, he settled into a
small box on the stadium’s west side
where he could remain out of sight).
“It’s just hard,” he says. “I can’t be
around a bunch of people. It matters too
much to me. People ask me questions
and I don’t want to be rude, but I’m still
too emotional and invested in it to
watch casually. I just can’t do it.”
But in the season’s final weeks,
Stoops says, watching didn’t seem quite
as difficult. Likewise for the rest of his
different and strange new existence. It
has gotten easier, as the weeks and
months pass, to just let go.
“The team’s doing great,” he says.
“That’s all that really matters in my
mind. I’ll figure my world out as I go.”
Pro golfers share memories of best gifts
Steve DiMeglio
USA TODAY NETWORK
Back in the day, when golf manufacturers weren’t sending boxes upon boxes of goodies for free, William McGirt
had to rely on Santa Claus for his next
addition to the golf bag.
While the winner of the 2016 Memorial said most of his presents at Christmas were golf related, the gift he got
when he was 15 stood out.
“I remember one year when graphite
shafts first came out and I was dying to
have a driver with a graphite shaft. I
don’t remember the exact model of the
shaft, but I do remember it was a Mizuno driver and I thought it was the greatest thing in the world,” McGirt said.
Only one problem.
USA SNAPSHOTS©
308
Receiving yards tallied by
Hawaii’s Jason Rivers in the
2006 Hawaii Bowl, most by
a receiver in a bowl game
all time.
NOTE Rivers is the only player in bowl history to
amass 300 receiving yards in a single bowl game.
SOURCE NCAA
ELLEN J. HORROW, JANET LOEHRKE/USA TODAY
“I couldn’t hit it very well,” McGirt
added with a laugh.
A driver Brian Harman got worked
very well.
“I got a TaylorMade Burner Bubble
driver when I was 13,” said the winner of
the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship.
"That was the driver to have back then.
And boy, did it work. It was great.”
With the holiday season upon us,
some of golf ’s best players in the world
took a drive down memory lane to the
times they unwrapped their presents
hoping to see the latest golf equipment
that would head straight to their bag.
“As a kid, I remember my first set of
irons,” former world No. 1 Luke Donald
said. “I was 12 years old and I got Seve
(Ballesteros) irons and they were the
greatest thing I ever saw.”
Reigning PGA Tour player of the year
Justin Thomas still has one of the gifts
he got as a kid. The winner of the 2017
PGA Championship said his mom and
dad would play a little game of hideand-seek with his “big” present hidden
somewhere else in the house.
“I remember one year, I don't know
how old I was, but I was opening my presents. I was sitting on the floor and I
(saw) a golf club box or whatever
wrapped under the couch,” Thomas
said. “I'm like, ‘What's that?’ And they
saw that I saw it and noticed I pulled it
out. I think it was a Scottie Cameron
that year that I still have. That was a
pretty cool gift.”
World Golf Hall of Fame member Davis Love III didn’t have his own full set of
clubs for years after he picked up the
game. His bag was full of his mom’s leftover clubs, or his dad’s backup clubs.
That changed as he unwrapped his presents when he was 15.
Justin Thomas hits a shot out of the sand on the fourth hole during the third
round foursomes matches of the President's Cup. BILL STREICHER/USA TODAY SPORTS
“I got a set of Hogan Apex irons from
my dad, who was on the Hogan staff,”
Love said. “I finally had my own clubs.
When I got those Apex irons, it was
great. And that’s exactly what I asked
Santa for.
Patrick Reed said the best golf-related present he ever got was an early
Christmas gift he received from a friend.
He got it a few weeks ahead of the 2016
Ryder Cup, where he played a starring
role as the U.S. defeated Europe for the
first time since 2008.
It was a golf bag, but not just any golf
bag. No, his friend got a Callaway staff
bag made specifically to honor Arnold
Palmer at the Masters one year. Then his
friend got the King to sign the bag for
Reed.
“I always wanted to get a bag signed
by Mr. Palmer but I really was never
around him much,” Reed said. “And I got
it before the Ryder Cup and it’s in my office and I see it every time I walk into the
office.
“It’s just great. Best golf present I’ve
ever gotten.”
Justin Leonard can’t remember the
best golf-related Christmas present he
got. He said he obviously got plenty of
golf presents as a kid but nothing, no
matter how long he jogged his memory,
popped up. Instead of a driver, a lightsaber stood out.
“Seriously, I can’t remember any golf
equipment,” said the winner of 12 PGA
Tour titles, including the 1997 Open
Championship. “But I remember when I
was 5, I got a sweet Stars Wars watch.
That was the coolest thing I ever got.”
11T
USA TODAY ❚ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017
NBA
Beasley earns NBA relevance once again
Former No. 2 pick learns
from difficult journey
Jeff Zillgitt
USA TODAY NETWORK
In the spring of 2016, Michael Beasley
returned to the United States after a
season playing for the Shandong Golden
Stars in the Chinese Basketball Association.
He was in Petros, Tenn. – “in the middle of nowhere – me, my wife, my kids,
some animals. I had to drive 45 minutes
away to a local high school to work out,”
Beasley said – and waiting for an NBA
team to sign him for the final 6-7 weeks
of the regular season.
Beasley had just been named international MVP of the Chinese league, averaging 31.9 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.8
assists, two steals and 1.3 blocks. He
worked hard that season (his second
stint in China), became a fan favorite
and put himself in position for an NBA
return.
But there wasn’t much interest. “It
was heartbreaking,” he said. “I thought
in my mind after what I did in China I
was going to come back to an NBA
team.”
The Dallas Mavericks placed a cursory call. “They just asked me how I felt,”
Beasley said. “I don’t think it got far as
interest. My perception precedes me.
That phone call was just how I feel, what
I think.”
In China, Beasley came to terms with
the fact that his NBA prospects had just
about vanished. “I was like, ‘Oh man, my
NBA career could be over,’ ” he said. “So I
stopped thinking about the NBA and
started thinking about making myself a
better player, a better person for my situation.
“I honestly thought I was going to be
in China for a third year and the rest of
my career.”
Two weeks after he returned from
China, the Houston Rockets called. He
knew interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff
from their days with the Minnesota
Timberwolves. “I wasn’t thinking of
Houston being a fit because of them being an analytics team – shooting threepointers and layups,” Beasley said. “My
whole game is mid-range. Houston
wasn’t on my radar at all.”
The Rockets signed him, and Beasley
showed he can still play. Before the start
of the 2016-17 season, the Milwaukee
Bucks acquired him, and this past sum-
In 25 minutes, Knicks small forward Michael Beasley scored 32 points and
collected 12 rebounds in the Knicks’ 102-93 victory against the Celtics.
BRAD PENNER/USA TODAY SPORTS
mer, the New York Knicks signed him.
“If you love to do it, do it. That’s why I
play basketball,” Beasley said. “That’s
why being in China was so important.
When the NBA was no longer a realistic
dream, basketball kept me sane.
“It’s ironic. You have to go halfway
across the world to a place you’ve never
been to find yourself.”
The light on Beasley’s NBA career
flickered. It never went out.
“I believe in tomorrow,” he said.
On Thursday, Beasley had fans at
Madison Square Garden on their feet
and chanting “MVP, MVP.” In 25 minutes, he scored 32 points and collected
12 rebounds in the Knicks’ 102-93 victory against the Boston Celtics. It was
his third game with 30 or more points
this season.
During practices with the Bucks last
season, the coaching staff didn’t know
who among Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Beasley was the best
scorer.
Beasley can still light it up. Scoring
was never Beasley’s issue. A commitment to the defensive end, maturity issues and off-the-court problems were
his problems.
He has had numerous traffic, marijuana violations and a sexual assault accusation that never resulted in charges.
He hasn’t made it easy on himself,
and he didn’t always have it easy – as a
talented teen and young NBA player,
some close to Beasley viewed him as
their financial aid.
This is not to absolve Beasley.
“Me doing childish things just
doesn’t seem as attractive as it used to,”
Beasley said.
There’s no question his talent is enticing. The Miami Heat were intoxicated
with Beasley so much they picked him
No. 2 overall in the 2008 draft and
signed him two other times.
During the conversation, his phone
rang. It was one of his daughter’s calling
on Facetime to ask when daddy would
be home. “Yeah, I’m more mature –
thinking about others as opposed to
thinking about myself all the time. I’ve
got kids, man,” he said.
He has priorities which he didn’t always understand during his rookie season as a 19-year-old in Miami. As the
story was relayed, Beasley bought seven
cars during his first season with the
Heat.
“Nine,” he corrected when asked. “All
I knew was I’ve got a lot of money, and I
want a lot of things. I had a fixation on
cars. I’m not even going to lie to you.”
One day after a practice in his rookie
season, Beasley drove by a car dealership, and an Audi R8 caught his attention. “I stopped, test drove it and went
home with it,” he said.
What did he drive to the dealer? “A
Mercedes.”
Did he trade it in? “I took the Mercedes home, too. I had my friend catch a
cab and drive it home.”
How many cars does he have today?
“One, a Tahoe,” he said. “I’ve got priorities. Back then, I didn’t have any responsibilities. It was easy to spend the
money.
“To learn the value of a dollar, you
have to spend one. I didn’t know the value of a dollar back then.”
In the Bucks locker room last season,
he told his story as a cautionary tale to
younger teammates.
“A No. 2 pick, out of the league and
nobody thinks that will be them,” Bucks
coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s not afraid
to share his story. That shows his leadership and maturity.”
But Beasley grew in China. A Shandong fan created calligraphy artwork to
honor Beasley’s performances, and
Beasley went into the stands to thank
the man. Once, Beasley was sick and
stayed in Shandong while the team flew
to Shenzhen the day before the game.
Beasley woke up feeling better on the
day of the game, bought an airline ticket
and met up with the team.
“I loved the people. They loved me,”
Beasley said. “I didn’t have to try for
them to love me. I just did what I do, and
they respected it. That felt good.”
He enjoyed his short stint with the
Rockets. “I got a chance to meet some
genuine people,” he said. “It started
with James (Harden). People don’t
know. He’s a warm-hearted guy. Daryl
Morey was real cool. The owner (former
owner Leslie Alexander). The organization took me in and made me feel like I
fit. We all just wanted to feel needed and
wanted.”
He found more acceptance with the
Bucks.
“Being here validates that it’s not
about how good you are, it’s about the
perfect fit,” Beasley said a year ago. “I
can me be here. I have a voice here. I’ve
never had a voice anywhere else. I’ve
seen a lot in the eight years in the league
– a lot of different teams. I know a lot
now, and these guys respect that, especially the young guys. I haven’t gotten
that before.”
Things Michael Beasley Says could
be a daily feature. He can be funny. After
his 32-point outburst against the Celtics, he was asked when he started feeling the hot hand.
“January 9, 1989,” he said, referencing
his birth date.
But there’s more to Beasley than a
chuckle, a Twitter joke and meme.
Follow USA TODAY Sports‘ Jeff Zillgitt
on Twitter.
Family paved long path to Pyeongchang Games
Martin Rogers
USA TODAY NETWORK
This holiday season, the most fulfilling parts of life for America’s great
Olympic short-track speedskating hope
come in rapid bursts of intensity — blink
and he’ll miss them. The journeys that
follow take a lot longer.
Last weekend John-Henry Krueger,
22, scorched the ice at the U.S. Olympic
trials in Salt Lake City to book his place
at February’s Winter Games, four years
after his dreams of a spot in Sochi were
crushed by swine flu contracted a day
before the qualifier.
This time, his mother, Heidi, sat
watching intently, eyes glued to the glistening, treacherous surface. The scene
unfolding before her was one of dominance. Krueger was peerless at Kearns
Olympic Oval, winning four of six
events (each of short-track’s three distances were skated twice) and never
placing worse than third, to finish on top
of the points standings by a street.
Yet if Krueger’s status as an Olympic
medal contender is built on raw speed
and flawless technique, what came next
was a test of endurance. Mother and son
shared a drive that slogged its way from
Salt Lake, through the sleepy roads of
Wyoming and Nebraska and seven other states, back to the family’s home in
the Peters Township area of Pittsburgh.
“The road trip has basically been me
trying to distract my mom’s eyes from
the speedometer so I can go as fast as
humanly possible,” Krueger laughed
during a telephone conversation with
USA TODAY early in the journey. “I am
known for overestimating my strengths
during long trips. I think, ‘Oh, we can do
the whole (1,844-mile) drive in one sitting, no problem,’ then I drive four hours
and I am like, ‘OK, let’s rethink.’ ”
Monday night the Kruegers made it
to Omaha, slept a few hours, then woke
at 4 a.m. to complete the mission.
There was a practical reason for the
drive. When you’re in your early 20s it’s
not easy to rent a car and get it insured
without paying an exorbitant cost. So
when Krueger needed to spend a month
training in Salt Lake before the trials, his
mom brought his 2011 black Toyota
Camry out. Traversing the country
twice in such fashion was an extreme
display of love and support, but it’s not a
surprise.
Meet the Kruegers, and you soon find
out they’ll do anything for their kids,
both John-Henry and his older brother,
Cole, also an outstanding Olympicbound skater who moved to Hungary
and competes for that nation.
Waiting at home was father Bryan,
who opted against journeying to Utah as
the stresses of major competition get
his nerves jangling. It is easy to see why.
Short-track’s appeal and entertainment
lie in its unpredictability and inherent
danger, and even the most seasoned
campaigner can fall afoul of rotten luck
or simple misjudgment.
Bryan is a corporate accountant, Heidi a figure skating coach, and while they
are comfortably off, speedskating at
elite levels can be painfully expensive.
Skate blades alone can run into thousands of dollars. Major corporate sponsorships are tough to come by.
Krueger’s costs are increased by opting to follow his own training path, basing himself first in South Korea and now
the Netherlands on the advice of former
U.S. national team coach Jae Su Chun.
“If I was in the U.S. program, training
would be free,” Krueger said. “But there
is only one opportunity in your life to
not only be a professional athlete but to
be at your peak performance. Everywhere I travel all over the world is part of
the bigger picture of trying to reach my
maximum potential. Trying to find what
works best for me.”
John-Henry Krueger competes in the
semifinals of the 1,000 meters last
weekend at Utah Olympic Oval.
JEFF SWINGER/USA TODAY SPORTS
The time away has had a twofold effect of improving his skating power and
forcing him to grow up in a hurry. It
shows.
“John-Henry’s greatest strength is
his maturity, and that is because of the
experiences he has had and the people
he has worked with,” said Hall of Famer
Jack Mortell, who has held an abundance of positions within the sport and
who gave Krueger off-ice guidance last
weekend.
The Kruegers don’t get to see their
sons anywhere near as much as they’d
all like.
“I get to have the boys home so infrequently so I am thrilled for whatever
amount of time I get,” Heidi Krueger
said. “But it won’t be long ... before we
have to jump in the car and go.”
After getting up on Christmas morning for gifts and breakfast casserole,
cinnamon rolls and monkey bread,
thoughts will soon return to the road
again. The Kruegers will leave at lunchtime and drive more than four hours to
Washington, D.C., so that John-Henry
can catch a flight to Amsterdam. From
there he will board a train to the north of
the Netherlands, where he trains with
renowned Dutch coach Jeroen Otter.
The drive will bring back memories of
the boys’ youth, when the Kruegers
made twice-weekly round trips to the
capital for elite training sessions, often
not getting back until 4.30 a.m. They
would stay at campgrounds and be
hosted for dinner by some of the local
Korean-American families that gravitate toward short-track.
“It was a lot of effort, but the most important thing was we were together,”
Heidi added. “Skating was the framework and the purpose behind it, but for
us it was family time and it was special.”
Early in their careers, John-Henry
and Cole weren’t the only ones to enjoy
their mother’s cooking. At times there
were a dozen or more short-trackers
who moved to the ’Burgh for training
and found a temporary slice of home in
the Krueger household. One of them,
Ryan Pivirotto, also made the 2018
Olympic team.
“It was as warm a welcome as you
could get,” Pivirotto said. “I was there for
about a year, and I remember delicious
food, an army of people in the house,
and somehow it all worked.”
In February, the Pivirotto and Krueger parents will stay an hour north of
Pyeongchang to cut costs. They will
make their own meals, take buses to see
the events and get by. They’re “not there
for a vacation” as Heidi says, but to offer
their support.
“I don’t know any other family that
has the drive and passion for the sport
that mine does,” Krueger said.
It won’t be a typical Christmas, and
with the opening ceremony six weeks
away, it is certainly not a typical year.
It’s hardly a typical life nor a typical
family either, and Krueger cherishes the
way his parents’ backing has propelled
his sporting aspirations.
“The way we do things makes me feel
like nothing can stand in my way,”
Krueger said. “It makes you feel invincible.”
12T
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2017 ❚ USA TODAY
WEATHER
WEATHER ONLINE
USATODAY.COM
TODAY’S FORECAST
Seattle
40/29s
NATIONAL FORECAST
Helena
11/-7c
Portland
41/32s
Bismarck
23/8c
Portland
34/27i
Billings
14/5c
Boise
36/19sn
Mpls-St. Paul
18/10pc
Rapid City
21/7sn
Salt Lake City
40/25sn
San Francisco
57/43pc
Denver
38/11sn
Las Vegas
59/40pc
Los Angeles
70/50pc
San Diego
68/46pc
Phoenix
65/43pc
PRECIPITATION
Milwaukee
31/17pc
Albuquerque
50/27pc
Little Rock
50/34c
Dallas-Fort Worth
53/36s
Houston
61/39pc
El Paso
57/34s
Birmingham
66/41r
Tampa
81/64pc
Alaska
Miami
83/66pc
Honolulu
81/71pc
Anchorage
30/26c
Forecasts and
graphics provided by
AccuWeather Inc.
©2017
Precipitation
Thunderstorms
c Cloudy
dr Drizzle
f Fog
h Haze
10s
i Ice
r Rain
pc Partly cloudy s Sunny
20s
Rain
30s
Showers
sf Snow flurries
sh Showers
Hilo
78/64pc
Juneau
26/16s
40s
Baltimore
62/36r
Charleston
74/59c
Atlanta
68/45r
Hawaii
Below 10
New York
53/39r
Philadelphia
57/39r
Orlando
83/59pc
New Orleans
69/49r
San Antonio
63/38pc
Temperatures (°F)
Boston
40/33r
Detroit
38/26c Cleveland
38/25sn
Chicago
Pittsburgh
35/20pc Indianapolis
49/30r
Omaha
39/24sn
27/15c
St. Louis
Washington
43/25pc
Cincinnati 64/41r
Kansas City
40/25r
37/19pc
Wichita
Charlotte
43/21c
71/49c
Nashville
Memphis
Tulsa
55/36r
48/35c
45/26s
Casper
15/2sn
Sacramento
57/36pc
Albany
39/27r
50s
60s
Snow
70s
Snow flurries
sn Snow
w Windy
t Thunderstorms
80s
90s
100s
110+
Ice / wintry mix
Note: The forecast highs are for the 24-hour
period of that day. Low-temperature forecasts
are for the upcoming night.
TODAY
SUN
Albany, N.Y.
TODAY
39/27r
SUN
34/22pc
Providence
46/34r
43/31pc
Raleigh, N.C.
71/49c
57/36r
Allentown, Pa.
50/31r
44/29c
Reno
Atlantic City
59/40r
47/35c
Richmond, Va.
50/30pc 53/29pc
69/44r
53/38c
Augusta, Ga.
77/56c
68/40t
Rochester, N.Y.
35/26c
33/23c
Austin
59/33pc 61/35s
San Jose, Calif.
61/41pc
59/44pc
Bakersfield, Calif.
60/36pc 63/37pc
Sarasota, Fla.
79/61pc
78/62pc
Baton Rouge
64/42r
64/39pc
Savannah, Ga.
77/61c
72/44t
Boise
36/19sn
32/25sn
Shreveport, La.
54/35pc 54/32s
Buffalo
35/25c
31/18sn
South Bend, Ind.
36/21c
29/17sn
Cedar Rapids
28/14c
30/16sf
Spokane, Wash.
22/9s
21/15pc
Colorado Springs
48/18c
35/20pc
Springfield, Mo.
40/26pc 35/18pc
Columbia, S.C.
78/56c
70/43t
Syracuse, N.Y.
36/24r
32/22pc
Columbus, Ohio
41/27r
36/21sf
Toledo, Ohio
39/23c
31/18sf
Dayton, Ohio
36/24sn 33/17sf
Tucson
69/40pc 76/46s
Daytona Beach
81/59pc 81/58pc
Des Moines
29/17c
30/19sf
WORLD FORECAST
Duluth, Minn.
12/1pc
10/-10sf
Athens, Greece
52/42pc 52/45pc
Fort Myers, Fla.
82/63pc 81/63pc
Baghdad
77/55pc 77/52pc
Fresno
58/35pc 60/37pc
Beijing
44/28s
43/18s
Grand Rapids
33/21c
28/20sf
Berlin
47/46c
48/44c
Greensboro, N.C.
68/45c
55/34c
Buenos Aires
75/50pc 74/58s
Greenville, S.C.
68/47c
59/36c
Cairo
74/56pc 66/52c
Harrisburg, Pa.
50/33r
44/31c
Caracas, Ven.
85/74pc 84/73pc
Hartford, Conn.
38/30r
40/27pc
Freeport, Bahamas
79/61pc
Huntsville, Ala.
65/39r
51/25pc
Hong Kong
70/63pc 72/59pc
70/54pc 57/43c
79/63s
Jackson, Miss.
63/40r
58/33pc
Jerusalem
Jacksonville
81/62pc
79/50c
Kingston, Jamaica
88/73s
87/72s
Knoxville, Tenn.
64/41r
51/27pc
London
53/47c
52/46pc
Lexington, Ky.
48/29r
43/20c
Madrid
53/37s
52/35s
Louisville
45/30r
43/23c
Manila
86/77c
88/78c
Lubbock, Texas
65/27pc 44/19s
Mexico City
73/47pc
73/46pc
Madison, Wis.
27/14c
27/16sf
Montreal
24/14sn
21/10pc
McAllen, Texas
68/53c
75/51pc
Moscow
25/24sn 33/24sn
Mobile, Ala.
74/46r
64/39c
Nassau, Bahamas
81/68pc 81/68s
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
71/60pc 68/46t
New Delhi
73/47pc
Nags Head, N.C.
62/50pc 53/41r
Paris
49/43pc 48/38pc
Norfolk, Va.
70/49r
50/41r
Rome
57/37pc
57/38pc
Oklahoma City
47/24c
41/22s
Sydney
84/71s
95/67t
Palm Springs
69/47pc
74/56pc
Tokyo
55/44s
56/49c
Pensacola, Fla.
77/52c
66/42c
Toronto
34/22c
29/17c
72/48pc
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WORD ROUNDUP
CROSSWORD
By David L. Hoyt and Jeff Knurek
BY Fred Piscop
12/23
____ room
Three human joints
Two parts of speech
Brag
QUICKCROSS
I
A
N
H
O
T
E
L
N
S
U
T
S
A
O
B
I
X
I
G
L
V
M
Z
N
K
J
S
H
O
J
N
G
N
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J
T
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I
B
W R
E E
X E
H O
N C
E V
E R
C R
I
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B
S
N
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A
N
K
L
E
T
L
E
T
O
M
R
X
UP & DOWN WORDS
By John Wilmes
12/23
© Andrews McMeel
ACROSS
1 ___ metabolic
rate
6 Takes the bull by
the horns
10 Seafood salad
morsel
14 Girl who fell
down a rabbit
hole
15 “We’re in trouble!”
16 PC key above End
17 Sire, biblically
18 “Bye for now”
19 “Voice of Israel”
author Abba
20 Sex determinant
in the human
genome
23 Insertion with a
letter (Abbr.)
24 Suffix in political
science
25 Full of team spirit
27 ___ Awards
(honors for
extreme stupidity)
32 “A Woman
Reading” painter
Camille
33 Morsel in a
chipmunk’s cheek
pouch
34 Holey, plastic
shoe
36 Joins an office
pool, perhaps
39 Classic question
from a child
42 Sans mixer,
at a bar
43 Slice of toast, in
diner lingo
44 On one’s toes
45 Ira who wrote
“Rosemary’s
Baby”
47 Sixth-graders,
usually
48 Women’s prison
official
50 Domino’s delivery,
informally
52 “___ day now . . .”
☑☐☐☐☐
☐☐☐☐☐
☐☐☐
☐☐
☐
Five female relatives (four-letter min.)
© Andrews McMeel
Find and Circle:
GETTING
WISE
A D
WU
A L
I I
T V
I I
N N
G G
Austen novel
Wagged appendage
Tropical bar or hut
By David L. Hoyt and Russell L. Hoyt
12/23
1. ENTRY
2.
3.
4.
5.
Craft brews
6.
ARC
7.
Singer James
Postal service delivery
Golic or Greenberg
© Andrews McMeel
12/23
9 Aer Lingus symbol
10 Title role for
Benicio del Toro
11 Surrenderer at
Appomattox
12 Appliance brand
named for an
Iowa colony
13 Second-stringers’
spot
21 Lower limit (Abbr.)
22 Cerumenproducing organ
26 Walk haltingly
27 When roosters
crow
DOWN
1 Reason to display 28 Result of
overexertion,
a wooden stork
often
2 Baldwin who
lampoons Trump 29 Payment to a
franchisor
3 “Alas” sound
30 Contributor to a
4 Maker of Aspire
blog
PCs
5 30 Seconds to Mars 31 Walk-___
(some clinics)
vocalist Jared
32 Tag figure
6 Dollar rentals
34 Sleuth portrayed
7 Yawning fissure
by Oland and
8 Movie dog
Ustinov
captured by a
35 TKO caller
flying monkey
53 System with
hotspots
60 Inside dope
62 Compete on “The
Biggest Loser,” say
63 Lennon’s ode to
Ono
64 Could really use
65 Up-front payment
66 Really steamed
67 Ivana and Marla,
to Donald
68 ___ John letter
69 Far from relaxed
Answers: Call 1-900-988-8300, 99 cents a minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800-320-4280.
37 Obey a Garmin
command
38 Uses curlers on
40 Neighbor of
Tobago
41 Swerve off course
46 “I do,” e.g.
47 Intersection at
which one must
37-Down
48 State bordering
only one other
49 New wing, e.g.
50 Michelangelo
masterpiece
51 ICBM part
54 Larry of the Three
Stooges
55 Silly sort, to a Brit
56 Became
threadbare
57 Mideast sultanate
58 Mob turncoats
59 Place for a pants
patch
61 “___ bodkins!”
CROSSWORDS
ON YOUR PHONE
mobilegames.usatoday.com
Larter and Landry
QUICKCROSS
ON YOUR PHONE
mobilegames.usatoday.com
Clues:
1. Part of an application
2. Empty look
3. Focus on
4. After a while
5. Carol by Wham!
6. Classic holiday movie (with “A”)
7. Multi-episode plot
PLAY ONLINE
PUZZLES.USATODAY.COM
© Andrews McMeel
SUDOKU
Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x3
box contains the numbers 1 through 9 (no repeats).
4
2
2
6
3
2
Complete the grid so that every row, column and 3x2
box contains the numbers 1 through 6 (no repeats).
3
4
3
8
6 2
5
7 8
5
3
9
3 4
5
9
4
2
6
2
4
5
3
1
9
8
7
DIFFICULTY RATING
1
3
1
2
2 3
12/23
5
4
6
6
)))$$
DIFFICULTY RATING
)))$$
SUDOKU FUSION
ON YOUR PHONE
mobilegames.usatoday.com
© Andrews McMeel
DON’T QUOTE ME®
Novelist Willa Cather
thinks about human
behavior.
Rearrange the words to complete the quote.
AFRAID EVEN IF KINDNESS LEFT
MOMENTS PEOPLE REASON
WHEN ______________ HAS LEFT ___________, ________ FOR
A FEW ___________, WE BECOME ___________ OF THEM,
AS ________ THEIR ___________ HAD ________ THEM.
12/23
© WIGGLES 3D GAMES
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