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AP’s top 2018 albums: Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, J Cole

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 10 albums of the year by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu. 1. Janelle Monae, "Dirty Computer" When Janelle Monae released the masterfully brilliant "The ArchAndroid" in 2010, it was hard to imagine how this futuristic, already-seasoned artist could ...

AP names Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s ‘X’ its top song of 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 10 songs of the year by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu. 1. Nicky Jam and J Balvin, "X'': Nicky Jam and J Balvin's "X'' is not just the Latin song of the year — it is SIMPLY THE SONG OF THE YEAR. A year after the uber-successful "Despacito," comes "X'' ...

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (AP) — Janet Jackson joins her brother Michael and the Jackson 5 as members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earning induction on Thursday along with Stevie Nicks and the top fan vote-getter, Def Leppard. Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in ...

Doo doo doo doo doo doo: ‘Baby Shark’ bites into the culture

NEW YORK (AP) — In the wise words of James Corden, there comes along a song every so often that defines a generation. Doo doo doo doo doo doo. The late-night TV host, carpool karaoke king and father of three young children was referring specifically, and wryly, to "Baby Shark," now the ...

kindness is contagious: Showing up with kindness helps soften the blow

Sometimes it’s not the first blow that knocks us down, it’s the second or the third. We can hold it together for the initial bad news, but all too quickly comes a totally unrelated problem that causes us to come unglued. I think they call that the straw that broke the camel’s ...

Saving ‘niece-mas’ by getting with the program

Well, at least I got to save Christmas. Let me explain. Many years ago, one of the assorted sons-in-law in our family nobly carried a bowl of gravy to the table while we were all sitting down to Christmas dinner. He probably didn’t do this so much to be helpful as he did to hurry up chow ...

Minding Our Elders

Dad with dementia repeatedly asks for his dead wife Dear Carol: My dad was the primary caregiver for my mom during the first years that she was sick with cancer, but during her last years, he began to show signs of Alzheimer’s. When Mom died, Dad was devastated. He seemed to comprehend what ...

They’re the unicorns of the sea: Give the gift of a narwhal

NEW YORK (AP) — Technically speaking, narwhals are Monodon monoceros, or medium-size whales with long spiral tusks protruding from their heads. To fans, the crazy looking arctic creatures are more like unicorns of the sea. Narwhals may be wacky, but they’re nipping at the heels of llamas ...

Empty boxes top high-tech toys on doctor-recommended list

Skip the costly electronic games and flashy digital gizmos. Pediatricians say the best toys for tots are old-fashioned hands-on playthings that young children can enjoy with parents — things like blocks, puzzles — even throwaway cardboard boxes — that spark imagination and ...

Kid ride-ons explode with cars, tractors, monster trucks

NEW YORK (AP) — Mercedes or Mustang? John Deere or Jeep? Electric ride-ons for kids are busting out all over this holiday season. Target will add nearly a quarter-million square feet of new space for toys across more than 500 stores. Some of that real estate will show off a broad selection ...

Got $7.1 M? Neiman Marcus tops 2018 fantasy gifts with yacht

NEW YORK (AP) — Need a $7.1 million yacht? How about jumping out of a plane on a top secret spy mission with a $315,000 price tag? Perhaps a backyard luxury clubhouse sounds better, or a million pieces of candy. No matter your taste, if you’ve got big bucks this is your time of year. The ...

Netflix maintains high-priced relationship with ‘Friends’

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix will still be there for fans of the old TV series "Friends," but maintaining the relationship will come at a steep price. The video streaming service paid $100 million to keep showing "Friends" in the U.S. through 2019, according to a report in the New York ...

HOMETOWNHOLLYWOOD: Sweating the small stuff as birth of our son approaches

LOS ANGELES — A lot is happening few weeks from now. My husband Jason and I are hosting family for Christmas in Los Angeles. I’ll be on a holiday break from work. And what else, what else ...? Oh yeah, our lives will be changing forever with the birth of our son. Last year at this time, ...

Minding Our Elders: Don’t let holidays make life changes more difficult

Dear Carol: Nine months ago, my 63-year-old husband was happy and active and we were both looking forward to his retirement. Then he had a massive stroke, and our lives were permanently changed. I’m very grateful to have him at all, so I don’t want to be misunderstood. It’s just that ...

Nostalgia blooms when only godchild says ‘I do’

By the time you read this, my godchild will be married. My beloved Kari — the little girl I nicknamed “Flower” because of her sunny disposition — will officially be a wife. How did this happen? I now understand the disbelief that parents must feel when they see the baby they once ...

Use the slow lane when choosing holiday gifts this year

NEW YORK (AP) — The world is fast and furious. Why not slow it down for the holidays? Ways to achieve that lofty goal are plentiful. Some ideas on how to give the gift of slow living: THE SLOW HOME PODCAST The podcast is hosted by the Australian Brook McAlary, a mother of two. She’s a ...

RIGHT AT HOME: Deer and reindeer motifs for the holidays

Booths at this year's gift and decor trade fairs featured lots of deer and reindeer motifs — some specifically for the holidays and others to leave up and enjoy after the festive season is over. Incorporating the woodland icon into your home decor can be a fun departure from an otherwise ...

RIGHT AT HOME: Holiday decor offers sweet sugarplum hues

Amid a seasonal sea of red and green or silver and blue, there's a sweet, alternative palette in holiday decor. Think of fresh fruits and delectable candies, and you're on the right track — it's an enticing, enchanting array of sugarplum hues that home decorators can have fun with. "Pair ...

Plan seeks to designate Route 66 as National Historic Trail

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A new proposal moving through Congress seeks to designate Route 66, the highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles and was once an economic driver for small towns across a post-World War II United States, as a National Historic Trail. U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Jim ...

Maybe making a Thanksgiving turkey is easier than using a snowblower

FARGO — At the ripe old age of 53, there are still several grown-up rites of passage I’ve never attempted. One is to make a Thanksgiving turkey. Another is — knock on wood — to change a tire. And the last is to operate a snowblower. As of last week, I’ve been able to scratch one ...