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Friday, June 29, 2018

TRICKS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP

For something we spend half our life doing, a lot of us are pretty awful at sleeping. Here are our top 10 tips for falling asleep faster, getting quality rest, and waking up easier in the morning.

10. Prepare a Worthy Bed
While your bed probably isn't the primary cause of insomnia, snoring, or other sleep problems, it can certainly contribute to your comfort at night. Make sure you're using the right pillow based on your sleep type, and when it comes time to buy a new mattress, make sure you shop smart (and don't get fleeced). Once you know it isn't your bed, you can start getting to the bottom of your sleep issues.

9. Eat Better
What you eat can greatly affect how you sleep, even during the early half of the day. Eat breakfast first thing in the morning to sleep better at night, and make sure it's a big one. After eating well throughout the day, avoid eating spicy or junk foods at night, and instead choose something that will help you drift off. And remember: no booze! Not only will it not help you get to sleep, it'll cause you to snore all night, too.

8. Wake Up Pleasantly, Not Roughly
The days of the ever-annoying *bzzt*-*bzzt*-*bzzt* alarms are over. Instead of being jerked awake by an old clock, consider getting a smart alarm app for your phone, like our favorites for iPhone and Android. Then, try waking yourself up more comfortably. If you need a bit more of a push, of course, we've got more methods for manipulating yourself to wake up. And, whenever possible, do it without stimulants -- caffeine can wreak havoc with your brain and body.

7. Exercise in the Morning
Exercising in the morning or afternoon -- not at night -- can help deepen your sleep and make sure you fall asleep quicker, according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation. If you aren't much of an exerciser, there's no better time than now to upgrade your health and fitness routine than now.

6. Fix Your Sleeping Position
You may not realize it over the course of the night, but your sleeping position could not be great for your body -- or the quality of shuteye you get. Find out which sleeping style is best for you, and make a conscious effort to fix it when you go to bed, and you'll wake up feeling more refreshed in the morning.

5. Cool Yourself Off at Night
Cooling down your body temperature makes a huge difference in how easy it is to fall asleep, but that can be hard to do when it's hot outside (or when your significant other has body temperature nearing the surface of the sun). From DIY air conditioners to cooling pillows to more extreme methods, we've got the lowdown on staying cool while you sleep. Just make sure you don't wake up freezing in the morning -- that's never a fun way to start the day.

4. Get the Perfect Amount of Sleep
Not everyone needs the same exact amount of sleep, but with a little trial and error, you should find your sweet spot pretty easily. Count back 7.5 hours from when you need to wake up, and make sure you get to bed at that time -- then adjust accordingly. Of course, you could also try a webapp like Sleepytime to help you calculate the perfect number of hours, too.

3. Learn to Nap Like a Pro
if you feel yourself getting drowsy during the day, you might be tempted to nap -- but that can be disastrous for your sleep schedule if done incorrectly. Learn to master the power nap, then calculate the best time to nap and crank one out then (if you have a hammock, all the better). And, if you really want to make the most of your naps, try a caffeine nap to reboot your brain in the middle of the day.

2. Cultivate the Perfect Evening Routine
As the end of the day rolls around, you should be winding yourself down for bed to get the best sleep possible. If you really want to fall asleep easily, take some time to cultivate the perfect evening routine -- some light reading, a nice bubble bath, and something that doesn't involve a backlit screen -- to fall asleep quickly and keep your energy up the next day.

1. Get Some Help From Technology
if your sleep cycle seems beyond repair, you might need to get some outside help...from our favorite therapist, technology. From cheap methods like sleep tracking apps to full-on sleep tracking gadgets like the Wakemate, we've tested a number of technological sleep aids and found them to be rather helpful. If you're really motivated, you can reboot your entire sleep cycle and get the rest you deserve, and your midday self will thank you for it.

YOUR CAR MAKES ME SICK

If you're feeling a bit carsick, there may be a perfectly good reason for it. Your car is teeming with bacteria. Bacteria are swarming all over the steering wheel. And they're crawling on the dashboard. But the spot brimming with the most bacteria is the gear shift. According to research by microbiologists from Aston University in Birmingham, England, the typical car has 283 different types of bacteria in every square centimeter! The gear shift has 356 germs per square centimeter. Want more?

We spend, on average, about three years of our life in our cars.
25% eat in their cars at least once a week.
25% admit their car is littered with food wrappers and empty drink bottles and cans.
16% confessed they typically leave uneaten food inside the vehicle instead of throwing it in the Trash!
50% agreed they would never let their home get as dirty as their car.

SEDUCE-HIM-SILLY

(Cosmopolitan.com) The following seduce-him-silly ammo is guaranteed to blow a man's mind -- anytime, anyplace. Here are some flirtatious moves that make men melt:
  • At a bar or coffeehouse, use the tip of your tongue to lick beer or espresso foam from your lip 
  • Give him a long once-over from head to toe 
  • Pull your hair loose from a ponytail holder or clip 
  • Cross your legs and slowly move your top foot in circles 
  • If you shake his hand, wrap your other hand around his 
  • Grin and hold his gaze for three seconds and hold his gaze for three seconds 
  • While at a bar, casually set your hand on your knee so that your palm faces up or lay the back of your hand on a table. 
  • While conversing with a cutie, lean in so you are about six inches from his face 
  • Rub your shoulder like you have a painful crick, then gently sigh 
  • Walk past him, then slowly swivel your head halfway toward him, rest your chin on your shoulder and smile.

LOOK AT THAT FACE

If you're not happy with the way you're feeling, just change the expression on your face. Or move your body into a new posture. Psychiatrist Dr. Martin Grotjahn says the simplest things can affect our mood. "For instance, if you wake up feeling depressed, try smiling," he says. "If your face is in a smiling position, it's impossible to feel depressed. "If you're feeling weak and listless, don't slump. Stand up as straight as possible. You'll feel stronger and more alert." The doctor offers some more tips:
  • If you're sleepy, open your eyes wide -- and you'll feel more awake. 
  • If you're disorganized and your body movements are erratic, you won't be able to think clearly -- so slow down and make deliberate movements. You'll be able to think better. 
  • If you feel tense, just close your eyes and let your arms hang limp. That'll put you in a contemplative mood and you'll feel more relaxed. This can work for both the uptight executive and the housewife who's been stuck in the house with the kids on a rainy day.

THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO REDUCE STRESS

You don't have to be a yoga girl to quiet your mind during the day -- but it doesn't hurt to take some advice from someone who is. Rachel Brathen, an Aruba-based yoga instructor, has amassed more than a million followers on Instagram with her inspirational (and enviable) images of pretty poses and Caribbean calm. Here are five tips from Brathen to lessen that midday stress -- no mat required.

1. Take a quick "breath break."

"If it's one minute of deep breathing or if it's five or 10 minutes of meditation, whatever [kind of break] you can sneak into your day actually makes you more centered and focused and more productive overall," says Brathen of simply "closing your eyes, centering yourself and focusing on inhales and exhales."

2. Spruce up your workspace.

"If there's clutter all around and papers and piles of things, it's very hard to find that peace of mind," says Brathen, who suggests replacing a stack of files with a vase of flowers. "Try anything to make your own space yours and your experience a little bit more pleasant than just a computer and stress."

3. Go for a "green tea run."

Swap a coffee break with a green tea break, suggests Brathen, for an energy boost that "keeps you feeling fresher and lighter than that heavy feeling of coffee." For an even bigger boost, actually walk outside for a cup. "Getting to see the sky and breathe the fresh air makes a huge difference," she says.

4. Stay hydrated.

Brathen recommends keeping a little bottle of rosewater at your desk to "use as a hydrating mist or refreshing toner." Whether she's on the go or logging in office time, she finds that "it's a nice contrast for the screen that's in your face. It hydrates your skin, but in a very natural, organic, yogi kind of way."

5. Stretch out that tension.

"We tend to shrug the shoulders up and we stick our chin out when we are working on the computer, so several poses help to really release and counterbalance that," says Brathen, who suggests trying the upper-body part of the eagle arms pose -- which involves wrapping the arms in front of you and stacking the elbows for a stretch. For more ways to say om, kick off your shoes and check out her in-office sequence.

PINK OR BLUE

If you were pregnant, would you want to find out the baby's gender before giving birth? Expectant mothers who choose to find out the baby's sex may be giving subtle clues about their views on proper gender roles, according to researchers from The Ohio State University in Columbus. Moms-to-be who want to know the baby's gender in advance are more likely to be have a need for perfection when it comes to parenting, while those who want the baby's gender to be a surprise are more open to new experiences and view men and women as being equal. Translation: Women who want to know the baby's gender before his or her birth are more likely to want to have the proper clothes, toys and colors that match traditional gender expectations. That is, pink for a girl and blue for a boy. The study found:
  • Mothers who knew the sex of their child tended to be less educated, have lower household incomes and were less likely to be married than women who did not know. 
  • Women who scored high in "openness to experience" -- suggesting they were curious and independent -- were also less inclined to learn their baby's sex. 
  • Expectant mothers who scored high in parenting perfectionism -- meaning they set unrealistically high standards -- were slightly more likely to find out the sex early. More than other expectant mothers, they may think knowing the child's sex will relieve them of some anxiety during the uncertain pregnancy process. 

PRACTICE SELF-CARE

(Women's Health) Here a five unexpected ways to practice self-care:

Take a Phone Fast

Turn off all your electronic devices to disconnect from notifications and be committed to what you are doing in the present.

Count your Blessings

Feel like nothings is going right? Write down everything in your life you're thankful to have, from your close group of girlfriends to a steady job to your home.

Get Creative

Spend two hours alone on an "artist date," reading, attending a play, or even coloring.

Laugh

Download and watch a short clip of your favorite stand-up for an immediate mood boost.

Dance

Pull up Beyonce or Rihanna on Spotify and shake it like no one is watching.

WEIRD NEWS

Revenge is a Dish Best Served... in a Dish?

In Khalapur, India, 23-year-old Pradnya Survase has been arrested for allegedly poisoning food served at a feast hosted by a relative that resulted in the deaths of five guests. Police say her motive was to kill her husband and his family. Survase confessed to mixing a powder used to kill snakes in the soup that was served to some of the guests at a feast hosted by a relative. He claims that during her two-year-marriage her in-laws have constantly insulted her for her dark complexion and criticized her cooking. In all, 84 of the 150 invited guests were hospitalized after being poisoned at the feast. Reportedly, Survase chose the house-warming party because she knew all those she wanted to kill would eat there. (Hindustan Times)

So How Tall is Your Sixth Grader?

Ren Keyu, an elementary school student from Leshan, in China's Sichuan province. He's only 11-years-old but already stands an astounding 6-feet, 9-inches tall and thinks he may just be the tallest 6th grader on the planet. The average 11-year-old Chinese boy measures 4-feet 9-inches, according to data released last year, but Ren Keyu was that height when he finished kindergarten. He obviously towers over his classmates and requires a special chair just to be able to sit at his desk comfortably. Some students make fun of him for his unusual height and people often stare at him in the streets, but the 11-year-old hopes that his stature will be an advantage for once, as he tries to get his name into the Guinness Book of Records. He wants to apply for the record of world's tallest 6th-grader. Ren recently told reporters that he felt privileged to be taller than other kids his age. (Oddity Central)

Is There Really Such Thing as a Controlled Burn?

A quick-moving wildfire that ravaged a north Florida coastal community and destroyed 36 homes was sparked by a controlled burn conducted by state-hired contractors! Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said an investigation by his office eliminated other possible causes, including lightning, arson or an accidental cause. The fire broke out late Sunday in Eastpoint, which is near the historic town of Apalachicola in Florida's Panhandle. Authorities evacuated the area and no one died as a direct result of the fire, but it left devastation in its wake for local residents who lost everything. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a statement that a private company was contracted to burn 480 acres on June 18. Doug Williams, the owner of Wildlands Service, told the Tallahassee Democrat he had not been contacted by state officials and did not know that Putnam said investigators had determined his company was responsible for the wildfire. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office created a victim relief fund to help those impacted by the fire. The fund raised more than $57,000 by Wednesday morning, and the goal is to raise at least $150,000, according to authorities. (WCTV News)

Well... So It Wasn't His Fault

Russian rock musician Andrey Suchilin was on a Transavia flight that was forced to make an emergency landing in Portugal - because Suchilin smelled so bad. No seriously - the stench was so strong that other passengers began fainting and vomiting once the plane took off from the Netherlands' Schiphol Airport. No, it wasn't just horrible personal hygiene as many thought. The 58-year-old apparently contracted an infection while on vacation in the Canary Islands that caused his body tissue to die, resulting in the odor. Suchilin's wife, Lidia, wrote on Facebook that her husband had sought medical attention before leaving Spain, but was told it was just an "ordinary beach infection" and was given antibiotics. Suchilin was removed from the plane after the emergency stop in Portugal and taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with Necrosis - a form of cell injury which results in the premature death of cells in living tissue. By the times doctors got to him it was too late and the disease progressed until he tragically killed him. (FOX News)

Man Buys Upskirt Camera. Karma Laughs!

In Madison, Wisconsin, a 32-year-old man thought he was being oh-so-clever with the purchase of his upskirt camera that was hidden in his shoe. But the karma gods laughed at our friend and his clever shoe camera suddenly exploded causing a serious foot injury and loads of pain. Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said in his daily blog that the man wanted to turn himself in to police but they had no grounds to arrest him because he hadn't taken any videos before the camera's battery fizzled. So the suspect was "counseled on his actions" and released. (WKOW-TV)

A List America Wishes It Wasn't On

A new Thompson Reuters Foundation survey has named the 10 countries deemed to be the least safe for women - and shockingly, the United States made the list. India takes the top spot and is described as a country that has "shown utter disregard and disrespect for women ... rape, marital rapes, sexual assault and harassment, female infanticide [have] gone unabated." But the biggest surprise on the list is the United States coming in at No. 6 and being the only western country to make the list. Experts say the inclusion came down to the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual harassment and violence that have dominated headlines for months. Cindy Southworth, executive vice president of the Washington-based National Network to End Domestic Violence said, "People want to think income means you're protected from misogyny, and sadly that's not the case. We are going to look back and see this as a very powerful tipping point ... We're blowing the lid off and saying '#Metoo and Time's Up'." Here's the entire list: 

India
Afghanistan
Syria
Somalia
Saudi Arabia
United States
Pakistan
Congo
Yemen
Nigeria

(Reuters)

What the What?

Think it's hot where you are? Over a period of 24 hours, the temperature in the coastal city of Quriyat, Oman, never dropped below 108.7 degrees last Tuesday, most likely the highest minimum temperature ever observed on Earth. For a location to remain no lower than 109 degrees around the clock is mind-boggling. This sweltering episode marked the second exceptional weather event to affect Oman in as many months. In May, Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Mekunu slammed into its southwest coast, making landfall near Salalah. It was the most intense tropical cyclone to make landfall on the Arabian Peninsula on record. Tuesday's record-breaking heat resulted from a strong high-altitude, high-pressure system or heat dome anchored over the region, which pumped air temperatures up to 15 degrees above normal. (MSN)

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The top 3 most hated foods in America are tofu, liver and anchovies. 
  • 56% of people would rather be late for work and get yelled at by their boss than do without morning coffee. 
  • More phone calls are made in the U.S. during Mother's Day than during Father's Day, but the percentage of collect calls is higher on Father's Day. 
  • "Nothing's wrong, I'm fine!" is the number one lie that a man will tell a woman. 
  • According to USA Today, every year, enough Slurpees are sold to fill up 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 
  • Sam's Club is the leading American retailer of wine.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Queen Elizabeth had to miss an event the other day because she was "under the weather," which has the rumor tongues wagging. 
  • The Detroit Tigers have fired pitching coach Chris Bosio for making insensitive remarks to a team employee. 
  • A study says the perfect women's body for women is athletic, while men prefer curvy. 
  • So far, 132 candidates have been killed during Mexico's campaign season. 
  • A Houston business owner was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly hired a hitman to kill a police officer who gave him too many nuisance tickets. 
  • A Trump-Putin summit is set. We know it will be sometime in July, tacked on to his schedule European visit, July 10-14 and most likely, in Helsinki, Finland. 
  • Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was fined $2.75 million to support organizations addressing race and gender-based issues and fund league-wide workplace training as a result of NFL's investigation into workplace misconduct accusations made against him. 
  • The Florida Department of Health is warning beach goers about an outbreak of sea lice in the water. Who knew? 
  • SpaceX is sending an AI robot ‘crew member' to join the astronauts on the space station. 
  • The 16-year-old son of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis is not doing well and battling "serious health problems." That's as much as we know. 
  • The Red Hen Restaurant in California is losing business because people mistakenly think it's connected to the one in Virginia that kicked out Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week. It isn't. 
  • The brother of New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been arrested after a family friend was found dead at the NFL player's New Jersey home. 
  • If you ever see a painting signed by "Clifford", that could be Clifford the Horse, who has learned how to paint, from Michigan. 
  • The creepy, plastic-faced Burger King has spoken in a TV commercial for the first time. His only word: "Wazzzup!" 
  • Kendal Jenner is living with Ben Simmons in a $25,000 a month rental home in Los Angeles. 
  • Stage, film and TV actor Stanley Anderson, known for his role as the judge in the final episode of "Seinfeld" and as General Slocum in "Spider-Man," has died of brain cancer. He was 78. 
  • The Anguilla Beach House where LeBron James is relaxing these days costs $75,000 a week to stay there. 
  • China has put a cap on how much their film stars can make, saying that large salaries can result in "money worship." 
  • Bud Light is offering free beer to soccer fans if Mexico can beat its "curse of the fifth game" in the World Cup. In a tweet, the beer company announced that if Mexico beats Brazil and advances to the quarterfinals that it will help pay for customers' beer. 
  • Then there's the woman in Florida who drove almost 20 miles with her ex hanging on to the hood of her car.

National Celebrate Your Marriage Day is on Saturday, June 30

Getting married is very much like going to a continental restaurant with friends. You order what you want, then when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you had ordered that.

At a cocktail party, one woman said to another, "Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?" The other woman replied, "Yes I am, I married the wrong man."

Man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is really finished.

Marriage is an institution in which a man loses his bachelor's degree and the woman gets her master's.

A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" And the father replied, "I don't know son, I'm still paying for it."

Young son: Is it true, Dad, I heard that in some parts of Africa, a man doesn't know his wife until he marries her." Dad: "That happens in most countries son."

Then there was a man who said, "I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; and then it was too late.

A happy marriage is a matter of give and take; the husband gives and the wife takes.

Hug Holiday

Hug Holiday -- a day to encourage people to hug those who need attention. Nowadays, real men hug each other, and they're doing it more often than ever, say experts on social customs and good manners. "If you are greeting someone in a casual scenario, I don't think a hug is out of place," says Jason Tesauro, the author of "The Modern Gentleman." "Saying goodbye is always safer because you've built up a fellowship." Men often hug at emotional moments during sports events, weddings and funerals, says professor Mark Mormon of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. "But if you are in the office, hugging generally doesn't work because there isn't a lot of emotion there," says Mormon. And most men aren't comfortable hugging for more than a second or two. If you're thinking of joining the group hug, consider these options:

The quickie -- Two men shake hands and then use the free hand to clasp the other's shoulder or gently pat near the shoulder blade.

The shoulder-pad bump -- Two men shake hands, then, without letting go, lean into each other and bump chests while their free hands pound each other heartily on the back.

The slip and slide -- Two men stand side-by-side and briefly drape closer arms over the other's shoulder or behind the other's back while they tap each other's chests with the farther hands.

The rapper hit -- Two guys meet with a fancy handshake, then step in to briefly bump their inside shoulders.

ON THIS DAY

On this date way back in the year 48 BC that Caesar defeated Pompey at Pharsalus... which, we believe, was an early form of backgammon.

In 1767, the British Parliament approves the Townshend Revenue Acts, which imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America. Everyone was surprised by these taxes -- no one knew the British Parliament was made up of Democrats.

On this date in 1776, the Virginia state constitution is adopted, and Patrick Henry is made governor. Of course, Henry's famous for the phrase: "Give me liberty or give me death!" That was also the day the British coined the phrase, "No problem!"

In 1916, a Boeing aircraft flew for the first time. Back then, their company slogan was, "Hey, if it's going, let's call it Boeing!"

On this date in 1940, the first issue of "Batman" was published. Only hours later, the joke "Oh, he was in the batroom" was told for the first time.

In 1953, congress passed the Highway Act... which resulted in the construction of dozens of freeways, allowing millions of people to drive slower than ever before.

On this date in 1956, Charles Dumas became the first person to high jump over 7 feet.
  • Seconds before, he also set a world record for being the recipient of the world's loudest towel snap. 
  • It happened right after he backed into a javelin thrower. 
  • When asked how he did it, Charles replied, "Because of the Rottweiler on the other side of that 7-foot fence!" 
  • It was also the same day he won the lotto. Coincidence? 

In 1966, the citizens of Humberside, England, created a 3,124-foot long hot dog. The tough part was finding a bun long enough.

On this date in 1994, in a British TV documentary, Prince Charles said he was faithful in his marriage to Princess Diana "until it became irretrievably broken down." It was Britain's version of "I did not have sex with that woman."



TODAY IS

SNL's Colin Jost turns 36 today and while that's a big deal, an even bigger deal is that he's dating Scarlett Johansson. No presents necessary.

Nicole Scherzinger hits the big 4-0 today. That's 280 in Pussycat Doll years. She's so indecisive, the candles on her birthday cake always burn down before she can decide what to wish for...

Colin Hay, the lead voice from Men At Work, turns 65 today.
  • Ironically, our younger listeners are wondering, "Who can it be now?" 
  • It's getting closer to changing the name of the group to "Men, Retired." 
  • He's going from singing "Who can it be now?" to asking it all the time. 

Fred Grandy, who played Gopher on the old TV series, "The Love Boat," hits birthday number 70. It wasn't so bad being called Gopher, it was just all those traps they sent.

Gary Busey turns 74 today. Somehow. Some way.

Today In History...

In 1767 The British Parliament approves the Townshend Revenue Acts, which imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America.

In 1776 The Virginia state constitution is adopted, and Patrick Henry is made governor.

In 1854 The Gadsden Purchase (parts of Arizona, New Mexico) from Mexico for $10 million.

In 1863 The very first First National Bank opens in Davenport, Iowa.

In 1916 A Boeing aircraft flies for the first time.

In 1940 In the spring issue of "Batman Comics," mobsters rubbed out a circus highwire team known as the 'Flying Graysons,' leaving their son an orphan. Bruce Wayne took in Dick Grayson as his ward and he became Batman's sidekick Robin.

In 1941 Polish statesman, pianst and composer Ignace Paderewski dies in New York at age 80.

In 1946 British authorities arrest more than 2700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to stamp out alleged terrorism.

In 1949 South Africa enacts a ban against racially-mixed marriages, and suspends the automatic granting of citizenship to immigrants.

In 1953 Congress passes the "Highway Act of 1953," to build 42,500 miles of Interstate Highways.

In 1954 The Atomic Energy Commission votes against re-instating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer's access to classified information.

In 1956 Charles Dumas is the first to high jump over 7 feet.

In 1965 Joe Engle climbs to 85km in the X-15.

In 1966 The citizens of Humberside, England, create a 3124-foot hot dog.

In 1966 The U.S. bombs fuel storage facilities near the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong.

In 1967 Jerusalem is re-unified as Israel removes barricades separating the Old City from the Israeli sector.

In 1967 Jayne Mansfield dies in an auto accident at age 34.

In 1970 The U.S. ends a 2-month military offensive in Cambodia.

In 1971 Soyuz 11 docks with Salyut 1 for 22 days, but the 3 cosmonauts aboard perish when the craft malfunctions during re-entry.

In 1972 The U.S. Supreme Court rules the way the death penalty was usually enforced constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." The ruling prompted states to revise their capital punishment laws.

In 1977 The U.S. Supreme Court rules out the death penalty for rapists of adults.

In 1981 Hu Yaobang, a protege of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, is elected
Communist Party chairman, replacing Mao Tse-tung's handpicked successor, Hua Guofeng.

In 1982 President Reagan signs into law an extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In 1984 The Soviet Union formally offers to open direct bilateral talks with the U.S. on banning anti-satellite weapons in space.

In 1986 Senator John P. East (R-NC) is found dead in his garage at his home in Greenville, of an apparent suicide.

In 1987 In a surprise move, the chairman of South Korea's ruling party, Roh Tae-woo, demands democratic reforms from President Chun Doo-hwan, following weeks of violent protests that had racked the country. Chun agreed two days later.

In 1988 The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the power of independent counsels to prosecute illegal acts by high-ranking government officials.

In 1989 The U.S. House of Representatives votes unanimously in favor of new sanctions against China because of its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

In 1990 Fernando Valenzuela of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dave Stewart of the Oakland A's become the first pitchers to hurl no-hitters in both the National and American League on the same day.

In 1992 A divided U.S. Supreme Court rules that women have a constitutional right to abortion, but the justices also weakened the right as defined by the Roe vs. Wade decision.

In 1994 In a British TV documentary, Prince Charles said he was faithful in his marriage to Princess Diana "until it became irretrievably broken down."

In 1995 A department store in Seoul, South Korea, collapses, killing at least 135 people and injuring 900.

In 1995 The shuttle Atlantis and the space station Mir dock, forming the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.

In 1996 U.S. allies back President Clinton's demand that Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for war crimes be forced "out of power and out of influence."

In 1997 In Albania, gunmen burn ballots and pressure polling officials marring parliamentary elections meant to steer the country toward recovery after months of chaos.

In 1998 With negotiations on a new labor agreement at a standstill, the NBA announces that a lockout would be imposed at midnight.

In 2002 President Bush transfers presidential powers to V.P. Dick Cheney during a routine colon screening that revealed no problems.

In 2003 Thirteen people are killed when a third-floor porch collapsed during a party in Chicago.

In 2003 Actress Katharine Hepburn dies at age 96.

In 2004 A UN helicopter crashes in Sierra Leone, killing all 24 peacekeepers, aid workers and others on board. T

In 2004 Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks is the fourth pitcher to record 4000 career strikeouts.

Born On This Day...

In 1858 Engineer, George Washington Goethals (Panama Canal)

In 1861 American surgeon, William James Mayo (Mayo Clinic)

In 1901 Actor/opera singer, Nelson Eddy [d: 3-6-67]

In 1907 Actress, Joan Davis (I Married Joan) [d: 5-23-61]

In 1908 Composer/conductor, Leroy Anderson (Sleigh Ride) [d: 5-18-75]

In 1912 Author/journalist, John Toland (The Rising Sun) [d: 1-4-04]

In 1916 Actress, Ruth Warrick (Citizen Kane, All My Children) [d: 1-15-05]

In 1919 Actor, Slim Pickens (Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles) [d: 12-8-83]

In 1922 Pianist/composer, Ralph Burns: [d: 11-21-01]

In 1925 Actress, Cara Williams (Pete & Gladys, Cara Williams Show) (93)

In 1928 Actor, Ian Bannen (Eye of the Needle, Gorky Park) [d: 11-3-99]

In 1930 Actor/director, Bob Evans (Love Story, The Godfather) (88)

In 1935 Trombonist, Julian Priester (Duke Ellington band) (83)

In 1936 U.S. figure skater, David Jenkins (Olympic-Gold-1960) (82)

In 1936 Baseball Hall-of-Famer, Harmon Killebrew (Twins) [d: 5-17-11]

In 1938 Singer, Billy Storm (Valiants) [d: 2000]

In 1941 Civil rights leader, Kwame Toure (Stokeley Carmichael) [d: 11-15-98]

In 1944 Actor, Gary Busey (Buddy Holly, Lethal Weapon, Point Break) (74)

In 1945 Singer, Little Eva Boyd (Locomotion) [d: 4-10-03]

In 1947 Actor/comedian, Richard Lewis (Marty-Anything But Love) (71)

In 1947 Singer/guitarist, Carlo Paul Santanna (Paper Lace) (71)

In 1948 Actor/politician, Fred Grandy (Gopher-Love Boat) (70)

In 1948 Drummer, Ian Paice (Deep Purple, Whitesnake) (70)

In 1949 Football Hall-of-Famer, Dan Dierdorf (ex-Monday Night Football) (69)

In 1953 Singer/guitarist, Don Dokken (Dokken) (65)

In 1953 Singer/songwriter, Colin Hay (Men At Work) (65)

In 1955 Astronaut, Charles J. Precourt (STS-55) (63)

In 1956 Baseball player, Pedro Guerrero (62)

In 1957 Actress, Maria Conchita Alonso (Moscow On The Hudson) (61)

In 1961 Actress, Kimberlin Brown (Shelia-Bold & Beautiful) (57)

In 1961 Actress, Sharon Lawrence (Sylvia-NYPD Blue, Fired Up) (57)

In 1962 Actress, Amanda Donohoe (C.J. Lamb-L.A. Law) (56)

In 1964 Actress, Wendy Kilbourne (Devon King-Midnight Caller) (54)

In 1964 Football player, Pepper Johnson (Giants) (54)

In 1964 Singer, Stedman Pearson (Five Star) (54)

In 1964 Actress, Kathleen Wilhoite (Chloe Lewis-ER) (54)

In 1967 Actress, Melora Hardin (Family Tree, Best Times) (51)

In 1972 Actor, Kevin Mambo (Marcus-The Guiding Light) (46)

In 1972 Rap performer, D.J. Shadow (46)

In 1972 Actress, Samantha Smith (Elizabeth-Lime Street) [d: 8-25-85]

In 1976 Ballerina, Maria Kowroski (42)

In 1977 Singer, Sam Bailey (The X Factor) (41)

In 1978 Singer, Nicole Scherzinger (Eden's Crush) (40)

In 1979 Singer, Richard Breen (Five Guys) (39)

In 1981 Basketball player, Joe Johnson (Hawks) (37)

In 1982 Comedian, Colin Jost (SNL Weekend Update) (36)

In 1982 Actress, Lily Rabe (American Horror Story: Asylum) (36)

In 1992 Actor, Adam G. Sevani (Moose in the Step Up) (26)

In 1993 Actor, Lorenzo James Henrie (Fear the Walking Dead) (25)

In 1994 Actress, Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge-Riverdale) (24)

In 1995 Rap singer, Durte Dom (23)

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Congratulations are in order for Stacy Keibler! The former WWE wrestler welcomed her second child with husband Jared Pobre earlier this month. The parents first announced the news on social media Wednesday night. "Born at home, on 6.18.18," Stacy shared with her followers. "Our sweet little man Bodhi Brooks Pobre entered our world." It appears both mom and dad were able to hold onto their son's small hands as the cameras flashed for the sweet pic. Famous friends and fans immediately expressed their well wishes for the family in the comments section including Odette Annable. "Love you 4 so much," the actress wrote to her friend. Back in May, Stacy stepped out for a date night with her hubby at Avra restaurant in Beverly Hills where she showed off her pregnancy glow. And in the weeks leading up to her due date, Stacy has been enjoying extra special time with her daughter before she became a big sister. "Soon, we'll be a family of 4! Our hearts are filled with love," the proud mom shared on Instagram. "Someone's excited to become a big sister soon." While Stacy continues to profess her love for all things holistic health and wellness, one thing she will absolutely pass on to both kids is the power of kindness. In a recent Instagram post, the actress and model revealed what she's teaching her daughter thanks to a book titled What Does It Mean to Be Kind? "Let's teach our kids to always ?#bekind -- pass along the love of reading to them to help stimulate their imagination and knowledge," she wrote. Well done mama! (Eonline)

Gwen Stefani Gets Love From Blake Shelton at Las Vegas Residency Debut. Gwen Stefani was feeling the love as she launched her Las Vegas residency. The 48-year-old singer performed her first Just a Girl concert at the Zappos Theatre at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Wednesday. Earlier that night, dressed in a short sleeve, silver, semi-sheer fringed over-the-knee dress, she walked the red carpet at the venue with her boyfriend of more than two years, Blake Shelton. She and the 42-year-old country star looked cozy as they posed for photos together. Stefani posted on Instagram photos of the two, including one showing them in her dressing room with her kids and niece, whose dad, the singer's brother Todd Stefani, also joined in on the festivities. Stefani received many flower bouquets from well-wishers, including one containing sunflowers and orchids from Shelton. "You've worked so hard on the show, congrats on opening night!!!" Shelton wrote on a card, which Stefani described was from her "best friend." "I love you." "I LOVE BLAKE!!!!" Stefani wrote on Instagram Stories. After the concert, she and Shelton were photographed kissing at a private after-party. Stefani had traveled to Las Vegas on Shelton's private jet with her brother. She had been staying at his ranch in Oklahoma beforehand and has been practicing her show's choreography back home in L.A., a source told E! News. Earlier this week, crews at the Zappos Theatre switched out pieces from Jennifer Lopez's All I Need residency show for Stefani's. The singers are taking turns performing at the venue throughout summer and fall. As of today, Stefani's Just a Girl residency will run on and off until March. (Eonline)

Julia Roberts Joins Instagram and Is Already Spreading the Love. We have a new pretty woman to follow on Instagram! Julia Roberts joined the photo sharing app on Tuesday evening, sharing her very first post soon after. The shot shows the star sitting in grass wearing a graphic sweater that says "Love." The outfit was complimented by denim shorts, wavy locks and of course her famous grin. She captioned the photo, "Hello." The actress has accumulated more than 107,000 followers within 24 hours of joining the app. She currently does not follow anyone. This is the first public account for the usually social media shy star, who is not a member of Twitter or Facebook. And while the actress has not commented on why she decided to join the app, Julia has notoriously been private throughout her long career and tried to maintain this privacy even as she went on to star in some of the biggest films of the '90s and 2000s. The actress previously told InStyle magazine that she didn't have an Instagram because she prefers to unplug and spend time with her family after work. The Eat, Pray, Love star is married to cameraman Daniel Moder, with whom she has three children, Hazel, Phinneas and Henry. And while we'd love to see the actress share family moments, Julia will most likely use the platform to share updates about the charities she supports including UNICEF as well as her upcoming projects. She is slated to return to the big screen in the upcoming drama Ben is Back. Make sure to follow Julia here! (Eonline)

Scarlett Johansson's fired up about a former Scientologist making a claim -- on live TV -- that she once auditioned to date Tom Cruise ... and she's not letting him get away with it. The 'Avengers' star put Brendan Tighe -- who says he used to work on Cruise's Scientology security team -- on blast after he appeared on Megyn Kelly's NBC show Wednesday and claimed she was on a list of women who auditioned to date him after his split from Nicole Kidman years ago. Johansson tells The Hollywood Reporter, "The very idea of any person auditioning to be in a relationship is so demeaning. I refuse for anyone to spread the idea that I lack the integrity to choose my own relationships." She added ... "Only a man aka Brendan Tighe would come up with a crazy story like that." Tighe also claimed Scarlett's audition must not have gone well, because actress and Scientologist Erika Christensen had to distance herself from her afterward. For the record ... along with Johansson saying Tighe is full of it, the Church of Scientology denies his alleged role with Cruise. (TMZ)

Sam Smith Admits He's "Going Through Some Sh-t" Amid Brandon Flynn Breakup Rumors. Did Sam Smith just hint he and Brandon Flynn have called it quits? After The Sun reported their split, the "Too Good at Goodbyes" singer performed at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of his world tour. At the beginning of the show, he welcomed the audience and mentioned he was "going through some sh-t." "I know that everyone in this room right now is going through some sh-t. I know I'm going through some sh-t," he said. "And tonight I want all of us to just leave all of our worries and all of our heartache aside and let's have some fun. Let's sing as loud as we can." E! News has reached out to Smith'S and Flynn's rep for comment on the possible split. If a breakup did occur, it would have been fairly recently. The duo were spotted holding hands while shopping in Beverly Hills just two weeks ago. Fans first caught on to the Grammy winner's new romance with the 13 Reasons Why actor when the two were spotted sharing a kiss while out and about in New York City back in October 2017. Later that month, he told Ellen DeGeneres he was now singing songs about another guy despite saying just weeks earlier that he was "insanely single." While Smith didn't name Flynn during the daytime interview, the singer admitted, "It's weird bringing out an album and not being single, 'cause when I brought [my debut album] In the Lonely Hour, I was so lonely. But, now I'm singing songs about another guy, and I'm quite happy, so it's quite weird." As the "Stay With Me" singer later said of his relationship during an interview with Kiss FM U.K., "It's good and I'm actually willing for it to be good, which is really new for me, you know? I think I got really comfortable with the idea of someone not wanting me back, so I'm trying to break out the mold." They went on to make their relationship Instagram official in December. The two appeared to be getting quite hot and heavy in the new year when they were photographed in a seriously deep liplock in March -- a kiss that instantly went viral on the Internet. "It was a joke -- as a joke we were attacking each other," Smith later explained during an interview on BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show With Nick Grimshaw. "We were just waiting outside the shop while my sister got cigarettes. I was just joking. I was literally licking his eyeballs. [The photos are] horrendous. I'm going to have to do something crazy to top it." "He looks like Ursula sucking the voice out of Ariel," he added. "It's so embarrassing." Despite their playfulness, it seems it was no longer working out for these two. Fortunately, while we mourn the loss of this Hollywood romance, the singer has given us plenty of breakup songs to listen to as we cope. (Eonline)

Kendall Jenner and Ben Simmons haven't confirmed they're an item yet, but they're already eating from the same fridge, apparently. Sources tell us the two have been holing up in a $25k/month rental in L.A. It's unclear whose name is on the lease, but they've both been spotted coming in and out of the ultra modern crib frequently, and we're told the lease term is for several months. The 5 bedroom, 6 bath home has a pool and is centrally located near the Grove and trendy Fairfax area, which explains why they've been spotted around town so much. Kendall recently purchased Charlie Sheen's old Beverly Hills home, but she's putting some of her own touches on the crib, so this could be her crash pad in the meantime. The listing was held by Shay Gozlan and Rudy Malka of Living the Dream properties. (TMZ)

Justin Bieber skipped a scheduled grilling from lawyers and decided to make out with Hailey Baldwin instead ... according to his ex-neighbor who now wants Justin arrested. The Biebs was ordered by a judge to attend a deposition, which was scheduled for June 22, in his infamous and STILL ongoing egging case with former Calabasas neighbor, Jeffrey Schwartz. Problem is, JB didn't show up. According to new legal docs, Schwartz believes it was because he was in NYC packing on the PDA with Hailey. So now, Schwartz wants the judge to issue a bench warrant for Bieber and fine him $1,000 bucks a day for each day he refuses to sit for the depo. Schwartz also accuses Bieber of engaging in "obfuscation and delay tactics" and points out he's already skipped out on 5 scheduled depos in the past 2 years. The judge has yet to rule on the warrant. We broke the story ... Schwartz -- who's being repped by John Carpenter and Brian Kim -- wants big bucks from Bieber from all the emotional distress he and his wife suffered from the 2014 egging and the aftermath. Justin was charged criminally in the case, and already paid $80k in restitution.

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro left a mess behind after his baby mama allegedly dragged him with a car ... and TMZ has some bloody shots of the vehicle. In the photos, blood streaks can be seen on the outside of the ride we're told Jen Harley was driving when she and the 'Jersey Shore' star got into a fight Sunday coming home from a Vegas BBQ. You'll recall ... Jen allegedly hit Ronnie in the face, then dragged him when he tried to get out. As you can see ... the vehicle also suffered a flat tire, which we're told was the result of Jen driving over the median when she took off ... with their 2-month-old daughter, Ariana, in the car. There's also a shot of the interior console covered with blood ... possibly from Ronnie's injuries after being struck in the face. Harley was arrested for domestic battery and booked at the Clark County Detention Center. She was also the suspect in a battery investigation for allegedly spitting on and hitting Ronnie 3 weeks ago during another argument. We broke the story ... Ronnie's friends fear for his safety if he goes back with Jen, and are equally concerned about the well-being of their daughter. (TMZ)

McDonald's is revamping breakfast by ripping off a famous "Seinfeld" episode -- and the guy who wrote it says he deserves a piece of the pie ... er, muffin. Spike Feresten wrote "The Muffin Tops" for season 8, and Wednesday -- the same day Mickey D's announced it's selling the best part of a muffin -- he told us he's got no beef with the golden arches. Well, as long as the check's in the mail ... as they say. Seriously, though ... Spike hasn't gotten a dime, and says it just seems right for McDonald's to cough up some dough -- for him AND Jerry Seinfeld -- since it's clearly jacking their ingenious breakfast invention. Spike isn't talking lawsuits or anything, and might be joking about getting paid ... but can't blame the guy for shooting his shot. Elaine Benes wouldn't settle for a penny less than 30 percent! (TMZ)

The guy who sentenced the 'Seinfeld' squad to a year behind bars in the series finale -- and who helped turned Willem Dafoe into the Green Goblin -- has died. Actor Stanley Anderson passed away Sunday just six weeks after being diagnosed with brain cancer, according to a family statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. Anderson is perhaps best known at Judge Arthur Vandelay, who presided over Jerry Seinfeld and co.'s criminal trial in season 9's final episode, where the gang was thrown in jail for violating the "Good Samaritan Law" in a fake town in Massachusetts. He also played General Slocum in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" -- who told Norman Osborn he was gonna cut his funding if he didn't try his ability enhancing serum on a human subject ... thus forcing Norm to try it on himself and become Spidey's arch nemesis. Anderson has starred in a number of other movies and shows over the years, including parts in "RoboCop 3," "Armageddon," "Runaway Jury," "NYPD Blue," "The Drew Carey Show," "Law & Order," and many, many others. His acting career dates back to the '50s. He tended to play men of authority -- doctors, judges, psychiatrists ... the President. Makes sense too ... he had quite the on-camera presence. Stanley was 78. RIP. (TMZ)

THE OTHER STUFF . . .

Queen Elizabeth II Skips St. Paul's Service After Feeling "Under the Weather." Queen Elizabeth II canceled her visit to St. Paul's Cathedral on Thursday after feeling unwell. "The Queen is feeling under the weather today and has decided not to attend this morning's service at St. Paul's Cathedral marking the 200th anniversary of the Order of St. Michael and St. George," Buckingham Palace announced. "Her Majesty will be represented by The Duke of Kent as Grand Master of the Order." There appears to be no reason for alarm. According to The Telegraph, no doctor was called and Her Majesty was reportedly not taken to the hospital. While The Queen wasn't able to make an appearance, Angelina Jolie was one of many in attendance. The Queen has certainly had a packed schedule. Earlier this week, she hosted the Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace, where she celebrated the successes of young change-makers along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She also attended the Royal Ascot last week and traveled to Chesire, England, where the Duchess of Sussex enjoyed her first solo engagement with the 92-year-old monarch. It's no secret Her Majesty stays busy. According to a 2017 report by The Times, she attended 296 engagements last year -- surpassing Kate Middleton, Prince William and Harry. Feel better soon! (Eonline)

Just hours after the world learned of Joe Jackson's death from pancreatic cancer, his granddaughter reflected on the life of "one of the greatest patriarchs to ever live." Paris Jackson posted a loving tribute to Joe on Instagram Wednesday, revealing that in his final moments he was surrounded by family with Paris by his bedside sharing stories about his son, and her father, Michael Jackson. "Spending those last few moments with you were everything," Paris, 20, wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption. "Being able to tell you everything i needed to tell you before saying goodbye was such a blessing." "I will cherish every moment with you til the day i die, especially our last moments. being able to hold your hand, lay with you and cuddle you, give you kisses all over your cheeks and forehead, meant more to me than you'll ever know. quoting advice you gave me when i was a little kid and seeing your eyes light up, sharing stories my dad used to tell me about you, telling a joke and hearing you laugh for the last time.. my heart is full knowing we left each other in that way." While Joe was a controversial figure in his family, his granddaughter described him as "the first true jackson. the legend that started it all." "None of us would be anywhere near where we're at if it weren't for you. you are the strongest man i know. your life's work will go down in history, as will you, to be known as one of the greatest patriarchs to ever live," she added. Paris said farewell to the 89-year-old former music manager and father of 11 by sharing a poignant photograph of her holding his hand in his final moments of life. The model also shared some photographs of Joe from his younger years. Michael's daughter vowed to make sure that Joe is "never forgotten" and asked that he make good on his promise to her visiting her after his death. "My great grandchildren will know who joseph jackson is. i love you grandpa. so so so much that words can't describe. i have immense gratitude for you, and always will. we all feel that way. thank you for everything. truly. rest in peace and transition. i'll see you in my dreams very very soon." Joe died early Wednesday morning after battling terminal pancreatic cancer. Over the years, Jackson -- who was born on July 26, 1928, in Fountain Hill, Arkansas -- had a series of health problems. In November 2012, he recovered from a minor stroke at his Las Vegas home. Three years later, daughter Janet had to put rehearsals for her Unbreakable World Tour on hold when he suffered another stroke and heart arrhythmia in Brazil on his 87th birthday in July 2015. In May 2016, he was hospitalized due to a high fever and in June 2017, he was released from the hospital after a car accident in Las Vegas. (People)

It might be Khloe Kardashian's birthday, but it's Kim Kardashian West who's getting one major present. The KKW beauty mogul, 37, celebrated her sister's 34th birthday on Wednesday and documented all of it on her Instagram Story. Tristan Thompson, Khloe's boyfriend, was also present at the festivities so Kim took the opportunity to rebuild their relationship well, their social media relationship at least. "All right guys, what do you think? It's Khloe's birthday, should I ask this guy to unblock me?" she asked, revealing to all of her fans that Thompson, 27, had blocked the TV reality star on Instagram in the wake of his cheating scandal. Thompson, who was in the background with Khloe standing over his shoulder, began to laugh. "For Khloe's birthday it's only right," he said. "I got you." "Was that a yes?" Kim asked him, to which Thompson said, "Si." Kim celebrated but then decided to make Thompson unblock her then and there. Taking out his phone, Thompson pulled up Kim's profile on his Instagram feed which read "Blocked." "There's no going back now," he said, as he unblocked her. Kim wasn't the only one Thompson blocked. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star discovered that Khloe's longtime friends Malika and Khadijah Haqq had also been blocked on social media by the NBA star. "Wait, what was that? You unblocked Malika and Khadijah?" Kim asked him in disbelief. She quickly moved the camera to the twin sisters to tell them and capture their reactions of shock. As everyone from the Haqq twins to Khloe to Thompson began to speak at once to discuss what had occurred, Kim called everyone to order with a loud, "This is a birthday party!" Being a birthday there was, of course, lots of gifts with the mother of three and her daughter North giving Khloe a custom Balenciaga handbag with dollar bill prints on it. Khloe excitedly showed the bag to the 5-year-old girl, telling her, "Do you know what this stands for? Khlo-money!" The birthday girl cooked everyone a dinner of butter crust chicken with a table setting adorned with different colored plates. Earlier on Wednesday, Kim wished her little sister a happy birthday on Instagram with a photo of their two daughters Chicago and True -- 10 weeks and 5 months old, respectively. "Happy Birthday to one of my favorite souls on this planet!" Kim captioned the photo, with their daughters situated atop the latter's lap. "This year you have shown strength like none other. I admire you for always following your heart." She continued, "I love seeing you as a mom and can't wait for the years ahead. Let's celebrate you today! I love you to infinity!" While Thompson and the mother of one seem to be doing well despite a cheating scandal that occurred in April just days before Khloe was due to give birth, a source told PEOPLE that the reconciliation didn't go over well with the KarJenner clan. Despite that, the insider said the family "respect her decision." "Everyone knows Khloe plans on staying with Tristan, so things have been civil so far," the source said. "They still have opinions about Tristan's bad behavior, of course, but no one wants to upset Khloe." (People)

SoulCycle guru Stacey Griffith's relationship is on the rocks. The famed romance between SoulCycle spinning guru Stacey Griffith and photographer Debby Hymowitz has come to a stop, it seems. Fit sources exclusively tell us there's buzz that the beloved duo has broken up. Griffith -- whose A-list clients have included Madonna and Kelly Ripa -- and Hymowitz have been together for 13 years. The relationship is legendary in SoulCycle circles and beyond, since Hymowitz was an Upper East Side socialite who left her hedge fund husband for the instructor. Griffith said in an interview last year: "I've been with my partner for almost 12 years now, and the love that I had really turned me into a more amazing instructor, friend and person." But a friend of the pair tells us the split may not be permanent: "They may get back together," cautioned the pal. "They do this .?.?. They'll break up and get back together." We hear they even split last summer, twice. The couple lives together, and Hymowitz has three now-grown children, including social media star Lilli Hymowitz, who in 2015, at 16, was dubbed "The prom queen of Instagram" by New York magazine. Meanwhile, Griffith -- who has nearly 65,000 Instagram followers as a SoulCycle "founding senior master instructor" -- posted a Mother's Day message to Hymowitz, saying, "Today is the day to recognize all you do for your children .?.?. it has been a true lesson in life to watch you do what you do best, I hope you have the best day." On Valentine's Day, she posted a pic of the duo with the caption: "Comin for ya today supermom, lawyer, photographer, co pilot, wingman, lover of life !! I'm so lucky to call this lady my valentine." Last year, they collaborated on a piece for Departures about a family trip to France -- where Hymowitz's daughters were competing in an equestrian event -- and Griffith also released her book, "Two Turns From Zero." Hymowitz's photo exhibitions have included "Sexual Evolution," with subjects including Griffith. The couple did not comment. (PageSix)

Wendy Williams says her life "has completely changed" since her Graves' disease started "creeping back" last year. The talk show queen said in a video message at the Graves' Disease & Thyroid Foundation 2018 Patients and Family Conference that the disease -- which she had been controlling with medication -- returned because she was on the wrong dose. Williams said that she had been diagnosed with both Graves' and thyroid disease 19 years ago, "and everything was fine. I had the radioactive iodine [medication], taking my pill a day, minding my own business." But she said, "Then back in the fall or maybe around July of last year, I started feeling weird in the head but I'm thinking, 'OK, this is maybe a casualty of menopause or we were ramping up for season nine of the 'Wendy Show.' So, it wasn't until I passed out on my own show [in October] that ... Anyway, life has completely changed." Williams said the problem turned out to be that she had been on the wrong dose. Williams told the conference that her illness had even forced her to give up her stilettos. "The doctors tell me it's going to take at least six months -- maybe a year -- to level off my medication, which is why I always wear flats. I'm not wearing heels and falling and tripping," she said, adding that the illness sometimes makes her off balance. Williams terrified fans by collapsing on-camera during the taping of the Halloween edition of her beloved show while wearing a Statue of Liberty costume. In February, she announced that she was taking three weeks off on doctors' orders. Williams' show has been temporarily replaced by the World Cup but returns Monday. (Page Six)

Luann de Lesseps, who just took her hit cabaret show "#CountessAndFriends" on the road, had to cancel a performance at Feinstein's/54 Below on Wednesday, claiming she was sick. The ailment appears to have come on quickly -- on Tuesday, de Lesseps, who had been performing in San Francisco, tweeted, "Such a blast in SF, now getting ready for tonight's show back in NYC baby!!!" The venue confirmed to us that the show would not go on Wednesday night, and that ticket holders would get refunds. A rep for the "Real Housewives of New York City" star didn't get back to us. We previously reported that de Lesseps had been a "diva" at the San Francisco Pride parade by "micromanaging" the placement of a banner. (Page Six)

While LeBron James decides where he's playing next season, he's been balling out in his own private mansion in Anguilla ... at a place that runs $75 GRAND a week!! TMZ Sports has learned ... the Cavs superstar (for now, at least) is living it up at the Anguilla Beach House at Meads Bay ... which is essentially a villa on steroids. Not only is it a dope pad with 8 master bedrooms, it comes with a TON of bells and whistles ... like a full-time chef, butler, 44-ft infinity pool,home theater, a full food and beverage staff, and direct access to the beach. It seems like the perfect place for LBJ to get some R&R before the Decision 3.0 ... hell, he might say screw the NBA and just stay here for the rest of his life. By the way, he's not the first superstar to stay at the pad -- Justin Bieber stayed there a few years ago. (TMZ)

Sammy Sosa responded in a new interview to people who have criticized his noticeably lighter skin tone since his retirement from baseball in 2007. "Look at what I am today. This is my life, and I don't take garbage from nobody," the former MLB right fielder, 49, told Sports Illustrated in a profile published on Wednesday, June 27. "I do whatever I want." These days, Sosa lives in the United Arab Emirates with his wife, Sonia Rodrguez, and their six children. There, the former athlete ignores the things trolls say online about his appearance, according to his eldest son, Sammy Jr. "It doesn't affect him, but I'm sure he feels a certain way," the 21-year-old told the magazine. "Like, 'Man, I gave so many years and so much hard work for you guys, and now you want to undermine all that because of some decisions I'm making -- some personal decision that don't affect you at all?" Sammy Jr. added, "He's a really closed-off person, even with me. He doesn't mean to be. There are some things I don't know about my dad that I wonder about." The drastic change in Sosa's complexion first began making headlines when he attended the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas in November 2009. A week later, he appeared on Univision's Primer Impacto program to clarify that he did not have vitiligo, the skin condition that the late Michael Jackson said was the reason for his lighter skin. "It's a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some," the former Chicago Cubs slugger explained at the time. "It's a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I'm not a racist. I live my life happily. ... What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is. I don't think I look like Michael Jackson." (US Weekly)

What Tess Holiday said about being a body positivity role model will give you all the feels. Model and author, Tess Holliday, has dealt with online trolls and bullies commenting on her weight for as long as she can remember - but now she's hit back and recently become the first-ever digital cover star of Self magazine. However, having such vast publicity has encouraged Holliday opening up what it's been like dealing with constant attacks on her size. On Instagram, Holliday shared a photo of the magazine cover to her 1.6 million followers and wrote: "I'm over the moon to finally share - this is totally surreal to see a fat body on the cover of a health magazine." In an interview with Health magazine, she revealed how most online trolls are 'concerned' about her weight in relation to health, and she used to spend a lot of her time replying to comments telling people she was actually very healthy. Speaking about the 'concerned trolls' she said: "It frustrates me that so many people have bought into the idea of what we should look like instead of actually giving a crap about everyone around you. People should mind their own business." The 32-year old also mentioned that she struggled with her mental health, as well as postnatal depression after giving birth to her second son, and it was then that she released she didn't need to "prove that I'm healthy or not." "By telling people that you see a doctor, and telling people that you're healthy, it's perpetuating the abuse against bigger bodies and the mindset that we owe it to people to be healthy. The reality is I don't owe you sh*t and I don't have to prove that I'm healthy or not, because it is nobody's business," she said. The star is now taking medication for her post-natal depression and has begun eating differently to improve her mental health. But she's also revealed that doing so has left her feeling 'guilty' for losing weight. "There's a sense of betrayal that [people with] bigger bodies feel, and it's hard because you're in your head. I've [thought this about] many people where you're like 'is it their choice? Were they pressured [into losing weight]?" Despite this, she's said that she's not giving up fried chicken or Cheetos because "it's my body." We feel you, girl. (British Glamour)

Space Foundation fires back at Buzz Aldrin over lawsuit. The Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation -- which the famed astronaut is suing, alleging it is using his finances to fund "future educational endeavors" whereas his goal is to "fund current educational endeavors" -- is striking back. Foundation rep Brett Griffin tells Page Six, "We are disappointed and upset at the unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims made by those representing Col. Aldrin to the media." He continues in a statement, "We remain committed to doing what we can to protect the reputation and well-being of Col. Aldrin throughout this contentious and unfortunate situation. The Aldrin family and foundation continue to be very concerned for his vulnerability to manipulation by other parties seeking to gain access to, and control of, the foundation and his personal resources." Aldrin's lawyer told us previously when it comes to these claims, "Buzz Aldrin is in control of everything. No one is controlling Buzz." Aldrin's lawsuit is also against his children Andrew and Janice, former manager Christina Korp and the Florida Institute of Technology and includes allegations of elder exploitation, fraud and slander. (PageSix)

Music

Beyonce fans are doing the 'apesh*t challenge' and it's absolutely hilarious. We are lolling. The internet has seen some pretty strange challenges over the past few years - from the cinnamon challenge all the way through to the extremities of people eating tide pods. Because apparently putting a hashtag on something and calling it a challenge can convince the internet to do just about anything. But the latest craze is safe, hilarious, and involves none other than Beyonce. After Bey and husband Jay-Z dropped joint album, Everything Is Love, totally unannounced last week on Tidal, they let us ordinary folk in on the action by dropping one of their music videos on YouTube. The video for 'Apeshit' saw the couple take over the Louvre museum in Paris, dancing in front of epic masterpieces including the Mona Lisa, and Great Sphinx of Tanis - because why wouldn't they? Cultural commentators got massively excited about this, saying the video would engage more people who enjoy popular culture in topics such as art history, but they never could have predicted what was coming. Drawing inspiration from a scene in the video, in which Queen Bey dances vigorously in a white dress in front of The Winged Victory of Samothrace, the internet decided to improvise and film themselves dancing around in a bed sheet before posting it on Twitter and naming it #Apeshitchallenge. (British Glamour)

Gwen Stefani Brings No Doubt and Solo Hits to Life at Energizing Las Vegas Debut. "I'm just a girl in Vegas!" exclaimed Gwen Stefani near the end of her Las Vegas debut on Wednesday (June 27), on a tear of classic No Doubt and solo hits of her own. Joining the ranks of Spears, Backstreet and Jennifer Lopez in settling in for residencies at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, the Anaheim, Calif. pop star made her Sin City debut at Zappos Theater, marking the first of her 25-date Just a Girl spectacular with shows that run through March 2019. It was a relatively simple yet fully formed affair, with minor and forgivable kinks. Stefani spent the near two-hour runtime reviving songs from her past with a fresh twist, energy on tilt and focus lasered. Unlike her Vegas peers, bells and whistles were few, save for the bananas brandished by her fleet of backup dancers for opener "Hollaback Girl" and her giant cake throne for "Wind It Up." Instead, the 48-year-old let the songs do the work, with minimal stage banter and footwork, leaving the heavy lifting to her backup dancers. What separated Stefani from the pack, though, was the fact that she breathlessly sang live. Many Vegas performers opt out of actually keeping their mics on as they hit choreography, and it was a compelling choice. She sounded fresh, on-key and connected with her music, making for a show that felt less like an automation and aligning with her brand: a talented girl in the world, uncompromising, giving it her all with little artifice. The show began after her boyfriend Blake Shelton stepped in the sold-out house around 9:15pm, grinning and interacting with the crowd, with Stefani taking the stage five minutes later. As the curtains opened and horn fanfare erupted, she emerged with a trail of dancers behind her, clad in thigh-high glitter boots and a glitter cape over a glitter jacket. Sparkle was a theme throughout the night -- near the end, she came out in a chic farm-ready ensemble care of designer Jeremy Scott, who watched from the crowd as she shouted him and Shelton out. During the performance, Stefani kept it trim, doing an almost anti-Vegas change of costume, clocking out around five. (Cher, for example, has upwards of 14.) The smash singles were plenty -- "Bathwater, "Spiderwebs," "Hella Good," "Rich Girl," "Luxurious," "Cool," a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" -- and the presentation was smooth. Save, for except, a few moments where a backup dancer tried to secure a cape on her for "Don't Speak" to disappointment, or when another dancer tried to disconnect a corset from her frame. To her credit, she adlibbed wonderfully, bringing two girls and then their other sister on stage to help her out of the latter. "Someone get up here and take this shit off me right now, this little girl. I want you and you to come undress me right now, please," she said, pulling them into the spotlight. "See, this is basically our dress rehearsal, and that's why I said tonight was one of the most memorable of the entire tour. This is the very first time this has ever happened to me. Actually, I crapped my pants one time in the crotch." The more unguarded moments held notable weight. As one fan in the sea of standing room fans in the pit waved a rainbow flag, perhaps coincidentally coinciding with Pride month, Stefani brought up a lesbian couple on stage after spotting them in the crowd. "I want to talk to these weirdoes," she said, referencing the audience at large. She settled on the pair, noting the hats branded with messages they were wearing just before sliding into "Underneath It All." "So 'I'm her Gwen,' and 'I'm her Blake.' Congratulations, I know it feels good." In fact, she made a point to let the audience know that she could see them and encouraged them to give back. "So this is super exciting for me because sometimes, I say, I can see everybody! I can actually see everybody. So if you're misbehaving, not reacting, being lazy, I will get you, and I will embarrass you." There were several video vignettes as she changed costumes, reflecting on her upbringing and replete with home videos of her as a child. One felt particularly important to Stefani: In a camo jacket, she spoke to the camera about her love of fashion as magazine covers she's graced moved across the screen. "Fashion has always inspired me. I mean, culture has always inspired me," she said. "My mom made my clothes, and her mom her clothes and my great grandma made her clothes. It's just in me, it's my DNA. And I love anything old Hollywood, vintage. I love seeing images of my mom in the '60s and there's not a decade in fashion that doesn't draw my attention and there's not a culture that I'm not fascinated by. I just love the art fashion and how fashion is such an extension of your personality and mood." By the end, she was composed and happy, genuinely enjoying the moment, and above all, grateful for the opportunity. "Thank you guys so much for coming out tonight. This is insanity! I can't believe I'm in Vegas right now! Thank you for all the love we've experienced all the years, thank you for all the cheers, thank you for letting me share my life story with you." (Billboard)

Hitco Close to Hiring SONGS Business & Legal Affairs Head David Gold: Sources. Hitco, the new music outfit founded by former Epic Records chairman/CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid and industry veteran Charles Goldstuck, is close to making a key new hire, sources tell Billboard: David Gold, who served as head of business and legal affairs for SONGS Music Publishing since 2015. If the deal is finalized, Gold would join a staff of about 30 at Hitco, up from 25 this winter, including executive VP/general manager Kirdis Postelle. Hitco has about 15 acts on its roster including Big Boi, whom Reid had signed as part of OutKast to LaFace Records in the '90s. But the bulk are newer acts, sources say. SONGS announced in December it had sold its catalog to Kobalt Capital's fund, and its other top executives have already landed in high places: Ron Perry is now running Columbia Records; Carianne Marshall is in a newly created COO role at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing and SONGS founder Matt Pincus is working as a special advisor to Snapchat and executive in residence at investment bank LionTree, which had helped him sell SONGS. Neither Hitco nor Gold could immediately be reached for comment. (Billboard)

Judge Denies Prince's Heirs' Request to Reconsider Tidal Exclusive Streaming Deal. Carver County District Court Judge Kevin Eide on Tuesday denied a request from three of Prince's heirs to reconsider a decision approving a deal between the iconic artist's estate and Tidal. Attorneys for heirs Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John R. Nelson submitted the request last week that was heavily redacted to the public, but according to a response letter from the late musician's estate it requested reconsideration on a May 9 order approving a settlement agreement. The deal included exclusive streaming rights for a JAY-Z-curated album of unreleased Prince material on Tidal. With their letter, the heirs sought to get out of that deal, basing their argument around Norwegian news reports that Tidal inflated its streaming numbers -- allegations the company has denied. In the estate's response, attorney Lora M. Friedemann, on behalf of executor Comerica Bank and Trust, cited Minnesota general rule of practice that states "motions to reconsider are prohibited except by express permission of the court, which will be granted only upon a showing of compelling circumstances" and added such motions are only appropriate in very rare circumstances. The estate argued that motions for reconsideration should only be granted where there has been intervening legal developments or the earlier decision is "palpably wrong in some respect." Per Friedemann's response, Prince's heirs failed to raise any such issues in their request. "Unproven media reports do not constitute an 'intervening legal development,' or demonstrate that the Court's Order was 'palpably wrong in some respect,'" she wrote. "Moreover, the Nelsons fail to explain how unsubstantiated media reports about Tidal bear in any respect on the settlement, and they do not." Prince and Tidal signed an exclusive streaming deal for his catalog in 2015. Following his death from an accidental overdose in April 2016, most of his Warner releases returned to all major streaming services last year. The agreement between the Prince estate and Tidal last month resolved all legal matters between the parties. On Wednesday (June 27), Sony Music announced a new distribution deal with the Prince estate that covers 35 of the musician's previously released albums ranging from 1978-2015. The titles will be released via the Legacy Recordings imprint. (Billboard)

Injured Tom Morello Recruits Fan For Rage Against the Machine Guitar Duty. Among guitarists, Tom Morello is a force of nature. He's always been that guy, fighting the good fight and typically winning. So a major injury to his axe hand won't keep him down, right? The veteran muso sustained a fractured hand which required surgery and was told he'd have to sit out the current Prophets of Rage tour. Fat chance. When the supergroup touched down in Stockholm on Tuesday, Morello got right back to work. And when his arm "got a little tired," he called up a fan to take guitar duties. Addressing the crowd, the veteran artist said: "Last Thursday, I fractured my hand and broke it in two. And my doctor said, 'There's no way you guys are going to be able to go on tour. I said, 'There's crazy-ass motherf---ers in Sweden who need to see this shit." Local fan and guitarist Mike Svensson stepped in for Rage Against the Machine's"Bulls on Parade" and channeled Morello's trademark fury. Prophets of Rage later tweeted a gory photo of his hand mid-surgery and coupled it with a clip of Morello in action. "Nothing can stop the bionic man," the message reads. (Billboard)

Movies

Jessica Chastain still fighting for gender equality on the big screen. Jessica Chastain's in "Woman Walks Ahead." Which she's doing. She's way out there. On fire despite the red hair. Photographers crowded the building where her film screened. Others mobbed the room she'd enter. Like a wedding cake, layers of PR types with clipboards, cards, phones, attitudes. Plus bulletins: "Two minutes away .?.?. she arrived .?.?. in the elevator .?.?. coming to you now .?.?. she's here!" "I play Catherine Weldon, a late-1800s portrait painter from Brooklyn who travels to a Lakota Indian reservation for a portrait of Sitting Bull. She gets embroiled in the struggle for their land and lives there." What Sitting Bull wore when not sitting, who knows. For sure, her wardrobe living there wasn't the decollete black-and-white silk Givenchy with matching high-heel sandals she did at the screening. A feminist, she's opined on gender imbalance, passive portrayal of women in films, lack of female movie critics and their limited power positions in Hollywood. On this particular movie, there's a female director. "It's important to speak out and amplify our imbalance in the moviemaking industry. I have experienced no backlash from anyone since making my views public. I certainly wasn't afraid to do it. Glad I did it. It's taken a long time to get this far, and I'm out front for those who cannot speak out. We must turn this around." In 2011, I interviewed relatively new star Jessica. She was in "The Help" and almost seems to be in most films these past few years. Like months back in "Molly's Game." "I still manage to get time off, but the truth is, I love what I do." (PageSix)

Filmmakers Back Right to Boycott Israel Following German Festival Controversy. Viggo Mortenson, James Shamus, Laurie Anderson, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are among those to have attacked the Ruhrtriennale festival's "repressive" decision to drop Scottish band The Young Fathers for their support of the pro-Palestinian BDS movement. A number of figures from the film world have given their support to those who choose to participate in the cultural boycott of Israel following a series of developments at a leading European festival. Earlier this month, Germany's Ruhrtriennale arts festival due to take place Aug. 18-Sept. 30 announced that Scottish hip-hop trio The Young Fathers would be dropped from the lineup due to their support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, a pro-Palestinian activist group that seeks to cut, among other things, global cultural ties with Israel. The band was among several names who pulled out of Berlin's Pop-Kultur festival due to its sponsorship by the Israeli embassy, listed as a partner. A statement from the Ruhrtriennale director Stefanie Carp said that the Mercury Prize-winning group had "regrettably failed to distance itself from BDS." However, following an international backlash one that saw the festival accused of "McCarthyism," with several other artists pulling out in solidarity with The Young Fathers Ruhrtriennale has now reversed its decision, re-inviting the group and actually encouraging them to actively discuss their support of BDS while on stage. An open letter signed by filmmakers including Viggo Mortenson, James Shamus, Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Danny Glover and Aki Kaurismaki branded the initial decision by the festival as a "particularly alarming form of censorship, 'blacklisting' and repression." Patti Smith and Massive Attack, who have performed at the festival in previous years, were also among the signatories. "We stand firmly against all forms of racism and identity-based discrimination, including anti-blackness, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and homophobia," the letter added. "Conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel's illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous. It denies Palestinians their right to peaceful protest and undermines the struggle against antisemitism." In another statement, signed by those who had withdrawn from the festival including artist and filmmaker Laurie Anderson rejected the notion that "institutions, in any way, should have the power to demand of artists to renounce their political principles in exchange of participating in their programs." It added that any decision to disinvite an artist from a festival based on political stances "constitutes a punitive response to a position of conscience." The growing BDS movement is a highly sensitive subject matter in Germany, which has traditionally avoided any criticism of Israel, with opponents branding it as anti-Semitic. Even in re-inviting The Young Fathers, Carp said, "as a German, it is of course difficult for me to be linked to a movement that boycotts Israel." As a BDS activist told The Hollywood Reporter, "Germany is finally waking up to the cultural boycott." The open letter comes just months after a similar statement was made in defense of New Zealand singer Lorde, who in November cancelled a decision to perform in Israel, saying she had received an "overwhelming number of messages and letters" from her fans asking her to reconsider. Following attacks against the star including a full-page advert in the Washington Post that branded her a "bigot" (a similar message was sent by Roseanne Barr via tweet) a number of figures, including Mark Ruffalo, John Cusack and Julie Christie signed a letter defending Lorde's "freedom of conscience." (Hollywood Reporter)

China Cracks Down on Celebrity Pay, Citing Tax Evasion and "Money Worship". The move is viewed as a response to the recent controversy surrounding actress Fan Bingbing and her alleged use of fraudulent contracting to evade taxes. China's media regulators are cracking down on the high pay enjoyed by movie stars, while also taking action to prevent tax evasion in the country's film industry, state-backed news sources reported late Wednesday. The move was widely viewed as a response to the recent controversy surrounding actress Fan Bingbing and her alleged use of fraudulent contracting to hide her true income. The total pay for a film's cast should be capped at 40 percent of the total production budget, according to a joint directive signed by five government regulatory bodies, including the Propaganda Department and other film and tax authorities. Payments to stars also should not exceed 70 percent of the total wages paid to the cast, the notice said. Celebrity pay is a sensitive issue in the Chinese industry, where surging ticket sales have often resulted in bidding wars over the limited number of top actors who are believed to guarantee box-office results. The "new" guidelines are the same as a set issued by the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television last year. But the greater authority of the government bodies behind Wednesday's decree could mean that enforcement will be taken more seriously. The statement added that illegal payment practices, such as the underreporting of star pay for the purpose of tax evasion, was inflating production costs and damaging the Chinese film industry. Last month, well-known Chinese TV host Cui Yongyuan, publicly posted a pair of film contracts thought to belong to Fan Bingbing, China's highest-paid actress. The contracts, one for just $1.6 million and the other for $7.8 million, were meant to lay bare the allegedly widely-used practice of "yin-yang" contracting, a system that allows stars to only report the smaller sum to tax authorities. The document also chastised the entertainment industry for encouraging the "blind chasing of stars" and the "growing tendency towards money worship" among the Chinese youth, as well as the "the distortion of social values." It added that the film industry's top priority should be "social benefits," while the single-minded pursuit of box office returns and online clicks should be "firmly opposed." The state directive clearly indicates that the authorities mean to take the issue of celebrity pay seriously. But many within the Chinese industry are still bracing to see whether there will be further repercussions from Cui's public revelations. Fan's personal film studio issued a statement in the immediate aftermath denying all wrongdoing and saying that Cui's social media posts amounted to personal insults and an infringement on her rights. But the tax authorities in Jiangsu province, where her company is based, have also said that they are investigating tax evasion by "certain film and television professionals as alleged in online discussions." (Hollywood Reporter)

TV

John Gotti gave Armand Assante his blessing from prison for TV movie portrayal. Armand Assante never would have agreed to star in "Gotti," the 1996 made-for-TV movie, if John Gotti hadn't told him, "I would be honored to have you play me," a source said. The Gambino godfather was in prison, but spoke with Assante on a smuggled cellphone, the source told me. The actor won an Emmy and was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the Teflon Don. That's quite a contrast from the critically panned performance of John Travolta in the recently released "Gotti" film. The Guardian noted his "truly dazzling array of crunchy-looking wigs." "John Gotti must be rolling over in his grave," laughed my insider. Assante, who has also played Friedrich Nietzsche and Odysseus, was just at the Los Angeles premiere of "Ulugh Beg: The Man Who Unlocked the Universe," in which he stars as the 15th-century astronomer. The docudrama was produced by Timur Tillyaev and Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, whose father was the ruler of Uzbekistan for 27 years. (PageSix)

Julian Fellowes is coming to Prince Philip's defense. The creator and writer of Downtown Abbey -- the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning PBS drama series that chronicled the aristocratic Crawleys in the early 20th Century -- is speaking out about Prince Philip's portrayal in the second season of Netflix's The Crown -- and why he believes it wasn't "fair" to the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh. "The Crown is a wonderful piece of work, and a brilliant, brilliant writing from Peter Morgan," Fellowes, 68, tells Katie Couric in the new episode of her podcast, the latest installment of her editorial initiative with the BBC, which has also featured conversations with Sharon Horgan and Graham Norton. "It was beautifully acted, beautifully written," he says. "For me, I'm not completely comfortable with dramatizing people who are still alive and still living their lives. Because I think it's possible to be unfair. And in the second series, I didn't think it was fair to Prince Philip, to the Duke of Edinburgh, based on very little." Season 2 of The Crown was released Dec. 8 on Netflix and stars Claire Foy (Queen Elizabeth) and Matt Smith (Prince Philip). Fellowes explains, "Now I'll be punished for that because it's a great success and it deserves to be. I don't know. I think when people are still alive, living their lives, doing a good job and popular and loved, do they deserve it? And in that sense, I'm not sure they do." Couric then inquired if Fellowes believes "that a lot of artistic license was taken in the storylines in terms of how these individuals have been portrayed in the series?" "You're getting me into a tricky area here," says Fellowes. "I think that a lot of it was based on obviously very good research, but some of it was not. Some of it was extrapolation from a rumor or someone's rather prejudiced account. And then it was presented as fact. I'm not sure that's just." Although the Downton Abbey creator doesn't think the storyline was completely accurate, he applauds The Crown creator Peter Morgan. "But I'm a big fan of Peter Morgan, I repeat that. I think he's the best writer on television at the moment," says Fellowes. "And it's deservedly successful as far as I'm concerned." The second season of the Netflix show was set in the early 1960s, and much of the drama surrounded Queen Elizabeth sending husband Prince Philip off on a five-month tour, which is among the stresses explored. "When they finally get a chance to look at their marriage, it's in pretty dire straits," Foy told PEOPLE. "They've both in their own ways dealt with it and made themselves feel better or healed themselves in whatever way they are able to." Part of their "healing" involved welcoming their two younger sons, Prince Andrew (born in 1960) and Prince Edward (1964). The season was also a departure from the "fairy story" of last year's, said director Philip Martin. By the early 1960s, the public "is questioning whether we need a royal family," he said. "It's a complete energy change." There are also flashbacks to Philip's lonely childhood. (His own royal family was ousted during the coup in Greece, and his mother was institutionalized.) "We learn a lot more about him and his history and his heritage," said Smith, 35, who portrayed him in the series. "It has made him quite tough and resilient." (People)

Breaking barriers. With the help of trans activist Janet Mock, musician and writer Our Lady J and 140 trans or LGBTQ cast and crew members, Ryan Murphy launched Pose, a drama about NYC's Ball culture in the 1980s. "I was interested in bringing up a new group of people," the creator of Glee and American Horror Story tells Us. "When I was coming up in the industry, it was all white guys over 40 who had power. I'm interested in using my juice to promote other people." In addition to his usual starring suspects, including Kate Mara and Evan Peters, Murphy gave every person who wanted to audition a chance. "I think the days of casting a straight guy who puts on a wig and is a transgender person ... those days are over," Murphy, 52, says. "I feel like that's not fair and that's not real. There is so much talent in this community. We cast this show for six months and we read anybody who wanted to audition and I feel like you can feel it. It's an authentic show about an authentic group of people and I wanted to give them a chance, and they're so great!" It will also change the future of what Murphy does with TV. "It was a joy and I feel like that is how business has to be now. I feel like we're not gonna go back. We're going to go forward and be more true and authentic," he says. James Van Der Beek, who plays Matt Bromley, also tells Us that Murphy's drama taught him a lot. "I think what I came out with is just a greater understanding of the humanity and the complexities of the scene and what it means to be trans, and what this ball mean to the community and why," he says about joining the project. "It's a place where they could be celebrated in a society that tells them they should not be celebrated. Also, the courage that it takes for them to be authentic to themselves is really inspiring." Pose airs on FX Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. (US Weekly)

Thursday, June 28, 2018

WEIRD NEWS

I Pray to Trump

It's no secret that Donald Trump has some very loyal supporters out there but we've yet to hear about any of them worshipping him as a god. Well, until now. Bussa Krishna is a 31-year-old farmer from the remote village of Konne, India, and he prays to a photo of President Trump several times a day. He makes offerings of vermilion, turmeric and flowers to the photo and carries it with him wherever he goes, openly declaring his devotion to his unusual deity. Oh sure, his family and friends have called him mad but Krishna says that has only strengthened his resolve, and he now hopes to build a temple dedicated to the US President. Krishna reportedly came up with the idea in February of last year, following the killing of a software engineer from Telangana by a US Navy veteran in an alleged hate crime. He says, "I was very much pained at the incident. I thought the only way the US president and his people could understand the greatness of Indians is to display our love and affection towards them. That is why I started worshipping Trump with a hope that the prayers would reach him one day." Sounds like a plan. (Oddity Central)

Oops! 

Oops! Some 150 passengers waiting to take off from New York's JFK Airport got quite the scare after a pilot of JetBlue Flight 1623 accidentally triggered a hijacking alarm ahead of departure to Los Angeles. Passenger Alexa Curtis tweeted: "Woah. My worst nightmare," and "Honestly thought we were going to die." Though passengers were apparently kept in the dark, the Airbus 321 had "experienced a radio equipment problem" while taxiing, according to the FAA. A pilot then entered an incorrect code, which triggered a hijack alert. After an investigation and complete search of the plane, no security threat was detected and the flight departed four hours late. (New York Post)

Woman Scorned! 

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Keeping that stereotype alive is 19-year-old Samantha Ray Mears of Montana who was arrested after allegedly lying in wait with a machete for her ex-boyfriend and forcing him to have sex with her. The victim, who had reportedly been in a relationship with Mears for seven years before they broke up, told police after he came home, Mears suddenly jumped out from behind his bedroom door holding a machete, which she then held to his neck and ordered him to strip. She allegedly took off her own pants and forced him to have intercourse with her, continuing to hold on to the machete the whole time. The alleged victim was able to take pictures of Mears sitting naked on the bed wielding the machete, which he provided to police. Finally, he was able to call 911 and pretend to be talking to a friend so Mears wouldn't know he'd called police. He and his sister, who had arrived home during the ordeal, escaped the house just as police got there. Mears, who was also charged with felony strangulation against the same man in April, now faces six new charges including assault, burglary, and more. (KRTV)

Popular Blogger Killed by Online Troll

Kenichiro Okamoto is an expert on cybercrime and the dark web and a popular Japanese blogger, better known by his screen name, Hagex. He had just finished giving a seminar on resolving online disputes when he was stabbed to death by a man he'd argued with online! Hidemitsu Matsumoto allegedly followed Okamoto into the bathroom at the event venue in Fukuoka and stabbed him multiple times in the chest and neck. Okamoto was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Matsumoto escaped the scene on a bicycle, but turned then turned himself in to authorities three hours later. Okamoto, age 41, had allegedly received abusive messages from Matsumoto, 42, who reportedly admitted to opening a new account every time his was deleted so that he could continue to send messages. He allegedly told police he hated Okamoto and wanted him dead. Matsumoto was characterized by Newsweek as a troll and he allegedly has a history of cyber disputes. (Guardian)

Horrible Freak Basketball Accident

In Granger, Indiana, 14-year-old Nolan Gerwels was playing basketball with his little sister on an indoor court at his home when the hoop's backboard, rim, and support bracket came loose and struck him in the head. The injury was fatal, killing the boy. His mother, Margaret Gerwels said, "This is horrific and overwhelming." She described her son as "incredible," an honor student and first-chair percussionist who had just wrapped up summer basketball conditioning in anticipation of making his school's freshman team. St. Joseph County Police Assistant Chief Bill Thompson said, "Obviously this is an extremely unusual event, so we're doing a little bit of investigation in terms of just exactly how the goal and the support bracket for it was anchored to the wall." Mrs. Gerwels added that her son was always willing to help anyone," even serving as the assistant coach for his sister's team for the past three years. "We are a close family, so everyone bears this heavy weight of his absence. He was so, so loved by everyone." (WNDU)

Don't You Want To Live in South Carolina?

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, 38-year-old Stephanie Sebby-Strempel, a white woman, has been arrested for allegedly hitting a 15-year-old black child as she booted him and his pals from a community pool - and then biting the police officer who came to arrest her. Sebby-Strempel allegedly told the teen boy and his friends that they "did not belong" and had to leave the Reminisce pool in Summerville. The teen was one of several children invited to the pool by a friend in the neighborhood. After being accosted, the boy said he and his friends started to leave respectfully - but the deranged woman started yelling racial slurs and called them "punks." Video of the incident shows Sebby-Strempel yelling, "Get out now! There's three numbers I can dial, 9-1-1, okay? Get out, you little punk." Deputies said the out-of-control suspect hit the teen at least three times as he walked out of the pool area, including twice in the face. He was checked out by EMS but wasn't seriously hurt. Investigators said the assault was unprovoked and that the teen didn't retaliate when he was hit. When deputies showed up to Sebby-Strempel's home to arrest her the following day, she allegedly pushed one detective against the wall, injuring his knee, and bit a second one so hard on the arm that she broke skin. She was charged with third-degree assault and with two counts of assaulting a police officer while resisting arrest. (ABC News

What the What?

Perhaps the world's dumbest thief lives in Horn Lake, Mississippi. He apparently decided to steal a mini fridge from Home Depot, but never bothered to consider beforehand if it would fit in his car. He was seen with the mini-fridge hanging half way out of the open car door. A driver who nearly collided with the fast driving suspect caught all of the action on camera. Horn Lake police confirm they got a call about someone stealing a fridge from the Home Depot on Interstate Road. Witness Ken Salmon said, "It's probably the dumbest theft I can think of. Who steals a fridge and says, 'Oh, it won't fit in my car?" The accused refrigerator thief didn't make it far, he eventually decided for whatever reason to drop it off in a Wendy's parking lot just feet from where the whole thing started. Police still haven't caught up with the thief but got the cars tag number and they are investigating. (WREG News)

Alcoholism and your eyes

If you have blue eyes, you may want to be wary of beer, wine and cocktails. Genetic researchers at the University of Vermont say that people...