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50 Highest-grossing Chicago Movies

Thu, 2014-07-24 09:44
Not only are movies filmed in Illinois entertaining, they also boost the economy. To satisfy your movie cravings, we found the 100 highest-grossing movies filmed in the Chicago area, according to IMDb. Please note these are movies filmed in Chicago, not movies that necessarily take place in Chicago. We list the movies according to the category or genre they were listed under on IMDb. Check out 50 action and comedy titles here and 50 other comedies, horrors and romances at Reboot Illinois.

Action

- The Dark Knight (2008)

- Spider-Man 2 (2004)

- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

- Man of Steel (2013)

- Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

- The Fugitive (1993)

- Batman Begins (2005)

- Mission: Impossible (1996)

- Divergent (2014)

- Wanted (2008)

- Eagle Eye (2008)

- Payback (1999)

- Backdraft (1991)

- U.S. Marshalls (1998)

- The Jackal (1997)

- The Blues Brothers (1980)

- The Negotiator (1998)

- Running Scared (1986)

- Midnight Run (1988)

- Colombiana (2011)

- Red Heat (1988)

- Mercury Rising (1998)

- I Love Trouble (1994)

Comedy

- Home Alone (1990)

- What Women Want (2000)

- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

- Meet the Parents (2000)

- My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

- Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

- Wayne's World (1992)

- The Break-Up (2006)

- A League of Their Own (1992)

- Michael (1996)

- While you were Sleeping (1995)

- Barbershop (2002)

- Fred Claus (2007)

- Christmas Vacation (1989)

- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

- Uncle Buck (1989)

- Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004)

- Risky Business (1983)

- Shall we Dance (2004)

- The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

- Never Been Kissed (1999)

- Rookie of the Year (1993)

- Dennis the Menace (1993)

- Major League (1989)

- Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

- The Dilemma (2011)

- Wayne's World 2 (1993)

Check out 50 other comedies, horrors and romances at Reboot Illinois.



NEXT ARTICLE: Illinois governor's race attack ads arrive early this year
The Illinois unemployment rate continues downward trend, but do statistics tell a different story?
Top 10 things to know about Bruce Rauner's fiscal plan
Report shows raising Illinois minimum wage might actually speed up job creation
Cartoon: Democratic math on minimum wage
Like editorial cartoons? We've got many cartoon galleries grouped by topic in our gallery section. See them all here.

To Fight for Public Schools Is to Fight for Democracy

Thu, 2014-07-24 07:48
Friends, when a small group of parents and educators formed the Network for Public Education in 2013, we had a singular goal: to mobilize the allies of public education against the powerful forces supporting privatization and high-stakes testing. To advance that goal, we hoped to create a force to counter the large amounts of money that were being dumped into state and local school board races to undermine public education, to demoralize teachers, and to promote an agenda of choice, testing, and sanctions.

We knew we were up against some of the wealthiest people in the nation. We knew they included a bunch of billionaires, and we could never match their spending.

But we put our faith in democracy. We put our faith in the simple idea that we are many, and they are few. We believed -- and continue to believe -- that an informed public will not give away its public schools to amateurs, hedge fund managers, rock stars, for-profit corporations, athletes, fly-by-night entrepreneurs, and religious groups. Our goal is to inform the public, assuming that they would not willingly abandon or give away what rightfully belongs to the entire community.

We believed that we could exert influence if we established our credibility as genuine supporters of children, parents, teachers, administrators, and real education, as opposed to the data-driven, high-stakes testing policies that degrade education and to the consumer-oriented choice programs that divide communities and harm public schools.

Our budget can't match the budgets of those who want to turn our schools into profit centers. But we believe in the power of our message. During our short existence, we have proven on several occasions that our message can beat Big Money. We have seen candidates in state and local races triumph over well-funded adversaries. We think that our support gave them added visibility and contributed to their astonishing victories.

We supported Sue Peters for the school board in Seattle, and she won. We supported Monica Ratliff in a race for the Los Angeles school board, and she won. We supported Ras Baraka in his race for Mayor of Newark, and he won. This past week, we supported Valarie Wilson in the runoff for the Democratic nomination for state superintendent in Georgia, and she won. All of these candidates were outspent, sometimes by multiples of numbers.

Some candidates we endorsed lost their races. But our message has been consistent and powerful. All credit goes to the candidates themselves, of course, but we are proud that we gave them support and hope when they needed it most, and that our endorsement may have helped their fundraising and campaigning.

We urge you to join us as we promote the principles that will improve our public schools and repel those who seek to monetize them. We want our children to have a childhood. We want our teachers and principals to be highly respected professionals. We want parents and educators to stand together on behalf of their children and their community.

We oppose the status quo. We seek better schools for all children. We will work diligently with like-minded allies until we can turn the tide, turn it away from those who seek silver bullets or profits, and turn the tide towards those who work to restore public education as the public institution dedicated to spreading knowledge and skills, advancing equality of educational opportunity, and improving the lives of children and communities, while encouraging collaboration and a commitment to democratic values.

Join us! With your help, we will build better schools and better communities for all children.

Diane Ravitch, President, The Network for Public Education
Anthony Cody, Treasurer, The Network for Public Education
Robin Hiller, Executive Director, The Network for Public Education

Fiscally Shaky Budget For Chicago Public Schools Approved

Wed, 2014-07-23 17:23

CHICAGO, July 23 (Reuters) - The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday approved a $5.76 billion fiscal 2015 operating budget that relies on an accounting maneuver to bulk up available reserves to eliminate a nearly $1 billion deficit.

The budget for the nation's third-largest public school district, which serves 400,000 students, extends the district's revenue recognition period by 60 days - a move that is expected to increase reserve funds that will be tapped to balance the spending plan.

Chicago-based Civic Federation, a government finance watchdog group, on Wednesday blasted the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) for "artificially" inflating revenue to get through the new fiscal year.

"The budget is balanced only by an accounting gimmick that allows CPS to book more than 12 months of revenue into a single fiscal year," report by the Civic Federation said.

The school system acknowledged that it was buying time with this budget.

"This is a one-time fix that allows the district to prevent further cuts to school budgets in the absence of increased state funding or comprehensive pension reform from (the Illinois Legislature)," CPS said in a statement following the budget vote.

The district's pension contribution for the new fiscal year that began July 1 is $634 million, the largest ever single-year CPS pension payment, equal to about $1,600 per student or 11 percent of the operating budget.

Like the city of Chicago, the school district is under increasing financial pressure from escalating pension payments and both have had their credit ratings downgraded as a result.

Most recently, Moody's Investors Service in March dropped CPS' rating to Baa1 with a negative outlook from A3.

While the state legislature has enacted cost-saving pension reforms for two of the city's four pension funds, lawmakers have not passed reforms specifically for CPS pensions.

The district has acknowledged that its future financial outlook is "grim," projecting a $1.14 billion deficit in fiscal 2016 that would grow to nearly $1.4 billion in fiscal 2017. It also projects that state funding will continue to fall in the coming fiscal years.

CPS is also diving into reserves to cover $78 million of the nearly $604 million of payments due in fiscal 2015 on its $6.4 billion of outstanding bonds, according to budget documents. (Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Ken Wills)

Why Neo-Plessyism Failed to Improve Chicago Schools

Wed, 2014-07-23 17:01
The market-driven school reform movement intentionally uses test, punish, choice, and no-holds-barred competition to sort and separate students and educators. They scoff at the social science that explains the need for trusting relationships and diversity in schools, as they use the stress of tests and competition to supposedly overcome the stress of poverty.

Reformers ridicule calls for collaboration and integration, as they use segregation by choice to undo the legacy of segregation by economics and race!?!? Then they are shocked, shocked, that their campaign to separate leads to increased segregation.

Reformers in New Orleans, New York City, and Chicago have been especially determined to reward schools that recruit the easier-to-educate, while punishing those schools that are left with even greater percentages of children from extreme poverty, who have endured severe trauma. But, now Mayor Rahm Emanuel supposedly claims that he did not intend to worsen segregation. Perhaps Emanuel is so uninformed about education research and history that he didn't understand that increased sorting would be the inevitable result of his policies.

Reporter Linda Lutton and a study by Chicago's WBEZ public radio shows that the opening of dozens of new Chicago high schools since 2004 has increased sorting in high and low performing schools. Chicago has followed the same pattern as the reforms in New Orleans where, as researcher Andrew McEachin discovered, "High performing students tend to go to high-performing schools, and low-performing students tend to go to low-performing schools."

Chicago followed the same dynamics as reforms in New York City where researcher Sean Corcoran determined, "high achieving kids tended to cluster together and low achieving kids cluster together as well."

The WBEZ investigation found that 15 percent of Chicago's high schools are populated with vastly disproportionate numbers of low-performing students. Black students "are doubly segregated, first by race, then by achievement." Even kids in the so-called middle find places in the types of schools they are supposed to land in, with greater percentages of "average" kids and "slightly below average" going to charters.

The first reason why this neo-Plessyism is the inevitable result of corporate reform is that the teens know the drill. As Lutton reports, "students know the hierarchy." They know the places that are being set for them. The pain they suffer by being pigeon-holed is intense, and it can be educationally debilitating. Tragically, but understandably, too many young people who find themselves in the lowest-performing schools respond "if that is what 'they' think of me, I'll show them."

Lutton's report and other Hechinger Institute analyses are exceptionally astute in weaving the various strands of the tragic tale, explaining why the segregation encouraged by reformers is becoming more intense. Students with higher achievement come from homes with more resources, and more ability to take advantage of their choices.

The effect of sorting on school climate is huge. Since "the biggest predictor of whether a school is safe and orderly is students' academic achievement, " Lutton explains "having top performers makes an entire school easier to run."

As was also explained in a recent study by the Chicago Consortium on School Research, the more challenging schools have more teacher turnover. This deepens the divide between advantaged and challenging schools in terms of teacher experience and quality.

I saw the same story when reform turned my run-of-the-mill 3/4ths low-income inner city school into a dysfunctional 100% low-income high school. I would add another point about the ways that test-driven policies make all of these dynamics worse. This policy was once known as "earned autonomy." The name was so ugly that reformers stopped using the words, even as they continued to issue the same mandates.

Choice-driven systems aren't about to micromanage and impose soul-killing scripted instruction on more advantaged schools - the ones they have selected for success. Their autonomy is respected and favored schools are encouraged to develop holistic and engaging lessons.

Low-performing schools have to earn their autonomy, however. Until they can prove an ability to raise test scores, teach-to-the-test is imposed on them. That creates a downward cycle where basic skills instruction, test prep, and worksheet-driven teaching are demanded in a desperate attempt to jack up test scores, (so that the school can throw off the mandates.) But that educational malpractice drives down student performance, inviting even more repressive micromanaging. This further undermines the schools' learning cultures, drives out top teachers and higher-achieving students, and encourages more troubled teens to act out their pain through violence and disruptive behavior.

WBEZ concludes with the wisdom of Elaine Allensworth of the Chicago Consortium who "says Chicago needs to decide what it wants -- a system that sorts students, or a system that mixes them together more." Allensworth says, "The solution is thinking about where we want to be as a society -- what kind of system do we want." says Allensworth.

I may be naïve, but I don't believe that reformers wanted to resegregate our schools in such a disgusting matter. I don't believe they intended to inflict more divisiveness on society. I suspect they just imposed their opinions on systems without having a clue about the way that they function. What I find incomprehensible is their failure to consider the excellent scholarship of the CCSR and other social scientists before imposing their theories on schools.

The eminent CCSR scholar Allensworth says:

Researchers already know one thing: whatever approach Chicago chooses, schools need to increase supports for the lowest performing students. If kids are mixed, lower achievers need help keeping up so they don't get frustrated and give up, and so they don't hold back their high-flying peers. And if Chicago decides to keep sorting students by achievement, then the schools filled with the lowest performers are going to need a lot of extra resources.


Perhaps that addresses much of my concern. Reformers care about kids trapped in the most challenging schools. They just didn't care enough about the complexity of the task they volunteered to take over. They were in too much of a hurry to tackle the challenge of providing and coordinating systems of support for the lowest performing students. So, they somehow convinced themselves that test, punish, choice and competition was a viable, cheaper and easier shortcut for improving urban schools.

Jeff Friesen's Mini Stereotypes Of LEGO America Are Coming To A Coffee Table Near You

Wed, 2014-07-23 16:33
Jeff Friesen isn't looking to take over the world, but he is looking to re-create it -- and he's doing it brick-by-brick.

As the creator of the wildly popular LEGO scenes "The Great LEGO North," "The 50 States of LEGO" and the recent "Bricksy," Friesen's work has been ruling the LEGO-loving internet since he laid the first brick last fall.

Now, the Canadian photographer's U.S. series is getting the hard copy treatment: A book with forty exclusive new scenes will be released in September.

(See "The 50 States of LEGO" below.)

With a mix of sight gags (Delaware) and pop culture (Iowa), Friesen uses "The 50 States of LEGO" to riff on the impressions, history and stereotypes from each state in the union. Speaking from his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Friesen told HuffPost that he's confident in his insights into the 50 states -- despite being a native Manitoban.

“I lived in the states for a couple of years, and I’m pretty well-traveled," Friesen said. "I’ve been to about 37 states -- though many of them were visited at high speed while driving.”

For Maryland, a state Friesen hasn't visited, he seized on the state's iconic seafood. Other states, like Illinois, are represented by their largest or most iconic city: the Land of Lincoln has two new exclusive scenes featured in the book that depict The Blues Brothers and the St. Patrick's Day tradition of dying the river green and -- both distinctly Chicago institutions.

Friesen only uses official LEGO bricks and pieces to create his scenes, a limitation that has forced him to get extra-creative in some instances: "For Georgia, I can’t do a peach farmer, because you can’t do peaches in LEGOS."

This, Friesen explained, is also why his LEGO citizens have a carb-heavy diet of bread, croissant, pizza, and the occasional chicken drumstick or carrot.

While the clever captions and scenes can be a little subversive at times, Friesen said the series has turned out to be virtually "troll-proof," receiving largely positive feedback.

"More often than not, people are in agreement about my [characterizations]," Friesen said. "My Canada ones are a little more pointed than the ones I made for the U.S., because I live here."

After his "The 50 States of LEGO" book is released, Friesen said he'll look to build scenes of London. He also plans to collaborate more with the builder who inspired his LEGO artwork to begin with -- his 7-year-old daughter, June.

"June's a really a good builder," Friesen said. "She’s much more abstract than me: She’ll have a werewolf running a coffee shop.”

This Year's Mayfly Hatch Was So Big It Showed Up On Radar And Caused A Car Wreck (PHOTOS)

Wed, 2014-07-23 15:50
If you're an animal that enjoys eating mayflies, and you live in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, this is your time to chow down. If (as is likely the case) you are human, you're out of luck.

The annual mayfly hatch along the Mississippi River is in full swing, and on Sunday evening the event was large enough to appear on radar in the western Wisconsin area. According to the National Weather Service, parts of the swarm flew as high as 2,500 feat above the ground in the La Crosse, Wisconsin, area:


Minnesota outlet KARE 11 compared the radar signature to that of a "significant rain storm," adding the bugs have turned "surfaces of cars, buildings and just about everything else" into a "slimy mess."

Slimy mess, indeed: In nearby Trenton, Wisconsin, a mayfly-coated road was so slick, and visibility so limited, the bugs have been blamed for a three-vehicle crash, which injured two people.

According to the National Weather Service, this particular mayfly hatch was of the larger black-brown Bilineata species, which emerge from the mud on the river bottom during the warm season. Per Michigan State University, adult mayflies have a lifespan ranging from a few days to a few hours, meaning this particular emergence will be over soon.

See PHOTOS of the insect swarm, below:

Facebook Page Dedicated To Shaming 'Fatties' Gets Banned

Wed, 2014-07-23 15:02
A Facebook page filled with images of California women accompanied by offensive comments has caused Internet outrage.

The now-defunct "530 Fatties" page, run by an anonymous user, featured pictures of overweight and obese women who dared to be seen in public in and around the 530 area code of Northern California.


Image Source: CBS Sacramento

Facebook confirmed to The Huffington Post that they removed the group page earlier this week after receiving user complaints.

"We do not tolerate bullying or harassment," a spokesperson said in a statement given to HuffPost. "We allow users to speak freely on matters and people of public interest, but take action on all reports of abusive behavior directed at private individuals."

The site has previously taken action against individuals accused of fat-shaming and bullying other users, including "fit mom" Maria Kang who was banned from the site for allegedly fat-shaming her followers in November 2013.


Image Source: CBS Sacramento

Jessi Lynn Howell, whose image was posted on the "530 Fatties" page without her consent, said that she was embarrassed and angry at being featured on a public page making fun of her weight.

"Cyberbullying -- bullying period -- it needs to stop," she told CBS Sacramento. "So I’m going to be a voice today for those people that don't have that voice.”


Image Source: CBS Sacramento

“I’m thankful I have enough confidence and self esteem,” an unidentified woman who was ridiculed on the Facebook page wrote in a comment read on The TODAY Show. “I love myself, big or small. If I knew who the person [who ran the page] was, I would let them know they didn’t hurt my feelings or bring me down. I’m still me.”

Why an anonymous person thought this kind of behavior would be acceptable is a mystery to us -- and we're glad that Facebook has taken a stand against it.

Here's What Happens When You Type 'Why Am' Into Google in New York

Wed, 2014-07-23 14:51
Do you know what happens when you live in New York and you type the words "why am" into Google? Before you can type the next word, Google's Autocomplete function helpfully offers to complete your thought. The first suggestion: "why am I so tired?" The second: "why am I always tired?" The Zeitgeist perfectly captured by Google.



As the Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot has put it, burnout is "civilization's disease."

True, the results of an algorithm lack the nuance and intellectual heft of a philosophical diagnosis, and the results are regional, but Autocomplete provides a valuable window into the questions we're asking. As Google explains, "The search queries that you see as part of Autocomplete are a reflection of the search activity of users and the content of web pages." These predictions are powered by an algorithm "based on a number of objective factors, including how often past users have searched for a term."

As Arwa Mahdawi wrote last year in The Guardian:

Google has become something of the secular equivalent of a confessional box. Within the confines of a search bar you can ask questions or express opinions you would never admit to in public. Our most popular searches are, to some degree, an uncensored chronicle of what, as a society, we're thinking but not necessarily saying.

While we as individuals are not always willing to talk about how tired we are, there's more evidence than ever that we've reached crisis levels. As one young woman told me during a Q&A session in San Francisco, "I don't remember the last time I was not tired."

Bill Clinton, who used to famously get only five hours of sleep a night, admitted, "Every important mistake I've made in my life, I've made because I was too tired." And Hillary Clinton, after stepping down as Secretary of State, told Gail Collins that her goal was "to see whether I can get untired."

Hillary Clinton, as my simple, half-completed Google search suggests, is not alone in wanting to know whether we can get untired.

One other point on Google's page explaining Autocomplete stood out to me: "Just like the web, the search terms shown may seem silly, strange, or surprising."

A few minutes spent typing random words (or celebrity names) into your Google search bar confirm this. But in the case of our tired civilization, there's nothing silly, strange or particularly surprising. Actually, the thought of so many people hunched over their laptops or iPhones, asking Google, "Why am I so tired?" or "Why am I always tired?" is really sad. And the answer is not going to be given to us by an algorithm. But we can start by shutting off our devices and getting some sleep.

Please let me know what happens when you Google "why am" in your area of the country or the world.

Interview on the Red Carpet With Woody Allen

Wed, 2014-07-23 14:13
It is a rare occasion that director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award winner, comedian, and musician Woody Allen appears in Chicago. On July 19th, in promotion of his new film, Magic In the Moonlight, Woody Allen did just that. He was in rare form, chatting on the red carpet and, as you'll see in the video below, discussing his work ethic and life view.

Woody Allen is a rare artist who continues to be prolific in his art and steadfast in his desire to create. I was honored to speak with him about his mélange of beauty and sorrow, hope and despair, joy and cruelty, and found him to be incredibly unassuming and vulnerable, answering honestly and candidly about his strengths as an artist.

Magic in the Moonlight is a film that, with humor and entertainment, pits deftly the juxtaposition of rationality and wonder on the axis we all know too well: the human condition. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Southern France and beautifully filmed to accentuate life's heavenly qualities on earth, Magic in the Moonlight, via the characters of Sophie, played by Emma Stone, and Stanley, played by Colin Firth, gently probes us to ask the question, "Is it better to live in sweet illusion or to face the smack of cruel reality?"

Incredibly, Allen is able to create a light-hearted, romantic and precious movie, all the while touching on some of the humanity's most confounding propositions: religion, love, mystery, beauty, stability, self-sacrifice and friendship. This is no easy feat, and is the mark of a skillful artist comfortable in his commentary on how the sadness of life can transform into the beauty of a single moment. Not bad, for 79!

In truth, it is no wonder that Allen made a swift, but heartfelt pass through Chicago last weekend. The screenings in Chicago and San Francisco of Magic In the Moonlight were sponsored by Metropolitan Capital Bank, based in Chicago. Metropolitan Capital's Wealth Management Consulting Group collaborated with philanthropist and business man, Ron Chez in his financing role as Executive Producer for Magic in the Moonlight. This is also no surprise as Metropolitan Capital Bank is a strong believer in the arts and the role the arts play in forming strong communities and businesses. As CEO of Metropolitan Capital Bank, Michael Rose stated on the red carpet Saturday night, "The arts act as an essential catalyst in any community, fostering dialogue and interaction. By hosting tonight's screening of Magic in the Moonlight, we are able to be both supportive of our client, Ron Chez, and his projects, and to help foster a greater appreciation of the arts through the showcasing of this latest beautiful and contemplative film from such an important artist."

Magic in the Moonlight opens in theaters July 25th and I encourage everyone to see it with an eye and ear towards the masterful and profound writing that turns around a sweet romance in a beautiful setting, with a penchant towards fairytale cinematography. In the interim, enjoy the rare interview below in which Allen talks about his view of the world, his trick for great directing and his most important attribute as an artist. And had I known I would have gotten him in such a tender mood (he leaned in and touched my elbow as we spoke, reminding me sweetly of my grandfather!), I would have asked him the meaning of life!

This NRA Commentator Wants You To Imagine A World Where Kids Must Learn To Use Guns

Wed, 2014-07-23 13:37
A new video from a National Rifle Association site envisions an ideal world where kids are required to learn gun competency in order to advance to the next grade.

The video, hosted by NRA News commentator Billy Johnson and posted on the NRA News website, imagines a world where gun use is treated as a fundamental need, like public education.

While Johnson acknowledges the existence of the Second Amendment, he asserts the United States has an “anti-gun policy” and suggests designing a “gun policy from the assumption that people need guns -- that guns make people's lives better.”

As Johnson considers what the country would look like if all people were encouraged to use guns, he posits that young people would be required to learn how to use firearms, just like they learn “reading and writing, necessary skills.”

“We would teach shooting and firearm competency. It wouldn't matter if a child's parents weren't good at it," Johnson says in the clip. "We'd find them a mentor. It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn. We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."

While Johnson asks his audience to consider what the world would look like if national policy promoted guns, he fails to mention 10,000 American children are injured or killed by guns each year.

NRA News features videos from a number of contributors. According to his profile on the NRA News website, Johnson’s “goal is to get people thinking about things in different ways.”

The NRA has recently taken steps to appeal to younger Americans and has designed a web series called “Noir,” which is supposed to attract millennial viewers. According to Business Insider, the show could appear as a typical MTV show, except for its references to gun rights and the Second Amendment.

"It's the gun even an anti-gunner can like. ... It’s a gun for someone that’s self-assured. It’s a gun for the city urbanite who makes frequent trips to the CVS at the bottom of his loft because he refuses to buy food from a natural grocery store,” the show’s host, Colion Noir, says in a segment, according to Business Insider. “Or the 24-year-old bombshell whose idea of acceptable grocery story attire is a pair of yoga tights and a T-shirt."

A Pew research survey from 2013 found that 16 percent of Americans aged 18-29 reported personally owning a gun, compared to 24 percent of adults overall.

h/t Media Matters

Mark Ruffalo Has His Lost Wallet Returned By Stranger After Twitter Exchange

Wed, 2014-07-23 12:41
Just when you think the world is only full of bad news and depressing stories, the smallest acts of common decency can really brighten your day.

Take Mark Ruffalo, who got a big surprise after he lost his wallet last week: The actor learned that sometimes you can depend on strangers when a man tweeted at him saying he found his wallet in a cab and wanted to know how he could return it:

@MarkRuffalo I have your wallet. Found it in a cab in chicago on Friday. Let me know the best way to get it back to you. Thanks

— Trezeduet (@Trezeduet) July 21, 2014


"@Trezeduet thank you! Wow! Another point for the decency in people," the 46-year-old actor replied, and asked the Twitter user to send him a direct message. He added, " You are a hero!"

TMZ identified the kind Twitter user as Ross McHale, who apparently didn't recognize Ruffalo's name and had to Google him to see how he could get in touch to return the wallet.

Lauryn Hill Tosses Fan Out Of Chicago House Of Blues Concert

Wed, 2014-07-23 12:39
When it comes to attending a Lauryn Hill concert one thing is certain, “don’t be disrespectful." It was that type of behavior that prompted the Grammy Award-winning singer to request a fan leave her recent show at Chicago’s House of Blues.

After Hill began her set 50 minutes late, a male fan heckled the 39-year-old for her delayed performance, TMZ reports. Hill didn’t take the patron’s comments lightly as she addressed and reported him to the venue’s security, according to a video clip posted on the celebrity gossip, entertainment news site.

“Excuse me, there’s a gentleman over there who just did something I don’t like, can you please escort him out and refund his money…I don’t play that,” she declared while on stage. “I don’t need to win you over, but you don’t need to win me over. You can go, and you can take all your money right back…”

“That’s alright. I do this because I love it, not because I owe you anything…you can get on your blogs and you can tweet and say whatever you want to, I don’t give a rat’s ass. I do this because I love it!”

Check out more of Lauryn Hill’s response in the video clip above.

8 Decor Decisions That Make Your Home Look Like A Mess

Wed, 2014-07-23 11:49
Try as we might, even the tidiest among us have a hard time keeping our homes clean. There is, after all, life and kids and everything in between. But not all messy homes are a product of messy people. To the contrary, your decor itself may be to blame.

Not sure what we mean? Read on to see how some of our most common design decisions could be making our homes look messier than they actually are.




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Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line "Project submission." (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

Is the 2015 Chicago Public Schools budget based on a "gimmick?"

Wed, 2014-07-23 11:44
Q: What's 14 months long and lasts 365 days? A: The Chicago Public Schools 2015 fiscal year.

That's no joke. It's the gist of a report from fiscal watchdog the Civic Federation that eviscerates Chicago Public Schools' proposed budget for fiscal year 2015. The $6.8 billion budget is expected to be voted upon (and adopted) on July 23.

The Civic Federation says the proposed spending plan is based on an "accounting gimmick" that uses 14 months of revenue to support a 12-month budget.

"This is yet another misguided budget that fails to address the alarmingly clear message that the District's current cost structure is unaffordable," said Sarah Wetmore, vice president of the Civic Federation.

The report criticizes both CPS' plans for new programs and school buildings while simultaneously cutting budgets at existing schools. In general the Civic Federation criticizes the district in virtually all aspects of money management, from its creation of a teacher pension crisis to its efforts to blame state government for its money woes.

Ultimately, the report says the tricks and spending of the 2015 budget will create a deficit of $1 billion for subsequent budget years. Read the full report at Reboot Illinois.

As its schools face financial issues, Chicago's mounting pension crisis has fueled speculation whether it could join Detroit as the second major U.S. city to enter bankruptcy. But a vote by Detroit public employees and retirees might serve as an example to those affected by Chicago's pension trouble.

The 12 Things Every First Apartment Needs

Wed, 2014-07-23 11:35
Finding that first place to call home after college can be a stressful experience for a recent graduate.

While retailers like IKEA, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond are here to help, such massive stores can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uninspired. Even worse? You might miss the opportunity to transition your space from the poster-clad dormitory of yesteryear to the stylish, adult space of tomorrow.

Fear not -- we've created the only list you need when it comes to making that first apartment your own. Check out the 12 must-have items below.



1. ARTWORK that was not purchased from the college bookstore.


Just keep in mind the fact that you don't have to break the bank (or even step foot in a gallery) to find something that works for your place. And at the end of the day, a little framing goes a long way.





2. A PLACE FOR YOUR MAIL that doesn't take up valuable kitchen counter space.


Having your own place also means having your own bills to pay. Find a small spot, like a side table near the door, where you can keep everything from keys to thank-you notes.





3. A RUG that isn't actually the mat you took from the bathroom you shared with several roommates.


Adding a rug isn't just a way to keep things cozy; it's also a great way to cover floors that you might be stuck with in a rental.





4. LIGHTING that isn't the hideous fixture your landlord hasn't updated since buying the apartment building.


Again, this is another place where you can mix personality with practicality. The right lighting can compliment the theme of any room and can also make your home feel more spacious.





5. BEDDING that didn't come in an all-in-one bag.


While the pre-styled package is an affordable and easy option, it completely takes away one of the best ways to bring some character to the bedroom. Even if you start with the bag as a base, add a few hand-picked touches like different sheets, vibrant throw pillows or a luxe blanket.





6. A PLACE TO SIT that's not a futon or the floor.


Granted, not everyone has room for a love seat, sofa combination or a perfectly placed sectional, but there should still be an option for you and a few guests. Try a couple comfy chairs or a smaller settee for a welcoming vibe.





7. BOOKSHELVES that aren't filled with textbooks and notebooks.


Bookshelves can be used to hold your books, provide a place for decor and serve as extra storage -- all of which are necessary in a first apartment.





8. A COFFEE TABLE that doesn't primarily function as a clutter station.


And with a coffee table comes those epic coffee table books you've always wanted to own.





9. PLACE SETTINGS that aren't a hodgepodge of alma mater glasses and silverware stolen from the fraternity house.


No, you do not have to "register" for your first apartment so you have enough plates to serve your extended family at Christmas -- but you should have enough dishes that you and your roommates can eat on something besides paper plates. And if you have guests over for a drink? A set of wine glasses beats out plastic solo cups every single time.





10. WINDOW TREATMENTS that aren't blinds that came with the apartment.


Unfortunately, blinds are usually one of those things that you agree to live with when you sign a lease. But curtains are a great way to hide whatever you're working with, give yourself some privacy and (if hung properly) make your ceilings look even higher.





11. TOWELS that aren't terribly mismatched and faded.


Whether you're talking dish towels or bathroom towels, it's always good to start with a fresh set in a new place. They give a clean, cohesive impression.





12. A PERSONAL TOUCH chosen by you, not your mom.


From your favorite fresh flowers to a bold paint color, add something that will let people know it's your home when they enter.





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**

Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line "Project submission." (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

World's Most Badass Dancing Old Man Has Amazing Salsa Moves, Too

Wed, 2014-07-23 10:34
There's a video bouncing around the Internet of a dancing old man who throws his crutches aside to let his inner "so you think you can dance" shine through. Needless to say, it's amazing.

What you may have missed however, is a video of someone who appears to be this same adorable elderly man shaking his tail feather to a simple yet enthusiastic salsa routine.

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Post by Rodrigo Pires.



In this brilliant video, apparently of another occasion (he's at least wearing a different outfit), he shares the company of a young woman who claps him through his seemingly impromptu act of self-expression. Go ahead sir, get your salsa on...

And if you missed the first dance, here it is in all its glory.

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Post by Edgard Eleuterio Daza.



The unknown gentleman appears to be at some sort of social function, when he drops his canes and gets down like nobody is watching.

There's no denying that he's enjoying himself now is there? Now that, my friends, is the exact meaning of staying forever young!

How Much Do You Know About The Sex Lives Of College Students?

Wed, 2014-07-23 09:00
When it comes to college students and sex, we're willing to bet you don't know as much as you think you do.

Many of the findings from Dr. Sandra Caron's 20-year-study, which surveyed more than 5,000 college students between 1990 and 2010, are surprising to say the least.

Test your knowledge on the sex lives of college students with our quiz!

Quiz widget by



Once you've taken the quiz, check out the answers in the slideshow below.

16 Board Games That Defined Your Childhood, Ranked From Worst To Best

Wed, 2014-07-23 08:50
You remember them, and you remember them well. Board games were a common childhood experience shared by most kids raised in the U.S. -- a life saver for those who didn't grow up with high-tech innovations such as Fruit Ninja and Flappy Bird.

Yes, it was a simpler time. One where the truth of the phrase, "it's just a game" depended entirely on whether you won or lost. Board games came, they conquered your life and mostly, they just saved you from being bored. (See what we did there?)

Here they are, definitively ranked. Which was YOUR favorite?



16. Mall Madness: THE WORST.



(Photo by StevenGroves via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "This Mall talks! Press the button and listen as the electronic voice of the mall takes you on an exciting shopping spree!"

Real Life Instructions: Hooray! You get to go on a shopping spree where you get to keep nothing, all the while developing terrible spending habits that will haunt you into adulthood.



15. Don't Wake Daddy



(Photo by Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Be the first player to tiptoe from your bed, past all the noisy obstacles, to the refrigerator for a midnight snack without waking Daddy."

Real Life Instructions: Hold your breath in excruciating anticipation until the man in the middle of the board pops out of his bed. Then you lose, or start over, or whatever.



14. Hungry Hungry Hippos



(Photo by drake lelane via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Be ready to join in the feeding frenzy when you release all the marbles onto the game base, because all the hippos will be chomping and your hippo will need to move fast."

Real Life Instructions: PUSH THAT SHIT AS FAST AS YOU CAN UNTIL YOU WIN OR IT BREAKS. DECLARE VICTORY NO MATTER WHAT.



13. Trouble



(Photo by mkrill via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Pop into the racing, chasing game where everyone's in Trouble!"

Real Life Instructions: Make your way around a seemingly average board while popping the dice instead of rolling them. Groundbreaking fun ensues.



12. Chutes and Ladders



(Photo by DerekSteen via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Chutes and Ladders is the game of rewards and consequences."

Real Life Instructions: You're basically just climbing up and sliding down things while imagining what it would be like if instead of stairs, your whole house was filled with chutes and ladders.



11. Jumanji



(Photo by JeepersMedia via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Beware the dangers of the jungle! Every step could lead into the path of a raging rhino, lurking lion or slurping quicksand."

Real Life Instructions: Play the game. Prepare for disappointment when Robin Williams and monkeys and shit don't actually come to life.



10. Risk



(Photo by Usonian via Flickr)'

Game Instructions: "Only the strong will survive in this exciting, unpredictable game of global domination."

Real Life Instructions: Embark on seemingly never-ending experience that seriously strains your relationships with friends and family. Pretend to be disappointed when the board "accidentally" gets hit, sending pieces flying everywhere and ending the game.



9. Trivial Pursuit



(Photo by ghirson via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Great questions from art, sports, literature, geography, entertainment, science, nature and more."

Real Life Instructions: Guess your way through trivia questions about people and events that were popular 20 years before your birth. Chalk up your correct answers to your intelligence, blame incorrect ones on outdated nature of the questions. Classic trivia.



8. Candyland



(Photo by Tafkabecky (Becky Bokern) via Flickr)

Game Instructions:"Passing the peppermint forest and the ice cream sea on the way, the first one to reach the candy castle wins."

Real Life Instructions: Now you're hungry. Congratulations.

7. Scrabble



(Photo by djwtwo via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Put letters together, build words, add up your points and win!"

Real Life Instructions: Try not to let it weigh too heavily on your ego as you realize that you have the worst spelling and vocabulary among your family and friends. Resist urge to cheat. Blame everything on having too many vowels.



6. Monopoly



(Photo by Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

Game Instructions: "Monopoly is the fast-dealing property trading game that your will have the whole family buying, selling and having a blast."

Real Life Instructions: Yes, you're getting screwed on your rolls. Yes, every deal your opponents want to make is a rip-off. Yes, the banker is swiping extra cash. And yes, you will lose this game in humiliating fashion after selling all your houses, mortgaging all your properties and begging your sister for a free stay on Mediterranean Avenue.



5. Battleship



(Photo by unloveablesteve via Flickr)

Game Instructions:"Classic Battleship game lets you hold head-to-head naval battles."

Real Life Instructions: Keep the red dots off your damn boat. That's how you sink. Full disclosure: Your opponent will definitely be a lying, cheating doodoo-head.



4. Sorry



(Photo by Associated Press)

Game Instructions: "By drawing cards, players move their game pieces around the board, hoping to eventually accumulate all their pieces at the final destination -- home sweet home."

Real Life Instructions: By drawing cards, you will plod along in enraging circles until your opponent miraculously slides into home with the life-ruining "move 4 spaces backwards" card.



3. Life



(Photo by CliffMuller via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "The Game of Life challenges you to manage your money and get to retirement wealthy."

Real Life Instructions: Nobody wins at real life, so this might be as close as you get. Savor it while you can.



2. Guess Who?



(Photo by Alice Bartlett via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Try to deduce the identity of their opponent's mystery person."

Real Life Instructions: Enjoy this memory exercise until you realize that this game is basically just you staring at a bunch of fictional white people's faces.



1. Clue: THE BEST.



(Photo by miss karen via Flickr)

Game Instructions: "Collect the right clues, make the right deductions, to determine who, where, which weapon and you will solve the mystery and win the game."

Actual Description: Kick ass and feel like Angela $*%@ing Lansbury in Murder She Wrote as you figure out who killed whom, with what and where.



Man, like it was yesterday...



All game instructions via Amazon

Jack White Looked Pretty Miserable At The Cubs Game

Wed, 2014-07-23 08:38
Jack White attended the Cubs-Padres game at Chicago's Wrigley field on Tuesday, July 22, and boy, did he not look happy.

Actually, he looked downright miserable, at least for the moment he was caught on camera.

We have audio of Jack White at the Cubs game. https://t.co/BfI9PSP7CO

— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) July 23, 2014


Is that Jack White pic.twitter.com/m94sBgqmxT

— Torque Penderloin (@AndrewCieslak) July 23, 2014


That might be the most upset we've ever seen anyone look at a baseball game, especially while their team was winning, no less.

Later in the game, the 39-year-old was spotted again, and he didn't really look any happier:

not a fan of cracker jacks pic.twitter.com/mCiKovdTYD

— nick pants (@nick_pants) July 23, 2014


We don't know if White just suffers from a severe case of bitchy resting face or if he was really bummed out, but if it's the latter, cheer up, dude.

You Probably Don't Know Rising R&B Star SZA Yet, But You Will

Wed, 2014-07-23 06:44
Among the dozens of musical acts comprising the lineup for the past weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival, only a handful of performances came with the same level of anticipation as that of R&B artist Solana Rowe -- better known by her stage name, SZA.

The St. Louis-born, New Jersey-raised 23-year-old first caught the eye of much of the music world in 2013, when she was signed to rising hip-hop label Top Dawg Entertainment, which boasts Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q among its critically acclaimed crew.

That SZA is TDE's first female signee -- not to mention its first singer -- has been the central focus of many headlines about her, but Rowe is somewhat uncomfortable with that attention.

"That shit doesn't make any sense to me," she told The Huffington Post. "I just feel like I'm not the first female to win a fucking Grammy or an Oscar, so for me, I feel like I have to earn my space and prove who I am and what I am, not as a woman but as an artist."

Later in 2013, she self-released an eight-track EP titled "S."

"S," like much in SZA oeuvre, generally fits under the broad umbrella of R&B, but is otherwise difficult to classify. Hazy slow jams are all driven by SZA's hauntingly airy singing voice, featuring samples ranging from Fleetwood Mac to "Rosemary's Baby."



SZA has yet to release a full studio album -- which is currently in the works -- but she followed "S" with, naturally, "Z," another EP verging on album length and featuring cameos from Chance the Rapper, as well as TDE labelmates Isaiah Rashad and Lamar. Critics rendered mixed reviews for "Z," but the it helped the singer continue to amass an ever-growing fan base. (She has almost 90,000 Twitter followers.)

Backstage, after providing guest vocals during Rashad's Sunday set at Pitchfork, SZA seemed relaxed and chatty. One might never have guessed that in the last three months alone, she's performed on stage with Willow Smith at a sold-out show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn, released a new duet with Grammy winner Jill Scott and opened for Coldplay on their latest tour. You'd never know Vogue is on the record as "obsessed" with her hair or that The New York Times was shooting a style feature on her at the festival.

"It's a cool life," she said. "Everything has only gotten higher and higher."



Despite her recent successes, there was a quiet, apparent nervousness to SZA during her set at the festival. While some songs -- "Childs Play" and "Julia" -- sailed, softer songs fell short of resonating in the way they might while listening to them alone with headphones.

SZA has previously said she doesn't feel she "fits the stereotype" of a successful singer, something she said she still feels today, all the buzz aside.

"I'm very sensitive and I think a lot of performers have a good poker face. I don't know, I think there's a lot of things that I am a little too opinionated about, but you never know," she said.



And the pressure surrounding her first full-length release under a renowned label? Immense, she said, but not for the reasons one might think.

"My pressure doesn't really come from music, my pressure comes from everything else, the things that are just part of being a 'public figure,'" she admitted. "Everyone has an opinion on you and thinks they know you or what you're trying to do."

When SZA speaks about her music, her words fly out quickly. It's immediately apparent that her songwriting consumes her. When it comes to the PR side of the business, her frustration is equally evident. Her mood shifts ever so slightly.

"People just think I'm trying to get into neo soul, like the second coming of Badu or like Lauryn Hill Like, 'Oh, yeah, she's neo soul, she'll have dreads soon I'm sure and, she should work with Common,' and all this shit."


SZA at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014 at The New Museum on February 10, 2014 in New York City. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

"The fact that I'm a fuller-figured, brown-skinned woman with curly hair now means that I must be striving for Erykah Badu-ism, part two, because I could never be part one," she continued. "But I have no desire to be that. As amazing of an artist she is, I don't want to be pigeonholed into the being of someone else or something. I just want to be able to do what I want to do."

For now, that means collaborating with artists and producers whose work speak to her -- she drops Kaytranada and SBTRKT as two names she could see herself working with someday. Another name that comes up is Icelandic icon Björk, whose work SZA has repeatedly cited as hugely influential.

She's also taking her time crafting the new album, which will be titled "A," a process she can't help but smile as she describes what she's putting together as "fucking amazing."

"I've changed a lot very fast and I don't know if someone who becomes a megastar is going to be able to change all the time," she said. "It's not that I desire to be a megastar, it's just that I want to be remembered for pioneering something, for setting something into motion or introducing and successfully merging different worlds that don't 'belong together.' I want to speak to everyone."

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