Blog Posts by Melissa Knowles

  • Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Goes on Food Stamps Budget

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    Can you get by on $1.48 per meal for a week? That's the campaign challenge that the Food Bank for New York City has posed to those interested in seeing what it's like to live on food stamps. Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his family have accepted the challenge and are living on $31 a week per person. Batali, his wife, and their two teenage sons are doing something that 1.8 million New Yorkers and 46 million Americans depend on.

    Batali admits the challenge was difficult at first, but he has adapted. Instead of eating expensive items such as filet mignon or truffle oil, he chooses beans, rice, chicken, and pasta. He said he quickly learned that not buying organic could cut the price of produce by 50 percent. As for his kids, they're eating plenty of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right now.

    He is even spreading the message of the challenge on his daily show "The Chew" and

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  • College Sweethearts Find Love Again After 60 Years Apart

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    Finding true love can happen at any age. Peggy Marie Pence and Henry Freund, college sweethearts from Tennessee, first fell in love in the early 1950s as students at Southwestern at Memphis (now known as Rhodes College). But when Freund graduated, joined the Army, and moved away, Pence moved on with her life, graduating from Southwestern, marrying Howard Schuster, and having three children. Freund was stationed at Fort Bliss, in El Paso, Texas, where he got married and had three children, as well.

    Years later, Freund attended seminary and was ordained into the ministry. During a church meeting back in Tennessee, Freund heard that his former love had been widowed. He, too, had lost his spouse. Freund wrote to Schuster to express his sympathies for her loss. Ten years later, Schuster gave Freund her e-mail address, and the two began to communicate again.

    Freund said, "It didn't take

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    The London Summer Olympics do not begin until July, but world records are already being broken. The world's tallest Lego structure was completed Sunday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Danish toy maker. Standing 105 feet high in front of Seoul's Olympic Stadium, the structure took more than 50,000 colorful bricks and five days to construct. More than 4,000 children participated in the construction.

    The final piece of the tower was put in place by Danish Crown Prince Frederick. This new tower bested the height of the previous tallest structure, which was built in France in October and stood at 103 feet. So far the new structure has already received more than 30,000 visitors.

    The first official Lego tower was built in London in 1988 and reached nearly 50 feet. The record for the tallest tower has been broken now more than 30 times.

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  • Calculate How Much You Owe Your Mom For Giving Birth to You

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    Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13. If you're still struggling with what to give your mom, the American Coalition for Labor Reparations may have the perfect gift idea for you. The ACFLR, a fictitious organization created by the Mother New York ad agency, has created an online tool to help you calculate exactly how much you owe your mom for giving birth to you, using very precise criteria.

    The calculator factors in the amount of time your mom spent in labor, the amount of weight she gained carrying you, the number of alcoholic beverages she missed out on, and the stretch marks she incurred, and even gives you an 80 percent deduction from the total amount if you turned out to be a good child.

    The ACFLR also posted a comical mock video of moms talking about what they went through during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. So far, the video has gotten more than 5,000 views in the three days

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  • Cancer Patients’ Lip-Sync to Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’ Goes Viral

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    A touching lip-sync video to Kelly Clarkson's Billboard-topping hit "Stronger" is going viral. Young cancer patients at Seattle Children's Hospital collaborated on the project with nurses and staff members to bring attention to their fight against cancer.

    Recently diagnosed leukemia patient and hockey player Chris Rumble recruited patients and staff to dance and lip-sync to the song as a way to thank his old hockey teammates for a birthday video they had sent him. Rumble, who is 22, said, "What better way to do it than with the kids on my floor." So far, the video has been viewed almost 600,000 times.

    When Clarkson saw the video she tweeted, "Oh my goodness y'all have to see this! It's beautiful. I can't wait to visit these kids and nurses." Looks like these kids may get an unexpected surprise from song that his given them hope.

    Rumble, a member of the North American Hockey

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  • Hugh Hefner’s ‘Little Black Book’ Revealed

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    Remember how people use to carry around miniature books or notepads to record acquaintance's contact information? It was a time before everything went digital, and a person's phone number and address were more than a click away. Perhaps the most famous 'little black book' in the world is now on display at The Chicago History Museum. The address book once belonged to Hugh Hefner, the CEO of Playboy Enterprises, and was obtained by auction house Christie's in 2003.

    Hefner's address book is currently featured in the ' Unexpected Chicago' exhibit, and some of his entries are creating buzz about the playboy's dating habits. One entry next to the name "Lynn" reads, "haven't met yet, friends of Joyce's, lively." There's also a "While You Were Away" note tucked in the book which reads that a woman named Sherry called for Hefner at 12:40 am in the morning. In addition, Hefner left other

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    Fans of the show 'How I Met Your Mother' have been kept in suspense for almost eight years, as the mother herself has never been revealed. Well, the mystery was almost solved -- with the help of Hillary Clinton.

    Last week, comedic actor Jason Segel appeared on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," and he said he was often asked -- while he was on the red carpet, even -- the identity of the secret title character on his hit sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." He revealed that, as a joke, he had actually started responding to reporters that he was contemplating casting Hillary Clinton as the mother. To Segel's surprise, Clinton, the Secretary of State, responded by sending him a rejection letter in the mail. The website Politico obtained the letter. It reads, "I was delighted to read about your interest in sharing the big screen with me. As you can imagine, I am a little occupied at the

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  • Australian Billionaire Plans to Build Titanic II to Set Sail in 2016

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    Australian businessman Clive Palmer has announced his plans to create a replica of the Titanic. Palmer is collaborating with the Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to create what he is calling the Titanic II. In addition, Palmer's new ship is going to re-create the voyage of the original Titanic as it set sail from England to New York in 1912.

    Palmer says the new ship will be "as luxurious as the original Titanic," adding that Titanic II will be equipped with "state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems." His vessel will have identical dimensions to its predecessor, and will feature nine decks, 840 rooms, gymnasiums, swimming pools, libraries, and restaurants. Other improvements to the ship include greater fuel efficiency and diesel generation, and an enlarged rudder and bow thrusters for improved maneuverability.

    When news of Palmer's

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  • Postcard Reaches Destination 53 Years After It Was Mailed

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    The phrase "snail mail" may have never been more applicable. A postcard from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago just reached its destination 53 years after it was mailed. Last week, Elizabeth Fulcher, who lives on Clairmont Lane in Daytona, Florida, received a postcard addressed to a Scott McMurry on Clairmont Avenue in Decatur, Georgia. McMurry did once reside on Clairmont Avenue in Decatur when he was a child. Fulcher said she was immediately intrigued by the two-cent stamp attached to it.

    Fulcher posted a picture of the postcard on her Facebook wall, and then her friends helped her track down McMurry, who is a historian for the Justice Department and lives in Virginia.

    McMurry was then given the postcard that his now-deceased parents had sent more than five decades ago. Now 71, McMurry said he immediately recognized his mother's handwriting and called the card "incredible." The

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  • Dying Woman’s YouTube Plea May Extend Her Life

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    A terminally ill woman in Tampa, Florida, may live longer thanks to YouTube. Darlene Gant has stage 4 breast cancer, and she is dying. The 46-year-old mother wants to do anything she can that may give her more time with her family. So she made a desperate plea to drug company Genentech to give her pertuzumab, a promising new cancer drug. The problem is, pertuzumab is not scheduled to be released by the FDA until June 8.

    Gant's doctors, friends, and relatives sent letters on her behalf begging Genentech to release the drug early for "compassionate use." As part of Gant's wish she says in the video, "please, do what you can and stand up and insist on research for stage 4 metastatic cancers." Gant's personal heartbreaking video has triggered an enormous outpouring of support and encouragement. One person commented, "You go girl! How's that for not taking no for an answer." So far,

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