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I Love NY signs likely won’t come down by summer as promised

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The blue I Love NY signs lining New York’s highways likely won’t be coming down by the summer after all.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration had pledged to remove and replace the controversial signs by the summer tourism season after the Federal Highway Administration, or FHWA, docked the state $14 million because the signage doesn’t comply with federal and state rules.

But the state and federal governments remain locked in a stalemate on the replacement signs, so the current I Love NY signs remain up — and could stay up into the fall.
The state has until Sept. 30 to take the signs down and get the $14 million back, according to the FHWA.

“Out of respect for the ongoing process we are not in a position to comment on the content or timeline of those discussions,” state DOT spokesman Joseph Morrissey said in a statement Tuesday.

“However we fully expect to have a mutually beneficial agreement in place well before the September deadline.”

Long-running saga
The battle over the 514 I Love NY signs along highways across the state dates back to 2013, when the FHWA denied the state’s request to erect an early version of the signage.

Cuomo’s administration did it anyway the next year, leading the federal administration to send letters telling the state that the signage doesn’t comply with federal law, state law and a key federal manual that lays out what can and cannot be placed along highways.

The signs don’t contain any sort of navigational information for drivers, which is a key requirement for that type of signage.

The bickering over the signage — which contain the logos of the state’s tourism programs, such as Taste NY — continued as Cuomo’s administration used emergency contracts and paid overtime costs to dramatically expand it in 2016, placing groups of five signs in rapid succession along the Thruway and other key highways.
In all, the state says it spent $8.1 million to print and erect the signage, which works out to an average of about $15,000 per sign.

But that hasn’t been the only cost to the state.

Unable to reach a resolution on their dispute, the FHWA withheld $14 million in federal highway funding from New York in February 2018, giving the state until Sept. 30 to take the signs down or lose the funding permanently.

New campaign elusive
In February, state Acting Transportation Commissioner Paul Karas and Thruway Executive Director Matthew Driscoll pledged to take down the signs by the summer tourism season and replace them with a new advertising campaign: “NY has it all!”

That hasn’t happened yet — and it won’t as long as the FHWA and state remain deadlocked in negotiations.

The state is seeking federal approval to experiment with the new signs, which would allow the highway rules to be bent for a specific period of time.

Doug Hecox, a spokesman for the FHWA, declined to comment when asked when the state may take down the current I Love NY signs, referring that question to the state.

Neither the state nor the federal administration shed much light on the current state of negotiations.

“We look forward to working with NYSDOT to ensure New York’s signage complies with safety standards required to qualify for federal funding,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

Source: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2018/06/06/love-ny-signs-removal/676642002/

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PG-13 ‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ meant for fanboys (and Fred Savage faithful) of a certain age

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Here’s one way to tell if a movie billed as “family-friendly” actually isn’t: We can’t describe many of its jokes in our publication.

“Once Upon a Deadpool” (in theaters nationwide Wednesday) is the PG-13 re-edit of the critically acclaimed, R-rated “Deadpool 2.” This updated film – which incorporates previously deleted scenes, a new “Princess Bride” storytelling framework and additional post-credit scenes – is really for fanboys over the age of 13, not children. At one point, Deadpool even says right to the camera: “Trust me, we all saw the first movie.”

It’s also for the Fred Savage faithful.

In “Once Upon a Deadpool,” Ryan Reynolds’ title character ties down Savage (playing himself), now a 42-year-old actor and sitcom director. Savage is forced to revisit his famous 1987 “Princess Bride” role as a sweet bedridden boy listening to a story. This conceit works well as a plot device because it allows filmmakers to cut problematic sequences – or, as Deadpool says, to tell the story “through childlike innocence.”

This time around, however, Savage isn’t a young boy trying to cut off kissing scenes (“I don’t think that’s gross anymore”), but a critical listener who hilariously opines about “lazy writing.”

For example, Savage asks: If, after being sliced, Deadpool’s top half grows legs, wouldn’t his bottom half grow a head and re-enter the plot later?

Deadpool has no response.
The rest of the movie is a retread, albeit with less gore, limited nudity, a bunch of bleeped f-words (and bleeped words that aren’t dirty) and also Juggernaut’s theme song from “Deadpool 2” that repeats the lyrics “holy s—balls” over and over. All of the main characters are there, along with the same cameos by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, which, as Deadpool says, were done against their will, just like Savage’s movie appearance.

“I like to think of it as ‘unsolicited location enhancement,’ ” Deadpool says.
Some of the new scenes could be tricky to explain to kids. Deadpool is called out for dressing “like a registered sex offender,” and the Merc with a Mouth implies at one point that a container of white liquid hand soap is actually, um, body fluid.

But for Deadpool fans of a certain age who want to rewatch the still very good “Deadpool 2,” the Savage plot device is a welcome addition. By the end, fans might find themselves tearing up along with the former “Wonder Years” star, who cries and says, “I was caught off guard because the movie is completely garbage.”

And just so you aren’t caught off guard: True comic fans will definitely need tissues after seeing one of the new post-credit scenes, which we won’t spoil here.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2018/12/11/once-upon-deadpool-fun-but-not-family-friendly/2282473002/

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry live wax figures are creeping people out

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Ho, ho — huh?!

New live wax figures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are helping to get the festivities started at Berlin’s Madame Tussauds museum this holiday season. But some fans of the royal couple think the figures are creepier than they are cute.

The replicas, which were unveiled on Tuesday, are really two actors impersonating Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, by wearing silicone masks that look like the duo.
The pair don festive Christmas sweaters and busy themselves decorating a Christmas tree and opening gifts, among other yuletide activities.

The actress portraying the royal mom-to-be even sports a baby bump beneath her grey elf sweater, and, as you can imagine, some cradling of the fake bump takes place, too.
To get folks excited about the new figures, the museum brought them along to meet shoppers at a local holiday market in the city last week.

Reactions to the live figures on social media have been mixed, to say the least.

“The Harry and Meghan live wax figures are back and scarier than ever,” one Twitter user wrote next to a gallery of pics.

“I find this so incredibly creepy … on many levels,” wrote another.

One predicted photos of the faux Harry and Meghan would “haunt me in my sleep.”

Meanwhile, another Twitter user found a diplomatic way to sidestep giving a critique.

Source: https://www.today.com/popculture/meghan-markle-prince-harry-live-wax-figures-are-creeping-people-t145005

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‘Green Monday’ brings back some great Black Friday deals

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the best times to find deals on pretty much anything on your holiday shopping list. But retailers will always come up with another shopping holiday to tempt you. Alas, “Green Monday” is a thing.

Green Monday offers some repeats of Black Friday favorites — plus a few new deals. If you already accomplished the majority of your holiday purchases, there’s little reason to dive in, but it can’t hurt to make sure you’ve run through your checklist.

Here are the best deals that we’ve seen so far today. We’ll be adding more (and striking through items that are sold out) throughout the day.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/good-deals/2018/12/10/18134346/green-monday-black-friday-deals-tech-games-smart-home-phones

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