Paul Walker: Mourned, Honored on Anniversary of His Death

November 30th will forever be remembered as a sad day in Hollywood history.

Two years ago on this date, Paul Walker was killed in a car accident during a brief hiatus from filming the movie Furious 7.

Vin Diesel with Paul Walker

It was a death that left all who knew the beloved 40-year old stunned and heartbroken, no one more than so than Walker’s co-stars in the Fast and Furious franchise.

On the two-year anniversary of his close pal’s tragic passing, Vin Diesel shared the above photo of himself and Walker and included with it the following caption/message:

“No matter where you are in this universe… You will always be, my brother.”

Tyrese, meanwhile, shared a lengthy message of his own on Instagram, writing: 

“It’s still not easy…… 2 years ago today… We lost our brother….. Today I’m just gonna lay low and process….. Clarity through Prayers and perspective is what I always seek and pray for….”

He continued:

“With a heavy heart I post this….. Please continue to pray for the Walker family and his real friends who was with him every single day…. They’re some of the best and strongest people I know……

“I know you’re in heaven smiling and rooting for us all….. #RIH ( Rest in heaven )”

Despite Walker’s death, the actor has remained an important part of his friends’ lives.

In March, for example, Diesel named his newborn daughter Pauline honor of the late star.

A few months later, the cast participated in a tribute during the Teen Choice Awards, where Diesel thanked Walker’s daughter Meadow for helping to keep their family “going.”

We at The Hollywood Gossip also send our thoughts and prayers to everyone who knew and loved Paul Walker.

[via thehollywoodgossip]

Kourtney Kardashian, Kyle Richards and More: Star Sightings 11.30.2015

While the rest of us were lying face down on the couch this weekend, willing the leftovers to grow legs and leave our homes, celebrities were fitting into their favorite jeans and shopping at Saint Laurent.

Rachel Zoe took her son to a book store in Beverly Hills, while Gwen Stefani took her three crew to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.

Everyone looked perky and happy and fit.  I hate them.

1. Kyle Richards Waves to the Photogs

Kyle richards waves to the photogs
Kyle Richards waved to the paparazzi as she left the Huffington Post in New York on November 30th, 2015.

2. Kourtney Kardashian Checks Out Furniture

Kourtney kardashian checks out furniture
Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick (not pictured) took their Mason to RH Contemporary Art in Beverly Hills, CA on November 27th, 2015.

3. Gwen Stefani Takes Her Boys to Disneyland

Gwen stefani takes her boys to disneyland
Gwen Stefani took her boys – Kingston, Zuma and Apollo – to Disneyland on November 27th, 2015.

4. Michael B. Jordan watches the Lakers vs Pacers Game

Michael b jordan watches the lakers vs pacers game
Michael B. Jordan watched the Los Angeles Lakers play against the Indiana Pacers on November 29th, 2015.

5. Jessica Alba Leaves a French Restaurant

Jessica alba leaves a french restaurant
Jessica Alba leaves a French restaurant in Los Angeles on November 30th, 2015.

6. Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Daughter Everly in Studio City

Jenna dewan tatum and daughter everly in studio city
Jenna Dewan Tatum took daughter Everly on a train ride at the Studio City Farmers Market in Studio City, CA on November 29th, 2015.

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[via thehollywoodgossip]

WB Montreal Is Making Two DC Universe Games

The studio behind Batman: Arkham Origins is recruiting for two new games, both of them “focused on expanding the DC Comics universe.”

According to the studio’s site, the developer is looking to hire for a variety of positions tied to the upcoming AAA games. The exact properties within the DC brand aren't specified, but the studio's previous work might provide a hint. WB Montreal developed the Batgirl DLC for Rocksteady's Arkham Knight, and that piece of content hints at a Justice League villain, so that's one option.  Another potential property is Suicide Squad; the screenshot below is captured from the ending sequence of Arkham Origins. 

To learn more about WB Montreal and its approach to making games, check out this video from our trip to the studio for our Batman: Arkham Origins cover.

Our Take
Hopefully, these new projects will give WB Montreal a better chance to step out from Rocksteady's shadow. While plenty of players enjoyed Arkham Origins, it isn't regarded as the best of the Arkham series. Whatever these two games are, it should be easier for WB Montreal to establish its own identity with them rather than inviting comparisons to another studio's work.


Originally published on November 30, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. Central.

Why So Many Minority Millennials Can’t Get Ahead

Peter Morgan / Reuters

The year after my father died, I graduated from grad school, got a new job, and looked forward to saving for a down payment on my first home, a dream I had always had, but found lofty. I pulled up a blank spreadsheet and made a line item called “House Fund.”

That same week I got a call from my mom—she was struggling to pay off my dad’s funeral expenses. I looked at my “House Fund” and sighed. Then I deleted it and typed the words “Funeral Fund” instead.

My father’s passing was unexpected. And so was the financial burden that came with it.

For many Millennials of color, these sorts of trade-offs aren’t an anomaly. During key times in their lives when they should be building assets, they’re spending money on basic necessities and often helping out family. Their financial future is a rocky one, and much of it comes down to how much—or how little—assistance they receive.

A seminal study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives on wealth accumulation estimates that as much as 20 percent of wealth can be attributed to formal and informal gifts from family members, especially parents. And it starts early. In college, black and Hispanic Millennials are more likely to have to work one or two jobs to get through, missing out on opportunities to connect with classmates who have time to tinker around in dorm rooms and go on to found multibillion-dollar companies together. Many of them take on higher levels of student debt than their white peers, often to pay for routine expenses, such as textbooks, that their parents are less likely to subsidize.

“Student debt is the biggest millstone around Millennials, period, and an even larger and heavier one around the necks of black Millennials,” said Tom Shapiro, the director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. “It really hits those doing the right thing. [They’re] going through all the hoops.” He explained that, unlike in previous decades when college tuition was drastically lower, the risks of educational costs are now passed down to the individual.

Recent polls indicate that a large portion of Millennials receive financial help from parents. At least 40 percent of the 1,000 Millennials (ages 18 to 34) polled in a March USA Today/Bank of America poll get help from parents on everyday expenses. A Clark University poll indicated an even higher number, with almost three-quarters of parents reporting that they provide their Millennial children with financial support. Another survey saw nearly a third of Baby Boomers paying for Millennials’ medical expenses. A quarter of Boomers subsidized “other expenses” so their Millennial offspring could save money. Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely to be the recipients of this type of support.

Ironically, even though black and Hispanic Millennials are less likely to receive financial support from parents, their parents are more likely than white parents to expect their kids to help financially support them later on. According to the Clark poll, upward of 80 percent of black parents and 70 percent of Hispanic parents expect to be supported. And most studies show that a primary reason why people of color are unable to save as adults is because they give financial support to close family. This is important because when emergencies happen, many Millennials won’t have the reserve money to cover them.

A Millennial who gets regular financial gifts and support from parents will either have the money to cover an emergency themselves, or (more likely) have a parent or grandparent cover it so there’s no damage to their credit. They won’t have to borrow from predatory-lending institutions, move into unsafe neighborhoods to save on rent, or start from financial scratch each time.

It doesn’t even have to be a life emergency. In the decision between paying for a professional networking event or a cell-phone bill, the latter is likely to win out. It should come as no surprise that Millennials who are free to choose both are likely to benefit more in the long run. When this happens once or twice on a small scale, it’s not a big deal. It’s the collective impact of a series of decisions that matters, the result of which is displayed among ethnic and class lines and grounded in historical privilege.

And the help doesn’t end when Millennials enter the next stage of adulthood. It’s not just young, out-of-work Millennials who get help from parents or family members, according to the USA Today poll: Even Millennials making $ 75,000 or more said they had gotten money from their parents for basic necessities. Twenty percent of parents paid for their children’s groceries, and more than 20 percent contributed money for clothing. Even 20 percent of cohabitating Millennials still had a parent paying for expenses like cell phone bills, according to the poll.

Shapiro said the numbers of Millennials receiving support from family are “absolutely underestimated” because many survey questions are not as methodical and specific as those a sociologist might ask. “As much as 90 percent of what you’ll hear isn’t picked up in the survey,” he said.

Shapiro’s work pays special attention to the role of intergenerational family support in wealth building. He coined the term “transformative assets” to refer to any money acquired through family that facilitates social mobility beyond what one’s current income level would allow for. And it’s not that parents and other family members are exceptionally altruistic, either. “It’s how we all operate,” Shapiro said. “Resources tend to flow to people who are more needy.”

Racial disparity in transformative assets became especially striking to Shapiro during interviews with middle-class black Americans. “They almost always talk about financial help they give family members. People come to them,” Shapiro said. But when he asked white interviewees if they were lending financial support to family members, he said, “I almost always get laughter. They’re still getting subsidized.”

These small savings add up over time. Commentary often centers on the dire circumstances Millennials inherited (“It’s the recession, stupid!”) or the defective attributes of recipients (“Millennials are too entitled!”). But these oversimplified viewpoints miss the point of how some Millennials and their parents are able to weather tumultuous financial terrain in the first place—and more, how intergenerational financial support contributes to these Millennials’ long-term wealth-building capacity.

To many Millennials, the small influxes of cash from parents are a lifeline, a financial relief they’re hard pressed to find elsewhere. To researchers, however, it’s both a symptom and an exacerbating factor of wealth inequality. In a 2004 CommonWealth magazine interview, Shapiro explained that gifts like this are “often not a lot of money, but it’s really important money. It’s a kind of money that allows families to obtain something for themselves and for their children that they couldn’t do on their own.”

To be sure, gift-giving parents see it as a step in helping their Millennial children reach financial independence. But the bigger picture is that their support acts as a stabilizing factor now, and an inheriting factor later. The Institute on Assets and Social Policy’s “The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap” found that every dollar in financial family support received by a white American yielded 35 cents in wealth growth. For a black individual, family support is much more essential to their financial trajectory: Every dollar received yielded 51 cents in wealth growth. Millennials of all backgrounds would certainly benefit from increased financial family support, but where one winds up depends a lot on where one started.

Wealth inequality can’t be discussed without talking about race; within the American context, they are inseparable. So the fact that Millennials of color feel the impact of a precarious financial foundation more acutely is not a surprise. For black Millennials in particular, studies point to a legacy of discrimination over several centuries that contributed to less inherited wealth passed down from previous generations. This financial disparity stems from continuous shortfalls in their parents’ net worth and low homeownership rates among blacks, which works to create an unlevel playing field.

As a result, the median wealth of white households is 13 times the median wealth of black households. In addition, the most recent housing bust is estimated to have wiped out half of the collective wealth of black families—
a setback of two generations.

“It was just incredible,” Shapiro said. “It hit hardest those groups latest to becoming home buyers.” Homeownership makes up a large amount of black families’ wealth composition, accounting for over 50 percent of wealth for blacks, compared with just 39 percent for whites. Shapiro also pointed out that the people impacted by the housing crisis were likely to be the parents of Millennials.

Even with equal advances in income, education, and other factors, wealth grows at far lower rates for black households because they usually need to use financial gains for everyday needs rather than long-term savings and asset building. Each dollar in income increase yields $ 5.19 in wealth for white American households, but only 69 cents for black American households. In addition, while many Americans don’t have adequate savings, the rate is far higher for families of color: 95 percent of African American and 87 percent of Latino middle-class families do not have enough net assets to meet most of their essential living expenses for even three months if their source of income were to disappear. If Millennials of color aren’t getting as much financial help, it’s because there’s just not as much help for their families to give.

It’s more than just lack of “pocket money” from parents that impacts Millennials of color. The last significant stop on life’s journey is often an economically definitive one too, when parents and grandparents pass away and leave an inheritance.

According to the Institute on Assets and Social Policy, white Americans are five times more likely to inherit than black Americans (36 percent to 7 percent, respectively). And even when both groups received an inheritance, white Americans received about 10 times more. “It’s really a double whammy,” Shapiro said. On the flip side, black Millennials and other low-asset groups are much more likely to go into debt when a family member passes away. It’s not uncommon for some families to throw bake sales and engage in other fund-raising activities to bury their relatives.

A 2013 Washington Post article also noted that “black families rarely benefited from inheritances and gifts to help them make down payments on homes. The result was that black families typically bought homes eight years later than whites, giving them less time to build equity.”

“That’s an eight-year window of not paying rent and building equity,” Shapiro said.

And the life cycle of homeownership-related matters is an onerous one for black Americans to begin with. The researchers Kerwin Charles and Erik Hurst found that black mortgage applicants were almost twice as likely to be rejected for a loan in the first place, even when credit profile and household wealth were controlled for.

The same study found that almost half of white Americans got money from a family source for a home down payment, while nine in 10 black Americans had to come up with their entire down payment on their own—which had the effect of disincentivizing younger black renters from buying. “Even when they were able to buy a home,” the Post article said, “the typical black family did not see that property appreciate as much as did the typical white family.”

It all adds up to a slice of the racial wealth gap that’s hard to grasp because it’s made up of many smaller inequalities instead of one massive one. It’s not the difference between a silver spoon and a dirt floor—it’s the one between textbook money and a campus job. It’s not the difference between the 1 percent and the destitute—it’s the one between a birthday card from Grandma and paying her hospital bill. The gap in gifts, debts, and inheritances creates a vicious cycle with large ramifications for many black Millennials and their financial future—and when combined with redlining and unequal returns on income and education, the odds are stacked in a terrible way.

My father left me with many things of value: a love of creation, an affinity for literature, a deep sense of integrity, and a penchant for easily making friends out of strangers. He loved America, despite the times it relegated him to the back doors of its restaurants as a “colored man.” He placed glossy graduation photos of me from high school and college in nooks around the house like prized medallions. They symbolized his version of the American dream, in which his children—his Millennials—would accomplish more than he ever could.

For his sake and mine, I hope he’s right.

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Artist Ramiro Gomez paints the immigrants who shape and maintain Southern California luxury

This post appears courtesy of Washington Monthly.

[via theatlantic]

Latest Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice Teaser Unmasks The Bat

Sure, we all know that Batman is Ben Affleck, but now Superman and four guards will know it, too. The latest teaser for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice reveals an angry Man of Steel and imprisoned Dark Knight.

We’re not sure what to make of this quite yet, nor are we probably supposed to. There is a hint of Injustice: Gods Among Us here, and that doesn’t bode well for our planet. 

We’ll see the full trailer on Wednesday night during Jimmy Kimmel Live at 11:35 p.m. Eastern on ABC. We'll find out just how our heroes will collide on March 25, 2016. For more, check out our previous coverage.

Ted Cruz On Contraception: “Last I Checked, We Don’t Have A Rubber Shortage In America”

“When I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom. You put 50 cents in and voila!”

[source BuzzFeed]

When Living on a Boat Beats Paying Urban Rent

Houseboats on the Regents Canal Gary Knight / Flickr

One weekend afternoon about a month after I moved aboard a canal boat in London, there was a rap-rap-rap on the wood-and-metal paneling of my front door. I had left it partly open to let in the breeze, and a woman was peeking in like a tentative cat.

“Excuse me, do you live around here?” she asked. We were docked at Little Venice, a busy hub for tourists just a short walk north of Hyde Park. I said yes. She seemed confused, and pointing toward nearby Paddington, she asked again, “You mean, you live around here?” I noticed two more faces peeking around the door.  

“No,” I said, pointing to the floor in the middle of my living room. “I live here.”

The visitors—Finnish tourists—had been touring London’s canals. I invited them in, happy to let them take photos, and in an attempt to impress them with the modernity of boat living, told them that the Internet onboard (tethered to my phone) was faster than in any of the three London flats I’d lived in.

Unimpressed, they wanted to know how many knots I could tie. None, I told them. The only thing I knew about boats when I moved onboard in August was that I wanted to live on one.

London has more than 100 miles of waterways (not including the Thames). Over the past four years, the number of people living on boats that ply them has risen by more than 50 percent, according to the Canal and River Trust, a nonprofit that maintains 2,000 miles of rivers in England and Wales.

In March of this year, there were 3,255 narrow boats on London waterways, about two-thirds of them permanently docked in small marinas around the city. The other 1,225—up from 638 in March 2011—travel up and down the canals and dock where they please for up to two weeks at a time, mostly along the stretch of canals north of and roughly parallel to the Thames.

Two factors are behind the mini-boom: housing costs in central London spiraling out of reach, and recent technological advances such as solar panels, LED lights, and mobile Internet connections that allow people to live aboard with modern conveniences.

My boat is a floating one-bedroom flat with a deck, living room, and kitchen at the front; a bathroom and shower in the middle; and a bedroom at the back. A tank in the bow provides water for the kitchen sink and shower, and two adjacent gas tanks power the boiler and kitchen stove. I refill them every four to six weeks, with water from one of the service stations run by the Canal and River Trust, and with gas from a commercial boat cruising the city.

Electricity comes from the boat’s central battery. To use it, I have to flip on a switch, and then switch it off when I’m done to avoid draining the battery (a disaster). Solar panels on my top deck—the same deck where I like to sunbathe—recharge the battery in the daytime, and even soak up some power on London’s many rainy days.

One of my current neighbors, Fergus Carr, an architect, says his first encounter with canal boats was in 2012, when he and his partner chanced upon the Canalway Cavalcade, a yearly festival in Little Venice, where the Grand Union Canal and Regent’s Canal meet.

“We were just on a walk, because we lived nearby in North London, and we came upon all these people on boats and just thought, ‘This is incredible,’” he said.

They began investigating houseboat living after a visit to a friend’s narrow boat, and decided to try it. They bought their boat for €16,000 (about $ 24,000) in southern England this summer and sailed it to the capital, crossing the quick-flowing Thames during the journey—a feat of planning, since narrow boats can only reach a speed of about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) an hour and can’t travel against the current. They spend 20 per month on gas and diesel and their license fees are 745 a year.

Carr’s parents, who had discouraged him from the plan (“Just save up for a flat!”), are now in the process of moving aboard their own boat.

Built during the Industrial Revolution to transport coal and timber around the city, and made obsolete by the rise of the railways and then roads, London’s canals suffered a long decline over the 20th century. By mid-century, many were in disrepair and overflowing with garbage. A few closed, and a cleanup effort in the 1970s dredged those that remained. But it failed to revive the canals’ reputation.

As recently as a decade ago, some sections were “considered no-go areas,” according to Jon Privett. Privett moved into his first boat in 2000, when there were only “about 40 boats in London without [permanent] moorings.” The waterways weren’t very busy, but were fun, he says, because all the boat residents knew each other.

Word on the Water, London’s first and only bookstore on a boat (Elena Dijour / Shutterstock)

“Now there’s a kind of safety in numbers,” he says. “And it’s a lot more like living in a house.” (A house where one switches off the water between rinsing each plate when doing dishes, I’d add.)

In 2011, Privett opened London’s first—and only—bookstore on a boat, called Word on the Water. On my first weekend after arriving in the city last November, my partner and I walked the west end of London’s canals while looking for a place to live. We came across a barge overflowing with books, a saxophonist playing on the upper deck. Smoke curled out from the boat’s chimney. In the back, two children read near the fireplace. It was warm inside, and I wanted to stay.

Officially, we are borrowing a friend’s boat for the next year and paying him for the privilege, about 40 percent of the cost of a similar apartment in the area. To legally rent a boat out, an owner must have a permanent mooring (scarce in the city) and a particular type of business license. As a result, there isn’t a real rental market; most live-aboards own their crafts.   

The author steering her boat through the Maida Hill tunnel (Hayley Dunning)

The Canal and River Trust advises people not to see boats as a cheap housing alternative, warning of “hidden costs and maintenance jobs.” For me, these include never using my onboard fridge (it drains the battery), putting a lot of time and effort into heating, and moving twice a month.

About a third of London’s canal boats, including ours, run on “continuous cruising licenses,” requiring them to move every two weeks so they don’t monopolize access to the canals. I’ve cruised from West London through Notting Hill, past waterside cafes and underneath the London Zoo’s bird enclosures, along opulent Primrose Hill mansions and touristy Camden Market. I’ve docked yards away from concerts I’ve attended in East London.

I’ve also docked three boats abreast for several days at a time, and had to climb across two boats to get to my own. I’ve run out of dry wood on one of the first cold days of the winter, and cursed everything, including my own lack of preparation.

“Our advice,” says Fran Read, the Trust’s national press officer, “is that you should only live on a boat if you love the lifestyle—not because you think it will save you money.”

This article appears courtesy of CityLab.

[via theatlantic]