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Happy marriage recipe: communicate about big issues, let smaller ones slide

Q. I am getting married for the second time. My first marriage was a disaster because we had none of the same interests, lost the ability to communicate and stopped doing anything together. I’m certain that my “boyfriend” has bought a ring and plans to ask me to marry him. I love him, but I am scared to commit to another potential disaster. Can you give me some tips to avoid repeating the same mistakes?

Economic growth is missing ingredient

This year’s Republican presidential race has generated an unusual number of unusually bad ideas — Donald Trump on Muslims, Ted Cruz on carpet bombing, Marco Rubio on male footwear. It has also has produced one of the best: Jeb Bush’s 4 percent plan.

Flimsy, shallow and a bother just to watch

If you’ve seen one movie based on a Nicholas Sparks romance, you’ve seen them all. Like the others, “The Choice” bleeds sap and treacle. And the story, even by Sparks’ standards, is so lame I wanted to punch the movie in the face, so to speak.

Making plan for mom with Alzheimer’s should start with conversation

Q. I think my mother, who is in her late 70s, is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She is increasingly forgetful, and has become negative and nasty. She was never like this. My two brothers think that there is nothing wrong with her because they only visit once or twice a month and then stay for an hour or two. I’m with her on an almost daily basis. How can I convince them that she has a problem that we need to address?

End-of-life talks tough, but necessary

Q. I am in my late 70s. Although I have no life-threatening illnesses, I want to talk to my children about my end-of-life wishes. When they were here over the holidays, they absolutely refused to talk about it. They will be back in February, and I am determined to have the conversation. Please give me some advice on how to approach 40-year-olds who won’t have a discussion.

Dastardly deeds and fun with food are the right recipe for ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

Back in 2008, DreamWorks Animation scored big with “Kung Fu Panda,” a sharp-looking, action-packed, lovable little movie about believing in yourself, father-son relationships, master-student relationships and the funny side of overeating. It pulled in a massive $632 million around the world. Three years later, the same studio continued the same story with the same voice cast (Jack Black played the lazy but excitable and humorously annoying title character) in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which earned about $34 million more than the original.

Why ‘dieting’ is harmful

I really dislike the word diet, or more specifically, what it stands for. The root of the word is derived from the Greek diaita, which means “way of living.” Used in that context, I have no problem. It can mean: the way in which we eat. But, the vast majority of the time, that’s not the way the word is used. In our world, a diet typically refers to something temporary, associated with weight loss. And in this context, here’s the real skinny on diets: none of them truly work.

The power of the spoken word

As a child you may have used the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Could Ted Cruz be disqualified?

If you attend a presidential campaign event, you may come across someone wearing colonial garb or an Uncle Sam costume or body paint. But a Ted Cruz rally in Iowa last weekend featured something possibly unprecedented: guys dressed up as Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Alcohol can have more adverse effects for seniors

Q. I am a 67 year-old woman who has recently retired and I’m not in the best of health. My husband is gone all of the time, especially during hunting season. Instead of having a glass of wine at night, I’ve started to have three or four. I’m concerned that I could be developing an alcohol problem, but my friends say I’m over-reacting. What is your opinion?

‘Bridge of Spies’ a cold war movie with a warm heart

Children tearfully watch filmstrips about how their best chance to survive a nuclear attack is to “duck and cover.” James Donovan (Tom Hanks) looks on in horror as Berliners are gunned down trying to clamber over the newly constructed wall. At one point, shots are fired into his New York home.

Pay DHS director like a football coach

The highest paid state employee is Bret Bielema, the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. He will make $4 million this year. Meanwhile, the director of the Department of Human Services — an agency that serves 1.4 million Arkansans with 7,500 employees — will earn $163,000.

Putin will find appearances can deceive

It’s now a tenet of conventional wisdom that our policy in Syria is an embarrassment as well as a flop. Washington insiders place great importance on “optics,” and the sight of Russian President Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles is making their eyes sting.

Drivers, can you spare a dime?

Considering a gallon of gasoline is now $2 less than it was not long ago, is now the time to raise gas taxes a dime? Some say yes, if the state is committed to maintaining its highways. Others say no, including legislators and, in a recent poll, a clear majority of Arkansans.

Your Best Life - Tips for avoiding injury

I believe everyone should strength train. Maintaining strong, active muscle mass throughout our lives is a critical step toward good health and longevity. And while anyone can learn the skills necessary to strength train effectively, it is always important to remember that safety is the top priority. Today we will discuss five strategies to help you remain as injury free as possible during the lifelong pursuit of maintaining a strong, fit body.

Breath of life

Ever feel deflated? Not like Tom Brady’s football, but simply worn out? Recently while I was on a hill operating a backhoe and turning with a full load the front right tire deflated.

Stopping smoking starts with a plan

Q. I have been smoking for almost 30 years, and I’d like to quit. Every time I try, I get upset, cry and am so irritable that no one wants to be around me. Now, my daughter says that she doesn’t want to leave my grandson with me anymore because I smoke in the house and his clothes smell like smoke when she picks him up. I want to quit, but now I feel like I’m being held hostage. What can I do short term to solve this problem?