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JUSTIN BIEBER: ‘I’m Officially Retiring’

Justin Bieber dropped a bombshell on Christmas Eve.

The 19-year-old singer announced to his nearly 50 million Twitter followers that he is retiring — with little explanation.

My beloved beliebers I’m officially retiring

— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 25, 2013
The media talks a lot about me.They make a up a lot of lies and want me to fail but I’m never leaving you, being a belieber is a lifestyle.

— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 25, 2013
Be kind loving to each other, forgive each other as god forgave us through Christ Merry Christmas IM HERE FOREVER

— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 25, 2013
The singer pulled a similar stunt last week, joking in a radio interview that he would call it quits after the release of his ” Complete My Journals ” album on Monday.

Bieber’s new documentary movie “Believe” opens Christmas Day.

Despite tonight’s announcement, we have a feeling Bieber will come out of retirement and get back into the studio very soon.

The Best (and Worst) Restaurant Tippers of 2013

Most restaurant servers have good and bad tipping stories they never forget, like the quiet guy who ordered only coffee and left a really generous tip or the patron who vanished without leaving a gratuity. But this year there were plenty of tipping tales that got way wilder than those. Here’s a look back at the ones that made headlines. Whether these servers were naughty or nice, they were the recipients of the most outrageous, heartwarming, and cringeworthy tips of the year.

 

The too-good-to-be-true: In October, a St. Louis bartender was shocked to receive a $200,000-plus payout on a bill totaling just $111.54. Using the name “Randomdayzee” on Reddit, she shared her experience of waiting on two sisters, one of whom left the exorbitant tip. The shocked server alerted her manager, who called Visa and learned that tips deemed “excessive” would not be processed. The incident caused some redditors to speculate that the tipper was a scam artist who knew that her credit card would reject such a sky-high gratuity. We’ll never know!

The happy ending: After Red Lobster waitress Toni Christina Jenkins of Franklin, Tennessee, posted a photo on Facebook of a $44.53 receipt on which her customer had allegedly written a racial slur and skipped a tip, supporters launched an online fundraiser for Jenkins called “Tips for Toni.” Within 72 hours, they raised $10,749 for the waitress who was presented with a check in September. The following month, a man named Devin Barnes stepped forward as the customer in question. Though he admitted to writing “None” on the tip line, he denied adding the racial slur and vowed to sue Jenkins and Red Lobster for making false accusations. We haven’t heard from him since.

 

fastman/RedditThe delivery debate: Imagine delivering 85 pizzas that cost a grand total of $1,453 and receiving a $10 tip. That’s what happened to a pizza delivery man in March, whose friend posted a photo of his paltry gratuity to Reddit, which racked up nearly 2,000 comments and plenty of debate on tipping etiquette. Some felt tipping 20 percent would amount to an inappropriately expensive tip, almost $300, while others argued that a tip is based on performance and level of labor. If the delivery guy had a nickel for every Reddit comment he got … he’d be on his way to a 20 percent tip.

The lucky strike: Aurora Kephart, a 25-year-old bartender at Conway’s Restaurant and Lounge in Springfield, Oregon, received the tip of her life in October when one of her regular customers left her a Keno ticket as a gratuity. When Kephart discovered the ticket had been a winning one, totaling $17,500, she tried to give it to the generous patron, but he refused her offer. Kephart eventually shared a percentage of her winnings with him, then donated a portion to a muscular dystrophy charity. “I absolutely just want to pay it forward. I don’t intend to keep all that money for myself,” Kephart told ABC News.


The religious cop-out: In January, St. Louis pastor Alois Bell caused a commotion after she crossed out the automatic gratuity of 18 percent on her $34.93 bill at Applebee’s and wrote the following note to her server: “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” After waitress Chelsea Welch posted a photo of the bill on Reddit, with the note, “My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries,” and it went viral, Applebee’s terminated Welch, despite a petition that garnered 3,000 signatures in her support.

The mystery tipper: In December, an unidentified (and extremely generous) tipper began traveling the country, leaving large gratuities for servers in Michigan and New York and stamping a signature @tipsforjesus handle on the receipt. In September, the person left $3,000 on a restaurant bill totaling just $87.88, and, a few days later, left a whopping $5,000 on a bill for $214.75. In December, the New York Post reported that a New York City waiter identified the mystery tipper as Jack Selby, a former PayPal vice president, although the tipper’s identity has not been officially confirmed. Waiters everywhere are waiting to see where he or she pops up next.

The hardworking hero: A 20-year-old waiter (who did not reveal his name) at a Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park, Kansas, said though he provided “excellent service” to a table in October, when he collected the signed credit card receipt, he discovered that the patrons had left him an antigay message in place of a tip. The note read, “Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD.” Upon hearing about the incident through social media, supporters visited the restaurant where the waiter worked and asked to be seated in his section so that they could compensate for his lack of a tip. “The offers to help pay me back are much appreciated, but not at all needed. I’d prefer to let my work ethic and my service do the talking, nothing else,” the server humbly told local news affiliate KMBC.

The copycat scam artist: Call her the most infamous server in America. In December, New Jersey waitress Danya Morales, 22, made headlines after claiming that she was denied a tip because she was gay. Morales posted to Facebook a photo of the $93.55 bill, which bore a note that read, “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.” More than$2,000 in donations from sympathizers poured in; however, the sympathy –– and cash –– stopped flowing when an anonymous couple told a local news station that the bill belonged to them, and revealed a bank statement showing that they had left a tip. Morales lost her job and is currently refunding her donations.

Students Support Gay Vice Principal Who Was Dismissed for Marrying Partner

Students at Eastside Catholic High School staged a sit-in Thursday, and it had nothing to do with academics. The Sammamish, Wash., school forced its vice principal, Mark Zmuda, to resign because he married his partner over the summer. Now students are calling for the Archdiocese of Seattle change its policies regarding LGBT faculty who decide to wed.

“”We’re all here because we love him and we want to feel like we can accept people for who they are here at Eastside,” senior Julia Troy told KOMO 4 News in Seattle. The peaceful protest started in the school commons and cafeteria before the crowd swelled to over 300 and moved on to the streets. “What a lot of us are questioning is why it took them this long to decide to fire him, because this man has, and continues to make a really big impact on our school.”

Eastside officials say it was the archdiocese’s decision based on the contract that the vice principal signed. According to the document, Zmuda must follow the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which opposes gay marriage. The school learned of the wedding just a few weeks ago. Fully aware that he would face termination, Zmuda resigned effective today. A half-day was originally scheduled, but Eastside will be closed due to inclement weather in the Seattle area.

“Be the leaders of tomorrow that I know you all can be, because you all can make a difference,” the man affectionately known as “Mr. Z” told students during their sit-in. “You’ve made a difference in my life today.”

Washington state legalized same-sex marriages last December. Between the end of 2012 and September of this year, gay couples made up 17 percent of weddings that took place in the state.

Most of the 400-plus students at Eastside took part in the sit-in, either literally or virtually through social media. The students used the hashtag “KeepMrZ2013” and spread their plans through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and text messaging. Other area Catholic schools caught wind of the events and planned their own ways to show support, from creating signs to holding discussions on equality.

The students originally planned to stage the sit-in this morning, however moved up their plans after learning of Zmuda’s resignation yesterday.

Target Sued by Shopper Over Data Security Breach Claims

Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount chain, was sued by a Christmas shopper claiming she may have been exposed to identity theft from a data breach affecting 40 million debit and credit cards.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in San Francisco, follows the Minneapolis-based company’s statement that the information was breached from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, and that authorities and financial institutions were alerted immediately.

The lawsuit, based on allegations of invasion of privacy and negligence, claims the stolen data may permit the counterfeiting of cards by encoding the information onto any cards with a magnetic strip, and may have also reveal customers’ personal codes for debit cards.

“Target failed to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature and scope of the information compromised in the data breach,” according to the complaint.

The statement and ensuing lawsuit come as U.S. retailers gear up for the end of a holiday shopping season that ShopperTrak predicts will be the slowest since 2009. Target, which has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and 124 in Canada, said the breach occurred when a computer virus infected its point-of-sale terminals where shoppers swipe a credit or debit card to make a purchase, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the investigation is private.

Class Action

Jennifer Kirk, a California resident, seeks to represent other Target customers affected by the security breach in a class-action lawsuit.

Molly Snyder, a spokeswoman for Target, declined to immediately comment yesterday on the lawsuit.

Target is also accused in the complaint of posting its Dec. 19 statement about the data breach as it was reported in the media on its corporate website, and not the shopping site that customers regularly visit. Target claimed to have “identified and resolved the issue,” according to the complaint, which conveyed a “false sense of security to affected customers,” according to the complaint.

The case is Kirk v. Target Corp. (TGT), 13-cv-05885, U.S. District, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Also Under Fire for African-American Statements

Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments aren’t the only part of his interview with GQ causing controversy.
The 67-year-old “Duck Dynasty” star was suspended by A&E Wednesday for calling homosexuality sinful — and putting gay people in same category as terrorists. While those quotes quickly went viral, it wasn’t his only brow-raising statement in the interview; he also implied that African Americans were happier living under Jim Crow laws.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once,” the reality star said of growing up in pre-Civil-Rights-era Louisiana. “Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!”

Robertson continued, “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Needless to say, that hasn’t gone over well either. A spokesperson for the NAACP shared a copy of the letter that they, along with the Human Rights Campaign, sent to “Duck Dynasty” network A&E. In addition to asking for the network to “denounce and repudiate Robertson’s comments,” they demanded that Robertson “apologizes for his vitriolic comments.”

“We want to be clear why Phil Robertson’s remarks are not just dangerous but also inaccurate,” the letter stated, in part. “Mr. Robertson claims that, from what he saw, African Americans were happier under Jim Crow. What he didn’t see were lynching and beatings of black men and women for attempting to vote or simply walking down the street.”

Noting that the remarks “go beyond being outlandishly inaccurate and offensive” and are actually “dangerous and revisionist, appealing to those in our society who wish to repeat patterns of discrimination,” the letter said Robertson’s “words show an unbridled lack of respect for African Americans and LGBT people, and the ongoing challenges members of our communities continue to experience on a daily basis.”

“Surely a brand like A&E does not want to be associated with such racist and homophobic remarks,” it concluded.

Robertson’s remarks about African Americans could ultimately be more damaging in the longterm than what he said about homosexuals, according to one expert.

“Racial comments are often career killers — as are scandals involving children and animals,” David E. Johnson, who is the CEO of public relations and branding agency Strategic Vision, tells Yahoo TV. “Yet, looking at the demographics who are attracted to ‘Duck Dynasty,’ we see an older, more conservative, and evangelical audience. These people will take the comments with a grain of salt. This is because Phil Robertson and the ‘Duck Dynasty’ brand is one that is viewed as politically incorrect and says what is on their mind. So, in that light, the comments are unlikely to do damage — unless African Americans begin emerging and demonstrating he has discriminated against [them].”

However, “Barring that, overall, his comments and the controversy has in all likelihood strengthened the brand,” adds Johnson.

On Wednesday night, the cable network did denounce the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch. In addition to suspending him indefinitely from filming, they said in a statement, “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’ His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”

Earlier in the day, Robertson clarified his words — though he didn’t come close to apologizing.

“I myself am a product of the ’60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior,” the TV star said in a statement. “My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Not everyone is offended by Robertson’s statements. A petition called IStandWithPhil.com was launched by a group called Faith Driven Consumer and calls for A&E to reinstate Robertson — and apologize to the “Duck Dynasty” watchers who share the TV’s star’s beliefs.

“Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family — a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole,” it says on the site. “While the LGBT community may be offended by his opposing viewpoint, your rash, discriminatory, and unfair treatment toward Mr. Robertson — a recognized symbol of the faith community — is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike.”

Needless to say, this controversy won’t be dying down anytime soon.

Two guys made a life-sized Lego car that runs on air

Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida built a functional car out of Lego bricks that runs on air. The car is the product of the duo’s Super Awesome Micro Project, a crowd-funded effort that allowed them to take 500,000 Lego bricks and 256 pistons and design a hot rod-esque masterpiece. The car, from engine to seats, is made completely from the tiny bricks, with the exception of a few structural parts including wheels, tires, and gauges. Sammartino and Oaida estimate they’ve dropped $60,000 on Lego bricks alone.

Forty Australian patrons funded the project after seeing a single tweet that Sammartino sent, as well as a tongue-in-cheek prospectus he wrote about the idea. The car was built in Romania and then shipped to an undisclosed location in Melbourne, which was not an easy task.

“The car was significantly damaged during shipping,” Sammartino told an Australian podcast. “We were like, ‘Well it’s just Lego, we’ll snap the pieces back together,’ But it wasn’t that easy. The pieces were warped because it had gone across the Equator, pieces were freezing and heating up — it was worse than you’d think.”

But they were able to patch those damages up, and now they’re taking the car to the streets. It uses four radial engines for power and can currently reach speeds up to 20mph. So for now Sammartino and Oaida are driving the car slowly, as to prevent any possible “Lego explosions.”

Boston Marathon Victim Finds Love

Krista D'Agnostino shows off her engagement ring from James Costello. (Photo: James Costello's Facebook)

The Boston Marathon bombing in April was a tragic event, but life goes on for those injured in the attacks. For James Costello, the tragedy led him on a path where he would eventually meet his future wife.
James was standing with friends near the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombing took place. His clothes were shredded, his body so badly burned that he needed pig skin grafts on his right arm and leg. An image of James walking in the aftermath of the attack was picked up by the Associated Press and went global.
“April 15 was one of the worst days of my life,” the 30-year-old wrote in a recent Facebook post. “I soon wondered why and for what reason this had happened.”
He spent weeks recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital before being transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, where he ended up meeting a very important person who would change his life for the better.
“A few days later I saw a nurse in passing, this would turn out to be Krista, who had shared a few mutual friends, but we had never crossed paths before,” he wrote about nurse Krista D’Agostino.
“After sharing a handful of conversations, I realized not only how beautiful she was, but also what a kind heart she had,” he continues. “I somehow convinced her to attend a benefit with me, which turned into a few dates, which turned into a few inseparable months.”
“I’m happy to announce that we will spend the rest of our lives together,” he wrote after proposing to Krista while the couple was visiting Lyon, France. “I now realized why I was involved in the tragedy. It was to meet my best friend, and the love of my life.”
This isn’t the only couple who got engaged after the Boston Marathon tragedy. Pete DiMartino proposed to girlfriend Rebekah Gregory six months after they were badly injured in the bombing. They shared their story on “Ellen,” and received $20,000 to help cover their medical expenses and send them on a wonderful honeymoon.

If Jennifer Lawrence Needs This Much Airbrushing, We’re All Doomed

A controversial GIF of the actress revealing how fashion magazine Flare airbrushed her 2011 cover has found new life on the Internet after an author on the website Upworthy expressed outrage at what she says is a gratuitous hack job.

It appears the magazine elongated Lawrence’s body, slimming her waist, thighs, and arms; boosted her cleavage; chiseled her cheekbones; and overly bronzed her skin tone. The Internet instantly exploded with reaction. “I think the most ridiculous thing is they photoshopped her fingers. What in the world was wrong with them in the first place?” wrote one commenter. Another tweeted: “This is one GIF worth sharing. Insane how much retouching is done on a beautiful 23 year old.”

It’s a curious move given how outspoken Lawrence has been about the pursuit of perfection in Hollywood. In November during a live interview at Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, Lawrence responded to an audience question, asking how young girls can deal with the pressure to look perfect, by saying, “The world has a certain ideal – we see this airbrushed perfect model image … you just have to look past it. You look how you look and be comfortable. What are you gonna do, be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.” That same month, during an interview with the BBC, Lawrence spoke of the pressure to be thin in Hollywood: “We have the ability to control this image that young girls are going to be seeing [in "The Hunger Games"] … girls see enough of this body that they will never be able to obtain. It’s an amazing opportunity to rid ourselves of that in this industry.”

 

And back in March, upon seeing the ads for Christian Dior’s spring/summer 2013 collection for which Lawrence modeled, she told “Access Hollywood,” “That doesn’t look like me at all,” adding, “People don’t look like that.”

The debate over airbrushing is endless. Does retouching images of celebrities – who already have access to the best beauty products, personal trainers, and private chefs – further create unrealistic body image expectations for young, impressionable women? Either way, the exposure to these airbrushed images has a trickle-down effect on society. One poll conducted by Glamour magazine found that 60 percent of women say it’s OK to retouch their personal photos and 41 percent of women ages 18 to 24 do so on social media.

 

The issue with Lawrence’s cover isn’t so much that it’s airbrushed – it’s that the areas Flare tackled were nearly flawless to begin with. Did Lawrence’s already-tiny waist need to be further cinched? Were her cheekbones not high enough? The changes to the image may have technically been considered minor, but the result seems excessive.

“Everyone knows that most images in the media have been retouched, but being able to intellectualize something doesn’t override its potential damage to one’s self-esteem,” Jean Fain, M.S.W., a Harvard University-affiliated psychotherapist and author of“The Self-Compassion Diet,” tells Yahoo Shine.
Since retouched photos aren’t going away any time soon, Fain suggests that women make a pact with themselves to banish fat talk. The key, she says, is to view one’s body as functional, not ornamental. Don’t love your muscular legs? Consider how they helped you train for a 10K. Wish your hair were straight? Relish the fact it’s a unique family trait. Adds Fain, “Appreciating your body from head to toe is the antidote to low self-esteem.”

How To Use Instagram Direct

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If you’ve always wanted to limit who amongst your Instagram followers gets to see certain pictures on your feed, an update released recently can make that happen. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom announced today at a low-key New York press event that the latest version of the photo-sharing app lets users send photo and video messages to specific friends, a la Twitter’s Direct Messages feature. If you’re an Android or iOS device user, you can get the update today. Here’s how to use Instagram Direct.

1. Capture the photo or video you wish to send by tapping the camera icon at the bottom of your Instagram home page. You can also select existing files by tapping the Camera Roll button in the viewfinder page.

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2. Select a filter as you normally would.

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3. Compose your caption or message to accompany the photo or video.

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4. Tap Direct at the top, next to Followers.

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5. Select your desired recipients by tapping the circle next to their names.

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You can also search for your friends by typing their names in the To field.

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6. Hit Send at the bottom of the page.

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You’re done! To look at your sent messages, just tap the tray icon at the top right of your home page to bring up the Instagram Direct page.

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How to Delete Instagram Direct Messages

From that page, you can also delete messages in case you’re suffering from sender’s regret.

1.Tap the offending entry to pull it up.

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2. Hit the three-dot button.

 

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3. Select Delete This Post

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4. Tap Delete on the alert that pops up.

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Why You Should Be Extra Careful With New Piercings

Here’s why you should always be extra careful with your new face piercing.

Haley Ormand, a 22-year-old nanny living in Denton, Texas, got a “Monroe piercing” at a local tattoo parlor on Nov. 15. Four weeks later, her lips had swelled to twice their original size.

“I just tried cleaning it with warm salt water and it obviously didn’t work,” Ormand told The Huffington Post in a Facebook message. “I literally went to bed and woke up Tuesday and it was like this, swelled up beyond belief over night!”

The photo of her swollen lips went viral on social news site Reddit on Wednesday. Now, Ormand says she’s learned her lesson. “It’s very painful, needless to say that will be my last facial piercing ever! Lol,” she told HuffPost.

Anyone getting a Monroe piercing should clean it regularly (but not too much, since you could irritate the wound), use mouthwash after meals and sleep with clean sheets. Touching the new piercing should also be avoided, as should swimming, taking baths and consuming drugs, alcohol or spicy foods.