CBS News Logo National Unfriend Day Gets Underway

Not that Mark Zuckerberg likely lost much sleep over it but Wednesay marks the day that comedian Jimmy Kimmel wants you to "cut out some of the friend fat in your life." Meaning: Slash your list of Facebook friends in a big way. The late night television host launched his call a couple of weeks ago during a monologue during a riff on the dilution of the term `friendship' in the age of social networking. It was only chance but last week a former Facebook engineer who left to start his own company announced a service that's focused on sharing with just your closest friends - and, for now, just photos. Path, a free app for sharing photos, keeps your circle of friends limited to 50 people. Path's creators were partly inspired by the research of anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who determined that 150 was the maximum number of people with whom someone can keep up a friendship. That message fell right in line with Kimmel's shtick. 7 Things to Consider Before Facebook Unfriending On his show Tuesday evening, Kimmel celebrated the arrival of National Unfriend Day with its very own anthem sung by country artists Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. To all the friends I've un'ed before To all the guys from grammar school Our time on earth goes by so quickly Facebook had no immediate comment on how the festivities were being marked at company headquarters. Needless to say, Zuckerberg is not likely to be adding Kimmel to his friends list anytime soon. Continue Reading

Return Day’s message would resonate nationally

Georgetown residents agree: The United States needs a Return Day.Deep in Sussex County, part of the Trump-branded half of the national microcosm that is the First State, rancor took a backseat to civility Thursday as Georgetown continued its two-century-old celebration of the end of politicking and a return to the Delaware Way.The Return Day tradition seemed especially apt this year following a grueling presidential election which shook to the core friendships and political alliances across the nation. But Democrat or Republican, Trump or Clinton, upstate or downstate, with the leaders now chosen folks felt it was time to get back to shaking hands.“Return Day is a day, I think, all across the U.S. people should look at trying to do,” said Georgetown Mayor Bill West. “It’s a day the Democrats and the Republicans and the Independents come together, and we bury the hatchet. We stop all the political nonsense and become one.”Though he’s only been mayor since 2014, West is a born-and-raised Georgetown resident. Return Day long has been a favorite for people like him, usually a day off from work and a celebration of local community togetherness as much as anything political.At the Circle in the heart of town, people from near and far clustered together for a good-natured celebration of the things they have in common.Food trucks doled out a variety of lunches, and those young enough to have ignored politics altogether danced and chased each other in the Circle. Nearby, sitting next to each other without a hint of animosity, were backers of Clinton and Trump.“This is what it’s all about, not protesting because your person didn’t win,” said Millsboro resident Dick Phillips, a Trump supporter who came with his wife, Cindy, to attend the festival for the first time. “If the media covered this event like they do the protesting, then it would be totally different. People would see what unity is all Continue Reading

Angela Lansbury’s ‘psychic consultant’ is medium with message for Broadway

I'm sitting in the bar at Sardi's with a woman who just might know all my secrets. That woman is Paula Roberts, also known as the English Psychic, who has been working as a clairvoyant in New York for over three decades. She's a prim and proper former Londoner, and under no circumstances will she reveal her age - though I have a feeling she knows plenty about me. She's the official "psychic consultant" to the Broadway revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit," opening Sunday, in which Angela Lansbury plays medium Madame Arcati. To get the late playwright's take on the production, producers asked Roberts to channel Coward's spirit - a task for which a long list of New York area mediums were auditioned. This particular seance is shrouded in mystery, though Coward supposedly approved Lansbury's casting. I've come to find out what Roberts can tell me about my own spiritual circumstances. "I always demand to know nothing about the person," Roberts says before asking me to cut a deck of tarot cards. "It's not therapy. You're not telling me all your stories, and then I'm giving you advice. ... I am transmitting what I believe I see." All she needs is my astrological sign - Gemini - and she's off. She speaks in one-liners as she flips over cards. "Somebody's given you a little present you're rather pleased with," she says. This is true. "Mentally: You're chafing a little bit under authority." Well, that does describe me. (Sorry, editors.) "Personal finances: You've been on a spending spree." Okay, who showed this lady my Amex bill? The cards, she explains, are merely a visual tool - something on which we can both focus. She could do the entire psychic reading staring at scattered shells, a crystal ball or, she demonstrates, straight into my eyes. "But that would freak people out," she says. "I've always used the vehicle of cards. But I've always said there's no such thing as 'reading cards.' If it was merely a feat of memory, anyone could memorize the Continue Reading

Pull the plug on needy pal who won’t stop messaging

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my friends messages me from the moment I get home and go online. No matter what time it is, there she is, attempting to talk to me. It feels as if she wants to monopolize my time. I really feel for her, but this is too much. How can I address this without being rude? Jay, Detroit Dear Jay: Your friend is needy. She needs you more than you need her. While you care about her, you must manage your friendship. Otherwise, you will lose it, which will, at least in immediate terms, be devastating for her. Your strategy has to include your position with regard to connecting to the rest of the world. When you connect to the Internet, she's ready to connect to you. That means many things. I have a dear friend who has no e-mail address, no cell phone and is happy. She and I recently talked about the power in disconnection. Interestingly, she espouses that not feeling the impulse to connect to the world at every moment allows you the opportunity to connect to yourself and those you love more fully. I believe she is onto something, even as her concept seems rooted in days gone by. But then I see her and her palpable happiness. She is content within her own being without being perpetually plugged in. Your friend is at the ready because you are at the ready. Don't fault her for putting you at the top of her list. Instead, think about why you choose to be so available. At the very least, make yourself invisible, so you can be online without the world knowing it. DEAR HARRIETTE: My children seem to be addicted to video games. As soon as they get home from school, they pull out their hand-held electronics and stay attached for hours. I have encouraged them to go outside to play, but they often choose to stay indoors glued to those tiny screens. What can I do to lure them away? Renee, Houston Dear Renee: You are not alone. Technology is both friend and foe to so many of us. I have long said that to enjoy technology, it must be tempered Continue Reading

To avoid a mixed message, send a simple ‘Thanks’

DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend from work invited me to attend a business function with her, and I did. We had a great time. It was really a nice event. I was so pleased I thought I should do something nice for her just to reinforce how pleasant a time I had. I don't want to be misleading. She and I have a friendly relationship, but I have no interest in leading her on to think that I want to date her. I should add that she and I have never broached that subject at all. I'm just noting it, as I realize I want to do something nice for her, to say thanks for inviting me to the aforementioned event. Help! Ben, Shreveport, La. Dear Ben: It's wise to think carefully about how to say thank you. You are right. Sometimes people think differently about each other than is immediately obvious. Also, friendly overtures can take on a variety of meanings that aren't always intended. I recommend you do something very simple and straightforward. Get a blank card with an image on it that you think she would like. Does she like flowers, balloons, animals? There are cards available with absolutely every image you can imagine. Write a short note on the inside, thanking her for the invitation and adding that you thoroughly enjoyed the event. Mention a highlight of the event, rather than your interaction with her. Place the note where she will find it but where it won't become the talk of the office. DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in a he-said/she-said predicament. I was just told that a very dear friend of mine spoke inappropriately about our friendship to people who don't know me. It got back to me, and my feelings are hurt. When I mentioned it to him, he denied ever saying any of the things in question. He did a great job of making me believe him. The only problem is, it doesn't make sense. These people couldn't have generated this information independently. Somebody is lying. Who do I believe? What do I do? Reyna, Sarasota, Fla. Dear Reyna: Those who say things they regret or do Continue Reading

A mighty friendship

Before the movie of "A Mighty Heart," and even before the book, actress Angelina Jolie and reporter Mariane Pearl reached out to one another. Pearl's story - a woman in Pakistan pregnant with her first child suffers the nightmare scenario of watching as her journalist husband is kidnapped and publically murdered - had riveted people across the globe. Daniel Pearl's beheading was a flashpoint of politics and inhumanity, cruelty and terrorism. Jolie saw a single mother clinging to hope amid despair. "Their friendship predates the film and the book," says "Mighty Heart" co-producer Dede Gardner, who runs Plan B, Brad Pitt's production company. Pitt had bought Mariane Pearl's book as a movie project prior to Jolie's first meeting the actor on 2005's "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." "They share similar [views] about how they live their lives and how they parent their kids. And they were both single moms [at the time, Jolie had a year-old adopted son, Maddox]; it was a very natural union. And that got reinforced as they got to know each other better." Director Michael Winterbottom saw Jolie embody her friend on-camera and off. "Angelina seemed to have the same relationship to the other actors on the set that Mariane had to the people in the house [in Pakistan]," says Winterbottom. "Everyone in the house with Mariane said to me that Mariane really brought together the team and made them feel good about what they were doing. That's what Angelina did on the set. We had a lot of nonprofessional actors from Pakistan, people from India, Britain, America - and she always behaved like she was absolutely one of the team and created a really friendly, family atmosphere on the set." Watching Jolie and Pearl side by side when the movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, it's evident how protective and proud Jolie is of Pearl and her ability to send out a message of hope and compassion in the wake of her husband's murder. And when the two women are together, as they were at Continue Reading


JEFF GOMEZ was born a "forceps baby," his features slightly contorted by partial facial paralysis. As a boy growing up in Flushing, he was teased by other kids about his features, and tormented at Intermediate School 237 by bullies who would cruelly demand: "Why is your mouth twisted?" But the harsh words did not dent Gomez's self-esteem. He turned the tables on bullies by showing admiration for their cool clothes and bikes. The boy with the different look soon gained their trust, friendship and, ultimately, their respect. Today Gomez, 42, is president and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment Inc. and has produced a DVD titled: "Don't Laugh at Me" to help beleaguered youths stand up to bullies. He filmed it at IS 237, the Rachel L. Carson school - the same place where bullies once harassed him. "What I'd like them to do is understand the values of young people and not to allow the threat of physical or emotional violence to stop them," he explained. Physical appearance, learning disabilities, personal possessions and nationality are among reasons bullies tend to pick on kids, said Gomez, who added that each day thousands of kids avoid bullies by staying home from school - a practice that leads to low self-esteem and poor grades. The lessons "Don't Laugh at Me" teach youth are that all kids are different, and that they must learn to respect one another for their differences, the producer said. The five-minute DVD features a hip-hop music video starring 14-year-old Houston rapper Baby Jay, who tells bullies to chill out. "He's saying we have things in common. One day we will have perfect wings, which means we're all going to the same place. Let's chill," said Gomez, who went on to graduate from Flushing's John Bowne High School. "Don't Laugh at Me" will be shown to students at IS 237 in April, and after that will be distributed to middle schools and high schools nationwide. It is part of an initiative now in metropolitan-area public schools Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Bernard Kerik on Rudy Giuliani abandoning their friendship, rebuffing his own goddaughter amid legal woes

In his forthcoming memoir due out Tuesday, “From Jailer to Jailed,” Bernard Kerik tells the story of his fall from city correction and police commissioner to federal prison inmate, sentenced to four years after being convicted of tax and false statement charges. In this exclusive excerpt, a bitter Kerik recalls how for years he was as close as family to Rudy Giuliani, but once his legal troubles began — before he was sentenced and served his time at federal prison in Cumberland, Md. — Kerik was cast aside. The press and media were gearing up for the 2008 presidential primary two years away and Rudy was being talked about as the possible front-runner for the Republican Party. At the end of November, there was a poll that ranked Rudy as the most popular out of twenty potential presidential candidates. Barack Obama came in second. Given that my daughter Celine was only six years old at the time, she had no idea of the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. All she knew was that people were saying that her godfather was going to be the next president of the United States. She was talking about it twenty-four hours a day, as if that were the only thing going on in her little world. She had no idea of what this really meant, of course, but she was convinced that Rudy was going to be president. One afternoon she walked into my office and asked when she was going to get to see her godfather. “He’s very busy campaigning, sweetheart,” I said. “Maybe we can see him before Christmas.” . . . I told Celine we would see her godfather when we did our annual two-day holiday stay in New York City when I got back from my trip. She was ecstatic. “I want to get him a Christmas present!” she said. She already had it picked out. “I want to get him the president’s jumping horse.” “President’s jumping horse?” She Continue Reading

Lovett: Bill de Blasio sending a message that he’ll no longer be Gov. Cuomo’s ‘punching bag,’ sources close to the mayor say

ALBANY - After nearly 18 months of being one of Gov. Cuomo's favorite whipping boys, Mayor de Blasio has had enough, those close to him say. De Blasio has decided there is no upside in continuing to hold his tongue while he is publicly embarrassed by the governor, a fellow Democrat and his supposed friend of 20 years, sources say. The change to a more aggressive tone began Friday and continued over the weekend with Hizzoner declaring that Cuomo has not been a partner or showing leadership when it comes to the crucial issues facing the city. "He's sending a message he won't be a punching bag," said one insider. Added one source close to de Blasio: "I don't think the mayor is going to look for fights with the governor in the way the governor seems to enjoy picking them with the mayor - but staying silent doesn't achieve anything. He's going to tell the truth." In March, the Daily News reported that de Blasio was at "wit's end" over the harsh treatment he's received from Cuomo. One source at the time quoted him as saying: "I don't know what to do. Why does he keep coming at me like this? I want it to work." De Blasio had hoped his relationship with the governor would improve after he helped organize a deal that led to the reluctant Working Families Party to endorse Cuomo's reelection. But Cuomo quickly went back to his alpha dog ways, at times seemingly going out of his way to embarrass the mayor. A last straw was when Cuomo on Thursday accused de Blasio of waiting until the last minute to push the city's agenda. "Bill had been engaging with the governor on the assumption that he was a rational actor who would want to maintain at least a cordial relationship so they can work together in areas where they have common interests. But the governor's only interest is his poll numbers and who's winning the news cycle that day," said one operative who often works closely with the mayor. Some longtime Capitol Continue Reading

CARIBBEAT: Fulbright scholar and a new university president are making some modern-day history during the 2015 celebration of Haitian Heritage Month

MAY’S CELEBRATION of Haitian Heritage Month — full of events and activities commemorating the nation’s rich culture — has gotten some contemporary significance with Haitian-American college student Carlsky Belizaire winning a prestigious Fulbright award and Haiti-born C. Reynold Verret becoming the new president of Xavier University of Louisiana. A Valley Stream, L.I., resident, Belizaire, a senior at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College at Queens College, won a 2015 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award and he’ll be helping English instructors teach the language to non-native English-speakers in Taiwan. The Fulbright honor comes just before Belizaire's graduation from Queens College — capping a spectacular scholastic stint for the Valley Stream, L.I. resident. A Hertog Scholar at Macaulay Honors College and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, Belizaire has been on the Dean's List each of his four years at the college and spent a month in China Japan through Queens College's QC's Study Abroad program. The stellar senior has studied Japanese business and culture in Japan and Asian business in China, relishes the opportunity to teach and live in China. “These two experiences have allowed me to visit world wonders and Fortune 500 companies, learn how to communicate despite a language barrier, and ultimately see deeper into my own culture as well as the ones I interacted with,” said Belizaire, a political science major who is also fluent in Haitian Creole. The other 2015 Fulbright awardees from Queens College are Karissa Caputo, Eric Becker, Carla Spensieri, Sarah Chung, Katherine Cox and Alyssa Blumenthal. “We are very proud that our students are being recognized so frequently by the Fulbright Program,” said Queens College President Félix Matos. “These honors speak highly of both the quality of the students that Queens Continue Reading