UCLA upsets Washington State in high-scoring Pac-12 opener

PULLMAN, Wash. – That is one way to end a losing streak.

UCLA roared back from a 32-point deficit in the second half, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Demetric Felton with a minute left lifted the Bruins to a wild 67-63 victory over No. 19 Washington State at Martin Stadium on Saturday.

The game was the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams, and the outcome did not seem in doubt when WSU built a 49-17 lead in the third quarter. Instead, the Bruins staged a comeback to remember behind an opportunistic offense that capitalized on a bevy of Cougar mistakes over the final two quarters.

Thompson-Robinson completed 25 of 38 passes for 507 yards with five touchdowns and one interception to overcome his counterpart, WSU’s Anthony Gordon, who passed for 570 yards on 41-for-61 passing and a school-record nine touchdowns.

Gordon had one final chance to drive the Cougars down the field, but UCLA’s Keisean Lucier-South forced a fumble on a sack. The fumble was recovered by Bruin linebacker Josh Woods.

Gordon’s seventh touchdown pass – a 6-yard strike to Dezmon Patmon – gave the Cougars a seemingly insurmountable 49-17 lead with just under 7 minutes left in the third quarter. UCLA staged a furious rally behind its quarterback, Dorin Thompson-Robinson, but the Bruins fell short.

Thompson-Robinson ran for a 1-yard touchdown run, fired a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Chase Cota, watched Demetric Felton take a reception 94 yards for another touchdown and added a 7-yard scoring pass to Devin Asiasi that cut WSU’s lead to 49-46 just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.

The teams traded six touchdowns in the final quarter alone. Max Borghi’s 65-yard touchdown reception gave WSU its final lead at 63-60 with 6:11 remaining.

Woods’ interception ended WSU’s opening drive and set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dorin Thompson-Robinson to tailback Joshua Kelley for a 7-0 lead less than 2 minutes into the game.

The Cougars (4-0) evened the score at 7-7 when Gordon and Easop Winston Jr. connected for the first of four touchdown passes. UCLA moved ahead 10-7 on its next drive with JJ Molson’s 31-yard field goal.

Winston Jr. hauled down two more touchdowns in the second quarter to propel the Cougars to a 35-17 halftime edge.

Felton broke free for a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to trim the deficit to 21-17.

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When financial choices backfire, you can fix them

Even when we attempt to do our best thinking, our choices can backfire. Nowhere is this as impactful as your financial decisions. In fact, there is a dedicated sector of finance called behavioral finance.

This addresses why so many of us make irrational and systematic errors with money that are void of logic and soundness. It has to do with our cognitive biases. We do what we do, then rationalize it.

Are you wrestling with a facet of your money management that is compromising your financial health? It’s the small stuff that catches you unaware, but it can add up to a lot.

Here are five ways our choices may backfire because of cognitive biases and what to do about it:

1. Mental accounting. If you treat a windfall differently from your regular income, such as an inheritance from a grandparent or a large IRS return, then you’re guilty of mental accounting. This refers to the different values we may place on money based on how we acquire it. For example, a tax return can be seen as an unexpected surplus, when in fact, it’s our money in the first place!

And unfortunately, in many cases people will indulge, feeling that the unexpected doesn’t happen often. Errors such as opening a low interest-bearing account while having high credit card balances is one example. Or purchasing a new car and discovering later on how much it really costs. Treat all money the same. Be sure that if you receive unexpected money that you review your financial goals and consider how this can help you to meet them.

2. Sunk cost fallacy. Throwing good money after bad sums up this bias. The more we spend on something, the less we’re likely to let it go. This pertains to things that no longer serve us. Do you have a storage full of unused purchases from a past life that you feel are too valuable to throw away? Are you suffering from home or garage clutter because of the same?

Sunk cost fallacy says we feel guilty about ridding ourselves of what we feel was a costly purchase but we no longer use. If you no longer use it, give it away. This will save your sanity and your checkbook, especially if you are renting space for these items.

3. Retail therapy. This one is particularly tempting; another way to describe it is impulse shopping. “I work hard; I deserve this,” is a phrase one hears often in conjunction with making a sudden and unpremeditated purchase. The advice many give is to “sleep on it for 24 hours.” But you can do more to get out in front of this dangerous behavior by asking yourself how you’re feeling before you enter a store (or the Amazon website!).

If you’re bored, restless, lonely or experiencing any feeling that leaves you empty, take caution. You are vulnerable to impulse shopping. Instead, once you have identified your emotion, pick a healthier way to deal with it. This will save money and a lot of closet space taken up by shirts you’ll never wear.

4. Loss aversion. Do you panic when the stock market goes down? Do you tend to sell the positions in your portfolio so you don’t “lose it all”? This strategy will minimize the returns that you could otherwise enjoy. Work with a responsible wealth advisor who can guide you.

The advice here is to watch the market less. You aren’t abdicating your responsibility by working with someone who oversees your funds, and you should read your monthly statements and meet regularly with your advisor. However, if you are a market “stalker” and this causes panic, back away slowly and allow your professional to manage the portfolio for you.

5. Sinkhole behavior. Have you made a choice that has backfired leaving you feeling paralyzed and embarrassed? Get past it and take action. Do what you can to remedy or redirect the situation by reaching out for help.

And reach out for the right kind of help. Don’t take advice from a neighbor or someone who tells you they once had the same experience. Get help from the right kind of advisor who can look at your situation and the complete picture. They’re best suited to guide you back into the sunlight.

When a choice you have made with your finances backfires, recognize this as a pivot point to help you reassess your money behaviors so that you can redirect and move forward. Your future will thank you.

Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners, and their companies, to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Her client roster includes privately-owned businesses and such entities as Bank of America, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harvard University, Sysco, Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and the Girl Scouts of America.  Patti@PattiCotton.com.

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You need to move the business ASAP. Here’s how a sublease works

Your business expansion will enjoy more space very soon. Now your employees can park at their place of employment vs. down the street. Crisp new offices or tons of manufacturing space await you in the new location. You can’t wait!

You’ve opted to lease the new spot and postpone ownership. You’ll encounter two leasing scenarios once you scour the market for suitable addresses — leases and subleases. So what are the differences? Indulge me while I describe them.

Leases are negotiated directly with the owner of a parcel of commercial real estate. Therefore, they’re referred to as direct leases. Normally, your initial conversations will be through your commercial real estate professional.

The deal you get depends upon the landlord’s motivation, competition in the market and the skill with which your broker volleys. She will work with the owner’s rep to craft your agreement. Outlined will be a monthly payment amount — rent, number of years, term, increases in rent throughout the term, bumps and concessions – free or abated rent, refurbishment, and extra stuff such as tenant improvements.

An early termination right, extension rights through an option to renew, right of first refusal, or right of first offer to purchase may also be included. Once you reach a pact, you and the owner will sign a lease, you’ll deposit the requested amounts and secure insurance. Now your company can live in the new location for the agreed-upon period, let’s assume five years.

But during the lease term, something untoward occurs — a decline in sales, someone acquires your company, you decide to move your manufacturing function to China, or California imposes a huge levy on your product, which dictates a move out-of-state. You find yourself with a glut of space to which you’re committed! Now what?

Well, those circumstances, dear readers create subleases.

A sublease is akin to a remnant sale at your favorite carpet retailer. A full roll of flooring is not available, so you get to pick from what’s left. Because a finite amount remains, little flexibility exists. If the scrap fits your area, great! You benefit. But if you have a larger area to cover, you’re hosed. Also, the smaller the amount of overrun, the fewer takers. Now a price discount must be employed to liquidate. Ouch.

With a sublease, the primary motivation is to stem the bleeding. Excess space wastes rent payments. The thought of providing any concessions runs contrary to a desire to move-on. Consequently, a different dynamic unfolds compared to a direct lease. Plus, another layer of decision-makers will be involved.

Remember, a lease is in place with a landlord and a tenant. Now the tenant becomes a de facto sub-landlord and you are the sub-tenant. All parties — master landlord, sub-landlord, and you — must agree and all must approve.

So with the descriptions of leases and subleases as a backdrop — how should you proceed?

Consider all your alternatives. If you need a ton of abated rent, extensive tenant improvements, or a 10-year term, a direct lease might be your best bet. Conversely, absent these requirements, a sublease can provide you with an adequate solution.

Seek counsel. Leases are complex. Subleases are uber complex. They are not for the squeamish. If your “landlord” stiffs the owner, your sublease is in jeopardy. You’ll need two sets of approvals.

Plan on extended time frames to get all resolved. We recently encountered a sublease that took 90 days to get the nod!

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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McDonald’s tries to reheat the chicken sandwich wars with spicy barbecue sauce

Two new combatants, McDonald’s and Jack In The Box, have entered the “chicken war” launched by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Aug. 12.

That’s the date when Popeyes debuted a chicken sandwich that became a runaway success. After two weeks of long lines at drive-thrus and social media frenzy, the Miami-based fast food chain announced it had run out of supplies to make the sandwiches and pulled them from its menus.

The battle lines were initially drawn by fans of Popeyes and fans of Chick-fil-A, which has been selling a very similar sandwich for decades. Wendy’s entered the fray because it had a new spicy nuggets promotion.

And now after two weeks of quiet, McDonald’s has come out with a Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

It has the same essentials as Popeyes’ and Chick-fil-A’s sandwich, a crispy chicken fillet served on a bun with a couple of pickle slices.

McDonald’s sandwich adds some raw onion and a new barbecue glaze. It costs $5.29, more than the $3.99 that Popeyes’ was charging.

Jack In The Box’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich has tomato, mayonnaise and lettuce, making it more like Wendy’s chicken sandwiches. What’s different is that it starts with two chicken patties, and customers can add one or two more if they like. It also includes bacon.

Combos cost $3.99-$5.99.

Popeyes has yet to say when it the sandwich will return. The banner on its website shows an empty sandwich wrapper with the words, “Be right back.”

But on Thursday, Popeyes launched a promotion called BYOB, “Bring Your Own Buns,” encouraging customers to buy three-piece chicken tenders and supply their own bread.

A news release announcing the promotion was accompanied by a short video featuring skeptical-looking actors.

“Seriously,” one of the actors says, “when are you bringing the sandwich back?”

 

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Here’s how Southern California colleges fared in the 2020 U.S. News rankings

No matter what you’re looking for in a college education, Southern California likely has a good school to suit your needs.

That’s one of the big takeaways from the 2020 U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings, released Monday, Sept. 9.

There were few surprises in the top overall rankings, with Caltech placing highest in the region as the No. 12 best national university.

UCLA and USC weren’t too far behind, at No. 20 and No. 22, respectively.

Orange County was also represented on the list, with UC Irvine placing at No. 36. When narrowed down to just the top public schools, UCI won the No. 9 spot.

Southern California fared even better in the liberal arts category, in which Pomona College ranked fifth and Claremont McKenna College placed seventh.

Despite its high standing, a representative for Pomona College said that shouldn’t be the only factor prospective students consider when choosing a college or university.

“Our focus is on providing a top-notch education that equips students to confront problems from fresh angles and come up with real solutions,” spokesman Mark Kendall said. “There are many viewpoints on the issue of rankings, but bottom line, they should never be treated as an answer, only as one resource among many as students begin their college search.”

U.S. News used factors like graduation rates, class size, expert opinion, faculty resources and the share of first-year students who were in the top 10% of their high school class to determine the rankings.

“We’ve found the best institutions to be ones committed to academically and financially supporting their students through graduation,” Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News, said in a statement. “They draw in high-quality professors and set students up for postgraduate success.”

But U.S. News didn’t stop at quantifying overall quality.

The organization compiled more than a dozen separate lists that rank schools on specific metrics, like value, innovation and ethnic diversity.

Across many of the lists, Caltech stood out. The university ranked No. 3 on the list of schools that offer undergraduates the opportunity to pursue their own creative research projects. It also tied for ninth place on a list of schools with the most economic diversity among students, ranked 10th for lowest debt load upon graduation and placed 11th for overall best value.

In a new list that debuted this year, which measures social mobility by assessing outcomes for students who received Pell grants, Southern California schools dominated the highest rankings.

UC Riverside topped the list, with UCI coming in third and the University of La Verne tying for fourth.

The leader of the winning school on that metric said, for his part, that it’s about time college rankings start taking student outcomes into account.

“UC Riverside is not a newcomer to the social mobility movement,” Chancellor Kim Wilcox said in a statement. “It’s been part of our ethos for a generation and we are heartened that rankings publications are starting to catch up – but they are not there yet.”

The Southland also shined bright on the list of best regional universities in the west.

California Lutheran University placed ninth on that list, followed by Cal Poly Pomona at No. 14, Cal State Fullerton at No. 17 and Cal State Long Beach at No. 20.

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Whicker: A stunning quick-change act for USC, especially on defense

  • USC running back Vavae Malepeai begins his celebration in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against Stanford in the third quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Tyler Vaughns avoids a tackle on his way to the end zone to score a touchdown against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • USC wide receiver Tyler Vaughns does a little celebrating in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, left, is sacked by USC linebacker Hunter Echols, center, with the help of defensive lineman Caleb Tremblay, right, in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Greg Johnson, right, intercepts a pass as
    Stanford intended receiver Colby Parkinson is called for a face mask penalty the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Greg Johnson does a little celebrating after intercepting a pass against Stanford in the fourth quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with teammate USC running back Vavae Malepeai after Brown scored a touchdown late in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC running back Vavae Malepeai, center, celebrates his touchdown with teammates Drake London, left, and Drew Richmond, right, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC quarterback Kedon Slovis fires a pass against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Devon Williams, right, pushes away Stanford safety Malik Antoine as he runs along the sideline for a big gain in the first quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, beats Stanford cornerback Obi Eboh, center, and another defender to make a touchdown catch in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Kedon Slovis in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Munir McClain, left, catches a pass before being hit by Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo in the first quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with wide receiver Drake London after Brown scored a touch down against Stanford late in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown dives into the end zone for a touchdown late in the second quarter against Stanford in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC cornerback Olaijah Griffin (2) steps in front of a Stanford receiver to break up a pass in the end zone in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his second quarter touchdown against Stanford with wide receiver Devon Williams, center, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates with offensive tackle Jalen McKenzie after scoring a touchdown against Stanford late in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • USC wide receiver Drake London, left, finds an open field after catching a pass to gain big yardage before being brought down by Stanford safety Kendall Williamson, right, in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Stanford running back Cameron Scarlett, left, muscles his way past USC wide receiver Drake London, center, and quarterback Jack Sears, right, to score a touch down in the second quarter in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) runs during the second half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, right, celebrates his second quarter touchdown against Stanford with teammates in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Southern California quarterback Kedon Slovis throws a pass against Stanford during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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LOS ANGELES — Sudden change, they call it. USC fans have been demanding one. On Saturday night they got that change, and some hope too.

Stanford was the bowling ball and the Trojans were the scattering tenpins in the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Cameron Scarlett scored to make it 14-3. On the next play, USC’s Velus Jones coughed up the football on his own 21.

“If they had scored a touchdown there it would have been devastating,” said Trojans coach Clay Helton, who would have been at ground zero of such devastation.

Stanford quarterback Davis Mills, in this position because K.J. Costello was hurt, tried to pick on USC cornerback Olajiah Griffin on first and third down, aiming at Colby Parkinson, the tallest oak from Oaks Christian, both times. Griffin held his ground and both passes were incomplete.

On fourth-and-13, Jet Toner kicked the field goal that created a 17-3 lead. In the stands and in the bars and in the Barcaloungers, the Trojan “faithful” began to search Netflix.

On field level it was different.

“We’re thinking that if we score (a touchdown), it’s a one-score game,” Helton said. “So Graham (offensive coordinator Harrell) kept turning it loose. You don’t have to tell him to do that.”

Kedon Slovis, the freshest toast of this town, then dropped a fly ball in between Stanford defenders and into the hands of Amon-Ra St. Brown, for a 39-yard touchdown. But Stanford got a 44-yard run from Scarlett and camped out, first-and-10 on the USC 17. There were penalties on consecutive plays, some pushes and shoves and points and counterpoints, and even though Stanford got another field goal and a 20-10 lead, something changed. Actually, everything did.

USC rampaged to a 45-20 win, easily its best game since a Pac-12 championship game win over Stanford in 2017, and maybe well before that. Those were the most points Stanford has given up in five years (to Oregon). Frustrations were purged; visions came true. As receiver Tyler Vaughns said, “People don’t understand. This is nothing like last year. New players, new coaches.”

And even though the new quarterback was directing the band afterward, a privilege that comes with completing 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, it usually takes the whole village when you outscore someone 42-6 in three quarters.

Slovis was phenomenal, no question. You can take your pick of passes. The best was probably a 31-yarder that whizzed over the helmet of cornerback Obi Ebon and found the hands of Michael Pittman, just before Vavae Malepeai ran to make it 31-20.

“There’s really a huge margin for error when you throw it to these guys,” Slovis said.

“I was proud of him,” center Brett Neilon said. “We had his back.”

“I told him he didn’t have to be Superman,” Helton said, then turned to St. Brown. “I told HIM that he did.”

Meanwhile, there was the worrisome secondary, with four sophomores and a freshman. The way to gain confidence at this position is not to spend your August practice afternoons lined up against Pittman, St. Brown, Vaughns and the deep layers of USC receivers. Against Fresno State they struggled and survived. Against Stanford they made a difference, although Mills somehow kept missing his big receivers and, in the end, was under siege from the pass rush.

“We were concerned about their screens,” said Chad Kahua’aha’a, the defensive line coach. “Finally we just said, let’s just go after them, run some games up front, and see what happens.”

“Holding them to that field goal was big,” linebacker Christian Rector said.

Stanford had only one touchdown drive longer than 35 yards, which was the first one, set up by Connor Wedington’s 60-yard kickoff return. The Cardinal had no points and only 119 yards in the second half, and Toner missed two field goals.

Griffin, who is coming back from simultaneous rehabs on both shoulders, survived a lot of business from the Cardinal, and Greg Johnson picked off Mills’ pass to Parkinson, setting up the score that made it 38-20.

Johnson went to Hawkins High, not too far away on West 60th Street. He remembered Parkinson from competing with him at the Army All-American Bowl.

“We knew he was one of our top targets, so I just played my technique,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to give a big shout-out to our receivers, too. Every day in practice, we get tested by them. You have to be on your toes no matter what. We’ve got a young corps, so we have to lean on each other.”

And at halftime, just after Slovis had found St. Brown to put the Trojans up 24-20?

“We knew we had ’em,” he said.

The same belief was slow to reach the seating areas, but those who waited for Slovis to buckle are still waiting. Whether Helton will be forgiven — or will be recognized — for moving Slovis ahead of Jack Sears on the depth chart is not known. It is a little difficult to expect anyone’s preconceptions to survive, after that.

“What’s next?” Malepeai repeated. “Just go back in on Monday and lock in and get better. I don’t like to think about last year, but we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot. We did it in the beginning tonight. If we quit doing that, I think we could score just about every time. I don’t see a ceiling.”

But, for the first time in a long time, he saw some gold.

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Robert Mugabe, longtime Zimbabwe leader, dies at 95

By Farai Mutsaka and Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press

Harare, Zimbabwe — Robert Mugabe, the former leader of Zimbabwe forced to resign in 2017 after a 37-year rule whose early promise was eroded by economic turmoil, disputed elections and human rights violations, has died. He was 95.

His successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed Mugabe’s death in a tweet Friday, mourning him as an “icon of liberation.” He did not provide details.

Mugabe, who took power after white minority rule ended in 1980, blamed Zimbabwe’s economic problems on international sanctions and once said he wanted to rule for life. But growing discontent about the southern African country’s fractured leadership and other problems prompted a military intervention, impeachment proceedings by the parliament and large street demonstrations for his removal.

  • FILE – In this Tuesday, March 18, 2008 file photo, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses party supporters at a rally in Gweru, about 250 kms. (155 miles) south of Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, file)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 10, 1976 file photo, leaders of the Black National Front Joshua Nkomo, left, and Robert Mugabe make a no progress statement after their informal meeting with British chairman Ivor Richard at the Palais of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Dieter Endlicher, file)

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  • FILE – In this Sunday, July, 29, 2018, file photo, Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, and his wife Grace pose for a photo after a press conference at their residence in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, file photo Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe arrives for the burial of a prominent member of his party, Misheck Chando, in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 file photo Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, center, arrives to preside over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, April 18, 2012 file photo Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, lights a flame at celebrations to mark 32 years of independence of Zimbabwe, in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/File)

  • FILE – In this Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 file photo Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe clenches his fists as he delivers his speech at his party’s 13th annual conference, in Gweru about 250 Kilometres south west of the capital Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Wednesday, May 22, 2013 file photo Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, left, shakes hands with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after he signed the new constitution into law at State house in Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Saturday, Dec, 17, 2016 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party’s 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, south of the capital Harare. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File)

  • FILE – In this Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, South Africa. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died.
    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, FILE)

  • FILE — In this Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 file photo, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe officiates at a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe. On Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his predecessor Robert Mugabe, age 95, has died. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

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The announcement of Mugabe’s Nov. 21, 2017 resignation after he initially ignored escalating calls to quit triggered wild celebrations in the streets of the capital, Harare. Well into the night, cars honked and people danced and sang in a spectacle of free expression that would have been impossible during his years in power and reflected hopes for a better future.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Mugabe marked his first birthday since his resignation in near solitude, far from the lavish affair of past years. While the government that removed him with military assistance had declared his birthday as a national holiday, his successor and former deputy Mnangagwa did not mention him in a televised speech on the day.

Mugabe’s decline in his last years as president was partly linked to the political ambitions of his wife, Grace, a brash, divisive figure whose ruling party faction eventually lost out in a power struggle with supporters of Mnangagwa, who was close to the military.

Despite Zimbabwe’s decline during his rule, Mugabe remained defiant, railing against the West for what he called its neo-colonialist attitude and urging Africans to take control of their resources, a populist message that was often a hit even as many nations on the continent shed the strongman model and moved toward democracy.

Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa who chose not to judge him in the same way as Britain, the United States and other Western detractors. Toward the end of his rule, he served as rotating chairman of the 54-nation African Union and the 15-nation Southern African Development Community; his criticism of the International Criminal Court was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target Africans.

“They are the ones who say they gave Christianity to Africa,” Mugabe said of the West during a visit to South Africa. “We say: ‘We came, we saw and we were conquered.’”

Spry in his impeccably tailored suits, Mugabe as leader maintained a schedule of events and international travel that defied his advancing age, though signs of weariness mounted toward the end. He fell after stepping off a plane in Zimbabwe, read the wrong speech at the opening of parliament and appeared to be dozing during a news conference in Japan. However, his longevity and frequently dashed rumors of ill health delighted supporters and infuriated opponents who had sardonically predicted he would live forever.

“Do you want me to punch you to the floor to realize I am still there?” Mugabe told an interviewer from state television who asked him in early 2016 about retirement plans.

After independence, Mugabe reached out to whites after a long war between black guerrillas and the white rulers of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known. He stressed education and built new schools. Tourism and mining flourished and Zimbabwe was a regional breadbasket.

However, a brutal military campaign waged against an uprising in western Matabeleland province that ended in 1987 augured a bitter turn in Zimbabwe’s fortunes. As the years went by, Mugabe was widely accused of hanging onto power through violence and vote fraud, notably in a 2008 election that led to a troubled coalition government after regional mediators intervened.

“I have many degrees in violence,” Mugabe once boasted on a campaign trail, raising his fist. “You see this fist, it can smash your face.”

Mugabe was re-elected in 2013 in another election marred by alleged irregularities, though he dismissed his critics as sore losers.

Amid the political turmoil, the economy of Zimbabwe, traditionally rich in agriculture and minerals, was deteriorating. Factories were closing, unemployment was rising and the country abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009 because of hyperinflation.

The economic problems are often traced to the violent seizures of thousands of white-owned farms that began around 2000. Land reform was supposed to take much of the country’s most fertile land — owned by about 4,500 white descendants of mainly British and South African colonial-era settlers — and redistribute it to poor blacks. Instead, Mugabe gave prime farms to ruling party leaders, party loyalists, security chiefs, relatives and cronies.

Mugabe was born in Zvimba, 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital of Harare. As a child, he tended his grandfather’s cattle and goats, fished for bream in muddy water holes, played football and “boxed a lot,” as he recalled later.

Mugabe lacked the easy charisma of Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and contemporary who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 after reconciling with its former white rulers. But he drew admirers in some quarters for taking a hard line with the West, and he could be disarming despite his sometimes harsh demeanor.

“The gift of politicians is never to stop speaking until the people say, ‘Ah, we are tired,’” he said at a 2015 news conference. “You are now tired. I say thank you.”

Torchia reported from Johannesburg.

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Aging seniors: Make decisions before someone makes them for you

During retirement or before, you probably did all the financial planning along with the legal paperwork. Have you also thought about personal choices as you age and the options ahead? If a personal plan isn’t made now, you might regret it when other people are making choices for you.

Here are some of your choices:

Where are you going to live?

Not moving earlier in your life to where you really want to be could stop you from moving there at a later date.

Do you want to stay in the area in which you have friends and social and religious circles that include a country club, church or charitable organizations that you have been with for a long time?

Do you want to move close to your family and expect that you will be with your relatives frequently, as when you are visiting on vacation? Another scenario is the family continues with their regular routines of work and school and activities and have little time to spend with you. In this case, you’ll have to build a circle of friends and networks.

Recreational preferences or agreeable climate and community should also come into play. If you loved visiting Hawaii, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas or Oregon, you might decide that you want to move to one of those places for those reasons or the low cost of living. If you have more time for your hobbies and interests, you might have an opportunity to live closer to where you can fulfill those interests.

There are other issues to consider in another state including income, sales, inheritance and property taxes.

Living spaces

What living space you occupy or who you live with are serious decisions to ponder before moving. If you prefer to live in your own home as you age, that comes with questions and decisions. For instance, is the house in good physical condition or does it need work to make it safe for you as you age?

Does your home have a second floor that may not be practical if can’t manage the stairs? Is your house too big for one person? Is it in a good, safe area? Do you have enough assets to support the house while you live there? Are you going to do the maintenance on the house and yard or are you going to hire help?

If you are living with someone and that person moves out or dies, are you going to be comfortable alone? If you can’t or don’t want to live by yourself, check out other housing options in the area to find something that would feel comfortable, such as senior living or assisted care facilities. You can visit and also spend some time there eating meals and participating in activities.

Transportation

Seniors want the decision to stop driving to be one they make. They feel a loss of independence when they can no longer drive. How do you feel about that? Do you want to make your own decision on when to stop driving? If so, what are the criteria? California has a driver skills self-assessment questionnaire included in its DMV Senior Guide for Safe Driving.

You can start there or take a refresher driving course. However, if you decide that to give up your license, staying isolated at home isn’t your only option. There are other choices such as bus, taxis, Uber, Lyft and GoGo Grandparent that will get you around town. Some senior services will drive you places, shop for you and even order meals and deliver them.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s hard for seniors to accept they are not self-reliant anymore. Struggling with daily life as we age can lead to depression and isolation. As seniors get less mobile, they have choices to think about. Review your finances and determine if you will need additional resources.

You might consider adult daycare, home health care, local government and charitable programs that help seniors, and community centers that offer socialization, meals and activities.

Miscellaneous tips

Pre-Need arrangements: Plan your own funeral and pay for it now. You can choose burial or cremation and spend as much as you want.

Hire a professional: If you don’t have a family member or a friend that you want to make your decisions for you, or feel that they would not be able to do so, then hire a professional fiduciary. They would step in when you need them. They normally charge by the hour. Sometimes, they become the neutral party between fighting family members.

Make sure you put all of your decisions in writing and communicate them to family and friends so they know your decisions. Make an appointment with your attorney to go over the decisions you made and make sure that they’re compatible with your estate planning documents.

Look into the future for what life might look like and start making changes now. You can take responsibility for your decisions that are really yours to make. If you wait and do nothing, it can be a crisis that makes those decisions for you. You might regret your lack of making a plan for your life and the decisions may be taken out of your hands.

Marcia L. Campbell, has worked as a CPA for over 25 years specializing in seniors, trusts, estates, court and trust accountings and probate litigation support. You can reach her at Marcia@mcampbellcpa.com

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Tips on avoiding financial decisions that can backfire

How many times have you made a financial decision that backfired in the end? Maybe you intended to be helpful or the decision was made quickly, without thinking about negative ramifications. Whatever the initial circumstance, you regretted your decision later.

Think twice before you find yourself in the following situations:

Lending money to a family member or friend

According to a recent article in Forbes, nearly three-quarters of people who borrow money from friends or family never pay the loan back in full. Often these loans are by parents lending money to adult children. Chances are that when you lend money to a family member or a friend, you will never see the money again. Only lend what you’re comfortable losing. Instead of expecting to get paid back, consider it a gift.

If someone is asking you for money, evaluate the situation before committing. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I lent this person money before, and did they pay me back?
  • Is this an emergency?
  • Why are they coming to me instead of going to a bank?
  • Will the loss of this money affect my finances?
  • If they don’t pay me back, how will our relationship be affected?
  • Are they willing to sign a note for the loan, with market-rate interest?
  • Leasing a vehicle instead of purchasing ears

When you lease a car, you will have lower monthly payments than if you finance a car with a loan. You can transition to a new car every two to three years by simply returning the car back to the dealer at the end of your contract.

Unfortunately, you will not own the car when the lease expires. And you will need to refinance the debt or pay off the outstanding balance if you want to keep the car when the contract has reached full term. Also, you will be penalized if you terminate your lease early, exceed the allotted annual mileage (usually 12,000 miles) or damage the vehicle through excessive wear and tear.

Co-signing on a lease or loan

Co-signing a lease or loan for a family member or friend seems honorable but may have consequences. When you co-sign, you are responsible for the entire amount. Can you afford the monthly payments if the co-signee defaults? Have you thought about the effect on your credit if the person doesn’t pay on time? And you may be declined for future credit because your debt is too high or because your credit score has dropped due to late payments.

Adding an authorized user to your credit card

You may be helping someone with poor or no credit by offering access to your credit card. This good intention can quickly turn ugly, especially if your card is at the limit or the payments are not made when due. Ultimately, you’re responsible for the debt and will reap the negative repercussions.

Paying for your child’s education

As parents, we often feel that we are responsible for our children’s education even when we can’t afford it. If you did not fund a 529 Plan for your child and are now facing the reality that your teenager is about to attend college, discuss strategies with your child that will not have negative implications on your retirement. You do not want debt that will take years to pay off. Your child has his or her lifetime to repay outstanding student loans; your timeline is much shorter.

Discuss the following options with your child:

  • Taking advanced placement classes in high school with the goal of testing out of future college classes
  • Living at home while attending a local college
  • Attending community college prior to transferring to a four-year university
  • Applying for grants and scholarships
  • Working to pay for school
  • Applying for student research positions
  • Completing the FAFSA (fafsa.ed.gov) to determine what types of government aid are availableHolding an investment to avoid capital gains

If you are holding one stock in a taxable account that is a disproportionate amount of your portfolio to avoid capital gains, be careful with this approach. You may be tax-averse but could be positioning yourself for a future disaster should the value of the company quickly decline. You might want to sell some of the stock in order to create a diversified portfolio or gifting the stock to charity.

Delaying saving for retirement

This often means that you will be working well into your later years. There is not a simple solution if you are in this situation. If you are over 50 and have not established a retirement account or the one that you have is dangerously underfunded, take the time to meet with a financial advisor to implement a strategy. If you wait any longer to fund your retirement, you may have ignited a fire that you will never be able to extinguish.

Before committing to financial decisions that could negatively affect you in the long term, evaluate your position and think about your personal finances if the action backfires. Don’t be afraid to place your needs first, and learn to say no when it’s in your best interest.

Teri Parker CFP, is a vice president for CAPTRUST Financial Advisors. She has practiced in the field of financial planning and investment management since 2000. Reach her via email at Teri.parker@captrustadvisors.com

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The Rolling Stones rise to rock the Rose Bowl

When The Rolling Stones announced in early spring that their spring tour dates, including a planned stop at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, had been canceled because singer Mick Jagger needed heart surgery, a whole lot of fans surely wondered whether this was it.

It, as in the end of the legendary English rock band, which made its U.S debut in San Bernardino.

It, as in the end of the music that defined the ‘60s, grew perhaps even stronger in the ‘70s, and provided the soundtrack for multiple generations of music lovers.

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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  • Robert Downey, Jr., announces that NASA named a rock on Mars The Rolling Stones Rock beforeThe Rolling Stones performed at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ronnie Wood performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Mick Jagger performs during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards perform during The Rolling Stones’ No Filter Tour at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

  • The Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena during their No Filter Tour on Thursday, August 22, 2019. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

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The Rolling Stones, including the core four of singer Jagger, guitarist-singer Keith Richards, drummer Charlie Watts, and guitarist Ronnie Wood, made up that canceled date on Thursday night in Pasadena, and if you looked past the wrinkles on their septuagenarian faces you could have easily shaved decades off their ages so powerfully did they perform.

In a set that slotted 19 classic Stones tunes into two hours on stage, the band thrilled the packed stadium from the raucous opener “Street Fighting Man” to the completely satisfying “Satisfaction” that closed out the encore as fireworks exploded overhead.

Oh, and actor Robert Downey Jr. came out before the show to announce that NASA had named a rock on Mars after the band — more on that in a bit.

The show on Thursday was part of the band’s No Filter tour, which kicked off in Europe in the fall of 2017 — even before Jagger’s health scare the band toured at a leisurely pace befitting its stature and age.

But maybe a little extra rest between gigs is the secret to a long career, for as “Street Fighting Man” slipped into “You Got Me Rocking” — the song off 1994’s “Voodoo Lounge” the most recent number they played — the Stones performed with power and passion throughout the set.

“Tumbling Dice” ended with Jagger, 76, strutting the length of the ramp, clapping his hands and exhorting the crowd to join him.

He paused at the end of it to acknowledge the honor bestowed on the band by NASA through Downey — a rock dislodged by the Insight lander on Mars last year had rolled a bit across the Red Planet’s landscape, and the brainy wags decided to announce its name as Rolling Stones Rock on Thursday.

“NASA has given us something we’ve always dreamed of, our own rock on Mars,” Jagger said. “Can’t wait to put it on the mantelpiece.”

Highlights of the first half of the show included “She’s A Rainbow,” the 1967 number that’s one of the prettiest songs in the Stones’ catalog, and on Thursday the winner of the fans’ request vote.

Add to that the loveliness of an acoustic mini-set that brought the four Stones to the secondary stage at the end of the ramp — Jagger announced they’d be off to the 50-yard line as they walked out — where they played the country rock-influenced songs “Sweet Virginia” and “Dead Flowers.”

While Wood, the baby at 72, plays most of the lead guitar on stage, at times Richards, 75, takes the prominent role as he did on the back to back pairing of “Sympathy For The Devil,” still ominous all these years later, and “Honky Tonk Women,” where his opening riffs still thrill with the rawness of the Chicago blues that inspired so much of the band’s early work.

Jagger apologized to the crowd for having to postpone the earlier date, then joking that it had inconvenienced the Stones too: “We’re missing Thursday night’s turtle races at Brennan’s,” he said.

(He also claimed they’d wandered Hollywood Boulevard, looking for their star on the sidewalk, which they couldn’t find. But … do we believe that?)

But mostly he and the band — which also includes such stellar longtime sidemen as bassist Darryl Jones, keyboardist Chuck Leavell and backing vocalist Bernard Fowler — stuck to the hits, playing songs they’ve done hundreds of times with the enthusiasm of brand-new favorites.

After Jagger introduced the band with a handful of random superlatives — Wood was dubbed “the Picasso of Pasadena,” Watts, 78, was announced as drummer and “Greenland’s new economic adviser” — Richards took center stage for his traditional two songs on vocals, on Thursday, “You Got The Silver” and the always fantastic “Before They Make Me Run.”

When Jagger returned to the mic the back half of the night sizzled with songs such as the slinky dance-rock of “Miss You,” featuring Jones’ disco-fied solos on bass, the great blues-rock of “Midnight Rambler,” which saw Jagger on harmonica and Wood on guitar having a blast together, and “Jumping Jack Flash,” one of many big crowd-sing-alongs of the night.

After “Brown Sugar” closed the main set the Stones returned for a pair of encore numbers, starting with “Gimme Shelter” which feature backing vocalist Sasha Allen wailing alongside Jagger.

“Satisfaction” is a song they may have played more often than any other, but on Thursday you’d never have guessed it, all of these legendary gents grinning and laughing, still having fun, still in good health, all these years after they arrived.

The Rolling Stones

When: Thursday, Aug. 22

Where: The Rose Bowl, Pasadena

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