Game review: 'Kirby Star Allies,' friendship is magic

There are fewer games that are more wholesome and fun than the Kirby series. His side-scrolling adventures always prove to be bright and colorful, while also holding up as exquisite platformers. "Kirby Star Allies" doesn't reinvent this wheel in any significant way, but it does address the question of "Wouldn't this be more fun with friends?"


Hilary Swank had 'Trust' in returning to work

Hilary Swank apologizes for being late for the interview as she and the publicist for the FX series "Trust" took a wrong turn down a hotel corridor. It's an understandable mistake, especially when you factor in that it has been a few years since the Oscar-winning actress has been part of any kind of promotional press for a project.


Ex-etiquette: 'My home is so uncomfortable'

Q: My son is 10-years old and quite rambunctious. It was fine before my boyfriend moved in, but now that he lives with us, my son seems to really get on his nerves. My boyfriend has no children of his own, loses his temper and snaps at my little guy when he does something he's not supposed to do. I find myself defending my child to my boyfriend and explaining my boyfriend to my child. My home is so uncomfortable I'm not sure I even want to be there. I love my boyfriend, and I love my son. How do I get them to respect and care for one another? What's good ex-etiquette?


Chris Erskine: He grew up on these pages. So long, son

We lost our oldest son to a car accident early March 4. He was returning from work and the freeway was dark; there had been some sort of collision ahead of him ... a disabled car waiting in ambush. The impact pushed his little gray Civic into another lane, where it was broadsided by an SUV, killing our son instantly.


Ask Mr. Dad: Between life and death, choose life

Dear Mr. Dad: My boyfriend and I have been going out for several years and are quite serious. We've even talked about getting married. We both have adult children from previous marriages, but while I'm very close to my daughters, he's been estranged from his 25-year old son for more than 20 years, ever since he moved out. They've recently started communicating again, which I support completely. The problem is that my father died unexpectedly, and the funeral is the same weekend as a trip my boyfriend had planned with his son. I want him to come with me to the funeral, but he says that he can't (won't) cancel the trip. I'm very angry and my family is too. I don't want to end the relationship, but I don't know what to do.


Living with Children: The power of words

When I began reading "The 9 Words Parents Should Never Say to Their Kids" (January 5, 2018,, I was skeptical that essayist Patrick Coleman's point of view would line up with my own, and I wasn't disappointed. Coleman began by saying that certain words have "overwhelmingly negative consequences" to children but only one of his nefarious nine met my never-say standard.


Design Recipes: Use these colors for an invigorating spring home

Although it may not feel like it in some parts of the country, spring is officially here. The transition to spring not only signals the start of warmer temperatures, but also an opportunity to infuse fresh, invigorating colors into the home. While some colors may automatically come to mind when you think of spring, other colors may surprise you.

Some of Merced's poorest neighborhoods struggle to get fresh food. This will help

Health officials and advocates in Merced County are heading a program, Farm to Store, that puts locally grown fruits and vegetables in convenience stores around South Merced that otherwise wouldn't sell fresh produce.