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Sunday studio estimates say the Brad Pitt action romp “Bullet Train" arrived with a $30.1 million opening weekend as the last big movie of Hollywood’s summer recovery landed in theaters. The debut was solid but unspectacular for a movie that cost $90 million to make and was propelled by Pitt’s substantial star power. But even if it holds well in coming weeks, movie theaters have no major studio releases on the horizon for the rest of August, and few sure things to look forward to in early fall. The weekend’s other new wide release, “Easter Sunday,” struggled to catch on. It opened with $5.3 million.

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This back-to-school shopping season, parents are focusing on the basics while also trading down to cheaper stores as surging inflation takes a toll on their household budgets. That is particularly true for parents in the low to middle income bracket. Last week, Walmart noted higher prices on gas and food are forcing shoppers to make fewer purchases of discretionary items, particularly clothing. Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, cited that inflation has dampened consumer spending on gadgets. Such financial struggles amid the industry’s second-most important shopping season behind the winter holidays mark a big difference from a year ago when many low-income shoppers, flush with government stimulus and buoyed by wage increases, spent freely.

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Funeral services for the seven people killed by a gunman at an Independence Day parade are set to conclude with family and friends gathering in suburban Chicago to remember Kevin McCarthy. The 37-year-old father and his wife, Irina, were killed in the attack on the Highland Park July Fourth parade. They leave behind a 2-year-old son, Aiden. McCarthy’s funeral service is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Skokie, Illinois. In an obituary, he is described as a father, husband, brother, uncle and son who “brought the fun to every situation.” Irina McCarthy was buried last week.

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Wet flowers are seen during a rainy day at a memorial to the seven people killed and others injured in the Fourth of July mass shooting at the Highland Park War Memorial, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Highland Park, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Christmas, for the Shakers, was a day of forgiveness and of giving. Music became part of the festivities, with songs being written for the holiday and caroling taking place on Christmas morning. Among the traditions of the North Union Shaker Village in Ohio, a special Christmas cake was served. While I can't confirm the Christmas Cake recipe found in "The Best of Shaker Cooking," is the exact recipe, I can say, after making it, that it would be quite the Christmas Day treat.