Martin Rowson: "Charlie Hebdo: We must not stop laughing at these murderous clowns" (Guardian)
Mockery is hated by the powerful and despotic - which is why it must continue
Scott Burns: The High Cost of Politicians (AssetBuilder)
We should be glad the cost of politicians isn't included in the consumer price index. If it were, inflation would soar. The passage of the omnibus spending bill guaranteed hyperinflation for the cost of political influence. It also guaranteed the end of Abraham Lincoln's "government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Adam Tod Brown: 5 Famous People We Didn't Hate Enough in 2014 (Cracked)
#5. Jennifer Lawrence
Michael Zhang: Self-Taught Chinese Street Photographer Tao Liu Has an Eye for Peculiar Moments (PetaPixel)
Up until recently, Tao Liu was just an unknown water meter reader in China with an interest in photography. Then people started noticing his clever photos captured on sidewalks, and now Liu has become one of China's hottest street photographers.
Ruth Graham: The Disappearance of Rosemary Tonks (Poetry Foundation)
Praised by the likes of Philip Larkin, Tonks was a writer to be reckoned with. Why did she vanish?
Alison Flood: "Watership Down author Richard Adams: I just can't do humans" (Guardian)
Watership Down, a story Richard Adams made up to scare his kids in the car, was rejected seven times before it became a classic. As a new illustrated edition is published, the author tells Alison Flood why he loves making children wince and weep.
10 Slave Leia Mashup Cosplays That Still TOTALLY Fit Into Star Wars Canon (Dorkly)
1. Harley Quinn
Kara Kovalchik: 18 Things You Might Not Know About Frasier (Mental Floss)
The character of psychiatrist Frasier Crane was added to Cheers during the series' third season as a temporary release for some of the Sam and Diane relationship tension. Dr. Crane was only supposed to be around for a few episodes, but thanks to a combination of good writing and Kelsey Grammer's performance, Frasier became a series regular by Season Five. He was so popular that he was eventually spun off into his own series, which lasted an amazing 11 years. Here are some fun behind-the-scenes facts for all you Frasier fans.
Lance Page: Ride the Sky (Vimeo)
I had the idea of a new astro time-lapse technique in which the camera is pointed right at the north star and mounted to a motorized pivot point directly lined up with the sensor so the camera is able to spin with the stars through the night. Sit back, relax and Ride the Sky.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has approximately 50 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to email@example.com.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and warmer than seasonal.
'Game of Thrones'
"Game of Thrones" addicts, begin the countdown: HBO's series is returning in April.
The cable channel said Thursday that 10 episodes of "Game of Thrones" will show during its fifth season that begins April 12. Also returning that day are the comedies "Silicon Valley" and "Veep."
The hit fantasy series known as "GOT" is based on the works of George R.R. Martin, who has completed five of seven novels planned in the "Song of Ice and Fire" saga.
'Game of Thrones'
Gets a Second-Season Pick-Up
'Celebrity Name Game'
Celebrity Name Game, hosted by Craig Ferguson, has been renewed in syndication after it was picked up for a second season by station groups including Tribune Broadcasting, Sinclair Broadcasting and Cox Broadcasting, it was announced Thursday.
The show, from Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America and created by actor-producers Courteney Cox and David Arquette, will return with new episodes beginning Jan. 12. It is seen in about 93 percent of American TV homes.
"This is the second-highest-rated new daily series this season in the key demo of women 25-54 and continues to show steady growth in households," said Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Ira Bernstein and Mort Marcus. "Creatively, it is a really good game show with a brilliant and very funny host, which has made it ideally suited for both sitcom and game blocks."
'Celebrity Name Game'
Bushfires in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria have left koalas suffering from severe burns, mainly on their paws, caused by contact with burning trees or fleeing across burning grounds.
To protect their wounds, workers at local wildlife care centres apply burn cream and bandages, then protect the koalas' injured paws with special cotton mittens.
To keep up with the demand, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is asking volunteers to sew these mittens.
According to IFAW native wildlife campaigner Josey Sharrad, a "constant" supply of these mittens will be required throughout the bushfire season.
A simple mitten pattern is available on the IFAW website here.
"These mittens are simple to make even if you've never sewn before," Sharrad reassured, explaining that the mittens can be made from scraps of clean cotton, like old bed sheets or tea towels.
Computer Program Finds Super Strategy
A computer program that taught itself to play poker has created nearly the best possible strategy for one version of the game, showing the value of techniques that may prove useful to help decision-making in medicine and other areas.
The program considered 24 trillion simulated poker hands per second for two months, probably playing more poker than all humanity has ever experienced, says Michael Bowling, who led the project.
The resulting strategy still won't win every game because of bad luck in the cards. But over the long run - thousands of games - it won't lose money. "We can go against the best (players) in the world and the humans are going to be the ones that lose money," said Bowling, of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
The strategy applies specifically to a game called heads-up limit Texas Hold 'em.
While scientists have created poker-playing programs for years, Bowling's result stands out because it comes so close to "solving" its version of the game, which essentially means creating the optimal strategy.
Administration Sued Over Fracking Info
Gulf of Mexico
An environmental advocacy group sued the Obama administration in federal court on Thursday for refusing to release documents detailing the extent of fracking in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Center for Biological Diversity filed the lawsuit in U.S District Court in Washington, saying the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has refused to comply with the group's federal public records request for more information about how often oil companies are using the technique in Gulf waters.
While fracking on land has received wide attention as communities voice concerns over pollution of air and water, its use in the sea has been less discussed. The process in the sea is typically used for smaller jobs than on land, and uses less water.
Based on available data, the center's suit claims that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement allowed for fracking in the Gulf for about 15 percent of the wells that were completed in 2013.
Gulf of Mexico
Defends Golden Globes Win
"Age and experience give you a different sort of understanding," says a philosophical Pia Zadora. "Looking back, I realize what the controversy was about. I get it. I understand. Whether it was fair or not, I understand."
The singer and actress, who turned 60 in May, is curled up on a sofa in a dimly lit corner of her 7,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style home in a gated community on the outskirts of Las Vegas, a papillon named Merle nestled by her legs (one of which is confined to a brace thanks to a recent golf cart accident). And the "controversy" she finally "gets" refers, of course, to her 1982 Golden Globe award. Even today, decades later, her win for best new star of the year remains a perennial Hollywood punch line. How could a totally unknown, then-28-year-old actress from Hoboken, N.J. - once described in a New York Times review as "Brigitte Bardot recycled through a kitchen compactor" - possibly have been singled out by the Hollywood Foreign Press for her turn as a teen nymphet in a trashy incest drama called Butterfly? Particularly because hardly anybody at the Jan. 30, 1982, ceremony had seen the film. Butterfly wouldn't open in theaters until Feb. 5.
The common suspicion was that the award had been bought by Butterfly's sole backer - Zadora's Svengali-like then-husband, Israeli billionaire Meshulam Riklis. ("I know that Rik did not buy it," Zadora insists.) A self-described "bad boy of Wall Street," the tycoon had a portfolio that included companies such as Playtex, Dewar's, Samsonite and the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Vegas. The pair met in 1973, when Riklis, then 49, snuck backstage to congratulate a 19-year-old Zadora on her performance in a touring production of the musical Applause. Before the Globes made her a household name - and a Johnny Carson zinger - Zadora had a thriving theater career, starting with a role at age 9 in the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof.
Senator Introduces Bill
Republican Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill on Wednesday that would immediately halt U.S. aid to the Palestinians until they halt their effort to join the International Criminal Court to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' recent turn to the international court at The Hague marked a major policy shift and transformed his relations with Israel from strained to openly hostile. Abbas has been under heavy domestic pressure to take stronger action against Israel after a 50-day war between the Jewish state and militants in Gaza over the summer, tensions over holy sites in Jerusalem and the failure of the last round of U.S.-led peace talks.
While Palestinian membership in the court doesn't automatically incur U.S. punishment, existing law says any Palestinian case against Israel at the court would trigger an immediate cutoff of U.S. financial support. The Kentucky senator's bill would ban assistance until the Palestinians stop their move to become a member of the court.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said late Tuesday that the state of Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1. On Monday, the Obama administration said it was reviewing its annual $440 million aid package to the Palestinians because of the decision to join the ICC.
On a visit to Israel in 2013, Paul gave a speech calling for a gradual reduction of foreign aid - despite Israel's status as one of the top recipients of American assistance. The country gets about $3 billion a year in military aid from the U.S. He says even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he welcomes a day when Israel is independent of American aid.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Indian police said they are investigating a popular self-styled godman for allegedly encouraging 400 followers to undergo castrations at his ashram so they could get closer to god.
The country's top crime fighting agency has registered a case against Gurmeet Ram Rahim, known as the "guru in bling" for his penchant for garish clothes and jewellery, over the operations in the country's north.
The guru, who heads the Dera Sacha Sauda organisation based in Haryana state, is already facing trial for conspiracy over the murder of a journalist in 2002 along with claims of sexually exploiting female followers.
The latest case was filed after one of his devotees, Hans Raj Chauhan, lodged a complaint in court alleging he was manipulated into having the "painful" operation at the ashram.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Oliver Outdoor Advertising
A Pennsylvania couple angry over a lighted sign near their rural home has driven away six advertisers and cost the billboard company $50,000, according to a harassment suit brought by the sign's owner.
But attorney Gregory Swank, who represents the West Kittanning couple, said he plans a countersuit seeking the billboard's removal and compensation for his clients' aggravation.
Oliver Outdoor Advertising sued Andrew and Patricia Colberg last month in Armstrong County, the (Kittanning) Leader-Times first reported Wednesday. The lawsuit stems from a dispute that began when the company installed the billboard in 2012.
The Colbergs complained to the company and officials in West Kittanning and, finally, to 18 companies that put their ads on the sign, saying it was too bright. The Colbergs say the sign shines into their home some 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and makes it hard to sleep at night.
Oliver Outdoor Advertising
Scaling Back Bases
The US military said Thursday it will close a major air base in Britain and withdraw from 14 other installations across Europe as part of a reorganization of forces to save money.
The "consolidation" will save the US government about $500 million a year and not diminish American military power, Pentagon officials said, but the move prompted disappointment in Britain and anger in Portugal over the potential economic effect of the scaled-back presence.
The closure of bases and various outposts over the next several years will likely reduce the current contingent of 67,000 American forces in Europe by only about 1,200 troops, a defense official told AFP.
Under the plan, US operations at RAF Mildenhall in Britain will end and 500 troops and civilians will be withdrawn from Portugal's Lajes Field in the Azores. Commanders concluded the Lajes air base was largely a relic from another era when aircraft on transatlantic flights needed to refuel or make emergency landings on their way to the European continent.
A number of barracks, commissaries and other facilities in Germany will be closed, and a few sites in Belgium and the Netherlands also will be shut down.
Mandatory Papal Diapers
When Pope Francis visits the Philippines next week, traffic enforcers won't let the capital's streets get gridlocked if they have to answer the call of nature.
About 2,000 traffic enforcers who will be on duty during the Jan. 15-19 papal visit will be required to wear adult diapers, said Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.
Tolentino also encouraged people who will wait for hours to see the pope to also wear diapers.
Priests, nuns, seminarians, and the elderly also should consider wearing diapers, he said.
North American Sightings Take Flight
The elusive snowy owl, rarely seen outside the Arctic, is turning up more frequently in the skies of North America than it does in the pages of a Harry Potter book, data from the National Audubon Society suggested on Wednesday.
Sightings of the majestic raptors, popularized by the owl Hedwig in author J.K. Rowling's fantasies and the films based on them, could eclipse last season's record when the final tally is in, according to preliminary data from the society's 115th Christmas bird count.
The society is not expected to release the total until June. It needs to analyze data from an estimated 2,400 counting sessions by teams of volunteers from Dec. 14 to Jan. 5. The countings took place in North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and some South Pacific islands.
As of Wednesday, with just a fifth of the counting sessions totaled, there were 303 of the enormous white birds sighted, Geoff LeBaron, the project leader, said on Wednesday.
Last year's final tally was 1,117 snowy owls, or nearly double the previous high of 563 from the 2011 count, he said.
Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by Nielsen for Dec. 29-Jan. 4. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.
1. CFP Semifinal: Alabama vs. Ohio State, ESPN, 28.27 million.
2. CFP Semifinal: Oregon vs. Florida State, ESPN, 28.16 million.
3. NFL Football Playoffs: Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh, NBC, 27.94 million.
4. NFL Wildcard: Arizona vs. Carolina, ESPN, 21.68 million.
5. Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 17.46 million.
6. "College Football Bowl" (Thursday, 4:55 p.m.), ESPN, 17.39 million.
7. "College Football Bowl" (Thursday, 4:46 p.m.), ESPN, 15.64 million.
8. "College Football Bowl" (Thursday, 12:45 a.m.), ESPN, 13.28 million.
9. "Prime-time New Year's Rockin' Eve," ABC, 12.93 million.
10. "Madam Secretary," CBS, 11.69 million.
11. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 11.62 million.
12. "The Simpsons," Fox, 10.62 million.
13. "Hawaii Five-O," CBS, 10.51 million.
14. "The Good Wife," CBS, 10.36 million.
15. "NCIS," CBS, 10.15 million.
16. "SportsCenter Early," ESPN, 9.31 million.
17. "Kennedy Center Honors," CBS, 9.25 million.
18. Cotton Bowl: Michigan State vs. Baylor, ESPN, 9.09 million.
19. Orange Bowl: Mississippi State vs. George Tech, ESPN, 8.94 million.
20. "CSI," CBS, 8.62 million.
Rod Taylor, the suave Australian native who came to Hollywood and starred in such films as The Birds and The Time Machine, has died. He was two days shy of turning 85.
Taylor's big breakthrough came with his starring turn in The Time Machine, director George Pal's 1960 adaptation of the H. George Wells 1895 sci-fi classic.
He also played the heroic Mitch Brenner in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic The Birds, coming to the aid of Tippi Hedren, and he starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in another 1963 release, The V.I.Ps.
Most recently, he played Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (2009).
His film résumé also includes the romantic comedy Sunday in New York (1963), playing a bachelor opposite the virgin Jane Fonda; 101 Dalmatians, where he was the voice of Pongo; and Do Not Disturb (1965) and The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), both opposite Doris Day.
Taylor tested for the role of middleweight boxing champion Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), but the part went to Paul Newman. But he impressed MGM studio chief Dore Schary, who gave him a contract and cast the actor in the Bette Davis- Ernest Borgnine comedy The Catered Affair (1956) in which he is engaged to Debbie Reynolds' character.
During this time, he also landed supporting roles opposite top-flight casts in Giant (1956) and Separate Tables (1958).
Taylor was also memorable in the 1964 films Fate Is the Hunter and 36 Hours; as the title character in Young Cassidy (1965); and Dark of the Sun (1968).
Later, he had regular roles on the TV series Bearcats!, The Oregon Trail and Outlaws, and he played Frank Agretti on the CBS primetime soap Falcon Crest.
In 1977, he returned to Australia to star in the nostalgic The Picture Show Man. He also starred in the 1982 Australian thriller On the Run and was Daddy-O in Welcome to Woop Woop (1997).