Andrew Tobias: Things Could Be SO Much Worse . . .
And obviously were.
Lucy Mangan: "The forgotten genius: why Anne wins the battle of the Brontës" (The Guardian)
For the BBC's Being the Brontës, I got behind the bullied youngest sister - a feminist and social firebrand whose ideas were way over Charlotte's head and years before their time.
Emine Saner: "Fifty Shades of Grey: the book you literally can't give away" (The Guardian)
A branch of Oxfam in Swansea has asked donors to bring 'less Fifty Shades and more 60s vinyl'. Are Britain's charity shops stuffed with more bestselling soft porn than they know what to do with?
Not so dumb after all: study says blond women are more intelligent (The Guardian)
Fair-haired white women have a higher IQ than their red or black-haired sisters, according to a US survey. Although bleach may have played a part …
Elle Hunt: Fawlty Towers-based show producers staggered by John Cleese's 'vitriol' (The Guardian)
Australian theatre company responds to Cleese accusation it ripped off his television series with a dinner theatre show called Faulty Towers.
Rosanna Greenstreet: "Q&A: John Cleese" (The Guardian)
'The worst thing anyone's ever said to me? "Are you Michael Palin?"'
Nigel M. Smith: "Krisha star Krisha Fairchild: 'I'm 65. I got no time for fear'" (The Guardian)
The actor, who worked as a personal assistant for Nancy Sinatra before finding fame, explains why getting older was the best thing to happen to her.
Jordan Hoffman: Krisha review - a tension-packed family roast with all the trimmings (The Guardian)
Trey Edward Shults' SXSW-winning debut introduces a talent able to cook up a story about a family meal gone awry that's engrossing and perfectly seasoned.
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 over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." - John Ruskin -
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
"WE CAN DENY OUR HERITAGE AND OUR HISTORY, BUT WE CANNOT ESCAPE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE RESULT."
I'LL DRINK TO THAT!
TEACH THE CHILDREN BAD!
DUMP THESE TWO BUMS!
SHUT UP AND VOTE!
RIGHT WING SCUM!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and much warmer.
Axl Rose is already generating excitement over a Guns N' Roses reunion, but a report says he has another project that could thrill even more fans -- fronting AC/DC.
The Australian heavy metal veterans halted a tour this month and said they would likely hire a guest vocalist as 68-year-old frontman Brian Johnson was at risk of completely losing his hearing if he kept performing.
"It's all but a done deal that Axl will front AC/DC for the 10 remaining shows" in the United States, host Jason Bailey said on his show on rock station WNNX.
Johnson, known for his punishingly harsh vocal style, has reportedly voiced dismay at his swift departure from AC/DC.
US comedian and radio host Jim Breuer recently said he met with Johnson who felt "kicked to the curb" by his bandmates as he believed his hearing issues were not as serious as announced.
"Bimbo. Dog. Fat pig," disgusted women say, looking straight into the camera. Another explains, "Real quotes from Donald Trump, about women."
Flip the channel. "I know words. I have the best words," Trump says. That commercial proceeds with a 30-second, bleeped-out tour of his coarsest comments.
Both ads - and dozens more that portray Trump as a selfish, deceptive buffoon - are sponsored by fellow Republicans trying to derail the political outsider from capturing their party's presidential nomination.
An Associated Press review of political ads tracked by Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group found 68 different anti-Trump commercials have been shown some 40,000 times across the country on broadcast television.
About one of every 10 presidential ads shown over the past year has taken a shot at Trump, a rate that has picked up this month as polls suggest the billionaire's already low favorability ratings with the general public are deflating. And Democrats say they're closely monitoring the Republican hit-pieces.
$4M For Repairs
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will spend roughly $4 million to clean, repair and upgrade the Oregon wildlife refuge that was the site of a 41-day armed occupation by ranchers earlier this year.
Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said he wants the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns to become a symbol to the rest of the country that collaboration, not confrontation, endures, The Oregonian reported. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made similar statements during her visit to the refuge earlier this week.
The compound is undergoing a giant spring cleaning, with the use of industrial vacuums and cargo trailers filled with cleaning supplies. Repairing damage and removing debris is expected to take until early summer.
In all, the standoff will cost Fish and Wildlife about $6 million, with about $2 million spent during the takeover, including the costs of moving the refuge's 17 employees out of town for safety to live at government expense in hotels for weeks, Ashe said.
Spat Takes Nastier Turn
Ted Cruz branded Donald Trump a "sniveling coward" Thursday as the feud between the Republican presidential contenders over their wives took a nastier turn.
After an earlier and vague threat to "spill the beans" about Heidi Cruz, Trump stoked the spat on Twitter when he retweeted side-by-side images of Cruz's wife, with an unflattering grimace, and his wife, Melania, in a gauzy, glamorous pose.
"No need to spill the beans," said the caption. "The images are worth a thousand words."
"Leave Heidi the hell alone," Cruz said, speaking through reporters to Trump.
The lurch into personal territory normally off limits in campaigns came as an anti-Trump super PAC ran an ad in primary states that features women reciting derogatory comments made by the billionaire about women. The ad was produced by Our Principles, a group founded by a former Mitt Romney campaign adviser who is trying to help the Republican Party appeal to more women.
Downgrading Video Quality
Netflix Inc said it had been lowering the quality of its video for customers watching its service on wireless networks such as AT&T and Verizon Communications for more than five years, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The company also said that it does not downgrade videos for T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp users because they had "more consumer friendly policies," the Journal added.
In response to requests for comment, Netflix said it had posted a blog on Thursday. In the blog, it said it had limited its video quality for mobile viewers globally, capping them at 600 kilobits-per-second, to protect consumers from exceeding mobile data caps.
The dominant online video company also said that it will introduce a data-saver feature for mobile apps which will allow users more control over their data usage while streaming on mobile networks.
This feature is expected to be available to users sometime in May, Netflix added.
Kills 333 Whales In Antarctic Hunt
Japanese whalers returned to port Thursday after an Antarctic hunt that killed more than 300 of the mammals, the government said.
The fleet had set sail for the Southern Ocean in December, with plans to slaughter 333 minke whales, despite a worldwide moratorium and opposition led by Australia and New Zealand.
The 2015/16 season came after a one-year hiatus prompted by a ruling by the United Nations' International Court of Justice (ICJ), which said the annual hunt was a commercial venture masquerading as science.
Tokyo claims it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to sustain a return to commercial hunting, and says it has to kill the mammals to carry out its research properly.
However, it makes no secret of the fact that whale meat ends up on dinner tables and is served up in school lunches.
$1.2 Billion For False Advertising
A San Francisco Superior Court judge is awarding California a nearly $1.2 billion default judgment against the for-profit college operator Corinthian Colleges, Inc.
Santa Ana-based Corinthian closed all its campuses in April and filed for bankruptcy in May leaving thousands of its students in the lurch and saddled with debt.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit in October 2013 against Corinthian and its subsidiaries, including Everest and Heald colleges, claiming that the company used illegal predatory practices that left tens of thousands of students with large debts and useless degrees.
Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow on Thursday ordered $820 million in restitution to the students and over $350 million in civil penalties. Karnow ruled that Corinthian engaged in false advertising that exaggerated job placement rates, along with other illegal behavior.
Karnow states in the judgment that Corinthian has "engaged in conduct that is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscupulous and /or substantially injurious to consumers."
Eyes Possible Sale Of Assets
Playboy Enterprises, known for its iconic but struggling men's lifestyle magazine, said Thursday it had hired an investment adviser to look at a possible sale of the company.
A company spokesman told AFP it had retained Moelis & Co to examine a sale or other strategic options, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Playboy, which has been seeking a new image in an age of easy access to online pornography, is currently controlled by Rizvi Traverse Management, which holds about two-thirds of the capital, and founder Hugh Hefner, with about one-third.
The Journal said a sale could yield about $500 million. The famous Playboy Mansion was put on sale earlier this year, and could fetch some $200 million.
The magazine's circulation peaked in 1972 at seven million, but has declined to about 800,000 now.
Sunken Pirate Ship Discovered
Vasco da Gama
Marine archaeologists think they've discovered a lost Portuguese ship from explorer Vasco da Gama's fleet off the coast of present-day Oman, more than 500 years after it sank in a deadly storm.
A team led by David Mearns, of the U.K.-based Blue Water Recoveries, first located the shipwreck in 1998 using archives and historical documents as a guide. After recent underwater excavations and careful analysis of more than 2,800 artifacts, including cannonballs and rare coins, the researchers are now fairly certain they have found the nau Esmeralda, the doomed ship commanded by da Gama's uncle.
Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama found a sea route to India in 1498, becoming the first European to reach Asia by sea and ushering in an era of Portuguese imperialism. Da Gama secured a monopoly on the valuable spice trade, terrorizing coastal cities and vessels along the way.
During da Gama's second voyage to India (1502-1503), his uncles Vicente and Brás Sodré were in charge of a five-ship squadron. They had specific instructions to provide military cover for friendly trading states on the west coast of India and to disrupt Arabic shipping along the route, Mearns told Live Science, but they disobeyed their orders and instead went to the Gulf of Aden, where they carried out a campaign of piracy.
The findings were published online March 14 in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
Vasco da Gama
Earl Hamner Jr.
Earl Hamner Jr., the homespun novelist from the backwoods of Virginia who drew upon his upbringing to create the beloved CBS family drama The Waltons, died Thursday. He was 92.
Hamner, who also created a spicier show about another family for CBS - the long-running primetime soap opera Falcon Crest - and wrote eight episodes of Rod Serling's fabled anthology series The Twilight Zone, died of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a post written by one of his children on his Facebook page.
Hamner authored several novels, including 1961's Spencer's Mountain, which was inspired by his childhood spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains and adapted for the 1963 Warner Bros. film that starred Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara and James MacArthur.
Very much the Southern gentleman, Hamner also was selected by E.B. White to write the script for the 1973 animated film Charlotte's Web, and he did the teleplay for the Swiss children's classic Heidi, the 1968 NBC movie that famously came on and denied exasperated sports fans the final moments of an exciting pro football game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.
The Waltons, which made it to No. 2 in the Nielsen ratings in its second season, received 39 Emmy nominations and won 13 trophies, including one for best drama series in 1973, and spawned several telefilms after CBS canceled it.
Three months after The Waltons left the air, Hamner's Falcon Crest, another show from Lorimar, premiered. Starring Jane Wyman as the corrupt owner of a California winery, it aired right after Dallas, another soap about a wealthy family, and gave CBS a potent 1-2 punch in the ratings.
Hamner also wrote episodes of the CBS series Gentle Ben, starring Dennis Weaver, Clint Howard and a bear, and ABC's fantasy sitcom Nanny and the Professor, with Juliet Mills and Richard Long. He also created the short-lived Apple's Way for CBS and Boone for NBC and did the screenplay adaptation for the 1974 film Where the Lilies Bloom.
Survivors include his wife, Jane, who was an editor at Harper's Bazaar when the couple were married in October 1954, and their children Scott and Caroline.
Earl Hamner Jr.
David Smyrl, the Emmy-winning actor best known for his role as Mr. Handford, the retired firefighter who ran Hooper's Store on "Sesame Street," has died. He was 80.
Smyrl was diagnosed with lung cancer in January, said his wife, Cheryl. He died Tuesday at Lankenau Medical Center outside Philadelphia.
A north Philadelphia native born on Sept. 12, 1935, Smyrl performed as a poet in Greenwich Village in the 1960s, his wife said. His television career also began in New York in the 1970s, on the show "Express Yourself."
Smyrl moved to California to work on the sitcom "Benson" in the 1970s, where he earned him a People's Choice Award. He also worked as a writer and actor on "The Cosby Show," playing contractor Sam Lucas.
From 1990 to 1998, Smyrl played the smiling, singing store-owner on "Sesame Street." He succeeded Leonard Jackson, who played a grumpier Handford.
Cheryl and David Smyrl met in 1975 and were friends for many years before they married in April 1992. Smyrl is also survived by his stepson, Pancho Scott.
Garry Shandling, who as an actor and comedian masterminded a brand of self-inflicted phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show," has died. He was 66.
Born on Nov. 29, 1949 in Chicago, Shandling was raised in Tucson, Arizona. On arriving in Los Angeles as a young adult, it was a short hop from a brief stint in the advertising business to comedy writing and stand-up.
In the 1980s, he began to experiment with TV comedy, and to toy with the sitcom form, with his first series, "It's Garry Shandling's Show," a Showtime project that made no bones about its inherently artificial nature: the actors in this otherwise standard domestic comedy routinely broke the fourth wall to comment on what they were up to. Even the theme song began with the explanatory lyrics, "The theme to Garry's show…."
Then, in August 1992, Shandling created for HBO his comic masterpiece with "The Larry Sanders Show," which starred him as an egomaniacal late-night TV host with an angst-ridden show-biz life behind the scenes.
It was just three months after Johnny Carson had retired from "The Tonight Show," where Shandling had appeared as a stand-up and occasional Carson stand-in. It seemed a wry but deeply felt homage to the King of Late Night.
But it was more. "Larry Sanders" proved to be an act of courage, a brave effort led by someone portraying a character dangerously close to himself. As Larry, Garry dug deep to confront his own demons, and did it brilliantly as the series teetered between dual realities: public and private; make-believe and painfully true.
The show explored the fuzzy distinction between TV life and real life, and the loneliness of someone at its crossing. The closest thing Larry had to friends were his chronically needy announcer Hank (Jeffrey Tambor) and his Napoleonic producer, Artie (Rip Torn). Together the three actors were among TV's best-ever trios.
After "Sanders" ended in 1998, Shandling's public appearances were few.
His films included "Hurlyburly" in 1998, "What Planet Are You From?" in 2000 and "Zoolander" in 2001.
He hosted the Emmy Awards in 2000 and 2004.
On the latter occasion, he spotted Donald Trump in the audience and congratulated the billionaire developer for hosting the Emmy-nominated "The Apprentice."
"Nice to see a man who's paid his dues, worked hard," Shandling said. "We all know what it feels like to have to build 80-story condos and gambling casinos just to get our foot in the door in show business."