Tom Danehy: Tom has a thing for dog people, OK, crazy dog people, and it isn't very positive (Tucson Weekly)
As opinionated as I am, I find that one of most surprising and refreshing occurrences in life is when somebody presents me with information that prompts me to change my mind about something (or, at the very least, to give a subject a lot more thought). This will not be one of those columns because …
Andrew Tobias: Fast Track and Trade
Imagine you are a labor leader. You have divine powers of economic forecasting and so know for a certainty that a trade deal will, by generally boosting U.S. exports and the economy as a whole, add a million new good jobs over five years at the same time as it will cost a hundred thousand jobs. What do you do? It seems to me that you have little choice but to oppose the deal. Why?
Evan V. Symon, Blair Dodge: 5 Amazing Things Accidentally Accomplished Out Of Spite (Cracked)
Unintended consequences are almost never a good thing -- you picture a new dam being built and accidentally drowning a village upstream. But it's not just well-intentioned plans that go awry. Bad intentions can backfire too, accidentally striking a blow for the good guys. Like ...
Homa Khaleeli: "A simple cure for back pain: grow up in the Ecuadorian mountains" (Guardian)
A California biochemist wants westerners to mimic communities where back pain is nonexistent. But is our problem culture not posture?
Benjamin Lee: Christopher Lee dies at the age of 93 (Guardian)
The veteran actor was best known for roles including Dracula and Saruman in the Lord of the Rings franchise.
Anita Singh and Danny Boyle: Sir Christopher Lee dies at 93 - latest reaction and tributes (Telegraph)
Screen legend famous for roles in Hammer Horror films, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars dies in hospital after suffering heart and respiratory problems.
Suzanne Moore: If your idea of hell is sitting next to Kate Moss on an easyJet flight, you must be dead inside (Guardian)
Women cannot enjoy themselves, especially charming and tipsy ones, without provoking outrage and moralizing.
Jonathan Jones: I love to travel to museums, galleries and historic sites - just please don't call me a tourist (Guardian)
The ancient site of Luxor in Egypt, which has suffered an attempted terrorist attack, has been dismissed as a tourist city. It's so much more than that.
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Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Marine layer morning, sunny afternoon.
Hopi Sacred Masks Auctioned
A collection of sacred masks and statues belonging to the Native American Hopi tribe have gone under the hammer at a Paris auction despite calls that the sale be canceled.
The Hopi, who still live in the high desert of the Colorado Plateau in Arizona, consider the artifacts sacred, representing messengers to the gods and the spirits of ancestors and natural forces such as animals, plants or the sun.
Painted in a variety of colors, they are made of animal skins, fabric and other natural materials and decorated with feathers and hair.
A spokeswoman for the auction house could not immediately confirm the final sale total but auction results showed one Hopi mask selling for 11,000 euros ($12,390) and a rare statue for 75,000 euros.
Drought Grips Tourist Magnet
It is one of America's most popular natural wonders. But even Yosemite National Park cannot escape the drought ravaging California, now in its fourth year and fueling growing concern.
At first glance, the spectacular beauty of the park with its soaring cliffs and picture-postcard valley floor remains unblemished, still enchanting the millions of tourists who flock the landmark every year. But on closer inspection, the drought's effects are clearly visible.
The towering 8,840-foot (2,695-meter) Half Dome rock monolith, photographed by millions every year, is normally reflected in the surface of Mirror Lake below.
But the water is now well below its normal level, exposing sandbanks on which tourists lounge around sunbathing, while children splash about in large puddles.
Yosemite Falls, the easiest to access of the various waterfalls at the park, is more of a dribble than a gush -- reflecting the minimal winter snowfall that has left a seriously diminished snowpack on the nearby Sierra Nevada.
National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
There's a puppetry museum in Utah. A vacuum museum in Oregon. A roller skating museum in Nebraska. So, why not a bobblehead hall of fame and museum in Wisconsin?
Two Milwaukee men think their state is the perfect place for this particular type of quirkiness.
"Milwaukeeans also enjoy fun - as can be witnessed by the love for beer, sports and festivals - and bobbleheads are fun," said Phil Sklar, 31, co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
He and friend Brad Novak, also 31, quit their jobs in the business world within the last year to work on starting the museum. They also want to serve as a clearinghouse for bobblehead history and news.
Their aim is to display the world's largest collection of bobbleheads, 10,000, ranging from athletes, mascots, characters, regular and famous people and others on vibrating shelves; there's no listing claiming that title on the Guinness Book of World Records' website. So far, they've collected 4,000 bobbleheads in a decade - most have come in the last year from sporting events, yard sales, auctions, websites and thrift stores. Among their weirdest: the "Flo" character from Progressive insurance commercials as well as all of the Milwaukee Brewers' racing sausages on one bobblehead.
Grandchildren of the Sun
For years, the alabaster-skinned people born on this sun-scorched constellation of islands off Panama's Caribbean coast have been venerated as the Grandchildren of the Sun.
But that same sun - their mythic, celestial ancestor - is also their greatest foe.
Experts say there are hundreds of albinos among the 80,000 indigenous Guna, or Kuna, who live in Panama, nearly half on the mainland of the Guna Yala region and three dozen of its 365 palm-speckled islands.
There has been no census but Pascale Jeambrun, founder of the local S.O.S Albino organization, says one in every 150 Guna children born is albino.
At a global level, the rate is believed to be around 1 in 17,000.
Grandchildren of the Sun
Rupert Murdoch (R-Evil Incarnate) is preparing to hand over the CEO job at Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. to his son, James, the company's news channel Fox News reported Thursday.
Rupert Murdoch, 84, one of the world's most powerful
media barons right-wing propagandists, remains the chairman and controlling shareholder of the company behind Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and the 20th Century Fox movie studio, through a family trust that owns shares. He has been CEO since 1979 and chairman since 1991.
Fox News reported the pending move on its website Thursday, attributing the announcement to Rupert Murdoch. CNBC first reported the story based on sources who requested anonymity.
James Murdoch, 42, is the company's co-chief operating officer. His brother Lachlan, 43, currently non-executive co-chairman at Fox, will become executive co-chairman along with his father, according to Fox's story.
Number In Poverty Rises
The number of Russians living below the poverty line rose by 3.1 million in the first quarter as the economy reeled from the plunging ruble and soaring inflation, state statistics revealed Thursday.
The number of Russians classed as living in poverty hit 22.9 million in the first quarter, or 15.9 percent of the population.
In the same period last year 19.8 million Russians were living under the poverty line. This is defined as having an income of less than 9,662 rubles per month ($176).
Last year, the poverty line was set at 7,688 rubles.
The ruble lost over 40 percent of its value in 2014.
Shades Of Sweeney Todd
A San Diego judge sentenced a barber on Thursday to 10 years in prison for inexplicably slashing a customer's throat during a haircut and shave before pedaling away on his bike.
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Timothy Vaughn, 33, was at Vic's Barber Shop in Imperial Beach, just south of San Diego, for a haircut in October when barber Daniel Roberto Flores calmly slashed a straight razor across Vaughn's throat twice.
"Mr. Flores waited until people left the room," Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans said. "He insisted on trimming the victim's beard. He said: 'I could cut your throat', and then he did."
Police said the two men did not know each other, and there was no conflict or argument before the attack.
Stunt Gone Wrong
An unidentified man who tried to roll under a freight train in downtown San Diego during what authorities say may have been a videotaped stunt was killed on Thursday when he was struck by the locomotive.
The man, who was between 20 and 30 years old, was cut into pieces by the northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train, that was traveling at about 10 mph (16 kph) at the time and was 62 cars long, San Diego County Sheriff's Detective Ed Macken said.
"We've had 22 train suicides and accidents in the last year and a half," he said. "We don't think this one was a suicide, but they all make a big mess."
Passenger and freight trains in both directions were stopped for hours while deputies tried to piece together evidence and find witnesses.
Set For Water Trial
Water will start rushing into the newly expanded Panama Canal on Thursday in one area that was widened, ahead of the waterway's April 2016 re-inauguration.
The area around the new Agua Fria locks in Gatun, on the Atlantic coast, will be the site of the preliminary tests, the Panama Canal Authority said.
Completely filling up the first lock will take three to five months, according to the builders consortium Grupo Unidos Por el Canal.
GUPC is carrying out the extensive upgrade to the canal's system of locks, to allow the waterway to accommodate ships carrying up to 14,000 containers of freight, triple the current size.
Upgrades began in 2007 and were scheduled to be completed in 2014 for the 100th anniversary of the canal, but the work has seen repeated delays.
Christopher Lee, an actor who brought dramatic gravitas and aristocratic bearing to screen villains from Dracula to the wicked wizard Saruman in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, has died at age 93.
Lee appeared in more than 250 movies, taking on memorable roles such as the James Bond enemy Scaramanga and the evil Count Dooku in two "Star Wars" prequels.
Christopher Frank Carandini Lee was born in London on May 27, 1922. His father was a British army officer who had served in the Boer War and his mother was Contessa Estelle Marie Carandini di Sarzano. His parents separated when he was young, and his mother later remarried Harcourt Rose, the uncle of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.
Lee attended Wellington College, an elite boarding school, and joined the Royal Air Force during World War II. Poor eyesight prevented him from becoming a pilot, and he served as an intelligence officer in North Africa and Italy.
After the war, the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Lee was signed to a contract with Britain's Rank studio, and spent the next decade playing minor roles in a series of formulaic pictures. He also appeared briefly in Laurence Olivier's "Hamlet" in 1948 along with his future Hammer co-star, Peter Cushing.
He launched his horror career in 1957, starring as the monster in Hammer's "The Curse of Frankenstein." In 1958, Lee made his first appearance as the famous vampire in "Dracula," opposite Cushing's Van Helsing.
Lee went on to play the Transylvanian vampire in sequels including "Dracula: Prince of Darkness," ''Dracula Has Risen From the Grave," ''Taste the Blood of Dracula," ''Scars of Dracula" and "Dracula A.D. 1972" - an ill-advised attempt to update the series to 1970s London.
Lee played non-vampiric roles in Hammer's "The Devil Rides Out," ''The Mummy," ''Rasputin, the Mad Monk" and "The Hound of the Baskervilles," and starred as mustachioed master criminal Fu Manchu in a series of low-budget thrillers. His last film for Hammer was "To the Devil a Daughter" in 1976.
Starting in the 1970s, Lee tried to shake off the Hammer mantle. He played the villain in "The Man With the Golden Gun" and appeared in non-Hammer horror films. The most distinguished was 1973's "The Wicker Man," a cult classic in which Lee played the lord of a Scottish pagan community troubled by the appearance of an inquisitive police officer.
An energetic man who listed his hobbies in "Who's Who" as "travel, opera, golf, cricket," Lee never retired. His career flourished late in life, with roles in some of the best-loved of film franchises. He also branched out into music, and released a heavy metal album to mark his 92nd birthday just last year.
The actor became Sir Christopher Lee when he was knighted in October 2009, receiving the honor from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Lee also appeared in several films by Tim Burton, including "Sleepy Hollow" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and was proud of his turn as Pakistan's founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in "Jinnah."
Lee felt his gift for comedy was under-appreciated. He was proud to have hosted the popular U.S. sketch show "Saturday Night Live" in 1978 and told the BBC that his greatest regret was turning down the part that went to Leslie Nielsen in the slapstick comedy "Airplane."
Lee married Birgit Kroencke in 1961. Their daughter, Christina, was born in 1963.
British actor Ron Moody, who played Fagin in the movie version of "Oliver!" and on stage, died on Thursday at the age of 91, his agent said.
Moody was nominated for best actor at the Academy Awards in 1968 for his performance in the hit film based on the Broadway musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's "Oliver Twist".
He later appeared in the long-running British television series "EastEnders" but reportedly turned down the role of Doctor Who in the hit BBC series.
"He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many and will be greatly missed. He was singing until the end," his widow Therese said in a statement.
Moody is also survived by six children.
Ornette Coleman, a self-taught alto saxophone player who polarized the jazz world with his unconventional "free jazz" before coming to be regarded as an avant garde genius, died on Thursday morning in New York at the age of 85, according to his publicist.
Coleman's motto for his music, often uttered before starting his performances, was "I'd like to go out in space tonight." He would then launch into music that broke the limits of conventional bars, keys, chord changes and harmony.
Coleman so divided jazz musicians, critics and fans that in his early years some musicians at jam sessions would leave the stage during his solos.
Coleman's outlaw approach involved what he called "harmolodics" - breaking away from traditional harmonic structure and "removing the caste system from music."
He found approval through the years and in 2007 was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was an award presenter at the ceremony. He also won a Pulitzer Prize for Music, as well as a Grammy nomination, for the 2007 album "Sound Grammar" and in 2014 released "New Vocabulary."
Born in a poor, black neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas, Coleman said he grew up "so po' we couldn't afford the 'o' and the 'r.'" At 14, he bought a cheap alto saxophone and mimicked radio melodies. He began playing in honky tonks and at 19 traveled the South, playing blues with a minstrel show.
He made his way to Los Angeles, where he began perfecting his free-form style. Coleman was inspired by the inventive bebop jazz performers of the time and also wove honky tonk, blues and dance music into his unconventional harmonies.
In 1958, Contemporary Records bought some of Coleman's compositions but studio musicians could not play them. Coleman himself was hired to record them, leading to his first album, "Something Else!"
He first played in New York a year later at the Five Spot nightclub. Composer Leonard Bernstein and John Lewis, founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, were among his supporters.
Coleman was signed by Atlantic Records and made such albums as "The Shape of Jazz to Come" (1959), which Rolling Stone magazine ranked No. 248 on its list of 500 greatest albums, "This Is Our Music" (1960) and "Free Jazz" (1961). Sales were low and he was soon dropped by the label.
Coleman studied various musical forms and in 1972 released a symphony called "Skies of America." Another work was a 1977 album called "Dancing in Your Head" that featured a jam session recorded in Morocco with tribal musicians.
In the '70s he began working with electric guitarists and formed the band Prime Time, which incorporated rock-funk sounds.
Coleman married poet Jayne Cortez in 1954 and they divorced 10 years later. Their son, Denardo, was a drummer who began performing with his father at age 10 and managed his career in the 1980s.
Tomorrow is the question! | Ornette Coleman | 1959 | Full Album - YouTube
Ornette Coleman Quintet Live October 1958 at the Hillcrest Club, Los Angeles California - YouTube
Ornette Coleman Trio at the Golden Circle - Faces and Places - YouTube
Ornette Coleman Quartet :: Roma 1974 #1 - YouTube
Ornette Coleman - The Sphinx - YouTube
Oscar-winning producer Robert Chartoff, who was behind the hit boxing films "Rocky" and "Raging Bull," died on Wednesday in California at the age of 81, CNN reported.
Chartoff's daughter, Julie Chartoff, told CNN he died at his Santa Monica home surrounded by family, adding: "He was an amazing father and person; there are no words."
Chartoff shared an Oscar for Best Picture with his partner Irwin Winkler for the 1976 film "Rocky", which was written by and starred Sylvester Stallone, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). The pair would go on to produce the rest of the films in the series, according to IMDB.
He was nominated for another Oscar in 1981 for producing Martin Scorsese's biopic of boxer Jake La Motta, "Raging Bull," which starred Robert De Niro.
His most recent film, "Creed," a continuation of the "Rocky" series, is in post-production.
Virgil Runnels (Dusty Rhodes)
WWE says Virgil Runnels, a former professional wrestler known by his fans as Dusty Rhodes, has died. He was 69.
The company said Runnels died Thursday, but a spokesman declined to say where or how, saying the family had not authorized the release of that information.
Runnels, who also went by the nickname "The American Dream," was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, and held the NWA championship three times. He became famous during the height of wrestling's popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, appearing in signature yellow polka dot tights with his sidekick "valet" Sapphire.
Runnels remained a fixture with WWE after retiring from the ring and was working at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
Throughout his several decades in the ring, the Austin, Texas, native endeared himself to fans as an everyman with a less than stellar physique, but a gregarious gift of gab behind a microphone.
Runnels was also the father of two other famous WWE wrestlers: Dustin Runnels, better known as Goldust, and Cody Runnels, who wrestles under the name Stardust.
Virgil Runnels (Dusty Rhodes)
Authorities say a country music singer has been killed in a gunfight with a bounty hunter trying to detain him.
Several media outlets report the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the Tuesday night shooting of 65-year-old Randy Howard in Lynchburg. Media report Howard has performed with country music stars Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
TBI spokesman Josh DeVine says the bounty hunter showed up at Howard's home to take him into custody for missing a court appearance. Devine said Howard opened fire, the bounty hunter shot back and Howard was killed.
DeVine said the bounty hunter was trying to detain Howard on a warrant charging him with fourth-offence DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license.