Tom Danehy: "A review of the good (downtown), the bad (hypocrisy) and the ugly (closed pools) in Tucson" (Tucson Weekly)
The good: A while back, I had to go downtown on a Saturday night to deliver an important message to my son, who didn't have his phone with him. It so happened that it was the second Saturday of June, and downtown Tucson was jumping.
Andrew Tobias: The Idiotic Balanced Budget Amendment
This is what the Republicans straight-facedly propose whenever they don't have the White House, to remind us how fiscally responsible they are. When they DO have the White House, they quadruple the National Debt (Reagan and Bush 41) and then double it (Bush 43) - with not one peep about the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Jim Hightower: CEOS TRY TO HIDE GROSS PAYCHECK INEQUALITY
Of course, corporate bosses have not exactly been shy about stuffing their pockets with multimillion-dollar paychecks, bonuses, and other loot, while knocking down the pay and benefits of workers. But what you don't know are the specifics of just how outrageous the income gap has become between the elites and the rest of us.
Ed Pilkington: The NFL star and the brain injuries that destroyed him (Guardian)
Before the former American football player Dave Duerson killed himself, he asked that his brain be left to researchers studying head injuries among athletes. What it revealed shocked the scientists.
"A Dance with Dragons" By GEORGE R. R. MARTIN: Reviewed by Chris Barsantin
While the novel as a whole suffers from a lack of cohesion-a likely result of the fact that it was meant to be the second half of one overly long novel (Martin hacked off the first part to make Feast)-bloat is par for the course in the series. Each book is less a stand-alone volume than it is one section in a continuous novel that seems to have the ability to keep spinning itself into multi-strand plotlets forever. What Dragons has going for it is something sorely missing from Feast: Tyrion Lannister.
A Dance with Dragons (Song of Ice and Fire #5) by G. R. R. Martin: A review by Lev Grossman
In 2005 I wrote a review of George R. R. Martin's novel, A Feast for Crows, in which I called him "the American Tolkien." That phrase has stuck to him, which is what I meant it to do. I think Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire is the great epic of our era. It's an epic for a more profane, more sardonic, more ambivalent age than the one Tolkien lived in. Tolkien was a veteran of the Somme, and wrote during Word War II, when it really seemed like the fate of civilization was hanging in the balance. Now we can't even agree on what civilization is.
Lev Grossman: The American Tolkien (Time)
George R.R. Martin is fond of sudden reversals. The tasty but poisoned dish, the false god who abruptly proves all too real, the unsalvageable rogue who strikes a hidden vein of decency when we--and he--least expect it. Martin is also partial to sacked castles, bear pits, disastrous battles, cynical betrayals, public executions, assassinations, ill luck, duels to the death, ambushes in forests and corpses left rotting in green hedgerows. The world Martin writes about may bear a passing resemblance to Olde Englande, but it is not a Merrie one.
"The Man in the Rockefeller Suit" By MARK SEAL
Reviewed by Ward Sutton in comic form.
David Bruce: "The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds: Volume 7"( Lulu.com)
Purchase a hardcover copy of 'The Kindest People Who Do Good Deeds: Volume 7' with 15% off with coupon code MYBOOK305. Offer ends August 15. (Or just download it for free.)
David Bruce: Wise Up! Fathers (Athens News)
James H. Billington, the 13th Librarian of Congress, spent his life reading and writing and raising a family rather than engaging in gardening. When his wife told their young daughter the facts of life that a baby comes from a seed that Daddy planted in Mommy the young daughter exclaimed, "That's IMPOSSIBLE! Daddy has never planted a single seed in his entire life!"
David Bruce has 42 Kindle books on Amazon.com with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $42 you can buy 10,500 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," "Maximum Cool," and "Resist Psychic Death."
Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunnier, with less breeze.
Helping Build NC Home
A crew working on a boarding house for homeless women veterans got a hand Thursday from first lady Michelle Obama during filming of an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
Wearing a sleeveless blue top, green capris and green sneakers, the first lady was cheered during her visit by hundreds of people after a crowd waited hours in searing heat for a glimpse of her. But the early afternoon heat and excitement got the best of some and a handful of people fainted, requiring the care of emergency medical crews.
The first lady had traveled to this North Carolina base town to view the construction of a new home for the women veterans of the Steps N Stages Jubilee House. The ABC network said the episode is scheduled to air in October.
Obama toured the site with Barbara Marshall, the 15-year Navy veteran who runs the project as a shelter for women veterans and allowed her own home to be demolished to make room for the new building. After a tour of areas including a playhouse and greenhouse, Obama gave Marshall a hug.
To Stream Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits
YouTube will live stream Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in the video site's continuing push to bring music festivals to digital screens.
The Google Inc.-owned YouTube will announce Friday that it will present online coverage of the festivals, two of the summer's largest. YouTube has previously streamed festivals such as Tennessee's Bonnaroo, San Francisco's Outside Lands and, earlier this year, Southern California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, both produced by C3 Presents, will be presented with extensive live concert coverage from the various festival stages. Dell and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. will sponsor the streaming.
Chicago's Lollapalooza takes place Aug. 5-7 and will be promoted with a "Lollapalooza Week" on YouTube. Exactly which acts will be streamed is yet to be announced, but this year's top performers include Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse and My Morning Jacket. It's the 20th anniversary for the Perry Farrell-founded event, which began as a touring festival.
Austin City Limits, which runs from Sept. 16-18 in the Texas capital, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Its acts include Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Coldplay and My Morning Jacket.
Most Popular Series In A&E History
"Storage Wars," a reality show about the good men and women who speculate on loot acquired when California storage lockers go into rental default, scored the highest ratings for an episode of a series in A&E history on Wednesday.
And, yes, that includes "Hoarders."
The network aired the first two episodes of the program's second season back to back, and the second half hour pulled down 5.1 million total viewers, including 2.9 million in the key 18-49 viewer group. The 10 p.m. season premiere of "Storage Wars" drew in 4.5 million total viewers.
The show pits teams of "auction hunters" against each other to see who can turn the biggest profit from the defaulted loot they purchase at various facilities around California.
Animal Planet Documentary
In what can only be the surest sign of the impending TV apocalypse ever, Animal Planet is set to air a documentary called "Heidi Fleiss: Prostitutes to Parrots."
Yes, this is a one-hour look at what the infamous Hollywood Madam is up to now, after a three-year stint in rehab and nearly two decades of legal troubles since feds busted up her lucrative illegal sex kingdom.
And what she is up to is owning parrots.
Fleiss, who lives in Pahrump, Nevada, also spends her time operating a laundromat called Dirty Laundry and planning a doggie day care venture.
New Comic Book
Popeye has eaten his spinach and is poised for the finish ahead of a return to the pages of comic books.
Created by Elzie Crisler Segar in 1929, the King Features staple returns to the pages of comic books in 2012, IDW Publishing said Thursday at Comic-Con International.
IDW co-founder and chief executive Ted Adams says a best of Popeye book that IDW published earlier drew strong fan reaction and led to the idea of the new series.
Adam added the comic books will be stylistically similar to Segar's work and for an all-ages audience.
Justice Department Investigates Ad Arm
The Justice Department is looking into allegations that News Corp's advertising unit hacked into computers of a competitor, NBC News reported on Thursday, citing the competitor's lawyer.
NBC said the Justice Department is seeking information on whether News Corp unit News America Marketing hacked into computers of New Jersey advertising firm Floorgraphics seven years ago.
Floorgraphics lawyer Bill Isaacson told NBC news that he had been contacted by two federal prosecutors and an FBI agent this week.
According to NBC, the allegations were first reported to the FBI in 2004.
Sheriff Not Happy With Racist Bounty Hunter
A Colorado sheriff has a bone to pick with Duane "Dog" Chapman, star of the A&E show "Dog the Racist, Tancredo-Loving Bounty Hunter."
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said on a blog that Chapman excessively pepper-sprayed a fugitive during a scuffle and then took him into the sheriff's office Wednesday without decontaminating the man first.
Sheriff's staffers and the public were in danger, while Chapman stayed outside "prancing back and forth waving his golden locks for the camera," Hilkey wrote on the blog. He likened the TV bounty hunter's work to "genuine profit-driven peacockery."
Authorities aren't investigating why the suspect was pepper-sprayed, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.
Oink. Oink. Oink.
Arnold $chwarzenegger won't be winning any husband of the year awards.
The actor and former California governor is trying to get out of paying spousal support to his soon-to-be ex-wife, Maria Shriver, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap Thursday.
In a court filing, Robert Kaufman, an attorney for the "True Lies" star, asked a judge to suspend court-ordered payments to Shriver.
Shriver and $chwarzenegger announced they were separating in May after 25 years of marriage. Shortly after the split, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the actor had fathered an out-of-wedlock child with his housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena.
As the couple does not have a pre-nuptial agreement, Shriver is entitled to half of $chwarzenegger's assets. In the filing, Kaufman indicates that the value of the action star's real estate and other holdings remain to be determined.
The man convicted of robbing actor Kal Penn, who was a White House aide at the time of the crime, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.
Twenty-year-old Marcellus Chambers of Washington was also sentenced Thursday to three years of probation.
Penn, whose given name is Kalpen Modi, was walking alone in the 1500 block of S Street N.W. in April 2010 when he was accosted by two men. One was armed and ordered Penn to the ground and stole his wallet and cell phones.
Penn was working in the White House's Office of Public Liaison at the time.
Employee Accessed Celeb Info
A U.S. State Department employee in San Francisco is facing charges that he looked up the passport applications of more than 100 celebrities in the government records system.
Federal prosecutors charged 60-year-old Richard Macias on Wednesday with three misdemeanor counts of exceeding authorized computer access.
Authorities say Macias worked for the passport agency for 24 years, most recently as a fraud prevention manager. They say he logged into the system 168 times to view and sometimes print out celebrity applications.
Macias told the San Francisco Chronicle that he plans to plead guilty in the case. He maintains that he viewed the applications for work and that none of the information was ever given away or used for profit.
The remains of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess have been exhumed from a grave in Bavaria after it became a pilgrimage for thousands of right-wing extremists.
A church official in the southern town of Wunsiedel said on Thursday the tomb had been razed and its headstone removed after consulting with Hess's family over how to handle the grave site.
"The bones were removed and brought to the crematorium, and the ashes are to be scattered at sea," Peter Seisser said.
Hess parachuted into Scotland in May 1941 after a mysterious solo night flight, apparently on an unauthorized peace mission. He was captured and held prisoner until 1945 -- briefly as one of the last prisoners in the Tower of London.
After World War Two, he was sentenced to life in prison at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, then hanged himself in Berlin's Spandau Prison on August 17, 1987, at the age of 93.
The Fix Is In
State attorneys general are negotiating to give major banks wide immunity over irregularities in handling foreclosures, even as evidence has emerged that banks are continuing to file questionable documents.
A coalition of all 50 states' attorneys general has been negotiating settlements with five of the biggest U.S. banks that would include payment of up to $25 billion in penalties and commitments to follow new rules. In exchange, the banks would get immunity from civil lawsuits by the states, as well as similar guarantees by the Justice Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development, which have participated in the talks.
State and federal officials declined to say if any form of immunity from criminal prosecution also is under discussion. The banks involved in the talks are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiGroup, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial.
Reuters reported Monday that major banks and other loan servicers have continued to file questionable documents in foreclosure cases. These include false mortgage assignments, and promissory notes with suspect or missing "endorsements," which prove ownership. The Reuters report also showed continued "robo-signing," in which lenders' employees or outside contractors churn out reams of documents without fully understanding their content. The report turned up several cases involving individuals who were publicly identified as robo-signers months ago.
Reuters found that such activity has continued even after 14 major mortgage lenders signed settlements with federal bank regulators promising to halt such practices and give remediation to some homeowners who were harmed.
In a time when other artists spilled their paints on the canvas, Lucian Freud carefully wiped his brush after every stroke. He painted intense, disturbing realist portraits even when representational art was deemed passe. He took months or longer to finish a work, but it took critics and collectors years to catch up to him.
A towering and uncompromising figure in the art world for more than 50 years, Freud died late Wednesday night in his London home, his New York-based art dealer said Thursday. He was 88.
Freud's unique style eventually earned him recognition as one of the world's greatest painters. His paintings command staggering prices at auction, including one of an overweight nude woman sleeping on a couch that sold in 2008 for $33.6 million - a record for a living artist.
A grandson of Sigmund Freud, a leading pioneer of modern psychoanalysis, Freud was especially known for his nudes. He meticulously revealed every flaw, creating an intimate, unflinching level of detail that sometimes leaves viewers uncomfortable.
Born in Berlin in 1922, Freud moved to London with his parents Ernst and Lucie Freud in 1933 after Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany.
He was naturalized as a British subject six years later and spent almost his entire working life based in London, where he was often seen at fashionable restaurants, sometimes with beautiful younger women, including the fashion model Kate Moss, whom he painted nude, and other luminaries.
He was at the height of his fame in the last decades of his life, when he still continued to paint for long hours at his studio in London's exclusive Holland Park. He was even named one of Britain's best dressed men by the fashion magazine GQ when he was well into his ninth decade.
Among his most famous subjects was Queen Elizabeth II, who posed for Freud fully clothed after extensive negotiations between the palace and the painter. The colorful portrait, which the artist donated to the queen's collection, remains one of the most unusual and controversial depictions of the British monarch.
In his studio, Freud worked extremely slowly and deliberately. People who posed for Freud said it sometimes took him months or years to complete a portrait because of his attention to every tiny detail and the complex nature of his brushwork, which gave his paintings a lifelike intensity.
He sometimes spent entire days mixing paints without putting a brush to canvas. When he did finally paint, he would wipe his brush on a cloth rag after every stroke. Great piles of rags lay on the floor of his studio and eventually he began to incorporate the rags into some of his paintings.
Freud often painted his friends, relatives and fellow artists. Others were simply ordinary people who received a small daily fee for posing for Freud. He usually refrained from using professional models because he felt they brought artifice into his studio.
His 1950-51 portrait of his first wife was to remain one of his most famous and best loved works. The detail of her features, the shadows in the room and her partial nudity are typical of the nuance and frankness of much of Freud's work.
Nudity became a central feature of Freud's art. Painting people without their clothes, he believed, peeled away their outer layer and helped reveal their instincts and desires.
His first solo exhibition was at the Lefevre Gallery in 1944 after a brief stint working on a merchant ship during World War II. After the war, Freud left London for several years to paint primarily in France and Greece.
On his return in 1948, he started showing his work regularly at various exhibits and taught art at several schools.
His first major retrospective exhibition appeared at London's Hayward Gallery in 1974 to critical acclaim. Further retrospectives appeared in Paris, Berlin and Washington between 1987-88 and in 2002 at London's Tate Britain museum.
Freud's work can be found in major public collections around the world, including the Tate Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Modern Art in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
The painter feuded for many years with his late brother Clement Freud, a popular writer and broadcaster who died in April 2009. He did not attend Clement Freud's funeral.
Freud's marriage to Kathleen Garman lasted four years and was dissolved in 1952. They had two daughters together. His second marriage, to Caroline Blackwood in 1953, ended in 1957.