The (Occasional) Veterans Report
Canadian Car Chase
Mark Laita: Breathtaking photographs of deadly snakes
Mark Laita is an advertising and fine art photographer based in Los Angeles. This work is from his project, 'Serpentine,'…
Paul Krugman: Things to Tax (Creators Sydicate)
The supercommittee was a superdud - and we should be glad. Nonetheless, at some point we'll have to rein in budget deficits. And when we do, here's a thought: How about making increased revenue an important part of the deal?
Lucy Mangan: The internet - it cannot last (Guardian)
'Britain will return to a feudal state and we'll all be bartering cider for withies.'
Kate Bolick: why marriage is a declining option for modern women (Guardian)
Approaching 40, Kate Bolick has come to a profound insight: that she - and many women like her - might never marry. But revealing that realisation in an article in an American magazine caused frenzied comment. Here's what she had to say.
Scott Burns: A Tale of Two Generations (Assetbuilder.com)
Today the young are endangered. And while everyone- and I mean everyone- may feel endangered these days, an increasing body of evidence shows that we've done a pretty good job of improving the condition of the elderly over the last 40 years.
Geoff Boucher: The Rolling Stones are feeling golden (Los Angeles Times)
These are days of unfinished business for the Rolling Stones as they continue to mine their vault for "lost" material - a fascinating cache of unreleased tracks from the 1977-1978 "Some Girls" sessions arrives in stores next week - and gather their dark powers for their 50th anniversary next year and perhaps another tour.
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
Sunny morning, overcast afternoon.
Barack Obama has several months before the general election campaign begins, but he's already attacking potential foe Mitt Romney. And he's using cable news pundits and late-night talk show hosts to do the job.
In a new commercial from the Democratic National Committee, everyone from Jay Leno to Fox News' Brit Hume get in their jabs at the potential GOP nominee.
The theme of the ad is raised immediately: "Who is this guy? Can you trust him?"
From that point on, it raises many of the different topics Romney has changed his mind about, from health care to abortion to immigration. Each one is buttressed by clips of various critics and jokesters.
Paper Products Available
Yes, the fictional paper brand Dunder Mifflin, the company that once thought Michael Scott was fit to run one of its branches, is now available for purchase.
In a deal between the Staples-owned Quill.com and NBC Universal, cartons of Dunder Mifflin-branded copy paper are now available for purchase.
NBC Universal will receive about 6 percent of the profits from the revenue of Quill.com's Dunder Mifflin products, the Wall Street Journal reports. It says the companies have made a two-year licensing deal.
Each box of 20-pound Dunder Mifflin paper -- that's 5,000 sheets -- will set you back $34.99, compared to $39.90 for the next cheapest brand of similar weight and color copy paper at Quill.com.
"Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe on Tuesday topped a Heat Magazine list of the richest, young British entertainers, retaining his No. 1 position in the ranking of people under 30-years-old.
Robert Pattinson, lead actor of the rival fantasy film franchise "Twilight," moved up to third from fifth and leapfrogged two of Radcliffe's Potter co-stars, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, according to the celebrity magazine.
Actress Keira Knightley, who starred in several of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, remained second on the chart, while singer Adele was the highest new entry at 16.
Three stars dropped out of this year's list -- opera star Katherine Jenkins and model Kelly Brook both exceeded the 30-year-old threshhold and singer Amy Winehouse, ranked 15th last year, died in July.
Early "Lost" Disney Cartoon Discovered
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
A lost Walt Disney cartoon that pre-dated Mickey Mouse has been discovered in a British film archive and will be offered for auction in Los Angeles on December 14.
"Hungry Hobos" was one of 26 episodes featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character created by Disney and cartoonist Ub Iwerks in 1927 for Universal Studios.
The first production featuring Oswald, widely considered a prototype to the more famous Mickey Mouse, was rejected by the Hollywood studio, but the second, "Trolley Troubles," kick-started a successful series.
Robert Dewar, commercial director of Huntley Film Archives, one of Britain's biggest independent film libraries, said he and colleagues found the only known surviving copy of Hungry Hobos during a routine cataloguing exercise earlier this year.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Calls Out Editors
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of WikiLeaks' release of more 250,000 U.S. embassy cables, founder Julian Assange assailed mainstream news editors in a speech to an editors conference in Hong Kong charging that, in their quest to advance in their chosen profession, they have become "corrupt."
"We all know what is going on," Assange, addressing the Global Editors Network summit via Skype, said. "Editors are invited to sit at the table of those powerful individuals and the reality is that's why most journalists go into journalism. It is to crawl up the ladder of power to become associated with power, to sit at the same table as those you hold to account.
"Editors become corrupted and they do not hold those very people to account, we know that," Assange, who spoke for 40 minutes, continued. "What is new is that the rest of the world is starting to know it. Not just as a result of reaction to attack by Washington on WikiLeaks, it is starting to know it as a result of there being other forms of publishing, unmediated publishing. There is a crisis of legitimacy within the mainstream press, a rightful crisis of legitimacy."
"If the press doesn't hold powerful corporations and governments to account then how can a democratic process work?" Assange said. "But the mainstream press has failed in that task and failures are becoming evident and corruption in individual cases are becoming evident . . . . The mainstream press is not able to be its own gatekeeper any more."
Thin-Skinned Caveman Apologizes
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Boneless Brown Trout) is apologizing to the teen who insulted him over Twitter last week.
"My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms," Brownback said in a statement to Yahoo! News on Monday. Brownback Communications Manager Sherriene Sontag-Jones says the governor has no plans to personally reach out to the high school student.
Sontag-Jones contacted Emma Sullivan's principal last week and said the 18-year-old had made an inappropriate comment about the governor over Twitter. The principal asked Sullivan to submit a written apology to the governor for her comment. Sullivan told Yahoo! News Sunday night that she would not apologize.
She was just 13 when Rupert Murdoch asked her to sing at his third wedding.
Charlotte Church was given a choice: a 100,000 pound fee, or a chance to generate good will with the media magnate by performing for free. She wanted the cash, but her record company and manager said no, it was better to make friends with Murdoch, head of a global news and entertainment empire.
Church, 25, told Britain's media ethics inquiry Monday that the Murdoch press, and other British tabloids, had ruthlessly tormented her since she was a child singing sensation, blowing her credibility "to bits" and badly damaging her career.
She said press intrusion had a devastating impact on her family life and particularly on her mother. Church said her mother had tried to kill herself in part because she knew a newspaper was planning to expose her husband's extramarital affair.
The former teenage singing sensation told the inquiry in calm, measured tones how cameramen tried to take photos up her skirt and down her blouse and published "intimate" details about her sex life when she was just 17.
Fed Loaned Banks
In a story that sheds new light on the extent of the country's financial crisis, Bloomberg Markets magazine reported today that the Federal Reserve lent trillions of dollars to beleaguered financial institutions, with $1.2 trillion going out on just one day in 2008.
"The Fed didn't tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn't mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy," Bloomberg reported today. "And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed's below-market rates."
Bloomberg Markets said it went over 29,000 pages of Fed documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and central bank records of more than 21,000 transactions.
"Saved by the bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse," Bloomberg reported.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had argued back in 2008 when the crisis hit that revealing borrower details would create a stigma that would have led to more banks collapsing. And the Fed fought to keep the details of the loans, which totaled $7.77 trillion, secret long after.
Settles Over Poker Winnings
Tobey Maguire has decided to fold 'em and settle a lawsuit over his winnings from a convicted con man during high-stakes Hollywood poker games.
The "Spider-Man" star agreed to pay $80,000 to settle the lawsuit filed over more than $311,000 he was paid by a convicted Ponzi scheme operator in Texas Hold 'Em matches that included celebrities, businessmen and others, court documents state.
If approved by a judge next month, Maguire will pay the money to a bankruptcy trustee who is trying to recoup money that former hedge fund operator Bradley Ruderman bilked from investors to finance his lavish lifestyle.
Maguire's settlement states he "strongly disputes that he violated any laws, rules or regulations in regard to participating in the poker games" but was agreeing to the payment to avoid fighting the case, which would be costly.
Humans On Display Exhibit
Quai Branly Museum
It's a queasy experience, viewing chained tribal dancers do a white man's bidding, or African women stripped and photographed to feed European curiosity.
Until just a few generations ago, this is how most white people learned about those with skin of a different shade. A new Paris exhibit examines how for centuries, colonizers plucked villagers from Africa, the Americas or the South Pacific and put them on display half a world away. The demeaning tradition shaped racist attitudes that linger today.
Curator Lilian Thuram, a former soccer star and now anti-racism advocate, hopes the exhibit at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris makes people question deep-held beliefs about the "other."
Thuram is an ideal public face for this unusual exhibit. A pensive black man with a ready smile, he has suffered racist insults on and off the field.
It's a delicate undertaking for a museum: exhibiting offensive images without glorifying them, urging visitors to look closer and be repulsed.
Quai Branly Museum
Chick-fil-A Picks A Fight
A folk artist expanding his home business built around the words "eat more kale" says he's ready to fight root-to-feather to protect his phrase from what he sees as an assault by Chick-fil-A, which holds the trademark to the phrase "eat mor chikin."
Bo Muller-Moore uses a hand silkscreen machine to apply his phrase, which he calls an expression of the benefits of local agriculture, on T-shirts and sweatshirts. But his effort to protect his business from copycats drew the attention of Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain that uses ads with images of cows that can't spell displaying their own phrase on message boards.
In a letter, a lawyer for Chick-fil-A said Muller-Moore's effort to expand the use of his "eat more kale" message "is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A's intellectual property and diminishes its value."
Chick-fil-A, which trails only Louisville, Ky.-based KFC in market share in the chicken restaurant chain industry, has a long history of guarding its trademark, and the letter listed 30 examples of attempts by others to co-opt the use of the "eat more" phrase that were withdrawn after Chick-fil-A protested. The Oct. 4 letter ordered Muller-Moore to stop using the phrase and turn over his website, eatmorekale.com, to Chick-fil-A.
Muller-Moore, 38, of Montpelier, says he won't do that.
Ken Russell got Oliver Reed and Alan Bates to wrestle naked, turned Vanessa Redgrave into a demonic nun and cast Ringo Starr as the pope. Critics and mainstream audiences often hated his films. Actors and admirers loved him.
The iconoclastic British director, whose death aged 84 was announced Monday, made films that blended music, sex and violence in a potent brew seemingly drawn straight from his subconscious.
Only a few of his movies were commercial successes. The best known were "Women in Love," an Academy award-winning adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novel, and "Tommy," which turned The Who's rock opera into a psychedelic extravaganza complete with appearances from Elton John, Eric Clapton and Tina Turner.
Glenda Jackson, who won a best actress Academy Award for "Women in Love," said Russell was an "incredible visual genius."
"It's an absolute shame that the British film industry has ignored him," she said. "It's an absolute disgrace... He broke down barriers for so many people."
"Women in Love," in 1969, was one of Russell's biggest hits, earning Academy Award nominations for the director and for writer Larry Kramer, as well as winning Jackson an Oscar. It included one of the decade's most famous scenes - a nude wrestling bout between Bates and Reed.
Born in the English port of Southampton in 1927, Russell fell in love with the movies as a child.
Attracted by the romance of the sea, Russell attended Pangbourne Nautical College before joining the Merchant Navy at 17 as a junior crew member on a cargo ship bound for the Pacific. He became seasick, soon realized he hated naval life and was discharged after a nervous breakdown.
Desperate to avoid joining the family's shoe business, he studied ballet and tried his hand at acting before accepting he was not much good at either. He then studied photography, for which he did have a talent, and became a fashion photographer before being hired to work on BBC arts programs, including profiles of the poet John Betjeman, comedian Spike Milligan and playwright Shelagh Delaney.
Music played a central role in many of Russell's films, including "The Music Lovers" in 1970, about the composer Tchaikovsky - Russell sold it to the studio with the pitch "it's about a nymphomaniac who falls in love with a homosexual."
The same unorthodox approach to costume drama informed 1975's "Lisztomania," which starred Roger Daltrey of The Who as 19th-century heartthrob Franz Liszt, with Beatles drummer Starr playing the pope.
"The Boy Friend," a 1971 homage to 1930s Hollywood musicals starring supermodel Twiggy, and Russell's 1975 adaptation of "Tommy," were musicals of a different sort, both marked by the director's characteristic visual excess.
Russell's darker side was rarely far away. "Dante's Inferno," a 1967 movie about the poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, played up the differences between Rossetti's idealized view of his wife and her reality as a drug addict.
Russell was even more provocative in his 1970 film "The Dance of the Seven Veils: A Comic Strip in Seven Episodes." It presented the composer Richard Strauss as a crypto-Nazi, and showed him conducting Rosenkavalier waltzes while SS men tortured a Jew.
"The Devils," a 1971 film starring Redgrave as a 17th-century nun in the grip of demonic possession, was heavily cut for its U.S. release and is due to be released on DVD in Britain for the first time in 2012.
Russell told The Associated Press in 1987 that he found such censorship "so tedious and boring." He called the American print of "The Devils" ''just a butchered nonsense."
Russell's fascination with changing mental states also surfaced in 1980 film "Altered States," a rare Hollywood foray for him, starring William Hurt as a scientist experimenting with hallucinogens. It was poorly received.
Later films included the comic horror thriller "The Lair of the White Worm" in 1989, which gave an atypical early role to Hugh Grant as a vampire worm-battling lord of the manor.
Russell also directed operas and made the video for Elton John's "Nikita."
Married four times, Russell is survived by his wife Elize Tribble and his children.
The director's son, Alex Verney-Elliott, said Russell died in a hospital on Sunday following a series of strokes.
"My father died peacefully," Verney-Elliott said. "He died with a smile on his face."
Don DeVito, a longtime Columbia Records executive who produced the key Bob Dylan albums "Blood on the Tracks" and "Desire" and also worked with artists including Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel and Aerosmith, has died. He was 72.
DeVito died Friday after a 16-year battle with prostate cancer, according to a statement released by Columbia on Monday.
The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born DeVito spent his entire career at Columbia; he started off as a trainee at CBS Records, which would later become Columbia. From there, he would grow into one of the label's most influential executives and producers, helping to create albums that would become a part of rock 'n' roll history.
Among those recordings were Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks," which marked Dylan's return to Columbia after a stint with Asylum Records. "Blood on the Tracks" is considered one of his greatest albums, and included songs such as "Tangled Up in Blue."
DeVito also produced "Desire," released the next year, and also rated as one of Dylan's best. The album includes the seminal recording "Hurricane," about the incarceration of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, and was Dylan's first platinum disc. DeVito also is credited as a producer on Dylan albums "Hard Rain," ''Street Legal" and "At Budokan."
DeVito also worked with Joel, Springsteen, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, and others.
DeVito started off as a guitarist touring for Al Kooper, and had his own band, The Sabres, which later broke up mid-tour. According to Columbia, DeVito was stranded in Fort Smith, Ark., when he happened to meet Johnny Cash and developed what would become a lifelong friendship; Cash would later introduce DeVito to Dylan.
DeVito won a Grammy in 1989 for his work on "Folkways - A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly." He also helped organize "The Concert for New York City," the all-star benefit event staged after the Sept. 11 attacks.
DeVito retired four years ago. He is survived by wife Carolyn and two children, Marissa and James.