Marc Dion: Girls for Cheap (Creators Syndicate)
Sad, wounded Cleveland, where the girls die or are kept in slavery.
Masha Gessen: Angelina Jolie and the bravery of choosing not to have ovaries removed (Guardian)
In choosing, at least for now, not to have an oopherectomy, Jolie may have challenged medical advice - with justification.
Andrew Tobias: The So-Called Scandals
This is the way they "beat" Al Gore in 2000 - just piling on a lot of stuff no one item of which had merit* . . . yet there were so many of them that people didn't have time to get into the details and it tore him down very effectively, with the result that we got the Iraq war, wrecked our national balance sheet, delayed the stem cell breakthrough that might one day have saved your life if only it had come faster - and on and on.
Poor Elijah (Peter Berger): Unspecial Interests (Irascible Professor)
When we talk about special interests, we commonly mean groups that are especially looking out for themselves and exerting pressure on government to act in their favor. Urging someone to act in your favor isn't necessarily immoral, and you can't really blame someone for lobbying on his own behalf, anymore than we can blame ourselves when we plead our own cases or act in our own self-interest. The trouble comes when something that's good for a special interest is either morally wrong or bad for everyone else.
Scott Burns: "The Financial Condition of Pre-Retirees: Precarious" (AssetBuilder)
The [academic study of pre-retirees' financial resources] paper shows what amounts to two separate and distinct Americas. One is the large portion of our population- at least half- that enters retirement, often unwillingly, with very limited resources and struggles every day thereafter. The other is a smaller group that we see pictured in magazines offering long cruises, well landscaped retirement communities, and other signs of affluence- the top 30 percent that is doing OK to very, very well.
John Farrier: Stop Signs Projected onto Water Curtains (Neatorama)
Many tunnels in Sydney, Australia aren't tall enough to permit tractor trailers to move through safely. This animated gif shows a warning system that informs truck drivers when they're about to crash into a tunnel entrance. When sensors detect a vehicle that is too tall, the system pours water across the entrance to the tunnel and projects a stop sign onto that water curtain.
Deborah Orr: Frank Zappa, his groupies and me (Guardian)
She was a strait-laced English typist. He was a sexually incontinent rock innovator. So why on earth did Pauline Butcher become Frank Zappa's secretary?
Lucy Mangan: "What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge" (Guardian)
What Katy Did is one of the three books my sister read as a child. The other two were the BBC micro computer guide and a Haynes car manual. It should have come as no surprise, perhaps, that when she reached the end of Susan Coolidge's 1872 classic, she hurled it across the room shouting "Katy did nothing!" before stalking off to build a working model of a nuclear reactor in Meccano behind the sofa.
Andre Norton Website
She calls herself an old-fashioned storyteller and, indeed, whether it's fantasy, science fiction, adventure, romance or any other genre of popular literature, she manages to capture the audience's attention in the gracious style of the long-gone bardic masters. This quality, acknowledged by both the readers and critics has given her the title of the Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
John Cheese: 5 Warning Signs That You're Finally Getting Older (Cracked)
Look, I'm not going to bullshit you. You are going to get old, and it is going to happen lightning fast. You won't see it coming. You'll just be living your life the way you always have, thinking, "Man, I sure am young. There is little in life that I enjoy more than the simple knowledge of how completely not old I am." And then one day, …
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 that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny with a nice breeze.
"Harry Potter" Annotated First Edition To Auction
Ever wondered what went through author J.K. Rowling's mind when she wrote the first "Harry Potter" novel?
Fans of books about the boy wizard will have a chance to bid on a unique first edition of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," annotated by the author, at a charity auction this month, the English PEN organization said on Friday.
The book contains Rowling's handwritten thoughts and commentary about the book and the film adaptation, as well as 22 hand-drawn illustrations including one of a sleeping baby Harry and another of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
It includes a 43-page "second thoughts" segment from the author, with phrases such as, "I wrote the book ... in snatched hours, in clattering cafés or in the dead of night. For me, the story of how I wrote 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' is written invisibly on every page, legible only to me ..."
The book will be one of 51 first editions annotated by authors at an auction on May 21 that will include "Bridget Jones's Diary" by Helen Fielding, "Northern Lights" by Philip Pullman and Roald Dahl's "Matilda" with original illustrations by Quentin Blake.
Calls For Softer Approach
The Organization of American States on Friday published a report calling for decriminalization of drug use and for greater coordination between nations in tackling the scourge.
Almost all the cocaine consumed in Western countries is produced in Latin America, while violence linked to the drug trade kills thousands every year as smugglers fight for control of trafficking routes in Central America, Colombia and Mexico.
Drug consumption is ticking up in nations such as Argentina and Brazil. According to the OAS, about 45 percent of cocaine consumers, 50 percent of heroin users and 25 percent of marijuana smokers live in North and South America.
The report for the OAS, which includes all 35 North and South American nations, aims to start a debate among American nations regarding anti-drug policies. It also advocates for softer policies toward drug users.
It also calls for "a substantial reduction in penalties" to drug addicts and urges countries in the region to opt for rehabilitation programs instead. It suggests that countries in the region should consider the option of legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana consumption.
Wrestles With Gravity
Back on Earth, Canadian astronaut and cyberspace tweeter Chris Hadfield is getting a rough re-introduction to gravity after a five-month stint aboard the International Space Station, the former commander told reporters during a video webcast from Houston.
Hadfield became a social media rock star with his zero-gravity version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and a continuous stream of commentary on Twitter about his life in orbit. But living without gravity for five months has left him feeling dizzy, weak and prematurely aged. A veteran of three space flights, he is wearing a pressure suit under his clothes to help his circulation as his body re-adapts to getting blood back to his brain.
"Without the constant pull-down of gravity, your body gets a whole new normal, and my body was quite happy living in space without gravity," Hadfield, 53, said in a video conference call with Canadian reporters on Thursday, three days after returning to Earth.
"Right after I landed I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue ... I hadn't realized that I had learned to talk with a weightless tongue," he said.
Driving Out Fire Ants
Invasive fire ants have been a thorn in the sides of Southerners for years. But another invasive species, the so-called "crazy" ant - that many describe as being worse - has arrived and is displacing fire ants in several places.
"When you talk to folks who live in the invaded areas, they tell you they want their fire ants back," said Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, in a statement from the school. "Fire ants are in many ways very polite. They live in your yard. They form mounds and stay there, and they only interact with you if you step on their mound."
Crazy ants, on the other hand, "go everywhere," invading homes and nesting in walls and crawlspaces, even damaging electrical equipment by swarming inside appliances.
A study published in the April issue of the journal Biological Invasions found that in areas infested with crazy ants, few to no fire ants were present. Exactly how they are able to outcompete fire ants is so far unknown. In areas with crazy ants, the researchers also found greatly diminished numbers of native ant species, according to the study.
'Bunga Bunga' Testimony
The Moroccan woman at the center of a sex scandal involving former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi testified Friday in court for the first time, describing how a young woman attending one of Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties dressed up like a nun, danced provocatively and stripped down to her underwear for the premier.
Karima el-Mahroug took the witness stand in the trial of three former Berlusconi aides charged with recruiting her and other women for prostitution. They deny the charges. The trial is separate from the one in which Berlusconi is charged with paying for sex with a minor - el-Mahroug herself - and trying to cover it up.
The three Berlusconi aides - Emilio Fede, an executive in Berlusconi's media empire; Nicole Minetti, a former dental hygienist, showgirl and local politician, and talent agent Dario "Lele" Mora - are accused of recruiting women for prostitution at the parties and abetting prostitution, including of a minor.
El-Mahroug said Minetti, one of the defendants, had dressed up like a nun at that Feb. 14 party and lifted her costume to show off her legs as she danced in Berlusconi's in-house disco, which was outfitted with a lap-dance pole. El-Mahroug demonstrated from her seat how Minetti had raised her hemline. She said Minetti eventually took off her costume and was in just her lingerie.
She said other girls dressed up as President Barack Obama and a Milan magistrate who is leading the prosecution against Berlusconi in the sex scandal.
Arrested In WeHo
A Los Angeles sheriff's spokesman says 'Terminator 2' star Edward Furlong has been arrested on suspicion of violating a restraining order filed by his ex-girlfriend.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said that deputies responding to the scene Thursday in West Hollywood found Furlong hiding in a nearby property.
In March, the 35-year-old actor had been sentenced to six months in jail for violating his probation in a 2010 case for violating a similar restraining order.
He has been the subject of such orders taken out by both his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend.
Steroids Had Ill Effect
The lawyer for a California heavy metal singer accused of trying to hire someone to kill his estranged wife says the singer's mind has been ravaged by steroid use.
U-T San Diego reports that the detail came to light during a Friday hearing for 32-year-old Timothy Lambesis, who has pleaded not guilty to solicitation for murder. A judge at the hearing reduced Lambesis' bail from $3 million to $2 million.
Prosecutors say Lambesis, frontman for Grammy-winning band "As I Lay Dying," paid $1,000 cash to an undercover detective posing as a hitman and gave instructions on how best to kill his wife.
Lambesis' attorney Thomas Warwick said in court that his client had gotten into body building and steroid use. He said Lambesis' thoughts were "devastatingly affected" by the drugs.
Money Talks In Cincy
Anna Louise Inn
For more than 100 years, the Anna Louise Inn in downtown Cincinnati has been a safe, serene place that thousands of struggling women came to know as home.
But after losing a two-year fight with a Fortune 500 company determined to buy their beautiful, 104-year-old property and turn it into a boutique hotel - even though it wasn't for sale - the women of the Anna Louise Inn have to leave the neighborhood.
The Anna Louise has been housing women since 1909 in the same charming, dormitory-style building that looks like a plantation home. Although it began by helping young, ambitious types who were pouring into then-booming Cincinnati, it later became geared toward women who needed a fresh start; some have left abusive husbands, others are transitioning from foster care to adulthood while others are recovering prostitutes and drug addicts.
Western & Southern executives (R-Oink), whose headquarters sit across a park from the Anna Louise, offered to buy the Anna Louise for $1.8 million several years ago, less than half its value. The Anna Louise declined and won $12.6 million in federal and state tax credits to renovate the home, where some rooms are smaller than 100 square feet and all the women have to share bathrooms and one kitchen.
Days before the renovation was to begin, Western & Southern (R-Suuu-ey) sued over a zoning issue and a judge ordered an immediate construction halt until the legal fight was resolved. The Anna Louise and its supporters didn't back down, vowing to fight Western & Southern with everything they had - until last week when they inked a deal with the company to sell the home for $4 million.
Leaders at Cincinnati Union Bethel, the nonprofit that runs the Anna Louise, said they sold reluctantly because they couldn't afford to fight any longer.
Anna Louise Inn
The State Beach Gouge
Sunbathers flocking to Southern Californiabeaches are used to feeding the meter or paying a parking attendant. Not so along the less developed north coast where it's customary to ditch cars on the shoulder of Highway 1 to surf, swim or picnic.
In search of new revenue, the state parks system is eyeing parking fees for parts of the Northern California shoreline where none existed or considering hiking rates to visit popular beaches south of Los Angeles during peak periods.
Out of California's 1,100 miles of beach, a third is controlled by the state Department of Parks and Recreation. Officials say they're under legislative orders to seek new sources of revenue and that a revamp of the parking payment structure is necessary to keep beaches open and to fund deferred maintenance.
Coastal regulators in February were set to vote on state parks' plan to charge a flat $20 fee - up from $15 - during Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and special events at several Southern California beaches. Commission staff wanted an hourly option so that daytrippers can still afford to head seaward during the busiest times.