April 4, 2013 |
NBC sent out five episodes of its "Silence of the Lambs" prequel "Hannibal," and although the reasons to stop watching (when in doubt, impale a woman!) too often outweighed the reasons to continue (Hugh Dancy, tracked by a dangerous dream deer), I swallowed my bile and soldiered on. And indeed, Episode 5 proved an epiphany. No spoilers here, but it costars Eddie Izzard, whose natural gift for twinkling malice threw everything into perspective. The problem with "Hannibal" is not the graphic violence or the absurd back-story tweaks - Dancy's Will Graham is no longer just a super-great FBI profiler with a photographic memory, he's a shivering, night-sweating, natural-born empath, whatever the heck that is - or even the fact that it is rather late to a very crowded serial-killer crime scene.
March 16, 2013 |
For movie musical lovers in general and gay men of a certain age in particular, Judy Garland represents the alpha and omega of stardom. So it was with some trepidation that I knocked on the apartment door of Tracie Bennett, the English actress who has been uncannily transforming herself into Garland in "End of the Rainbow," Peter Quilter's musical drama about the final chapter of Garland's life. Garland died tragically in 1969 at age 47. Bennett, just over the half-century mark yet still vibrating with pixieish vitality, is the next best thing to a fantasy meeting with the icon.
March 1, 2013 |
In an accident at a Chivas Brothers bottling plant in Dumbarton, Scotland, workers flushed thousands of gallons of Scotch whiskey down the drain, the smell of it so strong that sewage workers reported the incident, the BBC reports . Workers who had intended to drain waste water unintentionally dumped the Scotch instead. The Epoch Times says it was 6,000 gallons of "high-quality, top-dollar Scotch. " The spirit was released to the local water treatment plant. In a statement Chivas Brothers said that the Tuesday accident at the plant, which employs 600 workers, is under investigation.
January 22, 2013 |
The season finale of NBC's “Parenthood” brings more than a little relief for Monica Potter. The 41-year-old actress has seen her character, Kristina Braverman, through an emotionally grueling season, complete with everything from a newborn baby and a breast cancer diagnosis to hair loss and navigating the puberty talk tight-rope with a son who has Asperger's syndrome. “It has been quite a ride,” Potter said recently by phone. “I'm glad we're almost done with it because it's been some of the most draining and challenging work I've ever done....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Washington's avoidance of the so-called "fiscal cliff" is generally good news for California's finances. But the deal approved by President Obama on Wednesday will still take a bite out of the state budget. The legislation won't allow California and other states to keep a portion of revenue from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't received any revenue from the tax since 2004, and analysts doubted that Congress would reverse course and restore the money.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 31, 2012 |
Next week, voters in San Francisco, one of the nation's most progressive and environmentally aware cities, will be asked to decide just how green they want to be. For nearly 80 years, the city has been getting pristine Sierra Nevada water piped from behind a dam it erected in a majestic glacial valley in Yosemite National Park. The 1913 passage of the Raker Act, which allowed the city to turn Hetch Hetchy Valley into a 300-foot-deep reservoir, was one of the biggest defeats in America's youthful conservation movement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 7, 2012 |
Just over 8.5 billion recyclable cans were sold in California last year. The number redeemed for a nickel under California's recycling law: 8.3 billion. That's a return rate of nearly 100%. That kind of success isn't just impressive, it's unbelievable. But the recycling rate for certain plastic containers was even higher: 104%. California's generous recycling redemption program has led to rampant fraud. Crafty entrepreneurs are driving semi-trailers full of cans from Nevada or Arizona, which don't have deposit laws, across the border and transforming their cargo into truckfuls of nickels.
September 26, 2012 |
There are few issues that Republicans and Democrats agree on involving immigration, but the need for more visas for foreign students who earn advanced science and math degrees from American universities is one of them. Both parties recognize that it's in our national interest to try and keep the best and brightest students in this country after they have earned a master's or doctorate in math or science. The reason is simple: If the U.S. wants to remain competitive in a global economy, it must be able to attract and retain talent.
September 8, 2012 |
KOLKATA, India - The dusty files, manual typewriter, aging books and film reels in metal tins languish in Satyajit Ray's study, largely the way the filmmaker left them on his death two decades ago. Among the most creative Bengalis of modern times, Ray directed 37 films and wrote 75 short stories when he wasn't publishing, illustrating, composing and writing critiques. A few weeks before his death, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences paid tribute to his life with an honorary Oscar.
August 21, 2012 |
I recently had coffee with one of my top doctoral students, a woman in her late 20s. After years of slogging through data sets for her dissertation, she told me she would finish her doctorate in public policy but not pursue a career in academia. Stunned, I asked why. She was about to get married and hoped to start a family, she said, and she'd concluded that she couldn't be the mother she aspired to be and a contestant in the pressure-filled tenure-track race at the same time. Colleagues at other universities tell me similar stories of star female students either abandoning career ambitions or "underplacing" themselves -- turning down prestigious fellowships and accepting jobs at less competitive universities -- so they can focus on raising children and enjoying family life.