CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 27, 1997
In his commentary ("A Marriage Made in Heaven's Gate," May 19), Prof. Paul Kurtz blames "the media conglomerate" for the public's fascination with the paranormal. He is correct. He then implies that those who study UFOs are ignorant and gullible. He is incorrect. Kurtz has a stake in the promotion of skepticism because the organization he founded (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) publishes and sells a magazine--and UFOs are the main target. I had to laugh when the professor referred to Kenneth Arnold's "alleged" sighting of the first flying saucers 50 years ago. CSICOP produces an explanation for every UFO sighting, no matter how absurd, but to describe Arnold's well-documented and well-supported sighting near Mt. Rainier as "alleged" is truly silly.
October 6, 1991
In the article about my libel suits against James Randi, when Randi claims that my performances can be duplicated by methods found long ago on cereal boxes, he attacks not only my abilities but also my originality. That is defamation aside from any paranormal issue. After all, spoon bending is my professional trademark. And, most important, what your writer overlooked in the article was the fact that Randi has done far more than attack my abilities. He has made easily proved lies, such as claiming that I was responsible for the suicide of a scientist friend (who actually died of natural causes)
April 10, 1993
No one questions that Al Pacino is a great actor who deserves an Academy Award. But plenty of disabled people are complaining about the academy choosing "Scent of a Woman" to reward Pacino for his lifetime acting achievements. The depiction of this blind character could have been made in the Dark Ages. Blind people have always had to deal with the unrealistic stereotype that they have a sixth sense or some supernatural powers. This film preys on this false belief--Pacino performs a flawless tango, has the ability to know the color of a woman's hair by being in her presence, can sense an attractive woman across a restaurant and, most absurd, can successfully drive 70 m.p.h.
July 29, 2000
Brian Lowry's article "The Mean Truth of Reality Shows: Nastiness Rates" (July 22) is refreshingly insightful. I suggest, however, that we push its implications a little further. If the pain of others becomes a form of entertainment for a large portion of the populace (and one could argue convincingly that it already has), if "it becomes great fun to watch unpleasant things happen to ordinary people," what happens to the collective humanity of the members of such a society? What does the future hold for them, for it?
June 21, 2007 |
Thanks to underdog roles such as that of the iconic, boombox-carrying Lloyd Dobler in 1989's "Say Anything" and Rob Gordon in 2000's "High Fidelity," Jon Cusack, 40, has become the poster boy for sensitive, lovelorn slackers. Still, the actor is the first to point out that he's not a "one-trick pony," which he proves with creepy intensity in "1408," the psychological mind-bender based on a Stephen King short story, which opens Friday. Reality gets blasted away bit by bit as Cusack's character, a writer specializing in paranormal phenomena, attempts to debunk the legend of a haunted Room 1408 in a New York Hotel.
October 21, 2011
'Paranormal Activity 3' MPAA rating: R for some violence, language, brief sexuality and drug use Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes Playing: In general release