August 16, 2013 |
Back in 2000, when John Updike assembled "The Best American Short Stories of the Century," he included "Death of a Favorite," by J.F. Powers. Interviewing Updike at the time, I mentioned how pleased I was to see Powers in the collection. "He was once, you might know, a fixture at the New Yorker," Updike replied. "Now Powers is almost totally forgotten, but I thought he deserved a place. " He did, he does. Yet James Farl Powers has always been a hard sell for the American reading public, despite a cadre of distinguished fans (Robert Lowell, Evelyn Waugh, Katherine Anne Porter)
February 20, 2013 |
NASA scientists have discovered a faraway planet that's smaller than Mercury - far tinier than they expected they could find when they launched the Kepler space telescope nearly four years ago. The hot, rocky world orbits a sun-like star that's about 210 light-years from Earth. Astronomers are excited about it because it's smaller than any planet in our solar system, said astrophysicist Thomas Barclay of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. "This is the smallest exoplanet that's ever been found," said Barclay, lead author of a report on the discovery published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
February 14, 2013
U.S. secretaries of the Interior have seldom been renowned for being … well, renowned. Typically affable former members of Congress who reliably see things according to the president's point of view, they are nearly always Western conservationists, though their agreement on the extent to which natural resources should be exploited can wary widely. Sally Jewell, President Obama's recent nominee for the post, fits that description pretty well, while bringing some additional attributes that suit the president's agenda beautifully.
November 14, 2012 |
Stacy Peralta was fighting off bronchitis inside Santa Barbara's fabled Skate One complex - a kind of Willy Wonka world for skateboard manufacturing that he and former business partner George Powell established in 1978 to distribute their groundbreaking Powell-Peralta line. While the factory hummed with the day-to-day business of cranking out hundreds of candy-colored urethane wheels and pressing plywood into signature decks for Kilian Martin, Tony Hawk and more top riders, Peralta ripped into a box containing DVDs of his latest documentary, "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography.
October 25, 2012 |
More infomercial than movie, "People V. the State of Illusion" calls itself a documentary but is really a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation by motivational speaker Austin Vickers. Narrating directly to the camera, Vickers - a mild-mannered-looking guy with the calm speaking style of an instructional video host - has the answer to the stress that's limiting your potential. Using a mushy mixture of scientific research about receptor walls and perception with therapy session jargon aimed at addressing self-created "prison walls," Vickers and credited director Scott Cervine - who mostly has to wrangle quick-change graphics, talking heads and a terribly acted dramatization about an inmate who turns his life around - keep up a steady empowerment spiel.
March 26, 2012 |
Times columnist Helene Elliott rates the pluses and minuses in the NHL from the previous week: + The mayor of Quebec City announced that construction will begin in September for an 18,000-seat, $400-million arena suitable for an NHL team. The city and the province of Quebec will split the cost for the building, which has a target opening of September 2015. It's a great city and it belongs in the NHL. Now, there's just the small matter of getting a team … + The next generation: Sabres rookie Marcus Foligno, who was born in Buffalo while his father, Mike, played there, has made a big splash since being promoted from Rochester (N.Y.)