The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


Arnold's Lackadaisical 'Last Stand'

Jan 17, 2013
Originally published on January 17, 2013 6:06 pm

He has repeated the catchphrase over and over again, though he really had to say it only once: No one ever doubted for a minute that Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be back.

How you feel about the hit-or-miss neo-spaghetti-Western The Last Stand may depend on how much you really missed Schwarzenegger while he was taking time off from acting to serve two terms as governor of California.

As Ray Owens, the sheriff of tiny, sleepy Sommerton Junction, Schwarzenegger looks kind of OK, with a deep Coppertone tan and hedgehog hairdo. Owens used to be a Los Angeles police narcotics guy, but a botched operation left him yearning for a quieter life, which is why he's retreated to this dusty little border town some 200 miles outside Las Vegas.

Now, as he learns from a know-it-all FBI agent played by Forest Whitaker, an escaped fugitive named Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) is headed his way. At first, Owens is mildly indifferent; then he realizes he must protect the townspeople, particularly since Cortez has sent an advance team of baddies, led by a dyspeptic-looking Peter Stormare, to clear the path for his arrival.

When Owens finally leaps into action, he has help from, among others, a lackadaisical deputy (played with laid-back elan by Luis Guzman) and the half-witted proprietor of a makeshift firearms museum (Johnny Knoxville, who, clad in pajamas and a pointed medieval warrior's helmet, resembles a maniacal militant elf).

Schwarzenegger still looks robust, but he isn't as efficient in the ass-kicking department as he was 30 years ago, and the script — written by Andrew Knauer, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and George Nolfi — reflects that.

"How are you, Sheriff?" one guy asks after seeing Owens take a particularly jarring tumble. "Old," Owens replies, with more than a hint of resignation. Hey, it happens to the best of us.

Schwarzenegger is the big draw here, and he seems to be having a reasonably good time, getting roughed up here and there and putting his trademark "What, me worry?" line delivery to use. (His scenes with the eternal goofball Knoxville are the nuttiest and perhaps the best.)

The Last Stand was directed by Korean cult-favorite filmmaker Kim Jee-woon, whose previous pictures include the rambunctious 2008 noodle Western The Good, the Bad, the Weird and, from 2003, A Tale of Two Sisters, a dreamy, enigmatic bit of free-verse horror.

The Last Stand isn't as effective as either of those movies. Its attempts at violent humor are scattershot, though occasionally Jee-woon and his actors hit the mark. (The sight of crazy old Knoxville using a flare gun as an assault weapon works like a charm, for instance.) But most of the action sequences are indistinctly shot and choppily edited; they flip by in a blur of noise.

The director does pull off a pretty magnificent cornfield car chase — two sleek vehicles cut through a thick, shaggy carpet of maize like souped-up harvesters, the movie's way of saying that the simple country life needn't be devoid of thrills. But Jee-woon takes too long to wrap things up, fumbling repeatedly on his way to an ending. By the end, even Schwarzenegger looks worn out. Maybe being governor wasn't such a hard job after all.

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