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.


'Bullet To The Head': No-Brainer Bubblegum

Jan 31, 2013

Adapted from a French graphic novel and outfitted with an ethnically diverse cast, Bullet to the Head is an artifact of a newly internationalized Hollywood. But that doesn't mean it feels especially new.

In fact, this Sylvester Stallone vehicle regularly overlaps the season's other cops-and-mobsters retreads. It features a creaky veteran actor — as do The Last Stand and Stand Up Guys. It turns on a corrupt municipal real-estate deal much like the one in Broken City. Its combatants shrug off punishing violence, the way they do in Parker. And the thing's set in New Orleans, which these days gets more B-movie screen time than Santa Monica.

Bullet to the Head was directed by onetime master Walter Hill, who did The Warriors and 48 Hrs but hasn't made a movie anyone noticed since 1996's Last Man Standing. From minute to minute, his work is effective. The many action scenes are well-staged, without the frantic over-cutting that's fashionable these days. And the dialogue, which includes some laconic voice-over, is suitably cynical and grimly witty. "Sometimes you have to abandon your principles and do what's right," muses the underworld-weary narrator.

The plot fails to deliver a single surprise, however, and the characterizations are thin even by the standards of the tough-guy genre. Perhaps because the script is overly faithful to its source, Alexis "Matz" Nolent's Du plomb dans la tete, the movie has too many villains, most of whom are dispatched almost as soon as they're introduced.

Our antihero is Jimmy Bobo (Stallone), a hit man with a code of ethics: "no women, no children." In the opening scene, Jimmy and his partner — you needn't waste time learning that guy's name — crash into a hotel room and kill their intended victim. But Jimmy spares the Russian hooker who's in the shower, revealing herself in the first of several gratuitous nude scenes.

Jimmy is soon partnerless and realizes he has been set up. Enter Taylor Kwon (the Fast and Furious series' Sung Kang), a Korean-American detective from Washington, D.C., on assignment in the Big Easy. (Don't think too hard about that one.) Jimmy and Taylor's interests sort of coincide, so they become allies of a sort, even though Jimmy hates cops, and Taylor — not unreasonably — hates assassins.

Thanks to a steady flow of data from Taylor's Blackberry, the duo picks up the scent of Marcus Baptiste (Christian Slater), a Garden District sleaze who throws costume parties where the preferred outfit for young women is nothing. (At least the movie acknowledges that one of the many babes it undresses might be somebody's daughter.)

An even bigger target is Robert Nkomo Morel (British-Nigerian actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), an exiled West African gangster turned scariest monster of all: condo developer. But the featured attraction is Keegan, a sociopathic enforcer played by Jason Momoa (the Hawaiian sirloin burger who succeeded Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian).

Keegan makes off with Jimmy's favorite tattoo artist (Iranian-Mexican-American actress Sarah Shahi). She plucked a bullet from Taylor's shoulder, so the cop is kind of sweet on her, too. The kidnapping sets up a dynamic final confrontation between the half-good guys and the baddest of the bad guys, which proceeds (mostly) without bullets.

Characteristically, Hill goes for grimy locations and drives the action with a blues-rock score. Such touches aside, though, Bullet to the Head is less authentic Delta blues than gore-spattered bubblegum.

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