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.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


Harrison's New Novellas Present Men In Full

Jan 9, 2013

Two years have gone by since I first suggested to President Obama that he create a new Cabinet post, and appoint distinguished fiction writer Jim Harrison as secretary for quality of life. The president still has not responded to my suggestion, and meanwhile Harrison has gone on to publish his latest book of novellas, which deepens and broadens his already openhearted and smart-minded sense of the way we live now, and what we might do to improve it.

It may be that our president, otherwise skilled in every way, has a blind eye when it comes to the novella form. I hope not. As someone who loves to compose novellas — which we might say are to novels as the sonata is to the full weight of the symphony — I've been counting the productions by Harrison, the reigning master of the form. With the publication of this new pair of pieces in this blooming good but intermediate form, it now comes to 17 for him, in six volumes over the years. Yours truly, lagging way behind him with only half a dozen, salutes Harrison — and continues to hope for his appointment to Cabinet status.

I have to say that Harrison has been hard put to better his personal best, "Legends of the Fall" (which came out in 1979), an epic in under a hundred pages about 20th century western American life. But with the lead piece in this new book, the autumnal novella he calls "The Land of Unlikeness," he comes quite close. "Legends" gave us the war-torn life spans of two generations of a larger-than-life Montana family, their land and their country, their loves and desires, the politics and history that enfolded them. All of this stretched out to fill the space between its boundary lines like an inter-mountain range of peaks and valleys. The new novella is much smaller in scale, giving us two weeks rather than two generations of time and focusing mainly on one character rather than a family-sized cast. But it's no less intense, as it enriches and enlarges an emotion-charged period in the life of Clive, a divorced Midwestern painter-turned-critic. Estranged from much of his family, Clive has returned from his usual Eastern haunts to his childhood home in rural northern Michigan to keep company with his aging mother, an ardent bird-watcher and churchgoer.

Clive longs for company and cohesion in his dessicated post-painting, post-married life. But he discovers almost immediately that he has wildly underestimated the power of the home place and the Proustian sense of "how memories reside in the landscape and arise when you revisit an area." Mooning over Laurette, his first girlfriend — long divorced herself, and living nearby in her old family farmhouse with a flirtatious female companion — Clive takes up painting again in order to re-create the grandest erotic encounter of his early manhood.

There's a lot more virtual eros in the companion novella, the title piece Harrison calls "The River Swimmer." The main character, a Midwestern boy named Thad, is in years not yet a man, but in experience triumphantly erotic. He swims great lakes and rivers, has visions of water babies swimming around him beneath the surface, and becomes involved with beautiful, attractive and willing girls his own age — with, as it happens, overbearing and successful fathers who sometimes try to kill him, and sometimes nearly succeed. In his outsized — almost cartoonlike — philosophical ambition, Thad declares "I just want to feel at home on earth ..." He already feels quite at home in water, which makes up a large part of our planet's surface, so when he strives to achieve his goal of feeling at home — not unlike that longing of Clive, his much more mature companion in this volume — he seems to have a good chance. No fathers wielding tire irons or tempting him with a life of luxury seem capable of deterring him much from his goal.

A boy with hopes as vast as oceans, a mature man entering into the solemnity of wholeness in a narrow range of life: together they make up what Tom Wolfe once announced — and failed to produce — as "a man in full."

What does the male version of quality of life really mean? Something like this, something like this. And female readers who don't give over some time to studying Harrison's version of it will be as foolish as the men.

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