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.


In Search Of A Father, Finding Herself

Jan 31, 2013

Nicole Georges grew up believing she became a half-orphan when her father died in his 30s, but when a palm reader suggested that her father — the one her mother had told her died of colon cancer — might still be alive, she began to look more closely at the whole of her unexamined life. This personal reconsideration is the heart of Calling Dr. Laura, an inventive graphic memoir that recounts this quest, as well as Nicole Georges' coming into her own as an artist and daughter.

The book begins with Georges living in Portland, Ore, raising chickens, working as a karaoke deejay and comic-book artist and going on awkward dates with girls. In the book's first scene, Georges invites a crush over to her house to make the only decent-tasting dessert in a Canadian vegan cookbook (chocolate peanut butter cups). This crush is the one who, as a birthday present, gives Georges the meeting with the psychic that leads her to re-examine her childhood. While Georges' romantic and professional lives evolve, she's also hard at work attempting to connect herself more deeply with the story of this now possibly living father. In doing so, she untangles many of the elements that came to define her past, particularly the physical ailments that plagued her.

As a child, Georges suffers from a stomach malady that complicates her thorny relationships with her mother and her stepfather. Her mother — opinionated, funny and self-involved — tries to be helpful but is also embroiled in marital dramas that often affect Georges. Mother and daughter conspire, argue and love intensely, and the depth of this connection becomes the real object of Georges' pursuit.

The book is unflinching in its honesty when it chronicles the indignities of a body in revolt, but those pathologies aren't examined in relation to family history, except in passing. Early on Georges asks as an aside, "Is it TMI to tell you that there was always some tension?" The book as a whole is dogged by that concern — of giving too much information — so that it vacillates between frank admission and superficial reference. Why does she check out when things get tough? What's behind her love of advice columns, particularly the assuredly nonvegan Dr. Laura? The memoir has such an evocative complexity, yet that complexity never gets fully unpacked. Perhaps the book's most compelling risk is that her search for her father ends up being a minor thread after all; Georges' real theme has to do with the versions of our stories we create for the people we love — to protect them or to protect ourselves.

Although Dr. Laura plays a short but hilarious part in the book, Calling Dr. Laura is really a chronicle of Georges getting untangled from the complex web of her family history and making a history of her own. Nicole Georges started up the zine Invincible Summer in 2000 and toured with the poetry road show Sister Spit; her work has the DIY sensibility and evokes that period — the infancy of the 21st century — with perfect pitch. Georges' drawing style is sumptuous and distinctive: a little bit Pettibon, a little bit Tomine. Most of the book is Xerox-gray and black, except when she reaches into her childhood; those illustrations have a more comic-strip look, rounder and brighter, but also starker.

Like many of the best graphic memoirists, Georges is able to pluck the funniest and most compelling bits out of a life story, and this is one of the book's great strengths (the gorgeous and strange art is another). Although Calling Dr. Laura might not mine the depths of family history as deeply as a conventional memoir, it's a beautiful and innovative portrait of a young adult who's moving away from old family stories toward creating new ones of her own.

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