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.


Writing Well Is The Wronged Wife's Revenge In 'See Now Then'

Feb 5, 2013
Originally published on February 5, 2013 8:42 am

On one level, See Now Then, Jamaica Kincaid's first novel in a decade, is a lyrical, interior meditation on time and memory by a devoted but no longer cherished wife and mother going about the daily business of taking care of her home and family in a small New England town. But it is also one of the most damning retaliations by a jilted wife since Nora Ephron's Heartburn. See Now Then reads as if Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf had collaborated on a heartbroken housewife's lament that reveals an impossible familiarity with Heartburn and Evan S. Connell's Mrs. Bridge.

As we've come to expect from the author of Mr. Potter, The Autobiography of My Mother and Annie John, Kincaid not only mines details and raw emotions from her own life, but deliberately smudges the lines between fact and fiction and past and present to create artistic shading, as if drawing with charcoal. Like Kincaid, her "dear Mrs. Sweet" came to America on a "banana boat" from Antigua after an unhappy, fatherless childhood. And like Kincaid's former husband, Allen Shawn, "dear Mr. Sweet" is a composer who teaches at the local college, suffers from various phobias, grew up in a sophisticated Manhattan household, and leaves his wife for a younger musician.

Living in the writer Shirley Jackson's former house in Bennington, Vt., with her husband and son and daughter (here named Persephone and Heracles, from Greek mythology), Mrs. Sweet is what writer Laurie Colwin called a domestic genius — a woman "who loved making sophisticated meals for small children and loved their company and she loved gardens." She knits, darns socks and cooks poached veal with tuna fish sauce (though her husband's tastes run to "toast Chernobyl" and instant coffee). She orders exotic seeds, irons the laundry, reads to her children and retreats to her little room off the kitchen to think and write about time, "that collection of events saturated with feelings and smells and the way someone remembered them and the way something, anything, felt like." In this private space "she came alive in all her tenses, then, now, then again."

What's remarkable about See Now Then is its balance of the prosaic (Ninja Turtles and Maxwell House coffee) and the profound (reflections on the ultimate incomprehensibility of how time works). In the course of Mrs. Sweet's cyclical musings — in which she struggles to untangle and make sense of her past and present and understand where time and her devotion have taken her — she channels the perspectives of others. She imagines her son's annoyance when she is late to meet his school bus, resentful of all the hours "she just sits in that room writing about her goddamn mother, as if people had never had a mother who wanted to kill them before they were born." Repeatedly, she projects herself into her husband's disappointment, evoking his despair at spending his "precious life" with his loud, enthusiastic, increasingly zaftig, off-the-banana-boat wife and his irritation with his noisy, hyperactive son, but "so grateful for my lovely female students, whom I fall in love with."

Kincaid is honest enough to allow bitterness to ooze through her incantatory prose bandages, with stinging references to Mr. Sweet's small stature, his phobic father with "two households, two wives," and the checks that land in their mailbox, all for her, presumably royalties for her books — and implicitly not for his abstruse nocturnes composed for 100 lyres, her comprehension of which "is not without its misunderstandings."

What's worse than being told that a relationship is over and a mate has moved on? "I never loved you." Hell may indeed have no fury like a woman scorned, but as Ephron and Kincaid's books about marital heartache demonstrate, writing well just might be the best revenge.

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