from The Washington Post
My daughter, who lost her battle with mental illness, is still the bravest person I know
The author with daughter Natalie in 2004, soon after publication of their book “Promise You Won’t Freak Out.” (Courtesy of Doris Fuller )
I lost my darling daughter Natalie to mental illness last month. She killed herself a few weeks short of her 29th birthday by stepping in front of a train in Baltimore.
Natalie and I wrote a book together when she was 16: “Promise You Won’t Freak Out: A Teenager Tells Her Mother the Truth About Boys, Booze, Body Piercing, and Other Touchy Topics (and Mom Responds).” The idea of a teenager telling the truth about her secrets was such a startling concept that we were feature-page headliners in the Baltimore Sun and about two dozen other newspapers, went on TV coast to coast, including on one of the morning shows, and got paid to give speeches. “Oprah” called.
In the book, we used a device to signal whenever a wild turn was about to take place: And then . . . . In the introduction, I defined an And then . . . moment as “one of those critical junctures when my cheerful sense that all was right in the world collided with inescapable proof that it wasn’t.”
[Doctor: How I discovered the most important question I should ask every patient]
The book was published to great reviews the week before Natalie finished high school. Amazon named it the best parenting book of 2004. It was nominated for a national prize. It was translated into Lithuanian and Chinese.
And then . . . .
[ click to continue reading at The Washington Post ]
Still spinnin’: America’s classic record stores
By Brandon Griggs
(CNN)Like phone booths and typewriters, record stores are a vanishing breed — another victim of the digital age.
Camelot Music. Virgin Megastores. Wherehouse Music. Tower Records. All of them gone.
Corporate America has largely abandoned brick-and-mortar music retailing to a scattering of independent stores, many of them in scruffy urban neighborhoods. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Yes, it’s harder in the Spotify era to find a place to go buy physical music. But many of the remaining record stores are succeeding — even thriving — by catering to a passionate core of customers and collectors.
On Saturday, hundreds of music retailers will hold events to commemorate Record Store Day, an annual celebration of, well, your neighborhood record store. Many stores will host live performances, drawings, book signings, special sales of rare or autographed vinyl and other happenings. Some will even serve beer.
[ click to continue reading at CNN ]
from The New York Daily News
Georgia man shoots armadillo, bullet bounces off critter’s shell, hits shooter’s mother-in-law inside mobile home 100 yards away: Police (VIDEO)
Armored and dangerous!
A Georgia man shot his mother-in-law in a freak accident after a bullet he fired at an armadillo ricocheted off the creature’s back.
Larry McElroy, 54, was outside 74-year-old Carol Johnson’s mobile home in Lee County on Sunday night when he took aim with his 9-mm pistol at the animal, WALB reported.
The critter was killed by the round.
But the projectile bounced back off its armor, hit a fence and traveled 100 yards to fly through the back door of the property, police said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the bizarre incident.
He recommended McElroy use a shotgun next time.
[ click to read full article at NYDailyNews.com ]
from The San Jose Mercury News
With Endgame: Proving Ground, Google’s Niantic Labs aims to improve on Ingress formula
Google’s Niantic Labs specializes in video games that revolve around the real world. It’s a heady space that mixes elements of massively multiplayer online experiences and augmented reality games. Ingress was the first example. It was a science fiction title that pits two factions — The Enlightened and The Resistance — against each other as they vied for real-life landmarks that contain portals.
The core gameplay concept was fine. It lured gamers outside, where they used the GPS on their mobile phones to locate important touchstones and battle rival factions for them. The only issue I had with it is that the systems were too complex and the fiction too complicated. There was a lot to digest and learn.
With Niantic’s upcoming project, Endgame: Proving Ground, the developers aim to fix at least one of those problems. They are teaming up with authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton whose novel Endgame: The Calling was released in October. The book, the first of three in the works, has been optioned to be a film. This sets up the franchise to be a transmedia project with different hooks into the universe and the mobile game is going to be one doorway into that.
[ click to continue reading at SJ Merc ]
from The New Yorker
The Greatness of Günter Grass
CREDITPHOTOGRAPH BY RENE BURRI / MAGNUM
In 1982, when I was in Hamburg for the publication of the German translation of “Midnight’s Children,” I was asked by my publishers if I would like to meet Günter Grass. Well, obviously I wanted to, and so I was driven out to the village of Wewelsfleth, outside Hamburg, where Grass then lived. He had two houses in the village; he wrote and lived in one and used the other as an art studio. After a certain amount of early fencing—I was expected, as the younger writer, to make my genuflections, which, as it happened, I was happy to perform—he decided, all of a sudden, that I was acceptable, led me to a cabinet in which he stored his collection of antique glasses, and asked me to choose one. Then he got out a bottle of schnapps, and by the bottom of the bottle we were friends. At some later point, we lurched over to the art studio, and I was enchanted by the objects I saw there, all of which I recognized from the novels: bronze eels, terracotta flounders, dry-point etchings of a boy beating a tin drum. I envied him his artistic gift almost more than I admired him for his literary genius. How wonderful, at the end of a day’s writing, to walk down the street and become a different sort of artist! He designed his own book covers, too: dogs, rats, toads moved from his pen onto his dust jackets.
After that meeting, every German journalist I met wanted to ask me what I thought of him, and when I said that I believed him to be one of the two or three greatest living writers in the world some of these journalists looked disappointed, and said, “Well, ‘The Tin Drum,’ yes, but wasn’t that a long time ago?” To which I tried to reply that if Grass had never written that novel, his other books were enough to earn him the accolades I was giving him, and the fact that he had written “The Tin Drum” as well placed him among the immortals. The skeptical journalists looked disappointed. They would have preferred something cattier, but I had nothing catty to say.
[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]
Mystery of Ceres’ bright spots grows
Data from NASA mission suggest varied origins for tantalizing gleams on dwarf planet’s surface.
by Alexandra Witze
The surface of the dwarf planet Ceres (shown here) has fewer large craters than researchers expected.
Not all of the puzzling bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are alike. The closest-yet images of the gleams, taken from 45,000 kilometres away, show that at least two of the spots look different from one another when seen in infrared wavelengths.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spied many of the bright spots years ago, but the observations from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft — which began looping around Ceres on 6 March — are the first taken at close range. The images were released on 13 April in Vienna at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union.
Scientists say that the bright spots might be related to ice exposed at the bottom of impact craters or some type of active geological features. The areas glimmer tantalizingly in a new full-colour map of Ceres that was obtained in February, but not released until the conference. The map uses false colours to tease out subtle differences on the otherwise dark surface of Ceres.
“This is the first idea of what the surface looks like,” said Martin Hoffmann, a Dawn scientist from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen, Germany.
The Dawn spacecraft’s view of the bright regions is sharpening as it gets closer to Ceres. The new infrared images reveal differences between spot 1, near Ceres’s equator, and a pair of bright spots collectively known as spot 5. Some scientists have speculated that the latter could be an icy plume.
[ click to continue reading at Nature.com ]