Arts & Life

A fiery leftist, Hugo Chavez was a steadfast ally of dictators like Cuba's Fidel Castro while loudly opposing the United States. He claimed capitalism was destroying the world and tried to transform Venezuela into a socialist state. Millions of Venezuelans loved him because he showered the poor with social programs.

Twenty years ago, theatrical clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner collaborated on a Broadway show called Fool Moon — a giddy mixture of slapstick, improv and audience participation that proved such a success that it came back to Broadway for two more runs and toured both the U.S. and Europe. Now Irwin and Shiner have put together a new show called Old Hats, and it's been receiving rave reviews off-Broadway.

Irwin and Shiner's rubber-faced, loose-bodied clowning hasn't gotten easier over two decades.

Fred Butler has done many things in his 106 years, from serving in two military theaters of World War II to helping raise five children. But he had never gone to high school, or earned a diploma — the result of leaving school after the eighth grade to work full-time in a print shop to help support his family.

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The TSA is whittling down the list of objects air travelers are forbidden to carry on board and says small pocket knives will soon be allowed on commercial flights.

But thats not all! According to the TSA, travelers will also be able to take on board golf clubs (a maximum of two), hockey sticks, and wiffle ball bats. Yes, wiffle ball bats. Finally!

TSA Administrator John Pistole outlined the changes today at an appearance in New York.

The Masters Tournament is still a month away, but the green jackets that grace the winners' shoulders are already in the news, thanks to a lawsuit over a proposed auction of a former champion's jacket.

On one side is tournament host Augusta National Golf Club, which says the jacket, won by Art Wall Jr. in 1959, was stolen; on the other is Florida doctor Stephen Pyles and Heritage Auctions of Texas, who insist the jacket was obtained legally and can thus be sold to the highest bidder.

Spring has come early to the Yosemite Valley, and the melting snow makes for a spectacular rush of water off the granite face of Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America.

Early March is when park officials would normally be gearing up for the busy tourist season. Instead, they're figuring out how to cut $1.5 million from their budget. Without a budget deal, the sequestration has forced the Park Service to cut a total of $134 million from sites around the country.

While diplomats move ahead at the United Nations on a package of new sanctions aimed at North Korea in another effort to convince that Stalinist state to give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, there's also this news:

During a long, fiery speech, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolás Maduro said the country had expelled American diplomat David del Monaco because of what Maduro said was his work trying to "destabilize the country."

"Mr. David del Monaco has 24 hours to pick up his bags and leave the country," Maduro said in the televised speech.

Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't expecting the call from President Reagan that would change her life that day in 1981.

Some months ago, a fellow writer told me that Joyce Carol Oates was writing a vampire book. It turns out there is some truth in this seemingly far-fetched statement, just as there are grains of truth sprinkled throughout The Accursed, a sprawling tale of terrible events afflicting Princeton high society between 1905 and 1906. Oates began drafting the novel in 1984, when she first moved to this best-known of New Jersey college towns and became interested in its history. She put the project aside for many years but returned to it — and completed it — in 2012.

eatalabamaseafood.com

Leaders of Alabama's seafood industry are gathering in Mobile to discuss ways to increase demand for their products.

Officials from the governor to coastal industry executives will take part in the Alabama Seafood Summit being held Tuesday at the Mobile Convention Center.

The head of Alabama Marine Resources, Chris Blankenship, says the industry's economic impact is down almost $100 million annually since the BP oil spill in 2010.

He says the state's seafood industry needs to regain market share, and that's the goal of the summit.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

The image of Pat Summitt for many fans is that of a madwoman, decked out in orange, yelling to her players from the sideline. In 38 years as the head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, Summitt shouted her team to more victories than any other coach in the history of college basketball — men's or women's.

Now the famously fierce coach is facing an opponent unlike any other: In 2011, she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

On Dec. 26, 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing with her husband, her two sons and her parents in Yala, Sri Lanka. The day was just beginning when she and a friend noticed that something strange was happening in the ocean. Within a matter of minutes, the sea had wiped out life as she had known it. In a new memoir, called simply Wave, she recalls her experience with the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including her own family.

The cost of college can range from $60,000 for a state university to four times as much at some private colleges. The total student debt in the U.S. now tops credit card debt. So a lot of people are asking: Is college really worth it?

There are several famous and staggeringly successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. You may not end up with fat wallets like them, but Dale Stephens says you can find a different education path.

Fiction and nonfiction softcover releases from Nathan Englander, Amanda Coplin, Anthony Giardina, Rachel Maddow and Lauren F. Winner.

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As early as silent film, directors attempted to create widescreen images. But in the 1950s it became a commercial necessity to give the multitude of new TV watchers what they couldn't get on a small screen. So even before CinemaScope, VistaVision, Todd-AO and Panavision, there was Cinerama — a process in which three projectors threw three simultaneous images onto a gigantic curved screen. Cinerama offered what no TV or movie screen could provide before — peripheral vision, which could make you feel as if you were really in the midst of the action.

The HBO series Enlightened wrapped up its second season Sunday night. The show began as the story of a woman — the naive, idealistic, manipulative, determined and sincere Amy Jellicoe, played by Laura Dern — trying to put her life back together in the wake of a breakdown. After spending a couple of months at a New Age recovery center in Hawaii, Amy attempts to apply what she has learned to her life back in the real world of corporate America.

You may be used to hearing about Iran in the news — about its strained relationship with the U.S., or its internal political unrest, or the possible nuclear threat Iran poses.

But you may not hear much about Iran's impact on America's culture — from poetry to Silicon Valley entrepreneurship.

That's why Tell Me More's senior producer, Iran Davar Ardalan, decided to write the new digital book The Persian Square.

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The March issue of The Atlantic features an essay from Christopher Orr called "Why Are Romantic Comedies So Bad?"* In it, Orr asserts that romantic comedies have been "lackluster for decades." Decades.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

“In Love with Defeat: The Making of a Southern Liberal”

Author: H. Brandt Ayers

Publisher: NewSouth Books

Pages: 336

Price: $29.95 (Cloth)

H. Brandt Ayers, Brandy to his friends, has been publisher of the family-owned “Anniston Star” since returning home from Washington D.C. and taking over from his father, Col. Harry Ayers, in 1963. Now 78 years old, Ayers has published his memoirs.

“In Love with Defeat” runs along two parallel tracks.

First, it is an autobiography, a richly anecdotal look at Alabama’s last half century.

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Vice President Joe Biden said nothing shaped his consciousness more than seeing TV footage of voting rights marchers being beaten by state troopers on Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965.

Biden traveled to Selma on Sunday to participate in the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. The event commemorates the 1965 march, which prompted Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act and add millions of African-Americans to Southern voter rolls.

Author Jamaica Kincaid is out with a new novel, her first in 10 years.

Kincaid is perhaps best known for her books At the Bottom of the River and The Autobiography of My Mother. Her new book, See Now Then, tackles some difficult themes.

The novel opens with a scene of a seemingly idyllic home life in small-town New England. But it is soon clear the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Sweet is anything but sweet.

Margaret Bonds, who died in 1972, is perhaps near the top of the very short list of African-American female composers. Thanks to her partnerships with Langston Hughes and soprano Leontyne Price and others, she's remembered in some circles as an important figure in American composition. But, mostly, she's been forgotten.

"It's amazing that people don't know who she was, although she was quite well known in her time," says Louise Toppin, an opera singer and a voice professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh

An Alabama casino has won its bid for an expanded liquor license.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board says it could not conclude that specific gaming and machines at VictoryLand are illegal. The panel says that question would be up to the courts to decide.

Attorney General Luther Strange believes the ABC decision is moot following a state Supreme Court ruling that the machines don't resemble the game of bingo. Strange said the opinion should end debate about whether electronic bingo is legal.

Dozens of people are dead in the Pakistani port city of Karachi following a blast Sunday near a Shiite mosque.

Update at 3:16 p.m. ET Toll Rises

Authorities now say at least 37 people were killed and another 141 wounded in the blast.

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