October 12 marks the birthday of stop-motion animation pioneer Art Clokey. The creator of the iconic jade green clay humanoid, Gumby, and his faithful equine companion, Pokey, Clokey was among the very first animators to combine clay figures with stop motion, which he first did with a short film in 1953. Many animators followed in Gumby's rectangular footsteps, including "California Raisins" creator Will Vinton and "Wallace & Gromit" creator Nick Park. The 1990s saw the rise of computer generated animation, but a handful of film directors still like the unique textures and often eerie movement that stop motion offers, qualities that are on display in films such as "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Chicken Run," "James and the Giant Peach," "Coraline," and "The Fantastic Mr. Fox." But almost all great animators got their start with short films. Here are five of our favorite stop-motion shorts.
The 2011 National Book Award winners will be announced on Nov. 16. Which of these five books will be the winner of the award for non-fiction?
The 2011 National Book Award fiction winner will be announced on Nov. 16. Which of these five novels will be the winner?
Martha Stewart's daughter Alexis has recently published Whateverland: Learning to Live Here, a non-too-flattering book detailing her life with the domestic queen. Stewart is just the latest in a long line of children to publish memoirs about their lives with famous parents – some complimentary, others less so. The veracity of several have been called into question by family members or other doubters.
Sure, access to the Internet costs you something every month. But did you ever stop to think how much money it saves? Online price comparison and access to wholesale markets and group deal sites, like livingsocial.com and Groupon, can save the average consumer $8,000 annually, according to new study from the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a coalition that lobbies to make high-speed Internet access more affordable and widely available. “Generally Internet shopping can be a big money saver,” agrees Jody Rohlena. senior editor at Shopsmart magazine, but beware of online impulse buying: “It’s important to stick to your budget and try not to go crazy.” Here are nine areas of consumer spending where the Internet can save big bucks, according to the IIA study. Can you guess which spending category is in the top spot?
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas fighters more than five years ago, sparking outrage across Israel. Now he's set to be freed in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
"Phoenix Jones," Seattle's crime fighter, wore a mask as he entered a Seattle courtroom Thursday where prosecutors said they hadn't yet decided whether to file charges against him in an alleged pepper-spray attack. The superhero's brush with the law brought national attention to a citizen superhero who offered a low level of law enforcement for the city. But Phoenix Jones, who's real name is Benjamin John Francis Fodor, says he will continue fighting crime. Fodor is not alone. There are many other 'average Joes' who transform nightly into costumed vigilantes in the name of keeping villains off the streets for good. Here are five.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
David McCullough, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author – most recently – of “The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris,” imparted words of wisdom to a sold-out crowd at Boston’s Symphony Hall last week. Here are four pieces of advice from McCullough.
It’s Columbus Day – a time when faulty lore about the “discoverer of America” abounds. The myths surrounding the epic voyages of Christopher Columbus are as plentiful as the riches he supposedly discovered. Here are some commonly held beliefs that have endured since, well, 1492.
On Columbus Day, many Americans observe Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World, which the explorer himself mistakenly thought was India. True, it's not the most exciting holiday on the calendar. It's not even observed in every state, which means Columbus Day comes with a lot of gray area about practical matters, such as who's working and who's not. Here's your practical guide to Columbus Day.
It is not just the baby boomer generation that’s maturing, it’s their cars as well. The average age of a vehicle in the United States is a record 11 years. Moreover, the vast majority of car owners plan to hold onto their cars well past the 150,000-mile mark, according to a recent survey from AutoMD.com, and nearly 80 percent are racking up more miles (up to 50,000 or more) on their current vehicle than their previous one. If you’re driving something built before Facebook or the Y2K millennium bug, here are five tips to keep it humming well beyond the 100,000-mile mark:
The 'super PAC' promises to shake up the 2012 election. This new fundraising heavyweight – which Stephen Colbert famously brought attention to with his own Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow – heralds a new era of 'superspending' in politics. Here are the basics about super PACs and how their emergence may influence elections.
Apple's announcement Wednesday that founder Steve Jobs had died sparked waves of comment across the Internet, as techies and others chose their own ways to note his achievements or mourn his passing. Some recounted their own interactions with Jobs. Others had simple words of gratitude, adding "sent from my iPhone." On Twitter, many people tagged their posts with "#thankyousteve" or "#iSad." Among a multitude of noteworthy tweets, here are five ...
Rin Tin Tin was a magnificent German Shepherd with a great backstory and an unmatched Hollywood career. But more recently he was looking a bit like a fading babyboomer memory. Then, this fall, came the publication of Susan Orlean's book, Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend. Suddenly, Rin Tin Tin is trending on Twitter – and finding a whole new place in our hearts. I recently asked Orlean six questions about her book and its regal subject. Here are excerpts of our conversation.
The winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature – one of the highest awards a writer can receive – will be announced on Thursday. All across the world, literati are preparing for the big event in a decidedly plebeian way. They’re betting on the frontrunners. British bookmaker Ladbrokes has ranked the contenders’ odds, according to bets it is accepting online from “clued up literary fans.” Here’s a somewhat surprising look at the top four contenders.
Syria’s uprising is more than six months old and more than 2,700 people have been killed in the regime’s crackdown – and yet President Bashar al-Assad is still in power. That’s due in part to the fact that Mr. Assad still has several critical bases of support in the country, as well as one very important international ally. Here's a look at what they are:
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
The 2011 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, a notoriously hard-to-predict award, will be announced on Thursday. Here are the winners from the past decade. Some were surprise candidates while others were expected but all – in their own unique styles – caught the attention of the Nobel committee.
The saga of American Amanda Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito – who were found guilty of murdering a young British woman in Perugia, Italy, in November 2007 – came to a close Monday with their convictions overturned on appeal. Both were set free. The path to Monday’s decision has been a long and convoluted one. A look back at several key moments:
Will this crisis ever be over?! The nations of the eurozone seem to be fighting endless battles to address fears about government finances. The worry is that unsustainable national debt loads will result in default, a financial panic, or a costly repair effort that puts a squeeze on the economy in Europe and beyond. Here's a backgrounder on the problem, its consequences, and possible ways forward.
If you have found yourself in foreclosure – or having to sell your home without making a dime – it probably seems like the end of the world, or at least your life. But here’s a word of advice: Snap out of it! As two homeowners who have had their homes foreclosed, we not only survived, we’ve flourished. And so can you. Here's how:
Why do books get banned from schools and libraries? Even readers who disagree with the practice of banning can comprehend that books heavy on sex and/or violence can polarize decision-makers when it comes to young readers. But there are other books – titles like "Where's Waldo?" or "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" – whose presence on a banned book list seems completely mysterious. The following 20 books seem innocent to many, but they have nonetheless raised reader objections at one time or another.
"Dancing with the Stars," now in its 13th season on ABC, offers its celebrity contenders a huge amount of exposure – but not much of a career boost. Italian actress Elisabetta Canalis, bounced Tuesday in the second round, is likely to go back to her preshow level of popularity, as have most of the 160 "Dancing With the Stars" contestants. But a few have bucked the trend. Using the show's extraordinary exposure – this year's premiere netted 18.6 million viewers, nearly six times the highest ratings that DWTS contestant Nancy Grace ever got on her eponymous HLN show and more than double what DWTS competitor and US soccer goalie Hope Solo got in the Women’s World Cup final this summer – these five contestants have seen their careers take off. Can you guess who was tops?
Do you think your city has the worst rush hour? No, Los Angeles, it’s not you. And New York, fugetaboutit. On Tuesday, the Texas Transportation Institute, part of Texas A&M University in College Station, released its annual rankings, based on such things as yearly delay per commuter and travel time to and from work. Here are the five US cities that ranked as having the worst traffic congestion last year.