Charlottesville Breaking News

Blink: Driver asks if he's thrifty or crazy

 Dear Tom and Ray:       

I don't mind being called a sorry skinflint as long as I can justify my penny-pinching proclivities. I happen to believe that there are only so many "blinks" in a blinker. Therefore, I turn mine on only when absolutely necessary to signal another driver. For example, if I'm in a turn-only lane, I don't waste any blinks. Nor do I sit at a light with my blinker clicking and clacking, driving me nuts with the thought of all that wasted energy and technology until the light turns green. Am I right in my hypothesis, or do I need professional help?— Randy      

TOM: I would lean toward the latter, Randy.       
RAY: I mean, of course you're right that all mechanical parts eventually wear out. But you have to consider the risk/reward equation for what you're doing.       
TOM: On the reward side, you might save a few bucks on light bulbs over the life of the car. You might.       
RAY: And while the flasher unit generally lasts the life of the vehicle, sometimes the directional switch on the steering-wheel stalk will fail before the car does. If your behavior makes it last the life of the car, then you can save a few bucks there, too.     TOM: But here's something to keep in mind: You might not save any money. Let's say the typical directional bulb lasts 50,000 mil...

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Bugging out: Holiday stay sparks tension

Dear Carolyn:     

Both of our sons came home for Thanksgiving. We put up our older son and his family in a hotel and had our younger son, his new (second) wife and their baby stay in our guest room.     

How I wish I had switched! On Friday morning, the new wife said she had bug bites. I said that twice in the past I had bites also and thought they were from bedbugs. We had done some Internet searching and gone to my dermatologist and discovered bedbugs are not medically dangerous and not the result of uncleanliness. We gave her hydrocortisone and sympathized with her.     

That evening, they moved into the hotel. Our son said his wife was absolutely adamant that they get out of our home. She has the reputation of being a "strong" woman, and she earns a very high income, so she is able always to get her way.      My husband and I felt embarrassed and disappointed that she reacted that way, but we are aware that a first-time, 45-year-old mother probably had mother-bear hormones at play, and we don't blame our son too much for giving in to her demands.     

But what did that accomplish? She washed everything they brought in hot water, as did I with everything downstairs. My husband thinks she threw away their suitcases. We will buy plastic cases for the bed, but what else can we d...

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Violent mess: Sequel doesn't Kick Ass

By Richard Roeper

Jim Carrey played THIS character in THIS movie, and he was troubled by the violent content only after the fact?    

Flashback: About six weeks ago, Carrey tweeted, "I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence ... I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart."    

Of course we all share Carrey's grief over the horror of Sandy Hook— but it's fair to ask why he was OK with doing Kick-Ass 2 when so many other real-world slaughters, from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Fort Hood to Aurora, Colo., had already taken place.    


Perhaps Sandy Hook was the final straw for Carrey. Maybe he'll never participate in another violent film for the remainder of his career.    


In the meantime, Carrey is a lunatic force to be reckoned with in Kick-Ass 2 as Col. Stars and Stripes, a born-again, former mob enforcer with a vicious dog named Eisenhower. Clad in military garb, sporting a brush haircut and troubling dental work, wielding...

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Sky high: Local heart-throbs come back home

It might seem as if Parachute were an overnight success— but that would be selling their story short. The hometown heroes have gradually risen through the ranks, from a rascally high school band initially named Sparky's Flaw in the early 2000s to a pop rock outfit re-branded as Parachute, to, today, a slick, confident, and mature ensemble that's heard their songs in Nivea advertisements, shared the stage with artists including the Jonas Brothers, Kelly Clarkson, and Taylor Swift, and performed on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Arguably, the only way they could really be considered an overnight success is with the release of their third album— and only because Overnight is the title. In this iteration of Parachute's music-making, the band showcases heartfelt and emotionally-charged lyricism, more sophisticated production, and a touch of experimentation with hip-hop beats and spoken word lyrics. The album hints at a Justin Timberlake level of suave, indicating that the Parachute sound could one day move into the world of soulful R&B.

Yet these hometown boys have— and will continue— to stay true to their roots. With a Blue Ridge Mountain backdrop to their upbringing and the support of a community who "knew them when," Parachute's drummer Johnny Stubblefield assures us that these guys, now men in their late 20s, won't forget where they came from, and they won't let fame go to their heads.


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Chenoweth's 'Doubt': The summer you're glad you didn't have

Several drafts of Avery Chenoweth's new book, Radical Doubt, had been sitting on a shelf when a dire event at the gym made it imperative for him to get it published. "About a year and a half ago, I had a whopping heart attack," he says. "In the hospital they said if I'd been out jogging, I'd be dead."

The author of Albemarle: A Story of Landscape and American Identity had five or six unfinished novels sitting on the shelves as rainy day projects. "I felt the clock ticking," says Chenoweth— so urgently that he chose to publish Radical Doubt on Kindle rather than go through his agent, because if he found a publisher, it would take at least 12 months. "I don't have 12 months," says Chenoweth, 57.

Set in the '70s, Radical Doubt is about two college kids on a summer road trip who veer off to the Poconos to make money at a resort and end up encountering "a world they didn't know existed," says Chenoweth. "It's funny, creepy, and dark."

Very dark. Like prostitution, porn-video, violent-psycho dark. "As if Holden Caulfield wandered into The Shining or Blue Velvet," reads the book's description on Amazon.

Hook essayist Janis Jaquith couldn't put it down, and she insists the five-star review she wrote wasn't logrolling. "...I judge my author friends more harshly than I judge other authors," she says. "I don't know why this is so, but there you have it." She didn't even want to stop reading h...

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