Charlottesville Breaking News

Incredible Carell: If Michael Scott were a magician

by Richard Roeper

Welcome back, Hilarious Jim Carrey. We've missed you.

In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a predictable but often terrific absurdist comedy, Carrey plays Steve Gray, a long-haired, tattoo-spangled, masochistic performance artist/illusionist from the Criss Angel/David Blaine school. Forget about walking on hot coals; this guy sleeps overnight on hot coals and asks for a wake-up call.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a Will Ferrell sports comedy without Will Ferrell and without the sports. In plot and tone, in a screenplay recipe that's two parts lunatic comedy and one part shameless sentimentality with a dash of romance thrown in, this magic-themed buddy movie isn't so different from Blades of Glory or Kicking & Screaming or Semi-Pro or Talladega Nights. (And gosh, Will Ferrell's made a lot of sports comedies, hasn't he?)


Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) is a pompous, clueless, sexist blowhard who somehow comes across as at least somewhat sympathetic, perhaps because we've seen the abuse and the hard knocks he endured as a child. It's as if...

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Neighborhood dog by the name of Luce.

Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at

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Letter: New skatepark for kids or adults?

It will be interesting to see if the new skateboard park [Hook March 7, 2013, article, "Pop-shove-it! Charlottesville skate park re-opens in McIntire] will be designed for the benefit of children or the ease of adults.

Across the nation and the world, municipalities who built low-cost concrete parks for the efficiency of parks departments' maintenance budgets and personnel, found that they were swiftly abandoned to become cement jungles. Will there be a concrete eye-sore abandoned in the middle of McIntire Park? Will it be a street park or a ramp park? Do city officials know the difference?

Here are the comparisons, through the eyes of children, between wood and concrete construction:

Injury- What child (or parent) would prefer skating on a surface with the knowledge that they could acquire severe lacerations, scrapes, bruises and even concussions or breaks from contacting such a brutal, unforgiving surface as concrete? By contrast, specially treated wood ramps and recycled plastic flooring mats allow for children’s mishaps–and there are multitudes while learning to skateboard–with pliable, giving surfaces.
Cost per child- Wheels last much longer on softer wood surfaces, allowing more diverse socioeconomic groups to partake in the sport. Then there is the cost of personal injury…..
Maintenance- Yes, it would cost less in the short run to pour concrete instead of repla...

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Peace plan: Scott Atran talks to terrorists

Scott Atran runs with a rough, international crowd– jihadis, mujahideen, and lashkars– otherwise known as Islamic fundamentalists, otherwise known as terrorists, who have invited Atran into their worlds. As we know all too well, their worlds can be dangerous, even for a westerner with an invite.

Atran visited Kashmir after the earthquake in 2005 to look at relief efforts, as well as to investigate jihadi groups, who were riding around on military trucks and using loudspeakers to announce that people had turned away from God, and that the way back to God was to join the jihadi movement. Shortly after arriving there, Atran, hosted by Kashmiri Nationals (neither pro-Indian, nor pro-Pakistani), was told that Lashkar-e-Taiba (an Al Quaeda-affiliated group operating mainly out of Pakistan) was looking for him, a search, he says, that equated to a death threat. He had to hide under the floor-boards of a mosque.

In Sulawesi, Indonesia, he was interviewing a jihadi commander by conducting an anthropological experiment, which involves asking the question: If a child is born to Zionist parents but is raised by jihadi parents, will the child grow up to be a Zionist or a jihadi?

Atran claims he has asked this question in many countries all over the world and never feared for his life afterward, but his experience in Sulawesi was different. The commander replied: "The child would grow up to be a jihadi." Then he looked at Atran and asked, "but,...

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The week in review

Latest slam on the BoV's June debacle: The American Association of University Professors releases a report on Rector Helen Dragas' firing of President Teresa Sullivan and calls it a "crude exercise of naked power," as well as "a failure of judgment, and alas, of common sense." Ted Strong has the story in the Daily Progress.

Latest bombshell in the Hash case: Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins said in a 2010 deposition he was told to forge reports and lie to the prosecutor's office as lead investigator in the 1996 murder of Thelma Scoggins, and that he didn't believe Michael Hash had anything to do with it. Hash's conviction was overturned in 2012 when a federal judge cited police and prosecutorial misconduct. Now being sued by Hash, Jenkins says he believes Hash was the murderer. The Culpeper Star-Exponent has the story.

Biggest leak: A natural gas leak in the median of U.S. 29 March 13 closes the road between Rio Road and Hilton Heights Road for several hours.

Biggest leak week: Charlottesville launches "Fix a leak week," part of an EPA national program to fix residential water leakage, from March 17-23.

Biggest whistleblower reduction: Judge Norman Moon slices a jury award of $1.46 million to former UVA assistant p...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse