Breathe easy, and don’t mind the raccoons

A smokestack in Detroit.

By Jim Tortolano, E Pluribus Unum A raccoon walked into our house. Brazenly strolled through the open casement doors one morning and looked around like he was a potential buyer. Then, he strolled back out. That might not seem like a big deal if you live in the back country, someplace rural and rustic, but […]

Movie review: “Catching Fire”

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum For too many years, the narrow portfolio of female action heroes was limited to stars like Angelina Jolie, who had to fight in tight tank tops and short-short-shorts. While Jolie is not a bad actress, she was often cast in roles in which her spectacular, uh, assets were best […]

Movie review: “Delivery Man”

Vince Vaughn and Chris Pratt in "Delivery Man."

By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum You have to love Vince Vaughn.  He’s everyone’s favorite well-meaning slacker. Smarter than he looks, his characters half-fast it through some of the most pleasing comedies of a generation: “Swingers,” “Dodgeball,” “Wedding Crashers,” “The Internship” and now “Delivery Man.” Of course, he always comes out on top, his genuine […]

Drones: hit or myth?

A MQ-9 Reaper drone

By  Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum Nikola Tesla thought up the idea.  A hobbyist named Reginald Denny built the first one, and Barack Obama’s military is making them a household name. Officially, they are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); you and I know them as drones. Not only is Uncle Sam using these sleek, menacing-looking aircraft in […]

Movie review: “The Book Thief”

Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nelisse in "The Book Thief."

By Sarah Cooperman/E Pluribus Unum Just before the deluge of “holiday blockbusters” composed of dumb sequels and kid’s books, comes a trickle of intelligent, thoughtful movies that will no doubt get squashed at the box office. “The Book Thief” is one such film. Adapted from the novel by Markus Zusak, it tells the story of […]

Who’s next? L.A. or London?

Wembley Stadium in London.

By Pete Zarustica/E Pluribus Unum We don’t build palaces for kings and pharaohs any more; we build them for football teams. Where we build these stately (and hugely expensive) pleasure palaces is the source of much speculation and anguish. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said recently that he wants league franchises in Los Angeles and London. […]

Obamacare’s “Mickey Mouse” rollout

Walt Disney shows plans for Disneyland to Orange County officials in 1954.

By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum A charismatic leader overreaches, or seems to.  His biggest accomplishment starts disastrously.  Poor planning, a fistful of first-day glitches and disappointed customers.  Media criticism, finger-pointing and near-panic. Sounds an awful lot like a description of the bumpy rollout of “Obamacare,” as one portion of the Affordable Care Act is popularly […]

Book review: “Catastrophe: 1914″

Royal Irish Rifles in the trenches during World War I.

By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum Of all the great conflicts in the last 100 years or so, the one that seems the most pointless and heartbreaking is World War One. In his new book “Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War,” Max Hastings paints a vivid and depressing portrait of a continent destroying itself in what […]

Movie review: “Ender’s Game”

Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford in "Ender's Game."

By Sarah Cooperman/E Pluribus Unum Like the trajectory of objects in space, the new sci-fi flick “Ender’s Game” is describing the ascent of one actor and the descent of another. Asa Butterfield, who won rave reviews in “Hugo” and “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” puts this space opera flick on his capable 13-year-old back […]

Should you be a veteran?

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By Jim Tortolano/E Pluribus Unum Are you a veteran? Should you be? Monday is Veteran’s Day, an observance that began after World War I as Armistice Day.  It is an event featuring remembrance of Americans who served in the armed forces in our many wars, with speeches, flags and ceremonies. But the number and percentage […]

Movie review: “Last Vegas” improves with age

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  By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum   There’s a scene in “Last Vegas” where a sixty-something Michael Douglas, speaking at a funeral, looks at the dead guy and says “See you in 30 years.” If we’re lucky, that is. It’s hard not to see this movie aimed at aging baby boomers and not think […]

What if JFK had lived?

758px-Lyndon_B._Johnson_taking_the_oath_of_office,_November_1963

I was sitting in a fifth grade classroom when the principal’s voice came over the loudspeaker.  President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. He was dead. Like almost everyone else on Nov. 22, 1963, I was stunned and saddened. I was a particularly political kid; my family and I all worshipped JFK in a way […]

The selling of the unions

800px-AFA_Flight_Attendants_picketing_Northwest_Airlines_(San_Francisco_International_Airport,_August_15_2006)

By Jim Tortolano E Pluribus Unum If you were one of millions of Americans who watched football or the World Series this past week, you probably know about Papa John’s latest pizza offer, Volkswagen’s new “clean” diesel car and that Coors Light is literally – supposedly – hacked out of the frozen wastes of the […]

The shadow over the NFL

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By Pete Zarustica E Pluribus Unum   The National Football League is riding high.  The league has a fistful of appealing stars, TV ratings (and revenue) are through the roof and a grip on the nation’s attention on Sunday that many churches would envy. However, there’s trouble in paradise. Medical evidence (and lawsuits) are piling […]

Movie shorts: “Gravity” and “12 Years A Slave”

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By Sarah Cooperman E Pluribus Unum   Hollywood loves its predictable stories. And so, frankly, do film-goers. Do you really want to plunk down $13 and spend two hours if the bad people win and the big stars get toasted? Course not.  But it would help is film-makers came a wee but closer to reality.  […]