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Why I disagree with George Clooney

George Clooney, director and star of The Monuments Men, speaking with co-star Matt Damon (Credit: Sony Pictures) My wife and I recently saw The Monuments Men, George Clooney's adaptation of The New York Times bestseller by the same title.  How much is fiction and how much is history?

When the Allies realized that Hitler was stealing the cultural treasures of Europe, we created the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives section of the military (the MFAA).  The "Monuments Men" were a group of approximately 345 men and women from 13 nations who served in this mission.  In the last year of the war, they located and later returned more than five million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis.

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Jay Leno's transition and a surprising faith fact

Late night talk show hosts Jay Leno (L) and Jimmy Fallon pose backstage at the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, January 13, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) Jay Leno has been the star of "The Tonight Show" for 22 years.  The comedian was famously forced off the show in January 2010 and hastily re-hired two months later after his replacement bombed in the role.  This time, the transition has been much more positive.  After leaving the show last Thursday, Jay immediately went back on the road as a traveling comedian.  As he told the LA Times, "I've always been a stand-up comedian that had a day job."

Transitions can be tough.  After Satya Nadella was promoted to succeed Steve Ballmer as CEO of Microsoft last week, critics are already claiming that the company should have brought in an outsider to shake things up.  J. C. Penney recently ousted CEO Ron Johnson 17 months after hiring him, returning his predecessor to the job.

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'Toothpaste terrorism' at the Winter Olympics

Workers put finishing touches on Olympic rings at the Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia, as preparations continue prior to 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games (Credit: Reuters/Kevin Liles) The XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia are continuing through February 23.  While all eyes should be on today's opening ceremony, the world's attention is focused instead on terrorism threats.  The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee warned Wednesday night that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, then used during flights or smuggled into the city of Sochi.

Russian transportation officials have already banned liquids in airline carry-on luggage.  Now authorities in the U.S. and Europe will clamp down on toothpaste and cosmetics as well.  Such explosives have been a problem for years: a time bomb concealed in a tube of Colgate toothpaste brought down a Cuban airplane in 1976, killing 76 people.  In 1989, a five-year-old girl lost four fingers in a Kmart store when she picked up a toothpaste container which exploded.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers answer critics

Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers performs at halftime of the Super Bow XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday, February 2, 2014 (Credit: Todd Rosenberg/NFL) I had no idea last Sunday that I'd be writing on the Red Hot Chili Peppers four days after they performed at the Super Bowl halftime show.  However, a controversy has erupted in the days after the game: it turns out the band didn't plug in their instruments before "performing" at halftime.  They have been widely criticized for "faking" their music on the world's biggest stage.

Now we get the rest of the story: they had no choice.  As their bass player later explained, the NFL required that the bass, drums, and guitar be pre-recorded.  The vocals were live, but the league worried about winter weather affecting the instruments and didn't want sound problems.  So the band recorded the instrumentals specifically for the concert, then had a choice to make.  They could plug in their instruments so that no one would know they were not playing live, or they could play them unplugged so as not to pretend.  They chose the latter, which the bass player called "the realest thing to do in the circumstance."

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'Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't have to die'

Philip Seymour Hoffman attends the premiere of the film A Most Wanted Man at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, January 19, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart) This headline caught my eye: "Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn't Have to Die."  The author states that poisoning deaths, most of which are due to drugs, are now the leading cause of accidental death in America.  She recommends three ways to help someone in danger of dying from an overdose: get immediate help for them, don't let them sleep it off, and use naxolone to reverse drug effects.

I would add a fourth: build a drawbridge for the soul.

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