Fifty years ago three men set out into the frigid waters of the San Francisco Bay in a raft made out of raincoats. It was one of the most daring prison escapes in U.S. history from what was billed as the nation's only "escape-proof prison" — Alcatraz.
Most people assume the men have been at the bottom of the bay or were swept out to sea since the night they broke free, tunneling out of their cells in part with spoons from the kitchen and climbing the prisons' plumbing to the roof.
After more than a year's worth of appalling news about atrocities in Syria as President Bashar Assad's regime cracks down on dissent, now there's this:
"New crises have caused enormous suffering for children and continue in 2012. In Syria, children were victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence, by the Syrian Armed Forces, the intelligence forces, and the Shabbiha militia.
Alan Furst is fixated on a place on the verge of all-out war — and his many readers are grateful for his obsession.
Furst is the wonderfully inventive author of a series of novels set in Europe on the eve of World War II. He's often been compared to John le Carre, Graham Greene and other masters of fictional espionage. But it's time to consider him on his own merits.
For even the most distinguished of bands, the phrase "first album in a quarter-century" is cause for concern. Who among us is anything close to what we were "back then"? By what means of dark magic could any group reunite after such a layoff and reproduce anything resembling its previous chemistry? Band reunions come and go, and most often the result is forgettable at best.
Yvonne the Cow became famous for her escape from a German farm, and certain slaughter. For months, she eluded her owner and a bull sent to lure her out. Now Yvonne may replace the late Paul the Octopus, who predicted the winner for all of Germany's 2010 World Cup soccer matches.
The legend of the escape from Alcatraz has always held that Frank Morris and Clarence and John Anglin would return for the 50th anniversary of their famed 1962 prison breakout. Tuesday was that anniversary. And while the men, who would now be in their 80s, haven't been heard from in half a century, family members went to the island for the first time to wait — along with U.S. Marshals — just in case.