["Downey's performance is intriguing, and unexpected. He doesn't behave like most superheroes: he lacks the psychic weight and gravitas. Tony Stark is created from the persona Downey has fashioned through many movies: irreverent, quirky, self-deprecating, wise-cracking. The fact that Downey is allowed to think and talk the way he does while wearing all that hardware represents a bold decision by the director, Jon Favreau. If he hadn't desired that, he probably wouldn't have hired Downey. So comfortable is Downey with Tony Stark's dialogue, so familiar does it sound coming from him, that the screenplay seems almost to have been dictated by Downey's persona."]
["The main palace in Nepal's capital lowered the flag of the country's royal family Thursday, a day after lawmakers, led by former communist insurgents, abolished the monarchy that had reigned over the Himalayan land for 239 years."]
["Faced with a decline in DVD sales, Warner Brothers, part of Time Warner, is planning an unusual effort around its upcoming adaptation of the popular graphic novel "Watchmen." Directed by Zack Snyder and set for a March 2009 release, the big-budget movie tells the story of a group of retired superheroes who are tied to a conspiracy that could change history. The twist is that Mr. Snyder, known for turning the Spartan comic book series "300" into a global hit movie, is also directing a separate-but-related picture that Warner plans to distribute exclusively on DVD. The second film, tentatively called "Tales of the Black Freighter," follows a side "Watchmen" storyline about a shipwreck and will arrive in stores five days after the main movie rolls out in theaters. The DVD will also include a documentary-style film called "Under the Hood" that will delve into the characters' backstories."]
["While Ian Fleming certainly didn't create the spy novel - he did create its greatest, most well-known secret agent of all time. Fleming's novels sit atop the genre at its popular height during the Cold War. The films, of course, were even more popular. With the mania surrounding James Bond it is pretty much impossible to look at Ian Fleming on his centennial anniversary without the prism of 007. Fortunately, since Bond is a reflection of his creator, it can only do Ian Fleming honor that we dwell on his masterwork. Ian Fleming's life would have been noteworthy even without the Bond books. He was the son of Valentine Fleming, a banker and a parliament member who, during the Great War, died a hero in France (Valentine's friend, Winston Churchill, wrote an appreciation of the man for The Times). Ian's older brother, Peter Fleming, was a famous adventurer and notable travel writer in his own right."]
["One of the travelers who arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport over the weekend may have picked up an unusual souvenir from customs—a package of cannabis. A customs official hid the package in a suitcase belonging to a passenger arriving from Hong Kong as a training exercise for sniffer dogs Sunday, but lost track of both drugs and suitcase during the practice session, a spokeswoman for Tokyo customs said. Customs regulations specify that a training suitcase be used for such exercises, but the official said he had used passengers' suitcases for similar purposes in the past, domestic media reported."]
Quote of the Day: Doctor Who
"There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
Image of the Day (click to enlarge): Illustration to a CNN story about a woman who spent her life in an iron lung.
Clip of the Day: I'm in a men-dressed-in-nun-drag-lifting-phonetic-signs-in-time-with-the-Hallelujah-Chorus kind of mood.
_____________________________________________________ "Links for the Day": Each morning, the House editors post a series of weblinks that we think will spark discussion. Comments encouraged. Suggestions for links are also welcome. Please send to email@example.com.