Woman plays role in own brain surgery

PITTSBURGH—For an agonizing four hours on the operating table, without even a tranquilizer to take away the nervous edge, Marilyn Nicholson had to remain alert enough to be able to lead a surgeon through the minefield of her brain. This was a landmark operation in brain surgery, incorporating ‘‘an incredible array of technology never before used in this combination,’‘ boasted Dr. Joseph Maroon, Marilyn’s neurosurgeon at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.

‘The capture of Rome in WWII was a triumph of will.

Once before—in the sixth century by the Byzantine general Belisarius—had Rome been captured by an army attacking from the south. The reason was simple: mountains after mountains after mountains. That the Allies of World War II did so was a triumph of will over geography, misery, blundering and a tenacious German army that turned the vaulting crags of Italy’s spine into shooting galleries.

‘Digging for marbles at defunct glass factory

CLARKSBURG, W.Va.—When Roger Hardy began digging for marbles, people thought he’d lost his. Hardy, 43, has spent much of the past 24 years on his knees digging for marbles and glassware discarded by the defunct Akro Agate Co. But what was once trash is now treasure. A marble that once sold for a penny can fetch $20 or more and a single large Akro agate in its original packaging is worth $800.

‘Tina Turner biography rejuvenates a film genre

LOS ANGELES—The success of the Tina Turner film biography ‘‘What’s Love Got to Do with It?’‘ breathes new life into showbiz biopics, a movie genre that has produced such evergreens as ‘‘The Glenn Miller Story’‘ and ‘‘Love Me or Leave Me,’‘ but lately has been in short supply.

Fashion designers prowl the streets of Rome, Paris, New York, eyes open, antennae up, to pick up the signals of what ordinary women are wearing—right off their closet racks. Then they go back to the design boards and … voila! Something similar on the back of a model comes down the runway and costs several thousand dollars more than Tillie the Toiler found in her closet.

‘Dollops of sci-fi and sly humor in new ‘Western’ series

LOS ANGELES—The 1890s American West is the backdrop for ‘‘The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.’‘ But don’t expect a traditional Western TV series, says star Bruce Campbell. While viewers get horses, saloon scenes and villainous gunslingers, ‘‘Brisco’‘ also mixes in dollops of science fiction and sly humor.

Tony Award opens new doors for Anthony Crivello

NEW YORK—Ever since Anthony Crivello won the Tony Award for his portrayal of a fiery revolutionary in ‘‘Kiss of the Spider Woman,’‘ the 38-year-old performer has been deluged with mail and phone calls from friends and possible job offers. Not bad for an inner-city kid from Milwaukee, the third of four children of a brewery worker who loves opera and who sent his two sons to a Catholic boys’ school on the other side of town to expand their horizons.