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December 30, 2013 | By Joel Silberman, guest blogger
WARNING: In addition to observations about social networking apps, online dating and the mercurial “gig” economy , the following article also includes allusions to sex, spirituality and the nature of altruism. It's the story of the nicest gift I received this year, and for some readers it may even result in a few New Year's resolutions. It is the story of how I became an opinion blogger for the L.A. Times. The unlikely events began with a Tinder date at the Cat and Fiddle Restaurant in Hollywood.
May 26, 2013 | By Catharine Hamm
BORACAY, Philippines - Can a million and a half people be wrong? That's how many vacationers are expected to visit Boracay Island this year. Can Travel & Leisure be wrong? That's the magazine that crowned Boracay the best island in the world. Can TripAdvisor be wrong? That's the website that dubbed Boracay a Travelers' Choice 2013 Winner. After my visit last year to this island 250 miles southeast of Manila, I decided that, yes, they could be wrong. Or misguided. Or I could be. I'm guessing that the visitors/voters aren't Californians on the far edge of middle age who fancy themselves beach connoisseurs.
September 30, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez
Coca-Cola fizzled in 2013, falling two spots from its ranking as the world's most valuable brand, according to a closely watched report released Monday. Coca-Cola was replaced by Apple in the 2013 report by Interbrand, a brand consulting company owned by the  Omnicom Group .  The report ranks companies based on a factors including financial performance and brand loyalty. The global report ranks companies that have a presence on at least three major continents.  In its latest rankings, Interbrand estimated the worth of Apple's brand to be $98.3 billion, up 28% from the year before.  The introduction to Apple's description reads like a gushing tech review: "Every so often, a company changes our lives, not just with its products, but also with its ethos," the report begins.
February 7, 2014 | By S. Irene Virbila
If you're one of the impatient ones, and have to have a bottle of Brangelina's latest rosé from Provence right now, you'll have to jet over to London or France. That's right. The first bottles of 2013 Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé will be sold first in France and England. There's been a waiting list for the wine since last year and the people on it were notified by email that they could sign on Thursday and buy one case of six bottles each. Just in time for Valentine's Day. Go to the website and you'll be informed very politely, in French, that the reservation list for the first bottles of the 2013 vintage is now closed.
January 21, 2014 | By Nardine Saad
It's a girl and a big reveal for Anna Trebunskaya of "Dancing With the Stars. " The ballroom pro welcomed her first child and finally named the child's father. The Russian hoofer, 33, gave birth to daughter Amalya Millan on Saturday at home, her rep told People. Upon first announcing her pregnancy in September, Trebunskaya opted to conceal the name of her baby daddy. But the statement revealed that Amalya's father is Trebunskaya's boyfriend, actor Nevin Millan, who has appeared in small roles on "True Blood," "CSI: New York" and "Nip/Tuck.
March 16, 2013 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
When his band mates reach for a way of describing Gustavo Santaolalla, the Oscar-winning musician and producer, they frequently compare him to rock 'n' roll legends: "the Argentine Bob Dylan," the "South American Brian Wilson," and so on. But if they really want to haul out the big-gauge superlatives, they turn to fútbol . (These are Latin Americans, after all.) "I don't know if you're a soccer fan," says Adrián Sosa, longtime drummer for Bajofondo, the stylistically omnivorous band that he and Santaolalla belong to, "but I compare him all the time with guys like Maradona, like Messi.
March 13, 2014 | By Robert Abele
Out to prove that the comic-book movie needn't be mega-financed behemoths, the scrappy superhero-noir indie "Sparks" busks its 1940s saga of dark redemption with considerable visual energy, if not always coherence or competence. Starting with wounded, wanted vigilante Ian Sparks (Chase Williamson) barging into a newspaper to report his own murder, the movie flashbacks - and flashbacks - to unravel a convoluted story stemming from a superpower-bestowing meteorite crash, Sparks' teaming with masked crime fighter Heavenly Lady (Ashley Bell)
November 4, 2013 | By Susan King
Lucille Ball took Robert Osborne under her wing more than 50 years ago when the Turner Classic Movies host was a fledgling young actor in Hollywood. The legendary "I Love Lucy'" star ended up changing the course of Osborne's life. Osborne's acting career was slowly building in the late 1950s. He was under contract to Ball and Desi Arnaz's Desilu Productions and had guest-star roles on TV series. He even appeared on the pilot episode of "The Beverly Hillbillies. " But one day, Ball took the native of Colfax, Wash., aside and told him, "you could be an actor, and I think you could be a success at it," recalled Osborne, 81. "But it's not going to make you happy.
December 30, 2013 | By Christopher Reynolds
The U.S. and Iran may have miles to go in their negotiations over curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the ease in hostility has already produced a boomlet in American travel to Iran. Three U.S.-based tour operators say they've seen a surge of bookings and questions about Iran in recent months. They've also heard encouragement from Iranian government officials, who met in New York with several U.S. tour operators during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to the city in September.
February 27, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Come Sunday night, director Steve McQueen's critically praised rendering of the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, may win the Academy Award for best picture. So why isn't everyone talking about "12 Years a Slave" around the water cooler, on the street, over coffee? It is arguably the most revered film in recent memory that so few have seen. Those who do watch it often leave theaters in a hush, finding it difficult to explain how they feel about what they've witnessed on the screen.
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