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January 31, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
I fell in love at first sight with Tina Fey's "30 Rock," the NBC sitcom that Thursday night will end our seven-season relationship with a double-length series finale. We have both grown in the interim - well, "30 Rock" has - and if it is not now the same series that first won my heart, by winning my head, it is an even better one, bold and confident and more completely itself. The show that premiered on Oct. 11, 2006, was in many respects a conventional backstage comedy. Fey's show runner Liz Lemon struggled with corporate interference in the form of Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy, "the new vice president of East Coast television and microwave programming" - GE owned NBC at the time - and an unruly new star, Tracy Morgan's Tracy Jordan , who introduced himself to her letting her know that, contrary to tabloid reports, "I'm not on crack, I'm straight-up mentally ill. " At the same time, it contained the seeds of all it would become - as a comedy series on NBC about a comedy series on NBC, it was self-referential and meta-fictional from the start, and an unpredictable line like "We're a team now, like Batman and Robin, like chicken and a chicken container" (Tracy to Liz)
January 24, 2013 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
LONDON - Britain, Germany and the Netherlands urged their citizens Thursday to leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi immediately, citing an imminent threat to Westerners months after an assault on the U.S. mission there killed four Americans. None of the countries would elaborate on the intelligence that prompted the advisory, but Britain's Foreign Office said it was "aware of a specific and imminent threat. " The stark warning came a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before Congress about the Sept.
January 24, 2013 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Behind the thick walls of one of Kabul's newest districts, Tooba Hotak practices driving her parents' Mercedes in a parking lot lined with cream-colored apartment buildings. The car lurches as she tries shifting gears, but the 16-year-old drives on, past a cluster of stores and a playground full of children chasing one another in the snow. Later, she slips into a pair of fluffy slippers for a chemistry class in her family's plush living room. PHOTOS: Afghanistan's new generation Tooba is being home-schooled in the British education system.
December 13, 2012 | By Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic
When inspired - which, when he began to play a raga, was often - Ravi Shankar could make you think he had mastered the secret of creation. The famed Indian musician, who died Tuesday at age 92, was not a doer but a maker. His sitar seemed no ordinary musical instrument causing the air to vibrate but a musical 3-D printer producing notes that were more like elementary particles, with mass and electric charge and all those funny properties physicists call up , down , strange , charm , bottom and top . But Shankar's particles also had the one scientists don't talk about: soul . In classical Indian music, a raga begins with the choice of a scale.
December 12, 2012 | By Anna Gorman
California has launched a mass media campaign to raise awareness about suicide prevention, officials announced Wednesday. The bilingual campaign , called Know the Signs , will include television, print, online and radio ads on how to recognize warning signs and how to help those at risk. The media outreach is part of a broader, $30-million suicide prevention effort in California that began last year and will continue through June 2014. Friends and relatives play an important role in preventing suicide by noticing changes and providing reassurance that help is available, according to mental health officials.
December 9, 2012 | By Marisa Gerber, Los Angeles Times
As one model powdered her face with some last-minute blush and another frantically tried to perfect her catwalk strut, a thin girl donning a tight, black trash bag started to panic backstage. Mariah Reyes, one of the student designers, rushed over to comfort her jittery classmate. "Four-second inhale, four-second exhale," Reyes said. "Remember, you look fabulous. " The Franklin High School sophomore had started counting the days until her school's Eco-Friendly Fashion Show weeks before it happened.
November 19, 2012 | By Christine Mai-Duc, Los Angeles Times
Some are slim and Zorro-like. Others are bushy, but well-kept. And still others, like Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino's, look like they belong on the mug of a biker dude named Bubba. Buscaino's handlebar mustache, one of a handful that have recently sprouted on City Hall faces, was grown in support of "Movember," a monthlong charity event geared toward raising awareness of prostate and testicular cancer. The sight of mustachioed staffers has become common along the corridors of City Hall in recent days - Tom Selleck look-alikes grabbing coffee or whispering asides to their bosses.
November 15, 2012 | From Staff and Wire Reports
Selig says he is examining Marlins trade Bud Selig was on hand when the Miami Marlins played their first regular-season game in their swanky new ballpark in April. The commissioner provided a glowing review of the $634-million project and boldly declared that opposition to the facility would fade away within five years. So far, it's not looking so good for that last prediction. Selig said Thursday he is examining the pending blockbuster trade that sends at least three of Miami's best players to Toronto for a package of prospects only seven months after the Marlins moved into their new home, which was financed primarily with tax money.
November 2, 2012 | By Dan Loumena
It's November, and this month the focus of cancer awareness shifts toward the men, who are encouraged to grow a mustache for what's been renamed "Movember. " While October is a month shaded in pink to raise breast cancer awareness for women, the Movember movement is an effort that began in Australia to raise men's awareness about prostate and testicular cancer. So, men, you're encouraged to grow your "mo" and help raise cancer awareness as well as funds. If you get involved, be ready to utter clever phrases such as "ready, set, mo" and "changing the face of men's health.
October 28, 2012 | Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Philosopher Paul Kurtz was called many unflattering names during his long career, including "Satanic free-thinker" and "dangerous corrupter of young minds. " But the name some of his critics considered most damning was the one he most prized. They called him a secular humanist. "You can call me a skeptic, a non-theist, an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptical, agnostic atheist, but the best term," Kurtz, a champion of science and debunker of religions and the supernatural, told the Associated Press years ago, "is secular humanist.
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