October 30, 2010 |
Not a short story, not quite a novella ? wasn't that a Britney Spears song? ? the oxymoronic long short story is an underemployed literary form. (For argument's sake, let's say the long short story ranges from 30 to 60 pages.) F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (1922) is a perfect example of the length's virtues: the story, covering the whole of a character's life, is ample enough to be divided into chapters, yet the execution retains an antic swiftness that lofts the bizarre premise.
November 15, 2009 |
The subject of women's rights in the Middle East is contentious. Sensational media coverage of honor killings and child brides equates religious conservatism with gender inequality, incensing Western feminists on the one hand and provoking regional backlashes on the other. The reality is far more nuanced, according to the 2009 Global Gender Gap Report released in late October by the World Economic Forum, which ranks countries based on women's economic participation, educational attainment, health and political empowerment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 19, 2009 |
Guy Graham Babylon, 52, a Grammy Award-winning musician who played keyboards with Elton John's band for more than 20 years, died of arrhythmia Sept. 2 at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks. Babylon, an Agoura Hills resident who swam competitively during his youth in Baltimore, was stricken while swimming and later pronounced dead at the hospital. "I am devastated and heartbroken at the death of Guy Babylon," John wrote in a tribute on his website. "He was one of the most brilliant musicians I ever knew, a true genius, a gentle angel -- and I loved him so much."
April 12, 2009 |
Religious edicts are generally not fodder for beauty salon gossip, but as soon as Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Fadlallah issued a fatwa allowing women to pray wearing nail polish, word spread through Beirut faster than knockoff Prada bags. "All the girls in the Dahiyeh are talking about it," said 29-year-old Nadine Dirani, a veiled mother of two living in the Dahiyeh, Beirut's heavily Shiite southern suburbs. "I think it's an important step, and why not?" she said. "It makes our lives easier."
January 4, 2009
Pineapple Express Sony, $28.96/$34.95; Blu-ray, $39.95 The Judd Apatow comedy factory cranks out another wildly uneven but mostly enjoyable comedy with this shaggy-dog story about two potheads (played by the hilarious James Franco and the movie's co-writer, Seth Rogen) who inadvertently cross a local gangster and end up running for their lives.
December 21, 2008
Re "Sweeping view of the past," Dec. 14 I was saddened to read about Babylon and wondered how could the different governments of Iraq over the course of their existence been so ignorant and nonchalant in failing to preserve one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I wish a powerful entity could be created to protect and restore historic sites in Third World countries before they are completely obliterated and fall into eternal oblivion. After all, the hanging gardens of Babylon do not belong to Iraq only -- they belong to the world.