CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2013 |
Elmore Leonard populated his novels with con men, hustlers and killers, with names like Chili, Stick and Ordell. He plunged readers into a sea of urban sleaze, spiking his tales with mordant humor and moral ambivalence. In stories often set in Detroit or South Florida, he betrayed a love for down-and-out characters and pitch-perfect dialogue. A line from his novel “Be Cool” makes a point in typical Leonard style: “'Chili Palmer's a talker,'” Nick said. “ 'That's what he does, he talks.
August 5, 2013 |
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, two friends and I decided to develop a little known pulp novel into a film. The book in question was Harry Whittington 's 1959 kidnap caper “A Ticket to Hell,” which had recently been reissued by Black Lizard. We tracked down Whittington, pooled our resources and offered him $1,500 for the rights. He agreed, but within a week, we discovered there was already an option out on the novel - a detail Whittington had neglected to share.
July 20, 2013 |
You always know where to find me at a picnic or potluck: I'll be that guy standing by the deviled eggs, probably with my elbows out, the better to fend off all competitors. Sorry, I know it's rude, but these little things are so delicious. And until recently, they were one of those foods that were only served by the homiest of home cooks. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I made them myself. All that changed a few weeks ago when I had dinner at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey.
July 19, 2013 |
As anti-drug-trafficking agents closed in on a North Korean freighter about to enter the Panama Canal this month, the crew from the rogue communist country took evasive action. They sought to outrun the swift Panamanian patrol boats with their 450-foot tramp steamer, loaded down with at least six containers of antiquated Cuban air-defense equipment hidden under 10,000 tons of bagged sugar. They pushed back investigators in a vain effort to prevent being boarded. They sabotaged the ship's crane to hinder the searchers' access to the cargo.
June 27, 2013 |
Paula Deen, the Southern celebrity chef, has been dumped from the Food Network like a stale beignet. Her Georgia roots are what made her a unique talent in the foodie world, and the darker ends of those roots are what got her in trouble. When her use of the N-word and her less-than-PC racial humor came to light in a court deposition, Deen suddenly found herself swept up in the kind of bad publicity that offers no upside. (There's Charlie Sheen bad -- so bad that it becomes entertainment; and there's Mel Gibson bad -- just plain toxic.)
June 1, 2013 |
I ate my share of lobsters while spending summers in Rhode Island. My family still talks about the 10-pounder we bought from a shop in Galilee. We spent an hour scouring the neighborhood looking for someone who owned a pot big enough to cook it. Lobster is still one of my favorite foods of summer - that's when it is the cheapest, when they move closer to shore and the fishing conditions are better. A good lobster is something to be relished, eaten with your hands, the buttery juices wiped from your chin and licked from your fingers.