January 13, 2014 |
The board of the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2013 awards Monday. There are five finalists each in six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The NBCC announced the recipients of three additional awards. The John Leonard Prize for First book, awarded for the first time, goes to Antony Marra for his novel "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. " The winner of the 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing goes to critic Katherine A. Powers.
December 12, 2013 |
The foreign-language film field for the 2014 Academy Awards is an uncommonly strong one, incorporating the luscious fever dream "The Grand Beauty" (Italy), the heartbreaking family drama "Ilo Ilo" (Philippines) and "Gris Gris" (Chad), the story of a man pulled into the world of gas smuggling, among so many others. But it's often the story behind the film that matters as much as the film itself. Haifaa Mansour's "Wadjda," for instance, is not only Saudi Arabia's first submission to the Oscars but the first feature ever shot in the country, whose ultraconservative government views cinema as a corrupt art form.
December 5, 2013 |
A geodesic dome home, something of a rarity in the L.A. County housing market, has come on the market in Whittier at $499,000. Futurist-philosopher Buckminster Fuller is credited with popularizing the eight-sided circular design, which has only about one-third of the surface space of a box-shaped house of similar floor space. Less exposure made the dome houses cheaper to heat and cool and they caught on in the 1950s. They continued to have a following in the 1970s and '80s. Fuller also used the shape in university buildings and the Montreal Biosphere museum.
November 29, 2013 |
The game of football has evolved over the years with different formations. We've had the single-wing, the split-T, the wildcat. Now, we have a new one. The concussion circle. The only player involved in this formation is the poor guy on the ground in the middle. The others are medical personnel, who are asking questions, checking eyeballs and taking the helmet away. There were three NFL games on Thanksgiving Day. We expected the usual amount of violent head-smacking. We weren't disappointed.
November 29, 2013 |
There it was, just sitting in the Sheyenne River - a perfect circle of ice, about 50 feet in diameter, gently rotating in the water. George Loegering's discovery of the huge ice disk last Saturday has been a big hit over the Web after his video of the phenomenon went viral. "It's an amazing wonder," Loegering, 73, of Casselton, N.D., said in the video, which was reproduced by the Associated Press. "I don't have a clue how it did it, but that thing is rotating, as you can see. " A National Weather Service hydrologist and a weather service meteorologist told the Associated Press that the ice circle could be attributed to the cold, dense air that collected over North Dakota last week - nothing nefarious.
November 14, 2013 |
In the rococo mid-'70s, my father and his three sons would gather around our black-and-white TV and watch World Wide Wrestling matches on Saturday afternoons. We were entranced by the long-running tag-team feud between "baby faces" - good guys - Chief Jay Strongbow (born Joseph Scarpa) and his partner Billy White Wolf, a.k.a Adnan Bin Abdulkareem Ahmed Alkaissy El Farthie (a high school chum of one Saddam Hussein), and "heels" - bad guys - Mr. Fuji and Professor Toru Tanaka, wizards of malice from the inscrutable Orient (both actually Hawaiians)