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October 12, 2013 | By Robert Hilburn
Johnny Cash's life in the 1960s is mostly remembered as a time of glorious achievement - from the landmark prison albums at Folsom and San Quentin to the launch of the ABC-TV series featuring such guests as Bob Dylan and the Doors that led to his becoming a giant figure in popular culture, a symbol to millions, no less, of the best of American social values. But Cash also experienced excruciatingly dark times in the decade, fueled by drugs and guilt over the breakup of his marriage.
April 25, 2014 | By Samantha Schaefer and Kate Mather
A man accused of deliberately running over his estranged wife's Chihuahua pleaded no contest Friday to an animal cruelty charge. Michael David Parker, 45, of Sherman Oaks, pleaded no contest to one felony count of cruelty to an animal and admitted to using his car as a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. Judge Keith Schwartz is expected to sentence Parker to 16 months in state prison and dismiss the remaining felony charges of petty theft of a dog and animal cruelty, the D.A.'s office said.
October 30, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Need a reminder that the world we live in is a totally incredible and visually bizarre place? You might consider looking under a microscope. This week, Nikon announced the results of its annual Small World Photomicrography Competition and the winning images are insane. In the photo gallery above you'll find the top five winners including the first-place image of the spiral-shaped, golden-yellow colony of marine diatom -- a type of photo plankton that sprouts thin white bristles.
April 23, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - It has come to this: California politics have become so one-sided that the only half-way intriguing statewide races this spring are for two largely ministerial jobs. One is secretary of state. The other is state controller. Both are pretty mundane. The secretary of state oversees elections and maintains public databases on campaign contributions and lobbyists' spending. The office also processes a lot of business-related stuff. Sounds simple. But under termed-out Democrat Debra Bowen, few things seemingly have been simple.
July 17, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Of all the ways to keep a writer's memory alive, the one held at Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, Fla., is certainly among the best: it's the annual Hemingway Look-Alike contest . In honor of Ernest Hemingway's nickname, the winner is crowned "Papa" for a year. On Thursday, the three-day event begins. There are qualifying rounds. There is an arm-wrestling contest. There is a Pamplona-inspired march through town dubbed the "running" (more like walking) of the "bulls" (the Hemingway look-alikes)
March 4, 2014 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Registration has opened for Warren Buffett's contest that will award $1 billion to anyone who can correctly guess the winners of every game during the upcoming NCAA men's college basketball tournament. Buffett is insuring the landmark contest, which is free to enter and sponsored by Detroit-based Quicken Loans. Quicken paid Buffett an undisclosed fee -- believed to be many millions of dollars -- to cover the $1 billion prize in the highly unlikely event that someone turns in a perfect bracket.  Those interested in entering the contest will need to first sign up at . The contest is limited to the first 15 million people who register.
February 11, 2010
The largest showdown of its kind, the 20th Annual Belly Dancer of the Universe Competition offers something for everyone: dance classes, competitions at every age, world-renowned belly dancers in different styles and an evening performance featuring international stars Suhaila Salimpour, Sadie and Atlantis. Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. $15-$30. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (562) 433-6615. www.bellydancerofthe universe.
January 31, 2014 | By Joe Flint
Musical sports highlights may become the next big thing online. AVbyte, a YouTube Channel headed by brothers Vijay and Antonius Nazareth, won a contest held by Fox Sports, YouTube and Ford to develop a new online show. The entry featured two sports anchors singing highlights. Musical numbers are what AVbyte specializes in on its channel .  AVbyte will get a six-month development deal with Fox Sports and a promotional package across Fox Sports' media channels that is valued at $1 million.
October 18, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists have long thought that bullfrogs generally can't jump more than a meter. Turns out they were wrong -- which they learned only after leaving the lab and heading to California to witness a county fair contest inspired by one of Mark Twain's most famous short stories. These biomechanists didn't go to the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee just to have a good time. The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, shows that sometimes lab studies don't reveal the full potential of animals' abilities, and the mechanisms underlying them.
January 18, 2012 | By Shan Li
Calling all inventors: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. wants you to parade your stuff. The nation's largest retailer is holding a contest, called Get on the Shelf, for a chance to snag a spot on its stores and website for your product. Think of it as American Idol: Retail Edition “That's uncovering the next great singer, this is uncovering the next product,” said Chris Bolte, vice president of @WalmartLabs, the retailer's social media and e-commerce arm. “This is a way for us to really provide our consumers with a voice on the kind of products that Wal-Mart carries.” That's because the contest will be determined by the public, who will vote on videos created by contestants and posted onto . Aspiring businesses and individuals have until Feb. 22 to upload a clip about their product onto the site.
April 16, 2014 | Gary Klein
In 2013, USC quarterback Cody Kessler endured a spring, summer and early fall of uncertainty, never knowing exactly where he stood on the Trojans' depth chart. That won't be a problem moving forward. First-year Coach Steve Sarkisian announced Tuesday that Kessler was the Trojans' starting quarterback, ending what was generously labeled a competition with redshirt freshman Max Browne during spring practice. "We can go out and win a lot of football games with Cody Kessler as our quarterback," Sarkisian said.
April 15, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
A former Compton Fire Department battalion chief pleaded no contest Tuesday to felony charges of arson of property and embezzlement by a public official. Marcel Melanson, 38, was accused of stealing valuable city-owned radio equipment, then setting a fire to cover up the theft. He is expected to be sentenced to three years and four months in state prison, a prosecutor said. Melanson must pay restitution, but the amount is still being determined, the prosecutor added. As a result of the plea, authorities dropped the more severe charge of arson of a structure and a second embezzlement count.
April 12, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - The arrest of a front-runner in the race for California secretary of state on corruption charges has made ethics a key issue for the seven candidates still in the contest. State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) quit the race after his arrest last month on charges of taking payments in exchange for official favors and conspiring to illegally traffic in firearms. He has pleaded not guilty. As the remaining candidates focus on the best way to clean up Sacramento, Yee's stumble has thrown the June primary competition wide open.
April 9, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Ruben Vives
The long-running Bell corruption scandal drew toward an end Wednesday when five former council members pleaded no contest to criminal charges and agreed to pay restitution to the small, cash-strapped city that could approach $1 million. The pleas end the prosecution of seven officials accused of bilking the city out of more than $10 million that they used for excessive salaries and perks. At one point, council members were receiving up to $100,000 a year for their part-time work, while the city's top administrator, Robert Rizzo, pulled in $1.5 million annually in total compensation.
April 2, 2014 | By Mike Helfgot and Bob Narang
CHICAGO -- A trip to Disneyland did not accompany Stanley Johnson's unprecedented fourth upper-division California state championship, but the Windy City is the place to be this week anyway. Hours after the 6-foot-6 Arizona recruit led Mater Dei to the state Open Division title Saturday night, he was on a plane headed to the McDonald's All-American game. He was the first player on the West squad to report to practice Monday. With a host of NBA executives seated just a few feet away, he went down hard Tuesday.
March 28, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
Magic Johnson never played in the NHL. While that might seem obvious to even a not-so-avid basketball fan, apparently under the bright lights of "Jeopardy!," it's not the easiest question (or as the case may be, answer). Given the clue, "100+ assists in an NHL season has been accomplished only 13 times, 11 times by this player," a contestant, named Joe, replied with the question, "Who is Magic Johnson?" Contestant Diane, who had more than double than Joe in her point bank, answered correctly, "Who is Wayne Gretzky?"
March 28, 2013 | By Nicole Santa Cruz
A 57-year-old Lake Forest City Council member has pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol after he was spotted driving on the wrong side of the road, authorities said. Peter Alan Herzog pleaded to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence after he was suspected of driving with a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit. On Nov. 17 around 8:15 p.m., Herzog made a left turn from Portola Parkway onto Lake Forest Drive onto the wrong side of the road, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
November 7, 2012 | By Kim Geiger
WASHINGTON -- In a race seen as a test of the strength for the tea party movement, Democrat Patrick Murphy appeared poised to defeat freshman Rep. Allen West, a top tea party figure, in Florida's 18th Congressional District. The race was one of the tightest House contests in the country, with Murphy receiving 50.4% of the vote to West's 49.6%. With all precincts reporting by Wednesday morning, Murphy's .8-point lead was greater than the .5-point margin that would trigger a recount, but West had not conceded.
March 26, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons
BRUSSELS -- The dispute over Crimea is not another Cold War but a “contest of ideas,” pitting an outmoded nationalism against the progress of democratic ideals, President Obama declared Wednesday as he sought to explain the Western response to Russia's seizure of the peninsula from Ukraine. Speaking in the capital of Europe, Obama cast the crisis as a fight between “the old way of doing things” and “a young century.” He also drew a contrast between the “bully” behavior of Russia and that of the Ukrainian protesters, whom he called the “voices for human dignity.” “The contest of ideas continues for your generation.
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