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Dark Ages

October 27, 2003 | Merle Rubin, Special to The Times
"Aristotle's Children" opens in the Middle Ages when Christians from across Europe were trying to wrest control of Spain from the Moors and encountered great cities like Toledo and Cordoba that were in many ways more civilized and cultured than their own. They found splendid architecture, gardens, fountains and, most wondrous of all, a treasure trove of ancient classical knowledge and flourishing scholarship.
September 11, 2002
I am stunned that anywhere in our country young children can be tried as adults and charged with first-degree murder with the only possible penalty being a life sentence without parole ("Teen Brothers Guilty of Beating Father to Death," Sept. 7). Yet this is just what happened in Florida to Alex and Derek King, now ages 13 and 14 but certainly younger when the crime occurred. It shames me as an American. This sort of justice seems like something out of the Dark Ages, little removed from the lynchings in our past or the recent report from Nigeria of a woman being sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.
Fog rolls through the forest, cool and thick, muffling the clang of swordplay. All around, knights rush to aid their brethren waging battle against a horde of ogres. As the fog dissipates, the chaos becomes clear. The glory days of Camelot are long gone. Since King Arthur's recent death, the world has been cast into violence as Arthur's peace shatters and dark forces threaten the Kingdom.
October 5, 2001
Re "In War, Strange Bedfellows Welcomed," Opinion, Sept. 30: Robert Kaplan believes that we should ignore Gen. Pervez Musharraf's overthrow of the democratically elected government of Pakistan, claiming his dictatorship is preferable to the "notoriously corrupt" but elected government of Nawaz Sharif. This is not just wrong but dangerous. Democracies take decades to take root in a country. Corruption is often an inevitable and unfortunate consequence of the process; we have no further to look for proof than our own history books.
A multinational team of astronomers said Monday they have peered for the first time into the "dark ages" of the universe--an epoch so ancient that the stars and galaxies now sparkling throughout the night sky had yet to form. The finding suggests that after the universe formed some 13 billion years ago, it remained a foggy wasteland for 900 million years. Only then did the gas that pervaded the universe after the Big Bang begin to coalesce into stars and galaxies.
July 14, 2001 | STEVE SPRINGER
Boxing, always straddling that fine line between triumph and tragedy, between farcical hype and frightening hell, nearly stepped over into disaster Wednesday. It all happened in a few, stunning seconds that shook up several key boxing figures. Felix Trinidad, the epitome of cool, was outraged. Don King, maestro of hyperbole, was speechless. Bernard Hopkins, master of bravado, was terrified.
February 5, 2001
Re "State Approves Bond Sale to Pay for Power," Feb. 2: Why are we giving $10 billion to the power companies? Wouldn't $10 billion be better spent (through subsidies and tax credits) on energy-saving lightbulbs, appliances, air conditioners and machinery for our homes, businesses and industries to solve this crisis, lower our energy bills, make our businesses more competitive and help the environment? GERALD A. CATERINA Huntington Beach Huh? Taxpayer money is going to be used to buy billions in electricity, and then the taxpayers are going to be charged through the nose to use the electricity they just bought.
November 12, 2000
I read with interest Dana Parsons' column, "Untreated Mental Illness Can Be Criminal," (Nov. 3) about Steven Abrams, a mentally ill man who killed two children on a playground by running into them with his car. Parsons' article touched on the dire need for reform in the way we handle the mentally ill. I can personally attest to this, since my son, now 31, is severely mentally ill with paranoid schizophrenia. We must amend the Landerman-Petris-Short Act in California so that we can get these people treated before more tragedies happen.
September 17, 2000
It is worth noting that there is also a reverse flow to the "rising tide of vulgarity" ("Snorkeling in the Cesspool," by Patrick J. Kiger, Aug. 20). Some of the marvelous riches of our cultural heritage are beginning to seep back into the mass media. A popular book on corporate management refers to a medieval invasion from the Russian steppes. A mechanic in a car ad knows the natural history of the coelacanth. Even Dennis Miller draws an analogy to "Beowulf" on Monday Night Football. From Aladdin to Xena, interest in ancient myth is being revitalized.
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