September 14, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS - Conspiracy theorists are flocking to the Las Vegas sports books to bet that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will fight to a draw Saturday night. MGM Resorts race and sports book director Jay Rood said Saturday that after opening as a 30-to-1 proposition bet, the draw has shrunk dramatically to an 8-to-1 bet. Rood said that number is a “ridiculously bad” bet on such a long-shot occurrence. The bettors are trying to outthink the strange turns a major boxing match can take.
September 14, 2013 |
With macho-sounding names like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and the Spartan Race, obstacle course races have turned mud, sweat and tears into a flood of revenue. Over the last year, obstacle races have surpassed marathons in popularity, with an estimated 1.6 million participants paying hefty fees to slosh through mud pits, crawl under barbed wire, scale 10-foot walls and plunge into troughs of ice water. Course organizers are raking in millions of dollars in the process. But race organizers and participants say the adrenaline-pumping races may have reached a crucial point, with course designers now forced to dream up new obstacles and themes or risk losing the novelty that has driven the hugely profitable sport.
September 14, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS - Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on another boxing clinic here Saturday night. The student was a young Mexican redhead named Saul Alvarez. Or Canelo, which means cinnamon. Mayweather's sweet science has never been sweeter. Just to put the icing on the cake of his overwhelming victory, Mayweather danced away the final 10 seconds of the fight. For Alvarez fans, the fear was that their 23-year-old hero would be too slow and plodding for the lightning-fast Mayweather. The fear was realized, in front of a sellout of 16,500 in the MGM Grand Garden and a worldwide audience that might have been unprecedented in numbers.
September 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - For homeowners who were looking to the federal government's reverse mortgage program to supply lots of cash for their retirement years, here's a heads-up: The pipeline just got narrower. Pressed by Congress to slash losses, the Federal Housing Administration recently outlined a series of steps designed to limit the maximum amounts that seniors can draw down on their homes and to make qualifying for a reverse mortgage tougher. Starting in January, applicants for FHA-backed reverse mortgages for the first time will have to qualify under comprehensive new "financial assessments" - covering credit history, household cash flow and debt levels - to make sure they have the "capacity and willingness" to meet their financial obligations under the terms of the loan.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 11, 2013 |
In a parking lot behind a Pico Boulevard building, inside a makeshift tent of metal poles and tarps, a man in a white coat and black skullcap grabs a white-feathered hen under the wings and performs an ancient ritual. He circles the chicken in the air several times and recites a prayer for a woman standing nearby whose aim is to symbolically transfer her sins to the bird. The young man then uses a sharp blade to cut the hen's throat. In the days before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, this ritual will be repeated untold times in hastily built plywood rooms and other structures in traditional Orthodox Jewish communities from Pico-Robertson to Brooklyn, N.Y. Promotional fliers on lampposts in the area advertise the kaparot service at $18 per chicken or $13 apiece for five or more.
September 6, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Citing unspecified possible threats to U.S. personnel, the State Department moved Friday to reduce its diplomatic presence in Lebanon and Turkey, two nations bordering war-torn Syria. The decision comes as the White House is contemplating an attack on Syria because of that nation's alleged use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government denies U.S. allegations that its military carried out a deadly poison-gas attack last month in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital. U.S. authorities ordered a drawdown of “non-emergency” personnel and family members from Lebanon and from the consul general's office in Adana, in southeastern Turkey, close to that country's border with Syria.
August 30, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - The thousands of teachers who have been jamming the streets in this congested capital city for nearly two weeks to protest an education reform package have no immediate plans to leave, and the threat of their continued presence is prompting calls for the government to forcibly move them out. The teachers, members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, have been marching daily and blocking major thoroughfares, trying...
August 30, 2013 |
Dinner parties on the Westside of Los Angeles are never a simple affair. To pull off the casual elegance required of such an evening often entails hours of painstaking planning. The same can be said of a movie re-creation of such a party, where the glasses must be refilled to a particular height, the dip placed just right and the question of whether to use coasters becomes an actual dilemma. "Would it be blasphemous if we don't use coasters?" asks Nicole Holofcener, the writer-director of "Enough Said," a new romantic comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini in one of his last roles.
August 29, 2013 |
There's a new Bob Ross-style art show on the Internet. It's called "Drawing Stories With Travis Millard," and it features the eponymous artist sitting at a wooden desk by a cozy fire, telling strange tales from his life while simultaneously drawing them. The intro for the series is a campy riff on nature shows from the 1980s. Millard runs through the hills of L.A., takes pictures with an old camera and plays with a cat. The drawing portion of the show is tongue-in-cheek PBS refinement.
August 27, 2013 |
Botched or beautiful? When it comes to the merits of team jerseys, it's all in the eye of the beholder, of course. Keeping that in mind, it was hard to muster even fake outrage -- or perhaps vacation had something to do with it -- when an ESPN blog recently ranked the Kings' jersey dead last in the NHL. That was simply hard to take seriously if you closely look at the competition. But anything connected with the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is a different matter. Nonchalance is not an option.