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December 23, 2013 | By Jessica Gelt
Nearly a year after he died, beloved television host Huell Howser is being commemorated with a special tribute on KCET. The channel -- the nation's largest independent public television station -- issued a call to fans to vote on their all-time favorite episodes of Howser's shows "California's Gold" and "Visiting with Huell Howser. " Each episode of the former, which was Howser's most popular show, features Howser introducing viewers to very special places and people in California.
December 16, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Was there ever an actor who aged more gracefully, more beautifully than Peter O'Toole, who died Saturday at age 81? I know the conventional wisdom is otherwise, insisting that, physically at least, O'Toole bore the ravages of a hard-lived life. I said as much myself writing about 2006's "Venus," noting that it was "wrenching" to see his character "sitting on his bed, rumpled and fragile and without the will to get up until he slaps himself hard and says, 'Come on, old man.'" That performance earned O'Toole his eighth Oscar nomination, the most for any nonwinning actor.
December 16, 2013 | By Mark Z. Barabak
The 2016 presidential field is a long way from sorting out. In fact, as of now there is no officially declared field, just a small platoon of wannabes and talked-about possibilities. As this story notes , the prospects include an unusually large number of lawmakers hailing from just a handful of states: two apiece from Texas, Florida, Wisconsin and  New York.  It is an unusual confluence of geography and ambition that is without precedent in modern times, and possibly goes back to the country's founding.
December 15, 2013 | By Paresh Dave
Despite a hole in the infield and a depleted bench, the Dodgers already have the makeup of a playoff team. And with pitching a key factor in postseason success, it's not surprising that bookies are listing the Clayton Kershaw-led Dodgers as favorites to win next year's World Series. But to be champions, the Dodgers would have to become the first team in at least 13 years to win the World Series after opening with the best odds, according to the online sports book TopBet. The odds boards at Las Vegas Hotel & Casino have cast similar droughts since the New York Yankees reigned as expected three times in a row from 1998-2000 and won again as favorites in 2009.
December 13, 2013 | Bill Dwyre
The last CashCall Futurity to be run at a soon-to-be-closing Betfair Hollywood Park will feature a 13-horse field of 2-year-olds, each trying to establish himself as a Kentucky Derby contenders. The winner Saturday will receive 10 points toward that Derby entry the first day in May. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer's Shared Belief has been made the morning line favorite at 7-2, followed by another Hollendorfer horse, Tamarando, at 4-1. John Sadler's Kobe's Back shares the third favored spot with Bob Baffert's Tap It Rich, both at 9-2. The $750,000 race will be run at 1 1/16 miles and will mark the 33rd and final race in the Hollywood Park series.
December 13, 2013 | Times staff reports
Some facts and figures about the Heisman Trophy, which will be presented today in New York ¿(TV: ESPN, 5 p.m.) to one of six finalists: In the beginning New York's Downtown Athletic Club, which presents the trophy, asked sculptor Frank Eliscu to design the trophy in 1934. Role model Eliscu used Ed Smith, a back on the 1934 New York University football team, as his model. The first design received approval from Jim Crowley, one of the legendary Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, who was then coaching Fordham.
December 12, 2013 | By Susan King and Rene Lynch
An unflinching look at slavery in America and a story about 1970s con men dominated the Golden Globes nominations Thursday morning, with "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" earning seven nods apiece, including best picture, best director and a slew of acting nominations. The nominations help catapult both films to solid front-runner status on the road to the coveted best picture Oscar, as well as Academy Awards for filmmakers Steve McQueen and David O. Russell, and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper.
December 7, 2013 | By Noelle Carter
Over 250 entries were submitted in the L.A. Times Holiday Cookie Bake-Off this year, and more than 3,700 votes were cast by readers. We took the top 50 vote-getters and put them to the test today at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena . Judges included Food editor Russ Parsons, deputy Food editor Betty Hallock, KCRW's Good Food host Evan Kleiman and myself. The results are in! Here are our 10 favorite holiday cookies from this year's Cookie Bake-Off: Suzie's sugar cookies --  Sheri Miyamoto Mom's holiday crescent cookies -- Jeanne Kantak Czechoslovakian nut bars -- Mary Martin Chocolate peanut butter crinkles -- Carol Gendel Frosted orange crispies -- Penny Haselmo Meyer lemon lavender shortbread -- Deb Love Brown butter pecan shortbread -- Zora Margolis Chocolate peppermint snaps -- Ben Rode Pistachio-cranberry icebox cookies -- Sandra Lee Smith Candy cane chocolate mandel bread -- Gail Field RECIPES: Check out our past Holiday Bake-Off finalists and more in our new California Cookbook We'll be inviting the readers who submitted the top 10 cookie recipes to downtown L.A. for a tour of the Test Kitchen and to be photographed in our studio.
November 28, 2013 | By Mary MacVean
On Thanksgiving, the folks at Cafe Gratitude feel that everybody else has finally caught on. At Cafe Gratitude, plates are printed with the question that goes around many holiday tables: "What are you grateful for?" And each day at Cafe Gratitude, there is a question of the day - a practice some find too precious for words and some take as a nudge to live mindfully. Thursday's question was the obvious: "What are you grateful for?" "We're supposed to be grateful 365 days a year," said Ryland Engelhart, one of the owners of the chain of Cafe Gratitude restaurants and the company's chief inspiration officer.
November 21, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
As the automotive test director for Consumer Reports, Jake Fisher drives hundreds of cars a year and is known as one of the toughest critics in the auto industry. The Times took a cruise with Fisher at the L.A. Auto Show on Thursday and asked what he thinks are the most important new cars to make their debuts at the show. 1: The Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup truck. “It really looks impressive and it is nice to see an auto company taking smaller pickup trucks seriously,” Fisher said.
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