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February 21, 2014
After a weeklong stay, the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix sent me on my way on Jan. 5 with five stitches, a titanium alloy plate in my neck and a hard plastic Össur Miami J cervical collar that will remain on my neck until late March. A few weeks later, I learned what I'd been charged for the Miami J: $447. Had I been given the chance, I could have purchased the brace online for less than $100. Allowing that sort of comparison shopping is one small thing policymakers could do to slow the growth of healthcare spending.
February 21, 2014 | By Rene Lynch
We all know plank position is good for us. But. Um. What if you lack the core strength needed to suck in the gut and engage the back, glutes and quad muscles - all while balancing between your toes and elbows? Answer: You slowly and carefully work your way up to it, says fitness expert Tosca Reno , author of the new book "The Start Here Diet. " What it does Plank position puts nearly every muscle in the body to work, especially the abs. It also helps create a mind-body connection as students learn to use opposing muscles to hold the position.
February 19, 2014 | By Steve Dilbeck
And for today's most hilarious Dodgers quote, we bring you Manager Don Mattingly: “I like platoons.” Right, and Chris Christie is crazy about the George Washington Bridge. But before you worry Mattingly has gone all Billy Beane on you, understand spring is about possibilities and managers get asked about a lot of them, few of which they're willing to take off the table. Particularly in February. So if Mattingly is asked whether he could foresee a scenario where rookie Alex Guerrero platoons at second base, what is he supposed to say?
February 17, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
It was a strange sight. After all this -- 16 years, five Winter Games and as many career obituaries as medals -- TV's most mercurial Olympics star, Bode Miller, was shown mainly as a man ... waiting. Yes, later there would be that cringe-inducing spectacle when a reporter prodded Miller so heavily about his late brother he fell to the ground in tears. It was a beyond-the-pale moment that tied in to a larger culture of death and victimhood (not to mention post-race grief-peddling)
February 16, 2014 | By Lisa Dillman
SOCHI, Russia -- He stunned people last week at the Olympics when he talked about having more concussions than his age, seeming blissfully unconcerned. There was the great leap over a moving train, while on a snowboard several years ago, much to the great displeasure of folks at Union Pacific. Recently, he ignited the Internet with a stunt at Travis Pastrana's compound in Maryland, blasting off a massive ramp, into the sky, seemingly headed for trouble and "kicked off a tree" before landing safely.
February 15, 2014 | By David Colker
Artist Nancy Holt's best-known work, "Sun Tunnels," is outdoors, huge and open to the public - but only a relatively small number of people have seen it in person. It sits on 40 acres of land she bought in a desolate part of the Great Basin Desert in northwest Utah, accessible only by dirt roads with no buildings in sight. There sit four massive concrete tubes, each weighing 22 tons and towering more than 9 feet tall. The tubes are precisely oriented to frame not only landscapes in the distance but also the ever-changing patterns of the sun and stars in the sky. By limiting what someone in a vast open space can see, Holt meant to make the universe more personal.
February 14, 2014 | Roy Wallack, Gear
If the five-toed shoe and the kettle bell were among the biggest innovations in workout gear in recent years, how do you make them better? That's the question that inventors face every day as they try to improve the seemingly unimprovable. Below, find four valiant - and fairly successful - new takes on old fitness standbys. Split-toe running shoe TOPO ATHLETIC Run Trainer: Ultralight low-rise running shoe with a split-toe "Tabi" design that separates the big toe from the rest of the foot, theoretically allowing it to move independently and work as a key stabilizer, amplifying the foot's natural biomechanics.
February 13, 2014 | By John Horn
Winning an Oscar - or just being nominated - can transform a Hollywood future. Yet just because some actors and filmmakers weren't shortlisted for an Academy Award doesn't mean their great work is going unrewarded. Critics have rightly pointed to 2013 as one of the best movie years in recent history. Consequently, the fields for top Oscars were impossibly crowded, with highly praised performances by Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey left on the sidelines.
January 24, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
  Picture the prototypical NFL coach. He'd probably look a lot like Hall of Famers Vince Lombardi or Tom Landry, roaming the sideline in a suit and fedora, jaw set permanently to scowl. Or maybe it's Bill Belichick, stationary in a hoodie and headphones, unsmiling and seemingly unimpressed. Now compare that with the hyperkinetic Pete Carroll, whose laid-back, players-first approach led the Seattle Seahawks to 15 victories and a Super Bowl berth this season.
January 24, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
The first time Armistead Maupin ended his "Tales of the City" serial - in 1989, with his sixth novel, "Sure of You" - he did it with a departure. Mary Ann Singleton, who had initiated the series by calling her mother in Cleveland to say she was staying in San Francisco, took a network TV job and left the Bay Area for New York. It was a sad if not unexpected outcome. In the 15 years since Maupin had first started writing about Mary Ann, her friends Michael, Mona, Brian and their irrepressible landlady, Anna Madrigal, a lot had happened: Anita Bryant, the People's Temple, AIDS.
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