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December 20, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Even as much of the nation rushed by plane, train and car to get somewhere to celebrate the holidays, the weather was in a Grinch-like mood. As many as 95 million people will be in motion in the annual rite of making it to some relative's or friend's house to celebrate, according to the AAA. That is a slight increase of about 0.6% from last year, but it is the fifth consecutive year of growth. According to the AAA, about 30% of the nation will be on the move from Saturday to Jan. 1, 2014.
December 20, 2013 | Chris Erskine
With its rosy-cheeked sunsets and chiseled good looks, California is as fine a place as any to celebrate the solstice and all its attendant after-parties. Christmas, for one. After observing 55 of them, I'm starting to think this little celebration might really be taking off. In California, you don't really need to hang lights this time of year. Where Eastern states turn sullen and sooty, California has this natural December glow, the sun buttering up the aspen or backlighting the mountaintops.
December 20, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Cars don't fit under the typical Christmas tree, but a holiday buying surge could make December the biggest month in a big year for the auto industry. Heavy advertising and discounts could launch U.S. auto sales this month above the 1.5 million sold in August, the top month so far this year, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with car shopping website The December car sales frenzy is a new phenomenon. "Prior to the recession, December was very average," Caldwell said.
December 20, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Rudolph the fictional reindeer was famous for his oddly colored nose, but his true-life cousins have eyes that change color depending on the season. In the summer, an interior part of the eyes of Arctic reindeer appears gold, and around Christmas it turns a deep blue, biologists have discovered. It's not holiday magic, but rather a unique adaptation that helps these animals deal with the strange light conditions at the top of the world. The reindeer's world is one of extremes.
December 20, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
The holiday travel crowds at Los Angeles International Airport will be even bigger this year, with passenger volume expected to be 8.2% higher than last year, the airport said. From Friday until Jan. 2, 2.6 million passengers are expected to fly in and out of LAX, compared to 2.4 million in the same period last year. LAX is the sixth-busiest airport in the world and the third-busiest in the U.S. The busiest days in the 14-day holiday travel period will be Friday, Saturday, Thursday, Dec. 27, Dec. 29 and Jan. 2. On each of these days, nearly 200,000 travelers will file through the airport.
December 19, 2013 | By Samantha Schaefer
Volunteers are hoping to fill one of Los Angeles' largest animal shelters with more than 200 pet beds so dogs and cats will have a soft place to sleep this holiday season. Tracy James, who has been volunteering at the L.A. Animal Services North Central Shelter since 2009, came up with the idea after reading about a similar drive at another shelter. The beds, which have frames made of metal or PVC pipe and vinyl support, are a better alternative to the hard concrete floors or plastic beds - sometimes used as chew toys - currently in the shelters, James said.
December 19, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Trinkel De La Paz, 24, loves this holiday's deep discounts because they're enabling her to be a more generous Santa. To herself, that is. The Silver Lake graphic designer bought herself an iPad mini and some clothes discounted on Cyber Monday, and she's not done. De La Paz said she feels free to splurge on herself because she has extra money from a recently landed job, a new apartment waiting to be spruced up and only one present to buy for her family's Secret Santa exchange.
December 19, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - The Senate headed for a bitter conclusion to an often-acrimonious year, with Democrats vowing to remain in session until they confirmed Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve along with other pending nominees, despite delaying tactics by Republicans who are upset over new filibuster restrictions. Rather than adjourn Thursday, as many members had hoped, the Senate was due to remain in session overnight and probably hold a rare weekend vote after Republicans spurned a request from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
December 18, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
With a week to go before Christmas, retailers are in full battle mode, with many unveiling plans to keep their stores open for marathon stretches to give last-minute gift buyers every opportunity to spend. Toys R Us will throw its doors wide starting at 6 a.m. Dec. 21 - the consumption craze known as Super Saturday - and won't wrap up until 9 p.m. Christmas Eve. During that 87-hour spree, the chain also will tempt customers with price-matching programs, a constant cycle of inventory updates and discounts on hot items such as the Furby Boom toy. In New York's Times Square, the Toys R Us store has been open since 8 a.m. Dec. 1 and will remain operational through 10 p.m. on Dec. 24 in an unprecedented 566-hour run. Then there's Kohl's, whose doors will stay unlocked for more than 100 straight hours for the first time.
December 18, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Two kinds of cinematic traditions can be celebrated in the coming weeks, starting with the annual Christmas Eve "Fiddler on the Roof" sing-along dreamed up by the Laemmle chain and now expanding to no less than six theaters. The Broadway musical, based on the classic Tevye stories by preeminent Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, was made into an Oscar-winning film (for Oswald Morris' cinematography and John Williams' score) in 1971 that boasts Isaac Stern playing violin on the soundtrack.
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