April 26, 2007 |
IN 1973, TOM WOLFE elected Joan Didion into the coveted circle of New Journalists after the latter published, in the Saturday Evening Post, "How Can I Tell Them There's Nothing Left?" It was the story of Lucille Miller, a suburban California housewife who was convicted of murdering her dentist husband for the insurance money and to be free to run off with her more prosperous lover.
July 23, 2012 |
Thanks to the miracle of DVR, my wife Rae and I spent the other night watching “Double Indemnity,” a film we hadn't seen in years. Directed by Billy Wilder, with a script by Wilder and Raymond Chandler and based on a novel by James M. Cain, it is a movie with an almost perfect noir pedigree. More than this, though, it is a classic story, one that speaks to both its moment (the book was written in the 1930s) and to ours. As Joan Didion writes in her essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream” : “This is the country in which a belief in the literal interpretation of Genesis has slipped imperceptibly into a belief in the literal interpretation of 'Double Indemnity.'" That's a great line, vintage Didion, and it highlights what she does so often in her writing: to stretch the particular until it seems universal, as well.
February 4, 1988 |
No longer can her blue eyes focus on the rare books she once helped track down and assemble into a world-renowned collection. No longer is she courted by dealers of rare books and manuscripts eager for her approval. Her mentor and former employer, Estelle Doheny, has been dead now for 30 years. But from her one-bedroom apartment across the street from Ventura College, 87-year-old Lucille Miller remembers it all.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 1995 |
Promptly at 9 a.m. every Tuesday, the members of Ojai Quilters Anonymous drag five eight-foot-long frames out of the closet, unfold metal chairs and set to work. With heavily calloused fingers, the 10 women who gathered one recent Tuesday guided tiny needles along the curving, penciled patterns--taking four, sometimes five or six stitches at a time as they attached finished quilt tops to backings, fixing in place the batting, or padding, in between.
March 17, 1991 |
A lot of people have made fun of Cucamonga over the years. The most famous, of course, was comedian Jack Benny, who thought the name was funny and often mentioned it in his radio and television shows. It almost always got a laugh. In one 1958 TV episode, for example, Benny and sidekick Rochester are standing in a train station as a voice on the public address system calls, "Train on Track 5 now leaving for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc!-amonnn-ga!" Then there's a pause. "Attention please, attention.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 7, 1987 |
When Roger Mahony was named archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles a year and a half ago, he inherited a two-edged problem concerning the archdiocese's seminary system: plummeting enrollments and skyrocketing costs. At the same time, Mahony learned that he was sitting on an untapped treasure chest valued at more than $20 million: the Carrie Estelle Doheny collection of rare books, paintings, paperweights, furniture and decorative objects. The collection was dedicated to St.