July 30, 2013 |
Right down to the brute functionality of its title, "The Smurfs 2" may be the platonic ideal of a major studio sequel - no markedly better or worse than the first and with just enough difference to lay claim to being something new. Just as with the 2011 film "The Smurfs," the new "The Smurfs 2" is a passable mediocrity. Again mixing live-action with computer animation, the story this time revolves around the bad wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who has been performing as a magician in modern-day Paris, kidnapping Smurfette (voiced by Katy Perry)
May 31, 2013 |
After a month of mediocre early-season apricots, the prime varieties, sweet, juicy and flavorful, are here or will be soon. Beyond the celebrated Blenheim, there are other worthwhile varieties, and a few are even better. Here are the leading apricots and apricot-like hybrids, in order of ripening, rated on a scale of 1 to 10 for flavor. The crop is about a week early this year and looks good in size and quality. • Apache (5 rating). Season typically May 5-25. Introduced by Ledbetter, USDA, 2002; has Royal and Perfection in its pedigree.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2013 |
Since retooling her campaign message last month, mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel has gone on the offensive against City Hall, telling audiences that the place is mired in mediocrity and needs to "return to a time of strong leadership. " "We must change the L.A. that has emerged over these past few years," she said in a recent speech. "Today, paralysis rules. " Yet a review of campaign records shows Greuel has publicly supported much of the current city political leadership. Over the last eight years, nearly two-thirds of the council's 15 members were endorsed by Greuel, who appeared in mailers, fundraising invitations and other campaign materials promoting them.
March 31, 2013 |
The Clippers became an average basketball team in March. They played .500 basketball for the month, going 7-7. "To be really good in this league, individually and team-wise, it takes a lot of concentration," guard Chris Paul said. "It's an 82-game season. It's a long season. And at times, it almost seems like we got bored with the process. Usually when teams are winning they get bored. We've got to get back to the drawing board. " Well, at least the Clippers don't have to worry about playing any more games in March.
March 5, 2013 |
The stock market is flying high, but much of small business America remains grounded. Unlike the big corporations that have been raking in huge profits and stoking the stock market toward the record close Tuesday for the Dow Jones industrial average, most small firms have yet to enjoy the fruits of the nearly 4-year-old recovery. Even though some small employers are starting to see daylight, particularly with the housing market coming back to life, analysts and business owners paint a picture of companies still hampered by weak sales and pangs of uncertainty, particularly over tax and government policies.
January 22, 2013 |
Sometimes casual assuredness can be a good thing: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walking down Pennsylvania Avenue after the second inauguration in Washington, D.C., for example, was an exercise in such confidence. But other times, ill-advised casualness can go wrong, as it did during Alicia Keys' much discussed performance at the Public Inaugural Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, one of two official inaugural balls on Monday night. The first mistake she made was to opt for a medley, as ungratifying a maneuver as can be done onstage.