May 20, 2012 |
Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama Alison Bechdel Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 290 pp., $22 First things first: If you haven't read "Fun Home," Alison Bechdel's 2006 family memoir in comic form, drop everything and get a copy right away. In its pages, Bechdel does the miraculous: tracing deftly and with nuance her complex, claustrophobic relationship with her father, an English teacher and closeted gay man who died in 1980 (in what was either accident or suicide), shortly after Bechdel came out as a lesbian.
May 13, 2012 |
In Los Angeles, red carpet treatment is not just for celebrities. Here, mere mortals can find specialists - medical concierges, cat whisperers, image consultants - for almost everything. And that includes experts who are hired to help families prepare for their newest members. Enter the baby planner. Before the advent of the current expert culture, it was a role that used to be filled by mothers, grandmothers and best friends, doling out advice, shopping lists and favors.
April 8, 2012 |
No Time Like the Present A Novel Nadine Gordimer Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 423 pp., $27 With the title of this novel, her 16th, Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer once again shows her preternatural capacity to take a slangy catchphrase and make it right to the point. And one that is absolutely appropriate to her novel's milieu and, beyond that, to its subject matter in general. To read "No Time Like the Present" is to plunge into the caldron that is South Africa today, a chaotic now which cannot avoid the dark shadow of a heavy past: "There was a Pleistocene Age, a Bronze Age, an Iron Age. "It seemed an Age was over.
March 24, 2012 |
The smile on Andrew Bynum's face widened. “This is so fun,” he said. The reasons pointed to everything with his performance in the Lakers' 103-96 victory Friday over the Portland Trail Blazers, in which he scored a team-high 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting. He threw down two alley-oop lobs from Pau Gasol to open the game. His eight fourth-quarter points featured an array of moves, including a baby hook shot over LaMarcus Aldridge, a lob from Josh McRoberts and two short-range jumpers in the paint.
February 19, 2012 |
This year's Oscar nominees for cinematography present a particularly varied cross-section of contemporary filmmaking at a time when the very infrastructure of how movies are made and seen is in transition. Consider: 35-millimeter film prints are being phased out in favor of digital projection. Consumer still cameras can be used to shoot high-definition digital video. Video on demand is becoming a popular viewing option. Even the venerable Eastman Kodak, which produces the film stock on which many movies are made, recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
February 16, 2012 |
Bill Chait is leading a half-dozen colleagues through a two-story factory that has been converted into lofts on the edge of downtown's Arts District. The building is the future home of his next project, a $1.2-million, 140-seat trattoria called Bestia, in the shadow of the 7th Street bridge, next to train tracks that run along the L.A. River. Among its neighbors are a furniture warehouse, a diesel gas station and an all-nude strip club. "It's the SoHo of L.A.," says Chait, a soft-spoken but steely 51-year-old with dark, side-parted hair, slightly big ears and metal-framed glasses.
February 10, 2012 |
The U.S. Air Force is thinking about buying some iPads - somewhere between 63 and 18,000 of them. In a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website , the Air Force's Air Mobility Command office says it is specifically interested in purchasing the iPad 2, but will also consider other brand-name tablet devices. The tablets will be used as electronic flight bags for flight crew members and trainers - replacing the hefty bag of manuals and navigation charts currently used by pilots and navigators that can weigh as much as 40 pounds.
January 25, 2012
By a surprisingly unanimous vote, the Supreme Court this week ruled that police must obtain a warrant before attaching a tracking device to a car or other vehicle. The decision is a welcome affirmation of the constitutional right to privacy in an era of advanced technology. But the majority opinion's rationale was needlessly narrow. Whether there is a broad right to freedom from new kinds of intrusive electronic surveillance remains to be answered. The case involved the conviction of Antoine Jones, a suspected drug dealer in the District of Columbia who was arrested after being monitored for 28 days by a global positioning system device surreptitiously attached to his Jeep by law enforcement agents without a warrant.
January 22, 2012 |
At dawn on the dock, a few sailors kiss spouses and dogs goodbye. Then we muster on the quarterdeck: 17 crew (nine volunteers and eight professional sailors) ranging from a 19-year-old South Carolina college student to a 76-year-old Michigan farmer. I have cruised the South Pacific, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on the most luxurious ships afloat and have been crew on sailing and racing sailboats for decades in inland lakes, the Great Lakes and the Caribbean. As a volunteer on a tall ship, however, I knew I'd have a rare chance to learn classic skills and be part of a genuine adventure.
December 13, 2011 |
Amazon.com Inc. is rolling out a software update to its bestselling but criticism-plagued Kindle Fire tablet. A spokeswoman for the Seattle e-commerce giant said the update would be available in less than two weeks and would improve performance and touch navigation. It will also give customers the option to edit what items display on their carousels — a landing page that shows what users have been up to on their tablets. Currently, all recent activity — including books read, games played, television shows watched and websites visited — are shown on a user's carousel.