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Perfect World

June 3, 2010 | By Christy Grosz, Special to the Los Angeles Times
While the thought of paternally polished Cliff Huxtable giving flawed advice or Alex Keaton's dad, Steven, losing his smooth post-hippie cool was inconceivable to TV audiences in the 1980s, today's parents in prime time unapologetically embody all of the imperfections and missteps that make up actual family life. Such shows as "Parenthood" and "Modern Family" derive humor and drama from their characters' unattainable quest for perfection, a goal with which any parent can strongly identify.
April 18, 2010 | By Ed Park
I like it when the full import of a title is felt only at the very end of a story, or in the space just beyond -- think Thomas Pynchon's "The Crying of Lot 49." Laura Kasischke's seventh novel, "In a Perfect World" (Harper Perennial: 310 pp., $13.99 paper), is such a brisk and engaging read that I forgot about its tepid handle till I hit page 207, about two-thirds of the way in. By this point, the deadly and mysterious Phoenix flu has caused a breakdown in American society, if the small Midwestern town of St. Sophia is any indication.
December 6, 2009
A handwritten note is the most personal way to say "thank you" during the holidays, whether it's for a cashmere scarf or a Sunday night dinner. "Writing thank-you notes is an important skill, one that you should teach your children even before they can write," says Jacqueline Whitmore, a Palm Beach, Fla.-based author and the founder of "I can't tell you how many e-mails I get from grandparents who are upset with their grandchildren, or with their children for not teaching their grandchildren to write thank-you notes.
March 24, 2009 | Margaret Wappler; Mikael Wood; Randy Lewis
Prince "LotusFlow3r" * * * "MPLSound" * * 1/2 Bria Valente "Elixer" * * By now, most music fans are well aware that Prince will self-release three albums that will sell in one $11.98 bundle at Target and on the artist's website starting Sunday. Which one you fancy the most depends on what flavor of Prince "u" prefer -- the nasty antiquity of "MPLSound," the guitar-hero antics of "LotusFlow3r" or the VIP-lounge purrs of his protegee Bria Valente on "Elixer."
August 6, 2008 | Diane Pucin, Times Staff Writer
The perfect 10 is what changed Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton from pert pixies into international sporting stars and helped make gymnastics one of the most popular events at the Summer Olympics.
June 28, 2008
Re "LAFD tattoo coverup muddles real mission," Column, June 21 Los Angeles Fire Department brass and our union have haggled for many years over tattoos and other issues. But if a fire engine stopped in front of your burning home, you would see little or nothing on any of the firefighters to tell what race or sex they are, let alone the tattoos they may have. All you would see is well-covered bodies working to save lives and property belonging to someone they don't know. But if a firefighter visits the school of Sandy Banks' young daughter, does he have her full attention as she wonders whether his tattoos are a tribute to family, fallen firefighters or an off-duty lifestyle?
December 9, 2007 | Choire Sicha, Special to The Times
Gabrielle Union has been cast as a cheerleader (in "Bring it On") and a doctor (in the CBS series "City of Angels"). She moves into the "seasonal" genre in "The Perfect Holiday," which has her dating Santa. Or someone who plays him in a department store. It's a Christmas spectacular! That's the first time I've heard it referred to that way, and I'll use that too! It's sort of weird that they say this is an "urban" Christmas movie. No one calls "Fred Claus" the white Christmas movie.
May 31, 2007 | Mark Sachs
LONG before Britney, there was the 1980s pop phenomenon known as Tiffany, who helped turn shopping malls into concert venues and herself into a chartbuster. Who can forget her remake of Tommy James and the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now"? But it's not all about memories for the Tiff. Her new album, "Just Me," arrives Tuesday. Now married to Benn George and living in O.C. with son Elijah, she says the new songs reflect her experiences and such influences as Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow.
February 9, 2007 | Booth Moore, Times Staff Writer
LEAVE it to Michael Kors, America's favorite fashion pundit on "Project Runway," to send out a collection so upbeat it had us dancing in our seats. There were no super-skinny models at this show, just Kors' thoroughbreds, their legs buffed and bronzed under incredibly short skirts, their chauffeured tootsies in crocodile platform sandals no matter the windchill.
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