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January 22, 2013 | Bill Plaschke
It starts with the lights. The Clippers never dim the Staples Center lights, allowing their shrieking crowd to become one with their soaring team. The Lakers darken the arena as if they are performing in a nightclub, the Clippers act like they are playing Coachella. It continues with the court, which squeaks and thumps and rumbles when the Clippers are covering it with the sort of effort that sends Blake Griffin sweat spitting into the stands. When the Lakers play, with the exception of a few hard Kobe Bryant breaths, this same court is quiet.
January 6, 2013 | Chris Dufresne
If you loved the Rose Bowl, you might also enjoy Monday night's Bowl Championship Series title game between Notre Dame and Alabama. Think of this as a pumped-up version of Stanford versus Wisconsin, a defensive, clock-control matchup that ended in a 20-14 Cardinal victory. Notre Dame and Alabama boast fine defenses and like-minded philosophies on how championships are won. Times staff writer Chris Dufresne examines the BCS title game's story lines. Take it or leave it No one said the BCS is perfect or that the best team has to win. You could even argue one-loss Oregon is the best-looking team playing right now. Notre Dame is 12-0 but survived several harrowing finishes to finish the regular season undefeated.
January 1, 2013 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
It was about a quarter past midnight - 2012 had just gone - when singer and guitarist Jeff McDonald of Los Angeles band Redd Kross burst out with a joyous, simple, one-word declaration that captured the mood at the storied Alexandria in downtown Los Angeles. "Yes!" he shouted into the microphone after banging his head and guitar chords through "Blow You a Kiss in the Wind" on early Tuesday morning, well aware of the power that he and his brother Steve's band had just generated. Performing a double bill with fellow Los Angeles band (and long-ago Atlantic Records label-mates)
January 1, 2013 | By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times
Record gasoline prices in 2012 and calls for investigation of California's fuel markets have brought into focus a persistent peculiarity of the state's service station world: the wild swings in price any brand has from one location to the next. Known in the industry as zone pricing, the controversial practice was apparent one afternoon when Culver City resident Michael Denis, on a jaunt to downtown Los Angeles, stopped at a Chevron station to feed his Fiat 500 some gasoline at $4.69 a gallon.
December 23, 2012 | By Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
Where is the John Muir of the San Gabriel Mountains? The Ansel Adams of the San Bernardinos? The Donner Party of the San Jacintos? All right, maybe one Donner Party was enough. But Muir, Adams and company are among the reasons the inland mountains of Southern California have never quite matched the attention won by their taller northern neighbors, the Sierra Nevada. Still, hikers, board-riders, skiers and snowball-tossers in Southern California find no shortage of peace and exhilaration.
December 9, 2012 | By Alene Dawson
Deck the halls, plum the pudding, make merry under the mistletoe: The holidays are party season and now's your time to shine. And whether you're headed to the festivities directly from the office or just need to get ready fast, the quickest way to add glamour to your look is by paying attention to lips and eyes. "Lashes and lipstick are really the quickest, easiest way to make the transition from day to evening," says Gina Brooke, Intraceuticals skin care ambassador and former Shu Uemura artistic director, whose celebrity clients have included Anne Hathaway and Madonna.
December 7, 2012 | By Greg Braxton
"Duck Dynasty" is nothing to quack at. The finale of the A&E reality show about a Louisiana bayou family that has established a sporting empire by fabricating fancy duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood was the highest-rated telecast in the cable network's history, drawing 6.5 million viewers. The hour-long episode also shattered A&E's audience records among several demographic groups, including adults 18-49, adults 25-54 and adults 18-34. "'Duck Dynasty' represent the best of A&E's unique brand of storytelling, showcasing authentic and engaging characters," said Bob DeBitetto, president and general manager of A&E Network.
November 15, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch and Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday announced two safety recalls for its flagship Prius hybrid and a separate agreement to pay $25.5 million to settle a shareholder lawsuit related to its sudden acceleration problems. In one recall, the automaker said the steering intermediate extension shafts in 670,000 Prius cars sold in the U.S. need to be inspected and in some cases replaced. In the second recall, 350,000 of those hybrids also will have to have their electric water pumps replaced.
November 10, 2012 | By Gary Klein
USC could have been deflated. The Trojans had lost two games in a row. They spent a week absorbing blows for their defensive performance against Oregon and for using illegally deflated balls against the Ducks. And now, boos were raining down upon their sputtering offense during the first half of Saturday's game against Arizona State at the Coliseum. But No. 21 USC regrouped at halftime, got a lift from senior tailback Curtis McNeal and rode a pumped-up defense to a 38-17 victory that kept the Trojans in the hunt for the Rose Bowl.
November 8, 2012 | By Chris Dufresne
Somebody let the air out of USC football -- literally. A student manager has been relieved of his duties for helping to further deflate a program that once imposed its will on the opposition with broad-daylight sweeps called "Student Body Left" and "Student Body Right. " USC's secret weapon never used to be the eye needle of a tire pump. USC had non-secret weapons named Charles White, Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott and Anthony Munoz. It was the program of "here's what we're going to do, you try to stop it. " The Trojans have gone from strong-in-the-pocket to pick-pockets.
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