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May 16, 1988 | CAROLYN SEE
Life on Earth: Stories by Sheila Ballantyne (Linden Press: $16.95; 168 pages) These stories by Sheila Ballantyne are deceptive. At first, in "ink on paper" and "perpetual care," you hear a sappy voice, a grousing voice, a frivolous voice. There is someone here complaining; writing irate letters, wondering how and where to get rid of dad's remains. The voice in these first stories finds refuge in cheap jokes or grievances against the bureaucratic system.
February 23, 2001 | DIANE WERTS, NEWSDAY
What is life, really, without a pickup truck, a backyard grill and the Bible? It's life on prime-time TV, that's what, where everybody's hip enough to live in New York, Los Angeles or Boston. Or maybe, if they're really wild, Cleveland. Few tubers live in the 'burbs. And if they do, they're "Everybody Loves Raymond," set on Long Island in the nation's largest TV market. You can forget the country, unless you're Faith Hill rockin' onstage in skin-tight leather. Here's a shocker.
March 24, 2006 | Dana Parsons
Time was when a good solid rain on Trabuco Creek could make the only road into Coto de Caza impassable and shut it out from the outside world. This week, a Coto resident told a national cable TV audience she'd had breast augmentation that pumped her up from a 32A to a 32D. In some quarters, that would be considered progress. I find myself longing for the good-old days.
April 1, 1992 | MIKE PENNER
What big league baseball needs most (besides a time clock, a shorter schedule, more Luis Polonias, fewer Kirk Gibsons, a mercy rule in Cleveland and "Home Run Derby: The Next Generation") is a poll. Where would college football be without a poll? College football needs two of them, so it can figure out who gets to share the national championship each year. Where would college basketball be without a poll?
November 23, 2002 | Nicolai Ouroussoff, Times Staff Writer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- In America, experimental housing projects went out of style in the late 1970s, along with other utopian adventures like lunar landings and the welfare state. So the new Simmons Hall dormitory building at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which opened here last month, is an anachronism of sorts. Granted, it houses students at one of the country's most elite universities.
June 7, 1988 | MARK FINEMAN, Times Staff Writer
In a mountain-top classroom here last week, two dozen Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees watched in awe for nearly 40 minutes as Michael Jackson jumped around on a TV screen selling Pepsi and Ray Charles swayed at his piano pitching Coke and an anonymous slinky blonde model draped in diamonds tried to convince them that a Pontiac was really the only car to own. After each commercial, the teacher paused and asked the refugees, "OK. So how did that make you feel?"
The median price of a new car recently rose to $15,000. In real life, that buys a half-share in a Lincoln Town Car, will put you into a 12-year-old Porsche or just about cover the sales tax on a Bentley Turbo. On the other hand, today's new car buyers should not consider $15K as an inescapable sentence to search weekend classifieds for a Cal Worrisome special among former Hertz fleet rentals. For there is indeed life below $15,000. They are called subcompacts.
Show-business capitals--New York and L.A. in particular, however charmingly different their methods of destruction--have a way of seeking out the positive, upbeat and life-affirming among us, eating away at those attributes, and then moving on to the next victim. It really isn't pretty what a town without pity can do.
September 19, 1993 | Jonathan Gold
It's a cliched observation that Los Angeles from the air resembles nothing so much as a grid-like schematic for a greatly enlarged computer chip, all information, order and light. Its boulevards, perpendicular straight lines, stretch, like the foul lines at Dodger Stadium, theoretically into infinity. The differences between Lawndale and La Habra may seem profound from behind the wheel of a Camry, but from above, they are indiscernible swatches of the fabric of the grid.
November 19, 1999
Dear Carrie? Writer-actress Carrie Fisher is writing her own advice column on the Net. Yes, that would be the same Carrie Fisher who has spoken publicly about her battles with mental illness and drug addiction. "I've made more mistakes than anyone," Fisher told us. "I have to go into this with a huge caveat: Why would I know the answers?" Still, the sought-after script doctor and author of the poignant novel "Postcards From the Edge" (and screenplay) is a great communicator.
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