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August 23, 1992
Re Daniel Harris' review of "Darwin" (July 26): Any critic who demonstrates that Darwin "was so immersed in the jargon of science that he spoke about the prospect of marriage in the most austere and unsentimental terms possible" by citing Darwin's statement that "as for a wife, that most interesting specimen in the whole series of vertebrate animals, Providence only know(s) whether I shall ever capture one or be able to feed her if caught" would also prove Mark Twain to be ruthless and humorless by Twain's "My mother was the kindest person I ever knew.
April 11, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Like many Americans last week, I greeted the news of David Letterman's retirement in 2015 with regretful acceptance. I love him with a love deep and true, but the man is pushing 70, and at least we could look forward to another year of his fine, cantankerous self. But now I cannot wait for him to go. From the moment it was announced Thursday that Stephen Colbert would be taking over "Late Show," I was ready to box up Letterman's stuff and move it myself. Because I have to know: Will Colbert change the nature of late night or will the bravest comedian on television just sell out?
September 21, 1986
In commenting on the forthcoming release of "Death Before Dishonor," which we have executive produced, Tricarico and Mull go to great lengths to explain how the film portrays Arabs as ruthless terrorists. However, they omit the fact that the film does portray a balance between radical Arab terrorists and Arabs in general and, while not making any political statements, shows how the actions of terrorists of any kind are repulsive and must be combatted by all humanity to ensure world peace.
February 14, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
The second season of the dark and dastardly inner-Beltway drama "House of Cards" dropped at 12:01 a.m. on Valentine's Day. If Netflix knows as much about its subscribers as we think they do, this pretty much proves what we've long suspected: Binge-watching has become the new sex. Actually it makes some narrative sense. Despite its byzantine plots of power and politics, "House of Cards" is, essentially, a love story. One between Americans and their carefully nurtured suspicions about government.
July 5, 2003
So President Bush is getting pressure to pump millions of dollars into Africa ("U.N. Presses U.S. for Troops to Help End Liberia's Civil War," July 1). My question is simply: Why? History has proven countless times that nothing the Western world ever does for Africa is appreciated, nor does it help. Any aid from the U.S., whether financial or food, is used by corrupt African leaders as a political tool to establish even-more-ruthless dictatorial power. The tribal infighting in Africa will never go away.
February 2, 2004
Re "Raging Against the Machine," Commentary, Jan. 28: In his very biased tirade against Microsoft, Theodore Roszak accuses it of "borrowing" the Macintosh graphical interface from Apple. As a matter of fact, Apple previously "borrowed" it from Xerox. Roszak, as a history professor, should understand that much, if not all, of our current technology results from improvements over someone else's prior versions and ideas. Roszak reveals himself to be merely a whining Microsoft-basher when he calls it a "ruthless monopoly" and says that it "contaminated the industry."
October 18, 1992
I am increasingly disturbed by the trend in action films to come to terms with brutality by exploring its "noble" aspects. After reading about "The Last of the Mohicans," and recalling "Manhunter" and certain episodes of "Miami Vice," I find Michael Mann's preoccupation with the heroic qualities of torture and mutilation particularly offensive ("One Mann, Two Worlds," by Elaine Dutka, Sept. 20). Drive-by shootings that take the lives of the young and innocent may seem senseless.
December 28, 1986
After three years of suffering through Ruth Reichl, I finally can take no more of her scathing reviews of some of Los Angeles' finer restaurants. Chasen's was the last straw ("The Grump Dines Out," Dec. 21). Please grant my one Christmas wish. Bring back Lois Dwan and banish Reichl back to San Francisco. MARK TRAVIS Santa Monica
June 3, 1990 | Amy Wallace, Amy Wallace is a reporter for the San Diego edition of The Times.
EVERYBODY IN LA JOLLA knew the Brodericks. Daniel T. Broderick III and his wife, Betty, seemed to have a classic society-page marriage. Dan was a celebrity in local legal circles. Armed with degrees from both Harvard Law School and Cornell School of Medicine, the prominent malpractice attorney was aggressive, persuasive and cunning--a $1-million-a-year lawyer at the top of his game.
June 9, 1985
As one of the finalists in the recent Beringer Scholarship Contest, I found Ruth Reichl's appraisal of the recipes we used harsh and subjective ("Students Dish Up the Future," May 12). The purpose of the Beringer contest was to inspire creativity in the use of ingredients to bring out flavors and aromas found in wine. Scoring by the judges was based on wine and food compatibility, execution of the dish, and presentation with creativity was encouraged in all areas. Use of "fresh, indigenous ingredients" was also mentioned on the score sheet.
December 4, 2013 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
The next chapter in the political drama "House of Cards" will premiere on Valentine's Day, picking up where the first season left off. U.S. Rep. Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, resumes his ruthless power climb in Season 2 of the acclaimed Netflix original series, accompanied by his equally ambitious wife, Claire, played by Robin Wright. All 13 episodes will be available for subscribers to watch. Kate Mara reprises her role as Zoe Barnes, the enterprising young reporter who had an affair with Underwood but is now in pursuit of the truth about his crimes.
November 10, 2013 | By Aoun Sahi and Mark Magnier
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The appointment of Mullah Fazlullah as head of the Pakistani Taliban signals a significant shift for the militant organization into a potentially more uncompromising, violent group based increasingly on ideology rather than tribal ties, analysts said. Fazlullah, a hard-liner from Pakistan's Swat Valley, was named Thursday after his predecessor was killed days earlier by a U.S. drone strike as he emerged from a meeting at a mosque in lawless North Waziristan near the Afghan border.
October 14, 2013 | By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
In the program for "Fast Company," a play by Carla Ching now having its world premiere at South Coast Repertory, the verb "grift" is helpfully defined: "To obtain goods or money illegally by use of skill rather than violence. " Many of you are no doubt already familiar with this term from the captivating 1990 Stephen Frears movie "The Grifters," which is clearly an inspiration for Ching's wily drama about an Asian American family of con artists, who are as ruthless with one another as they are with their marks.
October 14, 2013 | By Rebecca Keegan
Barkhad Abdi is used to finding his way in strange new places: At age 7, he moved with his family from war-torn Somalia to Yemen, where he learned Arabic on the soccer field. At 14, he moved to Minneapolis and learned English from Jay-Z songs and "Seinfeld" episodes. Now, at 27, Abdi has made himself at home in another new town - Hollywood - by starring opposite Tom Hanks in the film "Captain Phillips. " In director Paul Greengrass' fact-based thriller, which opened Friday, Abdi plays Muse, a Somali pirate who hijacks an American cargo ship and takes its captain hostage.
April 29, 2013 | By Corina Knoll and Jeff Gottlieb
The attorney for Michael Jackson's family painted entertainment powerhouse Anschutz Entertainment Group as a gang of ruthless executives concerned only with becoming No. 1 in the concert business and caring nothing about the singer's well-being. Attorney Brian Panish began his opening statement Monday in the Jackson-AEG suit by talking about Jackson's addiction to prescription drugs. He also mentioned Dr. Conrad Murray, the debt-ridden doctor who administered the fatal dose of propofol to Jackson and was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
April 18, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
The Somali pirates in the documentary "Stolen Seas" brandish bazookas instead of swords and have roughly the same sense of chivalry as the husbands on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey. " "There's no such thing as a romantic Somali pirate," says one of the movie's many talking heads. You probably suspected as much. Still, Thymaya Payne's ambitious doc contains plenty of surprising and interesting details about the Somali pirate trade, which, according to the film, costs the shipping industry $7 billion to $12 billion annually.
April 1, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
The Bard of Avon, who championed the downtrodden in plays like "Coriolanus," was a conniving character in his personal life, British researchers claim -- a tax dodger who profiteered in food commodities during a time of famine. William Shakespeare was fined repeatedly for illegally hoarding grain, malt and barley for resale during a time of food shortages. He also was threatened with jail for avoiding taxes, according to the study of court and tax archives by researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales.
March 28, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
There's a tendency to look askance at essay collections, to see them as somehow incidental, as if they had no urgency of their own. I defy anyone to make such an argument after reading Aleksandar Hemon's "The Book of My Lives. " In his first book of nonfiction, Hemon takes what might otherwise seem a group of random pieces and arranges them so they are more than the sum of their parts. On the one hand (let's be honest), that's a bit of a contrivance, since these essays were all written at different times for different venues.
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