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April 5, 1986
In your editorial you say, "Among the problems that have resisted solution is the lack of a sex-neutral singular pronoun referring to anyone or everyone--saying, " 'Anyone who drives without his seat belt takes his life in his hands' is likely to raise eyebrows if not hackles."
April 15, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
The Coen brothers' 1996 comedy-noir masterpiece "Fargo" wasn't so much a movie as it was a cultural event - you remember where you were when you first saw it. That endless yet claustrophobic snow scape, the anxious narcissism of William H. Macy's scheming car salesman, the glory of Frances McDormand's pregnant police chief Marge. It blew out the wall between hilarity and horror to prove that both dwell in the same landscape. It showed that senseless violence was simply one more item on the spectrum of human behavior, alongside love and honor and courage.
February 15, 2004
As a former UPI newsman, English teacher and journalism major, I found my heart skipping a beat when I read the cover of the Jan. 25 issue: "One in eight Americans now live in California." What's next? "Between he and I"? Singular subjects require singular verbs, i.e., "One in eight Americans now lives in California." Rick Harrison Via the Internet
February 7, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
As the title of this episode of "American Masters" suggests, "Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth" is a lovely and lyrical tribute to the great American writer and activist who turns 70 on Sunday, two days after the film airs on PBS. February is, of course, Black History Month, which makes the non-birthday aspect of the timing dispiriting. Surely it shouldn't require an African American-themed event to warrant a tribute to Walker. And yet it is also reaffirming as well since it looks like Black History Month remains a very good idea.
November 17, 1985
Who, if anyone, edits your Section for "singulars & plurals?" A couple of recent articles ("Media Feels the Pinch of Tighter Ad Budgets" and "CHRYSLER: Allure of Outside Sources Grow," Nov. 3) call for a review of Latin (media is plural, medium is the singular) and simple English grammar (the allure grows; the sources aren't growing.) The use of media as a singular form is getting to be an all too common error in "the media," but the other error is just plain carelessness. A. FLETCHER HALL, M.D. Pacific Palisades
March 20, 1998
Congratulations to Mike Downey and The Times for his new assignment (March 15). How did he pull off working only three days a week? You should make him still do a sports column once a week until we get over withdrawal! LARRY RADLE Torrance As a 75-year-old sports jock and fan, I confess that I have consistently criticized Downey's columns, primarily because he demonstrated such offensive bias. However, I predict that his thrice-weekly "feature" pieces will be singular successes.
June 19, 1988
The Icelandic band the Sugarcubes was wrongly referred to as an English quintet in a caption below its photo ("Sugarcubes' Demons, Doubts and Humor," by Robert Hilburn, June 12). As a student journalist I understand mistakes occur, and while misidentification errors like this are particularly bad, it is compounded by the fact that the band's Icelandic heritage was referred to in the article's lead, a mere two inches away from the caption. The word correction comes to mind.
June 22, 1997
In reply to Robert Rath ("Single Retort," Letters, April 6) regarding single supplements: My husband of 42 years died in March of 1996 of cancer. Now besides missing him terribly and not having him to go on trips with, do I deserve to be financially punished for the rest of my life? There was a tour I wanted to go on in late February, and even though it was with a group, there was no single person available to go with. The cost was $1,890 per person, double occupancy; $2,690, single.
January 31, 1993
In response to S. C. Dacy's letter of Jan. 17 regarding John Woo, I must state that it is totally ridiculous for him to say that "there is the quite solid probability that even Woo himself did not personally direct the majority of any 'John Woo film.' " As the executive on "The Killers," the executive producer of "Bullet in the Head," the producer of "Once a Thief" and "Hard-Boiled" and the co-producer of "Hard Target," I have had direct experience working with John for more than five years.
Ask any single person in Los Angeles how difficult it is to meet people and be prepared for a lengthy, Angst -driven discourse on the subject. So it's no surprise that innumerable singles groups have popped up, trying to fill every conceivable niche. There's the telephone "bulletin board" for singles in 12-step programs (Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and the like), where men and women are invited to call a 900 number and leave a personal ad.
January 8, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
When Nic Pizzolatto was 5, he had an epiphany. It wasn't the usual childhood one about finger-painting or bike-riding or other regular kid stuff. It was that one day he would die. "You know how people say that young people feel immortal? I don't know what they're talking about," he said. "I was planning for how I would deal with my death in good conscience well before I even hit puberty. " The moment captures Pizzolatto, one of the more colorful creative types to emerge in Hollywood in recent years and the force behind HBO's "True Detective," the Louisiana-set, time-jumping Matthew McConaughey-Woody Harrelson noir series that premieres Sunday.
May 16, 2013 | By Stephen Burt
Jennifer Finney Boylan was the father of two young boys, a devoted husband, a keyboard player in bar bands, the author of three published novels, and an English professor in Maine when she began the process that would make her outwardly - anatomically and socially - the woman she felt she had always been on the inside. Her book about life before, during and after that transition, "She's Not There" (2003), made her a guiding star for many transgender readers: Here was somebody who made all the changes she needed and, despite all the growing pains, got to keep most of her life.
March 12, 2013 | By Jeff Spurrier
One of the stands of lemon grass in the middle of the Vermont Square Community Garden is in full flower now, a somewhat unusual occurrence. It's not a particularly attractive phase for the plants, which look like overgrown weeds on their last legs. Fortunately the plants' useful life isn't over; the stage is  simply another turn of the wheel, the clumps of lemon grass scattering seeds to expand their reach. The lemon grass is in a communal plot, available to all the gardeners to use. The aromatic grass exudes a citrus scent that comes out in cooking.
February 19, 2013 | Bill Plaschke
Jerry Buss was one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports, the creator of the most entertaining championship teams ever, a fearless pioneer who bonded a giant and disparate city under a brilliant blanket of purple and gold. Yet he felt that watching the Lakers was like watching his children. "It's a tearful experience sometimes," he once said. Jerry Buss was the showman behind Showtime, the man who won 10 NBA championships by signing some of the greatest and most glitzy players ever, from Magic Johnson to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, from Shaquille O'Neal to Kobe Bryant.
October 13, 2012 | By Reed Johnson, Los Angeles Times
The dreamy, androgynous voice first caught Luciana Souza's attention many years ago. She admired the singer's dead-center pitch, his laid-back phrasing, his imperturbable California cool while giving voice to fiery emotions. But Souza, a Grammy-nominated singer-composer who has worked in classical, pop and jazz, heard something else in that voice: a vulnerability that was exceedingly rare among male singers of the '50s and '60s, a condition of all-consuming yearning and unguarded fragility that native Brazilians like Souza call by its untranslatable Portuguese name: saudade . "And that's what I love about it," Souza said, "because to me it reveals his honesty.
September 22, 2012 | By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Damsels in Distress Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99 Available on VOD beginning Sept. 25 Writer-director Whit Stillman's first film since 1998's "The Last Days of Disco" is a loopy campus comedy, starring Greta Gerwig as an idealistic upperclassman who leads a group of young women with strict rules about dating and cleanliness. Even those who've enjoyed the arch language and intricate social tribalism of Stillman's "Metropolitan" and "Barcelona" might be put off by the cartoony absurdism here.
September 17, 2012 | By Charlotte Stoudt
Shame and the British. They go together like tea and crumpets, Sandhurst and Sid Vicious.  But South Coast Repertory's broad staging of Alan Ayckbourn's exercise in indignity, “Absurd Person Singular,” makes you yearn wistfully for more cheeky snaps of Prince Harry in Vegas. Ayckbourn's set-up is simple genius: Over three acts, we follow three couples at three Christmas parties in as many years, all seen from various kitchens. At the top, boorish entrepreneur Sidney (JD Cullum)
September 2, 2012 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
"Cloud Atlas," the film adaptation of David Mitchell's bestselling, puzzle-like, 2004 adventure novel, asks a lot of its audience - and its stars. The nearly three-hour movie from directors Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski tells six interconnected tales spanning hundreds of years and a multitude of genres, from a 19th century sea story to a Hawaii-set dystopia. Tom Hanks appears in all six of them in various bewigged and prosthetically enhanced states. But the actor at first had trouble diving into Mitchell's deliberately dizzying novel.
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