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September 6, 2013 | By Robert Abele
The world of competitive drag racing gets a sputtering, cliché-choked treatment in "Snake & Mongoose," an amateurish, haphazardly constructed indie biopic about longtime Southern California track rivals Don "Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "Mongoose" McEwen. The film was made in conjunction with the National Hot Rod Assn., and it shows, in the countless archival footage of races awkwardly crammed in between perfunctorily filmed off-track dialogue scenes that all look the same, no matter where or when they're taking place.
August 16, 2013 | By Jane Engle
The seven-night “Legacy of Discovery” cruise takes you on a ride through history on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. The newly refurbished, 88-passenger Legacy will travel round trip from Portland, Ore., on the Columbia and Snake rivers. Along the way, guests will encounter historians and other experts, experience onboard “living history” vignettes and visit museums, historic forts and wineries. Highlights include the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Multnomah Falls, transit through eight locks, jetboating into Hells Canyon and a private winery tour.
July 20, 2013 | Steve Lopez
L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca has no medical background, but he is the de facto administrator of what he calls "the nation's largest mental hospital. " "This is the system," he said, drawing a box on a piece of paper in his Monterey Park office last week. Judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials each have a role in deciding what to do with someone who has a mental illness and is accused of a crime, Baca said. But they decide each case in isolation, missing a broader concern - thousands of sick people get locked up, with no coherent plan for helping them get better.
July 11, 2013 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
KOCHI, India - It's early on a weekday afternoon and the Mullapnathal shop in southern India's Kerala state is doing a roaring trade in toddy, the local palm wine. Drinkers are pounding them down while munching on "rabbit fry," a favorite unlikely to give McDonald's sleepless nights any time soon. Several men at a table in the run-down room call loudly for another round of the 8%-alcohol concoction. "Toddy is a part of our culture," said Ramakrishnan, 46, a day laborer dressed in a sarong-like dhoti, who uses one name.
June 21, 2013 | By Jane Engle
The Empress of the North riverboat, which was pulled from service when its former operator, Majestic America Line, went out of business in 2008, will again ply the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. The five-deck, 223-passenger vessel was recently bought by the Memphis-based American Queen Steamboat Co. and renamed the American Empress. Next year it will begin cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers between its home port, Portland, Ore., and Clarkson, Wash. Among the ports of call will be Astoria and the Dalles in Oregon and  Sacajawea State Park in Washington.
June 18, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
A disabled woman and her child were beaten and forced to work while in captivity for more than two years, during which they were threatened with pit bulls and large snakes, federal officials in Ohio said Tuesday. They announced three arrests in the case. “This is a case of modern-day slavery,” Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said at a televised news conference. Jordie L. Callahan, 26; Jessica L. Hunt, 31; and Daniel J. Brown, also known as D.J. Brown, 33; were arrested Tuesday.
May 18, 2013 | By Dan Loumena
Jake "The Snake" Roberts, a former WWF star wrestler from 1980s and '90s, turned up at the Braves-Dodgers game on Friday night to lead the Turner Field crowd in the traditional singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch. Roberts, who has battled drug and alcohol addictions, is living in the Atlanta area with former WWF star "Diamond" Dallas Page in an effort to pull his life together as he attempts a comeback to the ring. The man credited with the finishing move known as the DDT -- yes, after the pesticide, in which one of the wrestlers in a front forelock vaults himself backward and his opponent lands head-first into the mat -- had been sitting incognito in a hat and wig near a dugout.
May 1, 2013 | By Jay Jones
An annual spring ritual draws curiosity-seekers -- those not afraid of serpents--to the plains of central Manitoba, Canada , where the arrival of warmer weather brings with it mating season for scads of snakes. Conservation Manitoba, a government agency, boasts that at Narcisse Snake Dens "you can see more snakes at a glance than anywhere else in the world. " Each spring, tens of thousands of non-poisonous, red-sided garter snakes emerge from their subterranean winter homes to bask on the balmy plains and reproduce.
April 16, 2013 | Eric Sondheimer
Animal Planet needs to get its cameras trained on the Burrill brothers, Casey and Brady , at Valencia West Ranch High. They are quickly becoming adept at capturing and eradicating rattlesnakes. Call them "Rattlesnakebusters. " Since August, 11 rattlesnakes have been found on or near the West Ranch baseball diamond and sent to rattlesnake heaven. The diamond is located near a hill that's probably a nice home to lots of rattlesnakes. Coach Casey Burrill and his brother, Brady, the top assistant, have been the primary trackers of rattlesnake intruders.
April 12, 2013 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
SWEETWATER, TEXAS - Kyndra Vaught caught everybody's attention when she arrived at the rattlesnake roundup here in West Texas last month wearing her crown and rhinestone cowboy boots. “Are you the snake charmer queen?” shouted a man selling rattlesnake head canes, porcelain rattlesnake “eggs” and snakeskin wallets. “You need a snake.” Kyndra, 17, let him drape an oversized plastic rattlesnake over her shoulders as she posed for photos. She had just been named Miss Snake Charmer the night before, part of the roundup pageant detailed in Friday's Los Angeles Times.
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