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Dennis Mongrain swings his surfboard around in the water, points himself toward shore and starts paddling. As the wave lifts his board, he jumps to his feet and begins to skirt across its smooth, arching surface. His face brightens with a broad smile. It's a moment of joy and peace, something akin to a religious experience for Mongrain, who should know about such things because he is a Roman Catholic priest. "I really look forward to getting out there," Mongrain said at the rectory of St.
January 3, 1987 | RALPH and TERRY KOVEL
A reader named Chris wrote that in his grandfather's attic he found a paper American Express card. He wanted to know if it was old or valuable. We talked to the archivist at American Express and learned that the very first American Express credit card was issued Oct. 1, 1958. It was made of paperboard. More than 500,000 were issued by the end of the year, each for a fee of $6. On May 1, 1959, the paper was replaced with a purple plastic card that was used for the next 10 years.
October 25, 2006 | Betty Hallock and Regina Schrambling
NOW you can stir your coffee like they do at El Bulli, with a specially designed "coffee spoon" created for chef Ferran Adria -- it's the same stirrer used at Adria's restaurant outside of Barcelona, but you need not travel farther than Santa Monica to get one. Jing Tio, owner of culinary supply boutique Le Sanctuaire, is importing a collection of flatware called Faces Ferran Adria by Design Mix Collections, a company collaborating with the renowned chef.
March 17, 1988 | STEVE WEINSTEIN
There are probably a million and one ways to break into show business, but nobody, before Bob Wieland, had ever done it by running the New York City marathon on his arms. Wieland, 41, lost both his legs nearly 20 years ago when he stepped on an 82-millimeter booby trap while trying to drag a wounded soldier from a battlefield in Vietnam.
January 7, 1990 | JON BOORSTIN
Dear Skeeter, Thanks for the crate of grapefruit. They're pink, sweet and luscious. But frankly they've caused a certain level of dissension. Leni might blame it on me, but believe me, it isn't my fault. One of the worst things about having young kids around is that it makes it so tough to act like a 4-year-old yourself. I mean I'm a slow waker in the morning. The other day was typical.
January 28, 1998
The tinkle of tableware--ah, music to a cook's ear. And a kind of music you can hear whenever there's a bit of wind, if you get one of these wind chimes made from antique silver-plated ware. They're designed to be hung indoors or out; polish occasionally with silver polish. Artist Ted Shields, by the way, is a retired FBI agent. Culinary Chimes, $48 to $50, at Feast, Pasadena; Imp, Santa Monica; Z Galleria, Beverly Center; and Nordstrom, various locations.
September 26, 2006 | JOEL STEIN,
I DON'T LIKE being touched by strangers. And by "strangers," I mean anyone I'm not having sex with. I don't like massages, I don't like hugs, I don't even like to high-five. I just don't see the point. Either we're going to do it, or we're not. And, as I've learned the hard way after overreacting to a cheek kiss, apparently we're not. So, as a radical form of immersion therapy, I drove to an office building in West L.A. on a Friday night to pay $30 to cuddle with strangers for four hours.
April 27, 1989 | JOAN DRAKE, Times Staff Writer
Yes, we all know great cooks who never measure an ingredient and everything they make comes out perfect. Most of us, however, would be courting disaster if we started throwing in a pinch of this and a handful of that. Precise measurements not only assure consistent results, they sometimes can make the difference between the success or failure of a recipe. We're limiting this discussion to the tools most commonly used to measure ingredients in recipes developed for American consumers.
October 25, 1997 | STEVE HARVEY
Some anecdotes about students' misspellings occasioned a note from elementary school teacher Suzanne Covert-Hein of Santa Clarita. She once asked her sixth-graders, "In what historical period would you most like to live?" One of her students wrote very neatly, "I'd like to live in the Silverware." Covert-Hein added: "It took me a long time before I figured out he meant the Civil War." SPLIT DECISION: Covert-Hein has had adventures with her own name.
June 27, 2002 | NORAH VINCENT, Norah Vincent is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank set up after Sept. 11 to study terrorism. Web site:
Next Thursday is our nation's birthday, and by the way we're leading up to it, you'd think it was doomsday. We've got the jitters, and bad. But who can blame us? We've been deluged with the news of so many plots afoot, or potentially afoot, or in the planning stages, or as yet unhatched in some captured aide-de-camp's brain at Camp X-Ray, that the summer blockbusters seem like G-rated fairy tales.
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