April 12, 2014 |
One of the qualities I value most in the writers of the Great Reads are their powers of observation. I'm a big believer in showing, not telling -- in giving those little scenes and details that make readers connect to people whose lives might seem impossibly remote from theirs. The writer of Friday's powerful Great Read, Raja Abdulrahim, is particularly gifted: She finds those moments when she's directly in the line of fire in Syria. In Friday's story, Raja, who has made her way into rebel-held territory many times during the three-year conflict, wrote from Aleppo, where life alternates between terror and a grotesque version of normalcy.
April 11, 2014 |
CHARLESTON, S.C. - When the email proposing a business meeting in Charleston popped up, it took all of three seconds to say yes. I'd never been to South Carolina, but I've read glowing dispatches from friends and colleagues for years. Southern hospitality is not a myth, they insisted, as they extolled the beauty of the area and its vigorous dining and bar scene. When I started to research this coastal city, it was its Civil War-era attractions that proved most compelling. After all, the war "started" here when Confederate forces forced Union troops from Ft. Sumter in April 1861.
April 7, 2014 |
FT. HOOD, Texas - As soon as Suzy Sanders got word of the shooting at Ft. Hood on Wednesday, she began frantically texting her 21-year-old stepson, a soldier stationed at the Army post. His first chilling reply landed more than an hour later, at 5:22 p.m. "It happened right in front of me Suz," Pvt. Jacob "Jake" Sanders texted. "I watched my sergeant die. I tried to revive him. I'm fine. I love you. " Jake Sanders, a former varsity basketball player from a small town in Indiana, has a brown crew cut, square jaw and wide smile.
April 5, 2014 |
Saturday's Santa Anita Derby is an eight-horse race, but the kind of buzz that has accompanied California Chrome, ever since he blew the field away in the March 8 San Felipe, makes it difficult for the other contenders to get any attention. California Chrome not only runs like the wind -- he has won his last three races by a total of 19 lengths -- but he and his connections present several stories that are hard to ignore. There is much talk that he would become only the fourth-ever Cal-bred to do so if he won the Kentucky Derby.
April 4, 2014 |
ARLINGTON, Texas - The Final Four has grown so large they had to move it from Planet Earth to Jerry World. It actually makes sense a stadium nicknamed "The Billion Dollar Play Pen" should host college basketball's billion-dollar end games. It makes less sense that everyone except the players seems to be cashing in. This being Texas, of course, one host city was not enough to handle the event, as the NCAA granted this bid to the wide-open-spaces sweep of "North Texas. " That means Amarillo, technically, got a Final Four in the modern era before Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 31, 2014 |
Mark Stock, a painter known for his evocative portraits of white-gloved butlers and sad, stylish women in slinky gowns, has died. He was 62. Stock, who died Wednesday at an Oakland hospital, had an enlarged heart, his publicist Charlotte Parker said. His most famous painting, "The Butler's in Love - Absinthe," a study of a butler scrutinizing a lipstick smear on an empty glass, inspired a short David Arquette film, "The Butler's in Love" (2008). It is one of more than 100 Stock paintings featuring butlers, often in poses suggesting suppressed longing or brooding disappointment.