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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
“With this book, I want to tell the stories of my life and reveal the secrets and lies that I lived with for six years shooting 'Breaking Bad,' ” Bryan Cranston said in the press release announcing his upcoming memoir. The as-yet-untitled book will be published by Scribner in 2015. Cranston won three best actor Emmy Awards portraying Walter White, the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who turns to making methamphetamine to support his family. In the show's five seasons, White -- who in a desperate moment came up with the pseudonym Heisenberg -- went from everyman to drug kingpin.
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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Although the weakest currency of criticism, superlatives have become a hallmark of television's recent resurgence. Words like "greatest," "smartest" and "funniest" are tossed about with the desperate regularity of Chuck E. Cheese tokens at a kindergartner's birthday party. So to say that "Game of Thrones," which returns, roaring and snorting, for its fourth season on Sunday night, is the Best Television Show Ever isn't just thoroughly subjective, it's reductive. Despite our increasingly wearisome penchant for lists, television was never linear enough for meaningful comparisons; it is now so wildly diverse in form and function that any sort of ranking or award is all but meaningless.
SPORTS
April 1, 2014
Bill Plaschke, a staple of The Times Sports section since joining the paper in 1987, has taken first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors annual contest for column writing among papers with circulations of more than 175,000. Plaschke, a columnist since 1996, has now won the prestigious national columnist award five times and has been a frequent top-10 finisher in multiple writing categories. The contest honors the best work in sports journalism both in print and on the web. The final column-writing results were announced Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 29, 2014 | By David Colker
Former Los Angeles Times reporter Ruth Ryon, who created the highly popular and enduring Hot Property column on celebrity real estate, died Friday at a hospice facility in Redondo Beach. She was 69. The cause was complications of Parkinson's disease, said her husband, George Ryon. For Angelenos, some of whom visit homes for sale even if they're not looking to buy, Ryon's column quickly became a guilty-pleasure must-read. The first column, which appeared Nov. 25, 1984, led with Johnny Carson buying a house in Malibu for $9.5 million, at the time the most ever paid in that area for a single-family home.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 29, 2014 | By Mikael Wood
The characters in Brandy Clark's songs aren't necessarily where they thought they'd be in life. There's the woman buying pharmaceuticals out of some guy's trunk in "Take a Little Pill. " There's the woman living for religion and lotto-winning dreams in "Pray to Jesus. " And there's the married woman, in "What'll Keep Me Out of Heaven," standing in front of a hotel elevator, contemplating a rendezvous with a married man. "Ten floors up he's waiting with Champagne and candlelight," Clark sings, her voice leaking both hope and preemptive regret, "What'll keep me out of heaven will take me there tonight.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 28, 2014 | By Jon Christensen
When people say that Los Angeles is hard to read, as they often do, they're usually not talking about books. They're talking about the city itself or rather the megalopolis, made up of dozens of cities. It is this sprawling, tangled, confusing, seemingly homogenous but in fact diverse, mixed-up urban and suburban landscape that people describe as illegible. Edward Soja, a geographer at UCLA, has spent much of his long career trying to read Los Angeles. Along the way, he developed innovative and sometimes controversial theories of urbanization and became a founder of a dynamic "L.A.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Here's some good news for homeowners worried that Congress will fail again to renew popular tax benefits for use in 2014 - especially those allowing for mortgage debt forgiveness, write-offs for energy-saving improvements and mortgage insurance premiums. Though there has been no formal announcement, the Senate Finance Committee under its new chairman, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), expects to take up a so-called "extenders" package sometime this spring. "This is high on [Wyden's]
NATIONAL
March 19, 2014 | By Maria L. La Ganga
LOS OSOS, Calif. - He led an active electronic life, so the cyber silence was ominous. No emails. No posts to any of the thousand-plus friends on Facebook. When word finally surfaced, it wasn't from him. "If you have noticed Jim's absence from Facebook, there is a reason. He has been doing poorly for a week or so ... and yesterday they detected a mass in his brain. Having elected to have no extraordinary medical measures, he is at home in Los Osos and we are waiting for hospice to come.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2014 | By Larry Gordon
The College Board's decision to make the essay portion of its influential SAT exam optional is setting off a national debate among colleges and universities about whether to require applicants to take it. Beyond the potential effect on students, the March 5 announcement about the upcoming test change is stirring soul-searching about the importance of writing in higher education and how best to evaluate that ability. The new College Board policy also has raised concerns about setting up a possible barrier to college entrance, especially if the separate essay writing exam requires an additional fee. Many colleges will face a serious problem in considering whether to keep mandating the essay test after the change goes into effect in 2016, said Jerome Lucido, executive director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, a national think tank on college admissions issues.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 9, 2014 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland was a respected surgeon and bioethicist at Yale University and author of two modestly successful books when he was approached in the early 1990s by a young literary editor. The agent was looking for someone to write a book about what happens to the body and mind during the process of dying, and Nuland had been recommended to him. "I thought surely there were hundreds of books already" on the topic, Nuland later said, but the agent said there were not and encouraged him to check his libraries.
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