From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.
There's a certain kind of joy in breaking the overnight fast by biting into a bagel: crackling crust, chewy center, smooth and silky cream cheese, sharp smoked salmon. For some, capers and onions join the ritual.
But just who invented this breakfast staple, which has become as American as apple pie?
Like Leonard Bernstein himself, there is absolutely nothing predictable about the music he wrote. None of the three amazing works Bernstein labeled as "symphonies" in any way resemble a conventional orchestral symphony.
President Obama has had a tough year. He failed to pass gun legislation. Plans for an immigration overhaul have stalled in the House. He barely escaped what would have been a humiliating rejection by Congress on his plan to strike Syria.
Just this week, his own Democrats forced Larry Summers, the president's first choice to head the Federal Reserve, to withdraw.
Former Clinton White House aide Bill Galston says all these issues have weakened the unity of the president's coalition.
Here's some food for thought: One-third of the world's food goes to waste every year. In the U.S., about 40 percent of our food gets thrown out. It's happening on the farm, at the grocery store and in our own homes.
Another Colorado story now. Gun control advocates had hoped that last year's shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado might move more Americans to call for stricter gun laws. Gun control measures ground down in the U.S. Congress but some states did pass legislation, including Colorado. Yet this past week, Colorado voters recalled two lawmakers who had backed the legislation.
A new computer school in Paris has been overwhelmed by some 60,000 applicants.
The school, called 42, was founded by a telecom magnate who says the French education system is failing young people. His aim is to reduce France's shortage in computer programmers while giving those who've fallen by the wayside a new chance.
In the hallways of 42, suitcases and sleeping bags are piled, and people are stretched out on mattresses in some of the corners. There are showers and dozens of colorful bath towels.
As the Obama administration made its case for military action in Syria, one of the loudest voices in opposition came from Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.
You may not know her by name, but if you follow national politics, you've no doubt seen her work.
At the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this month, for instance, as Secretary of State John Kerry made the case for a military strike in Syria, Medea Benjamin sat behind him, holding up her hands, painted bright red.
It's axiomatic now that comics have gone from being kids' stuff to, in some cases, adults only. These days, comics are recognized as a real artistic form, one that can be complex, subtle, pointed, probing and profane.
One of the artists most responsible for this is Art Spiegelman, who drew for Topps Bubble Gum comics, invented the Garbage Pail Kids, created a character who was all head, no body, for Playboy and won the Pulitzer Prize for Maus, his Holocaust comic — a phrase that was once unfathomable.
Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
Credit Huntington Library
William H. Evans, Tower of Civilization, 1939. At 150 feet in diameter and soaring 1,290 feet, the tower would have been the tallest structure in the world at the time.
Credit Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Goodell Monorail, 1963 — The coaches on the proposed monorail took design cues from the Cadillacs of the time.
Credit LAWA Flight Path Learning Center
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952 — The original design for LAX had a single, centralized terminal under a glass dome, a plan which was nixed by both the airlines and city engineers.
Credit B+U Architects
B+U, Firestone Mixed-Use Office Building, 2009 — A mix of offices, retail shops, a cafe and a plaza, this building would have been covered by braided fabric at different levels of transparency. The project went down with the economy.
Credit Eric Lloyd Wright
Lloyd Wright, Civic Center Plan, 1925. Lloyd Wright's competition entry for the Los Angeles Civic Center put rapid-transit throughways under the city and gave pedestrians right-of-ways on broad terraces.
Credit Edward Cella Gallery/Carlos Diniz Archive
DMJM, Pacific Ocean Park Redevelopment, 1969 — The designer proposed a 30-story hotel situated 300 feet offshore. It would have had a glass-enclosed bridge to connect it to land; alas, it fell victim to real estate negotiations.
Credit 1996-2001 AccuSoft Co., All righ / John Lautner Archive, Getty Research Institute
John Lautner, Griffith Park Nature Center, 1972-1974 — In this painting of the proposed center, Lautner was at pains to how the building was inspired by land and sky.
Credit Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
Frank Lloyd Wright, Huntington Hartford Sports Club, 1947. The planned 130-acre hotel development would have been a few blocks off Hollywood Boulevard.
Credit Asymptote Architecture New York
The "Steel Cloud," which won a design competition aimed at creating a monumental Los Angeles answer to structures like St. Louis' iconic arch and the Eiffel Tower, was designed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture.
A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.
Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.
A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.
Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.
New York musician Dan Kaufman (third from right) traveled to Rome to learn more about the city's Jewish community and the Italian resistance during WWII. The result is a new album by his band Barbez, based in part on the lost melodies of Roman Jewish music.