Ellen Alperstein is an independent writer and editor. Her commentaries and essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and other metropolitan newspapers. She has been an independent reporter for several magazines and newspapers. A former travel journalist, she was the editor of several inflight magazines, including America West, for which she wrote a sports culture column. Until its dissolution in 2009, she was an editor for the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post news service. Email
Ricky Jay could conjure a taxi in the rain in the middle of a cornfield. A documentary film about the renowned illusionist doesn't explain how, and, really, would you want it any other way?
Why would you stand on a corner with a picket sign if you don't want people to hear your message?
New vocabulary from a robust community meeting about development in Santa Monica: "facade-omy."
Why visit Sea World when you can watch dolphins perform in your back yard?
If a blackbird doesn't steal your sandwich while you're in the pool, thank the master falconer whose birds of prey clear out the riffraff.
The documentary "Hava Nagila (The Movie)" celebrates a song everyone knows and wonders why.
A documentary film about Capt. Henry Morgan loses its way, like the privateer it features.
Selling the car closed the book on 70 years of driving. As Bette Davis said, "Old age ain't no place for sissies."
Endeavour's slow, middle-of-the-night commute made our hearts race.
October is spider season in L.A., and we're crawling with enthusiasm.
An innocent visit to a rural Nevada town introduced the writer to a singularly local tour.
When cable service was disrupted, my Olympic dream nearly came to an end.
Bo Slyapich loves his job. He's in pest control, and as a rattlesnake specialist, doesn't have a lot of competition.
In advance of Mother's Day, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are on high alert for bad guys hiding in the flowers. Los Angeles is the number two port of entry for flowers imported during the Mother's Day season.
The L.A. County Natural History Museum looks forward to opening its public field site in time for the museum's centennial celebration next year. Here's an early glimpse inside the 3½ acres of fauna-hosting flora reclaimed from a parking lot in Exposition Park.
Some people can't spell, and everyone makes grammatical mistakes. But it's sad when a professional communicator doesn't care.
Sometimes you just have to raise your outdoor voice.
Warning: Watching the Denver Broncos is a hazard to your health.
Everybody has a story, and StoryCorps wants you to speak up.
There's information and there's news. Too often, their purveyors don't know the difference.
A new film about the Klitschko brothers, holders of all boxing federation heavyweight championship titles, tells a story more about humanity than conquest.
Some memories of the 9/11 attacks are decidedly small scale.
The midnight show on Santa Monica beach is a fishy little rom-com with a serious take-home message
Making new friends from really old fossils at the Natural History Museum's new Dinosaur Hall lets you tap your inner Allosaurus.
The wacky Fourth of July parade in Santa Monica nearly takes a tragic turn.
When public figures retire, the attention should be more about honoring success and less about how reluctant they are to leave.
The president gives the "birthers" a cookie. He should have sent them to bed without supper.
When it comes to sporting competition, expressive enthusiasm has devolved from the fantastic to the literal.
The Star Spangled Banner is always a featured player at sports events, and it's always on the losing side. Time for a makeover.
In 1790, the workers who counted people for the first U.S. census were federal marshals. Last week it was people like me.
The L.A. Times is promising readers great things for the New Year, so here's a glass-half-full toast to 2011
You can't help it, you have a crush on Zenyatta. Get in line.
Playing the also-ran sport of doubles tennis, a guy from India and a guy from Pakistan lose the match, win the world and set the standard for perspective and class.
You have many lovely qualities, Trader Joe, but you also exhibit a disturbing pattern of behavior, and you need to stop it.
Why would people oppose any marriage not their own, or even consider it their business to pass judgment on the rectitude of such a personal decision?
Citizen journalism is a wonderful addition to the collection and dissemination of news and community development, but it isn't going to replace the kinds of stories people need with regularity to expose civil servants gone wild.
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