Breaking News

Daily News

7 Things to Do in the San Fernando Valley on ‘Black Friday’ besides shop

Nov 23 2017
A general view of UP CLOSE: Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Westfield)
A general view of UP CLOSE: Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center in New York City. The exhibit is currently at Westfield Topanga in Canoga Park through Dec. 31. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Westfield)

Forget camping out for hours in a line for a bargain on Black Friday this year. Find a forever friend, inspire a child with science, enjoy artwork, take a movie history hike with a ranger, glide around an ice rink or see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel – in, of all places, Canoga Park.

And Small Business Saturday is coming up, too.

Best Friends Animal Society #Holiday100 event: Adopt a cat or a dog beginning at 6 a.m. today. Adoptions $10. Check website for hours through Sunday. 15321 Brand Blvd., Mission Hills. bestfriendsla.org/holiday100

Home for the Pawlidayz: Zappo.com sponsors free cat and dog adoptions (approved adopters). Locations include: Agoura Animal Care Center, 29525 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills (10 a.m.-5 p.m. today-Sunday; 562-355-0490) and Burbank Animal Shelter, 1150 N. Victory Place. (10 a.m.-5 p.m. today; 818-335-2093). www.zappos.com/pets

Discovery Cube Los Angeles: Family fun with science including the ongoing “Planetary Research Station” and “Science of Hockey” and temporary exhibits “Science of Gingerbread” (through Dec. 31) and “Doc McStuffins” (best for ages 2-6; through Jan. 15). Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission $12.95; free for ages 2 and younger. 11800 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar. 818-686-2823. la.discoverycube.org

San Fernando Valley Arts & Cultural Center: View the juried group show “Who Do You Think You Are?” 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Gallery hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Exhibit runs through Dec. 2. 18312 Oxnard St., Tarzana. 818-697-5525. www.sfvacc.org

Hike with a Ranger – Paramount Ranch: Learn about Hollywood history on the ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains on an easy-moderate, one-mile hike, 1:30-2:45 p.m. Meet at the entrance to the Western town. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills. 805-370-2301. www.samofund.org/calendar

Up Close – Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: View reproduced and in-near original size the ceiling fresco art from the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31. Tickets $10; audio guide $2 (first come, first served); free for ages 11 and younger. Westfield Topanga, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park. bit.ly/2B15jGn

LA Kings Holiday Ice: Ice skating, 4-10:30 p.m. (divided into two time sessions). Check website for schedule through Jan. 14 (closed Christmas). Admission $19; $15 ages 65 and older and ages 6 and younger. Westfield Promenade, corner of Erwin Street and Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Woodland Hills. 818-296-5887. lakingsholidayice.com/westfield-topanga

Horse racing: Grade I stakes races fill holiday calendar

Nov 23 2017

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them is that horse racing fans still have nine Grade I races to enjoy this year. Seven of them will be run in Southern California.

The action begins Friday with the $500,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The old grizzled veteran, Hoppertunity, will be going in that one.

Del Mar joins the fun Saturday with the $300,000 Hollywood Derby and will follow the next day with the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes. Both races used to be run at Hollywood Park before it closed in 2013.

Aqueduct will host the $750,000 Cigar Mile on Dec. 2, Los Alamitos offers the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity and $300,000 Starlet on Dec. 9, and Santa Anita will round out things when it runs the $300,000 Malibu and La Brea Stakes on opening day, Dec. 26, and then concludes with the $300,000 American Oaks during its opening week.

So lots of action is still on tap this year and some of these Grade I events could carry Eclipse Award implications with them.

Hoppertunity will be trying to become only the fourth horse to win two Clark Handicaps and the first to win in non-consecutive years. He’d join Hodge (1915-16), Bold Favorite (1968-69) and Bob’s Dusty (1977-78) as the historic race’s only two-time winners. The Clark, along with the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, has been run each year without interruption since Churchill Downs’ inaugural meet in 1875 (no, I wasn’t around back then).

Hoppertunity won the Clark in 2014, finished second behind Effinex the following year and then was fourth last year in a race won by Gun Runner, this year’s winner of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and a slam dunk to be named 2017 Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards ceremony in January at Gulfstream Park.

“I’ll never forget when he won the 2014 Clark,” trainer Bob Baffert told Churchill Downs publicity. “He’s back and doing well. He’s always been right there all the time. He’s made $4 million by being right there and has always been a barn favorite.

“It sounds like it will be a tough Clark so it won’t be a walk in the park by any means.”

The 1 1/8-mile race drew a field of eight, headed by 5-2 morning-line favorite Diversify, who will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. Hoppertunity, who’s won seven of 27 lifetime starts with seven seconds and four thirds for earnings of $4,284,025, is the 3-1 second choice.

Saturday’s Hollywood Derby at Del Mar attracted a field of nine for the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds, part of the Turf Festival during closing weekend of the seaside track’s fourth Bing Crosby meet.

Sharp Samurai, who won a pair of stakes during Del Mar’s summer meet, is trained by Mark Glatt and will be ridden by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens in the Hollywood Derby. He’s won four consecutive stakes, including the Grade II Twilight Derby at Santa Anita in his most recent start.

Los Alamitos, which will kick off its 12-day winter meet Nov. 30, will present the Los Alamitos Futurity and Starlet for the fourth time since Hollywood Park closed up shop. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles. Mastery, whose career ended prematurely because of injury, was an impressive winner of the Futurity last year. Abel Tasman, a favorite to be named top 3-year-old filly of 2017, won last year’s Starlet when Simon Callaghan trained the filly. She’s now in Baffert’s barn.

Baffert has won the Futurity a record nine times, including the past three with Dortmund, Mor Spirit and Mastery.

The Cigar Mile, won last year by Connect, is the final Grade I race of the year in New York. Mind Your Biscuits and Practical Joke top a group of 17 nominated to the 29th edition of the Cigar Mile.

The Malibu and La Brea will highlight Santa Anita’s opening-day program, which last year drew an on-track crowd of 46,514, the largest since 46,904 turned out in 1994.

Unique Bella, who disappointed with a  seventh-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 4 at Del Mar, is expected to try to make amends in the La Brea. She led the Breeders’ Cup race early, carving out fractions of 21.84 and 44.35, before fading badly under Mike Smith.

The final Grade I race of the year will be the American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the grass at Santa Anita. The date has yet to be announced.

Follow Art Wilson on Twitter at @Sham73

Macy’s Thanksgiving parade is full of balloons — and security

Nov 23 2017
  • People watch as the balloon Red from “Angry Birds” moves through Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    People watch as the balloon Red from “Angry Birds” moves through Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • Spectators watch as the Santa Claus float passes by during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Spectators watch as the Santa Claus float passes by during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • People watch from windows as the Sinclair Dino balloon moves through Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    People watch from windows as the Sinclair Dino balloon moves through Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • A performer carries balloons across Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    A performer carries balloons across Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • Cheerleaders march along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Cheerleaders march along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • The Ronald McDonald balloon makes its way across Sixth Avenue as police stand guard during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    The Ronald McDonald balloon makes its way across Sixth Avenue as police stand guard during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • A balloon of Red, from “Angry Birds” floats down Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    A balloon of Red, from “Angry Birds” floats down Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • Police stand guard as a clown passes by during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Police stand guard as a clown passes by during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • People watch as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon makes its way across Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    People watch as the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon makes its way across Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • Members of the US Air Force Honor Guard march along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    Members of the US Air Force Honor Guard march along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • A participant bikes along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

    A participant bikes along Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

  • A balloon of Red, from Angry Birds, is followed by a Spongebob Squarepants balloon along Central Park West during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

    A balloon of Red, from Angry Birds, is followed by a Spongebob Squarepants balloon along Central Park West during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

of

Expand

New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured balloons, bands, stars and heavy security in a year marked by attacks on outdoor gathering spots.

With new faces and old favorites in the lineup, the Americana extravaganza made its way through 2 ½ miles of Manhattan on a cold morning.

“The crowds are still the same, but there’s a lot more police here. That’s the age we live in,” Paul Seyforth said as he attended the parade he’d watched since the 1950s.

“Not a lot’s changed — the balloons, the bands, the floats — and that’s the good thing,” said Seyforth, 76, who’d flown in from Denver to spend his 50th wedding anniversary in New York and see this year’s parade.

The televised parade was proceeding smoothly, though about midway through, a gust of wind on a largely calm day blew a candy-cane balloon into a tree branch, and it popped near the start of the route on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. No one was injured.

In 2005, one of the parade’s signature giant balloons caught a gust, hit a Times Square lamppost and injured two people. The candy cane was smaller than the giant balloons.

Timothy McMillian and his wife, their 9-year-old daughter and his in-laws started staking out a spot along the route at 6:30 a.m. They’d come from Greensboro, North Carolina, to see in person the spectacle they’d watched on TV for years.

McMillian, a 45-year-old schoolteacher, booked a hotel months ago, but he started to have some concerns about security when a truck attack on a bike path near the World Trade Center killed eight people on Halloween.

“With the event being out in the open like this, we were concerned,” he said. “But we knew security would be ramped up today, and we have full confidence in the NYPD.”

Authorities say there is no confirmation of a credible threat to the parade, but they were taking no chances after both the truck attack and the October shooting that killed 58 people at a Las Vegas country music festival.

New York Police Department officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors were circulating among the crowds, sharpshooters were on rooftops and sand-filled city sanitation trucks were poised as imposing barriers to traffic at every cross street. Officers also were escorting each of the giant balloons.

The mayor and police brass have repeatedly stressed that visitors shouldn’t be deterred. And Bekki Grinnell certainly wasn’t.

“When your kid from Alaska is marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you come,” said Grinnell, whose daughter was marching with the band from Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska. Grinnell said she wasn’t worried about security because of the police presence: “I think we’re in a safe spot.”

Other paradegoers also showed their appreciation for police: The NYPD marching band and a group of mounted officers got some of the biggest cheers from spectators lined up as many as 15 deep along barricades. Among other crowd favorites: as did the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon.

The 91st annual parade featured new balloons including Olaf from the Disney movie “Frozen” and Chase from the TV cartoon “Paw Patrol” will be among the new balloons Thursday, along with a new version of the Grinch of Dr. Seuss fame.

Smokey Robinson, The Roots, Flo Rida and Wyclef Jean were among the stars celebrating, along with performances from the casts of Broadway’s “Anastasia,” ″Dear Evan Hansen” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” The lineup included a dozen marching bands, as well as the high-kicking Radio City Music Hall Rockettes — and, of course, Santa Claus.

“This is my favorite thing ever,” musician Questlove told The Associated Press as he got ready to ride the Gibson Guitars float with his bandmates in The Roots and late-night host Jimmy Fallon of “The Tonight Show,” where The Roots are the house band. Questlove said being in the parade is “probably my favorite perk” of the job.

“To go from being a spectator to being up here, it’s kinda cool,” he said.

Added singer-songwriter Andy Grammer as he got on the Homewood Suites float: “It’s kind of like being at the center of Thanksgiving.”

Explosion heard near time Argentine sub went missing, navy says

Nov 23 2017

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — An apparent explosion occurred near the time and place an Argentine submarine went missing, the country’s navy reported Thursday — an ominous development that prompted relatives of the 44 crew members to burst into tears, and some to say they had lost all hope of rescue.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said the search will continue until there is full certainty about the fate of the ARA San Juan. He said evidence showed “an anomalous event that was singular, short, violent and non-nuclear that was consistent with an explosion.”

The U.S. Navy and an international nuclear test-ban monitoring organization said the “hydro-acoustic anomaly” was produced just hours after the navy lost contact with the submarine on Nov. 15. “According to this report, there was an explosion,” Balbi told reporters. “We don’t know what caused an explosion of these characteristics at this site on this date.”

The sub was originally scheduled to arrive Monday at the Mar del Plata Navy Base, about 250 miles southeast of Buenos Aires. Relatives of the crew who have gathered at the base to receive psychological counseling broke into tears and hugged each other after they received the news. Some fell on their knees or clung to a fence crowded with blue-and-white Argentine flags, rosary beads and messages of support. Most declined to speak, while a few others lashed out in anger at the navy’s response.

“They sent a piece of crap to sail,” said Itati Leguizamon, wife of submarine crew member German Suarez. “They inaugurated a submarine with a coat of paint and a flag in 2014, but without any equipment inside. The navy is to blame for its 15 years of abandonment.”

The German-built diesel-electric TR-1700 class submarine was commissioned in 1985 and was most recently refit in 2014.

During the $12 million retrofitting, the vessel was cut in half and had its engines and batteries replaced. Experts say that refits can be difficult because they involve integrating systems produced by different manufacturers and even the smallest mistake during the cutting phase of the operation can put the safety of the ship and the crew at risk.

The Argentine navy and outside experts have said that even if the ARA San Juan is intact, its crew might have only enough oxygen to be submerged seven to 10 days.

Road closures for Festival of Lights switch-on in downtown Riverside and other tips

Nov 23 2017

Riverside’s annual Festival of Lights switch-on ceremony can get crowded.

Last year, the city estimated that 70,000 people packed the area around the Mission Inn. This year, it’s expected to be even more packed — with an estimated crowd of 90,000 people — now that “Footloose” singer Kenny Loggins will be performing.

Before you head out to check out the lights and fireworks Friday, Nov. 24, be aware of a number of road closures in the downtown area.

These roads will be closed throughout the day Friday until midnight:

  • University Avenue from Market to Orange streets;
  • Mission Inn Avenue from Market to Lime streets;
  • Fifth Street in front of the convention center;
  • Lemon Street between Sixth Street and close to University Avenue;
  • Orange Street from University Avenue to Sixth Street;
  • Sixth Street from Main to Orange streets;
  • Ninth Street in front of City Hall; and
  • Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

The road closures will also cause detours for a number of RTA buses; head over to riversidetransit.com for more information.

Here are several more travel tips:

  • If you don’t want to drive, the Metrolink is a possibility. Organizers say that riders needn’t fear the long waits and missed trains that plagued last year’s Festival of Lights train service. This year, three extra trains have been added just for the event.
  • For drivers headed downtown from the 91 freeway, don’t exit on Mission Inn Avenue; 14th Street is your best option.
  • For those traveling the 60 Freeway, the best exit will be Market Street.
  • Look online to see where parking structures and lots are before you leave. Oh, and be prepared to walk. Note that there is a $10 parking charge at most parking structures and lots. You can reserve a spot in advance for $5 by visiting clickandpark.com. Check riversideca.gov/fol for up-to-date parking information.

Several streets will remain closed, even after the switch-on ceremony — which happens at 4:30 p.m. Friday in front of the Mission Inn.

The following streets will be closed from 3 p.m.-midnight Thursdays-Saturdays through Jan. 6: Mission Inn Avenue from Market to Orange streets;

  • Orange Street from Mission Inn Avenue to Sixth Street;
  • Sixth Street from Main to Orange streets; and
  • Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Whicker: As Kaepernick sits, NFL deals with trouble standing

Nov 23 2017

Here’s what the NFL should have done with Colin Kaepernick.

It should have signed him as a league employee. Then it should have sent him in London.

Whenever two NFL teams played there, he could have been the backup quarterback for each. Or maybe if a team didn’t want to bring its rancid quarterback at all, Kaepernick could have started.

He could have stood for God Save The Queen and knelt for the Star-Spangled Banner. Nobody would have protested. And maybe he would have won.

Outlandish? Sure.

Nearly as outlandish as Jerry Jones threatening Roger Goodell, the Chargers playing in front of Mater Dei-sized crowds, and the first signs that the NFL, the leading television entertainment package for lo these many years, is beginning to sink just slightly into a climate change of irrelevance.

Nothing is more transparently absurd than Kaepernick’s forced idleness in 2017. He had a quarterback rating of 90.6 last year on a 2-14 49ers team.

What do Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Joe Flacco and Marcus Mariota have in common? None has a QB rating as high as 90.6 this season.

Meanwhile, the following quarterbacks started last weekend or are being strongly considered to start this weekend: C.J. Beathard, Matt Moore, Tom Savage, Blaine Gabbert, Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer, and Scott Tolzien.

Oh, and Nathan Peterman, who is not related to the clothier who was Elaine’s boss on Seinfeld.

Kaepernick is no longer the QB  who came within a play of winning a Super Bowl for San Francisco. But a majority of today’s imposters  will get no closer to a Super Bowl than a barstool at  Buffalo Wild Wings.

At least Kaepernick once was good.

But any NFL team who signed Kaepernick at this late date would be overwhelmed by an international media tsunami.

From the other side of the binoculars, it’s clear that the anthem kneel-downs were a massive tactical error. It meant the issue would be shifted from from the uncomfortable fact of unpunished police brutality to the caricature of rich BMW-driving athletes thumbing their nose at Old Glory.

When Vin Scully overcomes his reticence and publicly says he’ll never watch  another NFL game, imagine how many other nerves were struck.

The NFL furiously pushed its Salute To Service and had coaches wear olive drab parkas with USA on the back. That didn’t stop the bleeding.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told the Washington Post that the players should have taped their protests, to be shown on stadium videoboards. Or maybe the networks could have given them a few minutes at halftime, or pregame. There are platforms aplenty for a clear message that leaves our symbols unscathed.

Contrast this to the NBA. Coaches and players alike speak with startling candor on the issues. Players are allowed to protest, as in the hoodies the Miami players wore after Trayvon Martin’s murder.

But commissioner Adam Silver asked them to respect the flag and they do. That shows their respect for Silver, who helped arrange Donald T. Sterling’s departure. It far surpasses the NFL players’ regard for Goodell.

The NFL insists on Thursday night games, refuses to institute a minor league developmental system, tried to deny the existence of CTE, and hands out discipline in unpredictable ways. Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys is suspended for six games for domestic violence even though the league’s own investigator said the accusers lacked credibility, and Elliott was charged with nothing.

Chicago linebacker Danny Trevathan viciously targeted Green Bay’s Davante Adams with his helmet and got a two-game suspension, later reduced to one.

Saints receiver Willie Snead blew a .125 on the Breathalyzer last summer and got a three-game suspension. Cincinnati drafted and signed Joe Mixon even after the Oklahoma running back was given a one-year deferred sentence in 2014  for assaulting a woman named Amelia Molito, breaking her jaw.

The NFL could, but doesn’t, advise all college players that a domestic violence incident will ensure they won’t get drafted. That would make at least a few of them think twice.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talk during an NFL football game in 2016 in London. The NFL expects a five-year contract extension with Goodell to be finalized soon, despite a threatened lawsuit by Jones. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talk during an NFL football game in 2016 in London. The NFL expects a five-year contract extension with Goodell to be finalized soon, despite a threatened lawsuit by Jones. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

Goodell is reportedly getting more than $40 million per year in his upcoming contract, despite Jones’ resistance. The highest-paid NFL player is Matthew Stafford, at $27 million. Apparently the salary cap is Players Only.

Meanwhile the league is leaking viewership, and the 18-game schedule and the 10-team playoff have hollowed out the regular season.

Meanwhile Colin Kaepernick donated $100,000 to four charities in September and got the NFL Players Association Community MVP award. Eventually he hopes to donate $1 million to Meals and Wheels, and 100 Suits For 100 Men.

He never should have knelt to anyone.

UCLA football has point to prove in regular-season finale against Cal

Nov 23 2017

Jedd Fisch has it on good authority that UCLA is playing a rivalry game Friday. Wikipedia says so.

“I just told the guys, ‘You go on Wikipedia and to UCLA football and it says there are two rivalries: There’s USC and there’s Cal,’” the Bruins’ offensive coordinator turned interim head coach said Monday.

So it’s not exactly the crosstown showdown, but add the Wikipedia-based battle to UCLA’s plethora of rallying cries for its regular-season finale against Cal at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12 Conference) want a win to earn bowl eligibility. They want a win for their 24 seniors playing in their final home games. They want a win to cap the school’s first undefeated season at the Rose Bowl since 2005. And they want a win for their former head coach.

“(We have to) stand together, stand together as one, and come out on Friday night with our hair on fire, get this win for Coach (Jim) Mora,” redshirt junior Adarius Pickett said Monday, one day after Mora was fired. “Let the university know that it was a mistake.”

UCLA isn’t the only team with something to prove. Cal, in its first year under head coach Justin Wilcox, is also vying for bowl eligibility with a 5-6 overall record (2-6 Pac-12). The winner extends its season.

When UCLA has the ball

Junior quarterback Josh Rosen is coming off what he called one of his better games of the year as he threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns against USC, but he is still haunted by several mistakes that cost the Bruins the game.

Of course there were the two red-zone turnovers, a fumble on a strip sack and an interception, but Rosen continues to relive other miscues, including a missed throw to receiver Christian Pabico on third-and-10 during the final minute of the third quarter. Rosen put the ball just behind his receiver, and as he walked off the field after the three-and-out, the quarterback clutched his face mask and slapped his helmet five times with both hands.

It was his second loss to the Trojans after he struggled in his rivalry debut as a freshman. He threw for 227 yards and one touchdown, but also turned the ball over three times that led to 13 USC points.

It was the worst game of an otherwise impressive freshman season. Wilcox, then USC’s defensive coordinator, was the man behind it, but the first-year Cal head coach knows he’s not facing a true freshman anymore.

“He’s a phenomenal passer and they’re doing some great things on offense, you gotta try to make him as uncomfortable as best you can in terms of changing the looks and coverage rotations,” Wilcox said this week of game-planning for Rosen. “He’s as good a thrower, as good a passer as there is in college football,” he continued. “And I know our guys will be excited for the challenge and he’s playing at a very high level.”

When Cal has the ball

Kenny Young doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s emotional just thinking about his last game at the Rose Bowl.

“I get sentimental around my last few games,” Young said. “In high school it was the exact same way.”

The senior linebacker from New Orleans is UCLA’s most experienced defensive player with 40 career starts. His consistent leadership has helped the Bruins weather injuries and a disappointing unit that’s ranked second-to-last in the country in rushing defense. But at long last, it seems that UCLA is hitting its stride on defense after a season-low 153 rushing yards allowed last week.

“That game-time experience is allowing them to play faster or understand their run gaps or pass fits,” Pickett said of the defense’s young players. “So I’m really excited about their future here and really excited to be playing this week.”

Earning a bowl bid would lay the groundwork for that future, giving the young Bruins an extra 15 practices.

Cal is 11th in the Pac-12 in total and rushing offense. However, running back Patrick Laird has rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the past four games, including 153 last week against Stanford.

UCLA vs. Cal: TV info, scouting report, prediction

Nov 23 2017

UCLA vs. Cal

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Rose Bowl

TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1/AM 570

Records: UCLA (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12); Cal (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12)

Cal stats

QB Ross Bowers: 247-240, 2,797 yards, 17 TDs, 12 INTs

RB Patrick Laird: 159 carries, 949 yards, 8 TDs

LB Jordan Kunaszyk: 66 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs

DL James Looney: 38 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 3.5 sacks

CB Camryn Bynum: 50 tackles, 2 INTs, 10 passes defended

Cal injury report: OUT: LB Devante Downs, DE Zeandae Johnson, OL Daniel Juarez, S Evan Rambo, LB Cameron Saffle, RB Tre Watson

Cal wins if: The defense can confuse Josh Rosen with multiple coverages and pressures. … Patrick Laird helps the Cal offense control the ball to keep Rosen on the sideline. … The Bears get off to a fast start on a short week to fluster a UCLA team struggling with the firing of its head coach.

UCLA stats

QB Josh Rosen: 269-433, 3,515 yards, 24 TDs, 10 INTs

RB Bolu Olorunfunmi: 102 carries, 540 yards, 5 TDs

WR Jordan Lasley: 49 catches, 909 yards, 7 TDs, 129.9 yards per game

LB Kenny Young: 86 tackles, 7 TFLs, 1 sack

S Jaleel Wadood: 65 tackles, 2.0 TFLs, 1 INT

UCLA injury report: OUT: WR Darren Andrews (knee), TE Caleb Wilson (foot), LB Josh Woods (shoulder), DL Matt Dickerson (collarbone); PROBABLE: RB Bolu Olorunfunmi (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: DL Jaelan Phillips (concussion); LB Krys Barnes (illness); TE Austin Roberts (undisclosed)

UCLA wins if: The Bruins control their emotions during what’s been a difficult week for the program and don’t commit the same self-inflicted errors that ultimately cost them the win against USC. … The defense can continue the momentum it gained from last week’s performance against the Trojans to neutralize the Cal running game and force Ross Bowers to win the game with his arm.

Prediction

UCLA 35, Cal 27

Live updates: Chargers vs. Cowboys from AT&T Stadium

Nov 23 2017

The Los Angeles Chargers are on the road for Thanksgiving, playing the Dallas Cowboys in their traditional holiday game. The Cowboys are 5-5 and have lost two in a row. The Chargers are 4-6 and coming off of a 54-24 home victory over the Buffalo Bills. Jack Wang is reporting from the Cowboys’ home at AT&T Stadium.

Keep it here for live news updates, analysis and stats before, during and after the game.

If viewing from a mobile device, please CLICK HERE

Statistical comparisons | Who has the edge?

Start time: 1:30 p.m. PT

How to catch the game:

TV: KCBS, Ch. 2

Radio: KFI 640

KFWB 980 (Spanish)

‘The Night Before the Night Before Christmas’ brings good cheer in the nick of time

Nov 23 2017

It’s Dec. 16 in the New Jersey home of Lou and Carol. Their daughter Pia has grown into a foul-mouthed, somewhat Goth adult, his younger sister Mona gets on his nerves, and Carol is just too amenable.

Lou flies like a flash to the window to check on his neighbor’s decorating progress.

Those neighbors, the Halls, are decking their house with decorations that violate homeowners-association covenants and inflame Lou’s sense of order.

Still, it takes the plastic Christmas tree of “high-quality stunning realism” to send Lou into lunacy.

He climbs onto the roof, slips and plummets, and lies concussed in a coma for a few days. And when he awakens, he proclaims, “Christmas is canceled.” Period. End of conversation. Or at least end of Act 1.

But playwright Cricket Daniel has a lesson in mind for Lou, in “The Night Before the Night Before Christmas,” at Little Fish Theatre through, coincidentally, Dec. 16. Daniel takes a pretty hard swipe at the commercialism and stresses of the holiday season, as well as a softer nudge at how family can and should behave toward one another.

Through a travel agent (unseen) named Joy, Lou and Carol are avoiding Christmas by flying to Hawaii on Spirit Airlines. By now, the audience is beginning to realize the character names are related to the holiday, some obviously and some less so.

Soon, at the airport, when Lou and Carol encounter a cheerful singing gate attendant named Rudy and an all-knowing bartender named Nick, the spirit of Christmas comes alive for them and, if we’re willing, for the rest of us.

The play’s time frames are a little confusing, requiring assistance from the playbill. Director Gigi Fusco Meese tries to help with an advent calendar that hangs on the wall, from which Lou snags a treat out of the relevant date.

The storyline is a little confusing, too, even keeping in mind that it’s an entertaining comedy. Which are Lou’s “real” circumstances, the zaniness of his Act 1 home or the cozier, more caring Act 2 home?

We might presume the action of Act 2 is happening in Lou’s mind. The direction could have clarified this through design elements, but that might spoil the show for audience members who want to believe in a certain jolly fellow whose round belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.

Meese’s direction certainly gives us solid actors who seem to bond onstage. James Rice makes a crusty, befuddled Lou. Madeleine Drake is the perpetually sunny Carol. Belinda Howell plays both versions of Lou’s eccentric sister Mona, and Kimberly Patterson plays the two versions of Pia.

Still, the show needs a strong pick-me-up after intermission, and it arrives thanks to Greg Prusiewicz, playing Rudy, not quite prancing but definitely dashing around. Allen Barstow plays the airport barkeep, Nick, whose pouring may not be lively and quick, but whose banter is.

There are no kerchiefs and caps, but costume designer Wendell C. Carmichael serves up wildly colored muumuus galore, plus for Lou a grass skirt swishing over his black socks and black shoes.

Whatever magic is at work in the story, it helps Lou recover his lost love of Christmas and his generous and caring spirit. Hopefully, some of that will spill out of the theater and down chimneys the world over.

Dany Margolies is a Los Angeles-based writer.

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
Rating: 3 stars
When: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (also 2 p.m. Sunday and Dec. 3), through Dec. 16
Where: Little Fish Theatre, 777 S. Centre St., San Pedro
Tickets: $27 (discounts for seniors and students)
Length: 2 hrs., including intermission
Suitability: Teens and adults
Information: 310-512-6030, www.littlefishtheatre.org