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Brownies with Greek Yogurt

I’ve been experimenting this week with healthy versions of delicious treats, and these brownies are a knock-out. Vanilla greek yogurt adds protein but no fat, and gives the brownies a dense, rich texture. Ingredients Vegetable spray 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/4 cups wheat flour 2 cups granulated sugar …

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Personal

Avoiding that Peaceful, Sleepy Feeling While Driving

In cities with a lot of traffic, road rage gets all the media attention. But I’m more regularly afflicted with a more peaceful, sleepy feeling when stuck on Los Angeles’ great bottleneck, the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. There’s a mile-long stretch that can take 20 minutes or more …

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Writing

Clear Writing Inspires Clear Thinking

Writing about complex ideas sometimes brings out the big vocabulary words and abstract expressions. This seems like the right approach — complex ideas should be explained and expounded upon with complex words, right? Wrong. If reader understanding and retention are our goals, then we want to make our document clear …

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Writing

10 Ways to Revive Your Business Writing

Who says business writing has to be boring? OK, probably lots of people do. But anyway, there are lots of easy ways to liven up your memo and report writing which will increase the chances that someone, somewhere will actually read it all the way through. Here’s ten of ’em. …

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Personal
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Where is the Lean Cuisine aisle?

Wandering through a Beijing supermarket a few days ago, I realized how much I rely on packaged, labelled food to tell me what something is and how to prepare it. And I’m not sure this is a good thing. Fresh fish, meats, noodles, breads, vegetables, mushrooms and fruits arranged in …

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Los Angeles

Bless You, My Pet

Forget the marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies. In Los Angeles, you can save the calories and feast your eyes on the furry and feathery versions at the city’s Easter tradition, the Blessing of the Animals at Olvera Street. Now in its 83rd year, this annual event brings goats, cows, roosters, …

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Writing

Write to connect, not impress

I’ve spent the past few weeks diving into the principles of Plain English, a movement more than three decades old to promote simple, straightforward writing in government, military and business documents. Not surprisingly, the principles are quite simple — be clear, be brief and avoid technical jargon. The author of …

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Personal
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My Dad’s Four Doors

My father spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling in his last year of life. Parkinson Disease ravaged him from the inside out, shakes giving way to a terrible stiffness in his muscles. It was as though his spine was contracting, drawing the muscles and tendons and ligaments …

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Personal

Volunteering as Easy as Riding the Bus

The Do Good Bus glided through the wet streets of Inglewood on a January morning, carrying forty volunteers ranging in age from 15 to 65 to a mystery destination. Only the leader, Rebecca Pontius, and the bus driver knew the destination: to Morningside High School and Bennet-Kew Elementary School for …

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Personal

John Lipinski | June 28, 1936 to December 13, 2012

John Lipinski, 76, died at home of complications from Parkinson’s Disease on December 13, 2012. Born in eastern Pennsylvania, John Lipinski was the youngest child and only son of Peter and Anna Lipinski. Immigrants from Czechoslovakia, his parents came through Ellis Island and his father was a coal miner. John …

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