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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
Volume 12 Issue 38
Santa Monica Daily Press
BROKE, BUT HAPPY SEE PAGE 5
We have you covered
THE MERRY CHRISTMAS ISSUE
Ho Ho Holy Discount: Vatican tax-free store stays busy NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press
VATICAN CITY Anyone left on your Christmas list just aching for a 65-inch Samsung 3D flat-screen television? Just your luck. The Vatican’s duty-free department store has one on sale for 2,899 ($3,840) — a nifty savings over the 3,799 ($5,032) it costs at Italy’s main electronics chain Euronics. Or how about some new luggage for the holidays? The Vatican shop stocks a variety of Samsonite Cordoba Duo carry-ons for 123, a nice markdown from the 135 on the Samsonite website. But if a last-minute shopping splurge is in order, the Vatican can also oblige: Take this leather-bound travelling trunk from Florence’s “The Bridge” leatherworks, with its five drawers, plaid interior, six wooden hangars and shiny brass buckles. At 5,900, it comes with a matching leather golf club bag, just what every monsignor needs under his Christmas tree. There’s a little-known open secret in the Vatican gardens, a few paces behind St. Peter’s Basilica and tucked inside the Vatican’s old train station: a sprawling, three-story tax-free department store that rivals any airport duty free or military PX, stocking everything from Church’s custom grade shoes ( 483 a pair) to Baume et Mercier watches (ladies 1,585, men’s Capeland 5,000). There’s a hitch, however. It’s not open to the public, only to Vatican citizens, employees and their dependents, diplomats accredited to the Holy See and (unofficially) their lucky friends who, after stocking up on holiday must-haves, proceed to the checkout with their Vatican connection and the ID card that entitles them to shop there. To be sure, Rome is no stranger to taxfree shopping. Embassies, nearby military bases and the U.N. food agencies all have SEE STORE PAGE 7
Photo courtesy Universal
CHANGE OF CHARACTER: Hugh Jackman stars in 'Les Miserables,' which hit theaters today. It’s one of many films opening on Christmas.
Silver bells, silver screen Christmas Day for families, fun and a little cinema BY ASHLEY ARCHIBALD Daily Press Staff Writer
DOWNTOWN Christmas morning. It’s several hours of wrapping paper carnage, dogs running off with sticky bows and older members of the family spreading holiday cheer with one more mimosa because, after all, “It’s Christmas.” But after the new-present shine wears off and the buzz has turned into a dull throb, people find themselves saddled with the perennial question of what’s next? Members of other faiths and traditions have long held the key to Christmas Day survival; given a day off for a federal holiday that’s more connected to a fat man in a
red coat on the verge of type-two diabetes than the birth of a deity-made-flesh, it’s become something of an art to find ways to fill the time. For many, that quest has ended in front of a silver screen. “Seeing everybody out there celebrating Christmas, they tend to go to the movies,” said Mark Young, a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business. To Young’s estimation, the tradition of movie theater attendance on Dec. 25 has been going on since 1995, and was largely dominated by the Jewish segment of the population. Now even Christmas observers have joined in, packing their families into cars as the day begins to wind down to maintain the festive spirit.
“The box office gets hot somewhere around 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.,” Young said, noting that the timing coincides with the end of presents and potentially a heavy midday meal. This year, Academy Award-favorite “Les Miserables,” a cinematic re-creation of the famous book-turned-musical, will debut alongside Quentin Tarantino’s violent tale of a slave turned bounty hunter, “Django Unchained.” Rounding out the trio of releases is the family-friendly “Parental Guidance,” starring Billy Crystal as an old-school disciplinarian forced to reckon with his three wild grandchildren. SEE MOVIES PAGE 9
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Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012 Merry Christmas! Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012
Time to re-stock Downtown Farmers’ Market Arizona Avenue and Second Street, 8:30 a.m. — 1 p.m. Time to catch up on that post-holiday shopping at this weekly market. There’s fresh produce, cut flowers, bread, cheese and prepared foods. For more information, call (310) 458-8712.
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Get crafty Montana Library 1704 Montana Ave., 3 p.m. — 3:45 p.m. Join library staff through Dec. 28 to make a daily craft. Wednesday’s project is a beaded pin. For more information, visit smpl.org.
R E S U LT S M AT T E R $
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012
Training (included with purchase of new membership)*
Story time Montana Library 1704 Montana Ave., 11:15 a.m. Stories for kids 3-5 every Thursday morning. For more information, visit smpl.org. Stay current Fairview Library 2101 Ocean Park Blvd., 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m. Jack Nordaus moderates a discussion on current events, both at home and abroad. For more information, visit smpl.org. Telling tales Vidiots Annex
302 Pico Blvd., 7:30 p.m. — 9:30 p.m. Tale Spin is a monthly gathering of people telling true stories. Seating is limited to 35, so arrive early. For more information, call (310) 3928508. Friday, Dec. 28, 2012 Break for art Paint:LAB 2912 Main St., 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Spend your holiday break learning to paint. The Kids Winter Break Art Camp includes all materials and instruction as part of the price. Cost: $55-$100. For more information, call (310) 450-9200. By the fire Miles Memorial Playhouse 1130 Lincoln Blvd., 8 p.m. For the fourth year in a row the Miles presents the “Fireside at the Miles” series. Enjoy seven weekends and 16 separate events featuring contemporary music, storytelling, opera, jazz, dance, poetry, beat boxing, a capella singing and more. Performances take place beside the huge vintage fireplace with a cheery eco-log fire. For more information, call (310) 458-8634. On a mission M.i.’s Westside Comedy Theater 1323-A Third Street Promenade, 10 p.m. The Mission IMPROVable Show is one of the fastest improv shows you've ever seen. See the show that's delighted audiences across the country for the last 10 years. Cost: $10. For more information, call (310) 451-0850.
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Inside Scoop TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
Visit us online at smdp.com
Judge oversees courts for the down, but not out LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent
think the potential is really great,” said Pamela Hinds, co-director of Stanford University’s Center on Work, Technology, & Organization. “I don’t think face-to-face is going away, but the question is, how much face-to-face can be replaced by this technology?” Technology watchers say these machines — sometimes called remote presence devices — could be used for many purposes. They could let managers inspect overseas factories, salespeople greet store customers, family members check on elderly relatives or art lovers tour foreign museums. Some physicians are already seeing patients in remote hospitals with the RP-VITA robot co-developed by Santa-Barbara, Calif.,-based InTouch Health and iRobot, the Bedford, Mass.,-based maker of the Roomba vacuum. The global market for telepresence robots is projected to reach $13 billion by 2017, said Philip Solis, research director for emerging technologies at ABI Research. The robots have attracted the attention of Russian venture capitalist Dimitry Grishin, who runs a $25 million fund that
LOS ANGELES A visitor walking through the doors of Judge Michael Tynan’s courtroom might mistake it for a church of repentant sinners seeking salvation from a man in a black robe. Members of this congregation come with criminal records and confessions of hard times when drugs, alcohol and mental illness sent their lives spiraling. Some arrive in their best clothes ready for redemption; others are escorted in handcuffs and jail uniforms that show they have not yet found the light. In this court, Tynan is a purveyor of hope — not punishment — sentencing law breakers in Los Angeles Superior Court to sober living and recovery programs rather than prison. He is sometimes tough, often supportive but always in command of what is essentially a rescue mission. “They do the work. All we do is give them the opportunity,” he said. “I’m just here as a cheerleader and motivator.” Tynan, still going strong at 76, has presided over several alternative sentencing programs for nearly two decades to help military veterans, drug addicts, the mentally ill and women convicts tackle problems that led to crime. While similar courts exist elsewhere, Tynan may be the only judge running so many programs single handedly for some of the most troubled people in the criminal justice system. Thousands have come before him for nonviolent felonies — mostly drug crimes. He decides if they are eligible for a program and fields daily progress reports, offering a verbal pat on the back, encouragement to try again or a stern rebuke. On a recent day, gray haired Lionel Morales, 60, wearing jail blues, said he relapsed and used heroin. Tynan asked when he first shot up. “I was fourteen,” Morales said. Tynan shook his head, but gave him another chance. “You’re lucky to be alive,” he said. “Mr. Morales, for God’s sake, clean up!” Tynan was a public defender known as “Father Mike” for trying to guide troubled souls into Alcoholics Anonymous and other
SEE ROBOT PAGE 8
SEE JUDGE PAGE 9
Image courtesy Suitable Technologies
PRESENT: Suitable Technologies, which makes the Beam, is now one of more than a dozen companies that sell so-called telepresence robots.
Telepresence robots let employees ‘beam’ into work TERENCE CHEA Associated Press
PALO ALTO, Calif. Engineer Dallas Goecker attends meetings, jokes with colleagues and roams the office building just like other employees at his company in Silicon Valley. But Goecker isn’t in California. He’s more than 2,300 miles away, working at home in Seymour, Indiana. It’s all made possible by the Beam — a mobile video-conferencing machine that he can drive around the Palo Alto offices and workshops of Suitable Technologies. The 5foot-tall device, topped with a large video screen, gives him a physical presence that makes him and his colleagues feel like he’s actually there. “This gives you that casual interaction that you’re used to at work,” Goecker said, speaking on a Beam. “I’m sitting in my desk area with everybody else. I’m part of their conversations and their socializing.” Suitable Technologies, which makes the Beam, is now one of more than a dozen companies that sell so-called telepresence robots. These remote-controlled machines
are equipped with video cameras, speakers, microphones and wheels that allow users to see, hear, talk and “walk” in faraway locations. More and more employees are working remotely, thanks to computers, smartphones, email, instant messaging and video-conferencing. But those technologies are no substitute for actually being in the office, where casual face-to-face conversations allow for easy collaboration and camaraderie. Telepresence-robot makers are trying to bridge that gap with wheeled machines — controlled over wireless Internet connections — that give remote workers a physical presence in the workplace. These robotic stand-ins are still a long way from going mainstream, with only a small number of organizations starting to use them. The machines can be expensive, difficult to navigate or even get stuck if they venture into areas with poor Internet connectivity. Stairs can be lethal, and nontechies might find them too strange to use regularly. “There are still a lot of questions, but I
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Opinion Commentary 4
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
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That Rutherford Guy
John W. Whitehead
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Paying it forward at Christmas “‘TH ERE ARE MANY TH INGS FROM
which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round — apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that — as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!’” — Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” Although Charles Dickens immortalized the money-loving, Christmas-hating, bahhumbuggiest of humbugs Ebenezer Scrooge in his classic “A Christmas Carol,” the world has always been plagued by Scrooges and Grinches so single-minded in their pursuit of money, power and control that they exhibit few qualms about stamping out acts of kindness, compassion and true charity when they arise. This year has certainly been plagued with its fair share of Scrooges and Grinches disguised as government agents, threatening individuals with fines and arrest for such simple acts of kindness and charity as distributing free bottled water to the thirsty, giving away free food to the hungry and destitute, and making thermal shelters available to house the homeless during cold winter nights. The latest Scrooge to dampen the goodwill that this time of year tends to bring out in many people comes from Waynesboro, Va., where zoning officials have gone out of their way to shut down a Christmas tree farmer’s big-hearted efforts to raise money to buy wigs for cancer patients by giving away his Christmas trees in exchange for donations. For Christian Critzer, who lives with his wife and two children, the Christmas tree donation drive was his way of paying it forward: a way to show his gratitude for his wife having recently won a battle with breast cancer and inspire hope in those still fighting their own battles and dealing with the aftermath of cancer. Using what he knows best Critzer focused his efforts on raising money for the “Fight Like a Girl” campaign at the Charlottesville, Va.-based Martha Jefferson hospital, a fund for cancer survivors to buy custom wigs as they recover from their long battles with cancer and chemotherapy. As Critzer learned through his wife’s own battle with cancer from this time last year, wigs — often a necessity for women who’ve lost their hair because of chemotherapy treatments — aren’t covered by insurance. Using his front yard on a busy street as the staging ground, Critzer attempted to first sell the trees, with the hopes of giving the
proceeds to the cancer fund. That all changed when Waynesboro zoning officials threatened Critzer with a citation for operating a commercial enterprise in a residentially-zoned area. Determined to do his good deed, Critzer decided to give the trees away, asking a donation in return. “People are hurting,” said Critzer. “A free tree is a blessing. So we decided we’ll offer them for free. If people can afford a donation, that’s what we’ll give to the cancer center, and problem solved.” Unfortunately for the Christmas tree farmer, Waynesboro zoning officials didn’t agree and cited him for violating the city’s zoning ordinances. The Critzers live on one of the busiest roads in Waynesboro, adjacent to big box stores like Wal-Mart and Martins. According to Critzer, the big Martins sign shines its light through his window 24 hours a day, so it’s not as if his Christmas tree drive is bringing an unusual amount of traffic to the area. Nor does his little “tree lot” seem to be overly distracting. Despite Critter’s various attempts to find a solution that would allow him to keep the tree drive going, Waynesboro officials were adamant that he should shut it down, going so far as to threaten his landlord with fines and issuing a cease and desist order against Critzer. Not wanting to cause his landlord hardship, and not wanting to be a burden to his wife and two children, Christian took down the trees, the lights and the signs. His goal of raising $1,000 for the cancer fund remains unrealized and his hopes of paying it forward have been dashed. At least for this year, unless The Rutherford Institute, which has come to Critzer’s defense, can work their own Christmas miracle. Either way and to his credit, Critzer insists that next year, he’ll be back with 100 Christmas trees. So what’s the lesson to be learned here? Is it that no good deed goes unpunished? Certainly, in an age of bureaucracy and overcriminalization, it can seem that way. Is the problem, as Critzer suggests, that the government needs to revisit its priorities and focus on solving the real problems plaguing communities rather than creating problems where there are none? There’s definitely something to be said for that. “There’s a lot going on in this town that needs attention,” said Critzer. “I don’t think it’s my cancer charity.” Then there’s Charles Dickens’ reminder, offered up in “A Christmas Carol,” that it’s never too late to make things right in the world and try to be better people and, most importantly of all, pay your blessings forward. Whether you do it, as Critzer did, by raising money for a charity, or as Scrooge did it, by repenting of his greed, selfishness and bah humbuggery and looking out for those in need, the point, my friends, is to do it now before it’s too late, not just at Christmastime, but always. Constitutional attorney and author JOHN W. WHITEHEAD is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.
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‘Tis the season to be broke F O R TH E L AST S EVE R AL H O U RS,
With 2013 seemingly right around the corner, we were wondering what you wanted in the new year. So, this week’s Q-Line question asks:
What is your resolution for the coming year and why? Contact email@example.com before Friday at 5 p.m. and we’ll print your answers in the weekend edition of the Daily Press. You can also call 310-573-8354.
DR. JAMES L. SNYDER is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores, Fla. Call him at (866) 552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com
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feel so good. Or, if it were before Christmas, being broke would not be a very good idea. Being broke after Christmas means several things. First, it means that I did my best to bless my family and friends around me with tokens of appreciation. That is all a gift really is. I am not a very good gift buyer, just ask my wife. I am the kind of person who thinks it is the thought that counts. I also know, behind every thought must be some emblem of tangibility. I have done my best this year to select gifts that would be appreciated, at least for a moment. It would be a terrible thing at the end of the Christmas season to have a ton of money left over realizing that maybe you did not do your best this year at Christmas time. Do not get me wrong. I am a Pennsylvania Dutchman through and through and we do not believe in wasting money. We do believe in investing our resources in family and friends. I am not extravagant in my giving. I do not have it to be extravagant. What I do have, I want to use to bless and encourage the people that have meant so much to me during the year. Yes, being broke is a good feeling. Being broke also means I have no room for regrets. Would I have liked to give more gifts? Sure, but when you run out of money, you cannot go any further. By being broke at the end of Christmas I have done everything I possibly could within my resources to thank the people I love for being a part of my life. You cannot buy friendship. Unless of course you are in Washington, D.C. or Hollywood. Among normal folk, friendship is not for sale. It is not even for rent. At this time of the year, it sure is a wonderful feeling to tell your friends and family you are glad they are a part of your life. Being broke is a lot more than having no money. Being broke means that I have done everything within my power to bless those people around me. I have given all I had to give and there is a good warm fuzzy feeling about that. God is the one who set the standard along this line. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 KJV). God looked at the world, it broke his heart and therefore he sent his son to remedy our situation. Thank God for that broken heart. He gave his all for those he loved.
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I have been slouching in my easy chair basking in the soothing aura of the season. I have not moved in several hours, and it probably will be several more hours before I even think of moving. Just a few days ago, we were in the middle of our Christmas holiday celebration with family and friends. The only thing I enjoy more is the peace and quiet that follows upon the heels of all that festivity. Do not get me wrong, I love my family and friends, but boy do I love peace and quiet. Isn’t one of the sayings of the season, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men”? I am not sure of all the ramifications of that phrase, but I do enjoy the peace that comes following an exuberant time of celebration with family and friends. About this time, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came in and saw me in the same position she saw me several hours previous. “Are you,” she said after staring at me for a few moments, “going to stay in that chair all day?” All I could do was smile graciously in her direction. Then she became concerned, and prodded me a little, “Are you all right?” She said it with a deep sense of genuine concern. I knew I owed her an explanation for the collapse of my bodily activities. “Nothing wrong with me,” I explained, “I’m just broke.” With that, I smiled a rather infectious smile. She broke out laughing and said, “What did you say?” I think at the time she thought I was just exercising the spirit of merriment. “I said, I’m broke.” Then she had a look of concern on her face. “What do you mean you’re broke?” I knew she was concerned at that point and I had to explain to her what I meant by being broke. By being broke, I do not mean like the government broke into my bank account and confiscated my money. For all Americans that is quite a taxing situation. Also, by being broke I do not mean I dropped my wife’s favorite porcelain teapot and broke it all over the floor. Once something is broke, there just is no way of fixing it. “I’m broke,” I repeated to my wife with a whimsical smile, “and it’s a real good feeling this time of the year.” She looked at me, shook her head and then went back to her business. I thought some more on that subject and reaffirmed my idea that being broke this time of the year was a marvelous feeling. If it were April, tax time, being broke would not
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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
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People flee Japan nuclear disaster to faraway Okinawa YURI KAGEYAMA Associated Press
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NAHA, Japan Okinawa is about as far away as one can get from Fukushima without leaving Japan, and that is why Minaho Kubota is here. Petrified of the radiation spewing from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant that went into multiple meltdowns last year, Kubota grabbed her children, left her skeptical husband and moved to the small southwestern island. More than 1,000 people from the disaster zone have done the same thing. “I thought I would lose my mind,” Kubota told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I felt I would have no answer for my children if, after they grew up, they ever asked me, ‘Mama, why didn’t you leave?’” Experts and the government say there have been no visible health effects from the radioactive contamination from Fukushima Dai-ichi so far. But they also warn that even low-dose radiation carries some risk of cancer and other diseases, and exposure should be avoided as much as possible, especially the intake of contaminated food and water. Such risks are several times higher for children and even higher for fetuses, and may not appear for years. Okinawa has welcomed the people from Fukushima and other northeastern prefectures (states) affected by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that set off the nuclear disaster. Okinawa is offering 60,000 yen ($750) a month to help relocating families of three or four pay the rent, and lower amounts for smaller families. “We hope they feel better, maybe refreshed,” said Okinawan official Masakazu Gunji. Other prefectures have offered similar aid, but Okinawa’s help is relatively generous and is being extended an extra year to three years for anyone applying by the end of this year. Most people displaced by the disaster have relocated within or near Fukushima, but Okinawa, the only tropical island in Japan, is the most popular area for those who have chosen prefectures far from the nuclear disaster. An escape to Okinawa underlines a determination to get away from radiation and, for some, distrust toward Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Fukushima Dai-ichi. Kazue Sato lived in fear of radiation because the roof of her home in Iwaki, a major city in Fukushima, was destroyed by the earthquake. And so she moved with her husband, a chef, back to Okinawa, where she had grown up. She now lives in her grandparents’ home and hopes to turn it into a coffee shop with her husband. But Sato is still struggling with depression, especially because her old friends criticized her for what they thought were her
exaggerated fears about radiation. She struggles with a sense of guilt about having abandoned Fukushima. “Little children have to wear masks. People can’t hang their laundry outdoors,” she said. “Some people can’t get away even if they want to. I feel so sorry for them.” Sato and Kubota are joining a class-action lawsuit being prepared against the government and Tokyo Electric on behalf of Fukushima-area residents affected by the meltdowns. It demands an apology payment of 50,000 yen ($625) a month for each victim until all the radiation from the accident is wiped out, a process that could take decades, if ever, for some areas. Independent investigations into the nuclear disaster have concluded that the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant was unprepared for the massive tsunami, in part because of the nuclear industry’s cozy relationship with government regulators. “We think people have the right to live in an environment not polluted by radiation that may harm their health, and that right has been violated by this accident,” Izutaro Managi, one of the case’s lawyers, said in a meeting earlier this month for plaintiffs in Naha, a major Okinawan city. Japan’s statute of limitations requires that the lawsuit be filed no later than March 11, 2014. About 20 of the evacuees in Okinawa have signed on to the lawsuit, which has gathered 100 other people in the three weeks since it began. Kubota, who now works part time for an Okinawa magazine publisher, said the problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the accident. “Seeking accountability through a lawsuit may feel like such a roundabout effort. But in the end, it’s going to be the best shortcut,” she said. She is getting health checkups for her children, fretting over any discovered problems, including anemia, fevers and nosebleeds. Her fears are heightened by the fact that she and her children had lived in their car right after the disaster, which had liquefied the land and destroyed their home. They had unknowingly played outdoors while the nuclear plants had been exploding, she recalled. The disaster ended up separating her family. Her husband refused to leave his dentist practice in Ibaraki Prefecture. They argued over whether to relocate, but she knew she had to leave on her own when he said: “There is nothing we can do.” These days, he visits her and their two boys, ages 8 and 12, in her new apartment in Okinawa on weekends. He sends her money, something he didn’t do at first. “I wake up every day and feel thankful my children are alive. I have been through so much. I have been heartbroken. I have been so afraid,” she said.
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STORE FROM PAGE 1 commissaries for their employees, where imports of everything from American ice cream to French wine can be had minus the 21 percent sales tax included in list prices in Italy. The Vatican has that and more, given that it’s its own sovereign state — the world’s smallest — operating in central Rome. At 44 hectares (110 acres), the Vatican city state is the physical home of the Holy See: the pope and governing structure and administration of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Museums, home of Sistine Chapel, are the main profit-making enterprise of the Vatican city state, bringing in 91.3 million in revenue last year alone. But other smaller entrepreneurial endeavors boost the Vatican’s coffers as well, including the department store, the taxfree gas station, the stamp and coin collecting office, the Vatican pharmacy and its supermarket. And in these days of austerity, their profits and bottom line are ever more important to the Vatican. The Vatican is entitled to run such taxfree enterprises inside its walls based on the Lateran Treaty, the 1929 pact that regularized and regulates the Vatican’s relations with Italy. But those regulations also limit the Vatican’s customer base, lest all of Rome descend on the supermarket to stock up on Gordon’s Gin ( 8.50 a liter compared to the 15 it can run in nearby liquor stores) or Montecristo No. 3 Cuban cigars (box of 25 84 ($110.95) compared to $164.95 on www.bestcigarprices.com). About 4,700 people are employed by the Holy See and the Vatican city state; the Vatican’s diplomatic corps — the Holy See has relations with some 175 countries — adds another chunk to the customer base. Few people outside Rome know the department store exists — there’s no evidence of it on any Vatican website, no photos of its wares, no advertising outside the Vatican walls. Those who do know it exists seem to want to pretend it doesn’t since the high-end luxury items on sale aren’t necessarily in tune with either the sobriety or the salaries of the Vatican rank-and-file. In fact, on a recent Thursday morning, nary a collar nor religious habit was in sight as ordinary lay folk milled around the spacious store during December’s “extraordinary opening hours” — extended to accommodate bargain-hunting Christmas shoppers who were rewarded with a wine tasting in the central atrium and piles of Brooks Brothers non-iron shirts and Burberry backpacks to choose from. “More than the prices, it’s the material,” said Luciano, a bulky Roman, who refused to give his last name as he shopped for an overcoat with his wife and an obliging Vatican friend waiting at checkout. “This one I don’t like — I look like a priest,” he muttered as he put the navy blue trench coat back on a hangar. Cardinal Edmund Szoka, the American who sought to bring some order into the
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
Vatican’s finances as head of the Vatican city state, is credited with having made the department store what it is today, moving it into the Vatican’s underused train station, a miniature version of Washington’s Union station with a sweeping double staircase and glass-front window that frames the dome of St. Peter’s a few meters (yards) away. Szoka said he moved it from the basement of the Vatican government building to the train station for more space, since the station wasn’t used anymore for passengers and provided the perfect, airy open space that a shop of its kind would require. “Our principal motivation in changing the train station building into a department store was mainly for the convenience of our employees, as well as for those who could come into the Vatican and shop there,” he said in an email from his home in Michigan. “Naturally, we expected a profit, but that was not the primary motivation.” Szoka retired in 2006, well before the global economic crisis hit. The current leadership of the “Governorato” as the city state administration is called, recently asked all department heads to come up with cost-saving or profit-making initiatives to help the Vatican get through the tough times. “Any good administrator wants to save what can be saved,” said Monsignor Giuseppe Sciacca, the governorato’s No. 2. “It seems obvious, necessary.” The Philatelic and Numismatic Office, for example, recently started selling a special limited-edition stamp to help pay for the 14 million restoration of the Bernini colonnade in St. Peter’s Square after corporate sponsorship dried up amid the recession. Vatican Radio announced in July it would be saving “hundreds of thousands of euros” in energy costs by stopping short and -medium-wave broadcasts to Europe and the Americas, using other technologies instead. Perhaps even more than the department store, the Vatican supermarket is a muchsought after perk for Vatican employees, and a boost to the Vatican’s bottom line. And at Christmastime, it is as jammed as the department store, with lines snaking through the store and cars taking up valuable parking spaces inside Vatican City as shoppers pile their carts high with panettone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake which is the de rigueur gift for Italian holiday parties. Panettone can run 25 a pop at Roman bakeries; in the Vatican supermarket, a high-end brand runs almost half that. “The Nutella is just better here,” said Maria Grazia Mancini, a Rome municipal worker who was doing a major preChristmas shop with her father, a Vatican employee. “The products here are for export — the same brands but for export, so it’s better quality.” While Sciacca is only too pleased to see the Vatican saving money where it can be saved and making it where it can be made, he was adamant that there are no plans to expand the customer base of the Vatican’s little-known discount stores. Accords with Italy don’t allow it. “We shouldn’t. And we can’t,” he said.
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ROBOT FROM PAGE 3 invests in early-stage robotics companies. “It’s difficult to predict how big it will be, but I definitely see a lot of opportunity,” Grishin said. “Eventually it can be in each home and each office.” His Grishin Robotics fund recently invested $250,000 in a startup called Double Robotics. The Sunnyvale, Calif.,-company started selling a Segway-like device called the Double that holds an Apple iPad, which has a built-in video-conferencing system called FaceTime. The Double can be controlled remotely from an iPad or iPhone. So far, Double Robotics has sold more than 800 units that cost $1,999 each, said cofounder Mark DeVidts. The Beam got its start as a side project at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park where Goecker worked as an engineer. A few years ago, he moved back to his native Indiana to raise his family, but he found it difficult to collaborate with engineering colleagues using existing video-conferencing systems. “I was struggling with really being part of the team,” Goecker said. “They were doing all sorts of wonderful things with robotics. It was hard for me to participate.” So Goecker and his colleagues created their own telepresence robot. The result: the Beam and a new company to develop and market it.
We have you covered At $16,000 each, the Beam isn’t cheap. But Suitable Technologies says it was designed with features that make “pilots” and “locals” feel the remote worker is physically in the room: powerful speakers, highly sensitive microphones and robust wireless connectivity. The company began shipping Beams last month, mostly to tech companies with widely dispersed engineering teams, officials said. “Being there in person is really complicated — commuting there, flying there, all the different ways people have to get there. Beam allows you to be there without all that hassle,” said CEO Scott Hassan, beaming in from his office at Willow Garage in nearby Menlo Park. Not surprisingly, Suitable Technologies has fully embraced the Beam as a workplace tool. On any given day, up to half of its 25 employees “beam” into work, with employees on Beams sitting next to their flesh-andblood colleagues and even joining them for lunch in the cafeteria. Software engineer Josh Faust beams in daily from Hawaii, where he moved to surf, and plans to spend the winter hitting the slopes in Lake Tahoe. He can’t play pingpong or eat the free, catered lunches in Palo Alto, but he otherwise feels like he’s part of the team. “I’m trying to figure out where exactly I want to live. This allows me to do that without any of the instability of trying to find a different job,” Faust said, speaking on a Beam from Kaanapali, Hawaii. “It’s pretty amazing.”
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JUDGE FROM PAGE 3 programs when he signed on to start an innovative drug treatment program with a $600,000 federal grant. That was 18 years ago. The youthful and vigorous Tynan could have retired long ago, but he wouldn’t abandon this post for anything. Sure, there are losses and failures. Some people fail and quit. Others fall down, get up and come back for another chance. The most successful are between 35 and 50. “They are just sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Tynan said. At a time when Los Angeles is closing courtrooms and laying off employees, Tynan’s mission has struggled for funding, but managed to survive. He has a powerful ally in new District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who wants to expand the programs that cut down on the number of reoffenders and save the costs of expensive trials and state imprisonment that runs $65,000 a year. The rate of those who get arrested after completing the programs is between 10 percent and 30 percent, compared to 75 percent for those who go to prison. “It’s a money-saving and lifesaving thing,” Lacey said, acknowledging it’s an unusual role for prosecutors. “We’re usually standing there telling a judge to send them to jail. The idea of prosecutors saying, ‘Let’s make sure they are successful on probation, pay restitution and get free of drugs and alcohol,’ is very different.” Martina Tucker, 31, was a methamphetamine addict when Tynan sent her five years ago to Prototypes, a Pomona residential rehab program. She regained custody of her five children, including triplets, and is close to completing two degrees at Mount San Antonio College. “He opened the door for me and I walked through,” Tucker said of the judge. “He has a big heart and he wants us to succeed. When we do, he’s proud of us. We don’t get that anywhere else.” Success is not guaranteed. On a recent day, Tynan chastised a dropout with mental illness to stay on her psychotropic medications. A handcuffed man arrested for drug possession was given another chance after Public Defender Mark
MOVIES FROM PAGE 1 If that sounds like a strange mix of cinematic genres, one has only to look back to 2011 to see that major motion picture companies rarely try to capture the holiday spirit with their Christmas Day releases. Last year, a movie adaptation of the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” the tale of an autistic boy trying to follow clues to learn more about his father’s death in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, hit theaters at the same time as “War Horse,” a book turned play about the relationship between a boy and his horse during World War I. But people came out. “War Horse” pulled in a cool $7 million on its opening weekend, despite its limited release, and “The Darkest Hour,” an alien invasion movie that came out the same day, got 23 percent of its revenues in its opening weekend. Previous years have also seen decidedly morose and somber films, as noted in a list on the “Live a Good Life” website
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
Dewit, who is one of two defense lawyers and two prosecutors who staff the court, vouched for him. Tynan said he was sorry when another inmate chose jail over a return to treatment. He understands the failures. “These folks can get overwhelmed by a hangnail and they self-medicate,” he said. “The programs are difficult and the people are so badly damaged. Many are seriously mentally ill. They have to examine their lives and see where they began to use drugs. It’s not easy.” Drug courts started nationally 30 years ago to treat nonviolent felons instead of sending them to prison. They have blossomed nationwide and include many other diversionary programs such as veterans and homeless courts, though judges typically handle just one type along with a traditional case load. “I’ve never heard of one judge doing what Judge Tynan is doing,” said Larry Cunningham, associate dean of St. John’s School of Law in New York. “These cases are very time intensive and require a judge to delve into a person’s life, to see how they’re doing. It’s not like a five-minute arraignment.” Tynan, who once made headlines presiding over the serial killer trial of “night stalker” Richard Ramirez, now basks in the successes that are marked when participants complete an 18-month residential rehab program and graduate. “I have trouble holding it together at these,” Tynan, with a crack in his voice, told a group of seven women graduates who had been arrest- and drug-free after being released from prison. “I know what you’ve been through, the anger you felt, the work you have done. This is truly a glorious morning.” Each woman got up to tell their story. They had endured withdrawal, months of intense therapy and found a place to live. One graduate, Valerie Amador, said she woke up angry that morning because she couldn’t buy Christmas gifts for her kids. “But this bad day doesn’t compare to the worst of the bad days of smoking crack downtown.” she said. “I didn’t want to live that way anymore and today I am free. I am really truly free.” Before she left court, a Protoypes director said her children would have Christmas. And Judge Tynan gave her a hug.
called “Top Movies Released on Christmas Day that have Nothing to do with Christmas.” Winners include the 2001 biopic “Ali” starring Will Smith in the title role, and the dystopian “Children of Men” with Clive Owen set to protect a pregnant woman in an age where the population has lost the ability to reproduce. A quick poll of people loitering in the seating section at the ICE skating rink in Downtown Santa Monica showed a mixed bag. Maurizio Trevellin, a Santa Monica resident, isn’t aiming for anything so heavy this year when he “probably, maybe” goes out to the movies on Christmas Day. “I want to see the new movie, with that guy who did the Oscars,” said Trevellin, struggling to match Crystal’s name to his new role as a cantankerous patriarch. Peter Wetherell, who happens to work in the industry, said that movies on Christmas Day just aren’t for him. “Not on Christmas Day. The day before, the day after, maybe,” Wetherell said. “It’s a family day.” firstname.lastname@example.org
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MAD ISLAND, Texas Armed with flashlights, recordings of bird calls, a small notebook and a stash of candy bars, scientist Rich Kostecke embarked on an annual 24hour Christmastime count of birds along the Texas Gulf Coast. Yellow rail. Barn owl. Bittern. Crested Cara-Cara. Kostecke rattled off the names and scribbled them in his notebook. His data, along with that from more than 50 other volunteers spread out into six groups across the 7,000-acre Mad Island preserve, will be analyzed regionally and then added to a database with the results of more than 2,200 other bird counts going on from mid-December to Jan. 5 across the Western Hemisphere. The count began in 1900 as a National Audubon Society protest of holiday hunts that left piles of bird and animal carcasses littered across the country. It now helps scientists understand how birds react to shortterm weather events and may provide clues as to how they will adapt as temperatures rise and climate changes. “Learning the changes of habit in drought could help us know what will happen as it gets warmer and drier,” said Kostecke, a bird expert and associate director of conservation, research and planning at the Nature Conservancy in Texas. Scientists saw birds change their habits during last year’s historic drought that parched most of Texas. Some birds that normally winter on the coast — such as endangered whooping cranes — arrived and immediately turned back when they couldn’t find enough food. Other birds didn’t even bother flying to the coast. Snowy owls, who sometimes migrate from the Arctic to Montana, suddenly showed up as far south as Texas. There has been some rain this year, but Texas still hasn’t fully recovered from the drought and many areas remain unusually dry. Wetlands, a crucial bird habitat, have been damaged. Trees and brush are dead or brown. There are fewer flooded rice fields, prime foraging grounds for birds. And sandhill cranes, for the second winter in a row, are staying in Nebraska. An initial report on the 24-hour count that began midnight Monday and ended midnight Tuesday included 233 different species — a drop of 11 from last year when 244 were counted on Mad Island. While the area likely still has one of the United States’
most diverse bird populations, the species that were missing raise questions. Where are the wild turkeys? Why were no black rails found? What about fox sparrows and the 13 other species that are commonly counted on the preserve? Where have they gone? “There are several possibilities,” Kostecke surmised. “Conditions may be better in the east, like Louisiana. Some may still be north, because it’s been mild, and they tend to follow the freeze line.” With weather in the north still relatively warm, some birds might choose to stay put and conserve energy for the nesting season, Kostecke added. Similar changes in bird behavior could be seen this year in the Midwest and parts of the South, areas that have been gripped by a massive drought that covered two-thirds of the nation at its height. The drought’s severity is unusual, but scientists warn that such weather could become more common with global warming. Birds — as well as other animals — will have to adapt, and the data collected in the Christmas count gives crucial insight on how they might do that. The dataset is notable for its size and the decades that it covers. Along with showing how birds adapt to climate change, it reveals the impact of environmental changes, such as habitat loss, which has contributed to a 40 percent decline in bird numbers during the past 40 years, said Gary Langham, vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society. “We’ve converted the landscape dramatically, and then you add climate change to the mix ... and the results are more alarming,” Langham said. Scientists have used the data to predict bird populations and behavior in 2020, 2050 and 2080. They also could use it to advance conservation work or calls for emergency action, he said. Birds, though, are only one part of an ecosystem. As they move from place to place, they encounter new predators and species that may be competing for the same food. Vegetation also is changing as the Earth warms and some areas become more drought-prone. What happens as all these changes take place? “It’s the million dollar question. When you have that kind of ecological disruption, no one knows what happens,” Langham said. “There are going to be winners and losers. There will be some that become more common, and some that will go extinct.” The survivors are the big unknown.
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Conn. town in mourning inundated with gifts, money
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NEWTOWN, Conn. Newtown’s children were showered with gifts Saturday — tens of thousands of teddy bears, Barbie dolls, soccer balls and board games — and those are only some of the tokens of support from around the world for the town in mourning. Just a little over a week ago, 20 children and six school employees were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, attacked the school, then killed himself. Police don’t know what set off the massacre. Days before Christmas, funerals were still being held Saturday, the last of those whose schedules were made public, according to the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association. A service was held in Utah for 6-year-old Emilie Parker. Others were held in Connecticut for Josephine Gay, 7, and Ana Marquez-Greene, 6. All of Newtown’s children were invited to Edmond Town Hall, where they could choose a toy. Bobbi Veach, who was fielding donations at the building, reflected on the outpouring of gifts from toy stores, organizations and individuals around the world. “It’s their way of grieving,” Veach said. “They say, ‘I feel so bad, I just want to do something to reach out.’ That’s why we accommodate everybody we can.” The United Way of Western Connecticut said the official fund for donations had $2.8 million in it on Saturday. Others sent envelopes stuffed with cash to pay for coffee at the general store, and a shipment of cupcakes arrived from a gourmet bakery in Beverly Hills, Calif. The Postal Service reported a six-fold increase in mail in the town and set up a unique post office box to handle it. The parcels come decorated with rainbows and hearts drawn by schoolchildren. Some letters arrived in packs of 26 identical envelopes — one for each family of the children and staff killed or addressed to the “First Responders” or just “The People of Newtown.” One card arrived from Georgia addressed to “The families of 6 amazing women and 20 beloved angels.” Many contained checks. “This is just the proof of the love that’s in this country,” Postmaster Cathy Zieff said. Peter Leone said he was busy making deli sandwiches and working the register at his Newtown General Store when he got a phone call from Alaska. It was a woman who wanted to give him her credit card number. “She said, ‘I’m paying for the next $500 of food that goes out your door,’” Leone said. “About a half hour later another gentleman called, I think from the West Coast, and he did the same thing for $2,000.” At the town hall building, the basement resembled a toy store, with piles of stuffed penguins, dolls, games, and other fun gifts. All the toys were inspected and examined by bomb-sniffing dogs before being sorted and put on card tables. The children could choose whatever they wanted. Jugglers entertained the children, a dunk tank was set up outside and the crowd of several hundred parents and children sang an enthusiastic rendition of “Happy Birthday” to one child. A man dressed as
Santa Claus was in attendance, and high school students were offering arts and crafts such as face painting and caricatures. Newtown resident Amy Mangold, director of the local Parks and Recreation department, attended with her 12-year-old daughter, Cory. She acknowledged that most people here could afford to buy their own gifts but said “this means people really care about what’s happening here. They know we need comfort and want to heal.” She pointed to two people across the room. “Look at that hug, that embrace. This is bringing people together. Some people haven’t been getting out since this happened. It’s about people being together. I see people coming together and healing.” Many people have placed flowers, candles and stuffed animals at makeshift memorials that have popped up all over town. Others are stopping by the Edmond Town Hall to drop off food, toys or cash. About 60,000 teddy bears were donated, said Ann Benoure, a social services caseworker who was working at the town hall. “There’s so much stuff coming in,” said Tom Mahoney, the building administrator who’s in charge of handling gifts. “To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming; you just want to close the doors and turn the phone off.” Mahoney said the town of some 27,000 with a median household income of more than $111,000 plans to donate whatever is left over to shelters or other charities. Sean Gillespie of Colchester, who attended Sandy Hook Elementary, and Lauren Minor, who works at U.S. Foodservice in Norwich, came from Calvary Chapel in Uncasville with a car filled with food donated by U.S. Foodservice. But they were sent elsewhere because the refrigerators in Newtown were overflowing with donations. “We’ll find someplace,” Gillespie said. “It won’t go to waste.” In addition to the town’s official fund, other private funds have been set up. Former Sandy Hook student Ryan Kraft, who once baby-sat Lanza, set up a fund with other alumni that has collected almost $150,000. It is earmarked for the Sandy Hook PTA. Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel is raising money for a memorial to the victims. He said one man wrote a check for $52,000 for the project. Several colleges, including the University of Connecticut, have set up scholarship funds to pay for the educations of students at Sandy Hook and the relatives of the victims. Town officials have not decided yet what to do with all the money. A board of Newtown community leaders is being established to determine how it is most needed and will be best utilized, said Isabel Almeida with the local United Way, which has waived all its administrative fees related to the fund. She said some have wondered about building a new school for Sandy Hook students if the town decides to tear the school down, but that decision has not been made. And while the town is grateful for all the support, Almeida said, it has no more room for those gifts. Instead, she encouraged people to donate to others in memory of the Sandy Hook victims. “Send those teddy bears to a school in your community or an organization that serves low-income children, who are in need this holiday season, and do it in memory of our children,” she said.
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Boeing engineers use spuds to improve in-air Wi-Fi JASON KEYSER Associated Press
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Water Temp: 60.8°
WEDNESDAY – POOR TO FAIR –
SURF: 1-2 ft ankle to knee high occ. 3 ft BIGGEST LATE; Smaller WNW swell leftovers through the morning; New WNW and SSW swells picking up with sets to chest/shoulder high for top exposures before dark
THURSDAY – FAIR TO GOOD –
SURF: 4-5 ft shoulder to head high occ. 6 New WNW swell builds further and tops out during the day; Plus sets at standouts; SSW builds further; Light AM winds
FRIDAY – FAIR TO GOOD –
SURF: 3-5 ft waist to head high WNW swell easing through the day; SSW swell holds; Light AM winds
SATURDAY – FAIR –
SURF: 2-3 ft knee to thigh high WNW and SSW swells fade; plus sets at top combo spots
occ. 3 ft
Tides Are very manageable to start the week, becoming more of an issue as the tide swings are a bit more extreme towards the end of this week. Deep morning high tides of 5'+ just before sunrise will slow the more tide sensitive breaks down Thursday and into the weekend. Keep it in mind when planning a surf.
tion during your holiday flight seems more reliable than it used to, you could have the humble potato to thank. While major airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi on many flights, the signal strength can be spotty. Airlines and aircraft makers have been striving to improve this with the growing use of wireless devices and the number of people who don’t want to be disconnected, even 35,000 feet up. Engineers at Chicago-based Boeing Co. used sacks of potatoes as stand-ins for passengers as they worked to eliminate weak spots in in-flight wireless signals. They needed full planes to get accurate results during signal testing, but they couldn’t ask people to sit motionless for days while data was gathered. “That’s where potatoes come into the picture,” Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler said. It turns out that potatoes — because of their water content and chemistry — absorb and reflect radio wave signals much the same way as the human body does, making them suitable substitutes for airline passengers. “It’s a testament to the ingenuity of these engineers. They didn’t go in with potatoes as the plan,” Tischler said. Recapping the serendipitous path that led to better onboard wireless, Tischler said a member of the research team stumbled across an article in the Journal of Food Science describing research in which 15 veg-
etables and fruits were evaluated for their dielectric properties, or the way they transmit electric force without conduction. Its conclusions led the Boeing researchers to wonder if potatoes might serve just as well as humans during their own signal testing. Despite some skepticism, they ended up buying 20,000 pounds of them. Video and photos of the work, which started in 2006, show a decommissioned airplane loaded with row upon row of potato sacks that look like large, lumpy passengers. The sacks sit eerily still in the seats as the engineers collect data on the strength of wireless signals in various spots. The Boeing engineers added some complicated statistical analysis and the result was a proprietary system for fine tuning Internet signals so they would be strong and reliable wherever a laptop was used on a plane. Boeing says the system also ensures Wi-Fi signals won’t interfere with the plane’s sensitive navigation and communications equipment. “From a safety standpoint, you want to know what the peak signals are, what’s the strongest signal one of our communications and navigation systems might see from a laptop or 150 laptops or 350 laptops,” Boeing engineer Dennis Lewis explains in a video. In a nod to the humor in using a tuber to solve a high-tech problem, researchers dubbed the project Synthetic Personnel Using Dialectic Substitution, or SPUDS. The company says better Wi-Fi signals can be found already on three Boeing aircraft models flown by major airlines: 777, 747-8 and the 787 Dreamliner.
Comics & Stuff TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
Visit us online at smdp.com
MOVIE TIMES Aero Theatre 1328 Montana Ave. (310) 260-1528 Call theater for information.
AMC Loews Broadway 4 1441 Third Street Promenade (888) 262-4386 Skyfall (PG-13) 2hrs 23min 12:45pm, 4:05pm, 7:30pm, 10:45pm Rise of the Guardians (PG) 1hr 37min 11:00am, 1:25pm, 3:55pm
Jack Reacher (PG-13) 2hrs 10min 10:30am, 1:40pm, 4:45pm, 8:00pm
1313 Third St. (310) 395-1599
Monsters, Inc. 3D (G) 1hr 32min 11:30am, 2:15pm, 5:00pm, 7:45pm
Guilt Trip (PG-13) 1hr 35min
By Dave Coverly
By John Deering
11:30am, 2:15pm, 5:00pm, 7:45pm, This Is 40 (R) 2hrs 13min 10:45am, 2:00pm, 5:15pm, 8:30pm
Lincoln (PG-13) 2hrs 30min 11:45am, 3:15pm, 6:45pm
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13) 2hrs 46min
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in HFR 3D (PG-13) 2hrs 46min 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
Jack Reacher (PG-13) 2hrs 10min 6:45pm, 10:00pm
Laemmle’s Monica Fourplex 1332 Second St. (310) 478-3836
Les Miserables (PG-13) 2hrs 37min 11:45am, 3:30pm, 7:15pm, 11:00pm
Flight (R) 2hrs 19min 4:00pm, 9:40pm
Lincoln (PG-13) 2hrs 30min 11:15am, 2:45pm, 6:15pm, 9:45pm
Argo (R) 2hrs 00min 1:20pm, 4:10pm, 7:00pm, 9:50pm
AMC 7 Santa Monica 1310 Third St. (310) 451-9440
Sessions (R) 1hr 38min 1:30pm, 7:10pm
11:30am, 3:15pm, 7:15pm, 11:00pm Django Unchained (R) 2hrs 45min 6:30pm, 10:15pm Les Miserables (PG-13) 2hrs 37min 11:00am, 2:40pm, 6:15pm, 10:00pm Silver Linings Playbook (R) 2hrs 00min 11:10am, 2:00pm, 4:50pm, 7:40pm, 10:30pm
Life of Pi 3D (PG) 2hrs 06min 11:15am, 2:05pm, 5:00pm, 7:50pm Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 3D (PG-13) 2hrs 46min 12:45pm, 4:35pm, 8:30pm
West of Memphis (R) 2hrs 30min 1:10pm, 4:40pm, 8:10pm Hitchcock (PG-13) 1hr 38min 1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
Hyde Park on Hudson (R) 1hr 34min 11:00am, 1:45pm, 4:25pm, 7:00pm, 9:45pm Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D (PG)
Dogs of C-Kennel
By Mick and Mason Mastroianni
1hr 31min 11:55am, 2:30pm, 5:15pm, 8:00pm,
AMC Criterion 6
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Indulge in the moment, Taurus ARIES (March 21-April 19)
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
★★★★ An element of confusion runs through
★★★★★ Keep reaching out to that person whom you have not heard from in a while. What better time to call than now? Many people around you could be full of surprises. Tonight: Let your mind drift to yonder lands.
your morning. With Santa romping around the way he did last night, are you really that surprised? Expect a long, but friendly, Christmas dinner. Tonight: Fortunately, you do not have to do anything.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) TAURUS (April 20-May 20)
★★★★ Deal with a partner directly. You are
★★★ You might want to extend your hospitality once more. Knowing when to stop will be important. Others sometimes feel uncomfortable when you do so much. Tonight: Indulge in the moment.
very different people, but you have common interests. Do not feel as if you must say or do anything, but make sure that this person knows that you appreciate his or her efforts. Tonight: Visit with a pal over leftovers.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)
★★★★★ You wake up knowing that every-
★★★★ Others seek you out, and not just Santa and his elves. Plan on hosting a gathering at your home in order to chat over eggnog or exchange gifts and good will. Don't worry so much if someone shows up and you do not have a gift for this person. Tonight: Go along with others' wishes.
thing will be fine. Someone in your immediate circle does not have the same feeling. You can't control this person, but you can choose not to get into his or her drama. Tonight: Be spontaneous.
CANCER (June 21-July 22) ★★★ You likely have been a major force in
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
making this day as special as it is. Take some time to step back and enjoy yourself. Know that you do not always have to be the responsible one. Tonight: If you are sleepy, take a nap.
★★★ Pace yourself, as you might have a lot to
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
By Terry & Patty LaBan
By Jim Davis
do as a Santa stand-in. Christmas is not always easy for someone to handle alone. Check in with a friend at a distance. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated more than you realize. Tonight: Pitch in and help clean up.
★★★★ The more people you surround yourself with, the better you will feel. No one enjoys a party more than you do. A celebration just seems natural. Others express their happiness for just being part of what is happening. Tonight: Make sure everyone is having a good time.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) ★★★★★ Others note the amusement in your smile and the twinkle in your eye. It seems as if you are going to stay mum and choose not to reveal the source of this happiness. It's OK to make people wonder. Tonight: More fun ahead.
★★★ You might be asking yourself why you always end up being the one held accountable. More often than not, you seem to be saddled with responsibility. Part of the reason might be that you see the need for it and step in before someone else can. Tonight: You hear a lot of thank-you's.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) ★★★ Tension builds at home. You want everything to be perfect, and that desire is impossible as long as human beings are involved. Lighten up, and worry a little less. Tonight: Close to home.
JACQUELINE BIGAR’S STARS The stars show the kind of day you’ll have: ★★★★★Dynamic ★★ So-So ★★★★ Positive ★ Difficult ★★★ Average
This year you have the ability to accomplish a lot, if you so choose. Understand that many people depend on you. Be careful, as they often will take your efforts, which go beyond the call of duty, for granted. If you decide to spend your time elsewhere, you will get a lot of flak. If you are single, romance gains your attention come summer 2013. If you are attached, the summer heat ignites the flames of love once more. You and your partner will act like newlyweds. GEMINI understands you very well, perhaps even better than you do.
The Meaning of Lila
By John Forgetta & L.A. Rose
Puzzles & Stuff 14
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
We have you covered
Sudoku Fill in the blank cells using numbers 1 to 9. Each number can appear only once in each row, column, and 3x3 block. Use logic and process of elimination to solve the puzzle. The difficulty level ranges from ★ (easiest) to ★★★★★ (hardest).
Daniel Archuleta email@example.com The first person who can correctly identify where this image was captured wins a prize from the Santa Monica Daily Press. Send answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your mystery photos to email@example.com to be used in future issues.
King Features Syndicate
GETTING STARTED There are many strategies to solving Sudoku. One way to begin is to examine each 3x3 grid and figure out which numbers are missing. Then, based on the other numbers in the row and column of each blank cell, find which of the missing numbers will work. Eliminating numbers will eventually lead you to the answer.
SOLUTIONS TO YESTERDAY’S PUZZLE
NEWS OF THE WEIRD BY
■ Sheriff's officials in Deerfield Beach, Fla., arrested nine people in October and charged them in connection with a betting ring that set point spreads and took bets not only on pro and college games but on kids' games of the South Florida Youth Football League. Six thousand children play in the 22-team association. ■ Too Silly To Be True: (1) Police in Geraldton, Australia, reported in November that they had captured a thief they were chasing in the dark through a neighborhood's backyards. As the thief came to a fence and leaped over it, he happened to land on a family's trampoline and was propelled backward, practically into cops' laps. (2) Guy Black, 76, was charged in Turbotville, Pa., in October with threatening housemate Ronald Tanner with a chainsaw. Tanner, defending himself with the only "weapon" within reach -an umbrella -- managed to pin Black with it as the chainsaw jammed. (Most people who bring an umbrella to a chainsaw fight would be less successful.) ■ Deputy NYPD Commissioner Paul Browne told reporters in November that, in the 24 hours of Monday, November 26th, not a single criminal shooting, stabbing, or slashing was reported in the five boroughs. Browne said no police official could remember such a day, ever. (The city is on track to finish 2012 with fewer than 400 homicides--compared to the record year of 1990, when 2,245 people were murdered.)
TODAY IN HISTORY – The first successful trial run of the system which would become the World Wide Web. – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine's referendum is finalized and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012
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ATTENTION LEGAL SECRETARIES, LEGAL AIDES, PARALEGALS, LAW OFFICE MANAGERS AND STAFF Great opportunity for extra income through referrals. We are a legal document courier service looking to expand our business and pay top referral fees for new accounts set up at area law offices, to inquire further, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-748-8019 COMMISSION SALES Position selling our messenger services. Generous on-going commission. Work from home. To inquire further please email email@example.com or call 310-748-8019. Ask for Barry. Taxi drivers needed. Age 23 or older, H-6 DMV report required. Independent Contractor Call 310-566-3300
For Rent HOWARD MANAGEMENT GROUP (310)869-7901 225 Montana Ave. #202. $1795 per month. Walk to the beach! 1Bd + 1.5 Bth upper unit. Intercom entry, lobby, subterranean parking, laundry facilities, elevator, one parking space, no pets.
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The Handy Hatts Painting and Decorating Co.
SINCE 1967 RESIDENTIAL/COMMERCIAL SPECIALISTS IN ALL DAMAGE REPAIR “EXPERT IN GREEN CONCEPTS” Free estimates, great referrals
FULL SERVICE HANDYMAN FROM A TO Z Call Brian @ (310) 927-5120 (310) 915-7907 LIC# 888736
Fitness T'AI CHI CLASSES in Brentwood Mondays, 6:00 p.m. starting Jan. 7 Call Pat Akers 310-339-7463
821 Pacific St, #5. Studio/Single with full kitchen and full bathroom. $1295 per month. High ceilings, hardwood floors, pet friendly, one parking space, laundry facilities. 11937 Foxboro Dr. 3Bd + 3Bth house in Brentwood. $4590 per month. No pets. Double garage. Hdwd floors. 2 fireplaces. WE HAVE MORE VACANCIES ON THE WESTSIDE. MOST BUILDINGS PET FRIENDLY. www.howardmanagement.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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Services MEALS ON WHEELS WEST(Santa Monica, Pac.Pal, Malibu, Marina del Rey, Topanga)Urgently needed volunteers/drivers/assistants to deliver meals to the homebound in our community M-F from 10:30am to 1pm. Please help us feed the hungry.
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TUESDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2012