Apodaca: Gaining a greater understanding of life beyond our borders

It's always good to be back home in Newport Beach after a long trip. I return from travels abroad with deeper insight into other cultures and a renewed appreciation for my good fortune of being a United States citizen.

The God Squad: Springtime offers paths to rebirth, salvation

Passover and Good Friday fall on the same day this year (April 3), and Easter Sunday and the second day of Passover are also on the same day (April 5). Although Easter Sunday was on the same day for all Christian denominations last year, that will not recur until 2017.

Friends of the Libraries: Weigh in on plans for the library

I don't know about you, but I hate that feeling when I have missed a meeting and my chance to express an opinion.

The Crowd: For this benefit, make yourself at home

If you happen to be among those who lament the end of elegance in this world, find a way to be invited to dinner at the home of Beverly and Robert Cohen (he goes by his initials RC).

Venezia: Concert pays tribute to heroes of gay men's chorus

If you love the music of Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Cher, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Pink, then this weekend you're in for a real treat.

Fitness Files: Snacks wrapped in expensive promises of health

My niece held up a crinkly white bag of cookies.

Casagrande: Some rules we don't have to abide by

The essence of drama, as they say, is conflict. Comedy is no different, as every show from "The Honeymooners" to "30 Rock" proves.

Carnett: Ability to log so many transcontinental miles is a tribute to engineering

I've reviewed the data, and the numbers are interesting.

The Harbor Report: More about the moorings (and money)

The talk around the harbor over the last month has been all about the moorings. I can picture city staff members saying to themselves, "Just when I thought we were out, they pulled us back in," which is a little different from the "Godfather" movie quote.

The God Squad: Eating meat is not equivalent to murder

My recent column on vegetarianism touched a vein (oops) among many readers. Most who responded to the column focused on the obvious selfishness and immorality of causing suffering and death to a sentient being just so we can have a burger for lunch when a salad would be morally and nutritionally...

My Answer: With God, stay out of jail free

Q: I've just been released from prison for about the fifth time. Every time, I've said I'd change and not fall back into my old ways, but I always do. What's wrong with me? I know you'll probably say I need God, and maybe I do, but what difference would that make? — M.R.

Check It Out: Learning online at the library

The Newport Beach Public Library provides free access to databases and online resources that provide ample opportunities for learning. Whether you are a casual learner wishing to pursue an interest such as cooking or a professional learning the Adobe Creative Suite, the library has you covered.

Fitness Files: A little heat can't stop this champion

Impossible! Two consecutive years of blazing L.A. Marathon heat!

Venezia: Moorlach's steady record of accomplishment

Taking my little rescue dog, Stasha, for a walk Tuesday night, I decided to stop into John Moorlach's state Senate campaign headquarters, since it was right down the street in Santa Ana Heights.

A Word, Please: Offering a sound reason to use 'a' or 'an'

Steve in Glendale wrote to tell me about a snag he hit recently when writing about a blogger on a National Public Radio website.

The Crowd: Doctor a Pal to cancer survivors

Orange County is arguably one of the most socially active regions on the American landscape.

Reel Critics: 'Cinderella' still has the magic

The story of the little orphaned girl who meets her Prince Charming is as old as time and has been done in various ways on screen: animated, live action, musical and even revisionist. ("Pretty Woman," anyone?) We all want the fairy tale.

Carnett: Grandpa leaps into action when it comes to preserving memories

Hedy and I pulled up in front of our house a couple of weekends ago, and I determined that something was amiss.

Corona del Mar Today: Live from CdM, it's Trident TV

Corona del Mar Today: Live from CdM, it's Trident TV

Just a few minutes until air time, and Corona del Mar High School senior Connor Mickelsen was feeling the pressure.

The God Squad: Friendships can break down walls in this era of terrorism

Q: When I was young, I remember saying prayers after Mass each Sunday for the "conversion of Russia." I don't think every parish did this, but there must have been enough of us, since as the godless Soviet Union is now dissolved and religion is once again permitted in Russia.

The Harbor Report: Stretching those sea legs again

It's time for me to go to sea again.

My Answer: Even scientists see the logic in God

Q: Can a scientist believe in God? I'm in college, and I asked several of my science professors about this. They all said they didn't think it was possible. I suppose you'd disagree, but why?

Fitness Files: A marathon, not a bunch of sprints

Extreme disappointment hit when I saw the forecast for Los Angeles, March 15. Marathon Sunday will be 87 degrees.

Venezia: Bergeson is in another tough race — against cancer

This post has been corrected, as noted below.

The Gossiping Gourmet: Five Crowns still holds the throne

The Gossiping Gourmet: Five Crowns still holds the throne

The Five Crowns is one of the grand old dames of fine dining in Orange County, having opened in 1965 as part of the Lawry's chain. But it has an even more colorful history.

On Theater: 'Odd' but hilarious after all these years

On Theater: 'Odd' but hilarious after all these years

Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" may possibly be the funniest play ever written, especially on this side of the Atlantic. The only challengers would be British playwright Michael Frayn's "Noises Off" and Simon's own "Rumors."