Andrew Murr

Rockin' The Boat

[Artists] need protection from record labels. If you don't believe 'VH1: Behind the Music'. -Michael Robertson, CEO of MP3.comA year ago "MP3" was as arcane a term to most people as "WWW" was five years ago.

Yeah, But How's The Skiing?

IF I COULD SIT ON THE SITE-SELECTION COMMITTEE FOR THE next national scandal, I'd vote for Salt Lake City. Local boosters wouldn't even have to pay me. Rueful Salt Lakers, embarrassed by the Olympics brouhaha, say they didn't need to buy the 2002 Games.

No More Fun And Games

HE LIKES TO BE CALLED ""EXCELLENCY.'' He accumulates titles; he's a Spanish marquis who served the fascist dictator Francisco Franco as a sports official and later became Spanish ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Gunfire In The Night

cousins of 19-year-old Tyisha Miller, a night-school student in Riverside, Calif., called 911 to report that she was locked inside a car at a gas station.

Subtracting The New Math

Rita Bennett understands that teaching math to her second graders these days adds up to a whole lot more than 2 + 2 = 4. On one recent morning she presented the following problem to her Simi Valley, Calif., students: a mother with kids aged 11, 6 a nd 3 wants to know whether a box of 24 candles will be enough to light all three birthday cakes next year.

'Didn't Seem Like Much'

NATHAN JOHN THILL sees himself as a "deep thinker" who knows it's ""very hard to decide the right thing to do." One night last week Thill, 19, evidently decided that killing a black man at random was the Right Thing to do.

Dams Are Not Forever

THEY STARTED JUST after daybreak last week, the demolition crew wielding jackhammers and maneuvering backhoes. Breaking up the wooden boards, ripping out the pylons, they brought down one of the more modest alterations of the West's natural plumbing: the Western Canal Dam on Butte Creek, a tributary of Cali- fornia's Sacramento River.

Living High On The Hog

YASUYOSHI KATO WAS NO ORDINARY salaryman. As chief financial officer of Day-Lee Foods, a meatpacking company in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., the Japanese executive dressed in Armani suits, tooled around Los Angeles in a Mercedes and flew to Las Vegas for weekends.

Treasure Of The Badlands

ON A BLAZING DAY THIS summer in the badlands of Montana, a group of fossil hunters found a few bones on what they thought was private land. ""There weren't enough to fill a third of a sandwich bag,'' recalls paleontologist Keith Rigby, who was heading the dig.

A Divine Madness?

MARC TIZER, KNOWN NOW AS Yo, trains many of his disciples to run ""ultramarathons,'' grueling races of up to 100 miles. As both coach and guru, Tizer holds a dominion over his students that would be the envy of a medieval lord: he dictates when and how much to sleep and eat, where to travel, whom to have sex with, even whether to have children.

On The Brink

IT WAS A PLAN SO FAR AHEAD OF ITS time that it took a 100-year flood to make it happen. The 1980 management plan for Yosemite National Park, designed to "return the Valley to as near its natural condition as possible," called for removing more than 1,200 parking spaces, hundreds of campsites and motel rooms and lodging for 1,000 employees.

A Mysterious Mission

CAPT. CRAIG BUTTON WAS excited about unloading his first real bomb. "Flying is going well... I'll be dropping live bombs (500-pounders) this week," he wrote his landlords, Rozetta and Ben Pingenot.

Just A 'Random' Crime

MIKHAIL MARKHASEV arrived in the United States from Ukraine about eight years ago. He was then 9 or 10. With his mother, Victoria Markhaseva--or, sometimes, Victoria Gorenshtein--he moved to Los Angeles, and then around the area at least four or five times in the past few years.

The Face Of The Future

WE AMERICANS are an introspective lot, arguably more given than most other nationalities to seeing warts on the body politic as nothing less than cancer. So it is probably inevitable that the national mood as the millennium approaches is a bituneasy-- as if, with the flip of a calendar page, we begin some long decline in all the blessings that make America exceptional and the future worth living for.

'B-1' Bob's Toughest Fire Fight

NO ONE EXPECTED BOB DORNAN TO take the news gracefully. Two years ago Dornan mused that ""every lesbian spear-chucker in the country is hoping I get defeated.'' On election night this year, as he watched the returns in his room at the Westin Hotel in Costa Mesa, Calif., Dornan couldn't believe what the anchors were telling him.

The Prime Evil Forest

A SWAT TEAM QUIETLY surrounded a ramshackle cabin one recent morning in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Flak-jacketed cops covered the windows with assault rifles; the battering ram on the door broke the woodsy silence.

'We're Squeaky Clean'

SEAN SHAYAN IS NOT given to understatement. The 20-year-old CEO's company, Global World Media Corp., has a name only Rupert Murdoch could love. His headquarters, a cramped warren of offices a few blocks off the beach in Los Angeles, are New Age baroque: purple and green walls, low-slung crescent-shaped desks and a black triangular conference table.

The Quiet Race War

THERESA CANADY REmembers when contractors in Moreno Valley were building 4,000 houses a year. It was the mid-'80s, and this bland strip of California desert, 90 minutes east of Los Angeles, was one of the fastest-growing towns in America.

An Irresistible Case

Joe Hartzler Always Relished the big-time cases. As one of Chicago's hottest federal prosecutors in the 1980s, he put away Puerto Rican terrorists and corrupt public officials, winning over juries with his Boy Scout's demeanor and first-rate legal mind.

Lions Loose In The Backyard

Until last week, Chul Yoonthought he knew all the threats nature posed to life in suburban California: fire and flood, earthquake and mudslide. Then, late one night at Yoon's La Crescenta home northeast of Los Angeles, a mountain lion materialized beside his swimming pool and mauled Yoon's 80-pound Akita.

The Ultimate Magnet School

James Chambers could barely muster a 2.0 grade-point average as a ninth grader last year in the High Point, N.C., public schools. More and more of his friends were smoking pot. "I didn't want to be like that," says Chambers, a 16year-old African-American with a pierced ear and an open grin.

Immigrants In The Valley

SEPARATED FROM THE REST OF LOS ANGELES BY mountains, the San Fernando Valley defined itseft for decades as a place apart. With jobs in acrespace and manufacturing, comfortable homes and swimming pools, it was the archetypal suburb for southern California: homogeneous, prosperous and chiefly white.

A Questionable Proposition

Getting tough on illegal immigrants is smart politics in California this year -- and Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, now running for a second term, has united his party and intimidated Democrats by leading the campaign for Proposition 187, also known as the Save Our State (or ""S.O.S.'') initiative.