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Updated: 43 min 45 sec ago

Worst. Vacation. Ever.

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

The world's a lonely planet, so why not turn to the Internet to figure out which spots need company. Try to guess which famous landmarks are depicted in these less-than-positive TripAdvisor reviews.

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I Saw The Signs

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

Signs, signs, everywhere signs! House musician Jonathan Coulton sings "The Sign" by evil Swedish pop wizards Ace of Base, with rewritten lyrics that hint to actual signs, signals and omens.

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Playground Nationals

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

Don't you wish that the games you played as a kid were announced by professional sportscasters? In this game, try to figure out the playground classic as called from the skybox.

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John Cameron Mitchell: New Hollywood Film Buff

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

Hedwig is about forging a singular identity from two different elements. We test Mitchell's encyclopedic knowledge of 'New Hollywood' films by mashing up titles of classic films that share a word.

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Random Questions With: John Cameron Mitchell

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

The Tony Award-winner is best known for creating the story of a transgender punk-rock star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. In this game, we remove the make-up and discover the man under the wig.

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This, That Or The Other VIII

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 9:12am

In this installment of an AMA classic, contestants must distinguish between indie bands, Dungeons & Dragons monsters and foreign films. (Not to be confused with foreign bands or indie films.)

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Book News: Amtrak Unveils Writers Picked For A Residency On The Rails

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 6:34am

The 24 writers chosen will set out on long-distance train rides — and write along the way. Also: Neil Gaiman tells a tale about Terry Pratchett, who isn't quite the kindly elf you might think he is.

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'Clockwork Dagger' Is A Thought-Provoking Steampunk Adventure

Thu, 09/25/2014 - 6:03am

Beth Cato's debut novel takes on the problems and limitations of the steampunk genre with an appealing heroine and a thoughtful meditation on what heroism really means. Plus, mechanical animals!

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Margaret Atwood's 'Stone Mattress' Is Full Of Sharp And Jabbing Truths

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 4:43pm

In her latest collection, Margaret Atwood takes on death, dreadfulness and the use of fantasy. Though these stories are strange and wild, they all somehow ring true.

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After Childhood Abuse, 'Times' Columnist Says He Chose Life Over Vengeance

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:05pm

Charles Blow says he was 7 years old when he was sexually abused by a cousin. His new memoir, Fire Shut Up In My Bones, is about what he says happened, his recovery and his bisexuality.

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The Gefilte Fish Line: A Sweet And Salty History Of Jewish Identity

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 1:41pm

Gefilte fish can be a hard sell even in its standard savory form. But some European Jews like it sweet, a preference that, surprisingly, overlaps exactly with a geographic and linguistic divide.

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Making The Case 'Against Football'

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 12:17pm

Steve Almond's new book is a powerful polemic laying out the reasons he, a longtime passionate football fan, is giving up the sport.

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'Black-ish' And The Color Of Money

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 8:52am

The new comedy Black-ish not only addresses itself to race in a way not many sitcoms do, but does the same with socioeconomic class.

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Book News: Author J. California Cooper, Whose Simple Prose Drew Acclaim, Dies

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 6:52am

The playwright-turned-novelist had a conversational style that made even vast themes feel intimate.

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In 'Afterworlds,' A Teen Imagines Worlds Within Worlds

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 6:13am

Scott Westerfeld's latest book is about a teen who writes her own YA novel. Westerfeld alternates chapters about her life with chapters of her novel. This book honors YA tropes as it subverts them.

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Too Graphic? 2014 Banned Books Week Celebrates Challenged Comics

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 3:01am

Captain Underpants has once again topped the list of most-challenged books. Author Dav Pilkey says his tighty-whities-clad hero teaches kids a healthy lesson about questioning authority.

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A Historic Backdrop Frames Forbidden Love In 'The Paying Guests'

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 3:24pm

Sarah Waters' latest novel, set in 1920s London, examines the moral consequences of passion. Though slightly too long, this book brings the past to life with exquisite clarity.

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Before You Take A Bite Of That Mushroom, Consider This

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 2:46pm

Guess what scientists found lurking inside a common-looking packet of supermarket porcini? Three entirely new species of fungi. That's what happens when you DNA sequence your dinner.

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From Sideman To Star: A New Film Captures Jimi Hendrix's Pivotal Year

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 2:31pm

Jimi: All Is By My Side focuses on the year Hendrix changed his name and recorded his first album. Director John Ridley and star André Benjamin (a.k.a. André 3000) talk about portraying the guitarist.

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After WWI, A Mother And Daughter Must Take In 'Paying Guests'

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 12:45pm

Sarah Waters' spellbinding novel — about two women in 1920s London — is no simple period piece. Waters is a superb storyteller with a gift for capturing the layered nuances of character and mood.

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