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Updated: 51 min 25 sec ago

Weird Almanac Facts

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 11:00am

Did you know that the average American ate 11 times as many avocados in 2011 than in 1970? V.I.P. Sarah Janssen, editor of The 2014 World Almanac, helps lead this game about strange-but-true facts.

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All Answers Are Alliterative

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 11:00am

Fee, fi, fo, fum! We smell a word game... in this one, you'd better bend your brain to come up with answers that are all three- or four-word alliterative phrases.

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Oscar Winners

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 11:00am

No cutoff music here: take your time while you identify fictional and factual "Oscars" based on the speeches they might give if they won Academy Awards.

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Remembering Harold Ramis, Master Of The 'Smart Dumb-Movie'

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 10:00am

Best known for Animal House, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, Ramis died Monday at 69. Critic John Powers says Ramis was like a favorite uncle who spices up the family reunion by spiking the punch.

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'Calvin & Hobbes' Creator Pens His First Public Comic In 18 Years

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 9:54am

Bill Watterson has drawn the poster for the upcoming documentary Stripped, a self-described "love letter" to comics. The project marks a break in Watterson's relatively anonymous post-Calvin life.

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Sarah Janssen: It's In The Book

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 9:23am

Does The World Almanac include a list of the worst national flags? We wish! Play along as Ophira Eisenberg asks the book's editor whether a given article is in the almanac, or if we just made it up.

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Bob And Linda Read Internet Movie Reviews, Part Eight: Captain Phillips

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 7:50am

We scoured the Internet to uncover the pros and cons of all nine best picture nominations. Today, the internet makes a variety of water-based puns while considering Captain Phillips.

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Good Art Is Popular Because It's Good. Right?

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 2:28am

Turns out research suggests that after a basic standard of quality is met, what becomes a success and what doesn't is essentially a matter of chance. Chance is the thing.

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'Clap!' On Set, The Signature Sound Of The Slate

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 2:28am

On a movie set, every scene and every take gets "slated" during filming, and there's that distinctive clap sound we all know. But what's it for? The job of the clapper, revealed.

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Mapping Differences In America's Musical Tastes, State By State

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 8:44pm

If you're in the Pacific, there's a better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia — but that reverses if you're across the country in the South Atlantic.

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To Play The Part, Actors Must Talk The Talk — In Chinese

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 5:39pm

As Hollywood and China grow closer, more roles are opening up for Asian-American actors to play Chinese-speaking characters. But before they can sound fluent on screen, some turn to dialect coaches.

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These Stories Consider Solitude, With Echoes Of Emily Dickinson

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 10:00am

It's been 15 years since acclaimed writer Lorrie Moore has brought out a new short story collection. Bark has some clunkers and some keepers, but critic Maureen Corrigan says it was worth the wait.

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Fat Tuesday: The Many Different Doughnuts Of Mardi Gras

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 9:34am

On the day of indulgence before the austere season of Lent, celebrate as you're meant to: with a hearty helping of dough and fat.

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Lorrie Moore's New 'Bark' Is Half Of A Good Book

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 6:00am

Lorrie Moore's new collection, Bark, contains eight stories — but our reviewer Alan Cheuse says only two of them really stand out. But, he adds, those two offer some "first-rate reading pleasure."

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When It Comes To Women's Writing, How Do Publications Stack Up?

Wed, 02/26/2014 - 4:00am

For the fourth year in a row, VIDA has tallied up the gender breakdown in prominent literary journals. Some outlets, like The Paris Review, have grown more equal; others, not so much.

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Comedian Ages With Humor — And Effort

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 7:29pm

In her new book of essays, I See You Made an Effort, comedian Annabelle Gurwitch muses on middle-aged life. Critic Heller McAlpin says that the book, infused throughout with "sharp wit," is hilarious.

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Album Review: 'Morning Phase'

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 3:00pm

It's been six years since singer-songwriter Beck released his last album. Music critic Tom Moon says that Beck's new record, Morning Phase, is purposely out of step with the pop trends of the moment.

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Book Review: 'Bark'

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 3:00pm

Alan Cheuse reviews Lorrie Moore's new collection of stories, her first in 16 years.

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Harold Ramis On Working At 'Playboy' And Writing 'Animal House'

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 11:28am

The comedy actor, writer and director had co-written and planned to star in the long-awaited Ghostbusters III — but did not get the chance. He died Monday in Chicago at age 69.

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Desk, Set: Seth Meyers Lands In Late Night Very Safely

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 10:52am

Seth Meyers began his run as the new host of NBC's Late Night with such a polished, neat, safe premiere that it's hard to know where he goes from here, says critic Eric Deggans.

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