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Updated: 1 min 17 sec ago

Heroic Tunes

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's house musician Jonathan Coulton, performing Five For Fighting's soft-rock classic "Superman (It's Not Easy)" with rewritten lyrics about famous comic book heroes!

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Something Borrowed

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

Karaoke. Guru. Opera. This game features "loanwords," English words that have been "borrowed" from other languages. Can you guess the loanword from its language of origin and the English translation?

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300 Spartans Can't Be Wrong

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

Inspired by the film 300, all answers rhyme with King Leonidas' notorious line, "This is Sparta!" and should be delivered in your best Spartan yell.

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Neil, Gamin': The Author Is Quizzed On Gilbert & Sullivan

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

When he was nine years old, Neil Gaiman won a newspaper contest about Gilbert & Sullivan. See how much he remembers about the duo's 19th century operettas...and whether he can sing his answers.

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It's A Neil Gaiman Universe; We Just Live In It

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 9:02am

How familiar are you with the Gaimanverse? The author of Coraline, American Gods and Sandman tries to stump a superfan with fake descriptions of fantastical characters.

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A New Collection, Well-Furnished With Munro's Best

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:30am

Family Furnishings collects 24 of short story master Alice Munro's best works. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari calls it a superb introduction to Munro, and a reminder that she's a writer to be cherished.

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A Great Director — Who's Also A Woman — Might Direct 'Wonder Woman'

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 8:07am

Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones veteran Michelle MacLaren is reportedly a strong candidate to direct the upcoming Wonder Woman movie.

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'Three-Body Problem' Asks A Classic Sci-Fi Question, In Chinese

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:03am

Chinese sci-fi author Cixin Liu bridges the gap between East and West in his new novel, a tale of alien first contact influenced by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Chinese history and mythology.

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How Kodak's Shirley Cards Set Photography's Skin-Tone Standard

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:45am

Named for the original model — an employee of Kodak — the portraits were used by photo labs to calibrate printers. But until the 1970s, that model was always white.

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Farewell To Randy Jackson, An Example Of All That Ails 'American Idol'

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 5:08pm

As founding judge Randy Jackson announces his departure from American Idol, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says he embodies all that's wrong with a pioneering show that's become a pop culture cliche.

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Sacred, Sad And Salacious: With Many Meanings, What Is True Blue?

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 4:41pm

In medieval art, Virgin Mary was cloaked in blue. In Colonial America "blue laws" made it illegal to buy alcohol on Sunday. And more recently, irreverent blue humor made blue the most off-color color.

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Maurice Sendak's Book Collection At Heart Of Legal Dispute

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:42pm

Robert Siegel talks with The Philadelphia Inquirer's Peter Dobrin about a dispute between a Philadelphia Museum and the estate of Maurice Sendak, over the late author's rare book collection.

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The Rare Place Where Israelis And Iranians Play Together

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:23pm

Iran and Israel are sworn enemies, but Germany is neutral ground where people from those countries can collaborate musically. Sistanglia, an Israeli-Iranian ensemble, is doing just that.

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Author Richard Ford Says 'Let Me Be Frank' About Aging And Dying

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 1:20pm

The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's new book centers on Frank Bascombe, a 68-year-old man dealing with his aging body, a dying friend and his ex-wife, who has Parkinson's.

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Book News: Isabel Allende To Be Awarded Presidential Medal Of Freedom

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 9:48am

The Chilean-American novelist is among 19 people slated to receive the highest civilian honor in the U.S. Also: The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm get a gruesome new translation.

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An Artist Draws His Journey Away From War And Death, With Gratitude

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:03am

Shigeru Mizuki's Showa 1944-1953 is the third volume of his massive, autobiographical history of Japan and WWII, packed with anger at generals who ordered him to die, and gratitude for his survival.

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Famous Paintings Sell For Millions At Auction, But The Artist Gets Zero

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 2:49am

Unlike novelists and musicians, visual artists don't get royalties for their work. New legislation aims to fix this by taxing public sales, but auction houses Christie's and Sotheby's oppose the idea.

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A Crime Drama Crosses The Atlantic And Detective David Tennant Is On The Case

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 4:38pm

Tennant stars as the same grizzled detective in BBC's Broadchurch and FOX's Gracepoint. It was "too unusual an opportunity to turn down," he says.

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Despite The Dope, 'High Maintenance' Is About More Than Potheads

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 3:16pm

Vimeo's first foray into original web TV follows a nameless pot delivery dude who engages in oddly intimate business transactions.

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For Dyslexics, A Font And A Dictionary That Are Meant To Help

Tue, 11/11/2014 - 11:16am

A designer who has dyslexia has created a font to avoid confusion and add clarity. And two English researchers are making a dictionary that favors meaning over the alphabet.

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