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Updated: 46 min 56 sec ago

Good News: Americans Are Eating 78 Fewer Calories Every Day

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 2:46pm

Americans' eating habits are changing — and so are our attitudes about food, a new USDA report finds. We're dining out less, eating at home more, cutting back on the saturated fat and consuming more fiber.

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Oscar Nods Go To 'American Hustle,' 'Gravity,' '12 Years A Slave'

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 2:07pm

Nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards were announced Thursday. American Hustle and Gravity got 10 nominations each, including nods for best picture, best director and best actress.

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The Taste Of South Texas In A 9x13 Dish

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 12:58pm

Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook, also known as the Casserole Queens, pass along a favorite recipe out of South Texas. Sandy grew up with the King Ranch Casserole, a cheesy Tex-Mex dish, and she says the traditional quick fix doesn't need any updating. Never mind if the casserole's origins have gotten mixed up along the way: This one's a keeper.

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Complicating The Tonya And Nancy Narratives, 20 Years Later

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:55am

A new ESPN documentary suggests that both the original narrative about Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan and the counter-narrative that sprung up later are entirely too simplistic.

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Wordless News: Legalizing 'Charlotte's Web' Medical Marijuana

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:45am

Every day this week, illustrator Maria Fabrizio will be creating an illustration inspired by a story she hears on Morning Edition. Today she was inspired by a story about how Florida may legalize a treatment for children with a rare seizure disorder.

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Book Chronicles The Building Of Roger Ailes' Fox News Empire

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:00am

Gabriel Sherman traces the beginning of Fox News' success back to its wall-to-wall coverage of Monica Lewinsky. He says, "Ratings during the Lewinsky scandal exploded more than 400 percent, so you saw instantly that there was a market for this type of ... television." Sherman's book is called The Loudest Voice In The Room.

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Oscar Nods Show 'Black & White' Year In Hollywood

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:00am

The Oscar nominations are in! "American Hustle," "Gravity," and "12 Years a Slave" scored big. But did anything really surprise critics? Host Michel Martin speaks with actor and producer Rick Najera about the nods.

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Forget The New Yorker, Storyteller Turns To Twitter

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 10:00am

Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole has always used Twitter in creative ways. He recently asked a few dozen followers to tweet one line each, which he turned into a short story. Cole tells host Michel Martin more about the project.

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Vowelling Off

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

In this paean to final rounds everywhere, puzzle guru Greg Pliska acts as liaison between contestants and their hope of squeaking their way toward becoming grand prize winner. How many words in your oeuvre contain three vowels in a row? This paragraph is riddled with them, for starters.

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Elizabeth Gilbert: An Adventurer Travels Back In Time

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

The "uber chick lit" author of Eat, Pray, Love may surprise you. She's cross dressed in public, befriended a moss expert and revisited the filthiest New York watering hole, where she worked — all in the pursuit of great stories. Gilbert joins Ask Me Another to discuss such adventurous pursuits, including unearthing authentic 19th-century erotica to inform her new period novel, The Signature of All Things.

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Job Search

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

What was your first minimum-wage job? Was it as a house musician on a public radio quiz show? The hardworking Jonathan Coulton covers tunes by the likes of Lady Gaga and Elton John, but replaces the rather glamorous jobs in the lyrics with different, and perhaps more attainable, professions.

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Literary Comic Strips

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

The trickiest games on Ask Me Another ask you to keep two things in your brain at once, then mash them together to form a mega-answer. In this one, combine the titles of books and newspaper comic strips, such as "Doonesbury My Heart at Wounded Knee." (Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury meets Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.)

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The Right Brothers

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

We salute German folklorists, Bavarian financiers and Harlem's greatest pair of tap dancers in this game, led by host Ophira Eisenberg, that covers famous sets of brothers who kept their triumphs in the family.

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Italian Ices

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 9:16am

This game honors those sweet frozen treats known as Italian ices. House musician and Italian-speaker Jonathan Coulton clues contestants to words, phrases and titles that end in the letters "i-c-e." The catch, of course, is that all answers must be said with a Continental flair: "i-c-e," will sound like "EE-chay." Buona fortuna!

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WATCH: The Oscar Nominations Announcement

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 7:18am

The Oscar nominations are upon us, and you can watch right here.

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Book News: World War I Diaries Of British Soldiers Digitized

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 6:58am

Also: Dostoevsky's intricate pen-and-ink doodles; Jelani Cobb on the complex legacy of Amiri Baraka; romance writer Sylvia Day gets an eight-figure advance for two novels.

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Never Again: 'Trieste' Is A Harrowing Mix Of Memory And Memorial

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 6:00am

Croatian author Dasa Drndic's new novel Trieste is an experimental mix of historical record and personal quest. It's the story of an Italian woman trying to find the lost child she bore to a Nazi officer. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says it's an intensely moving book, but one that must be put down occasionally in order to recover.

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Sometimes A Perfect Stranger Is The Best Dinner Host

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 2:28am

A new food trend gaining popularity in New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home. But the food is often just an excuse for what can essentially be a really great party with a bunch of people you've never met.

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These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 3:00pm

A new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., features a flock of 70 finches and an array of tuned and amplified guitars. As the flock fills the open room, the birds are free to land on the guitars, making music of their own as they move and jump off the instruments.

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Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 3:00pm

American Idol is back tonight. The program was once indisputably the biggest thing on TV, based partly on the entertainment value of watching the judges snipe at each other. Recently, rival singing competition, The Voice has been successful on the strength of the good-natured banter between its judges. Can Idol be nicer — and will that make it more successful?

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