Arts

10:44am

Mon January 6, 2014
Monkey See

The Unreal 'Her'

The screen is the announcement of a message from Samantha in Spike Jonze's Her.
Warner Brothers Pictures

There is something prickly and provocative about the back story of Spike Jonze's Her, a futuristic drama in which a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love, as it were, with his artificially intelligent operating system.

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9:11am

Mon January 6, 2014
Monkey See

Morning Shots: Fiction, Tweet Advertising, And Marvel Envy

iStockphoto.com

I have a few quibbles with this lengthy profile/evaluation of Jennifer Weiner in The New Yorker, particularly in that it makes the common error of describing her argument as primarily about why her own books are not considered literary fiction, when in fact a major part of her argument is that commercial/genre fiction market

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7:24am

Mon January 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: Steve Jobs Biographer Asks Internet To Help Edit New Book

Walter Isaacson speaks during the April 2013 Creativity Conference at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Kris Connor Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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3:06am

Mon January 6, 2014
The Salt

Amazon Locavore: Meet The Man Putting Brazilian Food On The Map

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:03 am

Brazilian chef Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this year.
Cassio Vasconcellos AP

He was named one of the most influential people by Time magazine this past year.

Now Alex Atala, whose restaurant, D.O.M., is ranked among the top 10 in the world, is putting a new kind of Brazilian food on the map.

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3:02am

Mon January 6, 2014
Europe

Madrid's Street Performers Now Must Audition To Hold Out A Hat

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 8:03 am

Street musician Valentino Juanino, right, plays his bagpipe at the Conde Duque Cultural Center last month after taking a quality test to obtain official permission to perform in the streets of Madrid.
Paul White AP

On the train, in the park, on the famed medieval Plaza Mayor — the Spanish capital of Madrid is famous for its street performers.

And with more than a quarter of Spaniards out of work, more people than ever before have been crisscrossing the city with their violins and voices, for extra cash. People squeeze giant accordions onto the metro, and roll amplifiers on carts across cobblestones.

The street performers are a tourist attraction. But Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, says the clamor has reached its limit.

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4:37pm

Sun January 5, 2014
Television

In High-Drama Parody, Will Ferrell Reveals 'Spoils Of Babylon'

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

Cynthia and Devon Morehouse, played by Kristen Wiig and Tobey Maguire, are caught up in a passionate romance in the IFC miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Oh, but they're not married: They're sister and (adopted) brother, the central figures in a bizarro salute to '80s melodramas like The Thorn Birds.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

In The Spoils of Babylon, Will Ferrell plays a "nonexistent author of a nonexistent best-seller." His book, written in the 1970s, was supposedly made into a television miniseries that never saw the light of day — until now.

The story begins in the 1930s, and spans about 50 years, following the powerful Morehouse family.

The series is a parody of the big, bloated miniseries of the 1970s and '80s (like The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War), filled with family drama in a changing America.

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10:31am

Sun January 5, 2014
Food

Eating Tea And Other Food Predictions For 2014

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 12:44 pm

Tea leaves will be big in entrees and desserts in 2014.
iStockphoto.com

At the beginning of every year, we read the tea leaves to see what new food trends we'll be tasting in the coming months. This year, the tea itself is the trend.

Tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and, of course, cocktails. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop.

We won't be just drinking tea; Artisan distilling keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry.

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10:02am

Sun January 5, 2014
Bonus Round: Ask Me Another

Day 12: It's A New Year, So Keep Your Brain Sharp

Puzzle guru Art Chung has a question or two for you.
Steve Petrucelli
  • Listen to 'Replacement Math'

This is the twelfth day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

What do you get when you add Jay-Z's 'Problems' to Three Dog Night's 'Loneliest Number'? In this Season One bonus round, titled "Replacement Math," puzzle guru Art Chung challenges contestants to solve simple arithmetic problems using numbers found in pop culture. Calculus is a lot less scary when it involves your favorite band.

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8:59am

Sun January 5, 2014
Author Interviews

A Novice Reporter Begins His Journey In The Congo

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Anjan Sundaram had all kinds of options in the late summer of 2005. He had a master's in mathematics from Yale, a lucrative job offer from Goldman Sachs; and he was just about to begin a Ph.D. But he left all that behind and made a dramatically different choice. He headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the worst conflict zones in the world, to try to start a career in journalism. At the time, the death count in that war was more than 4 million people. That number continues to rise.

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8:01am

Sun January 5, 2014
Sunday Puzzle

Two Times Harder

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 11:13 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a pair of two-syllable words. The first syllable of the word answering the first clue has the letters A-R, pronounced "are." Change these phonetically to "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, given "hair-cutter" and "a North African," the answer would be "barber" and "Berber."

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