Arts

10:55am

Thu January 16, 2014
Ask Me Another

Job Search

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:18 am

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

10:55am

Thu January 16, 2014
Ask Me Another

Vowelling Off

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:17 am

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

10:55am

Thu January 16, 2014
Ask Me Another

The Right Brothers

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:18 am

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

10:55am

Thu January 16, 2014
Ask Me Another

Italian Ices

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:19 am

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!

Plus, Coulton swings a rendition of Renato Carosone's Neapolitan tune "Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano," whose lyrics lampoon Italians for imitating an American lifestyle that includes baseball, Camel cigarettes and rock 'n roll.

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10:55am

Thu January 16, 2014
Ask Me Another

Literary Comic Strips

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 11:18 am

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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8:29am

Thu January 16, 2014
Monkey See

'Gravity,' 'American Hustle' And '12 Years A Slave' Lead The Oscar Nominations

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:32 pm

Lupita Nyong'O and Chiwetel Ejiofor were both nominated for Oscars for their work in 12 Years A Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight

Ever since the Oscars expanded the Best Picture field to include up to 10 nominees, they've been taking advantage of that extra space, and this year was no exception. While the original chatter was about the possibility of including more crowd-pleasers (there was much discussion of whether the expanded field would have helped The Dark Knight), what's consistently happened is that the "extra" nominations have gone to films that might have been too small to be nominated, not too "pop" to be nominated.

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7:57am

Thu January 16, 2014
The Two-Way

Book News: World War I Diaries Of British Soldiers Digitized

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:14 pm

British soldiers in the trenches, late 1914.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

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

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7:02am

Thu January 16, 2014
Book Reviews

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

iStockphoto.com

From Croatia comes a novel titled Trieste, by Dasa Drndic, originally published in Croatian in 2007 and now translated into English by Ellen Elias-Bursac. We might call the novel experimental because of some of the techniques the writer employs. But the story — a mother in search of a child, torn from her in the midst of monstrous warfare — feels ancient.

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5:53pm

Wed January 15, 2014
Arts & Life

These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So that's one question. And here's another that we're sure has been bothering many of you for years. What happens when you give a bird a guitar? Well, you'll get your answer at a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It's called "From Here to Ear."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Picture this: One room, 70 zebra finches, 14 tuned and amplified guitars, no fingers.

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5:53pm

Wed January 15, 2014
Television

Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

"American Idol" is back for its 12th season tonight. The show's huge success gave rise to an entire genre of reality talent shows on TV. For the last few seasons, though, ratings for "American Idol" have been off. So they've freshened up the format and brought in some new judges. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says "American Idol" is trying something new: being nice.

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