A "spoonerism" is a play on words in which the initial sounds of two words are reversed. In this game, puzzle guru John Chaneski asks contestants to make spoonerisms out of movie and song titles. For example, a hit song by Blondie about the telephone, that can also be used to unlock a shopping center, would be a "Call Me mall key."
Can you name all the members of the Village People? In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton pays tribute to the group's perennial dance classic, "Y.M.C.A.," with the song's lyrics rewritten test your knowledge of other four-letter abbreviations. You'll be singing along A.S.A.P.!
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We all know King Arthur's famous Knights of the Round Table, like Sir Galahad, sometimes referred to as the Knight of the Holy Grail, or Sir Lancelot, the Knight of the Lake. But do you know the Knight of Scales, Fangs and Coils: Sir Pent? (Say it aloud a few times.) In this game, host Ophira Eisenberg offers more descriptions of a word or phrase whose first syllable sounds like "Sir."
"I was just having an out-of-body experience, where I was like, 'You're on a game show, and Hootie and the Blowfish is the answer.' How did this happen?" — Dan Kennedy, author and host of The Moth<em> </em>podcast.
In honor of V.I.P. Dan Kennedy and his new novel American Spirit, puzzle guru John Chaneski cooks up a patriotic final round in which all the answers are phrases or titles that contain the word "America" or "American." America's got talent" — and yes, we mean you, brainy listeners.
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As you know, we at Monkey See enjoy creepy wax figurines maybe more than anything in the world, and now, Wax George Clooney (whose adventures we have chronicled in the past) has been joined at a photo shoot in London by Wax Will Smith, as well as Wax Emma Watson. You know, just to hang out. To talk about movies. To talk about being made of wax.
Like his 2009 National Book Award-winning novel, Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann's TransAtlantic is a braided novel that weaves together the stories of various characters — some historical, others invented. The storylines illustrate the deep and complex connections tying Ireland and the U.S. over a span of some 150 years, beginning with Frederick Douglass, who visits Ireland in 1845 to drum up abolitionist support, and ending with Sen.
In 1845, Frederick Douglass sailed to Ireland on a speaking tour to raise money for the abolitionist cause back home. About 75 years later, two airmen, Jack Alcock and Teddy Brown, performed the first nonstop trans-Atlantic flight, flying 16 hours from Newfoundland to land in an Irish bog. And 79 years after that, George J. Mitchell, the former senator from Maine, repeatedly crisscrossed the ocean — New York, Belfast, New York, Belfast — to steer the Northern Ireland peace process on behalf of President Clinton.
Rhubarb — like spring itself — is fleeting and lovely. A vegetable that often masquerades as a fruit in sweet dishes, it is a true harbinger of the season, appearing in April and, if we're lucky, lasting until July. But it is best to seize rhubarb's moment and take full advantage as soon as its delicate pink and green ribs start appearing in markets and gardens.
Two young men — foster brothers in love with the same woman — leave their small Pakistani town for Afghanistan in late 2001. Jeo, a medical student, wants to help wounded civilians and Mikal is there to look after Jeo, but their good intentions aren't enough to keep them safe in an increasingly dangerous war zone.
Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
Credit Srinivas Ayyagari
Karla Miller competed in the national bees of 1984, 1985 and 1986. Her best finish was 31st, when she went out on the word "dashiki." Today, Miller is a writer and editor. At right, a recent snapshot of Miller and her daughter.
Credit Karla Miller
(Left) 1988 champion Raga Ramachandran gives a TV interview at age 13. Today, Ramachandran is a surgical pathologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?
For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.
As children, we are allowed to be confused, lost, and full of wonder. As adults in the age of Google, we are expected to project confidence, knowledge and understanding. Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, talks about how learning a foreign language reignited his imagination.
Last night brought the premiere of the new season of The Bachelorette, in which Desiree, who was rejected by Sean on the last season of The Bachelor, was presented with 25 men from whom to choose. The theory is that if television producers choose 25 guys for you to pick from, surely one of them is your soul mate. Makes sense!
The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.
Call it the Smithsonian's bubble problem. One of the Smithsonian museums — the Hirshhorn museum for contemporary art — came up with an ambitious new design to add more space: Why not build a giant, inflatable structure that would be big enough for people to walk around in?
But some of the Smithsonian's trustees in Washington, D.C., haven't been blown away by the bubble.
Several productions in New York's smaller theaters aren't content with providing passive experiences — the audience is asked to participate. Here Lies Love, a new David Byrne musical about Imelda Marcos at the Public Theater, is set in a disco and the audience moves around, from scene to scene, dancing all the while. Natasha, Pierre and the Comet of 1812, is an electronic pop opera based on a portion of Tolstoy's War and Peace, and is set in a Russian restaurant where audiences are served a meal and vodka as part of the performance.
This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.
Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.
Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.
Each May we end the month and begin the summer season with a grateful nod to our veterans, especially those who gave their lives in service to our country. And this year, we mark an anniversary that may not be as obvious as Pearl Harbor or D-Day, but is certainly as important: 1943, the year WWII paused before it turned around. The year the Allies were able to stop Axis victories and advances on all fronts. It would be a few more months — well into 1944 — before the Allies seriously started pushing Hitler back, but 1943 was the beginning of the end.
When World War I broke out in 1914, it unleashed unimaginable carnage and upheaval. By the time the war ended four years later, nearly 40 million lives had been lost, dynasties had collapsed and the global political order was shaken to its core. But what about the year prior to the war? David Greene talks to Charles Emmerson, author of 1913: In Search Of The World Before The Great War.
<em>The Mary Tyler Moore Show</em> first aired in 1970.
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong spent a decade on staff at <em>Entertainment Weekly</em> and now writes for several magazines including <em>New York Magazine</em>, <em>Fast Company</em> and <em>Writer's Digest</em>.
Credit Jesse Jiryu Davis / Courtesy Simon & Schuster
In the '60s, many of the women on television were cute, a little silly and married. A couple shows even featured women who were sweetly supernatural — think Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. Mary Richards, though, was single, sassy and filled with joy. She was practically magic to a new generation of women.
The beloved Mary Tyler Moore Show went on the air in 1970, and now, more than four decades years later, it's still a source of inspiration.