The Two-Way
9:49 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Paul Walker, Boston Bombing Among Top 2013 Google Searches

Actor Paul Walker in 2009.
Joel Ryan AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:43 am

What did people search for in 2013? Google released its annual tally of the stories people around the world were most interested in.

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The Two-Way
9:25 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Mega Millions Jackpot Swells To $636 Million

A woman picks her Mega Millions lottery numbers at a shop in New York's Penn Station on Tuesday. The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $636 million on Monday, still short of the $656 million U.S. record set in a March 2012 drawing.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:55 am

Update at 12:43 p.m.

The Mega Millions jackpot is now the second-highest lottery jackpot in U.S. history: It swelled to about $636 million, on the back of strong ticket sales ahead of the drawing at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, lottery officials estimated that the jackpot had risen to $586 million. And there could be a Christmas miracle: The jackpot could reach a seemingly impossible $1 billion if no one wins by Dec. 24. That would shatter the record of $656 million, set in a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing.

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Don't Forget The Lah-Rics

Contestants Karen Sloan (right) and Rob Gilleece.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

If singing holiday songs isn't your thing, would a carol about Las Vegas or La Toya Jackson change your mind? House musician Jonathan Coulton spices up the Christmas carol "Deck the Halls" with the lyrics rewritten to describe words or names that begin with a "la" sound. What do you call smoked salmon on a bagel? Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-lox!

After the game, Coulton used his clues and the contestants' answers to produce a gloriously weird recording of "Deck The Halls." Hear it in the web extra on this page.

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Lizz Winstead: What's That Sound?

If you'd just delivered a no-holds-barred Tarzan yell, you'd be celebrating, too. Comedian Lizz Winstead (right) and Julia Lunetta are not shy.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

Ah, the sounds of the holidays: Jingle bells. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The sound of reindeer landing on the roof. Or are those zombies with chains about to attack? Hopefully you have a keen ear for this game. Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg welcomed back Lizz Winstead, comedian and co-creator of The Daily Show, as a Very Important Puzzler. We pitted her against a contestant in a game in which they had to reproduce sound effects and music.

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

The Chris In Christmas

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

At Ask Me Another, we're no strangers to messing with tradition, especially in the form of song. Instead of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," how about "Rockin' Around the Big Blue Sea"? House musician Jonathan Coulton performs some classic holiday tunes with the lyrics rewritten to be about famous people or fictional characters named Chris, like Christopher Columbus or Christina Aguilera. For what it's worth, we're also including names that can be shortened to Chris.

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

Prepare to answer a child's age-old question during road trips. Given a starting point and a list of three destination cities by host Ophira Eisenberg, a phone contestant must put the cities in order of driving distance from the starting point, from shortest to longest. If you left New York after a visit to the Empire State Building and drove west, which city would be the closest: Cleveland, Chicago, or Seattle?

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A Holiday Story From Ophira Eisenberg

"Red alert! Jew in the lap! Red alert! Jew in the lap!"
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

Ophira Eisenberg, host of Ask Me Another, grew up Jewish, but maintained an obsession with Santa Claus. Hear Eisenberg share a story about her first childhood encounter with Father Christmas, at a shopping mall in Canada.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A.J. Jacobs: Traditional Holiday Traditions

A.J. Jacobs reads a list of ... something, but we don't want to spoil the surprise.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

Did you know that every Dec. 7, Guatemalans gather trash from their homes into a giant pile, throw an effigy of the devil on top and then light it on fire? This practice, known as "the burning of the devil," may sound a bit far-fetched, but it's actually true.

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Ask Me Another
9:17 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Cinema Synonyms, Holiday Edition

Contestants await puzzle guru Art Chung's series of mind-bending, quick fire questions.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:20 pm

In this final round, puzzle guru Art Chung re-titles other holiday films with some less festive words. The titles have been rewritten as synonyms of the original titles. For example, The Section of a Contract About the Spanish Word for Saint is the rewritten title for The Santa Clause. (It should be noted that we are using "synonym" quite loosely.)

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The Protojournalist
9:13 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Project Xpat: How It Sounds To Live In Russia

Mark Kelleher

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 12:57 pm

American expat Mark Kelleher, 56, is an English teacher in Chelyabinsk, Russia. He has lived there for a dozen years with his Russian wife, Tatiana. They have twin daughters, Caitlyn and Maggie, who are 7.

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