If there's one niche celebrity I would never imagine having a sex tape, it would be "This American Life" host Ira Glass. And luckily he doesn't have one! Even so, Julian Joslin decided to imagine what it might sound like. In his parody "sex tape" — which is just audio, no video, of course — the public-radio icon gets not one, but two acts of scandalous sexiness. Ira, whose timid, nasally nerd voice is perfectly impersonated by Joslin, even employs the help of the Planet Money Team to create his Craigslist ad, and every NPR personality appearance heard on the tape besides the fake-Ira is taken from real interviews. If you're a fan of "This American Life" or NPR in general this will make you crack up, but you might not think of Ira the same way ever again.
Earlier this week the NPR radio show This America Life claimed to have discovered the secret recipe to Coca-Cola. However, yesterday, Coca-Cola made it clear that the original formula is still safe. Every so often, this sort of news story pops up, where someone says they've found the secret recipe to a certain insanely popular dish, like Coke or Kentucky Fried Chicken's spice blend. But what I'm wondering is: who wants these recipes? With ingredients like "fluid extract of coca" and "neroli oil," is one really going to make Coke at home? What's your take on the matter?
I am a faithful listener of the radio program This American Life. Each week the show offers an entertaining and in-depth look into various themes ranging from the financial crisis, to children switched at birth, to the perfect break-up song. This week, the program took on an invariably popular topic of discussion: cheating.
In the intro, host Ira Glass discuses how some happy couples have no problem admitting that they got together because one or both of them cheated. You can see evidence of this in the New York Times Vows page, where newlyweds often use coded language implying that it took infidelity to bring them together. (Of course, they also want to believe that fate was somehow involved too.)
These write-ups will say that a couple's romance was a "bumpy road" or that they "encountered some obstacles." The episode suggests that these couples justify their infidelity by believing that whatever happened, everybody (including the exes) is better off because fate brought together two people who were meant to be. True or not, this is definitely a self-serving conclusion!
Do you think there can ever be a happy ending when infidelity is involved?
A lot has gone down in the last year or so, and all of the overlapping events have caused our heads to spin. Too often, these events are talked about in ways that are over most of our heads, making it all too easy to ignore the current crisis. But understanding key details is essential to avoiding a sense of helplessness, and Alex Blumberg from This American Life and NPR’s Adam Davidson have pulled through with an excellent 40-minute podcast that explains the topic of so many headlines — the US banking system.
In the time it takes to whip up dinner, the two experts break down everything from banking basics to why the government is giving tax dollars to big banks. If you've had difficulty grasping all of the moving pieces in banking news, this podcast is worth a listen. You can download it here.
Front Page: US Invests $250 Billion in Banks, Wildfires Rip Through Southern CA, McCain's Economic Proposal
- $250 Billion Bank Investment:
President Bush announced this morning that the government plans to invest $250 billion into banks, a move that he says is essential to stabilize the financial system. In exchange for the money the government will get an equity stake in the banks. It's the plan promoted by economists in the excellent This American Life episode explaining the crisis. Henry Paulson also delivered remarks on the plan today.
- Wildfires Rip Through Southern CA:
Over 1,000 firefighters are battling blazes near Los Angeles. The fires have claimed two lives and thousands more have been evacuated. With flames fanned by the Santa Ana winds, Gov. Schwarzenegger says, "Winds are causing fire conditions to change by the hour, which is why it is so important that residents in the areas surrounding these wildfires heed warnings from public safety officials to evacuate."
- McCain to Announce Economic Proposal:
John McCain will be revealing $52.5 billion in new economic proposals today, specifically aimed at helping seniors, workers, and the unemployed — those the campaign has said have been hurt worst by the crisis. In addition to the plan, three new tax measures, including a 50 percent reduction on the capital gains tax on stock profits will be announced. McCain's plan comes a day after Obama announced his own.
All of the new DVD releases hit stores (and Netflix) on Tuesdays. So each week in What to Netflix: New DVD Tuesday, I sort through the best of the batch and tell you what to add to your queue. In addition to my selections below, you can also check out the dreamboat special that is Leatherheads and Simon Pegg's comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run.
Sex and the City: The Movie
Well, the big day has arrived: the Sex and the City movie is here for you to rent or own. Whether you missed this one in theaters (hard to imagine) or are excited to fast-forward to your favorite parts, the fab four has come full circle back to your small screen. I'm interested in revisiting this one, since the movie is super long and there is a lot to take in.
This is the kind of movie for which special features were made. Get a load of these: commentary by director Michael Patrick King; a conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Patrick King; featurettes titled, "The Fabulous Fashion of Sex and the City," "Fergie in the Studio: Watch a Hit in the Making as the Singer Records Labels or Love for the Movie Soundtrack," and additional scenes.
So, are you bringing this one home this week?
Three more selections to go, so read more
- I can't tell you how much fun I had at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. In addition to making new friends, I saw some terrific (if quirky) movies, like The Wackness, Trucker, and Bart Got a Room. I also gave a word of warning for the bleak and disturbing Savage Grace which still makes me feel kinda icky.
- I saw The Life Before Our Eyes, a movie adapted from my April book club selection and I found the movie to be visually gorgeous but also puzzling. Ah well, the book was still a lovely read. Which reminds me — check out my May selection for the book club.
- The title Made of Honor confused me and much of the blogosphere this week. Baffling non-puns aside, the movie was, well, boring. All is not lost, though, because it gave me an excellent picture for the Caption It contest.
- Woo-hoo! May is going to be a fun month! I've rounded up some of my must-haves for the month, including the Sex and the City movie. Speaking of which, I put together a slideshow all about the essential episodes to catch before the big movie release on May 30.
- American Idol was shaping up to be a bit of a snoozer with the Neil "Sparkly Tops" Diamond songbook. But then, just when I was about to doze off, PaulaGate came crashing through. What did you think about her little on-air hiccup?
- So now that shows like Gossip Girl and Grey's Anatomy are back in full swing are you still watching as much TV? Or are there some shows you've quit?
- There were some cool and even moving music videos out this week, like this one from R.E.M. and an important message from Radiohead. Coldplay even gave us a glimpse of a song from their upcoming album.
- Finally, if you're looking for entertainment this weekend I highly recommend seeing Iron Man in the theaters and settling in Sunday night for the season premiere of This American Life on Showtime.
The gorgeous, intimate television version of This American Life was one of the most pleasant surprises of last TV season. All my fears about how the radio show would translate to the big screen were erased by the end of the first installment, and the short, six-episode season left me wanting more.
The show returns for its second season this coming Sunday, May 4, and — as host and indie icon Ira Glass says in the Showtime trailer — this time they "actually sort of semi-even know what we're doing." Once again, each episode will have a theme (this Sunday's premiere is "Escapes"), with a variety of different takes on the theme — from mini-documentaries to first-person storytelling to animated cartoons.
Some of you will be able to get a sneak preview of the second season in theaters this Thursday, but if you can't make it (or can't wait), you can see a trailer for the show's second season when you read more
Now, on May 1, there will be a chance to see This American Life on an even bigger screen, as it comes to theaters nationwide for one night only. The theater version will be like the show's occasional touring stage readings — but on a very large stage, indeed, one that reaches hundreds of cities simultaneously. Basically, they'll film one show and send it via satellite to select theaters, live. (Well, not live on the West Coast, because it would have to start at 5 p.m. But it's live everywhere else.)
Tickets go on sale April 4, but for now, you can check out the complete list of participating theaters. It really is a long list, considering that not all that many theaters have the capacity to broadcast a live, digital satellite feed. "Everywhere we can show it," the producers say, "we are."
Also cool: Show creator Ira Glass will take questions during the broadcast. Want one of them to be yours? Here's how.
While we're at it, there's no word yet on when the TV show's second season will premiere on Showtime, but I'll keep you updated.
Photo courtesy of Showtime
I've already told you my thoughts on the drama and comedy nominations for this year's Emmy awards. But I didn't want to neglect the many, many other categories, so I've picked out a few of the best, worst, and most bizarre:
- Wow, I guess I should have watched "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," huh? Seventeen nominations, and I've got nothing intelligent to say.
- The single greatest category in this year's Emmy awards: Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Among the picks: "Dick in a Box" from "Saturday Night Live" and "Everything Comes Down to Poo" and "Guy Love" from the "Scrubs" musical. I hope the presentation of that award is televised, because it would be so amusing to hear an A-list celebrity read that list of nominees.
- I guess "The Starter Wife"'s last-ditch attempt to sneak in before the Emmy deadline paid off. The USA miniseries racked up 10 nominations, including Debra Messing, Joe Mantegna and Judy Davis (yay!) in the acting categories.
More great stuff, so read more