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Television
9:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

'Car 54' Re-Release Drives An Old Fan To Reminisce

NYPD officers Gunther Toody (Joe E. Ross) and Francis Muldoon (Fred Gwynne) patrolled the Bronx in the 1960s sitcom Car 54, Where Are You?
Shanachie Entertainment

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:24 pm

I grew up in New York City, but I didn't watch Car 54, Where Are You? until I got hooked on it in syndication long after it was originally aired. So I was very happy to see the complete series of 60 episodes released on two DVD boxed sets. The episode in Season 2 titled "I Hate Capt. Block," about trying to teach a recalcitrant parrot to talk and the way people are not much smarter than parrots, is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen on television, maybe as inspired as Sid Caesar's foreign film parodies or Carol Burnett's version of Gone with the Wind.

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Remembrances
9:53 am
Fri June 15, 2012

For 'Wiseguy' Henry Hill, Mobster 'Days Were Over'

Hill (left, with Ray Liotta, who played him in the movie GoodFellas) was the central figure in Wiseguy, the 1986 Nicholas Pileggi book that later became the Martin Scorsese-directed film.
Rebecca Sapp WireImage

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 4:29 pm

Henry Hill, the mobster-turned-informant portrayed by Ray Liotta in the film Goodfellas, died Tuesday at age 69. Hill's colorful life — he lived in Cincinnati; Omaha; Butte, Mont.; Independence, Ky.; and Topanga, Calif., among other places — was documented in crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 book Wiseguy and then in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas, which was based on Pileggi's book.

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Around the Nation
10:22 am
Thu June 14, 2012

Radio's Bryan Fischer Tries Pushing Romney Right

Before hosting Focal Point, Bryan Fischer was the chaplain of the Idaho State Senate and the head of the Idaho chapter of the American Family Association.
Troy Maben AP

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 12:56 pm

In April, Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell, an openly gay man, to serve as his campaign's national security spokesman. Within hours, Grenell was being attacked by a Christian radio talk show host named Bryan Fischer, whose Focal Point call-in show reaches more than 1 million listeners a day.

Nine days after Fischer began his on-air attack, Grenell resigned. He had been the only openly gay member of Romney's campaign staff.

The Christian right and Fischer saw Grenell's resignation as a "tremendous victory," says New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer.

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Music Reviews
10:22 am
Thu June 14, 2012

On 'Banga,' Patti Smith Pays Homage To Friends

Patti Smith.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 14, 2012 3:39 pm

Featuring Patti Smith's former New York punk-era colleague Tom Verlaine on solo guitar, "April Fool" is one of the prettiest songs on Smith's new album, Banga. Verlaine sends out long, thin, delicate tendrils of sound as Smith's voice suffuses the melody with full-throated urgency. Although Smith has said, with typical art-democratic directness, that "almost everybody in the world can sing," a few songs on Banga make you aware of what a good voice she has.

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Movie Interviews
10:16 am
Wed June 13, 2012

At The Heart Of 'Your Sister's Sister,' A Love Triangle

Iris (Emily Blunt, left) invites her best friend Jack to her family's vacation home after a death in his family. Unbeknownst to him, Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemary DeWitt) is already there, in the hopes of getting over a breakup.
IFC Films

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 3:27 pm

Lynn Shelton's 2009 movie Humpday was about two straight men making a gay-porn movie to win an amateur film competition. It might not have reached a mass audience, but Humpday was noticed by other directors and producers, including Matthew Weiner, who offered Shelton a job directing an episode of Mad Men.

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Fresh Food
10:16 am
Wed June 13, 2012

'Fermentation': When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 1:48 pm

The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.

The process of fermenting our food isn't a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.

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Music Reviews
10:16 am
Wed June 13, 2012

The Untold Story Of Singer Bobby Charles

Singer, songwriter and swamp-pop pioneer Bobby Charles poses for a portrait in 1972.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 12:31 pm

When he was around 13, Robert Charles Guidry began singing with a band around his hometown of Abbeville, La., deep in the Cajun swamps. The group played Cajun and country music and, after he passed through town and played a show, Fats Domino's music. It was a life-changing experience for the young man, and he found himself with a new ambition: to write a song for Fats.

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Music Reviews
11:00 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Edmar Castaneda's 'Double Portion' Of Harp

Edmar Castañeda's new album is titled Double Portion.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 11:46 am

The Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda was born in Bogotá, and began playing at 13. A few years later, in the mid-1990s, he moved to New York, where he studied jazz trumpet. Then he returned to the harp with a new perspective and set of skills.

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Author Interviews
10:10 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Under The 'Nuclear Shadow' Of Colorado's Rocky Flats

cover detail: Full Body Burden

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 1:40 pm

Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write about before realizing that biggest story she'd ever cover was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about it on Nightline.

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Book Reviews
10:14 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Book Party For One: A Loner's Summer Survival Guide

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 2:48 pm

Summer is a season when people get hypersocial — with barbecues and neighborhood fairs, graduations and pool parties. In short, it's an especially trying time for those of us who'd rather stay indoors and read a book. My early summer reading list, therefore, takes the form of a loner's survival guide.

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