Saying the post has been "the highlight of my professional career," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday morning that she is stepping down to become president of the University of California.
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Can a rhythm and blues song change the world? That's the question at the heart of veteran author Mark Kurlansky's new book, Ready for a Brand New Beat, a chronicle of the spectacular success of Motown hit "Dancing in the Street."
Kurt Andersen has written for film, television and stage, was Time's architecture and design critic, co-founded Spy magazine, curated a Smithsonian exhibit, wrote four books (his third novel, True Believers, was published in the summer of 2012), and now hosts PRI's Studio 360, the Peabody Award-winning radio show on WNYC. In the words of Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "How about declaring a major already?"
David Wain is part of the comedy troupes The State and Stella, and directed the films Wanderlust, Role Models and the forthcoming They Came Together. But he is perhaps best known for creating one of the quintessential summer movies, Wet Hot American Summer, an absurdist chronicle of last-day shenanigans at a Jewish camp in the 1980s.
Fresh off the ninth and final season of NBC's The Office, B.J. Novak is keeping busy. He is known both for his portrayal of the bratty temp Ryan Howard, as well as writing some of the show's most beloved episodes, such as "Diversity Day" and "The Fire." In his post-Office life, however, he's working on a book of "Woody Allen-esque" short stories and will appear in Saving Mr. Banks, the forthcoming Walt Disney biopic about the making of the film Mary Poppins.
With New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz as our V.I.P. Puzzle Guru, we knew he'd come up with a doozy of a final round. In this game, recorded at Central Park's SummerStage, contestants are given two five-letter words, and asked to anagram one word to get a synonym of the second. And when the final two standing turn out to be Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen and Wet Hot American Summer filmmaker David Wain, the competition gets even more heated.
You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR and WNYC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg. Coming up, we'll reminisce about the songs of summer, and we'll take a cinematic tour of New York City. Plus we'll put director David Wain and actor B.J. Novak up to another ASK ME ANOTHER challenge. But first, joining us onstage right now are Allison Kelsey and Sam Denehy.
EISENBERG: Allison, you are joining us from Philadelphia.
No summer is complete without a picnic, just as no picnic is completed without a few little annoyances: sunburn, spilled wine or ants. Ants! (Shakes fist.) This game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton, imagines some heightened picnic scenarios, all of which are clues to words that end with the letters "-ant."
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