Thursday, March 12

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Fiction Pick of the Week: "Athena Magazine"

Two friends found a literary magazine; fantastical complications and potentials ensue. From Aira's newest collection, The Musical Brain.

"So, predictably, we began to consider a first issue that would be thirty-six-fold, so to speak. An issue made up of numbers 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27-28-29-30-31-32-33-34-35-36. That would allow for an almost total flexibility. Why hadn’t we thought of it before? Why had we wasted our time with 'triples' and 'quadruples' and 'decuples' when there was such an obvious solution right under our noses? The printer’s 'sheet' should have shown us the way right from the start, from the moment we discovered its existence, the famous “sheet” that was unfolding now before our eyes, like a rose in time."

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The Brief, Extraordinary Life of Cody Spafford

He was a fixture in the kitchen of one of Seattle’s most celebrated restaurants, with plans to move to New York City to further his career. Then he robbed a bank.

Wednesday, March 11

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Why Would Anyone Want To Shoot a Sea Otter?

Perhaps because your people have always hunted them. But also because there’s demand in New York fashion circles for their pelts.

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Porntopia

Besieged by pirates, and youngsters unused to paying to watch sex, the porn industry just isn’t what it used to be.

Longform Podcast #132: Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of several books, including The Devil in the White City. His latest is Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

"I realized then and there, that afternoon: the thing that was going to make this interesting was the juxtaposition of light and dark, good and evil. This monument to civic goodwill versus this monument to the dark side of human nature. ... But that was really hard to pull off. And, frankly, on the eve of publication I was pretty convinced my career was over. I'd violated every single concept of good narrative."

Thanks to TinyLetter, Wealthfront, and Love and Other Ways of Dying, the new collection from Michael Paterniti, for sponsoring this week's episode. If you would like to support the show, please leave a review on iTunes.

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A Tale of Money, Sex and Power: The Ellen Pao and Buddy Fletcher Affair

How Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr., an openly gay hedge fund star, came to marry Ellen Pao, a partner at a powerful Silicon Valley firm, before they “went to war with their elite worlds.”

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How a Traveling Consultant Helps America Hide the Homeless

Robert Marbut is in the business of helping cities criminalize homelessness.

Tuesday, March 10

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My ISIS Boyfriend

A French reporter went undercover as potential “caliphette” and recieved a marriage proposal from a senior ISIS commander.

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Shitphone: A Love Story

Giving up the iPhone ghost, and other forays into knock-off technology.

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When Muhammad Ali Was a Has-Been

Twelve columns about the boxer’s descent, originally published in the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Excerpted from Writers' Fighters and Other Sweet Scientists.

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The Grantland Q&A: Errol Morris

“Some of the best lines — and I’ve been lucky to hear really nutso lines over the years — are not in response to any kind of question. It’s in response to, ‘I don’t know.’”