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Oh Great, Another Woman Who Only Loves Me For My Complete Collection Of ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ Manga

Well isn’t that great—just great. Here I am, thinking I’ve finally met someone who’s perfect for me—she’s caring, smart, beautiful, and most of all, it seemed like she really got me. But I should have known better. Turns out she’s just like the rest of them, just another in a long line of women who only love me for my complete collection of the classic wandering samurai manga Rurouni Kenshin.

Disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings Not Living Up To Ridicule

LOS ANGELES—Describing the experience as a significant letdown, local diner Eric Tidwell told reporters that the disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings franchise he visited Thursday night failed to live up to the scorn he had long heard about the restaurant.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

‘Our Town’ Cast Party Going Off The Rails

PEEKSKILL, NY—Describing a wild scene in which performers and stagehands were loudly conversing, laughing, and occasionally breaking back into their characters from the play, sources confirmed Sunday night that the cast party for the local production of Our Town is currently going off the rails.

Thieves Make Off With Museum’s Most Valuable Docents

CHICAGO—In what is being described as a sophisticated and well-executed heist, thieves stole nine of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most valuable docents in broad daylight this morning, according to museum and law enforcement officials.
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'This American Life' Completes Documentation Of Liberal, Upper-Middle-Class Existence

CHICAGO—Producers of the long-running Chicago Public Radio program This American Life announced Monday that they have completed their comprehensive 12-year survey of life as a modern upper-middle-class American.

Ira Glass compares completing the series to finding out he is a relative of composer Philip Glass.

In what cultural anthropologists are calling a "colossal achievement" in the study of white-collar professionals, the popular radio show has successfully isolated all 7,442 known characteristics of college graduates who earn between $62,500 and $125,000 per year and feel strongly that something should be done about global warming.

"We've done it," said senior producer Julie Snyder, who was personally interviewed for a 2003 This American Life episode, "Going Eclectic," in which she described what it's like to be a bilingual member of the ACLU trained in kite-making by a Japanese stepfather. "There is not a single existential crisis or self-congratulatory epiphany that has been or could be experienced by a left-leaning agnostic that we have not exhaustively documented and grouped by theme."

Added Snyder, "We here at public radio couldn't be more pleased with ourselves."

The final episode, which explored the universal tribulations of having to live with roommates again in one's mid-30s after a divorce, provided an apt bookend for the project. The completed work is expected to be an indispensable source of information for years to come about the thoughts and tastes of bespectacled cynics prone to neuroses who are actually doing just fine.

This American Life host and producer Ira Glass began work on the project in 1995 in Chicago, where he found himself inspired by and catering to an audience of professionals who dine out frequently and have a hard time getting angry. Glass and his team of producers, writers, and interns set about the exhausting task of gathering all available information on a range of subjects from minor skirmishes with the law to the rewards of occasionally talking to poor people. The raw data was then analyzed, deconstructed, reconstructed, re-deconstructed, organized under a broad philosophical title, and interspliced with musical interludes by rock duo They Might Be Giants.

Though This American Life is now lauded as the definitive source for material about getting an autistic teenager admitted to Harvard, its early run was marked by painful trial-and-error, according to producer Alex Blumberg.

"At first, we were getting a lot of stories from recovered drug addicts and East African refugees living in the States, which had their compelling elements but came off a bit cloying," Blumberg said. "But then we realized that if we had overeducated people with voices rather unsuitable for radio narrate the stories with clever analogies and accessible morals, the whole thing would come off far less depressing."

Blumberg said that the turning point came in 1997, when producers discovered a group of inner-city schoolchildren inadvertently teaching an important lesson to their attractive, suburban-raised teacher about what makes us human.

Also aiding the study were the many contributors to This American Life, who took time from their best-selling essay-writing careers to donate personal anecdotes about dropping out of prestigious art schools, taking harrowing but poignant childhood vacations to the Grand Canyon, and the unique challenges of growing up in families supportive of their homosexuality.

On Sunday, writer and contributing editor Sarah Vowell called the project's end "oddly anticlimactic," but questioned whether work was actually complete because the show had not yet addressed the subject of "Things Ending."

"Seeing this project through to its culmination was equally satisfying and strange," said Vowell, speaking at a book signing in Colonial Williamsburg dressed as Betsy Ross. "I feel not unlike the early Pilgrims, who, standing atop Plymouth Rock after a long and arduous sea voyage, reflected on their journey, perhaps thinking to themselves 'For God's sake—doesn't anybody have anything to eat in this settlement?'"

Glass, who personally contributed over 2,000 anecdotes from his own life for documentation, called the project's conclusion the "end of an era."

"When we finished, I have to tell you, I felt something I never expected: a profound sense of contentment—maybe even relief," Glass said. "Afterwards, the other producers and I sat around for a long while, remarking on how interesting and strange it was to finally complete the study, and how perhaps it is, in some way, symbolic of life in general."

More from this section

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

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