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1. What Is It Like to Visit The Colbert Report & The Daily Show with Your Book?

Stanford University assistant professor of history Jennifer Burns had the great fortune to talk about her writing on both The Colbert Report and The Daily Show.

Over at the Oxford University Press blog, she compared the differences between the shows–some handy intelligence for writers who hope to be on the show someday. Burns is the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. Follow this link to watch The Daily Show interview. We’ve embedded the Colbert interview above.  Check it out:

The biggest difference, of course, is Jon vs. Stephen, but I had an unexpected reaction. Where most people seem to think Stephen Colbert would be a more difficult interview, I actually found him to be personally warmer and easier to talk to than Jon Stewart. Some of this was because I felt more confident the second time around. But the interview itself was also less serious and more of a performance, whereas on The Daily Show I felt I was being grilled by a formidable intellect …The Colbert producer also did a great job of helping me understand what would create a good interview. Her top piece of advice (which I also heard at The Daily Show): “Don’t be funny!”

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2. On E-Books and Stephen Colbert: A Few Words With Sendak

The legendary children's author's media appearances in recent years included a memorable two-part interview with Stephen Colbert.

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3. Video Sunday: And the Reading Rainbow Mash-Ups Just Keep On Coming

There was no question in my mind which video to begin with today.  I cannot help but think that meeting Quentin Blake must be akin to meeting Roald Dahl.  The man is a living legend and this video is a true treasure.  Would that every illustrator were half so thorough when discussing the preservation, creation, and process that goes into their art.  A very big thank you to Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels for the link.

Mind you, Quentin had some stiff competition for the top video of the day.  He only narrowly beat out this Reading Rainbow remix.

I’ve been trying to identify all the books in the video but it is incredibly tough.  I can account for Carl Hiaasen’s Flush, Christopher Paul Curtis’s Elijah of Buxton, and what appears to be a Civil Rights book that I can never quite catch the title of.  Other spotted books are welcome.  Mention them!  And thanks to mom for the link.  Probably the only time you’ll ever see the New Orleans Bounce on this blog, I’d wager.

Benefit books come out occasionally but rarely do they incorporate Broadway stars.  Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project is benefiting breast cancer research.  You’ve got big name vocalists singing songs from big name composers with a book illustrated by big name artists (for the most part).  Here’s the roster:

” . . . the project’s book component also features a distinctive cover illustration by fabled cartoonist/playwright Jules Feiffer, along with a foreword written by stage and screen legend Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Among the award-winning illustrators lending their talents are Selina Alko, Lynne Avril, Paulette Bogan, Beowulf Boritt, Lauren Castillo, R. Gregory Christie, Seymour Chwast, Jane Dyer, Richard Egielski, Daniel Glucksman, Julia Gran, Ying-Hwa Hu, Genevieve LeRoy-Walton, Betsy Lewin, Anna Louizos, Victor Mays, Emily Arnold McCully, Wendell Minor, Barry Moser, Jon J Muth, Sean Qualls, Peter H. Reynolds, Marc Simont, Javaka Steptoe, Melissa Sweet, Cornelius Van Wright, Neil Waldman, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Tony Walton, Gary Zamchick, and Paul O. Zelinsky.”

I had no idea Jules Feiffer was a fable.  And here I was convinced he was a real person.  In any case, impressive list of names!  A couple I don’t know but most I do. And here, on a related note, is a glimpse at one of the songs.

Thanks to Rich Michelson for the info.

Speaking of Julie Andrews, I’m sure you’ve all seen Stephen Colbert’s interview with her in conjunction with his own picture book release of

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4. Tom Hanks to Narrate Stephen Colbert Audiobook


The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive

Stephen Colbert will release his first children’s book on May 8th, and actor Tom Hanks will read the audiobook–complete with “interruptions” from the The Colbert Report star.  

You can see the cover of I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) at Amazon. Above, we’ve embedded a video of Colbert talking about the book: “the inspirational story of a pole trying to find his place in the world.” Both Hanks and Colbert will donate proceeds from the audiobook to U.S. Vets.

The kid’s book began as a comic moment during Colbert’s interview with  came about as a result of a two-part interview with Maurice Sendak.

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5. E.L. James Makes TIME 100 List

Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James debuted on TIME magazine’s TIME 100 list this year, joining comedians turned writers and Steve Jobs’ biographer on the prestigious list.

TIME editor-at-large Brenda Luscombe wrote: “Six months ago she was Erika Leonard, a mother of two who dabbled in saucy stories for the Web. Now she’s E.L. James, publishing phenomenon, whose Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has deeply stirred booksellers, Hollywood and, apparently, many, many mothers. Reading may never be the same.”

The TIME 100 list also included features about Ann Patchett (written by Elizabeth Gilbert), Walter Isaacson (written by Madeleine Albright), Stephen Colbert (written by Garry Trudeau), Chelsea Handler (written by Kathy Griffin), and Asghar Farhadi (written by Richard Corliss).

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6. Stephen Colbert’s Must-See Interview with Maurice Sendak

Stephen Colbert’s two-part interview with Where the Wild Things Are author/illustrator Maurice Sendak easily ranks as the most entertaining interview I’ve ever seen with a children’s book author. I’m sure it’ll be much discussed at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators winter conference, which starts tomorrow in Manhattan.

Cartoon Brew: Leading the Animation Conversation | Permalink | No comment | Post tags: ,

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7. Stephen Colbert Pitches Picture Book Idea to Maurice Sendak

The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert interviewed Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak this week. Follow these links to watch part one and part two of the interview.

According to Shelf Awareness, Colbert “turned [to Sendak] for advice on becoming a celebrity children’s author, pitched his sequel idea for Where the Wild Things Are 2: Still Wildin’ (featuring action star Vin Diesel) and generally let the wild rumpus begin.”

During the interview, some of the “rumpus” that emerged included Sendak’s opinion on the current state of children’s literature; he finds it “abysmal” and thinks that “most books for children are very bad.”


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8. Stephen Colbert's Interview with Maurice Sendak

After the bad news at the beginning of the week about how the Caldecott and Newbery Award-winners were dissed by the morning news shows, Stephen Colbert does an awesome interview with Maurice Sendak! Like most things Colbert does, it's not for children, but it is HILARIOUS! Sendak is known for his curmudgeonly attitude, but I've always admired him for being himself. He holds his own against Colbert, and we actually see him laugh! Maybe Stephen will have the winners on next year (I don't know if they would all be up to it!)


The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grim Colberty Tales with Maurice Sendak Pt. 1
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

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9. Video Sunday: “I’m not really a sporty person”

You just know a video is big when it has folks outside the usual children’s literary circles talking about it.  Such was the case with the recent Colbert Report interview with Maurice Sendak.  Somebody must have tipped off Stephen to the fact that Maurice would make for a brilliant interview.  It’s pretty clear from the get-go that Maurice understands the Colbert character at work.  Though, now that I think about it, even if he didn’t I doubt his answers would be any different.  And then there’s the second part:

Make what you will of this tongue-in-cheek follow-up article.  Thanks to Anita Silvey and Jules at 7-Imp for the link!

Of course the big news to come out this week was that the 2012 Trailee Awards for the best child and teen related book videos were released.  Mr. Schu has the full list of winners here.  I’d seen some of them but completely missed this one for my friend Marie Rutkoski’s novel The Cabinet of Wonders:

I have a fine appreciation for happy dances.  And as debut authors go Jessica Rothenberg’s is now the one to beat:

And now the best thing you’ll see all day, all week, all month.  I credit Jules with this delightful find.  Tis a pure delight.

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10. Ypulse Essentials: Facebook Stats, Millennials Just Want To Laugh, Carly Rae Jepsen Is The Latest Viral Video Sensation

The latest Facebook stats are in (and look pretty impressive according to this infographic. In the 20 minutes per day users spend on the site, they click 2.7 billion “likes” and upload 250 million photos. We were also surprised to learn... Read the rest of this post

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11. Stephen Colbert to Publish Children’s Book

Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert

“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like children or books or children’s books but I do respect the free market and children’s books do sell.” -Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert recently joked on The Colbert Report about his distaste for children’s books but that isn’t stopping him from publishing one in May. When Colbert sat down with legendary children’s author Maurice Sendak, he asked him to critique his book geared towards the younger market, I Am a Pole (and So Can You!). Maurice grudgingly commented, “The sad thing is, I like it.” According to GalleyCat, Grand Central Publishing snapped up the rights to the book. Colbert commented, “It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to write a children’s book. I hope the minutes you and your loved ones spend reading it are as fulfilling as the minutes I spent writing it.”

(images via Comedy Central)

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12. Stephen Colbert Parodies Tie-Ins for The Lorax

The marketing team behind film adaptation of Dr. SeussThe Lorax have made more than 70 deals for promotional product tie-ins.

Comedian Stephen Colbert gave a sarcastic pitch (written in verse) asking for more: “I’m demanding more branding of Loraxian stuff!” The pitch included suggestions such as Lorax-themed SUV’s, oil drills and McDonald’s meals.

Follow this link for a full transcript of Colbert’s ranting rhyme and click here to watch the video. What do you think?


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13. Fusenews: “whimsically apocalyptic”

As I’m sure many of you heard Jan Berenstain, half of The Berenstain Bears, passed away recently. The Gothamist called us up at NYPL and wondered if we had any Berenstain goodies in our collection. We don’t but we knew who did. You can read their obit here. The SLJ obit is also well worth seeing since they managed to work in that crazy What Dr. Freud Didn’t Tell You book the Berenstains worked on years ago and full credit to Leila at bookshelves of doom for discovering THAT gem. In fact, Leila has posted what may be the cutest picture of the Berenstain humans I’ve ever seen. A-dor-able.

  • Meanwhile the good folks at TimeOut Kids New York gave me an impossible challenge: Come up with the Top 50 Best Books for Kids. And while I’m at it, balance the classics with some contemporary stuff. Just to be cheeky I added some nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels and works by people of color. The result is a list you will enjoy but not entirely agree with. I think that that’s sort of the point, don’t you? Everyone has their own list. This one’s mine.
  • Let me just put it this way: If I were in the publishing business and I saw this (created by the hugely talented Kate Beaton of Hark, A Vagrant) I would run, not walk, to the nearest cell phone and put in a call with her agent. Stat.
  • I think we’ve all seen at least one dead-to-irony Lorax ad by this point, yes? Seems to me that about the time you have a Lorax shilling for SUVs it’s time to throw in the towel. Or, at the very least, to try to wrest the Seuss rights from the widow (fat chance). And we thought the Cat in the Hat movie was the low point! Ha! Rocco Staino translates his disgust into a Huffington Post piece that speculates on what other famous children’s book characters might want to get some lucrative corporate sponsorship going.
  • I like illustrator Scott Campbell anyway but when I saw him illustrate the cast of one of my favorite movies, that just clinched it. Check it out. The man does a darn good Elijah Wood.
  • Re: Hunger Games, I only advise you to look at Capitol Couture if you have a couple hours to kill. Darn thing sucked me in and was mighty reluctant to let me go. Had to break out the pruning shears to make my escape. True story. Thanks to Marci for the link.
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14. Video Sunday: “Not after what those kids did to Pop.”

Fun Fact: Remember that Re-Seussification Project I posted?  And how it happened to come out the day before the birthday of the good doctor himself?  Total coincidence.  I had no idea.  At the same time The Lorax has come out in theaters.  Know how I know?  Because every other minute there’s an ad on my television featuring the Lorax.  Seems he’ll sell anything these days.  Chaps my hide.  Chaps Stephen Colbert’s too, I’m happy to report.

Full credit to this next link.  This compilation of Judy Blume pop culture references has earned my respect, partly because it included the two I already knew of (Sawyer reading her book on LOST and the Saturday Night Live skit).  Very fun to watch.

Which, naturally, leads to this.  And I suppose it isn’t workplace appropriate.  But it is sweet.

That was recorded almost half a year ago.  I assume they’ve met by now, yes?  I mean, she is married to a Newbery winner.

I think this is applicable to our usual subject matter today.  After all, I suspect that there are a few authors out there for kids that still use typewriters.  I used one as recently as 2006 in conjunction with my job.  Plus this is a great little piece.

Thanks to Playing By the Book for the link.

I’ve shown the video of Christopher Walken reading The Three Little Pigs before.  This one, though, is new to me.  We never see him who I’m not wholly convinced it’s actually him.  It’s a possibility, though.  A distinct possibility.

Thanks again to Playing By the Book for the link.

And finally, for our off-topic video, what can I say?

Baby otters.

Thanks to Dan McCoy for the link.

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15. E.L. James Makes TIME 100 List

Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James debuted on TIME magazine’s TIME 100 list this year, joining comedians turned writers and Steve Jobs’ biographer on the prestigious list.

TIME editor-at-large Brenda Luscombe wrote: “Six months ago she was Erika Leonard, a mother of two who dabbled in saucy stories for the Web. Now she’s E.L. James, publishing phenomenon, whose Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has deeply stirred booksellers, Hollywood and, apparently, many, many mothers. Reading may never be the same.”

The TIME 100 list also included features about Ann Patchett (written by Elizabeth Gilbert), Walter Isaacson (written by Madeleine Albright), Stephen Colbert (written by Garry Trudeau), Chelsea Handler (written by Kathy Griffin), and Asghar Farhadi (written by Richard Corliss).

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16. Monday, Colbert, and tabs galore

posted by Neil
This is what I wrote yesterday, but didn't post. (I went to sleep instead.)

I'm on the plane home from New York right now, with Maddy. (Mike flew back to San Francisco at the crack of dawn this morning.)

The New York stop on the way home was to appear on
The Colbert Report - they had asked me to a couple of weeks ago, and we'd set this date. I came close to cancelling last week, but thought it was the kind of thing that my dad would have liked me to do -- and, perhaps more importantly, it was something I'd agreed to do for my own son. So I did it. (Having said that, that's pretty much it for interviews and such for a while. Also pretty much it for introductions, blurbs, and appearances at children's parties. Some bloggage, some twitterage, and probably not an awful lot of either until I'm rested, caught up on work, and feeling a bit less, well, tender.)

I love
The Colbert Report. It gets Tivoed in my house and it gets watched.

Originally, I didn't. Caught the first few when it spun off from the
Daily Show, and wasn't impressed - didn't like it, didn't get it. It was the fact it became my son Mike's favourite TV programme that drew me back. And when I came back, I loved it.

I found myself fascinated by the multiple layers of the Colbert persona (the character of Colbert is an idiot, but a really smart idiot, played by a very clever man) and the way that the persona is allowed to say the unsayable. (The "rearranging the deckchairs on the Hindenberg" line, for example.)

Had no idea whether I'd work on it, or enjoy it when I was actually on it, mind you.

I think I worked and I really did enjoy it -- I loved having no idea where things were going to go (no, it was not rehearsed, no, I had no idea that mentioning Tom Bombadil would produce that result).

Before the show, Stephen Colbert said hello, shook hands and told me what I am sure he tells every guest, that his character is an idiot, and to be passionate and make my points regardless.

Because I hadn't been home in a while, and didn't have that many clothes with me, I found myself doing the interview in the suit I'd taken to the UK and used through the whole of the funeral stuff. Which was strange. I'm never quite sure if I'm me when I'm dressed up.

Afterwards, I was taking my family to have dinner with Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly and their family, so at the end of the interview, when Colbert asked for an illustrator to make people lose all hope, I suggested Art, to make Art smile. And it did. Have now suggested that Art actually does do "Fuck It, We're all going to die". (I read art's latest book (or rather, a newly introduced, newly afterworded, book from 1977) BREAKDOWNS on the plane home -- astonishing, beautiful work.)


I watched you on the Colbert Report. In all seriousness, might I suggest smart casual instead of a suit the next time?

Sure you can. But the suit was what was in the funeral luggage, and I had neither the time that Monday nor the inclination to go clothes-shopping, so (shrugs).


Let's close some Tabs:

This is an amazing interview with Dave McKean, filled with glorious art. http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1599

This is me a bit late in March, but Joe Hill is doing a support your Indie Bookstore giveaway. http://joehillfiction.com/?p=714

BUST magazine has a buy cheap Coraline-the-Musical tickets offer up at http://www.bust.com/component/option,com_mojo/Itemid,31/p,1761/.

And over here's the info on Coraline-the-Musical: http://www.mcctheater.org/currentseason.html. Tickets will go on-sale on Monday and I will probably have a code of my own to offer then, either here or on twitter. In the meanwhile over at http://www.mcctheater.org/shows/08-09_season/coraline/music.html they have samples of three of Stephin Merrit's songs up.

Blueberry Girl interviews that wander a little: Newsday and New York Daily News.

After the last trip to Toronto for Coraline I felt guilty enough whenever people pointed out that I hadn't gone to Toronto on the Graveyard Book tour, that when I was asked, I said yes to appearing at the Luminato Festival in June:

An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Celebrated for novels such as American Gods, graphic novels including The Sandman
series, and this year’s Hollywood blockbuster Coraline, Neil Gaiman graces Luminato
at An Evening with Neil Gaiman. In conversation with his fans at the Jane Mallett
Theatre, Gaiman presents the Canadian premiere of his latest novel, The Graveyard
Book, an innocently sweet yet dark tale about a young boy raised in a cemetery by
ghosts and spirits. Gaiman was awarded the 2009 Newbery Medal for the work.
Moderator Mark Askwith (Producer, SPACE) leads a dialogue between audience
members and Gaiman as fans are encouraged to ask questions of the modern-day
master of fright before a book signing. An Evening with Neil Gaiman is presented
by Scotiabank.
Monday, June 8 at the Jane Mallett Theatre

Who sent me this link to a Coraline book review I really enjoyed? At this point I will probably never know. Several people sent me this link to P Craig Russell being interviewed about the Coraline graphic novel, and the house he based the house in the book on.

Audrey Niffenegger is one of my favourite people, and gave me a guided tour of Highgate Cemetery West, when I was working on The Graveyard Book and had got myself stuck. She was researching a novel herself, and had got so deeply into it she was working as a guide. Was thrilled to see the book is now finished, and sold.

And finally, on this page, there's a three minute video of me talking about audio books.

There. I got through a whole tabclosing without ever mentiong the PaulandStormaline teaser.

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17. Was Miracle Whip's Food Fight Well Played?

Yesterday  I tweeted the open letter Miracle Whip ran as a full page newspaper ad in response to Stephen Colbert mocking the brand's latest campaign targeted at hip, young folk too cool for mayo. In the letter the "bold marketing team"... Read the rest of this post

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18. Ypulse Essentials: Taylor Swift Wins Album Of The Year, Holden Caulfield's Heirs, SciGirls

Taylor Swift wins album of the year (at the Grammys and the honor of being the youngest artist to do so. Probably makes the criticism of her off-key performance a little easier to shake off. Plus Stephen Colbert flaunts his brand new iPad.  Indie... Read the rest of this post

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19. Ypulse Essentials: Bullying On The Decline, MTV Reboots 'Unplugged', 'Age of Anti-Cool'

College apps turned auditions (prospective Tufts students take up the chance to use YouTube to stand out from the pack of applicants. Plus a ugc PSA contest invites teens to share what they do for a “natural high” on YouTube) (New York Times,... Read the rest of this post

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20. Ypulse Essentials: Teens Prefer Texting To Talking, Apple Launches 'Concert Ticket +', Stewart/Colbert In 2012

Did young viewers take a 'spring break' from TV? (Nielsen reports a recent drop among 18-49 year-olds. Also MTV says accept no 'Shore' substitutes disassociating from imitation "Jersey Shore" series in the works. And Bravo and "I Love the '80s"... Read the rest of this post

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21. Big Blog on a train

posted by Neil
Another strange week.

Not, by any means, a bad week. Just strange. Still behind on work, and shuttling between Boston and New York.

I went to New York on Friday, got there in time to catch Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith reading at the New Yorker Festival, which had brought me in. I nearly disgraced myself by fainting during Michael's reading but managed not to (it was a close thing, and a long story). Here's a too-dark photo of Michael and Zadie afterwards.

The hotel that the New Yorker was putting me up in had the best view in the world, even if you were in the bath:

On Saturday, I went and had free ice cream with Daniel Handler (as announced on this blog). I would have liked to meet author Lemony Snicket, but unfortunately he was mysteriously detained and Mr Handler showed up as his representative.

This photograph commemorates the event. I am on the left. Mr Handler is holding the ice cream.

Since this photograph was taken I have had a haircut.

Then Holly and I went off with the lovely Claudia Gonson and her beautiful new baby Eve. We had sushi, except for Eve, and then went to the Evolution shop where I bought a replica Dodo Skull.

The dodo skull was a present for Countess Cynthia Von Buhler, whose birthday it was. She's an illustrator and artist who also throws parties, and that night was her birthday party, and she had also decided to celebrate Amanda's and my engagement.

There were dead mermaids, and there was a carousel on the roof.

I have never been to a party like it, nor do I ever expect to go to such a party again. If you can win at parties, Cynthia (who was a mermaid, first in a bathtub, and later carried around on a bed) won.

The next morning Dana Goodyear interviewed me for the New Yorker Festival, which was hugely enjoyable. (

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22. Why Maira Kalman Would Have Dated Abraham Lincoln

Illustrator and author Maira Kalman has worked for years as a visual columnist at the New York Times,  writing her illustrated Opinion column. While touring with her new book, And The Pursuit Of Happiness, she told television host Stephen Colbert why she would date Abraham Lincoln. Watch the complete interview in the video embedded above.

In the book, her portrait of Lincoln  includes the words: “I looked deep into his eyes and found.” Kalman added: “I thought he would be the most incredible boyfriend. If I were married to him instead of Mary Todd Lincoln, the whole history would’ve been a whole different thing.”

The book’s cover features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Other illustrations include Thomas Jefferson‘s bed and an “incredible pie” she encountered at an army base.  (Via Huffington Post)

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23. Michael Scheuer sits down with Stephen Colbert

Michael Scheuer was the chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and remained a counterterrorism analyst until 2004. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism. His latest book is the biography Osama bin Laden, a much-needed corrective, hard-headed, closely reasoned portrait that tracks the man’s evolution from peaceful Saudi dissident to America’s Most Wanted.

Among the extensive media attention both the book and Scheuer have received so far, he was interviewed on The Colbert Report just this week.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Michael Scheuer
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

Interested in knowing more? See:

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24. Fracking Coloring Book Cut After Ridicule

Using coloring books as propaganda can be a bad idea. Talisman Energy released a coloring book called Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventure (follow this link to read), teaching children about the controversial practice of hyrdraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas.

The coloring book was pulled after being ridiculed by various public figures last week–including Stephen Colbert, who mocked the coloring book in a segment (video embedded above). Scribd has a copy of the coloring book, in case you’d like to see it for yourself. What do you think?

The Washington Post
has more: “Critics called the coloring book’s depiction of land before and after drilling overly rosy. The post-drilling image adds a rainbow and an eagle to the scene where the hydraulic fracturing drilling process took place.”

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25. Ypulse Essentials: Facebook Advertising, Young Adults & Apps, Freshman 15 Fiction

Advertising on Facebook is a bit of a conundrum (for the social media giant, but not for brands. Savvy social media campaigns can get widespread advertising for pennies on the dollar compared to traditional media. The challenge for Facebook is when... Read the rest of this post

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