Linda Holmes

Linda Holmes writes and edits NPR's entertainment and pop-culture blog, Monkey See. She has several elaborate theories involving pop culture and monkeys, all of which are available on request.

Holmes began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living-room space to DVD sets of The Wire and never looked back.

Holmes was a writer and editor at Television Without Pity, where she recapped several hundred hours of programming — including both High School Musical movies, for which she did not receive hazard pay. Since 2003, she has been a contributor to MSNBC.com, where she has written about books, movies, television and pop-culture miscellany.

Holmes' work has also appeared on Vulture (New York magazine's entertainment blog), in TV Guide and in many, many legal documents.

Is it pure whimsy that makes something like "Callin' Oates" appealing?

If you pick up your phone and call 719-26-OATES — at least as of this writing — you'll get a computerized woman's voice telling you what numbers to press to hear one of four Hall & Oates songs.

The question, of course, is ... why?

Charlize Theron is ugly in Young Adult, the new film from the Juno team of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody — both literally and personally. In parts of the film, she still looks like her knockout movie-star self, but in other parts, she looks like she's aged a year for every day since her character, Mavis Gary, left high school.

So ... now what?

You might think Harry Potter fever would be petering out now that the books and the films have come and gone. You, of course, would be wrong, as Ben Bergman reports on today's Morning Edition.

From a pop culture perspective, Hugh Grant's testimony yesterday about ethics in journalism is a fascinating step for a guy who's already had a pretty interesting trajectory.

Following the exit of producer Brett Ratner from the upcoming Oscars telecast yesterday, Eddie Murphy — whose new film Tower Heist is also Ratner's latest directorial effort — has stepped aside as host of the 2012 show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

In Clint Eastwood's new film J. Edgar, Leonardo DiCaprio plays J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial longtime FBI director, from youth through old age. And when you play a man for that long, you might expect to sympathize with him somewhat. But DiCaprio tells Guy Raz on today's All Things Considered that he doesn't have sympathy or empathy for Hoover.

On today's All Things Considered, Robert Siegel poses an important question to Bob Costas, one of the authors of a new book about the greatest moments in football: With football so popular and beloved and money-making, why is baseball still considered our national pastime? What does football have to do to get a little love?

"Hey, leave baseball something," Costas says of the special, nostalgic language with which we often speak of it. "In every other measurable way, football has surpassed it."

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

Certain facts regarding movie ratings are not in dispute.

If you think your kids have the potential for major sibling rivalry, consider the Klitschko Brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. They're the first brothers to hold world boxing titles simultaneously.

Director Sebastian Dehnhardt tells their story in a new documentary simply called Klitschko, and they talk about their story with Scott Simon Saturday on Weekend Edition.

Amy Poehler joined Saturday Night Live in 2001 — a time, she says, when no one was really sure comedy was going to ever be okay again. She left in 2008 after playing Hillary Clinton during the show's coverage of an election cycle when, she tells Ari Shapiro on Thursday's Morning Edition, "the country was really paying attention to politics."

Today on All Things Considered, Alisha Niehaus of the Girl Scouts of America talks to host Guy Raz about a big update: for the first time in a quarter-century, they've updated the badges that Scouts can earn.

I'm going to make a confession. I have enjoyed many of the same Onion headlines as everyone else over the years, from the exploits of presidents and Congress to the activities of store clerks and sad dads. But their sports coverage, while it's passed around somewhat less often and is a bit less well-known, is generally my favorite stuff they do.

When the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was announced last night, if you were following Twitter, what you saw was a spasm of grief. Writers, actors, musicians, your friends, comedians ... the genuine sadness was palpable, not only because he was 56 years old, but because so many saw the news while holding one of his products in their hands. This is very much what popular culture is: this hive mind, this hum of collective response.

You know regular product placement, right? Top Chef and its plugs for frozen meals and Gladware, cars being name-checked by action stars speeding away in them, and — of course — the carbonation-off currently taking place between American Idol (COKE! COKE! COKE!) and The X Factor (PEPSI! PEPSI! PEPSI!). But as Elizabeth Blair reports on Wednesday's Morning Edition, you haven't seen anything yet.

Today was widely expected to bring the announcement of the iPhone 5 — maybe with a bigger screen, a different home button, or a differently shaped case — at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

It didn't.

That's not to say Apple didn't say anything of note at its rather lengthy presentation. Not at all. But the big game-changing piece of new hardware didn't come to pass. Aficionados waited, wondering and chattering on liveblogs and on Twitter to see if it would come at the end in Apple's traditional "one more thing" fashion.

It didn't.

ABC News and Yahoo! announced today that they are teaming up in a "strategic online news alliance" they hope will reach 100 million U.S. users a month. And they're not starting small: George Stephanopoulos will interview President Obama at 2:35 this afternoon for a webcast on ABCNews.com and Yahoo.com. The partnership will make ABC News, according to the press release, "the premier news provider on Yahoo! News." The press release says that Yahoo!

Sunday night, 92-year-old Andy Rooney bid farewell to his regular weekly segments on 60 Minutes, explaining that he sees himself as a writer and not a "television personality," and after all, "writers don't retire," but he's no longer going to be talking on television every week about fruit or the post office or whatever other nagging matter has his attention.

Today, Amazon announced the debut of its 7-inch tablet, the Kindle Fire. Available for $199, the Kindle Fire is being positioned as a device that will deliver Amazon's e-books, MP3s, magazines, web browsing, and streaming video for less than half the price of full-featured tablets like the Apple iPad. The Fire is available for preorder starting today, and will ship November 15.

Idris Elba tells Linda Wertheimer on Wednesday's Morning Edition that he didn't come to the United States from the UK to play "black roles," but merely "roles." And he has: roles like Stringer Bell on HBO's dark drug epic The Wire and John Luther, the central character of Luther, a drama series that returns for a second season tonight on BBC America.

The story of how Rin Tin Tin became one of the most celebrated animals in film history is almost as Hollywood-tinged as cinema itself.

The short version: Lee Duncan, an American serviceman during World War I, found a mostly destroyed dog kennel right on the field of battle. Duncan rescued the pup who became Rin Tin Tin, brought him home to California, and later put him in the movies.

Netflix has figured out that people are very upset about its decision to split streaming video and DVD delivery — a decision that got it in huge hot water earlier this year. Customers who had previously gotten both streaming and DVDs for a single price would now have to pay separately. If you only use one or the other, you could pay less, but if you still wanted both, you'd pay more.

Watching Sunday night's Emmy Awards was a little bit like going to the very bad wedding of people you really love: the happiness you feel for the people involved almost makes up for how otherwise unremarkable the experience is.

It's a big week for Jane Lynch. Her memoir, Happy Accidents, was released on Tuesday, and this Sunday night, she'll be hosting the Primetime Emmy Awards. And she's a reasonably good bet to pick one up, too: her second in a row for playing the scheming cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on Fox's Glee. On Friday's Morning Edition, she talks to David Greene about her career, her book, and the difficult process of telling her parents she was gay.

It's been rumored for a few days, and now it's official: Eddie Murphy will host the Oscars in 2012, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences announced today.

About two years ago, I introduced all of you to a game. I quote from that entry:

"Any time a scary movie apparently involves a decent-sized cast of people placed in a closed environment, it's a good time to play a game I like to call Pets Or Meat.

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