Monitor Picks

Have pack, will travel

It ain't easy being a globetrotter. Ask the kids over at Lonely Planet, who have been cranking out travel books for 23 years. But until recently, all that knowledge was available only in dead-tree format. Three cheers for the new LonelyPlanet.com, a site full of miniguides, blogs, and hostel listings. Grab your pack and go.

Red, white, and blue

Ira Glass fans, rejoice! That quirky public radio show, This American Life, featuring out-of-the-headlines Americana, is finally coming to television, courtesy of Showtime (March 22, 10:30 p.m. ET). But don't worry, this isn't just radio with pictures – these all-new stories touch your heart by appealing to your eye and your ear.

Why we're still watching 'Idol'

The difference in talent between American Idol front-runners Lakisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle and the other nine finalists can be measured in more than just octaves. So, please America, don't vote 'em off like you did Jennifer Hudson.

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Stax of tunes

Buy the Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration, and you'll get a box with 50 songs on two CDs, plus a fat little booklet that tells the feel-good story of the tiny Memphis label that could, starring Carla Thomas ("Gee Whiz"); Otis Redding ( "Dock of the Bay"); Sam & Dave ("Soul Man"); Eddie Floyd ("Knock on Wood"); Isaac Hayes ("Theme from Shaft"); The Staples Singers ("Respect Yourself"); and one supremely "Funky Chicken," by Rufus Thomas. Tail feather not included.

Final Four of ... game-show catchphrases?

The whole office is jabbering about Georgetown's chances, Cinderellas, and other arcana of March Madness. Be the alternative thinker who busts out The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything. Its authors compile mock elimination tourneys conceived by people in the know (think Roz Chast on animation characters), hitting topics from game-show catchphrases to... fruit. Inspired.

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