Top Picks: PBS’s 'No Passport Required,' 'Oh Lucy!' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more

Make sure your car is ready for those summer road trips with the app Drivvo, the podcast 'American Innovations' details the stories of the people behind the discoveries that are still influencing our lives today, and more top picks.

Changing a life

The film Oh Lucy! is about data processor Setsuko Kawashima (Shinobu Terajima), who takes English classes with instructor John (Josh Hartnett) and soon finds herself on an unexpected trip after John and her niece (Shioli Kutsuna) leave for the United States. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer writes that Setsuko’s life has a “deadening sameness,” but that the movie is always kind to its protagonist. “The film never makes fun of her,” Rainer writes. “Oh Lucy!” is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Driving reminders

Make sure your car is ready for those summer road trips with the app Drivvo, which is free for iOS and Android. You can track when you get gas and how much it costs as well as set reminders for car maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations. If you track mileage for work, it can help with that.

Courtesy of Christine Carreira

TV passport

PBS’s new show No Passport Required follows chef Marcus Samuelsson as he travels around the United States learning how food and culture brought by immigrants has influenced American life. One episode has him delving into the Middle Eastern community in Detroit and traveling to New Orleans to learn more about the Vietnamese community there. The show premières July 10 at 9 p.m.

Math imagery

Baffled by that math problem? Take a picture. With the Photomath app, just snap a photo of an equation, and the app will not only give you the answer but also break it down into steps to show you how to tackle it yourself. Photomath is free for iOS and Android. 


The story of innovations

The podcast American Innovations details the stories of the people behind the discoveries that are still influencing our lives today. The podcast’s most recent episode is a deep dive into the creation of the nuclear bomb, which includes an exploration of the life of Albert Einstein. Author Steven Johnson hosts the podcast, which you can find at

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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