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What We're Reading: Mold-A-Ramas and Why Writers Run

By  Paul Biasco Ariel Cheung and Andrew Herrmann | November 16, 2015 4:01pm 

 Chicago has the most Mold-A-Rama machines of any city in the U.S.
Chicago has the most Mold-A-Rama machines of any city in the U.S.
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Nothin' to do but frown. Rainy days and Mondays always get us ... searching for something to read. Here's what we found.

The Mold-A-Rama Capital of America: If you grew up in Chicago or made trips to its cultural institutions as a kid, chances are you have strong memory of molten plastic figurines. Even Jack White of the White Stripes couldn't resist the nostalgia and beauty of those Mold-A-Rama machines, according to a WBEZ feature. It turns out Chicago is the Mold-A-Rama capital of America containing 26 of those souvenir vending machines that spit out molten plastic gorillas at the zoo and tractors at the Museum of Science and Industry. The price of a green gorilla from the Lincoln Park Zoo currently goes for $2. 

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Senior editor Andrew Herrmann is reading a 1968 memo posted on a UCLA Library blog in which a producer of the original Star Trek show complains that star William Shatner has walked off with four wigs. The memo, to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, complains that if Shatner doesn't return them, new ones will have to be made for the next season, costing $200 each. No word from @WilliamShatner but we tweeted at him.I told you, no you cannot touch my hair.

Tuesday Update: William Shatner got back to us. Not sure what he means but he seems to be denying it.


What ISIS Really Wants: The attacks in Paris on Friday sent shockwaves through the world, but the Islamic State has been growing for a decade. The Atlantic has a top-notch explainer on the terrorist organization's deep roots in Islam and its reasoning behind some of its most brutal actions. Reporter Ariel Cheung found the long read extremely worthwhile and extremely concerning.

Writers Love To Run: Senior Editor Justin Breen, who runs six days a week, five miles a jaunt outside no matter what the weather conditions, is fascinated by an Atlantic story on "Why Writers Run." Some reasons why, according to the article: "Running affords the freedom of distance, coupled with the literary appeal of solitude. There’s a meditative cadence to the union of measured breaths and metered strides." Also: "Freedom, consciousness, and wildness: Running offers writers escape with purpose."

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