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Meet our "Prairie Home" companions!

We had so many entries in the "tell us why you're above average" Prairie Home Companion DVD contest that we couldn't pick among them -- so, as predicted, we had to draw them out of our favorite Minnesota-y woolly hat. (It looks like the one at left.) And the five winners are...

1. Cindy Smith: "I consider myself an above average mental flosser because of the above average amount of time I put into my life... I work full time, go to school at night for a degree in physics, oil paint, glass paint, write poetry, make my own Halloween costumes and am in the process of raising a wonderful 14 year old son, who is also above average (and whom I'm sure will love this movie). BTW, my son reminded me to say that there is actually no such thing as 'average' -- it is just a number that approximates an arithmetic mean. So everybody is either above-average or below-average... but nobody is average. We probably deserve a copy just for knowing that."

2. Mary Korns: "I was an above average child and that's the Lake Wobegon requirement. Now I'm still above average because if I weren't I'd be dead. At 82 I'm past the average check-out date."

3. Larry Fisher: "I'm above average because I'm still smiling after experiencing the following over the past two weeks: My brother had 2 heart attacks and went cold turkey from his addictions during his convalescence; I fell while visiting my brother's apartment and broke my arm; I attended my friend's funeral; my washing machine died, and I couldn't disconnect the old one so they could install the new one because my arm's broken; mothers of small children have started pointing at my cast and saying, 'See what happens when you're not careful?'"

4. Connie McKinney: "1. Even though I don't always get to church, I start the day with Luther's morning prayer and my devotional; and 2. At pot lucks I try to take more than I eat and always make sure one is a casserole. 3. I'm an underpaid social worker, so I do the whole faith PLUS works thing, even though the works is just extra credit, I know. 4. I don't lie very often, just when I want to win contests."

5. Kathy Wilcox: "I deserve a copy of the DVD because, not only do I know what IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase) stands for, I read it regularly for tidbits like this: 1. Cast members did their own performing including singing and playing instruments. 2. Meryl Streep's mother-in-law helped her practice the Midwestern accent necessary for this role."

Clearly these five also have above-average luck (at least where this contest is concerned; we're not sure about poor Larry otherwise). Folks, if you haven't already, send us your addresses, and we'll get your DVDs on their way.

For the rest of you, this week's new contest will be announced a little later today...

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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