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Monitor picks

Five things we think you'll really like.

Changing his stripes

Jack White, the guitar and voice half of The White Stripes, has temporarily set aside the duo's minimalist garage blues for a new band called The Raconteurs. Their debut single, Steady As She Goes, now on iTunes, has a chorus that should be preserved in the Library of Congress.

Mother of Invention

America has major bathroom problems. So say the sheer number of loo gadgets - easy-flip seats or creative paper dispensers - on ABC's reality show American Inventor (Thursdays, 9 p.m. EST). Oher creations range from useful (tree trimmers) to bizarre (wig liners), but the stories of sacrifice from these would-be Edisons is the program's main attraction.

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'Cheerful' company

Now in paperback, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies finds The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tackling both personal and professional cases. The newly married Precious Ramotswe is dealing with an intruder, a missing apprentice, and a pumpkin. Her assistant, Grace Makutsi, is saddled with a stuttering partner in dance class. Start reading now - the next entry, "Blue Shoes and Happiness," arrives April 18.

From the podium to your iPod

New on iTunes: fresh concert downloads by the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics. The first such recording, a series of Mozart's symphonies conducted in February by Lorin Maazel, can be purchased either as a whole concert or as individual movements. At just under $10 per album, it's considerably cheaper than a ticket to Lincoln Center.

'Fire' brand

Through the Fire, the ESPN documentary now on an unrated DVD, tells the story of Sebastian Telfair, a New York high school hoopster so legendary that the likes of Derek Jeter and rap mogul Jay-Z came to see him play. On NBA draft day 2004, it's clear he's gone from basketball player to teen savior of an entire neighborhood. A hoop dream come true.


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