Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 5:31 pm
Updated 6 p.m. ET
NASA reports that things went well in Saturday's 5-1/2-hour spacewalk, with two American astronauts removing a pump from the International Space Station Saturday in an effort to repair a faulty piece of cooling equipment.
Astronauts Michael Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio completed more of the fixes in less time than had been anticipated.
Sharon O'Flaherty is riding the bus to Limerick, a no-frills city in western Ireland. She's going to see her dying grandmother this Christmas. She hasn't been home in two years.
"I was working for a company for five and a half years," she says. "I got made redundant, and couldn't find a job at an equal level. So the options were immigration, and it was basically take your pick: Europe, Canada or Australia. So I chose Australia."
The 29-year-old now works as a recruitment manager in Perth.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know, Americans often assume that Hollywood films are what the world watches most. But the world's most popular film industry features music, melodrama and spectacular dance moves that have become known by a single name: Bollywood.
Holiday music: Bing, "Silver Bells," Nat, evening carolers, and, of course, tubas. Well, maybe not. But hundreds of thousands of tubas oom-pah-pah their way through the holiday standards in annual concerts every year, all around the world. It's called Tuba Christmas and this is its 40th year. NPR's Gabrielle Emanuel swung by the Washington, D.C. event this week.
The people of Moore, Oklahoma are still living with the effects of a powerful tornado in May. The twister killed 25 people and destroyed more than a thousand homes. This holiday season, residents are reminded just how much they lost in that destruction. Kate Carlton of member station KGOU reports on one woman who's found a small way to make the holidays a bit more normal.
KATE CARLTON, BYLINE: On a recent Wednesday evening, Kim Rollins opened her home to strangers.
Back in 1973, Dale Irby was just beginning his career as a physical education teacher in the Dallas area. School photo time came around, he needed something nice to wear and had just the thing - a groovy new polyester shirt with large lapels and a brown sweater. Dale Irby has worn the same outfit ever since in every school photo for 40 years. He's now retired; so has his ensemble. He joins us from Dallas. Mr. Irby, thanks so much for being with us.
Our goal for this special holiday Tiny Desk Concert is simple: to bring you joy. Preservation Hall Jazz Band is a hot and historic outfit from New Orleans, and its members brought us a tuba-wielding Santa and some original holiday cheer and praise — what they call a Cajun Christmas from the French Quarter.
The best folk music released in 2013 was, almost without exception, of the intensely personal variety. These remarkable albums struggled with addiction and death, coming of age, faith and the unstoppable rhythm of change. Three of these releases came from well-loved artists making music in ways that nobody saw coming. But all of the recordings listed below challenged us to open our minds and consider things differently, find beauty in small places and discover possibility in life's many challenges.
Petula Clark's show business career spans more than 70 years, from the time of the Blitz to the era of the blog. She found signature hits, including "Downtown" and "I Know a Place," in the 1960s and '70s.
But she began her career decades earlier, as an 8-year-old girl in a London theater, in the early years of the Second World War. The BBC had been using the theater as a studio because of its strategic location: underground.
Hear Will Shortz Prove His Anagram Prowess On Ask Me Another
The first published crossword puzzle was printed on December 21, 1913, in the The New York World. It was written by Arthur Wynne, a British journalist who moved to the United States at age 19 and wound up in New York City. His puzzle, diamond-shaped and identified as a "Word-Cross," first appeared in the "Fun" section of the Sunday paper.
We recorded our show in Memphis, Tenn., this week, where Carla Thomas is a soul legend. Born in Memphis, Thomas scored her first hit single for Stax Records at the age of 18, and had many more, including duets with Otis Redding and other stars.
We've invited her to play a game called "Thomas, meet Thomas." Three questions about other people who are also named Thomas.
NASA astronauts will be heading out to conduct critical repairs on the International Space Station early Saturday morning. The 6 1/2-hour spacewalk, the first in a series, will replace a faulty piece of cooling equipment.
Under throbbing loudspeakers at a NASCAR track south of Miami, vaguely humanoid robots with two legs, four legs and tank treads take up garages that normally house race cars.
The robots, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lockheed Martin, NASA and 13 other teams from around the world, are in Homestead, Fla., for the robot Olympics on Friday and Saturday.
Before Guatemalan actor and singer Oscar Isaac auditioned with the Coen Brothers for the title role in their new film, Inside Llewyn Davis, his friends told him that he would love the brothers — and that he wouldn't get the part or ever hear back from them. They were right about him loving the filmmakers, but not so much when it came to Isaac getting a call.
British actress Carey Mulligan plays a tough-skinned woman by the name of Jean Berkey in the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. In the movie, she sings alongside Justin Timberlake in the duo Jim and Jean, but has issues with the film's title character.
On Friday's episode of World Cafe, Mulligan talks with host David Dye about how playing the part was liberating, and how the challenge to sing live proved to be an enjoyable experience.
Back in 2005, we talked with Elijah Wald about his biography of folksinger Dave Van Ronk, The Mayor of MacDougal Street. Wald was Van Ronk's guitar student and finished the book after the influential musician died in 2002.
If you haven't read Josh Levin's amazing story at Slate — the woman upon whom the term "welfare queen" was originally bestowed — you're missing out on a fascinating and disturbing profile of an unlikely political figure.