Bryan Cranston (left) starred as chemistry teacher turned meth dealer Walter White, and Aaron Paul played former student and drug-dealing co-conspirator Jesse Pinkman in AMC's Breaking Bad, which wrapped up its fifth and final season on Sunday.
Before you read any farther or click the audio above, we have two words for you: Spoiler Alert. Also, a warning that if you have never seen Breaking Bad, we may touch on some plot points that will be hard to understand without context.
Credit Emily Julka / Courtesy of Underground Meats
Brent Gentry of Underground Meats rotates a coppa. Underground Meats is behind a new project that aims to lower the barrier to entry for would-be artisanal meat producers by making it easier for them to craft food safety plans.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 12:45 pm
With the current bloom of artisanal small-batch producers across the country, you'd think that all you need to start up a new food business is a good idea and a lot of gumption. And for the most part, that's true. But when it comes to artisanal producers working with meat, you also need something else: a Hazards Analysis and Critical Control Points plan. Or, if you will, a HACCP.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:23 pm
The Army rejected him because of his bad eyes — he was nearsighted — but Tom Clancy, who went into the family insurance business instead of the military, turned out to have the greatest vision of modern warfare of any writer of our time. His research into military history and technology led him to create a new form of thriller, and a hero for our time, a man named Jack Ryan whose talents as a spy and technowarrior put a name and a face to the people who battled Russians, Pakistanis, Irish nationalists and Islamists along a constantly shifting front line.
Rick Najera doesn't remember his wife Susie dialing 9-1-1. She came home six hours after Najera had taken a fall that left him bleeding on the floor of his home. The Hollywood actor/writer/producer had pneumonia and ended up in an intensive care unit in a coma.
Rick Najera told NPR's Michel Martin that his near-death experience caused him to reflect.
"I really looked at my life and I said I wanted to chronicle it. I wanted to bring it down and talk about it in a very human, honest way," he says.
No summer is complete without a picnic, just as no picnic is completed without a few little annoyances: sunburn, spilled wine or ants. Ants! (Shakes fist.) This game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton, imagines some heightened picnic scenarios, all of which are clues to words that end with the letters "-ant."
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR and WNYC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg. Coming up, we'll reminisce about the songs of summer, and we'll take a cinematic tour of New York City. Plus we'll put director David Wain and actor B.J. Novak up to another ASK ME ANOTHER challenge. But first, joining us onstage right now are Allison Kelsey and Sam Denehy.
EISENBERG: Allison, you are joining us from Philadelphia.
With New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz as our V.I.P. Puzzle Guru, we knew he'd come up with a doozy of a final round. In this game, recorded at Central Park's SummerStage, contestants are given two five-letter words, and asked to anagram one word to get a synonym of the second. And when the final two standing turn out to be Studio 360 host Kurt Andersen and Wet Hot American Summer filmmaker David Wain, the competition gets even more heated.
Fresh off the ninth and final season of NBC's The Office, B.J. Novak is keeping busy. He is known both for his portrayal of the bratty temp Ryan Howard, as well as writing some of the show's most beloved episodes, such as "Diversity Day" and "The Fire." In his post-Office life, however, he's working on a book of "Woody Allen-esque" short stories and will appear in Saving Mr. Banks, the forthcoming Walt Disney biopic about the making of the film Mary Poppins.
David Wain is part of the comedy troupes The State and Stella, and directed the films Wanderlust, Role Models and the forthcoming They Came Together. But he is perhaps best known for creating one of the quintessential summer movies, Wet Hot American Summer, an absurdist chronicle of last-day shenanigans at a Jewish camp in the 1980s.
Kurt Andersen has written for film, television and stage, was Time's architecture and design critic, co-founded Spy magazine, curated a Smithsonian exhibit, wrote four books (his third novel, True Believers, was published in the summer of 2012), and now hosts PRI's Studio 360, the Peabody Award-winning radio show on WNYC. In the words of Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "How about declaring a major already?"
Scandal returns Thursday night on ABC after two seasons of delicious, ridiculous, addictive total nonsense that made it a pop-culture preoccupation. (OK, obsession. But hey, we can quit any time we want.)
He's a socially inept scientist who's tone deaf to irony. She's an edgy young woman whose fallback mode is sarcasm. Put them together, and hilarity ensues in Australian IT consultant Graeme Simsion's first novel, The Rosie Project. It's an utterly winning screwball comedy about a brilliant, emotionally challenged geneticist who's determined to find a suitable wife with the help of a carefully designed questionnaire, and the patently unsuitable woman who keeps distracting him from his search.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:55 am
Richard Rodriguez begins his latest book, Darling, with an unfussy dedication to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, a Catholic women's group committed to helping the sick and destitute. This Baptism, if you will, is the first and surely the most straightforward indication within the book that Rodriguez intends to delve into his complex relationship with religion. The path that lies beyond that dedication is weird and wonderful, and readers will find that it's far from a direct route.
Best-selling author Tom Clancy has died. He was 66 years old. Beginning with the publication of his 1984 megahit The Hunt for Red October, Clancy wrote a string of blockbuster thrillers inspired by his fascination with military hardware and history.
Clancy didn't mince words when he talked to would-be writers. "If your objective is to write a book, get a computer and write the damn book," he told members of the military at a 2004 writing workshop. "Yes, you can do this if you try hard enough. It's a lot easier than you realize it is."
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 4:22 pm
The health benefits of eating fish are pretty well-known. A lean source of protein, fish can be a rich source of healthful omega-3 fatty acids and has been shown to benefit heart, eye and brain health.
Jamie Moyer, shown above pitching for the Colorado Rockies in May 2012, made his major league debut back in 1986. He says that after decades in the major leagues, he'd occasionally have to remind himself that "in baseball terms, I really was old, but in everyday life, I really wasn't."
We don't often think of professional athletes improving with age, but Jamie Moyer was a better pitcher in his 40s than he was in his 20s. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to win a Major League Baseball game when, in April 2012, at the age of 49 years, 150 days, he pitched the Colorado Rockies to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres.
Photographer Geoffrey Hiller made his first foray into Myanmar — also known as Burma — when he was traveling around Southeast Asia in 1987. At the time, he could only get a seven-day tourist visa, and the best method for changing currency was to arrive with two cartons of cigarettes and two bottles of Johnnie Walker, then trade them for cash outside the airport.
"I'll never forget flying in from Bangkok — there were no lights at all, and all you could see was the Shwedagon Pagoda," he says of his initial arrival.
Vachel Lindsay is one of Springfield's most well known historical figures, considered the father of "singing poetry" - he was known as the Prairie Troubadour and was one of the most celebrated poets of his time. But a lesser known aspect of the writer is the utopian vision he had for the future - influenced by his own political brand of socialism. These ideas became a novel called 'The Golden Book of Springfield.'
When I think of the writers I worshiped when I was starting out in life, I always think of Margaret Drabble. She was 20 years older than I, but the serious, hip, intellectual British novelist whose black-and-white photo appeared on the front cover of some of her paperbacks seemed permanently young. Reading her was like having an extremely brainy and fashionable best friend who'd been educated at Cambridge and had really lived.
In the pages of David Finkel's new book, you'll meet a veteran who has recurring nightmares in which a fellow soldier asks, "Why didn't you save me?" You'll also meet a veteran who sees images of dead Iraqis floating in his bathtub, and another who tries to kill himself by biting through his right wrist — the only wrist he can raise to his mouth since his left side is paralyzed.
Federal bureaucracies aren't the only ones scaling back operations during the government shutdown. It's also meant that kids couldn't take field trips to the Smithsonian.
In fact most of the popular Washington attractions funded by the government are closed. That includes the Smithsonian's 19 museums and the National Zoo, plus Ford's Theatre and the National Gallery of Art.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 3:09 pm
These days, many people wear their vegetarianism as a badge of honor — even if it's only before 6 p.m, as food writer Mark Bittman advocates. (Actually, he wants us to go part-time vegan.) There's even a World Vegetarian Day, which happens to be today, FYI.