Let's compare two documentary films about two wartime Secretaries of Defense. Errol Morris directed "Fog of War," about a Pentagon leader in the Vietnam-era. And Morris's new film focuses on Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary during the war in Iraq.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE UNKNOWN KNOWN")
DONALD RUMSFELD: There are no knowns. There are known unknowns. There are unknown unknowns. But there are also unknown knowns. That is to say, things that you think you know that it turns out you did not.
David Letterman says he will retire next year. He'll leave "The Late Show" as the longest-serving late night host in network television history, even longer than Johnny Carson when you add up Letterman's time at CBS and NBC before that. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says Letterman reshaped late night TV and succeeded as an edgy outsider more interested in making fun of show business than participating in it.
David Letterman, the longest-serving late night television host, is retiring.
(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, 'LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN')
DAVID LETTERMAN: Sometime in the not-so-distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up and taking a hike.
SIEGEL: Letterman, who is 66, told the audience today during a taping of his late show program which will air tonight. Here to talk about David Letterman is NPR TV critic Eric Deggans. And Eric, why has Letterman decided to retire now?
Why do love and war go so well together in novels? It isn't only because they're both naturally dramatic themes. Sometimes, in fact, each is so big and overwhelming that they can seem beyond the grasp of words. And so a writer who tries to show the struggle of two people with deep feelings for each other, "set against a backdrop of violence" (as a novel's flap copy might read), can just seem like he's overreaching. But Dinaw Mengestu uses love and war to powerfully explore a third, equally dramatic theme: identity.
It might have seemed like an unsurprising thing to do when Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy took three entire days off to tend to his newborn child, but if you listen to sports commentary, you know that it was not without controversy.
We may think of baseball as America's national pastime, but in the 1870s and 1880s there was another sports craze sweeping the nation: competitive walking. "Watching people walk was America's favorite spectator sport," Matthew Algeo says in his new book, Pedestrianism.
This is FRESH AIR. This Sunday HBO presents the season premiers of two returning series - "Game of Thrones" and "VEEP" - and launches a new series, a Mike Judge comedy called "Silicon Valley." Our TV critic David Bianculli has seen them all.
Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that if you have bloodstains on your clothes, you probably have bigger problems than your laundry. But Jolie Kerr is here to help with all the stains â€” her new book is titled My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag ... and Other Things You Can't Ask Martha.
Kerr is known for giving cleaning advice for unconventional and embarrassing housecleaning and laundry problems â€” without the judgment of the typical holier-than-thou housekeeping advice columnist.
This weekend two openings will take place on the campus of the Springfield Art Association. One will combine the artworks of University of Illinois Springfield faculty in an exhibit called,Â Trigger: New Work by UIS Art Faculty.Â That will be in the new M.G. Nelson Family Gallery. The reception is on Friday,Â 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibit will run through April 25. Â
Throngs of museum-goers mill through the grand entrance hall of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., every day, gawking at such treasures as the Apollo 11 capsule that carried Neil Armstrong's crew to the moon and back, as well as Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis airplane.
But the famous Milestones of Flight exhibit hasn't significantly changed since the museum opened in 1976.
We just mentioned that dancing on "Soul Train" was the big break for a number of entertainers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley. Well, our colleagues at All Things Considered have been hearing stories from a number of other people about the moment when their careers took off.
Comedian Mike Birbiglia has a knack for molding his own extremely personal follies into hilarious stories. He's weaved autobiographical tales of his awkward childhood, his love life and medical mishaps into the fabric of his stand-up specials and frequent contributions to The Moth andThis American Life.
Robin Thicke's 2013 song "Blurred Lines" asks, "What rhymes with hug me?" He should have asked guest musician Julian Velard, who sing reworked lyrical clues that answer the question with some blurred rhymes of their own.
A boyfriend once called Leslie Jamison "a wound dweller." This is one of many personal morsels she shares in her virtuosic book of essays, The Empathy Exams, in which she intrepidly probes sore spots to explore how our reactions to both our own pain and that of others define us as human beings. Jamison notes with concern that ironic detachment has become the fallback in this "post-wounded" age that fears "anything too tender, too touchy-feely." The Empathy Exams presents a brainy but heartfelt case for compassion even at the risk of sentimentality.
In his previous novels, Felix Gilman presented fantastic, mind-expanding visions of other worlds. His fifth, The Revolutions, sticks a little closer to home â€” at least at first. For a change, he's set a book in the real world, albeit a skewed version of it. Gilman reimagines late-19th-century London as a dark and dangerous place; along with all the political, technological, and cultural upheavals of the age, he's added an insidious dimension to the fashionable occultism that gripped the end of the Victorian Era.
In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."
Texas is full of memorable town names â€” Blanket, Stagecoach, Domino and Paint Rock, to list just a few. Each has at least one tale behind it, and All Things Consideredhost Melissa Block has been telling some of them as part of the series Deep In the Heart Of (A Transforming) Texas.
If you were going to make a desert-island list for your refrigerator, it's unlikely tahini would make the cut. In fact, it might not even be in your standard mainland refrigerator, unless you regularly cook food with a Middle Eastern or hippie influence. Which is a bit of a shame. Because tahini is quite lovely, and capable of much more than we usually give it credit for.