Arts

Ask Me Another
9:55 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Job Search

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 10:18 am

What was your first minimum-wage job? Was it as a house musician on a public radio quiz show? The hardworking Jonathan Coulton covers tunes by the likes of Lady Gaga and Elton John, but replaces the rather glamorous jobs in the lyrics with different, and perhaps more attainable, professions.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:55 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Vowelling Off

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 10:17 am

In this paean to final rounds everywhere, puzzle guru Greg Pliska acts as liaison between contestants and their hope of squeaking their way toward becoming grand prize winner. How many words in your oeuvre contain three vowels in a row? This paragraph is riddled with them, for starters.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Ask Me Another
9:55 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Elizabeth Gilbert: An Adventurer Travels Back In Time

Elizabeth Gilbert.
Jennifer Schatten

Originally published on Sun January 19, 2014 4:17 am

"I wrote for and about men," says author Elizabeth Gilbert, of her early career as a journalist for GQ, Esquire and Spin. "Which is why it's so ironic that now I am the uber chick lit author."

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The Two-Way
7:54 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Oscar Nominees For Best Picture Include 'Captain Phillips,' 'Gravity'

Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips.
Hopper Stone, SMPSP

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 10:22 am

Let the arguments begin over who and which film should have been nominated but weren't.

This year's nominees for Oscars from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were just announced and they include:

Best Picture

-- American Hustle

-- Captain Phillips

-- Dallas Buyers Club

-- Gravity

-- Her

-- Nebraska

-- Philomena

-- 12 Years a Slave

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Monkey See
7:29 am
Thu January 16, 2014

'Gravity,' 'American Hustle' And '12 Years A Slave' Lead The Oscar Nominations

Lupita Nyong'O and Chiwetel Ejiofor were both nominated for Oscars for their work in 12 Years A Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:32 pm

Ever since the Oscars expanded the Best Picture field to include up to 10 nominees, they've been taking advantage of that extra space, and this year was no exception. While the original chatter was about the possibility of including more crowd-pleasers (there was much discussion of whether the expanded field would have helped The Dark Knight), what's consistently happened is that the "extra" nominations have gone to films that might have been too small to be nominated, not too "pop" to be nominated.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Book News: World War I Diaries Of British Soldiers Digitized

British soldiers in the trenches, late 1914.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:14 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:02 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Never Again: 'Trieste' Is A Harrowing Mix Of Memory And Memorial

iStockphoto.com

From Croatia comes a novel titled Trieste, by Dasa Drndic, originally published in Croatian in 2007 and now translated into English by Ellen Elias-Bursac. We might call the novel experimental because of some of the techniques the writer employs. But the story — a mother in search of a child, torn from her in the midst of monstrous warfare — feels ancient.

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Race
5:43 am
Thu January 16, 2014

'12 Years A Slave' Inspires 'True Conversations' About Slavery

Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor play Patsey and Solomon, two slaves on a Louisiana plantation, in 12 Years a Slave.
Francois Duhamel Fox Searchlight Pictures

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 5:39 pm

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often, NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

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Movie Interviews
3:49 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Hollywood Anticipates: Oscar Nominations Are Out Thursday

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:07 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGE, HOST:

Hollywood is up early this morning for the Oscar nominations and 2013 offered a host of movies now vying for recognition from Academy voters.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB")

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: (as Ron) I got this DDC in France supposed to keep the healthy cells you've got from getting the HIV. I gotta get some of this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (as character) None of those drugs have been approved by the FDA.

MCCONAUGHEY: (as Ron) Screw the FDA. I'm going to be DOA.

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Animals
5:49 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Months After 'Blackfish' Release, Controversy Over SeaWorld Grows

Two killer whales fly out of the water during a show at SeaWorld Orlando's Shamu Stadium in 2010.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:11 pm

The documentary Blackfish made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered last January, and got more attention when it was released in theaters over the summer. But it didn't reach its largest audience until October, when millions watched it on CNN.

It's a powerful documentary that focuses on Tilikum, the male orca who pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water and killed her at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. In telling the story, Blackfish relies heavily on interviews with former SeaWorld trainers like Samantha Berg.

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Television
4:34 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The Few, The Fervent: Fans Of 'Supernatural' Redefine TV Success

Dean Winchester (left, played by Jensen Ackles) and his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) battle evil beings on CW's Supernatural. The brothers may be easy on the eyes, but sex appeal alone doesn't explain Supernatural's passionate fan base.
Cate Cameron The CW

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

How do you measure love?

OK, it's a huge question. And maybe not one generally applied to television. But the metrics of success determine whether a television show lives or dies. (If this is the sort of topic that seems frivolous, consider the billions of dollars TV and other copyright industries contribute to the U.S. economy. The stakes start feeling higher.)

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Arts & Life
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So that's one question. And here's another that we're sure has been bothering many of you for years. What happens when you give a bird a guitar? Well, you'll get your answer at a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It's called "From Here to Ear."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Picture this: One room, 70 zebra finches, 14 tuned and amplified guitars, no fingers.

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Television
4:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

"American Idol" is back for its 12th season tonight. The show's huge success gave rise to an entire genre of reality talent shows on TV. For the last few seasons, though, ratings for "American Idol" have been off. So they've freshened up the format and brought in some new judges. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says "American Idol" is trying something new: being nice.

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Monkey See
10:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Idol' Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible

Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. appear on a surprisingly non-terrible American Idol opener on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

It's just me now, I thought this morning. All alone. I could almost hear the desert wind. I could almost see the tumbleweeds.

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The Picture Show
10:04 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Before Drone Cameras: Kite Cameras!

Lawrence with the 49-pound "Captive Airship."
Courtesy of the Lawrence Family

These days, getting an aerial shot is as simple (although maybe illegal) as strapping a camera to a drone. Back in the day, though, it wasn't so easy.

George R. Lawrence, a commercial photographer at the turn of the last century, was known to tinker. (His Chicago studio advertised "The hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty.") He was often hired to photograph conventions and banquet halls with a specialized panoramic camera he had built himself. In 1901, he had a loftier idea: to lift his panoramic camera off the ground. And not just a few feet — but hundreds.

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Local Bands
10:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Mulligan Munro Fuse American & Irish Folk

Mulligan Munro
Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Mulligan Munro is a folk band consisting of Mark Butler, Maureen Douglas, Don Wright, and Mark Hudson. The group brings an eclectic set of influences to the table, resulting in a repertoire of pub-friendly songs that sound uniquely their own. Mulligan Munro recently joined WUIS in the Suggs Studio for this performance and interview: 

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The Two-Way
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

VIDEO: Springsteen, Fallon Do 'Gov. Christie Traffic Jam'

Bruce Springsteen (left) and Jimmy Fallon doing their "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam."
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon blog

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:39 pm

Being stuck in a horrendous traffic jam is no joke.

Nor is having your potential presidential prospects possibly put into jeopardy by a scandal involving your top aides.

But we do have to say that NBC-TV's Jimmy Fallon has come through yet again with another should-see music video that adds some laughs to the news.

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The Salt
9:51 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The U.K. has plenty of fresh produce available, such as these vegetables on display at a garden show in Southport, England. But these healthy options cost more in the U.K. than in any other country in Western Europe.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:03 pm

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

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Wordless News
9:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Wordless News: Robot Goooooooooooooal!

Maria Fabrizio

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:52 am

  • Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Every day, illustrator Maria Fabrizio posts a news-inspired image on her Wordless News blog. This week, all of her pictures will be inspired by stories she hears on Morning Edition.

Today, Joe Palca's story caught her ear: It's about a computer scientist who is developing robots that can play soccer.

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Arts
9:30 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Millikin Choir Weekend Concert In Springfield

Credit Millikin University

The Millikin University Choir makes another appearance in Springfield this weekend.   The concert will take place Sunday January 19 at the Central Baptist Church at 501 S. Fourth Street. 

Under the direction of Dr. Brad Holmes, the nationally recognized choir travels across the country and has performed abroad. 

But central Illinois is home base.  

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The Salt
8:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

New Nordic Food Gods Loosen Up On Strictly Local Cuisine

The Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen is where chefs and social scientists explore the raw materials and flavors of Scandinavia.
Courtesy of the Nordic Food Lab

This story begins with a lemon. It appeared not long ago on a houseboat-cum-food lab docked outside Scandinavia's temple of local food, the restaurant noma, in Copenhagen.

"Isn't that, like, the forbidden fruit?," I ask. "Are you allowed to have a lemon here?"

"I don't know why that's sitting there," says Ben Reade, the lab's head of culinary research and development, looking perplexed.

An anthropologist, Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, pipes in, "We have an Italian on the boat."

Reade concurs: "He needs a lemon every so often for staff food."

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Book News: Argentine Poet Juan Gelman Dies At 83

Argentine poet Juan Gelman is pictured at a news conference in March 2012.
Pablo Porciuncula AFP/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Food
11:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Maple Syrup Goes To Dinner — And Drinks

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:01 pm

When I was growing up and my mom would make pancakes and bacon, I'd layer bacon pieces in between pancakes, then drown the stack with maple syrup to create a towering, sticky mess. The rest of my family would daintily eat their bacon from one plate and their pancakes from another, preventing the joyous union of salty and sweet.

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Movie Reviews
5:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Love And Struggle In The Shadow Of The Third Reich

The sprawling drama Generation War follows a range of characters — a Nazi officer and his brother, a nurse, an aspiring singer and her Jewish boyfriend — through Germany during World War II.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:08 am

Knee-deep already in collective scrutiny of its painful World War II history, Germany wades in up to its own neck with a viscerally unsparing drama — originally a TV miniseries — set to screen in two parts in selected U.S. theaters.

Generation War tracks five jaunty young childhood friends as they prepare to scatter from a Berlin bar in 1941 to do their bit for the Thousand Year Reich. With Kristallnacht fresh in memory and Stalingrad looming, you'd think even these frisky young things might know better than to expect to reunite unscathed for Christmas.

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Digital Life
3:48 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Dying In The Digital Age: When Should The Conversation End?

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:33 pm

An active conversation — and a hefty dose of outrage — is swirling on social media about the proper boundaries between public and private when it comes to illness and death. Lisa Adams, a stage 4 cancer patient, has been tweeting her experiences with the disease. Writers Bill and Emma Keller have derided her tweets as akin to "deathbed selfies." Melissa Block talks with Meaghan O'Rourke about how we treat dying in the digital age.

Arts & Life
3:48 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Blogger Reveals Cracks In Codes Onscreen

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:33 pm

Computer programmer John Graham-Cumming began the blog, "Source Code in TV and Films," several weeks ago. The blog points out the frequent misuse of computer code in shows and movies.

Deceptive Cadence
2:48 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

The 'Ode To Joy' As A Call To Action

A Chinese student at the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, where speakers playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony were rigged up to drown out government broadcasts.
Battle Hymns Productions

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:39 pm

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New In Paperback
1:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Jan. 12-18: Revolutionaries, Diplomacy And A Man Of Letters

Free Press

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 3:40 pm

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Book Reviews
12:44 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Chang-rae Lee Stretches For Dystopic Drama, But Doesn't Quite Reach

ilbusca iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:04 pm

Dystopia is all the rage these days, especially in young adult fiction: There's the "Hunger Games" trilogy of course; Veronica Roth's "Divergent" series, in which Chicago has gone to the dogs; Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" series, inspired by a nightmare vision of Manhattan; and Stephanie Meyer's non-Twilight novel, The Host, where Earth has been colonized by alien parasites.

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Author Interviews
11:39 am
Tue January 14, 2014

'What Everyone Needs To Know' About Today's Cyberthreats

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 4:46 pm

Even if cybersecurity isn't a subject you think about a lot, the data breach of credit card information from Target and Neiman Marcus customers has probably increased your level of cyber-anxiety.

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