Arts

Fine Art
4:10 am
Sat December 14, 2013

In The Background: Art You May Never Notice

Mountain Gorillas, one of the first dioramas on which Fred Scherer apprenticed, completed in 1936.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:31 pm

You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.

Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.

We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
6:07 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Not My Job: Actor Oscar Isaac On Folk Music Vs. Filk Music

Oscar Isaac as the titular character in Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.
Alison Rosa Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 10:27 am

The latest movie by Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis, is a lot like their other movies in which a guy endures a lot of terrible things happening to him. This one's different though, in that this time, the guy seems to deserve it. Oscar Isaac plays — and sings — the role of Llewyn Davis, a homeless, former merchant marine trying to make it in the 1960s Greenwich Village music scene.

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Movie Reviews
5:21 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

'Hobbit 2,' 'Mr. Banks' Are Not Your Parents' Family Films

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:56 pm

Bob Mondello takes a look at two holiday crowd-pleasers: the latest iteration of a fantasy involving hobbits: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and the true-life story of the creation of a 1960s fantasy involving a flying nanny, Saving Mr. Banks.

Poetry
4:12 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Poem: Nelson Mandela, 'An Ordinary Man'

Jonathan Blakely/NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:56 pm

On Sunday, South Africans will lay to rest the remains of Nelson Mandela.

The legacy left by the activist and political prisoner who transformed a nation and became president is being remembered by politicians, historians and artists.

Among them is Thabiso Mohare, a young South African spoken word artist who performs under the name Afurakan. He wrote a poem for NPR about Mandela called "An Ordinary Man."

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Code Switch
12:58 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Screening Room: Who Might Be The Next Black Actress On 'SNL'?

Kerry Washington (with Taran Killam) recently appeared on SNL to spoof the show's lack of a black female cast member.
Dana Edelson AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:22 pm

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Books
11:21 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Science Book Picks for 2013

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow and you are invited to join our annual holiday club of the air. This week we'll be talking about some of the best science reads from 2013. I'm going to throw in my favorite one right at the beginning before Deborah and Maria get a chance to put a word in edgewise.

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Fitness & Nutrition
11:21 am
Fri December 13, 2013

This Doc's Miracle Drug? Exercise

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

You know the old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, my next guest might add to that. How about a jog a day keeps the doctor away, or a set of pull-ups? His new book is a prescription pad for a variety of ailments from anxiety and depression to heart disease, diabetes, low libido, arthritis, even cancer. But what's different about this medical book is that there are no drugs recommended, no trips to the pharmacy.

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Paperback Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of December 12, 2013

Embarrassing photos with a seasonal theme fill Awkward Family Holiday Photos. It debuts at No. 14.

Paperback Fiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of December 12, 2013

Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train, arriving at No. 15, follows two orphans from different eras.

Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of December 12, 2013

Debuting at No. 14, Humans of New York is photographer Brandon Stanton's visual census of the city.

Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
11:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Fiction, Week Of December 12, 2013

The Gods of Guilt, Michael Connelly's latest Lincoln Lawyer thriller, debuts at No. 9.

NPR Bestseller List
11:03 am
Fri December 13, 2013

NPR Bestsellers: Week Of December 12, 2013

The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.

Barbershop
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

If You're Rich, Can You Say You Don't Know Right From Wrong?

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Music
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

'Wallace' Grew Up, So What's He Listening To?

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Movies
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Golden Globe Nominees: 'An Embarrassment Of Riches'

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Let's switch gears now and talk about your plans for the weekend. If you plan to head to the movies, you might be interested in the critics' picks from the Golden Globes. The nominations were announced yesterday. "12 Years a Slave" was one of the most honored films. That's the story of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He's played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was also nominated for his role in the film. Here's a clip.

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BackTalk
10:53 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Learn From Your Grandparents, Says Listener

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Golden Globe nominations are in. We'll speak with film critic Wesley Morris about who got the nod, who was left out and why we care - if we care. But first, the envelope please - we've got your letters. It's BackTalk. That's where we hear from you about this week's stories. Editor Ahmad Omar is back with us for that. Welcome back, Ahmad. Thanks for joining us.

AHMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: So what's going on today, Ahmad?

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The Protojournalist
10:13 am
Fri December 13, 2013

1,000 Words: A Pet Reindeer In Nome, Alaska

David Gilkey NPR News

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:44 pm

A pet reindeer in a pickup truck. The reindeer's name: Velvet Eyes.

Monkey See
8:44 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Frozen' Princesses And Character Deaths

NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:06 am

  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First of all: WOW. We did our live show at NPR HQ this week, and it was wonderful, and all of you who attended made a fantastic audience. You'll be hearing the live show in two segments over the holidays while we take a rest, but in the meantime, we've got a brand-new show to roll out.

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TED Radio Hour
8:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

How Does History Change The Meaning Of Words?

"I think we shape language more than it shapes us. Reality and history shape language and that's the beautiful thing." — Mark Forsyth
Paul Clarke TED

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:54 pm

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Mark Forsyth's TEDTalk

Etymologist Mark Forsyth shares the surprising back story on the term "president."

About Mark Forsyth

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TED Radio Hour
8:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does Body Language Shape Who You Are?

James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 8:23 am

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Amy Cuddy's TEDTalk

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" can affect our brains, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

About Amy Cuddy

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TED Radio Hour
8:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Is Texting Actually Advancing Language?

Linguist John McWhorter says there's much more to texting than there seems.
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 2:53 pm

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About John McWhorter's TEDTalk

Does texting mean the death of good writing skills? Linguist John McWhorter says that there's much more to texting — linguistically, culturally — than it seems, and it's all good news.

About John McWhorter

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TED Radio Hour
8:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does The Subjunctive Have A Dark Side?

"When employed at the right time, grammar can bring the world into sharp focus, and when used at the wrong time, it can make things incredibly blurry." — Phuc Tran
TEDxDirigo

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 12:40 pm

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Phuc Tran's Talk

Phuc Tran grew up caught between two languages with opposing cultural perspectives: the indicative reality of Vietnamese and the power to image endless possibilities with English. In this personal talk, Tran explains how both shaped his identity.

About Phuc Tran

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TED Radio Hour
8:29 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Does Language Bring Us Together Or Pull Us Apart?

"It is really peculiar on the face of it that our languages exist to prevent us from communicating with each other." — Mark Pagel
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:45 pm

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Spoken And Unspoken.

About Mark Pagel's TEDTalk

Biologist Mark Pagel says our complex language system is a piece of "social technology" that allowed early human tribes to access a powerful new tool: cooperation.

About Mark Pagel

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NPR Story
8:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Spoken And Unspoken

TED speakers explore the power of how we communicate.
Thinkstock

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 2:28 pm

We communicate with each other in all sorts of ways. In this hour, TED speakers reflect on how words and methods of communication affect us, more than you might expect.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monkey See
7:43 am
Fri December 13, 2013

First Novels: Acquiring Minds

iStockphoto

The first in my series of posts on The First Novel Experience was called "The Romance of Agents." A couple of people wrote me after it was posted and asked if I was going to include in this series any stories of any writers who'd had a bad time with their books. I thought about it and decided no – at least not yet.

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Movie Reviews
6:52 am
Fri December 13, 2013

'American Hustle': Hot Streak Continues For David O. Russell

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's go to the movies now. David O. Russell is a director on a clear hot streak. His last two films, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "The Fighter" pleased critics and also did well at the box office. Our film critic Kenneth Turan says his new film, "American Hustle," is likely to do the same.

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Movie Reviews
6:30 am
Fri December 13, 2013

A 'Hustle' With Flow (And Plenty Of Flair)

A '70s con-artist couple (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) are forced to team up with an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper, right) in American Hustle, inspired by a real-life sting targeting corrupt politicians.
Francois Duhamel Columbia Pictures

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 1:46 pm

David O. Russell hovers at the top of my list of favorite directors. He captures the messy collision of self-interests that for him defines America. In American Hustle, he whips up a black comedy based on Abscam, the late-'70s FBI sting that centered on a bogus sheik and led to the bribery convictions of sundry U.S. politicians. But he doesn't tell the real Abscam story; he adapts it to fit his theme, which is that most of us are busy reinventing ourselves and conning one another.

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The Two-Way
6:24 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Book News: Publisher's Charity To Pay $7.7 Million Settlement In For-Profit Case

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a November news conference on a settlement deal with JPMorgan Chase.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 6:13 am

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

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Poetry
4:19 am
Fri December 13, 2013

An Elegy For Mandela Looks Back In Mourning, Forward In Hope

On Dec. 8, three days after Nelson Mandela's death, a girl in Johannesburg lights a candle in his memory. Poet Mbali Vilakazi has written an elegy for Mandela that asks the next generation of South Africans to continue his legacy.
Pedro Ugarte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:52 am

In his youth, Nelson Mandela cut a dashing figure. He was a revolutionary, an outlaw — by the early 1960s, he was living underground. And he had a nickname to match: he was known as the Black Pimpernel.

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Author Interviews
4:19 am
Fri December 13, 2013

2001 Army-Navy Game Marked By Specter Of Sept. 11

Navy players await the start of their annual game against Army, on Dec. 1, 2001.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:59 am

On Saturday, Army and Navy will take the field to renew their legendary football rivalry for the 114th time. The teams are playing in Philadelphia, which is also where they faced off in 2001, just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. The players that year faced a sobering new reality: The nation was at war, and they'd soon leave the football field behind for the battlefield.

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