Weekend Edition - Saturday

Saturdays 8am to 10am

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America's backyards, National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'Backstage With' Fred Willard and Martin Mull

Martin Mull and Fred Willard are comic partners in many minds. They helped create Fernwood Tonight in the late 1970s, and while they went on to solo careers in films and stage, they were reunited to play one of TV's first gay couples on Roseanne. Host Scott Simon sat down with the duo for the public television show Backstage With.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

A Short Talk About The World's Longest Interview

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 1:03 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

What do you do when the conversation lags? Our friend Richard Glover of the ABC in Sydney, Australia might know. This week he and sports author and journalist Peter FitzSimons set a new Guinness World Record for Longest Radio or TV interview: 24 hours, with only an occasional loo break. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The record-setting interview did not take place "this week." It was actually in December 2011.]

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Your Letters: On Propaganda And Appreciation

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Last week we spoke with Christian Bale who stars in the new film, "The Flowers of War." The movie takes place in China during Japan's violent occupation of Nanjing in 1937. "The Flowers of War" has been criticized as being part of an effort by the Chinese government to improve China's image in the world.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Sports: Finals Down Under; A New Tiger In Detroit

The women's finals in the Australian Open are already over. In baseball, power-hitter Prince Fielder has returned to his childhood team, the Detroit Tigers, for which his father played. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Egyptians Divide As They Celebrate Together

This week, Egyptians marked the first anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Deepening political divisions between pro-Islamist and secular protesters marred the event, erupting into violent scuffles. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Changes Stir Cuba's Communist Conference

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 8:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

On The Stump: Obama Roams Pivotal Swing States

President Obama is back in Washington Saturday after visiting five different states, all of which are likely to be hotly contested in November. He expanded on some of the ideas he outlined in Tuesday's State of the Union address and offered a preview of the argument he'll be making in the general election. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

Israeli Outpost Pits Courts Vs. Government

Originally published on Sun January 29, 2012 6:42 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

An illegal Jewish outpost in the occupied West Bank is at the center of a battle over settlements. The collection of trailers and makeshift buildings is called Migron, and the Israeli Supreme Court has said it must be dismantled by the end of March. The Israeli government has tried to come up with a compromise which the settlers have rejected. And the issue even threatens to bring down the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 28, 2012

GOP Candidates Court Hispanic Voters

Republican candidates' efforts to win Hispanic voters have intensified in advance of the Florida primary, airing ads in Spanish and contending over immigration. Host Scott Simon speaks with Maria Elena Salinas, co-host of Noticiero Univision, about Hispanic voters' role in the Republican primary and the upcoming presidential election.

Simon Says
5:40 am
Sat January 28, 2012

A Fan's Notes On Pro Sports, Brain Damage

Trainers help Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy after he took a hit during a game in December. In a series of interviews with The Associated Press, 23 of 44 NFL players said they would try to hide a brain injury rather than leave a game.
Don Wright AP

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 11:31 am

I will watch the Super Bowl next weekend, along with several billion other people. I expect to cheer, shout and have some guacamole.

But as a fan, I'm finding it a little harder to cheer, especially for my favorite football and hockey players, without thinking: They're hurting themselves.

Not just breaks and sprains but dangerous, disabling brain damage.

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Television
4:19 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'Smash' Stars An 'Interesting Tribe': Theater People

Ingenue or Leading Lady: Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty, left) and Karen (Katharine McPhee, right) compete for the coveted lead role in a new Marilyn Monroe Broadway musical in Smash, which premieres Feb. 6 on NBC.
Will Hart NBC

NBC's new drama, Smash, plumbs the drama behind the curtain. The series is the story of a Broadway musical — from the first idea, to auditions, rehearsals and the big premiere.

Theresa Rebeck is the show's creator and executive producer. She's also a screenwriter, playwright and a Broadway veteran — with a hit play "Seminar," that's now on Broadway.

Rebeck tells Weekend Edition host Scott Simon that Smash is a "workplace drama — it's just that the workplace is a musical."

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Author Interviews
4:18 am
Sat January 28, 2012

'How It All Began': A Lively Ode To Happenstance

Viking

British writer Penelope Lively was in her late 30s before she began her career writing children's books. Now, four decades and 20 works of fiction later, she has just released the novel How It All Began, in which she explores the capricious role that chance plays in our lives.

Lively's lifetime habit of storytelling began when she was growing up in Egypt during World War II. She spent a lot of time alone and amused herself by making up stories, which often involved embellishing the classics with her own personal touch.

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A Blog Supreme
5:29 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

The Extraordinary Career Of A Man Who Managed Jazz Musicians

John Levy.
Tom Pich NEA

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:13 pm

This post was originally published shortly after John Levy's death late last week. Click the audio link above to hear a remembrance of Levy by NPR's Sami Yenigun.

This weekend, we learned that the jazz businessman John Levy died on Friday. His wife, Devra Hall Levy, announced the news on Saturday in a press release available on John Levy's website, Lushlife. He was nearly 100 years old.

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NPR Story
7:57 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Wait Just A Second, And Other Things To Do With It

Every few years, official clocks around the world repeat a second. It's not much, but in an age of atomic clocks, it's time enough to give the matter a second thought.
Uwe Merkel iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 21, 2012 7:57 am

Let me take a second here.

Not very long, was it?

But a second tied up delegates to the UN's International Telecommunication Union, who postponed a decision this week on whether to abolish the extra second that's added to clocks every few years to compensate for the earth's natural doddering.

The earth slows down slightly as we spin through space. No one falls off, but earthquakes and tides routinely slow the earth by a fraction of a fraction of a second, which makes clocks minutely wrong. If not corrected, it could make a minute of difference a century.

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History
6:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Remembrance: 1912 South Pole Trip Ends Tragically

One hundred years ago this week, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with a small crew of men. They all perished on the return trip. In 2008 on Weekend Edition, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported from the South Pole on Scott's tragic journey. To mark the 100th anniversary, we reprise that story.

From Our Listeners
6:00 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Your Letters: 'Information Diet'; Legal Karaoke

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

SIMON: Last week, we spoke with Clay Johnson, an open-source advocate and digital strategist, about his new book, "The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption."

CLAY JOHNSON: You know, our minds are really wired to be affirmed and to be told that we're right. And that's the central premise of "The Information Diet." It's really, who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they're right?

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Author Interviews
4:01 am
Sat January 21, 2012

Lesson Learned: Don't Fly To North Pole In A Balloon

Knopf

In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.

But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR's Scott Simon.

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Music News
4:51 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Artists React To Mexico's Drug War With Music And Poetry

Astrid Hadad performs in Mexico.
Betto Arcos

Javier Sicilia is a novelist and a poet. In 2009, he was awarded Mexico's prestigious Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize. This September, he read a poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, at a rally:

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

Italian Cruise Ship Runs Aground

Originally published on Sun January 15, 2012 10:58 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. An enormous cruise ship is lying on its side in the Mediterranean today. The Italian ship, Costa Concordia, ran aground off Italy's Tuscan coast, killing at least three people. Passengers described scenes reminiscent of the Titanic. Fabio Costa was working in a shop on the cruise liner when he felt a jolt.

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Simon Says
7:15 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Zambia Official Talks the Talk, Jumps the Jump

Zambia's tourism minister Given Lubinda bungee-jumped off of a bridge at Victoria Falls to invite tourists back.
ITN News via YouTube

Given Lubinda jumped off a bridge this week and popped up smiling.

Mr. Lubinda is the minister of information, broadcasting and tourism of Zambia, nearly 50 years old and just a tad pudgy, judging from photographs.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Karaoke Copyrights: Taking Back The Music

Karaoke machine manufacturers and the distributors of karaoke CDs have had an uphill battle fighting copyright infringement cases brought by music publishers. One player in the karaoke business is fighting a joint venture of Sony and the estate of Michael Jackson over a $1.28-billion bill. Host Scott Simon has more.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Sports: Hopefuls Battle For NFL Glory

The NFL playoffs are well under way. Eight teams are still standing, but two will be sent home on Saturday. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine joins host Scott Simon to discuss the latest news in sports.

From Our Listeners
6:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Your Letters: Unemployment, American Indians

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 12:12 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now time for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING AND MUSIC)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: We got lots of comments on Gloria Hillard's piece on Native Americans who've moved off reservations into major cities. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Urban Relocation Program had encouraged that migration a few decades ago, and Los Angeles County has the country's largest urban Native American population.

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Movies
4:01 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Wim Wenders On 'Pina': A Dance Documentary In 3-D

Damiano Ottavio Bigi and Clementine Deluy, both members of the Tanztheater Wuppertal under Pina Bausch, perform her choreography in Pina.
IFC Films

The film Pina is Germany's official entry at the 84th Academy Awards — and a collaboration between two famous Germans of the postwar generation. The filmmaker Wim Wenders captures the groundbreaking modern-dance choreography of the late Pina Bausch, in what many critics are calling a groundbreaking use of 3-D film.

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Author Interviews
3:00 am
Sat January 14, 2012

Is It Time For You To Go On An 'Information Diet'?

"Clicks have consequences" says Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet.
iStockphoto.com

We're used to thinking of "obesity" in physical terms — unhealthful weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there's also an obesity of information that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes: unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions.

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Marin Alsop on Music
2:34 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Alsop Sprach Zarathustra: Decoding Strauss' Tone Poem

Richard Strauss' iconic opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra evokes a sense of vastness and power, Marin Alsop says.
Valery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 14, 2012 12:12 pm

I can't imagine a more stimulating conversation opener than "God is dead." Indeed, this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche sparked heated debate in his time, as it still does today. But how many of us know the writings of this 19th-century philosopher?

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Music News
2:25 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Red Heart The Ticker: Raising The Dead Via Folk Music

Tyler Gibbons and Robin MacArthur of Red Heart the Ticker.
Ed Cyzewski

Family heirlooms take all shapes: a pocket watch, a painting. For Robin MacArthur and her husband Tyler Gibbons, who form the folk duo Red Heart the Ticker, the family inheritance consists of an old house and lots of songs — both gifts from MacArthur's late grandmother, Margaret.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

Playwright Battles For Injured Vets On Stage

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now the story about one woman's effort to bring attention to the invisible wounds of war. The playwright Kate Wenner says she was stunned by investigations that showed thousands of U.S. troops were coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries and didn't receive the help they need. So Ms. Wenner decided to raise awareness through art. She's written a play about troops with traumatic brain injuries.

NPR's Daniel Zwerdling went to a production and has this report.

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NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

The View From The Unemployed

Originally published on Sat January 7, 2012 8:20 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits has been dropping around the country as the new year begins. Companies are laying off fewer workers, and hiring may be picking up. The U.S. Labor Department reported yesterday that the unemployment rate is now 8.5 percent, the lowest level in almost three years.

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Author Interviews
6:00 am
Sat January 7, 2012

'Glory Be' A Tale Of The South For Young Adults

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 8:59 am

Eleven-year-old Gloriana Hamphill, known as Glory, feels like she's about to have the worst summer of her life. It's 1964 in Hanging Moss, Miss., a year that will teach her about bigotry, loyalty and bravery. Former librarian Augusta Scattergood talks with host Scott Simon about her first young adult fiction novel,Glory Be.

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