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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Books News & Features
5:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

A London Cabbie's Guide To Lit Gifts

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. No way around it. It's shopping season and for many people there's nothing like giving a book as a holiday gift. A book is not only a fine companion, it reflect something about both the giver and the receiver. And you don't have to change the batteries.

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Sports
5:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

The Case Against Big Data In Sports

University of Miami professor Robert Plant is starting to wonder if big data is ruining sports. He talks with host Scott Simon about how crunching the numbers is changing — and has already changed — the games we love to watch.

Around the Nation
3:39 am
Sat November 30, 2013

From Lab To Lectern, Scientists Learn To Turn On the Charm

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 4:15 pm

About 20 scientists are clustered in a cramped conference room in San Diego, one of the country's science hubs, but they aren't there to pore over their latest research. Instead, this is a meeting of BioToasters — a chapter of the public speaking organization Toastmasters, geared specifically toward scientists.

"For a typical scientist, they will spend a lot of time at the bench, so they're doing a lot of maybe calculations or lab work where they're not interacting directly from person to person," says BioToasters President Zackary Prag, a lab equipment sales rep.

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Parallels
3:38 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Crashing An Afghan Wedding: No Toasts But Lots Of Cheesy Music

Afghans hold large, expensive weddings, even those involving families of modest means. More than 600 people attended this recent marriage at a large wedding hall in Kabul.
Sean Carberry NPR

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 4:17 pm

Afghanistan may be one of the world's poorest countries, but weddings are still a big — and expensive — deal. On most weekends, Kabul's glitzy and somewhat garish wedding halls are packed with people celebrating nuptials.

One of them is the Uranos Palace complex. On the night I attended my first Afghan wedding, all three of its halls were overflowing. I was one of two foreigners in a room of about 200 men. The female guests sat on the other side of a 7-foot-high divider in the middle of the hall.

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Environment
3:37 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects

Andres Quiroz, an installer for Stellar Solar, carries a solar panel during installation at a home in Encinitas, Calif.
Sam Hodgson Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 11:17 am

There is a broad scientific consensus that to keep global warming in check, we need to phase out 80 percent of all oil, coal and natural gas by midcentury. President Obama has set a nonbinding target to do precisely that.

There are technologists who say this national goal is well within reach, but there are also economists who are quite pessimistic about those prospects. And you can find this range of opinion on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

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History
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

JFK Had The Wit To Lampoon Himself

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Host Scott Simon looks back at the witticisms of President John F. Kennedy, with a little help from late night TV host and comedian Conan O'Brien.

Sports
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Trail Blazers Stretch Winning Streak To Nine

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Portland's NBA team is riding a hot streak. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about the Trail Blazers, a new champion in chess, and how John F. Kennedy's assassination set a precedent for how sports commissioners handle cancelling games after tragedies.

Around the Nation
5:35 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Rivals Help Level Playing Field For Tornado-Shattered Team

A Panther Pride sign cheers Washington High School's undefeated football team amid debris from last week's tornado.
Anthony Souffle MCT /Landov

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:31 am

Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but leveled by a tornado.

Last week, linebacker Kevin Scott and the rest of the Washington Community High School Panthers were celebrating. They'd just made school history with a 12-0 record, capped off with a Saturday win that sent them to the semi-finals.

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Television
3:25 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Sarah Silverman, Serving Up Sinfully Divine Comedy

Nothing's sacred in We Are Miracles — but then as Sarah Silverman told Terry Gross in 2010, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Janet Van Ham HBO

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.

Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)

Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."

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The Salt
3:23 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Time To Mix Up The Manischewitz Turkey Brine For Thanksgivukkah

Manischewitz-brined turkey centers the Thanksgivukkah feast, surrounded by challah-apple stuffing, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, horseradish-spiked mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled onions, and latkes with cranberry applesauce.
Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:35 am

You may have heard that this Thursday isn't just Thanksgiving — it's also the holiday of Hanukkah. It's a once-in-a-lifetime convergence people are calling Thanksgivukkah. Which naturally raises two questions: How did this happen? And, more importantly, what do we cook for Thanksgivukkah dinner?

For more on the math of Thanksgivukkah, listen to my story on Weekend Edition. For more on the food, read on.

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Television
2:21 am
Sat November 23, 2013

Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years

Jenna Coleman plays Clara, companion to Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith. The relationship between the Doctor and his companions is at the core of Doctor Who's long-lived appeal.
Adrian Rogers/BBC

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 9:18 am

This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of Doctor Who. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.

From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?

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Technology
5:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Advertisers Try To Grab Online Eyes

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Some news this week got us thinking about how radically our viewing habits are changing. The broadband service company, Sandvine, released a study that shows that Netflix and YouTube now account for more than half of the data we consume on fixed networks, which is to say at home or work. It's just one more bit of evidence that Americans are increasingly turning to online video sources for news and entertainment, rather than TV, which mean advertisers have to do the same.

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Author Interviews
5:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Pro Wrestling Mythology Plays Out In 'Squared Circle'

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF WRESTLING EVENT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Welcome to the grandeur, the magnificence, the beauty and the brilliance of the greatest love event in all of entertainment. Welcome to WrestleMania.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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Sports
5:30 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Chess Superstar Battles Chess Sex Symbol

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

The World Chess Championship, underway in India, features a faceoff between the sport's heavyweights. Guest host Don Gonyea can't help but inject politics to his conversation with NPR's Tom Goldman, as this week President Obama used sports metaphors to talk about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Movie Interviews
3:29 am
Sat November 16, 2013

On The Timeless Appeal Of 'Calvin & Hobbes'

Joel Allen Schroeder dove into the world of Calvin & Hobbes for Dear Mr. Watterson, an admiring documentary about the strip.
Gravitas Ventures/Submarine Deluxe

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:39 pm

Bill Watterson brought an end to Calvin & Hobbes in 1995, after just 10 years of writing and drawing the comic strip. But to his many devoted fans, that shockheaded boy and his tiger are as important today as they were when they first appeared in daily papers all around the country.

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Health
3:28 am
Sat November 16, 2013

Despite Early Stages, Alzheimer's Affects Couple's Big Picture

Pansy Greene, 73, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She and her husband, Winston, have been married for 57 years. She says her secret to maintaining a normal life is to stay active and positive.
David P. Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

NPR has been following Pansy and Winston Greene, a California couple struggling with an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Three years ago, Pansy learned she had Alzheimer's disease, and over this past summer, the couple told NPR that their day-to-day lives haven't changed much. That's still true. But on this second visit, they each seem to be looking at the future a bit differently.

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NPR Story
12:03 am
Sat November 16, 2013

The Soulful, Swinging Sounds Of Stax: A Look Back

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 9:22 am

Memphis' Stax Records was an international sensation, putting out hits like Sam and Dave's "Hold On, I'm Coming," "Green Onions" by Booker T. and the MGs and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." But behind the music, Stax's story features racial harmony in a city with a troubled history. There are tragedies, lost opportunities and legal disputes, but also some of the most soulful music you'll ever hear.

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Theater
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

'We Will Rock You': A Bohemian Musical

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Whether or not you're a fan of rock and roll, you've surely heard at least one of the hits by Queen. The British band dominated the airwaves in the '70s and '80s and now their music is rocking the world again, this time in a jukebox musical called "We Will Rock You."

The show has been running in London for a dozen years but now an Americanized version is touring the United States and Canada. NPR's Allison Keyes was at the opening show in Baltimore.

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Sports
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

The Losingest Texas Football Team

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

It's been a rough spell for the Scarborough High School football team in Houston. Very rough, actually. The Spartans are on a 46-game losing streak, the longest in Texas. Their last win was in September 2009. That means this afternoon's game against the Washington High School Eagles is the last chance for this year's seniors to earn a victory.

We're joined now by Scarborough head coach Jayson Merren. Welcome.

COACH JAYSON MERREN: How are you doing?

GONYEA: Good. And by senior defensive lineman Justin Steward. Hi Justin.

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Sports
5:14 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Lessons From The NFL Bullying Scandal

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)

GONYEA: The basketball and hockey seasons are just getting going, and the big story in sports is still the drama inside the Miami Dolphins. We're referring, of course, to the bullying of second-year lineman Jonathon Martin, by veteran offensive lineman Richie Incognito. The story revealed a history of racial slurs.

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Commentary
3:23 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Many Rooting For Down-On-Its-Luck Detroit And Its New Mayor

Mayor-elect Mike Duggan speaks at his election night celebration in Detroit on Tuesday.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 4:55 pm

Detroit is a place where I worked for many years as a journalist, where I absorbed the town's rich automotive, labor and civil rights history, where I sat in blues clubs and watched baseball from the upper deck of old Tiger Stadium.

It's a place that I really think of as home.

Detroit elected a new mayor this week.

He is 55-year-old Mike Duggan, a longtime county official, and later a successful CEO of the region's leading medical center.

But one might reasonably ask why someone — anyone — would want the job of mayor of Detroit.

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Code Switch
3:20 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Asian-American Lawyers Act Like '22 Lewd Chinese Women'

Attorney Francis Chin (center) runs through his lines with Yang Chen at a rehearsal for 22 Lewd Chinese Women, the latest trial re-enactment by the Asian American Bar Association of New York.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 9:24 am

A cast of New York lawyers and a federal judge debuted a new production on Friday off-off Broadway — all the way in Kansas City, Mo.

Attorneys have gathered there for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's annual convention. For the past seven years, the meeting has featured dramatic re-enactments of historic trials involving Asian-Americans.

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Europe
3:18 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Bearing Witness To Nazis' Life-Shattering Kristallnacht

View of a destroyed Jewish shop in Berlin on Nov. 11, 1938, after the anti-Semitic violence of Kristallnacht. The pogrom unleashed Nazi-coordinated attacks on thousands of synagogues and Jewish businesses.
Keystone-France Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 12:26 pm

On a busy street in Berlin's shabby-chic district of Kreuzberg, the gray and dirty pavement glistens with little brass cobblestones. Millions of these stones are embedded in sidewalks all over Europe. They commemorate the last address the city's Jewish residents called home before the war.

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Sports
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Red Sox Rise From Civic Embarrassment To World Champs

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. I wait all week to say time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: This week, the World Series was won, basketball began again and Serena Williams sure finished strong. Joining us now, Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, from the studios of New England Public Radio. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott.

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Middle East
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Brooklyn Hipster Finds The 'Big Sulk' In Iran

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Hey honey, why don't we spend the year in Tehran? Well, that's kind of what Hooman Majd asked his wife, Karri, a yoga instructor who was born in the Midwest, not the Middle East. Mr. Majd was born into a politically prominent family in Iran. He came to the U.S. when he was eight months old. He became a music executive and a writer for GQ, The New Yorker and other publications.

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NPR Story
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

A Controversial Week For The NSA

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 9:36 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, the National Security Agency fought back against criticism of it's operations following leaks from former contractor Edward Snowden that have revealed some of the scale of the agency's surveillance of Americans and people overseas, including heads of state of U.S. allies. NPR's Larry Abramson has been covering the story and joins us. Larry, thanks so much for being with us.

LARRY ABRAMSON, BYLINE: Hi Scott.

SIMON: Bring us up to date. What happened this week that's pushed the scandal into the news again?

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Education
3:42 am
Sat November 2, 2013

How To Turn Adult Education Into Careers, Quickly

C.J. Forza, a student in the I-BEST program in Washington state, repairs a car for class at Shoreline Community College.
Kavitha Cardoza WAMU

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:34 pm

This is the third report in a four-part series on adult education.

Adults wanting to go back to school have the odds stacked against them. They juggle many responsibilities, there are long waitlists for classes and often there isn't a connection between what they learn in class and the skills they need to get a job.

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The Salt
3:35 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Mash Donalds? Iranians Copy American Fast-Food Brands

Is that Subway? Middle East analyst Holly Dagres is on a hunt for fast-food lookalikes in Tehran.
Holly Dagres

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 12:37 pm

Iran may not love America politically, but Iranians love American food — especially fast food.

With no formal diplomatic relations between the two countries, though, it's rather hard to find a McDonald's or a Pizza Hut. But if you wander through the streets of Tehran, you might find a Pizza Hat or a Mash Donald's.

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Shots - Health News
3:34 am
Sat November 2, 2013

So You Found An Exchange Plan. But Can You Find A Provider?

New York University's Langone Medical Center in New York City is considered in-network for relatively few of the health plans offered in the state marketplace.
Glen Argov Landov

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 4:51 am

Consumers shopping for coverage on the new health insurance exchanges have been focused on the lowest-cost options. But some shoppers are trying to determine which plans offer the widest array of doctors and hospitals — and are finding that can be trickier than it sounds.

John Batteiger applied for insurance coverage on the New York state exchange. But after he'd selected a plan, he had second thoughts: He'd forgotten to check if the plan he picked included a hospital near him.

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Politics
9:19 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Bipartisan Anger, Competing Interests Over HealthCare.gov

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. With the drama of the 17-day government shutdown over, the spotlight returned this week to the troubled rollout of the Obamacare insurance exchanges. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed anger over the crippled HealthCare.gov website during hearings that were conducted this week, but of course there are competing agendas, as there always are.

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