Arts/Life

Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

John U. Bacon: Old MacDonald Went To College

Every Friday on Michigan Radio, John U. Bacon offers commentary on sports stories in the Mitten State.
Courtesy of the guest

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:50 am

John U. Bacon, the author of Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, knows a thing or two about college sports. At their core, it's all about "the community," he told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg in their chat at the University of Michigan's Power Center in Ann Arbor.

"Bob Ufer, the old announcer here, had a great line. He said, 'Michigan football is a religion, and Saturday is the holy day of obligation.'"

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

It's Eezy

We're spotlighting both the most common and least common English letters in this game — E and Z. Every clue points to a word or phrase containing "E-E-Z" spelled consecutively. Easy!

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Can't Place The Place Name

Fame knows no geographic bounds in this game about celebrity-city name mashups. In what Florida city does the singer of "Nasty" hang out? That's "Janet Jacksonville."

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Sem-ANN-tics

Don't get too annoyed with this final round. Like "annoyed," every answer contains the consecutive letters "A-N-N" somewhere within it. This game separates the canniest from the wannabes.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Luke Song: Hat's Entertainment!

"I think we sold something around 6000." -Luke Song, on the number of replicas of Aretha Franklin's famous hat
Courtesy of the guest

Millinery seems like a brilliant career choice, right? Everybody's got a head.

But for Luke Song, the owner of Mr. Song Millinery outside Detroit, it happened by accident. "I wanted to be an artist, but I went the route of biochemistry. A typical route," he told Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg. He quit overnight and went to art school, but still never considered hat design, the chosen profession of his South Korean immigrant parents.

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Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Movie Math

If Pythagoras were alive today, we think he'd be a movie buff. Multiply your film knowledge by your math skills in this quiz that asks you to perform computations with the numbers in movie titles.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

Ask Me Another
8:38 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Can I Kick It? No, You Can't

Listen, we're not your parents. We're not about to tell you what you can and can't do. Besides, the songs in this game, all of which contain the word "can't" in the title, take care of that for us.

Heard in Episode 323: Smitten With The Mitten State

Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Where Love's Concerned, This 'Magic Barrel' Is No Magic Bullet

Lena Finkle is a 37-year-old, twice-divorced Russian immigrant and a self-described "toddler of relationship experience" — when a friend asks how many guys she's "been with" in her life, she can only hold up three fingers. Anya Ulinich's new graphic novel, Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel is her account, told in expressive dark-inked drawings and hand-printed all-caps dialogue, of her quest to find true love — and good sex — and resuscitate what she depicts as her freeze-dried heart.

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Monkey See
7:45 am
Thu July 31, 2014

'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Let's Hear It For F.U.N.

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) have some adventures together in the terrific new Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Jay Maidment Marvel

The worst thing about making a post-Avengers Marvel movie is how far ahead of the game you are when you start. Your film will be marketed with brute force, treated as arguably the biggest opening of the summer, reviewed everywhere, and very likely to land among the most commercially successful films of the year, whether or not you do anything interesting with it.

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The Two-Way
5:16 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Book News: George W. Bush Coming Out With Biography Of His Father

George H.W. Bush (left) congratulates his son George W. Bush as the two former presidents attend last year's dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
David J. Phillip AP

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

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu July 31, 2014

This 'Suitcase' Is Packed With Sharp, Funny, Tragic Tales

At some point in the past decade, the word "Brooklyn" became cultural shorthand for a certain type of young, nouveau riche hipster. The borough has a history that goes back centuries, and a huge, notably diverse population, but to many Americans, it's now mainly associated with fixie-riding arrivistes sipping artisanal espresso drinks while they work on their painfully autobiographical novels about escaping suburbia.

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Goats and Soda
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

As Volunteerism Explodes In Popularity, Who's It Helping Most?

Haley Nordine, 19, is spending the entire summer at the Prodesenh center in San Mateo Milpas Altas, Guatemala. The American University student helped build the center's new library.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:12 am

As you plan — or even go — on your summer vacation, think about this: More and more Americans are no longer taking a few weeks off to suntan and sight see abroad. Instead they're working in orphanages, building schools and teaching English.

It's called volunteer tourism or "volunteerism." And it's one of the fastest growing trends in travel today. More than 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending about $2 billion each year.

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Architecture
3:07 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Best Seat In The House Of Worship: The Temple Hollywood Built

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple (pictured above circa 1939) was dedicated 85 years ago in 1929. Rabbi Steve Leder says, "This was the Los Angeles Jewish community's statement to itself — and to the majoritarian culture that surrounded it — that: We are here, and we are prepared to be a great cultural and religious and civic force in our community."
Courtesy Los Angeles Public Library

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:31 am

There's an 85-year-old building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles that has been a venue for the Dalai Lama, the L.A. Philharmonic and even scenes for Entourage and The West Wing. But extracurricular activities aside, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is a house of worship. Recently refurbished, and given a preservation award by the Los Angeles Conservancy, the temple has a special place in the history of Hollywood.

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Theater
3:37 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why Are Theater Tickets Cheaper On The West End Than On Broadway?

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 5:07 pm

It's a Wednesday afternoon in London and a bunch of kids are standing outside a West End theater, giddily unaware that their parents have just shelled out a lot of money for the experience they're about to have. A giant sign over their heads shows a silhouette of a girl standing on a swing, her hair flying behind her in the wind — it's a matinee performance of Matilda.

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Television
2:00 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Sharknado' Part Deux: The Laughably Bad Epic Strikes Back

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 5:07 pm

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

If it were real, it might be the worst natural disaster in recent memory - a tornado filled with man-eating sharks.

(SOUNDBITE FROM ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Look out, more sharks.

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Men In America
2:00 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Who's The Man? Hollywood Heroes Defined Masculinity For Millions

John Wayne — seen here in 1956's The Searchers — was an icon of traditional Hollywood manliness.
AP/Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 5:53 am

Tony Curtis used to say that he'd learned how to kiss a girl by watching Cary Grant at the movies. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wasn't just sitting behind Grant at the theater — while also noting that he's hardly alone in taking instruction from films.

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Monkey See
12:40 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

'Sharknado 2': Winner And Still Chomp

Kari Wuhrer as Ellen Brody, Courtney Baxter as Mora Brody, and Sandra "Pepa" Denton as a character even the captioners don't know the name of. I'm not sure she had one.
Will Hart Syfy

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 6:11 pm

I personally was responsible for emotionally bullying at least two of my critic friends into attending the poolside screening of Sharknado 2 that took place at the hotel where press tour happened a couple of weeks ago. I make this confession because we must establish the basic understanding that I am merciless when it comes to attempting to con people into watching extraordinarily silly movies. In fact, I tried, when the first Sharknado was on, to goad the NPR morning news meeting into caring about it ("There's this movie tonight!

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Monkey See
8:36 am
Wed July 30, 2014

On Dipping An Introverted Toe In The Comic-Con Ocean

Christopher Petrone, of San Diego, CA, towering over attendees in his handmade, to-scale Chewbacca costume.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

The first time I took one of the online Myers-Briggs inventories and it spit out that I was an introvert, one of my friends questioned the results. Specifically, he said, "Are you sure you weren't holding the test upside-down?"

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The Two-Way
7:44 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Book News: PEN Award Winners Include Poet Frank Bidart, Ron Childress

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

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Books
6:04 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Pop-Up Books Make Environmental Science Easy-Peasy For Kids

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 2:34 pm

For the average school kid, weighty, wonky topics like conservation, climate change and the circular economy might sound off-putting, if not downright dull. Yet Christiane Dorion has sold millions of children's books about these very concepts.

The trick? She never mentions them. "You can teach anything to children if you pitch it at the right level and use the right words," said the U.K.-based author.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed July 30, 2014

An Unconventional Family On The Road To Happiness In 'Lucky Us'

Amy Bloom's new novel Lucky Us takes readers across America in the 1940s, that special decade of wartime dislocation and post-war disruption — with side-trips to England and Germany — in the company of a pair of half-sisters as endearing and comically annoying as any you'll find in contemporary fiction.

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Author Interviews
2:09 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Out Of Ukraine, This 'Suitcase' Packs An Immigrant's Story With Humor

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:31 pm

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

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Monkey See
12:05 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Sex And The Single Churl: Another 'Bachelorette' Finale Gets Weird

Andi gasps while accepting a proposal from Josh Murray (right, in the ill-fitting suit) on Monday night's finale of The Bachelorette.
Javier Pesquera ABC

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:03 pm

After the fact that it's a blatant and ridiculous fraud (in that it almost never gets anybody married), the first thing you might notice about The Bachelor(ette) franchise is its prim, Victorian attitudes about sex. For a show that encourages 14-person dates and the temporary negotiation of a lifestyle that could be best described as G-rated swinging, the whole shebang is awfully precious when it comes to the fact that sometimes, some of these people have sex with each other.

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Author Interviews
12:02 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

In 'Blue Eyed Boy,' Author Reveals Long Recovery From Facial Burns

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

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Book Reviews
12:02 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

'Ride Around Shining' Reimagines Gatsby's Nouveau-Riche Excess

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 1:54 pm

Most sports novels are about the aspiration to excel physically: to run faster, stretch out one's arms farther. The really cool thing about Ride Around Shining, a debut novel by Chris Leslie-Hynan, is that it doesn't stick to that familiar rule book. Even though it's set in the world of pro basketball, our narrator here is not the guy who aspires to be a great player; rather, he's the guy who aspires to be a great suck-up to the great player.

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Arts & Life
12:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Poet Nikki Giovanni On Change: 'Approach It With A Smile'

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

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Books
10:45 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Do You Dare To Venture Through These Tangled 'Woods'?

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 10:08 am

I am not a trained reader of horror. Usually whenever I encounter horror stories, I'm left feeling dissatisfied with the quality of my unsettlement; I think "oh, that was gratuitous" or "eh, was that necessary?" With very few exceptions, I tend not to seek out horror.

Emily Carroll's Through the Woods is so thoroughly an exception that I have to revise my stance on the whole genre.

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The Two-Way
5:36 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Book News: Louise Shivers, Author Of 'Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail,' Dies

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

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Code Switch
2:56 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Crime Writer Creates A Hero For Her Beloved, Much-Maligned South LA

Hall sits in a sunny bay window to write. "My first drafts are always in long hand, on legal pads," she explains. "I love putting pen to paper."
Andre Ellis

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 5:35 am

Rachel Howzell Hall is easing her big, laurel green Mercedes sedan through the streets of Los Angeles. A slim woman with big eyes, Hall says this Benz is her dream car, the thing she'd planned to buy for herself once she'd become a successful writer, probably around age 50.

But something happened to speed up her schedule.

"When I was 33 years old," Hall says, "I was diagnosed with a rare type of breast cancer. And I was pregnant. And it was terrifying."

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Korean Steak Sandwich

This photo also featured in BuzzFeed's "21 Unbelievable Beverage Can Photobombs."
NPR

Ever since we landed in San Francisco and refused to leave, we've heard people talking about the Korean steak sandwich at Rhea's Deli and Market. People say things like "It's amazing" and "Get away from me, I'm trying to eat" and "Did you just lick a drop of sauce off of my shirt? I'm calling the police."

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