Arts/Life

Monkey See
8:20 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Cultural Anniversaries And Great Things For Kids

NPR

Back in February, when it was terribly icy, we were scheduled to record our Oscars Omnibus live in Studio 1 at NPR HQ. Unfortunately, the weather interfered, and we had to push the show forward. While this meant we didn't have people live in the room to react with glee or horror as Stephen and Glen nearly came to blows over Boyhood, it also meant we got to gather for our rescheduled show with our pal Guy Raz, of the TED Radio Hour, to talk about time.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Behold! The Cosmos Created From The Contents Of A Kitchen

Planet: bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Moons: bottom of a glass containing coconut milk, water, food coloring. Stars: salt, cinnamon, baking powder, Tums.
Navid Baraty

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 10:13 am

Surely, you've heard of making food in space. Astronauts have to eat, right?

But perhaps you hadn't considered making space out of food. Navid Baraty, a freelance photographer in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, arranges common pantry items to create strikingly accurate-looking photos of an imaginary cosmos.

"I'm a really big space geek," Baraty tells The Salt. "I'll look at NASA images or Hubble images to see how things were placed in the sky, and I try to make things as realistic as possible."

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Monkey See
5:01 am
Fri March 13, 2015

A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella

Cinderella and her fairy godmother in the 1950 Disney cartoon.
Courtesy of Disney Princess

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:47 pm

"Woman gives birth to a gourd."

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Remembrances
4:08 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Author Terry Pratchett Was No Stranger To Death

Terry Pratchett wrote more than 70 books.
Rob Wilkins Courtesy of Doubleday

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:44 pm

Fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett was prolific: He wrote more than 70 books, dozens of them about the Discworld — a flat planet borne through space by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle. Pratchett died Thursday at age 66. He had been suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

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The Salt
1:46 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Southerners Are Getting Creative With Their Favorite Nut: Pecan

Toasting or roasting brings nut oils to the surface, and pecans are practically overflowing: 75 percent of the nut is pure oil.
Ashley Fisher/Flickr

Few dishes showcase Southern tradition more perfectly than a slice of pecan pie, with its dark custard filling and crunchy, nutty topping.

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Author Interviews
1:39 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Inspired By Monks, A Writer Embraces His Life Of Solitude

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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Author Interviews
1:39 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

'Dirty Old London': A History Of The Victorians' Infamous Filth

Horses drive traffic on London's Oxford Street in 1890. According to author Lee Jackson, by the 1890s, the city's horses produced approximately 1,000 tons of dung a day.
London Stereoscopic Company Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 3:20 pm

In the 19th century, London was the capital of the largest empire the world had ever known — and it was infamously filthy. It had choking, sooty fogs; the Thames River was thick with human sewage; and the streets were covered with mud.

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Book Reviews
1:39 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

How We Deal With Loss In Different Ways In Two Beautifully Written Memoirs

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:16 pm

Loss is the rough tie that binds two memoirs that, otherwise, are as different as day and night. What Comes Next and How to Like It is a sequel of sorts to Abigail Thomas' best-selling 2006 memoir, A Three Dog Life, which chronicled the one-two punch death of her husband — by her account, a sweetheart of a guy who took their dog out for a walk one afternoon in New York and was hit by a car. He suffered brain injuries and lingered for five years. Even after that catastrophe, more losses now loom for Thomas.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett, Prolific Fantasy Author, Dies At 66

Terry Pratchett at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards in London.
Ian Gavan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 5:56 am

Sir Terry Pratchett, the prolific author behind the Discworld series, has died at the age of 66. The British writer had struggled with a rare, early-onset form Alzheimer's disease for the better part of a decade.

His publisher, Transworld Books, confirmed news of the writer's death in a tweet Thursday morning.

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

TV Movies

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

TV movies are usually an hour-long special on TV but in this game they are mashed up TV and movie titles which all share one word in common.

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Tituss Burgess: You're Rocking This Thing

"I auditioned for The Lion King 20 times in 15 years, until they finally told me, 'You are not passing as a straight giraffe.'" - Titus Andromedon, the character Tituss Burgess plays in the new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Josh Rogosin NPR

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 9:06 am

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Palindromes Semordnilap

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same forwards and backwards, but a semordnilap ("palindromes" backwards) is a word that becomes a different word when read backwards. Get it, smug gums?

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Homecoming Game

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

In this final round, contestants school each other for the chance to be serenaded by VIP Tituss Burgess.

The chicken is headed for the endzone aaaand...it's good! Touchdown for Perdue! All the answers in this game contain the name of a major U.S. college or university.

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

What Is Jeopardy?

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

Because you've been programmed to give answers in the form of a question, all the answers in this game are famous phrases that begin with the question "what is."

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Stateside Attractions

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

Everybody knows how to identify state names from the first few letters, but the last ones? What state ends with a "s-i-n"? As added bonus trivia, we'll tell you a too-weird-to-be-true-but-guess-what-it's-real roadside attraction found in each state.

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Ask Me Another
8:19 am
Thu March 12, 2015

Award-Winning Tonys

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 8:37 am

Apparently, the key to success is being named Tony, because these various Tonys have all won awards. Try to guess which Tony won a Best Supporting Emmy on Veep.

Heard in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Book Reviews
8:03 am
Thu March 12, 2015

The Ecstatic, Erotic Joy Of Reading 'Girl In The Dark'

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 3:45 pm

Anna Lyndsey lives in the dark. She was living a pleasantly ordinary life, working for the British government, when she began to feel a sensitivity to light: At first, computer screens seemed to burn her face, and then artificial lights, and then, finally, sunlight.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Thu March 12, 2015

In Vargas Llosa's Latest, Dickens Meets Soap Opera

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 10:27 am

The Discreet Hero is set in two Peruvian cities, the provincial desert town of Piura and the metropolis of Lima, and tells of two aging businessmen, each of whom we meet on the verge of life-changing situations.

A transportation company owner from Piura, Felicito Yanaque, has spent most of his adult years in a bloodless marriage. He has two sons, a young mistress, and has recently become the apparent target of an extortion threat against his transit enterprise, a threat that, he vows heroically, to fight against, with or without the help of the police.

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Monkey See
11:33 am
Wed March 11, 2015

A Travel Show For Your Favorite Weird-Museum And Dance Enthusiast

Courtesy of Ovation

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:23 pm

When we get to talking about HBO and Sling, about cord-cutting and the future of television, we tend to focus on the advantages of being able to pick out only the core channels you watch most; the ones you know you love. Now and then, though, I'm glad for the vast array of channels that are trying different things with different people, serving audiences smaller than the ones for football and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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Author Interviews
11:27 am
Wed March 11, 2015

A Writer Moves To 'Bettyville' To Care For His Elderly Mom

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Salt
9:40 am
Wed March 11, 2015

From Ancient Sumeria To Chipotle Tacos, Cumin Has Spiced Up The World

The cuisines of the classical world made use of cumin both as a flavoring and a drug.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:44 am

I first encountered cumin in suburban New Jersey around 1988. Indian food was just starting to penetrate the suburbs, and a trip to the new Indian restaurant in the next town had, literally, the whiff of adventure about it.

As I took in the many new tastes and aromas from curries and kormas, one stood out: what I deemed the "the sweaty shirt spice," or cumin.

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Book Reviews
8:33 am
Wed March 11, 2015

In 'Shadow,' Change And Growth As A Story Sheds Its Scales

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 2:10 pm

I came late to Seraphina, Rachel Hartman's first book — only discovering that gorgeous story in preparation for reviewing its sequel. I fell deeply in love with it and have been pressing it into people's hands and climbing rooftops to shout about it since: half-human, half-dragon Seraphina and her wonderful voice, by turns wry and vulnerable; the rich, musical world of her country Goredd and its surrounding nations; the brilliantly original dragons and the tensions in their own society and philosophies.

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Monkey See
7:54 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: 'King Of The Nerds'

Raychelle, Ben, Lily and Kaitlin are among the nerds in tight competition on TBS's King Of The Nerds.
Trae Patton TBS

In something of a companion piece to our earlier segment on nerd culture, Stephen and Glen sit down in this edition to chat about the social dynamics at work and at play on TBS's surprisingly charming competition show King Of The Nerds. Glen carefully distinguishes it from its predecessor Beauty And The Geek, then wonders whether when nerds act like reality show contestants, they're using the tactics of the enemy.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Wed March 11, 2015

'B & Me' Is Intelligent, Immoderate, And A Bit Belabored

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 3:18 pm

J.C. Hallman's audacious B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal, is a textbook example of "creative criticism" — a highly personal form of literary response that involves "writers depicting their minds, their consciousnesses, as they think about literature." Hallman, who has championed creative criticism in two anthologies, has written a wildly intelligent, deeply personal, immoderate — and somewhat belabored — exploration of Nicholson Baker's entire oeuvre, reading in general, and the state of modern literature.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Coming Out In A Galaxy Far Far Away: Star Wars Gets Its First LGBT Character

Star Wars Lords Of The Sith will feature the first official LGBT character.
courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 11:17 am

Star Wars is getting its first official LGBT character. Her name is Moff Delian Mors, and she's a character in Paul S. Kemp's upcoming Star Wars: Lords of the Sith novel. Penguin Random House describes Mors as

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The Two-Way
4:58 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Got To Give $7.4 Million Up: Jury Finds Pharrell And Thicke Copied Marvin Gaye Song

A jury in Los Angeles decided Tuesday that Robin Thicke (left) and Pharrell Williams lifted parts of Marvin Gaye's 1977 hit "Got To Give It Up."
Jamie McCarthy Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 6:01 pm

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The Salt
3:03 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Scottish Spy Who Stole China's Tea Empire

Robert Fortune was a 19th-century Scottish botanist who helped the East India Trading Company swipe the secrets of tea production from China.
Apic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 9:44 am

Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran in March 2010.

In the mid-19th century, Britain was an almost unchallenged empire. It controlled about a fifth of the world's surface, and yet its weakness had everything to do with tiny leaves soaked in hot water: tea. By 1800, it was easily the most popular drink among Britons.

The problem? All the tea in the world came from China, and Britain couldn't control the quality or the price. So around 1850, a group of British businessmen set out to create a tea industry in a place they did control: India.

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Book Reviews
2:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Shockwaves Of A Kidnapping Echo In 'Barefoot Dogs'

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 3:07 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Architecture
2:18 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Museum Asks Visitors To Listen To New York's Buildings

Karen Van Lengen and James Welty created a multimedia installation to encourage visitors to experience buildings like Grand Central Terminal not only through their eyes, but also their ears.
Hansi Lo Wang NPR

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:16 pm

When you're walking around New York City, you probably won't find people looking up. Even the majestic main concourse of Grand Central Terminal can rarely stop a native New Yorker in her tracks.

But, tourists like Lidize Mora from Las Vegas are a different story.

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Television
12:55 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

New HBO Now Streaming Service Shows Consumer's Will Is King

Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, talks about HBO Now during an Apple event Monday in San Francisco.
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Tue March 10, 2015 5:40 pm

There's a lesson at the heart of the announcement Monday by HBO that it was finally starting the standalone video streaming service they have been talking about for five months, HBO Now.

In a media world fragmented by digital technology, the consumer's will is king.

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