Arts/Life

Poetry
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

Pentametron Reveals Unintended Poetry of Twitter Users

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 3:03 pm

That hesitation right before a kiss

I don't remember ever learning this

I've never had a valentine before

I'm not a little baby anymore

It's poetry — rhyming couplets written in perfect iambic pentameter, those ten-syllable lines of alternating emphasis made famous by authors of sonnets and blank verse. But unlike your average metered rhyme, these lines were written by Twitter ... with some help from a program called Pentametron.

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Author Interviews
2:42 pm
Sat February 16, 2013

'Noble Savages': A Journey To Break The Mold Of Anthropology

Cover of Noble Savages

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:44 am

When Napoleon Chagnon first saw the isolated Yanomamo Indian tribes of the Amazon in 1964, it changed his life forever. A young anthropologist from the University of Michigan, he was starting on a journey that would last a lifetime, and take him from one of the most remote places on earth to an international controversy.

That controversy would divide his profession and impugn his reputation. Eventually he would come to redefine the nature of what it is to be human.

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Books
4:41 am
Sat February 16, 2013

Uncovering A Dead Father's Secrets In 'After Visiting Friends'

peeterv iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 1:22 pm

Michael Hainey was 6 years old when his uncle came to his house and told him and his brother that their father was dead. Bob Hainey was just 35. He was the slot man — a high-pressure, high-profile position overnight on the Chicago Sun-Times, a newspaper that in 1970 was the quintessence of roustabout Chicago journalism. Bob Hainey had died of a heart attack on a North Side street, as one of the obits put it, "while visiting friends."

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Movie Interviews
3:17 am
Sat February 16, 2013

'Argo': What Really Happened In Tehran? A CIA Agent Remembers

Ben Affleck played CIA agent Tony Mendez in Argo. The real Mendez says the movie is mostly spot on, even if the rescue at the end wasn't quite what the film depicts.
Claire Folger

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:43 pm

The movie Argo, up for seven Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, is based on the true story of the CIA rescue of Americans in Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Missing from most of the coverage of this movie? The actual guy who ran the mission, played by Ben Affleck in the movie.

Movie aficionados — and historians — know that the movie sticks pretty close to what really happened during the Iranian Revolution. In 1980, a CIA agent named Tony Mendez sneaked into Iran and spirited away six American diplomats who were hiding with Canadians.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:30 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Al Gore Plays Not My Job

Axel Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 16, 2013 8:35 am

Since Al Gore's term as the 45th vice president of the United States ended in 2001, he has starred in an Oscar-winning documentary, won a Grammy Award and received the Nobel Peace Prize. But obviously he won't be satisfied until he wins the NPR news quiz, so we've invited him to play a game called "Maybe you can beat Bill Clinton at this."

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Book Reviews
3:52 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Tales Of Transformation Make 'Vampires In The Lemon Grove' A Stunner

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 5:54 pm

In one of the eight stories in Karen Russell's new collection, a group of dead presidents has been reincarnated as horses. Rutherford B. Hayes, a skewbald pinto, frantically licks the palm of a girl in a secret code that he's worked out, revealing his true identity and asking her to alert the authorities. "Ha-ha!" the girl laughs. "That tickles."

I know, you're probably thinking: "Dead presidents reincarnated as horses? Oh, come on, Meg, that sounds like the plot of so many short stories."

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The Salt
11:18 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How To Make A Chinese New Year-Worthy Potsticker

The finished dumplings, properly fried to a light crisp. The half-moon shape was meant to resemble ancient Chinese currency. Eating the dumplings was believed to bring fortune and prosperity.
Daniel M.N. Turner NPR

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:59 pm

Even though he estimates he's made hundreds of thousands of them, Scott Drewno says pork potstickers never get old. In fact, they are the food the executive chef of The Source by Wolfgang Puck, a fine dining Asian fusion restaurant in Washington, D.C., says he would take to a desert island.

"They're everything you want in a dish — salty, savory, filling," says Drewno, as he lovingly holds up one of three bowls of ground pork he planned to season and stuff into dumplings before our eyes.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Wes Anderson, Creating A Singular 'Kingdom'

Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis star in the film — the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who merge their imaginative worlds on an island off the coast of New England.
Focus Features

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 8:38 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 29, 2012.

Director Wes Anderson has many credits to his name — The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket and Fantastic Mr. Fox among them — but Moonrise Kingdom was his first film to open the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

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Movie Interviews
11:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Kushner's 'Lincoln' Is Strange, But Also Savvy

Tony Kushner based his screenplay for Lincoln in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of the president, Team of Rivals — but he read many other histories and biographies, in addition to Lincoln's own writings.
DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 15, 2012.

Tony Kushner spent years writing the screenplay for Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, but that wasn't the only heavy lifting he had to do. It also took some effort to overcome Daniel Day-Lewis' reluctance to play the title role.

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Author Interviews
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

'Immortal' Cells Of Henrietta Lacks Live On In Labs

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 13, 2010.

The HeLa cell line — one of the most revolutionary tools of biomedical research — has played a part in some of the world's most important medical advances, from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization.

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Food
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Sometimes, Food Additives Are Pretty Innocuous

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
10:16 am
Fri February 15, 2013

How To 'Thrive': Short Commutes, More Happy Hours

"Many of us spend more than half our waking hours at work," writes Buettner. So he recommends you find the right job, limit your workweek to 40 hours, take vacations and go to happy hour for some satisfying socializing.

Richard Hume

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 11:03 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 19, 2011.

Many people believe that happiness comes from money or youth or beauty, but Dan Buettner would respectfully disagree. Buettner visited some of the happiest places on Earth and argues that the real keys to happiness lie in fundamental, permanent changes to the way we live.

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Monkey See
8:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Justin Timberlake, LL Cool J And The Presidency

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

This week's show was taped while Stephen and I were still recovering from live-blogging the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, so that was still fresh in our minds. Trey and Glen saw the show as well, so we spend some time this week talking about the awards, the performances, and whether we learned anything. You will experience my new way of tormenting Stephen, and perhaps you'll want to join in!

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First Reads
5:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince'

Alaya Dawn Johnson lives and writes in New York City.
Alden Ford

Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful Zephyr Hollis series), and now she's venturing onto the young adult shelves with The Summer Prince, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil. The action takes place in the city of Palmares Tres, which is entirely contained in a giant pyramidal structure on a bay, surrounded and fed by giant algae vats.

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First Reads
5:03 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'The Summer Prince' By Alaya Dawn Johnson

Arthur A. Levine Books

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 9:55 am

Hundreds of years into the future, in a post-apocalyptic world, there's a beautiful city in a steel-and-glass pyramid, perched on a Brazilian bay. It's Palmares Tres, founded and run by women after men made a wreck of the world, and named for a famous 17th century city founded by escaped slaves. The city runs on a combination of futuristic technology and ancient, bloody ritual: Every five years, a Summer King is elected by the people and sacrificed at the end of the year.

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Movie Interviews
12:31 am
Fri February 15, 2013

The Story Of 'No' Is The Story Of Modern Chile

The bright colors and throwback feel of the Chilean drama No mask the very real political consequences of the 1988 plebiscite it depicts. (Pictured: Gael Garcia Bernal as Rene Saavedra)
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

The film No revisits the moment in Chile's history when 56 percent of the country voted to oust a dictator from power. It's the tale of the ad campaign that helped persuade Chileans to cast their ballots against Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a national referendum.

"This is an epic story, the story of a triumph," says Director Pablo Larrain. "It's how they defeat a dictator — probably one of the biggest bastards that we ever had in humankind."

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Movie Reviews
3:08 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Say Yes To 'No': Retro Political Thriller Packs A Timely Punch

Brash ad man Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) brings a youthful, positive energy to a campaign aimed at ousting a dictator in the political drama No.
Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:18 pm

In 1988, Chile's brutal military dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was facing international pressure to legitimize his regime. Confident that the opposition was splintered, and that state-run media could control the political dialogue, his administration agreed to a simple yes-or-no vote on extending his rule.

It was a vote that even Pinochet's opponents expected to go his way — but it didn't, for reasons made both compelling and instructive in Pablo Larrain's rousing Oscar-nominated drama, No.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

'Shanghai Calling,' And The Answer Is, 'Why Not?'

Self-assured lawyer Sam (Daniel Henney) must learn to trust others and embrace life as an expat in the cheery fish-out-of-water film Shanghai Calling.
Americatown

As Ugly Americans go, Manhattan corporate attorney Sam Chao (Daniel Henney) has a lot going for him. He's a handsome dude with perfectly symmetrical features, a toned bod we get to peek at all but naked, and facile charm to burn.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Kiarostami Eyes Tokyo 'Like Someone In Love'

Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is a young call girl and university student in modern Tokyo who hesitantly befriends an elderly male client.
IFC Films

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love opens far from Tehran, in a noisy Tokyo bar.

"When did I lie to you?" asks an unseen woman, ensnarled in a difficult cellphone exchange. The viewer is already trying to decipher this person, without even glimpsing her.

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Ask Me Another
2:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Spot the Mistake

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:54 am

Don't you just love pointing out when others are wrong? In this game, contestants hear fictitious reports from actual NPR correspondents, and must identify which piece of information is inaccurate. This game is unpossible!

Ask Me Another
2:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

SAT Analogies

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:54 am

Transcript

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Audience, this is what we've all been waiting for. It's our Ask Me One More final round. This final elimination round will determine this week's ASK ME ANOTHER champion. So let's bring back the winners from all of our previous rounds.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: From "Happy and You Know it" we have Brice Gaillard. From "Forward and Backwards" Ken Stern. "Down at Downton Abbey," Tom Miller and "Spot the Mistakes" Sam Meyer.

(APPLAUSE)

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Ask Me Another
2:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Happy And You Know It

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:54 am

Jonathan Coulton quizzes contestants on the lost verses of "If You're Happy and You Know It," in which the lyrics hint to certain things. The song should really be re-titled, "If You're An Inanimate Object And You Know It." Clap your hands.

Ask Me Another
2:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Down at Downton Abbey

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 7:54 am

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Let's welcome our next two contestants.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Andy Duong and Tom Miller. Welcome to ASK ME ANOTHER, Andy, Tom. So, Andy, you have been to a huge number of countries.

ANDY DUONG: I have.

EISENBERG: How many?

DUONG: Twenty-eight.

EISENBERG: Twenty-eight. Do you have a favorite?

DUONG: The Netherlands actually.

EISENBERG: Oh yeah, yeah, [unintelligible].

DUONG: For many reasons.

EISENBERG: For many reasons? What's your second favorite reason?

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Ask Me Another
2:42 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Forwards And Backwards

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:53 pm

Transcript

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm your host Ophira Eisenberg and with me is puzzler extraordinaire, John Chaneski.

JOHN CHANESKI: Hi, all right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And we have our next contestants, let's welcome Susan Poliniak.

SUSAN POLINIAK: Hello.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Hi. And Ken Stern.

CHANESKI: Ken Stern.

(APPLAUSE)

KEN STERN: Ken Stern.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: So Susan, you actually were, or maybe still are, a puppeteer?

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Movies
2:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Hooray For Nollywood: Nigerian Distributor Casts Wide Net Online

A typical Nigerian film market in Lagos. Though physical distribution of Nollywood films is booming, the digital market has also grown, thanks to a plugged-in African diaspora.
Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:56 pm

The massively popular Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood started humbly about 20 years ago. Nollywood movies were shot as cheaply and as quickly as possible, then released straight to VHS.

Nollywood caught on globally, and piracy was a major factor in the industry's growth, as copies of copies of Nollywood tapes sold on street corners from Lagos to Harlem. In the early 2000s, Nollywood distribution shifted from VHS to discs — and now, the movies are also beginning to stream online.

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Food
2:38 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Couple Ties The Knot With Their Own Afro-Asian Rice Treat

"Jung is a portable meal, wrapped in bamboo leaves," says Jidan Koon. She and her now-husband, Bryant Terry, created their own multicultural version of the traditional dish when they got engaged.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 4:47 pm

Bryant Terry and Jidan Koon's relationship evolved over cooking. So much so that when they got engaged, they created a special dish: Afro-Asian jung, based on the savory Cantonese treat Koon enjoyed as a child in San Francisco's Chinatown. Koon shared the recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipe series.

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Books
2:11 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

You Had Me At The First Page: Writers Who Fell For Each Other

Zadie Smith reads from her book On Beauty in 2005.
Sergio Dionisio AP

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:21 pm

Lidia Jean Kott is an intern at NPR Books.

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Movie Reviews
12:13 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

'Beautiful Creatures': Young Love, Supernatural And Southern-Fried

Star-crossed Southern lovers Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert) battle small-town prejudice and mystical evil forces in Beautiful Creatures.
John Bramley Warner Bros. Pictures

Calling Beautiful Creatures a Southern-fried Twilight wouldn't be an unfair claim, at least based on its marketing campaign — which highlights that, yes, this movie centers on a teen romance between a couple of star-crossed kids, one of whom, yes, is all kinds of supernatural. And, yes, their love puts the fate of the world in danger, because, well, why not?

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Movies
11:38 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Oscar Documentaries: A Look Behind The Scenes

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:41 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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Author Interviews
11:13 am
Thu February 14, 2013

'Klansville, U.S.A.' Chronicles The Rise And Fall Of The KKK

Originally published on Thu February 14, 2013 3:30 pm

As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1960s, Ku Klux Klan activity boomed. That fact itself may not be surprising, but in the introduction to his new book, Klansville, U.S.A., David Cunningham also reveals that, "While deadly KKK violence in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia ha[d] garnered the lion's share of Klan publicity, the United Klan's stronghold was, in fact, North Carolina." North Carolina, Cunningham writes, had more Klan members than the rest of the South combined.

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