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In 'Boundless,' The Modern World Is Timeless

May 30, 2017

It's risky to incorporate fads into your fiction. It can be a lot like planting a delicate spring garden next to a busy sidewalk. At first the commuters, skateboarders and dog joggers marvel at the blooms, but soon the garden becomes a familiar sight — "NBD." By the time July rolls around, nobody cares that the blistering summer heat has shriveled the fragile flowers. It's all very depressing.

Samin Nosrat has become known as the chef who taught Michael Pollan to cook, after the famed food writer featured her in his book Cooked and his Netflix show of the same name.

Now, she's sharing her wisdom with the masses in her new, illustrated cookbook called Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking. The key to good cooking, she says, is learning to balance those elements and trust your instincts, rather than just follow recipes.

'Descent' Is A Witty Manifesto On Modern Manhood

May 30, 2017

Grayson Perry isn't widely known in America, but in his native England, he's a cultural luminary. After beginning his career as an artist specializing in ceramics in the early '80s, he spun off into other media, appearing regularly on British TV screens as the subject and — or host of — programs such as Why Men Wear Frocks and All Man.

Senate confirmation hearings aren't known for their viral moments.

But Sen. Al Franken seems to have a knack for creating them.

At hearing after hearing this year, some of the most newsy and memorable quotes came when the Minnesota Democrat was asking questions.

For families spread out across the country, videos and video chats have become a meaningful way to share a baby's first steps, a birthday party or a loved one blowing a kiss.

But for people in prison, rules limiting access to the Internet and cameras can make sharing these moments difficult. In Colorado Springs, an artist came up with a creative solution.

Like many proud parents, Nicole Garrens captured her son Zander's first steps on her cellphone. She wanted to share the video with her husband, Roy, but he recently went to prison in Texas.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Mr. Clean gets rid of dirt and grime and grease in just a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Singing) Mr. Clean will clean your whole house and everything's that in it.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Hers was a Pulitzer in poetry, specifically for a volume titled Annie Allen that chronicled the life of an ordinary black girl growing up in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago's famous South Side.

Brooks was in her living room when she learned she had won, she recalled in a Library of Congress interview, and it was growing dark. She didn't turn on the lights, because she knew what would happen. Money was tight, and the bill hadn't been paid.

I think there are two things that unite horse people above all else: love of a complex animal, and a deep appreciation for story. Literature and history are littered with stories of horses, from the great Bucephalus to Black Beauty to Secretariat. And even closer to home, on ranches and in stables, on breeding farms and hobby farms, smaller, more intimate stories spread and linger — an old gelding who liked things just so, a hot-blooded young mare who could only be ridden by children, a first pony, the one that got away, the one that broke your heart. Horse people tell stories.

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Hip, Hippo Hooray For 'River Of Teeth'

May 28, 2017

In 1909, the United States was suffering a shortage of meat. At the same time, Louisiana's waterways were being choked by invasive water hyacinth. Louisiana Congressman Robert F. Broussard proposed an ingenious solution to both those problems: Import hippos to eat the water hyacinth; then, eat the hippos.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

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John Prine was once known as the Singing Mailman, because that's exactly what he was as a young man. Since he quit his route, he's put out more than 20 albums, and has now published a book of lyrics, photographs and memories called Beyond Words.

We've invited Prine to play a game called: "The Singing Mailman Delivers ... My New Toner Cartridge From Amazon!" Three questions about Amazon Prime — a service that offers super fast shipping for all the stuff you don't actually need.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Judith Leiber's handbags are meant for wowing — not schlepping. They're shaped like penguins, fruits, zebras, streetcars and firecrackers. First ladies and movie stars have carried them, and now they're the subject of an exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design in Manhattan.

"I wanted to make something that was more interesting and more special than what other people made," explains Leiber, now 96.

But that also meant they weren't cheap.

Shtum is a Yiddish word that means silence. It's also the title of a novel that centers around three generations of men who get thrown together in a small space and can't talk to each other. Jonah, the little boy, has the best reason: He's profoundly autistic and can't speak. The story has a personal resonance for author Jem Lester, who says that while he bears no resemblance to the father in Shtum, Jonah's story has parallels to his own son.

You've seen The Royal Tenenbaums, right? I love that movie. It's Wes Anderson at maybe his third-most Wes Anderson-iest, telling the tale of a family of geniuses that live, grow, shatter and die in a magical version of New York City. It begins with a book being laid down and opened to page one: "Royal Tenenbaum bought the house on Archer Avenue in the winter of his 35th year," the narrator says, the camera cutting away, the voice fading, a gypsy cab pulling up to the curb.

When Roger Moore died last week at the age of 89, many tributes hailed him as the actor who'd played James Bond the longest. That isn't quite wrong, but it isn't exactly right.

It's a beach in Florida this time — I know you care because we're all here for the plot, right? — and head lifeguard Mitch Buchannon is now The Rock not The Hoff.

"Our team is the elite of the elite," Dwayne Johnson's Mitch tells his Baywatch recruits, "the heart and soul of this very beach."

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Kinder Eggs are coming to America.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Wee.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Kinder Surprise from Ferrero.

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Mike and Amy Mills are a father-daughter team from southern Illinois.

Mike was trained as a dental technician. "I made false teeth — crowns, bridges, partials — this type of thing. It's what I did as a trade," he recalls. "Later on, I started barbecuing just for the fun of doing it."

And that's what made him famous.

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According to NPR Music's Bob Boilen, this year's Tiny Desk Contest received 6,600 submissions from all 50 states. He joined host Ophira Eisenberg to introduce this year's winner: Tank and the Bangas, the New Orleans-based band that blends hip hop and R&B with poetry, humor, and storytelling. The band was the judges' clear favorite, because, as Boilen put it, "There's so much life there." He continued, "It takes care of the head, cause it's a lot of thinkin'.

Parents Just Don't Understand

May 26, 2017

On the Internet Movie Database, there's a section called "Parents' Guide" that helps parents decide whether to give their kids permission to watch a movie, or just let their kids watch the movie behind their back. Contestants must guess movies based on a real description of their risque content.

Heard On Tank And The Bangas: Tiny Desks And Disney Musicals

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