Linton Weeks http://publicradioeast.org en Smartsongs: Refrains The Brain Retains http://publicradioeast.org/post/smartsongs-refrains-brain-retains Now that <a href="https://twitter.com/alyankovic/status/483281985024962560" target="_blank">Weird Al week</a> is long past, we can mull over the merits — and demerits — of Al Yankovic's new mishmash of novelty music: <em><a href="http://www.weirdal.com/" target="_blank">Mandatory Fun</a>.</em><p>For word nerds, there is no question that <em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc">Word Crimes,</a></em> a paean to punctuation and grammar sung to the tune of Robin Thicke's <em><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU" target="_blank">Blurred Lines, </a></em>is verbally v Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:24:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 47384 at http://publicradioeast.org The Diagnosis: Politics Fatigue Syndrome http://publicradioeast.org/post/diagnosis-politics-fatigue-syndrome Politics Fatigue Syndrome — it strikes many people in many ways. Swelling anger. Watery expectations. Sniffling insecurity. That nagging sense of hopelessness when it comes to the efficacy of political action.<p>Historically, one of the salient symptoms is extreme lethargy. A while back, a reporter from the <em>Atlanta Constitution</em> noted that there was not much interest in the congressional elections in New Hampshire: "The people are utterly tired of politics." The year was 1877.<p>Another is headaches. "Don't talk to me about politics. They're a headache. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 47248 at http://publicradioeast.org The Diagnosis: Politics Fatigue Syndrome A Surge In Concierges http://publicradioeast.org/post/surge-concierges Steve Sims is the founder of <a href="http://thebluefish.com/" target="_blank">Bluefish</a>, a luxury concierge service that takes care of rich people. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:22:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 46132 at http://publicradioeast.org A Surge In Concierges Bored On The Fourth Of July? Try These Movies http://publicradioeast.org/post/bored-fourth-july-try-these-movies Cinema sites abound with lists such as <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhughes/2012/06/30/top-ten-movies-for-the-fourth-of-july/" target="_blank">Top 10 Movies ForThe Fourth Of July</a> from <em>Forbes</em> and <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-fourth-of-july-patriotic-movies-pictures-photogallery.html" target="_blank">12 Patriotic Movies</a> by the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>. After all, Hollywood knows that Americans love to celebrate American celebrations.<p>"Cinematically," says <a href="http://maryfpols.com/" target="_blank">Mary F. Fri, 04 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 45570 at http://publicradioeast.org Bored On The Fourth Of July? Try These Movies Freedom To NOT Celebrate Independence Day http://publicradioeast.org/post/freedom-not-celebrate-independence-day Celebrating Independence Day on July Fourth is as American as burgers and dogs on the grill, lemonade in plastic cups, apple pie on paper plates, baseball, fireworks and Sousa marches.<p>Except for those Americans who don't celebrate it at all.<p>Like William H. Lamar IV. Last year the African-American preacher from Hyattsville, Md., wrote an essay that was carried by <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/William-H-Lamar-IV/i-will-reflect-not-celebr_b_3516008.html">The Huffington Post. Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 45482 at http://publicradioeast.org Freedom To NOT Celebrate Independence Day 5 Fast, Flashy Fireworks Facts http://publicradioeast.org/post/5-fast-flashy-fireworks-facts Fireworks can be:<p>1) <strong>Historic.</strong> One of the earliest references to the celebration of America's Independence Day comes from <em>The Universal Asylum and Columbia Magazine</em> in July 1790. Because July 4<sup> </sup>fell on a Sunday that year, festivities were postponed for a day. In Philadelphia, thousands of celebrants gathered on Monday, July 5, at <a href="http://publicpleasuregarden.blogspot.com/2013/05/1790-grays-gardens-in-philadelphia.html">Grey's Gardens</a> (sometimes spelled Gray's) on the shore of the Schuylkill River. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 45394 at http://publicradioeast.org America's Search For Meming http://publicradioeast.org/post/americas-search-meming One reason Internet memes — the quirky photos with societal observations that are passed along like genes or around like germs — work so well, is that they tap into something of the moment, a fleeting notion that captures the here and now.<p>A visual meme is more like a snapshot than an "iconic image" — such as <a href="http://cloud.lomography.com/576/848/8f/aed3f1b1dfcfe0db0ec643c6075b3af37310f0.jpg" target="_blank">V-J Day in Times Square </a>-- says NPR photo editor Claire O'Neill. An iconic photo is timeless. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:19:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 45220 at http://publicradioeast.org America's Search For Meming Why America May Be Ready For Some Futbol http://publicradioeast.org/post/why-america-may-be-ready-some-futbol Ante-millennium America was <a href="http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=348&dat=19940623&id=9GQwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=6TIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2609,5798188" target="_blank">ho-hum</a> about soccer as a sport, because it is a game with: nonstop motion, international players, loose rules and corruption, low expectations of scoring and an imprecise ending.<p>Post-millennium America may become <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/24/325093814/world-cup-ratings-spike-how-popular-is-soccer-in-the-u-s" target="_blank">fanatical</a> about futbol, because it is a game with: nonstop motion, internatio Wed, 25 Jun 2014 15:26:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 44823 at http://publicradioeast.org Why America May Be Ready For Some Futbol The Runner-Up Religions Of America http://publicradioeast.org/post/runner-religions-america Glance at the map above, <em>Second Largest Religious Tradition in Each State 2010</em>, and you will see that Buddhism (orange), Judaism (pink) and Islam (blue) are the runner-up religions across the country.<p>No surprises there. But can you believe that Hindu (dark orange) is the No. Sat, 21 Jun 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 44547 at http://publicradioeast.org The Runner-Up Religions Of America A Native American Take On Tornadoes http://publicradioeast.org/post/native-american-take-tornadoes While tornadoes <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/16/322740339/tornadoes-cause-widespread-damage-injuries-in-nebraska" target="_blank">continue to tear across</a> America's midsection — taking lives and destroying property — we continue to search for explanations of the phenomenon, in hopes of developing better warning systems and protection.<p>But after decades of research, funded by decamillions of dollars, the fundamentals of wind funnels remain somewhat mysterious.<p><em>What causes a tornado?</em> According to the <a href="http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl/web Tue, 17 Jun 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 44169 at http://publicradioeast.org A Native American Take On Tornadoes 5 TV Shows That Deserve Another Chance http://publicradioeast.org/post/5-tv-shows-deserve-another-chance <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAL1yT9ozSQ</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmtdErxF-Xs</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUaGxdJiFZA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlZ2G1C47rA</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1wUirNlR0U</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZZl4EP67Tw</p> Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 43674 at http://publicradioeast.org 5 TV Shows That Deserve Another Chance Fashion For The Germophobe http://publicradioeast.org/post/fashion-germophobe Can you feel it?<p>Like discrete clouds beginning to gather before a storm.<p>Not a trend, really. Not yet. But a tendency toward a trend. A trendency.<p>On the subway, on a crowded street, at a concert: a person here and there — a Great Pre-trender — wears a hand-sanitizer vial on a necklace or sports a protective mask. In China, mask mania is taking off. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 43485 at http://publicradioeast.org Fashion For The Germophobe Should There Be A University Of Politics? http://publicradioeast.org/post/should-there-be-university-politics In France, many high-level politicians — such as Prime Ministers Francois Hollande, Jacques Chirac and Valery Giscard d'Estaing — developed their statecraft skills at the <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/21549976" target="_blank">Ecole Nationale d'Administration</a>. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 15:11:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 43109 at http://publicradioeast.org Should There Be A University Of Politics? Art In A Jar 2: Details, Details http://publicradioeast.org/post/art-jar-2-details-details When we posted the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/theprotojournalist/2014/04/16/301785327/art-in-a-jar-a-puzzle-in-blue-yellow-and-shred">first Art in a Jar</a> in April, we learned a couple of lessons: 1) Folks liked the idea. Tue, 27 May 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 42422 at http://publicradioeast.org Art In A Jar 2: Details, Details Bewildered By Bilderberg http://publicradioeast.org/post/bewildered-bilderberg The Bilderberg annual conference is convening at the end of May in Denmark. Or so it's reported.<p>For folks who have never heard of Bilderberg, it's an invitation-only confab of high-powered people who jawbone about world issues. Wed, 21 May 2014 15:13:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 41946 at http://publicradioeast.org Bewildered By Bilderberg 5 Fab Fads That Just Faded Away http://publicradioeast.org/post/5-fab-fads-just-faded-away Fads sweep across America like thunderstorms.<p>One of the latest — selfies — may already be slackening. Colleges in Florida and Rhode Island <a href="http://www.thewire.com/national/2014/04/how-to-cope-with-the-growing-ban-on-graduation-selfies/361088/" target="_blank">banned selfies</a> at graduation. Reports that the White House was discussing the fad brought out the <a href="http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/susan-milligan/2014/04/08/after-david-ortiz-stunt-the-white-house-really-should-ban-selfies" target="_blank">selfie loathing</a>. Sat, 17 May 2014 15:25:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 41640 at http://publicradioeast.org The 2014 Club Sandwich Index http://publicradioeast.org/post/2014-club-sandwich-index The club sandwich — a mouthwatering mélange of meats, cheeses and salad greens double-stacked among three slices of mayo-slathered bread or toast — is a portable picnic for one. A movable feast.<p>"I order a club sandwich all the time," the late comedian Mitch Hedberg quipped. "And I'm not even a member."<p>Because it is a recurring motif on the menus of fancy country clubs and haute hotels, the club sandwich is also a key economic indicator these days. Wed, 14 May 2014 15:16:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 41349 at http://publicradioeast.org The 2014 Club Sandwich Index Would A Pol By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet? http://publicradioeast.org/post/would-pol-any-other-name-smell-sweet With all the talk in contemporary American politics about <a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/03/08/148133941/is-game-change-fair-to-sarah-palin-you-betcha" target="_blank">game changers</a> ... what about name changers?<p>Through the years there have been elected officials who were born with different names from the ones that were on the ballots. The politicians changed their names for all kinds of reasons.<p>But in the end, does the name of a politician make a difference to the electorate?<p>A recent example: Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, who was born Dannie Scott Goeb. Mon, 12 May 2014 15:16:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 41158 at http://publicradioeast.org Would A Pol By Any Other Name Smell As Sweet? 13 Spliffy Jobs In The Marijuana Industry http://publicradioeast.org/post/13-spliffy-jobs-marijuana-industry Say what you will about the morality of marijuana, now that 21 U.S. states — and the District of Columbia — have passed some type of pot-friendly legalization, selling weed is big business.<p>Medicinal and recreational pot sales could bring in ridonculous revenues and taxes. Colorado, for instance, is expecting an 18-month boost of more than $600 million, according to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/20/news/economy/marijuana-taxes-colorado/" target="_blank">CNNMoney</a>. Thu, 08 May 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 40896 at http://publicradioeast.org The State Department Is 'Deeply Concerned' http://publicradioeast.org/post/state-department-deeply-concerned <strong>C</strong>onsidering the month of April alone, the State Department said it was "deeply concerned" about each of these situations: justice in Turkey; peaceful challenges of official Chinese policies; restrictions of freedom in Egypt; a Ugandan raid on a U.S.-funded medical facility; the humanitarian crisis in Burma and certain actions of the Republika Srpska, among other various and diverse issues — many extremely serious.<p><strong>O</strong>n the well-being of Korean-American missionary Ken Bae, who has been detained by North Korea since 2012, a State Department spokesperson <a href= Thu, 01 May 2014 15:29:00 +0000 Linton Weeks 40311 at http://publicradioeast.org The State Department Is 'Deeply Concerned'