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Author Interviews
5:11 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Miranda July Balances Weirdness And Reality In Debut Novel

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 6:45 pm

Cheryl is odd — just a little off, somehow. She's obsessive, and delusional, living in a world that feels like reality twisted a few degrees off kilter.

So it may come as no great surprise that she's an invention of Miranda July, the screenwriter, actor, artist and writer who is famous for her quirky creations. Her movie Me and You and Everyone We Know — which July wrote, directed and starred in — won the 2005 Camera d'Or award. Her 2008 short story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You established her as a writer outside film.

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Around the Nation
11:46 am
Sun January 11, 2015

Pastor's Gay Brother 'Frustrated That NPR Made This A News Story'

Courtesy of Dexter Edwards

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 1:28 pm

Last week, Weekend Edition Sunday brought you the story of Allan Edwards, a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania who's attracted to men but married to a woman. He says his attraction puts him in conflict with his faith, so he doesn't act on it.

The interview drew more than 1,500 comments — and also prompted a response from Edwards' younger brother, Dexter Edwards, who is openly gay.

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Goats and Soda
11:26 am
Sun January 11, 2015

Death Becomes Disturbingly Routine: The Diary Of An Ebola Doctor

Protective gloves dry out at a treatment center for Ebola patients in Lunsar, Sierra Leone, about 60 miles from the capital of Freetown. Although the Ebola epidemic is leveling off, new cases are still being reported.
Courtesy of Joel Selanikio

Editor's note: Some audiences may find portions of this content disturbing.

The World Health Organization reports that the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone may be leveling off — although nearly 250 new cases were reported there last week.

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Book News & Features
7:50 am
Sun January 11, 2015

This Weekend, Visit San Francisco's Famed Forbidden City In 'China Dolls'

Originally published on Sun January 11, 2015 11:26 am

The "Chop Suey Circuit" was the name given to vaudeville shows that starred all-Asian casts, popular from the 1930s through to the 1960s. One of the most famous venues was the Forbidden City club in San Francisco — which serves as the setting for Lisa See's novel China Dolls.

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The Salt
6:02 am
Sun January 11, 2015

'Tasty': How Flavor Helped Make Us Human

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," John McQuaid writes in his book Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 11:43 am

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

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Author Interviews
5:48 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

'Blood Of The Tiger': Shedding Light On China's Farmed-Tiger Trade

Joanne Stemberger iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

In 1991, wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went to China to verify rumors about tiger farming. She worked undercover, for the World Wildlife Fund and an organization called Traffic.

"I mainly pretended I was a student of traditional Chinese medicine to try to figure out not only what was being traded, but why it was being traded," Mills tells NPR's Arun Rath.

She says she found China's first tiger farm — complete with a hand-written ledgers filling up with orders for tiger bone.

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Arts & Life
5:08 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

'Holy Smokes!': Rare Baseball Card Collection Hits Home Run

Even Leila Dunbar (right), Antiques Roadshow appraiser, was overwhelmed by the collection. "It is the greatest archive that I have ever had at the Roadshow," she says.
Meredith Nierman WGBH

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

This week on Antiques Roadshow on PBS, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia that she had found in a desk drawer — and received a big surprise.

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Music Interviews
5:08 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

Uptown Boy: Mark Ronson And The Producer As Rock Star

Mark Ronson's latest album is Uptown Special.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 6:47 pm

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All Tech Considered
5:08 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

Forget Wearable Tech. People Really Want Better Batteries.

Smart watches based on Qualcomm chipsets are displayed at CES — but do consumers want them?
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 4:58 pm

The International Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up its showcase of the latest in high-tech, from wearables to curved-screen phones to extremely high-definition 4K televisions.

But according to a survey from the magazine Fortune, many Americans have a simpler wish: better batteries.

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Author Interviews
5:57 am
Sat January 10, 2015

'West Of Sunset' Imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's Last Years In Hollywood

This portrait of F. Scott Fitzgerald was done in 1925, back when things were going well for the young writer. "Everything was golden for him early on," says writer Stewart O'Nan, "and then things started going against him ... it's a spiral."
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

In West of Sunset, novelist Stewart O' Nan imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's final years, which he spent in Hollywood. It's a time when the glow of The Great Gatsby has dimmed, and he's trying to punch up scripts — most of which will never be produced — with a few lines of dialog for $200 a day. Holed up in the Garden of Allah apartments on Sunset Boulevard, he's supporting his daughter and the lost love of his life, Zelda, who is in a North Carolina sanitarium.

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Movie Interviews
5:56 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

'I Was A Dramatic Kid': For Jessica Chastain, Acting Came Naturally

Jessica Chastain says her grandmother has played a key role in her career. "I've taken her to the Oscars both years," Chastain says. "She's really a special lady and has helped me in more ways than I could ever explain."
Rafa Rivas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 5:06 pm

The new movie A Most Violent Year is set in New York City in 1981 — a chaotic time of spiraling crime. The story involves corruption in the heating oil industry: the hijacking of fuel tankers, a businessman trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and a prosecutor who has that businessman in his sights. And finally, there's the story of the businessman's wife ... who may hold all the cards.

Jessica Chastain plays Anna Morales, the upwardly mobile daughter of a Brooklyn gangster. She keeps the books for her husband's fuel business — as well as a number of secrets.

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StoryCorps
3:27 am
Fri January 9, 2015

A Former Inmate And The 'Mother' Who Buoys Him

Darlene Lewis, 60, and James Taylor, 40, sat down to talk for StoryCorps in Little Rock, Ark.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 9:31 am

James Taylor says it was almost impossible to find a job after he was released from prison in 1999. He had been serving 7 years for weapons possession and drug charges.

But then he met Darlene Lewis. Darlene runs an organization dedicated to helping former inmates find jobs, preparing them for interviews, placing them with local businesses and advocating for them in court. She's helped thousands of men and women.

"When you first met me, you was almost in tears," Darlene says.

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Music News
2:03 am
Thu January 8, 2015

The Tabla Master Who Jammed With The Grateful Dead

Zakir Hussain learned from the best — his father, Allah Rakha, was a tabla legend. But Hussain's career really took off when he started working with the rock musicians he grew up admiring.
Jim McGuire Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 12:32 pm

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the fourth installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a master of an ancient tradition who has played with some of the world's most famous musicians.


Zakir Hussain can pinpoint the beginning of his musical life. It began one day in India in 1951, when he was 2 days old.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Marian Anderson's Groundbreaking Met Opera Moment

Contralto Marian Anderson in the role of Ulrica from a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Un ballo en maschera in 1955. Anderson was the first African-American soloist to appear at the Met.
Sedge LeBlang Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 12:35 pm

It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who said a voice like Marian Anderson's comes around only once in a century.

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Music News
3:31 am
Mon January 5, 2015

The Original Funky Drummers On Life With James Brown

John "Jabo" Starks (left) and Clyde Stubblefield laid the grooves on many of James Brown's biggest hits. Here, they clown around on the cover of their joint DVD, Soul of the Funky Drummers.
Rittor Music

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 5:05 pm

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the first installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a duo who shared drumming duties for the hardest working man in show business.

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Environment
8:54 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

A Shadow Economy Lurks In An Electronics Graveyard

Kwesi Bido, 14, (right) stops to fix 13-year-old Inusa Mohammed's flip flop. Both spend evenings and weekends searching for scrap at Agbogbloshie, an electronic waste dump in Accra, Ghana.
Courtesy of Yepoka Yeebo

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 3:51 pm

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world — like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

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Author Interviews
6:25 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

How 'Star Wars' Helped Patton Oswalt Beat His Movie Addiction

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 9:37 pm

Before he made it big in Holloywood, actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt was a junkie — addicted to movies, as he explains in a new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend.

The word addiction gets thrown around a lot, but Oswalt tells NPR's Arun Rath that his relationship to movies was downright pathological.

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Opinion
5:06 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

In This New Year, Is It Time To Nix The Thank-You Letter?

Peter Ormerod argues that parents shouldn't force their children to write thank-you cards — it's an exercise in insincerity, he says, and there are better ways to promote gratitude.
Diego Cervo iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:09 pm

Now that the holidays are over, another season has arrived. It's time for children to put pen to paper and scratch out thank you letters — all under the watchful eye of their parents.

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Peter Ormerod argues that it's time to do away with that ritual. He writes that thank you letters "represent arguably the first instance in our lives when insincerity is officially sanctioned, which is particularly sad given that the best thing about children is their honesty."

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Music Lists
5:06 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

Tapping The Sounds Of Portugal

Born in Amarante, Portugal in 1982, Marco Rodriguez began winning fado singing competitions when he was only 15.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 12:29 am

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The Sunday Conversation
10:07 am
Sun January 4, 2015

Attracted To Men, Pastor Feels Called To Marriage With A Woman

Allan and Leeanne Edwards are expecting a baby in July. They met at summer camp, but he was a "raging fundamentalist nerd" at the time and they didn't get together until years later.
Courtesy Allan and Leeanne Edwards

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 2:42 pm

In The Sunday Conversation, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He's attracted to men, but he considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.

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