Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 12:00 pm
Every Saturday just before our show begins I get on the public address system here to announce to our crew, "It's a beautiful day for a radio show. Let's do two today!"
It's an admiring imitation of Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player who died last night at the age of 83. Ernie used to say, especially in the long years of hot summers — including this last one, when the Cubs were stuck in last place — "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two today!"
Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 1:30 pm
Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET
A main leader of Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine reportedly says the separatists have launched an attack on the port city of Mariupol, where rocket fire killed at least 15 people in an open-air market and residential area.
"Today an offensive was launched on Mariupol. This will be the best possible monument to all our dead," Alexander Zakharchenko was quoted as saying by Russia's RIA news agency.
Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 4:58 am
Years of austerity have worn down Greeks, who will choose a new government Sunday. Greek voters are expected to elect the first anti-austerity party in the Eurozone.
Maria Tsitoura, one of those voters, is a lively grandmother in her 70s. Like many retirees in Greece, she shares her small pension with her grown children, whose salaries have dropped by more than half in the last four years.
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the tiara we ordered as the grand prize at our upcoming eating contest is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on people who simply don't enjoy music.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 11:49 am
Thomas Maggs is a lonely little boy. When Esther Freud's new novel Mr. Mac And Me opens, he is 13 years old. His brothers have died, his father, who runs a bar, drinks too much of his own stock and beats his son. Thomas dreams of sailing away – and then World War I descends on his small English sea coast town. Tours stop coming, blackout curtains go up, village boys enlist and go off to war.
Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 8:16 am
Two men are sparring on a wooded slope in Haiti. Each has one hand behind his back. From afar, it looks as if they're fencing. But instead of using swords, the men are wielding machetes.
Yes, you read that right. They are aiming machetes at each other.
The older man is "Professor" Alfred Avril, a 70-year-old Haitian farmer who is also a master of tire machet, or Haitian machete fencing. He's quick but deliberate in his movements. His son and student, Jean-Paul, sways backward, descending to the ground to dodge the strikes.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 11:35 am
There are books you read because you want to read them and there are books you read because you have to read them. The former category can include anything that tickles your particular fancies — teenage wizards, goopy aliens, hunky Scotsmen, shark attack survivors, the history of Vladislav's Wallachia, whatever Malcolms your Cowley.
Baseball's Chicago Cubs report that Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks has died. "Mr. Cub," who began his career in the Negro leagues, was the first black player for the team — eighth in the majors overall — and played in 14 All-Star games in his 19 seasons, all with the Cubs.
Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 11:30 am
Shannon Conley, 19, has been sentenced to four years in prison for trying to travel to Turkey and work as a nurse for the extremist group ISIS. Conley reached a plea agreement over charges of trying to provide support for the terrorist group last fall.
When she was arrested, Conley was living in the Denver suburb of Arvada, where she had initially raised suspicions by visiting the grounds of a church and making notes and drawings. She was arrested months later, after several warnings from FBI agents.
We decided to experience firsthand what it's like to short something — bet that something will go down in value. You can short individual stocks. But we decided to go big. We make what one expert calls the "Armageddon Trade." We shorted the entire stock market. We shorted America.
So far, America is winning. And we are losing.
There have been short sellers throughout history. Today on the show, we tell the story of a man who was the very first short seller. The very first person to bet that a stock will go down. It does not go well for him.
A hip chronicle of ag life isn't dead yet, the owner of Modern Farmer says. The National Magazine Award winner lost its last paid editorial staff Friday, The New York Times reports. But the story comes with a clarification: Modern Farmer's owner says he'll publish again this summer.