Terry McMillan weaves together different voices, generations, races and surprises in her latest novel, Who Asked You?. It's a family story that revolves around Betty Jean — known as BJ — a woman who worked as a Los Angeles maid and raised three kids. Her husband is now retired and suffers from Alzheimer's and her children have grown up in radically different ways. One son, Dexter, is in prison. Another son, Quentin, is a successful chiropractor who has had multiple marriages, pointedly lives out of town and wants little contact with his family.
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952
Credit LAWA Flight Path Learning Center
William H. Evans, Tower of Civilization, 1939. At 150 feet in diameter and soaring 1,290 feet, the tower would have been the tallest structure in the world at the time.
Credit Huntington Library
Goodell Monorail, 1963 — The coaches on the proposed monorail took design cues from the Cadillacs of the time.
Credit Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Pereira and Luckman, Los Angeles International Airport Original Plan, 1952<strong> — </strong>The original design for LAX had a single, centralized terminal under a glass dome, a plan which was nixed by both the airlines and city engineers.
Credit LAWA Flight Path Learning Center
B+U, Firestone Mixed-Use Office Building, 2009 — A mix of offices, retail shops, a cafe and a plaza, this building would have been covered by braided fabric at different levels of transparency. The project went down with the economy.
Credit B+U Architects
Lloyd Wright, Civic Center Plan, 1925. Lloyd Wright's competition entry for the Los Angeles Civic Center put rapid-transit throughways under the city and gave pedestrians right-of-ways on broad terraces.
Credit Eric Lloyd Wright
DMJM, Pacific Ocean Park Redevelopment, 1969 — The designer proposed a 30-story hotel situated 300 feet offshore. It would have had a glass-enclosed bridge to connect it to land; alas, it fell victim to real estate negotiations.
Credit Edward Cella Gallery/Carlos Diniz Archive
John Lautner, Griffith Park Nature Center, 1972-1974 — In this painting of the proposed center, Lautner was at pains to how the building was inspired by land and sky.
Credit 1996-2001 AccuSoft Co., All righ / John Lautner Archive, Getty Research Institute
Frank Lloyd Wright, Huntington Hartford Sports Club, 1947. The planned 130-acre hotel development would have been a few blocks off Hollywood Boulevard.
Credit Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
The "Steel Cloud," which won a design competition aimed at creating a monumental Los Angeles answer to structures like St. Louis' iconic arch and the Eiffel Tower, was designed by Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture.
A museum exhibit about buildings that don't exist might not sound all that exciting. But the Architecture & Design Museum in Los Angeles has had its crowds grow to 10 times their normal level for a show called Never Built: Los Angeles. It's on through Oct. 13 – and it's all about projects that were imagined for the city but never constructed.
Let's start with one of the most high-profile: a 1968 proposal that would've dramatically altered the profile of Mount Hollywood.
A surprise agreement between the U.S. and Russia, announced Saturday, calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons by mid-2014. The deal follows a chaotic week of seat-of-the-pants foreign policy.
Performing on the international stage, Obama and his Cabinet secretaries have offered up one plot twist after another, though it often seems as if the actors are working without a script.
New York musician Dan Kaufman (third from right) traveled to Rome to learn more about the city's Jewish community and the Italian resistance during WWII. The result is a new album by his band Barbez, based in part on the lost melodies of Roman Jewish music.
Now, on to our final game, Lightning Fill In The Blank. Each of our players now has 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill in the blank questions as he or she can, each correct answer now worth two points. Carl, can you give us the scores?
CARL KASELL ANNOUNCER: Mo Rocca and Faith Salie are tied for first. Each has three points. P.J. O'Rourke has two.
SAGAL: OK. P.J., you are pulling up the rear, so you're going to go first. The clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank.
We want to remind everyone to join us here most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Illinois, or you can join us at our upcoming show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on September 26th. For tickets and more information, go to wbez.org, or you can find a link at our website, waitwait.npr.org.
Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Mo, welcome to Carl Kasell's Used Car Hut. Carl, you got any hot deals for us?
Washington, D.C., has long been thought of as a city filled with corrupt, cynical careerists who care only about themselves. Well, New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich has written a book called This Town that basically proves it.
The Government Accountability Office says that the Social Security Administration made about $1.3 billion in payments over two years to about 36,000 people who were believed to be working, while claiming they were disabled.
The GAO arrived at this number by comparing names on the National Directory of New Hires and people on disability insurance.
While $1.3 billion sounds like a whole lot of money, keep in mind that this only represents less than 1 percent of all the disability benefits paid by the agency.
Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 5:58 pm
More than 150 people are now believed to have been sickened by synthetic marijuana in Colorado, which legalized recreational use of real pot last November. Three people may have died.
State and federal investigators are scrambling to identify the exact source of the illnesses. The state health department has named about a dozen illicit products, often sold as "incense," that it believes are responsible for at least some of the illnesses. The stuff goes by names like "Spice," "Crazy Clown" and "Dead Man Walking."
A Thai medic checks bodies for forensic identity in Phang Nga province in southern of Thailand on Jan. 11, 2005. Thousands of people were killed in Thailand after a massive tsunami struck on Dec. 26, 2004.
Human DNA is the ultimate fingerprint. A single hair can contain enough information to determine someone's identity — a feature that's been invaluable for identifying the unnamed casualties of natural disasters and war. But forensic scientists who use DNA say the technology isn't always available where it's most needed, like in poor countries, or in war zones like Syria.
A Global Hawk unmanned aircraft comes in for a landing at the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., on Sept. 7, 2012, after studying Hurricane Leslie. The remotely controlled planes can stay in the air for as long as 28 hours and fly over hurricanes at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet.
A NASA satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm Gabrielle on Sept. 5 as it was approaching Puerto Rico.
For several weeks now, two unmanned spy planes have been flying over the Atlantic on an unusual mission: gathering intelligence about tropical storms and hurricanes.
The two Global Hawk drones are a central part of NASA's five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission investigating why certain weather patterns become hurricanes, and why some hurricanes grow into monster storms.
An aerial view taken on Aug. 23 shows the Costa Concordia as it lies on its side next to Giglio Island. The wrecked cruise ship will be rolled off the seabed and onto underwater platforms.
Credit Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters/Landov
Salvage workers prepare the Costa Concordia cruise ship on Aug. 23 in the waters of the Tuscan island of Giglio. The massive cruise ship has lain partially submerged after a disaster on Jan. 13, 2012, that killed 32 people.
Credit Vincenzo Pinto / AFP/Getty Images
People sunbathe in front of the capsized Costa Concordia outside Giglio harbor, on Aug. 8. The cost of the salvage operation — one of the biggest in history — could exceed $1 billion.
The four men convicted of rape and murder in an Indian court were sentenced to death in New Delhi Friday. Last December, the men lured a young woman onto a bus, and then raped and tortured her before throwing her off the vehicle. She died of her injuries two weeks later. The death sentences were greeted with approval by the victim's family, and there have been widespread calls for the men to hang ever since details of their crime became known.
It's another week of college football and yet another scandal, this time at Oklahoma State, the subject of a five part investigative story by Sports Illustrated involving athletes taking cash from coaches, sex, and drugs. Sportswriter Stefan Fatsis joins Audie Cornish to talk about that and the ultra-hyped big game between Alabama, the defending national champion and Texas A&M, home of the most polarizing player in college football, quarterback Johnny Manziel.