15-year-old Noah St. John won this year's Snap Judgment Performance of the Year for his moving story about his two moms and the moment he thought he might lose the family he had always known. (SLYT) (Snap Judgement previously: 1, 2, 3)
Why You Won’t Be the Person You Expect to Be (NYT): "When we remember our past selves, they seem quite different. We know how much our personalities and tastes have changed over the years. But when we look ahead, somehow we expect ourselves to stay the same... They called this phenomenon the “end of history illusion,” in which people tend to “underestimate how much they will change in the future.”" (via exp.lore) [more inside]
It's almost Christmas, and if you have not yet had your fill (and then some) of holiday music, you can hear non-stop Jingle Jams on (W)XPN2 online, also available through NPR.org. If the randomness of radio isn't your thing, NPR has a more (alternative) holiday music for your listening pleasure, from a cappella renditions of sacred music for the Christmas season from the English Tudor era (58 minutes) and live jazz piano holiday music, to funky takes on the seasonal themes and five blues tunes to counter all that cheer. NPR also attempts to answer: what makes a modern pop holiday tune sound like Christmas?
The Rule of Reciprocation: an interesting read for anyone who works for tips, or wonders why your physician is prescribing that particular medication. From NPR "Give And Take: How The Rule Of Reciprocation Binds Us"
"A website called 'Is Anybody Down' [front page SFW] has popped up to fill the niche that was left when the revenge porn site 'Is Anyone Up' shut down in April of this year. Like its predecessor, the site allows users to submit naked photos of other people and include links to the naked person's social networking page. But according to [First Amendment lawyer] Marc Randazza, this website's business model is slightly different from 'Is Anyone Up,' and is of questionable legality."* [more inside]
How Polling Firm PPP Won The Election With Its Hilarious And Infuriating Questions: "Public Policy Polling, the firm that correctly predicted all 50 states in the presidential election, is known for asking some weird, quirky and, sometimes, controversial questions in its polls... Here are some of the firm's best questions of the election cycle." [more inside]
When the peace came along in Europe in April of 1945, we just practically sat there without anything to do. Most of the gentlemen drew house plans, because they were thinking they were going to get out of the service pretty soon. And I wrote a symphony. (Transcript) The symphony Van Heuvelen wrote sat on the shelf for decades, and last week he got to witness it performed for the first time. [more inside]
Ask A Banker: What's The Deal With High Frequency Trading? From the planet money NPR team.
Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
Brian O’Dea is a big time drug smuggler on his way out of the game when he gets a call from his sworn enemy with the deal of a lifetime. Buckle up for an international ride of shady characters, huge scores, and the true tale of a man who always had to keep one step ahead [16:47 min. audio]. From the Trust Me episode of Snap Judgment on NPR.
Well isn't this just super cool? Love and Rockets creators Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez were on NPR last week to talk about the music that helped shape their groundbreaking alt comics series. (Just in time for me to figure out my Hopey Halloween costume! Easier said than done, it turns out.)
A colorful mural adorns Chao Tsung-song / Tibet House in Corvallis, Oregon. Commissioned by Corvallis businessman, David Lin, the 100 foot long mural depicts at one end, a cheerful Taiwanese countryside scene, and at the other, police beating Tibetan protesters and a Tibetan monk in the process of self-immolation. The Chinese government has requested that the mural be destroyed. Mr. Lin and Corvallis city mayor, Julie Manning, say, "no."
...When I was around four or five, my parents split up, and we didn't get to see a lot of my dad. So, anything that was his in our house was kind of a treasure. And I knew that record album, "American Pie." I can picture it in my head with the thumbs up and Don McLean on there. And in the top right hand corner there was my dad's name on one of those old-fashioned label makers where you could press the letters in with the white and it would come up in white raised letters... [more inside]
A girl upon the shore did ask a favour of the sea;For nearly 20 years, Newfoundland group Great Big Sea have been creating acoustic Celtic folk-rock covers and interpretations of traditional Newfoundland and Labrador sea shanties, folk, fishing and party songs, which draw from the island's rich 500-year-old multicultural (Irish, English, Scottish and French) heritage. [more inside]
"Return my blue eyed sailor boy safely back to me.
Forgive me if I ask too much, I will not ask for more,
but I shall weep until he sleeps safe upon the shore."
Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
'Who's on First', the ASL version (vimeo). A little more on this from NPR, including link to MLB.com video of Jerry Seinfeld's comments on the original skit.
NPR show us and tells the story of five men who agreed to stand directly below and observe a nuclear explosion.
On July 19, 1957, five Air Force officers and one photographer stood together on a patch of ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They'd marked the spot 'Ground Zero. Population 5' on a hand-lettered sign hammered into the soft ground right next to them.
Your Breasts Are Trying To Kill You: Slate reviews Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence WIlliams (an edited excerpt from the book re: breast milk in The Guardian - includes breastfeeding photo). NPR interview with Williams (41 min. audio and text highlights); a brief interview with Williams in The Star and a long interview in Maclean's. A recent piece by Williams in Slate: A new set of reports shows that federal policy on chemicals testing neglects breast health. Subject found via a post on IBTP discussing the ban, and then partial retraction of that ban, on allowing breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks to swim topless at a Seattle public pool - includes topless photo. Some may consider the photos noted NSFW.
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
The Polyphonic Spree perform a 45 minute set on WXPN's Live From World Cafe, from May 25, 2012. (audio only) [more inside]
Gayle is a short weekly web-series about the hyper-competitive upper-middle class mom Gaye Waters-Waters and her relentless attempts to dominate the local chapter of Mothers Against Road Head. Episode one with links to the latest ten. NSFW audio.
The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes is an excerpt from Elizabeth Cline's book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. 10 facts from Overdressed. An interview with Cline on Salon. Cheap clothing's high cost (infographic). Previously: stuff we don't want. [more inside]
NPR Intern Emily White wrote that out of a library of 11,000 songs, she had only purchased 15 CDs. Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker's David Lowery responds: "Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?"
After 25 years, thousands of car problems solved, and possibly millions of minutes spent laughing helplessly at themselves, Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers, are hanging up their microphones. [more inside]
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
Mike Birbiglia's Fresh Air interview gets awkward. From last week's This American Life live episode.
Consumer Reports May 2012: What to reject when you're expecting (10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy; 10 things you should do during your pregnancy; 5 things you should do before you become pregnant). Mentioned in particular is the conclusion found in a federal study: Babies Take Longer To Come Out Than They Did In Grandma's Day."One big implication: Today's obstetricians may be rushing to do cesarean sections too soon because they're using an out-of-date yardstick for how long a 'normal; labor should take... The definition of a 'normal' labor — the range of times when a woman in labor reaches certain milestones — was laid down in the 1950s. Contemporary obstetricians still use that 'labor curve.'"
What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing. [Food Porn] [Pizza Hut-blue?] Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce." Many foodies have decried it as a "culinary abomination," "a sign of the apocalypse," or proof that America is finally losing its monopoly on gluttony. A reviewer at Serious Eats, who tried the Crown Crust in Dubai, wrote: "There seems to be no rational explanation as to why this pizza was created." [Via: NPR.org]
Roger McGuinn was a member of the pioneering folk rock band The Byrds. He loves the traditional folk music he has been performing solo since the band's breakup in 1973. In this interview, he talks to NPR's Neal Conan about his career, his music and why he created The Folk Den Project (previously) - with over 200 readily downloadable songs, with lyrics and chords - to preserve traditional folk songs.
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
Claressa Shields, a 16 year old boxer preparing for the Olympic trials, records a radio diary. It's about 16 minutes long.
The beginning of the end of "he said, she said" journalism? NPR decides to be "Fair to the Truth" instead of simply reporting both sides of an issue.
The legendary Dick Dale covers Amazing Grace, 12/09 in a Studio Session on NPR's KEXP. [more inside]
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz is the longest-running cultural program on National Public Radio - having been hosted by Ms. McPartland from June 4, 1978 through November 10, 2011. Her guests included Eubie Blake, Carla Bley, JoAnne Brackeen, Ray Charles, Alice Coltrane, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Dick Hyman, Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Marcus Roberts, and McCoy Tyner.
A brief video of a tornado on the surface of the sun posted by NPR, as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (links to various sizes and qualities of downloads here). The tornado is larger than Earth itself and has gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour.
National Public Rodeo Vanity Fair's David Margolick on the recent history and (somewhat) uncertain future of National Public Radio.
Always an enigma, John Zorn, winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, founder of avant garde record label Tzadik proponent of radical Jewish culture, leader of the hard core group Naked City, creator of the Masada songbook, and hundreds of other things, has, with the likes of Mark Ribot, Cyro Baptista and Mike Pattoon, released a heart-breakingly lovely Christmas record, A Dreamer's Christmas. [more inside]
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
Paul Motian (wiki) (myspace) (allaboutjazz), one of the great jazz drummers of our time, is dead at 80. [more inside]
The goal of the new site Audiofiles is to be the Longreads of public radio, providing an easy-to-use, well-cataloged guide to the best radio stories ever told. Some background.