When Teddy Roosevelt was president, reporter Lincoln Steffens came to him with a request: "Mr. President," he said, "I want to investigate corruption in the federal government." And Roosevelt responded in a rather astonishing way, as presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
Sir Terry Pratchett is one of Britain's best-selling authors. His science-fiction series Discworld has sold millions of copies worldwide. Pratchett is incredibly prolific — since his first novel was published in 1971, he has written on average two books every year.
But in 2007, 59-year-old Pratchett announced that he had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. As a result, Pratchett can no longer read.
Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 9:56 am
That Benjamin Palmer dropped $3,500 at Phillips auction house in New York is not surprising. The 217-year-old company, headquartered on Park Avenue, regularly sells artwork for tens — and often hundreds — of thousands of dollars.
What is surprising, however, is that he took nothing home. He has nothing to put up on his wall or put on a pedestal in his living room. Physically, his acquisition lies among a hub of wires, and the likelihood is he will never touch it. But it lives virtually inside every computer, smartphone or tablet in the world.
More than 400,000 Americans died in World War II, but thousands of them were never found. Some died in a prison camp, and others were lost behind enemy lines — and some were on planes that were lost in the vast Pacific ocean.
On Sept. 1, 1944, a massive B-24 bomber carrying a crew of 11 people went down in the South Pacific. Its wreckage remained undiscovered, and the fate of its airmen unknown for decades. Then an American scientist, Dr. Pat Scannon, became obsessed with the mystery of these missing GIs.
In 1980s Arkansas, one concern trumped all others: Satan. He whispered backwards on our rock albums. He possessed otherwise good people's bodies and brought them to sin. His worshippers — it was honestly believed and confidently proclaimed — lived among us.
So when my stepmother opened our town's first bookstore I was amazed by one book in particular: an infernal red and black volume called The Satanic Verses.
Steve Lickteig's life as he knew it was a lie. Lickteig thought he was the adopted son of a former World War II vet and his wife. Life was simple: They ran a farm in Kansas, went to mass at the local Catholic church and raised Steve and their eight biological children.
Lickteig wondered who his real parents were and thought he'd set out to find them someday. Then, when he turned 18, two of his best friends told him the truth: His adopted parents were actually his biological grandparents. The woman who he knew as his older sister was actually his mother.
There's a phrase in French — "L'esprit de l'escalier," meaning "staircase wit" — for that moment when you've lost an argument and are walking away, and waaay too late, think of the perfect comeback. If you could just rewind your life a few minutes, you'd win the argument.
That's pretty much the setup in the new British comedy About Time.
Seventeen years ago, the poet, writer and editor David Lehman resolved to write a poem every day. It sounds a little similar to National Novel Writing Month, which kicked off yesterday — except that Lehman kept it up for five years, publishing many of the daily poems in literary journals and in two well-received collections
Andy Warhol kept much of the ephemera of his daily life in boxes called TimeCapsules, now at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.This correspondence addressed to Warhol at his studio, The Factory, comes from Time Capsule 10.
Credit Lauren Ober / NPR
Time Capsule 10 contained receipts, canceled checks, letters and other paper material that Andy Warhol saved from 1967 to 1969.
Credit Lauren Ober / NPR
Cataloger Marie Elia explains some of the contents of Time Capsule 10 to a visitor at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
Marie Elia likes to describe her job this way: She is the secretary to a dead man. As one of two catalogers for Andy Warhol's Time Capsules, it's her job to go through the 610 boxes he left after his death in 1987.
In one box she found a mysterious, small tin. "I opened it and it was full of fingernail clippings, dead bees and those little holes that come from a hole punch," she says. The fingernail clippings weren't Warhol's. They were sent to him by a fan. "I don't know why. Somebody mailed that to him. Somebody thought that he would like it."
In February 1959, the great illustrator and magazine artist Norman Rockwell was on Edward R. Murrow's celebrity interview show, Person to Person. For decades, Rockwell had painted scenes that told stories of wholesome, G-rated life in small-town America, and Murrow interviewed Rockwell at his home in just such a small town: Stockbridge, Mass.
Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 3:44 pm
Time-travel movies usually have a clear end in sight, some situation that needs fixing. Marty McFly needs his parents to get together; John Connor needs to avoid Terminators long enough to grow up; the guys from Hot Tub Time Machine need to stop messing up the past and get back in their ... hot tub time machine.
Credit Randy Eli Grothe / Dallas Morning News/Corbis
Ron Woodroof holds a vial of Compound Q — a drug that, in 1989, the FDA hadn't evaluated. His Dallas Buyers Club, which acquired experimental AIDS treatments, is the subject of a new film in which Woodroof is portrayed by Matthew McConaughey.
Credit Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features
McConaughey in a scene from Dallas Buyers Club. The actor lost 38 pounds to play the physically wasting Woodroof.
Texas good ol' boy Ron Woodroof was a player — drugs, alcohol, women, gambling. As Dallas Buyers Club starts, he's at a rodeo, snorting cocaine, with a fistful of bets, when he gets it on with two prostitutes. Not a "healthy" lifestyle — one that's left him gaunt, weak, coughing.
With the advantage of hindsight, what's ailing him seems obvious now. Back in 1986, it didn't, until doctors did a blood test and told him he had 30 days to live.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Now it's time for our weekly visit to the Barbershop where the guys talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are writer Jimi Izrael with us from Cleveland. Joining us from Boston, healthcare consultant and contributor to National Review magazine, Dr. Neil Minkoff. Here in our Washington, D.C. studios, Dave Zirin. He is sports editor at The Nation. And Corey Dade is a contributing editor for The Root. Take it away Jimi.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the men's pro-basketball season is jumping off this week, and the Barbershop guys will talk about their pics and if anybody has got what it takes to stop the Miami Heat from a three-peat. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's the part of the program where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality.
And as you just heard, Nikki Giovanni has inspired many people with her poetry and other writings. So we decided to turn the tables and ask what inspires her. As part of our occasional series In Your Ear, Nikki Giovanni shares the music that moves her.
NIKKI GIOVANNI: Hi, this is Nikki Giovanni. I'm a poet. And I'm listening to Jane Monheit, "Save Your Love For Me."
Follow your passion? It won't make you successful, says Mike Rowe. He believes blue collar workers, the people who make life possible for the rest of us, are unjustifiably degraded in society today — and might be the most successful people.
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh-graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.
Tony Robbins makes it his business to know why we do the things we do. Robbins has shared his views with millions through his seminars and his best-selling books. In this talk, he discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.
Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure — and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.
"There is real danger of a disconnect between what's on your business card and who you are deep inside, and it's not a disconnect that the world is ready to be patient with." — Alain de Botton
Success has become synonymous with financial wealth, influence and status. But can we define success in another way — one that welcomes a broader range of accomplishment? It may not be as obvious as you think. In this hour, TED speakers share ideas for what makes us successful.
It's been more than two and a half years since we last did a show packed with recommendations of pop culture (and other culture) for kids. We figured it was about time to do it again, for reasons we'll get into in the episode, so here we are.
When you hear the phrase, "writing guide," unpleasant things may spring to mind: sentence diagrams or even — shudder to think — your high school textbook.
Now, imagine the exact opposite, and you might get Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook. It's a writing guide, sure, but it's unlikely you've seen one like this before. Misbegotten fish serve as models for revision. Dragons butt in from the margins to contradict lessons. There's even a talking penguin — but don't get him started on what he thinks of the duck.