Arts

Arts and culture

As a young doctor working at a teaching hospital, Sandeep Jauhar was having trouble making ends meet. So, like other academic physicians, he took a job moonlighting at a private practice, the offices of a cardiologist. He noticed that the offices were quick to order expensive tests for their patients — even when they seemed unnecessary.

It was "made very clear from the beginning" that seeing patients alone was not financially rewarding for the business, he says.

NPR senior producer Davar Ardalan spoke with Simin Behbahani in June 2009 and has this remembrance:

One of Iran's most vocal and outspoken poets died this morning in Tehran at the age of 87. Known as the "Lioness of Iran," Simin Behbahani reportedly had been in a coma for more than two weeks.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

You've heard this story before. You may even have experienced it, or thought about it: A woman who apparently has it all — loving, financially successful spouse, posh home, wonderful, healthy kids, great job — still feels something is missing from her life. Could it be passion? Adventure? Risk? She throws herself at an old high school boyfriend. What's love got to do with it? Dismayingly little.

Much has been written about the success of Marc Maron's WTF podcast. What you may not know is that his story isn't an aberration. In the past five years stand-up comedy has seen a global revival thanks to the Internet, and in particular, thanks to podcasts.

The new film Winter in the Blood is based on a landmark of literature from the American West: a novel, published to critical acclaim in 1974, about a 30-something American Indian man living in Montana. It was written by Native American author James Welch, and adapted for the screen, for the first time, by two non-Native Americans — twins Alex and Andrew Smith.

It's hard to think of another writer who is as popular, as strange, and as lionized as Haruki Murakami is. Usually writers get to be one of those, but not all of them. Yet over the course of his formidable international career, Murakami has written novels that have been ambiguous to one degree or another, which hasn't stopped readers from lining up at midnight when his books go on sale.

It can be nice to relax with a glass of wine, a beer or a shot of whiskey. But one drink too many, and you may be paying the price.

To understand why drinking can make us feel so good and so bad, you have to know a little about science, says journalist Adam Rogers, author of Proof: The Science of Booze.

As Rogers notes, researchers have only just begun to explore the mystery of the hangover and share a common language around it.

Sandwich Monday: The Roman-Style Burger

Aug 18, 2014

During World War II, bun rationing meant that burger joints had to find replacements to hold their ground beef patties.

One of the more creative solutions — using grilled cheese sandwiches — lives on at M Burger in Chicago. It's called the Roman-Style Burger, and it's a secret menu item.

Peter: Why it is called Roman style? Is it because like Gaul, it is divided into three parts?

Miles: We came, we saw, we were conquered.

When author Stephan Eirik Clark read Fast Food Nation in 2001, he didn't know it would inspire him to write a fictional account of the food industry.

"Flavorings were like gravity or electricity — something that was all around me but that I had never paid any attention to," Clark tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "And as soon as I read that book and its chapter on food product design, I started to ask myself, 'How important are these to the foods?' I started to question if I was really eating food or just the idea of food."

In keeping with its recent tradition of drawn-out, publicly humiliating anchor switches, NBC has finally admitted it is replacing Meet the Press host David Gregory with the network's political director, Chuck Todd, on Sept. 7.

The switch had been rumored for months, as it became increasingly obvious that the Gregory-led Meet the Press was sinking in the ratings and failing to set the news agenda in ways it did when the late Tim Russert was at the helm. Gregory took over the show in 2008 after Russert's sudden death.

Playlist: You Can Do It!

Aug 18, 2014

We made playlists of TED Radio Hour stories that will keep you curious about big ideas throughout the summer.

Need a little encouragement this summer? This playlist may inspire you to overcome your own obstacles with stories about conquering fears, getting past cultural boundaries and more.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A great white attacks a submersible "SharkCam" deployed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, shattering its teeth on the metal biteproof cylinder. Off Baja California, the crew of a research boat feeds a single great white 400 pounds of tuna in a boyish science test to see how much one shark can eat.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Reality TV seems to have a competition for everything these days: singing, dancing, cupcake-baking — and now magic.

This week, SyFy launches Wizard Wars, where magicians do their best to wow a panel of judges. Angela Funovits, a mentalist, is one of the expert magicians — or "wizards" — that contestants must take on during the second round of the game.

Judy Melinek trained as a surgeon, and she originally focused on saving the lives of the sick. But after one too many 36-hour shifts, she collapsed from exhaustion. Disillusioned with the surgeon's 24-hour lifestyle, Melinek decided to shift careers: Instead of preserving lives, she started investigating deaths.

At Life's Last Threshold, Choir Brings Comfort

Aug 17, 2014

The Threshold Choir brings music to those on the threshold of life — people who are dying. The first group started about a decade and a half ago. Now there are choirs in 120 cities, and even a few countries.

One of the newer chapters is in Nashville. On a recent day, Tammy Heinsohn and two other choir members were going room to room at a hospice there, introducing themselves and offering to sing some lullabies.

They waited at one doorway until 86-year-old Avis Moni told them to come in, then walked to her bedside and began singing.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Tasmanian-born novelist Richard Flanagan named his latest book after a spiritually intense travel journal by the 17th century Japanese poet Basho, but this extraordinary new novel presents us with a story much more tumultuous than the great haiku writer's account of his wanderings. Flanagan has written a sort of Australian War and Peace, centered on the extraordinary Dorrigo Evans (also Tasmanian-born), a heroic yet philandering doctor.

Anyone thoughtful — no matter what their spiritual leaning — can appreciate the art of the hymn: the rhythm, the sonorous language, the discipline and structure. My first encounter with that power — despite having been part of a youth group as a teenager — came when I was a freshman at a dignified religious institution. I remember cigarette smoke and a song, a somber little something blaring from a nearby room. Three of us stood in the parking lot with Newports hanging from our teeth.

I first read Lace as a 16-year-old schoolgirl at Dominican Convent High School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, in the 1980s. I remember that chunky, glitzy novel being passed around during math, biology, religious education classes ... under our desks, pages earmarked as it moved along ... for your reading pleasure ...

What giggles it provoked; how many hushed discussions it spawned, and how those we called the "forward" girls dissected and expounded on the text. And all of it done right under the noses of the austere nuns.

A Night At The Museum ... With Robots

Aug 16, 2014

There are four robots roaming around the Tate Britain museum in London. Since Wednesday night, they've been roving the halls after hours, streaming video to the world as part of the After Dark project.

As the robots move through the museum, their little lights illuminate hundreds of statues and paintings — works of historic and contemporary British art — spread over roughly 20 rooms.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Leena Gade is the race engineer for Audi Sport.

Making Scripts And Science Match

Aug 16, 2014
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Story Hour explores an unlikely — and medically unethical — friendship between a psychologist and a patient. "It's a bit of a mystical connection," novelist Thrity Umrigar tells NPR's Scott Simon.

Lakshmi is stuck in a loveless marriage. She works for her husband, whom she loathes, in a small restaurant. Dr. Maggie Bose takes Lakshmi on as a patient, but soon decides her patient doesn't need a shrink — she needs an escape.

Umrigar is the author of five previous novels, including Bombay Time and The Space Between Us.

Just for a second, imagine a world without war, conflict or grief. Refreshing, right? But it's also a world without memory, at least in the premise of Lois Lowry's 1993 novel The Giver. The movie adaptation opened this week and stars Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges.

Celebrity child autobiographies fall into two categories. There's the scorched earth approach: One sordid story after another — call it the "Mommie Dearest" syndrome.

The second category is the warts-and-all approach, in which the performer's progeny relates parental faults in oft-painful detail, but with the ultimate goal of deeper understanding. In many ways, the warts-and-all way is more challenging, because it requires the author to explain why — despite the horrors — they still loved Mom or Dad.

How do you memorialize an event that happened 100 years ago? Almost nobody is alive who witnessed the start of World War I. In England, at the Tower of London, an unusual artistic commemoration is blooming. Its name comes from a poem, written by an anonymous soldier in World War I: "The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red."

Pages