Arts

The Salt
12:10 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Dunkin' Donuts Cronut

A look within
NPR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:50 pm

The Cronut croissant-doughnut hybrid was the food phenomenon of 2013. There were long lines at the bakery where Cronuts were invented, and they were going for hundreds of dollars on the black market. They even inspired spinoffs like the doughscuit — a doughnut-biscuit hybrid — and the bronut, which was just a doughnut wearing an Ed Hardy T-shirt.

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Monkey See
12:02 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging: On Difference, High-Fives, And Podcasts

I've been listening to Startup — the podcast started by Planet Money alum Alex Blumberg to talk about the establishment of his company, Gimlet Media — since it debuted in early September. It appears every other Monday, so they posted their seventh episode this morning.

I'm surprised it took me until their fourth episode, which I heard on October 10, to notice that I couldn't remember any women being heard on the show other than Blumberg's [awesome and hilarious] wife and the [less present but probably also delightful] wife of his business partner, Matt.

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Book Reviews
11:58 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day. His latest book takes his beloved hero, Frank Bascombe, into his sunset years.
Greta Rybus Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:57 pm

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed "being Frank" Bascombe with us once again, as well as being "frank" about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Book News: PBS Promises 'Olympic-Style' Coverage Of Miami Book Fair

Festivalgoers browse for books during the Miami Book Fair International. PBS will provide live coverage of the fair's events over the course of three days this year.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

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

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Monkey See
6:41 am
Mon November 10, 2014

'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Hits A Home Run With The Stupendous Andre Braugher

Sgt. Jeffords (Terry Crews, L), Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher, C) and Det. Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz, R) try and figure out why Amy is late in Sunday night's Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Eddy Chen Fox

The Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine was a tiny bit uneven in its first few episodes last year, but it was always clear that it had the goods. Since then, it's become one of the most reliably funny, sharp, and — in the tradition of shows like Parks & Recreation, which creators Michael Schur and Dan Goor also worked on — big-hearted comedies in prime time.

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Book News & Features
1:05 am
Mon November 10, 2014

If Literature's Great Characters Could Text, They'd Charm Your Pantalets Off

In Mallory Ortberg's modern retelling of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Miss Havisham texts wedding dress photos from a blocked number.
Madeline Gobbo Courtesy of Henry Holt & Company

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 3:40 pm

What if the greatest characters in literary history all carried around smartphones and typed out messages to each other? That's the conceit of the new book Texts from Jane Eyre. Author Mallory Ortberg knows it sounds gimmicky, but she loved imagining how Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester might have texted.

"It's just re-imagined dialogue that I think all of these characters would absolutely say in a slightly more familiar context," Ortberg explains.

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Color Decoded: Stories That Span The Spectrum
1:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Whether Green With Envy Or Tickled Pink, We Live In A Color-Coded World

An employee at a frozen foods company in eastern Germany checks carrots for quality.
Michael Urban AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 9:00 am

Red means stop; green means go. You live in a red or a blue state. You feel green with envy, or you're tickled pink. Colors alert, provoke, attract, divide and unite us.

Thinkers from Plato to Einstein to a new cottage industry of color psychologists have studied the importance of color in our daily lives. But, as Joann and Arielle Eckstut write in their book The Secret Language of Color: "Anyone who claims to be an expert on color is a liar."

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Author Interviews
3:25 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

A 3-Star General Explains 'Why We Lost' In Iraq, Afghanistan

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 5:57 am

"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

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My Big Break
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

James Earl Jones: From Stutterer To Janitor To Broadway Star

James Earl Jones was born in Mississippi and grew up in Michigan. He was adopted by his grandparents and eventually developed a stutter. "I'm still a stutterer," he says. "I just work with it."
Stephen Chernin AP

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 12:22 pm

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.

From award-winning Broadway performances to the iconic voice that brought Darth Vader to life, James Earl Jones has an unmistakable presence on stage and on screen.

He's 83 years old and back on Broadway, where he stars in the comedy classic You Can't Take It with You.

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Author Interviews
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

'The Black Horn': Blowing Past Classical Music's Color Barriers

Robert Lee Watt was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for more than three decades.
Courtesy of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 7:44 am

Robert Lee Watt fell in love with the French horn at an early age. He met a lot of resistance from people who thought his background and his race made a career with the instrument unlikely — but he went on to become the first African-American French hornist hired by a major symphony in the United States.

He became the assistant first French horn for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1970, and stayed with the orchestra for 37 years. His memoir, The Black Horn, tells how he got there.

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Arts & Life
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

Remembering Hedy Lamarr: Actress, Weapons Systems Developer

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 4:21 pm

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

Transcript

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The Salt
9:23 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Inhalable Chocolate? Ingestible Ideas From A Lab For The Senses

Le Laboratoire Cambridge features a restaurant, the Cafe ArtScience. The restaurant's bar features a glass-globed drink vaporizer called Le Whaf.
Andrea Shea WBUR

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 11:31 am

David Edwards has been called a real-life Willy Wonka. The biomedical engineer has developed, among other things, inhalable chocolate, ice cream spheres in edible wrappers, and a device called the "oPhone," which can transmit and receive odors.

Edwards is based at Harvard, but much of his work has been done in Paris, at a facility he calls Le Laboratoire. Now he's opened a similar "culture lab" closer to home: Le Laboratoire Cambridge in Cambridge, Mass.

Cultural Research And Development

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Code Switch
8:18 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Is America Ready To Fall In Love With The Telenovela?

Ivonne Coll, Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo star in Jane The Virgin from the CW.
Tyler Golden The CW

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 11:13 am

Most reviews of the CW's Jane The Virgin mention that it was loosely adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela called Juana La Virgen. Then they predictably misrepresent a telenovela as a Latin American soap opera.

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Author Interviews
5:49 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Imagining Lives That Might Have Happened In 'End Of Days'

New Directions

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 10:13 am

It's part of the human condition to wonder what if: What if you had made a different choice that then changed the course of your life? Would you be happier? More successful? Or perhaps not?

German writer Jenny Erpenbeck can't shake that idea — that there are lives not lived because events transpired in a certain way. Her latest novel is called The End of Days, and it's just been translated from the original German into English.

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Book Reviews
3:41 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Will Self's 'Shark' Swims In A Chaotic Sea

Since the publication of his 2012 novel, Umbrella, Will Self has become a strong advocate for resurrecting modernist literature in the 21st century.

In a series of articles and public lectures, Self has pointed out that modernism never really got a foothold in English culture. In its place, he argues, has evolved a form of Anglo-Saxon realism that reeks of snobbish bourgeois values.

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Author Interviews
3:41 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Richard III: Not Such A Bad Guy After All?

cover crop
Thames & Hudson Publishers

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 9:20 pm

We're going to retell you a story now. It's a story you thought you knew, a story you might have read at school — especially if you studied Shakespeare — the story of Richard III.

He was the last king from England's ruling Plantagenet family, and you probably have a mental picture of him: An evil man, limping across the stage, scheming, plotting — until finally he gets his comeuppance on a foul and muddy field, offering his kingdom for a horse.

But what if that's just Shakespearean propaganda? What if Richard III was just misunderstood?

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Movie Interviews
3:09 pm
Sat November 8, 2014

Inside The 'Life And Crimes' Of A Career Jewel Thief

Over a span of six decades, Doris Payne has stolen some $2 million in jewels. She is the subject of a new documentary called The Life & Crimes of Doris Payne: A Tale of Carats, Cons and Creating Your Own American Dream.
Courtesy of Treehouse Moving Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 4:33 pm

The FBI file for Doris Payne is said to be six feet long: The criminal history for the international jewel thief dates back to the 1950s. Payne is infamous for using her charm and a specialized slight of hand to put clerks at ease and walk out with precious jewels. Over her 60-year career, she is thought to have stolen $2 million in jewelry. Now 84, she's been in and out of jail dozens of times.

The documentary The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne traces Payne's journey from an impoverished childhood in West Virginia to a lavish life on the run around the world.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
8:26 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Not My Job: 'Elementary, My Dear (Dale) Watson'

Dustin Finkelstein Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 9:48 am

Wait Wait is in Austin, Texas this week, and so we've invited country singer Dale Watson to play our quiz. Watson has that true Austin sound — not to mention his own honky-tonk bar.

We've invited Watson to play a game called, "Elementary, my dear Dale!" Three questions about the immortal detective, Sherlock Holmes.

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Author Interviews
5:48 am
Sat November 8, 2014

London's Mayor On Winston Churchill: He Saved Civilization

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

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Author Interviews
5:45 am
Sat November 8, 2014

McCain's 'Soldiers:' 13 Ordinary People Transformed By Battle

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

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

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Arizona Senator John McCain had a really good week. When we reached him after the election, he jokingly said he was living the dream, but as Republicans prepare to take control of the Senate, McCain was also cautious.

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Arts & Life
5:41 am
Sat November 8, 2014

New York Exhibitions Dance With Death Through Victorian Mourning Culture

The Morbid Anatomy Museum's "Art of Mourning" exhibition includes post-mortem photography, spirit photography and death masks.
Shannon Taggart Courtesy of the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

People often get flummoxed around death. Some get teary, others emotionally distant from the inevitable. An exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire," embodies that tension with mourning fashion from the mid-1800s to the early 20th century. It has multi-layered fabric, tight bodices and enveloping head gear that emulates the garb of cloistered nuns.

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The Salt
5:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

'Occupy The Farm': In Berkeley, The Revolution Will Be Irrigated

Peter Menchini

Originally published on Sun November 9, 2014 2:25 pm

In an open field on the northern edge of Berkeley, Calif., planting vegetables is the latest form of political insurrection.

On the morning of April 22, 2012, hundreds of people broke the lock on a fence surrounding the Gill Tract, a 14-acre plot of land owned by the University of California. They set about planting thousands of vegetable seedlings.

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Book Reviews
5:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Walking Through Light-Filled Rooms In 'Woman Without A Country'

Eavan Boland has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including In a Time of Violence, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Kevin Casey W.W. Norton & Company

I've said before that a good collection of poetry — unlike, say, a good novel, or a good short story — is tricky to talk about. If I love a novel, I'll describe the plot, maybe compare it to the writing of others, talk about the successes and failures of its craft. Poetry collections, though — I just want to read portions out to people, make them feel what I felt, show them concretely the details over which I marveled.

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Movie Reviews
4:29 am
Sat November 8, 2014

In 'The Theory Of Everything,' Science Takes A Back Seat

Eddie Redmayne plays astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Liam Daniel Focus Features

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:48 am

British science is having a cinematic moment, with The Theory of Everything now and The Imitation Game soon. Yet neither film has much science in it. These accounts of Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing, respectively, are engaging and well-crafted but modeled all too faithfully on old-school romantic dramas.

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Author Interviews
4:04 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Answering The Old Question: Who Lost China?

1945 was a momentous year in world history — particularly so in Asia, where Allied forces, having vanquished Germany, turned their attention to Japan. And in many ways, the main theater of action was China.

China at that time was divided between Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists and the Communists under Mao Zedong. Both were fighting the Japanese – but they would soon turn on each other. In the meantime, they "competed with each other for the ears of American representatives, the dominant power in Asia by far" says Richard Bernstein.

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Movie Interviews
3:53 am
Sat November 8, 2014

New Stephen Hawking Biopic Explores Love, Not Science

Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in director James Marsh's The Theory of Everything.
Liam Daniel Focus Features

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

Stephen Hawking, the British theoretical physicist and cosmologist who wrote A Brief History of Time, is getting his own brief history as told in a new movie. The film is called The Theory of Everything and it starts with Hawking, played by Eddie Redmayne, healthy, active and going to college. There, he's diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, or ALS, and given a very grim prognosis.

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The Salt
3:52 am
Sat November 8, 2014

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

Many artisan cheese producers never pasteurize their milk – it's raw. The milk's natural microbial community is still in there. This microbial festival gives cheese variety and intrigues scientists.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 10:33 am

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.

A handful of scientists who study cheese recently gathered to share their latest findings at a farm in the English county of Somerset. They know cheese well here — after all, Somerset invented cheddar.

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This Week's Must Read
4:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:11 pm

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

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Television
4:03 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

As A New 'Doctor Who' Season Ends, Have Its Stories Matched The Hero?

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman star in the BBC series Doctor Who.
Ray Burmiston/Ali BBC

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 6:21 pm

It was, perhaps, one of the biggest gambles on television this year. And it has worked out beautifully.

British character actor extraordinaire Peter Capaldi stepped into the shoes of the biggest character in science-fiction TV, the Doctor, alien star of the BBC's Doctor Who. And his portrayal of a morally conflicted, intensely knowledgeable, occasionally ruthless 2,000-year-old Time Lord has added new depth to television's longest-running science-fiction series.

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Movies
3:21 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Tripping Into A Black Hole In This Week's Movies

A black hole might be the key to humankind's future in Interstellar.
Courtesy of Paramount

Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 4:33 pm

I've learned a lot about physics this week at movie screenings, and let me start by saying that I've no idea how much of it is accurate. All I can swear to is that it comes vetted by (or at least associated with) some very high-powered theoretical physicists.

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