Seventeen-year-old Tonisha Owens stared wide-eyed at the faded script on an 1854 letter. It was once carried by another 17-year-old — a slave named Frances. The letter was written by a plantation owner's wife to a slave dealer, saying that she needed to sell her chambermaid to pay for horses. But Frances didn't know how to read or write, and didn't know what she carried.
"She does not know she is to be sold. I couldn't tell her," the letter reads. "I own all her family and the leave taking would be so distressing that I could not."
Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 10:37 am
Ah, the old beer-tapping prank: One strong hit on the top of an open beer bottle, and poof! Your IPA explodes into a brewski volcano.
"In one second, most of your beer has really turned into foam," says physicist Javier Rodriguez Rodriguez of Carlos III University in Madrid. "You better have put the bottle into your mouth, because you need to drink whatever is coming out."
If there's one Thanksgiving mistake Jack Bishop sees more than any other, it's people rushing to carve their birds. Bishop is editorial director of the public TV series America's Test Kitchen. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "Turkey needs to rest before you carve it ... and a lot fewer juices will end up on the carving board."
Bishop and Bridget Lancaster, also of America's Test Kitchen, share their tips for buying, seasoning and cooking a turkey, and describe some of their favorite side dishes.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, a couple of days until Thanksgiving means just a short wait for pie. But instead of slicing it up this year, have you thought about putting it on a stick? Let us be the first to introduce you to pie pops. That's later. But first, you may get your fill of more than just dessert this holiday season. You might also be treated to a heaping helping of family news.
During a visit to a store last holiday season, Jewish father Neal Hoffman felt bad telling his son Jake that he couldn't have an Elf on the Shelf. The widely popular Christmas toy is intended to watch children's behavior for Santa. Hoffman kept thinking, maybe there could be something similar, but rooted in Jewish tradition.
Hoffman, a former Hasbro employee, decided Mensch on a Bench was the answer. "A mensch means a really good person. It's a person that you strive to be," he says.
When the Whitney Museum of American Art announced the artists for its 2014 biennial, people took to the Internet to chime in about who's been included and who's been left out; the last biennial had been blasted for ignoring Latino artists. But when a new show opened at the Smithsonian American Art Museum featuring only Latino artists — "Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art" — it was blasted for other reasons.
Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 2:41 pm
Subscribers to Oprah's O magazine wait all year for the "Oprah's Favorite Things" issue, in which Oprah lists a bunch of things you need to buy if you want any chance of becoming Oprah. It's just out, and in it Oprah mentions that she makes for Stedman something she calls a "Love Sandwich." If you don't know who Stedman is, I'm not even going to put a link here to help you, because really, you should already know.
Americans remember Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the president who led the country through the Great Depression and World War II. He bolstered the nation's spirits with his confidence, strength and optimism, despite being crippled by polio, a disability that's largely invisible in photographs and newsreels of his presidency.
Comedian Bill Cosby has been in show business for 50 years, and he celebrated on Comedy Central over the weekend with a stand-up special — his first in 30 years — called Far From Finished.
That earlier special, called Bill Cosby Himself, inspired one of the most popular sitcoms in TV history: The Cosby Show, starring Cosby as paterfamilias Cliff Huxtable. It was a show that was really the first of its kind, capturing life in a highly educated upper-middle-class African-American family.
Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving's no problem, right? You go to the grocery store, you pick up your turkey, your cranberries, various other holiday delights and you're good to go. But putting together a Thanksgiving meal outside of these United States can sometimes require more creativity. We caught up with some American expats determined to conjure up the holiday. Jessica Osbourne in Seoul says there's one Thanksgiving food she can count on.
Daniel Menaker knows writing. He also knows writers. He' was the fiction editor at The New Yorker for 20 years and later editor-in-chief at Random House. He's worked with an astonishing group of writers over the years: Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, David Foster Wallace, Billy Collins. This list could go on and on. And, of course, he is a writer himself, the author of six books.
His latest, a memoir is called "My Mistake." It's arranged chronological starting at the very beginning of his obsession with words.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a tree. Identify the tree name from its anagram. For example, given "has," the answer would be "ash."
Last week's challengefrom listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass.: Think of a word meaning "quarrel" in which several of the letters appear more than once. Remove exactly two occurrences of every repeated letter, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell a new word meaning "quarrel." What are the two words?
Consider how many synonyms there are for tedium: boredom, monotony, uniformity, dreariness, ennui, listlessness, each with its own subtle nuances. Perhaps it says something about our society that we must differentiate between the boredom of the office cubicle and of the traffic jam.
None of the authors below set out to write a book about tedium, but hovering always just behind the scenes is that debilitating affliction, sluggish and repetitious, playing a central role in their lives.
As you're thinking about this year's Thanksgiving menu, you might be feeling a bit bored. Green bean casserole? Been there. Turkey and stuffing? Meh. Pumpkin pie? Cliché.
We were looking for a little Thanksgiving inspiration, so we reached out to culinary legend Patricia Wells. The veteran restaurant critic and cookbook author has been teaching French cooking for nearly two decades in Paris and Provence.
IanMcKellen and Patrick Stewart have known each other for years — they were both actors at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the '60s and '70s, and both achieved broader fame through movies and television. Both were knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for their work onstage and off. And then, of course, they were cast as mortal enemies in the first X-Men film 14 years ago, and have come back to the roles of Magneto and Professor X several times since.
"We became good friends as a result of shooting multimillion-dollar adventure movies," Stewart says.
Nicholas Dawidoff's Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football may be the best book I've ever read about football. It is certainly the most detailed account of the players inside the helmets and the coaches obscured from an enthralled public by large, laminated playsheets.
After a fierce bidding war, FX spinoff cable network FXX won the rights to make all seasons of TV's longest-running scripted show, The Simpsons, available for online streaming. It may be the largest TV syndication deal ever. Anthony Breznican, a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, says the deal shows how networks are trying to capitalize on the "binge watching" trend. The deal gives FXX the right to air more than 500 episodes of The Simpsons, now in its 25th season on Fox.
It's a fact of Hollywood life that the movie industry is dominated by men. Male stars make more money. Male executives make more decisions. And the vast majority of films are about what men do, or think, or blow up. But this weekend, two heroines are the backbone — the impressively sturdy backbone — of two very different pictures.
On a chilly night in November 2008, an Ecuadorean immigrant named Marcelo Lucero was attacked and murdered in the Long Island town of Patchogue, N.Y., where he lived and worked. His attackers, a group of local teenagers, were out "hunting for beaners" — an activity that had become part of their weekly routine.
Lucero, then 37, and his childhood friend, Angel Loja, were out for a late-night stroll when they saw a group of seven young people approaching them.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: The fall season is underway on Broadway. And NPR's Trey Graham may still be a little glassy-eyed, because took in five shows over a three-day weekend. He joins us in our studios. Trey, thanks for making time for us.
Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945, in the Black Forest of southwest Germany, just as the Third Reich was collapsing.
"I was born in ruins, and for me, ruins are something positive," Kiefer says. "Because what you see as a child is positive, you know? And they are positive because they are the beginning of something new."