University of Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw has led her team to five NCAA Final Fours, is the reigning Naismith College Coach of the Year, and has a spot in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. On top of all that, she could almost certainly beat most NPR listeners at a game of H-O-R-S-E.
The only other Muffet we've ever met is the Little Miss, so we've invited McGraw to play a game called "So what exactly is a tuffet anyway?" Three questions about nursery rhymes and children's songs.
Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 2:06 pm
It looks like our ancestors from the Bronze Age were way bigger lushes than we had ever realized.
Archaeologists have discovered a personal wine cellar in a palace that dates back to 1700 B.C. It's the oldest cellar known, and the personal stash was massive.
More than 500 gallons of wine were once stored in a room connected to the palace, located in modern-day northern Israel, scientists said Friday at a conference in Baltimore. That's enough vino to fill 3,000 wine bottles — or a seven-person hot tub.
On Thursday, the Senate passed a historic rules change. Invoking the so-called "nuclear option," Senate Democrats used a rare parliamentary procedure to limit the power of the filibuster — a key method often used by minority parties to check the majority. Now, a simple majority vote will be required to confirm presidential nominees, rather than the 60-vote super-majority once necessary to bypass the filibuster.
Now we take a moment to highlight and salute another artist. Jazz-great Arturo Sandoval received the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week from President Obama. Sandoval was born and raised in Cuba, where he was once jailed just for listening to jazz music. So he packed up his trumpet and moved to the United States. A country he says gave him the freedom to fill the air with his music. Here's what the president said about him at the ceremony.
Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 10:08 am
School lunch has never been the stuff of foodie dreams. I'm still haunted by the memory of my elementary school cafeteria's "brain pizza" – a lumpy oval thing topped with fleshy white strips of barely melted mozzarella that clumped together like neurons.
And it looks like America's school cafeterias are still turning out the culinary abominations, judging by the images on Fed Up, a fascinating online project showcasing school lunch photos submitted by students across the country.
Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."
Devdutt Pattanaik takes an eye-opening look at the myths of India and of the West — and shows how these fundamentally different sets of beliefs about God, death and heaven help us consistently misunderstand one another.
What aspects of religion should atheists adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a "religion for atheists" that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence.
Speaking at TED in 1998, Rev. Billy Graham marvels at technology's power to improve lives and change the world. But he says technology and science can't do everything: "There's something inside of us that is beyond our understanding." Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, reflects on her father's idea of the nature of faith.
This week's show features something you will very rarely hear from us: bleeping! By which I mean: actual, literal bleeps. Because we're kicking things off with a discussion of profanity, in movies including Anchorman and Die Hard, and in TV shows on cable and broadcast.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 12:06 pm
There are, among connoisseurs of pornography, many stratified tastes. To cater to those tastes, there are many levels to which the pornography itself might rise (or sink, depending on your moral stance on the topic). There are categories, boundaries, territories of smut that run the gamut from the (relatively) tame to the out-and-out horrifying.
This week, New York City lost a cultural landmark. The site known as 5Pointz was a graffiti museum, of sorts — the walls of a 200,000-square-foot warehouse complex covered with ever-evolving spray-painted art. It spread across a block in Long Island City right across the water from Manhattan in the borough of Queens.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:10 pm
There's a moment of chilling violence in Catching Fire, the second of four planned movies adapting Suzanne Collins' dystopian Hunger Games novels, a moment in which the difference a director makes becomes immediately clear — and one that should give hope to readers who might have felt some disappointment with the first movie.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:03 pm
Following police through Mexico's Ciudad Juárez — reputedly the world's homicide capital — the Israeli filmmaker Shaul Schwarz finds mutilated corpses and gutters running with blood. But the resulting documentary, Narco Cultura, is not nearly so vivid as its most gruesome footage.
Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 1:02 pm
Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.
You are probably aware that in Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, the titular raven repeatedly says, "Nevermore." Turns out, while he "still is sitting, still is sitting," that raven has moved on to quoth'ing celebrity names that rhyme with "-moore." Naturally, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton perform the clues about these famous folks in verse.
Puzzle guru Will Hines leads this final round, in which every correct answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the letters "a-p-p" in order. For example, if he said, "It's what you tear off your birthday presents," you would say, "wrapping paper." Word nerds everywhere who rule this game, we applaud you.
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You'd think a guy who writes scary books for a living would know a thing or two about what makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. We put the best-selling horror author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series to the test in this Ask Me Another Challenge based on an audience poll. Did Stine know what scares our listeners more: ghosts, or being alone for the rest of your life?
Mick Jagger was reportedly inspired to write The Rolling Stones' hit song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Mikhaíl Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. We were inspired to re-write "Sympathy for the Devil" after watching Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. As such, house musician Jonathan Coulton's musical clues in this game are about various Looney Tunes characters, from Tweety to Elmer Fudd.
Zombies eat brains, everyone knows that. But if brains aren't available, zombies are not picky; they'll eat anything that rhymes with "brains." In this round, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton serve up clues to groups of nouns or names that follow this rhyming pattern. Points awarded to those who answer in a scary zombie voice.
If you're a person of a certain age, R.L. Stine probably scared or delighted you with his Goosebumps and Fear Street series. (And you'll be happy to hear Stine recently announced a Fear Street reboot.) But the man who declares "terrify[ing] kids" as his job description actually started out as a humor writer — and his "jovial" nature remains intact.
They say that love is the universal language, but they're wrong — it's pain. In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you how people around the world say "ouch," and you have to name the language. "Úff, this eruption by the volcano Eyjafjallajökull is making me really hot!"...you said, in Icelan-glish. (That's Icelandic + English.)
Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.
"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."