The Quiet Dell murders were among the first big, sensational crime stories of the Depression: A serial killer corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs, then lured them to their deaths.
As a child, writer Jayne Anne Phillips learned about the murders from her mother, who was a child in 1931, when the murders took place. Phillips says she didn't talk a lot about the tragedy, but whenever they drove close to where the crime occurred — near Clarksburg, W.Va. — her mother would say, "There's the road to Quiet Dell."
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.
Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass' tense movie about the April 2009 hijacking of the freighter Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates, is a love song to the patience-through-overwhelming-fire-superiority of the U.S. military.
Graham Nash first came to the U.S. as part of the British Invasion with his band The Hollies, which got its start at the same time as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, and shared bills with both groups in England.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:41 am
Here's a way to stop hungry shoppers from leaving the store for dinner.
Brooks Brothers, the 195-year-old luxury apparel company, is looking to open a restaurant next summer next to its flagship store in Manhattan, a company spokesman tells NPR. The New York Postreports that the restaurant will be a steakhouse — a fitting culinary accompaniment for the purveyor of fine business suits for the moneyed set, we think.
"I think Malala is an average girl," Ziauddin Yousafzai says about the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who captured the world's attention after being shot by the Taliban, "but there's something extraordinary about her."
If you're not in the habit of watching MTV's Catfish, which ends its second season Tuesday night with a new episode and a reunion special, you might be surprised by how many interesting questions it raises.
Of course, you might be even more surprised by how blithely it ignores them.
When Kurt Vonnegut dedicated his novel Slapstick to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, he pinpointed the way an ideal team can transcend chemistry. Like Vonnegut's Wilbur and Eliza, the twins who became geniuses only in each other's presence, Laurel and Hardy united to become two halves of a single being. They bickered, they kicked each other's backsides, and were always mired in "another fine mess," but there was always the sense that they could not survive apart.
The cult following behind The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been largely underground, but has been no secret. Fans have been going to midnight screenings of the film since 1975 to do The Time Warp again (and again). Presumably, that joke has also been written again (and again).
Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 4:19 pm
The phrase "previously on..." has become quite familiar to American TV audiences. Whether you're devoted to Battlestar Galactica, to Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, you need to be able to catch up to a narrative when you've missed an installment or two. Novelists were there first, of course — the notion of a chain of novels focusing on the same characters goes back to Trollope and Proust – but it's less common to find a recap at the beginning of a book.
A literary critic once remarked, "The greatest story Jack London ever wrote was the story he lived." In his brief life, London sought adventure in the far corners of the world, from the frozen Yukon to the South Pacific, writing gripping tales of survival based on his experiences — including The Call of the Wild, White Fang and The Sea Wolf.
Fifty years ago, President Kennedy hosted a Columbus Day ceremony in the Rose Garden, and I was there. Fourteen-year-old me, with my family. This was a fluke. The President had cracked a politically uncool Mafia joke a few days before. Not wanting to offend Italian-American voters, the White House quickly mounted a charm offensive — inviting government workers like my dad, with Italian surnames like Mondello, to celebrate a great Italian explorer, with the president himself.
In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."
On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is an insider's test. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the consecutive letters T-E-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end with -TE and the second word will start ST-. For example, given "sheer force," you would say "brute strength."
Okay, I admit it. I was going to tell you to read Proust. The thing is, a whole industry already exists around urging you to read Proust, and as well-meaning as those literary evangelists might be, they only end up making you feel unworthy, illiterate and/or lazy.
Mario Batali, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray are just a few of the stars the Food Network helped create. But what the network gave, it could also take away.
In From Scratch, author Allen Salkin takes an unsparing look at the network's progression from struggling cable startup to global powerhouse, and the people — Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen — who rose and fell along the way.
Salkin tells NPR's Rachel Martinthat while the network was intended for cooks, it wasn't run by them.
Thomas Jefferson had a vast personal library reflecting his enormous curiosity about the world. Among his volumes: a Quran purchased in 1765 that informed his ideas about plurality and religious freedom in the founding of America.
In her bookThomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders, author Denise Spellberg draws parallels between the beliefs of the founding father and religious tolerance in the United States today.
Last weekend, a quiet block on the northwest side of Chicago appeared to be taken over by villagers from the mountains of southern Poland. That's because a Polish Highlander wedding was getting underway. But even before the couple arrived, there was a lot of pomp, circumstance — and moving of cars.
Any time now the bridal party will be arriving and Andy Zieba — father of the bride — is ringing doorbells, asking neighbors if they can please move their cars.
"Excuse me, ma'am? You don't know who's the Honda belong to?" he asks.
The United States is not just a phrase. The country stretches across six time zones, from the Atlantic well into the Pacific. The British settled some regions; the Dutch, Spanish and French settled some others. And we once fought a bloody Civil War, North against South, over the issue of slavery.
The best way I can fairly review this book is to tell you seven things that it is not.
It is not a legal thriller. That would require the novel to be thrilling, at the very least, to compel you to turn the page. In my case, I read the book on a Kindle, and it often compelled me to turn my e-reader off.
Thousands of beer aficionados are in Denver this weekend for the Great American Beer Festival. Some 600 breweries from around the country are represented at the marquee event for the craft-brewing industry.
And while this annual competition has long been male-dominated, that's starting to change.
The Twitter monster is smashing the shutdown's threats to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food and Nutrition program, which provides food aid to pregnant women and mothers of young children deemed to be at risk of malnutrition. And she's urging her nearly 74,000 followers to help.
If you're a comedy person, you know Bob Odenkirk from the cult classic sketch series Mr. Show. If you're a drama person, or a meth person, you know him as the shyster lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. Now he has a new show on the IFC called The Birthday Boys.