With his newest book, Attempting Normal, released on April 30, and a TV show, Maron, that premiered on IFC on May 3, comedian Marc Maron is having a busy spring. Maron considers himself primarily a stand-up comic, but he's also an actor, author and host of the popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron. The podcast has a simple premise: Maron interviews another comic. But the resulting product is complex and compelling.
Jim Gaffigan is outnumbered. The comedian and actor lives with his wife, Jeannie Noth Gaffigan, and five children — that's not a typo — in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan.
It's a neighborhood that quite proudly abounds with hipsters, swingers, adults-only shops, men in high heels, and people who mutter to themselves on the street. But nothing may attract more surprise in the neighborhood than a Midwestern couple and their five children.
Burt Bacharach has written huge hit songs, each recognizable after just a couple of notes: "Alfie," "What the World Needs Now," "That's What Friends Are For" — the list goes on. He's written 73 Top 40 hits, along with musical comedies and other collaborations. He's won Oscars and the Gershwin Prize. His songs are often poised on the edge between poignancy and joy, or sometimes the reverse.
Round 11 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest begins now!
Here's how it works: We ask you to write an original short story that can be read in about three minutes, so no more than 600 words. Each round, we invite an author to throw out a challenge and help us judge the contest.
In Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers, author Clyde Edgerton shares tips for new dads. The advice starts before birth: Build the crib before you need it, and plan like you would for a hurricane. And don't forget flowers, tea and foot rubs for your pregnant wife.
Credit Brent Clark / Little, Brown & Co.
Clyde Edgerton has written 10 novels, including most recently The Bible Salesman and The Night Train. He teaches creative writing at University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
Clyde Edgerton is the author of 10 novels, but his latest book is nonfiction — a guide for dads. Papadaddy's Book for New Fathers: Advice to Dads of All Ages opens with a summary of Edgerton's own family situation:
I have a daughter, Catherine, aged 30. I have a 9-year-old son, Nathaniel, a 7-year-old son, Ridley, and a 6-year-old daughter, Truma. I'm 68. The age gap between the younger kids and me is not something I think about much, because I feel physically about like I did when I was 40 — or at least, I think I do. I think I ...
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the story of one man's struggle with identity and loyalty after 9/11.
The film's title character, Changez, is an ambitious twenty-something who seems to have it all: A Princeton degree, a Wall Street career and a beautiful girlfriend (played by Kate Hudson). But after 9/11, Changez becomes conflicted about where he belongs.
True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard turns in a sensitive performance as a sort of surrogate dad for the poorly parented title character (a restrained Onata Aprile) in What Maisie Knew, a quietly stirring update of the Henry James novel.
Credit JoJo Whilden / Millennium Entertainment
Julianne Moore plays the hard-partying rock singer whose marital crisis kick-starts the film's plot.
By the end of What Maisie Knew, what 6-year-old Maisie knows is the thing everyone in the theater has figured out in the first five minutes: This poor little girl has two of the most horrible movie parents since Faye Dunaway got her hands on a wire hanger.
They fight or are distracted so much that Maisie is often left to her own devices, making herself meals or scrounging for cash to pay for the pizza her parents ordered.
Are you a teenager with a story to tell? NPR and Radio Diaries want to hear it. Write it down, photograph it (and record it if you want) and then submit it to the storytelling site Cowbird.
Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to five teenagers to create audio diaries about their lives. Starting on May 6, All Things Considered will revisit these original diarists, now in their 30s, to document their lives for NPR listeners.
"It's not about making learning happen. It's about letting it happen." — Sugata Mitra
Learning is an integral part of human nature. But why do we — as adults — assume learning must be taught, tested and reinforced? Why do we put so much effort into making kids think and act like us? In this hour, TED speakers explore the ways babies and children learn, from the womb to the playground to the Web.
After years of offering children self-supervised access to the Web, Sugata Mitra says kids can teach themselves. Mitra continues the conversation from earlier this episode by arguing that self-organized classes are the future of education, and he puts forward a bold vision: to build a school in the cloud.
Jonathan Coulton makes it rain in this game, which is full of weather conditions mentioned in popular song titles. Can you guess the original song title after he's rewritten the lyrics? As Bob Dylan might say: The answers, my friend, are blowing in this meteorological phenomenon that is like a strong breeze.
Plus, Jonathan finishes out the round with a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
All right, now we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back our winners from all of our previous games. From Street Smarts, we have Joe Di Dio.
EISENBERG: From a Purr-fect Game, we have Michael Haskell. From Sprechen Sie Deutsch, we have Alanna Miller. From Musical Weather Report, we have Jamie Kopf. And from Supermarket to the Stars, we have Helene Busby.
EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru Mary Tobler to take us out.
Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.
And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.
Spoiler alert: These two initially incompatible people (played by Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm) will eventually fall for each other in Love Is All You Need, a romantic comedy that isn't either, and whose titular premise we regret to report is not always true.
When a husband steps out on his wife while she's getting chemo, she's entitled to a weekend in the Mediterranean with Pierce Brosnan, right?
Right, but I believe he went there quite recently with Meryl Streep, did he not, albeit without the cancer? I didn't much care for Mamma Mia!, but the garish musical at least embraced its vulgarity with a full heart and a toe-tapping ABBA soundtrack. And now that I've seen Love Is All You Need, I'd settle for Streep doing the splits.
In the opening minutes of Something in the Air, the protagonist carves an "A" (for anarchy) into his school desk, and participates in a street demonstration that ends in a punishing flurry of police billy clubs. "The revolution's near," apparently — to quote the 1969 Thunderclap Newman hit that provides the film's title.
If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.
Caroline Kennedy's latest book comes with an agenda: to encourage a return to poetic memorization and recitation that both families and schools once considered routine.
In Poems to Learn by Heart, Kennedy stresses the importance of memorizing poetry and presents a collection of poems that she believes everyone should internalize.
"I think there's something in it for all ages," she tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I realized this shouldn't be just for kids because older people are the ones that are really working on keeping their memories going strong."
NASA is raising awareness for its upcoming launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft with its Going to Mars project. The MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled for launch this November, to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere; the craft will examine why Mars lost its atmosphere, and how that catastrophe affected the history of water there.
Part of the appeal of podcasts is portability: You can listen at the gym, in the car, or on foot. Beyond portability, though, they offer another advantage: In a world of multimedia bombast, they return listeners to an ancient idea – people talking to other people.