I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. You know how in America we say we don't like dynasties, but then again, we actually kind of do. And we're certainly fascinated by them, and if you follow sports, in particular football, then you're probably fascinated by the Gronkowskis.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, you might dream of just one of your kids making it as a pro athlete. Well, Gordie Gronkowski is batting four for four with another in the wings. We'll hear from Gordie and two of his sons in just a few minutes. First, though, we want to talk about an issue that's been in the headlines in this country. The issue of gay rights was front and center at the Supreme Court term that just ended. Legal advances were celebrated by LGBT activists everywhere.
Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon recently attended San Diego Comic-Con. He kept a diary during one of the largest media events in the world.
9:30 a.m.: I file the Day 1 diary with Linda and send out a tweet asking Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners who are attending Comic-Con to come to the Marriott bar at 5:30 today to get a PCHH pin. It's something on the order of a "meetup," as the kids say.
In the old days, when a book came out it just had to compete with other books. But these days a book has to compete not only with other books, but also with blog posts and tweets and tumblrs and everything else in written form. There's only so much that readers feel like reading, and as a result, every year many good books get lost under a tide of prose.
Meg Lukens Noonan's adventure began with a simple curiosity. She happened across a website belonging to a renowned, fourth-generation tailor, John H. Cutler, and noticed a photograph of a $50,000 coat.
It looked "like any old blue overcoat that you might find in Macy's," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I didn't recognize it as being special just by looking at it."
Every year for the past four decades, comic book fans dressed as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman - anything, really - have descended upon the city of San Diego for Comic-Con. The convention has grown as fast as a speeding bullet in the last decade. This year, an estimated 130,000 Con-goers are walking the floor, sitting on panels, and boosting their geek credentials at various workshops.
Howard Norman's memories of the strange incidents of his life compose his memoir. In 2003, his family rented their house to a poet, who killed her son and then herself in the Normans' home. Norman, his wife and daughter decided to continue living there, giving a certain weight to the title of his memoir, I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place.
But his book begins in a very different place, with the story of Norman's childhood, a bookmobile and a swan.
On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person, past or present, with five letters in the first and last names. One letter in each name is changed to make a new word. You name the people.
Last week's challenge: In the phrase "clothes closet," all the letters of the second word can be found inside the first. Think of another two-word phrase that means a place to keep clothes in which all the letter of the second word are found inside the first. The first word has nine letters, the second has six.
South Florida has been irresistible for crime writers, among them Carl Hiaasen, Edna Buchanan and Harry Crews. Now John Dufresne, most famously the author of the novel Louisiana Power and Light, has joined that list with his first mystery novel.
No Regrets, Coyote is Dufresne's eighth novel, and it begins with the killing of an entire family in the fictional South Florida town of Eden. When the police get to the scene of the crime, they find a typed note, which they insist is a suicide letter.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. For the past few years, in July the Russia provincial town of Vologda has hosted a European Film Festival. Vologda is a sleepy city far from the Russian metropolises of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and every year the arrival of European filmmakers and actors to the Russian heartland is a very special event.
This year, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley attended the festival.
In the final years of his life, Orson Welles regularly met his friend and business partner Henry Jaglom for lunch in L.A. to discuss future projects, old anecdotes, and Hollywood gossip. Jaglom, a filmmaker in his own right (his work includes A Safe Place, Someone to Love, and Festival in Cannes), kept a tape recorder running in his bag — which Welles requested, according to Jaglom, to accumulate material for an autobiography.
Popular lore has it that the Italian merchant Marco Polo was responsible for introducing the noodle to China. This legend appeals to Italians, but if you ask the Chinese, they may beg to differ.
In her latest book, On the Noodle Road, author Jen Lin-Liu chronicles a six-month journey along the historic Silk Road from eastern China, through central Asia, Turkey, Iran and eventually arriving in Italy, in search of the true origin of the noodle.
In 2012, comedian Louis C.K. tweeted: "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." The set C.K. was referring to was Notaro's performance the day she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. That set became "Tig Notaro: Live," which is now out now on iTunes.
We've invited Notaro to play a game called "Tig, meet Tug." Frank Edwin McGraw, known as Tug, was one of the great relief pitchers in baseball, or at least the most colorful. We'll ask Notaro three questions about her near-namesake.
For seven seasons on Saturday Night Live, actress Kristen Wiig made us laugh — laugh hard — with her off-the-wall, over-the-top characters, from Sue, the woman who loved surprises a little too much, to the unnervingly exuberant Target Lady.
Of course, there is another American who worked for this country's intelligence gathering apparatus who's in legal limbo. The case of Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who leaked classified information to the media, is being followed internationally. Currently, Snowden is holed up in a Moscow airport while he tries to get temporary asylum, as he figures out a way to get to one of several countries that have offered him shelter from U.S. charges of espionage.
Monkey See contributor/longtime nerd Glen Weldon is headed to San Diego Comic-Con. He's filing periodic updates from one of the largest media events in the world.
Special note: If you're at SDCC, there will be an unofficial Pop Culture Happy Hour meetup in the Marina Bar at the Marriott Marquis and Marina Friday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time. (Don't get excited, It'll just be Glen handing out PCHH pins.)
9:02 a.m. (all times PT): I am sitting in a boat between Goth Wonder Woman and an entertainment lawyer.
First, we broke the news about fast food overtaking restaurants in France. Then we reported the shocker that more than a third of French restaurants serve frozen meals. If these revelations ruin your impression of France as a bastion of culinary tradition, you may not want to read further.
Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 12:27 pm
When I was passing out assignments for this week's movie reviews, I noticed that none of my critics had raised a hand to bid for Turbo -- you know, the DreamWorks animated comedy about a sheltered suburban garden snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500, and the scrappy squad of Van Nuys strip-mall snails who, with the help of an ethnically diverse array of down-on-their-luck shopkeepers, help him make that dream come true.
Wait, I think I've just figured out why I ended up with this assignment my own self.
And now it's time for "BackTalk." That's where we hear from you. Editor Ammad Omar is back with us. What do you have for us this week, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hi, Michel, we got a lot of e-mails this week about the George Zimmerman verdict. A ton of listener responses, as you can imagine, and a lot of people were really angry this week. Some people were mad at the jury, some people were mad at the media for the way we covered the case.
"Is it OK if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, Saks came forward in 2007 with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.