For many of us, a single cycling event — the Tour de France — defines athleticism on two wheels. The epic race was first organized by a French newspaper editor named Henri Desgrange in 1903. But Desgrange also had a hand in the creation of a very different style of cycling: the randonnée, a long distance-ride that prizes camaraderie and self-sufficiency over flat-out speed.
If you were a track and field fan in the 1980s and '90s, three names rose above all the others — and they all belonged to one woman. Jackie Joyner-Kersee rose from East St. Louis to medal in four Olympic Games and to be named the greatest female athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.
In Seattle, the city that sired Starbucks, you don't have to travel more than a few steps to find a decent — nay, great — cup of joe. Java is the lifeblood of the city: Where other cities might offer walking tours of historic sites, in Seattle, "coffee crawls" take visitors to the city's best-loved coffeehouses.
When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him paralyzed on his left side. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. Prager tells his story and probes deep questions of identity, self-deception and destiny.
For more than a decade, Maajid Nawaz recruited young Muslims to an extreme Islamist group. But while serving time in an Egyptian prison, he went through a complete ideological transformation. He left the group, his friends, his marriage for a new life as a democracy advocate.
In January 2009, businessman Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York. On the TED stage, Elias tells his story for the first time, including how the crash changed his approach to life, love and family.
See if this sounds familiar: You're seated in a movie theater, watching the latest IMAX disaster flick when someone slides their iPhone out of their pocket and starts texting their significant other. The glow from the phone lights up their face like the man in the moon and somehow — despite the $75 million used on the pyrotechnic budget alone — that blue-white glow at the edge of your vision triggers instincts honed over millions of years of evolution, and you find yourself incapable of focusing on the movie.
Laurence Anyways begins with several close-ups of strangers pinning the passing camera with looks of surprise, disdain or suspicion. The person under examination is the eponymous Laurence (Melvil Poupaud), a noted novelist who at the story's outset is about to embark upon a new life as a woman. Later, after the film has flashed back to show us her whole transition, comes an interviewer's question: "Do looks matter to you?"
I'm So Excited! a less-than-exciting new romp from the great Pedro Almodovar, dusts off one of the hoariest plot tricks in the farceur's playbook: Trap a bunch of upstanding citizens in a confined space with no exit, and watch their ids — along with their secrets and lies — come out to play.
Neil Jordan seems well aware that audiences may be feeling deep fatigue about vampires. So with his latest, the director of Interview With the Vampire makes a vampire film that seeks to reinvent the species, while harking back to a more classical — read: less sparkly — take on the genre.
During his 20-year career, Jem Cohen has shown his films in museum auditoriums more often than in commercial theaters. So it's fitting that Museum Hours, the arty documentarian's latest feature-length effort, is so indebted to Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Cohen likes to happen upon stories and images, and the 19th-century Austrian culture palace is brimming with both.
When blueberries are in season, you don't need to turn on the oven to make a delicious dessert. Valerie Erwin says it takes just 15 minutes to make one of her favorite summer dishes, Blueberry Dumplings. She shared the recipe for All Things Considered's Found Recipes series.
Reading always turns any season into summer. Maybe it's because I associate my first bouts of time with books with time out of school, with summer afternoons on the back porch when the weather made it too hot to play, and the air seemed just quiet enough that you could focus your early reading skills on the page before you and make a story emerge from the shapes and squiggles printed there. Even for someone as fortunate as I am, someone who reads for a living, summer always feels like a special time.
When the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was growing up in Nigeria she was not used to being identified by the color of her skin. That changed when she arrived in the United States for college. As a black African in America, Adichie was suddenly confronted with what it meant to be a person of color in the United States. Race as an idea became something that she had to navigate and learn.
The decade of the 1980s — when major corporations made their presence more felt in Hollywood — was for all kinds of reasons a low point in American moviegoing. But two beacons abroad, Pedro Almodovar and Neil Jordan, reminded us with movies like Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Mona Lisa how films could be personal and still reach a large (or large-ish) audience.
Thirty years later, we have Almodovar's I'm So Excited and Jordan's Byzantium — and these directors are still shining a light.
Of the over 15 I've slogged through, this year's E3 Expo was, hands down, the best video game conference I've attended. The new consoles will give us hyper-realistic games. For drama, Sony at their press event outright insulted Microsoft. Most importantly, there were plenty of new games, and they looked better than the many banal franchise games on the show floor. To call these the most promising games of E3 isn't to say they're the best games of E3. To be the best, the games will have to be played and finished and considered.
Like people, words are sometimes a bit thick around the middle. So we've opened a special clinic in which we remove the interior consonants from words, and they emerge slimmer and more confident. For example. if you have the word "story" and remove its interior consonants, you get "soy." This game is a workout for your brain.
Ready for some juicy gossip about the latest celeb to fall off the wagon? You'll have to visit TMZ for that, because the only "AA meeting" happening in this game is between celebrities' first and last names. Host Ophira Eisenberg doles out clues to famous people whose first names end with, and whose last names begin with, the letter "A."
Out of the four things on house musician Jonathan Coulton's list, try to figure out which one does not belong and why. His clues cover everything from nursery rhymes, to wonders of the world, to a certain song by Mr. Rick Astley.
And afterwards, Coulton covers a song about a person who is not like the others: Radiohead's "Creep."
When it comes to pets, it's hard not to treat them as little versions of yourself. Just ask Katy Perry, who fondly named her cat Kitty Purry. (True story.) In this game, we focus on people who are a little more highbrow, while simultaneously subjecting them the lowest form of humor. Host Ophira Eisenberg asks you to make animal puns out of the names of world leaders, like "Chairman Meow."
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms, such as "deafening silence" or "living dead."Speaking of contradictory, house musician Jonathan Coulton applies his mellow acoustic guitar to a song by the electric wizard, Jimi Hendrix, because all clues in this round are sung to the tune of "Foxy Lady."
Moonshine is trendy these days, with distillers large and small throughout the country offering up their own variety. But in eastern Tennessee, locals will tell you they've got the real "white lightning." Everyone seems to boast a family connection, and everyone has his or her own recipe.
"It's a local point of pride, a big part of eastern Tennessee family tradition," says Robert Cremins, a college student from Knoxville. Many in the region identify themselves with moonshine, Cremins tells The Salt. "I grew up hearing stories about moonshine."
It's not the least bit surprising that Paula Deen lost her gig on The Food Network — and you don't have to believe she's a terrible person to know it. All you have to do is watch Food Network Star, the competition show that seeks a new network personality and sometimes finds one.
That's where they got Aarti Sequeira, who now hosts the Indian food show Aarti Party. It's where they got Aaron McCargo, Jr., who hosts Big Daddy's House. And Melissa d'Arabian, who hosts Ten Dollar Dinners, and Jeff Mauro, who calls himself "The Sandwich King."
Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 10:25 am
It looks like a last-minute gift, like one of those tiny tomes that live near the register on the counter of your favorite bookstore, hoping to catch the attention (or at least the impulse) of shoppers in the check-out line. Given its digest-sized dimensions and jokey title, you'd be forgiven for assuming A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting is a hastily assembled collection of cornball homilies, like those miniature books about dads, grads and golf that double as greeting cards this time of year. But don't be fooled.