Ron Rash is a Southern-born novelist and short story writer with a reputation on the rise; you might know him as the author of the novel Serena (a PEN/Faulkner fiction prize nominee a few years back), which is about to become a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I have just finished reading his newly issued collection: 34 pieces of short fiction, previously published from 1998 to 2014, all of them under the title Something Rich and Strange, and Ihave to say that rich and strange are two words that aptly apply to this book.
The invisible world of the bathroom isn't pretty — unless you're a microbe. After scanning the microbial zoo of four public restrooms recently, a team of researchers found a diverse swarm of characters that persisted for months despite regular cleaning of the facilities.
Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 4:52 am
Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween.
People – young and old – got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash. and points in between.
Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 11:26 am
In 2008, Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham traveled with her then-partner from their home in Mississippi to San Francisco, a few months after gay marriage became legal in California. They'd been together for about a year and a half before they decided to get married.
After the ceremony, they went back to Mississippi, where they lived together. Then a year later, they decided to split up. The state of Mississippi doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, however, so they couldn't get a divorce there.
Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 11:28 am
Marion Barry, the fiery Washington, D.C., politician who was famously re-elected after going to jail for crack cocaine possession, has died after months of battling health issues. He was 78.
The four-term mayor, who was still serving his third term on the D.C. Council, was famous for fighting for the District's disenfranchised, but won national notoriety after he was caught on FBI video with an ex-girlfriend and crack cocaine in 1990.
He was considered by many to be the district's most charismatic and controversial politician.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 5:06 pm
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STELLA MATEO: I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. I came here when I was 15 years old. And I have a degree in accounting, and I'm the mother of two daughters and the CEO of my household (laughter). I say that with pride.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 4:03 pm
As a grand jury considers whether Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson should face criminal charges over the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, many in the St. Louis suburb are calling for calm, even as they prepare for what could be a sharp public reaction to the jury's decision.
Saying "the grand jury is still gathering information," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the jury will meet next week.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 4:00 pm
Citing "great sorrow, great rage" and "great determination," University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan says she's suspending all the school's fraternities until Jan. 9. The move comes days after a Rolling Stone article in which a woman described being gang-raped when she was a freshman in 2012.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 2:16 pm
Ebola is on the rise in Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown. Just this week, 234 new confirmed infections were reported, and every day hundreds of residents call the emergency line to report more possible cases in their neighborhoods.
To deal with the surge, the nation sends health surveillance teams into the community to investigate the alerts, visiting up to five homes a day to check on residents.
The junior member of one team is Osman Sow, a young man with a wisp of a beard and a serious manner.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 1:54 pm
As Nigeria's military continues to battle Boko Haram fighters for control of towns and territory in the turbulent northeast, fearful residents are leaving — or being driven out of town. More than 200 schoolgirls, abducted by the Islamist extremists in April, are still missing.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:57 am
A football dream ended in Texas last night, as the little town of Booker saw its high school team lose for the first time this year, eliminating them from the state playoffs. But Booker High School has plenty to celebrate — the 29 players on its team include the state's all-time leading passer and leading receiver.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 9:45 am
Can Iran and six world powers reach a historic deal over Iran's nuclear program by Monday? The negotiations are at a crucial phase. As the deadline nears, regional hopes and fears are rising in equal measure.
A successful nuclear deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions could finally defuse one of the most dangerous crises in the Middle East. But a deal could also lead to more instability as regional powers react to what would be a historic re-set in relations in the Middle East.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 9:58 am
Andy Cohen started out as a producer with CBS News, doing tough stories from tough places. But his secret dream was to choreograph elaborate cat fights between wealthy, underemployed women. He's the Bravo producer responsible for the Real Housewives franchise and host of Watch What Happens Live.
We've invited Cohen to play a game called "Bzzz ... bzzz ... bzzz." Three questions for the man behind Real Housewives about house flies.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:51 am
A roadway robbery in Guinea resulted in an alarming haul this week, as thieves made off with cash, personal items — and a batch of Red Cross blood samples from patients believed to be infected with the deadly Ebola virus.
The incident happened in southern Guinea, an area close to two other West African nations hit hard by the outbreak: Liberia and Sierra Leone.
NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports:
"Robbers riding on a motorbike waylaid a taxi and made off with cellphones, jewelry and cash near the town of Kissidougou.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 11:50 am
Hoping to broker a deal to ease years of disputes over Iran's nuclear program, Secretary of State John Kerry and other diplomats are locked in negotiations in Vienna. They have until Monday to reach a permanent deal.
Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 10:26 am
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the Pokemon products whose arrival signals our kids' descent into video-game-induced catatonia is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on whether superior technique can detract from music's quality.