This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.
There are songs that express heartfelt emotions, telling stories of love or loss that are both universal and deeply personal. Then there are songs that are pretty much just lists of things. This game covers those songs, though house musician Jonathan Coulton and VIP Nellie McKay have cheekily swapped out some of the items. Raindrops on roses and what on what, again?
In this game led by host Ophira Eisenberg, we've removed the "x" sound in various words and phrases. Your job is to put the "x" back, based on the clue. For example, if she said, "Put an "x" in "hagon" to get a six-sided geometric shape, you would answer "hexagon."
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It has been noted that many of history's notorious assassins had three names: John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman. It turns out that many other famous people with three names have committed far lesser (but still disturbing) acts, like popularizing the mullet or basically inventing cat videos. Guess the celebrities as host Ophira Eisenberg leads this game.
You may be familiar with Bruce Willis' endlessly quotable catchphrase from the action movie franchise Die Hard, though we can't reprint it in full here. This game asks contestants to "clean up" the famous line by swapping out the offending obscenity for other words that are commonly found after the word "mother." Yippee-ki-yay, Mother Nature!
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 10:03 am
China says banks in the country are no longer allowed to trade in Bitcoin, the digital currency whose value has sharply risen this year. Chinese citizens, however, are not forbidden from using the currency.
The Bitcoin exchange rate took a hit following Thursday's news from China's central bank.
From Shanghai, NPR's Frank Langfitt filed this report for our Newscast unit:
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:23 am
The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter, according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That's a rise from the second quarter, when the real gross domestic product tallied a 2.5 percent gain.
The pace of growth is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012, which clocked in at 3.7 percent.
Thursday's release is the "second" estimate for the third quarter, following up on data released in November that put the GDP's increase at 2.8 percent.
A photo taken by the Granite Mountain Hotshots on June 30 shows their position on a ridge, with a red arrow indicating the original location of their lookout. The crew's lookout was the only team member to survive the fire.
Credit Chris MacKenzie / Granite Mountain Hotshots
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:16 am
An Arizona employee safety agency has fined the state's forestry division $559,000 for its failures in handling the Yarnell Hill wildfire, which killed 19 elite firefighters from the city of Prescott this summer.
"The agency concluded that State Forestry placed a higher priority on protection of homes and property than firefighter safety," reports the Prescott Daily Courier.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. This week a British couple celebrated their 70th anniversary, a romance sparked when he fell in love with her voice. It was World War II. The young RAF pilot was returning from a bombing mission over Germany when a lovely voice came over his cockpit radio guiding him down. Rushing up to the control tower he found a glamorous girl from the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. Months later Steve and Maureen Stevens married. Love at first sound. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:19 am
Attackers used guns and bombs to assault Yemen's Defense Ministry compound Thursday, in a bold daytime attack that was reportedly carried out by gunmen dressed in Yemeni military uniforms. At least 20 people reportedly were killed during the attack in the capital city of Sanaa.
"The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry, when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate," a Defense Ministry source tells Reuters.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 11:26 am
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell is more than a little aggravated with the Senate Conservatives Fund, and who can blame him.
The youngish but well-financed Tea Party organization has targeted McConnell, a five-termer from Kentucky and highest-ranking Senate Republican, by helping to bankroll a primary challenger and using the race as an intraparty, us vs. them proxy.
Let's take a closer look at people working for much less than $15 an hour. For one week this fall, writer Gabriel Thompson did temp work in a busy warehouse in Southern California's Inland Empire region, which he describes as the belly of the online shopping beast. The warehouse where he packed merchandise for 9 bucks an hour is owned by Ingram Micro, the world's largest technology distributor.
Michael Robertson, then chief of staff of the Government Services Administration, testifies on Capitol Hill on April 16, 2012. Now chief of staff of the Cabinet Affairs Office in the Obama administration, Robertson has undergone treatment for stage IV colorectal cancer.
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:07 am
It's Day 4 of the White House's new messaging push for the Affordable Care Act. Today the goal is to tell the stories of people with pre-existing conditions who are now entitled to coverage under the new health care law.
One such story comes from within the White House.
Michael Robertson, deputy assistant to the president and deputy cabinet secretary, was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer 16 months ago. He was 35.
A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank.
A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances."
That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. 21 and put new restrictions on the loans.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Protests are planned at fast-food chain restaurants 100 American cities today. Unions are staging these protests as part of a campaign to press the industry to pay more than the minimum wage. In fact, organizers are calling for $15 per hour. In some cases, that would double the pay that workers get now, and the industry appears unlikely to do that voluntarily.
The IRS is taking aim at the growing political role of tax-exempt social welfare groups. It's a category of American politics where spending has increased 80-fold in the last decade. Donors can give as much money as they want to these groups, and their names are not disclosed to the public. The IRS wants to roll back the social welfare politicking, after a summer of controversy over the way it treated Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status.
It is freezing here in Southern California. Overnight, temperatures plunged into the 20s and that cold front is threatening citrus and avocado orchards through Central and Southern California. Citrus alone is a $20 billion industry here. So growers are scrambling to protect their crops.
We reached one of them - Jim Churchill - who grows Pixie tangerines in the Ojai valley north of Los Angeles. He was spending the night in his orchard. And Jim Churchill, good morning. And this is probably the first of a few nights, right?
Wal-Mart opened its first two stores in Washington, D.C. yesterday, earning cheers from the district's mayor and some residents who say they'll be happy to shop in the city and not in the suburbs. But there have been months of debate over the wages the big box store pays its employees. Some activists and lawmakers say Wal-Mart does not pay workers enough to live on.
NPR's business news starts with an Asian breakthrough for Apple.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Wireless phone carrier China Mobile has signed a deal with Apple to offer iPhones on its network. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal would give Apple access to China Mobile's many subscribers - around 700 million of them. That's about seven times more subscribers than Verizon - which is the largest mobile carrier in the United States.
So there's a long history behind this conflict. There appears to be an agreement to hold off on the conflict, at least for a bit, and NPR's Anthony Kuhn is still with us. And Anthony, can you tell us, does it appear then that a crisis has been averted?
ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Well, at least postponed. I mean, you know, they covered topics in their talks, Steve.
Even though Christmas and New Year are still a few weeks away, we're already well into holiday party season. And punch bowls are often the centerpieces of festive gatherings. For tips on how to make sure the punch bowl does its job as star libation attraction, writer Julia Reed. She's a columnist for Garden & Gun, a Southern lifestyle magazine.
Chinese naval soldiers stand guard on China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning as it travels toward a military base in Sanya, Hainan province, in this undated picture made available on Nov. 30.
Credit China Stringer Network / Reuters/Landov
A group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, sit inside China's self-declared air identification zone, rankling the U.S., Japan and others in the region.
China has been building up its military strength for some time now, and pushing ever farther from its coastline and into international waters. The real concern now is for miscalculation — particularly with Japan — that ends up in gunfire.
Just six months ago, the Pentagon released its annual report on China's military. Its defense budget was growing. The country was building more stealthy aircraft and submarines. It even bought an aircraft carrier from the Ukraine.
Pentagon official David Helvey highlighted particular areas of concern.
A teen's relationship — or lack of good relationship — with parents, pals or teachers may have a lot to do with why most kids aren't getting the nine to 10 hours of sleep that doctors recommend. The hormonal disruptions of puberty likely also play a role.