This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The tone and pace of "Nebraska," Alexander Payne's latest film, is set from the very beginning. The opening scene - an elderly man, bundled up in a well-worn coat is lumbering down the shoulder of a freeway on the outskirts of Billings, Montana. He could be lost in a dementia-fueled haze or on a clearly defined mission. The truth about that man, Woody Grant, turns out to be a bit of both. Here's director Alexander Payne.
There are travelers and then there are travelers. Mike Spencer Bown is clearly the latter. For 23 years, he has wandered the Earth exploring every country on the planet. Now, he says he is hanging up his traveling shoes and returning home to Calgary, Canada. What more fitting guest could there be for our Wingin' It travel segment?
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MARTIN: Mike Spencer Bown joins us now for the studios of the BBC in London. Welcome to the program, Mr. Bown.
The image of Walter Cronkite taking off his glasses as he announced President John F. Kennedy's death on Nov. 22, 1963, is one that seems seared into our collective memory — even for those of us who weren't around to see it live.
Nearly 40 years later, Cronkite revisited that moment and the rest of that unsettling day in a piece that aired on All Things Considered on Nov. 22, 2002.
I read my guilty pleasure junior year of high school; a time when for many young men guilty pleasure means something else. I heard about a book of essays by Ian Frazier that was supposedly very funny. So I asked my Mom for a ride to the mall.
Back then there was no Amazon. Well, there was, but it was in South America. Fortunately, asking Mom if she'd like to go to the mall was sort of like asking Chuck Schumer if he'd mind going on television. Three minutes later, we were in the car. Mom asked the name of the book I was getting.
Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 10:57 am
Texas wasn't exactly a backwater in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, but it wasn't the economic and political powerhouse that it has become today.
Over the past 50 years, three of the nation's presidents have hailed from Texas.
"For the past few decades, Texas politicians have found a natural habitat on the national political stage in the way Dominican shortstops have found a natural habitat in baseball," the humorist Calvin Trillin wrote a couple of years ago.
The so-called "Great American Songbook" is made up of popular songs that made your grandparents and parents dance. They were written for movies and Broadway musicals by composers like Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, and others.
More than a week after Typhoon Haiyan decimated parts of the Philippines, many residents there are still awaiting help to secure food and shelter. The official death toll has climbed to more than 3,600. And the United Nations now estimates that the storm left nearly 2 million people homeless.
Fans of "Doonesbury" have been doing without the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip since the summer. The strip has been on vacation. But its creator, Garry Trudeau, has not exactly been chilling at the beach. Trudeau spent the last several months in a New York film studio making a sitcom called "Alpha House." The show is being launched online on Amazon. It chronicles the misadventures of four fictional Republican senators who share a Washington, D.C., townhouse. Jon Kalish visited the set and has this story.
Magazine publishers continue to uneasily navigate print and digital worlds. Harper's Magazine publisher John MacArthur shared his perspective on the importance of online pay walls in the magazine's October issue. All Things Considered speaks with MacArthur, MediaFinder's Trish Hagood and the co-founder of year-old literary magazine The American Reader about the changing publishing industry. You can hear all of these conversations at the audio link above.
Since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last week, the largest Filipino community in America has come together to grieve and to help.
Friday night, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, members of Long Beach's Filipino community gathered at Grace United Methodist Church to hold a vigil for typhoon victims. One by one, attendees came to the microphone and named people who died or remain lost in the storm.
President Obama tried to stanch mounting criticism of his health care law this week by announcing that state regulators can let insurance companies renew policies for 2014 that don't meet minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. But the change isn't sitting well with some state insurance regulators, and several say they won't go along with Obama's idea.
Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:35 am
Imagine a tiny computer embedded under your scalp that's constantly tracking your brain activity and zapping you when it senses something awry.
That might sound like science fiction, but a medical device that does that was just approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an option for people with epilepsy that's resistant to treatment with drugs.
Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 4:50 pm
In the typhoon-ravaged heart of the Philippines, many hospitals were badly damaged or destroyed by the storm. NPR photojournalist David Gilkey and reporter Jason Beaubien visited one battered hospital that continues to serve patients.
More than a week after the storm, the staff at Divine Word Hospital are simultaneously trying to patch up the hospital and take care of patients.
Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 2:13 pm
A U.S. Army sergeant who in 2007 allegedly shot and killed two unarmed deaf Iraqi boys who had no known ties to the insurgents then battling American forces, has now been charged with two counts of premeditated murder.
Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 1:48 pm
A seventh case since March of bacterial meningitis among students at New Jersey's Princeton University has federal health officials considering the use of "an emergency vaccine," The Star-Ledger writes.
Working as a jazz musician in the 21st century is difficult enough, but hardly anybody tries to make a go of it with a big band anymore. Yet that's exactly what Ted Nash does on his latest album, Chakra.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 12:04 pm
The daily news is rife with treachery and danger: multiple wars, simmering revolutions, natural and unnatural disasters and random acts of violence. It's enough to make one curl up in a fetal position and avoid the outside world altogether.
But what about those people whose job is to gather and deliver all of that dark news? What does the constant onslaught of terrible tidings do to someone's state of mind?
Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 1:37 pm
A suicide bombing Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan, near the site where elders will meet next week to debate a security pact with the U.S. caused multiple deaths and injuries, NPR's Sean Carberry tells our Newscast Desk.
He reports that:
"The huge blast destroyed cars and shops and scattered debris for more than 100 yards. Witnesses describe seeing injured and dead civilians being pulled from the scene. Afghan officials claim the bomber was under surveillance and exploded his vehicle when stopped at the checkpoint."