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6:01pm

Sat December 27, 2014
Music

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:41 am

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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5:45pm

Sat December 27, 2014
Author Interviews

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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3:35am

Fri December 26, 2014
StoryCorps

The Grocery Delivery Man Who Brings Joy To A Housing Complex

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 7:52 am

Herman Travis, 55, lives in Holly Courts, a low-income housing complex in San Francisco.

Every Tuesday, Travis fills a shopping cart with groceries from a local food bank and makes home deliveries to his elderly and disabled neighbors. He started doing it in 2007 and says when he first started, people were skeptical.

"When I first started doing it. People was cautious. They didn't let me in their house, but after they got to really know me they would just be happy to see me," says Travis.

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3:31am

Tue December 23, 2014
Movie Reviews

A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 4:56 pm

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the new movie Selma.
Paramount Pictures

It's hard to believe, but there has never been a major motion picture that centers on one of this country's most iconic figures: Martin Luther King Jr. But that's about to change, with Selma, which opens Christmas Day.

The film explores the tumult and the tactics of the civil rights movement, from King's tense relationship with President Lyndon Johnson to the battle for voting rights for black Americans — a battle that reached a climax on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, as state police beat peaceful protesters trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

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5:24pm

Sun December 21, 2014
Music Interviews

Anthony Hamilton Brings Home Holiday Funk

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 9:30 am

Anthony Hamilton's first Christmas album is called Home for the Holidays.
LaVan Anderson Courtesy of the artist

Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into cliché and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.

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6:40pm

Sat December 20, 2014
The Salt

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 5:24 pm

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste.
iStockphoto.com

Here's an experiment: take a bite of whatever food you have nearby and listen to some music, something with high notes. Now, take another bite, but listen to something with low notes.

Notice anything?

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They've found that higher-pitched music — think flutes — enhances the flavor of sweet or sour foods. Lower-pitched sounds, like tubas, enhance the bitter flavors.

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5:16pm

Sat December 20, 2014
Food

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 4:59 pm

iStockphoto

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they'd have an awful lot of tales to tell — old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA's watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city's plastered past.

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9:13am

Sat December 20, 2014
Animals

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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4:01am

Fri December 19, 2014
Movie Interviews

The Eye-Opening Saga Of Walter And Margaret Keane, Now On Screen

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 9:10 pm

Amy Adams stars as painter Margaret Keane in the new movie Big Eyes.
Leah Gallo The Weinstein Company

It's a story almost too strange to be true: Throughout much of the 1960s and '70s, the wistful, wide-eyed children of painter Walter Keane were absolutely everywhere.

Paintings and posters of the big-eyed waifs, often in rags, their hair unkempt, brought fame and fortune to the charming, smooth-talking artist — along with widespread critical disdain.

But years later, it emerged that the art was actually the work of Walter's wife, Margaret Keane. She painted in secret, behind closed doors, and he publicly claimed the work as his own.

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5:19pm

Wed December 17, 2014
The Salt

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 11:21 am

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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3:26am

Tue December 16, 2014
U.S.

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 3:09 pm

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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5:12pm

Mon December 15, 2014
Goats and Soda

Dr. Kent Brantly: Lessons Learned From Fighting Ebola

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:23 pm

Dr. Kent Brantly speaks about the world's response to Ebola during the Overseas Security Advisory Council's Annual Briefing in Washington, D.C. last month.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Dr. Kent Brantly considers himself a lucky man.

He was diagnosed with Ebola five months ago while working with Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse at a hospital in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. He became so sick that he thought he was going to "quit" breathing.

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3:31am

Mon December 15, 2014
World

Around-The-World Trek Hits Obstacles Both Natural And Man-Made

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 8:02 am

North into the Caucasus, into cold gunmetal skies. Eastern Turkey.
Paul Salopek National Geographic

Journalist Paul Salopek is on a seven-year trek around the world, retracing early humans' first great migration, out of Africa.

We first spoke to him two years ago, when he was in Ethiopia, at the very beginning of his odyssey. Since then, we've reached him in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Cyprus. Eventually, he plans to walk 21,000 miles in total — and make it all the way to Tierra del Fuego in South America.

On this last leg of his trip, he has faced all manner of obstacles — both natural and man-made.

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6:09pm

Sun December 14, 2014
Author Interviews

'El Deafo': How A Girl Turned Her Disability Into A Superpower

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:59 pm

Pages from El Deafo by Cece Bell. Click here to enlarge.
Abrams

Writer and illustrator Cece Bell has been creating children's books for over a decade, but in her latest, she finally turns to her own story — about growing up hearing-impaired, after meningitis left her "severely to profoundly deaf" at the age of 4.

The book, a mix of memoir, graphic novel and children's book, is called El Deafo. It's a funny, unsentimental tale that follows Cece from age 4 through elementary school, as she transforms from mild-mannered little girl into full-fledged superhero — the "El Deafo" of the title.

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5:33pm

Sun December 14, 2014
Around the Nation

LA's Unclaimed Dead Receive Prayers, And A Final Resting Place

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 5:57 pm

County employees, media and mourners gather for the ceremony honoring the 1,489 people whose unclaimed remains are being buried in the LA County Cemetery this year.
Arun Rath NPR

Every year since 1896, Los Angeles County has held a somber ceremony for the men, women and children who die there, but whose bodies are never claimed.

Some of those buried are unidentified; they are buried as Jane and John Does.

Many others have been identified, but for a variety of reasons, family and friends never picked up their cremated remains.

This year, in an interfaith ceremony on Dec. 9, the county buried the ashes of 1,489 people in a mass grave in the County Cemetery in LA's Boyle Heights.

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7:04pm

Sat December 13, 2014
Around the Nation

In Wisconsin, A Decade-Old Police Shooting Leads To New Law

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 1:27 pm

Michael Bell Sr. (center) and his family stand near one of the billboards they bought in a campaign to bring awareness to internal police investigations. Bell's son was shot and killed by police in Kenosha, Wis.
Courtesy of the Bell family

Race is at the forefront of the current debate over the police use of deadly force. But one shooting in Wisconsin highlights another factor at play when police shoot civilians — the lack of outside investigation. And the decade-old death has led to real reform in the state.

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5:18pm

Sat December 13, 2014
Music

LISTEN: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 6:40 pm

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is expected to announce its latest group of inductees this coming week. As usual, fans are shouting about the bands they're not even considering.

All Things Considered presents a medley of the following snubbed rockers:

The Shangri-La's

Dick Dale

Steppenwolf

The Zombies

Ben E. King

Joan Baez

Deep Purple

Jethro Tull

Yes

King Crimson

Ozzy Osbourne

Warren Zevon

Dire Straits

Dolly Parton

Willie Nelson

Cheap Trick

Roxy Music

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6:39pm

Thu December 11, 2014
Theater

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.
Brigitte Lacombe Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

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5:15am

Thu December 11, 2014
Book News & Features

Join The Morning Edition Book Club: We're Reading 'Deep Down Dark'

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 6:44 pm

Kainaz Amaria NPR

Welcome to the first meeting of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it's going to work: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

Ready? Here we go:

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4:56pm

Wed December 10, 2014
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 12:12 pm

Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Many plants we eat today are a result of genetic modifications that would never occur in nature. Scientists have long been altering the genes of food crops, to boost food production and to make crops more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

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4:54am

Wed December 10, 2014
The Salt

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 9:06 pm

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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10:49am

Tue December 9, 2014
Music News

Just Who Is That 'Mean Old Daddy'?

Joni Mitchell, pictured here in 1970, wrote the song "Carey" while living in Matala, Crete.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

This song may take you back a ways — say, about 43 years.

That's Joni Mitchell, back when her voice was high and light. It's "a helium voice," as she describes it in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

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5:24pm

Mon December 8, 2014
Author Interviews

Perry Wallace, Who Broke Basketball Barriers, Didn't Set Out To Be A Pioneer

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:49 pm

Perry Wallace, playing for Vanderbilt University, blocks the shot of 'Pistol' Pete Maravich, circa 1970.
Frank Empson The Tennessean

Language advisory: Quotes in this story contain language some find offensive.


Many people are familiar with the big stories of racial integration in sports — Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers, Althea Gibson at Wimbledon. But after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many lesser-known African American athletes became "firsts" — whether they liked that distinction or not.

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4:58pm

Mon December 8, 2014
Books

How Washington's Odd Couple Transformed Welfare

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 10:49 am

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the U.S. Capitol Building in 1970.
AP

Most books about President Richard Nixon focus either on his foreign policies or on the crimes and misdemeanors that forced his resignation under threat of impeachment.

Not Stephen Hess's new book, The Professor and the President.

Hess, who has been writing about government for decades out of Washington's Brookings Institution, witnessed a rare partnership inside the White House.

The president — Nixon — was a Republican who felt obliged to do something about welfare.

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6:44pm

Sun December 7, 2014
Author Interviews

Author Of 'Bridge To Terabithia': Messages Are Poison To Fiction

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 10:07 am

Stories of My Life book cover

Katherine Paterson is the winner of two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. Her best-sellers include The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, and her most famous book, Bridge to Terabithia.

Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. She tells NPR's Arun Rath that she had an idyllic childhood until about the age of 5, when Japan invaded China. "Those years were very scary years," she says.

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4:57pm

Sun December 7, 2014
Asia

'A Universe Beneath Our Feet': Life In Beijing's Underground

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 5:47 pm

Zhuang Qiuli and her boyfriend Feng Tao sit on the bed in their basement apartment two floors below a posh condominium. Since this photo was taken, the couple has moved above ground.
Sim Chi Yin VII

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Claustrophobic Living Quarters

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3:33am

Fri December 5, 2014
Code Switch

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 7:50 am

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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3:29am

Fri December 5, 2014
StoryCorps

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:07 pm

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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4:28pm

Thu December 4, 2014
Politics

For Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Aiding Children With Disabilities Is Personal

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 7:03 pm

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was a lead sponsor of a bill that would allow special savings accounts for people with disabilities. She spoke about her son Cole, who has Down syndrome, on the House floor.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The Achieving A Better Life Experience — ABLE — Act, which faced a House vote this week, hit close to home for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. "For me personally, this bill is about a little boy who was diagnosed with Down syndrome three days after he was born. His diagnosis came with a list of future complications," she said on the House floor.

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6:16pm

Sun November 30, 2014
Music Interviews

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 6:43 pm

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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