Weekend Edition

Weekends at 8-10AM
Scott Simon

Whether revealing events in small-town America or overseas, or profiling notable personalities, Weekend Edition from NPR News appreciates the extraordinary details that make up every story. This two-hour morning newsmagazine covers hard news, a wide variety of newsmakers, and cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor, courtesy of hosts Scott Simon and Liane Hansen.

On Saturdays, Simon's award-winning commentaries sum up an idea or event related to the week's news. There are fresh reports from a cross-section of NPR correspondents on topics from religion to health to food to politics. Simon's interviews with key artists, authors, performers and personalities are always memorable.

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Hansen on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Troubled U.S. Bobsled Team Races For A Championship

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The best bobsled racers in the world are in Lake Placid, New York this weekend, competing in the World Championships. There's big drama this year for the American team. After capturing a historic gold medal two years ago at the winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the U.S. has struggled, and lost ground to the Europeans. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, American sledders hope to prove on their home track that they can still compete.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Payroll Tax Cut Brings Other Benefits

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Sports: Spring Training Begins; Basketball All-Star Ahead

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

It's the beginning of the beginning of baseball season, and two major thumpers have jumped leagues. Plus, basketball makes it to a midpoint, and suddenly you have to ask: Who's really the best team in Los Angeles? Host Scott Simon talks with ESPN's Howard Bryant about the sports of the week.

8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Michigan Brakes For Santorum

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

That Michigan primary is just in 10 days and the contest there is turning to be closer than expected. Mitt Romney grew up in Michigan. His father, George Romney, ran a car company there. He was the governor. But Santorum has come on strong and even ahead in current polls. We're joined now by another son of Michigan, NPR's Don Gonyea, live in our studio, who spent the week in his home state. Thanks very much for being with us, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: My pleasure. Good to be here.

SIMON: What's the latest?

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Finally, The Physics Of The Ponytail Explained

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There's an article by three British scientists in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters that says, in part: A general continuum theory for the distribution of hairs in a bundle is developed treating individual fibers as elastic filaments with random intrinsic curvatures, applying this formalism to the iconic problem of the ponytail. The iconic problems of the ponytail? Where's the problem? Who better to explain than our math guy, Keith Devlin of Stanford University?

Keith, this is for real?

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

It's 'Shatner's World' And He Wants You To See It

William Shatner in Shatner's World: We Just Live In It on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre. In the 90-minute show, Shatner illustrates some of his stories with photos and video clips.
Joan Marcus

Over the past half-century, the wild range of roles played by William Shatner has included a starship captain, a blowhard attorney and the man who can get you a deal on a hotel room.

Now, for the first time since John F. Kennedy was in the White House and James T. Kirk was just a glint in Gene Roddenberry's eye, Shatner has returned to Broadway and the stage.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Roadblocks That Might Stall China's 'Unstoppable' Rise

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Throughout this last week while the Chinese vice president was visiting the United States, there was a lot of talk about America and American business finding new opportunities in China, selling more to Chinese consumers instead of just buying so much from the world's second largest economy. Many Americans also see China as an unstoppable economic force that's surpassing the United States. But how does all this look from China? We're going to now to NPR's Shanghai correspondent, Frank Langfitt. Frank, thanks for being with us.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Mortgage Woes Pock Irish Landscape

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Many lives are being turned completely upside down by the eurozone crisis. That's especially true in Ireland, where they're still clearing up the mess left when the property bubble burst. Thousands of homes lie empty and unsold. And as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, some people have been left with colossal debts.

PHILIP REEVES, BYLINE: Step, for a minute, into the strange world of Jill Godsil. She lives among the farms and villages and rolling hills of Ireland's Wicklow County. The countryside's spectacular.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Investor Counting On Ireland's Better Days

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As Phil reported, things are still pretty tough for the people of Ireland, but there's one man who thinks things there will start to look up before too long. He's prepared to put money on it, billions in fact.

Michael Hasenstab is what's known as a contrarian investor. He's just about the only person prepared to bet that Ireland's fortunes will greatly improve over the next couple of years. Michael Hasenstab joins us from Templeton Investments in San Mateo, California.

Thanks for being with us.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

You Say 'Nay,' I Say 'Neigh': Goats Have Accents

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News,

Goats bleat. But a new study says: Not all in the same accent. Goats have accents, according to a new study from Queen Mary University in London. Now, a bleat from one group of goats sounds like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

SIMON: But no other goat would apparently confuse that bleat with the accent of this goat.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Any more than you'd confuse Kenneth Braunagh with Billy Bob Thornton.

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8:00am

Sat February 18, 2012
NPR Story

Wary Of Another Greek Bailout, EU Procrastinates

Originally published on Sat February 18, 2012 10:16 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Greek economy continues to suffer. It's been another painful week for that country starting Sunday when thousands of people demonstrated outside of parliament, and rioters torched buildings in Athens. Greek lawmakers passed harsh new austerity measures despite those protests, and still, Greece's European partners refused to approve the new bailout that the Greeks need to avoid default. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports what EU finance ministers will be considering when they meet again on Monday.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Greek spoken)

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6:27pm

Fri February 17, 2012
Music Interviews

Roberta Flack's Long And Winding Road

Roberta Flack's new album, Let It Be Roberta, is a collection of reworked Beatles favorites.
Brian T. Silak Courtesy of the artist

Roberta Flack has been singing in a way that plucks at the heartstrings since 1969, when she recorded the breakthrough song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." She followed that hit with many, many more, including, "Killing Me Softly with His Song," "Where Is the Love" and "The Closer I Get to You."

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8:54am

Sat February 11, 2012
Simon Says

Ralph Nader's $2,680 Airplane Aisle Seat

When Americans traveled by stagecoach, they had to worry about rocks, rattlesnakes, robbers and other varmints. But I wonder if there weren't fewer passenger complaints.

Ralph Nader is not running for president this year. But he's giving a couple of speeches in Dallas this weekend and booked an American Airlines flight a couple of weeks ago for a $750 fare.

The flight takes three hours. Mr. Nader is 6 feet, 4 inches tall. His longtime travel agent tried to select an aisle seat, which is more comfortable for Mr. Nader. Probably for whoever might be next to him, too.

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8:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
Fine Art

Museum Dedicated To All Of French Artist's Many Talents

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As most people who care about modern art, to list the major 20th century painters, they may start with Picasso, Matisse, then move on to the Americans, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. But in France, a new museum just opened, devoted exclusively to one of the most multi-talented, controversial and often forgotten artist of the last century, Jean Cocteau.

Frank Browning traveled to France on the Cote d'Azure to report on this very peculiar man and the museum that celebrates him.

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8:00am

Sat February 11, 2012
Movie Interviews

'Chico And Rita': A Love Story With A Latin Groove

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 6:03 pm

Big Sounds, Bright Lights: Chico and Rita's musically inflected story follows a pair of lovers, a pianist and a singer, from Havana to New York to Paris.
GKIDS

Fernando Trueba, whose film Belle Epoque won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993, will be back at the Academy Awards this year; his film Chico and Rita, a love story about a Cuban pianist and singer, is up for a statue in the Animated Feature category.

Trueba says animation has some of the qualities that classic old movies had — "a more concise, more synthetical way of storytelling."

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6:13am

Sat February 11, 2012
Author Interviews

In A StoryCorps Booth, Love Is 'All There Is'

iStockphoto.com

Dave Isay begins his new book with a quote from co-worker Lillie Love, whose name resonates deeply with his latest project. Shortly before she died in 2010, Love said, "Love is all there is ... When you take your last breath, you remember the people you love, how much love you inspired and how much love you gave."

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5:02pm

Fri February 10, 2012
Music Interviews

An Understudy Turned Star Shines On The Met Stage

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 11:46 am

Jay Hunter Morris has received glowing reviews for his role as Siegfried in the Metropolitan Opera's most recent production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

Siegfried is a Norse hero, and one of the most demanding roles in all of opera. He slays dragons and has to sing about it — in Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods, the last opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle.

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12:18pm

Sat February 4, 2012
NPR Story

UN Vote On Syria Fails

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene, in for Scott Simon. It's been nearly a year since anti-government protests began in Syria. President Bashar al-Assad has carried out a violent crackdown. We've heard tough statements, warnings from capitals around the world. And today, it appeared the U.N. Security Council was poised to issue a resolution condemning the crackdown.

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12:18pm

Sat February 4, 2012
NPR Story

Massive Moscow Rally Calls For Putin's Exit

In Moscow on Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters braved the sub-zero temperatures to gather in the city center. They were demonstrating against Vladimir Putin's planned return to the presidency next month. Guest host David Greene has more.

9:25am

Sat February 4, 2012
NPR Story

20 Million Years Later, Russians Work To Drill Into Lake

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Imagine a place on earth where there's been no light, no wind for millions of years. Lake Vostok is one such place. The world's third largest lake, in terms of amount of water, has long been hidden, buried beneath two miles of ice until, perhaps, this coming week. Russian researchers are about to break through that ice.

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8:01am

Sat February 4, 2012
Simon Says

Standing In Defense Of Diet Coke

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 1:05 pm

Diet Coke. David Greene likes it.
iStockphoto.com

I would like to rise up today in defense of Diet Coke. All diet sodas, in fact. But Diet Coke happens to be my favorite.

I like the stuff.

Cracking open a can of it, or pouring some over ice, helps me survive a long work day.

This love of Diet Coke is one reason my re-entry into the United States has been a little rocky. When I moved back recently after a reporting assignment in Russia, nobody warned me that war had been declared on Diet Coke.

The artillery was fired by Men's Health magazine.

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8:00am

Sat February 4, 2012
NPR Story

What The People Want Out West

Originally published on Sat February 4, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As the Republican primary season pushes westward, potential voters in Nevada, Colorado and Arizona tell us about the issues that matter most to them.

JOHN THORNTON: My name is John Thornton. I live in Parker, Colorado. Individual rights - state's rights, smaller government.

CORINNE LOYOLA: Corrine Loyola(ph), I'm from Castle Rock, Colorado. What we need to do is start collecting our taxes properly. And we need to let corporations do what they're going to do.

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4:39pm

Fri February 3, 2012
Music Interviews

Ruthie Foster: Texas Gospel With A Worldly Touch

Ruthie Foster's new album is Let It Burn.
John Carrico

Ruthie Foster is from a small town in central Texas — but there's nothing small about the way she sings on her new album, Let It Burn. Zigzagging between blues, soul, gospel and rock, the album features solid originals and surprising covers, along with several stirring collaborations with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

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8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Gingrich Tries To Scoop Up Votes In Fla.

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. We begin with the latest in the Republican race for president. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney campaigned in Florida yesterday. Mr. Gingrich made appearances before two communities whose votes he hopes to win in Tuesday's primary. He spoke to Latino home builders and businesspeople in the morning, and had a rally with a group of Republican Jewish voters in the afternoon. NPR's Brian Naylor reports.

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8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

GOP Candidates Court Hispanic Voters

Republican candidates' efforts to win Hispanic voters have intensified in advance of the Florida primary, airing ads in Spanish and contending over immigration. Host Scott Simon speaks with Maria Elena Salinas, co-host of Noticiero Univision, about Hispanic voters' role in the Republican primary and the upcoming presidential election.

8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Your Letters: On Propaganda And Appreciation

Originally published on Sat January 28, 2012 10:46 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Last week we spoke with Christian Bale who stars in the new film, "The Flowers of War." The movie takes place in China during Japan's violent occupation of Nanjing in 1937. "The Flowers of War" has been criticized as being part of an effort by the Chinese government to improve China's image in the world.

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8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Sports: Finals Down Under; A New Tiger In Detroit

The women's finals in the Australian Open are already over. In baseball, power-hitter Prince Fielder has returned to his childhood team, the Detroit Tigers, for which his father played. Host Scott Simon talks sports with Howard Bryant of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com.

8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Wolves Attract Tourists, But Reality Lurks

A niche industry of tour companies is taking people into wolves' habitat at Yellowstone National Park. Montana Public Radio's Dan Boyce went on an expedition with a man who recognizes the problems wolves bring to the landscape even as he makes his living off of them.

8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

Egyptians Divide As They Celebrate Together

This week, Egyptians marked the first anniversary of the uprising that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Deepening political divisions between pro-Islamist and secular protesters marred the event, erupting into violent scuffles. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports.

8:00am

Sat January 28, 2012
NPR Story

On The Stump: Obama Roams Pivotal Swing States

President Obama is back in Washington Saturday after visiting five different states, all of which are likely to be hotly contested in November. He expanded on some of the ideas he outlined in Tuesday's State of the Union address and offered a preview of the argument he'll be making in the general election. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

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