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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9:00am

Sat December 28, 2013
Sports

Injuries Tilt The Balance In NBA, NFL

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 11:35 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: The NBA hoped to bring out its brightest stars on Christmas Day, but another injury to Kobe Bryant cancelled his duel with LeBron James. And in the NFL, division titles and playoff spots are up for grabs, but there too injuries might make the difference. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from the studios of New England Public Radio. Welcome, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: And good morning, Linda. How are you?

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9:03am

Sat December 21, 2013
Asia

World's Most Popular Film Industry Turns 100

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You know, Americans often assume that Hollywood films are what the world watches most. But the world's most popular film industry features music, melodrama and spectacular dance moves that have become known by a single name: Bollywood.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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8:18am

Sat December 21, 2013
Politics

Congress Faces Farm Bill, Debt Ceiling In 2014

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. Senate wrapped up its first session of the 113th Congress yesterday. Despite modest signs of bipartisanship near the end of the session, this year's been lampooned as one of the least productive years in the history of the legislative branch, one mired in partisan strife. NPR's congressional reporter, Ailsa Chang, joins us now. Ailsa, thanks for being with us.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

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8:17am

Sat December 21, 2013
Around the Nation

Ornaments Give Tornado Victims A Little Christmas Cheer

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The people of Moore, Oklahoma are still living with the effects of a powerful tornado in May. The twister killed 25 people and destroyed more than a thousand homes. This holiday season, residents are reminded just how much they lost in that destruction. Kate Carlton of member station KGOU reports on one woman who's found a small way to make the holidays a bit more normal.

KATE CARLTON, BYLINE: On a recent Wednesday evening, Kim Rollins opened her home to strangers.

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8:15am

Sat December 21, 2013
Interviews

Texas Teacher And His Groovy Shirt Retire

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Back in 1973, Dale Irby was just beginning his career as a physical education teacher in the Dallas area. School photo time came around, he needed something nice to wear and had just the thing - a groovy new polyester shirt with large lapels and a brown sweater. Dale Irby has worn the same outfit ever since in every school photo for 40 years. He's now retired; so has his ensemble. He joins us from Dallas. Mr. Irby, thanks so much for being with us.

DALE IRBY: Thank you.

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7:23am

Sat December 14, 2013
NPR Story

The Nobel Prize And The Rule Of Three

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This week, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the Nobel Prize for developing the theory known as the Higgs-boson particle in 1964. But distinguished as they are, Higgs and Englert are just two of six scientists who developed the theory and because of the Nobel committees rule of three; that no single prize can go to more than three individuals, most of these scientists missed out on winning the Nobel, including Carl Hagen, a University of Rochester physics professor.

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7:23am

Sat December 14, 2013
NPR Story

Candles, Not Media Cameras, For Newtown On Saturday

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

At 9:30 Eastern Time this morning, houses of worship across Connecticut will rang their bells 26 times.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)

SIMON: These are the bells of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. Churches, mosques and synagogues in Newtown are holding events today to mark the anniversary of the shooting. Not only prayer services, also some arts and crafts activities for children, even comfort dogs.

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7:23am

Sat December 14, 2013
NPR Story

Hot Sauce Maker In A Jam

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The factory that makes and bottles Sriracha sauce is in trouble - for the second time this year. First, one of the company's Southern California plants faced a shutdown after neighbors complained about the pungent odor there, and now a California Department of Public Health has placed a 30-day hold on all new bottles of Sriracha, citing health concerns. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.

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5:13am

Sat December 14, 2013
Music Interviews

What Makes Tennessee's Music So Very Special?

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Rosanne Cash, seen here in 1956 with her dad Johnny, is one of many musicians featured in Oxford American magazine's winter issue on the music of Tennessee.
Courtesy of Rosanne Cash

From blues to funk, to country and rock, Tennessee is the place that's given voice to the likes of Bessie Smith, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes

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5:11am

Sat December 14, 2013
Shootings In Newtown, Conn.

A Grieving Newtown Mother's Motto: 'Love Wins'

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Jimmy Greene holds a picture of his daughter, Ana, as he kisses his wife Nelba Márquez-Greene, at a January news conference in Newtown, Conn. They try to remember the good days with their daughter. "It is what brings me great comfort and great joy," Márquez-Greene says.
Jessica Hill AP

As much as Dec. 14 will forever be a day of unfathomable grief for Nelba Márquez-Greene, Dec. 13 will be one of unending gratitude.

"I will never forget that day," she says.

On that day, Márquez-Greene stopped the usual frantic drill: rushing to activities and errands, worrying about the dishes and laundry, even cleaning up the mess on the floor.

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5:10am

Sat December 14, 2013
Fine Art

In The Background: Art You May Never Notice

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 12:31 am

Mountain Gorillas, one of the first dioramas on which Fred Scherer apprenticed, completed in 1936.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.

Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.

We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.

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8:41am

Sat December 7, 2013
Around the Nation

White House Invites All To 'Gather Around' A Holiday Tradition

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:35 pm

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, almost 100 volunteer decorators show up at the White House. They spend the next five days stringing garlands and hanging ornaments, making the White House sparkle for the holidays.

At NPR, we have a related tradition. This is the fourth year in a row that White House correspondent Ari Shapiro has brought us the voices of some of those volunteers.

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8:05am

Sat December 7, 2013
The Salt

Fishery Closure Puts New England's Shrimp Season On Ice

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:56 pm

Northern shrimp are shoveled into a holding chamber on a trawler in the Gulf of Maine in 2012. Stocks of the shrimp have been declining for several years, leading regulators to cancel the New England shrimping season.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

New England chefs like Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley are still coming to terms with the news: No more shrimp until further notice.

This week, regulators shut down the New England fishery for Gulf of Maine shrimp for the first time in 35 years. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission judged the stocks of the popular shrimp, also known as northern shrimp, to be dangerously low.

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8:05am

Sat December 7, 2013
Books News & Features

Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 12:43 pm

When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. The madwoman Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel.

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6:12am

Sat December 7, 2013
Simon Says

As We Memorialize Mandela, Remember Those Who Stood With Him

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 3:36 pm

Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu raise their fists in 1990, one day after Mandela was released from jail.
Walter Dhladhla AFP/Getty Images

By the time he died this week, Nelson Mandela was considered one of the few — perhaps the only — giants on the world stage.

But the man who was prisoner 466/64 on Robben Island was a giant among heroes who offered their lives for freedom as valiantly as he did. In a way, the acclaim the world now heaps so justly on Nelson Mandela commemorates them, too.

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5:29am

Sat December 7, 2013
Television

Gillian Anderson On 'The Fall' And Getting Arrested In High School

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 11:39 am

Gillian Anderson plays Stella Gibson, an enigmatic police investigator, in the BBC Two series The Fall.
Steffan Hill Acorn RLJ Entertainment

There's been a string of unsolved murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so they have to bring in the heat from London. Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson appears to be the embodiment of what people in Belfast often don't like about London: She seems cool, correct, fiercely intelligent, but icy.

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5:23am

Sat December 7, 2013
Parallels

With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 9:57 pm

Refugees warm their hands at a refugee camp in Harmanli, Bulgaria, on Nov. 27. More Syrians are turning up in Europe. Many are trying to get to northern Europe, believing that is the best place to start a new life.
Nikolay Doychinov AFP/Getty Images

The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.

In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.

"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Everything he owns is in a backpack.

"I am leaving Syria under a lot of pressure," he explains.

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7:31am

Sat November 30, 2013
Music Interviews

Tony Joe White's Steamy 'Hoodoo' Rock

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 10:54 am

Even if you haven't heard of Tony Joe White, you've probably heard his music. His songs have been performed by Elvis, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. He's even been sampled by Kanye West. Host Scott Simon talks with White about his distinctive swamp rock sound, and his new album, Hoodoo.

7:31am

Sat November 30, 2013
Books News & Features

A London Cabbie's Guide To Lit Gifts

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. No way around it. It's shopping season and for many people there's nothing like giving a book as a holiday gift. A book is not only a fine companion, it reflect something about both the giver and the receiver. And you don't have to change the batteries.

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7:31am

Sat November 30, 2013
Sports

The Case Against Big Data In Sports

University of Miami professor Robert Plant is starting to wonder if big data is ruining sports. He talks with host Scott Simon about how crunching the numbers is changing — and has already changed — the games we love to watch.

5:39am

Sat November 30, 2013
Around the Nation

From Lab To Lectern, Scientists Learn To Turn On the Charm

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 6:15 pm

About 20 scientists are clustered in a cramped conference room in San Diego, one of the country's science hubs, but they aren't there to pore over their latest research. Instead, this is a meeting of BioToasters — a chapter of the public speaking organization Toastmasters, geared specifically toward scientists.

"For a typical scientist, they will spend a lot of time at the bench, so they're doing a lot of maybe calculations or lab work where they're not interacting directly from person to person," says BioToasters President Zackary Prag, a lab equipment sales rep.

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5:38am

Sat November 30, 2013
Parallels

Crashing An Afghan Wedding: No Toasts But Lots Of Cheesy Music

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 6:17 pm

Afghans hold large, expensive weddings, even those involving families of modest means. More than 600 people attended this recent marriage at a large wedding hall in Kabul.
Sean Carberry NPR

Afghanistan may be one of the world's poorest countries, but weddings are still a big — and expensive — deal. On most weekends, Kabul's glitzy and somewhat garish wedding halls are packed with people celebrating nuptials.

One of them is the Uranos Palace complex. On the night I attended my first Afghan wedding, all three of its halls were overflowing. I was one of two foreigners in a room of about 200 men. The female guests sat on the other side of a 7-foot-high divider in the middle of the hall.

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5:37am

Sat November 30, 2013
Environment

Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 1:17 pm

Andres Quiroz, an installer for Stellar Solar, carries a solar panel during installation at a home in Encinitas, Calif.
Sam Hodgson Bloomberg via Getty Images

There is a broad scientific consensus that to keep global warming in check, we need to phase out 80 percent of all oil, coal and natural gas by midcentury. President Obama has set a nonbinding target to do precisely that.

There are technologists who say this national goal is well within reach, but there are also economists who are quite pessimistic about those prospects. And you can find this range of opinion on the University of California, Berkeley campus.

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7:35am

Sat November 23, 2013
Sports

Trail Blazers Stretch Winning Streak To Nine

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Portland's NBA team is riding a hot streak. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about the Trail Blazers, a new champion in chess, and how John F. Kennedy's assassination set a precedent for how sports commissioners handle cancelling games after tragedies.

7:35am

Sat November 23, 2013
Around the Nation

Rivals Help Level Playing Field For Tornado-Shattered Team

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:31 am

A Panther Pride sign cheers Washington High School's undefeated football team amid debris from last week's tornado.
Anthony Souffle MCT /Landov

Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but leveled by a tornado.

Last week, linebacker Kevin Scott and the rest of the Washington Community High School Panthers were celebrating. They'd just made school history with a 12-0 record, capped off with a Saturday win that sent them to the semi-finals.

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7:35am

Sat November 23, 2013
History

JFK Had The Wit To Lampoon Himself

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Host Scott Simon looks back at the witticisms of President John F. Kennedy, with a little help from late night TV host and comedian Conan O'Brien.

5:25am

Sat November 23, 2013
Television

Sarah Silverman, Serving Up Sinfully Divine Comedy

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Nothing's sacred in We Are Miracles — but then as Sarah Silverman told Terry Gross in 2010, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Janet Van Ham HBO

Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.

Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)

Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."

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5:23am

Sat November 23, 2013
The Salt

Time To Mix Up The Manischewitz Turkey Brine For Thanksgivukkah

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:35 am

Manischewitz-brined turkey centers the Thanksgivukkah feast, surrounded by challah-apple stuffing, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, horseradish-spiked mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled onions, and latkes with cranberry applesauce.
Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

You may have heard that this Thursday isn't just Thanksgiving — it's also the holiday of Hanukkah. It's a once-in-a-lifetime convergence people are calling Thanksgivukkah. Which naturally raises two questions: How did this happen? And, more importantly, what do we cook for Thanksgivukkah dinner?

For more on the math of Thanksgivukkah, listen to my story on Weekend Edition. For more on the food, read on.

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4:21am

Sat November 23, 2013
Television

Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years

Originally published on Sat November 23, 2013 11:18 am

Jenna Coleman plays Clara, companion to Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith. The relationship between the Doctor and his companions is at the core of Doctor Who's long-lived appeal.
Adrian Rogers/BBC

This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of Doctor Who. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.

From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?

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7:30am

Sat November 16, 2013
Author Interviews

Pro Wrestling Mythology Plays Out In 'Squared Circle'

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF WRESTLING EVENT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Welcome to the grandeur, the magnificence, the beauty and the brilliance of the greatest love event in all of entertainment. Welcome to WrestleMania.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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