All Things Considered

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Each show consists of the biggest stories of the day, thoughtful commentaries, insightful features on the quirky and the mainstream in arts and life, music and entertainment, all brought alive through sound. Every weekday the two-hour show is hosted by Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block. There is also a one-hour show on Saturdays and Sundays.

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A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

Feb 20, 2012

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

When Hollywood imagines the future, from Logan's Run to Avatar, it tends to picture living spaces as sterile and characterless, without any cultural clues to the person who lives there. No record library, no DVDs, no Hemingway on bookshelves ... often no bookshelves.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Screen Time: 3 Books That Should Be Movies

Feb 20, 2012

J.D. Salinger famously refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye, saying it was "unactable." It's true the subtleties of such great novels can get lost in translation. But I thought I'd take a look at three of my favorite novels that have never made it to the multiplex in wide release. Each of these will transport you to another time and another place.

The Role Of Political Spouses: Decoding An Image

Feb 19, 2012

One of the most talked about personalities on the Republican presidential campaign trail, Callista Gingrich, rarely says a word. That hasn't kept her out of the spotlight, though. From their hair to their home life, potential first ladies get attention on the campaign trail.

The New Running Game Where 'Zombies' Chase You

Feb 19, 2012

The new iPhone app called "Zombies, RUN!" is not your standard running game.

It's designed to encourage folks, such as say, video gamers, who aren't usually associated with exercise to take up running.

British writer Naomi Alderman, who is a gamer herself as well as an Orange-award winning novelist, came up with the idea for "Zombies, RUN!" while in a class for amateur runners she tells weekends on All Things Considered guest host Mary-Louise Kelly.

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Mary Louise Kelly. Today, the world lost a man who elevated a simple arcade game...

(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL GAME)

KELLY: ...into an American obsession.

(SOUNDBITE OF PINBALL)

KELLY: Steve Kordek was Mr. Pinball. Before he came along, the game looked totally different.

DAVID SILVERMAN: The other companies had games that were six flippers per game.

KELLY: That's David Silverman, founder of the National Pinball Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

For the thousands of U.S. military men and women still fighting in Afghanistan, the realities of war mean many will have their missions cut short by serious injury. Airlifting the wounded out of the war zone and to a hospital requires specially trained medical teams. Cheri Lawson of member station WNKU spent time with trainees of the Air Force's critical care air transport team in Cincinnati. That's where the training takes place.

(SOUNDBITE OF AIRCRAFT ENGINE)

It was at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., where Whitney Houston first learned to sing, and it was there that friends and family gathered on Saturday to say goodbye to the pop superstar.

The star-studded service lasted more than three hours. Among those in attendance were Dionne Warwick, Kevin Costner and Alicia Keys.

A troubled starlet dies in a helicopter crash off the Irish coast after sending a series of mysterious text messages. Three years later, a hungry young reporter desperate for work takes an assignment to write a quickie celebrity biography of her — but finds complexity and danger.

That seemingly accidental death is the catalyst for the events in Bloodland, a new thriller by Irish author Alan Glynn.

In a victory for the White House, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an extension of the payroll tax cut on Friday after weeks of refusal. Host Mary Louise Kelly speaks with James Fallows of The Atlantic about the political reasoning behind the vote.

The Future Of Children's Books

Feb 18, 2012

Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

So here's a conundrum for parents. If you have kids, you get told over and over limit their screen time. And you're also told, instead of screen time, get them reading more, which is all well and good, except that these days, many children do their reading on a screen, which raises some interesting questions about how children read today and what direction things are headed in children's book publishing.

Country Music Award winner Gretchen Peters had an eventful 2010: The BP oil spill washed up on her doorstep, a good friend committed suicide, and her son announced that he's transgender. The last of those in particular, she says, got her thinking about personal conflict.

Who'd have thought a 77-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter would be hovering near the top of the pop charts?

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum gained two endorsements on Friday, including one from Ohio's attorney general who had previously supported Mitt Romney. Santorum and former Massachusetts governor Romney are campaigning in Michigan ahead of its Feb. 28 primary.

Both houses of Congress approved an extension of President Obama's signature payroll tax cut through the end of the year, two weeks before the actual deadline.

The wind howls on a blustery Sunday morning in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, as well-dressed families pull into the parking lot of a Mormon church.

Mormon pioneer roots run more than a century deep in this part of the state, an isolated spot between two Indian reservations.

Karen Johnson is among the Mormon faithful, passionate about God and country.

Washington County, Maine, is not a place for unhardy souls.

It's the easternmost county in all of New England, and one of the poorest. And at this time of year, people in Down East Maine do anything they can to eke out a living.

"I get about six months out of it," county resident Hartley Goston said, referring to his lobster boat, The Darian Sue. "I get a few odd jobs here and there to help tie up some loose ends."

China's economy sailed through the financial crisis unscathed — at least in the short run.

When the global crisis hit, the country's government-owned banks started lending out lots more money. The money came largely from the savings accounts of ordinary Chinese people. It went largely to finance big construction projects, which helped keep China's economy growing.

By 2009, after years of losses, the all-black football team at Manassas High School in inner-city North Memphis, Tenn., was known as 'Whipping Boy Manassas' — one of the worst teams in the entire state. The new documentary Undefeated, recently nominated for an Oscar, captures the team's following season, and the struggles of its coach and players, on and off the field.

Co-directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin describe the team's recent history.

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners about violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo.

Corn Prices Making Life Difficult For N.D. Bees

Feb 14, 2012

The northern plains, especially the Dakotas, are home to about half of the country's honey bee hives during the summer. It's been a good place for bees because they can gather nectar and pollen from so many wildflowers. But the landscape of the area is becoming less bee-friendly, and the consequences could be felt as far away as the almond groves of California, which depend on those same bees for pollination.

A Primer On China's Military

Feb 14, 2012

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now to someone who keeps a close eye on both China's military capabilities and what its intentions might be. Eric Heginbotham is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in East Asian security issues. I asked what he sees as China's core security interests.

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

A Skating Rink's 'Ribbon In The Sky'

Feb 14, 2012

It goes without saying that the men who are vying for the Republican presidential nomination found serious flaws with the budget plan President Obama released Monday. But it got us thinking that this might also be a good time to dig into the budget plans offered by the GOP candidates.

All of the candidates want to cut government spending and balance the federal budget. They also want to cut taxes.

Note: A number of listeners responded to this story and said the definition of appoggiatura was incorrect. Music commentator Rob Kapilow has a second opinion here.

Violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo believe that classical music should be fun. That's why they subvert it whenever they appear on stage.

For those who find themselves alone this Valentine's Day, or who reject the holiday altogether, you might not want to read about star-crossed lovers pining for each other and — even worse — winding up together in the end. So here are three alternatives to comfort you this Feb 14. Each novel is just the right length to read in a single night with a box of drugstore-bought chocolates. And although these tales are indeed reflections on love, the characters they follow are skeptics.

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