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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

Your Letters: Racial Terms And Baseball Legends

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF LETTERS THEME MUSIC)

SIMON: A particular phrase we used in last week's coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting prompted many listener comments. In our profile of Angela Corey, the Florida state attorney directing Florida's investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin's death, we described George Zimmerman the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin in February as a white Latino.

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Religion
7:00 am
Sat April 7, 2012

The 'Heart Of Spiritual Life': Joy, Not Happiness

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will observe Easter Sunday with joy. But what is joy? Not just happiness, laughs, or satisfaction, but joy? We turn to Father James Martin. He's a Jesuit priest, a contributing editor to America Magazine, and the author of "Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of Spiritual Life." He joins us from our studios in New York.

Jim, thanks for being with us.

FATHER JAMES MARTIN: My pleasure.

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Music Interviews
3:59 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Rascal Flatts: 'Rekindling The Fire' Of Its Country Roots

Rascal Flatts is one of the most popular country groups of the last decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 7, 2012 11:16 am

Rascal Flatts is one of the most successful country crossover acts of the past decade. The award-winning trio has released eight studio records in 10 years and sold more than 21 million albums.

So why did the group recently consider breaking up?

"We had reached a crossroads to where we needed to dig deep to see if we, in fact, had the fire and hunger that we did when we first started out — to keep trying to forge ahead and be better than we'd been and push ourselves to be creatively energized again," bass player Jay DeMarcus says.

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Simon Says
8:26 am
Sat March 31, 2012

Beef, Tarantula And Gout: Food Critics Suffer, Too

Food professionals will tell you: Eating asks a lot of your body.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 31, 2012 1:26 pm

Burp!

'Scuse me, but is someone trying to kill off food critics?

What about themselves?

Frank Bruni, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times, now an op-ed columnist, has revealed that he has gout.

Gout is a painful inflammation of the joints that's been called the King's Disease because it's historically associated with the kind of gluttony only kings could afford: profuse servings of beef, lobster, goose liver and strong drink.

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Monkey See
11:01 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Snow White Rising: Why This Princess, And Why This Moment?

Lily Collins plays Snow White in Mirror Mirror opposite Julia Roberts as the vain Queen jealous of Snow's beauty.
Jan Thijs Relativity Media

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 1:44 pm

Snow White is having a moment.

The new movie Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen. In June, another Snow White movie opens starring another Oscar winner, Charlize Theron, in the same role. And Disney is working on a new animated film loosely based on Snow White set in 19th-century China. So what makes Snow White so right for right now?

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Jazz
3:56 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

Reviving James Booker, The 'Piano Prince Of New Orleans'

Piano player James Booker is considered a New Orleans legend.
Bunny Matthews

Every day in New Orleans, Lily Keber rolls out of bed and walks to a flat, minor office building to meet her muse. Keber makes a cup of coffee with chicory, hooks up her computer and waits for what sounds like a dozen spiders to crawl across a piano.

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Middle East
9:41 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Despite Cease-Fire Push, Violence Escalates In Syria

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The situation in Syria has deteriorated further this week. Government troops once again opened fire on thousands of protesters, armed rebels continued their own resistance, which looks more and more like an insurgency. All this despite a push by the United Nations fro a cease-fire. NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.

KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: It's hard to know where to start when it comes to Syria. First, let's go the protests that continued despite the fact that violence is on the rise.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTING)

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Simon Says
8:26 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Atheists Seek Acceptance Following Hearts, Not Faith

A rally organizers have billed as the "largest secular event in world history" will be held on the National Mall today.

The Reason Rally will bring atheists and nonbelievers together in a hallowed American place.

But Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry, one of the organizations involved, says, "It's not a march on Washington where we're picketing anything. It's a celebration of the fact that the secular movement is really starting to come into its own."

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Performing Arts
5:03 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Basil Twist: A Genius, With Many A String Attached

Puppeteer Basil Twist poses with Ballerina, the marionette at the center of a tragic love triangle in his adaptation of Petrushka.
Doriane Raiman NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:56 am

Basil Twist has been called a genius. The art he's a genius at? Puppetry — which he knows can be a hard sell.

"It's not of this time," he says. "It's not of the world we live in now."

But Twist, a highly trained practitioner, brings this art of the past to the present with innovative creations beyond the likes of the Muppets or their foul-mouthed cousins on Avenue Q.

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Author Interviews
4:57 am
Sat March 24, 2012

'The Big Con': If You Can't Avoid It, Avenge It

promo image
istockphoto.com

Americans have always been fascinated by con men. Why else would we have so many movies about legendary swindlers? Most real-life cons are probably less entertaining than the ones on the silver screen, but in her new book, Amy Reading unearths a historical swindle that rivals anything ever imagined by Hollywood.

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Monkey See
4:56 am
Sat March 24, 2012

Shakespeare's Accent: How Did The Bard Really Sound?

How were William Shakespeare's words pronounced more than 400 years ago? A new recording from the British Library aims to replicate the authentic accent of Shakespeare's day. Above, a depiction of the dramatist at work in his study, by A.H. Payne.
Edward Gooch Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 24, 2012 4:45 pm

"To be or not to be" may be the question, but there's another question that's been nagging Shakespeare scholars for a long time: What did Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio, Portia or Puck really sound like when Shakespeare was first performed more than four centuries ago?

The British Library has completed a new recording of 75 minutes of The Bard's most famous scenes, speeches and sonnets, all performed in the original pronunciation of Shakespeare's time.

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Music Interviews
5:09 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Julia Nunes: Homesick Anthems Spawn An Internet Star

Julia Nunes' new, fan-funded album is titled Settle Down.
Shervin Lainez

Originally published on Sat March 24, 2012 9:41 am

Julia Nunes (pronounced "noonz") grew up in New York state, but went to college far away from her hometown friends and family. To keep in touch, she posted videos to YouTube — mostly goofy scenes from her dorm room.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Composer Matches Music To Horse Hooves

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

As London prepares for an Olympic influx, the world's athletes are not the only ones limbering up. Composer Tom Hunt is at work with members of a British team who compete in the equestrian sport called dressage. He joins us from the BBC studios in Salford.

Thank you for joining us.

TOM HUNT: Thank you for having me.

LYDEN: The music that you compose for the equestrian competition, tell us how the music and the horse work together.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Soldier Suspected Of Killing Afghans In Kan. Prison

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Scott Simon is away. I'm Jacki Lyden. The soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians is today being held at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales now has an attorney and the lines of his defense are beginning to emerge. The case has also put America's prosecution of the war in Afghanistan on trial. There are new disputes between the U.S. and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 17, 2012

Where Is Counterinsurgency In Afghanistan Now?

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

As further details emerge about this week's shootings in Afghanistan, the situation on the ground there continues to develop. As we've heard, in recent years a lot of emphasis has been placed on the counterinsurgency effort, on winning hearts and minds as opposed to targeting terrorist cells. So what do these latest incidents mean for that already fragile effort? John Nagl is a military counterinsurgency expert. He is now teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

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Author Interviews
5:23 am
Sat March 17, 2012

'The O'Briens': A Multigenerational Canadian Epic

Pantheon

In the Law of Dreams, Canadian writer Peter Behrens' first novel, an Irish immigrant, based on Behrens' grandfather, makes his way out of famine-starved Ireland to Canada. The novel came out in 2006 to wide acclaim and won Canada's Governor-General's award for fiction.

Now, Behrens has followed up with another multigenerational novel. The O'Briens opens in 1867, with teenage Joe O'Brien scratching out a living in Quebec after his father and mother have both died.

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Poetry
5:22 am
Sat March 17, 2012

A St. Patrick's Poem On Shamrocks And Stereotypes

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Ireland has launched some of the greatest writers in English literature, from William Butler Yeats to Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw.

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Music Interviews
5:27 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Moot Davis: A Rocker With A Honky-Tonk Heart

Moot Davis' new album is Man about Town.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 18, 2012 9:07 am

Though guitarist Moot Davis grew up a New Jersey rocker, he had an appreciation for country music thanks to his West Virginian parents. But it wasn't until he saw a certain cola commercial that he really turned a corner.

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Simon Says
7:57 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Actress Sues IMDB, But It's Internet Privacy On Trial

Actress Junie Hoang is going to court because her IMDB profile reveals her age.
IMDB

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 12:49 pm

I hope it's not ungentlemanly to note that Junie Hoang is 40 years old. Her birth date appears in the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, as does the fact that she has played a headless woman in Domain of the Damned and Ms. Fix-It in Voodoo Dolly.

She doesn't sound like a woman to cross.

Junie Hoang is going to court against IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, because it reveals her age in her entry. She believes that could cost her work.

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

How Powerful Is A Political Yard Sign?

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 12:49 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As the candidates stump for votes, Republicans in Kansas and two U.S. territories will caucus today, and pick their choices to be the Republican nominee this fall. Many voters will show their support for a particular candidate. Long before they cast any votes, they might put up a poster or plant a yard sign for their candidate. These signs spring up like mushrooms every campaign season. Do they actually work?

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

The Week In Sports

Tom Goldman joins host Scott Simon to talk about the latest sports stories.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Boats Ashore, Tsunami Scars Japanese Fishing Town

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 12:49 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.

(SOUNDBITE OF SEAGULLS)

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NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Fukushima Starts Long Road To Recovery

NPR's Richard Harris talks with host Scott Simon about the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors, one year after multiple meltdowns there spread radioactive materials across a swath of northern Japan. Huge technical challenges remain and prospects for resettling the area are uncertain.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Libyan Interim Leader On Recovery, Instability

This time last year, Col. Moammar Gadhafi was losing control of Libya. Scott Simon talks with Abdel-Rahim el Keib, the Libyan interim prime minister who took over in the wake of the country's uprising.

NPR Story
7:00 am
Sat March 10, 2012

Will Job Numbers Add Up To Votes For Obama?

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 12:49 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We've been hearing the latest employment numbers show things moving in a positive direction, but the economy and jobs market are still weak. That's, of course, a major factor in an election year. Our friend from the business world, Joe Nocera, joins us. He's an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Joe, thanks for being with us.

JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.

SIMON: As we heard, of course, the economy added more jobs in February than economists had expected. Is this a trend or true stability?

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