Movie Reviews
1:13 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

In A 'Miraculous Year' For Movies, Edelstein Picks His Favorites

In the sci-fi romance Her, a lonely man (Joaquin Phoenix) finds love in a rather unexpected place — with a computer operating system named Samantha.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

"It was a miraculous year," film critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. At a time when Hollywood is churning out Blockbusters and superhero movies that are guaranteed to make money at home and overseas, "it's really great when so many interesting movies, somehow or other, manage to bleed through," he says. " ... You really feel as if directors are taking chances in their storytelling. They are creating a new syntax for every story."

Here are his favorite movies this year:

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Television
12:54 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

David Bianculli's Top 10 Shows: 2013 Was A 'Good Year For TV'

Kevin Spacey (left) and Robin Wright star in House of Cards, directed by David Fincher. The Netflix series, which follows a Machiavellian politician, is an adaptation of a BBC series of the same name. Hear an interview with Spacey and Fincher.
Patrick Harbron Netflix

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 4:44 pm

This was a good year for TV, says critic David Bianculli, and that had a lot to do with two new shows from Netflix: House of Cards, the American adaptation of the BBC political thriller series, and Orange Is the New Black, a dramatic comedy which takes place in a women's federal prison. "I was very impressed with the overall quality of what Netflix gave us," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... That was quite a string of good shows."

So, without further ado, here's Bianculli's top-10 TV list for 2013:

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Jazz Piano Christmas

NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Andy Bey, Stanley Cowell, Sullivan Fortner and Michele Rosewoman perform their favorite holiday songs

NPR

A Chanticleer Christmas

"A Chanticleer Christmas" is American Public Media’s one-hour celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the 12-voice San Francisco-based men’s choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries – from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic and contemporary carols.

Lisa Kohler

Choral Christmas with Stile Antico

Stile Antico concert from St. Paul's Church in Cambridge, Mass.

Marco Borggreve
Food
12:00 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Spicing Up Your Holiday Drink List

General Harrison's Eggnog No. 3
David Kressler

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 2:24 pm

When it comes to holiday drinks, there's always the traditional recipes for mulled wine and eggnog. But what about a taste of something new and different?

James Beard Award-winning mixologist Dale DeGroff has some surprising ideas to spice up your drink menu this season. He is widely credited with reviving the art of the cocktail. He's also president and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

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World
11:58 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Diplomat's Arrest Causes US-India Strain

Since the recent arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, US-Indian relations have been strained. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of South Asian-Americans Leading Together and Sandip Roy, Culture Editor for the Indian news site FirstPost.com.

Law
11:58 am
Tue December 24, 2013

New Law Opens Birth Certificates, Sparks Questions

A new law lets adopted people in Ohio see their original birth certificates — but opponents say it comes at a cost to the birth parents. Guest host Celeste Headlee takes on the topic with law professor Carol Sanger, birth mother Jodi Hodges, and advocates Adam Pertman and Betsie Norris.

8:01 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Ice storm forces families into warming shelters

Lead in text: 
Hotels in area have filled quickly and some have no vacancy
Raynard Alexander heard trees falling before he and his family were forced out into the cold. "We have a row of trees along the house and the tops got heavy and they kept falling every 30 minutes," he said Monday. The top of the ice encrusted tree finally fell through the kitchen roof and Alexander.
We Are One
7:53 am
Tue December 24, 2013

WestSouthwest: E-book explores race past and present in Battle Creek (rebroadcast)

Cover of We Are One
Credit Battle Creek Enquirer

WestSouthwest with Justin Hinkley and J.R. Reynolds

This week's WestSouthwest is a rebroadcast from October. It features the Battle Creek Enquirer E-book We Are One

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Food
7:48 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Want A New Twist On A Traditional Holiday Dish?

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene with a new twist on a traditional holiday dish. No, I'm not talking about turducken. This year's novelty poultry might be the chickenbear. Russian artist Viktor Ivanov has created a teddy bear out of chicken meat, covered in chicken skin, with olives for eyes. British chef Simon Hulstone uploaded a photo of the meaty teddy and tweeted that he intends to serve it to his kids for Christmas dinner.

Now I want to know what he's putting in their stockings.

Around the Nation
7:47 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Snow Prints Lead Cops To Hiding Suspect

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

6:51 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Amash, Conyers vow to press fight on spying programs in new year

Lead in text: 
New developments, including court ruling on blanket collection of phone records could change debate
Washington Michigans odd couple congressmen have a New Years resolution to press on with their fight against the federal governments spying programs. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a GOP sophomore lawmaker from western Michigan, and U.S. Rep.John Conyers, the longtime liberal leader from Detroit, narrowly lost a 217-205 vote this summer in their bipartisan crusade to rein in the National Security Agency’s phone surveillance program.
6:45 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Seven file of vacancy on Portage School Board

Lead in text: 
Board to make decision on new member in January
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
PORTAGE, MI - Seven people have filed for a vacancy on the Portage Public Schools Board of Education created by the death Dec. 6 of trustee Tom Eddy. With the deadline noon Monday to apply, the following people submitted applications: Roy Dangel Jr., Chelsea Herriman, Dan Mills, Terri Novaria, Randy Orwig, Kevin Park and Kahler Schuemann .
6:28 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Federal appeals court stays order requiring hearings for juvenile lifers

Lead in text: 
Mandatory life sentences were struck down by U.S. Supreme Court
LANSING -- A federal appeals panel has temporarily stayed an order that would have required the state of Michigan to give parole hearings to 350 inmates serving mandatory life sentences for crimes they committed as minors. The order, signed Monday, puts a pause on an order issued last month by U.S.
6:17 am
Tue December 24, 2013

About 10,000 still without power in Calhoun County

Lead in text: 
Consumers Energy says some customers will have to wait until Friday night to get power back
Consumers Energy says nearly 11,000 of its Calhoun County customers were still without power late this morning after the weekend ice storm. That's about 17 percent of its customers in the county. By contrast, Barry County has 66 percent of its Consumers Energy customers without power today, the company said.
6:12 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Thousands still without power in Kalamazoo, Barry Counties

Lead in text: 
Power won't be restored until Friday in some parts of Barry County
  • Source: Mlive
  • | Via: Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO, MI -- Thousands of Southwest Michigan residents are still without power Monday evening and hope to have it restored in time for Christmas after Sunday's ice storm that many are calling the worst in nearly 30 years.
NPR Story
5:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

USDA Grants Santa Special Livestock Permit

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Our last word in business today - what else: Reindeer.

From Dasher to Prancer, Vixen to Cupid, and of course, Rudolph - all of Santa's reindeer have gotten the green light from the Agriculture Department to enter U.S. territory. It's very important. The USDA granted, quote, Mr. S. Claus a special livestock permit. And in the spirit of Christmas, the department even waived the normal application fees and disease testing requirement for his reindeer.

NPR Story
5:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Lead Designer Of World's Most Popular Firearm Dies

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

1947 was the year the most notorious weapon in history was born. That is the "Avtomat Kalashnikov" or AK-47. Today millions of them, maybe 100 million, are in use. The man who helped bring the weapon to the world - Mikhail Kalashnikov - has now died, at age 94. Joining me now is C. J. Chivers. He's a reporter for the New York Times and author of "The Gun," a book about the A-K-47. Chris, welcome back to the program. C. J., welcome back to the program.

C.J. CHIVERS: Thanks very much for having me.

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NPR Story
5:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Administration Extends Health Insurance Deadline Again

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm David Greene with Steve Inskeep. There's a lot of last-minute shopping going on today. And that goes for health insurance, too. Yesterday was supposed to be the deadline to sign up on the government's new insurance website for coverage that begins January first.

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NPR Story
5:16 am
Tue December 24, 2013

What Does The Future Hold For Climate Change?

Originally published on Wed December 25, 2013 7:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And in these last days of 2013 we've been having conversations about the future. Rather than grand predictions, we've been seeking a realistic assessment of what lies ahead. So far we've explored cybersecurity, we've looked at the changing electorate. When it comes to climate change, the topic for today, Andrew Steer of the World Resources Institute told my colleague Steve Inskeep that the trends don't look very good.

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Authors
6:38 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Blush: Mennonite girl grows up to be successful academic

As a young girl, Shirley Showalter never thought she would go to college, let alone become president of Goshen College in Indiana. Showalter grew up as a Mennonite in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

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Parallels
6:16 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

With Its Economy Hobbled, Greece's Well-Educated Drain Away

Laura and Thanos Ntoumanis recently moved from Greece to Germany, where Thanos, a psychiatrist, got a job.
Joanna Kakissis NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:54 pm

Thanos Ntoumanis and his wife, Laura, are crashing at his parents' apartment in Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki.

The couple have packed their home and are moving to Germany. Thanos, a 38-year-old psychiatrist, is joining some 4,000 Greek doctors who have left the austerity-hit country for jobs abroad in the past three years. It's the largest brain drain in three decades.

"I won't say that I'm never coming back," he says. "I do need some distance, though. I don't want to get to that tipping point. I don't want to get to that point where I hate it here."

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Digital Life
4:18 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A YouTube Powerhouse Looks Beyond Its Gamer Base

One of Machinima's signature offerings is a series called Christopher Walkenthrough, in which creator Jason Stephens, in character as actor Christopher Walken, navigates his way through popular video games. You kind of have to see it to understand.
Machinima.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:53 pm

One of the most popular channels on YouTube is aimed toward people who play video games. It's got tons of content — thousands of game reviews, how-to videos of people gaming away enthusiastically, even little homemade movies that people have made using video-game software.

That last format is a user-generated phenomenon called machinima — "little m" machinima. "Big M" Machinima is a company, and it wants to be a new media empire. It's the entity behind that YouTube channel.

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NPR Story
4:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Judge Denies Stay Of Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Unions Continue

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Marriages for gay couples will continue in Utah for the time being. A federal judge has denied a request to stay his own decision, a ruling he handed down last week. The judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. From member station KUER in Salt Lake City, Terry Gildea reports.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: At the Salt Lake County Clerk's office on Monday morning, Nathan Tanner and Jon Ayre exchanged vows.

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Found Recipes
4:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Don't Knock The Nog Until You've Tried This One

Courtesy of Tara Striano

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:51 pm

We ran an unofficial office poll at NPR last week, via email: "Where do you weigh in on eggnog? Love it? Hate it?"

Those who hate it really hate it. They used words like "detest," "loathe" and "ick." They also used font sizes well above 14 point and broke out the red type to emphasize their distaste.

But the haters were in the minority. By about 2 to 1, NPR is an eggnog drinkin' kind of place, but — and this was emphasized by many — only if it's eggnog done right. That means: not too sweet, not too thick and just the perfect amount of booze.

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Commentary
2:27 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards

Decades ago, the SAT test was seen as a measure of raw ability, not as something students ought to cram for. Now, test prep is a huge industry. Linguist Geoff Nunberg wonders what exactly students learn when they're flipping through vocabulary flashcards.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:01 pm

When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.

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Television
2:08 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

'Getting On' With It: A New HBO Show Doesn't Tiptoe Around Death

Alex Borstein (left) and Niecy Nash star as nurses in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:01 pm

When they set out to create the HBO series Getting On, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer wanted to create a different kind of workplace comedy — one that celebrated the workplace and the employees in it.

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Movie Reviews
2:08 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Great New DVD Box Sets: Blasts From The Past And 'Breaking Bad'

A new MDV Entertainment boxed set called Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection features the widow of Ernie Kovacs, in shows from her 1962-64 ABC variety series, which was televised just after her husband's death.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:01 pm

Here's a short list of some of the most exciting recent TV offerings on DVD. These are sets you can still order and receive in time for the holidays — and regardless, they're perfect to dive into over the vacation period, enjoying an episode or two a night.

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Illustrator and Author
1:54 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Fantastic Rumpus: Illustrators in the vein of Maurice Sendak

From 'The Monster Who Ate My Peas' by Danny Schnitzlein. Illustration by Matt Faulkner.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is showing an exhibit called “Fantastic Rumpus” featuring more than 30 illustrators influenced by the late Maurice Sendak—the author of the popular children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. The exhibit is up until February 9th. 

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