“I think one of the interesting things that has happened in Washington in the last few years is that a lot of the conservatives are beginning to wonder how much money we should spend on defense. It’s not a simple liberal conservative split anymore. And I suspect that despite Mitt Romney’s promises about increasing the defense budget, even if he’s elected, we’ll see some severe pressure on how much do we really need to spend on defense.”— David Wessel on the Federal Budget
A dozen years ago, if someone told me that one of the liveliest, most inventive party albums of the year would come from a band originally associated with wedding celebrations and beer festivals, I would have been all, “Yeah, sure, you bet.” If it was further explained that the band’s roots were much closer to polka than rock, funk or hip-hop, I would have responded, “Don’t push it.” But nowadays, I’m familiar with the Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar, whose retrospective Golden Horns will lighten the heart and lift the feet as surely as anything you’ll hear in 2012. I’m just glad the band finally released an irresistible introduction.
— Milo Miles reviews Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar
For this new collection, Kelly even reaches deep inside for his inner Smokey Robinson on pop-soul songs such as “Fool For You.” In theory, Kelly’s updating of classic soul arrives at the right moment, in line with sounds from singers such as Anthony Hamilton and Raphael Saadiq. But while early reviews of Write Me Back have called this album tepid or even timid, I hear the sound of a man seeking strength and inspiration in musical forms…
Ken Tucker reviews R. Kelly’s new album, Write Me Back
“I remember working with Avedon and you get photographers that really don’t get your beauty, because I guess they’re really not used to looking at a woman of color and thinking of her as beautiful…it was a very interesting journey and I worked very hard to establish myself as one of the premiere models so that I could have a voice, so that I could speak about the inequalities in the business.”— Supermodel Beverly Johnson on working in the modeling industry in the 1970s
“Considering the millions of followers she’s brought to our sites, you may be surprised to hear how much Mel hates being the center of attention. Really. But since so many of our listeners know her social-media voice, I didn’t want her to get away without you hearing her spoken voice — so in the audio above, you’ll hear a few words of farewell directly from her.”—Terry Gross
Chained to your desk all day? Then stand up! It’s one of many Twitter- and Tumblr-friendly public service announcements provided by web producer Mel Kramer at WHYY’s Fresh Air on a daily basis since that health segment first ran in March. And now after six years in public radio, she’s going to med school full-time. But don’t worry, Mel isn’t leaving public radio for good — you can catch her contributing to NPR’s health blog Shots in the near future.
As a tearful see-ya-around to Mel, I’ve compiled a soundtrack to Stand Up! There are many songs all sharing the title “Stand” (R.E.M., Sly & the Family Stone, Motorhead, Rascall Flatts), “Stand Up” (Minor Threat, Al Green, Ludacris, um… One Direction), and, of course, “Stand by Me,” “Stand by Your Man,” and, for the anthropophobic, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” Good luck, Mel! —Lars
It is time: What was the best thing that happened to you this week, friends?
I’ll start: Today is my last day of work. We’re having a water ice party at Fresh Air to celebrate.
I’ll continue: You have all been phenomenal and have made my job so much more fun. I know this medium is ephemeral and strange and silly at times (and it is) but I think over the past three years, we’ve connected in ways that could only take place like this, in this way. We’ve made public radio more fun and real and intimate — and it’s been a really awesome ride.
Thank you. I’ve really had fun. I hope you have too.
I just wanted to say thanks, Melody, for taking my favorite show and making it better - something I thought was unlikely once podcasts of the show became available. Reading your tweet, sometimes just a line from the interview or background articles, I've gotten excited about pieces I wouldn't normally have much interest in. For the rest of the interviews, it was nice to anticipate them a couple of days in advance. Good luck. Itai, Tel Aviv.
“The church doesn’t say that the ordination of women is not possible because somehow women are unfit to carry out functions of the priest, but because on the level of sacramental signs, it’s not the choice that our Lord made when it comes to those who act in his very person, as the church’s bridegroom. And you can say that sounds like a lot of poetry or you know, how do we know that’s true, but if you’re a Catholic, this is part of our sacraments and practice for 2 millennia, and it’s not just an arbitrary decision of male oppression over women.”—Bishop Blair Explains Vatican’s Criticism Of U.S. Nuns
This is really embarrassing. The show today isn’t about chemistry. I read the wrong thing. (It’s about the genetic code.) So all of these chemistry puns we’ve been doing? All for NAught. I’m trying to make like a cation and stay positive about it.
“We are made out of stardust. The iron in the hemoglobin molecules in the blood in your right hand came from a star that blew up 8 billion years ago. The iron in your left hand came from another star. We are the laws of chemistry and physics as they have played out here on Earth and we are now learning that planets are as common as stars. Most stars, as it turns out now, will have planets.”—Jill Tarter: A Scientist Searching For Alien Life : NPR
“The space that we’re looking through is 9-dimensional. If you build a mathematical model, the amount of searching that we’ve done in 50 years is equivalent to scooping one 8-ounce glass out of the Earth’s ocean, looking and seeing if you caught a fish. No, no fish in that glass? Well, I don’t think you’re going to conclude that there are no fish in the ocean. You just haven’t searched very well yet. That’s where we are.”—Jill Tarter: A Scientist Searching For Alien Life : NPR
Is there such a thing as Terry Gross' reading list (i.e. the books she's read for work - given the interview with her in this past Sunday's NYT magazine, I assume she doesn't read a lot for pleasure) and if so, is it online somewhere? I googled it, and nothing useful came up. (And if it doesn't exist, is there a chance a volunteer could collect that data for you guys?)
It’s pretty much every book that’s been on our show, so I’d look at the show roster….
“I don’t get that a lot. I’m very short, under five feet, and I often think of myself as smaller than life. Until I was on radio, I went through life being, as far as I was concerned, invisible, which of course I am on radio. But it’s one thing to be invisible on radio; it’s another thing to be invisible in real life.”—Terry Gross, reacting to the suggestion that listeners have “erotic associations” with her voice. (via mattwilstein)
I’m going to Cambridge, Mass. tomorrow morning for a conference, so I thought we’d do an early version this week of Best Thing All Week. What was the best thing that happened to you this week? (I apologize if it was set to happen tomorrow.)
I’ll start: I saw a thought-provoking documentary about ACT-UP and then had a very nice, reflective dinner with a good friend about grief and grandmothers, among other topics.
“I took the opportunity to try to speak to the president about women’s reproductive rights. And that conversation was curtailed very quickly by people who removed me from him and lifted me, as I recall — forcibly but gently — away from the receiving line. And I just thought, ‘That’s too bad.’ Because he’s our president. He’s my president. I may not have voted for him. I may have wanted to move to Canada when he was elected, but still, we have a right to have a dialogue about this. So on the one hand, I was very moved by being at the White House and meeting the president and first lady and seeing the welcome they had put out. But at the same time, it was kind of a farce, I thought.”—Sigourney Weaver, on her 1984 trip to the White House.
High on my bucket list is being interviewed by Terry. Even higher is accomplishing something worthy of being booked on Fresh Air. Too anxious and slothful for the ladder to be likely at this point in my life, I want to propose that as an experiment Terry interview regular people from time to time about their less-than-extraordinary lives. She's such a skilled interviewer that the results may at times be gripping. A big plus for Terry: no pre-interview research will be needed. Thoughts?
We get this request a lot. Is there a show out there that does this? (There might be — I don’t know.)
It doesn’t seem like it would work with our show, specifically because I think our show works so well *because* of the research. (John, John, Heidi and Yowei dig up a ton of stuff.) Terry prepares 50-60 questions in advance — and watches, reads, immerses herself in our guests. I’m just not sure how that would happen with random folk.
I really hope to work for NPR someday. I applied to be an intern as a freshman (just this past spring) and was turned down. I'm deathly afraid of reapplying; what should I do?
Well, there are two things you can do:
1. Never reapply. Wonder what if? Become the world’s first underwater meteorologist. Wonder what if? Have children, acquire a partner, work for a good 30 or 40 years, retire, sell your home, move into a camper, explore Western Canada, regret never having reapplied in your youth.
2. Or you can reapply. You’re a freshman? That’s nothing. You’ve got years ahead of you. Start writing — for your school paper, for a blog, in a journal. Tweet. Acquire multimedia skills (they come in handy no matter what it is you want to do.) Acquire your voice. Figure out what you like and don’t like. Write some more. Apply again. If you don’t get it? So what? You’ll do something else. And maybe get back to public radio at some point.