“How to interpret eight fortes? I think maybe I should hurl my whole body at the piano as violently as possible and hope for the best. They would find my bloody corpse weeks later amid the moldy coffee cups, odiferous testament to my devotion to the composer’s intent. How would eight be different from seven? Both must be so searingly loud as to be painful, a distinction between degrees of agony: if seven fortes is like being disemboweled by a wolf, then eight is like being disemboweled by a bear.”—Jeremy Denk, on Ligeti’s instructions to play eight fortes in Automne a Varsovie.
“Women who wear high heels all the time and then walk without them walk completely differently than women who do not wear heels and they probably increase their risk for a whole host of injuries.”—Heels shorten the Achilles tendon and change how your foot orients itself to the ground. That spells trouble once the heels come off, says Gretchen Reynolds.
“A lot of people are trying barefoot running without preparation and without the knowledge of what happens when you take off your running shoes and I was one [of them.] And what often happens is exactly what happened to me: which is that you almost immediately hurt your Achilles tendon.”—On today’s Fresh Air, Gretchen Reynolds details what she did wrong when she tried barefoot running — and how to prevent your own running injuries.
“When I did interviews or whatever, people - guys would be so nervous. Like they thought I was going to, you know, just I don’t know, jump on them or something. And I think the image was really pretty hard to live up to at some point, especially with my sense of humor and, at the time, my kind of quirky sense of mocking. It just didn’t go together. So I had to really be calm when I did interviews and not, you know, clown around too much.”—Donna Summer on her image as a disco sex goddess. [Full interview here]
“There was a time, you know, I got so used to the police turning up. You know, with Borat, I think they came about 45 times. Sometimes it was the police, then the FBI were following us for a while. They had so many complaints that there was a Middle Eastern man … driving through America in an ice cream van, that the FBI assigned a team to us. And so we had the FBI and then we had the Secret Service. But there were so many of these instances, and with Bruno as well, that for a while it would take about six months afterwards for me not to totally freak out whenever I saw a policeman”—Sacha Baron Cohen on his run-ins with the law while making his movies.
“There are some questions in life, the very speaking of which are their own undoing. Am I fired? Is this a date? Are you breaking up with me? Yes. No. Yes.”— David Rakoff in this weekend’s episode of This American Life,The Invisible Made Visible
“We used to think that breast milk was just a food and that it was filled with fats and proteins and vitamins and that formula companies were successfully able to mimic this. But we now know that there are substances in breast milk that exist almost at the same levels that are not digestible by infants. So what are they doing there? It turns out, they’re digestible by beneficial bacteria. So over millions of years, the mother has been creating a substance that will recruit useful bacteria into her infant’s gut and this sets her infant up for life. So as much as breast milk is a food, we also now understand that it’s also a medicine.”—Florence Williams on the benefits of breast milk
“One-third of American girls start developing breasts by their 9th birthday. And this is earlier than even 15 or 20 years ago.”—On today’s Fresh Air, science writer Florence Williams explains why breasts are getting bigger and arriving earlier, why tumors seem to gravitate towards the breast and how toxins from the environment may be affecting hormones and breast development.
“Trace amounts of pesticides, dioxin and a jet fuel ingredient – as well as high-to-average levels of flame retardants.”—
When science journalist Florence Williams was nursing her second child, she read a research study about toxins found in human breast milk. She decided to test her own breast milk and shipped a sample to a lab in Germany.
“I had read a beautiful story in The New York Times about the couple who were getting married, and that Mayor Bloomberg was going to preside over their wedding at Gracie Mansion. And my friend called me and said, ‘They’d love to have you come and sing.’ And I was floored. I was so honored. And I cried like a baby at that ceremony. And I brought my daughter. And it was a very moving moment and a very teachable moment having my daughter there. And as far as she was concerned, it was just another wedding. She doesn’t really see the issue, which is great. So that’s how it came about. It was a beautiful day.”—Audra McDonald on performing at the first legal gay wedding in New York City. [full interview here]