More than half a century ago this week, on Aug. 12, 1958, some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day assembled in Harlem at what was, for them, the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. Fifty-seven players came to East 126th Street to have their picture taken for Esquire magazine.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 12:02 pm
All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.
"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."
On Sunday night, while the rest of us were ooohing and aaahing over gymnastics, a bunch of propeller heads at NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were flawlessly steering a billion-dollar robotic space laboratory the size of a minivan to a landing on Mars.
Missions engineers Bobak Ferdowsi and Adam Steltzner — whose hairstyles have led them to be nicknamed "Mokawk guy" and "Elvis guy," respectively — are two of the guys behind the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, and very well might be the Sexiest Nerds Ever.
The London Summer Olympics are winding down, and by most accounts, the games have been a success. There were plenty of "thrill of victory, agony of defeat" moments; big, enthusiastic crowds — although there were too many blocks of empty seats; and for those who like a helping of scandal served up at their Olympics, there was that, too.
It wasn't the usual scourge of doping. Instead, the London Olympics had incidents of bending the rules and ethics of sport.
Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 4:55 pm
After serving as speaker of the House, publishing several historical novels and running for president, what's next for Newt Gingrich?
One possible third act, Gingrich told NPR staffers on Friday, could be sharing a television studio with his wife, Callista.
"We're kind of intrigued with the idea of doing a daily show, which would change our lives pretty dramatically," Gingrich said. "But if we do it, we want it to be closer to Regis and Kathie Lee than to Bill O'Reilly or Hardball."
When writer David Rakoff died Thursday at the age 47, he was barely the age he said he was always "meant" to be. In his 2010 memoir, Half Empty, he wrote, "Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old."
Rakoff died in New York City after a long struggle with cancer — an ordeal that he wrote about with sobering honesty and biting wit.