If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.
Noodling gloriously, sax men Joe Lovano and Joshua Redman feel their way into the acoustics of a new space with "Blackwell's Message," named for the irresistible drumming of Ed Blackwell, who parlayed his New Orleans parade beat all over the world. Coincidentally, New Orleans' WWOZ is providing the recording crew and a host for a live webcast and broadcast on NPR Music. We have highlights here.
A relatively high-profile black man came out this week. And with it, a hardy old narrative got another moment in the sun.
When Jason Collins, a journeyman NBA center, announced that he was gay, many commentators who applauded his disclosure still nodded to the idea of heightened opposition to gay rights among black people.
Caroline Kennedy's latest book comes with an agenda: to encourage a return to poetic memorization and recitation that both families and schools once considered routine.
In Poems to Learn by Heart, Kennedy stresses the importance of memorizing poetry and presents a collection of poems that she believes everyone should internalize.
"I think there's something in it for all ages," she tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I realized this shouldn't be just for kids because older people are the ones that are really working on keeping their memories going strong."
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Three people died from the blast and shrapnel of the pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Hundreds more were injured, many severely. But as bad as it was, it could have been much, much worse.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Technology's already changed our lives in ways we couldn't have imagined just a few years ago, and now seems ready to reinvent our future. As we continue our series of conversations looking ahead, we've invited Farhad Manjoo to join us - he's Slate's technology columnist and a frequent guest on this program - on the latest gadgets, on the business of consumer electronics and on how we've adapted our lives, our jobs and our manners to all these changes.
Construction workers applauded Thursday as a crane raised the flag-draped spire of One World Trade Center to the top of the skyscraper.
When they install the spire at a later date, it will cap the structure at a symbolic 1,776 feet. The Port Authority says the spire, which acts as a fixture for various antennas, will bump the 104-story building to be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, reports New Jersey's The Star-Ledger.