Weekend Edition Saturday

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A wrap-up of the week's news combined with a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Texas has some of the best medical care facilities in the world, but a study in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Journal singles out Texas for concern because its maternal mortality rate has doubled. From 2010 to 2014, the mortality rate for mothers dying from complications of childbirth has risen in the U.S. generally over a decade, but that increase has been sharpest in Texas where more than 600 women died...

What's in a name? The Chicago White Sox, mired in in the middle of the American League Central division, announced this week they've signed a 13 year deal to rename the park where they play Guaranteed Rate Field. Guaranteed Rate is a home loan company, headquartered in Chicago. But as Rick Morrisey wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times , "Guaranteed Rate Field. You're kidding, right? Was Year End Clearance Sale Stadium already taken?" Ridicule broke out on social media. I sure joined in. What's next...

William James Stokes is the son of a church man, and on his first album he comes right out with it. The Preacher's Kid is the singer and rapper's debut as Sir the Baptist, a name he felt suited his origins in the Bronzeville district of South Side Chicago. "I grew up in a Chicago area where they called it 'Chi-raq' — and I felt like if I was gonna be the voice crying out in the wilderness, I would want to be John the Baptist," he says. Stokes spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about playing...

It's a big summer for conventions, the Olympics — and Barbra Streisand . She's on tour in nine cities across North America, and has a new album of duets called called Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. Her collaborators include Anne Hathaway, Daisey Ridley, Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jamie Foxx, Melissa McCarthy, Antonio Banderas, and a host of other film stars. "The concept came to me when I was sent a version of a Marvin Hamlisch song called 'Any Moment Now,'" she explains. "It was such...

It looks like it could be a cartoon character, but it's real. And this little squid is making waves on the internet. Researchers from the Nautilus exploration vessel were cruising along the deep sea floor off California's coast when they came upon the bright purple creature with giant, stuffed-animal-like eyes. "Whoa!" they exclaim in unison. "It looks fake," one says. And those googly eyes? "It looks like they just painted them on," another says, to peals of laughter. In fact, the...

The massive container ships that ply the high seas bring us pineapples and mangoes in winter, and computers and cheap t-shirts all year round. But the shipping industry is a volatile, cyclical and ferociously competitive business. There are good years and bad years. And then there's this year. "This is likely to be one of the worst years ever in terms of losses," says Janet Porter, editor-in-chief of containers at Lloyd's List , a shipping industry news provider. She says over the years,...

After making two solo albums, singer and guitarist Charlene Kaye hit a creative wall. She was stuck, mired in writer's block and self-doubt — until she went on the road as the frontwoman for the baroque-pop band San Fermin . Now, she's rediscovered her own voice on a new EP, Honey , released under the moniker KAYE. Among the five songs on Honey is "Porcelain." Kaye says she wrote the song to explore her identity "as an Asian-American woman in the music industry, always wondering whether I...

Security experts say that Russian hackers have broken into the computers of not only the Democratic National Committee but other targets as well. This has raised a new wave of concerns that on Election Day, the votes themselves could be compromised by hackers, potentially tipping the results. Most states have returned to paper-backed voting systems in recent years, but that still leaves vulnerable a number of states that rely solely on machines. Zeynep Tufekci, a professor at the University...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Before the summer goes, we want to pause to note the passing - (imitating Elaine Fantham) no, Scott, I can hear her reproach me, (imitating Elaine Fantham) say death - of Elaine Fantham - Lady Fantham, as we called her around here. Elaine, who was professor emerita of classics at Princeton University and at the University of Toronto before that, was our classics commentator. Now, news shows usually don't have a...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Online home rental sites such as Airbnb might be good for travelers, but many cities complain that they drive up prices and take away housing for residents. Berlin recently banned short-term rentals. Barcelona's mayor plans to stop people from letting out their homes on websites without a license. Airbnb's No. 1 destination is Paris. And that city's trying to strike a balance. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Olympic swimming wraps up tonight in Rio. Fans are still recovering from last night. Katie Ledecky, 19 years old, of Bethesda, M-D, won another gold medal. She smashed her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle, one of the most dominating performances in swim history. Michael Phelps - another day, another medal. But this one was silver. He finished in a three-way tie for second in the 100-meter butterfly. As...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. PETER SAGAL, HOST: And now the game where we ask talented people to do things they have no talent for. It's confusing to everyone. We call it Not My Job. So Keegan-Michael Key was a star performer with Second City here in Chicago before he gained fame on "MADtv" and then in the hit show "Key & Peele," which led eventually to him performing his presidential anger translator with the actual president. He is starring in the new movie ...

There was a time when people went to bars to talk to other people, maybe even meet someone new. But that was in the BC era — before cellphones. "I've been in the pub industry for a long time, and progressively it's become less and less social and more and more antisocial," Steve Tyler, the owner of the Gin Tub in Sussex, England, tells NPR's Scott Simon. And that's bad for business. So Tyler wanted to bring back the conversation, and he did by turning his bar into a Faraday cage — a 19th...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

It's dusk at a park in Dallas, and white sheets are pinned up next to tall trees, fluttering like ghosts in the wind. They've been lit up with ultraviolet lights to attract moths. A handful of people are holding up their smartphones, zooming in on the small dark specks that fly to the cloth. "Bugs have become my obsession," says Annika Lindqvist. "And the more you look, the more you have to look at the tiny things, and when you blow them up you see that they are gorgeous."

Like...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Take one part American Top 40 pop icon. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE") CREEDENCE CLEERWATER REVIVAL: (Singing) Whoa, thought it was a nightmare. Lord, it was so true. They told me don't go walking slow. The devil's on the loose. SIMON: Add a dash of Latin flavor. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CORRE POR LA JUNGLA") BUNBURY: (Singing in Spanish). SIMON: And you get "Quiero Creedence," "I Want Creedence,"...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton, but he won more than 12 million votes in the primaries and was respectfully and elaborately saluted by Hillary Clinton, whom he has endorsed. Where does the political movement that Bernie Sanders spearheaded go from here? We're joined now by Jonathan Tasini in New York. He was a surrogate for Bernie Sanders. He traveled with the campaign...

Dentist Protagonists In Literature

Jul 30, 2016

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: A correction now. Last week, we spoke with Dave Eggers about his fine new novel, "Heroes Of The Frontier." His protagonist - a dentist. The author and I agreed dentists are rarely major characters in literature. Boy, I was wrong. I'm glad I didn't have to see my dentist this week. He might've said, you have a huge cavity in your brain. George Bernard Shaw wrote a play, "You Never Can Tell," about a dentist. Doc...

Bad Moms is a movie about good moms who try to go bad. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn play suburban Chicago mothers who find themselves ground down by the daily cycle of school drop-offs and pick-ups, soccer games, supermarket runs, errands, chores and endless worries. One night they wind up at the same bar after a PTA meeting and together they decide to let loose. Bell tells NPR's Scott Simon that the film spoke to her own experience as a mother: "When you have a baby, everything...

Eleven U.S. Army soldiers are headed to the Summer Olympics in Brazil next month on a mission that doesn't have anything to do with security. They're all U.S. Olympians, including some who only recently became American citizens. The size of the contingent is testament to the Army's World Class Athlete Program, a detachment that allows soldiers to essentially train full-time in their sports. Credit is also due to a provision of U.S. law that offers expedited citizenship to immigrants who serve...

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