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Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

Celebrating A Star-Spangled Anthem ... That's Really Hard To Sing

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 5:59am

It's been nearly 200 years since Francis Scott Key wrote the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814. Set to the melody of a popular English tune, America's anthem spans one and a half octaves.

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Trudging Uphill With Two Men And The Weight Of History

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:03pm

The new film Beyond The Edge follows the Everest trek of Sir Edmund Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay — and raises questions about how mountaineering has and hasn't changed.

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Melissa McCarthy, An Unstoppable Force Imperfectly Deployed In 'Tammy'

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:03pm

Tammy finds Melissa McCarthy and her husband and collaborator Ben Falcone struggling with her particular combination of pratfalls and a fundamentally good nature.

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Isolation Spells Frustration In Bertolucci's 'Me And You'

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 4:03pm

Bernardo Bertolucci has made many films that deal with wealth. But his latest effort isolates its idle central character so much that his normally deft hand is uncharacteristically unsure.

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Simple Summer Jam Session Calls For Strawberries And Sunshine

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 3:03pm

When strawberries are in season, the Food Network's Amy Thielen's thinks of jam — sun jam. She shares her grandmother's method for making preserves with little more than sugar and the summer sun.

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Questlove And The Roots: How A Hip-Hop Band Conquered Late Night

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 2:55pm

"It's strange to admit it, but this is kinda the job we were born for," Questlove says of his group serving as house band for The Tonight Show.

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David Tomas Martinez Turns Hustle In The Street To Poetry On The Page

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 2:30pm

Before writing the poems that make up Hustle, Martinez was hustling a long time. His work dips into his teenage years running with a gang, his enlistment in the Navy, and his turn to poetry.

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In Charming Film 'Begin Again,' Music Can Save A Life

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 1:14pm

Keira Knightley plays a heartbroken singer-songwriter who teams up with a drunken producer in Begin Again. Irish director John Carney, who had a surprise hit with the musical Once, hit his mark again.

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'Life Itself': An Unflinching Documentary Of Roger Ebert's Life And Death

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 1:14pm

In late 2012, filmmaker Steve James and Roger Ebert began talking about filming a documentary based on Ebert's memoir. Ebert's wife, Chaz, agreed. They didn't know that he would die within months.

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The Late Walter Dean Myers Wrote In The Language Of Teens

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 12:07pm

Myers' young adult novels talked about the tough realities of urban life in language that made teens stop and listen. He won almost every award for YA literature during the course of his career.

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No Ants Were Harmed At These Picnics Of The Past

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:48am

There's something about eating outdoors that makes even a mundane meal feel special. In the spirit of the Fourth of July, we bring you nostalgic food ads and picnic scenes to inspire your feast.

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Book News: Children's Author Walter Dean Myers Dies At 76

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:45am

Also: Colum McCann was hospitalized following an attack at a Connecticut hotel; World Book Night suspends operations.

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A Primer On The 'Care And Management' Of Hope In Wartime

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 6:03am

Jacqueline Winspear — author of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries — tackles the anniversary of World War I with a standalone novel following four intertwined, war-scarred lives, at home and in the trenches.

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With Dirt And A Vision, Palestinian Architects Break The Mold

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 2:07am

In the city of Jericho in the West Bank, there's a new home that looks like it might be from another planet. But in fact, its designers took pains to use materials that were as local as possible.

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Addiction Battled Ambition For Reporter Caught In D.C.'s Crack Epidemic

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 2:05am

In the early '90s, Ruben Castaneda was a crime reporter for The Washington Post, and an addict who bought crack on the very streets he wrote about. His new book is called S Street Rising.

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Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles As Literary Metaphor

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 2:04am

Motorcycles provide an open road for literature, a device writers can use to talk about adventure, rebellion, even inner peace. NPR's Mandalit del Barco gets some reading ideas from actual bikers.

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Sci-Fi Kid Flick 'Earth To Echo' Broadens The 'E.T.' Formula

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 4:14pm

First-time feature filmmaker Dave Green sets his movie apart from Steven Spielberg's classic with found footage, an African-American protagonist and a more central female co-conspirator.

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'Friendship': A Startlingly Nice Novel By A Tough-Girl Blogger

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 1:47pm

Emily Gould's first novel stars 30-something single women in New York City who are figuring out what's important in life. It's worth picking up for its sharp social observations and inspired wordplay.

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Actor Don Cheadle On His Career's Longevity, The Key To Success

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 11:51am

Actor Don Cheadle is known for his roles in film and television. In this encore broadcast, host Michel Martin asks Cheadle if he's hit a career peak and how he'll know when to call it quits.

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