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Arts and Culture

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It's cold, snowy winter times like this that make us question why we choose to live in a place where snow, sleet, and wind define one-third of the year.  It's a great excuse to complain, but does it also make us stronger and better people?

Courtesy of the artist

Most classical musicians head to a recording studio or a concert hall to make an album. But after double bassist Robert Black stumbled across some amazing acoustic spaces in Moab's red rock country during a visit to perform at the Moab Music Festival, he had a different idea.

David Martyn Hunt / Creative Commons

Most of us have stories of painfully awkward moments that linger with us long after the initial discomfort is gone. 

eperales / Flickr Creative Commons

Because Thomas Hooker left Massachusetts and founded Connecticut so there could be jazz, we'll take it upon ourselves to look back at the best jazz of last year with people who eat, sleep, drink, and love jazz.

Old Rollei / Creative Commons

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night, looked at the clock, and noticed that it's the same time you woke up the night before - and the night before that? How does your body know what time it is?  You're not sure but the passage of minutes makes you worry that if you don't get back to sleep, you'll be too tired in the morning to get your work done on time. You can't get back to sleep. The minutes are ticking. You feel the pressure of the clock bearing down on you. 

Sue Grafton, the author of A Is For Alibi and 24 other mysteries featuring detective Kinsey Millhone, died Thursday at age 77. Her daughter Jamie wrote on Facebook that her mother had been battling cancer for the past two years but had been doing well until recent days.

Netflix

Netflix's The Crown tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II, starting with her wedding in 1947. The second season, released this month and nominated for a 2018 Golden Globe for Best Television Series -- Drama, covers 1956 through 1963. The Nose has thoughts.

...And this Nose also has an expanded, year-end, best-of, New Year's Eve Eve Eve endorsements extravaganza covering all of our favorites from the dumpster fire that was 2017 (but, I mean, there were some good new movies and podcasts and toaster ovens and stuff -- this part of the show'll be more about that stuff and less about the dumpster fire).

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Don't miss -- for the 5th year -- a very badly planned live New Year's Eve special featuring chaos muppet and music legend "Big Al" Anderson and the great Jim Chapdelaine!

Kris Krüg/PopTech / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's new book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. It's a 500-year history "of America jumping the shark." The idea, largely, is that our present post-fact, fake-news moment is... nothing new.

This hour, we look back at the history. We look at our present -- which is to say, we look at our present president: "To describe [Trump] is practically to summarize this book," Andersen says in Fantasyland. And we wonder if there's any way to regain and retain reality in America.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

If you've got a burning secret about the 13 pieces of art missing from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the clock is ticking.

Share the details in the next four days, and you'll earn a cool $10 million.

Wait until 2018, and that reward will be slashed in half.

Uptowner / Creative Commons

Donald Trump's election last November was the culmination of a venom-filled campaign that was nastier than almost any in recent memory. Mean-spirited comments fell just shy of the malicious rhetoric coming from Thomas Jefferson's presidential campaign in 1796. Jefferson's hatchet-man called John Adams a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

In 1946, Nat King Cole became the first recording artist to wrap his lush vocals around what would become a standard of the holiday season, "The Christmas Song." But that song was written by a different crooner: Mel Tormé.

NPR's Noel King spoke with Mel Tormé's youngest son, James — an accomplished jazz singer himself — to get the story behind the creation of this Christmas classic.

A24 Films

Greta Gerwig's solo directorial debut, Lady Bird, is a coming-of-age comedy/drama that stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Lucas Hedges. Oh, and it's currently at 99% on the Tomatometer. So here's the question: Can a movie that's at 99% on the Tomatometer really ever be anything other than a letdown?

And then: Is the English translation of the Lord's Prayer actually a mistranslation? The Pope thinks it might be.

arinahabich/iStock / Thinkstock

It’s the holiday season -- the perfect time to kick back and get lost in a new podcast... or two... or three... or four. But how do you decide what to listen to?

Frontiers Conferences / flickr

Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, etc. These are just the beginning of what experts believe will be a future filled with verbally interactive, digital and robotic assistants. And as we become more accustomed to interacting with machines, the machines are becoming more life-like.

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