Originally published on Sat November 8, 2014 5:42 am
When NPR Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi opened a do-it-yourself car repair shop in Cambridge, Mass., in the early 1970s, Tom had never had so many laughs. The people who came into the shop were complete "wackos," he told Fresh Air's Terry Gross in 2001. "But man were they fun. And they weren't worried! When the guy jacked up his Lincoln Town Car and drove the floor jack through his oil pan, did he cry? He said, 'Uh oh.' I mean people could take a joke!"
Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 10:43 am
It's time I admitted something: Though I've written about the Internet for years, my online security practices are not good. Despite constant warnings from knowledgeable friends, I persist in doing all the things with my passwords that you're not supposed to. I don't make them complicated enough. I reuse the same ones over and over. I don't change them very often. And I keep a list of important ones in a file on my computer. Frankly, it's shameful!
Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 6:57 pm
Aasif Mandvi is best known as The Daily Show's senior Muslim correspondent, but he insists that when he was hired he was "a terrible example of a Muslim."
"The idea that I had anything to do with speaking about Islam or about the Muslim world was just absurd to my family. ... I hadn't been to the mosque in like 10 years," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I know the Gospel according to Mark better than I know any sura in the Quran."
Olive Kitteridge, a new two-part, four-hour miniseries that runs on HBO Sunday and Monday, sounds like the kind of long-form dramas TV used to make back in the '70s and '80s when miniseries ruled. Like them, Olive Kitteridge covers an entire generation in the lives of its characters — a 25-year span — but otherwise, it couldn't be more different. Most of those sprawling classic miniseries were set against major historical events, and were as much about passionate romance and glamorous costumes as anything else.
"The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller,Joyland.The book, set in a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is part horror novel and part supernatural thriller. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, and about what scares him now.
Taylor Swift's fifth album is called 1989, the year she was born. For the past few years, she's been the young queen of country music, by far its biggest-selling artist. But 1989 sidesteps country music entirely to become Swift's first pure pop album. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has a review.
When Jill Soloway's father came out as a trans woman — fairly late in life — Soloway says for her it was a huge relief.
"It's interesting, I think, to grow up in a family with this really huge missing piece and not know what that piece is — sort of like you're feeling around in a dark room," Soloway tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It's like the elephant in the room, but all the lights are off. So you're feeling around and you're feeling this quite huge thing. It was an amazing relief for the lights to go on."
Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 4:50 pm
The disaster began on a day shift around lunchtime at a mine in Chile's Atacama Desert: Miners working deep inside a mountain, excavating for copper, gold and other minerals, started feeling vibrations. Suddenly, there was a massive explosion and the passageways of the mine filled up with a gritty dust cloud.
When comedian Amy Poehler was in her 20s, she read her boyfriend's journal and found out that he didn't think she was pretty.
"It was almost like an itch being scratched, which was, 'Aha! I knew that you didn't think I was pretty!' ... And then it was followed by a real crash because ... my ego was bruised," Poehler tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Poehler says it taught her that the earlier you figure out your "currency," the happier you'll be. For Poehler, that meant not leaning on her looks to be successful.
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TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. Arthur Conley was Otis Redding's protege, his special project, and had a number of hits before mysteriously disappearing. Our rock historian Ed Ward has uncovered what he can about Redding's story.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:50 pm
At the moment, we're at yet another pivotal point in the history of home entertainment, which keeps changing with sudden — and major-- tectonic shifts. Just ask Blockbuster Video: Videocassettes for home libraries gave way to DVDs, which now seem to be giving way to streaming video and the cloud.
Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 3:00 pm
In the new black comedy Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Edward Norton costars as a pretentious and self-absorbed but very talented and edgy theater actor who has been cast in a play directed by a washed-up movie star played by Michael Keaton.
Norton, who has starred in such films as Fight Club and American History X, says that making Birdman was a highlight of his career.
Punk rock lives on the debut album by a new trio, Ex Hex. The album is called Rips, and it's at once a throwback to bands like the Ramones and the sound of something new. Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says the three women who make up Ex Hex have created an exhilaratingly energetic piece of work.
Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 6:55 pm
In April, residents of Louisa County, Va., were shocked to learn of a sexting "ring" among the town's teenagers. When Hanna Rosin asked teens from Louisa County High School how many people they knew who had sexted, a lot of them replied: "Everyone." But what was originally characterized in the media as an organized criminal affair was soon revealed to be widespread teen behavior.
"I think we as a culture don't know whether to be utterly alarmed by sexting, or think of it as a normal part of teenage sexual experimentation," Rosin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
A new Hilary Mantel book is an Event with a "capital "E." Here's why: The first two best-selling novels in Mantel's planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, each won the Man Booker Prize — that's a first.
There's more to Swedish pop music than Abba. In recent years, worldwide pop hits from acts such as Robyn and Icona Pop have achieved success in America; the Swedish pop producer Max Martin has written hits for acts like Katy Perry and Britney Spears. Now a singer-songwriter in her 20s called Tove Lo is scoring hits in this country that mix dance-club pop with rock soulfulness. Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker has a review of Tove Lo's debut album Queen of the Clouds.
In Little Failure, the novelist recounts his emigration from the USSR to the U.S. when he was 7. For the first few years, he says, he would sit alone in the school cafeteria, talking to himself in Russian "in this gigantic fur hat and fur coat." It wasn't long before a teacher advised, "Children won't play with you if you have that much fur on."
Last year, the big debate in the world of books was over the question of whether or not a novel has to feature "likeable" main characters in order for readers to identify with them or make us want to stick with their stories. The debate had a sexist tinge to it: Female characters seemed especially burdened with the need to be pleasing.