Scott Simon http://wrvo.org en 'Muse Of Painting' Came To Churchill's Rescue — And Bush's http://wrvo.org/post/muse-painting-came-churchills-rescue-and-bushs Portraits of world leaders painted by former President George W. Bush go on exhibit in Dallas on Saturday. He took up the hobby after he read Winston Churchill's essay, "Painting as Pastime." Sat, 05 Apr 2014 11:42:00 +0000 Scott Simon 53810 at http://wrvo.org A Bill To Distill Simmers In Tennessee http://wrvo.org/post/bill-distill-simmers-tennessee Would Tennessee whiskey by any other name taste as sweet?<p>A debate in Tennessee simmers over a legal definition of what makes Tennessee whiskey "Tennessee."<p>The state legislature passed a bill last year saying whiskey can be labeled "Tennessee" only if it's made in the state from a mash that's 51-percent corn, trickles through maple charcoal, and is aged in new, charred oak barrels.<p>There's some precedent in the spirits world. Sat, 29 Mar 2014 12:09:00 +0000 Scott Simon 53453 at http://wrvo.org A Bill To Distill Simmers In Tennessee A Tatar's Death Chills Those Who Suffered Under Russia Before http://wrvo.org/post/tatars-death-chills-those-who-suffered-under-russia Amid all the of necessary analysis of what Russia's move into Crimea means geopolitically and strategically, it might also be good to remember Reshat Ametov.<p>Mr. Ametov was buried this week. He was 39 years old, married and the father of three young children.<p>He was last seen at a demonstration on March 3 in Simferopol, where he joined other Crimean Tatars held a silent protest before the pro-Russian armed men in unmarked uniforms who surrounded the cabinet ministers building.<p>Tatars make up more than 10 percent of Crimea's population. Sat, 22 Mar 2014 11:50:00 +0000 Scott Simon 53095 at http://wrvo.org A Tatar's Death Chills Those Who Suffered Under Russia Before Ukrainian Olympic Skier's Stand Is A Sacrifice For Her Country http://wrvo.org/post/ukrainian-olympic-skiers-stand-sacrifice-her-country Sports are supposed to be separate from politics, but athletes and games can't always be kept separate from life and death.<p>Scores of people were killed in Ukraine this week, as the security forces of President Viktor Yanukovich opened fire on anti-government protesters in Kiev's Maidan, now called Independence Square.<p>While some 800 miles away, more than 40 Ukrainian athletes have been skiing, skating, working hard to win medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.<p>The team, coaches and officials held a minute of silence on Thursday for those who died, and added black ribbons t Sat, 22 Feb 2014 14:58:00 +0000 Scott Simon 51751 at http://wrvo.org Ukrainian Olympic Skier's Stand Is A Sacrifice For Her Country Girl Scout Sells Cookies Outside Medical Marijuana Clinic http://wrvo.org/post/girl-scout-sells-cookies-outside-medical-marijuana-clinic Girl Scout cookies are never that hard to sell, but this week, one 13-year-old San Franciscan may have outsmarted the competition altogether. Sat, 22 Feb 2014 13:03:00 +0000 Scott Simon 51738 at http://wrvo.org Shirley Temple's Films Still Charm After All These Years http://wrvo.org/post/shirley-temples-films-still-charm-after-all-these-years Shirley Temple really could be as effervescent as a jolt of ginger ale and as cheery as a maraschino cherry in the kid's cocktail that is still ordered by her name. Sat, 15 Feb 2014 15:34:00 +0000 Scott Simon 51424 at http://wrvo.org Shirley Temple's Films Still Charm After All These Years Forego The Faux Snow: The Games Could Use A Permanent Home http://wrvo.org/post/forego-faux-snow-games-could-use-permanent-home The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, are certifiably the most expensive and allegedly staggeringly corrupt.<p>Upwards of $50 billion has been spent to turn a place that's been best known as a Black Sea beach resort, where rich Russians could warm themselves under palm trees during long Moscow winters, into a winter sports capital with ski slopes and bobsled runs.<p>There happens to be a long-standing armed uprising going on nearby, so a steel ring of security has been clamped around an event that will still make some of us dewy-eyed to see peaceful competition among the world's great ath Sat, 08 Feb 2014 15:47:00 +0000 Scott Simon 51104 at http://wrvo.org Forego The Faux Snow: The Games Could Use A Permanent Home Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl http://wrvo.org/post/opera-star-renee-fleming-brings-grace-super-bowl Who knows who'll win the Super Bowl tomorrow, but history will be made before the coin toss.<p>Renee Fleming will sing the national anthem at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Sat, 01 Feb 2014 15:03:00 +0000 Scott Simon 50742 at http://wrvo.org Opera Star Renee Fleming Brings Grace To The Super Bowl Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda? http://wrvo.org/post/rodmans-tour-north-korea-diplomacy-or-propaganda There's been a publicity circus trailing Dennis Rodman to North Korea to present a big, bouncing birthday present of a basketball game to Kim Jong Un. But did you see the score of the game?<p>The U.S. team of former NBA players lost the first half, 47 to 39, before the sides were combined.<p>Well, if you play a team sponsored by a ruthless leader who recently had his own uncle iced, losing is probably the smart move.<p>I happen to like Dennis Rodman. I saw him up-close when he played for the Chicago Bulls, and he was one of the great re-bounders of all-time. Sat, 11 Jan 2014 15:10:00 +0000 Scott Simon 49790 at http://wrvo.org Rodman's Tour Of North Korea: Diplomacy Or Propaganda? As We Memorialize Mandela, Remember Those Who Stood With Him http://wrvo.org/post/we-memorialize-mandela-remember-those-who-stood-him By the time he died this week, Nelson Mandela was considered one of the few — perhaps the only — giants on the world stage.<p>But the man who was prisoner 466/64 on Robben Island was a giant among heroes who offered their lives for freedom as valiantly as he did. In a way, the acclaim the world now heaps so justly on Nelson Mandela commemorates them, too.<p>There was Walter Sisulu, who first recruited Nelson Mandela to the African National Congress, and formed the ANC Youth League with him in 1944. Sat, 07 Dec 2013 11:12:00 +0000 Scott Simon 48216 at http://wrvo.org As We Memorialize Mandela, Remember Those Who Stood With Him Digital Music, In The Truest Sense http://wrvo.org/post/digital-music-truest-sense Transcript <p>SCOTT SIMON, HOST: <p>And now, another take on jazz hands...<p>(SOUNDBITE OF FINGER SNAPS, SLAPS)<p>SIMON: It may sound like Savion Glover tapping, or some kind of tin pan Buddy Rich, but this is digital music in the true sense. You're hearing the fingers and hands of Darren Drouin snapping and slapping out a percussive freestyle in a YouTube video that he uploaded this week.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF FINGER SNAPS, SLAPS)<p>SIMON: In that video, Mr. Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:46:00 +0000 Scott Simon 46567 at http://wrvo.org When Weighing Intervention In Syria, Consider The Children http://wrvo.org/post/when-weighing-intervention-syria-consider-children I was in a grocery store one night this week when a sturdy young man approached with a smile.<br /> <br />"Do you remember me?" he asked. "Bini."<br /> <br />Bini — Erblin Mehmataj — was a bony-shouldered 9-year-old boy with a full, toothy grin who lived in an Albanian Muslim housing complex in Pristina, where we stayed to cover the war in Kosovo in 1999.<br /> Sat, 07 Sep 2013 09:33:00 +0000 Scott Simon 43789 at http://wrvo.org When Weighing Intervention In Syria, Consider The Children Remembering Elmore Leonard, A Writer Who Hated Literature http://wrvo.org/post/remembering-elmore-leonard-writer-who-hated-literature Elmore Leonard was a writer who hated — and I don't mean disliked; Elmore had a contempt for putting pretty clothes on hard, direct words, so I mean hated — literature, or at least what he believed a lot of people mean when they say liter-a-ture, as if it were a Members Only club.<p>Elmore Leonard wrote for a living, from the time in his 20s when he turned out ads for Detroit department stores and vacuum cleaners during the day, and wrote cowboy and crime stories for pulp magazines at night.<br /> Sat, 24 Aug 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Scott Simon 43138 at http://wrvo.org Remembering Elmore Leonard, A Writer Who Hated Literature Retire The Phrase, 'This Wouldn't Be A Scandal In Europe' http://wrvo.org/post/retire-phrase-wouldnt-be-scandal-europe I hope we've heard the last of people saying, "This would never be a scandal in Europe." They usually mean "sex scandal," and by now I think Americans are entitled to boast that we've become as blase about politicians with their pants down — or, in the case of <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/16/137225834/live-blog-rep-weiners-news-conference">Anthony Weiner</a>, pec-flexing with his shirt off — as Europeans like to think they are.<p>Mr. Weiner is now running for mayor of New York. Sat, 13 Jul 2013 09:47:00 +0000 Scott Simon 41014 at http://wrvo.org Retire The Phrase, 'This Wouldn't Be A Scandal In Europe' Peaceful Protest Over Istanbul Park Turns Violent http://wrvo.org/post/peaceful-protest-over-istanbul-park-turns-violent Transcript <p>SCOTT SIMON, HOST: <p>This is Weekend Edition from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF RIOTING)<p>SIMON: Turkish riot police fired tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators in downtown Istanbul during a second day of protests. The clashes were triggered by the government's plan to build a shopping mall in a downtown park. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called for an immediate end to the protest. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Istanbul. Sat, 01 Jun 2013 10:39:00 +0000 Scott Simon 38810 at http://wrvo.org High School Newspapers: An Endangered Species http://wrvo.org/post/are-high-school-newspapers-endangered-species Does your local high school have a student newspaper? And in this day when a social media message saying, "Tonight's Green Design and Technology class homework sucks!" can instantly be sent to thousands, does it need to?<p><em>The New York Times</em> reports this week that only 1 in 8 of New York's public high schools has a student newspaper — and many of those are published just a few times a year. A few more are online, which can leave out poorer schools.<p>The national figures are a little higher. Sat, 01 Jun 2013 09:29:00 +0000 Scott Simon 38805 at http://wrvo.org High School Newspapers: An Endangered Species The X-ray Vision Of Mothers http://wrvo.org/post/x-ray-vision-mothers Mothers have eyes in the back of their heads. They may not show up on X-rays, but they're there.<p>Like a lot of youngsters, I used to get my mother to turn her head so I could search through her hair for the eyeballs she claimed to have back there, telling her, "No you don't! No you don't!" But when I'd scamper off to another part of the apartment and pick up an ashtray or fiddle with the window blinds, I'd hear my mother's voice ring out, "I can see you! Sat, 11 May 2013 12:54:00 +0000 Scott Simon 37670 at http://wrvo.org The X-ray Vision Of Mothers A 'Tough, Smart, Proud Town' Meets Terror With Determination http://wrvo.org/post/tough-smart-proud-town-meets-terror-determination People in Boston can speak for themselves. And do. Loudly, bluntly and often with humor that bites.<p>It's a city that speaks with both its own broad, homebrew, local accent — although no one really <em>pahks thea cah in Havahd Yahd</em> — and dialects from around the world. It is home to some of America's oldest founding families, and fathers, mothers and children who have just arrived from Jamaica, Ireland, Bangladesh and Ghana.<p>There are people in Boston who dress in pinstripes and tweeds, and tattoos and spiked hair. Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:52:00 +0000 Scott Simon 36536 at http://wrvo.org A 'Tough, Smart, Proud Town' Meets Terror With Determination Roger Ebert: Elegance and Empathy http://wrvo.org/post/roger-ebert-elegance-and-empathy Roger Ebert was a critic, not a blowtorch. He could be sharp if he thought a movie insulted the audience, but had a champ's disdain for a cheap shot.<p>Many critics ridiculed the film <em>Deep Throat</em> when it came out in 1973. Who couldn't mock its absurdities? Sat, 06 Apr 2013 09:11:00 +0000 Scott Simon 35842 at http://wrvo.org Roger Ebert: Elegance and Empathy Resurrected Frog Gives Us Cause To Brood http://wrvo.org/post/back-extinction-brooding-frog-or-thank-you-note The gastric brooding frog may be coming back. Does that give us a lot to brood about, too?<p>This week scientists at the University of New South Wales' Lazarus Project announced they have reproduced the genome — that bit of biological material that carries our genetic structure — of a gastric brooding frog.<p>The gastric brooder once lived in the rainforests of Queensland, Australia, and was declared extinct in 1983. It was not so named because it had the temperament of a Russell Crowe character, but because it gave birth through its mouth. Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:13:00 +0000 Scott Simon 35192 at http://wrvo.org Resurrected Frog Gives Us Cause To Brood Snowquester Fizzles, But We're Humbled Anyway http://wrvo.org/post/snowquester-fizzles-were-humbled-anyway Snowquester fizzled.<p>Wednesday was more or less canceled this week in official Washington, D.C. An enormous winter storm bore down on the region, threatening ice, a foot of snow in the city (more in the suburbs), and wind and misery throughout the region.<p>Most of the federal government was closed. I know, I know. How could they tell? Local governments and schools, too. Sat, 09 Mar 2013 13:18:00 +0000 Scott Simon 34524 at http://wrvo.org Snowquester Fizzles, But We're Humbled Anyway Pianist Van Cliburn, Warmed Russian Hearts During Cold War http://wrvo.org/post/pianist-van-cliburn-warmed-russian-hearts-during-cold-war Van Cliburn thawed out the Cold War.<p>He went to Moscow in 1958 for the first International Tchaikovsky Competition. When he sat down to play, Russians saw a tall, 23-year-old Texan, rail thin and tousle-haired, with great, gangly fingers that grew evocative and eloquent when he played the music of the true Russian masters — Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and Borodin.<p>Cliburn died Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas. He was 78.<p>"Van looked and played like some kind of angel," the Russian pianist Andrei Gavrilov told a Cliburn biographer. Sat, 02 Mar 2013 13:11:00 +0000 Scott Simon 34160 at http://wrvo.org Pianist Van Cliburn, Warmed Russian Hearts During Cold War Is Honest Abe's Stovepipe Hat A Fake? http://wrvo.org/post/honest-abes-stovepipe-hat-fake Abraham Lincoln's black stovepipe hat is an icon. It seemed to enhance his height, emphasize his dignity and, I suppose, keep his head warm.<p>There is a stovepipe hat at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., soiled and slightly brown with age. Lincoln is said to have given it to William Waller, a farmer and political supporter in Jackson County, Ill., and kept by his family for decades.<p>But that veracity of Lincoln's hat has been questioned. Sat, 16 Feb 2013 10:20:00 +0000 Scott Simon 33458 at http://wrvo.org Is Honest Abe's Stovepipe Hat A Fake? History Sometimes Rewards Those Who Are Sidelined http://wrvo.org/post/history-sometimes-rewards-those-who-are-sidelined You might look for a player along the sidelines in the Super Bowl on Sunday named Alex Smith and wonder, as he might, if he'll be the next Wally Pipp or Ken Mattingly.<p>Pipp was the Yankee first baseman in 1925 who had a headache and was told to take two aspirin and sit out the game. A young player named Lou Gehrig took his place — and stayed at first base for 14 years, becoming one of baseball's most storied players.<p>Pipp wound up working in a screw factory. Sat, 02 Feb 2013 10:12:00 +0000 Scott Simon 32770 at http://wrvo.org History Sometimes Rewards Those Who Are Sidelined 'Ebony' Editor Began Life Black In Nazi Germany http://wrvo.org/post/ebony-editor-began-life-black-nazi-germany The proudest moment of Hans Massaquoi's boyhood was when his babysitter sewed a swastika on his sweater. He was a 7-year-old boy in Hamburg who wanted to be part of the excitement of the times he saw. But when his mother got home, she snipped off the swastika.<p>He also wanted to join the Hitler Youth. "They had cool uniforms," Massaquoi wrote years later, "and they did exciting things — camping, parades, playing drums."<p>His teacher told him that he couldn't join, without quite saying why. Sat, 26 Jan 2013 10:28:00 +0000 Scott Simon 32425 at http://wrvo.org 'Ebony' Editor Began Life Black In Nazi Germany Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame http://wrvo.org/post/cheating-might-buy-home-runs-no-hall-fame The Baseball Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction, not a papal conclave. And the people who cast votes for the Hall are sportswriters, not the College of Cardinals.<p>But there was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Not Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards. Not Barry Bonds, who hit a record 762 home runs. Not Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times.<p>But those glorious stats were amassed under suspicion of what's now known as the "Steroid Era" in baseball and possibly all sports. Sat, 12 Jan 2013 15:29:00 +0000 Scott Simon 31793 at http://wrvo.org Baseball Hall Of Fame Snub Draws The Line http://wrvo.org/post/baseball-hall-fame-snub-draws-line There was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon remarks on the rebuke, rare in a sport where bad behavior is routine. Sat, 12 Jan 2013 13:36:00 +0000 Scott Simon 31791 at http://wrvo.org The Mayan Apocalypse: Worthwhile, In Hindsight http://wrvo.org/post/mayan-apocalypse-worthwhile-hindsight Yesterday came and went, but I never finished <em>Ulysses</em>. I never took up skydiving. Come to think of it, I didn't even really finish cleaning up my closet before the "Mayan Apocalypse," which did not occur yesterday, Dec. 21.<p>I remember thinking,"Finally, I get a Friday off — but there's an apocalypse."<p>When I first heard that the Mayan Long Count calendar was coming to an end at the end of this year — which, we cannot repeat enough, even Mayans never meant was the end of the world — I began to mentally make a few plans. Sat, 22 Dec 2012 14:48:00 +0000 Scott Simon 30925 at http://wrvo.org The Mayan Apocalypse: Worthwhile, In Hindsight Good Intentions, Complicated Results http://wrvo.org/post/good-intentions-complicated-results When news organizations, including ours, told of New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo buying boots for a barefoot man on the streets of Times Square one cold night last month, it seemed an irresistible holiday story: A kindly cop in a hard city helps a bedraggled man walking with blistered feet over some of the richest streets in the world.<p>The nameless, shoeless man became the best-known street person in America — just long enough to be recognized walking along the Upper West Side, where a <em>New York Times</em> reporter found him.<p>The man's name is Jeffrey Hillman. Sat, 08 Dec 2012 11:47:00 +0000 Scott Simon 30265 at http://wrvo.org Good Intentions, Complicated Results Sexiest Man Alive Gets 'The Onion' Taken Seriously http://wrvo.org/post/onion-so-funny-it-makes-us-cry If satire had an Olympics, <em>The Onion</em> might have won a gold medal this week. Sat, 01 Dec 2012 15:41:00 +0000 Scott Simon 29941 at http://wrvo.org Sexiest Man Alive Gets 'The Onion' Taken Seriously