Weekend Edition Saturday

Saturdays from 8-10 a.m.

Saturday mornings are made for Weekend Edition Saturday, the program wraps up the week's news and offers a mix of analysis and features on a wide range of topics, including arts, sports, entertainment, and human interest stories. The two-hour program is hosted by NPR's Peabody Award-winning Scott Simon.

Drawing on his experience in covering 10 wars and stories in all 50 states and seven continents, Simon brings a humorous, sophisticated and often moving perspective to each show. He is as comfortable having a conversation with a major world leader as he is talking with a Hollywood celebrity or the guy next door.

Weekend Edition Saturday has a unique and entertaining roster of other regular contributors. Marin Alsop, conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, talks about music. Daniel Pinkwater, one of the biggest names in children's literature, talks about and reads stories with Simon. Financial journalist Joe Nocera follows the economy. Howard Bryant of EPSN.com and NPR's Tom Goldman chime in on sports. Keith Devlin, of Stanford University, unravels the mystery of math, and Will Grozier, a London cabbie, talks about good books that have just been released, and what well-read people leave in the back of his taxi. Simon contributes his own award-winning essays, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant.

Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States, and around the globe on NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

In the north woods of Maine, Tom Shafer is bumping along on a rutted trail in his four-wheel drive truck. Ahead are mounds of maple, pine, oak and birch trees, all cut a century or more ago and pulled from the bottom of a lake.

Clumped together in the muck, the logs wouldn't look like much to most people.

"The wood comes out and it looks like that, in those piles of mud," Shafer says. "It looks like construction debris."

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

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Traveling with the State Department in Africa, you feel like you're traveling in countries without people. Traffic-clogged roads are cleared in advance by security services. The two-hour drive from downtown Nairobi to the airport takes a beautiful 12 minutes.

When Hillary Clinton's campaign was looking for a place for her to make an announcement this week about immigration policy, it chose Rancho High School in Las Vegas.

Clinton visited this school in 2007, when she was running for president the first time. Barack Obama visited the campus twice during that campaign season. The backdrop wasn't a coincidence.

Rancho High School's population is 70 percent Hispanic, and it has a proud history of political involvement.

In the rough and tumble world of restaurants, Jeremy Hardy considers himself something of a survivor.

Hardy's restaurant, Coastal Kitchen, has been a fixture of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood for 20 years. Notoriously low-margin businesses, restaurants have a high failure rate. Hardy says even in good times, running one is like juggling with clubs.

"With the labor pressures that are coming from this $15 eventual minimum-wage increase, we are juggling with razor-sharp daggers," Hardy says. "And if you don't get it right, it's really going to hurt."

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are well underway. Fans of the Winnipeg Jets are heartbroken; Chicago Blackhawk lovers are feeling great.

But you don't need to be an NHL superfan to find something fascinating about hockey. A.J. Jacobs, an editor-at-large for Esquire and a professional know-it-all, joined NPR's Scott Simon to talk about quirky facts from the sport's past and present.

How much hockey trivia do you know? Take a guess at which of the facts below are true, then hit "play" to see if you were right.

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Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

“Ragtime,” a musical about racism and xenophobia at the beginning of the 20th century is being staged in Syracuse this weekend. And producers of the show say the themes of the show are still relevant today.

Kenneth Overton is a professional actor and singer from the New York City area who came to Syracuse to play Colehouse Walker, Jr., a struggling musician in the musical “Ragtime.”

All Tapped Out In A Tiny California Town

May 2, 2015

Around the tiny rural community of Fairmead, Calif., about an hour north of Fresno on Highway 99, hundreds of one-story houses on small ranches stretch out for miles.

The ground is mostly brown, parched by California's recent drought. But beneath the surface, this mostly African-American community in the San Joaquin Valley has been going dry for years.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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In "Mr. Holland's Opus," a young actress named Alicia Witt played a high school student who's struggling to play the clarinet.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS")

RICHARD DREYFUSS: (As Glenn Holland) Why are you crying?

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I'm Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PENNIES FROM HEAVEN")

LOUIS PRIMA: (Singing) Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MONEY")

Hospice program comforts dying veterans

May 2, 2015
Michelle Faust / WXXI

“I started out in Southern France and ended up in Belgium," is how Palmer Gaetano describes his army service in World War II. The 92-year old lives in a hospice facility in the Rochester-area village of Spencerport, near his daughter and her family.

Gaetano is one of more than 9 million American military veterans over the age of 65, according to 2013 census bureau figures.  With an aging population that includes vets from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II, there are 1,800 veteran deaths each day. One program strived to meet their increased need for end-of-life care.

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

It has been five years since the so-called flash crash on Wall Street raised big questions about computerized trading. What caused the flash crash has been a topic of debate ever since. U.S. officials revived the debate this week by arresting a little-known trader in London.

May 6, 2010 started out as an ordinary trading day on Wall Street. Then, at around 2:45 in the afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly 600 points within the space of a few minutes, before correcting itself.

As NPR and other news outlets report about the hundreds of people killed this month when the ship they were on went down off the Libyan coast, the stories are referring to those who died as "migrants."

The tattoos on Dennis Whedbee's left arm describe what he lost when the North Dakota oil rig where he was working blew out in 2012. There's an image of a severed hand spurting blood, framed by the word "LOST" in block letters and the date: "9-23-12."

The message underscores Whedbee's frustration with a workers' compensation system in which benefits and access to benefits have changed in North Dakota and across the country.

"I lost a hand at work and this is workman's comp," Whedbee, 53, says at his home in Pennsylvania. "Give me what I deserve. I deserve a hand."

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Dads, college guys get to test their rides at Watkins Glen

Apr 25, 2015
Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

It’s springtime (even if it doesn't feel like it) and you know what that means – racing season. Watkins Glen International speedway marked it opening weekend by opening its track to amateurs. The big weekend is the NASCAR race in August. But right now, it’s all about the amateur racing.

A few hundred New Yorkers came down to the speedway to drive their personal cars around the track. All it takes is $25 and a drivers license and you’ve got your ticket to ride.

We are moving into the election season — feels like we're moving faster and faster, candidates are already in the early states — notably the newly announced Hillary Clinton. She headed right to Iowa for some close encounters with voters. Republicans, reportedly a score or so, are in New Hampshire this weekend, taking turns shaking hands with voters,

The Week In Sports: The Cubs Next Big Thing

Apr 18, 2015
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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It's time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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