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.

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6:24pm

Fri November 18, 2011
Music Interviews

Romeo Santos: Taking Bachata Mainstream

Romeo Santos.
Courtesy of the artist

10:20am

Sat November 12, 2011
NPR Story

MLB's Wilson Ramos Rescued In Venezuela

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: This WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. In Venezuela, officials have announced a dramatic end to the high-profile kidnapping of Major League Baseball catcher Wilson Ramos. Police commandos swooped in on a remote mountainous hideaway and rescued him. This was the sound at the Ramos home in Valencia, Valenzuela, when he returned there late last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIREN AND CHEERING)

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8:12am

Sat November 12, 2011
Commentary

American Bluegrass, Imported By A Czech Band

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 8:41 am

The Czech band Druha Trava will perform in Wichita, Kan., Saturday night. The band is on its U.S. tour.
Don Gonyea NPR

NPR's Don Gonyea normally reports on politics, but he finds other stories along the way, like this one about a touring bluegrass band from the Czech Republic.

The first time I heard Druha Trava play was April 2009. I was covering President Obama's trip to the Europe. There was a big outdoor speech in Prague, and the band was playing Czech versions of Bob Dylan songs.

I did a short radio postcard story back then, figuring it was the kind of experience that every music fan knows: You stumble upon a great band somewhere and never see them again.

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7:57am

Sat November 12, 2011
Deceptive Cadence

Aaron Copland's Forgotten Score Premieres At Last

Manhattan, Copland's "Quiet City," at night.
Joseph Gareri iStock

American composer Aaron Copland began work on Quiet City in 1939 and completed it two years later. A lonely trumpet and an English horn, backed by hushed strings, offer an ode to New York.

The orchestral version of Quiet City is fairly well known, but there's more to this story. Another version has recently come to light.

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6:00am

Sat November 12, 2011
The Record

Non-Jamaican Reggae: Who's Making It And Who's Buying It

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 8:41 am

Hawaiian reggae band The Green. From left to right Zion Thompson, JP Kennedy, Caleb Keolanui and Ikaika Antone.
Tammy Moniz Courtesy of Press Junkie PR

Reggae music and the island of Jamaica are inseparable, right? Lately, a crop of artists from places like Hawaii, California and Italy are proving that hit reggae can come from anywhere. In the process, they're raising some complex questions about culture and ownership.

There's a new generation of reggae artists with two things in common: They're not from the birthplace of reggae music, and they are enormously successful.

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5:36am

Sat November 12, 2011
Author Interviews

'Mrs. Nixon' Reimagines An Enigmatic First Lady

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 8:41 am

Aside from being the wife of one of the most well-known politicians in recent American history, Pat Nixon is mostly a mystery. Throughout crisis and scandal, she somehow managed to remain a private public figure.

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5:30pm

Fri November 11, 2011
The Record

'Stairway To Heaven' Turns 40: Celebrate With 7 Covers

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 4:25 pm

Heart's Nancy Wilson onstage in 1983, looking very Jimmy Page.
Paul Natkin WireImage

10:08am

Sat November 5, 2011
Author Interviews

'Train Of Small Mercies': RFK's Last Journey Imagined

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 11:51 am

Penguin Group USA

In the news business, time is marked by great events: the anniversaries of elections, wars, hit songs and the births and deaths of famous people.

But each of us also has a personal timeline by which we measure our life: the day we start our first job, fulfill a dream or glimpse history passing by, close enough to touch.

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8:00am

Sat November 5, 2011

8:00am

Sat November 5, 2011
NPR Story

GOP Front-Runners Pass Iowa By

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: While Herman Cain was wrapping up his week in Washington D.C., five of his fellow Republican presidential contenders were in Iowa last night for the GOP's Ronald Reagan dinner. Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum spoke at the annual fundraiser, but Mr. Cain and Mitt Romney did not attend the Iowa event. In fact, compared to the current crop of Republican presidential candidates, Cain and Romney have spent little time in Iowa.

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8:00am

Sat November 5, 2011
Author Interviews

Basketball Legend Shares 'Charmed, Tormented Life'

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Jerry West is the symbol of the National Basketball Association - truly so. The NBA's logo silhouette of a player dribbling the ball down court in perfect form is drawn from a 1969 photo of Jerry West when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers, which he did for 14 years and was an All Star 14 times.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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8:00am

Sat November 5, 2011
Simon Says

America's Stake In A United Europe

President Obama salutes service members from both sides of the Atlantic as he walks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, last week.
Markus Schreiber AFP/Getty Images

It is always tempting for Americans to look at problems in Europe and ask, "What does that have to do with me?"

Well, U.S. banks hold almost $17 billion in Greek debt and billions more bought through European banks. Billions of dollars that Americans have saved for retirement, college — or the rainy days that may be — are now invested in Greece.

But we also might remind ourselves why the euro and the European Union were created.

The problems of Europe led to two world wars in the 20th century, and America got involved in each.

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4:32am

Sat November 5, 2011
Author Interviews

A Global History, Told Through '100 Objects'

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:17 am

Trustees of the British Museum

Sometimes it's the little things that tell the best story. Across the ages, everyday items like plates, pots and even pipes have stood the test of time — and they are just as integral to our history as any monument or cathedral.

A new book takes a selection of these everyday objects and weaves their stories together to tell the ultimate story — a history of the world. In A History of the World in 100 Objects, author Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, culled 100 artifacts from his museum's collection to help him with the task.

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4:02pm

Fri November 4, 2011
Music Interviews

John Wesley Harding: The Musical Side Of A Split Personality

John Wesley Harding's latest album is called The Sound of His Own Voice.
Allison Michael Orenstein Courtesy of the artist

"When I first started making music, I took a fake name to disguise the fact I was going to embark on what was bound to be a short, unsatisfactory musical career," John Wesley Harding says. That was 23 years ago.

Harding recently launched a side career as a novelist, for which he uses his given name: Wesley Stace. But he's continued to release music under his alias, a name he shares with a 1967 Bob Dylan record. Speaking with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, Harding says he's learned to spread the wealth between his two creative personas.

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3:54pm

Fri November 4, 2011
Marin Alsop on Music

Arthur Honegger's Joan Of Arc For The Ages

Actress Jean Seberg plays Joan of Arc in the 1957 Otto Preminger film Saint Joan.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

I became fascinated with Jeanne d'Arc Au Bûcher (Joan of Arc at the Stake) by Swiss-French composer Arthur Honegger many years ago, when I first heard a snippet of the piece on the radio. It was one of those arresting moments where I felt I'd heard the music before and couldn't place it for the life of me. As it turns out, I'd never heard it, but it's understandable why I thought I had.

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12:47pm

Sat October 29, 2011
NPR Story

American Troops Die In Afghan Attack

Originally published on Sat October 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In Afghanistan today, a Taliban suicide bomber slammed a car packed with explosives into an armored bus carrying NATO troops in Kabul. At least 13 U.S. soldiers died in the attack. According to a Pentagon spokesman, the blast incinerated the vehicle and is the latest in a series of recent high-profile attacks in Afghanistan. For more on the incident, we're joined now by NPR's Ahmad Shafi in Kabul. Shafi, what more details can you give us about the attack?

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8:00am

Sat October 29, 2011
Sports

The World Series As An Old Pro Sees It

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Jim Bouton knows what it's like to stand on the pitching mound in a World Series with the world watching. He pitched three World Series games for the New York Yankees in 1963 and '64. Of course, he's also wrote the classic baseball memoir about baseball and life, "Ball Four." Jim joins us from Western Massachusetts. Thanks so much for being with us.

JIM BOUTON: Good morning, Scott.

SIMON: Couple of months ago, would a sane observer see the Cardinals winning the World Series?

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8:00am

Sat October 29, 2011
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: From Boxing Bros To Iowa Polls

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Last week, we spoke with NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea. He was in Iowa talking to voters about Republican presidential contenders ahead of the 2012 presidential caucuses.

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5:22am

Sat October 29, 2011
Author Interviews

After 40 Years, Grisly 'Exorcist' Book Gets A Rewrite

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

'I'm Not Regan': Linda Blair played the young Regan MacNeil in the 1973 film adaptation of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist. In the book, Regan becomes possessed by a malevolent demon who makes her head turn 360 degrees.

AP Warner Bros. Entertainment

In 1971, a novel set off a frenzy that soon inspired a film — and then a firestorm.

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4:20pm

Fri October 28, 2011
Studio Sessions

Tony Bennett's Art Of Intimacy

Michael Katzif NPR

When you think of American classics, you might think of baseball, Abe Lincoln, apple pie ... and Anthony Dominick Benedetto. That's Tony Bennett to you.

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4:03pm

Fri October 28, 2011
Music

A Musical Style That Unites Mexican-Americans

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

Mono Blanco, a veteran Son Jarocho band from Veracruz, performs in Los Angeles.

Betto Arcos

11:23am

Sat October 22, 2011
NPR Story

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Dies

Originally published on Sat October 22, 2011 11:49 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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8:00am

Sat October 22, 2011
Opinion

It's A Girl! The New IPhone Speaks

Siri's answer to the meaning of life is actually kind of impressive.

Oli Scarff Getty Images

Why is Siri female?

Siri is the name of a new talking virtual assistant feature on the latest iPhone that can tell you when you have an appointment, where to find a Thai restaurant and what the pollen count will be.

I have friends who have the phone and love to ask Siri, "What's the meaning of life?" She has an answer, which is impressive. Maybe it takes a circuit board to recognize the special quality of life. But frankly, her answer sounds a little robotic.

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8:00am

Sat October 22, 2011
Author Interviews

'Jane Austen Made Me Do It,' Authors Claim

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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8:00am

Sat October 22, 2011
From Our Listeners

Your Letters: Herman Cain's Tax Math

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: Time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF TYPING)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Lots of mail about my interview last week with Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain, especially what Mr. Cain said about the taxes paid by a family of four making $50,000 under the current tax system.

HERMAN CAIN: Based upon standard deductions and standard exemptions, they're going to pay $10,200 in taxes.

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7:04am

Sat October 22, 2011
Theater

'Hamlet' On An Elevator? The Bard Gets A New Venue

Salty Shakespeare director Nancy Linehan Charles says she formed the company as a way to make Shakespeare more accessible to the public.

iStockphoto.com

Wearing suits and somewhat harried expressions, veteran actors Michael Rothhaar and Tony Pasqualini blend right in with the lunch crowd of this Los Angeles office building.

As they head into the packed elevator, Rothhaar and Pasqualini jockey for a spot in the back. When the doors close, that's their cue.

"Lord, I think I saw him yesternight," Pasqualini says.

"Saw? Who?" Rothhaar replies.

"Lord, the king your father."

"The king, my father!"

"A figure like your father, armed at all points."

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5:00am

Sat October 22, 2011
Author Interviews

The Harpers Ferry 'Rising' That Hastened Civil War

Tony Horwitz has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker. His books include Confederates in the Attic and Baghdad Without a Map.

Courtesy of Tony Horwitz

On the evening of Oct. 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown led 21 men down the road to Harpers Ferry in what is today West Virginia. The plan was to take the town's federal armory and, ultimately, ignite a nationwide uprising against slavery.

The raid failed, but six years later, Brown's dream was realized and slavery became illegal.

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12:01am

Sat October 22, 2011
Monkey See

'Klitschko': Brothers And Boxers Who Fight Hard, But Never Each Other

If you think your kids have the potential for major sibling rivalry, consider the Klitschko Brothers, Wladimir and Vitali. They're the first brothers to hold world boxing titles simultaneously.

Director Sebastian Dehnhardt tells their story in a new documentary simply called Klitschko, and they talk about their story with Scott Simon Saturday on Weekend Edition.

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6:01pm

Fri October 21, 2011
Music Interviews

Coldplay: Four Best Friends, Powered By Chemistry

Coldplay's fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, comes out Oct. 25.

Sarah Lee

In 2002, when the British rock band Coldplay was on tour with its second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, frontman Chris Martin said, "I just want to make the best music of all time with my best friends." Since that time, Coldplay, with Jonny Buckland on guitar, Guy Berryman on bass and Will Champion on drums, has become one of the biggest acts in rock.

NPR's Scott Simon spoke with Martin and Champion on the occasion of their fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, due out this week. Martin says that, at the very least, the part about friends is still true.

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8:50am

Sat October 15, 2011
Sports

117 Years Of Racing Stats Put To Pasture At The Track

The Daily Racing Form is the newspaper of the thoroughbred industry. The first one was published in Chicago on Nov. 17, 1894. The Keeneland race track in Lexington, Ky., holds a vast collection and is attempting to establish a digital archive.

Noah Adams NPR

Many horse racing fans swear by — and sometimes possibly at — the Daily Racing Form. It's the newspaper of the thoroughbred industry.

Before you bet that exacta, you can check out a horse's pedigree, race experience and morning workout times. You'll see which mares have been bred to which stallions.

The Keeneland race track in Lexington, Ky., holds a vast collection of Daily Racing Form issues, and further efforts are under way to preserve every issue and establish a digital archive.

Want To Pick A Winner? Read The Form

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