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Monkey See
5:50 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

To The Dump, To The Dump, To The Dump Dump Dump: Write Us A Lone Ranger Joke

Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:02 am

This morning, as I perused the headlines, I saw a few items about the new Lone Ranger movie, and rather than being struck by interesting thoughts about the racial politics of Johnny Depp's Tonto, I abruptly remembered this joke: "Where does the Lone Ranger take his trash?" "To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump." You know, because of the music?

And then I thought, "Who built the Lone Ranger's luxury apartment building?"

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Trump Trump."

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Deceptive Cadence
5:48 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

In Search Of The Great American Symphony

Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have been consistent champions of American music of all shapes and sizes. Are there β€” or will there be β€” American symphonies that stand with those of Mozart and Beethoven, Mahler and Shostakovich?
Bill Swerbenski San Francisco Symphony

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 12:53 pm

Critics and fans love a good debate over the great American novel or great American movie. But what about the great American symphony?

Is there one? If not, why? If so, which symphonies are good candidates for the title? (Check out our Spotify list for some contenders.) And in the land of the melting pot, what does it mean for a symphony to be "American" in the first place?

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Books
5:48 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Chronicle Of 'Gettysburg' Refuses Easy Answers

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 7:50 pm

For historians, and for much more casual students of the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg 150 years ago holds seemingly limitless fascination β€” a search for "Gettysburg" on Amazon turns up over 7,500 books β€” and similarly limitless opportunity for debate. Did the Confederacy's iconic commander, Gen. Robert E. Lee, bring defeat to his own army by reaching too far in ordering Pickett's fateful β€” and disastrous β€” charge? Did Gen.

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A Blog Supreme
5:45 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Facing Illness, An Improviser Learns The Art Of Patience

Dayna Stephens.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 9:07 am

Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.

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First Reads
5:42 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish'

David Rakoff, seen here in 2010, worked on Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish for a decade, finishing shortly before his death in 2012.
Larry Busacca Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 9:03 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

David Rakoff was a mainstay on public radio's This American Life, and the best-selling author of Fraud, Don't Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty. He died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, shortly after finishing Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, a short novel in verse that jumps from decade to decade, tracking a panoply of American characters across the 20th century: 1920s slaughterhouse workers, 1950s office girls, AIDS victims and '80s yuppies.

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Book Reviews
5:41 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

You'll Want To Hang Up On These 'Secret Conversations'

Originally published on Sat July 20, 2013 4:34 pm

A country girl from Grabtown, N.C., Ava Gardner arrived in Hollywood in 1941 knowing she couldn't act but, gorgeous as she was, she never had to let that slow her down. Her beauty β€” which reportedly intimidated Elizabeth Taylor β€” won her not just film roles and studio-paid acting lessons, but the attentions of all-American boy Mickey Rooney, whom she married and divorced before she turned 21. She had a similarly brief union with bandleader Artie Shaw β€” she called those two her "starter husbands" β€” before a tempestuous, headline-making marriage to Frank Sinatra.

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Research News
5:40 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Radiocarbon Clues Help Track Down Poached Elephant Ivory

A man checks the quality of ivory stocks before an auction at the London docks in January 1948.
Popperfoto Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 1:00 pm

The value of elephant ivory has skyrocketed in the past few years. That's led to a huge increase in elephant poaching in Africa and, in turn, created new urgency to stop the trade. And as poachers have become savvier, scientists have devised more sophisticated methods of catching the thieves.

A pound of ivory is now worth more than $1,000, with wildlife experts attributing the rise in price largely to consumers, especially in Asia, who have new money to spend on ivory carvings.

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This Is NPR
5:40 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

'Tell Me More' Invites Listeners To Join #NPRAspen Dialogue On Opportunity In America

Use #NPRAspen to share your ideas about improving education and learning.
NPR

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 5:43 pm

Is America still the land of opportunity?

On July 1 and 2, Tell Me More is addressing this question with two live broadcasts from the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado and wants you to join the conversation in a live Twitter chat around education and opportunity in America.

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All Songs Considered
5:39 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Question Of The Week: Who Is The Most Intense Performer You've Ever Seen?

Deafheaven's George Clarke at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, DC
Bob Boilen Bob

Originally published on Thu July 4, 2013 6:53 am

Last night I witnessed an intense and commanding performance. The band was Deafheaven and lead singer George Clarke kept me riveted. Here's what it looked like captured by my phone:

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This Is NPR
5:38 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Andrea Ghez Hearts NPR

Melissa Kuypers NPR

Originally published on Mon July 1, 2013 4:39 pm

As you probably know, we get a lot of stars here at NPR West. Sometimes they're stars who study stars. Our Science Correspondent Joe Palca says UCLA astronomer Andrea Ghez is "a real hotshot scientist," a status confirmed by her many honors including a MacArthur "genius grant" Fellowship and the Crafoord Prize, which in LA terms is astronomy's equivalent to an Oscar.

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