The young musicians of Seguro Que Si will perform in this weekend's Inaugural Parade. Left to right: Daniel Chico (bass), Kevin Arguelles (piano), Maxwell Frost (timbales), Christopher Muriel (congas), Niyah Lowell (bongos), Annette Rodriguez (vocal), Sean Fernandez (trumpet), Robby Cruz (trumpet).
In the Inaugural Parade following the president's swearing-in on Monday, regimental and high school marching bands will appear alongside groups showcasing the nation's diversity. These include a float representing South Carolina and Georgia's Gullah-Geechee culture, plus Native American groups and a mariachi band from Texas. Bringing the salsa is Seguro Que Si, a high school band from Kissimmee, Fla.
Everyone has relationship problems, even God — at least, according to humorist Simon Rich. His latest book of short stories, The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories, is quirky, surreal and sometimes a little dark. It's divided into three sections: Boy Meets Girl. Boy Gets Girl. Boy Loses Girl.
"It is a pretty honest and personal book," Rich tells NPR's Rachel Martin, "which is a strange thing to say about a book that's filled with so much time travel, and rocket ships, and talking trolls and magical goats, but it is actually a pretty honest book."
The office of the president offers a lot of responsibilities and privileges. Your actions drive the world's most powerful military, billions of dollars worth of domestic policy and, perhaps most importantly, the way the country speaks.
That's what linguist and writer Paul Dickson contends in his new book, Words From the White House. It's a look back through history at the words and phrases popularized by our presidents — including the ones they don't get credit for anymore.
Originally published on Mon January 21, 2013 12:28 pm
Sarah Manguso's latest book is called The Guardians.
I like autobiographies that approach their subjects insidiously. My favorite ones begin as a study of someone or something else. Then, partway through, the author realizes he's the subject. And my very favorite autobiographies are the ones, in all their particularity, that might as well be about me — or you, or anyone.
First lady Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4.
Credit Jae C. Hong / AP
<strong>Diplomacy with style:</strong> The Obamas pose with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace ahead of a state banquet on May 24, 2011. Michelle's gown was designed by American fashion designer Tom Ford.
Credit Chris Jackson / AFP/Getty Images
<strong>In the garden:</strong> Michelle holds up broccoli as she participates in the White House Kitchen Garden Fall Harvest with students on the South Lawn of the White House on Oct. 20, 2010.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
<strong>Typical American:</strong> Michelle leaves a Target department store in Alexandria, Va., after doing some shopping on Sept. 29, 2011. Her style choices range from expensive, high-end designers to discount stores like Target.
Credit Charles Dharapak / AP
<strong>Let's move:</strong> Michelle and a group of children try to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period, at the White House on Oct. 11, 2011. Michelle's anti-obesity campaign, Let's Move, focuses on teaching children good nutrition and regular exercise.
Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
<strong>Aww:</strong> Obama sneaks an extra smooch after kissing Michelle for the "Kiss Cam" at the basketball game between U.S. and Brazil, on July 16, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Credit Alex Brandon / AP
<strong>First family:</strong> Obama walks on stage with his family to deliver his victory speech on election night on Nov. 6, 2012, in Chicago.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
<strong>First lady:</strong> Michelle Obama waves after addressing the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 4, 2012.
Credit Jae C. Hong / AP
<strong>On the campaign trail:</strong> Michelle greets supporters at Broward College in Davie, Fla., on Oct. 22, 2012, where she rallied grass-root supporters and spoke of what's at stake in the election for Floridians. Michelle was seen as an asset on the campaign trail, where she often drew large crowds.
Credit Alan diaz / AP
<strong>First dance:</strong> Newly sworn in President Obama and the first lady dance during the inaugural ball on Jan. 20, 2009, in Washington, D.C.
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty Images
First lady Michelle Obama paints a bookshelf at Burrville Elementary School in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Day of Service on Saturday.
Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:28 am
Ask yourself this question: How weird would it be if you changed your hair and it was on the news?
No, seriously. Pull back from everything you know about celebrity and pretend it's about you. You change your hair. You decide, "Hey, you know what? It's been long for a while; what if I went a little shorter?" And so you go a little shorter. And then it is on the news.
Originally published on Sat January 19, 2013 7:38 pm
The author is a Syrian citizen who is not being identified for security reasons.
When I have taken breaks from the conflict in Syria and gone to neighboring Lebanon, I have usually returned with all the things that were in short supply in Damascus: bread, yogurt and tissue paper, to name just a few items.
This time, all I had to bring back was cat food, the high-quality type, because the regular stuff was available at grocers around Damascus, albeit for twice the usual price.
This is not to say that all is well in the Syrian capital.
The scene is Paris in the 1920s. The stars are three women: Esther Murphy, a product of New York high society who wrote madly but could never finish a book; Mercedes de Acosta, an insatiable collector and writer infatuated with Greta Garbo; and Madge Garland, a self-made Australian fashion editor at British Vogue. All three were lesbians.
Their histories burst onto the literary scene this summer in the biography All We Know: Three Lives by Wesleyan University professor Lisa Cohen.