Guy Raz

My name... Guy Raz.
NPR employee since... 1997.
Public radio listener since... 1995.
My job at NPR is...
Host, TED Radio Hour and formerly the weekend host of All Things Considered.

I'm not as... serious ...as I sound.

When I go in for a taping, I always have... a photograph of my children in Star Wars costumes.

Andrew Borakove was a television comedy writer in Hollywood when he realized he had to make a life change.

"A vision of a gong appeared before me, and I said a gong? I've never thought of that," he says. "And I started doing research and I said, 'Yep, I could maybe sell gongs for a living.' "

For nearly 150 years the world-renowned beer manufacturer Anheuser-Busch was a family company. It was passed from father to son for five generations. A couple drops of Budweiser were put onto the tongue of each first-born son before he even tasted his mother's milk. That trademark brew, Budweiser, is known to the world as the "King of Beers," and the Busch family wasn't too far from American royalty.

When the Northwestern grunge-rock scene suddenly gained national attention in the early 1990s, Soundgarden had already been around for years. But by 1997, both the band and the musical movement it had helped to define had atomized.

Back in the 17th century, right around the time when the ideas of great thinkers like Descartes and Newton and Hobbes began to shape the world, a Jesuit priest named Athanasius Kircher also tried to make his mark.

Kircher was something of a jack-of-all-trades. He wrote more than 30 books; he was a philosopher, an inventor, a historian, a scientist. Back in his day, everyone knew about him. But it didn't help his reputation that many of his theories and inventions just couldn't hold water.

There's a public middle school in Brooklyn, N.Y., called Intermediate School 318, or I.S. 318. Like others in the area, it's a Title I school, which means it has a poverty level that's more than 65 percent. But unlike other schools, it's got the highest-ranked junior-high chess team in the nation. In fact, Brooklyn IS 3-18 has won more than 30 national chess titles.

I.S. 318 is the subject of a new documentary called Brooklyn Castle. The film has picked up audience awards at the SXSW and Hot Docs film festivals.

Earlier this year, Stephen Fowler, owner of The Monkey's Paw used-book store in Toronto, had an idea.

He wanted a creative way to offload his more ill-favored books — "old and unusual" all, as the store's motto goes — that went further than a $1 bin by the register.

It came in a conversation with his wife: a vending machine.

Forty-four years ago, a little girl changed the world of sports in an incident known today as "The Heidi Game."

That day — Nov. 17, 1968 — is when the modern age of football began, Dave Zirin, the sports editor for The Nation magazine, says.

The New York Jets were up against the Oakland Raiders. At the time they were two of the best teams in the American Football League, just before it merged with the National Football League.

Director Ang Lee's new film, Life of Pi, tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy who is the lone survivor of a terrible shipwreck. Pi Patel finds himself lost at sea, alone on a boat with a Bengal tiger.

The film is based on Yann Martel's fantasy novel of the same name. The book won the 2002 Man Booker prize for fiction and was optioned to be turned into a film even though it was considered by many in Hollywood to be unfilmable: How do you make a movie that takes place almost entirely on a boat? And with a real tiger?

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