This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, the old gang is back together to tackle a new comedy, just like the guest panel did last week: Last week, it was Girls; this week, it's the less fussed over Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We'll talk about how we responded to her performance, the writing (from the guys behind the great In The Loop), and the depiction of politics.
Bernie Tiede (Jack Black), a sweet undertaker's assistant beloved by his small East Texas community, befriends a prickly and controlling widow (Shirley MacLaine). Her generosity comes with so many strings that he soon finds his almost inexhaustible kindness stretched to the limit.
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:07 pm
If there is a dream team in modern American comedies, it might just be Richard Linklater and Jack Black. The two haven't worked together since 2003's The School of Rock — a film that bore all the hallmarks of successful collaboration — and since then Black, aside from a passable turn in King Kong, has been confined mainly to guest spots on television comedies and voice work in big-screen animation.
There's another "tree of life." This one is a mesquite tree located in Bahrain.
Credit Alexander Joe / AFP/Getty Images
Who doesn't love baobabs? They're just awesome. This one is lit up in South Africa, 2011.
Credit Aline Ranaivoson / AFP/Getty Images
More baobabs, these in Madagascar, because they really are the coolest. The "Avenue of the Baobabs" was designated as a protected zone in 2007.
Credit Khaled Fazaa / AFP/Getty Images
The Yemeni island of Socotra is historically famous for its unique and spectacular vegetation; botanists rank the flora of Socotra among the 10 most endangered island flora in the world. The dragon blood tree is unique to the island.
Credit David Greedy / Getty Images
One of the most iconic features of the ruins of Ta Phrom in Angkor, Cambodia, is the trees growing through the structures.
Credit Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images
Redwood trees, like the General Grant giant sequoia, native to California's Sierra Nevada, are the world's largest by volume — reaching heights of more than 300 feet. The oldest known giant sequoia based on its ring count is 3,500 years old.
Credit Three Lions / Getty Images
Some redwoods in California are large enough to drive through. That's neat.
Credit Sanka Vidanagama / AFP/Getty Images
Don't forget the little trees. The Japanese art of bonsai, using miniature trees grown in containers, has equivalents in other cultures. Here, two women look at bonsai trees in Sri Lanka.
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Of course we have to acknowledge the Major Oak of Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest, near Edwinstowe, England.
Credit Torsten Blackwood / AFP/Getty Images
Eucalyptus trees, 'cause, duh: koalas.
Credit Robert Lackenbach / Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
Axel Erlandson was a Swedish-American farmer known for his "Tree Circus," in which he grafted and shaped trees into unusual shapes.
Credit Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images
The ancient bristlecone pine trees are thought to be the oldest in the world. The Methuselah in California, more than 4,800 years old, is considered the oldest, named after the Biblical figure with the longest lifespan.
Credit Vikram Kumar / AP
The sacred fig at the Maha Bodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, India, is believed to be the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
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The Tule tree is a Montezuma cypress in Oaxaca, Mexico. It has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world and is on the UNESCO tentative list of World Heritage Sites. According to UNESCO, "the ancient indigenous population considered this tree as sacred," which is why it's also nicknamed the "tree of life."
Buddha reached enlightenment under a tree. Cinnamon comes from trees — as do apples and latex and frankincense, not to mention the oxygen we breathe. As Shel Silverstein reminds us, they're just about the most selfless things.
But still, Arbor Day never seems to get much love. (I mean, think about how nuts we go for other holidays.)
I like to gaze out the window, but these days I'm not alone. What's got many of us staring out the back window of NPR's D.C. office is some serious construction work. Across the street, a construction crew has literally been picking up buildings, putting them on wheels and moving them to the end of the lot. They moved the last of five buildings yesterday. I time-lapsed this one, partly because it has some lore for us at NPR. It was part of a prostitution bust a few years back that also had us staring out the window.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 12:49 pm
Alison Stewart is returning to NPR as the host of another innovative project, TED Radio Hour. The program is a joint endeavor from NPR and TED with each show based on a talk delivered from the renowned TED stage, addressing urbanization, sustainability, happiness and much more.
European leaders keep getting driven from office by voters upset with the continent's ongoing economic problems. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, shown here at a campaign event on Thursday, is trailing in opinion polls in advance of a May 6 runoff election.
Credit Robin van Lonkhuijsen / Reuters/Landov
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, shown here speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, resigned a day earlier over a budget crisis.
"Most animals learn by trial and error. There's just one problem: error." — Dan Gilbert
Our amazing brain, with all of its harmonious functions, also performs any number of peculiar actions, which we might find unexpected and counterintuitive. What tricks do our minds play when we think it's okay to lie, cheat, or steal? How in control are we of our own decisions? And why do our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy?