This interview was originally broadcast on June 2, 2011. Beginners is now available on DVD.
Filmmaker Mike Mills' parents met in junior high school. For 45 years, they lived together, raising Mills and his older sisters, until Mills' mother died in 1999. Six months later, Mills' father — a 75-year-old retired museum director — announced that he's gay.
In these hard times, Britain's Royal Academy of Chemistry has come up with the cheapest meal of all: a toast sandwich. They found the recipe in the Victorian bestseller: Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. It's a piece of toast between two buttered slices of bread and costs 12 cents to make.
Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne. The Columbia University Marching Band is known for its sense of humor, but their joke fell flat at a recent football game against Cornell. In a parody of the school fight song, the band sang: We always lose, lose, lose by a lot; sometimes, by a little - which is accurate. Their loss to Cornell was their ninth straight this year.
The athletic department wasn't amused. They banned the marching band from the final game of the season. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Let's consider now, those vehicles that offer something really cheap - the food trucks that have become so popular. At the L.A. Auto Show, Nissan has on display a new truck specially designed for mobile restaurateurs. Our last word in business today is: culinary concept car.
The Los Angeles Auto Show begins today. It's the first of America's car shows and it's where manufacturers put their best foot forward or try to reinvent themselves. One those carmakers is Honda. Honda's production was badly hurt by Japan's earthquake and tsunami, and as it was getting back on track, the floods in Thailand crippled production again. But as NPR's Sonari Glinton reports from the L.A. Auto Show, natural disasters may be the least of Honda's problems.
NPR's business news starts with oil prices hovering around $99 a barrel. Oil has gone up sharply since last month, partly because of signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. Also because of tensions in some oil producing regions, which could affect supplies. Still, the debt crisis in Europe is holding prices below that psychologically important $100 a barrel mark. Benchmark crude was trading in Asia this morning at about $98.90. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Italy's new prime minister has pledged far-reaching reforms. An economist himself, Mario Monti has managed to win a vote of confidence for his new national unity government by an overwhelming majority in Italy's senate. Still, Europe's debt crisis is gathering more steam and now pushing borrowing costs for Spain and France sharply higher. As NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports, pressure is mounting on the European Central Bank to act to stem the crisis.
The outcome in Italy is, of course, of huge importance to Germany. Germany is the strongest economy in the eurozone and has a deep historical interest in the euro's success. We asked the economist Nicolas Veron to remind us of Germany's role in this grand monetary experiment.
Writer-director Alexander Payne is either the American cinema's most acerbic humanist or its most empathetic jerk. Whichever it is, the protagonists of the novels he adapts are outsiders who pay an emotional price for their sense of superiority.
Payne's The Descendants is his first film to be told from the perspective of a person of privilege, but real-estate lawyer Matt King (George Clooney) is the ultimate outsider: a stranger to his family and his lifelong home, Hawaii.
Though he's directed only five feature films, Alexander Payne has built a reputation as one of Hollywood's most respected filmmakers. His movies find comedy in the crises of his flawed protagonists — among them Matthew Broderick as a high school teacher in Election, Jack Nicholson as a widower in About Schmidt and Paul Giamatti as a struggling author and wine snob in Sideways, for which Payne shared an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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.
Each weekend, Bill Desmarais ships his birds off on a truck and somehow, they find their way home. In his backyard in Massachusetts recently, he welcomed home birds from a race that started 250 miles away in Verona, N.Y.
Pigeons have fascinated people for centuries. Charles Darwin, Pablo Picasso and Walt Disney all kept the birds. Today, thousands — including Mike Tyson — are flocking to the sport of pigeon racing.
Racing pigeons aren't like the pigeons you see in a park. They're stronger, bred for endurance and brains. Some are worth thousands of dollars.
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.
As states have closed down mental hospitals, they've struggled to find housing for the mentally ill. In Florida, assisted-living facilities have become the de facto solution.
It takes just a high school diploma and 26 hours of training to run one of Florida's mental health assisted-living facilities — that's lower than the state requirements for becoming a beautician, a barber or even an auctioneer.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris have two of the world's best collections of the work of the French postimpressionist Edgar Degas. The two museums have collaborated on an important show called Degas and the Nude, which includes pieces from major museums and private collections all over the world. Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz, who lives in Boston, was moved by the show, which also triggered a sweet personal memory.
For the more than 10 percent of Americans who have some form of hearing loss, mass transit can be frustrating, especially on a busy travel weekend like this one. Even if you wear a hearing aid, trying to hear in places like airports, theaters and places of worship can be tough.
Despite claims to the contrary, a insightful economic analysis suggests that it wouldn't be in most employers' business interests to stop providing health insurance when the main coverage provisions of the federal health overhaul kick in.
In recent weeks, at least 80 business owners have fled Wenzhou in eastern China and gone into hiding because they can't pay crushing debts to the city's empire of underground lending firms and loan sharks.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao became so concerned that he flew to Wenzhou earlier in October to try to keep the problem from spreading.
The city's credit crisis highlights some of the flaws — and potential risks — of the banking system in the world's second-largest economy.
Home prices rose slightly in August, according to the latest data from the S&P/Case-Shiller index. They're still down compared to August 2010, and way down from their pre-recession peak in 2006. But it's good-ish news, reports the AP:
The debate over regulation has been in the news lately, because it's been a point of conversation among the 2012 presidential candidates. The Republicans have said that over-regulation has kept businesses from expanding and creating jobs. But a new report from the World Bank that measures business regulation is throwing some cold water on the side that thinks the U.S. is a hostile place for business.
If you thought the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer was controversial before, things are just warming up.
A panel of experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccine policies has recommended routine vaccination of 11- and 12-year-old boys with Gardasil, Merck's vaccine against human papillomavirus. Vaccinations could start as early as age 9 and extend to 21-year-old men who weren't previously vaccinated.
Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 12:22 pm
After a year-long survey, the World Wildlife Foundation has come to the conclusion that there are no more rhinoceros left in Vietnam. Specifically, the Javan rhino has disappeared from Cat Tien National Park, one of two of its remaining habitats in the world.
The WWF took dung samples from 2009 to 2010 and through genetic analysis they found the 22 samples belonged to a rhino that was found dead in the national preserve in 2010. That rhino was found with a bullet in its leg and with its horn cut off.
Nearly 700 Native American children in South Dakota are being removed from their homes every year, sometimes under questionable circumstances. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is largely failing to place them according to the law. The vast majority of native kids in foster care in South Dakota are in nonnative homes or group homes, according to an NPR analysis of state records.
Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 9:45 am
Saying that it "reorders the way they do business in Washington by reinventing the tax code and restoring our nation to fiscal health through balanced budgets and entitlement reform," Texas Gov. Rick Perry is this hour unveiling his "cut, balance and grow plan" on taxes.