Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

When it comes to Christmas trees, which kind of symbol do you prefer — real or artificial? In recent stat-studded news stories, Americans seem to be conflicted, but leaning toward artificiality.

Fooling the eye — with trick-niques like anamorphic sculpture, trompe l'oeil paintings and other optical illusions — is a centuries-old artistic pursuit.

Hoodslam — a popular spectacle that is staged monthly in Oakland, Calif. — is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "part wrestling show, part carnival act and all comedy."

The old joke used to be: Who is buried in Grant's tomb?

Now it's not so funny anymore.

When the "bride" and "groom" walk down the aisle in a Tom Thumb Wedding — as they did just a few weeks ago at the Fellowship Baptist Church on Staten Island in New York — they are:

1) Often not much taller than the backs of the church pews.

2) Paying homage to a pair of 19th century celebrities.

3) Acting out an American ritual with roots stretching back more than 150 years.

As America enters the holiday season, chowing down at a crowded table can become a competitive experience. What was once confined to friendly wagers has blossomed into a full-blown industry.

With a peck of new tech in development, Upstart reports recently, "the dating game may never be the same."

For Halloween 2014, the National Retail Federation predicts, some 75 million adults will put on costumes. Reuters is reporting that haunted houses for adults are in demand this year, and some 20 percent of celebrants over the age of 18 plan to visit one.

Are adults adulterating Halloween?

Making costumes from secondhand stuff is a part of the Halloween scene in 2014, according to Goodwill. We call it boocycling.

The Girl Scouts organization wants s'more — members and leaders, that is.

Membership in Girl Scouts of the USA is on the decline. In the past year, according to the group's official blog, there has been a significant drop nationwide — down 400,000 girls and adults — from 3.2 million to 2.8 million.

How about we call it boocycling — putting together an adult's or child's costume using recycled, thrift-store clothing?

What separates Americans the most?

Race ... religion ... gender ...

According to Shanto Iyengar, a political scientist at Stanford University, often the most divisive aspect of contemporary society is: politics.

Divided We Stand

From the ancient Greek thinker Democritus who reportedly said, "We know nothing really; for truth lies deep down," to the recent problem-solving advice from Entrepreneur, "Assume Everything Is Wrong," we have to constantly be reminded to be skeptical. And that the one thing we do know is that we don't always know what we think we know.

As neophyte reporters are often told: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Recently the Corcoran Gallery of Art in downtown Washington — just across the street from the White House — closed its doors.

Americans are discovering — or rediscovering — the allure of outdoor living, according to a 2014 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Whether the instinct stems from a primordial desire to reconnect with the natural world or to disconnect from in-house clutter and chaos, people who can afford it are transporting traditional indoor areas — kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, entertainment centers — outside.

You know the look. After all, the Angry Face, according to a recent study, is pretty much the same all over the world.

Question young, first-time voters about whom they will be supporting in the 2016 presidential election — via a callout on NPR's Facebook page — and you will receive more than 700 all-over-the-map responses.

Some thoughtful, some insightful. And a heck of a lot filled with what can only be called Hillary Exhilaration.

Especially among the young women of Generation Z — cultural shorthand for the cohort born in the mid-'90s or later.

Post a photo of the plant on your desk in the Comments section below.

That's right: The plant the boss wants you to take home ...

Now you can explain — with some research to back you up — that having greenery in your workspace makes you more productive. And how a ficus near the phone or a lily by the laptop helps grow business.

And maybe your supervisor will make like a plant — and leave.

Rooting Out The Problem

Now that the term Digital World has become redundant, we are able to make mistakes and encounter entanglements that no human — even Shakespeare --could ever have imagined.

Email doubles, for instance. Nearly everyone — even those of us with unusual names — has run into the dilemma. An email double who shares our name.

Oxymoronic, isn't it, the idea of a "good psychopath"?

But in their just published book, The Good Psychopath's Guide to Success, Andy McNab and Kevin Dutton argue that relying on some psychopathic traits can lead to a more successful life.

For years I was convinced that there exists among us a strange, unidentified species of animal — something between bug and bird — jetting around gardens and flowers and trees.

Not too long ago one of these natural UFOs buzzed past me in broad daylight. Too big to be a bee, too itty-bitty to be a bird. Slow enough to glimpse, but too fast to identify.

Not exactly a hummingbird ...

Nor a bumblebee ...

What the heck was it?

The mystery was finally solved when a friend told me about ...

... the hummingbird moth.

The Great American Junk Drawer can be an accidental time capsule, a haphazard scrap heap, a curious box of memories and meaninglessness. It can also serve as a Rorschachian reflection of your life.

You know what we're talking about: The drawer of detritus. The has-been bin. That roll-out repository where you toss your odds and ends. Sometimes very odd odds and ends. Sometimes whatnot never to be seen again.

Perhaps this is the sound of history repeating itself.

In the early days of his first term, President Obama was painted as "the anti-Bush" and many of his ideas — for instance his foreign policy and his approach to global terrorism — were considered non-Bushesque initiatives.

Wait a minute. Weren't we told by Simon and Garfunkel: "Slow down, you move too fast. You've got to make the morning last"?

And by some other philosopher to "stop and smell the roses"?

Now we learn from new research that walking slow can be a bad thing — or at least reveal that you might be slouching toward Alzheimer's.

Desk Desk Evolution

Jul 30, 2014

Now that Weird Al week is long past, we can mull over the merits — and demerits — of Al Yankovic's new mishmash of novelty music: Mandatory Fun.

A Surge In Concierges

Jul 11, 2014

Steve Sims is the founder of Bluefish, a luxury concierge service that takes care of rich people. As Steve posted on Reddit recently: "We've arranged everything from supersonic military jet flights in Russia, submersible dives in the Atlantic Ocean to view the Titanic, sunsets in the Serengeti, deep-sea dives with great whites, performing with rock stars, to flights into space for our clients."

Cinema sites abound with lists such as Top 10 Movies ForThe Fourth Of July from Forbes and 12 Patriotic Movies by the Los Angeles Times. After all, Hollywood knows that Americans love to celebrate American celebrations.

Celebrating Independence Day on July Fourth is as American as burgers and dogs on the grill, lemonade in plastic cups, apple pie on paper plates, baseball, fireworks and Sousa marches.

Except for those Americans who don't celebrate it at all.

One reason Internet memes — the quirky photos with societal observations that are passed along like genes or around like germs — work so well, is that they tap into something of the moment, a fleeting notion that captures the here and now.

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