Scott Simon | KERA News

Scott Simon

Why don't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom? The P is silent.

I'm a father. I tell dad jokes.

See that farmer? A man outstanding in his field.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large of Merriam-Webster, defined dad jokes for us as "an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny."

Did you see that documentary about beavers? What a great dam show ...

Linda Fairstein won fame prosecuting criminals and then wrote crime fiction. Did she allow her gift for fiction to guide her powers as a prosecutor?

For 25 years, Linda Fairstein led sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which inspired Law and Order: SVU. She's written bestselling crime novels, like Blood Oath and Death Dance, about a hard-nosed, tenderhearted Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who eats in a lot of New York's classiest Italian restaurants on a public servant's salary.

Now there's a mystery.

Bild is a tabloid, a German daily newspaper best-known for blaring headlines, fleshy photos and breathless coverage of gossip and scandals.

But this week, the newspaper ran a kippah on its front page: a Jewish skullcap that signifies reverence for God above. It's blue and white, with Stars of David. Readers could cut out the kippah and wear it.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

On April 19, 1775, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired on the Lexington, Mass. town green. No one knows for sure who fired the shot, but when British soldiers heard it, they panicked. The red coats fired at members of the local militia, killing eight and wounding 10. With that, the Revolutionary War had begun.

The Seychelles magpie-robin is about 9 inches long, with inky blue-black feathers, and white patches along its wings. There may be only 200 or so of these beguiling birds in the world, all in forests of the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa.

It is alarming to think of just a few birds left of a single species, isolated and fragile. It seems as if a sudden storm, or a rampant sickness, could extinguish them.

I was sitting next to a college chancellor at an event Tuesday night when our cell phones began to beep with the first bulletins about the shootings at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Two students were killed; four were injured.

"My first thought," Susan Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, told me, "was, 'That could have been my campus.' All campuses in the U.S. are vulnerable."

Margaret Trudeau married Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada, when she was 22. He was 51. That marriage came apart — publicly, spectacularly — as she made public rounds with rockers, actors and other celebrities.

There has never been a better name for a person than Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick. She died this week, at the age of 35.

Charity was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension when she was a young opera singer in Europe. She had two double lung transplants in the past 10 years, flatlined twice, sank into comas, suffered innumerable close calls and lights-blinking, horn-blaring intensive care unit emergencies, only to always to come roaring back with rekindled energy and sunny grace — to sing and to shine.

More than 400 firefighters answered the call when fire broke out in the Notre Dame Cathedral this Holy Week. As Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Plus, spokesperson for the Paris firefighters, told the Agence France Press, "One doesn't imagine as a Paris firefighter one day intervening to save Notre Dame!"

"Time worked against us," he said. "The wind was against us, and we needed to retake control."

World War II pilot Dick Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raid, died last week at age 103.

Cole was renowned aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot in April 1942 on what was regarded as a suicide mission – the first counterattack against the Japanese mainland after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The raid caused Japan to contract its forces and start a battle with the United States over Midway Atoll, a small ring shaped island between North America and Asia. This battle, which the U.S. won, shifted the tide of the war into America's favor.

An art show opens in El Paso today. It's what they call a "multi-sensory exhibit" that includes works like a chapel, cut from cardboard, surrounded by trees and hedges spun from yarn, with Popsicle stick church pews and crosses. There are many images of bright birds, cooing in trees; and a looming volcano, smoking over a bright, cheery town.

It has not been uplifting for Americans to look across the ocean the past few years and see Great Britain's Brexit imbroglio.

Almost three years ago, a slim majority, 51.9 percent, voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. But breaking up is hard to do.

Three times, Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed an exit plan. Parliament has rejected it each time. The March 29 deadline to depart has come and gone; Parliament has asked the EU for delay after delay.

In season six of HBO's Veep, Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, made some pretty dramatic decisions — she chooses to run for president to get a second shot at working in the Oval Office.

In the process, she walks away from a chance at true love due to her belief that her relationship with Qatari ambassador Mohammed Al Jaffar, a Muslim man, could harm her campaign.

Fresh waves of grief have hit the communities of Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., after recent news of more deaths.

On Monday, the father of a girl who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died by apparent suicide, and last week, two students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting took their own lives.

And amidst all this urgent news, the 2019 Major League Baseball season also began this week. Organized baseball worries that the game once considered America's pastime has become slooowww, old, and tedious.

In 1948 — when Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson were on the field — an average 9-inning game lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. Today, it takes more than 3 hours.

When high school senior and wrestler Brendan Johnston realized he had to face Jaslynn Gallegos, a high school senior, and Angel Rios, a high school junior, in last month's Colorado state wrestling championship, he knew his shot at a state title was over.

Johnston refused to compete against Rios and Gallegos because they are both girls.

Gallegos went on to place fifth in that tournament, and Rios was fourth — marking the first time girls have placed at a Colorado state wrestling tournament.

Named after the beloved Professor Longhair song, Tipitina's is a famous club that the New Orleans band Galactic has frequented for over 25 years. Now, the longstanding funk band out with its 10th album, Already Ready Already, owns the place.

As birds flitted on and off colorful feeders in a flicker of flapping feathers, and chattered in chirps — punctuated by the occasional trill — a band of birdwatchers offered a cacophony of their own.

"I heard a red-winged blackbird!"

"There's a blue jay!"

"Is that a downy woodpecker?"

Don't have a backyard? No problem. The Great Backyard Bird Count can be done anywhere, whether that's standing on a street outside an apartment, looking out a window at the office, or wandering around a park.

You might be surprised at what you find.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Three remarkable musical artists will share a stage in Detroit tomorrow night.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M DEAF")

SEAN FORBES: (Rapping) My name is Sean, but they call me Seen. Got a message here I'm deliverin'.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News - I'm Scott Simon - where BJ Leiderman writes our theme music. Here it comes. Time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Trump can be stinging and sarcastic. It's part of his charm, for those who find it charming. He has the audacity of discourtesy, if you please, whether calling a woman "Horseface," as he did this week, or ridiculing African nations as ... something I quoted on the air only once.

But the president reveals a softer side when he talks about strongmen and dictators.

As 12-year-old David Vetter was about to die at Texas Children's Hospital in 1984, he gave a last wink to his doctor, William T. Shearer. His wife told us Dr. Shearer carried that moment through the rest of his life.

Dr. Shearer, a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, died this week at the age of 81.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Pages