This round of Three-Minute Fiction attracted 3,400 original stories. NPR's Bob Mondello reads an excerpt from Sleep Lessons by Chad Woody from Springfield, Mo., and Susan Stamberg shares parts of The Edge by Andrew Morris from Andes, N.Y. To see these stories and others go to npr.org/threeminutefiction.
His father, Nat Riccobono, and his uncles came to New York City from Sicily and made money by running shady businesses throughout New York in the late 1940s. After his father was deported and his mother died, Roberts moved from home to home until he was 16 and joined his uncles in the Mafia.
By the time Roberts was 26, in 1978, he was a practiced criminal — committing robberies and dealing cocaine in New York City; but he was getting bored. That's when he moved to Miami and started working with the Colombians, importing cocaine.
The thought of army music evokes a certain tradition — say, trumpets and drums in the style of "Pershing's Own." But that tradition was set on its ear back in the late 1960s and early '70s, when the PFCs stationed overseas formed their own pop bands. And instead of breaking them up, Army brass sent them on tour.
Every day for decades, engineer Phil Pressel would come home from work and be unable to tell his wife what he'd been doing all day.
Now, Pressel is free to speak about his life's work: designing cameras for a top-secret U.S. government spy satellite. Officially known as the KH-9 Hexagon, engineers called it "Big Bird" for its massive size.
Until the government declassified it last month, Hexagon had been a secret for 46 years.
Writer and comedian Andy Borowitz says he initially got into comedy for one simple reason: girls.
In addition to using his jokes to charm women, Borowitz has also written for The New Yorker and runs a satirical blog called The Borowitz Report. His latest project is The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion.
It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)
Neil Gaiman is also the author of Coraline, American Gods, Anansi Boys,StardustandM Is for Magic. He was born in Hampshire, England, and now lives near Minneapolis. You can follow him on Twitter @neilhimself.
Welcome to the first installment of NPR's Backseat Book Club! We've invited all of our younger listeners to join us for conversations with authors of kids' books. We kicked off the club with The Graveyard Book, a thrilling Halloween treat from Neil Gaiman that won the Newbery Medal in 2009. Gaiman loves Halloween and all the creepy fun that goes along with it.
In dramatic fashion, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers Thursday night to force the first game 7 in the World Series since 2002. Michele Norris talks with sportswriter Stefan Fatsis about the game and how it ranks among other thrilling World Series games of the past.
What if you could time-travel back to Memphis' Sun Studios in the 1950s? Behind the console would be none other than producer Sam Phillips. You might hear such classic songs as "My Happiness," "Crazy Arms" or "Walk the Line," originally recorded at Sun Studio by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash, respectively.
Adam Frank is an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester. He is a regular contributor to the NPR blog 13.7: Cosmos and Culture.
What is going to happen when our machines wake up? What will happen when all these computers that run our lives suddenly become intelligent and self-aware? It's a question that makes sense to ask today, as the world marks the recent passage of John McCarthy.
Time for our home video feature, where NPR movie critic Bob Mondello suggests something for those who like to pop their own popcorn and pop in a video. For this Halloween week, Bob suggests sending a shiver up your spine with some classics from: Alfred Hitchcock: The Essentials Collection.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation's income in the past three decades. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Scott Horsley about the findings.
On a small crest deep in South Dakota's Black Hills, a dozen children jumped on sleds and floated across the snow. They are wards of the state, and this is their home: the western campus of the Children's Home Society.
There are rolling hills, a babbling brook — even a new school.
Children's Home Director Bill Colson says it's a place to help children who can't make it in regular foster homes.
In a hurry-up world, the garden keeps its own time. Old-fashioned plants like raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb ask us to slow down and wait for the sweet reward they offer. Commentator Julie Zickefoose revels in the waiting.
I have a friend who lives up in the mountains of North Carolina who loves to give me wonderful plants. Usually Connie gives me native prairie plants, and I plop them in the meadow, and it's no big deal. But this year she gave me raspberries. Not just any raspberries. Golden raspberries.
Five officers in the New York Police Department have been arrested on charges of smuggling guns, cigarettes and slot machines they thought were stolen. Three retired NYPD officers and a New Jersey corrections officer are also charged.
Melissa Block talks to Robert Moore of the University of West Georgia's physics department about a surprising display of the northern lights Monday night that went as far south as Mississippi, Arkansas and Georgia itself.
Throughout the presidential campaign, we'll bring you moments from the candidates. Monday night, Jon Huntsman showed off his often mentioned, but seldom demonstrated, knowledge of the Mandarin language on the Colbert Report.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Michele Norris. The company that administers the SAT says it catches hundreds of people a year trying to impersonate test-takers. Officials from the Educational Testing Service spoke at a New York state Senate hearing today, where lawmakers are investigating an alleged SAT cheating ring.
Nearly 70 years ago, the Marines became the last branch of the American military to accept blacks into their ranks. The first to serve at the segregated Marine base at Montford Point in North Carolina are relatively little known, compared to their fellow trail blazers in the Army's Buffalo Soldiers and the Air Force's Tuskegee Airmen — until now. Congress voted Tuesday to recognize the Montford Point Marines with the Congressional Gold Medal. Historian Melton McLaurin joins Michele Norris to discuss the black servicemen of the Montford Point Marines.
A supporter of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party celebrates on Tuesday at the party's headquarters in Tunis. Ennahda is leading the results of Tunisia's first free and democratic election — though is not expected to win an outright majority.
Credit Lionel Bonaventure / AFP/Getty Images
On Monday in Tunis, members of the Independent Regional Institute for Election collect voting results. Tunisians and foreign observers alike were pleased with the way the voting was carried out.
In Tunisia, a moderate, once-banned Islamist political party is on track to win the country's first free and democratic election — and the first among the countries of the Arab Spring. On Sunday, Tunisians elected a national assembly that will rewrite the country's constitution.
Despite the strong showing by the Islamists, no party is expected to get an absolute majority in the assembly and the new government will likely to be a coalition of secular and religious parties. And that, it appears, is what most Tunisians want.
Music-based games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, which let you play along to popular songs with fake instruments, once ruled the video game industry. They raked in billions of dollars in sales in 2008, when their popularity was at its peak. But such games have since lost their luster, and sales for both have plummeted. Now the French video game publisher and development company Ubisoft is hoping to revive interest in the video game genre by adding a new twist — the ability to use a real guitar.