The future of the The Simpsons hangs in the balance as negotiations continue between 20th Century Fox Television, which makes the animated series, and the actors who supply the characters voices. How does a TV classic that's been on the air a record 23 seasons find itself at death's door?
Well, the cartoon Simpsons aren't rich, but the real people who bring them to life sure are. Six main actors are responsible for everyone from Homer to Lisa to bartender Moe, and you won't believe how much each makes to do voices for these characters. Try $8 million a season.
Remember reading, as a child, and feeling the fine mesh of words catch you up so completely that you became enjoyably muddled about which was the real world and which the world of the book? For me, it was as though I gulped down the language of the story and grew fat with its cadences — they rang in my ears, colored my vision and pulsed in my throat.
As I got older, I lost some of that easy susceptibility. What had once been a permeable membrane between fiction and life solidified.
This summer I spent a month in Egypt doing research for the public radio program Afropop Worldwide. In October, Afropop will begin airing a series of programs looking at Egypt — past and present — through the eyes of musicians. In one episode Egyptians are asked to imagine how the revolution will affect their popular music?
Time for our movie critic Bob Mondello to suggest something for home-viewing. Today, he's exploring a 15-disk collection of classic TV comedy that nobody's seen for a while: The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes.
Commentator Dennis O'Toole is a writer and improv performer from Chicago.
Today, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam G. Riess won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering that expansion in the universe is speeding up. That's great news for me, since I had Riess and Perlmutter in my fantasy league.
Honestly, I could have gotten Schmidt too, but I drafted Nathan Seiberg, mainly because he's worked with both supersymmetric gauge theories and with discrete light-cone quantization. That was a hedge.
I first came across Sultana's Dream while doing research for a novel set in Bangladesh. I had traveled to Dhaka, the capital city, and stumbled on the Liberation War museum, where my visit coincided with an exhibition on the story.
I became fascinated by the life of its author, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, when I learned that, like me, she had been raised by a progressive Muslim family and actively encouraged to seek an education.
When I was a kid, I assumed that in the future things would get better and better until we were all driving flying cars and playing badminton with space aliens on top of 500-story buildings. Frankly, I kind of counted on this happening. But now I don't assume that we'll just keep going up anymore.