Arts & Life

If you've ever noticed that Sterling Archer of the animated Bond parody Archer and Bob Belcher of the animated family sitcom Bob's Burgers sound oddly alike that's because actor and comedian H. Jon Benjamin is behind them both. He's written a new memoir (or, as he calls it, an "attempted memoir") titled Failure Is an Option.

We've invited Benjamin to play a game called "THWACK! Bullseye!" Three questions about archery.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

Muffet (liz west) [Flickr]

Keeping your home safe for your best friend may mean limiting the use of things like essential oils.  That includes diffusers which may put oils into the air that could harm your pet's sensitive respiratory system.  

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Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Near the beginning of The Red Caddy, Charles Bowden's slim tribute to the author and environmental activist Edward Abbey, Bowden makes an interesting observation about his late friend's career: "He created a fairly unusual readership — either people have never heard of him or have read everything he ever wrote." It's an exaggeration, of course — plenty of people read his most famous novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang, but never become Abbey completists.

Editor's Note: One photo in this story, of a child who died, may be distressing to some viewers.

Andrea Bruce was at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, finishing up her last semester as a journalism major, when she took a photography class for fun.

It set the trajectory of her future.

"I was not going to do anything else with my life [after that]. I dedicated everything to that," says the documentary photographer.

StoryCorps

Cai Unger and Ariel Chavez are immigrants from completely different parts of the globe – Germany and Bolivia. They met and fell in love in Mobile, Alabama. In this StoryCorps piece, the happily married husbands talk about their wedding day and their hopes for the future...


The shot is stunning at first glance. In the top half of the frame, stars hang like a spangled canopy above the vast grasslands, which would be desolate if not for the tall termite mound in the foreground. The hill glows with the bioluminescence of click beetle larvae, their fluorescent speckle looking for all the world like the stars' mirror.

Finally, we no longer have to use the word "allegedly."

A court of law has delivered a verdict that the court of public opinion seemed to have already reached: Bill Cosby, 80, has been found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, resulting from allegations first made by Andrea Constand back in 2005.

The public eventually saw more than 60 women accuse "America's dad" of sexual misconduct and assault, with many alleging he surreptitiously drugged them first. This is the first of those stories to get a verdict.

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Comfort Zone.

About Dan Pallotta's TED Talk

Stepping outside of one's comfort zone can happen on different levels. Entrepreneur and humanitarian activist Dan Pallotta says that doing so is not only important for individuals — but for society.

About Dan Pallotta

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Comfort Zone.

About Ann Morgan's TED Talk

In 2012, Ann Morgan set out to read a book from nearly 200 different countries around the world. She describes how that experience challenged her limits and tested her assumptions.

About Ann Morgan

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Comfort Zone.

About Luvvie Ajayi's TED Talk

Speaking up — especially about topics that are difficult to discuss — can be scary but necessary. Author and blogger Luvvie Ajayi feels it's her role to push people outside their comfort zones.

About Luvvie Ajayi

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Comfort Zone.

About Tim Ferriss's TED Talk

How can we conquer our fears? Entrepreneur Tim Ferriss says that by taking action, we can train ourselves to accept discomfort, become more resilient, and expand our horizons.

About Tim Ferriss

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Comfort Zone.

About Tanya Menon's TED Talk

Humans naturally seek out cliques or in-groups. But organizational psychologist Tanya Menon encourages us to break out of our social comfort zones, for wider opportunties to grow.

About Tanya Menon

Among Isabelle Huppert's many impressively vehement roles are several murderers, a mother who seduces her son, and the abortionist who was the last woman France ever sent to the guillotine. So the first joke of the intriguing but bewilderingly scattered Mrs. Hyde (Madame Hyde) is director Serge Bozon's casting of the anything-goes actress as a shy, awkward schoolteacher.

Let the Sunshine In is the poorly translated title (more on that later) of the new film by French director Claire Denis. It opens with a scene that has launched many a tale of female romantic travail.

Without getting into the particulars, the title of the lesbian romance Duck Butter refers to an unctuous medley of bodily fluids that might, say, discourage any further sexual engagement. For co-writer/star Alia Shawkat, who scripted the film with director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, Beatriz at Dinner), it's also a statement of purpose, a commitment to the down-and-dirty realness to come.

The first sound we hear in Disobedience is the sharp, prolonged blaring of the shofar. In the Jewish religion it's a call for people to pay attention, to wake up from a slumber of complacency and think about our relationship with God. Immediately the film places us in the middle of an Orthodox congregation, gazing up at the final sermon of a dying rabbi; we can see the rows of women in wigs and long, black skirts far above him, watching from the gender-segregated balcony.

As CNN's chief Washington correspondent, Jake Tapper is often focused on breaking news and the latest political stories, but the host of The Lead and State of the Union switched things up a bit for his latest project.

Tapper's new novel, The Hellfire Club, takes place in 1954 Washington, D.C., during Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Communist "witch hunt." He says that although 64 years separate his characters from today's political players, many of the themes apply.

Some people read about history; poet Kevin Young actually saw an important part of history each week, when he went to his family's church in Topeka, Kan. The former pastor of St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church was the Rev. Oliver Brown, of Brown v Board of Education fame. Rev. Brown was before Young's time, but he was still a felt presence.

Right around the midpoint of Eternity, his follow-up to the sci-fi comics trilogy Divinity, writer Matt Kindt suddenly goes meta. He and artists Trevor Hairsine and Ryan Winn are charting the adventures of Abram and Myshka, two cosmonauts who have traveled to the far reaches of space and gained unfathomable powers. In the Divinity books, the two newly forged superbeings clashed over the proper use of their abilities, ultimately falling in love and retiring together to a lonely cabin in the Russian wilderness.

I fell in love recently — with Mel Brooks. It was my almost-next-to-last day in Los Angeles, and I'd gone with my producer, Danny Hajek, to interview the great writer-director-producer-composer-lyricist-mensch, whose movies include Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (my favorite film title ever), Blazing Saddles and other knee-slapping hilarities.

Our series "Take A Number" looks at problems around the world — and the people trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

At the tiny public library in Winterport, Maine, 43-year-old Robert Hartmann bends over The Little Engine That Could and slowly sounds out the first line.

"Ch-chug, right?" he asks his volunteer tutor, Sandy DeLuck. "Yup," she encourages him. He presses on: "Puh-puff ... puff ... puff. Ding ... ding-dong?"

Kevin Feige runs the Marvel Cinematic Universe from his corner office at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. There, the president of Marvel Studios is surrounded by toys: Iron Man action figures (signed by director Jon Favreau) line the windows, Captain America's shield is framed on the wall and Thor's hammer rests on the coffee table.

At one point early in the new Marvel movie Avengers: Infinity War, the big, purple bad guy snarls, "The end ... is near."

In a way, he's talking about the Avengers movies themselves. The superhero supergroup has already saved the world in three movies and countless comic books. But this time they're up against that aforementioned bad guy — a violet-colored villainous space-tryant called Thanos (Josh Brolin) — and it's not just the world that's in danger, at least according to his estranged daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana).

In jails and prisons across the United States, mental illness is prevalent and psychiatric disorders often worsen because inmates don't get the treatment they need, says journalist Alisa Roth.

In her new book Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness, Roth investigates the widespread incarceration of the mentally ill in the U.S., and what she sees as impossible burdens placed on correctional officers to act as mental health providers when they're not adequately trained.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Last night on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," voice actor Hank Azaria acknowledged that "The Simpsons" does have an Apu problem.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE SIMPSONS")

In Aug. 2017, many Americans were shocked to see neo-Nazis and members of the so called alt-right demonstrating in Charlottesville, Va. But author Kathleen Belew says the roots of the rally were actually decades in the making.

In Curtis Sittenfeld's short story "Show Don't Tell" — not, sadly, included in her new collection, You Think it, I'll Say It — a young woman at a prestigious writing workshop competes for funding with an annoying guy in her program. Nearly 20 years later, they have both achieved a kind of literary success, but he is the kind of writer "about whom current students in the program have heated opinions; I'm the kind of writer their mothers read while recovering from knee surgery."

Fear and dread. Fear and dread.

Avengers: Infinity War is — and truly feels like — the culmination of something.

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