The next time you pop a Popsicle in your mouth, think about this: You're enjoying the fruits of an 11-year-old entrepreneur's labor.
Back in 1905, a San Francisco Bay Area kid by the name of Frank Epperson accidentally invented the summertime treat. He had mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight. It was a cold night, and the mixture froze. In the morning, Epperson devoured the icy concoction, licking it off the wooden stirrer. He declared it an Epsicle, a portmanteau of icicle and his name, and started selling the treat around his neighborhood.
Juan Gabriel Vasquez opens Lovers on All Saints' Day with a line that's almost a thesis statement.
"I didn't leave Belgium much during that season," says the narrator at the start of "Hiding Places," the first story in the collection. "I spent the time observing the people of the Ardennes and participating in their activities, and then learning to write what I'd seen in such a way that as little of it as possible would be squandered."
The Mattress Factory hasn't been an actual mattress factory for a while now. Built on a hillside in the Central Northside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, back at the turn of the last century, it was used as a warehouse and showroom for Stearns & Foster until the 1960s.
Today, it's one of the country's more unusual art museums. Filled not with paintings or sculptures — and certainly not with mattresses — it is now, four stories of ... well, of "stories" in a way. Installations that take you places you don't expect to go in an art museum.
Actor and musician Theodore Bikel, whose talents landed him memorable roles on the stage and screen, has died at age 91. His manager Robert Malcolm confirmed the news to NPR's Neda Ulaby, who says Bikel "died last night at a hospital in Los Angeles after a long illness."
Some of Bikel's most notable work took place on stage — starting with an early breakthrough in the London staging of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which he starred opposite Vivien Leigh.
When film director Sean Baker moved to Los Angeles three years ago, he found himself drawn to one of the city's most infamous intersections. The corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard is "an unofficial red light district," Baker tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But Baker's interest in the area went beyond the usual transactions: "I thought there must be some incredible stories that take place on that corner."
Dorothée Goffin's lab in Belgium is outfitted with 3-D printers and digital milling machines. It's also a kitchen. And, one day a week, the doors open to anyone who feels like walking in to mess around with the equipment. These days, the tech geeks, chefs and curious folk that inhabit the lab are focused on 3-D printing. Instead of spouting plastic doodads, the printers exude chocolate.