The "Bumper Car Psychos" are easy to spot. While the other bumper cars at New Jersey's Keansburg Amusement Park spin wildly from one collision to the next, the Psychos cruise gracefully around the track, grinning from ear to ear as they slam their targets into the wall.
This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.
NPR listener Mel Fisher Ostrowski wrote in to tell us about how Don McLean's "American Pie" helped her "bridge a gap between my long-deceased father and baby boy." Hear the radio version at the audio link above — and read a lightly edited version of Ostrowski's original letter to NPR below.
What do you do when, after 30 years, your husband tells you he is leaving you for someone else? If you're poet Sharon Olds, you grab your spiral-bound notebook and write about it. And though the marriage ended in 1997, she has waited 15 years to tell us about it — half as long as her marriage lasted.
The conflict in Syria is sending a staggering number of refugees into neighboring countries. Turkey, Jordan and even Iraq are building tent cities.
But Lebanon has yet to build such camps. The country is already home to more than a dozen teeming, squalid camps for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled the war after Israel's creation in 1948, as well as their descendants.
At the end of July, when NPR's Robert Siegel set off on the longest vacation since his honeymoon 39 years ago, he packed a few books, including the new book The Art of Procrastination by John Perry, emeritus professor of philosophy at Stanford.
After two weeks in Delaware, two weeks in Iberia and a week of work in Tampa, Fla., Siegel finally finished it Wednesday night. He says his timing is fitting: The book is 92 small, double-spaced pages.
It expands on a short confessional essay Perry wrote in 1996 called "Structured Procrastination."
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
Four years ago, then-Senator Barack Obama took the stage in Denver to accept his party's presidential nomination. He spoke of overcoming partisanship and economic turmoil. Well, tonight, President Obama will do it again with four years of experience under his belt. Since taking office, he has struggled to overcome a crushing recession, a weak recovery and a deeply divided electorate.
NPR's Scott Horsley has this story on the path the president has traveled.
I recently listened to the first single from the new Cat Power album with some fellow fans, and the room was deeply divided. Some thought the song was fabulous, but others were startled and upset — which I could understand, sort of. Chan Marshall's songs generally speak to pain and trauma with a hushed and intimate musical vocabulary. But this song, "Ruin," was different — not just a rock 'n' roll song, but one you might even want to dance to.
Though Brazil's Amazon has been the focus of environmental groups for decades, the deforestation rate there has fallen dramatically in recent years as clear-cutting of Amazonian jungle in eight other countries has started to rise.
As a result, the 40 percent of Amazonia located in a moon-shaped arc of countries from Bolivia to Colombia to French Guiana faces a more serious threat than the jungle in Brazil. The culprits range from ranching to soybean farming, logging to infrastructure development projects.