Author A.J. Jacobs demonstrates the sheer volume of the enormous beard he grew as part of his quest to live his life according to the Bible, chronicled in his book <em>The Year of Living Biblically</em>.
Credit Josh Rogosin / NPR
A.J. Jacobs' chronicled his quest to become the healthiest man alive in <em>Drop Dead Healthy</em>.
Spoiler alert: These two initially incompatible people (played by Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm) will eventually fall for each other in <em>Love Is All You Need,</em> a romantic comedy that isn't either, and whose titular premise we regret to report is not always true.
When a husband steps out on his wife while she's getting chemo, she's entitled to a weekend in the Mediterranean with Pierce Brosnan, right?
Right, but I believe he went there quite recently with Meryl Streep, did he not, albeit without the cancer? I didn't much care for Mamma Mia!, but the garish musical at least embraced its vulgarity with a full heart and a toe-tapping ABBA soundtrack. And now that I've seen Love Is All You Need, I'd settle for Streep doing the splits.
In the opening minutes of Something in the Air, the protagonist carves an "A" (for anarchy) into his school desk, and participates in a street demonstration that ends in a punishing flurry of police billy clubs. "The revolution's near," apparently — to quote the 1969 Thunderclap Newman hit that provides the film's title.
Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.
And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.
If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.
Caroline Kennedy's latest book comes with an agenda: to encourage a return to poetic memorization and recitation that both families and schools once considered routine.
In Poems to Learn by Heart, Kennedy stresses the importance of memorizing poetry and presents a collection of poems that she believes everyone should internalize.
"I think there's something in it for all ages," she tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I realized this shouldn't be just for kids because older people are the ones that are really working on keeping their memories going strong."
NASA is raising awareness for its upcoming launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft with its Going to Mars project. The MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled for launch this November, to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere; the craft will examine why Mars lost its atmosphere, and how that catastrophe affected the history of water there.
Part of the appeal of podcasts is portability: You can listen at the gym, in the car, or on foot. Beyond portability, though, they offer another advantage: In a world of multimedia bombast, they return listeners to an ancient idea – people talking to other people.