The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.
The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.
Authorities at a Brazilian prison noticed a bulky cat wandering on prison grounds. They discovered the small black-and-white cat was hauling in saws, drills, a cell phone and charger — all taped to its body.
Police in Framingham, Massachusetts received word of somebody egging a house. They investigated and found the suspect was a cop, and so was the victim. Investigators say the homeowner is a police sergeant in Newton, Massachusetts. He's the superior officer of the guy who was tossing the eggs. The Metro West Daily News reports that both men were off-duty at the time, and both insist it was just a joke between friends.
More than a thousand protesters turned up in the Ohio River town of Steubenville over the weekend, spurred by a blogging and Twitter campaign that's focused on rape allegations involving high-school football players. Social media has taken the case well beyond the small eastern Ohio town, sparking international tension.
Now, today's last word in business is phygital. No, that's not a word describing how you feel about two hours into watching "The Hobbit." This movie's going on and feeling a little phygital. No, it's not a feeling. It's a concept that computer manufacturer Lenovo announced over the weekend at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
And joining us now, as she does most Monday, is Cokie Roberts. Good morning.
COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee. Happy New Year.
MONTAGNE: Happy New Year to you. So, Cokie, we seem to be getting the next year, or this new year, right back where we ended in the last Congress, and that's bickering over everything. And as we've just heard, that includes, big time, the president's cabinet appointment of a former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Tell us more about what's going on there, a little bit more history.