Comedian Sid Caesar, one of early network TV's biggest stars, died Wednesday morning at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 91.
Caesar didn't do smut, putdowns or smarmy remarks. Instead, he did skits: grown-up, gentle comedy for the whole family.
In one skit, Caesar was the smarter-than-anyone German "professor." Carl Reiner played a movie executive with money problems. The professor's solution? Make a musical — and get the greatest composer in the world. He is shocked to discover that his top choice won't be available.
Finally this hour, a new perspective on the enduring influence of The Beatles. It comes from another four-piece British rock band called Temples. The group is from the town of Kettering. Critics have been raving about them since last summer. Their debut album, "Sun Structures," has now been released here in the U.S. And hearing it might whisk you away to 1960s Liverpool. Here's our critic, Tom Moon.
TOM MOON, BYLINE: If nothing else, Temples has impeccable timing.
Lake Street Dive is powered by the voice of Rachael Price; it's what hits you first when you listen to this quartet. It's a ringingly clear, strong voice, a sound that's at once beseeching and in control. Price regularly harmonizes with the other members of Lake Street Dive — bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and Mike Olson, who also plays guitar and trumpet. But most of the songs on Bad Self Portraits are showcases for Price's surging vocals.
The dinosaurs were killed during the Fifth Extinction — which scientists suspect was caused by an asteroid. Now, we are living through an epoch that many scientists describe as the Sixth Extinction, and this time, human activity is the culprit. As one scientist put it: We're the asteroid.
Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the new book The Sixth Extinction. It begins with a history of the "big five" extinctions of the past, and goes on to explain how human behavior is creating a sixth one — including our use of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It's been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty so all this year we've been looking at poverty here in the U.S. We've been talking about strategies to end poverty, what's worked, what hasn't and what's on the table because according to the U.S. Census, the rate of poverty seems to be stuck at 15 percent. That's about 46 million people.
Imagine living in China and missing Chinese food. It happens. American expatriates who grew up with popular takeout dishes like General Tso's chicken can't find it in China because it essentially doesn't exist here.
Much of the Chinese food we grew up with isn't really Chinese. It's an American version of Chinese food. Chinese immigrants created it over time, adapting recipes with U.S. ingredients to appeal to American palates.
Snowboarders have a new set of heroes who are not American. Last night, at the snowboard halfpipe event in Sochi, not a single member of Team USA was on the podium. The winners were Swiss and Japanese. Maybe the biggest disappointment was the fourth place finish by Shaun White. He's the American who, for years, has been the focal point of snowboarding's rise in popularity.
NPR's Robert Smith was there and tells us what it means for the sport.