I'm an English professor, and I spent the first 15 years of my career trying to write like one. You might be surprised by what that's like. We don't emulate the fiction writers we most admire. We too rarely practice what we preach to our composition students — namely that good writing is simple and direct. In fact, we're notorious for maze-y sentences and ugly jargon. The point seems less to attract readers with clear prose than to smack them over the head with a sign that says, "Aren't I smart?"
Newly-published photos show U.S. troops in Afghanistan posing with the dead bodies of insurgents. The incident, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, occurred in 2010. It's the latest setback for the military's counterinsurgency strategy, which depends on winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
Adapted from The Servant of Two Masters, the new comedy One Man, Two Guvnors follows the "always famished and easily confused" Francis Henshall (James Corden, left), who must combat his own befuddlement while keeping both of his employers — a local gangster and criminal-in-hiding Stanley Stubbers (Oliver Chris) — from meeting.
Credit Tristram Kenton /
Henshall's second master is Rachel Crabbe (Jemima Rooper), who's Stubbers' secret lover — and posing as her dead mobster brother, whom Stubbers has killed.
If you weren't a college theater major, you can be forgiven for not knowing much about commedia dell'arte, the 500-year-old theatrical tradition that Carlo Goldoni used for his comedy The Servant of Two Masters in 1743. Contemporary playwright Richard Bean has adapted that play into the decidedly British laugh riot One Man, Two Guvnors -- and he says all you really need to know about commedia is ... well, it's funny.
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We have new information now in the investigation of Secret Service misconduct. Agents are alleged to have hired prostitutes before President Obama's visit to South America last week. The Secret Service director has been talking with members of Congress, and NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us now to tell us what he's hearing. Hey there, Ari.
When IRS agents raided the house of rapper Young Buck, they seized all his things: his white leather dining chairs, his watches, his craps table, his tattoo kit. Even his refrigerator. The Nashville artist, who was once part of 50 Cent's G-Unit, owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes.
His lawyer, Robin Mitchell Joyce, said he thought Young Buck's taxes were being handled by his business manager. They weren't.
A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.
"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."
Meg Wolitzer is the author of a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.
In reality, I may be a middle-aged woman with two nearly grown sons, but in my heart I am a teenage girl who has found herself pregnant and doesn't know what to do. For if you came of age, as I did, reading Paul Zindel's My Darling, My Hamburger, then you probably still feel that you know what it's like to be a high school student whose life almost derails.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House oversight committee, made news recently for going after the Justice Department's botched gun operation, known as Fast and Furious. Here, Issa listens during Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony in February.
The man driving the investigation into the General Services Administration, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, took the top seat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after the GOP won a majority in 2010.
Issa has led several splashy investigations since. But he's also been dogged by allegations of his own.
Issa has made news in recent months by threatening to subpoena Attorney General Eric Holder, and by calling a panel of only men to talk about women's contraception.