The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Pages

A Dramatic Way To Uncork The Bubbly: Use A Sword

Feb 23, 2013
Originally published on February 23, 2013 9:07 pm

Knocking off the top of a Champagne bottle with a saber — known as sabrage — is an old rite in Europe, and a novel addition to American celebrations. But there's an art to doing it right.

Becky Sue Epstein knows a lot about taking Champagne drinking to the next level. She's the author of the book Champagne: A Global History. Sabering represents two of her passions, ones that common sense might suggest should not be combined.

"Even before I wrote the book, I loved Champagne. So I also love swords. So what I thought I would do was learn to saber off the top of a Champagne bottle," Epstein says.

Epstein learned to saber in Italy, with a small ceremonial sword made just for sabering. At home, she uses a 3-foot long Civil War replica sword, which according to one theory on the origin of the practice is actually quite appropriate.

"Apparently, this started in the time of Napoleon when there were wars all through the Champagne region. And the soldiers would come and grab a bottle of Champagne while they were on horseback; they would just take their saber and knock the top and drink it down," she says.

It's all about technique, Epstein says, and it's really very simple: Get the bottle very cold. Unwrap the foil and cage, then find the seam where the two halves of the bottle meet. Run your sword up the seam to the lip, and give it a strong knock. The top of the neck will come right off.

Epstein says you don't actually need a saber to do this: You can do it with the back of a chef's knife, or really any sturdy instrument. So, yes, you can do this at home, but like so many fun things, that doesn't mean you should.

"Do not try this at home. Never try this at home. Remember, I told you not to do this," Epstein says.

So perhaps leave this party trick to the experts. But don't worry — if you can't do without it for your next event, professional saberers are available for hire.

And if you're really set on trying it yourself, there are plenty of videos available as guides. Just make sure to try it on your first bottle, not the last.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

If you're inclined to celebrate the Oscars with a champagne toast, one way to kick up the drama is not to simply uncork your bottle but decapitate it. One thing you'll need, of course, is someone trained in this celebratory art of sabrage - knocking off the top of a champagne bottle with a saber. It's an old rite in Europe, and a novel addition to American celebrations. Katherine Perry has this story on the festive, sometimes frightening, ritual of sabering.

KATHERINE PERRY, BYLINE: Becky Sue Epstein knows a lot about taking champagne drinking to the next level. She's the author of "Champagne: A Global History." When she offered to demonstrate sabering for me, my first concern was, quite frankly, for my own safety. Is this at all dangerous, either for the drinker or the saberer?

BECKY SUE EPSTEIN: Yeah, it's dangerous for everyone, so stand back.

PERRY: Epstein had gathered a group together in her yard in Lexington, Massachusetts to show off her sabering skill. Sabering represents two of her passions - ones that common sense might suggest should not be combined.

EPSTEIN: Even before I wrote the book, I loved champagne. So, I also love swords. So, what I thought I would do was learn to saber off the top of a champagne bottle.

PERRY: Epstein learned to saber in Italy with a small ceremonial sword made just for sabering. At home, she uses a three-foot-long Civil War replica sword, which, according to one theory on the origin of the practice, is actually quite appropriate.

EPSTEIN: Apparently, this started in the time of Napoleon when there were wars all through the Champagne region. And the soldiers would come and grab a bottle of champagne. While they were on horseback they would just take their saber and knock the top off and then drink it down.

PERRY: It's all about technique, Epstein says, and it's really very simple: get the bottle very cold, unwrap the foil and cage...

(SOUNDBITE OF UNWRAPPING)

PERRY: ...find the seam where the two halves of the bottle meet, run your sword up the seam to the lip, and give it a strong knock.

(SOUNDBITE OF SWORD STRIKING BOTTLE)

GONYEA: The top of the neck comes right off.

EPSTEIN: Okay, bring in your glasses.

(LAUGHTER)

EPSTEIN: A clean cut.

PERRY: Epstein says and you don't actually need a saber to do this. You can do it with the back of a chef's knife or really any sturdy instrument. So, yes, you can do this at home, but, like so many fun things, that doesn't mean you should.

EPSTEIN: Do not try this at home. Never try this at home. Remember, I told you not to do this.

(LAUGHTER)

PERRY: So, perhaps leave this party trick to the experts. But don't worry. If you can't do without it for your next event, professional saberers are available for hire. For NPR News, I'm Katherine Perry.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GONYEA: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.