Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?
For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.
As children, we are allowed to be confused, lost, and full of wonder. As adults in the age of Google, we are expected to project confidence, knowledge and understanding. Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, talks about how learning a foreign language reignited his imagination.
Desiree's parade of goobers. You'll notice the one without the shirt on. And the fact that many of them are the same guy.
Credit Kevin Foley / ABC
Last night brought the premiere of the new season of The Bachelorette, in which Desiree, who was rejected by Sean on the last season of The Bachelor, was presented with 25 men from whom to choose. The theory is that if television producers choose 25 guys for you to pick from, surely one of them is your soul mate. Makes sense!
Now, we head to Detroit. We've reported a number of times on the city's serious financial difficulties. The city owes billions of dollars to creditors and the governor of Michigan has appointed an emergency manager to try to settle the city's finances.
The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.