Delia Ephron tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about the formative experience of her family’s dinner table in her early childhood. It’s where she learned she could be a writer:
I think everything started at the dinner table in my family. I’ve always wondered about the dinner table in everyone’s family because of it. When I was young … we always had dinner together and we told stories. Whatever crazy thing had happened to me that day I would come home and say it and my father would shout, “That’s a great line! Write it down.” And he would say, “That’s a great title. Write it down,” if I said anything that sounded like a title. I had titles for things before I had any idea I’d be a writer. And we sang songs, we sang rounds, we played charades and 20 questions.
My parents … had this radical past. Here we were in Beverly Hills in this fairly large Spanish house … all having dinner that my mother had not cooked. She was very proud of the fact that she had made a lot of money and someone else cooked dinner. So there we were singing union songs. They taught us, “There Once Was a Union Maid.” And they taught us “We Shall Not Be Moved.” And we would belt them out. … I think that’s where I learned I knew how to tell a story. That’s where I learned I was funny and that it was worth something.
Delia Ephron’s book is called Sister Husband Mother Dog: Etc.
"You say you want a revolution…"
The new mobile operating system’s design acknowledges that we no longer need physical analogs â like a camera shutter or old-timey microphone â to describe an app’s function. Tech writer Alexis Madrigal says its release will trigger the largest and fastest change in the history of computer software.
Each year, an estimated 150,000 people in the Southwest contract valley fever. But doctors say they understand little about the fungal disease. There is no cure and no vaccine. Most cases are misdiagnosed or missed entirely.
May 13, 2013 3:01 AM
A Pentagon survey estimating sexual assaults in the military finds that cases have spiked by a third since 2010.
USA Today obtained a summary of the report, which is due out later this week. The newspaper reports that in 2010, 19,300 service members were believed to be victims of sexual assault; that number went up to 26,000 in 2012.
Congratulations! You have won a $1000 BestBuy Gift Card
Yesterday, I received a text message on my phone, indicating that I had won a $1000 BestBuy Gift Card. Yeah, right.
- The URL provided was one from tinyurl.com, a URL shortener.
- I went on over to the Preview Feature (cool!) to ensure that it was enabled. One would use this when you “Don’t want to be instantly redirected to a TinyURL and instead want to see where it’s going before going to the site[.]” (requires cookies to be enabled).
- The URL given is to cardwinnersnow.net. Please don’t go there.
- I head on over Network Solutions “WHOIS Search for Domain Registration Information.”
- The domain is registered in the Ukraine.
- I know internet worms come from places like that.
- My phone is a dumb phone, and my computer is a Mac, so I’m relatively safe, but I don’t want those facts to lull me into a sense of complacency.
- I figure you like your security, privacy, and computer performance as much as I do, and so tell you this little tale.
- Moral: netizens beware!
Terry Gross of Fresh Air has the definitive interview.
November 23, 2011
Nicholas Stoller made his directorial debut with the raunchy 2008 comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which starred Jason Segel as a guy who had to reassess his life after his girlfriend of five years dumped him.
Segel famously dropped his towel in the opening scenes of the film, which led The New York Times to call him “a young actor with nothing to hide.”
The two filmmakers have teamed up once again — this time with Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Fozzie Bear in tow — for the family film The Muppets. Segel tells Terry Gross that the only frontal nudity in this film comes from another star of the movie: Kermit the Frog, who never wears pants.
"In terms of our R-rated past, there’s an essential sweetness to what we try to do. And that’s not that dissimilar to The Muppets even if in Sarah Marshall there’s cursing and nudity,” adds Stoller. “We’re still trying to get at something that’s not cynical.”
The premise of The Muppets follows three Muppet fans — Segel, Amy Adams and a Muppet named Walter who’s voiced by Peter Linz — who want to reunite the Muppet cast and make them as famous as they were back in the day, when movies like The Muppets Take Manhattan and The Great Muppet Caper regularly appeared in theaters.
"We set out to make a Muppet movie that harkened back to the late-’70s, early-’80s Muppets that we grew up with," Segel says. "I had the opportunity to work with my childhood idols, and I wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer. So I set out to make that happen."
Having written a script, Segel and Stoller asked Bret McKenzie, from Flight of the Conchords, to write the lyrics for several original songs featured in the new film.
"We didn’t have to tell Bret much in terms of tone, because he’s by nature very Muppety," says Segel. "Flight of the Concords is a very Muppety vibe — it’s two wide-eyed innocents making their way through a tough New York. So he knew what to do … right from the start. [And] all the great Muppet movies were musicals.”
The film opens with a grand production number featuring hundreds of cast members singing and dancing down Main Street in a place called Small Town USA. It’s campy — but intentionally so, says Stoller.
"The Muppets are always winking, there’s a kind of self-referential thing going on, so with a little wink, you can get away with a lot of campiness," he says.
The two filmmakers also turned to another Flight of the Conchord salum — James Bobin — to direct The Muppets.
"As soon as he expressed interest, it was a no-brainer," says Stoller. He explains that Bobin often helped them realize if the scenes they had written were realistic.
"It was easy for us to imagine scenes," he says. "We imagined one scene with 10 full-body Muppets running away from an explosion — and James said that it was impossible. He had to do the heavy lifting."
Once Disney gave Stoller and Segel the green light to make The Muppets, the Muppet puppeteers helped fill them in on the cardinal rules of the Muppet world. For instance, Muppets think of themselves as humans in their world. And they are never, ever mean.
"The Muppets don’t get laughs at other people’s expense," says Segel. "It’s part of what I really loved about the Muppets. They don’t even want to destroy their villains. They want to reform their villains."
He points to the first Muppet movie, when the villain Doc Hopper wants to cut off Kermit’s legs to make frog legs.
"As opposed to destroying him, Kermit is like, ‘Maybe you should think about why you don’t have friends. Maybe you’re just lonely and you need to be a happier person,’ " he says. "The Muppets are pure."
The Muppets are also really honest.