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What do listening to music, hitting a baseball and solving a complex math problem have in common? They all activate less gray matter than drinking wine.

The campaign began under cover of darkness.

It opened with a skirmish or two in Bristol more than a decade ago — a superfluous apostrophe scratched off a street sign here, a possessive rendered plural with the stroke of some tape there.

But now, the battle between one mysterious man and the grammatical mistakes besieging the British city has spilled into the harsh light of international media.

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The Yiddish word schmaltz and its adverb cousin schmaltzy refer to two very divergent concepts: rendered chicken fat — that hard stuff on top of a cold homemade soup — and something that is overly sentimental. When it comes to the foods we love and cherish, there can be no shortage of either.

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April, the cruelest month, is when taxes come due. The deadline arrives amid talk of changing the tax code. After a failed drive to change health insurance laws, President Trump said he'd like to move on.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Earlier this winter, photographer Michael Furtman was driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior in search of great gray owls. Several of the giant, elusive birds had flown down from Canada looking for food.

He pulled off on a dirt road where he had seen an owl the night before. An owl was there, perched in a spruce tree, but a pair of videographers were filming it.

"I backed off; I was going to just let them have their time with the bird," Furtman says. "And then I saw them run out and put a mouse on the snow."

In comics and graphic novels, Native American characters aren't usually very prominent. They're often sidekicks — or worse. But a new publisher focused exclusively on Native writers and artists is changing that. Called Native Realities, the company just released the reboot of the first all-Native superhero comic.

Today's selections grapple with the existential crisis presented by string cheese, plus rapper Vince Staples shares a couple of his favorites from #NPRPoetry.

Hear Vince Staples' interview with Michel Martin.

It's 2075, and America has been beset by flooding linked to climate change. The President has banned the use of fossil fuels. The southern states have broken away, looking to protect the coal mining industry. A rabid civil war is taking place. A weakened America sees new empires in China and the Middle East meddling in its affairs — and Mexico has annexed most parts of the Southwest, from Texas to California.

War movies are generally told from male perspectives, says director Niki Caro — but that doesn't have to be the case.

Her new film, The Zookeeper's Wife is an adaptation of Diane Ackerman's 2007 book. It's based on the diaries of Antonina Żabińska, who, along with her husband Jan Żabiński, saved hundreds of Jews during World War II by sheltering them in the Warsaw Zoo.

"I saw in this material a new kind of Holocaust movie ..." Caro says, "Because it was a woman's perspective and about a woman's experience of war."

Khanh-Hoa Nguyen stirs a pot of green papaya and pigs' feet soup. The clear broth and pale green chunks of unripe melon are redolent with fish sauce, the way her own mother prepared the soup after Nguyen's sister gave birth.

After her second year at the University of California at Berkeley, Nguyen was spending the summer at her parents' home in Los Angeles, watching her mother prepare big pots of Vietnamese postpartum foods for her sister.

Find Your Way Across This Misty, Mysterious 'Frontier'

Apr 2, 2017

Not schooled in art history or appreciation, my way of overcoming the knee-jerk "a child could've scribbled that" response to abstract and experimental gallery work is to appreciate the way it forces me to interact with it. How does it linger against my eyes in after-image? How is it hijacking my senses, making me see things that aren't there? How does an artist's subtle engineering of space, light, colour, extend the canvas into my body and make material of me?

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Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, which would endure as the symbol of gay activism and solidarity for 40 years, has died.

Cleve Jones, a longtime friend and noted gay rights activist, announced the death on Twitter.

Baker designed his first flag during the 1970s while an active member of San Francisco's gay community. An Army veteran and drag performer, Baker found himself sought after for his deftness at costuming to make signs and banners for the burgeoning gay rights movement.

In fall 2014, producer Sarah Koenig launched Serial, a spin-off podcast of This American Life. In the first season, Koenig re-investigated the 1999 murder of a high school student. In the second, she focused on Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier held captive by the Taliban and then tried for desertion. Most recently, Serial Productions released S-Town, which explores an unexpected mystery in a small Alabama town.

'Ship Beyond Time' Sails Through The Centuries

Apr 1, 2017

Last year, Heidi Heilig sailed onto the YA scene with her debut novel The Girl From Everywhere, introducing us to Nix, who uses maps to travel between times and worlds on the tall ship Temptation. Now we can journey with her through the sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, in search of an answer to the classic question of time travel: Are we the masters of our own fate, or are we simply treading the path of destiny?

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Karen Neulander is a brilliant, determined, tough political consultant who is facing a crisis she knows she can't fix: terminal ovarian cancer. Karen is determined to use whatever time she has left to share as much as she can of her life with her 6-year-old son, Jacob. She also has another goal: to introduce Jacob to Dave, the father he has never known but must try to love for the rest of his life.

What's the next big foodie enthusiasm? Robust flavors, earthy scents and lusty textures from the very soil that nourishes life.

It's called Veritable Cuisine du Terroir — literally, Food from the Earth Really — and in their copper-clad kitchen in the Marais district of Paris, chefs Solange and Gael Gregoire run one of the hottest bistros in a city long celebrated for its culinary prowess.

Abbad Yahya is used to controversy. For the last five years, the young Palestinian novelist has been writing books that have been criticized for including sex and politically unpopular opinions.

Yahya, who's 28, expected similar complaints about his fourth novel, Crime in Ramallah, published in Arabic late last year, which chronicles the lives of three young men affected by a woman's murder in the city where the Palestinian Authority has its headquarters.

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Meet the star of one of the biggest movies opening this weekend, a cyborg based off a Japanese manga series called "Ghost In The Shell."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GHOST IN THE SHELL")

In the hands of Japanese netsuke carvers like Ryushi Komada, something quite mundane becomes sublime. From a simple block of wood emerges a delicate and expressive face, the sense of movement in the folds of a dress, the fine strings on an ancient instrument.

'Luna: Wolf Moon' Is A Howling Good Read

Apr 1, 2017

No one builds a world like Ian McDonald does.

Piece by piece and brick by brick. Spare, simple, elegant when he needs to be (an entire landscape taken in at a glance), deep and meaty when he wants to be (extended riffs and spooling digressions on jazz, lunar architecture, virtual sex, knives), he does his work like an artisan pulling a sculpture from stone. There are no wasted moves, nothing that isn't vital because, in the end, everything is vital. Everything matters.

Amgad Naguib is a collector of ephemera — the fleeting, fragile and often overlooked objects of everyday life.

The old matchbooks, toothbrushes and ticket stubs — a few of the objects among hundreds of thousands in his collections — normally spill from bags and boxes in his overstuffed Cairo warehouses. But for two months, a small part of his unusual collection was exhibited at a downtown Cairo art gallery, under a title borrowed from the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk: "The Past Is Always an Invented Land."

An artist is sitting on a chair in a Paris art museum over a dozen chicken eggs until they hatch. This is not an April Fools' joke.

"I will, broadly speaking, become a chicken," says Abraham Poincheval, a French performance artist who has recently also had himself encased inside a bear, where he ate worms and beetles, and then inside a limestone rock, where he thought, slept and slurped soup.

Humans have long looked to animals for design inspiration. From basic camouflage to a quiet bullet train in Japan to the Wright brothers' wings, the process called biomimicry is a basic tenet of human engineering.

Jonathon Keats has turned it on its head.

A little seminar in documentary technique is being offered by two docs about women this week. The filmmakers for All This Panic take a fly-on-the-wall approach with their teenage subjects — no narration, no explainers. The directors of God Knows Where I Am tease out their story as if it were a mystery novel.

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