Stephen Thompson is an editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he writes the advice column The Good Listener, fusses over the placement of commas and appears as a frequent panelist on the podcasts All Songs Considered and Pop Culture Happy Hour. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the weekly NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk.

Black Brigade
1:30 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Cincinnati honors the Black Brigade: original flag among artifacts

Original flag for the Black Brigade on display at the Freedom Center

Seven hundred very courageous men will be honored this weekend. Their service may have kept Cincinnati from falling to the Confederates in the Civil War.

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Asia
1:24 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Little Islands Are Big Trouble In The South China Sea

Last month, Japanese police officers arrested activists holding Chinese and Taiwanese flags who landed on Uotsuri Island, one of the islands of Senkaku (in Japanese), which is known as Diaoyu in Chinese.
Masataka Morita AP

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 1:40 pm

A storm has been brewing for decades in the South China Sea, and it has nothing to do with the weather.

Instead, it's a virtual typhoon of competing claims over tiny, uninhabited island chains that ring the South China Sea and reach even farther north. They all have one thing in common: China has claimed control of them.

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Monkey See
1:23 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Pop Culture Happy Hour: How Long Is Too Long?

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Half of the Pop Culture Happy Hour crew is scattered to the four winds — if, by "the four winds," you mean "an assortment of movie theaters in Toronto" — but before parting ways, the old gang met up to discuss a question that's been vexing me. What are the tipping points, I vex, that push various forms of entertainment over the line between "long enough" and "too long"?

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Movie Reviews
1:21 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

'Bachelorette' Sounds Dark Comedic Depths

Party Animals: Lizzy Caplan (from left), Isla Fisher and Kirsten Dunst play the brazen bridesmaids who make trouble for bride-to-be Becky (Rebel Wilson) in Bachelorette.
Radius-TWC

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 1:55 pm

Long before Bridesmaids convinced studio executives that a raunchy, female-centric comedy could find a huge audience, Leslye Headland was busy adapting her play Bachelorette into a movie. So this isn't a copycat rom-com, but the themes do overlap. Each film turns on a female rivalry: In Bridesmaids, it's between the maid of honor, Kristen Wiig, and the bride's rich friend, played by Rose Byrne. In Bachelorette, the rivalry is more complicated, more ... ugly. It's between the three, 30-ish, unmarried central characters and the bride.

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Crime
12:32 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

ID theft scheme stole information from thousands to obtain tax returns

A federal grand jury has indicted seven people for identity theft.  U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart says six of them are citizens of Zimbabwe who lived in the Cincinnati area at one time. He says they used the stolen identities to obtain millions in fraudulent income tax returns:

"The scheme was so efficient and well planned that they often had the refunds in hand before the actual taxpayers even filed their legitimate tax returns."

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Suspect Charged In 'Air Hoax,' And Victim Arrested On Unrelated Charges

The US Air flight that was forced to return to Philadelphia on Thursday because of the hoax.
Clem Murray MCT /Landov

File this under "you think you had a bad day?" and "that was a really dumb idea."

First, a plane headed from Philadelphia to Texas is turned around Thursday because someone called authorities to say a passenger was carrying a "liquid explosive."

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Election 2012
12:12 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

The 7 Coolest Presidents In American History

President George W. Bush dances with members of the KanKouran West African Dance Company during a Rose Garden event to mark Malaria Awareness Day at the White House on April 25, 2007.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 3:34 pm

When former President Bill Clinton referred to present President Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention as "cool on the outside," Clinton was underscoring the notion that Obama is, well, cool.

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Monkey See
12:03 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

TIFF '12: 'On The Road' Presents The Young Writer And His Travels

Sam Riley plays Sal in the new adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
Toronto International Film Festival

Originally published on Fri September 7, 2012 6:32 pm

It's perhaps a testament to my resistance to this material that I've never felt moved to read Jack Kerouac's On The Road, but I have to suspect it's better than this disappointing adaptation, or at least more interesting.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:58 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Volcano Shoots Geyser Of Water Up Into Space

Michael Benson

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:53 am

What we have here is a moon — a small one (slightly wider than the state of Arizona) — circling Saturn.

If you look closely, you will see a small splay of light at its top, looking like a circular fountain.

That's because it is a fountain — of sorts. A bunch of volcano-like jets are sending fantastically high geysers of water vapor up into the sky, so high that you can see them in this remarkable print by Michael Benson, back lit by light bouncing off of Saturn.

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