KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Scott Simon

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It's 2050, and Count Ruggero Castelnuovo, a 70-year-old musician, and Constance, his American wife who's 40 years younger, decide to write something confiding and intimate for one another. Let's ask Edmund White to read from an early section of his new novel, "A Previous Life."

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(SOUNDBITE OF BBNO$ AND RICH BRIAN SONG, "EDAMAME")

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Families across the country have been feeling the effects of inflation. Steeper housing costs, bigger grocery bills, higher gas prices are forcing them to change habits, stretch budgets or go without. It has been especially challenging for parents.

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Don't try to sweet-talk Olly Alexander.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEET TALKER")

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Terry Teachout once worked as a bank teller in Kansas City, and I think he used to enjoy dropping that fact into conversation with theater folks. It was a way to say, "I am a theater critic. But really, I'm the audience."

"I still think Jell-O salads are vegetables," Terry told me once as, in fact, we ate veggie burgers before a play.

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This is Cordae.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SINISTER")

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Alfredo Antonio Trujillo and his twin sister, Aylin Yolanda, were born just a few minutes apart, on different days, in different months, in different years.

Alfred Antonio was born at 11:45 pm, Dec. 31, 2021, at the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif. Fifteen minutes later, Aylin Yolanda was delivered just after the stroke of midnight, last Saturday morning, Jan. 1, 2022.

Their mother, Fatima Madrigal, told KABC in Los Angeles she feels doubly blessed.

"Everything is possible," she said. "And every child is a blessing."

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(SOUNDBITE OF STEPHEN SCHWARTZ'S "OVERTURE/NO ONE MOURNS THE WICKED")

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In NPR's 50th anniversary year, one of the ways we celebrated was through stories - under the banner We Hold These Truths. How have Americans learned about democracy? Well, lots of our notions and beliefs first flickered before us at the movies.

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Merry Christmas. And nothing says Christmas like, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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SCOTT SIMON: We all start work on this show when it's still dark, and this Christmas morning I looked into the sky. I saw a trail, and heard a clatter of hooves, and a string of ho-ho-ho's. That sleigh in the sky should be approaching the west coast now. So I figured, why not try this number I have?

<SOUND OF PHONE DIGITS PRESSED>

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(SOUNDBITE OF HOUND DOG TAYLOR SONG, "GIVE ME BACK MY WIG")

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I saw a picture this week that arrested my attention.

It's a drawing in old, dark ink of woman with curly hair, in a loose gown with a baby balanced in her lap. He is also curly-haired, and the ringlets make his little head look almost like an aura of the sun. The child stands on two plump, tiny legs, and the mother tucks him against her right arm, steadying his bottom with her left hand.

The curly-haired woman smiles. Not as if she doesn't have a care in the world, but as if all she really cares about in this world is the child in her arms.

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