Linguist David Crystal describes English as a "vacuum cleaner of a language." Speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy, and simply make up other terms.
This interview was originally broadcast on August 25, 2011. The Leftovers is now available in paperback.
Last year, California-based preacher Harold Camping announced that the beginning of the end of the world would take place on May 21, 2011. The date passed by with no apparent rapture, and Camping became the butt of many late-night talk show jokes.
To all appearances, Chris and Lisa Faris seemed to have it all together. He rose through the ranks of the U.S. Special Operations Command to become its top enlisted man, command sergeant major, and his wife tended to their family and many others on his long deployments.
With pride and sadness, writer David Freed watched his son go off to the war in Afghanistan. In the Los Angeles Times, Freed suggests that politicians who vote or make orders to deploy service members don't understand what it means to have a loved one serve. Originally broadcast April 4, 2012.
In 1970 a young girl lost her banana-seat bike. Lisa Brown was riding it across a rickety bridge in Cape Cod, Mass., when she and the bike tumbled into a little river. The bike sank into the muck and was gone.