Keen Observations

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On today’s show: Academy Award-winner Shirley MacLaine explains why there are some things in life she’s just over. Historian Simon Schama talks about what he feels about a wide variety of things—like Barack Obama, ice cream, and his mother. Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins discusses his latest collection, Horoscopes for the Dead. Plus, Al and Larry Ubell, our resident Gurus of How-To, take your calls on home repair now that spring has sprung!

Shirley MacLaine Is Over All That

Academy Award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine tells us which things she is over dealing with in life, in love, at home, and in the larger world, and which things she will never get over, no matter how long she lives. I’m Over All That and Other Confessions is a collection of small observations and big-picture questions, and includes stories of some of the great people she’s known—Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and the two Jacks (Lemmon and Nicholson).

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Simon Schama

Historian and social commentator Simon Schama discusses writing about a diverse range of subjects: from food and family to Winston Churchill, from Martin Scorsese to Rembrandt, from his travels in Brazil and Amsterdam to New Orleans. His collection Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother shows him to be a keen observer with a critical eye.

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Billy Collins on Writing Poetry

Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and Poet Laureate of New York State from 2004 to 2006, talks about the art of writing poetry and his latest collection, Horoscopes for the Dead: Poems.

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The Gurus of How-To Spring Forward

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, are here to offer advice on spring cleaning, combatting drafts, fixing your furnace, and tackling other home repair issues.

Call 646-829-3985 with your questions or leave a comment.

Today's Quiz
Question: Name the ancient, elaborately designed beam that is supported by columns found on classical structures that makes up the cornice and sometimes the roof?

Answer: Entablature

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Please Explain Digital Photography: The First Digital Camera

A few weeks ago, Leonard spoke to David Pogue and Katrinn Eismann about digital photography. Now, photographer David Friedman has posted a short video of his interview with Steven Sasson, the inventor of the first digital camera.

In the video, Sasson shows Friedman the first digital camera he invented, which looks like a high school student's poorly designed shop project. According to Sasson, the first digital image was captured by him in December 1975. Check out the full video below—the latest in Friedman's long-running series profiling inventors.


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