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NPR Staff

In 2009, the heavy metal band Disturbed received a Grammy nomination for its song "Inside The Fire," a hard-hitting, emotional track delivered with aggressive guitar riffs and raspy singing.

For the past 17 years, Sam Barsky has knit sweaters that depict places he's seen around the world, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Stonehenge, Jerusalem's Western Wall — even a field of electrical pylons.

But what's made Barsky an internet phenomenon, with well over a million hits on various websites, are photos of the knitter himself posing in front of a scene, wearing his matching sweater.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Writer Gregor Hens doesn't smoke anymore, but he used to — a lot. And as he explains in his memoir, Nicotine, he still thinks about it every day.

He writes, "Every form of cigarette ad gives me a pang of longing, every scrunched-up, carelessly thrown away cigarette packet at a bus stop, every trod-on cigarette butt, every beautiful woman holding a cigarette between her fingers or just looking like she could be holding one."

It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, about his "365 days of Tacos" series, in which he eats at a different taco joint every day for a year. He's done it before, in Austin, where he ate more than 1,600 tacos in 2015. But now he's moved to San Antonio, and he's finding that the taco scene there is a bit different, and in fact is tied to a cultural identity that spans back many decades.

When Barack Obama makes his farewell address Tuesday night, it will be one of the last times we'll hear from the president, while he's still actually the president.

But before his political career, Obama was a community organizer in Chicago, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review and the state director of Illinois Project Vote.

And it was back then — in the 1990s, when Obama was in his late 20s and early 30s — that he first appeared on NPR.

Here are highlights from some of those earliest appearances:

This post was updated at 1:15 pm ET.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions says he's not a racist and that he's been unfairly "caricatured."

"You have a Southern name; you come from South Alabama, that sounds worse to some people," Sessions said during the first day of his confirmation hearings to be the next attorney general of the United States.

He forcefully defended his record, saying he "did not" harbor the "racial animosities" of which he's been accused, saying they are "damnably false."

Many of us feel irked when we hear people speaking "incorrectly." Whether it's using "like" a few too many times, or the word "literally" to mean "figuratively," we have a sense that there is a correct way to speak, and that that isn't it. While new speech patterns might be irritating, the linguist John McWhorter says they can't possibly be wrong. His new book is Words on the Move: Why English Won't and Can't Sit Still (Like Literally).

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