President Obama made a personal statement in a TV interview this week. He didn't call for any new laws or initiatives. But many Americans seem to hear his statement as a truly significant moment in American history. Novelist and screenwriter Armistead Maupin joins us. Mr. Maupin is best known for his breakthrough "Tales of the City" series. He joins us from member station KQED in San Francisco. Thanks so much for being with us.
ARMISTEAD MAUPIN: Oh, it's a pleasure, Scott.
SIMON: How do you feel about what the president said?
Are you calling 911 or you just glad to sit down? Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a study this week that shows that 38 percent of the calls received by New York's emergency services are mistakes - mobile phones that dial 911 when a user jostles a phone in their purse or pocket. The popular term for such calls is pocket or butt calls.
Tomorrow is Mother's Day and a professor at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia has a gift idea. She has set up a booth on campus to craft custom haiku.
From member station WVTF, Sandy Hausman reports.
SANDY HAUSMAN, BYLINE: Fifteen students took turns at a long table outside the dining hall, notebooks and pens poised to honor mothers in that spare Japanese style. The haiku is 17 syllables - total. But University Registrar Scott Ditman was confident a small poem could hit big with the mother of his children.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. You didn't think we were going to get through this week without talking about sports.
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SIMON: Both New York and L.A. host big game sevens tonight - hoops on the West Coast, pucks on the East Coast. NPR's Tom Goldman can open a can of bean dip, sit on the couch, watch the TV and say, hey, don't bother me, I'm working. He joins us from an undisclosed location.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: Hi. I wake up eating bean dip.
Is black pepper the new secret weapon against fat? A recent paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claims that the piperine, an ingredient in black pepper, has the power to stop the body from making new fat cells, and could be used to treat obesity.
The star of John Irving's new novel, In One Person, is Billy Abbott. Billy is a character at the mercy of his own teenage crushes, which are visited upon by a whole repertory company of gender-bending characters.
It's a repertory company in the most literal sense, too. Billy spends many days backstage at the local theater — where gender can also fluctuate and where his family members are regulars.
Months after safety advocates embraced wearing helmets during tornadoes — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines on the practice. The CDC says there's not yet enough scientific evidence to fully endorse the idea. But the agency is warming up to people donning helmets when severe weather threatens.
Since a horrific outbreak of tornadoes killed more than 250 people last year in Alabama, safety advocates have been on a crusade.
Iowans attend a marriage rally sponsored by The Family Leader on Tuesday at the Statehouse in Des Moines. The head of the organization says President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage could cost him the election.
Immediately after President Obama announced his support this week for same-sex marriage, attention turned to politics. The outcome of this year's election will be determined by a handful of states — one of them is Iowa, where the politics of same-sex marriage are complicated.
Same-sex marriage is legal here, but three of the state Supreme Court justices upholding that 2009 decision were removed from office by voters a year later.