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For the Morning Edition Song Project, the show has been reaching out to musicians in recent weeks for their take on the era of COVID-19, asking them to put their thoughts to music in a

Alex Trebek usually asks all the questions, so we turned the tables and asked him one for a change. What would the Jeopardy! clue be for the question, "Who is Alex Trebek?"

"He's the avuncular host of a popular quiz show who has been around, it seems, forever," Trebek replies.

Trebek, who turns 80 on Wednesday, has been hosting Jeopardy! since 1984. When he was offered the position back then, he had no idea he'd stay with the show for the rest of his career. "It was a job," he says.

President Trump issued a forceful call this week for America's K-12 schools to reopen full time for all children in the fall, suggesting that Democrats want to keep schools closed ahead of the November election and even threatening to cut off federal funding to schools if they don't fully reopen (something he cannot do). In this push, the administration has a powerful ally: the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The pandemic, a bad economy, police killings and a fight for racial equality: It's a lot of take in. For some, music has been a way to cope and try to make sense of it all and that is the premise behind the Morning Edition Song Project, in which we asked musicians to write and perform an original song about this moment.

In Montgomery, Ala., just down the road from where Martin Luther King Jr. once preached, a noisy trailer sits in a tiny church parking lot.

The trailer is like a mini-laundromat, equipped with three washers and dryers and two shower stalls. Every week, it serves a homeless congregation at River City Church — even through a pandemic.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

More than 100,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

People around the world are reporting that birds are much louder these days.

But Sue Anne Zollinger, an ornithologist from Manchester Metropolitan University, cautions: Don't believe everything you hear.

With the decrease in traffic, there's less noise pollution. That means birds have less noise to compete with, she says. (Scroll down to the end of this story to listen for yourself.)

Many Americans are spending a lot more time with their partners these days.

And some of those relationships are being tested by the inevitable "pressure-cooker" moments that come with weeks of being confined to the home in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

"What we're seeing is that there's a clash between the terrible anxiety about catching the virus and having to stay sequestered 24/7," says relationship therapist Julie Gottman.

So if a relationship is already on the rocks that anxiety, Gottman says, "has nowhere to go but towards the partner."

David Simon's new TV series, The Plot Against America, imagines an alternative American history, one in which an aviation legend and Nazi sympathizer is elected president.

Simon adapted the series from a 2004 novel by Philip Roth: Charles Lindbergh beats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and becomes the 33rd U.S. president. It follows the story of a working-class Jewish family living in New Jersey in 1940 as Lindbergh unexpectedly ascends to power.

When you collapse on the couch after a long workday and start scrolling through social media, you're not doing your tired brain any favors, says author Celeste Headlee.

"Your brain sees your phone as work," she explains. "To your brain, any time that phone is visible, part of your brain is expending part of its energy on preparing for a notification to come in. It's like a runner at the starting gate."

How about this movie plot for Valentine's Day: A family are on vacation atop picturesque slopes in the Alps. Pete and Billie — played by Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus — grab a hot lunch at the ski resort with their kids, when suddenly, a wall of snow pummels down a mountain. An avalanche is heading straight for their family.

The book we're talking about right now almost didn't exist.

Little Legends celebrates exceptional men in black history; it's by the author-illustrator Vashti Harrison. She says she thought long and hard about taking on this subject matter, because she relates more to women's stories.

Glenn Hurst didn't grow up dreaming of becoming a doctor. But eventually, he made his way into health care, taking a job placing doctors in small towns. Traveling farm country, he says, the work moved him in ways he didn't expect.

"To see the physicians in those communities helping those people stay in their fields, helping those people's families be safe ... I decided that I wanted to be part of something rural and I wanted to be part of health care," he says.

The ninth episode of Star Wars blasts into theaters this weekend, more than 40 years since the release of George Lucas' original hit movie. Back then, NPR got in on Star Wars saga action, creating a radio drama of that original episode.

The humorist Mo Rocca loves obituaries.

He loves that for one last time, the public gets to dig deep into a person's life, however consequential he or she may have been. So he's coined the term "Mobituary": a second remembrance for someone who didn't get a fair treatment the first go-round.

If there were ever a person stuck in a place he never wanted to be, it's Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Zelenskiy had been in his post for only two months when he had that infamous July 25 phone call with President Trump — during which Trump asked the Ukrainian president to help investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. For Zelenskiy, the call made what was already a delicate diplomatic situation even more complicated.

Bill Bryson is beloved for his travel writing, but his new book takes us not to Australia or to Europe or to Iowa, but on a journey inside our own bodies. And it's called — naturally — The Body. Bryson says he's genuinely fascinated by the ways our bodies work. "I mean, once you start delving into the body and how it's put together, and what a miracle life is when you think about it," he says, "each of us is made up of 37 trillion cells, and there's nothing in charge.

The U.S. women's soccer team is still savoring its victory after capturing the World Cup championship this summer. But off the field, the players continue to battle a gender discrimination case against their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation.

The women are demanding pay equal to that of their counterparts on the men's national soccer team. U.S. Soccer says it pays women more than men in salaries and game bonuses.

To some, Republican Sen. John McCain embodied principles of a bygone Washington: He sought common ground; he reached across the political divide; he had close friendships with Democrats.

His wife, Cindy McCain, would like to try to get back to those days. So to mark a year since her husband died of brain cancer, she is encouraging Americans to be more civil.

"We're missing John's voice of reason right now in so many ways," McCain tells NPR's David Greene.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo were expecting houseguests for a barbecue last Saturday. It was supposed to be a triple celebration. Andre had just finished building their new home, the couple was celebrating their first wedding anniversary and their daughter was turning 6.

Before the barbecue, they dropped by Walmart to grab school supplies and food for the party. But all of their plans and celebrations shattered in an instant of violence.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Mark Hamill remembers the first time he learned about voice acting — he was watching a Walt Disney special about animation and he saw Clarence Nash "this guy in a suit and a microphone" doing the voice of Donald Duck. "I must have been five or six and a light bulb went off in my head ..." Hamill says. "Suddenly it occurred to me that somebody gets up in the morning, goes to work, and does Donald Duck for his job. I want that job!"

Super Bowl III, 1969: The New York Jets were playing the mighty Baltimore Colts. Nobody predicted the Jets would win. Well, except for Jets quarterback Joe Namath, who did more than predict a victory. "I guarantee it," he said before the game.

Fifty years later, his legacy is still tied up in those three words.

Carly Rae Jepsen has evolved into one of pop's most endearing and indelible voices; her relatable lyrics hit home but her dance-pop arrangements soar above the everyday. She's a long way off from the bubblegum pop days of "Call Me Maybe." Over the course of her first three records, Jepsen went from a relatively unknown Canadian Idol contestant to a viral phenomenon to a lowkey critical darling. Still, Jepsen had yet to really let fans in until now.

The Netflix anthology show Easy deals with topics that are anything but: searching for love, navigating relationships, seeking knowledge of ourselves — and sometimes looking for it in other people. The show's third and final season is out now on Netflix.

Its creator, writer and director, Joe Swanberg, has a naturalistic filmmaking style with a lot of improvisation — it's often categorized as part of a movement called "mumblecore." In an interview, he says he had to translate that style into something authentic for TV.

In the Broadway musical The Prom, a high school PTA decides to cancel the dance rather than allow two girls to attend together. The show's creators, Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, started writing a musical eight years ago, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. They worried that the show might feel irrelevant by now — but they were wrong. The Prom just received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical.

Boris Fishman was nine years old in 1988 when his family left Belarus for New York. As Jews in what was then the Soviet Union, their prospects were limited, and they lived under the constant threat of discrimination and violence. But his grandfather was resourceful, so, unlike other families, Fishman's did not lack for good food.

His new memoir, Savage Feast, layers family recipes into the stories; Fishman says his grandparents' attitudes toward food were shaped by the hunger and loss of World War II.


There's this one scene in The Hangover. A man jumps out of the trunk of a car — completely naked — and attacks Bradley Cooper with a crowbar.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSICAL, "SPRING AWAKENING")

SAWYER GARRITY: (As Wendla, singing) Mama who bore me, Mama who gave me no way to...

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

For one Native American tribe whose land straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump's proposed border wall would, literally, divide its people.

The Tohono O'odham Nation stretches through the desert from just south of Casa Grande in southern Arizona to the U.S. border — and then beyond, into the Mexican state of Sonora. This means that if Trump gets his $5.7 billion border wall, it would cut right through the tribe's land.

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