World maps help us make sense of the world around us, and our place in it.
While mapmakers may portray their world maps as accurate, scientific and neutral, every single one describes the world from a certain worldview and culture. From ancient Babylonia to the Renaissance, cartographers have been driven by politics, religion, emotion and math.
Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly has been performing for over 50 years now. His TV credits include the sitcom "Head of the Class." He co-starred with Judi Dench in the movie "Mrs. Brown." New projects include Dustin Hoffmann's directorial debut, "Quartet," with, among others, Maggie Smith. And he plays a dwarf king in "The Hobbit." But what he does, as he puts it, is standup comedy.
It's a tradition for many of us to gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving. The menu and the festivities are often the same: A look at the big parade in New York City on TV, maybe a game of touch football. But some friends may not be able to make it to dinner: the loved ones serving in the military overseas, a family member who's passed away since this time last year, or maybe someone who has to work today. Host Neal Conan takes calls from listeners who want to share stories about who's not at their Thanksgiving table this year.
Neat rows of grapevines run down the slopes of the Cotes de Beaune, all the way to the gravel driveway at Chateau de Corton Andre. The castle's traditional Burgundy black-and-yellow-tiled roof glistens in the autumn sun.
This is America, where Thanksgiving is portrayed in popular culture as a time for gatherings of loving families and friends, holding hands while saying grace over a roast turkey, passing casseroles and footballs, reminiscing about the past and dreaming of the future.
But. This being America, we also know that traditions — just like every other aspect of contemporary life — become more complex the more we examine them.
Long before singer and pianist Michael Feinstein became famous in his own right, he had the privilege of working closely with legendary songwriter Ira Gershwin, as his archivist and cataloger. In his book, The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs, Feinstein writes firsthand about the musical world of the American composers and brothers, George and Ira Gershwin.
Some analysts have suggested that one impetus for the Israeli military strikes in Gaza is the upcoming election season in Israel. With elections set for January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu changed the political landscape last month by announcing that his Likud Party would run along with a right-wing party led by hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Likud Party leaders complained that they were left in the dark before the prime minister effectively vaulted Lieberman into the No. 2 political position.