Scott Simon

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(SOUNDBITE OF BBNO$ AND RICH BRIAN SONG, "EDAMAME")

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Don't try to sweet-talk Olly Alexander.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEET TALKER")

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This is Cordae.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SINISTER")

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We're in the midst of another winter COVID surge, and it is hard on everyone in all ways. We asked a few mental health professionals this week for any advice they might have on beating the emotional challenges of this moment.

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In NPR's 50th anniversary year, one of the ways we celebrated was through stories - under the banner We Hold These Truths. How have Americans learned about democracy? Well, lots of our notions and beliefs first flickered before us at the movies.

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Merry Christmas. And nothing says Christmas like, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SCOTT SIMON: We all start work on this show when it's still dark, and this Christmas morning I looked into the sky. I saw a trail, and heard a clatter of hooves, and a string of ho-ho-ho's. That sleigh in the sky should be approaching the west coast now. So I figured, why not try this number I have?

<SOUND OF PHONE DIGITS PRESSED>

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(SOUNDBITE OF HOUND DOG TAYLOR SONG, "GIVE ME BACK MY WIG")

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I saw a picture this week that arrested my attention.

It's a drawing in old, dark ink of woman with curly hair, in a loose gown with a baby balanced in her lap. He is also curly-haired, and the ringlets make his little head look almost like an aura of the sun. The child stands on two plump, tiny legs, and the mother tucks him against her right arm, steadying his bottom with her left hand.

The curly-haired woman smiles. Not as if she doesn't have a care in the world, but as if all she really cares about in this world is the child in her arms.

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George and Clarence, mean Mr. Potter, Zuzu and her petals - and never forget...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE")

KAROLYN GRIMES: (As Zuzu Bailey) Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

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And as the T-shirt says, and now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Bob Dole, who died last Sunday at age 98, is memorialized this morning in his hometown of Russell, Kan. But his death was also felt this week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and by those of us who covered the conflict there. As Bosnian politician Bakir Izetbegovic wrote, "He will remain in the lasting memory of all those [that] carry our homeland in their hearts."

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I've had açaí berries, being one of those Americans who longs to be healthier, especially if I can do it by plopping a few berries into a smoothie.

Açaí, which to me taste a little like dull blueberries, reportedly brim with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. They are said to promote energy, healthy digestion, and even a dewier complexion.

But how do açaí berries get from the tops of trees in Brazil's Amazon into the açaí bowls that sell in San Francisco, Austin and West Des Moines?

Many are picked by children.

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Updated November 20, 2021 at 3:36 PM ET

President Biden's spending bill, often called "Build Back Better," passed in the House on Friday largely on party lines. Now the bill heads to the Senate, where it is expected to be pared down further.

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