Scott Simon

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

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A lot of us have spent more time than ever in front of screens these past, oh, 22 months. And some us have had to cry for help occasionally.

Information technology workers may be today's seafarers over oceans of encoded information. Vital, but often anonymous voices. Essential, but often unseen.

We thought people might better appreciate those who defend our databases and keep our VPNs vibrant if we set their trials and triumphs to music. Like sailors with their sea shanties.

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Families across the country have been feeling the effects of inflation. Steeper housing costs, bigger grocery bills, higher gas prices are forcing them to change habits, stretch budgets or go without. It has been especially challenging for parents.

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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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(SOUNDBITE OF STEPHEN SCHWARTZ'S "OVERTURE/NO ONE MOURNS THE WICKED")

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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.

Alfredo Antonio Trujillo and his twin sister, Aylin Yolanda, were born just a few minutes apart, on different days, in different months, in different years.

Alfred Antonio was born at 11:45 pm, Dec. 31, 2021, at the Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Calif. Fifteen minutes later, Aylin Yolanda was delivered just after the stroke of midnight, last Saturday morning, Jan. 1, 2022.

Their mother, Fatima Madrigal, told KABC in Los Angeles she feels doubly blessed.

"Everything is possible," she said. "And every child is a blessing."

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HBO'S "Search Party" has begun its fifth and final season with its leading character, Dory, played by Alia Shawkat, in the midst of an awakening.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SEARCH PARTY")

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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)

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Many years ago, NPR sent Leo del Aguila and me to cover the civil war in El Salvador. Leo was our engineer. I was our reporter. By the time we came back, we considered ourselves brothers. We still do. He's the funniest and most original character I know.

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