Kanye West's Mother Dies

Some of the most-read stories on the Web, including the loss of rapper Kanye West's mom, the elder President Bush parachutes again, why cats purr and Hugo Chavez and the King of Spain go mano a mano.

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LUKE BURBANK, host:

By the way if you haven't got this new Jay-Z record "American Gangster," this is an off of that - this is off of "Kingdom Come." But I got the new one, we - Andy Langer reviewed it for us last week. It's so good.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Yeah?

BURBANK: I was just like - it's in constant play on my iPod this weekend. But I digress.

It's now time for the part of the show where you click them and we tick them. These are farm fresh, ready-to-eat bits of news. We wash them first, okay? Don't worry. These are the most e-mailed, the most forwarded, the most popular news stories on the Web. We call it The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

BURBANK: Matt Martinez.

MATT MARTINEZ: Hello.

BURBANK: Supervising senior producer, NPR listener.

MATT MARTINEZ: I am an NPR listener.

BURBANK: Because you always have one of the most e-mailed NPR story.

STEWART: He's a company man.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Oh, but in the best way.

STEWART: Yes.

MARTINEZ: Yes, I have the number three most e-mailed story from npr.org. And it is of interview that Jacki Lyden did on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on Saturday about why do cats purr?

STEWART: I would like to know this because I have a large cat. He sits by my head at night and purr.

MARTINEZ: Yes.

STEWART: It sounds like an old car.

MARTINEZ: And it's part of the Science Out of The Box series that they're doing on the weekends. And it's basically science reporters and people in science explaining some of the basic underlying principles of huge scientific discoveries. And this is actually a huge scientific discovery.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: Why do cats purr? So here's a little bit of Jacki Lyden's interview with Leslie Lyons of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.

(Soundbite of archived NPR recording)

LYDEN: So is it a voluntary thing that the cat does as I'm petting the cat in my lap? Does he decide to start purring or is it an automatic reaction?

Dr. LYONS: I think it's a little bit of both kind of like us blinking. We can obviously blink when we want to, but it's a rather autonomic procedure too.

LYDEN: I understand that it's just in the past couple of years that scientists figured out exactly how cats purr?

Dr. LYONS: Right. Yeah, we've had to wait for certain technologies and imaging capabilities to come along. But, yeah, we have a better idea from the physiological point of view of how a cat actually purrs, and that's a response of different muscles both in the throat and in the diaphragm that allows them to make that sound.

MARTINEZ: So there you go. That's a how a cat purrs. Wasn't it - it wasn't a great explanation, but it makes much more sense to me now.

Next, why do cats loves lasagna?

(Soundbite of purring)

BURBANK: That crazy Garfield.

MARTINEZ: Oh, that's the cartoon.

STEWART: What do you say was the name of that researcher, Matt? Lyons?

MARTINEZ: Yes, yes, yes, Leslie Lyons of the University of California.

BURBANK: There's something funny going on there?

MARTINEZ: There you go.

STEWART: Ilya, you have a story about two world leaders. Just shout it out.

ILYA MARRITZ: Yeah, well, and it's even a better story because one of the world leaders is the King. This happened in Chile over the weekend. You guessed it. Hugo Chavez was involved, he somehow seems to always be there when there's a street fight happening.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: There was - so this is a big meeting of Spain and its former colonies, the Spanish-speaking countries. Hugo Chavez had called the former Spanish prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, a fascist, at which point the king of Spain jumps in and says this. Let's hit the clip.

King JUAN CARLOS I (Spain): (Speaking in Spanish)

MARRITZ: Okay. So he's saying why don't you just…

BURBANK: Why don't you just shut it…

MARRITZ: Why don't you just shut up please?

STEWART: Just shut it.

MARRITZ: Just shut it or something.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: It gets even better though because the next day Hugo Chavez alleged that the king may have known something about this coup that happened in 2002's abortive coup where Hugo Chavez was briefly overthrown and then came back to power.

Chavez said in a news conference, Mr. King, did you know about the coup d'etat against Venezuela, against the democratic, legitimate government of Venezuela in 2002? It's very hard to imagine toot(ph), toot, toot, toot - oh, I'm sorry I'm just going to skip ahead.

Spain's El Mundo minister quoted Mr. Chavez as saying that on Sunday, the king had got very mad like a bull. So this is a…

STEWART: It keeps going. That was in The BBC Most's?

MARRITZ: Yeah, that was BBC. The number three Most (unintelligible).

STEWART: And our editor Tricia McKinney had a little first-person report about this story.

BURBANK: Oh, right.

TRICIA MCKINNEY: Well, no. I've gone over there for the Hugo Chavez but I can't (unintelligible).

BURBANK: Well, then why don't you just shut up.

MCKINNEY: All right. I'll stay out of (unintelligible).

BURBANK: Can I just say? That's rude.

MCKINNEY: This is just my little thing. I've actually met the king's son, the future king of Spain, Prince Felipe, at a wedding a couple of years ago, and you know what? Great swing dancer.

STEWART: What do you know?

BURBANK: Really?

MCKINNEY: That's all I got to say. That's all I can add to this conversation.

BURBANK: I wish we could ask you whose wedding it was and all that, but that's probably privilege information. But you clearly have some fancy friends.

MCKINNEY: One fancy friend who has a fancy friend.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Kyte and baylar, is what you say, shut up and dance.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right, M.J., what do you have speaking of baylar?

M.J. DAVIS: Oh, it's so wrong that I'm going to talk about crumping, but here it goes. I'm going to call it krumping has jumped the shark because today I was…

BURBANK: It's krumped the shark, really?

(Soundbite of laughter)

DAVIS: Krumped the shark. Today I was perusing Google Trends for some hot new most Googled terms and krumping was up there. And then last night, I was up past my bedtime watching a little "Simpsons" and Bart Simpson started krumping and announcing that he was krumping. And then Marge Simpson started krumping. And I got to admit I didn't know what it was. So if you don't know, krumping is a new form of urban dance characterized by…

BURBANK: It's by new you mean, five years old or…

DAVIS: Not that new. It's new meaning…

BURBANK: …10 years old?

STEWART: New to some.

BURBANK: Yes.

DAVIS: Characterized by fast movements, it's free form. There are different variations of krumping depending on your level of difficulty. There's krump, then, there's getting buck somewhere in the middle, and then there's ampness…

BURBANK: Oh.

DAVIS: …all the way at the top.

BURBANK: If you want a primer on krumping, watch this movie called "Rise" made by Dave LaChapelle, the photographer. It's shot in South Central L.A. and it follows the guy who started who was that birthday clown. This dance was started by a birthday clown, and it's super interesting so check that out.

By the way, we don't need to do my most.

STEWART: Okay.

BURBANK: The old President Bush jumped out of a plane.

STEWART: Okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Ali, what's yours?

STEWART: There you go, and then seen.

All right. This one is from CNN most popular, it's all over the Web today. Heartfelt feelings going out to Kanye West, his mother died over the weekend, Donda West. Extraordinary woman, she's former chairwoman of the Chicago State University. She's a scholar. She's a Fulbright scholar. She died at just 58 years old. She was in education for 31 years. She left to help manage Kanye's career.

BURBANK: And she was such a huge part…

STEWART: Yeah.

BURBANK: …of his career. He talked about her in songs, and he talked about her in interviews. I mean, it wasn't like she was just somebody in the background.

STEWART: No, not at all. And undisclosed reason for her death as of now, but it did happen over the weekend. And as we've mentioned, Kanye West wrote about his mom on various songs so, of course, rest in peace, Donda West.

This is "Hey Mama" from Kanye.

(Soundbite of song, "Hey Mama")

Mr. KANYE WEST (Singer): (Singing) I appreciate what you allowed for me. I just want you to be proud of me. Hey mama.

I wanna tell the whole world about a friend of mine. This little light of mine and I'm gonna let it shine. I'm going take you all back to them better times. I'm going to talk about my mama if you all don't mind.

I was 3 years old, when you and I moved to the Chi late December, harsh winter gave me a cold you fixed me up something that was good for my soul. Famous homemade chicken soup, can I have another bowl? You work late nights just to keep on the lights.

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