Putin Is a Lover
ALISON STEWART, host:
Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We are always online at npr.org. We're just fine, by the way. I'm sorry. I just - I get distracted by the Mary J. Blige song because I love it so much. I m going to start the day in a (unintelligible).
Okay, let's see. Steroid hearings on Capitol Hill, check. News from around the world, check. Kimchi in space? Uh-oh we better get to The Ramble.
(Soundbite of music)
STEWART: Okay. We're going to start with Florida. Florida State science fair finalist who'd never been in trouble before got detention on Saturday. So the kid named Jimmy Stewart, who said he'd done nothing wrong. And here's the thing: so did 2,498 other students. Every single student at Palm Bay High got detention. Was this like some mass outbreak of bad behavior in that high school? No, someone pushed the wrong button on an automated system set off to remind that they have Saturday detention.
So rather than sending the message to the guilty 16 students, it went to everyone.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
STEWART: Can you imagine? So bad. If you stay, you know, you got a call saying you have detention. Your mom gets mad at you. Says what did you do, you're like, nothing. She's like, yes, you did. Then you get to school, and they're like, no, sorry, you're really - no, Jimmy didn't do anything. So, yeah.
Well, I want to wish a Happy Valentine's Day to Vladimir Putin.
STEWART: And here's why. There is a new DVD out in Russia. It is a love story. It's called "The Kiss is Off the Record." In this story, a man named Alexander Platov woos a woman in Leningrad, moves to East Germany, returns to Saint Petersburg, and rises to the political ranks. And that's pretty much the story of Vladimir Putin. And apparently, the actor and actress who played Platov and his wife look an awful lot like Mr. and Mrs. Putin.
MARTIN: Funny, huh?
STEWART: Some characteristics are quite the same. Putin is always late, the character is always late. The filmmaker of "The Kiss is Off the Record" said that it was based on a collective image, not just on Putin's, saying also, quote, "We believe that since the day we are not ashamed for our leader, why not make heroes who are like him?"
Now, some audience members screamed - not so convinced, they shouted things like, Putin's an executioner. That's a really nice thing if you're a love story. Somebody (unintelligible) banner that said Putin is a criminal. The Kremlin has said they had nothing to do with the film. For the record.
MARTIN: Cleared it.
STEWART: That's why he said that - cleared that up. The Kremlin says.
MARTIN: So Korean and hipster astronauts, rest easy. Kimchi has been approved for space.
STEWART: Thank goodness.
MARTIN: Whew. Spice in space, a breath of relief there. South Korea's first astronaut, Ko San, will be launched into orbit in April and staying on the international space station. But there was doubt that the pickled cabbage dish, known as kimchi, beloved in his native country could go with him. The traditional recipe for kimchi uses a lactic acid bacteria to help in the fermentation process. And it's apparently a bad idea to bring bacteria into space. And the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said it could threaten astronauts' health.
But the agency came up with a bacteria-free recipe for kimchi and designed a special kind of kimchi container to withstand pressure and protect against celestial spillage. So good news for South Korean astronauts.
STEWART: There you go. Something a little more earthbound and maybe a lot fattier - everybody let's head to Des Moines, Iowa on March 1st because that is National Pig Day, and a bar there is going to hold its first Bacon Festival.
MARTIN: I'm so on board with that.
STEWART: I'm telling you. The man behind the festival, Brooks Reynolds, he personally held this annual bacon party in the woods with his friends for years and reportedly - according to this story - the wives and girlfriends of the attendees complained that when the partiers returned, their skin smelled of bacon grease.
MARTIN: Why complain there?
STEWART: That's sexy.
(Soundbite of laughter)
STEWART: No word on whether Bacon Fest will impact the true wisdom that there more pigs than people in Iowa. Now, the article, we have to point out in the Des Moines Register - we'll link through to it our Web sites, but we wanted to make it clear. Apparently, the writer just abandoned all objectivity about Bacon Fest. About eight paragraphs down, he is so overwhelmed by the love of bacon. This writer writes, quote, "Bacon evokes memories of weekend mornings when, like summer days at the grill, dad found his culinary place flipping thin slices of meat, calling out to the primal man. Bacon is about sustained attention in the click-happy TV-remote-and-computer-mouse world. It must be forked, flipped, watched. It must not be under or overdone. It must be honored."
STEWART: "Bacon is about our state's history."
MARTIN: Oh, come on.
STEWART: "Bacon is the underdog in the shadow of the Iowa chop and thick beef steak, a hardworking food for the fearless."
MARTIN: Well, I second that. Maybe not with such poetry, but I do second that.
(Soundbite of laughter)
STEWART: That is your delicious Ramble. These stories and more on our Web site: npr.org/bryantpark.