December 29th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, wage protections for home health care aides, and the author of Rice and Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking. In the second hour, In the Garden of Beasts, and creating top ten lists.
NPR logo December 29th: What's On Today's Show

December 29th: What's On Today's Show

In our second hour, Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News shares his thoughts on creating top ten lists. hide caption

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Home Health Care
Nearly two million home health care aides help seniors and people with disabilities live independently outside of nursing homes. Families rely on them so they can go to work and go about their daily lives without having to focus solely on their loved ones' care. These caregivers are mostly women, many of them are African-American or Hispanic, and many rely on public assistance. They often work hard and long hours without earning overtime pay. Since 1974, The Department of Labor has exempted home health care workers from the Fair Labor Standards act by grouping them with baby sitters. But the Labor Department now hopes to bring home care aides under federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

Sri Lankan Cooking
As a child of Sri Lankan immigrants, music journalist S.H. "Skiz" Fernando Jr. grew up eating Sri Lankan food at least twice a week. However, Fernando did not master the art of Sri Lankan cooking until he moved to Sri Lanka and learned how from his four aunts. For one year, Fernando spent his mornings scouring local markets for the best spices and ingredients. He then spent hours cooking Sri Lankan dishes using old cookbooks and family recipes. His aunts critiqued the food until Fernando perfected it, making each recipe at least 20 times. Guest host Jennifer Ludden talks with S.H. "Skiz" Fernando about one of the books we missed this year, the New York Times notable cookbook Rice and Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking.

'The Garden Of Beasts'
When University of Chicago professor William Dodd was offered the job of United States Ambassador to Germany in 1933, he assumed then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler wouldn't be in office very long. But as Dodd witnessed the persecution of Jews and the creation of new laws, his concerns about Hitler's rise to power grew. In a new book, author Erik Larson chronicles Dodd's time in Germany, his daughter's flamboyant lifestyle and clashes with Nazi Party officials and the State Department. Guest host Jennifer Ludden talks with Larson about his new book, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

Top Ten Lists
It's that time of the year for the top ten list, the ubiquitous arbiter of the year's best films, books, albums — well, the best anything, really. And it's not just paid critics who write these lists anymore. People everywhere rank their favorite cultural phenomena, from most underrated actors to best throwback video games. But Chris Vognar, the film critic for the Dallas Morning News, tells guest host Jennifer Ludden that all those zillions of lists aren't just subjective — they can be totally arbitrary.