Taiwan Opens up to Chinese Actors Taiwan opens up to Chinese actors, and more news worth an honorable mention.
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Taiwan Opens up to Chinese Actors

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Taiwan Opens up to Chinese Actors

Taiwan Opens up to Chinese Actors

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Once in every show, there comes a moment. We never really know how it's going to hit, or when it does, well, you know, you feel nice. You feel euphoric. You feel focused. You had a little digressive, right?


Yeah, that's how I feel.

PESCA: This moment is The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: All right.

MARTIN: There we go. Let's ease on into this, shall we? Fifty-two countries sent representatives to Copenhagen, Denmark, to compete at the World Barista Championships. Yes, there is such a thing. And an Irishman walked away the winner. Steven Morrissey of Ireland earned the title after naming four perfect espressos, four foamy cappuccinos and four of his own signature drinks in 15 minutes. That's less than a minute per drink. I did that very complicated math. Morrissey's signature drink is made by flambeing pannicotta, blueberries, chocolate and espresso. That sounds pretty darn good, actually. All of you latte-loving, caffeine-craving folks might want to know that next year's World Barista Championships take place in Atlanta, Georgia.

PESCA: Yeah. Four, four, and four in 15 minutes is not less than one a minute. Something else had to be going on there. Someone's going to write in. There's some other drink involved. I can't figure it out right here from the information provided for me. Yes, thank you.

Here's a tale of a secret place with pirate ships and castles and little people with U-shaped hands. It is a real place, but it's also the land of make believe. And it's also in Denmark. It's three hours to the west of Copenhagen, only open once a year to select groups of invited guests. The Lego factory in Billund, Denmark, a behind-the-scenes look at Lego Vault, and you can look behind the scenes, thanks to the video they shot. It's a look at a very special vault of millions of plastic pieces and a few gold colored bricks issued for Lego's 50th anniversary earlier this year. Four thousand, seven hundred twenty sets, all models unopened. The oldest sets are from are from the 1950s. Lego Land Town System was an instant hit in the 1970s, and the best seller today is Lego City.

MARTIN: Naked Cowboy?

PESCA: Know him.

MARTIN: Love him.

PESCA: Fear him.

MARTIN: Worship him. Robert Burck is his real name. If you've even been to New York City's Times Square, you see this guy. He's standing there, dressed in his skivvies, playing his guitar.

PESCA: He doesn't really turn down many media requests.

MARTIN: No, he does not.

PESCA: He's in a lot of videos, a lot of shots. If you want to establish quirky New York, you throw a little Naked Cowboy in there.

MARTIN: He's become a pretty famous guy for creating this character, and he is now suing because someone is trying to rip his character off, he alleges. He's the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the company that makes M&Ms. He's suing them for six million bucks for trademark infringement.

PESCA: He trademarked his diaper? What's there to trademark?

MARTIN: It's the whole shtick. It's the Naked Cowboy system of operating.

PESCA: He trademarked his shtick. I guess that's what you trademark. I like that. I'm going to trademark my shtick.

MARTIN: You should, because there are all kinds of people out there trying to copy you right now.

PESCA: They're trying take my shtick. Next time I'm really funny, you should trademark that shtick.

MARTIN: At issue, some video billboards depicting a blue M&M dressed in his naked cowboy signature outfit. And the Naked Cowboy has won a round in the lawsuit. Already, a U.S. district judge ruled against the candy maker's motion to dismiss the suit, so the case goes forward. Naked Cowboy.

PESCA: It would be cool if the actual blue M&M showed up to court and cried and said, but I get all this mail! And they bring in all the mail to the blue M&M in his diaper. All right, a little less exhibitionist here. On the world stage, Taiwan is considering relaxing restrictions against Chinese actors. As it stands, Chinese actors aren't allowed to act in live theater or perform in concerts in Taiwan. In China, there are no restrictions on Taiwanese performers.

A spokesperson for Taiwan's government Office for Broadcasting Affairs says, we want to steer cultural exchanges towards a situation of equality and mutual benefit. It's not quite like that on the diplomatic front. There's a lot of drama between the two countries that split in a civil war in 1949. Mainland China still claims the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan as its territory, and it has threatened to attack the island if it breaks free. That could be kind of an interesting opera.

MARTIN: Speaking of high, or not so high, drama, here's a correction on something we Rambled about yesterday. Turns out, Amy Winehouse does not have full-blown emphysema, as her father told a London tabloid. Yesterday, the singer's publicist told the Associated Press Winehouse has early signs of something that could lead to the lung disease, and that she's still hoping to perform in London this Friday as part of a concert in honor of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.

PESCA: OK, now being Amy Winehouse's publicist. Is that a good gig or a bad gig?

MARTIN: Depends on the day.

PESCA: Good gig - well, good gig, lots of work. Bad gig, you've got to explain away the crazy stuff that Amy Winehouse does.

MARTIN: That's why they get paid the big money.

PESCA: But why are we necessarily believing her publicist when she denies emphysema claims?

MARTIN: We report. You decide, folks.

PESCA: Something like that.

MARTIN: That's your Ramble. All these links and a whole lot more at npr.org/bryantpark.

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