Scott Simon

Why don't you hear a pterodactyl go to the bathroom? The P is silent.

I'm a father. I tell dad jokes.

See that farmer? A man outstanding in his field.

Peter Sokolowski, editor at large of Merriam-Webster, defined dad jokes for us as "an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny."

Did you see that documentary about beavers? What a great dam show ...

Linda Fairstein won fame prosecuting criminals and then wrote crime fiction. Did she allow her gift for fiction to guide her powers as a prosecutor?

For 25 years, Linda Fairstein led sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which inspired Law and Order: SVU. She's written bestselling crime novels, like Blood Oath and Death Dance, about a hard-nosed, tenderhearted Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who eats in a lot of New York's classiest Italian restaurants on a public servant's salary.

Now there's a mystery.

Bild is a tabloid, a German daily newspaper best-known for blaring headlines, fleshy photos and breathless coverage of gossip and scandals.

But this week, the newspaper ran a kippah on its front page: a Jewish skullcap that signifies reverence for God above. It's blue and white, with Stars of David. Readers could cut out the kippah and wear it.

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On April 19, 1775, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired on the Lexington, Mass. town green. No one knows for sure who fired the shot, but when British soldiers heard it, they panicked. The red coats fired at members of the local militia, killing eight and wounding 10. With that, the Revolutionary War had begun.

The Seychelles magpie-robin is about 9 inches long, with inky blue-black feathers, and white patches along its wings. There may be only 200 or so of these beguiling birds in the world, all in forests of the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa.

It is alarming to think of just a few birds left of a single species, isolated and fragile. It seems as if a sudden storm, or a rampant sickness, could extinguish them.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I was sitting next to a college chancellor at an event Tuesday night when our cell phones began to beep with the first bulletins about the shootings at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Two students were killed; four were injured.

"My first thought," Susan Koch, chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, told me, "was, 'That could have been my campus.' All campuses in the U.S. are vulnerable."

There has never been a better name for a person than Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick. She died this week, at the age of 35.

Charity was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension when she was a young opera singer in Europe. She had two double lung transplants in the past 10 years, flatlined twice, sank into comas, suffered innumerable close calls and lights-blinking, horn-blaring intensive care unit emergencies, only to always to come roaring back with rekindled energy and sunny grace — to sing and to shine.

Margaret Trudeau married Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada, when she was 22. He was 51. That marriage came apart — publicly, spectacularly — as she made public rounds with rockers, actors and other celebrities.

More than 400 firefighters answered the call when fire broke out in the Notre Dame Cathedral this Holy Week. As Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Plus, spokesperson for the Paris firefighters, told the Agence France Press, "One doesn't imagine as a Paris firefighter one day intervening to save Notre Dame!"

"Time worked against us," he said. "The wind was against us, and we needed to retake control."

An art show opens in El Paso today. It's what they call a "multi-sensory exhibit" that includes works like a chapel, cut from cardboard, surrounded by trees and hedges spun from yarn, with Popsicle stick church pews and crosses. There are many images of bright birds, cooing in trees; and a looming volcano, smoking over a bright, cheery town.

When Jeff Kinney started working on Diary of a Wimpy Kid, he thought he was writing a comic for adults. "I always thought of comics as being for grown-ups, or maybe just for everyone," he says. After eight years of work, he finally showed it to an editor and learned: "I had actually written a children's series which was an absolute surprise to me."

That "surprise" has now sold 180 million copies. There are 13 installments of Greg Heffley's diary and now, Greg's best friend Rowley Jefferson, is getting his own book — Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid.

It has not been uplifting for Americans to look across the ocean the past few years and see Great Britain's Brexit imbroglio.

Almost three years ago, a slim majority, 51.9 percent, voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. But breaking up is hard to do.

Three times, Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed an exit plan. Parliament has rejected it each time. The March 29 deadline to depart has come and gone; Parliament has asked the EU for delay after delay.

In season six of HBO's Veep, Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, made some pretty dramatic decisions — she chooses to run for president to get a second shot at working in the Oval Office.

In the process, she walks away from a chance at true love due to her belief that her relationship with Qatari ambassador Mohammed Al Jaffar, a Muslim man, could harm her campaign.

Fresh waves of grief have hit the communities of Parkland, Fla., and Newtown, Conn., after recent news of more deaths.

On Monday, the father of a girl who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died by apparent suicide, and last week, two students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting took their own lives.

We may all wonder if we would act with courage in the face of catastrophe, emergency, or evil.

Michel Bacos was captain of Air France Flight 139 on June 27, 1976, with more than 240 passengers and 12 crew, when it took off from Tel Aviv for Paris, with a stop in Athens. About eight minutes after takeoff from Athens, Captain Bacos heard screams and commotion.

And amidst all this urgent news, the 2019 Major League Baseball season also began this week. Organized baseball worries that the game once considered America's pastime has become slooowww, old, and tedious.

In 1948 — when Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson were on the field — an average 9-inning game lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. Today, it takes more than 3 hours.

Charlotte Lehman could hear the man reading his credit card number out loud from across the Starbucks.

He was speaking to a companion, but his voice carried over the music to where Lehman sat. Surrounded by a dozen or so people, the speaker also divulged his phone number a­­nd home address.

After that, all it took for Lehman to identify him was a quick Google search. She was able to find the man's full name, what he does for a living and his professional website. She even heard him sharing a password.

When high school senior and wrestler Brendan Johnston realized he had to face Jaslynn Gallegos, a high school senior, and Angel Rios, a high school junior, in last month's Colorado state wrestling championship, he knew his shot at a state title was over.

Johnston refused to compete against Rios and Gallegos because they are both girls.

Gallegos went on to place fifth in that tournament, and Rios was fourth — marking the first time girls have placed at a Colorado state wrestling tournament.

It's hard to forecast the influence a work of art may have. Fifty years ago, Mario Puzo wrote a book in his basement after his first two novels had won splendid reviews but sold poorly.

In 1969, The Godfather was published.

This week, just as President Trump and Kim Jong Un prepared to meet in Hanoi — for what turned out to be their abrupt and unproductive summit — Dutch customs officials discovered and seized about 90,000 bottles of Russian vodka from a Chinese ship destined for North Korea, according to Algemeen Dagblad, the Dutch newspaper.

Maybe I didn't need to say that Algemeen Dagblad is a Dutch newspaper.

Away from daily deadlines and breaking news, there seems to be a campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.

Russia's Supreme Court branded the church "an extremist organization" in 2017. Witnesses do not recognize any authority but God, governments especially. That puts them into conflict with Vladimir Putin's Russia, where there are an estimated 175,000 Jehovah's Witnesses.

As birds flitted on and off colorful feeders in a flicker of flapping feathers, and chattered in chirps — punctuated by the occasional trill — a band of birdwatchers offered a cacophony of their own.

"I heard a red-winged blackbird!"

"There's a blue jay!"

"Is that a downy woodpecker?"

Don't have a backyard? No problem. The Great Backyard Bird Count can be done anywhere, whether that's standing on a street outside an apartment, looking out a window at the office, or wandering around a park.

You might be surprised at what you find.

If you saw some of these paintings — of flowers, fields and foggy townscapes — for sale at a summer art fair, you might point at one to say, "Well, maybe for the guest bathroom."

Five pictures allegedly painted by Adolf Hitler are scheduled for auction at an art house in Nuremberg Saturday. Two dozen more were pulled after German police raided the place on Thursday, on suspicion that a number of the paintings signed, "A. Hitler," are forgeries.

I bought a burqa in a market when I covered the war in Afghanistan in 2002. I showed it to my wife when I got home, and pulled the blue garment over my head to look through the single thin eye slit that allowed an Afghan woman's only view of the world.

That's when I truly understood why the Taliban had forced all women in Afghanistan to wear the burqa. It disguised, depersonalized, and confined them.

This week it was reported that the U.S. and the Taliban have agreed in principle to a plan that could end the war and bring home U.S. troops.

I try not to say, "sports hero." An athlete may be electrifying and adored, and do much for their communities. But real heroes are people who run into burning buildings to save lives. Heroes are people who enrich the lives of others — and sometimes — move along history.

There is one athlete who has to be called a hero.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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