About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.
Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.
Just two weeks until we announce the winner of Round Nine of our Three-Minute Fiction contest here on WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, that's where we ask you to come up with an original piece of fiction that can be read in about three minutes. In this round, we received nearly 4,000 stories.
Now, graduate students from a dozen schools, including from the University of Houston and Indiana University, have read through all of them. And now, our judge this round, Brad Meltzer, is making his decision.
Whenever 19-year-old Robbie Walsh tells friends and family back home in Maryland that he goes to Lynn University, they do a double-take.
"They go, 'Lynn University? What?'" he says. "Then I have to tell them it's in Boca Raton, Florida, and a lot of them say, 'Oh, FAU,' or 'The University of Miami.'"
Many of Lynn's students and faculty who gather at the campus cafe say they hear that sort of thing all the time. But university spokesman Joshua Glanzer says a new T-shirt showing up on campus gives it right back.
Seventy-five years ago, J.R.R Tolkien wrote a book for his children called The Hobbit. It isn't just a landmark piece of fantasy literature; it's a movement — a work that's inspired everyone from director Peter Jackson to the band Led Zeppelin to Leonard Nimoy (who recorded his own homage to the book in the late 1960s — "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins").
As with food, as with fashion, as with film, there does seem to be a distinct French style when it comes to composition. The much-heralded English pianist Stephen Hough has been studying what makes a piece of music uniquely French. It's resulted in his latest collection: the French Album.
With works by Debussy, Faure, Poulenc and a number of lesser-known composers, Hough says he considers this new album "a sort of musical dessert trolley."