Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

When it comes to Christmas trees, which kind of symbol do you prefer — real or artificial? In recent stat-studded news stories, Americans seem to be conflicted, but leaning toward artificiality.

Fooling the eye — with trick-niques like anamorphic sculpture, trompe l'oeil paintings and other optical illusions — is a centuries-old artistic pursuit.

Hoodslam — a popular spectacle that is staged monthly in Oakland, Calif. — is described by the San Francisco Chronicle as "part wrestling show, part carnival act and all comedy."

Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween.

People — young and old — got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash., and points in between.

The old joke used to be: Who is buried in Grant's tomb?

Now it's not so funny anymore.

When the "bride" and "groom" walk down the aisle in a Tom Thumb Wedding — as they did just a few weeks ago at the Fellowship Baptist Church on Staten Island in New York — they are:

1) Often not much taller than the backs of the church pews.

2) Paying homage to a pair of 19th century celebrities.

3) Acting out an American ritual with roots stretching back more than 150 years.

As America enters the holiday season, chowing down at a crowded table can become a competitive experience. What was once confined to friendly wagers has blossomed into a full-blown industry.

For British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking — subject of a just-released biopic — being one turned his life around. American newshound Anderson Cooper was one, the Yale Daily News reports. So was photographer Lord Snowdon, former husband to Princess Margaret, according to Rowing History.

With a peck of new tech in development, Upstart reports recently, "the dating game may never be the same."

Making costumes from secondhand stuff is a part of the Halloween scene in 2014, according to Goodwill. We call it boocycling.

The Girl Scouts organization wants s'more — members and leaders, that is.

Membership in Girl Scouts of the USA is on the decline. In the past year, according to the group's official blog, there has been a significant drop nationwide — down 400,000 girls and adults — from 3.2 million to 2.8 million.

What separates Americans the most?

Race ... religion ... gender ...

According to Shanto Iyengar, a political scientist at Stanford University, often the most divisive aspect of contemporary society is: politics.

Divided We Stand

Americans are discovering — or rediscovering — the allure of outdoor living, according to a 2014 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Whether the instinct stems from a primordial desire to reconnect with the natural world or to disconnect from in-house clutter and chaos, people who can afford it are transporting traditional indoor areas — kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, entertainment centers — outside.

Question young, first-time voters about whom they will be supporting in the 2016 presidential election — via a callout on NPR's Facebook page — and you will receive more than 700 all-over-the-map responses.

Some thoughtful, some insightful. And a heck of a lot filled with what can only be called Hillary Exhilaration.

Especially among the young women of Generation Z — cultural shorthand for the cohort born in the mid-'90s or later.

Post a photo of the plant on your desk in the Comments section below.

That's right: The plant the boss wants you to take home ...

Now you can explain — with some research to back you up — that having greenery in your workspace makes you more productive. And how a ficus near the phone or a lily by the laptop helps grow business.

And maybe your supervisor will make like a plant — and leave.

Rooting Out The Problem

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