KPCC's home for all things Patt Morrison.

Extended Interview: How Saint Nicholas became Santa Claus

'The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus,' by Adam C. English.

Over the Holiday season, Santa Claus sees his face plastered around the world, from commercials for Coca-Cola in the U.S, to reprising his role as Dun Che Lao Ren, or ‘Christmas Old Man,’ in China. But did Santa Claus even exist? KPCC’s Patt Morrison spoke with Adam C. English, author of ‘The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra’ to find out how Saint Nicholas was transformed into a worldwide phenomenon. 

It’s difficult to think of Christmas without thinking about Santa Claus: the plump, white-bearded jolly man in a red suit, who brings gifts to well-behaved kids on his reindeer-led sleigh. But the story behind the real Santa Claus isn’t quite so refined.

Santa Claus is an interpretation of sorts of St. Nicholas, an actual Saint and Greek Bishop with a remarkable story. In his new book The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, Adam C. English pulls together an historical portrait, based on documents, archaeology, and legend, of a charitable bishop with a passion for social justice, and an important role in perhaps Christianity’s most important period: the conversion of the Roman Empire.

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Mercy For Animals finds turkey abuse at Butterball

Anthony Easton/flickr cc

A case of Butterball turkeys.

46 million turkeys appear on holiday tables across American on Thanksgiving, but what happens to turkeys before they make it to your oven?

Turkey brand Butterball has been accused of neglect and abuse at their facilities by animal-rights group Mercy For Animals, who took part in undercover investigations at Butterball turkey facilities.

KPCC’s Patt Morrison spoke with Mercy For Animals’ Director of Investigations, Matt Rice, about the allegations against Butterball.

“We’ve actually done several undercover investigations at multiple butterball facilities, and documented workers kicking, throwing, dragging birds by their necks and wings, throwing them through the air, hitting them over the head with metal bars, clear violations of the law,” Rice said. “When we went to law enforcement with this information and a detailed legal complaint, they raided Butterball, arrested workers, charged them and convicted Butterball workers with criminal cruelty to animals.”

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Extended Interview: Author Yann Martel and how 'Life of Pi' became a Hollywood film

Life Of Pi

Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) and a fierce Bengal tiger named Richard Parker must rely on each other to survive an epic journey in "Life of Pi."

This interview aired on KPCC's Take Two.

Life of Pi was a best-seller when it was published 11 years ago – and like just about every other best-seller, it caught the eye of film producers. But not every great book can become a great film, or maybe not even a film at all. KPCC’s Patt Morrison spoke with Yann Martel, the author of the novel, about how his book finally made the leap from the page to the screen. 

Since its publishing in 2001, Martel’s Life of Pi has become one of the most beloved novels in recent memory. It has been published in more than 40 languages, and won the Man Booker Prize in 2002. The book tells the story of Pi, a 16-year-old who is stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal Tiger after being shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean.

Part of the story is sheer survival, as Pi must figure out not only how to stay alive in the middle of the ocean, but also how to survive at such close quarters with the tiger. The other part of the story revolves around the spiritual explorations of the young Pi, who considers himself a student of many religions. 

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Extended Interview: Ken Burns and the American Dust Bowl

Courtesy of PBS: Arthur Rothstein; The Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

A car is chased by a "black blizzard" in the Texas Panhandle, March 1936.

This interview originally aired on 'Patt Morrison'

When it comes to documentary filmmaking, there are two eras: BKB and AKB. That would be “before” and “after” Ken Burns.

Burns revolutionized the form through his attention to detail, his use of music, and his sweeping pans that gave motion to still photographs (hence the Ken Burns effect in Apple’s iPhoto slideshow toolkit).

Burns has a special penchant for Americana — his first documentary was on the Brooklyn Bridge and subsequently he has covered the Civil War, jazz, baseball, and the country’s National Park system.

Burns’s latest documentary, "The Dust Bowl" premieres November 18th and 19th on PBS. Burns combines interviews with 26 survivors of the era, with rare photographs and film to chronicle 'the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.'

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Extended Interview: Bernie Sanders, Jasmyne Cannick and the view from the left on Obama

US President Barack Obama speaks on Wall

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

US President Barack Obama speaks on Wall Street reform May 20, 2010 in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC.

Excerpts from these interviews aired during KPCC's Take Two

Even in a deep blue state like California, there are plenty of progressives who are disappointed that President Obama didn't do more to address some issues they care about.

Patt Morrison spoke with Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Los Angeles-based political consultant and rights activist Jasmyne Cannick about their own thoughts on President Obama's term and campaign focus ahead of the election.

Interview Highlights

Sen. Sanders on Wall Street

“People are asking the question, ‘you know, these guys on Wall Street have been greedy, they’ve been reckless, they’ve engaged in illegal behavior, how come none of these guys are in jail?' If the president was stronger on Wall Street,  do I think [President Obama] would be in better shape politically today? Yeah I do."

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