David Greene | WYPR

David Greene

Comedian Louie Anderson would like to introduce you to his mom, Ora Zella Anderson. She died years ago, but he's been thinking about her a lot lately.

In his new book, Hey Mom: Stories for My Mother, But You Can Read Them Too, he's written a series of letters to fill her in on all that she's missed — like the breakthrough TV role that she inspired on the FX show Baskets.

Anderson plays the sweet, sometimes flustered mom, whose son Chip is played by Zach Galifianakis.

Judd Apatow was just a kid when he first saw the comedian who would change his life. He was watching The Tonight Show.

"Like a lot of people in America, I just thought: what a fascinating, hilarious, odd man," Apatow says. "And I tracked his career. Some kids would track baseball players and their averages. I would watch comedians and watch them develop."

As a kid in Oakland, Calif., Ryan Coogler hung out at a comic book shop near his school, reading about superheroes who looked nothing like him.

"As I got older, I wanted to find a comic book character that looked like me and not just one that was on the sidelines," Coogler says. "And I walk in and ask the guy at the desk that day, and say, 'Hey man, you got any comic books here about black people, you know, like with a black superhero?' And he was like, 'Oh, yeah, as a matter of fact, we got this one.'"

Vanna White has been turning letters on Wheel of Fortune for 35 years. That's 6,500 shows — and I've seen a lot of them. It's amazing to think about how much the world has changed, even as White has been doing the exact same job.

In Tiffany Haddish's new memoir, The Last Black Unicorn, she writes "I know that a lot of these stories will seem unbelievable. I look back over my life and I'm like, 'For real, that happened?'"

You could just look at Tiffany Haddish's career this year and ask that question. She was the breakout star of this summer's raucous hit movie, Girl's Trip, and last month, Haddish became the first African-American woman stand-up comedian to host Saturday Night Live.

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And it seems like the Republican National Committee has had some trouble figuring out exactly what to do with Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. They were supporting him before they weren't.

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Ivy Pochoda begins her new novel almost like she's trying to break up the ho-hum of an everyday morning: In the middle of downtown traffic, there's a man jogging, without a care, through Los Angeles' crazy maze of freeways. And, oh yeah, he's totally naked. "He's just completely antithetical to everything that I imagine a morning commuter is up against," Pochoda says. "He's free, he's bucking the rules, and he's moving."

Pochoda's novel is called Wonder Valley, and it follows several different characters who all connect back to that mystery man on the freeway.

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Jason Reynolds' new novel Long Way Down is focused on a moment of decision. It happens in an elevator — teenaged Will is on his way to take revenge for the murder of his brother, but his plan is interrupted by a few visitors on the way down to the ground floor.

"Will is growing up in a community where there are certain rules," Reynolds says. "There's a code of conduct, and what those rules are is number one, no crying, number two, no snitching, and number three, always seek revenge."

Things are about to get even stranger in Hawkins, Ind.

That's the small town the Netflix series Stranger Things is set in. The second season of the instant cult classic set in the 1980s is released Friday, and it picks up about a year after the first adventure into the Upside Down, the defeat of the Demogorgon monster and Eleven's apparent disappearance.

Stranger Things is the brainchild of twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, who said that their tastes are very similar — but that they fight all the time. It's mostly about writing.

Actor Tom Hanks has made us believe he can be anyone and do anything on the big screen.

Now he's taking us on a journey on the page: Tom Hanks has written a book.

It's a collection of short stories, with varied subjects: a World War II veteran on Christmas Eve in 1953, a California surfer kid who makes an unsettling discovery. There's time travel. In every story, Hanks sneaks in the machine he's so obsessed with — the typewriter.

When audiences watch a Jackie Chan movie, they know exactly what they're in for — lots of punching — but there's something that might surprise people about the actor. "I hate violence," Chan says. "But I make action films."

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I want to bring in NPR's Leila Fadel, who is on the line from Las Vegas this morning. She has been following all the developments. And, Leila, what is the latest in terms of who carried this out and what the authorities know at this point?

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A lot of people already know the story of Friday Night Lights, in which a West Texas high school fights for the state football title. It started as a nonfiction book, then it became a movie (with Billy Bob Thornton as the coach) and finally a TV series. In the film, Thornton tells his team that to win state, they'll have to beat "a team of monsters" from Carter High School in Dallas (which they fail to do).

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John Dean is very familiar with the Trump administration's declared war on leaks. Dean, who was President Richard Nixon's White House counsel, says Nixon's battle against leaks proved costly and led to the Watergate scandal.

Dean revealed the former Republican president's involvement in the attempted cover-up and pleaded guilty to his own role.

In England, there's something known as the "Dunkirk spirit," shorthand for coming together in times of adversity. It refers to the heroic evacuation of British troops by British civilians in small boats at the beginning of World War II — and it's a story director Christopher Nolan has wanted to tell for a long time.

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On a November night in 1986, a crowd gathered in Las Vegas for an event that was hyped as "Judgement Day." Muhammad Ali was there, along with celebrities Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy and Rob Lowe. (Hey, it was the '80s.) At the center of it all was a boxing ring with a referee and two fighters: Mike Tyson and Trevor Berbick.

When you think about the 16 years America has been fighting in Afghanistan, "funny" probably isn't a word that comes to mind. So, at first blush, the new dark comedy War Machine feels a bit risky. It stars Brad Pitt as a revered but semi-clueless four-star general who's appointed to oversee the entire war effort in Afghanistan.

If you haven't heard of the self-described dirty trickster Roger Stone, you're missing out. For decades, he's worked as a political adviser to Donald Trump, and some credit him with getting Trump into the Oval Office. Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme directed the new documentary Get Me Roger Stone.

"He was the very first person to suggest to Donald Trump that he should run for the presidency back in 1987," Pehme says. "And then he spent the next 29 years cultivating Trump's candidacy until he was ultimately triumphant."

President Trump's budget blueprint is all about "hard power" — increasing the country's military might by slashing foreign aid. The proposed cuts are in contrast to the dramatic boost to foreign aid under President George W. Bush.

Ground control to Buzz Aldrin!

The Apollo 11 astronaut is reportedly recovering well in a New Zealand hospital, after being evacuated with medical problems from Antarctica last week.

And he's being helped by none other than Dr. David Bowie. Not the late pop star David Bowie, whose 1969 Space Oddity song was released just days before Aldrin walked on the moon.

His doctor is named David Bowie. Aldrin's manager posted a photo of the the astronaut and his doctor on Twitter, noting, you can't make this stuff up.

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And we're going to turn now to NPR's Wade Goodwyn who is in Dallas. And, Wade, just get us up to speed. What do we know at this hour?

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Los Angeles is a region better known for Hollywood, but it actually has more manufacturing jobs than any other metro area in the U.S. Of the more than half-million manufacturing jobs in the region, about 50,000 of them are in the garment industry.

Fashion is a big part of LA's identity, and you feel it in the Fashion District downtown. It has changed a lot since the late 1980s, when plain beige towers called California Mart bustled with all things related to the garment industry.

Brian Weitman grew up around the garment industry and remembers Cal Mart's heyday.

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