But first, enjoy this shot of the NPR headquarters with literal and metaphorical black clouds looming above. When I was a kid, I didn't listen to NPR that much--I thought it was stuffy with all that classical music and serious news all the time. But I often set my radio alarm for NPR so that there was no chance of being awakened by boot-scootin', which was my only other option for radio in southern Mississippi. I remember one morning when the first words I heard were "the mating habits of the aboriginal dung beetles." That solidified by belief that NPR was just boring.
As I got older (and lazier), I'd leave the radio on for a few minutes while I fumbled around the room, waking up. The older I got, the longer the radio stayed on. Suddenly, I realized I was actually enjoying Wagner. I liked being informed about world events before I even had breakfast. I had never planted anything, but I knew I wanted perennials someday, if only because I liked the word, and I could totally change my own oil if I had to. NPR offered something for everyone--and still does. Now you can get everything from quiz shows to movie reviews to grown men discussing comic books. And it's been fun to watch NPR's popular image evolve from pipes and elbow patches to something much hipper. It's not just the realm of the cultural elite, but it provides valuable information, entertainment, and public services. NPR is a national treasure, and it deserves to be protected.