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.

Created by a British-American wordsmith, the very first Word-Cross appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913.

"America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room," observed British historian Arnold J. Toynbee. "Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair."

You are an American living in another country. Are you a tourist? An expatriate? An immigrant?

When does a visitor morph into something more? When does your home-away-from-home become your home?

Blocks grow with you — from basic alphabet blocks and geometric building blocks, to Tinker Toys and Legos and girder and panel sets, to bricks and

Resolved: That blocks are the best toys ever.

Just in the past few days:

  • In Baton Rouge, La., joggers concerned about a recent attack on a runner are carrying pepper spray.
  • In Missoula, Mont., a woman files a complaint against a man for pepper-spraying her golden retriever.

When American expatriate Charles Trueheart was young, he lived all over the world — in Ankara, London, Saigon and Paris. His father was an American diplomat.

When Charlie was older, he moved back to the U.S. He went to college at Amherst. Eventually, he and his wife, Anne Swardson, became international correspondents for The Washington Post.

I was Charlie's editor at the Post for several stories. He is a lovely writer and a good friend.

Cyber Monday. The phrase seems so quaint. Like floppy disk. Or information superhighway.

But the idea of making a big deal about everybody shopping online on a given day seems even more quaint.

So quick question: Is the notion of Cyber Monday passe?

Thanksgiving — like the universe — is expanding.

Traditionally a time for Americans to pause and give thanks to a Supreme Being — for health or harvest or happenstance, Thanksgiving is evolving before our very eyes into a holiday where we give thanks to each other as well.

Just this week we received Thanksgiving-themed thank-you notes from a doctor's office, a lawyers' association, a New Jersey congressman and others. Can Thanksgiving-themed gift cards be far behind?

It's not a bad idea. Saying thank you to more people.

Thanking members of the U.S. military for their service is an American tradition – throughout the year. But what do those who are on the receiving end of our thanks have to be thankful for at Thanksgiving?

From somewhere in Southwest Asia, American expat Sarah Kinzer writes: "We are U.S. Air Force overseas... Due to host nation sensitivities I can't tell you a city — or country — but you can say we are stationed with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing."

For some expatriates there comes a point of surrender. Keeping the back-home traditions becomes too much trouble. Or the allures of the host country become too strong. Call it Thanksgiving Up.

Such is the case for Susan Partington who lives with her family in Gisborne, New Zealand. "After seven years down under, I've completely given up on the traditional foods. Spending a Thursday cooking lots of hot food during summer is absurd."

If you can't be with the holiday you love, love the holiday you're with.

Sarita Fae Jarmack, 25, who grew up in the United States, has already traveled to some 30 countries. Roaming the wide world over, she has discovered that it can sometimes be quite difficult — even on this interconnected planet — to touch base with her childhood traditions.

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is more about people than pumpkin pie.

And for many Americans observing the special day in other countries — since pumpkin pie can be hard to come by — the people around them play a more prominent role.

Here in the States, many folks play American-made football — touch, not tackle — on Thanksgiving Day after the megameal.

But in other parts of the world, no one will be the wiser if you make a substitution — and play American-made baseball. Turkey Ball instead of Turkey Bowl, perhaps?

Recipes, like memories, transcend place and time. Wherever American Kelly Crutchlow lives, she brings along remembrances of her family and their ways of observing Thanksgiving.

Today Kelly, who is originally from Iowa, is living near Coventry, England, with her British husband, Adam, and their two children, Rowan, 4, and Ewan, 2.

As American expatriate Amy Bell points out, a Thanksgiving celebration does not always depend on falling leaves and falling temperatures. It depends on being full of thanks.

In Chile, Thanksgiving "falls on the brink of summertime," says Amy, a science teacher at an international school in Santiago. "Unfortunately, we don't have the day off from work, so my crew of American expats gather on the following Saturday to enjoy a full day of eating, drinking and gratitude."

Sometimes you carry Old Thanksgiving Traditions with you around the world; sometimes you make up Old Thanksgiving Traditions right on the spot.

Regan Watson — an American expat from San Diego now living in Barcelona, Spain — and her friends are creating a few rituals that we homelanders might want to consider.

"For years I had hosted Thanksgiving at my shared Barcelona apartment," Regan says, but "my oven was a bit too small for the 9-kilo turkey that I had to special order."

For many Americans, the Thanksgiving holiday – with its site-specific sounds, smells, tastes, colors and rituals – is a meaningful, memory-making must-do kind of thing.

Even – maybe, especially – for those Americans living in other countries.

Funny thing about being an American living away from America: It makes you think more about what it means to be an American.

But which is the dominant sentiment? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or out of sight, out of mind? The answer depends on a lot of variables.

Over the years, various people and projects have explored those variables: the mechanics and meanings of expatriation.

One of America's most notable expatriates, novelist Ernest Hemingway, examined the notion from many angles in the 1920s.

When we asked American members of the NPR community who are living in other countries to let us in on their plans for Thanksgiving 2013, we received hundreds and hundreds of responses.

Some expatriates say they plan to trot out the turkey and dressing and Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. Others say they don't plan to celebrate one whit. Many folks sent us stories and photos of past Thanksgivings spent abroad.

Here are a few examples:

The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?

Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?

But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?

This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

Is Halloween — our national October obsession with candy, costumes and decorations — over and done?

Poetry is important. And the hope for this standing feature of The Protojournalist is that by searching for a poetic nugget in the constant rush of news we can slow down for a moment and contemplate what the news story really means.

Like finding a lovely pebble in a mountain stream. Or a dropped earring on a crowded sidewalk.

Haiku in the News — you can find other examples here — is not designed to be a trivial thing.

Gray Lady Poems

Aaron Alexis, the man who police say killed more than a dozen people at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, has joined a heinous parade of mass murdering shooters, nearly all men.

Capitol Hill is rife with rich people — "hillionaires," if you will.

Writing in The New York Times, Nicholas Carnes, a public policy professor at Duke University, points out that millionaires show up in only 3 percent of American families. But more than 60 percent of the Senate, most members of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court — and the president himself — are millionaires.

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