The scramble for train tickets for people traveling for the Lunar New Year, China's most important holiday, is always intense. The launch of an online ticketing system has created new headaches. Here, hundreds of people line up to buy train tickets at a railway station in Hefei in eastern China's Anhui province on Dec. 29, 2011.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
An electronic board at Shanghai Railway Station shows many trains sold out for Jan. 16-18. China's Rail Ministry spent more than $8 million on the ticketing website — which crashed and sometimes charged users without actually giving them tickets.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
On the day Li Xiusheng went to the Shanghai train station, he bought the last same-day ticket back to his hometown in central China's Anhui province. Li, a Christian, thinks it happened because of divine intervention.
In China during the Lunar New Year holiday, more than 200 million people will travel home in the world's largest annual migration. Every year, Chinese tell horror stories about trying to get train tickets.
The season the New Year falls on Monday, and it was supposed to be different: For the first time, China's rail ministry created a website to reserve seats.
Whenever the late New York Times caricaturist Al Hirschfeld sketched Carol Channing — whether picturing her as an indomitable Dolly Levi, swathed in feathers and sequins, or as carbon-crazed Lorelei Lee, eyes sparkling like the diamonds that were that splendid creature's best friends — he always made her appear a creature composed entirely of lipstick, mascara and hairspray.
In 1999, Rene Foreman was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She underwent surgery that saved her life; it also took her voice box. To speak, Rene now uses an electrolarynx — a small device that she holds against her throat to produce her voice, electronically.
Discussing how having a synthesized voice has changed her life, Rene, 70, told her daughter Michelle that the electrolarynx helps her to enjoy each day, even if it also makes her stand out in some ways.
Of those times, Michelle asks, "How do you feel when people turn around and look at you?"
Click the link above to listen to Laura Sydell's conversation with Morning Edition's David Greene about the Megaupload indictment and the attack on the Department of Justice's website by the group Anonymous.
Rhoda Janzen is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.
Recently my friend Peggy and I decided to make a jaunt from my house in Southwestern Michigan, across the state to Detroit. We took her car. At day's end we pulled into my remote driveway on Lake Allegan. It was then I realized that didn't have my keys. They were in fact, hanging in the little key box in my laundry room.