Archive
Schedule

Sirius XM Insight

XM 121/Sirius 205

M-F 6 AM (ET)

M-F 7 AM

M-F 8 AM

Bob Elsewhere

Subscribe to me on YouTube

Subscribe To Our Blog

August 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

In 2008, Jeff Sharlet published a book called The Family about a religious movement, known to some as the Fellowship, where piety, politics and corruption meet. Sharlet now has a follow up titled C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy. In the book, Sharlet explains the comings and goings inside the Fellowship residence known by its Washington address and home to some of the most powerful men in Congress.

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Writer Ben Mezrich tells the bizarre but true story of Thad Roberts, who, as only a man crazy and crazy in love would do, decided to steal the moon for his girlfriend.  NASA fellows Roberts and his girlfriend attempted to steal moon rocks locked away in one of the most impenetrable laboratories on earth.  Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires (from which The Social Network was adapted), tells this true crime story in his new book Sex on the Moon.  Then, compassion, kindness, selflessness – none make logical sense biologically. And yet, examples of biological altruism are found throughout the animal kingdom.   Darwin never successfully explained the kindness gene, but a relatively unknown, eccentric scientist named George Price did.  Oren Harman is a professor of the history of science at Bar Ilan (EE-lahn) University in Tel Aviv and the author of the book, The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness.

 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bernie Karp is an unremarkable teenager living a mundane life in a secular Jewish household – until he finds a rabbi encased in a block of ice in the basement freezer. Writer Steve Stern uses this shocking discovery to tell a tale of spiritual discovery that spans two centuries, two continents, and several generations. His book is titled, The Frozen Rabbi. Then, late in his career, Louis Armstrong was criticized for his showmanship, on-stage antics, and willingness to adapt to popular music trends with songs like “Mack the Knife” and “Hello Dolly!” But in a new book, music historian Ricky Riccardi argues that the later years of Armstrong’s career deserve much more attention and praise. Riccardi is also the project archivist for the Louis Armstrong House Museum. His book is titled What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years.

 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is back – yet again – to discuss his latest project, Magic Trip. He uses archival footage shot in 1964 by Ken Kesey and “The Merry Band of Pranksters” as they traveled by psychedelic bus from the West coast to the World’s Fair in New York City. They documented their LSD-fueled trip to the “World of Tomorrow” with 16mm film, but never quite finished editing the 100 hours of footage.  Then, Sports writer Frank Deford turned to fiction in his book Bliss, Remembered, about an American swimmer who falls in love with a young German man during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  When politics intervened, the young swimmer returned home to sort out the difficulties of mixing personal affairs with world events. 

 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, August 6 marks the 66th anniversary of the Hiroshima blast, the world’s first use of an atomic weapon in war.  The A-bomb was the brainchild of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the brilliant physicist whose postwar advocacy for a nuclear weapons ban brought him into conflict with the same military and government on whose behalf he had created the ultimate weapon.  Bob speaks with Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin, authors of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Julia Pistell.  She is never too busy to take a lunch break. She’s not hungry — she’s simply curious. Pistell has had many jobs in several countries, and her lunch breaks have given her an opportunity to meet new people, learn a different language, tame wild cats, and write letters to a far-off love. She says what you do at lunch is the true reflection of who you are. 

 

Monday, August 8, 2011

In 1962, eleven-year-old Carlos Eire and his older brother Tony boarded an airplane in Cuba and left their parents and country behind, becoming not only refugees but also orphans. The brothers were two of 14,000 children airlifted out of “Castroland” in a mass exodus known as Operation Pedro Pan.  Carlos Eire is now a professor of History and Religious Studies at Yale University. He won a National Book Award for his memoir, Waiting for Snow in Havana. He picks up where that book left off, the moment he first set foot in Miami, with Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In his fourteenth book, John McWhorter asks readers to look at language the way a linguist does, to examine and appreciate the oral “tongue” as much as written language.  McWhorter is a linguist and says that there is no such thing as “improper” grammar.  He explains that and more, as discussed in What Language Is (And What It Isn’t and What It Could Be).

 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In a recent article in the New York Times, Russ Buettner investigates the people who are making millions running Medicaid-financed nonprofits that care for the disabled. His reporting focuses on the Levy brothers who have collected more than a $1 billion from Medicaid over the past decade operating group homes in New York state.  Along the way, the Levy’s have become millionaires and used the public money to pay for their fancy cars, homes and even their children’s college tuition. But how they spend their money is subject to little oversight and few consequences. Then, Joe and Terry Graedon are co-hosts of the public radio show The People’s Pharmacy and co-authors of many books, their latest is titled Quick and Handy Home Remedies. The Graedons join Bob to discuss their favorite beneficial foods and what items in your fridge or cupboard can treat some common ailments. 

 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Neurobiologist Dean Buonomano gives Bob a tour of our mental glitches —- why our memory is unreliable; we can’t do complicated math in our heads; we prefer instant gratification; and what we think is rational decision making is anything but. His new book is titled Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives. Buonomano is a professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology and the Brain Research Institute at UCLA. Then, Toronto music collective The Wilderness of Manitoba released their debut album When You Left The Fire earlier this year. The band stopped by our studios for a chat and to perform some of their original chamber-folk tunes.

 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, Bob talks with David Kindred, author of Morning Miracle. The book is an insider’s account of the workings of the Washington Post. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Bryan McGuire. Whenever things went wrong in his life, he knew whom to blame: his father. In McGuire’s eyes, his dad was a collection of misdeeds and shortcomings, and they fueled his anger at the world. Then McGuire himself became a father, and he saw his dad in a new light, eventually finding the courage to forgive the old wrongs.

 

Monday, August 15, 2011

From April to November 1919, white mobs led race riots and lynchings across the country, from Bisbee, Arizona to New York City. Attacks occurred in more than three dozen cities and by the end of it, hundreds of blacks were dead. Cameron McWhirter writes about this little-remembered period of history in his new book, Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and The Awakening of Black America. Then, America’s first black military pilots gathered in Washington, DC this week for a reunion. Now ranging in ages 86 to 96, the men were part of the famed 332nd Fighter Group, better known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Dr. Dan Haulman is a historian who has spent a large part of his career researching and writing about the famed Red Tails. He has recently published a comprehensive history of the Tuskegee Airman, beginning with the days when officials in Washington publicly stated that blacks could never be pilots because they could not handle “complicated machinery.” Dr. Haulman’s book is titled The Tuskegee Airmen, An Illustrated History: 1939-1949. The Tuskegee Airmen will also be the subject of a soon-to-be major motion picture directed by George Lucas and starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Historian John Julius Norwich tells Bob about one of the most influential and controversial institutions of the last 1,500 years. Norwich is the author of Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy.

 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don Peck asks, “Can the middle class be saved?” in this month’s The Atlantic magazine. Bob asks him about that and about his new book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It. Then, Legendary guitarists George Harrison, Pete Townshend and Brian Setzer all wailed on the same axe, the Gretsch 6120. First sold in the 1950s with the endorsement of Chet Atkins, the 6120 has since become a favorite of guitarists the world over. Author and guitar aficionado Edward Ball and his fellow guitarist Fred Stucky play selections on the renowned instrument and illuminate why the Gretsch is so well loved.

 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bob continues his conversation with editor Don Peck about his new book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It. Then, private or public, few people enjoy being humiliated. Poet and critic Wayne Koestenbaum examines humiliations’ various forms and settings in the latest from Picador’s BIG IDEAS, Small Books series. 

 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, Amigo, the 17th feature film from Academy Award-nominated writer-director John Sayles, is set during the Philippine-American War and stars Filipino actor Joel Torre as Rafael, a village mayor who comes under pressure from a tough-as-nails U.S. officer, played by Chris Cooper, to help the Americans in their hunt for Filipino guerilla fighters. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Mark Olmsted.  Every morning as he walks his dog, Olmsted fills several garbage bags with trash from the street. He’s not a neat freak — he’s a recovering drug addict. Picking up trash from the street is Olmsted’s way of making amends and putting the Serenity Prayer into action.

 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Legendary American journalist William L. Shirer first-hand reporting on the rise of the Nazis and on World War II brought the devastation alive for millions of Americans. With access to Shirer’s archives—including never-before-seen journals and letters, Newsday senior editor Steve Wick details Shirer’s adventures in Europe in his new book The Long Night: William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

English musician Dave Stewart says he’s more of a “collaborator than a producer,” even though that’s his title on innumerous albums. After a romantic split with Annie Lennox, the two formed the Eurythmics and since then, he created Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Project, and worked with Mick Jagger, Bono, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton and many more. His most recent album is The Blackbird Diaries and features duets with Stevie Nicks, Martina McBride, and Colbie Caillat.

 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Songwriter Jerry Leiber died on Monday at the age of 78.  We pay tribute by sharing Bob’s 2009 interview with Leiber and Mike Stoller.  The duo met as teenagers in Los Angeles in 1950, forming a songwriting team that churned out hits for early rhythm & blues artists—and later for Elvis Presley, The Drifters, The Coasters, Peggy Lee and many more.    Their partnership even extends to a joint autobiography titled, Hound Dog.

 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Yorker Executive editor Dorothy Wickenden didn’t have to look far for the subject of her book Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. Here, she charts the tale of her grandmother Dorothy Woodruff, who, along with her best friend Rosamond Underwood, traveled from the society world of Auburn, New York, to the disappearing frontier in northwestern Colorado to teach school. Then, musicians Jens and Uwe Kruger were born and raised in Switzerland. How they have become a national treasure on the Bluegrass circuit here in the United States is a curiosity. The brothers left home at age 16, eventually ventured west, picking up New Yorker Joel Landsberg along the way, formed The Kruger Brothers, and are now based in North Carolina. The three chat with Bob about their unlikely paths which helped them earn a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 2007. Their most recent album is Appalachian Concerto, a concerto for banjo, bass, guitar, and string quartet.

 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to talk about politics and other news. Next, inspired by the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law, award-winning author Bobbie Ann Mason has written a novel about an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe. Marshall Stone, a U.S. flyboy stationed in England had nine exhilarating bombing raids under his belt when enemy fighters forced his B-17 to crash-land in a Belgian field near the border of France. When Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—The Girl in the Blue Beret. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Sara Roahen. She is a Yankee who found “her heart’s home” in New Orleans. In the six years before Hurricane Katrina, Roahen and her husband put down roots in the Crescent City. The storm sent them away, but they returned — home for good — in 2008. 

 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Oscar nominated director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directs an all-star cast that includes Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Sam Worthington in his new film The Debt. Based on the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, the story follows three secret agents who revisit an old mission. Then, in 1944 when he was just fifteen years old, Martin Luther King, Jr wrote a speech called “The Negro and the Constitution.”  Its existence was known, but no one had compared that early piece of writing to the famous “I Have a Dream” speech until recently.  A freshman at Wake Forest University, William Murphy, discovered during his class assignment that that speech was likely the basis for King’s Dream speech delivered on August 28, 1963.  John Llewellyn is an Associate Professor of Communication at Wake Forest University who taught that freshman class.  He talks about the revelation and its significance to the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Yorker Executive editor Dorothy Wickenden didn’t have to look far for the subject of her book Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. Here, she charts the tale of her grandmother Dorothy Woodruff, who, along with her best friend Rosamond Underwood, traveled from the society world of Auburn, New York, to the disappearing frontier in northwestern Colorado to teach school.  Then, serious mythology surrounds Cleopatra but the truth is just as exciting: Married twice, each time to a brother, the Queen of Egypt slept with neither. Instead, she waged a civil war against one and poisoned the other. She had sex with only two men: Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was the richest and most powerful woman in the world for a time, and all this before her death in her late 30s. Pulitzer Prize winning author Stacy Schiff reconstructs one of history’s most famous lives in her book, Cleopatra.

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today we pay tribute to the late folklorist, author and investigative historian Stetson Kennedy. In the 1940s, Kennedy infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, passing on information about the group to the FBI and the writers of the Superman radio program. The result was a four episode series in which Superman took on the Klan. Details of actual Klan rituals, code words and secret handshakes were written into the Superman scripts. Soon the Klan’s mystique was trivialized and membership plummeted. Kennedy went on to write a number of books dealing with human rights and he was Zora Neal Hurston’s boss for a while. Stetson Kennedy died on August 27 at age 94.