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Bob Edwards Weekend

July 2010


July 3-4, 2010



In the UK it was published as Alex’s Adventures in Numberland.  The US version has a cleverly improved title, Here’s Looking at Euclid.  Whatever the title, Alex Bellos has managed to write a best-selling book all about math. Bellos traveled around the world interviewing people whose lives are connected to math.  His ambition is to prove to a wider audience — starting with Bob — that “the world of math is a remarkable place.”


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gedimanabout the essay of Will Durant.  He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and philosopher who spent nearly 50 years writing his 11-volume work The History of Civilization. Many of his later works were written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel. Durant received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.  




We continue our series of music interviews recorded at this year’s Jazz Fest, this week with “The Soul Queen of New Orleans.” Bob talks with Irma Thomas in her Upper Ninth Ward home about her five decades in the music business, about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and about winning her first Grammy for her CD After the Rain.


July 10-11, 2010



General Stanley McCrystal resigned late last month as the commander of the international troops in Afghanistan, ostensibly, due to disparaging comments about the Obama administration he and his staff made in a Rolling Stone article.  But at the heart of those comments was a debate about the current strategy in Afghanistan, an issue overlooked during the personnel change.  Caroline Wadhams is the Director for South Asia Security Studies at the Center for American Progress.  She’ll discuss the counterinsurgency strategy and its progress in Afghanistan. 


In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians of science Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conwaytell the story of how for more than four decades, a small group of pro-industry, politically-connected scientists carried out effective campaigns to mislead the public.  They argue that ideology and corporate interests, helped by a lazy media, have clouded public understanding of some of the most critical issues of our time.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Chester Bowles.  He gave up a successful advertising business to be a public servant, political figure and diplomat. He worked in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations until 1948, when he was elected Governor of Connecticut. Bowles later served as U.S. Ambassador to India and Nepal.




We continue our series of music interviews recorded at this year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest, this week with Roger Lewis, a founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Lewis talks with Bob about his band’s progression from revolutionizing upstarts more than thirty years ago to established — though still inventive — old masters. Lewis spoke with Bob in the green room of the famous club Tipitina’s, in Uptown New Orleans.


Truman Capote wrote the novella that became a beloved film classic starring Audrey Hepburn in her most iconic role.  But if Capote had had his way, Marilyn Monroe would have played the naïve and sprightly Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, not Hepburn. Sam Wasson has authored a new book exploring the making of the movie and its influence on the contemporary woman — the “little black dress” is just the beginning. Wesson’s book is titled Fifth Avenue5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman


July 17-18, 2010



Bob talks with musician Paul Thorn about the dual influence his father and uncle had on him. Thorn’s father was a fire and brimstone preacher and his uncle was a working pimp. Appropriately, Thorn’s latest CD is called Pimps and Preachers.

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of foreign correspondent William L. Shirer.  He wrote the acclaimed World War II histories The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and Berlin Diary.  Shirer reported from numerous European cities including Paris, Vienna and Rome, and had the distinction of being bombed in Berlin by the British and bombed in London by the Germans.           




We continue our series of music interviews recorded during this year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest, this week with Jimmy Carter, a founding member of theBlind Boys of Alabama. Bob spoke with Carter in a classroom at the New Hope Baptist Church in New Orleans before the group performed for a packed house. Every chair, seat and pew was filled and fans from the neighborhood and beyond lined the aisles to experience the Blind Boys brand of gospel music. Their latest CD is titled Duets and features the group performing with the likes of Randy Travis, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Charlie Musselwhite and Asleep at the Wheel.


July 24-25, 2010




In English, Al Punto means “To the Point” and is the Spanish-language version of Meet The Press, broadcast Sunday mornings on Univision.  Jorge Ramos hosts that program and a nightly newscast.  The Mexican-born journalist discusses current events, his tenure in the Latin American news business and his most recent book, A Country for All: An Immigrant Manifesto.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gedimanabout the essay of Muhammad Zafrulla Khan.  He was the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, president of the All-India Muslim League in 1931, leader of the Indian delegation to the League of Nations Assembly in 1939 and leader of the Pakistan Delegation to the United Nations. In later years, Khan was a judge for and president of the International Court of Justice.





Patrick Jeffries is a superintendant for EPIC Divers & Marine, which provides commercial diving and marine services world-wide, including gas and oil platform and pipeline service, well repair, and underwater inspection and construction.  Jeffries discusses life as a commercial diver, his current work in the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing recovery effort since the explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with musicians in New Orleans, we’ll feature someone who was passing through during this year’s Jazz and Heritage Festival. Keely Smith got her musical and matrimonial debut from Louis Prima back in the 1950s. They set up shop in Las Vegas, performing big band numbers mixed with entertaining banter. Bob talks with Smith about her successful life after Prima, both in love and in music.

While visiting New Orleans on July 4th, Bob samples a limeade snow ball from Hansen’s Sno Bliz.  Ashley Hansen Springgate now runs the family store which was started by her grandparents 70 years ago. She uses the same ice-shaving machine her grandfather invented and patented decades ago and still makes her own flavored syrups according to her grandmother’s secret recipes.


July 31-August 1, 2010



50 years ago, Alabama native Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird hit bookstores across America, becoming an immediate bestseller and an American literary classic.  In celebration of the book’s anniversary, writer and filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy compiled interviews with over two dozen contemporary writers, historians, journalists and artists for her book Scout, Atticus, & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird.


In this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gedimanabout the essay of journalist Lucy Freeman.  She covered mental health and social welfare subjects forThe New York Times. Her first book Fight Against Fears detailed her own psychoanalytic treatment for social fears and insomnia. Freeman went on to write more than 70 books ranging from psychology topics to mystery novels.      




We conclude our series of interviews recorded at this year’s New Orleans Jazz Fest with a musical import.Jon Cleary was born and raised into a musical family in a sleepy English town, but thanks to a traveling uncle he was introduced at an early age to the music and culture of New Orleans. Now Cleary has been living there for most of his life, made the switch from guitar to piano and possesses an amazing grasp of the secret ingredients of New Orleans music. Cleary shares the recipe with Bob on one of the four pianos in his home studio in the Bywater neighborhood.  Then, as our summer music series ends, we bring you a preview of our new series from southern Louisiana reporting on the endangered wetlands, the oil spill and how New Orleans is doing five years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That series is titledNo Place Like Home: The Vanishing Culture of Coastal Louisiana.