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Bob Elsewhere

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Monday
Jul202015

Buzz Aldrin's Magnificent Desolation 

NOTE: This blog entry is from May 2013

The first time Buzz Aldrin filled out the forms to be a NASA astronaut, his application was turned down.  He was a jet fighter and the newly formed space agency was only interested in test pilots.  Aldrin applied again and this time he was accepted, partly because NASA was intrigued by the thesis he had recently completed at MIT: “Guidance for Manned Orbital Rendezvous” – an outline of a plan for two piloted spacecraft to meet in space.  This would hardly be the first time Aldrin would have ideas for NASA.  The underwater training for the first Apollo mission was his idea. And he holds three US patents for his schematics of a modular space station, reusable rockets and multi-crew modules for space flight. 

 

Many decades have passed since Aldrin stepped onto the moon’s surface and uttered the words that popped into his head: magnificent desolation.  And he still has a lot more ideas fo space exploration: cycling ships and a flexible path concept; Block 1 Exploration Modules and the Aldrin Mars Cycler — all things he talked about in his interview with Bob.  Aldrin also talked about an infamous punch he once threw. You can see it here:

 

Aldrin’s new book, published by National Geographic, is Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

Friday
Jul172015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (July 20-24, 2015)

 

Monday, July 20, 2015: On this date in 1969, humans left the Earth and reached another world for the first time in our history. To mark the occasion, Bob talks with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to ever set foot on the moon. Then, what can those guys possibly do for an encore? Bob finds out when he talks with author Andrew Smith. Smith tracked down nine surviving astronauts who’ve stepped on the lunar surface. His book, Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Tell to Earth explores the lives of these Moonwalkers before and after their historical steps.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015: We continue our appreciation of the Apollo missions to the moon.  Today, Bob talks with astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the lunar surface. Bean is the author of Painting Apollo and he’s also an artist, whose works features lunar landscapes and fellow astronauts. Then Bob talks with director David Sington about his documentary titled In the Shadow of the Moon. It gathers the stories of the only 12 people to have walked on the moon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015: Today we’ll talk about some trips that are a little closer to home.  First, Bob talks with travel writer Rick Steves.  Throughout his career, Steves has advocated for thoughtful and informed traveling in his PBS series, his radio show, and of course his best-selling travel guide books.   In his book, Travel As a Political Act, Steves writes about why we travel and how being a good traveler creates positive ties with the citizens of other nations.  Then, Bob talks to Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Bellows compiled a list of the 500 greatest trips the world has to offer, encompassing every continent and every possible mode of transportation, including the world’s top 10 elevator rides.

Thursday, July 23, 2015: Bob enjoys a new conversation with his old friend Simon Winchester.  The erudite Brit used to inform Bob and millions of public radio listeners about the news in the rest of the world when he was a journalist for The Guardian newspaper in England. Since those days, Winchester has become an American citizen and written many non-fiction best-sellers - about interesting people, historic events, brilliant ideas, even the biography of an ocean. His latest book is for kids – a first for Winchester. It’s called When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis. Then, a seismic shift in the office.  There’s a good chance you’re sitting at one as you read this.  Cubicles, whether we like it or not, are part of many of our jobs.  Writer Nikil Saval looks at the week-day setting of many of our lives in his book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.

Friday, July 24, 2015: In 2012, Joshua Oppenheimer made a very disturbing documentary film about a genocide in Indonesia that happened 50 years ago. The Act of Killing was nominated for an Oscar and showed the bizarre and casual callousness of those who carried out the crimes in the 1960s.  Now Oppenheimer has followed that film with a brand new sequel called The Look of Silence. It’s in limited release now and opens in Washington DC and many other cities next week. He’s here to discuss confronting the now elderly perpetrators – many of whom are still powerful in Indonesia – and to explain how addressing the atrocities can help set the country on a path of reconciliation.  In desperate situations, fear can give us the adrenaline we need for survival, or drive us to total terror and impede our ability to think clearly.   Science writer Jeff Wise, columnist for Popular Mechanics, examines how and why we respond to fear in his book Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger.

 

Friday
Jul172015

Bob Edwards Weekend (July 18-19, 2015)

HOUR ONE:

Louis Ferrante has been on this show a few times before. This is a brand new interview. In the past, he told us about his former life of crime as a member of the Gambino family in New York. We heard about his time in prison and how the power of literature and books changed his life. Ferrante wrote a memoir called Unlocked then another book that compared Mob Rules with those of “legitimate” businessmen. Now he’s here to discuss his new book titled The Three Pound Crystal Ball: How the Dreaming Brain Can See the Future. Ferrante also talks about his time in the Clinton Correctional facility, what life in prison is really like and the difficulties ex-cons face after jail.

 

HOUR TWO:

Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is back – yet again. The Peabody and Oscar Award-winner is here to share the life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. The pioneering author and journalist was born 78 years ago this weekend. That documentary is titled Gonzo. Then – a bonus feature from Gibney. Magic Trip features 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 hours of footage.

 

Friday
Jul102015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (July 13-17, 2015)

 

Monday, July 13, 2015: Louis Ferrante has been on this show a few times before. He told us about his former life of crime as a member of the Gambino mafia family in New York. We heard about his time in prison and how the power of literature and books changed his life. Ferrante wrote a memoir called Unlocked then another book that compared Mob Rules with those of “legitimate” businessmen. Now he’s here to discuss his new book titled The Three Pound Crystal Ball: How the Dreaming Brain Can See the Future. Ferrante also talks about his time in the Clinton Correctional facility, what life in prison is really like and the difficulties ex-cons face after jail.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015:  In the US, we celebrate Independence Day every year on July 4th to commemorate our nation’s independence from Great Britain.  On July 14th, the French celebrate Bastille Day, not to mark independence from another country, but from their own monarchy.  Writer Ina Caro takes readers into French history via rail in her historical travelogue Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train.  Tonight, Major League Baseball marks the halfway point of its season with the annual All-Star game. Bob speaks with New York Times sportswriter George Vecsey about his book — Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015: On July 15th, 1979, President Jimmy Carter addressed the country on live television.  It is now remembered as the “malaise” speech, though the President never said that word. What President Carter did say was that the country’s dependence of foreign oil “threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation.” He also said it was an act of patriotism to conserve energy, to turn down the thermostat and to carpool. Historian Kevin Mattson is the author of What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?. It argues that the speech should have changed the country. Instead, it led to Carter’s mockery and downfall and the rise of conservatism. Then, one night in 2001, aspiring actor Charlie Todd was out with his friends at a Greenwich Village bar when they decided to pretend that Charlie was the famous but rarely recognized musician Ben Folds.  After an evening of signing autographs and getting free drinks, Todd realized New York City was the ultimate stage for his craft and from there dreamed up his group Improv Everywhere which is still living up to its mission statement: “we cause scenes.”   Founder Charlie Todd and fellow agent Alex Scordellis recount their finest missions in the book Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere.

Thursday, July 16, 2015: Denis Leary started his career as a stand-up comedian, but has developed into a respected film and television actor.  He led his own award-winning dramatic series Rescue Me on FX. Tonight, Leary’s new show premieres on the cable network.  In Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, he plays a washed up rock star looking to make a comeback. Leary is also the author of a book called Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid. Bob chats with Michael Ian Black about his career in comedy.  Black is an actor, pop critic and comedian who was our guest in 2007 to discuss his first stand-up album titled I Am a Wonderful Man.  He’s a member of The State comedy sketch group, has been a TV pitchman in many commercials and regularly pops up in new television series. The latest is called Another Period.

Friday, July 17, 2015: Documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney is back – yet again. The Peabody and Oscar Award-winner is here to share the life and work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. That documentary is titled Gonzo.  Then – a bonus feature from Gibney. Magic Trip features 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.

Friday
Jul102015

Bob Edwards Weekend (July 11-12, 2015)

 

HOUR ONE:

Bob talks with Jake Shimabukuro about his music and his chosen instrument. The native Hawaiian has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele.” Shimabukuro demonstrates his talents on the CD Peace, Love, Ukulele and in our performance studio, where he plays jaw-dropping versions of originals and cover songs.

Then, you don’t get more genre-bending than classically-trained cellists playing hip hop and heavy metal hits, but that’s exactly what The Portland Cello Project does.  Two members of the group, Douglas Jenkins and Diane Chaplin, join Bob in our studio to talk about and perform some of their inspired arrangements.

 

HOUR TWO:

The Ahn Trio is a group of three Korean-born sisters, classically trained at Julliard.  Angella plays violin, Lucia plays piano and Maria plays cello.  The Ahn sisters will discuss their career with Bob and play a few songs from their CD titled Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac

Then, Verlon Thompson shares some of his “literate story songs” in a performance chat with Bob. Thompson is Guy Clark’s longtime songwriting and touring partner, but he’s a performer in his own right and plays some tunes from his own CD titled Works.