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Bob Elsewhere

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June 2010


Tuesday, June 1, 2010  

The English socialite Idina Sackville was the icon of the Bright Young Things of the 1920s and ‘30s.  Her charm and flair for flouting convention inspired writers and artists, as she married five husbands and moved to Africa.  Sackville’s biography by her great-granddaughter Frances Osborne is called The Bolter.  This San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year is out in paperback.  Then, our resident folklorists from the Library of Congress present, “For, By, and About Children.”  Nancy Groce and Stephen Winick share material performed by children, a few ancient ballads about children, and some lovely lullabies and counting songs intended for children.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010  

Preservation Hall is located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter and was founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. Over time, Ben Jaffe has assumed his late father’s role as director of Preservation Hall.  As part of our summer series of interviews recorded at Jazz Fest, Jaffe shows Bob around the Hall and discusses the state of post-Katrina New Orleans, the history of the band and of Preservation Hall itself, which dates to the 1750s.


Thursday, June 3, 2010 

While conducting interviews for another news project, journalist Joshua Kors discovered a disillusioning trend in the military.  Troops wounded in battle were being diagnosed by the military with a “Personality Disorder,” which is considered a preexisting condition, and as such, the veterans don’t receive disability benefits.  Kors reported the stories in a three-part series for The Nation titled Disposable Soldiers: How the Pentagon Is Cheating Wounded Vets.  Then, with Facebook, Skype and Twitter you never have to lose contact with anyone ever again.  So how well do you know the family next door?  After a terrible tragedy on his suburban street, Peter Lovenheim wanted to know what it took to build friendships with the people closest to you- or at least nearest to you. He is the author of In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time.


Friday, June 4, 2010

 David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, 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. Stern’s previous novel, The Angel of Forgetfulness, earned high praise from critics who drew comparisons to the work of Michael Chabon and Philip Roth. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Helen Hayes.  Known as the First Lady of American Theater, Helen Hayes was a star of Broadway, movies and television. She received three Tony Awards in her 60 years on stage. Her movies ranged from The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) to Airport (1970), both of which garnered her Academy Awards.        


 Monday, June 7, 2010  


Mark Frauenfelder is co-founder of the most popular blog in the world and Editor in Chief of Make magazine, a high profile advocate for America to re-engage with the physical world.  Bob talks to Frauenfelder about the new Do-it-yourself movement and its promise to reinvigorate traditional American values like resourcefulness, creativity and thrift.  He also has some good ideas about how to have fun making cool stuff and reducing the amount of disposable items in our lives.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010 


Bob talks with Professor Charles Kupchan of Georgetown University about his new book How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace.  Kupchan examined the ways countries have gone from enmity to amity and dispels some generally accepted –but false- ideas about the way to peace.  Myth number one: diplomatic engagement is mere appeasement that will fuel a conflict.  Then, Bob talks sports with Dave Zirin, host of Edge of Sports Radio.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We continue our series of music interviews recorded at this year’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, this week with Stanton Moore. He’s the drummer for local funk band Galactic, leads his own jazz trio and plays with lots of other bands and musicians - including our next guest - Troy Andrews who is better known as Trombone Shorty.


Thursday, June 10, 2010 


Bob talks with Nassim Taleb, the author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, the unlikely international best seller about randomness, hubris and how to make plans in a world we can never predict.  The book has been published in an expanded 2nd edition with commentary about the financial crisis Taleb predicted (and profited from) and his thoughts on building an economic system less likely to blow itself up every 25 years.



Friday, June 11, 2010 


David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, during his life, Jacques Cousteau became a global icon by championing the world’s oceans. He would have turned 100 years old this year, and one of his sons, Jean-Michel Cousteau has written a book about his father’s life and legacy; it’s titled “My Father, The Captain.” Jean-Michel Cousteau is also the founder & chairman of the Ocean Futures Society. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Niven Busch.  He was an American novelist and screenwriter of such works as the acclaimed film The Postman Always Rings Twice.  His novels include Duel in the Sun, The Hat Merchant, and California Street. At the age of 85, Busch made his acting debut with a small part in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.



Monday, June 14, 2010 

In April, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a new immigration bill which has been highly controversial in a state where there are an estimated 460,000 undocumented people. Gabriel “Jack” Chin is the Chester H. Smith Professor of Law and Director of the Program in Criminal Law and Policy at the University of Arizona and one of the authors of Arizona Senate Bill 1070: A Preliminary Report. Stephen W. Yale-Loehr is Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell and one of the nation’s preeminent authorities on U.S. immigration and asylum law. Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Instituteand editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. They discuss the history of immigration law, the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law, and its implications elsewhere. Then, young capitalists put their economic theories to the test in poverty-stricken nations and filmmaker Seth Kramer captured those efforts for one year. In “The New Recruits,” optimistic American business grads take their skills to India, Pakistan and Kenya where they teach the locals to sell modern products like drip irrigation, LED lights and toilet service.  Kramer discusses the challenges they faced in a market where the average income is less than four dollars a day.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What is possible now that leisure and entertainment aren’t goods we sit back and consume but tools that we use to create, collaborate and explore? Bob talks with consultant, teacher and writer Clay Shirkyabout the social and economic effects of our new era of creativity and generosity laid out in his new book, Cognitive Surplus.  Then, the eyes of the world are on South Africa as they host the continent’s first-ever World Cup. Bob Edwards show producer Dan Bloom offers a commentary on the significance of this landmark event in advance of his journey to Cape Town.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010 

We continue our series of music interviews recorded at this year’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, this week with two Swedish musical imports. Anders Osborne is a roots rocker just cleaning up his addiction as his adopted city gets back on track after Hurricane Katrina. Osborne’s latest CD is called American Patchwork. Then Bob talks with Theresa Andersson and we get a demonstration of her unusual performance technique. On Andersson’s latest release, a DVD titled “Live at Le Petit,” you can watch in amazement as she records and loops her solo singing and multi-instrumental playing to become a one-woman-band.


Thursday, June 17, 2010 

The Taliban earns almost half a billion dollars annually from drugs created, in part, from the poppy fields of Afghanistan. Gretchen Peters’ book Seeds of Terror: How Drugs, Thugs, and Crime are Reshaping the Afghan War examines the Afghan drug world that funds terrorism and extremism. 


Friday, June 18, 2010 

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Then, Oscar nominee John C. Reilly stars with Catherine Keener and Marisa Tomei in “Cyrus,” the latest film by the Duplass brothers (The Puffy Chair). John (Reilly) has been divorced for seven years when he meets Molly (Tomei), with whom he feels an immediate connection.  Hopeful that this marks a new beginning, John soon finds his relationship stonewalled by Molly’s over-protective son Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Arnold J. Toynbee. He was the author of the monumental A Study of History, a 12-volume analysis of world civilization. Toynbee was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conferences at the end of World Wars I and II. He also served as director of studies at the Royal Institute for International Affairs for several decades.


Monday, June 21, 2010  

 The summer of 1964 was a pivotal time for the Civil Rights Movement when more than 700 college students traveled to Mississippi to register black voters and educate children.  Bruce Watson describes what went right and what went wrong, starting with the three volunteers who were killed their first day in the southern state.  The book is titled, Freedom Summer: The Savage Season that Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy.  Then, entertainment critic David Kipen tells Bob what’s new in theaters.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010  

Writer Robert McCrum delves into the history of the English language, and examines how the language of a small, misty island has become the world’s common tongue in Globish: How The English Language Became the World’s Language.  McCrum is the associate editor of The Observer and the author of P.G. Wodehouse: A Life.  Then, Bob talks with Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, who perform songs from his new albumTelevision as well as traditional Fulani music from the Senegal-Mauritania border.   Maal was one of the pioneers of the 1980’s world Music scene, bringing the unique sound of Senegalese mbalax to collaborations with musicians from Europe, Asia and the America’s.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010  

We continue our series of music interviews recorded at this year’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, this week with musician, songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint. Toussaint started in the studio, writing dozens of hit songs and performing as a session player. Over five decades in the music business, he’s built a reputation as an eager collaborator, working with everyone from Irma Thomas to Elvis Costello to Trombone Shorty. Toussaint says that in the years after Hurricane Katrina, he’s toured and played live more than ever before. He talks with Bob about his early days in the business and the future of music in New Orleans. Then, Bob Edwards show producer Dan Bloom talks about his experience at the World Cup in South Africa.


Thursday, June 24, 2010  

For many people, bread is merely a means of conveyance for butter, lunchmeat, jelly, or cheese. ForWilliam Alexander, bread is the staff of life. Alexander spent a year perfecting a recipe for peasant bread, baking one loaf every week. The result is his new book, 52 Loaves. It’s part memoir and part mediation on the role of bread in society, from the baking to the breaking.


Friday, June 25, 2010 

David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Over the last few years, 100,000 troops have been moved from Pakistan’s border with India to the country’s western tribal regions, often described as the lawless frontier. Imtiaz Gul is a Pakistani print and TV journalist who anchors a weekly political show on Pakistan’s main independent TV channel.  He is considered an expert on these tribal areas and has written a book on the subject, The Most Dangerous Place. Gul is visiting the United States for a few weeks and talks with Bob about the latest news from the region.    Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Verona Wylie Slater.  She was a housewife and mother to three children in Penn Valley, Penn. She was the daughter of famed New York minister Edmund Melville Wylie, and the sister of writers Philip and Max Wylie.


Monday, June 28, 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.  Bellos’ ambition is to prove to a wider audience - –starting with Bob — that “the world of math is a remarkable place.”


Tuesday, June 29, 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.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010 

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 Ninth Ward home about her decades in the music business, about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and about winning her first Grammy for her CD After the Rain.