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Bob Elsewhere

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June 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Jim Wallis is the best-selling author and evangelical preacher who founded Sojourners, a nationwide network of progressive Christians working for justice and peace.  His latest book is On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Journalist Emma Brockes grew up with a larger-than-life mother with a mysterious past.  It wasn’t until after her mother passed away that Brockes traveled to her mother’s South African homeland to uncover why she not only left, but rarely spoke of those years.  Brockes book is She Left Me The Gun: My Mother’s Life Before Me.  ThenGrammy-nominated jazz singer Jane Monheit looked to great songwriters and singers from all musical genres for her latest album The Heart of the Matter.  With selections from The Beatles to Buffy St. Marie, the album’s title track is Monheit’s first totally original composition.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mystery writer Martha Grimes is best-known for her prolific Richard Jury mystery series and was the recipient of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award.  But her new book, Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism is not a mystery novel but her true story of alcoholism and its effects.  Written by Grimes and her son KenDouble Double is personal look at a disease that affects nearly 45 million Americans each year.  Then, for four years, travel writer Matt Gross was The New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler,” giving readers tips on budget travel and sharing with them his adventures and misadventures on the road.  He writes about his global experiences in his new book The Turk Who Loved Apples and Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World.  


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Deepak Chopra and his brother Sanjiv have co-written a memoir called Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream. The brothers’ lives took different paths after they left for the United States in the 1970s to study medicine. Deepak has been instrumental in bringing Indian spirituality to the West, while Sanjiv has focused on Western medicine and is a professor at Harvard Medical School. Then, soul singer Latasha Lee Robinson joins Bob to discuss her band and debut album Latasha Lee Robinson & The Black Ties.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Award-winning reporter Jeremy Scahill joins Bob to discuss Dirty Wars, his most recent book and documentary.  Since 9/11, the US has fundamentally changed the rules of engagement.  Instead of making a formal declaration of war on a given country, now we use drone strikes, night raids, and government–condoned torture.  Scahill explains how the “ghost militias” began under President Bush and have expanded under President Obama. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, June 10, 2013


Three members of the punk band Pussy Riot were arrested for dancing on the altar of a Russian Orthodox church while chanting “Mother of God, blessed Virgin, drive out Putin.” The rebellious trio received two-year sentences for their forty-second punk performance in a prominent Moscow cathedral.  And they continue to protest even after being jailed in remote locations and kept in solitary confinement. Band member-turned-political prisoner, Maria Alyokhina, is in the second week of a hunger strike she initiated after Russian court’s refused to let her attend her own parole hearing.Filmmakers Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin join Bob to discuss the details of this story and their forthcoming HBO documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer.  Then, 10-time Grammy winnerBobby McFerrin joins Bob to talk about his new album titled Spirityouall.



Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Nature photographer Bryant Austin spends months each year photographing groups of whales off Tonga, Dominica, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.  Floating in the water for hours, Austin is the only photographer to create high-resolution, life-size photographs of humpback, sperm, and minke whales.  His latest work is collected in the new book Beautiful Whale.  Then, Aoife O’Donovan is lead singer for the progressive bluegrass band, Crooked Still, and the “contemporary folk noir trio,” Sometymes Why.  She was also guest vocalist on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, a string quartet featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.  O’Donovan is releasing a solo album, Fossils, and she joins Bob in studio to perform and talk about her music.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Medgar Evers, the first field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi.  Frank X Walker’s newest collection of poetry, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, is an exploration into the people and events surrounding the murder of the civil rights activist.  Walker was named the 2013-14 poet laureate of Kentucky.  He’s the first black writer to receive the honor. Then, Bob talks to author Charles E. Cobb Jr. about his book On The Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail. Cobb takes us to places where pioneers of the movement marched, gathered, spoke, taught, where they were arrested, and where they lost their lives. 



Thursday, June 13, 2013


The definition of fatherhood in urban America is changing. Harvard University’s Kathryn Edin andTimothy Nelson join Bob to discuss their book on the subject Doing The Best I Can: Fatherhood In The Inner City.  Then, in 2004, Peruvian writer Isabel Allende joined the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  She’s written seventeen books thus far: a few young adult stories, some fiction, couple memoirs… Now, the award-winning author returns with her latest work Maya’s Notebook.  Allende and Bob discuss the book, as well as Allende’s particular contribution to Arts and Letters.



Friday, June 14, 2013


Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, linguist and senior writer for the New York TimesMargalit Fox’s new book The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code tells the fascinating tale of Linear B, a previously-unknown script discovered at the turn-of-the 19th century in the ruins of Knossos.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.



Monday, June 17, 2013


After a lone eagle was shot on a firing range in Afghanistan, former Army Ranger Scott Hickman and Navy SEAL Greg Wright rescued him and gave him a name: Eagle Mitch. They cared for him for months, but after it was clear he’d never fly again, the two worked to find a safer place than the war zone they were in.  Barbara Chepaitis was instrumental in coordinating the bird’s rescue and she recounts the story in her book Saving Eagle Mitch.  Then, imagine yourself floating along a slowly moving, comfortably heated river.  Now imagine that you’ve got a term paper due at the end of the week — because you’re not on vacation or at a water park, you’re at the University of Missouri’s student recreation center.  The center, which has been named by Sports Illustrated as the best in the country, also features a 35-foot climbing wall, more than 100 cardio machines, and dozens of flat-screen televisions. And Missouri isn’t alone.  As Jeffrey Selingo reports in his recent book,College (Un)Bound, these student “perks” are part of the complicated landscape of contemporary higher education, where costs are rising, changes are coming, and outcomes are increasingly questioned.



Tuesday, June 18, 2013


As an ex-felon, writer Jack Gantos might have seemed like an odd choice to win last year’s Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature.   But Gantos has been writing acclaimed books for young people for years, including his popular Joey Pigza series.  He talks with Bob about his novel Dead End in Norvelt. It’s now out in paperback.  Then, if you listened to music in the 1960s and 70s then you heard the Wrecking Crew, the uncredited studio musicians who performed on one hit record after another, for everyone from the Beach Boys to the Byrds to Simon & Garfunkel to the Mamas & the Papas.  Kent Hartman tells the story of these largely unnamed session musicians in his book The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret, which is now available in paperback.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The federal government has unprecedented access to our personal lives through phone records and internet activity.  We know this thanks to a 29-year-old intelligence contractor who’s blown the whistle on the National Security Agency and his employer Booz Allen Hamilton.  But independent journalist Tim Shorrock has been investigating this exact story since 2007 when he revealed that 70% of our intelligence work is outsourced to private companies.  He’ll discuss who’s monitoring our lives and why we should care. Then, Walter Cronkite IV, grandson of the late CBS newsman, and historian Maurice Isserman have written a new book.  It’s a collection of letters that Cronkite sent his wife Betsy during their three year separation while he worked abroad as a reporter during World War II.  The book is titled Cronkite’s War: His World War II Letters Home.



Thursday, June 20, 2013


While myriad products on grocery store shelves lend an impression of diversity, the vast majority of food in the United States is produced by a small group of corporations like Cargill, Tyson, Kraft and ConAgra. In the book, FoodopolyWenonah Hauter writes: “The food system is in a crisis because of the way that food is produced and the consolidation and organization of the industry itself.” Hauter comes to this issue honestly; she grew up on a small farm that her husband operates today as a CSA (community supported agriculture) program. Wenonah Hauter is executive director of Food & Water Watch, an independent public interest organization in Washington DC.



Friday, June 21, 2013


Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Bob talks with Charlie Schroeder, who spent two years reenacting his way through 2,000 years of Western civilization.  He wrote a book about the experience called Man of War and it’s now available in paperback.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Marc Maron began his standup career as a contemporary of the late Sam Kinison, and though he’s toured extensively, recorded comedy CDs, appeared on talk shows dozens of times and held prominent jobs in media, personal problems including addiction laid Maron low by 2005. At his nadir, Maron began recording conversations with his friends and fellow comedians for a podcast called “WTF,” which today stands as a cornerstone of the medium. The underdog success of “WTF” sparked a career renaissance for Maron, who has since starred in his own show on the Independent Film Channel and written a book, titled Attempting Normal.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Bob talks with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples about her incredible career with “Pops” and The Staple Singers and about her latest album. One True Vine was produced by Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco and recorded at the band’s studio in Chicago.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Bruce Katz is a vice president at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Metropolitan Revolution. Katz says that while the federal government is gridlocked by partisan politics and abstractions, in city governments across the country, local politicians are able to work together and accomplish concrete goals. He talks with Bob about this power inversion and details what’s happening in cities such as New York, Denver, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles.  Then, in his glowing review of her new novel, Flora, John Irving describes Gail Godwin as “a present-day George Eliot — our keenest observer of lifelong, tragically unwitting decisions.” The narrator of Godwin’s book is 10-year-old Helen Anstruther, who has just lost Nonie, the grandmother who raised her after her mother, Lisbeth, died when she was 3.  The setting is the summer of 1945, Helen’s father has just left town to do “more secret work for World War II” in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and she is left in the care of her mother’s 22-year-old cousin, Flora. What happens to Helen and Flora that summer will make Helen the woman (and writer) she becomes.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
After a string of well-received roles in the 1960s, English actor Terence Stamp took a 9 year acting hiatus, returning to films as the villainous General Zod in the first two Superman films. Since then, Stamp has been a consistence presence on the big screen.  His most recent film, Unfinished Song, is about local curmudgeon who is forced to deal with life following the death of his vivacious wife (Vanessa Redgrave). 
Friday, June 28, 2013
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Charley Wells was the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court where he served from 1994 to 2009.  His new book is Inside Bush v. Gore, a personal account of the 36 days when the nation anguished over who would be the next President.  Wells says the legal confusion and ambiguity that was prevalent in the 2000 election still exists today. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.