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Bob Elsewhere

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May 2012


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On the brink of the Second World War, the eyes of the world turned to Berlin for the 1936 Summer Games.  Infuriating Hitler and the Nazis, track and field star Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals, toppling Hitler’s plan for the Games to show-case the Aryan race.  Director and producer Laurens Grant’s documentary Jesse Owens airs today on the PBS series “American Experience,” and Owens’ daughter Marlene Owens Rankin joins Bob and Grants to discuss the life and legacy of her father. Then, we relive another great moment in Olympic history with John Carlos, who along with Tommie Smith, raised an iconic black-gloved fist for human rights on the medal podium in 1968.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

J. Edgar Hoover’s 37 year tenure as the nation’s first Director of the FBI was filled with controversy and secrets, and is not a likely topic for a young person’s history book.  But historian and writer Marc Aronson wrote his new book Master of Deceit: J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies with teenagers in mind.  Combining old photographs, cartoons, movie posters and FBI transcripts, Aronson’s book presents a dark aspect of America’s history in an engaging and thoughtful way.  Then, Eric Hutchinson was a signed artist preparing his debut album for Maverick Records. He was living his dream; and then, the label collapsed. With no more corporate patron, Hutchinson wagered on himself by purchasing his master recordings and releasing the album Sounds Like This independently. Hutchinson’s bet paid off and the album succeeded, earning him a devoted fan base and a new contract with Warner Brothers. His latest album is titled Moving Up Living Down.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

There’s an old adage that only two things in life are certain: taxes and death. But modern medicine has made the latter less certain. These days, dead people can live for a long time on life support. For instance, stroke victims are regularly kept alive long enough to donate their organs, and brain-dead pregnant women are sometimes kept alive long enough to deliver their babies. Dick Teresi details the long, complicated history of the changing definition of death in his new book, The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating-Heart Cadavers – How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to discuss the latest political news and the raft of new political attack ads hitting the airwaves. Then, actor Benedict Cumberbatch returns to the small screen as the world’s favorite detective, the brilliant and, if you’re in law enforcement, irritating Sherlock Holmes. After last year’s hit first season, Masterpiece Mystery’s Sherlock picks up with a contemporary Holmes and Watson (Martin Freeman) battling evil mastermind Jim Moriarty. The series is co-created and written by Steven Moffat (Dr. Who). Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jeana Lee Tahnk.  Parents, and people who will soon be parents, are one of the biggest markets for the publishing industry.  You could fill a bookstore with all of the manuals addressing everything from thumbsucking to bedwetting to discipline.  And many of the authors offer contradictory advice.  It’s hard for modern parents to feel they’re raising their kids the “right” way.  Tahnk thinks of herself as the CEO of her household, but she also has a career outside the home.  She says the decisions she makes at home are always with the best interests of her children in mind, and the “right decisions” could actually be many different things at many different times.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Writer Julie Otsuka won this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her slim, poetic novel The Buddha in the Attic.  Here, the California-native tells of a group of young Japanese women brought to San Francisco as picture brides nearly a century ago.  This weekend Otsuka was honored at an awards ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC.  Then, for his latest album, singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright reflects on his life (as he often does) … this time on the sunny topics of aging, decline and demise. He also brings in his family to help: all of his kids and most of his ex-wives perform on the album. Wainwright joins Bob in the studio to talk about Older Than My Old Man Now.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

First, a British Parliamentary report has found Rupert Murdoch “not a fit person” to head his international media company as a result of an incriminating phone hacking scandal. Karl Grossman is a journalist and professor at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury where his courses include Investigative Reporting. He says based on that investigation finding, the “Federal Communications Commission should move to prohibit Murdoch from owning television stations in the United States.”  Grossman discusses why he says so with Bob. Then, India has awoken from years of relative slumber and now development is advancing at a breakneck pace. After earning degrees in the west, journalist Akash Kapur returned to his homeland for a ringside seat to the action. In the book, India Becoming, Kapur deftly weaves together stories that symbolize the sea changes underway there. He writes: “The forces at work in modern India are part of the great sweep of history. All I can do is watch them, understand them, and maybe, through understanding, learn to accept them.”


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bob talks with John Robbins, food activist and author of No Happy Cows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Food Revolution. Robbins, the heir to the Baskin-Robbins ice cream fortune, is also the author of 1987’s Diet For A New America, which advocated a plant-based diet and warned of the dangers to health, environment and the economy of overconsumption of meat. He blogs for the Huffington Post.  Then, in Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples, journalist and cultural historian Rodger Streitmatter discusses the lives of fifteen couples who defied the laws and social order of their day by thriving in same-sex marriages.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Try to imagine what would happen if Middle Eastern women were able to take control of their religious conflicts.  That’s what writer, director and lead actress Nadine Labaki has done in her new film, Where Do We Go Now, and the result is poignant and witty.  Labaki will discuss the film, and the new promises and perils facing the Arab world.  Then, Nashville singer-songwriter Darrell Scott talks with Bob about his album The Long Ride Home.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Bill Bradley was a US senator for 18 years, a financial and investment adviser, and an Olympic and NBA athlete.  He’s now concentrating on the state of the nation after the financial meltdown and amid the intensifying political gridlock.  His new book is called We Can All Do Better.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Lauren LeBlanc.  Americans like to dream big – for our country, and ourselves.  Teenagers imagine a future for themselves that includes throngs of adoring fans, and photographers tracking their every movement.  LeBlanc was no different from anyone else, in this respect.  But life hasn’t worked out that way.  Instead, she’s a mother of two who lives in a suburb.  Her life is simple.  And she couldn’t be happier.  LeBlanc says that she may never make an impact outside her community, but that’s ok because inside her home, she is irreplaceable.


Monday, May 14, 2012

In the fall, the Dance Theatre Of Harlem (DTH) will begin its first professional tour since it lost funding in 2004. Bob talks to the company’s Artistic Director, Virginia Johnson, about the past and future of the predominantly black ballet company. Then, Misty Copeland began ballet classes at age 13, ten years later than most aspiring ballerinas. Today, at the acme of her career, Copeland is 29 years old and the first black woman in the American Ballet Theatre in more than twenty years. Bob talks to Copeland about being a prima ballerina and her sixteen years in the world of swans.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bill Veeck was born into baseball. His sportswriter father became president of the Chicago Cubs, and Bill later worked for owner Phil Wrigley, rebuilding Wrigley Field to achieve the famed ambience that exists today. In his late twenties, he bought into his first team, the American Association Milwaukee Brewers. He later bought the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox.  In 1947, Veeck signed Larry Doby, the American League’s first black player. A year later, he signed the legendary black pitcher Satchel Paige, who helped win the 1948 World Series—Cleveland’s last championship to this day. Bob talks to Paul Dickson about his book Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Today would have been Studs Terkel’s 100th Birthday.  We bring back Bob’s interview with Terkel to honor his centenary. Bob reminisces with Terkel about his career as a writer, broadcaster, oral historian and story teller.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Christopher Buckley is back with a new book, this time a fictional novel about U.S.-China relations. In They Eat Puppies, Don’t They, a Washington lobbyist teams up with a neocon to turn the American public against the Chinese. Buckley will discuss the novel, and how you determine fact from fiction in our capitol city. Then, in Tucson, Mexican American high school students are very likely to drop out before they graduate. But, students enrolled in the Mexican American Studies Program don’t just graduate – they go on to attend college. A new film in the PBS series Independent Lens follows several students in that program. Precious Knowledge tells the stories of these teenagers against the backdrop of new anti-immigration laws in Arizona and other states. Eren Isabel McGinnis directed Precious Knowledge, which features Alanna Castro, among other students.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, Mitch Ryder was the leader of the rock group Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, and had hits including “Devil with a Blue Dress On” and “Sock It to Me Baby.” After achieving pop success he descended into addiction and bankruptcy - and lived to tell about it. He has a new memoir out, as well as an album called The Promise. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Jessica Paris.  Summer is fast approaching – the season of taking a break, cutting yourself some slack, and indulging in a little R-and-R.  Paris says we should just say no to those impulses.  She says she is not a puritan or a miser, but in a world of bounty, choices have to be made.  Paris doesn’t believe we satiate our desire by feeding it any more than we do by depriving it.  And sometimes deprivation leads to greater satisfaction than indulgence.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Criss-crossing the continent, renowned geneticist Bryan Sykes provides a groundbreaking examination of America through its DNA.  Then, Bob talks with Phil Madeira about the album he produced called Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us. Phil is a member of Emmylou Harris’ band Red Dirt Boys.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Diana Henriques has written the definitive book on Bernie Madoff, based on unprecedented access and interviews with more than one hundred people at all levels of the crime. The Wizard of Lives: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust is now out in paperback.  Then, for nearly fifty years, Frank Deford has been dissecting American and international sports.  He has covered just about every sport, in every medium, and he touched on it all in his new memoir, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kate Bornstein’s memoir A Queer and Pleasant Danger is the story of “a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today.”  Then, singer-songwriter Joe Pug joins Bob to talk about his latest album, The Great Despiser.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grammy award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre is one of the few living composers who has topped the classical charts.  Best-known for his “Virtual Choir” projects on YouTube, Whitacre is a musician who pushes the boundaries of music and still finds popular acclaim.  His most recent album is Water Night. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86.)


Friday, May 25, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, singer-songwriter Paul Thorn’s latest album is called “What the Hell is Goin’ On?” It’s a collection of songs by other writers that Thorn admires but who tell the same kind of straight-up, down-home stories that the always-entertaining Tupelo native is known for. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Michael Seifert.  We know that powerful people influence politics.  By comparison, it’s sometimes hard to believe that ordinary citizens with modest means can make a difference.  But inside the voting booth, everyone is equal.  Seifert is a Catholic priest from Cameron Park, Texas – the poorest place in American, according to the 2000 Census.  The rate of civic participation matched the economic description.  But, Father Seifert has been encouraging his neighbors to get out the vote, and their actions have resulted in more attention from local politicians, and better quality of life for the townspeople.


Monday, May 28, 2012

It’s been more than forty years since thousands of American troops died fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. For this Memorial Day, we pay tribute to our service men and women with an encore presentation of our award-winning show Stories from Third Med: Surviving a Jungle ER.  The documentary includes stories of the Navy’s Third Medical Battalion, which served alongside the Third Marine Division. They were based near the DMZ, closest to the enemy in North Vietnam. Four decades later, the doctors and corpsmen recount the horror (and humor) they can never forget, and reflect on the forces that drive men to war in the first place.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rolling Stones’ keyboardist Chuck Leavell returns to The Bob Edwards Show to discuss his latest ventures and adventures: Receiving a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; recording a new blues tribute CD, Back to the Woods; publishing his fourth book, Growing a Better America: Smart, Strong and Sustainable; being named an honorary forest ranger by the U.S. Forest Service; working on John Mayer’s new record, Born And Raised (released on May 22); and successfully launching Mother Nature Network, an on-line one stop shop for environmental news. Then, Nanci Griffith’s 20th album is called Intersection, and has the singer-songwriter reflecting on changes and choices. The single “Hell No (I’m Not Alright)” has become a theme song for the “Occupy” movement.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Writer Paula McLain combines fact and fiction in The Paris Wife, a historical novel about Hadley Richardson, the first wife of American writer Ernest Hemingway.  The Paris Wife is now available in paperback.  Then, Joan Miro (1893-1983) was a leader in the Surrealist movement and one of the great modern artists of the 20th century.  He was also a passionate Catalonian with a deep connection to his native land.  Bob talks with curator Harry Cooper about Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape, on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC through August 12, 2012.  Then, we close the hour with a visit to Miro’s now-crumbling country home in the Catalan countryside.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Within a generation, more households will be supported by women than by men. In The Richer Sex, Liza Mundy takes us to the exciting frontier of this new economic order: she shows us why this flip is inevitable, what painful adjustments will have to be made along the way, and how both men and women will feel surprisingly liberated in the end. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).