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Bob Elsewhere

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May 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Bob talks to Mexican-American tattoo artist Kat Von D about her book Go Big or Go Home: Taking Risks in Life, Love and Tattooing.  Then, biologist Frans De Waal has been named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People.  He wrote Our Inner Ape and now is releasing The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates in which he uses one of our closest primate relatives to argue that human morality comes not from above, but from within.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Actor Dennis Quaid joins director Ramin Bahrani to discuss the new film At Any Price.  Quaid stars as Henry Whipple who risks friends and family to meet the highly competitive demands of modern day farming in which landowners are beholden to GMO seed companies.  Then, in her new book, The Myth of PersecutionCandida Moss argues that martyrdom, or “the Age of Martyrs” was mostly fictitious, conceived by the church to recruit and expand.  This image of Christian-as-victim is still very much with us today, and Moss explains the implications for modern society.  Moss is a religion professor at Notre Dame and an expert on early Christianity.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Harvey Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax Films and co-chairman of The Weinstein Company. He joins Bob to discuss Kon-Tiki, the film adaptation of explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s 4,300-mile journey across the Pacific on a raft to support the theory that pre-Columbian South Americans settled in Polynesia. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.
Monday, May 6, 2013
NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me host Peter Sagal set out across America on a motorcycle to find out what we as citizens of this nation know – and how we feel – about our Constitution for the new PBS series Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.  The series premieres May 7th on PBS.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
British musician Billy Bragg is known for his folk-punk albums that run the gamut from protest to love songs.  He returns to chat with Bob about his latest release, Tooth & Nail, and about the loss of one of his great sources of inspiration, Margaret Thatcher. Then, we talk about breasts. They’re the subject of reality TV shows, paparazzi shots, and halftime wardrobe malfunctions. They’re also the subject of Florence Williams’ informative first book Breasts: A Natural And Unnatural History and it’s now available in paperback.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Award-winning travel writer and historian William Dalrymple looks back to the first time the West invaded Afghanistan in his new book The Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan: 1839-42.  Then, 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.  It’s now out in paperback. 
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine returned to her earliest musical memories by recording 25 lullabies for her new album Violin Lullabies.  Digging deep into classical music and traditional folk tunes, Barton Pine’s collection reminds us of familiar tunes as well as introducing listeners to never-before-recorded lullabies. Then, criss-crossing the continent, renowned geneticistBryan Sykes provides a groundbreaking examination of America through its DNA.  His book DNA USA: A Genetic Portrait of America is now out in paperback.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, sex with “no strings attached” is popular and common among millennials according to author and professor Donna Frietas.  She joins Bob to discuss the “NSA” phenomenon, “hookup culture”, and more from her book The End Of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy.  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Life After Life is Jill McCorkle’s first novel in seventeen years. It deals with the daily life of the residents and staff of Pine Haven Estates, a retirement facility that many of Fulton, North Carolina’s elderly now call home. In the book, we meet Sadie Randolph, a third-grade teacher who has taught every kid in town; Stanley Tone, a prominent lawyer now fighting dementia; and Marge Walker, the town gossip who keeps a scrapbook of every crime that has been committed in town.   McCorkle calls her story “a love song to memory and life.” Then, as a songwriter, Kim Richey has co-written two number one hits: the Grammy-nominated ‘Believe Me Baby (I Lied)’ for Trisha Yearwood, and ‘Nobody Wins’ for Radney Foster. But as a performer in her own right, it took a long time for Richey to get her due. She got her first record deal at 37 and is now releasing her seventh album, Thorn In My Heart.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Yellowstone National Park turned 140 years old last year, and thousands of people visit every summer. But what those tourists may not realize is that America’s first national park has a very dark past.George Black tells the story in his book Empire of Shadows and it was just released 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 has written about it all in his memoir, Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter and it’s now available in paperback.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Erica Grieder, who covered Texas for 7 years as a correspondent for The Economist and now is at Texas Monthly, argues that the rest of the country needs to pay attention to Texas. She makes her argument in a new book titled Big, Hot, Cheap and Right. Then, Paul Theroux has made a career of going on the road. He travels light, and frequently, and he’s written scores of books about the places he’s visited. His latest is about a continent that first received him as a 22-year-old Peace Corps volunteer: Africa. The Last Train to Zona Verde details the people and places Theroux encountered from South Africa to Angola.



Thursday, May 16, 2013


The civil rights struggle made great strides in many sectors of American society, but the movement did little to help Southern black farmers. The number of African-American farmers dropped by 93% between 1940 and 1974, predominately because they were forced from their land by discrimination, lack of information, and intimidation by the Department of Agriculture. Pete Daniel writes about this little-known chapter of American history in Dispossession: Discrimination Against African American Farmers in the Age of Civil Rights. Then, Christopher Buckley’s fictional novel They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? is about U.S.-China relations. In the book, 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. His book is now out in paperback.


 Friday, May 17, 2013


Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob todiscuss the latest political news. Next, Molly Melching has lived and worked in Senegal, West Africa since 1974. She is the founder and executive director of Tostan, a nongovernmental organization that has developed an innovative model for development in which communities are leading large scale social movements for positive change. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.


Monday, May 20, 2013


Buzz Aldrin was the second man to step foot on the moon and the first to punch an Apollo conspiracy theorist in the jaw after the man demanded Aldrin swear on a Bible that the Moon landings were not fake. Aldrin dedicated a chapter to the incident in his 2009 autobiography Magnificent Desolation, titled after the words that he uttered while walking on the moon. Now he’s authored a new book from National Geographic in which he lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars. It’s titled Mission to Mars. Then, winter inspires the layering of sweaters, big jackets and long johns, and now that spring is here, t-shirts, shorts and swimsuits anxiously await their yearly debut.  Steve Winick and Nancy Groce from The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress return to the program with a topic for all seasons, ‘clothing.’
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Saul Bellow was a self-taught writer, whose prose remade American fiction in his own image and created many literary “sons” who were influenced by him. Now Bellow’s oldest biological son, Greg, has written a memoir titled, Saul Bellow’s Heart, which seeks to enlighten the world about his father’s inner life. Bob talks with Gregory Bellow about family stories, literary legacies and the man he loved and still misses today.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Pot. Herb. Mary Jane. America has a love/hate relationship with cannabis. According to Yale-educated journalist and television producer Ryan Nerz, that relationship is more like a love affair. Nerz talks to Bob about his book on the subject, Marijuanamerica: One Man’s Quest to Understand America’s Dysfunctional Love Affair with Weed. Then, The Atlantic Wire reports that America is headed for a Weed Spring – a coming wave of revolutionary change for the sticky icky.  It is, after all, the largest cash crop in America, out-budding corn and wheat. Two states have legalized personal marijuana use, and eighteen states have legalized medical marijuana use, including last month’s recent addition, Maryland. NORML, the marijuana public-interest lobby, believes the rest of the nation is on its way.  Bob is joined by NORML Legal Counsel Keith Stroup and Communications Director Erik Altieri to talk about these and more changes in marijuana legislation.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Developmental psychologist Peter Gray has spent years studying the impact of children’s imaginative play on their growth and development.  He shares his findings in his new book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for life. Gray is the author of Psychology, one of the most widely used college textbook on the subject and a professor at Boston College. Then, best-known for her role as Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the Robert Altman film MASHSally Kellerman has a resume that ranges from jazz albums to Hidden Valley Ranch commercials. It’s been more than 50 years since her on-screen debut in Reform School Girl and Kellerman tells it all in her new autobiography titled,Read My Lips.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, English professor Bill Scott spent his sabbatical living and working as a librarian in the People’s Library at Zuccotti Park, the former headquarters of Occupy Wall Street.  In the early hours of November 15th, an army of police in riot gear   - acting on the authority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg - raided the park, seized the 5,554 donated books, and destroyed nearly all of them. Four library laptops were also destroyed, as well as all the bookshelves, storage bins, stamps and cataloging supplies and the large tent that housed the library. Occupy Wall Street sued and last month won a settlement that included an admission of guilt from the Bloomberg administration that reads in part, “Plaintiffs and Defendants recognize that when a person’s property is removed from the city it is important that the City exercise due care and adhere to established procedure in order to protect legal rights of property owners.”  Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe.
Monday, May 27, 2013
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 28, 2013
Writer and World War II specialist Robert Edsel’s new book is Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation’s Treasures from the Nazis.  Edsel is the founder and current president of the Monuments Men Foundation.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Bob talks with guitarist Ben Harper and harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite about their new CD titled Get Up! The two musicians and occasional collaborators have wanted to record a full album together for over a decade and finally found the time after first clicking musically at a 1997 recording session with John Lee Hooker. Then, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Igor Stravinksy’s modernist classic The Rite of Spring, Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith walks Bob through what happened that fateful night and why 100 years later, this piece still packs an impressive musical punch.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Laurence Leamer’s book, The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption, tells the story of two lawyers’ attempt to hold Don Blankenship, the most powerful coal baron in American history, accountable for the death and destruction he has caused.   Blankenship was head of Massey Energy, a company that provided nearly half of America’s electric power, since the early 1990s. Then, Eduardo Galeano is one of Latin America’s most prized writers. In 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave a copy of Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent to President Barack Obama. Now, Uruguayan author and journalist joins Bob to discuss his most recent work, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for The Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Bob talks with prolific documentarian Alex Gibney about his latest film. We Steal Secrets is a study of transparency and privacy in the information age. Gibney focuses the story on Julian Assange, the controversial founder of the website WikiLeaks and on the once anonymous source behind the largest security breach in US history. That source turned out to be a young Army Intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning, currently awaiting court martial in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Both he and Assange have been lauded as heroes of free speech…they’ve also been called a traitor and a terrorist. Finally, the latest installment of our ongoing series This I Believe