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Bob Elsewhere

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October 2008 


Wednesday October 1, 2008

This year marks the Oxford English Dictionary 's 80th anniversary and to celebrate, Bob speaks with chief editors John Simpson and Jesse Sheidlower to discuss the etymologies of a few of the 291,500 entries in the world's most comprehensive collection of the English language. Then, in celebration of the OED's 80th anniversary, Bob talks withAmmon Shea, whose new book Reading the OED chronicles his year of experiences reading the Oxford English Dictionaryfrom A to Z and what he discovered about the English language.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 

Anarchist and author Crispin Sartwell is one of the world's premiere scholars and philosophers on anarchy and its political theory. His latest book entitled Against the State: An Introduction to Anarchist Political Theory introduces the reader to what is an anarchist and what they believe. Bob will sit down with Sartwell to talk about his book as well as how he became an anarchist. Then, Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen made up the first--and last-- black and white comedy team in America. They're the subjects of a new book, called Tim and Tom , about their ill-fated and often painful attempt to foster tolerance in the 60s and 70s. Bob gets them to tell their story.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of POTUS '08 about the latest news from the campaign trail. Then, Tom Bodett gives a commentary on small town values. Finally, Director Marc Abraham's latest film Flash of Genius tells the true-life tale of inventor Robert Kearns' (Greg Kinnear) legal battle with automotive giants Ford and Chrysler over his rights to his invention of intermittent windshield wiper. Bob talks with Abraham and Kinnear.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, at this point in the presidential campaign, verbal jabs dominate the daily news coverage. Issues and wide-ranging rhetorical discussions? Not so much. Bob talks above the fray with philosopher Susan Neiman, an American who heads the Einstein Forum in Germany. Neiman is the author of Evil in Modern Thought and Moral Clarity.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eugene Rotberg started his career as an attorney at the SEC in the early 60s and was Treasurer of the World Bank for twenty.  He's testified before Congress multiple times about the problems facing the US banking system -- the same exact problems that triggered the need for the $700 billion government bailout. Rotberg talks with Bob about why the Fed and regulatory agencies have been resistant to change and why there likely won't be any fixes made to the system in foreseeable future. Then, theoretical physicist Brian Greene has authored two of the best selling and most accessible books on science: The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos . Greene talks with Bob about his most recent book,Icarus at the Edge of Time, which is a retelling of the Greek myth of Icarus. 

Wednesday October 8, 2008

Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of POTUS '08 about the latest news from the campaign trail. And for the rest of the hour, we’ll examine the promises being made by the presidential candidates candidates, and we’ll try to separate fact from fiction. Then, the Annenberg Political Fact Check is a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to "reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics."  The organization's Deputy Director, Viveca Novak,  joins Bob to help separate fact from spin in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bob talks with Salon sports columnist King Kaufman about the MLB postseason and the recent NFL games. Later, Dexter Filkins has been covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for The New York Times since 2001. He describes his new book, The Forever War, as visceral, not intellectual. He talks with Bob about his book and his aim to give readers a sense of what it is really like in those countries, which means leaving the protected Green Zone, listening carefully to what Iraqis and Afghanis have to say, and putting his life in great danger. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

A look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen. Next, Judy Collins just can't sing a nasty line. Now 69-years-old, the folk singer has been performing songs that she hopes "help people heal." On October 14, Wildflower Records will release Born to Breed - A Tribute to Judy Collins . The album will include Collins covers from Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, Jimmy Webb, Shawn Colvin and Dolly Parton. Then, our music critic Anthony DeCurtis returns to review a new double CD from Bob Dylan. Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Volume 8 features rare and unreleased songs recorded by Dylan between 1989 and 2006.


Monday, October 13, 2008 

Bob talks politics with  David Broder  of  The Washington Post . Then,  Owen Matthews  aims to humanize Russia and its people with his new book,  Stalin's Children . It's a family memoir, filled with amazing stories of betrayal, survival and perseverance including his mother's childhood spent in a series of orphanages and his Welsh father's obsession with Soviet Russia.  Matthews also recounts his own experiences working as a journalist in Russia, resulting in one of our most complete pictures of the Russian psyche.  Next, book critic  Laura Miller  talks with Bob about new fall fiction.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Red Grange was a three-time All-American running back at Illinois in the 1920’s when the college game was the only football that fans respected. Indeed, it was only when Grange joined the Chicago Bears that anyone paid attention to professional football. In 1969, when the Football Writers Association selected its all-time All-American team, Red Grange was the only player chosen unanimously. Writer  Gary Andrew Poole  joins Bob to talk about The Galloping Ghost , Poole’s new biography of the man who may have been the best player in football history.  Then, musician  Jenny Lewis  started her career as a child actress, but it didn't take long for her to firmly establish herself as one of indie music's best-known female rockers.  Acid Tongue is Lewis' second solo album, and this time she's joined by musical guests like Elvis Costello on a few of the tracks.


Wednesday ,  October 15, 2008

During his lifetime,  Christopher "Kit" Lukas 's mother, brother and two other family members have killed themselves. Suicide is his family legacy, and bipolar disorder is passed down along with other genetic traits.  Lukas is still trying to figure out why he has survived and his brother, a two-time Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, did not.  He talks with Bob about his book  Blue Genes, A Memoir of Loss and Surviving .  Then, Bob talks with director  Mike Leigh  whose  latest film  Happy-Go-Lucky  follows the story of 30-year-old school teacher Poppy played by Sally Hawkins. Poppy’s cheery outlook on life is challenged by her driving instructor who has anger management issues.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bob talks with  Rebecca Roberts  of POTUS '08 about the latest news from the campaign trail.  Then, Associated Press political reporter  Jesse J. Holland  seeks to answer a big question about notable tourist attractions in the nation's capital - “Where’s the Black history?” Holland walks and talks with Bob on Capitol Hill about the contributions that African Americans have made to historic sites discussed in his book  Black Men Built the Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C.  Next , the folklorists of the  Library of Congress  share historic musical field recordings from the archives that served as the basis of hits when they were later covered by more famous, contemporary artists.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Wynona Ward drove eighteen-wheelers for fifteen years. Then she went to law school after the helplessness she felt watching a family member deal with sexual abuse.  Now, with law degree in hand, she operates Have Justice Will Travel which is part law office, part counseling service, part taxi and helps victims of abuse isolated in rural areas.  Ward's story is one collected by  John Siceloff  and the producers of the PBS program NOW for a book called  Your America: Democracy's Local Heroes .  Then, Bob talks with Academy Award-winning actress  Jennifer Hudson  and director  Gina Prince-Bythewood  about the new movie  The Secret Life of Bees , adapted from the New York Times best-selling novel.  The story, set in South Carolina in 1964, centers around 14-year old Lily Owens' journey into the lives of three women who show her the true meaning of life and love.  The movie also stars Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo.



Monday, October 20, 2008

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, a visit with former Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. He's the man who represented the federal government during the stand-off with Alabama governor George Wallace who tried to prevent black students from entering the University of Alabama in 1963. Katzenbach was a behind-the-scenes player in many of the seminal events of the 1960s-- the Civil Rights movement, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. He talks with Bob about his new memoir Some of It was Fun: Working with RFK and LBJ.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Steven Rosenfeld has been tracking accusations of voter fraud and manipulation going into this year's Presidential election. He's the co-author of What Happened in Ohio: A Documentary Record of Theft and Fraud in the 2004 Election and most recently, of Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting. Rosenfeld talks with Bob about how voter registrations are being challenged, how some states have illegally purged voter lists, and other tactics that have been used to alter the outcome of this year's election. Then, Bob talks with Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman who makes his directorial debut with Synecdoche, New York, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as a troubled theater director. Kaufman's off-beat, absurdist tone was displayed in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. In this new film, Kaufman takes an even darker look at sanity and relationships.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bob talks with Laura Waters Hinson, director of the documentary, As We Forgive. The movie tells the stories of survivors of Rwandan genocide as they prepare to face the men who slaughtered their families and test whether reconciliation can really work. Then, Halima Bashir was born into the Zaghawa tribe in the desert region of Sudan known as Darfur. She became her village's first medical doctor at the age of 24 just as violence was breaking out against African tribes like her own. Soon she was treating victims of horrendous crimes, many of her patients were children. After Bashir told United Nations officials about the attacks in her village, she was herself beaten, gang-raped, and tortured. Bashir is now living under asylum in England and is making her first visit to the United States to talk about her memoir. It's called Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of XM's POTUS '08 about the presidential race. Then, James Cromwell was a run-of-the-mill character actor until the movie Babe or, as Cromwell puts it, until "my pig came in." Now he's a well-known movie star, currently portraying George Herbert Walker Bush in the new Oliver Stone movie W. Next, Jeff Campbell runs a non-profit organization called Hungry for Music which provides musical instruments to disadvantaged children across the country. He funds much of this charitable work with proceeds from the CDs of baseball music he puts together. Campbell has just released another disc in the series he calls Diamond Cuts. This is the 10th installment titled Extra Innings.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Jim Davis who started out writing and drawing a comic strip called "Gnorm Gnat" which soon ended up being about a beloved, fictional orange cat. Garfield made his first appearance 30 years ago and is now the most widely syndicated comic strip in the world--translated into 45 languages and delighting more than 200 million readers. Jim Davis has kept the Garfield operation in his home state of Indiana, where Paws, Inc., employs about 50 people who are mostly life-long employees


Monday, October 27, 2008:

Bob talks politics with David Broder of The Washington Post. Then, every month, companies like Google collect loads of data about each of us. They do it by keeping track of our clicks of the mouse, trips through automatic toll booths, cell phone calls and credit card purchases. Data mining is nothing new, but the ways the information is used has changed dramatically in recent years. Bob talks with journalist Stephen Baker about a new math elite who have created a mathematical model of humanity that can predict -- and sometimes control -- our every move. His new book is The Numerati.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008:


There are 7,000 languages in the world. But by the end of the century, half will disappear. David Harrison studies languages that are dying. He travels to the most remote parts of the world to find and interview the last known speakers of languages like Chulym, Sora and Kallawaya. Many of the languages Harrison studies are spoken by fewer than a dozen people. His quest is told in a documentary called The Linguists. Bob is joined in the studio by one of the linguists featured in the documentary, David Harrison, along with two of the film's three directors, Jeremy Newburger and Seth Kramer. They explain why documenting dying languages is important. Then, at twenty-four, Devon Sproule is already on album number four but she calls this one her 'settling-down' CD. Sproule's sound has the same raw, rural Virginia honesty as the Carter Family's, but with a twinge of jazz and rock thrown in. Sproule talks with Bob about Keep YourSilver Shined and plays some songs on her 1954 hollowed-out Gibson guitar.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008:


Dr. Richard Fortey is a paleontologist, researcher and writer at the Natural History Museum in London. His latest book, Dry Store Room No.1, tells the behind-the-scenes stories of the unique employees of the Natural History Museum and some of their fun quirks that help make the museum the place it is. Dr. Fortey has been a member of the Royal Society since 2007 and is currently the President of the Geological Society of London.


Thursday, October 30, 2008:


Bob talks with Rebecca Roberts of POTUS '08 about the final presidential debate before the election. Then, the great James Taylor. He's known as a great American songwriter having penned songs like "Fire & Rain" and "Sweet Baby James." But for his latest album, Covers, Taylor took some of his favorite songs by other artists and put his own twist on them. Bob talks with the North Carolina native about his career from "You've Got a Friend" to his latest album, as well as the recent political work he's been doing.


Friday, October 31, 2008:


A look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen. Then, writer Neil Gaiman won so many awards for his last book Coraline that expectations are running high for his next. He talks with Bob about his new book The Graveyard Book which follows the story of young Nobody Owens who lives in a graveyard.