Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dec 29 - Jan 2 Programs

Hi, everyone!

This is Lisa Bu, the web producer of Here on Earth, sitting in a very quiet office. We staff had a couple of cheerful gatherings at the station and in Jean's house in the past several days. I hope you're having a good time, too, despite the weather. For the coming week, we have cooked up a few shows accompanied by a couple of best Here on Earth encores. Enjoy!

Monday: Gay Rights: A Universal Principle? In many countries, the taboo against homosexuality seems to be eroding even as the debate rages on: proposition 8, the UN and the Vatican are keeping the issue on the front page. Should gay rights be included under the Universal Declaration on human rights?

Tuesday: Best Books in Translation. While the whole world is busy writing great books, fewer than three percent of them get translated and make American bookshelves. This prompted the New York Times five years ago to declare that "America Yawned" at foreign fiction, but is it still true? Raid your library and join Jean Feraca as we share the world's best books in translation.

Wednesday: The Dead Beat: The Art of Obituaries (encore). How would you like to be remembered? What do obituaries say about our culture? This hour on Here On Earth: Radio Without Borders, join Jean Feraca for a talk with two leading obituarists.

Thursday: Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy (encore). Eric Wilson tried jogging, yoga, tai chi, Frank Capra movies, and finally decided to embrace his gloominess and write a diatribe against the quintessentially American pursuit of happiness -– buoyed up by Prozac and shopping malls, the mass of men lead lives of shallow happiness, the superior man exults in his gloom. Which one are you?

Friday: Lore of Whiskey. Want a remedy for your New Year hangover? Join us for the history and lore of Whiskey.

Happy New Year!

Lisa Bu
Web producer
Here on Earth

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dec 22-26 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Discovering the New Russia: I liked this program primarily because I learned so much from it. Jonathan Brent, Yale University Press’s editor-in-chief and the author of Inside the Stalin Archives, has been messing around the archives and talking with Russians for the last fifteen years and it shows.

Monday: The history of Jewish culture in America has been told in many ways - through vaudeville, through the movies, and through literature, but not until now has it been told through VINYL. Join us for a wacky, wonderful Hanukkah special with Roger Bennett and Josh Kun, co-authors of And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Our Vinyl.

Tuesday: Good Touch/Bad Touch: An article in Resurgence magazine inspired this program on cross-cultural differences in attitudes toward touch. The Asians are touch phobic; the Italians are touch-a-philiacs; and Americans don’t like it much either.

Wednesday: Navan, a Celtic music band, perform Celtic songs of the season. Sung in the original languages, the songs are mostly hair-raising, sometimes jazzy and mysterious that give fascinating insights into the pagan underpinnings of Yuletide.

Thursday: A Biography of Santa Claus: He hasn’t always been the jolly old elf we know today. He’s been a wanderer, a friend to prostitutes, a bishop, and a warrior, and his family tree goes back to Turkey.

Friday: Christmas in Auschwitz: Based on a true story by the great Italian humanist, Primo Levi, exquisitely delivered and interpreted by poet Ernesto Livorni, this is probably our best food show ever. Definitely worth another listen.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dec 15-19 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Al’ America! In spite of a few misgivings on my part about what looked on the surface like a flimsy premise propped up by pop culture, Jonathan Curiel managed to convince me that there are indeed deep Arabic and Islamic roots in American culture. It was a fun hour as well as an illuminating one. I was particularly fascinated by the connections he drew between Mississippi blues and the Call to Prayer. We forget that many of the slaves brought here from Africa were Muslim, some highly literate and deeply devout. So it’s not so much of a stretch, after all, to imagine that their Islamic influence would persist and survive, just as West African voodoo made its way to Haiti, and New Orleans, where it got mixed up with Jelly Roll Morton and Elvis Presley.

Monday: Cuba on the Threshold of its 5oth Anniversary: The speculation is that the election of Barack Obama opens the way to a thaw in Cuban-American relations. We’ll ask New York Times reporter Roger Cohen who wrote “The End of the End of the Revolution” in a recent issue of the Sunday magazine.

Tuesday: The Evolution of Faith: Parker Palmer traces his own journey with the Christian faith. Parker is unfailingly excellent in the way he delivers his message, and Jossey Bass has just re-issued his very first book, The Promise of Paradox: A Celebration of Contradictions in the Christian Life.

Wednesday: Gay Rights: A Universal Principle? During the last ten years there has been a growing acceptance of homosexuality - at least in the "Western" world. France recently proposed that gay rights be added to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Vatican is opposed. There's a lot of public debate -- both for, against and in the fuzzy in-between. We’ll cover it all and get your views as well.

Thursday: The Winter Solstice Poetry Circle of the Air with Molly Peacock: Molly’s chosen a bright, upbeat poem for this darkest of times. Look for it on our website and join in with your favorite poem of the season.

Friday: Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love: It’s broccoli but it’s not really broccoli. It’s actually a collection of stories by the gorgeous Lara Vapnyar that links food to lonely, loveless dating among recent Russian immigrants – described by Publishers Weekly as a take on the poignant oddities of New York Russian émigré life that is universally palatable.

You can’t say we’re not eclectic.

Coming up in February: we’ve been promised a program with Philippe Petit, the crazy Frenchman who walked a tightrope between the twin towers of The World Trade Center –- one of my personal heroes and the star of Man on Wire, a documentary which has been nominated for an Oscar.

I’m outa here. Go crazy this weekend.


Friday, December 05, 2008

Dec 8-12 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Today’s Women and Shari’a with UW-Madison Law professor Asifa Quraishi, who can cut through the thickest Islamist patriarchal crap with her unfailing sense of equanimity and ever-ready razor sharp intellect. What a pleasure. I hope we changed some minds about the nature of Islamic law -- which actually favors women in its intention - and the reasons why Muslim women are so often subject to such cruel and barbaric practices. I am reminded of John Donne’s poem: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls…it tolls for thee.” Any woman’s death diminishes me.

Monday: The Goldman Sachs Foundation partnered with the Asia Society to encourage American high school students to study abroad. We’ll meet two of this year’s winners of the prize-winners for excellence in international education: a bouncy blonde from southern California who traveled to Nepal and found something underneath the poverty and privation that touched her deeply; and an African-American student from Atlanta who found deep resonances in South Africa with our own Civil Rights movement.

Tuesday: It’s not just Sarah Palin who thinks Africa is a country rather than a continent. To dispel ignorance and illuminate the hidden riches of the so-called "dark continent," join us with experts who really know the lay of the land and its peoples. It’s all part of Geography Awareness Week.

Wednesday: Al America! Think Muslims are only in the Middle-East? Think again. Jonathan Curiel, longtime staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, has written a fascinating cultural travelogue documenting America’s Arab and Islamic roots that incorporates everything from the Alamo to The Doors (Jim Morrison, that is.) Don’t miss this one.

Thursday: We've got the trailer, the tickets, and soon, we hope, Danny Boyle, the Irish director of Slumdog Millionaire, the movie about an Indian boy from the slums of Mumbai who’s in the hot seat in his country's version of the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire? The film opens in Wisconsin next weekend.

Friday: Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Join us with Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg for The Flavor Bible, drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, and a chance for you to add your own flavor tips.

Oh, yes, and by the way, if you happen to pick up the current issue of New York magazine, check out the feature on indie music stores. Dominick Fernow, who operates Hospital Productions in the East Village (I’m headed there this weekend) just happens to be my son!



Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dec 1-5 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Obama vs. Obama: I really enjoyed the muscular give and take between Dhuvan Shah and Doug MacLeod, and the callers. The perspective provided by Imam Talib from New York was truly illuminating.

Don’t miss the third program in our ongoing series Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates coming up on Thursday, Dec. 4 on Women and Shari’a.

This is a short week and I’m rushing to get home to deliver a rabbit to a friend (!), so forgive the shorthand:

Monday: The Best of Italian Americana: I was part of a panel at this year’s AIHA conference in New Haven recently (AIHA stands for American Italian Historical Association) and once again, I found some very simpatico people – talented and clever writers – that I’m sharing with you in this program we’re calling Wild Dreams – the title of a new anthology of Italian writers. Guests: anthology editor Joanna Clapps Herman; performance artist Annie Lanzillotto (back again!); poet George Guida. Expect a good time.

Tuesday: Laser Monks! They live in Sparta, Wisconsin, and they’ve come up with a way to make ink cartridges that radically undersell the competition. Turns out monks are great entrepreneurs, basing their business acumen on the 15 hundred year old Benedictine rule.

Wednesday: It’s not just Sarah Palin who thinks Africa is a country. Lots of Americans do. The UW Geography Department is hoping to correct that by teaching kids all about the real Africa during National Geography week. We’ll find out how successful they’ve been.

Thursday: Women and Shari’a: You’ve probably been hearing some of the same horrifying stories about the fate of Muslim girls that we’ve been hearing: stonings, rapes, murders, even young Pakistani girls buried alive for opposing arranged marriages. We’ve invited Asifa Quraishi, a crack shot UW Law Professor to untangle what part of all this is Shari’a and what part tribal customs. And is there any way to separate them after all? Who speaks for Muslim women?

Friday: Olives and Oranges: a new take on Mediterranean cooking from a woman who’s been everywhere and loves it all.

I’m grateful to all of you,


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nov 24-28 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Every once in a blue moon it happens that a guest we’ve booked turns out to be a soulmate. That turned out to be true last Tuesday when I talked with Terry Tempest Williams about her amazing odyssey from Ravenna to Utah to Rwanda, described in her highly original book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World. This program was so moving to me that at times I found it difficult to talk.

Monday: Closing Guantanamo Bay: In his first televised appearance since the election, President-Elect Obama told CBS Sixty Minutes that he intends to close Guantanamo Bay prison and end the practice of torture. It turns out that’s not going to be so easy. There are 50 inmates at Guantanamo, some of them violent extremists. We’ll explore Obama’s options and look into the success rate of Islamist rehabilitation programs with Christopher Boucek in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Foundation.

Tuesday: Can the Coral Reefs Be Saved? There’s at least one success story in Apo Island in the Phillipines that suggests we can. It’s told in the Wild Reef exhibit currently at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We’ll talk with George Parsons, Director of Fishes at the Shedd about the Project Seahorse, an international group of marine biologists fighting to save the world’s underwater wonders.

Wednesday: Al Qaeda Insults Obama: A lot of people around the world are cheering Obama’s victory. Al Qaeda isn’t among them. Osama bin Laden’s top deputy went out of his way to insult the new President Elect with a racist remark last week, calling him a House Negro. We’ll talk with UW-Madison Journalism and Mass Communications Professor, Doug McLeod, about the implications of al Zawahri’s video.

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving! To celebrate, we’re featuring an encore presentation of one of our favorite holiday programs: Listening is an Act of Love with Story Corps founder David Isay.

Friday: Definitely worth hearing again at the open of the hunting season, our wild and woolly Food Friday program, Got Moose?

And once again, let me say that one of the things I most grateful for, not just this Thanksgiving, but for the last 25, is your ears!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov 17-21 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: The World According to Sesame Street!

Monday: Fred Ho, a one-of-a-kind Chinese-American musician, composer, writer, political activist and leader of the Afro Asian Music Ensemble and the Monkey Orchestra, pre-views his upcoming performance of Revolutionary Earth Music…at the Wisconsin Union Theater on Nov. 22.

Tuesday:Finding Beauty in a Broken World: Starting from the mosaics of Ravenna, Italy, moving to her home in the American Southwest, and then to the rubble of the Rwandan genocide and elsewhere in the broken world, Terry Tempest Williams finds a way of making the world whole again using the metaphor of the mosaic.

Wednesday: The World in the Year 2033: Projections of the World Policy Institute in the next 25 years.

Thursday: The International Children’s Literature Conference is bringing Meshack Asare to campus this week. Born in Ghana, Asare is one of Africa's top children's writers and illustrators who has won numerous awards including the 1999 Unesco First Prize for Children and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance.

Friday: Everything we eat is burdened with social, political, religious, and even militarized meaning. Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States dishes out a saucy culinary feast of facts on ten controversial countries, their policies, and, of course, the food that unifies us all. Consider it a Dinner Party approach to international relations.

Tell us about your Pick of the Week on The Blog Without Borders:

And, as always, thanks for listening.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Nov 10-14 Programs

Attention, all you boomer Beatles fans who want to "give peace a chance!" Chances are you’ll enjoy listening to Monday’s program with Philip Norman, who just published anew biography of John Lennon:

Monday: Peace activist, edgy artist, international icon. It’s hard to sum up John Lennon and his influence on fans worldwide. Biographer Philip Norman takes an unflinching look, casting light on a man who shaped a generation’s outlook on politics, religion and art.

Tuesday: Bruce Laine’s Togo Project: French filmmaker Brice Laine spent the best years of his childhood growing up in the tiny West African country of Togo where he witnessed firsthand the dramatic impact of a locally run development project that brought a dying village back to life. He made a movie about it called “The Dancing Forest” which movingly illustrates The Value of Women.

Wednesday: Feeding Haiti: Following her husband’s untimely death, Margaret Trost visited Haiti hoping to heal her broken heart through service. She partnered with a local community and together they developed a program that now serves thousands of meals to those in need. On That Day Everybody Ate tells the story of her remarkable journey.

Thursday: The World According to Sesame Street: In Germany, everybody swears Burt and Ernie are German, and you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Rubber Ducky sung in Mandarin!

Friday: Fry, Baby: It's no secret that Americans love doughnuts but it might surprise to learn that the rest of the world loves them too. The Italians have zeppole, the Mexicans have churros, and the Greeks have loukoumades.

That’s it! I’m outa here!


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nov 3-7 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: What Do Vampires Eat? Really classy interaction between our Goth Prof, Neil Whitehead, and Charlaine Harris, the creator of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, a sweet southern belle who was born in a cotton field and surely knows her vampires. The conversation ranged from the scary to the hilarious, from horror to glee. We even had our token Roumanian call in at the end of the hour thanking us for honoring his country! What more can you ask from a talk show? Thanks to Joe Hardtke for producing this show, and to Brian Dunbar for suggesting that we book Charlaine Harris.

Monday: While Americans are getting used to the idea that Barack Obama may become our first African-American president, what is the rest of the world saying about it? We’ll ask a group of international journalists who are here in the States studying the election and filing their reports back home.

Tuesday: The World of Children Awards: Dubbed the “Nobel Prize for Children,” the World of Children Awards program searches the globe to find and support those individuals who are pioneering life-changing programs to benefit children – and some of the honorees are children themselves!

Wednesday: She’s a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, a campaigner for young girls, fair trade and human rights. And, in her spare time, she still manages to record and perform beautiful songs with political fire. I’m Jean Feraca, join us with Grammy-Award winning singer Angelique Kidjo.

Thursday: Honor Among Thieves: I spent a glorious week on the island of Crete last summer and so, naturally, I’ve been wanting to do a program about it ever since. But I could never have imagined the turn it’s taken: Michael Herzfeld, a renowned Harvard anthropologist has been studying the politics and ethics of animal theft – something that’s been practiced in the mountain villages of Crete for eons. What does it have to do with the way we live today? Plenty.

Friday: Cinnamon – Everybody’s Favorite Spice: Where it comes from, why it’s prized, and how to work kitchen magic with it.

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oct 27-31 Programs

The BIG NEWS in the week ahead: Please join us for Young Muslims and the Media, the second program in our Inside Islam series coming up this Wednesday, Oct. 29th. Reza Aslan will be our main guest along with videoblogger Baba Ali and other savvy young Muslims trying to confront stereotypes and change the face of Islam. Question: Can you really fight terror with YouTube?

Monday: Life in a Jar: If it hadn’t been for three high school girls in Kansas, we might never have known about the work of Irene Sendler, an unsung heroine of the Holocaust. A Polish Catholic social worker, she saved about 2,500 Jewish children from the Waraw ghetto. We’ll talk with one of the girls, Sendler’s translator and the state of anti-semitism in Poland today.

Tuesday: My Father’s Paradise: Ariel Sabar is one of a handful of people on earth who speaks Aramaic, the ancient language of Jesus. That’s because he is a Kurdish Jew. He tells the amazing story of his people who’ve managed to keep their faith, their language, and their culture alive over nearly three thousand years despite the greatest odds.

Wednesday: Young Muslims and the New Media: Way beyond Al Jazeera, the expansion of open media in the Arab world is changing the socio-political landscape of the region in dramatic ways. We’ll consider Noor - the Turkish soap opera likened to Dallas and dubbed into street Arabic that has become so wildly popular that imams in Saudi Arabia and Gaza have issued fatwas against anyone who watches it. Nobody pays attention. Or the work of Ali Ardekani, a 33-year-old videoblogger who cast as Baba Ali. He’s funny and hip and has a huge following. He’s one of a growing movement of young Muslims trying to change the face of Islam through new media. If Osama bin Laden were really smart, he’d be paying attention.

Thursday: Here on Earth Folklorist-in-Residence Harold Scheub joins us with his unique take on the folklore of Election 2008.

Friday: The fact that Halloween happens to fall on a Friday this year has not been lost on us. So our approach to food this week will be a bit deviant: You’re invited to join us at a table for the undead where you’ll find our favorite ghoul, Neil Whitehead. He can describe, with relish, just what vampires eat.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oct 20-24 Programs

Want to know what’s coming up next week?

Monday: Obama supporters may be justifiably horrified by the racism that’s been incited by the McCain campaign. But what about the potshots aimed at Sarah Palin? Richard Harwood says we are all in this together and nobody gets to higher ground unless we all hold ourselves accountable.

Tuesday: British geography teacher Daniel Raven-Ellison had an idea: choose a city, walk across it, and take a photograph every eight steps. He’s done it now in London, Mumbai, and Mexico City. He calls his project “Urban Earth.”

Wednesday: Raphael Kadushin, the editor of a new anthology of gay travel writing called Big Trips, says gays make the best travel writers because they don’t get sidetracked by tourism trivia but focus instead of the stuff that counts: love, adventure, and a new sense of place.

Thursday: Well, I expect to be preparing all week for this one: The New York Times recently profiled Alaa al Aswany, the Egyptian journalist who is also the world’s best-selling Arab-language novelist. His new novel, Chicago, is set in The Windy City with a cast of American and Arab characters “achingly human.”

Friday: (thank God) Marcella Hazan, the duenna of Italian cooking who single-handedly introduced Americans to Italian regional cooking, swore she would never write another book, but she couldn’t help herself. Borrowing from Fellini, it’s called simply Amarcord: Marcella Remembers. Don’t miss it.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oct 13-17 Programs

My Pick of the Week: Go figure, but I have to admit that the most fun I had on the radio this week was with John Nichols who is an absolute wizard as a pitching partner. He managed to build so much momentum during yesterday’s program that, after setting an arbitrary goal of 50 calls, actually generated 74! By the end of the hour, we had raised altogether over $4000 which I didn’t think was possible. So thank you so much, all of you, for making Thursday a banner pledge day for Here on Earth.

We have an indigenous theme going next week:

Monday: Columbus Day, not such a big deal here in the Midwest, but a huge deal in New York where I grew up among Italian-Americans. Since coming to Wisconsin I have become sensitized to the way Native Americans think about Columbus Day, much like a Jew who discovers the Palestinian word for “The Catastrophe.” So we’re going to focus the program around the theme of Indigenous Intelligence and talk with the director of the film Whaledreamers, about an Australian aboriginal tribe fighting for its right to existence.

Tuesday: Uwen Akpan is a Jesuit priest from Nigeria who won a prestigious award for his first collection of short stories, Say You’re One of Them, which he completed while working on his MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan.

Wednesday: Mami Wata (pidgin English for Mother Water) A major exhibit celebrating African water spirits is opening soon at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, honoring the essential sacred nature of water. We’ll talk with UW-Madison Professor of African Art Henry Drewell, curator and sailor.

Thursday: The gifted modern nomad Stephanie Elizondo Griest (Where in the World is Stephanie?) stopped her wanderings long enough to write a probing memoir titled Mexican Enough: My Life Between the Borderlines. She’s coming to Wisconsin to take part in next week’s Book Festival and she joins live on the air today at 3:00.

Friday: We’re working on a program with Chris Fair, a political analyst and the author of the intriguing (cook?) book, Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations.

As Bugs Bunny says, That’s all, Folks!


Friday, October 03, 2008

Oct 6-10 Programs

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes. The gift this week is that only two out of our five programs will be devoted to soliciting your support for WPR during this Fall Membership Drive. So if you’re as grateful for that reprieve, as I am, and you enjoy Here On Earth, especially when the programming is uninterrupted, how about a show of gratitude by pledging your support on line at or calling in a pledge to 888- 202-2552. We are oh so grateful for your support.

Monday: Creationism Goes Global: Is creationism contagious? For years, this peculiarly American movement seemed to be contained within our borders. But in the last several years, creationism had become a global phenomenon, as readily exportable as hip-hop and bluejeans. Science historian Ron Numbers joins us along with WPR’s Steve Paulson who just returned from a trip to Turkey, one of the country’s where creationism is taking hold.

Tuesday: Refusing to be Enemies: Twelve women living in Ann Arbor, Michigan – 6 of them Arabs and the other 6 Jews – manage to accomplish together what world leaders have thus far failed to do: make peace across the great divide.

Wednesday: Monique and the Mango Rains: Years ago, when we first launched Here on Earth, we did a program with Kris Holloway, a Peace Corps volunteer whose assignment in Mali led to an extraordinary friendship with a midwife named Monique. Ironically, after Kris came back home, Monique died in childbirth, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Kris joins us with an update.

Thursday: John Nichols: A Global Perspective on the US Presidential Election.

Friday: Will Allen, ex basketball star turned urban farmer, joins to talk about Growing Power, his urban farm in downtown Milwaukee and what he plans to do with his MacArthur genius grant.

Don’t touch that dial! And don’t forget to pledge to WPR –

Thank you Thank you Thank you!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sept 29 - Oct 3 Programs

It’s been a challenging and eventful week: If you didn’t get a chance to listen to “Heavy Metal Islam,” the first program in our new series, Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates, please check it out and let us know what you think. We’re producing this series in a whole new way, asking for direct feedback and help in shaping it through our interactive blog:

Our October Membership Drive begins this week but before you start groaning, here’s the good news: Here on Earth gets a reprieve. We will only be actively pitching your support in three out of eight hours. Mercy.

Here’s the line-up:

Monday: WHEN JUDGES MAKE FOREIGN POLICY, Noah Feldman describes the sharp rift in the US Supreme Court that has emerged since 9/11 on international law. The justices, writes Feldman, “are doing as much as anyone to shape America's fortunes in an age of global terror and economic turmoil.”

Tuesday: Hooman Majd, born in Tehran and grandson of an ayatollah, serves as translator for Iranian President Ahmadinejad. He unravels the conundrums of his native country in his book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.

Wednesday: The Sugar Creek Morland Project: An Anglo-American mission of friendship and understanding uniting children who share a common language but are separated by an ocean. Verona, Wisconsin meets Ipswich, England.

Thursday: Refusing to be Enemies: Twelve women living in Ann Arbor, Michigan – 6 of them Arabs and the other 6 Jews – manage to accomplish together what world leaders have thus far failed to do: make peace across the great divide.

Friday: We’re trying to get Will Allen, ex basketball star turned urban farmer to join us on the air to talk about Growing Power and what he plans to do with his MacArthur genius grant.

N.B. We could really use your help in lining up some great food programs with an international focus in the coming weeks. Mushrooms? Truffles?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sept 22-26 Programs


Monday: You won't want to miss this one either: For this year’s Fall Equinox Poetry Circle of the Air Molly Peacock has chosen a really edgy poem written by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam in 1918, on the heels of the Bolshevik Revolution. Very hard-hitting; has much to say about our own sense of sturm und drang in this highly pivotal political year. Check out the poem on our website:

Tuesday: We discovered a true Here-on-Earthian in Jon Miller, Executive Producer of the NPR series "Worlds of Difference," and "Think Global," the 2005 Public Radio Collaboration on globalization.

Wednesday: Daughters of India: A program that will make you reassess your impressions of Indian women, not as victims of repression, but as spirited and self-empowered professionals competing in a male society, entering the marketplace, and breaking with centuries-old traditions.

Thursday: You've heard tales of the Mujahababes, and the Girls of Riyadh on Here on Earth. Now get ready for Heavy Metal Islam! This premier program in our year-long new media series we’re producing with UW-Madison Global Studies, (and lots of help from our friends– check out our blog: features scholar/musician Mark Levine who jams with Moroccan bands, members of a heavy metal Bagdad band, and Allah only knows who else.

Food Friday: The Big Apple Family and what we all owe to the bears!

It wouldn't be worth doing any of this without you!

Please join us with your ears, minds, and hearts wide open.

Thanks so much,


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sept 15-19 Programs

Hello Here-on-Earthlings!

I hope you have listened to our program on last Thursday about Nation Beat. They are such a joyful band to listen to that all of us in the studio were clapping and dancing with them. Pure fun.

Jean is coming back on Monday and we have prepared the following programs for the next week.

Monday: Being Young and Arab in America. How does it feel to be a problem? W.E.B. Du Bois first posed this question in his classic, The Souls of Black Folk, and now, over a century later, Moustafa Bayoumi explores the same question through the first-hand accounts of seven young Arab and Muslim Americans.

Tuesday: Field Guide to the British. Sarah Lyall is a London correspondent for the New York Times who has written in the words of critic Malcolm Gladstone, "an exquisite, hilarious, and devastating dissection of the British psyche."

Wednesday: Prescription for Survival. 87-year old Dr. Bernard Lown is a cardiologist who invented the defibrillator before cofounding the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He joins us to talk about his Prescription for Survival.

Thursday: Beatrice's Goat is a children's book that tells the story of a little girl growing in Uganda too poor to go to school. The gift of a goat named Luck changed her life. Beatrice is now working on her masters degree at the Clinton School for Public Service in Arkansas.

Friday: We are still looking for a food program. Any suggestions?

Lisa Bu
Web Producer
Here on Earth

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sept 8-12 Programs

Dear Here-on-Earthlings,

Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders is a program that was conceived to show who we humans are at our best, and how much we have in common. We set out when we began five years ago in a spirit of adventure and delight to explore other cultures, increase our understanding of our interconnectedness, and bind the world a little closer together. This in the wake of 9/11. So you can imagine how pleased we were this year to be named the recipient of a grant from the Social Sciences Research Council to produce a series of programs called Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates.

The first program in the series will be broadcast on Thursday, September 25. It will feature Mark Levine, author of Heavy Metal Islam, and explore heavy metal bands in Iraq, Iran, Morocco, and other parts of the Muslim world. Apart from the fact that the project suits our mission so well, we’re excited about it because we get to experiment with a whole new way of producing radio that has the potential to expand our impact and grow our audience. So we’re asking you for input. Watch for information on our Inside Islam blog which should go online within a week.

While we’re waiting to get up and running, and while I’m out of town this week, we’re offering two encore programs we think will get you primed:

Monday: Salman Rushdie talks about his latest novel and gets huffy when I ask him about his relationship with Islam.

Tuesday: Former NPR reporter-turned-activist Sarah Chayes reports on her latest trials and misadventures as the head of a start-up cottage industry making soaps and perfumes in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a notorious Taliban stronghold. Brave woman.

Wednesday: They call him the Jimi Hendrix of India, but that’s only part of the story. Today at 3:00, enjoy a live performance by Prasanna, an electric guitarist who deftly combines rock, jazz and classic Indian carnatic music into a sound all his own. We’ll feature him in advance to his performance this weekend at the UW-Madison World Music Festival.

Thursday: We’re also working on a show with Syrian jazz singer Gaida Hinnawi. She’s also slated to play the World Music Festival, but if things go according to plan, you’ll get to hear her Here on Earth first. When Lori Skelton, subbing for me last month, introduced Gaida’s mix of New York jazz cool with Middle Eastern dynamics she had our blog bursting with comments like “who was that?!?” and “where can I get her CD?”

Friday: Calling all beer lovers! Okay, you’ve already tried matching wine with food, but how about beer? Omnivore Caryl Owens will try anything. Join her for this special Food Friday.

I’ll be back on Monday, September 15, with Moustafa Bayoumi, author of How Does It Feel To Be A Problem: Being Young and Arab in America. He’s one of the featured writers in this year’s Madison Book Festival.

Caio! Y’all come back now, heah?


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Here on Earth's Inside Islam Series

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We're about to launch an exciting new interactive series called Inside Islam. This is a year-long pioneer project we're producing in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Global Studies Center and with funding from the Social Sciences Research Council in New York. Not only does it have the potential to change the way most Americans think about Muslims and Islam, but also the way we Here-on-Earthians think about radio and produce our program!

Let me be specific: A few weeks ago, as part of the preparation for our launch, the Here on Earth team took part in a two-day seminar/workshop on social networking. Not only did the presenters, Sue Schardt and Mary McGrath, teach us how to use some nifty new tools, but more importantly, they opened our minds to the great benefits of getting all of you more actively involved in the process. Open up the gates, they said...there's nothing to be afraid of, and everything to be gained. Hmmm...I had to think about that for a while. This is my baby, after all. Was I really ready to hand it over to day care?

What does all this mean, exactly? Bottom line: we're asking you, our listeners, to partner with us in producing this experimental series. How can you do that? By going to our blog: and posting your thoughts, your contacts, your ideas; stories that you've heard; issues you think we should tackle; people we should interview. The first program in the series will focus on Islamic Heavy Metal bands. (You may have heard Mark Levine, author of Heavy Metal Islam interviewed on Talk of the Nation. It will be broadcast on Thursday, September 25, but we're hoping you won't wait until then to let us hear from you. Touched you last.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sept 1-5 Programs

Dear Here-on-Earthlings,

My pick of the week was last Monday’s show with John Luther Adams, the solitary composer who is endlessly inspired by Alaska. The best way to listen to his cosmic soundscapes is alone in your car, as I was last Saturday while driving to Fond du Lac, or on headphones. I’m going to try listening to his CD In the White Silence meditating. It’s music that makes me feel as if I have whole chains of mountains rising inside me.

We have a short week coming up after Labor Day, and some surprises in store for you:

Monday, Labor Day: While you’re grilling those brats, you can be listening to one of the Here on Earth team’s favorite summer shows: The Sound of Dub with reggae master and poet Kwame Dawes.

Tuesday: Diversity on the Runway: With New York City’s fashion week just around the corner, we decided to do a program prompted by the phenomenal success of the July issue of Vogue Italia which featured all black models and sold out in the United States.

Wednesday: Although her work was once criticized as “pseudoscience”, Monica Turner was just named a MacArthur Fellow for her tremendous contributions to the pioneer field of landscape ecology.

Thursday: Descending the Dragon: (Can we really do a program about Vietnam without talking once about the war?) We’re working on a program with National Geographic adventurer and author Jon Bowermaster who set out to discover a new Vietnam by kayaking along its coast in an unprecedented 800 mile voyage. (Not yet confirmed)

Friday: Bless the Garlic! The Egyptians worshiped it, the Greeks detested it, the Romans ate it with delight. Garlic, with its unique odor, qualities, and folklore, belongs to a league of its own among foods. Melissa Clark’s family is obsessed with garlic, even tried to make garlic ice cream. I'll talk to her, a food writer for the New York Times.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Aug 25-29 Programs

Hi Guys,

Hope you caught the show on The Girls of Riyadh. I had no idea what was going on behind those black abayas.

Here’s what’s in store for next week – and by the way, we still could use some help booking Food Friday.

Monday: What would Alaska sound like if it were a symphony? Composer John Luther Adams creates music inspired by the Alaskan landscape. Glacial cool?

Tuesday: Sometimes it really is All In The Family. Sadia Shepard, a young Indian American filmmaker, grew up in a Muslim/ Christian household made even more complicated by the revelation that her Pakistani grandmother was actually Jewish! So let’s see – that makes her a Jewish Christian Muslim Hindu, right? Her parents tell her, “You choose.”

Wednesday: Did the Beijing Olympics change your mind about China? Let us know before Wednesday and we can use your comments to lead off this show. Guests are two NPR reporters, one who was willing to get up for us at 4:30am in Beijing. Send comments to; or post them on my blog, or the brand new The Blog Without Borders. You’ll find a link to it on the front page of Better yet, leave your comments at our Here on Earth hotline: 608- 890-0269. Very cool.

Thursday: Neal Karlen makes a command second appearance, this time to talk about the way Yiddish has been used in movies. A great end of summer HoE program. Your reward for hanging in there with us.

And once again we have no Food Friday program booked yet, although Carmen is working on Comfort Food for Breakups.

Thanks for all your help, especially you, Kevin, for suggesting the cheese makers.

This Open Sourcing stuff is really fun. I’m only sorry it took me so long to get the hang of it.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Girls of Riyadh or Sex and the Saudi

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's show with Rajaa Alsanea, the twenty-something author of The Girls of Riyadh who might turn out to be the Betty Friedan of Saudi Arabia, was really eye-opening. Who knew what goes on behind those veils? I was fascinated by the fleeting remark she made about Saudi Arabia being basically a society made up of Bedouin tribes that got rich all of a sudden and hasn't yet had the time to rid itself of its tribal ways. She reminded me of my own immigrant background, growing up in an Old-World southern Italian family only one generation removed from hanging out the sheets to prove the bride is a virgin. What also struck me was how earnest she was, speaking her truth out of a clear sense of social responsibility, quite in contrast with that saucy devil-may-care narrator of hers.

Today's program provides the perfect opportunity to introduce an upcoming Here on Earth new media series we're all really excited about. It's called Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates, and the first program - Heavy Metal Islam - will be broadcast on Thursday, September 25. Mark Levine, a scholar/musician who wrote the book by the same name, will be the primary guest, but we're hoping to get a lot of other voices - preferably Muslim -into the program and we're hoping for help from our friends. All suggestions and ideas for how to make this program and its successors really hot are most welcome.

A Day in the Life of Your Local Cheese Maker

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008

Thanks to Kevin who responded to my call for help on this week's Food Friday, we're going to be doing a program about local cheese-making with two of the best in the trade - Felix Thalhammer (Capri cheese) and Mary Falk (LoveTree Farm) way up in Grant County where she has to chase the wolves away from her sheep. Odd thing is all three of the Wisconsin cheese makers we contacted either have injuries or are ailing - hazards of the trade - we'll pursue that theme tomorrow. And thanks, Kevin! Looks like this blog stuff is actually working, now that I've caught on to it. Anybody else out there with suggestions for food topics with an international twist, by all means, keep those cards and letters coming.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Driving Across the Sahara

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jeroen Van Bergeijk's hair raising road trip across the Sahara (My Mercedes is Not For Sale) reminded me of the time back in 1971 when I traveled with my first husband through the Tunisian desert in an old but trusty VW bug with a hired driver. This was the real Sahara and the dunes were huge blank mountains that rose up all around us on both sides. The little car's engine was full of sand that rattled around and around inside. There were two little girls way up high on the crest of one of the dunes, watching for the first sign of us as we drove into their village. The second they spied the car, they raced each other down the steep side of the dune and came right up to the car window, holding up their dolls for us to see. The dolls were wrapped in layers of dark red cloth scraps. They each had big breasts, but no faces, just like the little girls' Bedouin mothers. The bodies of the dolls stood out against the Sahara, but their blank faces blended right in. I still have both those dolls. I keep them on one of the shelves in my library bookcase. Here's a poem I wrote about them called "Bedouin..."

She climbed the far side of the dune,
a dot
above a curving line. Then
sudden as a shout she came running, the
small breath rattling like seeds in her lungs.
She held a doll in the car window,
a clutch of shreds begged
from her mother: coconut-hard breasts,
a bit of tin, a red
bandana. But my mind stopped at the face -
a featureless white patch she held
against the eyeless
Sahara - I watched it fade
drop back
into Allah.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aug 18-22 Programs

Hi Guys,

The truth is it's damn hard to program the show in the last half of August –- nothing happening, everybody on vacation, and the mattresses are on the march. But we've managed, nonetheless, to come up with a week’s worth of programs –- almost. For some strange reason, the Food Friday programs which are usually the easiest to book are drawing blanks lately. We'd love to have your suggestions on international cuisines, new food trends, great cooks, unusual cookbooks, memorable kitchen stories, characters, etc. Send your ideas to, or post them on my blog, or on our new producers’ blog. And thank you!

Monday: WERN music host Lori Skelton fills in for me on Monday with a preview of the upcoming World Music Festival (UW-Madison, Sept. 12-14)

Tuesday: The last time John Nichols was on the show he made my jaw drop by suggesting that we do a program about What Bush Got Right. Lo and behold it shows up on the cover of this month’s Newsweek. John gives it a spin by talking about the ways in which Obama and McCain are each likely to follow in Bush’s footsteps.

Wednesday: Now this is a hairbrained idea: Buy a beat up Mercedes and drive it through the Sahara to see what you can get for it on the Third World used car market. But that’s exactly what an allegedly really smart Dutchman set out to do. It’s one of the strangest road trips you’ll ever hear about: From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou -- My Mercedes is (Not) For Sale by Jeroen Van Bergeik.

Thursday: Joe’s been working on a wrap-up program about the Olympics: Here’s the question for the week: Did the Beijing Olympics change your mind about China? How would you rate it as a PR campaign?

Friday: Help! Help! Calling all foodies! Our cupboard of food ideas is bare, and that’s a shame with all this glorious harvest produce pouring into the market.

I’ll be spending the weekend in Aspen, attending a memorial service for a very dear friend.



Friday, August 15, 2008

What Just Hit Us

Friday, August 15, 2008 (oh my goodness, it's the Feast of the Assumption!)

Okay, okay, I've been a lousy blogger. I admit it. But all that's about to change. It took two crackshot media consultants and a tw0-day workshop on social networking to get me to see the light. Sue Schardt and Mary McGrath arrived in Madison on Tuesday and hit the ground running and we're not exactly sure what just hit us. But here I am blogging about blogging, plus as of yesterday every member of the Here on Earth production team has a Facebook page, plus a page for the show, plus we've been Twittered, and just this morning Joe created a really spiffy Here on Earth - the Blog Without Borders complete with video. Check it out! All this in the span of three days!
That's Sue of SchardtMEDIA to the right.

P.S. The purpose of all this is to get you guys to help us produce the show. I'm not kidding.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Aug 11-15 Programs

Dear Friends,

This will be an interesting week. The Here on Earth team is about to about to make the leap into cyberspace! On Wednesday and Thursday we’ll be attending a training seminar that will teach us how to use social networking and other new media tools (Twitter, Face Book, MySpace, etc.) to extend the reach of the program and build an interactive global community. Since I don’t really know anything about all this, we thought we’d start with a program about it on Monday. Lisa found an expert in Australia…

Monday: Mark Pesce, one of the early pioneers in virtual reality, is an expert on the future of technology and the author of The Human Network: Sharing, Knowledge and Power in the 21st Century.

Tuesday: I spent last weekend at the Harwood Institute for Public Innovators in the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge on the border of Washington and Oregon. There I met an extraordinary man -- Jerry White -- who lost his leg from a land mine explosion while camping in Israel 20 years ago. Now he’s the director of Survivorcorps, an organization that works to rehabilitate and empower people all over the world who are victims of the consequences of war. He’s a happy guy, and he loves his work. You may have seen him interviewed recently on Good Morning America.

Wednesday: While we’re in training this week, you’ve be enjoying listening to the incomparable Satish Kumar talk about his walks on the wild side.

Thursday: An American couple with six figure salaries chucks it all to sail into the Wild Blue Yonder and sends back Notes from Patagonia.

Friday: Any ideas? We could use a little help from our friends on a great mid-August food show. Send your suggestions to

And now, on to OutSourcifying!


Friday, August 01, 2008

Aug 4-8 Programs

Dear Friends and Fans,

Monday: Remote Area Medical: Get ready for the wild and wooly world of Stan Brock, who was once seen wrestling an anaconda on ABC’s Wild Kingdom! Now he flies portable medical clinics and teams of volunteer doctors to set up portable medical clinics in third world countries including, and guess which country just joined his list – the United States! Next stop? Tennesee.

Tuesday: Capoeira! Five centuries ago, slaves from West Africa who ended up in Brazil practiced capoeira as a martial art, a game, and a way to keep their native cultures alive. Since then it’s been spreading like a fever through the forests of Brazil, and landing in places as distant as Berkeley, California and Madison, Wisconsin. But as capoeira gets farther and farther from home, is it still recognizable?

Wednesday: After decades of harassment, there are signs that transgender communities in India and Cuba are finally getting accepted. India has a transgendered TV talk show host, and in Cuba, gender reassignment surgeries are being routinely performed. Progress? You decide.

Thursday: Tuna! Richard Ellis, author of The Book of Sharks, introduces us to a fish that can weigh in at 1500 pounds and speed up to 55 miles per hour - an Atlantic northern bluefin can travel from New England to the Mediterranean, then turn around and swim back; one of the biggest, fastest, and most highly evolved marine animals now hovering on the brink of extinction. I once visited a tuna museum in Sardinia and marveled.

Friday: In honor of the start of the Beijing Olympics, we are working on a program about Chinese eating.

I’ll be spending the weekend on the Columbia River in Washington with fellows from Richard Harwood’s Institute for Public Innovation. I’ll let you know how it goes.


Friday, July 25, 2008

July 28 - Aug 1 Programs

Dear Friends,

We’re closing in on the last week in July – alas! The older we get, the faster summer flies by. But what better time to bring you a program about HOW TO COOK AT THE SOUTH POLE? (don’t miss this week’s Food Friday)

Also, if you happened to miss today’s program on The Natural Step: The Science of Sustainability, you’ll want to check it out. One of the best holistic systems approaches to sustainability I’ve come across. David Cook, the Chief Exec of TNS International, helped me understand how all our problems, from gas prices to lay-offs, are interconnected, and how initiatives as diverse as composting and rain gardens all contribute to the solution. We touched on so many things – from politics to business to government, weaving it all together.

Here’s the line-up for the coming week:

Monday: Barack Obama’s International Tour: Some are hailing it a global victory lap; others say it was a big mistake. John Nichols weighs in and we may have a journalist from Deutsche Welle joining us as well.

Tuesday: When Elizabeth Pisani is asked what she does for a living, she replies, “sex and drugs”. As an epidemiologist who has studied AIDS for the past fourteen years, she knows her stuff. Elizabeth Pisani joins us to talk about international AIDS prevention and her new book, The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS.

Wednesday: Books That Open the World: We had so much fun talking about great summer reads for kids, we thought why not do the same thing for grown-ups? So we invited NPR’s Alan Cheuse to join us with his list of new favorites.

Thursday: If you take a look at the U.S.’s first Olympics in St. Louis in 1904, you’ll find a lot of the same rhetoric being used in Beijing today. According to Susan Brownell, who has lifelong experience in Chinese sports as an athlete and anthropologist, the Chinese government is using the Olympics as a model to build a fair and powerful nation. Will the Olympics change China?

Friday: Cooking in the Coldest Place on Earth: Forget the cookbooks and the recipes, you have to be really creative to cook at the South Pole where ingredients take at least a week to thaw and foods like pasta turn to instant mush.

Good stuff, huh?

We’ve added a new occasional Thursday feature, by the way: The Here on Earth Mailbag, with content provided exclusively by you. Didn’t get a chance to be on the air? Send your comments to or call 1-608-890-0269, and you get a second chance.


Friday, July 18, 2008

July 21-25 Programs

Salve, Amici!

Here’s what’s coming up this week on Here on Earth:

Monday: Samuel Johnson once said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. With Democrats and Republicans waging a war of words over which candidate is the true patriot, how do you weigh in? Join us for what promises to be a lively discussion about the nature of patriotism and its place in this year’s presidential election.

Tuesday: Imagine an American summer camp where no one speaks English and you can’t either. Welcome to the world of language camps, where traditional activities like canoeing and hiking are conducted completely in Spanish, Chinese, or even Arabic. We'll be joined by Donna Clementi of the Concordia Language Villages, and a new camp in the Fox Valleys of Wisconsin.

Wednesday: Life is good for Binti, a young girl living in Malawi. She has a role on a radio play and goes to a prestigious school. But when her father dies of AIDS and she’s sent to live with resentful relatives, Binti has to find a way to remake her life. You might recognize this plot from The Heaven Shop, the latest book from Canada’s award-winning children’s author, Deborah Ellis.

Thursday: “I don’t believe the solutions…will come from the left or the right…They will come from islands of people with integrity who want to do something.” So said the founder of The Natural Step, a program for sustainability based on the laws of thermodynamics that was founded by Swedish scientist Karl-Henrik Robert. Followers include Whistler, BC, IKEA, and groups in Eugene, Oregon, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Friday: In order to save an endangered species, you have to eat it! Or so says the coalition of groups behind Renewing America’s Food Traditions, a project committed to restoring the unique foods of North America as elements of living cultures and regional cuisines.

Think Woody: That’s all, Folks!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 14-18 Programs

Dear Here-on-Earthians:

Here’s the line-up for next week:

Monday:When Africa Goes Pop: One of the rising movements in American indie-rock comes out of West Africa. Obscure recordings from the seventies are suddenly flying off the shelves, finding new fans in record stores and on-line. So why are white hipsters listening to old school African fun? If you like music, this will be a fun show to listen to (produced by Joe Hardtke, our musician/drummer/tech guy).

Tuesday: The ex-director of the Royal Geographical Society and expert on all matters Amazonian – John Hemming, author of Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon, regales us with stories of the river’s amazing and tangled history. He knows whereof he speaks – this guy’s done it all: gotten hopelessly lost, contracted malaria, hacked trails through dense rainforest.

Wednesday: Kids Read: In this first post-Harry Potter summer, are you looking for good books for your children? We have some great recommendations. They’re not only fun, but also give young minds an early start on becoming a world citizen.

Thursday: Gregorian Chant Hits the Top of the British Pop Chart: In a quiet monastery deep in the Vienna woods a group of Benedictine monks have become pop stars since their album shot to #7 this spring. What prompted them to get into the music business? And what’s behind the sudden popularity of this ancient style of sacred chant?

Friday: How the California wine industry trumped France: In 1976, the wine world was stunned when red and white wines from unknown California vintners beat out established French wines in a blind tasting. Today, California and France stand at the forefront of a global interest in wine production and consumption. What has happened since the “Judgement of Paris?” Uncork a favorite bottle and listen in as guest host Lori Skelton and author George M. Taber explore the many pleasures to be found between Napa Valley and Bordeaux.

My Pick of Last Week: Thursday with Salman Rushdie; Friday with Adam Gollner and The Fruit Hunters. What’s your?

Thanks for listening and stay tuned!


Sunday, July 06, 2008

July 7-11 Programs

Dear Here-on-Earthians,

Salman Rushdie is coming to Madison this week. He'll be giving a reading at Border's West on Friday at 7:00pm. But if you can't make it, you can talk with him directly Thursday at 3:00 on Here on Earth! Here's what else we've got in store for you this week:

Monday: Muhaja Babes: Meet the New Middle East -– Young, Sexy and Devout: veiled young women in the Middle East who combine traditional piety with a secular sensibility, wearing tight bluejeans with their headscarves, following pop stars and religious leaders with equal devotion. Guest: Allegra Stratton former BBC producer.

Tuesday: Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique: According to Michael S. Gazzaniga -– one of the world's leading neuroscientists -– language, memory, emotion and perception determine the difference.

Wednesday: We're hoping to reschedule Guantanamo Bay Diary. We promised you this program last week but got it back on the docket. It was Google that got Mahvish Khan to Gitmo. Then a student of the University of Miami School of Law and native speaker of Pashto, Mahvish was the perfect candidate to work as a translator for Guantánamo Bay detainees. But she could never have anticipated the stories that she would hear on her trips down to Cuba.

Thursday is Salman Rushdie Day. His latest book is a historical novel that goes back and forth between 16th century Florence and the hedonistic Mughal capital of India. But we'll try to get him to talk about sex and Satan as well.

Friday: Ever tasted a cloudberry, an ice cream bean, or a peanut butter fruit? From the apple orchards of Washington to the forests of Bali and beyond, Adam Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters, traveled the globe in search of its most delicious and exotic fruits.

Have a great week!


Sunday, June 29, 2008

June 30 - July 4 Programs

Dear Hereonearthlings,

Jean is coming back on air on Monday. We have missed her because the office sounds too quiet without her presence and laughter. Here's what we have lined up for her next week:

Monday: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: An Environmental Success Story. Since 1970 the lands and waters of Lake Superior's Apostle Islands have been protected by the federal government as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, thanks to Gaylord Nelson, father of Earth Day. But thirty-five years ago, people said this could never happen.

Tuesday: Canada Apologizes to its Native Peoples for its Boarding School Policy, following Australia's example. So what about us?

Wednesday: Jean talks to Valzhyna Mort, a young Belarusian poet who is a rising star in the international poetry world.

Thursday: For an insider perspective on what goes on inside Gitmo, join us for: My Guantanamo Diary. An Afghan translator gets into Guantanamo and manages by stealth to record a number of candid interviews with Afghan detainees.

Friday: How has German "hamburg steak" evolved into hamburgers, an American icon? Jean and her guest trace how the hamburger has gone from a little-known, greasy-spoon treat sold at fairs and carnivals to a mass-produced mammoth that is almost omnipresent across the globe.

Last, some improvement on our website over the past two "quiet" weeks: First, I have created a RSS news feed to allow you to receive latest program update automatically from your news feed reader such as Bloglines. Second, there are so many ways to listen to our program (on-air, online, MP3, podcast, streaming) and to contact us (phone, email, IM, Facebook) that it could become confusing. Now a new "how to listen" and "contact" page should help you sort out your options. If you have other ideas on how to improve our web site, please send them in from our "Comments" web page. I would love to hear about them.

Thanks. Cheers.

Lisa Bu
Web Producer
Here on Earth: Radio Without Borders
Wisconsin Public Radio

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 16-27 Programs

Dear Friends,

Hail, and Farewell, at least for a couple of weeks while I’ll be on vacation with my family. Since love is lovelier the second time around, we hope you’ll enjoy listening to some of our best Here on Earth programs from the past year. We made our choices based in part on your comments and responses. I’ll be back in the saddle on Monday, June 30, starting with a program about the extraordinary transformation that Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands have undergone since being declared a national wilderness preserve.

  • June 16th - (repeat from 4/23/07) – Is Peace A Dirty Word?
  • June 17th - (repeat from 1/29/08) – The Dead Beat: The Art of Obituaries
  • June 18th - (repeat from 4/11/08) – Lila Downs’ Ranchero Music
  • June 19th - (repeat from 6/21/07) – Poetry Circle of the Air: Maxine Kumin (featuring the Excrement Poem)
  • June 20th - (repeat from 5/25/07) – How to Pick a Peach

  • June 23rd - (repeat from 3/25/08) – Young America and the Middle East (featuring Jewish-American journalist Gideon Yago and Iranian-American Reza Aslan)
  • June 24th - (repeat from 7/16/07) – The World Without Us
  • June 25th - (repeat from 5/21/08) - Street Cries from Around the World (starring the ever-amazing Annie Zanzillotto)
  • June 26th - (repeat from 8/23/07) – Edith Piaf and the Street Singers of Paris
  • June 27th - (repeat from 3/21/08) – Yerba Mate
See you on the 30th with a whole new line-up!


Saturday, June 07, 2008

June 9-13 Programs

Dear Friends,

Here’s what’s in the line-up for Here on Earth programs next week:

Monday: My Cousin the Saint: This is a new twist on geneology and the search for roots: Justin Catanoso was a typically lapsed American Catholic when he discovered that his late cousin was about to be canonized by Pope John Paul II. Now, you have to understand what drew me to this topic: I lost a long-standing debate with my husband over the issue of whether the Pope has the right to make saints when my position was completely compromised by, of all people, – the Pope himself! Plus, Justin happened to come from a family in Calabria, my paternal homeland.

Tuesday: In his new book, A Thousand Hills, Stephen Kinzer tells the astonishing story of how Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda, seized power in his genocide-shattered country and brought about one of the most successful revolutions of the modern era. I hope he doesn’t leave out the role of the women.

Wednesday: Who Owns Antiquities? Should they be returned to the countries where they were found? Museum directors say no, but countries such as Italy, Greece, Turkey, and China are all clamoring for their return, and have passed laws against their future export. We’ll talk with James Cuno, director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Thursday: One of New York City’s most venerable institutions, The Center for Traditional Music and Dance, just held a festival and put out a CD in honor of its 40th anniversary. Starting with Balkan immigrants in the Bronx, the Center now spans traditions from all over the globe, bringing age-old enemies side by side on the same stage. Talk about diversity!

Friday: What kind of diet reduces miles rather than calories? Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon’s 100-Mile Diet, which has taken off as a new way to think – and eat – locally. We’ll talk with Alisa about the challenge she and James set for themselves: to eat only food produced within 100 miles of their British Columbian apartment for one year. Can eating locally really help save the planet?



Saturday, May 31, 2008

June 2-6 Programs

Hello Friends, Thursday has rolled around once again and it’s time to let you in on what the Here on Earth team has in store for you this coming week:

Monday: China’s Earthquake Generation: Our mission, as you know, is to deliver good news whenever we can, so we tend to stay shy of stories about natural disasters. But when we began hearing that in the aftermath of China’s earthquake, hundreds of students had lined up to donate blood and supplies while others went to the earthquake zone, traveling more than 1,000 miles to distribute aid, we knew we had a Here on Earth story.

Tuesday: Green Collar Jobs: What are they and where are they? John Foley, the director of SAGE, the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, joins us to talk about green economics.

Wednesday:Hardcore Zen: The story of a punk whose lifelong quest for truth led him through a path from the aggressive beats of hardcore punk music to the monster movie studios in Tokyo to a temple where he discovered Zen Buddhism. Brad Warner is a Zen monk, a musician, a filmmaker, and the author of Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies, and the Truth about Reality.

Thursday: We’ve heard that The Daily Show is where young Americans get their news. But is it the same in the UK? What about Australia? And should every news story be turned into a joke?

Friday: It’s not Valentine’s Day, but who cares? Any day is a good day to talk about Chocolate: Chocolatier Gail Ambrosius has been all over Central and Latin America, visiting cocoa growers. It’s a little like going to the vineyard before you make the wine.

It’s been a long week. I’m out’a here!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

You may have been surprised and delighted, as I was, to hear a promo for this Thursday's Here on Earth program broadcast in Spanish in a sweet little girl's voice. That was Constanza Serrani (a.k.a. Liborio - she changed her name), our student producer from Argentina who convinced us to do a program about Mafalda, the influential Argentine comic strip that features a six-year-old wunderkind famous for her witty political quips and ironic observations about life. The comic strip is intended for an adult audience, a little like Peanuts' Charlie Brown, and its popularity has spread throughout Europe and even into China. Isn't it about time we Americans were introduced? I hope you'll be listening tomorrow and let us know what you think.

Also, we're adding a new weekly feature to our programming: A Here on Earth Mailbag. Beginning next Monday, June 2, I'll be reading some listener comments from the previous week's programs. We figure it's one way to keep you listening through the end of the hour, and of letting you know that we really do read them and want more, more more!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hi Everybody!

Here ‘s what’s coming up on Here on Earth the last week in May:

Monday, Memorial Day: Naples vs. the Nazis: we explore a long-kept secret left over from the last world war: how the Neapolitans fought a guerilla war against the Nazis during World War I, with John Domini, the author of a memoir in progress: Cooking the Octopus: Discovering Naples, My Father, and Myself.

Tuesday: The Garbage Warrior: Michael Reynolds builds houses out of garbage -- literally. He's the subject of The Garbage Warrior, a documentary about his adventures building what he calls "earthships", off-grid sustainable communities made out of beer cans, old tires, and plastic bottles. We'll talk with director, Oliver Hodge, and the Garbage Warrior himself.

Wednesday: American Universities Go Overseas: From Kuwait to Singapore, American universities are expanding. At Kean University, plans for a campus in China are underway. At the University of Washington, a program in Abu Dhabi teaches recent UAE graduates the skills they need to make it in the contemporary workforce. Guests: Kean University President Dawood Farahi; University of Washington program coordinator Marisa Nickle.

Thursday: Mafalda: a comic strip for adults from Argentina, it features a five-year-old girl named Mafalda who is deeply concerned about humanity, world peace, and the current state of society. Written and drawn by the Argentine cartoonist Quino, Mafalda is a huge hit all over Latin America, Europe, and elsewhere, with ambitions to take on the US next.

Friday: “All you need is love. And wine. And beer. And food”, that’s the motto for the next festival of food and music at the University of Gastronomical Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, an institution dedicated exclusively to the study of food where nobody ever touches a pot.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Street Cries

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I just did one of the best Here on Earth programs ever, thanks to the wizardry of poet/performance artist Annie Lanzilotto and her sidekick, singer/songwriter DePree. Street Cries! Who would have thought that a program about something as commonplace, raw, vulgar, and oh so not midwestern could evoke such a soulful response! We had some wonderful sound lined up from Annie's collection of street cries from all over the world to use in the program, but what callers spontaneously supplied was even better - a garbanzo seller from India, peanut and hot dog vendors at a ballgame, a Vietnamese fish vendor, even an Egyptian hawking cotton candy in Arabic - and so many callers recreating these soul cries right on the air! It was what God intended a talk show should be. The poet in me, the street hawker, rose to the occasion, and Joe Hardtke, our engineer, was just as thrilled. Now, why can't we do that more often? Any ideas?

Friday, May 16, 2008

May 19-23 Programs

Dear Here-on-Earthlings,

Here's what's coming up on Here on Earth:

Monday: Colin Tudge, a BBC commentator and the author of 14 books on farming, food, and ecology, argues in Feeding People is Easy, that we can solve the global food crisis by reverting to small farming practices.

Tuesday: Meet two heroic women who have transformed their war trauma into a force for truth and healing.

Wednesday: We are still working on it.

Thursday: People all over the world read and write science fiction. What do they have in common? Jean Feraca talks with a science fiction buff participating in this year's International Science Fiction Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

Friday: Whad'a they have that we ain't got? Barry Levinson, the founder of the Mustard Museum in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, reports on his recent mustard-tasting tour of Dijon, France.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, May 09, 2008

May 12-16 Programs

Dahlings, (And by the way, didn’t you love Neal Kernan’s take on Yiddish? Who knew?)

We have a stellar line-up stacked up for you this week – I’m almost sorry I won’t be here for most of it. I’ll be hosting Monday’s program on The Counterfeiters, then heading west for a romp in the California wine country. Veronica Rueckert will be lighting up the airwaves in my place.

Monday: If you haven’t yet seen this year’s Best Foreign Film, The Counterfeiters, you’ve missed a great film experience. It’s the story of a Jewish master counterfeiter who gets sent to Auschwitz where the Nazis force him to head up a counterfeiting operation to help them win the war. It’s based on a true story, and we’ll be talking with Lawrence Malkin who wrote the book behind the movie, Krueger’s Men. I think the movie might still playing at Sundance.

Tuesday: The Man Who Loved China. Simon Winchester, the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, brings to life the extraordinary story of Joseph Needham, the brilliant Cambridge scientist who unlocked the most closely held secrets of China, its long and astonishing history of invention and technology Here is a tale of what makes men, nations, and, indeed, mankind itself great—related by one of the world's inimitable storytellers.

Wednesday: When in Rome, do as the Romans. But what if you can't figure out what the Romans are doing? Wednesday we'll crack the code on international culture and tradition with the author of the book Going Dutch in Beijing.

Thursday: A Feminist Version of the Qur’an? The Qur'an is said to be untranslatable, and has so far been the domain of male translators. This hour we'll meet the woman who's tackling the Qur'an with a translation highlighting messages of inclusiveness and tolerance. (The Sublime Qur'an translated by Laleh Bakhtiar, a celebrated scholar of Sufism, a writer, translator, and the only woman to have translated The Qur'an.)

Friday: Remember Paris by Pastry? It was one of our favorite programs last spring, worthy, we thought, of another go. Sink your teeth into the sweets of Paris patisseries as we follow a metro stop guide to pastry shops and the deliciousness of April in Paris with Joyce Slayton Mitchell.

And yes, how sweet it is, this Mother’s Day stuff, these apple blossoms and lilacs, this chardonnay…

See ya…


Sunday, May 04, 2008

May 5-9 Programs

Hi Folks!

First off, I apologize for not getting the bulletin out last week, but I hope you enjoyed our live remote from Conserve School up in Land o’ Lakes last Wednesday as much as I did. I was sick as a dog, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Glorious setting in the north woods, great kids that make you feel like there’s hope for the world after all, and amazing teachers like Jeff Rennicke whose story about how he teaches Jack London’s “How to Start a Fire,” was worth the five hour trip.

Here’s what’s in the mix for this coming week:

Monday: Bananas! Have you ever wondered why bananas are so cheap? Since I married a man who grew up in Venezuela, my banana consciousness has been raised, and we’ve both been waiting a long time for a book like Peter Chapman’s Bananas: How the United Fruit Company Shaped the World. It’s an expose of one of the world’s most controversial multinational corporations.

Tuesday: The Story of Yiddish: a gutter language, and an unlikely survivor of the ages, not unlike the Jews themselves, told by Neal Karlen, staff writer for Newsweek and Rolling Stone and a contributor to the New York Times.

Wednesday: 27 Gumballs: an entrepreneurial microfinance scheme created by a group of clever Stanford students who are turning gumballs into cash for the working poor.

Thursday: John Nichols weighs in on the global food crisis.

Friday: What am I When I was in China a few years ago I met a delightful English woman named Suzy Oakes, a world traveler who has eaten the most amazing things all over the world, and created a website to catalog them with 61,000 entries in 256 languages, including Black Foot!

Oh yes, and thank you so much for supporting WPR!


Friday, April 18, 2008

April 18-25 Programs

Hello Here-on-Earthlings!

I’m heading north again this weekend. Randall Davidson and I will be at the Aaron Bohrod Gallery at UW-Fox Valley for a reception and reading this Friday as part of the Fox Valley Literary Festival. Then it’s off to our studios in Green Bay to do a Here on Earth program on sturgeon caviar, and after that I head south again to Wisconsin Rapids to read on Saturday at the Prairie Chicken Festival, although I’ve never written anything about prairie chickens.

Here’s what’s coming up this week on Here on Earth:

Monday: Chasing the Olympic Torch: 37 arrested in London, chaos in Paris, and Free Tibet banners flying from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s been a wild ride for the Olympic Torch, and it’s far from over. Should we boycott the games? Joe says this one promises to be “a firecracker.”

Tuesday: Maronite, Coptic, Armenian Orthodox: As we head into Holy Week in the Eastern Orthodox Church, we sample some of the riches of the Eastern Christian liturgies with Andrew Krivak, a former Jesuit, and the author of A Long Retreat.

Wednesday: Here on Earth travels north to celebrate Earth Day at Conserve School in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin. Our theme: Growing Up Wild: Connecting Kids with the Great Outdoors.

Thursday: The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: In an age of irony and irreverence, we still have a desire to believe. No one taps into our longing more than the Dalai Lama. Celebrated travel writer Pico Iyer talks about why the Dalai Lama matters and what lies ahead for the spiritual leader, globe trotter and simple monk.

Friday: Did you ever pull up a weed from your garden and think "Hey, that looks good enough to eat!" From dandelions to chickweed to grape leaves, learn how to forage the roadsides and fields with Wildman Steve Brill, America's Best-Known Forager.

I’m out a here!