Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec 28 - Jan 1 Programs

This is a short week for Here on Earth staff, with holidays on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Jean's Pick of the (Short) Week
: How Shamans Heal: I’ve always been fascinated by this stuff ever since my trip to the Amazon (I wrote about it in my memoir, I Hear Voices) and had a good chance to sink into Hope Edelman’s harrowing tale of how she rid her daughter of a nasty ‘imaginary friend’ by allowing her to be treated by local healers in Belize. Sure beats Prozac. The story gained credibility through Edelman’s skepticism, but the program was really enhyanced by the participation of the very shaman who worked the magic – Rosita Arvigo, a Chicago-born healer whom I happened to meet at that gathering of healers I attended in the rainforest.

Monday: Global economic recession, climate change, the war in Afghanistan—it’s easy to name the stories that defined 2009. But what about the people behind the news? We sit down with the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy to talk about their special end of the year issue: The 100 Top Global Thinkers of 2009.

Tuesday: Inside Islam Open Line: Inside Islam, our interactive series on Muslim issues and ideas recently received a Brass Crescent Award. But we want to know what you think about it. Are we hitting the mark? Are your questions and concerns about Islam being addressed in this series? Join us for a mid-year open line with Inside Islam producer, Reem Hilal and series advisor, Uli Schamologlu.

Wednesday: John Nichols Looks Back at the Big International Stories of 2009: 2009 brought the first African-American to the White House, gave us a world-wide financial crisis, scaled down the war in Iraq, scaled up the war in Afghanistan, finally passed a health care bill and got serious about climate change.

Thursday: Global Word Play: How many ways are there to say "believe me" in the world? In English, we say "I'm not pulling your leg." In Russian, the phrase is "I'm not hanging noodles from your ear." Author Jag Bhalla collects this and other amusing, often hilarious phrases that provide a unique perspective on how different cultures perceive and describe the world.

Friday: The Woman Who Ruled a Champagne Empire: In the wake of the French Revolution, Madame Clicquot became a widow and single mother at age 27. But widowhood also gave her social permission to run her own business. And she started building a champagne empire and a legacy.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec 21-25 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Olly and Susy, hands down. How can you beat two wildlife artists who work as one, paint-praising the tigers who are about to eat them?

Monday: 2009 Parliament of World Religions: On December 3rd, thousands of religious and spiritual leaders and practitioners convened in Melbourne for the 7th gathering of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. We’ll talk to two attendees—one Pagan, the other Muslim—about the visions of Justice, Peace, and sustainability that the Parliament hopes to bring about.

Tuesday: Berlusconi Must Go: An angry Italian threw a statuette at Italy’s Prime Minister this week, breaking his nose and several teeth at the same time that protestors have been calling for his resignation. We’ll take a look behind the headlines and find out why he’s the man Italians either love or loathe.

Wednesday: How Shamans Heal: A long time ago, I traveled to the Amazon for a conference called “Pharmacy From the Rainforest” where I met many native healers including the very remarkable Rosita Arvigo, who had just convened a historic gathering of women healers in Belize. Come to find out, she’s the very same healer that journalist Hope Edelman consulted to cure her daughter of an imaginary friend. turned mean.

Thursday: Christmas in Auschwitz: The great Italian humanist, Primo Levi, much to his surprise, received a package of goodies for Christmas while he was in Auschwitz.

Friday: Christmas Food Rituals: On Dec. 24, la vigilia di Natale, Guissepe Scarlata's family will sit down in their home in Trapani to a seven course fish feast: marinated octopus and squid salad, smoked swordfish and thin slices of cured tuna. And that's just for starters. Join us for Christmas food rituals in Sicily.

I’m on my way to Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, yadda dah dah dah dah…..

Lori Skelton will be keeping my chair warm until I return on Tuesday.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dec 14-18 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: What’s more fun than talking about lutefisk and baccala? I loved Toni Lydecker’s Christmas Eve Seven Fish Feast From Sicily – it’s even fun to say, and I especially enjoyed horrifying Joe Hardtke, our technical producer, who sent me this message during the show: “Octopus for Christmas? That’s just wrong.”

Monday: Hunting as a Rite of Passage: Does hunting encourage violence or can it teach empathy and compassion? Randall Eaton is a behavioral scientist with an international reputation in wildlife conservation who teaches boys how to hunt in the Native American way. He is the author of From Boys to Men of Heart.

Tuesday: War and Peace: Obama’s Nobel Prize Speech: You might say that President Obama’s pro-war Speech that he gave in Oslo on Thursday was something of a brain-twister. We’re hunting down a rhetorician who can untwist it for us.

Wednesday: American Idol Goes Global: Would it surprise you to learn that there are singing contests in Afghanistan and poetry contests in the United Arab Emirates that look a lot like American Idol? We’ll speak with cultural diplomacy scholar Cynthia Schneider about the universal appeal of talent competitions and how they differ from culture to culture.

Thursday: Painting with Animals: Olly & Suzi, are London-based artist-explorers who have portrayed wild dogs and lions in Tanzania, killer whales in Norway, polar bears and Arctic foxes in Siberia, and many others. The artists collaborate with one another and induce wild creatures to interact with their canvases. Bites, footprints, rips, and slithers are "proof of where they are now,” they say, “but might not be for much longer."

Friday: Let’s call this our annual Christmas Cookie Show. Lori Skelton hosts. I’ll be celebrating my birthday in the Anza Borego desert.

Have a lovely winter wonderland weekend,


Friday, December 04, 2009

Dec 7-11 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: As much as I enjoyed having Nicholas Kristof on Here on Earth – I’ve followed his column in the New York Times for years and have always been impressed with his activist journalism especially in the area of women’s rights – it was really the extraordinary Tererei Trent, who really stole the show. Had it not been for the intercession of Heifer International, Tererei would be an illiterate cowherd in Zimbabwe. She grew up doing her brother’s homework to teach herself how to read and write because as a girl she wasn’t allowed to go to school. Now she holds a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University, setting a great model for her five children. My favorite moment was when she talked about achieving reconciliation with her abusive husband nursing him through the final stages of AIDS.

Lots of themes of myth and ritual coming up in next week’s programming: -- must be something in the air!

Monday: Invictus: Shortly after becoming the president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela found an unusual cause to unite the country after the apartheid -- rugby. How did he turn a white supremacist team into a world champion and symbol of unity? Learn about the true story behind the new film, Invictus, released next weekend in Wisconsin.

Tuesday: Learning Arabic: We’re celebrating World Languages Day a little late this year, talking with the authors of the most popular Arabic textbook in the world, the husband and wife team, Kristen Brustad and Mahmoud Al-Batal. It turns out more people are studying Arabic these days and finding out it’s not so difficult after all.

Wednesday: Hunting as a Rite of Passage: Does hunting encourage violence or can it teach empathy and compassion? Randall Eaton is a behavioral scientist with an international reputation in wildlife conservation who teaches boys how to hunt in the Native American way. He’s the author of From Boys to Men of Heart.

Thursday: The Power of Ritual: What’s the difference between saying, “I’m going to get a cup of coffee,” and saying, “I’m going to get my cup of coffee.” Dr. Bradd Shore wants to debunk the idea that rituals are only powerful in the exotic sphere of The Other. He says, for Americas, the most meaningful rituals may very well be the hidden ones we most easily overlook.

Friday: Christmas Eve Food Rituals: The Sicilians have an amazing Christmas Eve ritual that involves making thirteen different kinds of fish. I once attended one such celebration and ended up with shrimp scampi poured over my head which I took as a blessing. We’ll talk with Toni Lydecker, the author of the all new Seafood Alla Siciliana and find how much he knows about it.

Have a lovely weekend!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nov 30 - Dec 4 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Well, we probably OD’ed on Glen Beck and his pals, but I found last Monday’s program about Fort Hood to be quite stimulating. It made me think hard about political correctness and how it disallows honest questions and, therefore, the possibility of arriving at any real understanding of an event as troubling as the shootings. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to ask hard questions about Islam? Nidal Hasan, however confused and misguided, was obviously at least in part motivated by his religion. I myself wonder what it is about Islam -- its history, its culture, or perhaps a mis-reading of certain passages in the Koran -- that lends itself to acts of violence? When the scandal of priest pedophilia came to light in the media, as a Roman Catholic, I didn’t hesitate to ask hard questions about the Church: was it the doctrine of celibacy in the priesthood, or the worship of the Virgin Mary, or the teachings about sex, that had nurtured this kind of perversion? Never did I think to confuse sexual deviance and the abuse of boys with the fundamental teachings of Jesus himself. As freedom loving people who practice open-mindedness and critical thinking, a vigorous pursuit of the truth is what I would expect, and even demand, from any such inquiry.

Monday: Have you ever made soap? Did your grandmother make soap? Melinda Coss, author of The Handmade Soap Book, taught herself how to make soap and then started teaching soap-making in countries like Tanzania and Nigeria where soap is power!

Tuesday: Half the Sky: Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and his wife Sheryl WuDunn join us to talk about why the oppression of women and girls in the developing world is the single most important human rights issue of our time, and how helping them can radically alter our world. Dr. Tererai Trent, part of the hopeful story Kristof and WuDunn tell, will join us this hour as well.

Wednesday: Traveling the Silk Road: I was in New York City last weekend and had a chance to see this exhibit on opening day at the Museum of Natural History. I still remember the smell of the jasmine, the roses, and the patchouli! My husband was mesmerized by the astrolabe. For almost three thousand years, a web of trading routes connected the civilizations of China, Northern Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, transporting everything from silk and religion to disease across the ancient world. We’ll travel from Xian, the old capital of China, to ancient Baghdad with Dr. Mark Norell, curator of the exhibit.

Thursday: “Finishing the Job”: Obama’s War in Afghanistan: After much pondering, President Obama is expected to announce his decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan this week. Who will he please? Who will he alienate? And how will Afghan people respond?

Friday: The New Moosewood Cookbook: Vegetarianism has been given a shot in the arm of late. if you’re interested in a diet that’s not only better for you but better for the planet where better to go than to the Moosewood Restaurant? Join us and Moosewood insiders Nancy Lazarus and David Hirsch for recipes from the new Moosewood Cookbook, Cooking For Health.

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody! It’s still great to be an American.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Nov 23-27 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Hajj: The Trip of a Lifetime: It’s not easy to explain why 2 million people circling a black box seven times is something worth investigating. Or why those same two million people run back and forth between two hills, or stand all afternoon in 100 degree desert heat, or throw 49 pebbles at three stone pillars, all of which are part of the rites required of all Muslims who undertake the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The answer? In a word: Transformation.

Monday: Reflecting on Fort Hood. As we try to make sense of the Fort Hood tragedy, how should we understand the Muslim faith of the alleged gunman, Nidal Hasan? We’ll discuss our national and personal reactions with expert inter-faith and inter-cultural advocates Leena El-Ali of Search for Common Ground and Prof. John Esposito, of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Tuesday: Becoming Americans. Perhaps no story gets to the heart of what it means to be American more than the immigrant story. Prof. Ilan Stavans and Richard Rodriguez join us to discuss Stavans’ new anthology, Becoming Americans, which features 400 years of writing from the hands of people who have come to America to remake themselves, their lives, and their identities.

Wednesday: Gratitude: How many times a day do you say Thank you? And what do you really mean by those words? Different times and different cultures have produced different ways of handling the complex matters of giving, receiving, and returning favors and presents. In her new book, The Gift of Thanks: The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude, Margaret Visser delves into the complexity of saying thanks.

Thursday: On Kindness (encore). What is the thing that scares us most? The monster hiding under the bed? Not sex, not violence, not money, but kindness has become our forbidden pleasure, according to psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. By involving us with strangers, he says, kindness is potentially far more promiscuous than sexuality.

Friday: In Praise of Fat (encore). You have heard of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. What about good fat and bad fat? After thirty years as the most maligned food, fat is making a comeback. Dishes made with lard, bacon, marrow and butter are appearing on chefs' menus and Jennifer McLagan has written a cookbook in praise of it.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, November 13, 2009

Nov 16-20 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Wandering Souls: The Ghosts of Vietnam. What a powerful metaphor for vets suffering from PTSD on both sides of the Vietnam War. If you still need to be convinced that remembering the personal costs of war is the best way to heal from its wounds, just listen to the clarity and alacrity in Homer Steedley’s voice when he tells the story of killing the man whose ghost he brought back home (and check out the video for my reading of one of the most hair-raising stories in the book).

Monday: The Language of Cancer: I’m not really fond of cancer memoirs which have become so commonplace (like the diagnosis itself) that they constitute a genre of their own. But Mary Cappello’s Called Back is in a class all by itself. Well, she’s a writer after all, and she uses her own clear-sighted intelligence and razor-sharp sense of language to scrutinize the culture of breast cancer and to blaze right through it, port scar and all.

Tuesday: Global Competence: it’s one of those vague slippery terms that might mean almost anything. Why is it suddenly so important to have it? President Obama is said to have it; President Bush did not. You can’t get it just by carrying around a passport. You have to be willing to leave your comfort zone, and become a stranger in a strange land.

Wednesday: Responding to Fort Hood: What bothers you most about the killings at Fort Hood? The Muslim faith of the psychiatrist, the alleged gunman at Fort Hood, is a central piece of the picture in this unfolding tragedy. We’ll talk about our national, personal, and media reactions to Nidal Hasan’s Muslim identity.

Thursday: Inside Islam: The Hajj: One of the world's longest-lived religious rites, the hajj to Mecca is even older than Islam. It’s been described as a universal journey for transcendence and peace, but will that change this year given the fear surrounding H1N1? To find out what it means to 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, check out and join us live at 3:00.

Friday: The Wonder in Wonder Bread: One in seven people in the world doesn’t have enough to eat. What’s the key to eliminating world hunger? According to Louise Fresco, the answer may lie in mass-produced white bread.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


Friday, November 06, 2009

Nov 9-13 Programs

Jean is out sick this week. She'll be back next week. Look what we producers have prepared for her:

Monday: Do you remember November 9th, 1989? Journalist Michael Meyer and scholar Konrad Jarausch join us as we relive that day when the Berlin Wall fell and retrace Germany’s difficult transitions through unification and integration, up to today.

Tuesday: Throughout her life and her work, German-Romanian writer Herta Muller has fought a lonely fight against repression. Even though winning the Nobel Prize in Literature this year has catapulted her into the media spotlights, few people are familiar with her unsettling and meticulous prose and poetry. In the light of Romania's painful past under communist dictatorship, we explore the meaning of Muller's life and work for our world today.

Wednesday: We planned to speak last week with Vietnam veterans Wayne Karlin and Homer Steedly about Wandering Souls, Karlin’s new book documenting Steedly’s return to Vietnam to meet the family of a man he killed. They'll tell their story this Wednesday instead, as the nation celebrates Veteran's Day.

Thursday: Similarly, we missed out on having scientist James Lovelock on our show last week so we’ve rescheduled our interview with him for Thursday. Best known as the originator of Gaia Theory, which envisions the world holistically as a giant, living organism, Lovelock will explain why he thinks it's time for humans to prepare to live on a radically warmer Earth.

Friday: French food is not what it used to be. Or so says journalist and wine columnist Michael Steinberger. In his latest book Au Revoir To All That, he investigates the decline of quality in French cuisine and finds reasons that go beyond food.

Thank you for listening,

Here on Earth team

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nov 2-6 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: It’s a short week for me, which means fewer options to choose from, but for hope and inspiration it would be hard to beat The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the story of a boy growing up in Malawi during a devastating famine who figured out how to make windmill from a photograph he found in a science textbook in the local library. It worked, and now his dream is to bring rural electrification to all of Africa. I would vote this program with William Kamkwamba and his American co-author Bryon Mealer a Here on Earth classic.

Monday: Storytelling seems to be a huge coping skill for Vietnam vets, and Wayne Karlin has quite a story to tell in Wandering Souls, about the courage of a soldier who returned the soul of the man he killed to that man’s family.

Tuesday: Scientist James Lovelock is best known as the originator of the Gaia Theory, which has taught scientists and laypeople alike to see the Earth holistically as a giant living organism. He joins us to discuss his new book, The Vanishing Face of Gaia, in which he issues a dire warning: It’s too late to halt global warming, we must now learn to live in an altered climate.

Wednesday: Poker: An American Metaphor: Playing poker was a key networking tool in Barack Obama’s early political career. Bill Gates collected many of his business strategies and a sizable fund to start Microsoft from his all-night poker games. Eisenhower and JFK used poker tactics to resolve crises with China and the Soviet Union. How did a French aristocratic parlor game turn into a training ground for American risk-takers and power brokers?

Thursday: Garbage Dreams: There’s more to garbage than meets the eye. For several decades, the garbage collectors of Zaballeen in Cairo have made their living by collecting garbage, recycling over 80% of what they collect. In her documentary film “Garbage Dreams,” director Mai Iskander follows three young men who grow up in Mokattar, Cairo’s garbage village. What can we learn from the Zaballeen’s garbage expertise?

Friday: Pastrami on Rye with a kosher pickle, anyone? Join us, and add to our list of reasons why it’s imperative to save the Jewish Deli!

I’ll be in Baton Rouge this weekend, reading poetry and hanging out with Annie Lanzillotto at AIHA, the American Italian Historical Association’s annual conference.

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Goldengrove Unleaving

Goldengrove Unleaving: (that's a quote from Gerard Manley Hopkins) Jean took advantage of the brief appearance of the October sun this past weekend to play in the leaves.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oct 26-30 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Chickens in the City: A Backyard Revolution. We had a good time today. Dennis even brought some just laid eggs to the studio so we can crack them during the show.

Monday: William Kamkwamba is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. He grew up in Malawi as an enterprising African teenager who he figured out how to construct a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his entire community.

Tuesday: Harvard scholar Harvey Cox broke new ground when he published his international bestseller, The Secular City, in 1965. Now, on the eve of his retirement, he’s come out with a new book, The Future of Faith, in which he analyzes why Christian beliefs and dogma are giving way to new grassroots movements rooted in social justice and spiritual experience. An echo of Jim Wallis’ message to us last Wednesday.

Wednesday: The Best International Reporting: Words Without Borders is featuring literary journalism in its October issue. Editor Susan Harris says “Literature is news that stays news. Literary reporting is even more so.”

Thursday: TBA

Friday: Exciting new ingredients are available everywhere, expanding our culinary horizons, and a new culinary world calls for a new cookbook. Ruth Reichl, long-time editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and a best-selling author in her own right, joins us to talk about her new book Gourmet Today.

After all this rain I’m sending you a few words of encouragement from Denise Levertov: Wear Red! Don’t forget what has burned in you…”


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oct 19-23 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: I grew up in a family that celebrated both Columbus and the Indians, so Mark Dowie’s Conservation Refugees, the “good guy vs. good guy story” which we featured last Monday, Columbus Day, really hit home. I have long been aware of the misanthropic streak that runs through our environmental movement and was certainly present in John Muir’s Presbyterian psyche, so it was particularly interesting to me to have our whole National Park philosophy parsed in terms of foundation myths.

Here’s the line-up for next week:

Monday: Mercedes Sosa: A Voice for Social Justice: It is hard to overestimate the influence of Mercedes Sosa’s music and voice in South America. In a career that spanned over six decades and produced 40 albums, the Argentine folk singer, who died on October 4th , united an entire continent in her ongoing struggle for human rights, peace, and social justice in South America.

Tuesday: Hope for the Middle East Conflict: The world watches as hopes are raised for a restart to talks in the Israel/Palestinian conflict. What age-old mindsets need to shift before a peaceful resolution can be found? Rich Cohen joins us to discuss his new book on the history of the Jewish people, Israel is Real.

Wednesday: Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy, joins us to discuss his new organization, 350, which works to bring atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide down to 350 parts per million. They’ve organized the International Day of Climate Action which will be held on October Activists in 158 countries are set to participate.

Thursday: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the true account of an enterprising African teenager who constructed a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his entire community. William Kamkwamba shares his remarkable story of growing up in Malawi, Africa.

Friday: Chickens in the City: A Backyard Revolution: The return of the chicken to American backyards is now no longer an uncertainty. Since the chicken disappeared from urban American settlements half a century ago, city dwellers all over the nation are now re-discovering the advantages – and challenges – of keeping their own flock in their backyards. What is it about the chicken that makes it the urban bird of the moment?

Thanks to all of you friends and allies who pledged your hard-earned bucks to support WPR and especially Here on Earth during our Fall Membership Drive, and welcome to all new members!


Friday, October 09, 2009

October 12-19 Programs


Jean’s Pick of the Week: No hesitation this time, my vote goes to Elephants on the Edge. This was not just another sad story about the threatened extinction of a unique species, but a whole new way of thinking that connects us on a deep, and I would say even spiritual, level with our fellow earthlings. Gay Bradshaw is a visionary who is working to bring about trans-species integration.

Monday: Columbus Day: If you’ve been following Ken Burns’ PBS series on our National Parks, (yawn) here’s an interesting contrarian point of view: Mark Dowie is an investigative journalist who reports on the hundred year conflict between global conservation and native peoples in his book, Conservation Refugees.

Tuesday: Can meditation make us into world citizens? Richard Davidson thinks so. His findings on the increasing plasticity of the brain combined with long term effects of meditation have led to an intriguing projection: Happiness 2050: Neuroscience, Education, and the Compassionate World Citizen.

Wednesday: Does the Sunni/Shia conflict contribute to the image of Islam as a violent religion? How much does it account for the violence in Iraq? We’ll look into the origins of the Sunni/Shia split, consider the bombing of the Shia shrine in Karbala, and talk with a Muslim scholar working on promote intrafaith harmony.

Thursday: Green Metropolis: When you imagine a green future do you picture backwoods country living or futuristic city dwelling? While “green” usually brings to mind more natural surroundings, David Owen, author and staff writer for The New Yorker, wants to argue the opposite—it’s cities that teach us what a sustainable future looks like.

Friday: Tune in to hear regional food specialist Therese Allen talk about her revised and expanded edition of The Flavor of Wisconsin: An Informal History of Food and Eating in the Badger State, with 460 recipes, but not a single one for badgers! This is a winner.

Happy Pumpkin Hunting!


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Oct 5-9 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: No one so spirited as Karen Armstrong who can handle any attack with her own form of intellectual jiu-jitsu. “Why, I quite agree with you,” she kept saying to all her nay-sayers in her perfect Oxford accent, deflating their hostility on the instant and then trumping the argument by co-opting their best points and turning them to her advantage! The thing she said that stuck with me in her Case for God was that she was a miserable failure at meditation and for her the path back to faith was through her own chunky scholarship. She is my favorite public intellectual.

Our October Membership Drive begins this week, and thanks to you, we’ve already chopped a day off the drive and are hoping for another. At any rate, pledge days or not, we have some dandy programs in store for you:

Monday: I met Joe Kilikevice, the founder of the Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality in Oak Park, Illinois, last summer when he was leading Sufi Dances for Universal Peace at the Christine Center in Willard, Wisconsin. Joe is a Dominican brother who has adopted Sufism as a spiritual practice. Among other things, he offers Male Spirit retreats inspired by Rumi’s poem: “You set out to find God, but then you keep stopping at meanspirited roadhouses.” You gotta love him.

Tuesday: In Elephants on the Edge, G. A. Bradshaw, Director of the Kerulos Center for Animal Trauma Recovery and Co-founder of the Trans-Species Institute, marshals research from neuroscience,psychology, and animal behavior to argue that the mind of the elephant
is remarkably similar to our own. The shock of violent death,the grief of losing an infant, and the loss of freedom affect them in much the same way as people. A fascinating study.

Wednesday: The Cartoneres Literacy Movement: Few of us think too much about where books come from, but amidst poverty and low literacy rates, it is an important question. The Cartonera publishing movement of Latin America addresses poverty and literacy through employing cartoneros, garbage pickers, to collect cardboard to be used as covers for colorful, handmade, and cheap books. UW-Madison holds one of the largest collections of these books and editors from some of the most well-known Cartonera publishing houses will be in Madison this week for the first ever Cartonera Publishers Conference.

Thursday: This is your chance to get your name into a drawing for a state-of-the-art Apple iPod nano 16GB with MP3 Player loaded with the Best of Here on Earth! And interact with John Nichols about the Future of Journalism.

Friday: What’s fall without Apples? Every year, Wisconsin's Bayfield Apple Festival heralds the beginning of fall. This Food Friday we will speak to some local and some non-local apple growers about heritage varieties, cider-making, and this year's pick.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Sept 28 - Oct 2 Programs

Jean's Pick of the Week: I do have a secret. It's probably shared by most of the people of my generation -- I have always hated Hip-Hop. That's is until Wednesday's show where not only did I have fun, but actually overcame a lot of my prejudices.

Monday: A memorial service in honor of Thomas Berry, the beloved and revered author of The Dream of the Earth, and The Great Work will be held this Saturday at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City. Miriam Macgillis, a Berry disciple and the founder of Genesis Farm, will be in attendance. We’ll talk with Miriam about the life and legacy of the man who called himself a “geologian.”

Tuesday: God, Brahman, Nirvana, Allah, Dao; humankind has gone to great lengths to experience a sacred reality. So why is God so unbelievable in our modern world? This is what Karen Armstrong set out to understand in writing her new book, The Case for God.

Wednesday: The Khaarijee is a memoir about six orphans, a dog, a Muslim man, and an inexperienced American journalist from the Midwest -- thrust together in post-9/11 Afghanistan. Author J. Malcolm Garcia joins us to tell this story of friendship in the midst of war.

Thursday: From the depths of history, to the classroom, to the stage, how do we understand the enduring influence of the story of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl? Francine Prose, adoring fan and author of Reading Like a Writer will join us to discuss the book, the life, and the afterlife.

Friday: I simply wanted to live in a place with the best food in the world. Is it any wonder then, that Eric Dregni, ended up in Modena, Italy, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, parmigiano cheese, Ferrari, and Luciano Pavarotti? He joins us to talk about his three years in Italy and his memoir Never Trust a Thin Cook and Other Lessons From Italy’s Culinary Capital.

Have a good weekend,


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept 21-25 Programs

Jean's Pick of the Week: I went home Tuesday night with a headache and spent the rest of the evening on the couch reading Juan Gabriel Vasquez wonderful book, The Informers. About halfway through, my husband, who grew up in Latin America, asked me if I was learning anything about Columbia. After I thought a minute, I had to say, "No." The whole first third of the novel -- and this is one of the reasons it was so absorbing -- is devoted to an exploration of the intricacies of a complex relationship between a father and a son who both share the same name -– Gabriel Santoro. The son writes a book that causes his father to denounce it and reject him. The son shows up unannounced in his father's class and sits in agony for a whole week while his father steadfastly ignores him. It's only after the father has a heart attack that the two reconcile, and it's fascinating to watch the power dynamic shift between them. I really recommend this novel. You will learn a lot about Columbia, but you'll also learn a lot about family dynamics.

It's been a scramble this week, but we got it together:

Monday: U.N. International Peace Day: Former Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik, and his colleague, Ambassador Thomas Loftus, share the ongoing work of the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. (These are the folks who brokered the Middle East peace accord). They’ll be participating in the Lubar Institute symposium, "Negotiating Religion Internationally" in Madison on Friday, September 25.

Tuesday: Bronx Princess: Breaking away from family is never harder than when you’re growing up between two cultures. In this POV documentary, we meet Rocky Otoo who grows up in the Bronx rebelling against her mother’s strict rules and flees to her father, a chief in Ghana. Out of the frying pan into the fire?.

Wednesday: Teaching Through Hip-Hop: Alex Kajitani [kah-ji-TAH-ni] was a struggling new teacher at a tough, inner-city school in San Diego. Fed up with students unable to remember simple math concepts but every word of the latest rap song, he began teaching math through hip-hop. It worked so well that his math rap is now a teaching tool used nationwide. We’ll talk with Alex and other educators about the pros and cons of hip-hop in the classroom.

Thursday: Beethoven in Afghanistan?: William Harvey is a young classically trained violinist, but he sees a role for music well beyond the doors of symphony hall. He’s the Executive Director of Cultures in Harmony, an organization that uses music as a medium for cross-cultural understanding. And he’s heading to Afghanistan.

Friday: Rosh Hasahana, the Jewish New Year begins today (Sept. 18) at sundown, but since we couldn’t find a Jewish cook with an hour to spare just before the holiday meal, we’ve decided to postpone our conversation about Syrian Sephardic holiday cooking until next Friday, (Sept. 25th) when the holiday season will still be in full swing. Jennifer Abadi, author of A Fistful of Lentils will be joining us.

Shana Tovah!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sept 14-18 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Thursday’s program with Helen Fisher, author of Why Him? Why Her?, the research biologist who’s been studying the brain chemistry of romantic love for thirty years and hasn’t lost her sense of its mystery, its poetry, and its romance! (check out her Ted Talks – you’ll find links on our website)

Monday: Death Panels and the Fear of Dying: When Georgia Weithe’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1997, she approached his impending death with absolute terror. To her great surprise, the experience deepened her life in ways she could not have anticipated, and she came to the conclusion that death is a teacher and a friend. Georgia is the author of Shining Moments: Finding Hope in Facing Death.

Tuesday: Whenever Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Tracy Kidder comes out with a new book I always pay attention. His latest, Strength in What Remains, is the story of a young medical student named Deogratias (!) who narrowly survives civil war and genocide in Burundi before arriving in New York City with no English and $200 in his pocket. Two years later he’s enrolled in Columbia University. The storyline might be a bit clichéd, but what’s really illuminating is the way Deo manages his PTSS.

Wednesday: Juan Gabriel Vásquez is the first Columbian novelist since Gabriel Garcia Marquez to start a literary buzz. His debut novel, THE INFORMERS, explores the dark history of Nazism in post-World War II South America.

Thursday: The World Has Curves: It’s not just American women who have a thing about their bodies: journalist Julia Savacool takes us on a world tour—from China, where the plastic surgery industry is booming; to South Africa, where a heavier shape signals health in a country ravaged by disease; to Afghanistan, where the burka once again reigns supreme. Exploring the topic of women's bodies and our collective judgment of the perfect shape.

Friday: We’re hoping to book The Occidental Brothers, on their way to Madison for the Forward Music Fest. They’re a five-person band that combines the traditional music of West Africa with jazz, and underground rock

I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous end–of-summer weather.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sept 7-11 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: (soon to arrive by video!) Here on Earth producers are constantly scanning for practical visionaries – big picture guys who are working with ideas that have to potential to change the way we think and work. Mark Shepard is one of those people. I had my eye on him when he and his wife Jen were just starting their great pioneering experiment at New Forest Farm, which is now the first model for successful permaculture farming in the US. Listen to him. He’ll tease your brain cells. And he makes great apple cider too.

Monday: Labor Day! The Here on Earth team gets the day off, and we’ve chosen a program we think worthy of re-airing and just right for the holiday: “Playing for Change:” Mark Johnson and his film crew traveled to four continents to capture the power of music. Listen to musicians from South Africa, New Orleans, Barcelona, India and elsewhere all singing the same song, Stand By Me. Really fun.

Tuesday: When the World Health organization rated the national health care systems of 191 countries, the US ranked 54th. How is it that all the other industrialized democracies provide health care for everyone at a reasonable cost, except the US? We’ll ask T.R.Reid, author of The Healing of America.

Wednesday: Don't believe the hype you hear about the decline of America and the dawn of a new Asian age. Minxin Pei, director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, joins us to pick apart this familiar narrative.

Thursday: A World Without Love: Helen Fisher, the author of Why Him? Why Her?, a new book about love, talks about why we fall in love with one person rather than another, brain scanning and her data on the evolution of the brain systems for lust, romantic love and attachment.

Friday: He loves his mother’s light Chinese cooking; she loves her father’s heavy Italian cooking: Is there hope for this marriage? Join us for The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love by Michelle Maisto.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aug 31 - Sept 4 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: As the host of Here on Earth, I relish every opportunity to bring great breakthrough stories in world news to the airwaves, so Tuesday’s program about the women of Liberia and their extraordinary success in ending a particularly brutal civil war and bringing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to power was a joy for me. That having been said, I also greatly enjoyed Wednesday’s program with British psychologist Adam Philips talking about the forgotten pleasures of kindness. It brought out so many wonderful responses from callers.

NB: Get ready on Tuesday for Ramadan: The Fast and The Feast, another program in our ongoing series Inside Islam.

Monday: Elle Es el Matador: Just when bullfighting per se is going out of fashion, along comes this POV documentary about Female matadors. In Elle Es el Matador (She is the Matador) Spanish filmmakers Gemma Cubero and Celeste Carrasco discover a long and surprising history of women with a passion for this theatrical and bloody ritual.

Tuesday: *Inside Islam: Ramadan: The Fast and the Feast: Why is fasting common to almost all faiths? Why do Muslims the world over look forward with joy to a month of fasting? What are the special challenges that American Muslims face? And what are the Ramadan specials that Arab Muslims are watching on satellite tv? Guests: Naeem Randhawa, director of American Ramadan; Souheila Al-Jadda, producer of Ramadan Primetime. Don’t miss this fascinating and fun show.

Wednesday: Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories: In 2003 Anna Baltzer visited the West Bank to discover for herself the realities of everyday life for Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation. Apart from details about checkpoints, land settlements, etc. what’s new here is accounts of non-violent resistance that remain largely ignored by mainstream Western media.

Thursday: Permaculture Made Real: Mark Sheperd’s New Forest Farm: We talked with one of the gurus of permaculture in the Midwest during our broadcast from the Energy Fair earlier this summer. In this follow-up program we explore with Mark Sheperd what it’s like to be a permaculture farmer. Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm in southwestern Wisconsin was one of the very first examples of permaculture farming in the United States. Can you design a farm to be as self-sufficient as a forest?

Friday: To be announced.

What’s YOUR pick of the week? We’d love to know. Please write to us at or leave a message on our hotline: 1-877-GLOBE07. And thanks for listening.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aug 24-28 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the (Short) Week: I really enjoyed the mental workout on Wednesday’s program Into the Wild on international nature writing. There was a moment of real revelation when I surprised myself by blurting out, “There is no such thing as nature.” The fact is – and this is what emerged in the course of the conversation – what we call “nature” differs dramatically from culture to culture and is heavily influenced by religious belief. The transcendentalists looked to nature as a way to get beyond ordinary experience. But our Pilgrim ancestors thought of the wilderness as an evil place full of heathens and devils. I still think we need a new kind of nature writing, one that displaces Adam from the Garden of Eden, and comes to terms with the new evolutionary understanding that we are as much the product of evolutionary processes as trees and bats and wolves – all those things that we persist in thinking are “Out there.” There is no escaping nature or ourselves, and whatever fate lies in store for the planet - i.e. “Nature” - is entirely in our hands.

Next Week on Here on Earth:

Monday: Cold: With the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet, Bill Streever, author of Cold, takes us into places most people never venture : the coldest places on earth. In July, he immerses himself in 35 degree F. water on a beach three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, to experience firsthand the laws of thermodynamics!

Tuesday: Pray the Devil Back to Hell: The amazing story of how Liberian women forced an end to a brutal civil war and brought Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to lead an African nation, to power. We’ll talk with producer Abigail Disney.

Wednesday: On Kindness: British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips argues that a life lived in instinctive, sympathetic identification with others is the one we should allow ourselves to live.

Thursday: We’ll be commemorating the 46th anniversary of the March on Washington—at which Marion Anderson sang—with composer Bruce Adolphe and librettist Carolivia Herron, creators of the one-act opera, Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson.

Friday: The Psychology of Wine: Writer/sommelier son and psychologist father, Evan and Brian Mitchell present their case with humor and verve: that wine has evolved to be a mirror of ourselves.

Nice line-up?

Have a great weekend,


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Aug 17-21 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Well, you know me, I always go for the fun show. So, even though we had a lot of meat this week, what with Hooman Majd sorting out some of the complexities in Iran, and Christopher Caldwell dancing around Muslims in Europe, my pick goes to Paul Theroux. I’m taking my copy of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star with me to read to my husband on our road trip this weekend. And didn’t Joe do a great job finding the perfect train music?

Lori Skelton will be filling in for me on Monday and Tuesday of this week while I’m at a family reunion in North Carolina. Thanks Lori! Here are Lori’s notes for Monday and Tuesday’s shows:

Monday: Life Lessons from West Africa: Wisconsin graduate student Katie Krueger went to Senegal intending to improve her French and expand her knowledge of economics, but soon discovered that “Man plans, God decides.” In adopting the Senegalese way of life, Katie learned to replace efficiency with meaning, eventually creating a non-profit program to feed schoolchildren in Dakar. Her book is Give With Gratitude – Lessons Learned Listening to West Africa.

Tuesday: The S/V Denis Sullivan: In 1991, a small group of Milwaukeeans dreamed of building a tall ship to honor Wisconsin’s maritime heritage and work to improve the health of Wisconsin waters. Today, The S/V Denis Sullivan is a floating classroom and laboratory for freshwater exploration, science education and nautical training, sailing throughout the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean and the Carribean.

Wednesday: Into the Wild: International Nature Writing: Words Without Borders is devoting the first of two issues of the online mag to nature writing, but don’t expect to find any Wordsworths, Thoreaus, or Leopolds in this packet. It’s not nature writing in the usual sense that the editors are after, but rather the confrontation between humans and their environment. Interesting stuff. From lyrical reports about life in unfamiliar territories, both hot and cold, to brooding accounts of the fever that nature puts into the mind and work of writers around the world.

Thursday: We’re working on a program about Afghanistan's presidential election.

Friday: The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: Too many tomatoes? (there can never be too many tomatoes). Tune in for classic and exotic recipes from around the world with Brian Yarvin, author of The Too Many Tomatoes Cookbook.

I hope you’re enjoying these lazy hazy last days of summer as much as I am.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Aug 10-14 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Apologizing for Slavery: What a head spinning show this was, with multiple perspectives coming from both guests and lots of great callers.

Here’s what’s in the works for the coming week on Here on Earth: What a line-up!

Monday: Imperial: William T. Vollmann’s latest blockbuster concerns the tragic and volatile U.S.-Mexico borderland of extreme southeastern California Imperial County, where he spent ten years talking with everyone from farmers to border patrolmen to prostitutes in his search for the fading American-Mexican dream.

Tuesday: Instability in Iran: As Iranian President Ahmadinejad is sworn in for a second term, the ceremony itself shows deep riffs in Iran’s ruling elite. Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ, joins us with analysis of the complexities of the current situation.

Wednesday: Travel writer Paul Theroux took a train from Europe to East Asia half a lifetime ago and wrote about it in the book now considered a classic, The Great Railway Bazaar. Thirty-three years later he retraces his steps and finds a vastly different world in Ghost Train to the Eastern Star.

Thursday: Muslims in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West: Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe has been called a how not-to book about immigration. P.J. O'Rourke says "Thanks to Caldwell’s careful reporting and keen analysis we know exactly what we shouldn't do when new people move to our country."

Friday: Here’s Julie!: Julie Powell joins us to talk about her misadventures with Julia Child. The New York administrative assistant wrote a 2003 blog about her yearlong effort to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The blog inspired Julie and Julia, the new culinary movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

Is that enough for one week on Here on Earth? Does it make up for some of the goofs we’ve had lately? Tell us about your ideas for topics and guests on our show. August is a difficult month to book. We could use your help. Send your program ideas to And thanks!


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Aug 3-7 Programs

Friday, July 31, 2009 (Primo Levi’s 90th birthday!)

July is dust; here’s what’s coming up on Here on Earth on the first week in August:

Jean’s Pick of the Week: China Safari: Beijing’s Expansion into Africa: How refreshing to get a balanced view of China’s adventures in Africa from two European journalists. Paolo Woods’ photographs were particularly telling and so much fun to describe. Neocolonialism? Or China testing its master plan to take over the world – not militarily, but through capitalism at its most ruthless. Ouch!

Monday: Interested in coaching a kids’ soccer team in Senegal? Helping to protect sea turtles in Georgia? Monitoring climate change in the Arctic? Maybe work with AIDS orphans in Zambia? Pam Grout joins us to talk about the best of 100 Volunteer Vacations to enrich your life.

Tuesday: The Power of Apology: The recent arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates re-ignited the national conversation about racism. Not so, the apology for slavery that just went through Congress with hardly a whisper. What’s the purpose of such an apology and can it really contribute to racial healing? Join us to advance the conversation with Professor Roger Conner, and professional mediator Marvin Johnson.

Wednesday: Tracking the Global Gumshoe: In the last 20 years Noir has gone global, with Swedish fiction writer Stieg Larsson copping the number two place as best selling author in the US, and crime fiction showing up in countries like Algeria, Turkey, and India. Join us with Detectives Beyond Borders blogger Peter Rozovsky and Delhi Noir editor Hirsh Sawhney.

Thursday: Are we “wired” to cooperate? Primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy makes her case based on her study of the social and caretaking activities of our great ape ancestors. Join us as we discuss her latest book, Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding.

Friday: The Beer Summit and who the heck wants to drink Bud Lite? (And I thought he had class) . Join us on the eve of the Great Taste of the Midwest to find out about the latest innovations in the world of microbreweries.

All good?

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to tune in next week!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 27-31 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: I was very happy with the way this week’s Inside Islam program about Aisha, the Prophet Mohammed’s favorite wife, turned out. Kamran Pasha is Hollywood’s only Muslim producer and writing the historical novel, Mother of the Believers , was a labor of love for him. In general, I’m not much of a fan of historical novels, but I did learn quite a bit about the origins of Islam from reading it and Aisha was a genuine little spitfire – my kind of woman, and Pasha has a such a cinematic imagination, I kept seeing the book as a movie. Alas, that will never happen since portraying the Prophet is forbidden in Islam. Jennifer Heath provided a great counterpoint to Pasha and the callers – a convert, a Jew, and a young woman – contributed quite a bit. Check it out if you haven’t heard it already.

We got quite a bit of feedback from our show on Reforming Health Care last Wednesday, and you’ll notice that we’re continuing the theme this week:

Monday: Will to Live: Aids Therapies and the Politics of Survival: Success stories about HIV-AIDS are scant, but we found one in Princeton University anthropologist Joao Biehl’s moving account of how Brazil got its act together and became the first nation to provide free treatment to all, in spite of inequities.

Tuesday: China Safari: On the Trail of Beijing’s Expansion in Africa: China's growing investment in Africa is causing both excitement for those who see better trade, infrastructure, and resources finally being invested in the continent, while others worry about corruption and exploitation. Author Serge Michel is former West Africa correspondent for Le Monde; we’ll also talk with photo-journalist Paolo Woods.

Wednesday: Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, is being considered by the Obama administration to head up USAID. Since 1987, his NGO has been highly successful in delivering health care in poor countries like Haiti. We'll talk with PIH Executive Director Ophelia Dahl.

Thursday: Primo Levi: I’m a great fan of the Italian humanist Primo Levi, best known as a memoirist of Auschwitz, but he was also a scientist, fiction writer, and poet: in short, a Renaissance man. Primo Levi’s Universe by Sam Magavern, published to coincide with Levi’s 90th anniversary on July 31st, gives us a chance to find out what made this great humanist tick.

Friday: We’re hoping to book Bittman to talk about his new book, Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express, featured this week in the New York Times article, “The Minimalist: 101 Simple Salads for the Season.”

It’s been a long week. Have a great weekend, everybody!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 20-24 Programs

Jean is returning on Monday! Here's our lineup for next week.

Monday: Best Volunteer Vacations. Pam Grout is author of several travel books and in her new book, The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life, she has compiled everything you need to start planning your first (or second) "feel good" vacation. Join our conversation about how to bring added value to your vacations through volunteer work.

Tuesday: Mother of the Believers. Kamran Pasha will join us for our next Inside Islam program to talk about his book, Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam. This novel tells the story of the rise of Islam through the eyes of Aisha, the Prophet Muhammad’s youngest wife and one of the most influential women in Islamic history. As Mother of the Believers shows, Aisha is more than the controversy around her age; she was a teacher, political leader, a warrior, and, with her incredible memory, an invaluable source of information on all aspects of the Prophet Muhammad’s life.

Wednesday: Global views on healthcare. A healthcare bill is slated to be up for a vote in the House by the end of the month. Wednesday we speak with doctor, educator, and international healthcare advocate, Cynthia Haq, about her work to increase access to healthcare both here in the United States and abroad and the lessons she’s learned about public healthcare in China, Mexico, Uganda, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Thursday: Young Russia, Old Russia. President Obama stopped in Moscow on his recent trip abroad to discuss nuclear proliferation, hoping to find an opportunity for the two nations to finally move away from a Cold War mentality. But what does civil society look like in Russia and does Russian youth really represent a turn away from old ideologies? We’ll speak with UW-Madison sociology professor and Director of the Center for Russian, East Europe, and Central Asia who participated in a meeting between the President and civil society leaders in Moscow.

Friday: Feasting in the Ottoman Empire, circa 1550. Have you ever wished you could experience an historical period first hand? What do you know about the Ottoman Empire? This Food Friday, professional chef and food historian Channon Mondoux invites us to Sarayi in Turkey to relive an ancient feast in the palace of Suleyman the Magnificent. Join us for the history, food, and music of this culturally distinct time and place.

Happy listening,

Here on Earth team

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 13-17 Programs

Jean will be on vacation next week. But the show goes on. Here's what we have prepared for you:

Monday: Welcome to Ghana! Obama speaks from Ghana over the weekend and on Monday we’ll bring on some experts on Ghana and Africa to talk about Ghana’s place in Africa and what Africans can expect during the Obama administration. With us are: Vincent Odamttenk, professor of English at Hamilton college, and Adotei Akwei, vice president of government affairs at Care USA.

Tuesday: Mozambique’s Majestic Gorongosa National Park: Did you catch the 60 Minutes segment with Gregory Carr, social entrepreneur and founder of the Carr foundation? We’ll continue this week’s focus on Africa with a conversation with Gregory Carr about his work in Mozambique to preserve its natural resources and native animal species.

Wednesday: The Happiness Project: There are so many studies these days that try to figure out who are the happiest people in the world. The verdict is still out, but Charles Spearin has found a unique take on the question through his music. You might know Spearin as a member of the Canadian supergroup Broken Social Scene. With his new solo album, The Happiness Project, he asked his friends and neighbors to speak about what makes them happy and then transformed their voices into musical notes and songs. Listening to the musicality of unique people talking about their happiness might just give us a new way to measure the good things in life. You can read more about Spearin’s Happiness Project, watch a music video and leave questions for the upcoming interview at the Blog Without Borders.

Thursday: International Noir Fiction. Do you think of hot and dusty offices in LA and New York when you think of Noir? It has expanded to Scandinavia, Ireland, Italy, and even Israel, India, and Trinidad! We explore the ever-widening popularity of crime fiction and noir around the world. What international crime fiction are you reading?

Friday: Today we rebroadcast one of our favorite Food Friday shows from our archive: Cuisines of the Axis of Evil, which aired last November. Author Chris Fair dishes out a culinary feast of facts on ten controversial countries, hoping to find an edible approach to foreign relations.

Happy listening,

Here on Earth team.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 6-10 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Bruce Adolphe on Self Comes to Mind: From the first moment I spied the headline in the New York Times: Music as the Evolution of Human Consciousness and read the review of the performance that took place at the Museum of Natural History in New York City the night before (ouch! I missed it by three blocks), I knew I wanted to do a program about it. We didn’t have the benefit of Hanna Damasio’s brain imagery to watch, but we did have the composer himself and his music, plus some of the best moments from the conversation that took place between Bruce, Antonio Damasio and Yo Yo Ma directly following the performance. Not as good as being there, but, all in all, pretty terrific. God bless radio.

Here’s what’s coming up on Here on Earth the first week in July:

Monday: Sex and the City (Beirut, that is): She’s very brave and very beautiful. Poet Joumana Haddad has launched Jasad in Beirut, a quarterly magazine in Arabic featuring sex and the human body that’s breaking all the taboos.

Tuesday: Biomimicry: Forget the notion that technology improves upon nature. Science writer Janine Benyus introduces us to pioneering engineers making technological breakthroughs by uncovering and copying nature's hidden marvels.

Wednesday: Travels Along the Camino De Santiago: An international bestseller, and soon to be released as a major motion picture, I’m Off Then is German comedian Hape Kerkeling’s account of his travails along the Camino De Santiago, Spain’s most traveled pilgrim’s route since the first century AD.

Thursday: President Obama will be giving his next big speech on July 11, this time from Ghana. Although it’s angered a lot of other African nations, the choice of Ghana seems calculated to reinforce the idea of Africa as a place of emergence rather than of despair since Ghana is Africa’s success story in terms of its economy and its democracy. Guest to be announced.

Friday: All about Ice Cream (repeat): Enjoying a cool sweet treat on a hot day is a beloved pastime for people around the world. We explore the history, culture, and flavors of ice cream in America, gelato in Italy, and kulfi in India.


Friday, June 26, 2009

June 29 - July 3 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: John Nichols nailed it on Monday’s show about Obama’s response to Iran when he predicted that the President would make a stronger statement before the week’s end. As it turned out, we had only to wait another 24 hours. And the for sheer fun, I really enjoyed Wednesday’s hilarious conversation with Jag Bhalla, author of I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears, about idioms from around the world. Contributions from callers were every bit as funny as those in his collection, eg: “I’m going to play chess with the Pope.” That’s Icelandic for “I have to go to the WC.”

Here’s what’s ahead on Here on Earth as we lean into the Fourth of July:

Monday: Persian Girls: Having grown up female in Iran just prior to the 1979 Revolution, Nahid Rachlin knows a thing or two about social unrest, Iranian politics and what the experience of both are like for women. Author of the memoir Persian Girls and a professor at the New School University, Nahid Rachlin joins us to provide context and insight into the current Iranian controversy.

Tuesday: Music of Human Consciousness: Musical inspiration can come from a lot of places but Composer Bruce Adolphe found the inspiration for his latest piece in a particularly unusual spot: the research of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio. Self Comes to Mind is the end product of this collaboration between scientist and musician and it was recently performed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Video imagery and projected texts accompanied Yo-Yo Ma’s performance of the duo’s cello and percussion composition.

Wednesday: Flowers That Kill: Here on Earth listeners will remember UW-Madison anthropologist Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney for her groundbreaking work on Kamikaze Pilots, the ‘cherry blossoms’ of Japan. Emiko has been spending spring semester at the Library of Congress in D.C. where she just gave a lecture on Flowers that Kill comparing the Emperor’s symbolic use of cherry blossoms with the way Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler used roses for a similar purpose.

Thursday: Summer Reading from Words Without Borders: Editor Susan Harris and blogger Bud Parr share selections designed for those who want to know more about what’s going on in Pakistan, China, and Iran, and those who want to escape from them.

Food Friday: It’s strawberry season and French chef Monique Hooker is ready to teach us how to make a red, white, and blue strawberry pie for Fourth of July.

Wow! And I thought we were lightening up!

Have a great weekend and please keep listening!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Wednesday’s show with Margaret Wertheim on the amazing psychedelic Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project, a combination of feminine handicraft, non-Euclidean geometry, beauty, science, and social activism. Truly.

Here’s what’s coming up on Here on Earth in the week ahead:

Monday: Back by popular demand, Satish Kumar, Indian sage and editor of Resurgence Magazine, joins us from the UK to talk about his own lifestyle: Elegant Simplicity which is the theme of the current issue of the magazine.

Tuesday: Scientist Leads Institute for the Study of Compassion: James Doty, neurosurgeon turned biotech investor, made a fortune and lost it in the dot-com bubble. Something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, happened to a lot of us in the recent financial meltdown. James Doty started re-examining his values. Today he’s the director of an institute he founded for the study of compassion.

Wednesday: Global Word Play: Years ago when I was hosting my old morning show, we used to have a fun segment called “They Have a Word For It.” Howard Reingold, who wrote a little book with that title, would listen into our conversation for a while and then come up with whatever word from the book seemed appropriate. The book was a collection words from foreign languages for which there is no English equivalent. So when Carmen Jackson proposed doing a program with the author of the new book, I’m Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears and Other Intriguing Idioms From Around the World, of course I said yes. Join in with Jag Bhalla. It’ll be fun.

Thursday: The Compelling Moment: Richard Harwood of the Harwood Institute for Innovation has a knack for reading a crisis as an opportunity. He calls this “The Compelling Moment,” citing what’s going on in Tehran, Detroit, and elsewhere in these worst of times/best of times.

Friday: Milkshakes With a Twist!

Have a great weekend and thanks for lending us your ears.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 15-19 Programs

Picks of the Week: My husband and I happened to be in Cordoba, Spain, on 9/11, and there we were again, this time in Barcelona, when Obama gave his speech from Cairo. So it was quite the thrill to be able to talk about the impact of that amazing speech on my first day back at work. I also thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Darwinian dimensions of art with philosopher Denis Dutton, author of The Art Instinct, on Tuesday – there were so many interesting callers that day. And Wednesday’s Bead for Life program with Torkin Wakefield, the American psychologist who is transforming the lives of so many impoverished war widows in Uganda through, of all things, a paper bead exchange, was truly inspiring and very Here on Earth.

Here’s what’s happening on Here on Earth in the week ahead:

Monday: Out of Poverty: The new issue of Dispatches Magazine puts itself among the poor: the traditional underclass and the newly impotent – in America, in Africa, in India, and in Europe. We talk with Dispatches editor and former Milwaukee native Mort Rosenblum.

Tuesday: The Blue Sweater: Can you imagine the shock of giving an outgrown sweater to Goodwill and then finding it eleven years later on the back of some poor kid in Rwanda? That’s what happened to Jacqueline Novogratz who subsequently left a career in international banking to found Acumen Fund, an organization dedicated to tackling global poverty.

Wednesday: Saving the Coral Reefs One Stitch at a Time: Join us for a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft. Margaret Wertheim, co-director of the Institute for Figuring, is joined by a bevy of women who are in the process of creating a stitched coral reef as a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world.

Thursday: Well Blow Me Shivers!: Were you surprised when stories of pirates on the high seas began appearing in daily headlines? Had you thought that the days of pirates were long past? The history of piracy is a long one, and there are certain similarities that link the pirates of centuries past with those working off the coast of Somalia today.

Friday: Urban/Suburban Permaculture: People in cities and suburbs are learning how to produce their own fruit, vegetables, herbs, honey, and more using Permaculture design strategies that reduce work and increase success. Live from Stevens Point, we’ll talk with Bill Wilson from Midwest Permaculture who’s giving introductory workshops at this year’s Energy Fair.

I’m traveling to Green Lake today to give a presentation on Evolutionary Theology to members of the United Church of Christ.

Have a terrific weekend!


Saturday, June 06, 2009

June 8-12 Programs

Jean is coming back on Monday! Here's the line-up for her:

Monday: Reaching Out to the Muslim World (part 2): Since his days on the campaign trail, President Obama promised a speech to the Muslim World to define US policy and change perceptions of America. Did his speech in Cairo succeed? We will analyze Obama's speech and look at the international reaction as we talk with Prof. Uli Schamiloglu, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tuesday: The Art Instinct: Can you imagine what our cave people ancestors were thinking as they relaxed by the side of a fire and enjoyed a beautiful sunset? If you think that we’ve only learned to appreciate beauty more recently, think again. We’re celebrating Darwin’s bicentennial year with author Dennis Dutton and his book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution which explores the evolutionary role of aesthetic appreciation.

Wednesday: Bead for Life: Bead for Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to overcoming extreme poverty in Uganda through the support of an international grassroots movement rather than aid. Through the work of Bead for Life, women in Uganda make and sell paper beads to people around the world. Join us and Bead for Life’s Torkin Wakefield as we explore how feminine handicraft becomes the base for eradicating extreme poverty.

Thursday: Travel as a Political Act: They say the world is shrinking, so what can we do to feel more comfortable with our neighbors? Travel! Acclaimed travel writer Rick Steve’s new book argues that we can’t understand our world without experiencing it. Travel as a Political Act will teach us all what it means to travel with our place in the world in mind.

Friday: We're still working to find a food program for this hour. Any suggestions?

Thanks for listening,

Here on Earth team