Friday, March 27, 2009

March 30 - April 3 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Eco-Islam: Darn it, if we didn’t have bad luck yesterday spoiling what might have been the best program in our Inside Islam series to date. Everything was lined up: a dynamite topic with universal appeal plus three internationally prominent hard-hitters for guests. The first blow came when we got word just before noon that world famous Sufi theologian Sayyed Hossein Nasr, the lead for the show, had been taken ill and would not able to join us; the second blow came when Fazlun Khalid, who had kindly agreed to step up to the plate, got caught in a thunderstorm that knocked out his telephone lines and left us with nothing but his cell phone which crackled and gulped and threatened to drop out through most of the show.

But we soldiered on anyway, because the content was so illuminating. Who knew that the Koran was green? Who knew that the Prophet Mohammed was an environmental visionary? I learned so much from this show that it gave me a whole new appreciation for the Muslim world.

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

Monday: Football Under Cover: Get a pre-view of this film we’ve chosen from the Inside Islam Film Festival. It features an all female Iranian soccer team (the women play in their headscarves) matched for the first time against a German team.

Tuesday: The Russians Are Coming! If you’re a fan of 19th century Russian novels, and perhaps haven’t cracked the likes of War and Peace in a while, here’s a chance to catch up. We’ll be talking with a husband and wife team whose 21st century translations of the Russian classics are garnering a whole new readership. Guests: Richard Peavar and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Wednesday: Engaging the Muslim World: Can we win the war in Afghanistan? How do we engage with Iran and Pakistan? Western society, according to celebrated blogger Juan Cole, is suffering from Islam Anxiety – a hangover from the Bush years and a product of fearmongering and misinformation. He reveals howwe can repair the damage of the last eight years and forge a path of peace and prosperity with the Middle East. Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, author of Engaging the Muslim World.

Thursday: We’re working on a program about a Warsaw village band.

Friday: Cheese Wars: Taylor Pipes film compares Wisconsin's cheese heritage with its artisan roots to California’s mass production while also debunking the myth of the California "Happy Cow." Filmed in 2008 in locations all around Wisconsin, it premiers at the Wisconsin Film Festival on April 4.

Have a great weekend, Everybody!

And thanks for listening,


Friday, March 20, 2009

March 23-27 Programs

Happy Spring!

Here’s what’s coming up on Here on Earth this first week of spring:

Monday: Nashi: The Putin Youth Movement: Ilana Ozernoy left Russia with her refusnik parents in 1988 to settle in the U.S. She went back as a journalist to study the Putin Youth Movement and discovered after living for a week in Summer Camp with a deeply disaffected group of young people, a whole new way of understanding Russian society.

Tuesday: Traveling Disabled: Craig Grimes was paralyzed by a fall twelve years ago. Since then he has traveled to thirteen countries, started the first online booking engine for disabled travelers, and founded Access Barcelona and Access Nicaragua, websites that provide invaluable information disabled travelers.

Wednesday: Living with the Tribe: Oliver Steeds spent over a year living with indigenous tribes in Papua New Guinea and Peru. He’s filmed documentaries about the people of Burma, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Scandinavia, and has just returned from making a film about North Korean refugees on the China-North Korea border.

Thursday: Eco-Islam: The Greening of the Muslim World: Muslim theologians and clerics are fast developing an environmental ethic based on ancient Islamic principles and practices drawn from the Qu’ran and the people of the Arabian desert. Guests: Sufi theologian Sayyed Hossein Nasr; Saleem Ali, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont; visiting fellow at the Brookings Research Center in Doha, Qatar; author of Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan’s Madrassahs.

Friday: Maple Syrup: When the sap starts running in the Upper Midwest, spring has truly arrived. The tradition comes down to us from Native Americans and the early colonists, and in many parts of Wisconsin, is still being collected the same way. Guests: Derek Duane, DNR, manager of the MacKenzie Center, and Ruth Ann Lee, lead educator for the Wisconsin Wild Life Federation, who co-manages the Center.

Here’s to a New Day - Happy Nowruz!


Friday, March 13, 2009

March 16-20 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Aroma-therapy: I never thought I would ever get to repeat on the radio what Napoleon allegedly said to Josephine: "I’m coming home in two weeks – don’t bathe." But, sure enough, the occasion presented itself in Wednesday’s program about the psychology and biology of smell with Brown University professor Rachel Herz, author of The Scent of Desire. Phew! What a hoot! I only regret we didn’t invite Diane Ackerman, who wrote A Natural History of the Senses.

Monday: Aereality: William Fox has climbed mountains, ridden in hot air balloons and flown airplanes, all with one purpose: to see the world from above. Nature Magazine says, “Fox gives us an enthralling guided tour of the human mind’s attempt to make space into place, and land into landscape.”

Tuesday: Michael Henderson hasn’t just written one book about forgiveness, he’s written nine of them! As a member of an Anglo-Irish Protestant family involved in reconciliation efforts with Irish Catholics, I guess he has a lot to forgive. His latest, No Enemy to Conquer, deals with the geopolitics of mercy and is chock full of examples of the best that people are capable of under the worst circumstances.

Wednesday: Philosopher Peter Singer, the animal rights advocate, has written a new book about charitable giving and makes his case for why you should give even in hard times in The Life You Can Save.

Thursday: Molly Peacock and I have decided to feature the poetry of Wisconsin poet Lorine Niedecker for this very last Here on Earth Spring Equinox Poetry Circle of the Air. Lorine spent most of her pared-down life writing extraordinarily spare poems while living in the flood plain on Black Hawk Island. Check our website for "My Life by Water," and other Niedecker poems and come join the circle with some soggy spring poems of your own choosing.

Friday: Hard Cider: Gary Nabhan, the founder of RAFT (Renewing America’s Food Traditions), is heading into Madison to lead a public workshop on heirloom fruits and heritage apple orchard restoration. And if you’re wondering, with all the emphasis on seasonal eating, why apples, his answer is “The old timers used to drink their apples at this time of year!” *If you would like more information about RAFT visit

On a personal note, today is my son Dominick’s birthday. He was born on Friday the 13th at 13 minutes before midnight, just two and a half hours after I was plucked from Master Control during my evening shift at WGUC in Cincinnatti.

Thanks for listening!


Friday, March 06, 2009

March 9-13 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Daniyal Mueeenuddin. If you love a well-written story and you want to know about the real Pakistan, get yourself a copy of In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, and you’re in for a treat. I loved having the chance to talk with Daniyal directly, but there was so much more to say about the book and the topic. I really wish the conversation could have continued and would encourage any of you who know Daniyal’s work – he’s published in The New Yorker, Zoetrope, and Granta – to tell us what you think of it by going to or calling our hotline: 1-877-GLOBE07.

Monday: Europe is From Venus: I just had a very interesting conversation with Geert Mak, the Dutch author who traveled all around Europe visiting key historic landmarks and talking to survivors and eye-witnesses in order to write his bestseller, In Europe, a living history. “Never walk backwards into the future,” he says, “Never become a victim of the past, but history is a continuity – there are ghosts all around us - pay attention to the patterns that repeat.”

Tuesday: The Population Bomb: The global population is increasing by a billion about every 15 years, but because practically all that growth is in poorer countries there’s a certain taboo that makes it difficult to talk about. Population Media Center is one organization that has come up with some ingenious ways to break the taboo. We’ll talk with director Bill Ryerson.

Wednesday: The Smelly Show: Rachel Hertz, a researcher and the author of The Scent of Desire sheds light on how and why smell affects our emotions, preferences, memories, health, sexuality, relationships, and even food cravings.

Thursday: Despite appeals from Rome and the personal intercession of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dominique Green, the subject of Tom Cahill’s latest book, A Saint on Death Row, was executed by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas on Oct. 26, 2004. What was it about this young man’s life that caused Cahill to change his mind about the death penalty and turn him into a crusader for racial justice?

Friday: Chili: The All-American Comfort Food: What makes people passionate about chili? Where did it come from? Is there an orthodox way to make it or just a hundred heresies?

Looking Ahead: Molly Peacock joins us for our very last Spring Equinox Poetry Circle of the Air on March 19. After ten years of faithful service to poetry and to WPR, Molly’s decided all good things must come to an end. We’ll miss her, but don’t miss her swan song.

Enjoy the lovely spring weather!