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.