Thursday, July 29, 2010

August 2 - 6 Programs

Producers' Note: Jean is still on her writers retreat this week so we have created a lineup of our five best shows from 2010. We are looking forward to being back in the studio August 9th!

Monday: Crazy Like Us: Ethan Watters is tracking mental illness around the globe, and he is finding that the world is going crazy—American style. As doctors and pharmaceuticals cross borders, illnesses as defined by Western medicine, like depression and anorexia, are popping up in places they never before occurred while local ways of understanding mental health issues—from melancholy to what we call schizophrenia—are being lost. We talk about cultural differences in understandings of the inner life, and why homogenization might not be a good thing.

Tuesday: Jamming with Whales: Remember David Rothenberg, the musician and philosopher who traveled all over the world studying the song patterns of birds to make his music? Well, he's at it again, this time with whales. His new book and album document his jam sessions with humpback whales around the world.

Wednesday: Poet Nick Lantzr: Nick Lantz is a poet like no other. In his book, The Lightning That Strikes the Neighbor’s House, which won the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, he writes poems about the Challenger explosion, Bigfoot, a love letter written from inside a missile silo, and a plea for post 9/11 redemption.

Thursday: Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination With The Afterlife: What does belief in the afterlife tell us about what it means to be human? What is universal about our differing views of heaven? Join us with Lisa Miller, religion editor for Newsweek, when we wrestle with Heaven.

Friday: Corked: Kathryn Borel was like her father in every way but one: she just didn't get it when it came to wine. So she decided to take him on a drunken father-daughter road trip through the French countryside, where they finally connected, over wine.


Friday, July 23, 2010

July 26 - 30 Programs

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I will be on a writer’s retreat for the next two weeks, so we’re taking the opportunity to showcase the best programs we’ve done this year. The first week we’re dedicating to our Inside Islam series; for the second week, we’ve chosen five of the shows we think most worthy of re-visiting. We hope you will enjoy these selections and let us know what you think of our choices.

Jean's Pick of the Week: Putting An End to Stoning: The sense of outrage and revulsion that most of us feel at news reports of stonings, like the one we reported coming out of Iran right now that threatens the life of a woman accused of adultery, is a kind of fuel, I think, that can galvanize the international community around this issue and help bring the practice to an end forever. Inshallah.

Monday: Aisha: Mohammed’s Youngest Wife: Kamran Pasha’s novel, Mother of the Believers: A Novel of the Birth of Islam, tells the story of the rise of Islam through the eyes of Aisha, the Prophet Muhammad's youngest and most favorite wife, 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 still a child at the time of her betrothal). 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.

Tuesday: The Art of Qur’anic Recitation Among Muslims, Qur'anic recitation is a highly advanced art form intended to move, inspire, engage, and transport all those who listen. What is the purpose of Qur’anic recitation? How does it relate to life in the 21st century? What’s your personal experience of hearing the Qur'an recited? Anna Gade did a great job with this program.

Wednesday: Islamic Feminism: A Sister-Wide Global Movement : There are a lot of live wires and firebrands in the Islamic Feminist Movement and they’re determined to do things their way, as you will see from this wide-reaching exploration of what Islamic women really want and how they are going about getting it, using the teachings on gender equality in the Qur’an and the social innovations of The Prophet Mohammed to secure their rights and overcome misogyny.

Thursday: Why Mohammed Matters: Who was the Prophet Muhammed and how do Muslims remember him today: as a mystic, a revolutionary, or a military leader? This is my favorite program so far in this year’s series. Safi was very calm, and dispelled a lot of myths.

Food Friday: Ramadan: The Feast and the Fast: Since Ramadan begins on August 11 this year, which represents a particular hardship for American Muslims, we thought you might enjoy learning about how different the experience of Ramadan can be depending on where you happen to find yourself. Compare fasting here in America in the heat of long summer days to countries like Syria where everyone sleeps all day and feasts all night. , Ramadan there are special programs where Muslims work all day, and young athletes go into training 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?

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 19 - 23 Programs

Before anything else, I want to put in a plug for the Day of Retreat I'm leading at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton next Saturday. More than a dozen years ago I spent a formative summer at St. Ben’s, as it was called in those days, which I wrote about in my memoir in a chapter called "Get Thee to a Winery." I was at a critical juncture in my life – contemplating a possible third marriage to a Jewish atheist scientist as I reflected on the mistakes of the past. The answers I received during those weeks couldn’t have come from a truer or a more surprising source. The Benedictines hold hospitality in its widest meaning at the center of their spiritual life. My experience of that hospitality – being welcomed and received in all my brokenness – was not only deeply healing, but led directly to the work I do now as the "host" of the program you know as Here on Earth. I am looking forward to telling you "the rest of the story" next Saturday. To register or for more information, contact Jerrianne at (608) 836-1631, ext. 158 or

Jean's Pick of the Week: Again I surprise myself in choosing this week’s program Cars of the Future, about the Automotive X Prize since I know very little about cars, and happen to enjoy driving a 1998 Buick Le Sabre I call Delilah – hardly a car of the future. But having visited Chris Beebe’s garage and seen for myself a wizard at work, and hearing from the mavericks who called into the show with their own accounts of having converted or designed their own electric cars, I was inspired all over again by the spirit of ingenuity that is propelling us forward.

Monday: Pearl Buck in China: Pearl Buck was the first author to open American audiences to everyday life in rural China, and the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Today, she is read but not admired in America, and admired but not read in China. We rediscover her fascinating bicultural life story with biographer Hilary Spurling, author of Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth.

Tuesday: The Fate of an Iranian Woman Sentenced to Be Stoned: Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two who was convicted of adultery, was sentenced to 99 lashes for committing adultery by a court in May 2006. Four months later, another court sentenced her to death by stoning. Her fate remains uncertain. We'll talk with Norma Claire Moruzzi, director of International Studies at University of Illinois in Chicago, an expert on women's issues in Iran, and Cyrus Nowrasteh, director of The Stoning of Soraya M.

Wednesday: Turkey's Tomorrow: Things have mostly cooled down, but the recent attack on an aid flotilla carrying Turkish activists off the coast of Gaza has widened a painful rift in Turkish/Israeli relations. Turkish Jewish philosopher Seyla Benhabib has just returned from a trip to both countries and joins us to talk about what went wrong, what’s going on inside Turkey today, and what the future looks like for this secular Muslim nation that has linked Europe and the Middle East for centuries.

Thursday: Gay in Argentina: Argentina has just passed a law making gay marriage legal. Jean and her guest will discuss this gay rights breakthrough and what it means for the global movement.

Friday: Breaking Bread with Immigrants: (To Be Confirmed)Chef and teacher Lynne Anderson has gone into immigrant kitchens and discovered that, for those who have left much behind, food holds the power to recover a lost world.

I'm off to a concert with my husband.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, July 09, 2010

July 12 - 16 Programs

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jean’s Pick of the Week: World Cup 2010: Community-building and Soccer: Diego in Rome said it best in his Facebook message, “I would never believe that NPR would devote an entire program to the World Cup.” Actually, yesterday’s program was the second time we’ve talked about South Africa’s World Cup, and I am equally astonished to report that this was my Pick of the Week. It was so much fun gathering messages and perspectives from all over the world. It really felt like we had come another step closer to achieving The Dream of Radio’s Great Global Radio Conversation that we imagined when Here on Earth went on the air seven years ago. Thanks to all!

Monday: Dracula’s Guest: Vampires are all the rage these days with the recent Twilight blockbusters. But who knew about the grueling real life circumstances that made people believe in vampires in the first place? And what do vampires look like in Africa and Asia? We’ll talk with Michael Sims, editor of the anthology Dracula’s Guest: A Connoisseurs Collection of Victorian Vampire Stories.

Tuesday: Green cars, on your marks! Every ten years, the X Prize Foundation challenges teams of thinkers and doers around the world to make the impossible become real. Challenge 2010 is to build a car that goes 100 miles per hour and gets 100 miles per gallon. We’ll talk with Chris Beebe, a team leader based right here in Madison, WI, about the new ideas inspired by the competition and what he thinks it will take to revolutionize transportation for the 21st century.

Wednesday: The Party: While China’s economic successes are gaining a lot of attention in the Western media, the central role of the Chinese Communist Party often remains overlooked. How does the Party keep the balance between firm communist control and liberal economic expansion? We’ll get a glimpse into the world largest political organization with Richard McGregor, author of The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers.

Thursday: International Spookdom: With the recent outing of eleven Russian spies in the United States, we’ve all begun looking over our shoulders. But is the undercover agent really the model of espionage in the 21st century? We’ll talk with intelligence experts about the growing role of cyber, corporate and government espionage around the world, and about why we love to romanticize their world of secrets.

Friday: Mastering the Art of the Wok: Chinese-American chef and cookbook author Grace Young joins us with tips on the economical, simple, and ancient method of Chinese cooking — the stir-fry. She’ll explain what to use if you don’t have a wok and open flame, the basics of the traditional Chinese stir-fry, and the many Chinese fusion variations from South Africa, Jamaica, Libya, and beyond!

I’ll be in North Carolina at a family wedding this weekend. Y’all come back now, hear?


Friday, July 02, 2010

July 5 - 9 Programs

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird: What’s more fun than a really great conversation about an All-American Book that is more popular in the UK than the Bible!

Monday: Paul Robeson: An American Master: We’ve chosen one of our favorite programs from the Here on Earth archives to celebrate our national holiday. Our program on Paul Robeson was originally broadcast on the Fourth of July, 2004.

Tuesday: Milestones for a Spiritual Jihad: Muslim women can stand side by side their male counterparts at Mecca, the holiest city in the Muslim world, to pray, but once they’re back home, they’re most likely to find themselves crowded into a small, dark room at the back of a mosque. Asra Nomani, former Wall Street Journal correspondent and a visiting scholar at Georgetown University thought she needed to take a stand against the unwritten rule of the mosque. We will talk with Nomani and her journey to her spiritual jihad.

Wednesday: The Political Power of Soccer: With the final matches of the 2010 World Cup coming up this weekend, all eyes are on soccer. We are working on a program on the political power of soccer in Africa and around the world.

Thursday: The Interfaith Amigos: Three clergymen from the three Abrahamic faiths used friendship to create a dialogue: Rabbi Ted Falcon, Sheikh Jamal Rahman and Pastor Don Mackenzie met every week for nine years after 9/11 in search of common ground. They sum up their collective discoveries in the book, Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi and a Sheikh.

Friday: A Garlic Geek: A whole program about garlic? How about a whole lifetime? Allium scientist Eric Block has spent his career studying garlic, onions and leeks, and their many cousins. He’s a garlic geek! He’ll walk us through the compounds in onions that make us cry, the different-flavored compounds found in garlic, and how their flavors change when you chop them up and cook them.

I’ll be celebrating this Fourth of July big time, with fireworks, cheesecake, and my son and his Turkish fiancée in the Twin Cities. Viva L’America!