Friday, October 29, 2010

Nov. 1-5 Programs

I’ll be in La Crosse on Thursday and Friday of this week, appearing at The Wine Guyz for an informal reading and book signing around 7:00pm on Thursday night, and then I have the honor of delivering the keynote at this year’s Women’s Fund Luncheon on Friday November 5th. I hope I’ll get to meet and greet many of you there.

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Living in a Global Age: Well, I have to be a chauvinist and say that even though it was a pain in the neck to prepare, and I don’t usually take orders from my guest, yesterday’s program with my son, Giancarlo, and his friend Bali (who were just at my house together last weekend) on Living in a Global Age was my favorite this week, although Ian Frazier’s conversation on Travels in Siberia came in a close second. The wonderful thing about Living in a Global Age was that, without intending it, the discussion about the decline of the nation-state tied together so many of the themes that recur on Here on Earth: world citizenship, international cooperation, universal values, and the rise of Islamophobia. It was an expansive hour with much to chew on. I hope you found it as stimulating as I did.

Note: Tuesday of this week marks the debut of our third official series on Inside Islam: Dialogues and Debates.

Monday: It’s the Day before Election Day – Let’s Lighten Up!: What figure or place in American history makes you feel warm and fuzzy about democracy? Illustrator and Israeli immigrant Maira Kalman set out, Alexis deToqueville style, to document democracy in America circa 2009. The result is an optimistic love letter to America that reminds us all of what we have to be proud of.

Tuesday: Muslims, Mosques, and American Identity: What goes on in mosques in America? Are mosques a part of the tradition of religious pluralism in America? Can a Muslim be an American? Islamic Studies luminary Akbar Ahmed traveled for a year around the country, visiting over a hundred mosques to find out how Muslims are living every day in America. We want to know about the mosques in your hometown, whether you’re a member of the Muslim community or not. What’s your experience? We’ll collect your responses at or on our hotline: 1-877-GLOBE07 and use the best of them in the program.

Wednesday: Russia Rocks: What do you know about Russian rock music? Russia’s best known music critic and cultural commentator, Artemy Troitsky, gives us a tour of Russia’s Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, from the early influence of The Beatles to the development of Russian “Bard Rock,” to today’s subversive Russian rappers.

Thursday: Freelance Diplomacy: After 15 years in the British diplomatic corps, Carne Ross found himself disagreeing with UK policies that led to the Iraq War. Disenchanted with conventional diplomacy, he re-invented himself as a "freelance diplomat," and founded Independent Diplomats, a bold nonprofit organization advising populations that would otherwise not have a voice in international relations. How far would you go for what you believe in?

Friday: What’s Home without a Kitchen?: Food world personality Nigella Lawson’s new book is set in the heart of the home and is born of her own love affair with her favorite room in the house. She’ll share her thoughts on the well stocked pantry and how to reclaim the traditional rhythms of the kitchen.

Let us know how we’re doing. Call the hotline 24/7 with your comments: 1-877-GLOBE07. We love to hear from you!


Don’t forget to follow our Blog without Borders, where these updates will appear starting next week!

Consolidating Our Blogs

Dear Readers,

The Here on Earth team has decided to consolidate this blog with the producers’ blog. With this change, we hope to increase the amount of feedback from our listeners by making our internet presence more accessible.

Starting Friday November 5th, you will find the weekly show lineup as well as updates on special events, insights into our work, and extra content such as guest videos on our producer’s blog: Blog without Borders.

As always find us on
Facebook, and keep an eye out for more updates to the website and our weekly email bulletin coming soon!

Best regards,
LeeAnn Ziegler
Here on Earth Web Producer

Friday, October 22, 2010

Oct. 25 - 29 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Europe’s Anti-Muslim Politics: I learned a lot from this program. For starters, Pam Geller, our own homegrown American Islamophobe, who writes the blog Atlas Shrugs, is the deep pockets behind Gaert Wilner’s far right wing Party of Freedom in the Netherlands. It was also interesting to explore some of the deep causes underlying the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment, e.g. the creation of the EU itself which brought about an erosion of national identity and pride; and the excesses of multiculturalism which made it politically incorrect to draw any distinctions among people or cultural critiques. And so the pendulum swings to the right.

Monday: Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia: Ian Frazier is in love with Russia. He calls it “the greatest horrible country on earth,” and Siberia its swampy backyard. He made five trips there and Travels in Siberia is what came of them.

Tuesday: Mario Vargas Llosa and the Nobel Prize: One of the leading authors of his generation, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, was finally awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature this year. Like many of his fellow South American writers, he lived his life between literature and politics. We’ll find out what makes him unique.

Wednesday: The People vs. The Mafia: The Mafia still is a bleak reality in much of Italy, but there is a young, courageous generation of Italians who are fighting the mafia with everything they’ve got: ideals, ideas, and smart business. Could this, finally, be the beginning of the end?

Thursday: The West and the Rest: Does living in a global age change the way we understand the past? Over the past few years, world history has become one of the fastest growing – and most controversial – fields. This hour we’ll talk with a historian at its forefront who’s written a book that puts Turkish explorers of the 16th century in the same league – and competing directly - with the Portuguese.

Friday: Feeding the Dead in Oaxaca: No one has done more to introduce the world to the authentic, flavorful cuisines of Mexico than Diana Kennedy. The “Julia Child of Mexican cooking” joins us to talk about her gorgeous new book Oaxaca al Gusto, and to spill the beans on the foods prepared on the Day of the Dead.

Didn’t I promise you a great line-up?


Friday, October 15, 2010

Oct. 18 - 22 Programs

Jean’s Upcoming Event: Get Thee to a Winery: A Day of Reflection on Benedictine Hospitality at Holy Wisdom Monastery 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" in this Day of Reflection on Benedictine Hospitality at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton on Saturday, October 30. To register or for more information on the day retreat I Hear Voices: A Journey of Faith, Family and Freedom, contact Jerrianne at (608) 836-1631, ext. 158 or

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Moral Ground One of my favorite moments on Here on Earth occurred last Wednesday during the program we did with the editors of the new book about the ethical dimensions of the environmental crisis. Toward the end of the program Catherine – I’m pretty sure that was her name – called in to talk about her fight to save a beloved rustic road and its environs from being paved over. Her testimony was so eloquent and so full of love that it actually redeemed the heartbreak she felt at losing the fight. It was a moving moment in the show, and a great example of what it means to hold your moral ground.

Monday: Rabbi Kushner on Conquering Fear How do you face your fears? Fear comes in many guises: fear of losing your job, losing your looks, fear of illness, of aging, fear of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. Harold S. Kushner teaches us how to confront and embrace fear to live a more fulfilling life.

Tuesday: China’s Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Peace Prize is not the Nobel the Chinese government has been hoping for. Or is it? We’ll talk with historian Timothy Cheek about how the prize may play into the hands of liberal leaning members of the Communist party and regular citizens who want a more democratic China.

Wednesday: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian Avi Steinberg, a lapsed Orthodox Jew, found his real yeshiva behind the bars of a tough Boston prison. Should prisons have libraries? Who goes to prison, and what do they read?

Thursday: Europe’s Anti-Muslim Politics Starting with the ban on minarets in Switzerland, Europe has been swept with a wave of overt anti-Islam sentiment that has found its way into the political mainstream in the past year. From Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in the Netherlands to the book written by one German politician that blames Germany’s “downfall” on immigrant Muslims: Can the debate still be saved by reason?

Friday: The Spice Necklace Who hasn’t dreamed about dropping everything and sailing to the Caribbean? Ann Vanderhoof and her husband did just that. We catch her just before setting off on her next sailing adventure to talk about oregano-eating goats in the hills and other essential flavors in great Caribbean food.

Thanks, everybody, for all your support during our Fall Membership Drive, and especially for helping to keep Here on Earth pledge-free for most of the drive!


Friday, October 08, 2010

Oct. 11 - 15 Programs

We’re in the middle of our Fall Pledge Drive here at Wisconsin Public Radio. We’ll be taking your pledges in support of Here on Earth and other WPR programming, but Here on Earth will be pledge free all week until Friday. But don’t miss this Food Friday. We’ll be offering as a special Food Friday thank you gift: A World of Cake: 150 Recipes for Sweet Traditions from Cultures Near and Far. How sweet it is!

Jean’s Pick of the Week: In the old days before the advent of Facebook, Twitter, scripts, and editorial meetings, when I never had enough time to prepare for my programs, I used to fly by the seat of my pants and just riff with my guest. It was like a form of jazz; I never knew where the conversation would take us. That was what it was like to spend an hour on the radio with author and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu.

Monday: How do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving? We’ll ask the two editors of a brand new anthology of Canadian poetry, out later this month, who have agreed to take time out from their respective holiday celebrations to join us on Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday: Where Good Ideas Come From: People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. He takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

Wednesday: Moral Ground: Do we have a moral obligation to take better care of the earth? While scientific knowledge tells us what the facts are, it does not tell us how to act. But now, a new book brings together over eighty visionaries from all over the world who embrace a moral vision for environmental repair and sustainability.

Thursday: After Columbus: In honor of Columbus Day, the Day of the Race in Mexico, and the finale of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ll trace the evolution of today's vibrant Latino culture right back to Columbus and the mixing of Old World and New World. The new PBS documentary about the first hundred years after Columbus, When Worlds Collide, is now available online. We’ll be joined by the documentary’s host, award winning journalist and author, Rubén Martínez.

Friday: It’s a World of Cake! In China you steam them, in Africa you fry them, maybe you grew up baking them; around the globe cake takes a central role in celebrations from births, to weddings, to national holidays. Now that fall is here and it’s finally time to bake, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to globalize your baking repertoire. Tell us about your family cake tradition and pitch in during our Fall Pledge Drive. Krystina Castella’s brand new, picture and history packed book A World of Cake will be our gift to you for pledging $150 or more in support of Here on Earth and Wisconsin Public Radio on the last day of our Fall Pledge Drive.

That’s all, Folks! We really love those pledges. And what we love even more is the privilege of bringing you Here on Earth programs day after day, and all through WPR’s Fall Membership Drive. Please, stay tuned, and thank you so much!


Friday, October 01, 2010

Oct. 4 - 8 Programs

Jean’s Pick of the Week: I never liked Spanglish – or at least I thought I didn’t until I met Susana Chávez-Silverman and heard her “code switching” between English and Spanish when she read from her two memoirs Killer Crónicas and Scenes from la Cuenca de Los Angeles y otros Natural Disasters on Wednesday’s show. And yes, I do feel handicapped because I know only one language. If we pride ourselves on being a hybrid nation, why do we cling to monolingualism when half of the rest of the world knows how to speak two or more languages? Isn’t it time to claim with Susana the richness of all our mother tongues?

Monday: Andrei Codrescu: Romanian-born poet, writer, and long time NPR contributor, has a new book out and is in town this week for a public lecture at the University. But first, he’ll join us in-studio to talk about his experience as an immigrant writer, swimming between English and his mother tongue, and about why he’s so excited about the upcoming generation of immigrant writers and artists.

Tuesday: The Fate of Nature: As the reporter who spent more time reporting on the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska than any other journalist, Charles Wohlforth has seen a lot of human caused destruction of the environment. But in his new book The Fate of Nature, he makes the argument that our connection to other people, to animals and to wild places is even deeper than our need for material comfort. Do we have it in us to square with nature before it's too late?

Wednesday: The Sheikh’s Batmobile: Pop culture commentator Richard Poplak sets out on an unusual mission: to find out what happens to American pop culture – Hollywood sit-coms, shoot-‘em up video games, muscle cars and punk music – when they collide with the Muslim world.

Thursday: What’s Funny About Canada? Husband and wife team Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen have written two humorous books about Canada, our great Northern neighbor, busting—and playing with—the myth that the 2nd largest nation in the world is more of a 51st state. Join us in crossing the world’s longest border and in pledging your support to Here on Earth during the kickoff week of our Fall Pledge Drive, and the eve of Canada’s Thanksgiving Day Weekend.

Friday: Heritage Foods From the Americas: In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, food historian and blogger Frederick Douglass Opie is tracing hominy, plantains, spicy peppers, and tomatoes through the Pre-Columbian cuisines of the Aztecs, Incas, and Arawaks to today. Curried Yucca Crab Cakes with Piquillo Pepper Sauce and Mango-Papaya Chutney anyone?

I’m off to hear Kathleen Hill read from her memoir, Who Occupies This House.