Friday, November 25, 2011

Programs for the Week of 11/28

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain: Although I misread Michael Gazzaniga – and had a heck of a time with his name – arguing about whether we humans have free will in the light of what we now know about the neuroscience of the brain was a real gray matter work-out. Professor Gazzaniga declared himself a bio-determinist in the course of the program – along with a number of callers, much to my surprise - but how does it alter our sense of who we are as human beings, I’d like to know, to believe there’s no such thing as free will? Are we all just a mess of neuro-connectictivity that can be tinkered with and altered at the whim of medical practitioners or, heaven forfend, the state? Even my atheist biochemist husband doesn’t believe that!

Monday: Arrivederci, Berlusconi!: Silvio Berlusconi dominated and divided Italian politics for over 17 years, more than anyone since Mussolini. But on November 12, his scandal-ridden reign finally came to an end, as the Italian people finally said basta to his rule.

Tuesday: 2011 Hours Against Hate: Launched by the State Department, the 2011 Hours Against Hate campaign wants to stop bigotry and promote respect by getting young people to pledge to spend time in a community different from their own. The campaign has gained worldwide attention and momentum, picking up volunteers from Turkey and Azerbaijan to Canada and the US.

Wednesday: The Pirates of Somalia: Somalia's pirates make world headlines as they disrupt international shipping with demands for multi-million dollar ransoms. But who are these modern-day buccaneers? Are they brazen criminals or displaced fishermen fighting for a livelihood? A close-up look at pirates in the Horn of Africa.

Thursday: The Folly of Fools: Leading evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers draws on forty years of research to examine the science of deceit. He claims that natural selection seems to favor self-deception, and that in order to deceive others we often have to deceive ourselves first.

Friday: Lidia's Italy in America: Lidia Bastianich, one of the most-loved chefs on television, offers a generous selection of stories and recipes collected from all parts of Italian America, showcasing the chef’s tradition of bringing Italian culture to American tables.

And now, to hurry home and start cooking!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! All of us Here on Earth are grateful for each and every one of you!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Programs for the Week of 11/21

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Listen to This: Joe Hardtke says music has the power to transcend time and place, as we Listen to This.

Monday: Free Will and the Science of the Brain: The "father of cognitive neuroscience," Michael Gazzaniga, makes a powerful and provocative argument for free will in his newest book Who's in Charge?

Tuesday: Never the Hope Itself - Love and Ghosts in Latin America and Haiti: A journalist describes his life as an NPR correspondent in Latin America, rubbing shoulders with migrants and shamans, presidents and his own household ghosts.

Wednesday: People of the Big Voice: In the late nineteenth century, a Wisconsin studio photographer began taking portraits of local Ho-Chunk families. Over the next six decades his lens captured generations of tribe members in more than 300 breathtaking photographs, fleshing out a remarkable narrative of a resilient people.

Thursday: Bless This Food (Encore): Do you say grace? Giving thanks for food is the most common form of prayer found the world over. In anticipation of Thanksgiving, we celebrate this universal cultural tradition with Adrian Butash, author of Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World.

Friday: Updating Vintage Holiday Recipes (Encore): Food is like language: to be alive it must be constantly changing. New York Times food columnist Melissa Clark understands this. A whole section of her new cookbook is devoted to Holiday Food that features vintage recipes with updated variations.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Programs for the Week of 11/14

Jean’s Pick of the Week: It Calls You Back: I remember Luis Rodriguez from an interview I did with him many years ago when his first memoir, Always Running, came out. All these years later he seems to have acquired a leathery patina and near guru status. What he exemplifies, it seems to me, is what Socrates tried to teach us at his trial in 399 BC: “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Luis Rodriguiz reminds us that self-examination is a process that is never finished.

Monday: Listen to This!: Does music have the power to transcend time and place? Through his experience with music from Iceland to China, from France to Minneapolis, New Yorker music critic, Alex Ross, has learned that music has to power to transport us to places and times we might never visit otherwise.

Tuesday: Peace Corps Writers: 2001 Washington Post reported that the Peace Corps community is "churning out enough works - memoirs, novels, and books of poetry - to warrant a whole new genre: Peace Corps Literature." Two returned Peace Corps volunteers talk about the Peace Corps experiences that inspired their writing careers.

Wednesday: How Yoga Won the West: Journalist Ann Louise Bardach credits the Indian mystic Vivekananda with introducing yoga into the national conversation, back in 1893. The 31 year old mystic made a huge impact at the opening of the Parliament of Religions on Sept. 11, 1893, where he dazzled the audience with his show-stopping improvised talks on eastern philosophy - and yoga.

Thursday: Borderlands: Riding the Edge of America: A sixty-year-old biker rides the length of America’s borders, both south and north, to explore our conflicted relationship with our neighbors.

Friday: The Table Comes First: Never before has society cared so much about food, says New Yorker writer Adam Gotnip, with celebrity chefs and restaurants treated as places of pilgrimage. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives? The Table Comes First is one man’s quest to find the answer to that question.

I’ll be with family in New York later in the week, leaving Here on Earth in the very capable hands of my colleagues, Veronica Rueckert and Lori Skelton.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Programs for the Week of 11/7

Monday: A Muslim-American Slave: The Life of Omar Ibn Said: In 1807, Omar Ibn Said, a wealthy Muslim scholar was captured and brought to the American south as a slave. Late in life, Omar was persuaded by abolitionists to write down his life story which has been newly edited and translated by a Yale professor.

Tuesday: TBA (Encore):

Wednesday: All-American Muslim: Are we ready for a Muslim Cosby Show? All-American Muslim, a new reality series that debuts on TLC on Sunday, November 13th, explores what it means to be Muslim in post-9/11 America as it follows the lives of five Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Michigan.

Thursday: It Calls You Back: One Man’s Break with Gang Life: Luis Rodriguez chronicled his early life in L.A. as a young Chicano gang member in Always Running, a book that became a classic. Now, in his second memoir, he shows just how difficult it can be to break with the past even as an activist and one of the most revered figures in Chicano literature.

Friday: A Family Recipe for Veterans’ Day:: The fighting officially ended in World War I at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. Veterans Day in the United States, and Remembrance Day in Canada, has become a time to remember and honor all wartime service. Cookbook author Wini Moranville has a story to tell about touring World War II battlefields in Normandy and a chicken recipe she discovered while she was there that uses the famous apple brandy of the region.

As the leaves fall and the color is swept away, it’s time to cling more closely to one another...

Happy November!