Daniel Lev – A Story of Chanukah

Every year on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls four days before the new moon closest to the winter solstice, the eight day holiday of Chanukah, celebrated worldwide, begins. Before the days of radio and television a person called a magid traveled from town to town, visiting Jewish people and Jewish families. Daniel Lev is a modern day magid who sometimes visits Ukiah and Willits to teach and pass along Jewish tradition through stories, songs, and spiritual practice. This program was originally broadcast in December 1996, and joined these archives the day Daniel Lev became a rabbi in 2005.

Daniel Lev recommends the Torah.

Originally Broadcast: December 14, 1996

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Maria Stewart – Sandra Kamusukiri – A Visit With a Free Black Woman – Boston 1840

Maria W. Stewart, as characterized by professor and scholar Sandra Kamusakiri, was a free black woman who lived in Boston, MA, from the 1820s to the early 1840s. She was the first American born woman to lecture in public on political themes and likely the first African-American to speak out in defense of women’s rights. A forerunner to Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, she was intensely religious and regarded as outspoken and controversial during her time. For more than a century, Maria W. Stewart’s life contributions remained obscured, illustrating the double pressures of racism and sexism on the lives African-American women. I met with Mariah W. Stewart in the person of Professor Sandra Kamusukiri during the 1996 Democracy in America Chautauqua, held in Ukiah, California.

Maria Stewart recommends “The Fair Sketches of Women,” by John Adams and “The Bible.”

Originally Broadcast: November 27, 1996

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Charles Reich – A Non-Marxist View of Material Capitalism

The Greening of America & Opposing the System

The market economy often seems to have many inherent problems. Indeed, a Marxist historical view presupposes that the fundamental contradictions of capitalism will inevitably lead to socialism. Far from this extreme, Charles Reich, author of “The Greening of America” and, more recently, “Opposing the System,” believes that individuals must be nonetheless confronted with these contradictions and the human conditions created by material capitalism.

Charles Reich recommends “The Poetry of Colleridge,” by Charles R. Woodring.

Originally Broadcast: November 4, 1996

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Gary Coy – The Man Driving the Dog Team

There is strong historical and anthropological evidence that dogs came across the Bering land bridge with people migrating from Siberia to Alaska. These dogs worked hard to maintain their keep; they weren’t pets. Instead, they chased and ran down polar bears and located seals hiding beneath the Bering ice. One of the early dog professionals in Alaska was Harry Karstens, who later became the first superintendent of Mount McKinley National Park. As a young man, he pioneered a dog sled route from Fairbanks to Valdez, and hauled mail to the Katishna mining district. Now, at Denali National Park in central Alaska, there’s a breeding and training and leadership program for these sled dogs. I spoke with Gary Coy, the director of this remarkable kennel. In his office there is a large sign quoting Harry Karstens. It says: “A man driving a dog team is the biggest dog himself.” Amid the noise and the chatter of the dog kennels in Denali Park, I asked Gary to explain what that sign means and to tell us a little about this wonderful project.

Gary Coy recommends “A Dog-Puncher on the Yukon,” by Arthur Walden.

Originally Broadcast: August 28, 1996

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Gilbert, Ronnie — A View Over The Years Of Freedom Songs

In this edition of Radio Curious our guest is Ronnie Gilbert, a folk singer and former member of “The Weavers”, an extraordinarily popular singing group in the 195o’s and 60′s. This interview was recorded on September 18th 1996 when Ronnie Gilbert had just celebrated her 70th birthday and had begun a tour singing with Holly Near. During the course of her career with “The Weavers”, the group was blacklisted due to their political beliefs and the cold war hysteria in the United States at that time. Ronnie Gilbert and I discuss what it was like to be blacklisted in the early 1950′s. We also talk about how she feels older people are treated in today’s society.

The books Ronnie Gilbert recommends are “The Moors Last Sigh” by Salman Rushdie, “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet and “Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union” by Vladimir Pozner

Recorded September 18th 1996

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Laura Cheek – At Home in Glacier Bay

Some of the most studied glaciers in the world are found in Glacier Bay National Park located in southeastern Alaska. These expansive ice sheets cover approximately ten percent of the earth’s surface and hold eighty percent of the world’s fresh water, ninety-nine percent of which can be found in Greenland and Antarctica. Due to gravity’s pull, glaciers shape and scour the landscape moving land and vegetation great distances as they slowly slide downward toward the sea. This glacial movement has created rich farmland, vast deposits of gravel and sand, and concentrated valuable metals, depending on where they glaciers have traveled. Glaciers also create deep valleys and fjords, like the kind seen in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. Laura Cheek was a national park ranger at Glacier Bay National Park in 1996 when this program was recorded. As part of her job, she boarded tour ships in Glacier Bay to discuss glaciers, what they’re like and how they’re formed.

Laura Cheek recommends “The Island Within,” by Richard Nelson.

Originally Broadcast: August 14, 1996

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Richard Brodie – How Ideas Travel

The Virus of the Mind

The developing field of science called the science of memetics is based on evolution, studies memes: how they interact, replicate, and evolve. The biological definition of a meme is a basic unit of cultural transmission. The psychological definition of a meme is a unit of cultural heredity analogous to the gene, the internal representation of knowledge. A working definition of a meme is a unit of information in a mind whose existence influences events such that more copies of itself get created in other minds. “The Virus of the Mind” is a book devoted to the study of memetics and memes and was written by Richard Brodie, who also was a writer of the first version of Microsoft Word. He was our guest for this edition of Radio Curious that was originally broadcast in July of 1996. We began when I asked him what is the importance of studying memetics.

Richard Brodie recommends “The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History” by Howard Bloom.

Originally Broadcast: July 31, 1996

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Domingo Sarmiento & Daniel Lewis – An Argentine President

Domingo Sarmiento, a teacher and later President of the Republic of Argentina, spent several years traveling in Europe and the United States in the mid-19th Century. He spent six weeks in the US in the fall of 1847 and later published his account of this visit, selectively interpreting what he saw and experienced to conform to his ideas. In this archive edition of Radio Curious, I visit with Domingo Sarmiento in the person of Professor Daniel Lewis, a scholar-presenter in the 1996 Democracy in America Chautauqua. I met with Domingo Sarmiento during a break in the Chautauqua programming in Ukiah, California, and asked him what he saw the future of the American Union to be, from his perspective in 1843.

Domingo Sarmiento recommends any book by James Fenimore Cooper. Daniel Lewis recommends “The Invention of Argentina,” by Nicolas Shumway.

Originally Broadcast: July 27, 1996

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P.T. Barnum & Doug Mishler – The Something of Humbug

PT Barnum, sometimes known as the Prince of Humbug, was born in Connecticut in 1810. In many ways, he personified the American character that Frenchman Alexis De Tocqueville described in his book, “Democracy in America.” Barnum delighted in making money and telling the truth, as he saw it. Some truths were told in the political arena, where he was twice a member of the Connecticut legislature and, in the interim, Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Some of his truths were lies when they were told to other people, like the history of some of his circus performers. Other truths were told in his newspapers. PT Barnum, ‘PT’ as he liked to be called, was best known as the creator of the ‘Best Show On Earth,’ the Barnum and Bailey Circus. I spoke with PT Barnum, personified by Doug Mishler, in the studios of Radio Curious in July of 1996 when this program was originally broadcast.

P.T. Barnum recommends “My Toils and Struggles,” the autobiography of PT Barnum. Doug Mishler recommends “The Culture of Complaint,” by Robert Hughes.

Originally Broadcast: July 24, 1996

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Alexis de Tocqueville/Dick Johnson – A Visit With Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy in America

In 1831, a 25 year-old Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville, trained as a lawyer, and preoccupied with democracy, came to the US to study this new political scheme. Alexis de Tocqueville and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, arrived at Newport, RI, in an America comprised, then, of 23 states and 13 million people. They stayed for nine months, and then returned to France at which time de Tocqueville began his epic poem entitled “Democracy in America.” At a time then when slavery was an economic base in the South, and abolitionism was beginning to thrive in the North, America had three frontiers: geography, industry, and democracy. In this program of Radio Curious, we’ll be talking with Alexis De Tocqueville, through the person of Chautauqua scholar, Dick Johnson.

Alexis de Tocqueville recommends “Democracy in America,” by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Originally Broadcast: July 17, 1996

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