William Boyer – The Rights of Our Children

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America’s Future: Transition into the 21st Century

William Boyer, a Professor Emeritus and the former Chairman of the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Hawaii, is the author of a book called “America’s Future: Transition into the 21st Century.” In this program, we discussed the rights of future generations, how to protect those rights, what they are, and what right we have to determine the rights of future generations. This program was originally broadcast in March of 1993, when Radio Curious was called Government, Politics and Ideas.

Originally Broadcast: March 30, 1993

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Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part Two

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The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

 

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts. In part one we discussed his experiences growing up and playing on the basketball courts in the inner city and how that differend from the Ivy League schools he later went to. In part two, we began our conversation when I asked him to explain the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

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Woodbine, Onaje Ph.D. — Black Gods of the Asphalt Part One

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The transcendent experience of street basketball is the topic of two conversations with Onaje X. O. Woodbine, author of “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.” Woodbine grew up in the inner-city of Roxbury, Massachusetts, became a skilled street basketball player and attended Yale University on a basketball scholarship. After two years as a star player on the Yale team, he chose a different life path and quit.

After graduating from Yale, Woodbine earned his Ph.D. in religious studies from Boston University. His book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt” presents a social-anthropological view of this inner-city sport where coaches often assume the role of father, mentor and friend. He contrasts the lessons learned on the street basketball courts, with those learned at the predominantly white basketball courts and locker rooms of Yale University.

Onaje Woodbine visited with Radio Curious by phone on August 13, 2016, from his home in Andover, Massachusetts, and began part one by describing his relationship with his father, Dr. Robert Woodbine.  In part two he discusses the ethnographic research and methods he used in making his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt.”

The book Dr. Onaje Woodbine recommends is “Jesus and the Disinherited” by Howard Thurman.

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Joseph Brodsky – A Book of Poems Next to Every Bible

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A Part of Speech, Less Than One, To Urania, Marbles, & Watermark

Joseph Brodsky, a winner of the Noble Prize, was the United States National Poet Laureate in 1991. Born in what was then Leningrad, Soviet Union, he grew up in a communal apartment, and was very active in language and literary pursuits. In 1963, a Leningrad newspaper denounced Brodsky, calling his poetry pornographic and anti-Soviet. He was interrogated and twice put in mental institutions. His papers were seized. He was arrested and indicted on the charge of parasitism. In a secret trial, he was called a “pseudo-poet in velveteen trousers,” who failed to fulfill his “constitutional duty to work honestly for the good of the motherland.” Yet no fault was found in the content of his poetry. One of the more interesting comments Joseph Brodsky made as a guest was that there should be a book of poetry in every hotel room, right next to the Bible. He said that he didn’t think that the telephone book would mind. Joseph Brodsky died on January 28th of 1996, a world-class poet.

Originally Broadcast: November 18, 1991

 

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Funk, Indigo — One Student’s Response to Gun Violence

Our guest in this edition of Radio Curious is Indigo Funk, a 2018 graduate of Ukiah High School, here in Ukiah, California.  Funk was the winner of the 2017 California Lions Clubs’ state-wide student speaker contest, when he answered the question: “Is the right to privacy a threat to national security?”

Funk, who will begin his college career at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, in the fall of 2018, caught my attention when I heard him speak, rather eloquently, at the March 24, 2018, Ukiah version of the national student March For Our Lives organized here by Ukiah High Students.

When Indigo Funk arrived the Radio Curious studios on June 15, 2018, to record this interview, I asked him if he’d like to read Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed column entitled “How to Lose the Mid-Terms and Re-elect Trump,” that had been published two days prior in the New York Times.

Bruni’s article challenges the effectiveness of Robert De Niro’s “profanity-laced comment about President Trump,” for which he received a standing ovation at the June 10, 2018 Tony Awards in New York City.

Bruni shares De Niro’s anger but challenges his expression.  In his op-ed piece, Bruni wrote, “When you answer name-calling with name-calling and tantrums with tantrums, you’re not resisting him. You’re mirroring him. You’re not diminishing him. You’re demeaning yourselves. Many voters don’t hear your arguments or the facts, which are on your side. They just wince at the din. You permit them to see you as you see Trump: deranged.”

Bruni then posed the question: “Why would they (the voters) choose a different path if it goes to another ugly destination?”

When Indigo Funk finished reading Bruni’s Op-Ed, he said he had just been thinking about that issue. So we began our conversation when I asked him to share his thoughts.

The book Indigo Funk recommends is “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League,” by Jeff Hobbs.

This program was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious on June 15, 2018.

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Kupers, Dr. Terry — Solitary Confinement and How to End It

In this edition we again visit with Dr. Terry Allen Kupers, a forensic psychiatrist and the author of “Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It”.

In our first visit, Dr. Kupers describes the abysmal conditions in which an estimated 100,000 incarcerated people, both men and women are held in solitary confinement in the United States. Kept in dark, cold, and often wet cells, more or less eight feet by ten feet in size, they have little or no human contact, sometimes for years on end.  Many suffer from mental illness, prior to or as a result of living solitary confinement.  This results in significant long term damage to these people as individuals and to our society as a whole.

In this second of our two part series, Dr. Kupers shares stories of prisoners held in solitary confinement and what he believes is necessary to achieve meaningful rehabilitation for people who have committed crimes and sentenced to prison.

When Dr. Terry Kupers and I visit by phone from his home in Oakland, California, on February 14, 2018, we began this second visit when I asked him to describe what he calls a rehabilitative attitude.

The book Dr. Kupers recommends is: Hell Is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement,” edited by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway and Sarah Shourd.

This program was recorded on February 14, 2018.

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Fogg, Laura — Traveling Blind

The ways different creatures, especially us humans, use our senses to guide ourselves through life has long attracted my curiosity. Ive often wondered how blind people seem able to orient themselves, and also wondered about their dreams.

From time to time, over the years, I would see an attentive woman walk past my office window next to a young person of student age. They would walk together talk, and the young person almost always carried a white cane with a red tip. Laura Fogg is this woman, the author of Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers, and our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious.

Laura Fogg worked as a Mobility and Orientation Instructor for the Blind in Mendocino County for over 35 years beginning 1971. She pioneered the use of the red tipped white cane with very young blind students some of whom had multiple impairments. She traveled long distances over the rather spectacular back roads of Mendocino County to work with each student his or her home.

When she visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 1, 2008, I asked her about the lessons that she learned that have changed her life.

The book Laura Fogg recommends is My Year of Meats, by Ruth Ozeki. Published in 1999.

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Stephen Most — Documentary Filmmaker:  Stories Make the World Part One

Meaning, which comes from stories, is the topic of our two part series on how stories make the world. Our guest is Stephen Most, author of “Stories Make the World: Reflections on Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary.” In this book, Most shares his experience as a playwright, writer, and creator of documentary films over the past 50 plus years.

Steve Most and I first crossed paths in 1976. We soon determined we had both lived in Peru for several years ten years earlier, and have been friends since.  In his 2007 visit with Radio Curious, Most and I discussed his book “River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin.”

“Stories Make the World” is a crucial account of the principles and paradoxes that attend the quest to represent reality truthfully.  Most shows how documentary filmmakers and other nonfiction storytellers come to understand their subjects and cast light on the world through their art.  Click here to stream or download films in the “Stories Make the World.”

Steve Most visited the Radio Curious studios on August 4, 2017, to record this series on storytelling and the art of the documentary. The central theme of “Stories Make the World” is meaning comes from stories. We begin with Steve Most’s description of his initial experiences starting with his arrival to Peru’s north coast in 1964.  He contrasts information, including raw facts, and meaningful knowledge with a story.

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McPherson, Dr. Guy R.: Near-Term Extinction of the Human Species, Part 1 (Archive)

In September of 2015, Barry visited with Dr. Guy R. McPherson, co-author with Carolyn Baker of “Extinction Dialogs: How to Live With Death in Mind.” McPherson is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. This archive program is the first of a series on near-term extinction of the human species. Dr. McPherson’s words about the possible effects of climate change are hauntingly prescient, heard a year and a half year later.

As you listen, consider the following: Is what McPherson predicted occurring? Has climate change affected your life? What have you done, or what are doing differently, as a consequence? What are your future plans regarding climate change?

The point from which average global temperature rise is measured dates back to 1750, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the time at which the ever increasing use of fossil fuels began. Since then, the planet has warmed by more than 1 degree centigrade. McPherson’s book Extinction Dialogs: How to Live With Death in Mind, explains how this small global rise in temperature is leading to a large scale mass extinction on the planet.

This interview was originally recorded on September 14, 2015.

You may listen to the full program here.

 

Grandin, Prof. Temple: What Autism Can Tell Us About Animals (Archive)

What animals think and how their thoughts might be understood is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. A certain amount of insight into this curious question may be obtained from the book “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior,” by Professor Temple Grandin.

Grandin, born in 1947, was diagnosed with autism at age 2 and did not begin to speak until she was 4 years old. She earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. in animal science, and is now a professor of animal science at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

In her book “Animals in Translation,” Grandin explores the world of animals; their pain, fear, aggression, relationships and communication. She believes that autistic people at times think the way animals think, putting them in a strong position to translate “animal talk.”

We spoke with Professor Grandin from her office in Ft. Collins, Colorado, in March 2006. We began our conversation when I asked her to define autism.

You can hear the full interview here.