Katz, Leo — Why Our Law is so Stupid and Perverse

Have you ever asked yourself ‘why is the law so perverse? Why is it directed away from what is right or good?’ This program is about the why the law is sometimes called stupid, irrational or perverse in a conversation with author and Pennsylvania law professor, Leo Katz.

His book, “Why the Law is So Perverse,” presents the multiple conundrums based on legal consequences that are sometimes unintended. We visited by phone from his home in Philadelphia, PA on November 27, 2011, and began our conversation when I asked him to describe, using the examples in his book, how the legal system in the United States evolved to create conundrums, contradictions and unintended consequences.

The book Prof. Leo Katz recommends is, “The Assault,” by Harry Mulisch.

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Socrates & Ron Gross – Socrates of Athens, in Conversation

Socrates’ Way: Seven Masterkeys to Using Your Mind to the Utmost

Socrates of Athens, who lived before the Common Era, is respected as one of the greatest independent thinkers of all time. Socrates himself refused to be recognized as a teacher. Instead, Plato, his well-known student and reporter of Socrates’ dialogues, tells us he asked to be seen as a “midwife of ideas.” Socrates’ passion to achieve self-understanding, and the proper ways to live, continues to be studied and emulated to this day.

Socrates recommends “The Trojan Women,” by Euripides. Ron Gross recommends “The Clouds,” by Aristophanes.

Originally Broadcast: January 13, 2003

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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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Stiefel, Frank — “Ingelore,” Speaking Without Hearing

What would it be like for you if you were deaf? If you could not speak your first word until you were six? If you had three years of education, your first language was German, and you later emigrated to another country where they speak English?  Ingelore is the first name of a woman who was born in Germany in 1924, and came to America in 1940 at the beginning of the Third Reich, right after Kristallnacht. The film “Ingelore” was made by Inglelore’s son Frank Stiefel, and it tells his mother’s story.  This edition of Radio Curious begins with we a piece from the movie “Ingelore” in which she explains who she is and a little of her story. As we hear is her ability to articulate words in English it’s important to remember  she cannot hear.

This interview was recorded on May 29th, 2010 with Frank Stiefel from his home in Santa Monica, California.

The books that Frank Stiefel recommends are “Hand Of My Father,” by Myron Uhlberg, and “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.

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Menasian, Helen — No Child Left Inside

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Helen Menasian, director of the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project, located north of Ukiah, California. Ukiah is a small town in a long narrow valley that has been occupied by the Pomo People for about 11,000 years. About 150 years ago when Europeans and other foreign settlers arrived  the wilderness of the Ukiah valley was interrupted by pavement, waterworks and mechanical noise.

The book “The Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder,” by Richard Louv describes some of the central ethos behind outdoor education for children. The book reminds us that parents have the power to ensure that their son or daughter will not be “the last child in the woods,” and discusses the importance of the nature-child reunion. During this conversation we hear how the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project seeks to regain that connection. We began by asking Helen Menasian to explain just what the project does. This interview was recorded in the studios of Radio Curious, Ukiah, California on February 8th 2010.

The book Helen Menasian recommends is “The Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder,” by Richard Louv.

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Bennell, Alan — A Horticultural Extravaganza in Scotland

Some of us may be curious about the vast diversity of plants around the world and might wonder who collects and identifies new species and where might we see them displayed? In this edition, the 2009 Radio Curious tour of Scotland continues as we visit with Alan Bennell, head of visitor services at the Royal Botanic Garden located in Edinburgh, Scotland. Alan Bennell guides us through this horticultural extravaganza and describes how the collection has grown since it opened in the 17th Century and how the research conducted there is used in conservation efforts around the world.

This interview with Alan Bennell was recorded on May 18th, 2009, a windy rainy day with birds singing in the background, in the Royal Botanic Garden located in Edinburgh, Scotland. We begin the conversation by asking him to introduce himself and the gardens. Please ignore the sounds of the wind and rain, but do enjoy the chirping of the birds.

The book recommended by Alan Bennell  is “The Chronicles of Bob Dylan,” by Bob Dylan.

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Damrosch, Phoebe — The Wisdom of the Waiter

Behind the scenes in Per Se, a four star restaurant in New York City, a sister restaurant to The French Laundry in Napa, California, is one of the topics in this edition of Radio Curious.  Phoebe Damrosch, author of, “Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter,” was the first female captain (head waiter) at a New York four-star restaurant. A graduate of Columbia University’s Barnard College, she shares surprising episodes and charm in a story relayed from the always-pleasant server’s point of view that some people spend several hundred dollars each to witness from the diner’s perspective. However, Phoebe sees things that the diners don’t. Phoebe Damrosch was born in a small rural mountaintop cabin next to a pure water lake several hours north of New York City, and grew up partly in Vermont and rural Haiti.

This conversation, recorded on July 15, 2008, began when I asked her to explain what a restaurant must do to receive the four-star nomination.

The book she recommends is “Drown,” by Junot Diaz.

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Magruder, Kate — Celebrating Community

Ukiah, California, a small vibrant community, approximately 100 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is the home to the Ukiah Players Theater. An annual May fundraiser for the theater offers a tour of old and new homes on the west side of town, offered by the residents willing to share their history with community members. Kate Magruder, a founder of Ukiah Players Theater and considered by many to be the soul and life force of the UPT, successfully strives to search out and tell historical stories of the Ukiah, the ancestral home of the Pomo people who called the area Yokayo, meaning long narrow valley. In this program Kate Magruder explains the importance of place, knowing where we come from and our history, and in the benefits of telling communities’ stories. This interview was recorded May 11, 2008.

The books Kate Magruder recommends are, “Our Land Ourselves, Readings on People and Place,” and “The Great Remembering: further Thoughts on Land, Soul, and Society,” both published by The Trust for Public Land.


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Elizabeth Stanton & Frederick Douglass / Sally Wagner & Charles Pace – A Visit with Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Frederick Douglass

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass were good friends from the mid 19th century to the late 19th century, and were active leaders in the fight for the rights of women and blacks throughout their lives. From time to time they got together to visit and talk about America, as they knew it. In this archive edition of Radio Curious recorded in May 1996, I met with Chautauqua scholars Sally Roesch Wagner and Charles Pace who portrayed Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frederick Douglass and asked them each to tell us what it was like to be an American during their life time.

The book Frederick Douglass recommends is, “The Columbian Orator: Containing a Variety of Original and Selected Pieces Together With Rules, Which Are Calculated to Improve Youth and Others, in the Ornamental and Using Art of Eloquence” by Caleb Bingham. The book Charles Pace recommends is, “W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868 to 1919,” by David Levering Lewis.

The book Elizabeth Cady Stanton recommends is, “The Woman’s Bible” edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The book Sally Wagner recommends is, “The Homesteader: A Novel,” by Oscar Micheaux.

Originally broadcast: July 3, 1996

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