California Burning: The Mendocino Lodge Fire

California wildfires present a serious public safety concern, create fear of serious loss for many and cost millions of dollars to fight. In California each fire is given a name, as is done for hurricanes. We devote this edition of Radio Curious, to the Lodge Fire that occurred in Mendocino County, California in August 2014.  We visit with four Mendocino County people who meet the public need at times of crisis.

We begin with Mary Aigner, program director of KZYX and KZYZ, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, the public radio station where Radio Curious was originally broadcast beginning in 1991.  She describes what local public radio is able to do at a time of crisis. We then hear from Chris Rowney, the Mendocino Unit Chief for Cal-Fire, the California fire protection agency, who explains what Cal-Fire does when confronted with a wildfire. We also hear from Mendocino County Sheriff, Tom Allman, whose responsibility it is to order a mandatory evacuation if a crisis so requires. Finally we hear from Dr. Sharon Paltin, a family physician in Laytonville, California, the community closest to the Lodge Fire.  She describes the public health effects of exposure to the extraordinary amount of smoke created by a wildfire.

We begin our conversation, recorded on August 29, 2014, with Mary Aigner from Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, describing the role of community radio when a wild fire occurs.

The book Mary Aigner recommends is “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus,” by Charles C. Mann. The book that Chris Rowney recommends is “Young Men and Fires,” by Norman McClean. The book Dr. Sharon Paltin recommends is “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster,” by Rebecca Solnit.

This program was recorded on August 29 and September 1, 2014.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Vogel, Lillian Ph.D. — Secrets of a Long Life

September 11, 2014, marks the 105th birthday of a woman I know well:  A woman who has played the piano for 98 years, and in my opinion is the best mother in the world.  In 2009, her book “What’s My Secret?  One Hundred Years of Memories and Reflections,” a memoir of her first ten decades was published.  This book imparts thoughts and ideas to those of us who seek to lead a long and active life.

Lillian B. Vogel, Ph.D., is the author. She is also my mother.  And as such, I have often been curious about the role she had in fomenting my curiosity.  She has always been able to get to the heart of most any matter with a few simple questions.  

On September 9, 2014, my mother and I met for lunch at her home to review the plans for her upcoming 105th birthday celebration.  When I explained that Radio Curious would feature our 2009 conversation she offered to read the poem from the conclusion of her book.  You’ll hear it at the end of the interview.

And so, from the Radio Curious archives, I wish to honor this extraordinary woman on her 105th birthday by sharing our conversation, recorded on October 31, 2009, which began with the inquiry:  What makes Lillian Vogel curious?

The book Lillian B. Vogel  recommends is “The Blue Tattoo: The Life Of Olive Oatman,” by Margot Mifflin.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Hollenbeck, Holly — Sex Lives of Wives

How to ignite sexual passion from a woman’s perspective is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, as we talk with Holly Hollenbeck, a former attorney from Omaha, Nebraska, and author of, “Sex Lives of Wives, Reigniting the Passion, True Confessions and Provocative Advice from Real Women.” Holly Hollenbeck says her book is not so much directed at how to please your mate, but how to please yourself by pleasing your mate. Her website is devoted to helping women find passion and inspiration in their long-term relationships. I spoke with Holly Hollenbeck from her home in Nebraska, in mid September 2006, and asked her to describe what motivated her to write, “Sex Lives of Wives.”

The book Holly Hollenbeck recommends is “Adults Only Travel: The Ultimate Guide to Romantic and Erotic Destination,” by David West and Louis James.

Originally Broadcast: September 20, 2006.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part Two Workplace Disparity

Welcome to part two of our conversations about the erosion of gender equality in China with our guest Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China”. Her book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In this 2nd conversation we discuss the extent of what if anything is done about domestic violence in China, the difference in the retirement ages for women and men and the requirement that women submit to a gynecological examination before obtaining a civil service job.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began with a discussion of domestic violence in China.

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

Click here to listen to part two of the program or on the media player below.

Click here to listen to part one.

Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part One Leftover Women

The erosion of gender equality in China is the topic of this two part series with Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.” This book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In our first conversation we discuss governmental, social and family pressures on women to marry by age 27. Those who don’t are characterized in cartoons and posters as “leftover women.” We also discuss the why home ownership deeds are most often only recorded in the name of the husband, regardless of the fact the wife has made a significant if not great financial contribution.

In the second conversation, we discuss issues of domestic violence in China and treatment of women in the workplace.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began our conversation with her description of the term “leftover women.”

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Mayer-Schonberger, Viktor — Remembering to Forget in the Digital Age, Part Two

What happens to the digital trails of our personal information and ideas that remain online when we research or upload data? Is this information accessible to others? Could it be used later to our potential detriment or character defamation? In this, the second of a two part archived conversation with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University, and author of “Delete: The Virtue Of Forgetting In The Digital Age,” we discuss methods by which people may protect themselves from revealing personal information online and how personal information may be deleted.

His book asserts that the capacity for eternal memory can have unanticipated and often unwanted consequences. In this two part archive edition of Radio Curious with Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, we explore some of the ways in which our personal information, data, conversations and experiences are forgotten by us as individuals, but remembered digitally. We consider the future potential effects on society of digitally preserved information, as well as the consequences of remembering what is sometimes best forgotten.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, joined us by phone from his then home in Singapore on January 4th 2010. We began the second part of our conversation by discussing how to delete personal information so that it is no longer available.

The book Viktor Mayer-Schönberger recommends is “Collected Fictions,” by Jorge Luis Borges. The film he recommends is “The Lives Of Others,” directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

Click here to listen to part two or on the media player below.  

Click here to listen to part one.

Bishop, Becky — Reading Dogs

This radio program is about reading. Learning to read is often confusing and frustrating. Parents and teachers sometimes create stress that flows from their personal angst to the frustration of the child trying to read. Reading to a nonjudgemental creature, who never comments and always appears to pay attention, often helps to create reading fluency.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Becky Bishop, founder of Reading With Rover, a program to help children learn to read. Becky Bishop also operates Puppy Manners, a dog training school located in Woodenville, Washington, about thirty miles from Seattle. Becky Bishop relies on the close bond between children and dogs that creates calm moments and encourages a learning environment. Her organization, “Reading With Rover” couples children who have difficulty reading with a dog who has no trouble listening. 

When Becky Bishop and I visited by phone from her home in Washington on February 22, 2010, we discussed why dogs are better listeners than teachers or parents, and we began with Becky explaining how dogs help children to read.

The books Becky Bishop recommends are “Living Life As A Thank You: The Transformative Power Of Daily Gratitude,” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammon, and “Walter the Farting Dog,” by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Elizabeth Gundy, and Audrey Coleman. 

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Brown, Seyom — Contradictions in U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

Contradictions in the United States’ nuclear weapons policy is the subject of this edition of Radio Curious. Our guest is Dr. Seyom Brown, who during the past 55 years has taught at major universities, been a special adviser to the Department of Defense and Department of State, and has written twelve books on the United States’ foreign policy and international relations.

Dr. Seyom Brown is currently an adjunct senior fellow at the American Security Project, in Washington, D.C. and previously held senior research and policy analysis positions at the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Kennedy School of Government. He has served as a Special Assistant in the Office of International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense, and to the Director of Policy Planning in the Department of State. Dr. Brown has also taught at Harvard, Brandeis, John Hopkins, Columbia, University of Chicago, and UCLA.

His current work is the study of and writing about what he describes as the “disturbing contradictions” in United States’ nuclear weapons policy. When we visited in the studios of Radio Curious on July 4, 2014, I asked him to explain and discuss these contradictions.

The book Dr. Seyom Brown recommends is “Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons,” by Ward Wilson.

The article to which he refers in this interview, Beyond MAD: Obama’s Risky –But Realistic –Effort to Reduce the Role of Nuclear Weapons is found in the December 2013 issue of Survival Magazine.

You also may hear two 1995 Radio Curious interviews with Dr. Seyom Brown discussing President Clinton’s foreign policy here.

For full disclosure, Dr. Seyom Brown is the uncle to Radio Curious host and producer, Barry Vogel.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Dole, Robert — Homosexuality and Schizophrenia

In honor of LGBT Pride Month, this edition of Radio Curious discusses one man’s personal experience in recognizing his homosexuality. Until the mid 1970s many people considered homosexuality to be a mental disorder and/or a crime, as it is still in some personal and political belief systems. Homosexual people sometimes were housed in mental institutions, given medication and suffered an array of treatment methods, including shock therapy and other forms of behavior modification.

Professor Robert Dole, our guest in this edition of Radio Curious, was one of many individuals subjected to behavior modification. In his book, “How to Make a Success of Your Schizophrenia,” he explains how the “treatment” he endured as an attempt to alter his homosexual preference made him schizophrenic. His personal memoir describes his experiences growing up in the 1960s as a gay man, his institutionalization at the McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, the insanity that consumed him as a result of his treatment, his self-led recovery, partially based on a spiritual experience, and his subsequent extraordinary life in academia.

Professor Dole, who is fluent in seven languages, teaches English as a Foreign Language at the University of Chicoutimi in rural Quebec, Canada, where he has lived for 30 plus years. He is the author of several books including, “The American Nightmare.” Robert Dole and I visited by phone from his office at the University of Chicoutimi on November 4, 2011 and began our conversation when I asked him to describe the schizophrenia he experienced.

The books he recommends are: “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” by Leo Tolstoy and any book from Stefan Zweig. 

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Dammann, Dr. Grace –Dr. Grace Dammann: In Her Own Words

In our last interview we visited with the producers and directors of the film “States of Grace,” about the life of a woman honored by The Dalai Lama for her medical work at the height of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, Ca.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with that woman, Dr. Grace Dammann.  Dr. Grace had a near death experience resulting from a head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008.  She awoke 48 comatose days later after multiple surgeries for, as she says, “trashed bones and internal organs.”  With her cognitive abilities in tact, she began rehabilitation and was able to go home a year later.  Now, in 2014 she has returned to work as the Medical Director of the Pain Clinic at the Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, California, where she had previously worked as a physician for 18 years. 

Notwithstanding her confinement to a wheelchair she proudly describes her legal efforts to urge the Golden Gate Bridge Authority to install a dividing barrier intended to prevent future head-on collisions on the bridge.  The installation is scheduled to being in the fall of 2014.

Dr. Grace and I visited by phone from her home at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, in Muir Beach, California on May 23, 2014.  We began our conversation when I asked her describe her current station on the continuum of her life’s experience. 

The book Dr. Grace Dammann recommends is “The Last of the Just,” by Andre Schwarz-Bart. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen.