Werdinger, Roberta: Barbed Wire and Flowers

Barb Wire and Flowers: A daughter’s story of her perception and relationship with her father.  He, a survivor of the holocaust, and she, his adult child describes the strength of his life incumbent on her youth, and their visit to one of the two concentration camps where he was interned by the Nazis in World War Two.

Roberta Werdinger, a storyteller, writer, publicist, editor, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.  Raised as a non-secular Jew and ordained as a Buddhist Monk, plans to include Barbed Wire and Flowers in the memoir she is currently writing.  I heard her public reading of Barbed Wire and Flowers here in Ukiah in June, 2016 I invited her to visit Radio Curious.  She did on November 21, 2016.  Our visit begins with her reading, and I invite you listen for the next 17 minutes. Our conversation follows.

This program was recorded on November 21, 2016.

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President Jimmy Carter – Life After the Presidency

The Virtues of Aging

Considering the alternatives, growing older is really not all that bad. The frame of mind that we develop and carry with us as we age controls much of how we feel and behave. James Earl Carter Jr., more often known as Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the US, is the author of a book called, “The Virtues of Aging.” President Carter’s book covers issues from Social Security and medical expenses to the importance of staying active and involved. I spoke with President Jimmy Carter by phone, in the fall of 1998, and I asked him what prompted him to write the book.

President Jimmy Carter recommends “The Age Wave: How the Most Important Trend of Our Time Can Change Your Future,” by Ken Dychtwald.

Originally Broadcast: December 4, 1998

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Dyer, Michael — The Life of Whalers in the 19th Century

Whaling in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the home of Herman Melville, author of “Moby Dick,” is our topic today.  Our guest is Michael Dyer, the senior historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The Whaling Museum reveals the lives of the largest mammals on earth.  The museum’s social history collection shares the monumental stories of those who spent their human lives whaling at sea between the New England coast and half way around the world, as well as their families who yearned for their return.  It explains how the seamen lived at sea, who they were, as well as the captains and owners of the sailing vessels and all those in between. It also explains the economics of the whale oil that lit and lubricated the industrial revolution.

In part one of our series on whaling I met with Mike Dyer at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on September 2, 2016.  To put matters it into perspective, we began with I asked him to describe the sperm whale.

In this program, part two of our visit with Mike Dyer, we began when he described the lives of the men who went to sea to hunt the whales.

The book Mike Dyer recommends is “Marine Mammals of the Northwestern Coast of North America,” by Charles Melville Scammon.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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

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.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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

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.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

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.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we begin with Ingelore in her own words from the documentary “Ingelore.” As you hear 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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Benton, Robert — The Human Stain

This program is about “passing,” a term sometimes used to define a person of color who passes as white. From the 2004 Radio Curious archives we revisit a conversation with film director Robert Benton, about his film “The Human Stain.” It’s a movie about the life of Coleman Silk, an eminent Jewish intellectual and devoted husband; a professor of classics at a small New England college.  The truth about Coleman Silk, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, is far more complex than expected or thought to be.  He hid behind a veil of lies, having masked his African-American origins in order to find a freedom he thought would otherwise be impossible to achieve.  But his world of deception unraveled after embarking on a romance with a much younger woman.

Our guest, Robert Benton, is a three time Academy Awards winner for his work as the Director of “Kramer Vs. Kramer,” “Places in the Heart,” and “Nobody’s Fool.” His film, “The Human Stain,” takes place in the 1990s and is based on the third novel of Phillip Roth’s “American Trilogy” describing the post World War Two turmoil in America.

The title “The Human Stain” emerges from the idea that no matter what a person does, a human being leaves a mark on the world, whether by rage, desire, ambition or accident, a kind of scar; stain that cannot be undone.  For Coleman Silk that stain is the deception and concealment he carried for decades. The human stain is the mark we leave on everything.  It speaks to the fact that we can’t get through life without marking the world around us in some way. We have no choice. It’s part of being human.

Robert Benton and I visited by phone in the fall of 2004.

The books Robert Benton recommends are “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night,” by Mark Haddon and “The Manuscript Found in Sargossa,” by Jan Potocki.

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Dr. Alondra Nelson – Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

 

Who we are and where we come from is a crucial question that now we are more able to answer than ever before. The examination and analysis of our individual DNA, in addition to answering a myriad of medical and forensic secrets also reveals the mix of our individual ancestors and the paths they took. This analysis provides significant and untold information about who we are, from where we came and how we may connect with our relatives.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, the Dean of Social Science and professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, in New York City, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Professor Nelson is the author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. She s also the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, which she and I have previously discussed on Radio Curious.

To discuss The Social Life of DNA, Professor Nelson and I visited by phone from her office n New York City, on February 19, 2016. We began by noting that although all human beings are members of the human race, people are grouped by skin color and/or facial features and characterized as being of a different race.

The book she recommends is “Come Out Swinging,” by Lucia Trimbur.

This program was recorded on February 19, 2016.

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Livingston, Gordon M.D. — How To Love?

Everybody thinks about love and many people say “I love you”, but how is love defined? The book “How To Love” written by psychiatrist Dr. Gordon Livingston grapples with these and many other questions about love, and how to find a compatible and pleasurable partnership. In this interview, we discuss how to choose more carefully, in matters of love to get what we desire and deserve. The song, “Do You Love Me?” from the musical “Fiddler On The Roof,” is our background music. Dr. Gordon Livingston spoke from his home in Columbia, Maryland on July 13th 2009, where he lives and practices psychiatry. The conversation began when I asked Dr. Livingston to define love.

The book Dr. Gordon Livingston recommends is “All He Ever Wanted,” by Anita Shreve.

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Peru: Ancient History and Today

Peru is a county about which I’ve been curious for over 60 years, beginning when I first learned of the Inca Empire.  Ten years later the Peace Corps sent me to Peru as volunteer for two years in 1964.

Peru’s current societies are windows into a world in which many Andean people live in the three adjoining countries of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.   The complex societies which flourished in this region, centuries before the Inca Empire was destroyed by the Spanish invaders in the 16th century are still very much a part of the lives of people whose homes and communities are located high in the Andes between 10,000 and 14,000 feet above sea level.  Many still enjoy and celebrate the traditions rooted in the ancient cultures of their land.

When Radio Curious visited Peru and Bolivia in the fall of 2015 we engaged in several conversations about ancient and current times in Peru. Edith Zapata, an independent licensed Peruvian tour guide, based in Cusco, Peru, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Edith Zapata and I visited in the court yard of a somewhat noisy guest hostal in Cusco, Peru, on November 10, 2015.  We began our conversation with her description of the geological history of the Cusco valley, and moved forward in time to how some of the current leaders of the Catholic Church and some of the people of the greater Cusco area related to each other.

Edith Zapata, a licensed independent Peruvian tour guide, based in Cusco, Peru.  You may contact her by email at ezv27@hotmail.com.  The movie she recommends is “In Search of Happyness,” starring Will Smith.

Click here to listen, or download this program on the link below.