Philip Weiss – Cover-up of a Peace Corps Murder

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American Taboo, A Murder in Peace Corps

In this edition of Radio Curious, we take a look at murder and getting away with murder. In the small island kingdom of Tonga, an American Peace Corps Volunteer murdered another American Peace Corps volunteer in October 1976. “American Taboo, A Murder in Peace Corps,” by Philip Weiss, is a detailed story about the murder, how and why it happened, the legend that developed, the subsequent cover-up, and an interview with the murderer.

Philip Weiss recommends “McArthur and Southerland, The Good Years,” & “McArthur and Southerland, The Bitter Years,” both by Paul P. Rogers

Originally Broadcast: June 29, 2003

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Miller, Geoffrey — Does What You Buy Make You Happier?

Why do you buy what you buy? What do you hope to gain from it and will it make you a happier, sexier and more successful person? In these days of economic downturn many of us may be questioning whether we really need all this “stuff” and how it impacts our lives?

In this edition of Radio Curious we meet Geoffrey Miller, a tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, and the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behaviour.” During our visit we discuss how our purchasing choices are driven by thousands of years of evolution, how marketers can take advantage of this and how we might try to better understand our consumer instincts.

I spoke with Geoffrey Miller from his home in Australia on May 29, 2009 and began by asking him to define his field of evolutionary psychology.

The book Geoffrey Miller recommends is “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty,” by Peter Singer. 

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Krol, Debra — Native American Art of the Southwest

Founded in 1929, the Heard Museum’s mission is dedicated to “educating people about the arts, heritage and life ways of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, with an emphasis on American Indian tribes of the Southwest.” Committed to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of Native arts and cultures, the museum successfully combines the stories of American Indian people from a personal perspective with the beauty of art, showcasing old and new hand woven baskets, Kachina dolls, other art and cultural objects.

The museum showcases the art and regalia of Apache, Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo, and Yaqui, to name a few.  More than 2,000 items make up the museums exhibition.  Artwork ranging from pottery, baskets, beadwork, dolls and paintings are on display.

Our guest is Debra Krol, the communications manager who shared portions of the Heard Museum with me on December 10, 2011.  We began our conversation with Krol when she introduced us to the Heard Museum and the unique features that reflect the evolution of south western Native American art.

Debra Krol recommends two books: “Ishi’s Brain,” by Orin Starn, and “Indians, Merchants and Missionaries: The legacy of Colonial Encounters on the California Frontiers”, by Kent G. Lightfoot. Our interview with Orin Starn may be found here

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Appelbaum, Ralph:  Holocaust Remembrance and the Responsibility of Bystanders


To create thought around Yom Hashoah, known in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, I offer you an archive interview with Ralph Appelbaum, the designer the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington D.C., which opened in April, 1993, when this interview was recorded.

When Ralph Appelbaum and I were Peace Corp volunteers in the mid 1960s, living in nearby towns in southern Peru, we often shared our future plans. This interview shares the story of one of Ralph’s plans which he manifested on a material plane, about 30 years later.

Appelbaum says that a museum’s architecture should focus on the experience by creating time and space events. In the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Appelbuam’s design depicts the suffering, torture and death of millions of people during World War II in Europe, on land controlled by fascist Nazis. He also directs attention to the responsibility of bystanders.

Please keep in mind that this interview was recorded in April 1993. That was when Ralph Appelbaum and I visited by phone from his loft in New York City. We began when I asked him to describe his vision of a museum designer.

The audio of this program was enhanced by Gregg McVicer of UnderCurrents Radio, who was our guest in 2013.

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Clark, Blaise — The Creation of Standard Time

Not such a long time ago, time was an arbitrary measure decided by each community without consideration of other localities.

In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord:  Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time.”  

In the mid 19th century, with the advent of continent-spanning railroads and transatlantic steamers, the myriad of local times became a mind-boggling obstacle and the rational ordering of time to some became an urgent priority for transportation and commerce.  Standard Time was established in 1884, leading to an international uniformity for telling time.  Arguably, the uniformity of time was a “crowning achievement” of Victorian progressiveness, one of the few innovations of that time to have survived unchanged into the 21st century.

Under the leadership of Sir Sandford Fleming, amid political rancor of delegates from industrializing nations, an agreement was reached to establish the Greenwich Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich, England and the International Date Line that wanders it way through the Pacific Ocean.  The 1884 agreement resulted in a uniform system of world-wide time zones that exists today.

I had a good time visiting with Clark Blaise in the spring of 2001 as we discussed how our current notion of time was established.  We began when I asked him to explain what standard time is.

This interview with Clark Blaise, author of “Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time,” was recorded in the spring of 2001 and first broadcast in the last week of 2011.

The book Clark Blaise recommends is “Time of Our Singing,” by Richard Powers.

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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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Offen, Bernard: Surviving the Holocaust (Archive)

The internationally recognized date of Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a calendar based on the phases of the moon. That day also marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. In year 2017 of the Gregorian Calendar Yom Hashoah falls on April 24.

From the Radio Curious archives, in honor of Yom Hashoah this year, we re-visit our 2005 interview with Bernard Offen. He survived five Nazi concentration camps in Poland, during his youth in World War II. Bernard Offen has led tours of these concentration camps and in doing says, “You don’t have to be a survivor or Jewish. It’s for all the wounded who want to understand the power of good and evil and want to create goodness in the world.”

When Bernard Offen visited the studios of Radio Curious in April 2005, we began our conversation when he described some of his early childhood experiences in Krakow, Poland in the years just prior to World War II.

The book Bernard Offen recommends My Hometown Concentration Camp: A Survivor’s Account to Life in the Krakow Ghetto and Plaszow Concentration Camp, which he wrote.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Words: How We Learn What They Mean When they are Spoken and Heard

Words: what they mean to the speaker and what they mean to the listener are the bedrock of human communication and cultural understanding.

Susanna Janssen, a teacher and dedicated advocate of learning foreign languages at any age, is the author of Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language, and our guest in this edition of Radio Curious. In Wordstruck! Janssen explores the multiple aspects of the meanings of words, how they translate from one language to another, and how she sometimes seems to have a different personality in different languages.

Susanna Janssen is dedicated to changing the linguistic culture of America by advocating the learning of foreign languages. She is a foreign language educator, as well as author, speaker, and newspaper columnist on all topics related to words, language, and culture. She is particularly interested in the benefits of learning two or more languages, and how doing so affects brain development, especially in early childhood.

The book she recommends is A Book of Roads: Travel Stories from Michigan to Marrakech, by Phil Cousineau. This interview was recorded on February 5, 2017.

You can listen to the full interview here.

 

Patterson, Dr. Victoria: It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth

 

This week, we continue our discussion with ethnologist Dr. Victoria Patterson. We talk about how the United States treated the Native people of North America initially, and later during the westward expansion. We also discuss the consequences to the Native people when they entered into written treaties with the United States. Not having a written language, they relied on the carefully chosen words they spoke during the treaty negotiations and the words spoken by the representatives of the United States.

Dr. Victoria Patterson is an Ethnologist who has studied the Native people of what is now the United States for the past 40 years.  She lives and works in Ukiah, California. I invite you to listen to the 1999 two-part series with Dr. Patterson about the life of the Pomo People of northwestern California prior to contact with Europeans, and what occurred in the ten years thereafter.

We began this interview with her elaborating on and putting into context the statement of Chief Joseph: “It Does Not Require Many Words to Speak the Truth.”

You can listen to our discussion here.

The book Victoria Patterson recommends is “The Best American Travel Writing 2016,” by Bill Bryson.

This program was recorded on January 23, 2017.

Mello, Mark — The Underground Railroad in New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, Massachusetts, a sea port located in the southeast corner of Massachusetts, at the base of Cape Cod, is the locale of our program.  Early in New Bedford’s history a group of Quakers from Boston moved there and the town became a safe haven for formerly enslaved African-Americans, who escaped bondage. 

The stories of those who safely arrived in New Bedford on the Underground Railroad are presented at the 34 acre New Bedford National Historical Park in the Old Town section of New Bedford. 

This two part series on the New Bedford Underground Railroad with National Park Ranger Mark Mello was recorded on September 2, 2016, with the sound of wind and street traffic in the background.  Part one begins with a historical perspective of the Underground Railroad and the way in which New Bedford, Massachusetts was a safe haven for former slaves.  

The books Mark Mello recommends are “Fugitive’s Gibraltar: Escaping Slaves and Abolitionism in New Bedford, Massachusetts,” by Kathryn Grover;  “Whale Hunt,” by Nelson Cole Haley; and “Leviathan,” by Philip Hoare. 

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