Lev, Daniel: A Story of Chanukah

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Every year on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which falls four days before the new moon closest to the winter solstice, the eight day holiday of Chanukah, celebrated worldwide, begins. Before the days of radio and television a person called a magid traveled from town to town, visiting Jewish people and Jewish families. Daniel Lev is a modern day magid who sometimes visits Ukiah and Willits to teach and pass along Jewish tradition through stories, songs, and spiritual practice. This program was originally broadcast in December 1996, and joined these archives the day Daniel Lev became a rabbi in 2005.

Daniel Lev recommends the Torah.

Originally Broadcast: December 14, 1996

Sarmiento,Domingo & Lewis, Daniel: An Argentine President

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Domingo Sarmiento, a teacher and later President of the Republic of Argentina, spent several years traveling in Europe and the United States in the mid-19th Century. He spent six weeks in the US in the fall of 1847 and later published his account of this visit, selectively interpreting what he saw and experienced to conform to his ideas. In this archive edition of Radio Curious, I visit with Domingo Sarmiento in the person of Professor Daniel Lewis, a scholar-presenter in the 1996 Democracy in America Chautauqua. I met with Domingo Sarmiento during a break in the Chautauqua programming in Ukiah, California, and asked him what he saw the future of the American Union to be, from his perspective in 1843.

Domingo Sarmiento recommends any book by James Fenimore Cooper. Daniel Lewis recommends “The Invention of Argentina,” by Nicolas Shumway.

Originally Broadcast: July 27, 1996

Gomez, Rodolfo: A Walk in the Costa Rican Rain Forest

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On the eastern slope of the Continental Divide, about an hour’s drive east of San Jose, Costa Rica, is the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, a tramway that travels through, above and below the rain forest canopy. The rain forest canopy is home to more diverse forms of flora and fauna than anywhere else in the known universe. Rodolfo Gomez, trained as an architect, has found his calling as a tour guide in Central America and specifically Costa Rica. My daughter Molly and I met with Rodolfo in the rain forest, near the aerial tram and recorded this program in April of 1995.

Originally Broadcast: June 20, 1995

Kattan, Prof. Alberto: Argentinian Environmental Issues in 1993

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The late Professor Alberto Kattan, a Professor of Law at Buenos Aires University and one of the foremost litigators of environmental issues in Argentina, is my guest on this archive edition of Radio Curious. In our conversation originally broadcast in March 1993, we discussed the future of the penguins that he was and endeavoring to protect, dolphins, the use of 245T, and problems with the tobacco industry in Argentina.

Originally Broadcast: March 7, 1993

Coverdale, Paul: Peace Corps Priorities

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This program’s guest is Paul Coverdale, at the time the Director of the Peace Corps, appointed by the first President Bush. He later became a Senator from Georgia. Our discussion concerned the nature of the Peace Corps and Coverdale’s role as the agency’s director.

Originally Broadcast: August 19, 1991

Rozenman, Elana: Jewish, Muslim & Christian Understanding

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In June, 2002 I overheard an American woman now living in Israel passionately describe her belief that teaching children to be suicide bombers is the worst form of child abuse imaginable. I invited Elana Radley Rosenman, an organizer of the Women’s Interfaith Encounter, a group of Muslim, Christian and Jewish women who meet regularly in Jerusalem, to be our guest on this edition of Radio Curious.

Elana Rozenman recommends “Yet a Stranger: Why Black Americans Still Don’t Feel at Home,” Debra Mathis.

Originally Broadcast: July 23, 2002

Fuller, Alexandra: Growing Up White in Africa

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In the late summer of 2003 Radio Curious visited with Alexandra Fuller who, as a child lived in Rhodesia, Malawi and Zambia in southeast Africa between 1972 and 1990.  After her father sided with the white government in the Rhodesian civil war, he was often away from home.   Fuller’s resilient and self-sufficient mother immersed herself in their rural and rugged life. She taught her children to have strong wills and opinions, and to whole-heartedly embrace life, despite and because of their difficult circumstances.  Alexandra Fuller, author of “Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood,” known as Bobo to her family, developed a love of reading and story telling early on in her life.

When I spoke with Alexandra Fuller in September 2003 her home was in rural Wyoming.  We visited by phone and began our conversation when I asked her how she choose the title for her book, “Don’t Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood.”

The book Alexandra Fuller recommends is “Echoing Silences,” by Alexander Canigone.

Ron Gross as Socrates: Socrates in Athens, in Conversation

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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.

Chataquan scholar Ron Gross portrays Socrates in this archived interview, recorded in January 2003. We began our conversation when I asked him to describe the process of self understanding.

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

Most, Stephen: Documentary Filmmaker: Stories Make the World Part Two

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We continue with part two of “Stories Make the World,” with Stephen Most.  He’s a playwright, documentary film maker, and author of the book “Stories Make the World: Reflections of Storytelling and the Art of the Documentary.”  Most presents vignettes of his mentors and experiences, and employs his personal art of storytelling to share who they are and what he has learned in his 54 year career as a writer and story teller.

In part one Most discusses his experience with Peruvian Shamen and Curanderos as a young man when he lived on the north coast of Peru, and the art of documentary making.  Here, in part two, Most tells the story of biologist and conservationist Aldo Leopold, among others, and describes the art of listening.

When Steve Most visited the Radio Curious studios on August 4, 2017, we began part two when I asked him about the art of storytelling.

The books Stephen Most recommends are: “Human Condition” and “On Revolution,” by Hanna Arendt, and “Granada” by Steven Nightingale.

Stephen Most’s website is (http://stephenmost.com/).

Janssen, Susanna: Words: How We Learn What They Mean When They are Spoken and Heard

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

In this edition of Radio Curious, we talk with Susanna Janssen, the author of Wordstruck! The Fun and Fascination of Language. She discusses the multiple aspects of the meanings of words, how they translate from one language to another, and how Janssen 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.

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