Hearing Voices from NPR®
022 Mushroom Cloud: Tales of the Atomic Age
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2012-08-01 (Originally: 2008-07-30)
Documents of our changing perceptions of weapons of mass destruction:
Bomber pilots and bombing victims, and and Colonel Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay in “Enola Alone” by Antenna Theater, mixed by Earwax.
Political speeches and popular songs chart our changing attitudes towards weapons of mass destruction in the “Atomic Age.” Residents recall the Nevada and Utah nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s in their “Downwinder Diaries,” produced by Claes Andreasson.
Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has “Wild Dreams of a New Beginning,” an excerpt from “One of These days (or Nights)” produced for radio by Erik Bauersfeld (Bay Area Radio Drama), with sound design by Jim McKee (Earwax), and original music by Wieslaw Pogorzelski.
Americans across the country answer Scott Carrier‘s question: “What Are You Afraid Of?”
The story of the Big Bang, with a beat, “Page One” by Lemon Jelly.
And selections from “Atomic Platters: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security” compiled by CONELRAD.com (including Slim Galliard’s “Atomic Cocktail” (1945), versions of “Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb” by Lowell Blanchard & The Valley Trio (1949) and by The Pilgrim Travelers, and 1950-60s Civil Defense public service announcements.
W.H.O. World AIDS Day
The 1st of December A Day Without Art
Sister Agnes Ramashiga makes her rounds at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto; 2000 patients check in daily, half are HIV positive. It’s “Just Another Day At the Biggest Hospital In the World,” a Radio Diaries by Joe Richman & Sue Johnson (Picture-Projects).
HIV-Positive teenagers, Tanya, Mark, and Tenisha, record audio diaries about living “The Positive Life”; produced by by Stephen Smith & Stephanie Curtis for American RadioWorks (photos and journals at ARW).)
And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary (CD at Arkiv Music) by Laura Kaminsky is a compositon for viola, cello, piano, and for a narrator, reciting poems, biblical verse, and stories of Tamakloe, a warrior, tailor, and AIDS victim.
AIDS once meant death. Now improved treatments keep HIV-positive people alive for decides. So what’s that like, being brought back from the dead; as when Jesus revived his dead friend “Lazarus;” by Krandall Kraus from his book Book: It’s Never About What It’s About.
“Letters to Butchie” are a dying mother’s writings to a son she’ll never see, produced by Dave Isay Sound Portraits (music: Nick Drake).
Audio diaries document a decade of life with CF, a chronic, often deadly, genetic disease:
“Radio Diaries: My So-Called Lungs”” (2001 / 21:13) Joe Richman
A classic Radio Diaries: When this program premiered, Laura Rothenberg was 21 years old, or, as she likes to say, she already had her mid-life crisis a couple of years ago, and even then it was a few years late. Laura has cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs. People with CF lived an average of 30 years then (now it’s 37). Radio Diaries gave Laura a tape recorder and, for two years, she kept an audio diary of her battle with the disease and her attempts to lead a normal life with lungs than often betray her.
“My So-Called Lungs” was reported by Laura Rothenberg and produced by Joe Richman, for Radio-Diaries-dot-org, with support from the Open Society Institute and Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Deborah George was the Editor. Laura Rothenberg died in March 2003. Her memoir, Breathing For a Living was published a few months later. And Joe Richman had this Laura Rothenberg Remembrance on NPR.
In 2010, there were 1,770 lung transplants performed in the United States — the most ever in a single year. For a person with Cystic Fibrosis, the transplant may extend life by years — or it could lead to continued suffering and rejection of the new organ. This documentary follows two young people struggling with end-stage Cystic Fibrosis, and struggling with a decision about transplant. While most of us are just hitting our stride in our late 20s, Beth Peters and Brian Sercus are medicating, massaging and coaxing their lungs into lasting as long as possible. Producer Catie Talarski documented Beth and Brian for a year to understand what its like to live with this chronic disease.
Land of 10K Homeless is a Minneapolis music-audio documentary project by Voices of the Streets, “An Artistic Portrayal of Homelessness in Minnesota.” Thier “website of artistic activism provides a space for the disadvantaged to share their stories.” Producer Danny Burke created this mix of the main theme, blended with interviews with individuals staying at a family shelter in Minneapolis.
After leaving the Marines, George Hill became addicted to drugs and alcohol. He soon found himself on the streets of Los Angeles, homeless for 12 years. But the kindness of another homeless man changed everything. Hill is now off the streets, working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and pursuing a computer information systems degree at Cal State University. Recorded in Santa Monica, CA; part of StoryCorps’Griot Initiative.
A portrait of the self-named, Crazy John, who lives on the streets of Austin, Texas. He tells writer Carmen Delzell about his life. Carmen was homeless for a couple of years in the early 1990s. This piece was made after she got on her feet and was living in Austin. Produced by Jay Allison (PRX).
A quest for amnesia victims — it happens a lot more in movies, books and TV shows than real life. An attempt to find someone who has really had amnesia, to give someone amnesia, and to get it. Aired on This American Life “Get Over It!” and “The Friendly Man.”
A sonic journey documenting one woman’s loss of reality and descent into mental breakdown; a first-person account, with the voices of her friends who witnessed her collapse. Available as an audiobook: “Breakdown and Back.”
The voices of Sergeant Wallace Trahan, Sergeant Aaron Kelly, Sergeant Zachary Scoskie, and Colonel Diane Huey, interviewed at a Bagram Air Base hospital (outside Kabul, Afghanistan) by NPR’s Quil Lawrence, and mixed bg Jim Wildman for Morning Edition:
South Africa has been hit hardest with H-I-V/AIDS. Five million people are infected (Avert: SA). One of them, Thembi Ngubane, at nineteen years old, carried a recorder in 2005 to document her life (NPR | PRX). Produced by Joe Richman, edited by Debra George and Ben Shapiro; more of Thembi’s story, with an audio-visual gallery, is at AIDSdiary.org.
“Day without Art” (5:02) Barrett Golding
December 1st is World AIDS Day. In the arts community it also had this other name, DWA.
Poet Kwame Dawes travels his native Jamaica talking about HIV/AIDS. This is part of the hour-program “Live Hope Love: HIV/AIDS in Jamaica” (PRX) Support came from the MAC AIDS Fund, of MAC Cosmetics, and from and PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Produced by Stephanie Guyer-Stevens and Jack Chance of Outer Voices, for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Their emmy-winning muchomedia website for the project Live Lope Love.
Miles has the wrong body. He was born a woman, Megan. After 15 years of serious depression and confusion about his place in the world, at age 28, he decided to make a change. He chose the name Miles and began his slow, difficult transition into manhood. All along the way, he carried an audio recorder with him. This is his story. Produced for Transom (available at PRX); edited by Jay Allison.
For most of his high school career, Louis robbed people: for money, and for thrills. He never got caught. Then, in his senior year, he decided to stop. Louis talks to friends and family, and to himself, about why he was a criminal, and why he needs to change. Produced for Transom (also at PRX) and the 826NYC writing center.
Howard Dully traces the reasons and repercusssions of his transorbital or “ice pick” lobotomy, a radical new procedure in the treatment of mental illness in this country, pioneered and performed by psychiatrist Walter J. Freeman.
Produced by Dave Isay and Piya Kochhar, with help from Larry Blood, Eliza Bettinger, Brett Myers, Jessica Tickten, Anna Goldman, Maisie Tivnan, Colin Murphy and Jonah Engle Narratored by Howard Dully; edited by Gary Covino. Jack El-Hai was project advisor. Special thanks to: Barbara Dully, Andrew Goldberg, Christine Johnson, Lyle Slovick & David Anderson at the GWU Gelman Library archives. Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
It is with a mixture of sadness and relief I announce the passing of my Grandmother: Alma J. Kelsey (Warga, Smith).
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 4th, 1910, she passed away this weekend, 99 years later.
Alma was the oldest of seven siblings but the last to depart. She is survived by myself and her son Robin.
In 1928, at the age of 17, Alma Smith eloped with Wayne Warga, 19, and headed West for Hollywood to start a new life and a family. The family was harder to come-by for her husband was not medically able: but in 1938 she bore my father, Wayne (Bud), after a secret affair with an LAPD officer. Then in 1949 she met another man to have another child: Robin. She wanted a family so bad and bore the weight of her secrets until she started AA and revealed all.
In the 1970’s she met and married Dick Kelsey, painter and animator. They moved to Leisure Village in Camarillo where her Lilly Garden won village awards year after year. She stayed by Dick through his Alzheimer’s and eventual death.
In 1985 AA became Alma’s new church, where she grew to become a guru in the program. In 1994 we stood together and buried her son, my father, Wayne. It’s around that time Alzheimer’s started pulling her away.
In 2005 NPR aired a story about her (transcript). I invite you to hear Alma in her own voice, “Grandmother: Aging, Decline & Love” (8:16 mp3):
One question we asked on this poll gives a good idea of how difficult it is to inform the public on this complicated issue. Medicare is obviously an inherently public program, but just for the heck of it we asked the somewhat tongue in cheek question of whether the government should ‘stay out of Medicare.’ 39% of Americans said yes.
—”National Poll: Obama Approval, Health Care, Birthers” ( 172K)
Other sad states of American affairs in thenational phone survey (909 voters, Aug 14-17 2009, MOE +/-3.3%.909): “Do you think Barack Obama was born in the United States?” 44% of Republicans said no. (For all respondents: Yes- 62%, No- 25%, Not Sure- 14%.)
Here’s a question I hope PPP poese in their next survey: “Should aborted evolutionists serve birther Obamacare death panels?” Let folk figure that one out.
WMFU’s Blog posted Loony Tunes for Kooky Times (MP3s), 21 tunes about being loosing it, done by everyone from Dolly Parton to Dinah Washington, Screaming Jay Hawkins to The Sensational Alex Harvey. “They’re Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!” is there, by Napoleon XIV (“I know you laughed. I heard you laugh. You laughed, you laughed and laughed and then you left. But now you know I’m utterly mad.”) As is Lenny Bruce’s “Psychopathia Sexualis.” And these punk and jazz classics:
Suppose they gave a Town Hall, and a Tea Party showed up. Excerpts for 2009 health care collective chaos…
Town Halls 2009
Note: While HV may not agree with the sentiments expressed, we do love lively freedom of expression.
Audio/Video Production: Barrett Golding
Music: Jeff Arntsen
Audio mix: Robin Wise
Video clips: ABC World News, WGNO- New Orleans, David William Hedrick, The Young Turks, Hot Air Pundit Kathy Castor, Hill Newspaper, YouTube. See playlist- Town Halls 2009 (videos).
Health caretakers, friends, family, workers and volunteers:
“Dialysis” by Joe Frank: A phone call, kidney failure and a friend indeed; followed by a flight of final fancy, from the hour “Goodbye.”
“Three Woman” by host by Dmae Roberts: Three women, a Chicana, African American and Romanian immigrant, describe their different approaches to surviving breast cancer. Produced as part of the “The Breast Cancer Monologues,” with Miae Kim, Anca Micheti, and music by Maria Esteves.
healthBase is a semantic search engine that aggregates medical content from millions of authoritative health sites… [with] some major glitches (see the comments). One of the most unfortunate examples is when you type in a search for “AIDS,” one of the listed causes of the disease is “Jew.” Really.
The ridiculousness continues. When you click on Jew, you can see proper “Treatments” for Jews, “Drugs And Medications” for Jews and “Complications” for Jews. Apparently, “alcohol” and “coarse salt” are treatments to get rid of Jews, as is Dr. Pepper! Who knew?
Scenes from the Health Care controversy: President Obama and the WH press corps flew into Belgrade, Montana last Friday, for a Town Hall, held in an airport hanger.
The event lasted an hour. The president spoke, took a few questions, then POTUSA and posse headed off to the next stops in their weekend media invasion of the West: Yellowstone, Grand Junction Junction, Colorado, the Grand Canyon, then back to DC.
Meanwhile, one half mile away, those who didn’t have or didn’t want Town Hall tickets began gathering at dawn in a farmer’s field, the designated a free speech zone. Thousands showed up: protesters and Tea Party-ers next to pro-health care reformers and single-payer proponents. They stayed for hours, thru rain, hail, and thunder. They shouted slogans. They listened to speakers. They listened to the President over the radio. Occasionally, they listened to each other. It was a day of division, debate, and democracy.