Category: Warga, Jake/Archives

HV134- Close to Death

Ralph Golding's Grave, Massachusetts National CemeteryHearing Voices from NPR®
134 Close to Death: At Life’s End
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2012-03-21

“Close to Death” (52:00 mp3):

People near the process of death and dying:

“Four Seconds” (2005 / 9:28) Jake Warga

It takes four seconds to hit the water from the Golden Gate Bridge. A year ago the producer’s friend Phil took that fatal jump. They met several years before that when Phil’s brother committed suicide (transcript).

“The Man with the White Cane” (1980 / 9:36) Josh Darsa

Herman Porter, a blind man, slipped unseen beneath a moving subway train: 90 tons of steel and electricity. (Hear Alex Chadwick’s eulogize for NPR’s pioneering producer: “Josh Darsa Obituary“.)

“”Grandmother’s Hip”” (1985 / 2:42) Carmen Delzell

Writer Carmen Delzell visit her grandmother, who broke her hip — not uncommon, says the doctor, for an 89-year-old.

“The Death of Ruth Tuck” (1986 / 24:19) Scott Carrier

Scott Carrier talks to the family, the ex-husband, the mortuary, the doctors, even the grave digger, in piecing together the memory of a life. Prodcued for New American Radio. (Scott’s most recent book is Prisoner of Zion.)

“Kaddish” (1994 / 3:26)

Messages on my the producer’s mother’s tape machine, found after his father’s death; original music by Skyward. This Kaddish is a mourner’s prayer.

HV129- HanukkahChristmashup

Jesus and Mary with red paint, sculptural relief on a Jerusalem building, photo by Jake WargaHearing Voices from NPR®
129 HanukkahChristmashup: Season’s Greets and Beats
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2011-12-21

“HanukkahChristmashup” (52:00 mp3):

Mixes and mashes and seasonal samples, and song stories:

“Christmas Eve In Afghanistan, Again” (2010 / 3:30) Quil Lawrence

NPR talks to troops in a U.S. military hospital at Bagram Air Base, outside of Kabul. Quil Lawrence interviewed Sergeant Wallace Trahan, Sergeant Aaron Kelly, Sergeant Zachary Scoskie, and Colonel Diane Huey. Mix: Jim Wildman. Music: W.G. Snuffy Walden “The First Noel” Windham Hill Holiday Guitar Collection.

“Please Be Patient” (2009 / 2:23) Feist
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
A Colbert Christmas: Feist Sings
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive
“Christmas Greeting From Space” (1968 ) Astronaut Frank Borman

From the Apollo 8 capsule, December 24, 1968.

More…

HV063- Lincoln Monument

Abraham Lincoln photo, 1846 or 1847Hearing Voices from NPR®
063 Lincoln Monument: A Civil War
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2011-06-29 (Originally: 2009-07-01)

“Lincoln Monument” (52:00 mp3):

For Lincoln’s birthday bicentennial year and Independence Day, Old Abe, the Civil War, and its still-present aftermath:

The United States Marine Band recorded a “Lincoln Centennial” on February 12 1909 (from A Lincoln Portrait).

Abe’s 1860 presidential campaign song was “Lincoln and Liberty;” it’s sung for us by Dan Zanes (ex-Del Fuegos, off Parades And Panoramas: 25 Songs Collected By Carl Sandburg For The American Songbag).

I Heard Lincoln That Day,” says Gettysburg eyewitness Walter Rathvon, in archival audio recorded on Lincoln’s birthday 1938 by WRUL radio, Boston. Set to an instrumental “Lincoln’s Triumph (a Funeral March),” part of the Lincoln Shuffle (by Bryce Dessner, guitarist for The National and Clogs, composed for the great bicentennial site 21st Century Abe, used with their re-mixing blessings).

NPR recreates the “Gettysburg Address,” with the words of John Dos Passos read by Noah Adams, and Lincoln’s speech read by Lars Hoel; produced by Bob Malesky for NPR’s The Sunday Show. More…

Jake Bangkok Pix

Jake’s in Bangkok and snapping away

Temple Rules; Bangkok, Thailand:

Temple Rules; Bangkok, Thailand; photo: Jake Warga

Chastity Belt Michael; Bangkok, Thailand:

Chastity Belt Michael; Bangkok, Thailand; photo: Jake Warga

HV104- Vet Vox

US Army troops pose in front of Iraqi palaceHearing Voices from NPR®
104 Vet Vox: Voices of Veterans
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2010-11-10

“Vet Vox” (52:00 mp3):

For Veterans Day, Vietnam, Korean, and World War Two vets, recorded by StoryCorps, along with a Marine Sergeant’s recent “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” discharge. And we plug into the iPods of active-duty troops in Iraq (photo gallery), asking them what they’re listening to, and what their lives are like:

“Specialist “Laser” Lawrence” (2:08) Jake Warga

Soldier Soundtrack, Iraq- Song: “Indestructible” by Disturbed from Indestructible. “You got to show people that soldiers aren’t just war fighters, they’re peace keepers too…”

“Bob and Carol Harllee” (1:34) StoryCorps

Bob Harlee served as an Army Chaplain for 18 years. In 1965, Harllee was sent to Vietnam, and he had to leave his wife and three children behind. One of those children, Carol, now 47, recently asked her father about his life in those days. As part of the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Ky., Harllee had to reconcile his role as a spiritual guide within a unit whose job it was to destroy the enemy. Still, Harllee says, his task was clear: “to encourage everybody to keep their faith strong, even though they’re in the midst of the most terrible thing that mankind can bring upon itself.” Bob Harllee died in Charlottesville, Va., several months after his interview session. He was 73.

“Staff Sergeant Treen” (3:12) Jake Warga

Soldier Soundtrack, Iraq- Song: “Send in the Clowns” by Barbara Streisand from The Broadway Album. “They’re not really geared towards a democratic or republic sort of society… the biggest issue will be trying to keep Iran or Syria from moving into the power vacuum when we leave…”

“Army-Navy Classic” (0:26) Firesign Theatre

From. their series of of Jack Poet Volkswagon ads

More…

HV102- Lost Critters

Australian racing camelHearing Voices from NPR®
102 Lost Critters: Dogs, Cats, a Pig, & 1M Camels
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2010-10-20

“Lost Critters” (52:00 mp3):

Some Dogs, Some Cats, One Pig, and a Million Camels:

“Camels in the Outback” (2006 / 5:10) Larry Massett & Jake Warga

On the race track and on the grill, competing and eating wild camels in the Northern Australia Territories. (Camel photo: Jake Warga)

“Cross my Path” (1988 / 7:56) Jay Allison

Leo Grillo locates lost pets in Los Angeles. He cares for animals, thousands of them. Today, his organization, D.E.L.T.A Rescue (Dedication and Everlasting Love to Animals), is the world’s largest animal rescue shelter.

Produced by Jay Allison with Cristina Egloff for their series Animals and Other Stories; funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Piggles” (2010 / 8:00) Larry Massett

A pig is spared the butcher block but lost in the wilds of Washington DC. Blame the Air Force?

“Mama Chaos, the Wild Dog of Los Alamos” (1995 / 24:15) Larry Massett & Scott Carrier

A mid-90s visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Everyone knows this one of the places where the government developed the first atom bomb during World War II. But our host was interested in Chaos Theory, an elaborate mathematical description of turbulent systems like the weather, and possibly the stock market, and who knows what all else. Chaos Theory was all the rage in Los Alamos then. Along with the theory, it turned out there was also real chaos in Los Alamos. It was slinking up and down the streets late at night in the form of a feral dog. Produced for the radio series SoundPrint.

Lost Pig reward poster

Faces: Africa

Now showing at the Seattle Art Museum a photo-audio exhibit, by HV producer Jake Warga, of “Faces: Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya.” Features digital stills projection with field recordings:

One hundred faces introduce individuals from many cultures in five African countries, a collection that became part of Jake Warga’s response to his work as a public radio producer since 2007. As he states, “Journalism’s tendency is to talk only of numbers — numbers starving, numbers infected, numbers displaced — while individuals are easily hidden, their unique details lost in the shadows.” He started out with a conventional search for numbers and statistics, but Warga later decided to take a “tree-for-the-forest approach” by focusing on individuals.

Art exhibit poster

Iraq: Mahmoon Palace

Soldiers pose in front of Mahmoon Palace, Tikrit, IraqRecently, as part of the US draw-down in Iraq, the US base in Tikrit, “JCC” or Joint Coordination Center, was handed back to the Iraqis. Sergeant First Class George Havel, a soldier with 232 Regiment spent four months in Tikrit, helping to coordinate emergency services. Sargeant Havel gave journalist Jake Warga a tour of Mahmoon Palace, originally built to celebrate Saddam Hussein’s birthdays. US forces had been occupying the palace up until the recent hand-over, living in its marbled halls under golden chandeliers.

Aired on PRI The World; by producer Jake Warga, “Mahmoon Palace” (3:24 mp3):


© Jake Warga

HV088- Scene of the Crime

Dragnet's Jack Webb with LA Police badgeHearing Voices from NPR®
088 Scene of the Crime: Victims, Cops, and Criminals
Host: Jake Warga of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2011-04-13 (Originally: 2010-03-31)

“Scene of the Crime” (52:00 mp3):

There will be blood:

“Weegee interview” (3:04 excerpt) Mary Margaret McBride

An archival interview with 1950s NYC crime scene photographer, Arthur Fellig (1899-1968), aka, Weegee. SoundPortraits has more of this July 1945 interview by nationally-syndicated talk show host Mary Margaret McBride (WEAF-New York City). (Music: “Angel of Solitude” by Alias.)

“The Bad Little Babe” (3:34 excerpt) Casey, Crime Photographer

Casey (no first name ever revealed) was crime photographer for the fictional Morning Express newspaper. He and reporter Ann Williams snapped shots, tracked criminals, and solved crimes. This excerpt from episode 330 (of a total 431) of the popular half-hour mystery-adventure series aired 1950-03-02.

“The Panama Hat” (2:17 excerpt) The Adventures of Philip Marlowe

A short clip from the third episode (1948-10-10) of this NBC show, starring Van Heflin with a script by Milton Geiger based on the stories of Raymond Chandler.

“Grime Scene” (11:43) Nancy Updike

The This American Life producer spends a couple days riding around L.A. with the professional “Crime Scene Cleaners, specializing in homocides, suicides, and accidental deaths.”

More…

Iraq: Mjr Lockridge- Bohemian

The first of our Soldier’s Soundtrack series: Embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, US Army, Baghdad, the producer plugged into the soldier’s iPods, asking them what they were listening to, why they liked the song, and what their lives were like. To Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Major James Lockridge tells us, “The United States Army can go anywhere at anytime or anyplace. I learned that during the first war. I wouldn’t want to be anybody that had to face the United States.”

Aired on PRI The World; by producer Jake Warga, “Iraq: Major Lockridge- Bohemian Rhapsody” (2:47 mp3):

Major James Lockridge after learning of an IED explosion that killed 5
Photo © Jake Warga: “Major James Lockridge, after learning of an IED explosion that killed 5, wounded 17, in Tuz, Iraq. We had been up all night looking for bombs. We missed it. I felt it.”

Iraq: Leaving

Something beautiful, haunting and appropriate about Jack Warga’s photo exhibit “Leaving Iraq:”

Jake was embedded with the 3rd Infantry Division, US Army. He snapped several dozen back-of-head portraits before he left. More Iraq images and audio in Jake’s Iraq Xmas 2009 HV posts.

From the End of the World-Patagonia Day 2

Patagonian Expedition Race

Day 2
The best traveling is time traveling.  We (journalists and planners) awoke this morning in the early 1900’s.  A potbelly stove strove to warm the dusty, drafty, and mostly forgotten ranch house built from 1903-1905.  The house itself woke to find squatters in sleeping pods in every room and hallway.  This ranch house is now used only once a year for a month of skiing.  Skiing?  I looked at Frederico Siha, the 67 year old man who owns the property and has lived here for over 50yrs.  He didn’t strike me as a skier.  Apparently the word for skiing and sheering (of sheep) is very close, my translator corrected with a smile.  Senior Siha has three children, all living in the city, none with any interest in continuing the farm tradition, “You have to keep going till you can’t,” he tells me.  Further, he’s sure they’ll just sell the land when the time comes.  But before then, he wants to travel to Europe, a place he’s never been.  When  pressed for specifics he smiles and says, “Anywhere in Europe.”
More…

From the End of the World – Patagonia

Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race

Day 1

The race started, like all good races, with a bang – this particular bang came from a Chilean policeman’s pistola. The beach was empty of teams long before the bullet fell God knows where. Getting to this point however was far from easy.

6:30am, Punta Arenas (Photos)

Everyone, including the first rays of sunlight, gathered in the town’s Central Plaza to board a fleet of buses…buses we would get to know very well. Many of us had already survived the greatest danger of the day…a frenetic ride in local taxis. We watched our last city sunrise for many days and packed into the tour coaches for transport to the kayak launching point and the official start of the race. The early hour muted some of the excitement as racers settled-in. Highly engineered socks started poking up from reclined bus seats by those achieving curious pretzel-nap poses only possible on chartered transports. Lumbering down the highway I watched the scenery change from graffiti-peppered buildings to industrial brick-making plants to just lots of plants being nibbled on by sheep. Lots of sheep. Then the vast nothingness of land, of that something we’re here to traverse and treasure.

More…

Dubai: Reach for the Sky

Dubai- tallest building[Jake’s out of Iraq, and back in Dubai…]

I visited the world’s newest tallest building today — Humanity’s latest height.

The whole experience smelled of new paint.

From the 124th observation floor I could still see starving people all over the world.

I could almost see Mesopotamia where I had been in Iraq, where the tower of Babel once stood and where people still fight.

Many tourists, many languages, we all took photos, that’s what we do.

I could not see the desert though we stand on it and are surrounded by it.

There’s no where to sit, to contemplate. The gift kiosk sold stylish tissue box covers, there was only one urinal in the men’s room and it didn’t have auto-flush.

I could see the past but the building promoted only the future.

Dubai- tallest building, top floor

Iraq: 5 dead, 17 wounded

December 26, 2009

Tuz, Iraq

5 dead, 17 wounded

The IED explosion happened in the morning, 1200yards from where I was walking to get a breakfast falafel at the police station. The boom was deep, not like fireworks from the sky, but a percussion from the ground, the earth wounded for a moment, insulted. I could not control an ‘oof’ as air was punched lightly out of me.  Gunfire followed, the Iraqi Police firing into the air to disperse crowds and let them know they’re there — security?

Iraqi police and American MP’s had been up all night in preparation for a Shiite Pilgrimage called Ashura. Boom. Not allowed to be practiced under Saddam, the devout whip and cut themselves in observance, faces covered in blood, white shirts crimson with the owner’s blood, of the very devout, when things go right.

The explosion was near a Mosque on the route.  I had walked that route at 3am with soldiers, either we missed it or it was planted after us, I like to think it was planted after we passed, can take only 1.3min to place, Iraqi police are known to sleep at their posts.  Some of the devout are now dead in a deep disruption of earth, air and peace; many are covered in blood, not by their own hands, maybe not their own blood.

The devout bleed, the devout weep.

Back at the station, wearing my armor because I still want to get breakfast, Iraqi Police, knowing I’m there to take photos, “Want photo?” one asks, making a contorted dead face, “go hospital, many photo,” he is smiling, I don’t know why.

I’m sorry, I wish I had seen the bomb on our patrol, it was near a bridge, it was dark, I remember the bridge, I feared walking under it, bridges are where bad things happen, I didn’t look for bombs, it’s not my job, I don’t know what to look for, I am not trained, I was told to stay near walls, or in the middle of the patrol of soldiers, if the patrol leader holds his hand down in a certain way we were to get on one knee, I did not look for things out of place, I concentrated on not stepping in sewage water seeping from canals, I did not use a flashlight because I didn’t want to be seen by a sniper, instead I fiddled with my recorder, I increased the ISO of my camera, I did not look at the side of the road unless an angry stray dog was threatening, the soldier near me aiming his pistol at it just in case, they protect me, I did not see a bomb, I wish I did, I’m sorry, I’m here to observe but It was dark, I did not see, it may not have been there yet.

I’m so sorry.

Soldier in Iraq, photo by Jake Warga

Iraq: Christmas Eve

December 24, 2009
Christmas eve in a Muslim land.

Embedded with the Chaplin… yes, sounds strange to me too.

Here he is walking to service:

Two schools:  Christmas on the battlefield is best ignored, or fully embraced. Our convoy of MRAPs (Mine Resistant something something’s) and HMMWVs (HighMobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle… aka: Humvees) drove from base to a joint forces outpost to deliver cheer — in this case a large plasma TV for Xbox tournaments. They were glad to see the Chaplin, he came with some promised bibles, they were very happy to see the TV (Tele-vision).  Two frozen turkeys started thawing as well.

“Shotgun Santa” (1:31 mp3):

Santa with shotgun defending his gifts. He's serious.

Wandering around base I found Santa with a shotgun defending a stash of presents sent from the states by organizations and school children who would pee just seeing this Clause.  Everyone was peeing themselves laughing, I recorded him: “Merry Christmas Mother F…”  He does the gun loading move for the F part.  I too get stockings in the spirit of the season for there were far more stockings than troops in this section.

I miss my Grandmother, inside is what she used to get me for Christmas — everything from the pharmacy:

  • Road and Track magazine
  • Deodorant
  • Tin of tobacco chew
  • Toothbrushes and paste
  • Sox
  • Handy wipes
  • Detergent
  • Q-tips

Oh, how silly I thought.  Then I picked-out the toothpaste because I was low.  Then the tissues because the desert/pollution sinuses I’ve gone through so many packs already.  I keep a pack of handy wipes because they’re so handy and I’m running out, the dust, oh the dust.  Sox sure I’m on my feet most of the day.  Lastly, I started reading an article in Road and Track about GPS navigators.

A card was at the bottom, drawn by a child, for a class project, tree penned in green, time was spent, an American flag, not colored within the lines, and a penciled letter cut and glued:

Thank You so much for serving for our country and keeping us safe. I appreciate you trying to keep everyone in America safe. Have a great Christmas. I hope you get to have a little celebration of Christmas. May we have peace on earth. From: Julia, Franklyn Elementary.


No, seriously

The other stocking of gifts I gave to an interpreter smoking outside his CHU (Container Housing Unit), just down from mine.  In the spirit of giving.

“Merry Christ…” I started. “A gift” I ended.  He was very happy, and so was I in the spirit of giving.

More Flickr pix.

Iraq: Palace Plasma

Tikrit, Iraq

Woke up in a palace today, stared-up at huge golden chandeliers dangling from the ornate ceiling of a former palace. Mahmoon Palace or “Birthday” palace. Where Saddam’s birthday was celebrated. Less glamorous at eye-level: I lay on a dusty cot, and my neighbor in a public storage-like plywood cubicles was playing Alvin and the chipmunks Christmas. They had little warning that a reporter was coming, they were told I wanted to cover Christmas stories, I came to the Middle East to avoid it.

The famous balcony, where Saddam fired off his famous gun.

Troops posing outside the Palace bandstand Saddam from Palace Balcony
Troops posing outside the Palace bandstand

It’s kind of sad the disrepair here.

Large plasma TV, Xbox, PS2’s, internet terminals. Soldiers play war games, up to 4 at a time, executing their training in play. Boredom is the greatest threat here, complacency is its danger. They are very good warriors, I rarely see their screens turn red with electronic blood.

“People of Wal-Mart” website went viral in the banquet room, for that’s what this huge room was, ultimate of class and luxury, marble marble everywhere. We gathered around to look at the website: “Aw, no way!”s and “Shit, is that a dude? Fuck that!”s and “Hell no!”s, everywhere. One of those came from my lips.

Nice soldier, Joe, likes metal, from California as well. He tells others “man, we grew-up an hour from each other” but light-years. He turned 21 the day before, old enough at last but not a drop to drink. I asked him why he joined: “The health benefits, my wife is on expensive anti-seizure meds.”  He loves to talk about weapons–a grenade launcher, I forget the caliber, is his favorite. Weapons weapons everywhere. Not guns, weapons. He pretended to defend me as I got a haircut. Has a 6mo old daughter, took her to Disneyland recently. Old enough.

It takes a while for soldiers to open-up to reporters. I know what they’ve been told about us, but I’m not supposed to know, so I won’t say. I needed an opening. A horror movie was thrown on late last night, a break from the gory video games to just gore. The man who I call dad in my life, his name came up, director of photography “hey, that’s my dad” I said. One mouth fell open. I said I too used to work on horror movies, more looks my way. I was in at last.

It’s “hum-vee” not “hummer”. The former is driven, the latter drives.

Comforts of home. It’s not REAL mountain-dew, it’s called “squiggly-dew” because it’s in Arabic and, the greatest complaint: it uses real sugar cane instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The Sergeant showed me the stash of a yummy caned coffee drink for us old-timers. Pallets of bottled water water everywhere. Tap water comes from the Tigris, never open your mouth while showering, don’t taste history.

Text, audio, images © 2009 Jake Warga.