Monday, April 13, 2015: No one has a voice like Ken Nordine, and there’s nothing quite like Word Jazz, the audio art he created. It mixes atmospheric sound effects, free-form jazz and Nordine’s unique rumbling bass voice, pondering philosophical questions, plumbing the depths of his id, or simply wondering what’s in the fridge. Bob visited the now 95-year-old Nordine at his house in Chicago, which he’s lived in for more than half a century. We’ll tour his home studio and hear about his early days in radio, collaborations with The Grateful Dead and Tom Waits, and how Nordine created Word Jazz.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015: Today marks the 150th anniversary of the day that John Wilkes Booth mortally wounded President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater. We’ll go beyond the myths and accepted truths of our 16th president’s life and death. Bob’s scheduled guests include historians Henry Louis Gates and Doris Kearns Goodwin, screenwriter James Solomon, actress Sally Field and authors Joshua Shenk, Brad Meltzer and Ronald White.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015: Deepak Chopra and his brother Sanjiv have co-written a memoir called Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream. The brothers’ lives took different paths after they left for the United States in the 1970s to study medicine. Deepak has been instrumental in bringing Indian spirituality to the West, while Sanjiv has focused on Western medicine and is a professor at Harvard Medical School. Then, Bob goes inside the world of ESPN with writer James Miller. He’s the co-author of a history and a behind-the-scenes look at everyone’s favorite cable sports network called Those Guys Have All the Fun. The ESPN story is told through interviews with more than 500 people, including founders, current and former anchors, athletes and fans.
Thursday, April 16, 2015: More than six decades ago, doctors took cells from a cancer patient in Baltimore. She died soon afterward, forgotten to everyone except her family. But her cells became immortal and famous – known as HeLa. HeLa cells were the first to grow reliably in a laboratory, and they’re still the most widely used today. HeLa cells are responsible for everything from the Polio vaccine to gene mapping. They’ve ridden into space and into oblivion on atomic weapons. In a new book, Rebecca Skloot tells the story of the woman from whom HeLa cells were taken without permission, and what happened to her family after she died. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is part biography and part investigation into racial politics and medical ethics.
Friday, April 17, 2015: To mark the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Bob talks with the always delightful Simon Winchester. He’s the author of A Crack in the Edge of the World. Winchester is an Oxford trained geologist and uses that background to explore the disastrous earthquake and resulting fire that almost destroyed San Francisco a little over a century ago. Then we move to the other end of the United States to talk about another of his books. Winchester has made a career out of unearthing the fascinating stories of things many of us take for granted. He did the same in his book about the Earth’s second largest body of water. It’s titled Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories.