Tag Archives: Apple Podcasts

The Way Of Birds. The Ways Of Prue.

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Jennifer Ackerman photo by Sofia-Runarsdotter

The Bird Way: A New Look At How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent and Think by Jennifer Ackerman

“There is the mammal way and there is the bird way.” But the bird way is much more than a unique pattern of brain wiring, and lately, scientists have taken a new look at bird behaviors they have, for years, dismissed as anomalies or mysteries –– What they are finding is upending the traditional view of how birds conduct their lives, how they communicate, forage, court, breed, survive. They are also revealing the remarkable intelligence underlying these activities, abilities we once considered uniquely our own: deception, manipulation, cheating, kidnapping, infanticide, but also ingenious communication between species, cooperation, collaboration, altruism, culture, and play. Drawing on personal observations, the latest science, and her bird-related travel around the world, from the tropical rainforests of eastern Australia and the remote woodlands of northern Japan to the rolling hills of Lower Austria and the islands of Alaska’s Kachemak Bay, Jennifer Ackerman shows there is clearly no single bird way of being. In every respect, in plumage, form, song, flight, lifestyle, niche, and behavior, birds vary.

Anna Dorn

Vagablonde by Anna Dorn

Prue is a 30-year-old attorney who wants two things, the first is to live without psychotropic medication, and the second is to experience success as a rap artist. Her life is good on paper: she has an easy government job and a nice girlfriend who gets her into all the right shows, but she wants to truly thrive. When Prue is introduced to music producer Jax Jameson, a human disco ball as manic and unpredictable as he is talented, they instantly vibe. Prue joins Jax’s “Kingdom,” a collective of musicians and artists who share Prue’s aesthetic sensibilities and lust for escapism. Soon, she’s off her meds, closing her law practice, and becoming entangled with a suspect crew of heavy drug users. The group they form, Shiny AF, quickly reaches cult status, and using the stage name Vagablonde, Prue finds herself in a new reality dependent on self-commodification and her growing fandom’s approval. This is the background to LA-based writer, Anna Dorn’s debut novel. But, as you will discover in Anna’s conversation with Norman B, there’s more: a revealing study of LA’s millennial-hipster-scene, drug use, music-obsessives, sexual fluidity, and the big question – is Prue, Anna Dorn

Show #373

Hyper Education & The Twitter Exile

In Hyper Education – Why Good Schools, Good Grades, and Good Behavior Are Not Enough, Pawan Dhingra uncovers the growing world of high-achievement education and the after-school learning centers, spelling bees, and math competitions that it has spawned. It is a world where immigrant families vie with other Americans to be at the head of the class, putting in hours of studying and testing in order to gain a foothold in the supposed meritocracy of American public education. A world where enrichment centers, like Kumon, have seen 194 percent growth since 2002 and target children as young as three. Even families and teachers who avoid after-school academics are getting swept up. Drawing on over 100 in-depth interviews with teachers, tutors, principals, children, and parents, Dhingra delves into why people participate in this phenomenon and examines how schools, families, and communities play their part. Moving past “Tiger Mom” stereotypes, he addresses why Asian American and white families practice what he calls “hyper education” and whether or not it makes sense. By taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, other national competitions, and learning centers, Dhingra shows why good schools, good grades, and good behavior are seen as not enough for high-achieving students and their parents and why the education arms race is likely to continue to expand. We are delighted to welcome Pawan to Life Elsewhere and look forward to more conversations with him.

Dave Hill is a comedian, musician, actor, author, raconteur, dilettante, fashion icon, and…wait-for-it…a Twitter exile! The droll,  mild-mannered Hill voiced his opinion on Twitter about a draft-dodger who also happens to unfathomably hold a high office. The rabid supporters of the draft-dodger took exception to Hill’s accurate albeit caustic one-liners. To counter the onslaught of Twitter vitriol against him, Dave Hill took to what he refers to as “mom jokes” as if spewed out by an adolescent boy. This further outraged the draft-dodgers increasingly unhinged followers and prompted one bitchy Tweeter to question Dave’s sexuality, apparently based on the comedian’s penchant for velvet and silk and flowing scarves. The diatribe had now sunk to a new low, says Dave. So he countered by going even lower and more absurdist. “It was ridiculous!” Says Dave, “I could make hateful racial jokes and that was OK, but inferring I had sex with your mother or father, now that was too much for Twitter.” Dave received a message from Twitter…you are banned for life! 

Dave Hill has a new comedy album, Let Me Turn You On

Norman B’s conversations with Pawan Dhingra and Dave Hill were recorded using Zoom and will be available on our new YouTube channel soon.

Show #371

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 178 Isolation Mix 4

This self-distancing business continues, so we have to compromise in putting together the Life Elsewhere Music shows.  Which means the quality of the voice-overs, (Mr. B’s erudite comments) are not to our usual high standards, using fabulous mics and a cool hi-tech mixing consul. As interesting as he may think his wordy-words are, we’ve reduced the jibber-jabber to the opening and closing messages. Instead, you can read everything you would hear Mr. B say, here:

We begin LEM Vol 178 with a relaxed instrumental courtesy of Nick Manasseh & Praise from their new album, Manasseh Meets Praise on the Roots Garden label out of Brighton, UK. Produced and mixed by Nick at his Yard Studio in West London with virtuoso violin-viola player Praise. Not your typical reggae player, yet along with being a long-time fan of the music, Praise’s musical experiences have been diverse from playing on Ravi Shankar and George Harrison’s last album ‘Chants Of India’ to gigs with Gorillaz and many more star credits. Next up, we stay in a techno vibe with LA-based musician, Aryan Ashtiani, aka Mareux with Roses from his fine EP, Predestiny. From the US west coast, we head down under to Australia’s south coast, Melbourne where we hear from self-named “experimental group” Squaring Circles with Circumambulate. Brendan Anderson and Lilibeth Hall are the couple behind this project and we suggest you check more of their work out. The curiously-named Wished Bone & Spencer Radcliffe out of Athens, Ohio give us Help My Brother from the equally curiously-named EP, A Bug Crawled In The Piano. (Special note, listen to this one again on a headset – wonderful). English musician, Stephen James Howard lives and works in Amsterdam and performs under the moniker of Ten Katestraat. We’ve played his music on the air before and were impressed enough to invite on for a chat. His latest release is titled, Dust and we approve. Paris, France is next where Sydney Valette says, Here are the musings of a soul somewhere in-between silver lights”. From his LP Brothers, we selected, Ambiance Survivaliste. Sing along and practice your French at the same time. A little knowledge of French may impress Nico of Shore Dive records. On the other hand, this entrepreneurial Frenchman speaks English so fluently and is so busy putting out terrific releases he probably won’t have time to notice. His busy label out of Brighton (again!) gives us Velveteen with Fall Under from the Bluest Sunshine EP. The close of this cut is quite simply a magnificent noise. Norman B is insistent that the next song and artist are referring to a past love affair of his. We have no idea if this is his fanciful imagination, but we do know this is one brilliant song and production. Out of London, Felixity gets straight to the point with, Twisted Love a banger that needs to be on repeat play. Big thumbs up on this one. Next, Trappist Afterland & Grey Malkin say, An Error This Time. We disagree, this track is from a superb album, The Trappist & The Hare from Adam Geoffrey Cole & Grey Malkin out of Scotland. Only Diamonds was written and recorded by Diana Rivera, also known as Lotusotus and Camille-Paulette Odell, on Hjördis-Britt Åström out of Moscow. The EP, Only Diamonds is worth investigating as is the label. The unassuming James Smith of Fox Food Records sent a nice message along with his latest release as Good Good Blood. His music always reminds us of the old saying of “less is more” and how true that is. James should be discovered by a much wider audience. Listen up all those indie shows out there. From, There Are Wolves Here we selected, The Pieces Of My Heart You Hold. Listen carefully, then listen again. To close LEM Vol 178 you’ll hear, Lord Of The Isles ft. Ellen Renton with, Passing. Scottish poet Ellen Renton joins forces with Lord Of The Isles for a reflective record that touches on themes related to climate change, both in the present and future. Available on Whities, a London label you need to know about.

Thank you for listening to LEM Vol 178 Isolation Mis 4. Be safe.

Challenging Covid With Music!

Barzin, the talented singer-songwriter, poet, all-round good guy, and friend of Life Elsewhere alerted us to a new compilation he had contributed a previously unreleased cut to. If Barzin was involved it had to be seriously worth checking out. We did. And, it is. “Love In The Time Of Covid” curated by Andrea Vascellari, is an exceptional collection of music. Based in North-East Italy where the virus has wreaked devastating havoc, Andrea took it upon himself to reach out to acts from the most relevant in slowcore, dreampop, and drone-rock scenes. He requested tracks that had not been released before. And, he explained, “All proceeds will go to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus, to ensure patients get the care they need and the frontline workers get essential supplies and information, and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them”. The seventeen tracks Andrea selected for “Love In The Time Of Covid” perfectly evoke this peculiar and unfathomable of times we are all enduring. Andrea Vascellari is a fan, he is a musician, he is passionate about bringing together this remarkable compilation to challenge Covid. 

Please make sure you do not miss our exclusive conversation with Andrea Vascellari. And, support this cause.

“Love In The Time Of Covid”

Dean Wareham – Holding Pattern (Live At WXPN)

Idaho – Be My Friend

Pall Jenkins – On The Rise

Mark Rolfe – Every Setting Sun Part 1

Lycia – The Bee Eater

Matt Christensen – In Boxes

Jessica Bailiff – With You (Friendship Version 2020)

Barzin – There Will Be Time For

Jon DeRosa – High And Lonely (David Sisko Remix) 

Chris Brokaw – Lady Old Song

Remora – Never Make It Home Again

Yellow6 – Hallo

Shores – Litany (Demo)

Lullabier – Raindrops

Thorn1 – A Bus 

If Thousands – They Are Not What They Claim To Be

Coastal – CovidLOVE 

Show #370

Jailhouse Psychiatry During Covid-19. The Story of Coffeeland

Cuyahoga County Jail

As the concerned amongst us continue to practice self-isolation there are those who deliberately thumb their nose at directives to go about our lives safely – then, there are those who have no choice – they are incarcerated. Worse still, many suffer from mental illness. Dr. Joseph Baskin, staff psychiatrist with MetroHealth in Cleveland and an assistant professor with Case Western Reserve University works as psychiatrist at the Cuyahoga County Jail. His work under relatively normal times means doing his best to advocate both for the individual and society at large; not interfering with justice, but providing insight and support when possible. Dr. Baskin explains treating mental illness is the last safety net. Many of his patients don’t have insight, they don’t think they are mentally ill and a judge is a final authority they will understand. He compassionately treats antisocial personality, high rates of trauma and ADHD. In his work, he tasked with managing behavior. With Covid-19 in full effect, the doctor’s work is made all the more stressful and, he has to continually be aware of and monitor his own well-being. Dr. Baskin shares his thoughts and gives critical insights to his work with people who are unable to willingly self-isolate.

What do you know about coffee? A wonderful new book will change how you look at – or taste coffee again. Augustine Sedgewick takes us on an extraordinary adventure of discovery, revealing details and history, even the most ardent coffee lover will be surprised by. In Coffeeland – One Man’s Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug the learned Augustine Sedgewick has brilliantly chronicled the most consequential revolution by telling the global history of one family. His book is both innovative and factual as he effortlessly untangles the routes that carried coffee from the slopes of El Salvador to the shelves of US supermarkets. Augustine exposes a realm of ruthless entrepreneurs, hardworking laborers, laboratory chemists, and guerrilla fighters. Plus, he is a wonderful and enthusiastic guest. 

Show #369

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