Tag Archives: Dr. Jennifer Mercieca

How To Enjoy Social Distancing

No matter who you are, where you live or how much money you thought you had at the beginning of this past week, the fact is, we are all now living in uncertain times. Is this the same feeling of uncertainty my parents suffered at the beginning and throughout World War Two? Can we equate this pandemic with anything we may have endured before? The rows of empty shelves at the supermarkets, the stockpiling of food and, yes, toilet-paper is bizarre and disturbing. Restaurants, bars, and almost all businesses are closed, streets are empty of people and rush-hour traffic has dwindled to mostly UberEats deliveries. “Weird!” “Unbelievable!” “Crazy!” Are just some of the descriptive words you hear repeatedly in any given conversation. And, a new vocabulary has stormed our everyday dialogue. “Coronavirus” may be slightly amusing if you choose to believe Mexican beer is associated with a plague from China.  “COVID-19” is just plain scary. Forget the initials, what does the “19” mean? Then, there are two words that you never thought you’d hear together, “Social Distancing”. Talk about a wacky contradiction. “Social distancing? It’s a bit millennial-biased!” Exclaimed my friend MS who also believes, “Good music stopped being made around 1977!” I will admit to feeling a little awkward when I first uttered, “social distancing”. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and yes, it does come across as a bit affected. Yet, here we are letting each other know we are doing it, we are “social distancing”. Now what? To help answer that bewildering question, we called upon some of our favorite guests who also happen to have exceptionally creative minds to share their thoughts on how to enjoy social distancing.

Film and media critic, Bob Ross, jaded as he sometimes pretends to be, always enthuses over his favorite movies. With a new book on the way, Demagogue For President – The Rhetorical Genius Of Donald Trump, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca turns away from politics to talk about baking while social distancing. The dry-humor of comedian, writer, musician, Dave Hill is unavoidable as he gives his sage advice on social distancing. While, best-selling author, Mark Haskell Smith offers pertinent tips for social distancing, plus enthusiastically raves about must-read books. Crosswords are Adrienne Raphel’s passion, her fascinating book, Thinking Inside The Box – Adventures With Crosswords And The Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them was published just a couple of days ago, unavoidably in time for social distancing.

 

Show #365

Two Questions About Love

With Valentines Day just around the corner we gathered together a stellar cast of participants to share their thoughts on love by asking two questions:

1. What is love?

2. What is your favorite love song?

Dr. Jennifer Mercieca from Texas A & M University teaches classes on politics, media, and propaganda, but she also uses her academic acumen to answer our questions about love. Acclaimed creative director Robert Newman always has fascinating, cultural information to share, so you can expect his take on our love questions to be notable. Laura Palmer operates the impressive online station, WNRM The Root, her encyclopedic music knowledge suggests she will come up with a treat for What is your favorite love song? The distinctive voice of legendary singer-songwriter, Ronny Elliott suggests he has seen his fair share of love, so how will he answer our two questions? In our recent conversation, the unbridled honesty of new-discovery, Sylken Somers, we knew her views on love had to be included. The man who works with words for a living, Penguin-Random House copy chief, Benjamin Dreyer was an obvious candidate to answer two questions about love.

All of our guests tackle the first question, “What is love?” In a similar fashion, yet their answers are distinctive and clearly personal. For question number two, ‘What is your favorite love song?” Their answers are as surprising as they are different. Try and see if you can match the guest with their favorite love song:

Laura Nyro – Sexy Mama

Judie Tzuke – Under The Angels

Santana with Rob Thomas – Smooth

Sade – By My Side

Ella Fitzgerald – Always

Dayna Kurtz – Venezuela

 

Show #359

Shithole = Weaponized Communications

Once again, we are scratching our heads in what seems like a perpetual state of bewilderment. “How low can he go?” We continue to ask. A couple of days ago during a meeting in which the President rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he described certain nations as “shithole countries.” The resulting worldwide reaction to Trumps’s language and sentiment is universal outrage. We already know we are in a new and different age with Trump, but what does this mean to us in daily life? What we will now accept in common discourse? To help us understand the question and search for answers we turn to Life Elsewhere contributor, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A & M University. The learned professor offers her well-considered opinions, always with an engaging twinkle of humor. Maybe he is not actually used to being listened to, so maybe he doesn’t understand as President he has a real impact on the world,” Says Dr. Mercieca, adding, “Trump has weaponized communications!”

The reports of Trump’s inflammatory comments at the meeting about peoples from what he calls, “poor and troubled countries”, prompted Norman B to revisit a compelling conversation he had with Dr. Rogy Masri of Doctors Without Borders. The dedicated Canadian doctor speaks from a makeshift medical facility, attending refugees in Tripoli. Do the unfortunate people Dr. Masri tries so hard to help, fit into Trump’s description of countries they may hail from?Rogy’s moving account of infants ravaged by rat bites, scabies and worse may one day if they manage to survive, remember the President of the United States showed his take on compassion by calling their homes, shitholes!

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The photo of a young Syrian refugee by Michael Goldfarb

Show #255

debate-this

The first Presidential debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, scheduled for Monday, September 26th is being hailed as the biggest event since the invention of sliced bread. The audience could exceed 100 million people, according to experts, something never seen before in U.S. politics and will be a figure close to what the Super Bowl gets. Much of the anticipation is driven by Mr. Trump, the television personality turned Republican presidential nominee who created a ratings bonanza for cable networks during the GOP primary. We too at Life Elsewhere will be watching mostly because of our fascination with Mr. Trump. This began over a year ago when he first made his announcement to run for the GOP nomination. At the time we asked, (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) could a Caricature Run For President? Since that time the prospect of Mr. Trump even getting close to being a serious Presidential candidate has changed dramatically. So much has been written about who Mr. Trump is and his motivation for seeking the Presidency, but one recent quote on the topic really caught our attention: “This is the problem when you have a rich billionaire, a fractured media, a polarized electorate, and a weak party system – conditions are ripe for demagoguery.” These are the words of Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, an associate professor of communications at Texas A&M University and a historian of American political rhetoric. We had to know more and invited Dr. Mercieca to join us on Life Elsewhere, as we prepare for the first Presidential debate.

Plus, we invited back to the program the extraordinarily talented Dave Hill, one of “today’s” truly brilliant performers and writers. Dave is currently on a tour of Europe and we caught up with him in Bergen, Norway. Dave Hill gives his take on the ClintonTrump debate and what Europeans think of the US Presidential election and in particular, Mr. Trump? “It’s the most serious I have ever been!” Says Dave after unleashing a torrent of choice Anglo-Saxon words.

And, a Life Elsewhere exclusive, the latest release from Hugh. Make sure you do not miss one second of the next edition of Life Elsewhere.

Life Elsewhere Show #188 airs:
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Mondays 5.00pm PT & Wednesdays 2.00pm PT at NWCZ Radio
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If you miss any editions of Life Elsewhere, go here then go to the Listen On Demand panel, choose the date of a show and click play.

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