How to: acquire and enjoy a gigantic American flag, find that screw you just dropped on the ground, and Michael Schur from “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” joins us to talk about how to turn an idea into a TV show. Also: a correction.
“I always dreamed of going to New York, and to Vancouver, because I liked the word Vancouver. And New York City is a soup of people in the world.”—Why Brazilian Sinomar Godois Tavares decided to hop on a motorcycle with his girlfriend and go from Brazil to Alaska and then back to Brazil (stopping in New York.)
I was listening to this interview from 1998 with Ray Charles this morning for some writing I’m doing for work. I hadn’t heard it before. It’s really, really just lovely. If you’ve got some time this morning — and want something streaming through your headphones — check it out.
“Kids who learn two languages young are better able to learn abstract rules and to reverse rules that they’ve already learned. They’re less likely to have difficulty choosing between conflicting possibilities when there are two possible responses that both present themselves. They’re also better at figuring out what other people are thinking, which is probably because they have to figure out which language to use every time they talk to somebody in order to communicate.”—A neuroscientist explains the benefits of bilingualism today on Fresh Air.
“When you’re planning a tea party, you can’t be acting like a fighter pilot. You have to be acting like a lady having a tea party. So pretending is one of the earliest types of exposure most kids get to planning and organizing their actions. And the more you practice that, the better you’re going to be at it.”—Two neuroscientists explain how playtime actually can help you immensely later in life.
“When there was a pushback later about enhanced interrogation techniques, we were giving alleged facts that enhanced interrogation techniques [like waterboarding] produced a lot of actionable intelligence that saved lives. We were told that Abu Zubaydah, after being waterboarded, identified Jose Padilla as the alleged dirty bomber and that Khalid Sheikh Muhammed was the mastermind behind 9/11. The problem with this [was that] these allegations were totally false because Abu Zubaydah gave this information well before these advanced interrogation techniques were applied.”—On today’s Fresh Air, a conversation with an former FBI interrogator who says the government missed key opportunities because of mismanaged interrogations and dysfunctional relationships.
“Maggie Bailey, the “Queen of the Mountain Bootleggers,” died on Dec. 3 of complications from pneumonia. She was 101. The Kentucky distiller and local legend began selling moonshine when she was just 17 years old. Wearing a uniform that said “National Distillery” on the breast pocket, Bailey continued working well into her 90s. Bailey was so well regarded in Harlan County, Ky., that juries often refused to find her guilty of illegally selling alcoholic beverages. Law enforcement officers also admired the canny bootlegger; U.S. District Judge Karl Forester even described her as an expert on search and seizure laws. “She was very adroit. She had a million different places to hide it. She had a labyrinth of buildings all around her dwelling,” said Eugene Goss, an attorney who represented Bailey. Bailey did serve two years at a federal reformatory for women in West Virginia from 1941 to 1943 for selling moonshine. The federal indictment against her said she had 150 half-gallons of illegal alcohol on hand when she was charged. Bailey was a self-educated woman and a voracious newspaper reader. Despite her less-than-legal occupation, friends said she lived simply and often gave coal and food to poor families in the area.”—
Cool detail of the night: I just found out that Justified’s Mags Bennett is based on a real person. You can listen to npr’s story on Harlan bootlegger Maggie Bailey HERE.
In this show, we return to people who’ve been on This American Life in the last ten years, whose lives were drastically altered by 9/11, including Hyder Akbar, an Afghan-American teen who moved to Afghanistan after his father was tapped to become governor of Kunar province there.
How far out do you plan your stories? Also, what do I have to do to join your team? Is there, like, an obstacle course? Mystical quest? Other?
It really depends on the news cycle. We’ll reschedule if there’s breaking news and we can turn around an interview the same day. But I have a pretty good sense of the next 3-4 weeks….usually. There are gaps for news coverage…
As for your second question, you fill out an application on the WHYY website when there is a job available. (There’s a posting right now for a part-time associate producer.) I don’t remember an obstacle course…just an interview with Terry.