Writer Gary Shteyngart’s parents hoped he would grow up to be a doctor, or maybe an accountant. When it became clear he would be neither of those things, his mother gave him a nickname: Failurchka, or Little Failure. In his new memoir, Shteyngart owns the name and tells the poignant and funny story of a Soviet family emigrating to the consumerist promised land. Wednesday, Shteyngart joins Doug to talk about growing up from an awkward, asthmatic and runny-nosed kid to a 40-something, balding Manhattanite with a memoir to write. (Rebroadcast)
If you stripped your life of "stuff" -- the toys, the electronics, the furniture, even the house -- what would be left? That's the question at the heart of "Everything That Remains," a memoir by "The Minimalists" Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. At an existential crossroads, they left behind their careers and compulsive consumption to figure out what really adds value to their lives. The Minimalists join Doug to talk about living more fully with less. (Rebroadcast)
How often has man looked up to the sky and wondered, can we really be alone? Aliens have been the stuff of science fiction, while scientists have generally held that life is unique to this planet. But recent breakthroughs have led to new ideas about the building blocks of life and increasingly sophisticated equipment is helping us explore beyond our world. Monday, Doug is joined by science writer Marc Kaufman for a conversation about astrobiology's search for extraterrestrial life. (Rebroadcast)
You may be one of the millions of people who’ve seen the viral video of Henry, an elderly man in a nursing home who popped out of the fog of dementia when he heard a cherished tune from his youth. That video is actually part of a larger documentary called Alive Inside that explores the healing power of music. It’s screening in Salt Lake City next week, so we're rebroadcasting our conversation with the film’s director, Michael Rossato-Bennett. We also spoke with social worker Dan Cohen, who’s trying to convince the world that music can enliven elderly people suffering from dementia and also help us provide them better care. (Rebroadcast)
In 1976, Gary Gilmore arrived in Utah after 13 years in prison. He fell in love, got a job, and then, that summer, robbed and murdered two Utah County men. He would later become the first man executed under America’s renewed capital punishment law. Thursday, we’re revisiting the saga surrounding Gilmore with guest Lawrence Schiller. He hired Norman Mailer to write the classic book The Executioner’s Song about Gilmore. Schiller also directed and produced the TV adaptation of the book, which is screening in Utah this week.
Wednesday, we’re discussing the legal allegations against former-Utah Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow. Both were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with multiple felony counts. Shurtleff says the accusations against him are politically motivated and masterminded by Salt Lake County's District Attorney. Both he and Swallow maintain their innocence. A panel of journalists will join us to talk about the cases against Swallow and Shurtleff and to review the story leading up to their arrest.
It's as hot as you-know-where, so we thought it would be a good time to talk about the history of hell. Our guests are Utah scholars Margaret Toscano and Isabel Moreira, co-editors of a book that looks at historic and modern views of the underworld. They say that hell is all but disappearing in mainstream religions, but it still permeates our books, films and even cartoons. Tuesday, we'll talk about how the idea of hell developed in religion and philosophy, and why we still seem to need it today.
Greek yogurt. Chia seeds. Croissant-donut hydbrids. Natural, organic, farm-fresh, bacon-flavored everything! The list of food trends is ever-changing and seemingly knows no end. According to the writer David Sax, whether or not you personally pay much attention to these trends, they reach into every nook and cranny of our culture. Sax has written a book about our evolving tastes. He joins us Monday to explore where food trends come from, how they grow, and where they end up.
Doug is joined in studio by the writer Walter Kirn, whose latest book is the story of his friendship with a man he knew as Clark Rockefeller. Kirn found him charming, intelligent, if a bit eccentric, and he enjoyed rubbing elbows with someone well-off and upper-class. But it was a ruse, and the man was eventually exposed as a fraud, a sociopath and a murderer. So how was Walter Kirn so handily duped? "Rockefeller" himself explained it this way: vanity, vanity, vanity. (Rebroadcast)
The LDS Church yesterday released its latest essay on contentious issues within the faith. The article concerns Joseph Smith’s claims to have translated a book of scripture from Egyptian papyri. Some Mormons believe the Book of Abraham is a literal translation, while others say modern translations of the papyri don’t jibe with Smith’s rendition. The new essay makes room for both sides. Thursday, we’re talking about the essay and the questions it raises about belief and the difficulty of literalness.