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This American Life unfortunately had to make its first retraction and it was of one of its most popular stories, “Mike Daisey and the Apple Factory.”  Although a journalist’s job is to be sure of the truth before it is made public, I in no way hold Ira Glass responsible for what I believe to be the fault of Daisy.  We are all human and everyone makes mistakes from time to time and we all have been guilty of putting our faith into an untrustworthy source at sometime in our lives.  What is different in this situation is that the mistake was witnessed worldwide.  It is unfortunate, but I believe Ira’s faithful followers will remain just that; faithful.

When I heard Mike Daisy’s story about his trip to Shenzhen, several times my heart strings felt a tug.  I now know that Daisy was just playing with the anticipated emotion that he knew he could get out of his audience.  In the words of Ira Glass, the most powerful moments in Daisy’s story were all fabricated.  When he tells this story he presents it as something that happened to him.  When he does this, like Ira I’m thinking that this story is fact not fiction or embellishments.  The fact of the matter is that he lied to Ira about the truth of his story.

As I listened to Daisy’s story I thought to myself, this is a good storyteller.  Daisy believes that much of this story was the best work he ever did.  I now believe this just to be a well rehearsed fabrication.  I no longer think that Daisy is a good story teller.  When caught in his lie and put on the spot he was slow in responding and most of what he said was hogwash and more lies.  Ira pointed out that even when he would admit he lied he would qualify it with something, that it was never simple; he never simply said, “I lied.”  The whole thing bewilders me because Daisy himself said that the truth always matters.  I guess he forgot that when he fabricated his story and lied to Ira.

Daisy seems to me to be living in an altered reality.  His perception of the truth is not what mine is, or Ira’s is, or even what I would imagine most of the rest of the world’s would be.  Daisy said he doesn’t agree that his story was a lie.  He said that everything in his story was built out of his trip and so he doesn’t accept that interpretation.  In my mind that interpretation is the only interpretation.  Daisy is trying to add gray areas to what truth is.  I know a lot of things in this world are not simply black and white, but the truth is not one of those things.  The truth is the truth and there are no gray areas.  If you’re not telling the truth than the only other option is that you’re telling a lie.  I think it is time that Daisy faced up to the consequences of his actions and admits that.

Radio Lab’s podcast Parasites had a couple of themes that were mentioned periodically.  One was mind control; certain bugs use mind control on other bugs, animals, rodents, and maybe even humans.  Another theme that was touched on was the idea of cheats versus honest creatures; the cheats being the parasites that live off of other creatures.  I like how this podcast was introduced.  We were given a step by step visualization of the beginning of the movie Aliens.  This was pretty relaxing because I started listening to this podcast while laying on my couch with my eyes closed.  The narrative went from relaxing to very creepy when it jumped to the tale of this thing tearing out of an astronaut’s stomach.  This thing, or alien, can be comparable to parasites because “both” can live inside of us virtually invisible and often undetected.  I thought that this podcast was really gross.  Bugs are not my cup of tea so this topic of parasites was very creepy, especially with all the visualizations of what parasidic wasps and parasidic nematodes do to some bugs.  It’s almost enough to make you feel like something is crawling around under your skin.

I was both surpised and skeptical by how they are trying to link schitzophrenia with a parasite called toxoplasma gondii.  Another thing that surprised me was Dick Despommier’s story about the “southern laziness disease.”  In 1908 people in the South were unusually jaded and come to find out they were really infected with hookworms.  They had become infected by standing to close to their feces where these parasites were crawling away from and entering their feet.  The part that surprised me is that this was what brought on the use of outhouses.  I would have thought they would have been in use much earlier and simply because of the gross factor.

I kind of liked Jasper Lawrence’s story of how hookworms rid him of his severe allergies and asthma.  His story in a way contradicts Despommier’s, I guess the difference is in the number of hookworms that you are infected with.  Too many is bad and can cause anemia but one can be a good thing and cure numerous diseases.  What gave this story meaning to me is that he himself has injected 85 different people with hookworms and has cured serveral cases of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.  I have a friend who suffers from Crohn’s disease and she is sometimes hospitalized because of it.  I’m left thinking that if there is a cure out there, no matter how gross, we should try to get it.

This podcast made extensive use of music and sound effects.  Sometimes I think that they use too much detracting from the stories themselves; other times I think that they were effectively used.  As an example of what I thought was an effective use, when Dick Despommier was beginning to tell his story they played a sound effect that I recognized as a sound that in some TV shows or movies they use just before someone thinks backward or forward in time.  Right after I made that connection they said, “the story begins in 1908…”  There was one sound effect that actually startled me.  This whole podcast was just as I stated before, creepy.  I was pretty literally on edge most of the time.  While they were into their story about the toxoplasma gondii they were talking about how this parasite can get into a rat and work it’s way up to the rat’s brain.  In the brain they metaphorically cross wires and can cause the rat to, in some degree, think and feel a certain way.  Well, when they mentioned the wires being crossed they play a sound effect imitating wires being crossed.  I had been sitting there listening to the words being spoken, engrossed in taking notes, and all of a sudden that noise; I jumped.

I left comments on the Radio Lab assignment of the following classmates.

Jeff Grant at http://jeffduckgrant.wordpress.com

Brian Seitz at http://www.ikaleidoscopedesign.com

Brian Allen at http://www.digital-media-blog.com

I can’t believe I actually figured out how to extract audio from video.  Yes!!!  Most of the sounds I used are sound that I like (these sounds are in blue) and a few others are just anything I could come up with.  The url to these sounds is http://soundcloud.com/kmcarpenter5816/10-different-sounds. The sounds are described as follows:

1. Popcorn popping

2. Water spraying onto a pan from the sprayer on the sink

3. Windchimes

4. Ducks

5. Coins dropping

6. Bedroom door creaking

7. Refrigerator door opening and closing

8. Box of macaroni being rotated

9. Cans of soda being opened

10. Oil Bubbling inside of deep fat fryer

I never desired a lot of money.  My husband plays the lottery all the time hoping that one day he’ll score big.  He wants to be able to give his family all that he thinks we deserve.  What he fails to realize is that I’m being honest in saying that I don’t want to win the lottery; I don’t want to be rich.  Being rich doesn’t create happiness; love creates happiness.  All I ever wanted was to be comfortable.  Right now my house is in need of several repairs.  My bathroom is literally in a state in which I fear it falling through to the basement.  Until these repairs are made and we are in a situation where we can comfortably make ends meet, it is hard to aspire for anything else.  I want the normal before I could ever want the great.  Right now to me the normal would be a fantastic feature.  I know that isn’t being creative but it is the God’s honest truth.  I guess if I had to think of something it would simply be anything that would make my life easier.  One thing that might be cool is revolving shelves in my kitchen cabinets.  I am always cooking or baking and as a short person I can never reach anything.  Something that would be awesome is if the kitchen trash can was connected to the outside dumster by like a chute or something.  Whenever it got full you could just push the button on the trash can and it would take itself out.  I love to read and on the slightly more extreme side I would like a room in my house to be able to transform into a library all of my own.  I type in a password and then all the bookshelves  filled with books appear and I could hide them again whenever I was finished reading.  This way my kids couldn’t mess with my stuff.

This American Life’s Podcast “What I Did For Love”  consisted of four acts.  This wasn’t my favorite of podcasts but Act three was really enjoyable.

Act 1: Best Laid Plans was about a man named Kurt Braunohler.  He and his girlfriend came up with this really stupid plan to sleep with other people before they got married.  I immediately took a dislike to this story and it didn’t take long for me to find it offensive.  I ended up not finishing it.  Their plan was so morally and spritually wrong that I didn’t want to submit my Christian ears to that kind of garbage.   I am curious what happened to their relationship when it was all said and done, but I wasn’t about to listen long enough to find out.

Act 2: 21 Chump Street was about an operation  in Palm Beach County Florida called Operation D-.   The operation put several undercover officers in a few different schools posing as students.  Their mission was to make drug arrests.  There was one officer imparticular that this act was about.  She went by the alias Naomi and befriended a popular boy named Justin.  The story is reported by Robbie Brown and we are hearing the story mostly from Justin’s eyes.  Justin fell head over heels for Naomi and she ended up getting him to sell her marijuana.  Obviously when arrests were made he was one of the students arrested.  He makes you feel kind of sorry for him the way he tells his side of the story.  He almost makes himself seem like the victim.  If his side of the story was accurate I would really feel like Naomi pressured him into doing something that he doesn’t do.  He just did it for love.  But I’m tending to believe that he was somewhat derailing from the facts.  One clue is that after he was arrested and told that he sold marijuana to an undercover officer he had to think about who it could have been.  If Naomi was the only person that he sold to he should immediately have known who it was.  I sympathize with him a little because he was 18 and his future plans of joining the air force were irrev0cobly altered by his bad choice.  But it is a good lesson for others.  People have to think about thier choices and how they impact thier lives and the lives of others. 

Act 3:  Cold Stone Dreamery was a very imaginative story about a duck who fell in love with a large rock.  The story was from Ben Loory’s collection Stories for the Nightime and Some for the Day.  The strange duck was ridiculed by the other ducks for his love of this rock.  There was only one other duck, a girl duck, who was nice to this strange duck.  She knew him to be a good duck and she felt sorry for him in his unfortunate situation.  To help him out she came up with a plan to throw the rock over a cliff.  Because when it all comes down to it ducks stick together, all the ducks went on this mission to get the rock to the cliff.  All the other ducks turned back accept for the girl duck.  She would not leave the strange duck’s side.  When the two ducks got to the cliff they threw the rock over and watched it turn into a beautiful gray bird that looked much like a duck.  When they got back home the other ducks wanted to know what happened.  They said, “nothing; the rock fell”.  After a few days the strange duck came to the girl duck with a salamander for her in his mouth and a smile on his face.  This story was very metaphorical.  I was reminded of the quote “if you love something, set it free.”  The strange duck loved the rock and he set it free.  I also felt that this story represented people.  We as people tend to be struck first by beauty so many times the “ugly duckling” isn’t given a second look.  And I think that a lot of the time when someone is different it tends to scare people off.  But strangeness can be a good quaility.  It is sad when people can’t look passed what is on the outside to get to know the person on the inside.  The girl duck was able to look deeper into the strange duck and liked him for who he really is.  This was a great, unconventional love story.

Act 4: Fantastic Mr. Fox was about a relationship that Jeanne Darst, author of memoir Fiction Ruined My Family, was involved in.  She had met this guy (who calls everyone Fox) and they started dating.  From the start she suggested that they keep things light and see other people.  “Mr. Fox” refused.  Shortly after they started dating he ended up telling her that she loved him.  Darst was still unsure about the guy and didn’t reply the same back.  One day Mr. Fox had left his journal laying around and Darst couldn’t help but snoop.  She was surprised to find that he was dating two other women.  One was Friday night, one was Saturday night, and Jeanne herself was Sunday night.  The two other women were Asian and in his journal Mr. Fox said that he didn’t like white women.  Darst was white.  He also said in his journal that he was seeing red flags with Jeanne.  Needless to say Darst put a quick end to that relationship.  The moral of this story, which is stated by Darst’s own sister, is that snooping always comes back to bite you in the butt.

This American Life’s podcast “Conventions” was made up of three different acts.   I enjoyed all three acts and felt that I could on some level relate to the first and could definately relate to the third.

Act 1:  Dark Shadows was about a man named John Conners who went to a convention for viewers of the T.V. show Dark Shadows.  I had never heard of the show before but my interest was automatically piqued.  I’m the kind of person that if attention is drawn to a movie, or book for that matter, I have to watch it or read it.  I’m also an old movie buff.  I love old movies.  They are my absolute favorite to watch.  As soon as I knew the show was from the late sixties, early seventies the deal was sealed.  The first thing I did, and I did this while I was listening to the podcast, was check on Netflix to see if was there.  I was very excited to find that it was available for streaming.  I want to start watching it…okay slightly bummed.  I was going to watch an episode while typing this but unfortunately out of 1245 episodes only episodes 210-370 are available for streaming; the rest are DVD only.  I’m also the kind of person who hates to watch anything out of order or miss any part of a movie.  On the plus side I did add the first disc to my DVD queue.  I just achieved my goal of reading all Jane Austen’s novels.  Thank you John Conners and Ira Glass for giving me a new mission.

Act 2: Dish Out Of Water follows Dishwasher Pete  (author of Dishwasher: One Mans Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States) to the National Restaurant Association Convention.  Bob Dole was the opening speaker and Pete described his speach as one as if he was campaigning.  He never even mentioned restaurants.  When the time came for taking questions he answered them, or didn’t answer them, in the same manner.  Pete got the last question and it was the only one the Dole actually answered.  Pete asked what advice he would give to dishwashers.  Dole replied, “Just keep washing.”  I find that kind of ironic.  Like Pete, I believe this is horrible advice.  Who wants to be a dishwasher for the rest of thier life.  All people should strive to be ambitious and here was Bob Dole in one sentence basically saying not to reach for something better.  During this convention Pete was on a search to find a fellow dishwasher.  He met a bunch of snooty people all the while unsuccessful in his task.  Finally, where I suspected all along, he found one in the kitchen.  Pete said that it was the first time he had felt at ease all night.  And what does he do? He helped the guy unload the dishwasher.  I found that a great end to this story.

Act 3: When Worlds Collide was the act that I related to the most.  John Perry Barlow is founder of Electric Frontier Foundation, former rancher, and former Greatful Dead song writer.  He was at a NeXT Computer convention taking place the same location as a psychiatric convention.  He was immediately drawn to a woman there for the psychiatric convention.  The locked eyes and on both sides it was love at first sight.  I like how Barlow described it.  He said, “it was like two worlds collided and something wonderful came from the point that they touched.”  I myself have experienced that same feeling.  It was love at first sight when my husband and I met over 12 years ago.  We were from two different worlds and only met by happenstance.  We were told we were to different to last, but here we are 12 years later getting along better than any other couple I know.  Who said love at first sight doesn’t exist.  I know it does.  John Barlow knows it does.  He and his psychiatrist love I believe could have lasted forever.  They felt an immediate connection and fate played an even bigger card than that because come to find out, they lived in the same apartment building.  This is a couple who were supposed to be together.  Unfortunately, like many great love stories, this one has a tragic ending.  A flu turned deadly took the life of Barlow’s love.  But her last words to Barlow ring sweet to the romantics ear, “Nothing can keep us apart baby, we were meant for each other.”

Gwendolyn Brooks was born on June 7, 1917 in Topeka, KS but grew up in Chicago Illinois were the family moved to when she was just six weeks old.  Brooks had her first poem published in a children’s magazine when she was just thirteen years old and by the time she was sixteen she had about 75 published poems.  After graduating from Wilson Junior College in 1936 and failing to get a job at the Chicago Defender, she worked several typing jobs.  In 1940 Brooks took part in a workshop that inspired her and her work was soon taken seriously.  In 1943 she received an award for poetry from the Midwestern Writers’ Conference and her first book of poetry, A Street in Bronzeville, published in 1945.  The book was an instant success and she received her first Guggenhiem Fellowship and was also one of the “Ten Young Women of the Year” in Mademoiselle magazine.  In 1950, her second book of poetry, Annie Allen, was published.  It was this book which won her Poetry magazine’s Eunice Tietjens Prize and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.  This pulitzer prize was the first given to an African-American.  In 1968 Brooks was the poet laureate of Illinois and in 1988 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  In 1994 Brooks was also chosen as the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Jefferson Lecturer, this is one of the highest honors for American literature and the highest award in the humanities given by the federal government.

Reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brooks