07 September 2005

A new book!

If I happen to be on my way home - or actually at home - at 11:00, I usually listen to "As It Happens," a news and events radio show from the CBC. As an American who lives in a busy metropolitan area, I can't get over AIH's tendency to sound like the Mayberry newspaper. They actually, literally, once spent 10 minutes interviewing someone whose cat was stuck in a tree and got rescued.

Listening to AIH reminds me of that George Carlin routine about the differences between football and baseball:

(Threatening growl) "In football you wear a helmet."
(Happy lighthearted voice) "In baseball you wear a cap."
(HLV) "Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings."
(TG) "Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death."

(TG) "In the US, you have congressional districts."
(HLV) "In Canada, you have ridings."

While in no way under-rating their professionalism or their jounalistic ability, AIH always struck me as a kinder, gentler form of radio news. So when the CBC started a lock out which put AIH on hiatus, I was sad. On the other hand, during the lock out (the CBC is referring to it as a strike and or a labor dispute, employees are calling it a lock out), the CBC is running a program called "Ideas" which basically spends an hour on whatever random topic the Magic 8 Ball chose for the day. We got to hear about ice cream the other night, I've heard a couple of shows about radical philosophers from small, poverty-striken island nations, and, best of all, I got to hear an hour on Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was - after Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel - probably the subject of the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it will ever be anybody's pleasure to read.

At the beginning of the hour the only thing I knew about Ms. Millay was that she wrote "Justice Denied in Massachusetts" about the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti which contains the incredibly haunting line "We shall die in darkness, and be buried in the rain." At the end of the hour, I knew a lot more and was resolved to actually order Marion Meade's Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties.

It arrived today! I have auditions tonight (please come read for me), but as soon as I can, I'm zooming home to read about Ms. Millay, Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, and Zelda Fitzgerald. I read bios of Sara & Gerald Murphy and Dorothy Parker recently and I actually recognize some of the people in the pictures in Bobbed Hair without having to read the captions.

A new book! A new book!

2 comments:

Julie Stevens said...

So, Leta, I hear you have a new book! (p.s., how is it?)

Liza said...

I miss "As It Happens."

I also miss Morning Edition running until 10 am instead of until 9 am. Occasionally I am at work before 9 am, but usually part of my commute is spent looking for something I like on commercial radio.

Only once have I stayed on NPR after 9 am on purpose -- they were playing some wonderful a capella music instead of the usual traditional classical.

Why do so many NPR stations bill themselves as "your news and classical music station" anyway? Surely I'm not the only NPR programming junkie who doesn't like classical music?