Other News

Interesting news stories from around the Pacific Northwest.

Half a century ago this summer, labor activist Cesar Chavez joined thousands of striking farmworkers in Texas as they converged on Austin, the state capital, to demand fair wages and humane working conditions.

Their march, which started from the punishing melon fields of South Texas, was his march, too. It was a deep and abiding understanding of the challenges of the farmworker's life that drove his commitment to labor rights. The life of Cesar Chavez mirrored that of the people he was trying to help. Their cause — La Causa — was his.

Parker Miles Blohm / KPLU

(Tacoma-Seattle, WA) -- Friends of 88.5 FM, a nonprofit community organization formed to preserve local National Public Radio affiliate KPLU, announced new call letters today. The new community-owned station will be called KNKX, which stands for "Connects." The community feels connected to us and we to them.

"88.5 KNKX connects you to jazz, blues and NPR news.”

Japan is home to many local festivals, but some of the best known are the ones in which men run and jump around nearly naked — not for dirty reasons, but for ancient religious ones.

The hadaka matsuri or "naked festival" dates back centuries in Japan. Men perform in traditional fundoshi (loincloth) to purify themselves before gods, to bring luck and prosperity or to welcome new seasons.

Should We Make Room For Worms On Our Dinner Plate?

Aug 10, 2016

In southern Venezuela, the Ye'kuana people gather them from the mud around streams or dig them up from the floor of the highland forest. They're gutted and boiled and eaten — or smoked and sold at prices three times that of other smoked meats.

What is this lucrative, forageable fare?

Earthworms.

It's hard to blame the hero of Dr. Seuss' famous Green Eggs and Ham — which turns 56 this month — for being suspicious of the title dish. The illustrated lump of green meat and two eggs with alien yolks would look off-putting to the most adventurous eaters. Yet decades after Theodor Geisel's beloved children's book was first published, chefs across the United States are tickled by the idea of putting the infamous dish on their menus.

Would you eat it with some kale? Would the thought turn diners pale?

In Paris, a really old dress has sold for more than $150,000. Now, if that sounds like an unreasonably high price tag, keep this in mind: The 1730s dress is in mint condition, it might have been worn at Versailles, and it was part of a fashion revolution.

Known as a robe volante — or flying dress — the long, luscious yellow brocade gown is patterned with silver thread. It's loose-cut, with soft pleats in the rear, a deep V in front and graceful flow-y sleeves.

During the Olympics we will hear a lot about the winners. But the reality is most athletes at the games come home without a medal. Today we explore what losing does to athletes, fans and anyone who casts a vote for president.

Listen to this week's episode to hear the story of judo star Jimmy Pedro, and how he dealt with a crushing defeat in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Daniel Pink also joins Shankar for a Stopwatch Science competition on all the unintended consequences of losing.

Stopwatch Science

thephotographymuse via Creative Commons / Flickr

Today on Sound Effect we look back at looking back as we explore the theme of nostalgia.

Skate King has been torn down and soon there will be a Harley Davidson dealership in that lot but the ghosts of athlete's foot past and the penchant for flared pants and disco dancing on wheels lives on in our hearts and minds. Gabriel Spitzer took a spin at the rink before the lights went down for good.

Nick Morrison

We all get a free pass for the things we did in the 1970s, right? Well, we certainly think so.

In the 1970s, KPLU's Nick Morrison had a stint as a manager of a downtown Seattle strip club. And as it turns out, it was actually a lot like any other workplace.

Despite having no previous experience in management or adult theater, Nick quickly learned things many of us learn when put in charge of a group of employees. He had to make schedules, make sure people showed up to work on time, and hear the excuses from his employees when they didn't show up.

Art Skool Damage

 

Kathleen Wilson grew up loving gossip. Wilson would spend nights with Confidential magazine and later in her life ended up writing the column, "It’s My Party" for The Stranger.

Wilson tells Sound Effect senior producer, Arwen Nicks about what it was like to write a gossip column in a smaller and slower Seattle. And why she decided to leave gossip (mostly) for good.

 

An Almost Obsolete Profession: The Film Cutter

Aug 6, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Gabriel Spitzer talks with Andy Pratt about the inevitable demise of his business, Deluxe Archive Solutions.

Pratt has worked for decades as a film cutter, with a hand in a few movies you may have heard of: "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones" and "Dirty Harry," among many others.

DAS is one of the last big negative-cutting houses in the country, but with the industry almost completely digital now, it won't be long before Pratt's passion and livelihood are obsolete.

Former Seattle writer Charles D’Ambrosio reads from his recently released essay collection, "Loitering." In the piece D’Ambrosio is assigned an to write about modular "Fleetwood" homes and he explores the textures, smells and emotions of being inside a freshly manufactured prefab home. 

But D'Ambriosio gets caught up in how generic all of the "newness" is, and how detached it is from memory and nostalgia. Here he reads an excerpt from his essay, "American Newness," for KPLU's Sound Effect. 

Cockroach Milk: Yes. You Read That Right

Aug 6, 2016

Pour out that almond milk — the new hip thing cockroach milk.

Well, kind of.

The female Pacific beetle cockroach is one of a kind. Unlike other insect species, this Hawaiian native gives birth to live young. And she feeds them a pale, yellow liquid "milk" from her brood sack.

But the craziest thing: Cut open an embryonic beetle roach, and they're guts will spill out nutrient-rich milk crystals that shimmer like glitter.

A Yemeni Mother's Plea: Don't Forget Our Children

Aug 5, 2016

When I was 5 years old, I experienced war for the very first time. It was 1986 in Aden, South Yemen, and political rivalries turned into violent conflict. One day, the house where my mom, sister and I were staying was badly damaged after a rocket hit a nearby military vehicle. I remember looking at what used to be the living room, and the wall and windows were gone. My mom picked up my little sister, grabbed my hand, and started running. There was no time to put on shoes. I stepped on glass and other sharp objects, cutting my feet.

On the final night of the Republican National Convention last month, as Donald Trump formally accepted his party's nomination for president, my Code Switch co-host Shereen Marisol Meraji fired off a tweet about how unnerved she was watching Trump's address, with its angry denunciations of Muslims and Mexican immigrants.

"This speech is difficult to listen to as a Latina and an Iranian," she wrote. "So much fear-mongering."

What do Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam, Albania, Germany and Ethiopia have in common?

Turns out all five countries do better than average when it comes to turning their national wealth into a better life for their citizens.

There's also a list of countries that do worse than average. Spoiler alert: The United States is one of them.

This unusual gauge of national success is the brainchild of analysts at the Boston Consulting Group.

A woman meets a mysterious stranger as she studies declassified documents about one the most polluted sites on earth.

Three generations of women are part of a family whose lives, health and even high school mascot bear markers of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington state.

The Washington State Historical Society recognizes these stories, and the entire project Daughters of Hanford, with the 2016 David Douglas Award.

A five-hour drive southwest of Madrid, I pull into a tiny town square filled with songbirds and an outsized Catholic church — where Eduardo Sousa and Diego Labourdette are waiting.

They're an odd couple. Sousa is a jovial fifth-generation Spanish farmer. Labourdette is a soft-spoken academic — an ecologist and migratory bird expert — who teaches at a university in Madrid. But they're in business together — in the foie gras business.

Julie Randolph-Habecker

Julie Randolph-Habecker followed her father's footsteps into the field of science. He was a pathologist, diagnosing patients from behind the microscope. She became a research pathologist, exploring what was behind the disease. However, when her dad fell ill with lung cancer, that meant understanding too much about what was killing him.

Julie remembers looking through a microscope at her father's cancer cells. "Everywhere I looked there were cancer cells. And they all looked bizarre and evil. I knew immediately when I looked at that slide, it was horrible."

How Hollow Earth Radio Grew Out Of One Family's Attic And Into A Community

Jul 30, 2016
Connie Jones Ostrowski

Hollow Earth Radio was founded in the bedrooms of Amber Kai Morgan and her husband Garrett Kelly almost ten years ago. They've since moved the operation to a little storefront in the Central District, but until now it’s only existed as a streaming station online. That’s about to change.

pee vee / Flickr

When Jena Lopez’s child started showing signs of having a non-traditional gender identity during the preschool years, she wasn’t sure what to do. Can a 3- or 4-year-old really know that she’s a different gender from her biological sex? And Jena knew the outlook for transgender kids was grim: Research has shown they tend to have high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Courtesy Logan Hofkamp

Many teens, if not most, have fantasies of ditching their mom and dad and just parenting themselves.

In fact, there is a legal way to do that. At age 16, Logan Hofkamp became an "emancipated youth," which is, as he puts it, like "divorcing your parents and becoming your own legal guardian."

He tells us why he's glad he did it, but he also reflects what he may have missed out on. 

Courtesy Nick Morrison

KPLU's Nick Morrison has had many jobs, ranging from disc jockey to adult theater manager to music publication entrepreneur. So it might come as no surprise that he also worked in the family business.

Nick's father was in the potato business in Eastern Washington, and after some time in San Francisco, Nick returned home in need of some work.

He and his father had never really taken the time to get to know each other, and Nick, arriving back home with a pony tail and bell bottoms, was probably not going to improve things.

I can remember the weeks before starting school at Skidmore College, furiously trying to finish Gregory Howard Williams' memoir, Life on the Color Line. The book had been assigned as our freshman reading assignment — part of the First-Year Experience at the liberal arts school in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Four years later, Williams spoke at our graduation.

"If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together."

That was one piece of advice passed along at the just-concluded Democratic National Convention. The words were spoken by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who said he was quoting "an African saying."

The proverb got a lot of retweets. And some criticism. One Twitter user, Christiana A. Mbakwe, said, "If someone starts an aphorism with 'there's an African saying' it's probably a mythical quote misattributed to a whole continent."

KPLU's Community Advisory Council will be meeting on Monday, August 29 @ 2PM. If you are interested in attending as a member of the listening community, please contact the General Manager's office at (253)-535-8732 for more information. 

The road to a national vote on a new constitution took an unexpected turn in northern Thailand on Sunday, when 100 pig-tailed macaques reportedly stormed into a voting station and destroyed a section of the voter rolls and other documents.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This week on Sound Effect, "The Doctor Is In." We revisit some of our favorite stories on health, aging, things that take us to the doctor, and the toll that doctors often feel from helping others.

We kick off the show with a story that aired on our very first episode of Sound Effect. Leila Mirhaydari was a healthy and active 27-year-old when she went into sudden kidney failure. She spoke with Sound Effect host, Gabriel Spitzer about what her life was like as she sought out a new kidney.

Courtesy of Leila Mirhaydari

Editor's Note: This story originally ran as part of Sound Effect's inaugural episode which aired Jan. 10, 2015.

Meet Death With Dignity Champion, Robb Miller

Jul 23, 2016
provided by Robb Miller

Robb Miller worked as executive director of Compassion and Choices of Washington (now End of Life Washington) for most of the last two decades. That organization helps people with end of life decision making as they face incurable or terminal illnesses, and they pushed for the passage of Washington’s Death with Dignity Act.

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