My thinking is off, my approach is wrong...time to go fishing.
I recorded these interviews with my family two weeks ago, before George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis. Now they seem unimportant, like from another era. Except that in my family it’s the younger folk who have been mostly fucked by the virus pandemic, and it’s been young people, mostly, who’ve been out on the streets protesting. I hope their efforts lead to real change in our society. Donate
- Following the news is like watching a competition for the worst case scenario and I’ve grown weary of all the blaming and shaming. Now we can’t trust anyone, not even ourselves. But at some point we’re going to have to come together in order to survive. I’m working on a story where I interview people in my family about how they’re coping with the pandemic. Not everyone is doing well, and it’s pretty emotional for me, so I need to take some more time putting it together. In the meantime, thanks very much for your support.
A link to an excellent documentary about Alex Caldiero.Donate
It seems more of us are paying attention to our neighborhoods lately, so perhaps this is a good time to replay this story, produced in 1988. I still live in the same neighborhood, but it feels different now. It’s like there was a tall tree in my front yard but now the tree is gone and only a stump remains. I am stumped. I used to depend on trust—standing or sitting close to strangers and holding a microphone less than a foot from their faces. Now that’s not going to happen again for a while. In the meantime, here’s to remembering the good old days. Donate
- My friend Trent Harris has a problem caused by the coronavirus. It’s not a big problem compared to a lot of other things that have come up recently, like the possible collapse of the economy and thousands of people dying. Trent’s problem is more like a temporary embarrassment. Basically, his reputation is on the line. Donate
Swackhamma tells Harvey a secret.Echo People Episode One on You Tube.Echo People Episode Two on You Tube.Trent Harris’ website is called the Echo Cave.Here’s the This American Life episode about Trent’s film, the Beaver Triology.
The cast and crew of Echo People, with Mystery Mountain in the background.
Harvey Harris upon seeing Mystery Mountain.
Trent Harris wondering what he has done.
Shana from Achterarder, Scotland.My friend Erica Heilman has a podcast called Rumblestrip. She drives around Vermont and talks to people about their lives. Last week she was sitting at home, like everybody, trying to figure out what to do, and she decided to ask her listeners to send her audio recordings of what and how they’re doing under self isolation. A lot of people responded, quickly, and within a couple days Erica posted the first episode of a series she’s calling Our Show. If you’d like to send Erica an audio recording of what’s happening where you are, here’s the email address: email@example.com.Rumblestrip websiteThe song at the end is Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen, performed by The Band. Donate
Looking out Erica Heilman’s apartment in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Recording ambience from Erica Heilman’s window in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
This story was originally broadcast on All Things Considered in 1993. The ground was shifting under my feet back then and I had to figure out what to do. Now it’s shifting again, this time everybody’s in it together. There are things we can do, stories to tell, that can make us feel better. Thanks for listening and supporting this show. Donate
Adrienne Kinne just after basic training in 1994.
Adrienne Kinne, 2020I should confess that I have a personal interest in listening to veterans talk about how they recover from war. I was never in the military, but I spent some time overseas as a war correspondent for Esquire, Harper’s, and Mother Jones magazines. I was never in a battle or close to a bomb going off. I saw the aftermath—bodies on the ground, neighborhoods turned to rubble, people silent and in shock. The main thing I have to deal with is knowing that a couple times people who were helping me with my stories were punished, severely, after I left. I got to fly home to America and they had to stay there and suffer the consequences for helping me. I carry this guilt. So when veterans speak of their experiences recovering from war I listen very carefully.Check out the Veterans for Peace website.Here’s a link to Doug Peacock’s website. And a link to Save the Yellowstone Grizzly.And the link to the video of Brandi Carlile performing live on KEXP. Donate
Douglas Peacock in 1967
Douglas Peacock south of Ajo, Arizona, 2020
Elliott Woods as a soldier in Iraq, 2004Today I have a conversation with Elliott Woods, a veteran who is also a very fine writer. He served a year as a combat engineer in northern Iraq. Then he came home and went to school at the University of Virginia, graduating with a degree in English literature. He thought about staying in school and becoming a professor, but he decided he wanted to go back to war, this time as a journalist.Check out Elliott’s website. Donate
Elliott Woods as a journalist in Afghanistan, 2009
Elliott Woods at Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, 2019
Garett Reppenhagen in Iraq, 2004I believe that sometime in the future, sooner or later, people in the United States will admit and accept that we have lost the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and demand that our troops be brought back home. Now we are in denial, which is dangerous because when you’re in denial you keep making the same mistake over and over again. I believe we need to talk about what we’ve done, the mistakes we’ve made, the crimes we’ve committed in order to move from denial to acceptance and then figure out how to change the way we respond to terrorism. This interview is the first in a series with veterans who fought in our wars and now are working for peace. Here’s a link to Veterans for Peace. Donate
Garett Reppenhagen, 2008
Last spring I was invited to speak at the Oorzaken Audio Festival in Amsterdam. I remember seeing leaves come out on the trees along the canals and tulips blooming on the bridges. The first night I was there i was interviewed on stage at the Torpedo Theater by the hosts of the Podcastclub, a Dutch podcast hosted by Lieven Heeremans and Misha Melita. This time I’m the one answering the questions. Donate
His real name is Alissandru Francesco Caldiero, born into the old world on the island of Sicily, he came to the U.S. on a boat when he was nine years old, sailing past the Statue of Liberty. When I first met him, nearly 30 years later, he was screaming a Dada poem at a sandstone wall in southern Utah—repeating the same line, “This is not it,” over and over, faster and faster in a near epileptic seizure. In that moment our lives became intertwined.I think of this story as a song, a lament for not fitting in and feeling like you can’t make sense of the world around you, which is how I’ve been feeling lately. The story was originally broadcast on NPR’s Day to Day in 2003, right around the time we went to war in Iraq.To learn more about Alex Caldiero, check out this excellent documentary, The Sonosopher. Photos by Ashley Thalman. Donate
- I’ve been in Armenia teaching a podcasting workshop sponsored by the U.S. State Department. I think it went well, overall, and the students were exceptional. Perhaps I will write about it someday, but not now. I’ve come back to impeachment week before Christmas, a double whammy to go with my jet lag. So I’m going to re-play The Rebel Yell, a story about the 2004 Republican Convention in New York City, first podcast on this program in April of 2015.
Music by the Icelandic group Mum (We Have a Map of the Piano, The Land Between Solar Systems, Slow Bicycle) and Kid Rock (All Summer Long).Donate
My operating hypothesis is that our cultural divide is a function of our oligarchic government. If a relatively few super-rich people control our wealth and power then it would be in their interest to keep the masses angry and blaming each other, fighting amongst themselves. In this way Donald Trump is a tool of the oligarchy, dividing us by twitters—so efficient and profitable and addicting—he incites fear of the other. So, if this is true, the most effective method of fighting oligarchic control might be to give up our fear of the other. I’ve been trying to practice this method by driving around Trump Country and talking to people, listening to people, because I find that listening dissolves fear. Donate
- I was driving around rural western Colorado, near the border with Utah, near where Jack Kerouac saw a vision of God in the clouds that looked like Pooh Bear. I was looking for people I was a little afraid of—Republicans, Trump supporters—and there on the side of the highway were three signs that made me think I was in the right place.
Music: Main Theme, Soundtrack for To Kill A Mockingbird by Elmer BernsteinDonate
It’s not easy for me to walk up to people and ask if they want to be interviewed for my podcast. I’m afraid they will think I’m a fool, or an idiot, or be suspicious of the whole thing—fake news, etc. But on this trip, more often than not, it was other people who came up to me. Pretty much everybody wanted to talk about the cultural divide. Donate
Yellowstone Lake, August 2019This show is a request for funding, a responsibility for which I am ill-suited. I’m not interested in marketing and promotion. I’m opposed to advertising. I’m against monetizing my product. I don’t want my stories to go viral, I want them to go fungal like the underground network of mycorrhizal fibers that connect the roots of trees and plants in a forest, sharing food and information, a natural internet of physical connections on a cellular level. I’d rather think of my audience as trees than as data points on a graph, I’d rather grow my audience by word of mouth than by click bait. Home of the Brave is 100% funded by listener contributions. Please donate a one-time contribution through Stripe (below), or subscribe with a monthly donation through Pay Pal (in the menu bar above), or maybe you’d like to shop for a very cool Home of the Brave t-shirt or patch (in the the menu bar). Thank you very much for listening and supporting this show. Music by Bob Moss and Pat King, recorded in 1991. Donate
Solidod in Bozeman, Montana, 2012. Photo by Jake Warga.Larry met Solidod by chance, or happenstance. He happened to be in Florida on vacation and he happened to be walking through an apartment complex in Vero Beach looking for another guy and he ended up meeting Solidod. She invited him into her apartment and then she told him her life story and they became friends. Shortly after that, Larry and Solidod went into a recording studio and made this story for Hearing Voices.
Solidod in the recording studio, Bozeman, Montana, 2012. Photo by Jake Warga.
The cover of Solidod’s e-book, available here.
Solidod and her husband, by Solidod.
My Indian, by Solidod.
Solidod’s wedding belt. Solidod makes beaded belts and bracelets. She asked me to post her phone number so you can call and order a special design: 772-538-9701.
I wanted to see the place where a war between the United States and Iran may begin. It turned out people over there couldn’t talk to me on tape because they live in countries without a tradition of free speech and they all feel they are being watched, and I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble. So this is a travelogue, a story about what it’s like to be there.
The psychedelic Persian Gulf surf music is by Hayvanlar Alemi (he’s actually from Turkey). Here’s the link to his website.Donate
Workers taking a break in Khasab, Oman.
On the boat heading out to the Strait of Hormuz.
Near Kumzar, Oman, in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tuna and Sardines, Muscat, Oman.
The call-in-for-spiritual-advice show. She has a white pen in her hand.
In the dunes near Dubai, UAE.
Alan Chin talks about his experience covering wars since 9/11.