With my life kicking up to high insanity at the moment, I’m going to try to get straight to the point on this post. So you may find that I’m a little shorter than usual. My apologies, but not to worry: I have several other pieces that I’m preparing for the HUB site that should be up soon.
I am still on a high from seeing Stephen at the 92nd Street Y on Friday night, but I will say no more about that now because I’ll discuss the evening in a separate reporT. Let’s just say that every time I’m lucky enough to hear him somewhere, to view his appearance on a TV show, or to read an interview, I am prouder than ever to be part of the Colbert Nation. I don’t know how many of you remember the not-too-long-ago Alec Baldwin debacle where he was tossed off a plane for refusing to stop playing “Words with Friends” when the flight attendant asked him to. A friend of mine Facebook-posted how disappointed she was in him and how another star she admired had just bitten the dust. At the time, I responded with: “Well, Stephen Colbert has never let me down.” I said it then, I repeat it now. My admiration grows and there’s never a reason to question it. Thank you, Stephen.
Last week gave us a number of top-drawer episodes, and I’m expecting more of the same in the coming days. There’s one big guest on the agenda, but also a couple of less-known visitors who I expect will bring us a lot of pleasure. I imagine from now until the election takes place both Jon and Stephen will be going full speed ahead, no stopping, no breaks. We’re in the home stretch now, and I’m scared, very scared. Jet Blue Airlines had an ad that encapsulated my feelings perfectly: “Election Protection 2012: If your candidate loses at least you have a chance at a free flight out of the country.” Wow. Hey, Katt—will Australia welcome me? Maybe that longed-for move to Brazil? I’m leaving my options open…
By the way, an aside here: those of who have not looked at our post for, and clicked on the link to, Stephen’s Playboy interview—DO IT NOW. It’s one of the very best I have read and a don’t-miss.
One final and sad note: once again in America we have a mass killing. My thoughts are with the people in Wisconsin and the families of those who were killed. When will this madness stop?
Now, let’s look at the guests.
Monday, 10/22: Donald Sadoway
The week begins with an MIT professor of materials chemistry. Donald Sadoway is definitely one of the guests I think will provide pleasure to Stephen’s regular viewers. For me, Stephen’s interviews with scientists are always a highlight of TCR, and from the comments here, I gather many people feel the same way. Sadoway just became one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 of 2012 for for his popularity as a teacher and TED talker—oh, and also for inventing the liquid-metal battery. As the magazine notes, Sadoway “does more than entertain; he gives you a glimpse into the future of energy.” His big, inexpensive batteries, made from salt and liquid metal, can store lots of power, so they don’t need recharging as often. That means when you must power them, it’s easier to do with renewable forms of energy that aren’t always available. (The sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow. This battery can wait until they do.)
Sadoway received his BASc, his MASc, and his PhD all from the University of Toronto; the advanced degrees were in chemical metallurgy. He not only teaches, but runs Group Sadoway: Extreme Electrochemistry. I love the name and the vision of electrochemistry as something as on-the-edge, daring, and exciting as snowboarding or other sports. Some of the group’s funding comes from Bill Gates, which means that Sadoway is definitely as concerned with his discoveries doing good as with making a profit.
Visit Donald Sadoway’s website.
Listen to his TED talk.
Technology Review discusses his battery.
FutureTech on MSNBC.com also explains how the battery works and its importance.
He teaches an introduction to solid state chemistry on MIT’s Open Courseware.
What music does a great scientist listen to? Apparently, everything from Bach to Eminem. Here’s Sadoway’s playlist!
How will we power the future?
Follow him on Twitter.
Tuesday, 10/23: John Grisham
Tuesday brings us Stephen’s most famous guest for the week. Ever since John Grisham, then a small-time Mississippi attorney, broke through with his legal thriller The Firm, he has had blockbuster after blockbuster, becoming one of the bestselling authors of our time. He has a new release, The Racketeer, that’s out this very day.
Grisham, who once dreamed of being a baseball player, moved on to accounting as an undergrad and finally to law. He began writing in his spare time—or what there was of it, given his long hours at the office. (His bio says 60-70 hour weeks.) His first book was A Time to Kill, out in 1987 and rejected by many publishers before Wynwood Press finally took it. The Firm, however, changed everything: Paramount Pictures bought the film rights and Tom Cruise starred. Both the book, which spent 47 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and the movie proved hugely successful. The rest is history. In 2006, Grisham wrote his first work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, applying his legal knowledge to a real murder case that unfolded in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma.
The Racketeer marks Grisham’s return to writing after a period spent back in the courtroom to help a family of a railroad brakeman who died in an on-the-job accident. The man ended up pinned between two cars, and Grisham had promised that he would fight for financial compensation. And he did just that, winning an award of $683,500 for the bereaved family—the largest of his career.
Fun fact: while Grisham never could make it in baseball, he now serves as a local Little League commissioner, and built six ball fields on his property for various teams to use.
Grisham has appeared on The Colbert Report before, in 2007.
The New York Times reviewed the book. Janet Maslin notes that The Racketeer “is an unusual book for Mr. Grisham. Unlike many of his others, it has no soapbox to stand on and is not out to teach lessons about justice. This book is much more duplicitous than that.”
The book’s publisher, Doubleday, has a Pinterest page for Grisham and the novel!
Here’s the publisher’s author page, with links to many of Grisham’s books.
Visit Grisham’s website.
Follow him on Twitter.
Like him on Facebook.
In 2005, after Katrina, Grisham wrote about the Gulf Coast in the New York Times; he remains committed to rebuilding the area, having established a relief fund which he began with a $5 million donation.
Wednesday, 10/24: Anthony Everitt
Science, fiction, and now history: Anthony Everitt takes a look back at the Roman Empire. Did someone fail to restore it to the greatness it never was . . . so it disappeared? Everitt, a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University and author of books on Cicero, Augustus, and Hadrian, has a new work called The Rise of Rome: The Making of the World’s Greatest Empire. I expect that Stephen might have a bone to pick with him for calling something other than America “the greatest.” In any case, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire has fascinated historians through the centuries, perhaps because Rome’s fate serves as a warning to any national/global power that becomes too self-satisfied and secure in its own accomplishments. Everitt covers an earlier period in the Empire’s history, before it fully flowered … and fell.
Everitt’s teaching focuses on literature and the visual arts, and he writes for both the Guardian and the Financial Times. He actually lives in a town, Colchester, founded by the Romans, so he has evidence of their achievements around him every day.
Visit his publisher’s author page, with links to Everitt’s other books.
The Dallas News reviews the book, praising its “brisk, conversational style.”
Everitt appeared on NPR.
Read a review of The Rise of Rome in Kirkus Reviews.
MHQ magazine (Modern History Quarterly?) has a tiny excerpt from the new book—just a teaser.
Here’s a review from the Wall Street Journal. Hmmm—they’re interested in the Empire’s apparatus: the “tax and redistribution.” So THAT’S why it fell. Not a surprise the WSJ sees it that way, I suppose.
Take a look at some Flickr photos of Everitt giving a lecture.
Everitt has a blog on Goodreads.
Thursday, 10/25: Gov. Mitch Daniels
In this election year, we cannot go without a political guest, and this week’s is the conservative governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels. I’m sure he’ll talk Obama/Romney, but I expect he’s really here to promote his book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans. which went into paperback in August. In it, Daniels explores such issues as the exploding debt, our collapsing school system, and a potentially diminished future for the nation. What I find particularly amusing is that the publisher’s summary of the book states that: “He warns that we may lose the uniquely American promise of upward mobility for all . . . But, the good news is that it’s not too late to save America.” So we can become the greatness we never weren’t, perhaps?
Daniels, who is now finishing his second (and final) term, had never held elected office prior to becoming governor. But after a career in business—as the CEO of the Hudson Institute and President of Eli Lilly and Company’s North American Pharmaceutical Operations—he entered the world of government as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Lugar. He later became Senior Advisor to President Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. So he certainly has his red state credentials down. Daniels trumpets his economic achievements, including a balanced budget, and he actually did establish a state medical insurance plan that gave lower- and moderate income families access to care. I do like the fact that this was partly financed by taxing cigarettes. But his website also notes that he “received the 2011 Friend of the Family Award from the Indiana Family Institute, who recognized the governor for his strong record of pro-family, pro-life and pro-faith actions taken as Indiana’s chief executive.” That means anti-gay, anti-choice. (It’s also anti-grammar. It SHOULD have said that he received the award from the Institute, WHICH recognized him. Not who.) He also established a requirement for voter IDs and tried to enact anti-union measures. You might remember that the Dems fled the state house in order to prevent a vote. Not my sort of governor.
Currently Daniels is also president-elect of Purdue University; he’ll assume the position in January 2013. And oh: he appointed a majority of the board that ultimately gave him the job despite his lack of educational credentials. Can you say “conflict of interest?” I can—but he’s been cleared of that. In any case, this is the job he’s taken since Paul Ryan became the VP candidate, and he didn’t.
Visit Governor Daniels’s website.
Like him on Facebook.
On CBS’s Sunday Morning, Daniels said that Americans should be scared. Keep fear alive!
Visit his YouTube channel.
Interestingly, he was arrested for drug use during his days at Princeton. Hey—I have no problem with that. But does he have a problem with those who get incarcerated for drugs today? If so, then I call “hypocrisy.”
In 2010, the Daily Beast suggested that GOP should listen to what Mitch Daniels has to say. However, he clearly hasn’t become the candidate conservative hoped he’d be.
And now let’s check in with our good friend Jon!
I’m sorry, everyone. I had this almost done when the site suddenly kicked me off and I lost everything. I will try to redo, but I want to get this up so everyone can comment on Stephen’s guests. I think you’ll know everyone except Wednesday’s visitor, Dakota Meyer. He’s a hero who is the first living marine to receive the Medal of Honor in 38 years for his actions in Afghanistan. There is more on Jon’s excellent guest page for those who cannot wait. My apologies.
Monday, 10/22: D.L. Hughley
Tuesday, 10/23: Gerard Butler
Wednesday, 10/24: Dakota Meyer
Thursday, 10/25: Rep. Nancy Pelosi
That’s all for now, folks! Let me know who you’re most looking forward to.
Cheers, and have a wonderful week.