Calum MacLeod lived on the North side of the small, rocky island of Raasay, Scotland—miles away from the nearest road. One night his 12-year-old daughter became stuck in a blizzard as she was trying to walk up to their isolated settlement from the roads on the south of the island. Calum rescued her, but was furious and petitioned the government to build a road. The far-off bureaucracies refused. So Calum decided to conquer the unforgiving landscape, and build the road himself. What followed was an astounding testament to one man’s determination.
What is it about superhero stories that makes people want to put on a brightly-colored leotard, and yell “Flame on!”? This episode shows that the fascination with superhero-type figures is not a new phenomenon. It has left a herculean footprint on just about every culture that has come and gone for thousands of years. We love these stories because people through the ages have wished to break free from the limits of our finite human existence. But could there be something more behind this fascination?
If you were among the few North Koreans who break free, and who escape the country, what would your next move be? Most escapees choose to settle into a new life in a new country, and they try to forget the nightmare they left behind. But other escapees do something more noble, and more giving. Their example provides us with a powerful analogy.
This episode tells riveting true stories about a category of heroes that don’t generally make their way into the headlines. Whether the enemy is Al-Qaeda or the vast expanse of the Gobi desert, theses librarian heroes prevail.
Young, older, oldest. We begin this episode with a story from the early childhood of host Jeremiah Jacques, in which a turtle assistance situation turns potentially tragic. From there, we discuss the teenage brain, and what the latest neuroscience has discovered about its weaknesses and strengths. Finally, there is some encouragement for people of all ages.
When the Nazis began massacring European Jews, an unlikely man defied his government in order to save as many of them as possible: Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat stationed in Eastern Europe. Mr. Sugihara’s bravery and altruism ended up saving the life of some 6,000 people. One of those was a 7-year-old boy who grew up to become Mr. Leo Melamed. Today, Mr. Melamed is regarded as the most important financial innovator in the second half of the 20th century. But none of his remarkable accomplishments would have been possible had it not been for the courage of Sugihara. In this episode, Mr. Melamed tells The Sun Also Rises his astounding story—the story of Sugihara’s stand.
An ancient German proverb says, “A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs.” This episode puts that to the test. Host Jeremiah Jacques speaks with proverb-loving guests from three different nations in order to get a glimpse into the ancient wisdom of their countries of origin. Some of them may seem strange, but, as the old Welsh proverb states: “The common sayings of the multitude are too true to be laughed at.”
For the first 27 years of his life, Ildefonso lived in isolation. No, he wasn’t locked in solitary confinement or stranded on a desert island. He was born totally deaf and never even learned that there was such a thing as language. He didn’t even know that sound existed. In this episode, we speak with Susan Schaller, whose patience, perseverance and resourcefulness freed Ildefonso from his dark and incomprehensible prison.
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 could have been hundreds of times worse if it had not been for the astounding sacrifice of three men. This episode tells their story. It also features an original poem by award-winning poet David Brandon, titled “The Chernobyl Three.”
This episode is about the art of bonsai, playing the accordion, learning Hebrew, taking up wildlife photography, writing your memoirs, ballroom dancing, and brewing the finest IPA microbrew this side of the Ganges. It’s about hobbies. Most of us don’t have much unclaimed time in our schedules, but we do have some. And if we spend a portion of it working toward becoming excellent at productive hobbies, we will be healthier, happier and more fulfilled in our lives. And we’ll be able to enrich and enhance the lives of others.