Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chrissie Hynde, Temple Grandin: A Tale Of Two Guests

One of the major perks of hosting "Talking Animals" is the opportunity to speak with all kinds of bright, fascinating folks.

And while I make a concerted effort to achieve a real mix, so that the type of guests and the fields or interests they represent tend to vary significantly over the course of any given three to four show block, I still sometimes wind-up with some intriguing back-to-back bookings.

Like the juxtaposition of my two most recent guests, Chrissie Hynde, who chatted with me Feb. 4, and Dr. Temple Grandin, who joined me Feb. 11. (By way of the "Talking Animals" archives, you can check out the Hynde show, and the Grandin show

They're both enormously smart, accomplished, well-spoken women--Hynde, of course, is the veteran Pretenders leader and animal activist, while Grandin is a renowned expert on animal behavior and autism (she herself is autistic), and bestselling author--but probably occupy decidedly spots on the animal welfare continuum.

For instance, Grandin eats meat (in a previous "Talking Animals" interview she explained she'd tried but abandoned a vegeterian diet, which she said created some medical complications) and has done pioneering work in fostering more humane treatment of animals at slaughter plants. Hynde hasn't eaten meat in decades, and for much of that time has been a vegan.

At the same time, the organization Chrissie Hynde has been most closely identified for the better part of two decades is PETA, for which she's participated in campaigns and protests (efforts that have gotten her arrested a coupla times). If you know much about Hynde, nothing here is surprising.

What may be far more surprising, to some, is that, in 2004, PETA awarded Temple Grandin a Proggy (PETA Progress) Award in the "Visionary" category.

Strange bedfellows, indeed. And back to back guests--and exceptional guests, both, I might add--on "Talking Animals."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Here's Another Reason I'm Glad We Live In This House...

My family (wife Colleen, son Mike) and & I live in Jupiter Farms, a somewhat rural and more than a little equestrian-oriented area of Florida about 20 miles north of West Palm Beach.

We're five minutes from the grocery story, other shopping and restaurants, so it's not all remote, but it feels delightfully remote. Of course, we have friends who live as close as West Palm Beach yet consider driving up here such a major trip that you almost think they should bring their passport.

And there is some serious driving to commute to WMNF, the radio station in Tampa where I broadcast "Talking Animals": It takes three-plus hours to get there, which means on days I do one or more radio shows there, I'm spending more than six hours on the road. (Thank goodness for my Prius!)

But here's an example of just one of the virtues of this house: Thanks to what was happening with California real estate prices when we sold our home there a little over three years ago, we wound up with some spacious digs, including a good-sized house, a nice hunk of land that includes a pond where fish and turtles reside, even a barn; I'm writing this post from my office in the barn.

Over the weekend, my wonderful mother-in-law Liz and her also wonderful Yorkshire Terrier, Monty--an irresistibly sweet, happy guy; we call him the dog who loves too much--were visiting, and while Mike was napping, I took Monty for a walk around our digs, with Colleen and Liz strolling behind us.

All of a sudden, Monty was trying to dart off, straining mightily against his leash. We thought surely he'd spotted one of the many squirrels who live on the property, but when we got a closer look, we saw that it was a raccoon. A gorgeous raccoon, calmly ambling just on the other side of the fence that separates our property from the road.

This raccoon was doing turns like a furry runway model, so we all got a good look at him--he seemed really relaxed as he finally climbed up one of the trees, and settled in. I came back later with a camera, but didn't see any sign of him.

It would've been nice to include a picture of him with this post, but that's OK. The fact that we could see a raccoon on our property (and, at the risk of anthropomorphising, that he seemed quite comfortable being there) was plenty cool.

And yet another reason I love living here.