A painted mural of "Uncle Joe" Cannon on the side of a building in downtown Danville at the corner of Harrison and Vermilion streets depicts the Time Magazine cover he was featured on.
Pam Dempsey
May 28, 2013

Uncle Joe Cannon

Many consider Joseph Gurney Cannon one of the most dominant speakers of the House of Representatives in U.S. history. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk about the life and legacy of Uncle Joe Cannon.


November 06, 2012

Exploring JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit

This September marked the 75th anniversary of the publication of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit. An estimated 100 million copies of the book have been sold since its publication, but interest in The Hobbit sees no signs of abating, as the first of a trilogy of Hobbit films by Peter Jackson opens this December. Author Corey Olsen, who produces a podcast called The Tolkien Professor, feels that The Hobbit has lived far too long in the shadow of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books. His idea is to turn attention back to what he calls "this brilliant little book." Olsen is an Assistant Professor of English at Washington College in Maryland and the President and founder of the Mythgard Institute, a new online teaching center for the study of Tolkien and other works of imaginative literature.


October 24, 2012

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

Bob Spitz, Journalist and Author

Host: Craig Cohen
Book Jacket of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child

This August marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Julia Child. Child practically invented the television cooking program – would there be a Food Network without her? - and helped usher in the early years of PBS. But her life was so much more than the French Chef. Her files as a member of the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the CIA, were declassified in 2008, leading to a flood of information about her fascinating life. Her time in the OSS led her to France, where she took cooking classes and was determined to master Franch cooking. Journalist Bob Spitz spent time with Child in the early 1990s, and the conversations about food they had then form the basis of his new book Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child.


August 21, 2012

Encore: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Guest: Rebecca Skloot.

She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—would become one of the most important tools of modern medicine, used to develop the polio vaccine, gene mapping, cloning, and more. Today on Focus, Rebecca Skloot joins the show to tell the story of Henrietta Lacks, the medical revolution that she unknowingly launched, and the ethics one must consider when it comes to our bodies and medicine.


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