Talk of Iowa

Weekdays at 10 a.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One and 9 p.m. on IPR News

Talk of Iowa brings a mix of regular guests and a range of experts to the microphone to discuss what’s happening in Iowa and what makes this a special place to live. Guests include wildlife expert Jim Pease and the Hort Gang on Fridays.

Talk of Iowa is hosted by Charity Nebbe @CharityNebbe.  It’s produced by Dennis Reese, Emily Woodbury @EmilyWoodbury, Lindsey Moon @lindseysmoon and Clare Roth @ClareAliceRoth.  Our Executive Producer is Katherine Perkins.  Our theme music is by The River Monks.

Practicing Gratitude

18 hours ago
Courtesy of Brad Anderson

Whether you’re grateful for the warm cup of coffee in your hands or for another day of life, the act of being grateful can be powerful. Many question whether the act of being grateful can have physical benefits as well.

Paul Stein / Wikimedia Commons

Coloring books published for grown ups have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Mark Muller, an Iowa city based artist who just published his first coloring book through University of Iowa Press, jokes that when he first heard about the trend, he misunderstood what was going on. 

"When I first heard of the adult coloring trend, I thought it was pornographic," he laughs. "Then I realized it meant coloring books for adults. I think it's a really cool thing." 

Christmas Trees And Poinsettias: What To Look For And How To Keep Them Alive

Dec 2, 2016
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Alby Headrick / Flickr

With the holidays upon us many of us will bring new plant life into our homes.  Choosing the right poinsettia or Christmas tree can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. 

Every fall, Iowa Public Radio celebrates Iowa week with a series of programs devoted to exploring culture in our state and what it means to be Iowan. The theme for 2016 was “Artistic Iowa,” and as a part of that series, we asked listeners to send us their line drawings depicting what Iowa means to them. We received more than 300 submissions from across the state from artists ranging in age from 8 to 68.

Santiago Alvarez

While young woman are a particularly vulnerable population when it comes to eating disorders, eating disorders affect women and men of all ages.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

'Tis the season for giving. What better gift than a book? During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Barb Stein and Sarah Prineas of Prairie Lights Books, and Jerri Heid of the Ames Public Library about the best new books to give this year. 

Sarah and Barb's List

POETRY, SONGS AND MOTHER GOOSE:

Gray Lantta

It's getting cold outside, and it's getting close to the time of year when we're thinking about giving gifts to family and friends. That makes at least two good reasons to research the best reads of 2016. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Paul Ingram and Jan Weismiller of Prairie Lights Books, as well as Mary Rork-Watson of Plot Twist Bookstore in Ankeny, about their favorite books for adults that were new this year. 

Paul's List

Fiction: 

Courtesy of Pleasant Valley Garden Center

Aleda Feuerbach knows the garden center business; as it grew, she grew, literally. Her parents raised her in the green house, and when they were ready to retire, she took over the family business with help from her husband.

“You don’t count days, you don’t count hours, you just do it,” she says. “You gotta be dedicated to that because family business takes it out of ya. I love it, I’d do it again, but you’ve got to have that make up to make you successful.”

Lulu Vision / Flickr

As we head into some of the biggest shopping days of the year, have you stopped to think about how the stuff you buy impacts your pocketbook, the environment and the people who make it? Most of us don't, but a class at the University of Northern Iowa asked students to give it some thought. It's called the un-shopping challenge, and students Alli Albright and Connor Tomke took part, and host Charity Nebbe talked with them about the experience on Talk of Iowa.

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

It’s 2007, “The World Spins Madly On” is a massive hit, and The Weepies are exhausted.

“We did a year of our car, coffeehouses, 180 shows in 190 days where we were at festivals in Europe and everywhere, and we were just exhausted. And we are like recluses,” says Steve Tannen, one half of the folk-pop/husband-wife duo.

So, after releasing and touring their second album, Say I Am You, he and Deb Talan escaped to a small cabin in a state park one hour outside of Los Angeles, to take a breath and regroup.

“For that time, it was a real refuge. Yea, we did run away a little bit. Partly in order to make our next record and not feel like we had something to prove, just to sort of get a little bit of a cave, where we could just sort of do what we do,” says Talan.

And while their move to Iowa City may make it seem like they’ve run away again, Tannen and Talan says it’s simply the right place for them and their three children.

“This felt more like a running to, to me,” says Talan. “We had two kids, we started looking outside LA. It was so expensive and so crazy, and we had really embraced the crazy for a bunch of years, and then we were just like, ‘I think we need to at least try to feel what it feels like to be outside.’”

“We’re vagabonds and we wanted to put roots down somewhere,” Tannen adds, “and every time we’d been through Iowa we’d say to each other, ‘This is amazing, we should buy a house here and raise a bunch of kids.’”

Their upcoming tour kicks off at the Englert Theater with “The Weepies: Completely Acoustic and Alone.” In this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with Tannen and Talan about recording Sirens, living in Iowa, and how creating music and creating a family intertwine.

Four essentials and four bonus tracks to get acquainted with the folk-pop duo.

Somebody Loved

Tannen has said the key lyric at the center of this song--"You turned me into somebody loved."--is the Tannen-Talan family motto.

The World Spins Madly On

The song that catapulted them to folk-pop stardom.

"The record sold 238 copies the first week," says Tannen. "Then, three months later, it was the number one song on the folk charts of eight countries, including America, and it was on the strength essentially of people sharing that song. I didn't want it on the record, because it was my voice. I love Deb's voice. Mine is fine, I have a fine voice."

"You have a beautiful, emotional voice," Talan interrupts.

She continues, "We were very surprised with how it sort of caught. You put out music that you feel. You write songs that you feel and you produce them in a way that is 'feelingful' and you put them out in the world. And we have songs that are particularly personally resonate, but there's no saying what other people will sort of--what will resonate in their own lives."

Be My Thrill

In a Java Blend interview from May 2015, Tannen explained the origins behind this song were rooted in an argument he and Talan had.

"I just stormed out, I was like 'Fine!' in order to not admit that I was wrong. And I went out and I wrote a song about what I thought I wanted, and it was like the angriest song that I've ever-- and it was some of this song. And I played it for Deb, like 'Here, here's my apology.' [strums guitar angrily] And she said 'Oh my god, it's a love song,' proving what I thought, which is that she's insane. And then she took it and she fixed it and she made it like this, and she made it into an actual love song, and that is marriage as far as I'm concerned."

Sirens

The titular song from their latest album, Sirens was recorded in one take, in the midst of Talan's chemotherapy treatments.

"That was while Deb had chemo and we didn't know what was going to happen and she was extraordinarily tired that week and just impossible to live with, because she was like 'I'm getting into the studio today.' And she couldn't get up, so I helped her up the stairs, and we got one take. And that was that take. And it brought me right back there. And I think that that force of will is what got Deb through. I really do. Deb's ability to say 'This is what I'm doing with my life, whatever is happening.'"

"And your support through it," she adds. "It was a team effort. It was very much a team effort."

Bonus tracks

Jolene

From their first album, Happiness

Orbiting

From their third album, Hideaway

Can't Go Back Now

Also from Hideaway

No Trouble

This video for another hit off of Sirens features photos of the Tannen-Talans at home

U.S. Army photo/Patrick Bloodgood

To many homeowners, the feeling of not knowing what you're talking about when dealing with a contractor is all too familiar.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with home improvement expert Bill McAnally to decode the language of contractors. One thing to keep in mind, McAnally says, is that as the home owner, you are in control of the encounter.

mikemennonno / Flickr

When it starts to get colder, a lot of people bring plants inside from outdoors, and on this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Richard Jauron, horticulture expert with Iowa State University Extension; Linda Naeve Iowa State University Extension Value Added Agriculture Specialist; and Mark Vitosh, DNR District Forrester about caring for house plants during the winter.

Some plants don’t look as healthy once they have been brought indoors, according to Jauron, That's okay. 

 

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

RAYGUN, the snarky clothing company based out of Des Moines, has made hand towels emblazoned with a donkey, elephant and the words ‘Thank You For Not Discussing the Election” encircled and crossed through, just in time for Thanksgiving. After one of the most divisive elections in modern American history, Thanksgiving dinner will be undoubtedly dicey conversational territory for many Iowans.

Who Runs the World? Cats!

Nov 17, 2016
Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

They rule the internet. They rule the alleyways. For many pet owners, they rule the house. With 74 to 90 million pet cats in the United States, they have become one of the most popular pets in human history. Yet many owners would be surprised how few practical benefits they provide.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

It is hard to have conversations with people who disagree with your viewpoint. If you're having an even harder time with those conversations lately, you're not alone. 

"This election has played to our most primitive fear, and fight or flight responses. A lot of us are just weary and need to give ourselves time to muster those better qualities in ourselves," says Krista Tippett, host of the radio show On Being.

"Compassion, empathy and understanding don't feel very natural right now, but they are what are needed to live right now."

Jennifer C. / Flickr

Winter is on its way, and perhaps a bit late in Iowa this year. If overing roses and strawberries, or planting bulbs has been on your to-do list, it's almost time. 

"This weather has been good for those of us who are procrastinators," says Schrock. "You talked about covering strawberries. The temperature has to be in the 20's consistently for them to go completely dormant, so don't cover them yet."

"The same is true for roses, but be careful because it could happen any day now." 

Screen Shot

How much do you really know about where you food comes from? Could you grow enough food to sustain yourself and your family in a garden?

USFWSmidwest

With 100-year and 500-year floods happening in Iowa with increasing frequency, it’s important to understand how the state's ecology and infrastructure interact with rising water.

Emily Woodbury

There are animal shelters and rescues all over the state dedicated to helping dogs, cats, and other pets. But for animals a little out of the ordinary, some extra care is necessary.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe visits the Iowa Farm Sanctuary in Marengo, a new venture already filling up with pigs, goats, sheep, a newborn calf, and many birds. Shawn and Jered Camp co-founded the rescue this year, as a place to showcase the emotional and social intelligence of farm animals.

Emily Woodbury

While Letts resident Mike Hutchison cherishes his role as a caretaker for more than 60 wild, exotic birds, he still wishes his job wasn't necessary.

Jennifer C. / Flickr

 

Why Do We Still Care about Shakepeare?

Nov 3, 2016
Painting by Martin Droushout; Photo by Emery Walker / Wikimedia Commons

Four hundred years and over 35 plays later, William Shakespeare is still a household name. So why does the British playwright’s work continue to be studied, while his contemporaries fall to the wayside?

“Even though it has been 400 years, we still continue to make new discoveries," says Adam Hooks, an Associate Professor in the University of Iowa English Department, and author of Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade.

Arturo Pardavila III/Wikimedia Commons

It’s been 71 years since the Chicago Cubs have been to the World Series. Cubs fans are excited, and nervous, now that a series run is finally happening.

“I thought that when they made it, I would celebrate and cry, but when they won the pennant, I just sort of sat there in shock,” says Chip Marshall, former sports reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Gold Star Museum

What does it mean to live an ethical life? Is it necessary to have religious beliefs in order to have a moral code?

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Webb Keane, George Herbert Mead collegiate professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, and Bob Cargill, assistant professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Iowa, about these questions. 

Both argue that humans don't need religion. 

Karen Roussel / Flickr

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with novelist Benjamin Percy about the elements that combine to create thrilling fiction: suspense, tension, urgency, and violence.

"It’s a way to safely appeal to our base desires, and safely work our way through the dark, the basement, the long drop, the tight space," he says.

Comic, author, and actress Jen Kirkman comes to Iowa this weekend as part of the Witching Hour Festival. On her latest special on Netflix, I'm Going to Die Alone (and I Feel Fine), Kirkman dives into the topic of her decision to not have children.

"Even the movement itself is called 'Childfree by Choice' and choice to me illustrates, you know, Coke or Pepsi, you sit there and you weigh the options. To me it was a non-instinct. It never dawned on me to even want children, ever. It wasn't even a choice."'

What To Do With Your Fallen Leaves

Oct 28, 2016
Jack / Flickr

  To rake or not to rake this time of year? That is the question. Living in the Midwest means that the changing seasons bring about changing chores. This hour on Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe talks with  Iowa State University horticulturists Linda Naeve and Richard Jauron. 

 

If you do rake your leaves, you need to decide what to do with them. Jauron says that instead of disposing of them, try using them as mulch.

 

"If you bag them with a mulching mower, you can save them for next year and use them as a mulch."

 

pfkings / Wikimedia Commons

With rising student debt nationwide, career placement is often considered the most important marker of a successful stint at university. But Dave Gould, member of the honors faculty and administrator at the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa, says pragmatic, salary-focused concerns can't be the only questions posed to students during their time in school.

screenshot

Posting a photo of your child on Facebook may seem like a harmless way to keep your family and friends up to date, but “sharenting” has actually become a hotly debated topic among parents. As more concern grows for the safety and privacy of children online, one Iowa dad used his children’s social media presence as a learning tool.

photolibrarian / Flickr

See Iowa in 1919 through the eyes of a 28-year-old stenographer, celebrate the contributions of the Hollywood elite in World War II, find out how the railroads revolutionized mail delivery: You can do all of that and more at the 2016 History Camp Iowa.   This hour, we get a preview of what you can learn at the event next month in Des Moines, featuring professional and amateur historians as they speak on Iowa as well as national and international history topics.

Pages