Comments by Joshua Kilpatrick

Comment for "Boredom"

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Review of Boredom

Even though I tend to be shamefully skeptical of the stories young people tell, Callie really wins you over with her playful voicing and MTV-style storytelling.

I was entertained and left fairly convinced she had been mistreated. While blessing us with a fun listen, she also shined the light on a rather ugly disrespect we often have for young people in our culture.

This piece would be great laced into the bright programming we expect during those early months of summer. It is very upbeat and uses lots of playful sounds to aid in the storytelling. Great work!

Comment for "Stencil Pirates"

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Review of Stencil Pirates

This piece is well edited and of good sound quality.

Though I did not agree with most of this artist’s ideas, I was very interested to hear how he explains his work. There were several obvious questions that I wanted to hear him answer. What ideas are you trying to communicate through your art? Do you believe most people appreciate your creations as ‘art’? How do you explain the damage to public property?

I’ve said this in other venues before, but I think this is why the “narrator-less” format is tricky for me as a listener. I’m never sure what the guest was asked and that makes interpreting his comments a challenge. I often find I have a lot of questions in my mind that I want to ask when it’s all over.

What I liked about this piece was the artists comments about how he brings art into everyday life and helps to change the perception that it’s only for certain people. I also liked the idea that it communicates its message as soon as it’s seen.

With a good lead in and lead out (provided by a host) I think some listeners would appreciate this piece.

Comment for "Early Radio"

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Review of Early Radio

This is a nice reflection on the affect of radio on its earliest listeners. It includes wonderful clips from original programs and first person accounts of how radio was received and experienced at the start.

The main purpose of the piece seemed to be to shine light on historical information. It was fun to listen to, but there didn’t seem to be a strong driving point. This made listening a little bland.

I could imagine this piece fitting in well during a week of celebrating radio’s contribution to society, entertainment, and culture.

Comment for "Sounds of the Suburbs"

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Review of Sounds of the Suburbs

This is literally just a bunch of sound recordings from your local suburb – or MY local suburb as the case may be.

I live in Richardson Texas; so, I can attest to the authenticity of the sounds. One night, I tried to record some crickets outside my apartment and was maddened by how dominant the freeway sounds were. I live under a major overpass where US Highway 70 intersects the George W. Bush Turnpike. Those crickets could have been recorded outside my place.

My favorite sounds were from the sports practices. I also love the way the outdoor sounds go quiet as we get into the car. I love that effect. I can’t tell you the times I’ve slipped into my car with a sigh of relief… quiet. I wonder if city dwellers get that effect too.

I agree with the previous reviewer, the whole thing is a bit long. I would prefer about 3 minutes. If the piece were compressed a bit, I think it could be molded into a better rhythm and pace. In a shorter form, it might stand alone.

In its current form the only use I can think of is background to a story set in or about the burbs.

Comment for "Pampered Pets"

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Review of Pampered Pets

I liked this piece for the way it melds a playful spirit with some fairly serious questions.

This story’s about pets and how our treatment of them has changed in modern culture. You will be delighted to laugh at the more ‘extreme’ pet owners (those who would pay for a custody battle over a dog), and prodded to think as dogs are declared to be the most successful social parasites known to man.

The story poses some pretty strong questions about our willingness to attribute the full range of human emotions to our pets. It warns that this trend is harming our pets because it makes owners less likely to train their furry friends and makes us more tolerant of bad behavior. The new trend may also be bad for humans. As we attribute a full range of human emotion to our pets, some are beginning to suggest that more and more rights be conferred on our animals. The resulting legal complications could be a nightmare.

Comment for "The Hospice Experiment"

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Review of The Hospice Experiment

This is a very moving and brave documentary about hospice care and how modern Americans are choosing to die. It offers historical details on the origin and early development of the “hospice concept” but also follows a terminally ill woman as she experiences hospice. The documentary takes us all the way to the evening of this woman’s death including her last actions and the reactions of her family. Very intense, very brave.

I enjoyed this piece on two levels. First, the historical information about the birth of hospice care was fascinating, and one of its early champions, Kubler Ross, was a delight to hear. Nothing like I would have expected. This tough old woman imparted lessons for life as much as death. Brilliant interviews! I never imagined hospice had just a deeply spiritual origin. On another level, I enjoyed this piece as an exposure to all the emotional aspects of dying. It made me want to read, “On Death and Dying”. I wished I had heard this documentary as my grandmother was dying, and I am grateful to have this information in my tool belt as I prepare to face the day when my parents will need help facing death.

I would have liked to hear details on what hospice is today. I wonder if there would have been an important angle of the story about the deterioration of the original hospice vision.

The posted piece has a big block of silence after the announcer says “First this news…”. I think there was a mistake when trying to cut out the NPR news clip. Also, I think the transition to the final portion of the piece could be doctored up a bit more for the PRX. There’s a long intermission and a “recap” that may be unnecessary if the piece is played as a whole.

Comment for "Haunted Cabin"

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Review of Haunted Cabin

This is a simple and delightful tale. It’s the story of a night in a “haunted cabin” with people who know all things haunted, and it works on several levels.

On one level, it will interest listeners because it reveals the tools and lore of ghost hunting, something most listeners probably won’t know much about. On another level, it is enjoyable because of the quirky characters it brings together. In particular, I like the way the “psychic” is sort of separate from everyone else. Though everyone is interested in the hunt and brings his own skills to the table, she seems to be out front. The other characters seem to teeter between a self-serving “distrust” or “skepticism” of her and an admiration or awe at the gifts they perceive she has. On a final level, the story is interesting because it reveals how often the little quirky hobbies that enter our lives are about a search for meaning. We seek to satisfy some longing or void by filling it with a pursuit that appears to have promise.

On a technical level, the piece is very sound. It is of sufficient audio quality to be heard on mainstream programming as is. The transitions were smooth. The sound quality was clear, and the music selection was complementary to the mood of the piece. Good work.

This could be interesting listening on any weekend, but particularly great as part of a series on ghosts, psychics, or the afterlife. Whatever one’s belief about such issues, I think the piece will be enjoyable because the narrator admits an openness that will make believers comfortable but an uncertainty that keeps him well on the rational and practical side of thought. This, of course, will make skeptics comfortable.

I have only one criticism. The dimension of the piece that addresses how the hunt relates to the narrator’s own personal hunt for meaning and belief in the afterlife could be richer. Unfortunately, such things cannot be forced, and maybe the producer just didn’t have the tape he needed to bring this out. If such tape does exist, I’d encourage him to beef up the “intensity” of this dimension.

Comment for "Internal Combustion"

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Review of Internal Combustion

This piece made me smile. From the description, I expected a collection of interesting engine sounds but was surprised by a lot more. It's actually a celebration of the rhythm that's been introduced to our world by the engine; this piece comes off like "STOMP" for the farm show. The producer has actually collected sounds from various engines and carefully crafted them into something sounding like a rhythm section. The affect is delightful. I think it could be put to good use in several ways. The producer mentioned the nearing of Otto's birthday, the inventor of the internal combustion engine. I can imagine a cool historical piece about the development of the engine and how it's changed our lives. The way engines have changed the collection of sounds a human recognizes could be an interesting angle suggested by this piece, but even without a unique angle, the sounds represented here would make an interesting selection for radio.

Comment for "No Email from Oaxaca"

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Review of No Email from Oaxaca

The Editorial Board review from Goldstein prompted me to listen to this piece. His praise is deserved. I'm just a normal average NPR listener, and I really enjoyed this piece. I think my favorite moment was when 'what's-his-name's' invisibility was compared to the phone lines strung above our heads. That line begins a well-metered, marching, thrust toward the end of the piece. It's very well done. I agree with others that this piece doesn't force any grand point, but it spawned a lot of reflection for me - which is kind of a big point in itself. Mostly, it knocked me down a few notches and made me feel a bit smaller. I appreciated the reminder.

Comment for "Kitty Keeps On Singing"

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Review of Kitty Keeps On Singing

To the producer:

I love the use of old recordings in this piece. I find such artifacts instantly intriguing because sound, unlike pictures, is something we experience in real time. That's what makes it so captivating. We are able to experience a moment exactly as it unfolded.

I'd recommend that the old recordings be introduced much earlier in the piece and that the long introduction where you recount your grandmother's life of tragedy be removed or pared down significantly.

I like your narration style and your voice. Could you negotiate time in a studio and record the voice over in a better environment? I think it would really help the quality of the piece.

The point of this story is that in the face of tragedy, Kitty keeps singing. Is singing really a universal reaction to tragedy among strong women? If so, bring that out more. When the conclusion that "great dames keep singing” is drawn, I want to feel that you've brought me to that conclusion through more reflection.

To producers:

This piece is listed as being related to Memorial Day. I think this is feasible, but a lot of editing would be required to highlight the "Memorial Day" theme. There are a lot of unrelated themes in this piece, and unfortunately for Memorial Day, the conclusion of the piece is more about one woman's method of coping with tragedy than a celebration or reflection on the holiday.


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Review of Pop Vultures Introduction (deleted)

I just listened to the first segment of this series. I will definitely listen to the rest! This is so fresh. Kate is a delight. I see no reason for this not to take off.

I'd love to see this on KERA in Dallas and plan to e-mail the station immediately... not to mention my friends.

I love that I could just about dance to the show - there's such an emphasis on the music. But I'm also learning something about music and culture. Bravo!

There is one weakness. Sometimes the dialogue chokes up a little and seems silly or ignorant. This is tolerable and only occurred occasionally. I think this will improve with time.

Comment for "Hafid is Free"

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Review of Hafid is Free

This was a story about comfort vs. freedom. It is particularly applicable, intriguing, and convicting for people in a culture consumed by comfort, safety, and risk-reduction. I really like it.

As with most pieces I hear from SALT, the sound and editing were fantastic. Bravo.

The lack of a narrative voice worked wonderfully in this piece because Mr. Hafid had such a great personality; still, the lack of a narrative voice always leaves me wondering what questions the interviewer asked. I don't completely trust that the subject was interrogated properly.

In this particular interview, I wondered if Hafid could have been pushed more on the issue of squating. After an explaination of property concepts in America, could he have acknowledged that squatting is questionable? Perhaps he could never acknowledge this. I wanted to know. Other questions came up as well. How did they study art while they were squating? Does Hafid have a family?

Mr. Hafid was a blast. What a great personality! I love that this guy can laugh about himself. "... a squatter fixing houses... ". This piece was a delight.

Comment for "Iraq and the Fog of War" (deleted)

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Review of Iraq and the Fog of War (deleted)

Whatever I believe politically, and I don’t completely agree with the opinions expressed in this piece, this was a useful commentary. It was well written and spoken and met the vocal quality I would expect on public radio.

Unfortunately, it only added icing on the cake of things I have already thought and felt. In that sense, it helped me feel understood, but it did not lead me toward any new ideas or understanding of what is happening in the world around me (wrt. Iraq). It was all doom and gloom.

The reliance on the portrait of McNamara in "Fog of War" may have been a mistake. I recently heard some informed opinions (Fresh Air, May 13, Interview with Bill Moyers) that lead me to believe the documentary might have given a false impression. Knowing this, I was a little skeptical. Perhaps the commentary could be updated to use the Fog of War a little more lightly. For instance, maybe you could talk about it more in the sense that it impacted 'you' and got you to thinking rather than using it as a factual item. Maybe acknowledge that the documentary may have intentionally solicited a particular reaction.