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The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory
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The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory

Author: Lisa Gregory

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Lisa Gregory is an experienced journalist who throughout her career has been drawn to human interest stories. She is continually amazed and intrigued by the human condition and why we do the things we do. As a journalist, she has written for a variety of publications and her work has appeared in the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report, as well as countless other publications, nationally and even internationally. Lisa is taking her experiences as a writer now to her very own podcast, The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory.
25 Episodes
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A Recipe for Kindness

A Recipe for Kindness

2021-02-2330:14

It began as a baking competition between two friends and has now become a national movement of goodwill during a pandemic. Jeremy Uhrich and Scott McKenzie of Pennsylvania donate their homemade cookies to essential workers and others as a show of kindness and thankfulness. And from that initial effort there are now similar groups all across the nation and even in Canada. The two men and their Cookies for Caregivers mission have been featured on CNN, the Rachel Ray Show, the Today Show and in People Magazine. During a time when physical hugs are discouraged, Jeremy and Scott are delivering hugs one sweet treat at a time.
Dr. Cheryl Hopson is a dedicated teacher and a committed advocate for those marginalized by society. But at her very heart she is a poet. Hopson, also a essayist and the author of two books, "Fragile" and  "Black Notes," takes her own life experiences, some heart wrenching, as well as her observations of the world around her and creates beautiful prose. On this episode of The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory, Hopson, an assistant professor of English and African American Studies at Western Kentucky University, talks about her life as a queer black woman and a feminist. She also talks about her love for creating the written word and what it means to her and what she hopes it means to others.
Justice was only four months old when he was killed by his mother's boyfriend in January 2007. The much-loved baby boy with his deep blue eyes and hearty laugh left behind a devastated family. Despite their overwhelming grief, the family was determined to do something good in honor of baby Justice and his memory. For years they worked desperately to change Maryland's law to increase the maximum sentence for the conviction of child abuse leading to death. Justice's Law, which passed in 2016 and was part of a criminal justice reform bill, increased the law to 40 years to life. They also established a fundraising effort with the annual Rock Me Don't Shake Me concert which benefits mothers and children. On this episode of The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory we talk to Justice's mother, Ashley Rutherford, and his grandparents, Dee and Nink Myers, about their "biggie boy" as they lovingly called him and how they turned loss and pain into hope. All in the name of Justice.
From the ancient Egyptians to surprisingly even the Amish, we humans are driven by the appearance of having more and doing better than those around us. The middle class of modern day is especially drawn to the idea of keeping up or surpassing the Joneses. So, why are we so enamored with the idea of more and better? And, what impact is it having on our society? On this final episode of a three-part series exploring the research of Jeffrey Podoshen, a professor of marketing at Franklin and Marshall College, he talks about the allure of material things and the role marketing plays in convincing us that our value as human beings can be gauged by the material items we acquire. Even to our own detriment.
Death Takes a Holiday

Death Takes a Holiday

2020-12-0432:57

When one thinks of vacations, images of beaches and Disney World come to mind. But there are those who seek a darker path. Dark tourism, as it is called, is a growing industry. It caters to those interested in sites where great calamities, historical atrocities and horrific crimes have taken place, such as Auschwitz and Pompeii and even the Manson and Jack the Ripper murders. Jeffrey Podoshen, a professor of marketing at Franklin and Marshall College, has done extensive research on dark tourism. On this episode of The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory, part two of a three-part series discussing Podoshen's research, he talks about why so many are intrigued by these darker places. He also talks about where we draw the line between selfies at Auschwitz and commemorating and respecting these places and embracing the lessons for humanity that many of them hold.
Death Metal and Black Metal music, violent video games, graphic horror movies and even infant onesies decorated with skulls. Society is becoming more and more fixated on death as our world becomes ever more unpredictable and chaotic. Jeffrey Podoshen, a professor of marketing at Franklin and Marshall College, is one of the world's leading scholars on this very topic - death consumption. On this episode of The Human Condition with Lisa Gregory, part one of a three-part series discussing Podoshen's research not only on death consumption but on dark tourism, consumer behavior and materialism, he talks about our growing obsession with the macabre, and why it may not necessarily be a bad thing. After all, "Learning about death is learning about life," says Podoshen.
They are the firsthand stories of America and our history. The stories of veterans and their sacrifice. And through the Veterans History Project, which is part of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, they are being gathered and saved. During the last 20 years, the Veterans History Project, under the direction of Army Colonel Karen Lloyd, has received over 110,000 submissions from veterans and their families, covering World War I through the Iraq War. This people's collection as it is called is giving a face and a voice to those who stood up and did their part in the name of democracy.
Heather Quinlan was in the midst of working on her book, "Plagues, Pandemics and Viruses" when Covid 19 hit. And the author unexpectedly found herself writing about a pandemic in real time. In her book, she provides a front-row seat for readers to the challenges of the current pandemic while also exploring the history of those decimating diseases that came before it. Heather takes us on a journey of how disease and death shaped the Renaissance and influenced the Treaty of Paris and how lemonade and gerbils played their part in past plagues.
The Other Pandemic

The Other Pandemic

2020-10-2821:21

We've been here before. A 100 years ago the world was facing another pandemic - the Spanish flu. James Rada Jr., the author of "October Mourning", a historical fiction novel set during the Spanish flu, offers a unique perspective on the current pandemic. Conducting extensive research for "October Mourning", Rada learned much about the Spanish flu and its impact, from the creation of a business empire for Vicks VopRub to perhaps why women cut their long hair into bobs. He talks about the similarities and differences between the two pandemics and how the earlier pandemic may or may not have impacted how we are dealing with the current one.
The job is not easy. And, Tracy Yingling, a forensic nurse and coordinator of Carrol Hospital's Forensic Nurse Examiner program in Maryland, will be the first to tell you that the emotional toll is great. But she will also tell you that what she and other forensic nurses do is well worth its challenges. Working in health care and with the criminal justice system, forensic nurses like Tracy can help provide evidence needed to find justice for the victims of rape, child abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking. And by doing so, they are impacting countless lives from the hospital to the court room.
Big Band And Beyond

Big Band And Beyond

2020-08-2430:43

As a little boy, Rocky Birely sat at the feet of his father as he performed. Fast forward to adulthood and Rocky is leading the band that his father began in the early 1960s - the Ray Birely Orchestra - while keeping the spirit of his father and the music he loved alive. With his personal stories of Glenn Miller, Doris Day, Hank Mancini and even Art Garfunkel, Rocky talks about his musical journey from big band to Motown and everything in-between. 
Breaking Bread

Breaking Bread

2020-08-0328:33

Marc Jalbert and his made-from-scratch, wood-fired-oven bread are well-known and well-loved in his Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area community. And even after he decided to retire as a baker Marc wasn't necessarily ready to "give up the apron," as he says. So, he created Bakewell Farm, a nonprofit, with its motto of "Bake Bread. Build Community." Through Bakewell Farm, Marc is committed to developing "bread-centric" programs and initiatives in the hopes of educating people about the benefits of baking and eating healthy bread and the importance of community building, a loaf at a time.
Love Has No Age

Love Has No Age

2020-07-2029:41

Puppies and kittens are way more popular. So much so that at many shelters they are chosen first to survive. Older dogs and cats, however, are often euthanized to make room for the puppies and kittens. Unless they are lucky enough to find a place at Good Old Tails Senior Animal Rescue in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Megan Snyder, founder and director of the rescue, has taken on a special mission by providing love and homes to pets in their golden years.
The Reluctant Frontman

The Reluctant Frontman

2020-07-1325:15

"I wish people could learn to value our individual gifts instead of focusing on our oddities," says Jack Gurecki of his Asperger's syndrome. Diagnosed at four years old, Gurecki has spent his entire life learning to navigate through a world he often does not understand. A world that often refuses to attempt to understand him. As such Gurecki, the singer for the rock band, Ignite The Fire, is using his platform as a performer to provide a voice for others on the autism spectrum.
Ukulele Man

Ukulele Man

2020-08-1125:35

In many ways it is an underappreciated instrument, the ukulele. Yet, in the right hands it can become a magical instrument. Time Seals of Hagerstown, Maryland, learned this firsthand when he was given a ukulele by his wife and children for his birthday. Already an accomplished guitarist who also plays the mandolin, fiddle and autoharp, Tim now frequently performs with the ulkulele, an instrument more readily associated with Hawaiian music and 60s icon Tiny Tim. But Tim Seals will tell you there is so much more to the ukulele, from its rich history, to the joy it brings to those who play it and those who hear it.
He struggled to speak. The homeless man had not spoken or been spoken to for so long he struggled with the hoarseness of his voice as he was coaxed into conversation by the woman who was cutting his hair right there on the streets. At that moment he mattered, and he was getting so much more than a haircut. He was getting a moment of humanity from the woman whose hands were holding the scissors. Her name is Laura Reed and she travels to cities and towns, big and small, offering random haircuts to those in need, many of them homeless. Reed, a hairdresser for 24 years, says it is her calling to use her talent to offer kindness, one haircut at a time.
Suicide is one of the ten leading causes of death in the United States, with suicides increasing 33% from 1999 through 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But what of those left behind? Those who are left to grapple with the "why's" and often times guilt of a loved ones choice to end their life? In the depths of her own pain after losing someone dear to her to suicide, Barbara Cataneo reached out to others, creating the Triple S - Suicide, Loss, Survivors and Overdose - Support Group in Eldersburg, MD. By doing so, Barbara wanted to provide a place where suicide loss survivors could come together and be there for one another. A place where they could share their pain which can be uniquely theirs and not always understood by society as a whole.
In many ways Jim Bryan was living the dream. The only problem was that it wasn't his. He was a successful professional making a very good living. But he had become ill. And, at the end of the day it all came down to the fact that he was not following his life's passion. With the support of his wife, he stepped back from the big career and returned to his first love of being a comedian. He also opened his own comedy club (The Church of Satire) in Hanover, PA; a small town that is more known for its pretzels than its comedy. Today, both the club and Jim are thriving.
Americans are spending over $30 billion a year on nontraditional medicine - yoga, meditation, acupuncture - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the past three decades, Vickii Engel has had a front row seat to this growing acceptance and use of what would have once been called alternative medicine but is now referred to as integrative, or complementary, medicine. Vickii is the owner and co-founder of the Center for Healing Arts, which was established in 1987 and is located in Westminster, MD. She is also the author of the book, Creating Calm: 3 Powerful Models for Navigating the Rough Seas of Midlife.
The Blind Side

The Blind Side

2020-01-0628:00

As a journalist I wrote an article about Chris Nusbaum a few years ago. As is Chris' way with those he meets, we soon became friends and he took me on a journey that has helped me better understand and appreciate the blind community.
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