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Here and Now with Robin Young
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Friday May 1, 2009

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

After his mother died, Ed Zine developed severe obsessive compulsive disorder: He believed that he could “rewind” time by literally walking backwards each step he walked forward, that he could stop the future from happening by not throwing objects away. The condition ended up trapping him in a fetid basement for two years. How Ed learned to manage his condition is the subject of the book “Life in Rewind“. We speak with both Ed Zine and Doctor Michael Jenike.

President Obama and the Supreme Court

Interest groups have already started to gear up to fill the seat to be vacated by Justice David Souter. The vacancy gives President Obama his first chance to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. We’ll speak with Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University.

And They’re Off

A jockey makes his way to the track for a training session in preparation for the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Thursday, in Louisville, Ky. (AP)

A jockey makes his way to the track for a training session in preparation for the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Thursday, in Louisville, Ky. (AP)

The 135th running of the Kentucky Derby is Saturday. Joe Drape of the New York Times joins us to preview the race.

Shanghai Barbie

To mark Barbie’s 50th birthday, Mattel has opened its first store dedicated to the doll. It’s in Shanghai China. The BBC’s Chris Hogg took a tour.

Listener Letters

Listeners weigh in on some recent stories— we recently learned about Sharia banking, the relationship between drug companies and doctors and “Britain’s Got Talent” instant celebrity Susan Boyle.

Synesthesia

Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition that causes senses to conflate — for example some ‘synesthetes’ see colors when they hear music or taste certain foods. We speak with Sean Day, who has synesthesia and is President of the American Synesthesia Association. We also hear from neurologist Dr. Richard Cytowic, who co-authored the book “Wednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia.”

Music from the show

  • Marcus Roberts, “The Truth is Spoken Here”
  • Thelonius Monk, “Caravan”
  • Peter Dixon, “Nagog Woods”
  • The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”
  • Robert Schuman, “Fresh/Alerte”
  • Grophe, Grand Canyon Suite
  • Jay Nolan

    You might be interested that the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) specifically sought to express his own synesthesia in his 1910 symphony Prometheus, The Poem of Fire..

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sean.day/Synesthesia.htm Sean A. Day

    Scriabin probably was not a synesthete. His music-to-color correspondences evenly divide the color wheel spectrum evenly into 12 colors. Then, these colors flow directly, one to the next, along the spectrum if one looks at the sequence as per a musical circle of fifths (C-G-D-A-E … etc.). Actual synesthetes do not have such evenly distributed color sequences. Scriabin was mainly influenced by Madame Helena Blavatsky towards developing a system of correspondences similar to Indic and Asian chakra systems.

  • mair la touche

    I tuned in to this article at the end – just as the symphony was being played and your guest being asked for the colors he heard. So, as I listed off the colors I heard, I heard Mr. Day list off the same colors. What a hoot! I loved it!

    Since I was a child, all the letters in the alphabet have been associated with specific colors for me. Never really talked to anyone about it. It’s just what was. When my son was about 10, we had a conversation that revealed he had the same – what shall we call it? – life view? So we rattled off every letter and the color it represented. We matched over about 97% of the alphabet. Our secret society, I guess. My husband looked on confused.

    I really do feel that it is like having your own pair of 3-D glasses.

  • Carol Daly

    This is so cool. My husband has always talked about how all the letters are colors and how the nuns in Catholic church used to poo poo him. I think it’s a beautiful thing..now we know why. Isn’t science great?

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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