The Memory Palace

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Episode 91:
Natural Habitat

Jul 02, 2016

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Music, Footnotes & Ephemera

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Notes and Reading:
* I came to this story the old fashioned way (for me): I saw Su Lin at the Field Museum and needed to know more. That led me inevitably to Vicki Croke’s The Lady and the Panda from 2006. It’s a terrific read. If you have any interest at all in learning more about Ruth Harkness, that’s the place to go. I’ve got a few quibbles here and there, but, for real, it’s delightful.
* Quentin Young’s (slightly strange and contested) version of events is told in Chasing the Panda by Michael Kiefer.
* If you’ve got a few hundred bucks (or a library with more liberal lending policies with old books than mine), why not read Ruth’s own book, The Baby Giant Panda?
* If you’re interested in zoos writ large, I’m a fan of Animal Attractions: Nature on Display in American Zoos by Elizabeth Hansen.

* We start with Hush-Maker by Moon Ate the Dark.
* Roll on with Freudian Slippers by Chilly Gonzales.
* Hear Bibio’s Cherry Blossom Road a couple of times.
* Hit up Nice Dream by radio.string.quartet.vienna
* Hear Don Redman and his Orchestra play Blue Eyed Baby from Memphis.
* The centerpiece of the middle section is Snow Again by Lambert.
* We hear a couple of pieces by Dan Romer: An Old Fashioned Man and End of the World.
* We finish up on Lullatone’s Falling Asleep With a Book on Your Chest.

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9 Comments | Leave a Comment

9 Comments on Natural Habitat

  1. Ken Pimple says:

    This is gripping – a life of adventure and heartbreak.

  2. Kedar Shelke says:

    Guys you are ruining the elegance of stories by providing intro at last I think they should all end with infinitely long pause

  3. Scott B says:

    Fantastic, as usual. But mostly, I’m taking the time to comment here to convey my love for your music choices in episodes. Just…Outstanding. Thank you, Nate.

  4. Tiffany Zarem says:

    Fantastic! I love your podcast and the way you bring history to life with great story-telling and modern perspective. I’ve enjoyed many episodes, but since I work in a science/natural history museum, this one in particular really inspired my imagination.

  5. Taylor says:

    I could listen to you all day.

  6. Pingback: The lady and the panda – Mitch Wagner

  7. loothi says:

    Fell in love with that piano track by Lambert “Snow Again”. Magical.

  8. Lucas says:

    Great story. However I don’t know why you kept feeling the need to notify us about her race and that of her husband’s and that the her helpers weren’t white and that made you cringe. You even took a break from the story to emphasize that. Of course they aren’t white, they are in China and the fact they agreed to help means they could not find anyone that offered better compensation. So without her they would have made less or nothing. Again the story was awesome and greatly composed, I just don’t know why you kept bringing non relevant rants about race into it. I would love to discuss this.

  9. Jenna says:

    The Baby Giant Panda is out of copyright, so I’ve scanned it and made it available through Internet Archive for anyone who is interested in reading Ruth’s account: