Sundays With Snyder - Number 19

Tom’s first guest is an author who would not deny that his most famous book is rubbish.

William Rathje deploys a terrific sense of humor during his hour with Tom from July 21, 1992. as he discusses Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage, his book first published in May of 1992 and reprinted in 2001. Rathje is an archeologist who digs into landfills and extracts garbage that has been buried for as long as 40 years. Bill admits that he and his crew don’t always use their facemasks, because “after ten or fifteen minutes, the smell goes away.”

That may be true, and no disrespect to Mr. Rathje, but maybe he and his compatriots should have kept those masks on. I can’t remember anyone coughing while on Tom’s show, but Rathje hacks his way throughout the entire interview, with one bout of coughing so serious-sounding that Tom playfully asks Bill if he’d like to have some oxygen brought in. I’m pleased to report that Mr. Rathje seems to still be alive and, presumably, well. That’s amazing; based the audio impression given by this program, you wouldn’t have given the guy six months.

Tom’s guest for the second hour (in an interview that’s nearly complete) is legendary CBS newsman Robert Trout. Trout began working in radio when announcers wore smocks and were selected, in part, on elocution, vocal timbre, and authoritative delivery. Trout’s final assignments were retrospective pieces for NPR, which probably had to make an exception to bring him on board. (I love and support NPR, but suspect they select male announcers based on level of affectation, inappropriate folksiness, wryness, and execution of thoughtful pauses/ability to convey mock surprise).

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