RHODcast: Feb 25, 2021
When it comes to buying a home, one of the most time consuming and befuddling processes we must endure is the title search. This ensures that whoever we buy from truly has the right to sell the home and, more importantly, the parcel of ground on which it stands.
Yet it was not always so. The Maori and the traditional inhabitants of North America, for example, got along perfectly well, perhaps better, without owning one square foot of land. Trust a Briton, John Locke, to throw open the gates for generations of estate agents and realtors to come by declaring, in the late 18th century, that “it was man’s Christian duty not just to own land, but to improve it.”
Saving us the trouble of reading Locke in the original, the journalist and author Simon Winchester goes on to show what a matter of both grief and greed land ownership has been to humankind. With stops in England, Scotland, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia, Oregon, Oklahoma and beyond, Simon takes me through the tearstained history of Land.
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An extraordinary gamble in early 2020 made RICK BOYD rich. But since we spoke back in March of 2021, it’s been a torrid spring for Bitcoin investors. Would you be OK with it? Is he? And whatever happened after HEATHER CAIRNS realized some of the torrent of wealth that came her way when Google went public? It’s all about risk, after all.
It all began with… a Chinese dinner? Or did it begin when HEATHER CAIRNS would invigilate the tests taken by two “child prodigy” graduate students in the engineering faculty at Stanford. Anyway, one thing led to another. Heather eventually returned to her home town on Boston’s North Shore where people still call her The Google Lady.
One hot day in June, Rhod joins BETTE HUNT, the emeritus historian of Marblehead, Mass. for a walk through the town’s almost 400 year old graveyard. Old Burial Hill connects the living with the dead in some strange ways as they discourse on Thornton Wilder’s famous play, George Washington’s favorite general, the Marblehead woman convicted at the Salem witch trials and the fairly undiscussed existence of a “negro” burial site in this quintessentially Yankee town.
The BBC’s New York correspondent sees the USA that so excited him as a youth sapped of vitality, politically divided against itself but in an old saying, always headed to hell and never getting there. When America Stopped Being great merges Bryant’s reporting experiences with a historian’s perspective in a way which, as the Washington Post said, gives foreign laments a fresh arc.