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Family Matters: Sound Effect, Episode 204

This week on Sound Effect, our theme is “Family Matters.” First, we meet one Indipino woman and learn how she connected to her roots on Bainbridge Island. Then, we meet a mother and author who is sharing her son’s story of addiction as a cautionary tale for other parents. We meet a woman who might have been forbidden from having children a century ago — and we meet her daughter. Grieving parents turn a tragedy into something constructive . And we meet the father — so to speak — of “I Didn’t...


'I'm the boogeyman': Mother shares story of son's addiction as cautionary tale to parents

Seattle author Paula Becker has a specific audience in mind for her latest book, "A House on Stilts, Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction." “I really want people who have kids of about 11 and 12 to read this book, because I think that the trick is and the challenge is to try not to let the kid tumble over into addiction," Becker said. "So, when they're experimenting is the time to try every possible way to get them back.” Becker writes about historical events, such as the 1962 Seattle...


After a devastating fire, grieving parents launch mission to install thousands of smoke detectors

Bonnie Gibson says her son Greg’s musical talent emerged very early on. “I could just see from a young age that he had unusual rhythm. Which, now, I go, did I really want those drums in my basement?” she said. “But it was cute and fun to see a little kid kind of find himself.” Greg did find himself in music. By high school, he was already involved in the business side, booking bands. “I would get a phone call from somebody in, like, Chicago or something. And he had somehow, they knew his...


'Incredibly insensitive': How a proposal to honor the childless tanked on Bainbridge Island

It started over a few glasses of wine, with friends passing around a smartphone and sharing views of a sketch by late-night comedian Bill Maher. The idea presented there, for a holiday on par with those honoring moms and dads, often provokes laughter. “I Didn’t Reproduce Day” would celebrate single people, aunts and uncles who help out — and not just by being allies to parents or mentors to young people. Maher makes the case that people who remain childless are saving resources and...


This mother and scholar of eugenics says she would have been deemed 'defective' a century ago

Ivanonva Smith spent the first chunk of her life in an institutional orphanage in Soviet-controlled Latvia. She doesn’t remember having any friends or toys, or anything to do. “I would just stare at a light and watch the little floaters, those little floaters you get in your eyes, and that was my entertainment,” she said. Ivanova was born with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By the time she was adopted at age 5, she still didn’t speak. She says she had no understanding of...


It's Only Money: Sound Effect, Episode 203

Our latest episode of Sound Effect revolves around the theme, "It's Only Money." We'll meet a couple who tried to get rich flipping houses , decades before it was cool. We'll find out how a teenage blunder left Mike Lewis with a debt he could never repay, and how he reapid it anyway . A small town prints its own money , on pieces of wood. A Seattle writer considers a complicated inheritance: what she learned about money from her parents. And a group of friends order a round of drinks ... and...


Three shots and $1,000 later, a question about etiquette at the bar

Four guys walk into a bar, and what happens next is definitely not a joke. It started when my partner David and I went out with another couple. We saw a show and, afterward, went for a nightcap at a nearby establishment. We're not naming it here because it's not important where this happened, just that it happened.


Want to flip a house? Check for bullet holes and raw sewage first

Silvana Clark is an author and a corporate trainer, but back in 1977, she had a different idea of how she was going to make money.


A ‘Coincidence of Wants’: Seattle writer excavates her complicated relationship with money

Leila Marie Ali was always the thriftiest one in her family. Her dad is generous to a fault, always quick to dispense bills to a person on the street or send a chunk of his taxi driver earnings to relatives back in Somalia and Yemen. “I remember thinking, this man is taking care of what felt to me like an entire village in two countries, and not taking care of us as well as he could be,” Leila says.


How wooden money saved this small Washington town

In December 1931, the only bank in Tenino, Washington, failed. It ran out of money and closed its doors. Suddenly, the residents of the small logging town had a big problem on their hands. They had no currency, no means to do business.


Performance artist explores how ‘beauty’ killed her mother

This story originally aired on Nov. 9, 2019. Growing up in Santa Rosa, California, Susan Lieu’s mother, Jennifer Ha, was the glue that held her Vietnamese family together.


Let's Eat: Sound Effect, episode 165

We take a peek inside a fourth generation noodle factory to see how the noodles — and fortune cookies — are made. Then, a visit with one of the original television chefs. Also, an artist finds out that his artwork is edible , at least to ants. Next, a conversation about some food urban legends . We also pull back the curtain on how fortune cookies are made. Finally, a woman overcomes her fear of vomiting . Sound Effect showcases stories inspired by the place we live. The show is hosted by...


Most people don't enjoy vomiting, but this is what it's like to have a phobia of it

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019. When someone eats something that gives them food poisoning, they probably know it when it hits them. It usually comes with stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The lingering effects can result in a short-term lack of appetite, and perhaps the desire to avoid eating the type of food that made them sick in the first place. Typically, everything returns to normal after a while. But for Kacie Rahm, her bout with food poisoning had some long-term...


Northwest artist turns his painting into a functioning ant farm

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019. Northwest artist Jack Gunter uses an ancient painting technique called egg tempera — a mixture of dry pigment and egg yolk. The paint can last for centuries, but it does have one downside. “Six or seven different species of animals will eat my paintings,” he says.


Hear an outrageous tale about food? Better ‘Snopes’ that.

This story originally aired on Janary 5, 2019. Eating an egg and a banana at the same time can kill you . Some lady found a fried rat in her bucket of chicken. That scone contains the anal secretions of beavers . Wait — did you “Snopes” that?


Friend or Foe: Sound Effect, Episode 202

Our latest Sound Effect theme is “Friend or Foe.” First, we hear how artists took over a business group and changed Camano Island. Then, we meet an ex-Army Ranger whose flip-flop business is an olive branch for peace . We dive into the epic life of Sidney Rittenberg , a "towering historical figure" who settled near Tacoma. We learn about the ups and downs of having someone else’s DNA . And one woman shares how a bad fortune telling session led to a new outlook on life — and some payback.


A 'towering historical figure' who settled near Tacoma: The epic life of Sidney Rittenberg

Sidney Rittenberg was a singular figure — an American who was a close associate of Mao Zedong, who held high-ranking positions in the Chinese Communist Party, who was on the inside during some of the most important events of the 20th century. And Gregory Youtz was meeting him for lunch. “Well I was quit e nervous,” said Youtz, a professor of music and a China scholar at Pacific Lutheran University. “Here’s this historical figure. I had read his book before I’d met him. So I was aware of what...


Some of our cells are outsiders — and they’re doing a lot inside our bodies

Not all of the cells in your body actually belong to you. Some cells might be from your mother, passed to you from when you were in utero. If you had children, their cells passed into your body the same way. Researchers say that this can sometimes even be true for women who have a miscarriage in the second trimester or later, or who decided to terminate a pregnancy. This phenomenon is called microchimerism. So, what are these cells doing in our bodies? Scientists are just scratching the...


The Great Camano Chamber Coup: How artists took over a business group and changed their island

The Rev. Chumleigh wasn’t exactly a regular at meetings of the Camano Island Chamber of Commerce. He’s a vaudeville entertainer who, at various times, has been known to walk tightropes, eat fire and get shot out of cannons. He’s also an irascible political lefty — in short, an odd fit for the business group. “The meeting was only attended by a couple of people,” said Chumleigh, whose given name is Michael Mielnik. “This chamber was largely consisting of people with little businesses that...