A Lego Armada, Zig Zag Wanderer, and Jacob Panic | WYPR

A Lego Armada, Zig Zag Wanderer, and Jacob Panic

Jul 10, 2014

Commodore Wilbert McKinley’s Lego ‘Teach-Fleet,’ Madison Smartt Bell’s ‘Zig Zag Wanderer,’ and Jacob Panic’s banjo ‘pop-grass’

After a long career as a naval architect, Wilbert McKinley, Jr., is starting over.  This time, he’s building an entire fleet by himself – out of Legos.  Commodore McKinley’s educational Teach Fleet is the story of a man who finally discovers what he’s meant to do.  He becomes a visionary artist and a mentor.  As it happens, he’s enjoying a second childhood along the way. Producer Aaron Henkin brings us the story. 

UPCOMING EVENT:  Commodore McKinley cordially invites listeners to join him at his TEACH FLEET Lego Show & STEM Expo.  It’s happening Friday, August 8, 12 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, August 9, 10 a.m. to5 pm. At Cecil College, North East Campus, in the PE Complex. McKinly will be tehere with his entire 150+ ship TEACH FLEET LEGO collection. Also on hand:  representatives from the Sea Grant Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and the Office of Naval Research. For more information email learning4life@cecil.edu


 Madison Smartt Bell is best known as a novelist, but he has always written short fiction as well. Releasing a collection of seemingly unrelated short stories is no easy feat in the evolving world of publishing, but Bell has found a rather unique approach.

  The banjo has been on a long, strange musical trip since its first appearance in America.  The instrument was first fashioned by enslaved Africans during Colonial times, a musical descendent of their native kora.  From there, the banjo rang out through the hills and hollers of Appalachia, a mournful accompaniment to mountain balladeers.  Meanwhile, the strumming of the plectrum banjo found its way onto early jazz recordings.  Then along came the fast-picking Bluegrass style of Bill Monroe.  Recently, the banjo has been enjoying a warm embrace in the world of contemporary rock music, from Modest Mouse to Mumford & Sons.  Now, local singer / songwriter Jacob Panic is stretching the banjo’s boundaries one step further.