I have a conversation with Chris Jay and Aaron Goldberg, writers, and co-producers of the new comedy The Bet available now on all VOD platforms. Chris and Aaron are long-time friends of mine and members of the long-lived Ventura band The Army of Freshmen. We talk about how two music guys ended up writing a movie and pulling every favor they could to produce and shoot it in Ventura, with tons of Ventura locals in the background (My children and I included.) We talk about Ron Jeremy's crocs, sexy nuns, and when to put boobies into your movie. I ask how they managed to hustle their way into Hollywood. We talk music, creativity, and hitting up one's parents for cash. Chris alludes to an alternate universe where Army of Freshmen is famous. Aaron weighs in the importance of casting hot chicks. Our conversation starts at (10:40) I rant about how I learned that nobody gives a fuck about your list of grievances.
I have a conversation with Michael Sullivan, editor of the VCReporter, Ventura County's source for weekly news, entertainment, and local politics. Michael has been at the creative helm of the free weekly for eight years, the longest serving editor, and I take this opportunity to ask her about running the paper, dealing with the public and responding to critics. Michael, a Ventura native, bounced around the country and ended up in pursuing journalism at the encouragement of her mother. She landed back in VC and just happened to be at the right place and time to apply for the recently open position of editor at the paper. We talk about local politics and the woes of the Oxnard Police Department. Michael recounts reaching out to mentor at-risk youth, and I wonder aloud if gangs are in fact more stable, loving environments for youth than ending up in the foster system. Michael answers my questions about raising her son as a single mother and surviving cancer. I rant about my week away from national politics volunteering for Camp Quest West, and I officially endorse a candidate for president with an analogy about a man on a diet stuck at a buffet that only serves bacon cheeseburgers and dog shit. Vote for There's No Time to Explain in the Talk category at VenturaCountyMusicAwards.com.
Jason Amelio, my guest from TNT2E #10, returns for another far-ranging conversation about anything that happens to come up. Jason is a member of The Velveteen Band, voicing the puppet Foe the Destroyer, and author of the urban fantasy novel, Jake Swift: Knight. Given the intense character of national news in the last few days, I really felt like bouncing some ideas about current events off someone and Jason was the perfect guy. We talk about Steam Punk and the origins of Goth, and what the relationship is between subcultures that seek to find identity in some older version of values and practices. We talk about cooking on cast iron and why cemeteries are the best places to be a delinquent. Jason admits to playing Pokemon GO, and we talk shit about people who talk shit about Pokemon GO. We discuss the case the Dylan Noble, the police shooting victim you haven't heard about in the news, and we discuss the many issues that may be the root of America's policing problem these days. I propose that our sanitized politically correct culture is the reason we completely missed all the racist people who still exist in America and voted for Trump and Jason passionately defends Hillary Clinton and talks about his girl-on-girl political dream. I suggest Berners are falling into his Cult of Personality and Jason says you all should listen to the German 12-member operatic metal band Avantasia. I rant about the reasons why Dylan Noble's death hasn't been a national news story. If you like this podcast, consider voting for it in the Talk category in the 2016 Ventura County Music Awards. Fill out an online ballot at VenturaCountyMusicAwards.com.
7 Straightforward and Completely Unsatisfying Reasons Why No One is Talking About the Shooting of Dylan Noble
You can hear and audio version of this article on There's No Time To Explain Podcast #23 at timecode 04:48
Last week was the sort of week that will be mentioned in history books when, years from now, we discuss the confluence of cell phone video, police brutality, and the ascendancy of the Black Lives Matter movement. Starting with the shooting of Alton Sterling on Tuesday, July 5 by two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, followed very quickly by the shooting of Philando Castille in Falcon Heights, Minnesota by an officer during a traffic stop the next day, each in their own way is a perfect, headline-grabbing example of the systematic over-policing of Black people. Before anyone could catch their breath and process these shootings, the next day, July 7, a group of police officers were ambushed in Dallas during a Black Lives Matter march by a military reservist who killed five officers and wounded another nine officers and two civilians. The man, later assassinated by a bomb delivered by a robot, claimed these shootings were in retaliation for the July 5th and 6th killings of Black men
I have a conversation with Stephen DeBaun, known to me as the Reverend Stevo, a community activist and founder of the Sparks Network, a platform to connect volunteers with events and organizations. We discuss the ins and outs of his company and how he hopes to shape the face of volunteering, enabling our natural desire to help out which hasn't been served well by technology up to this point. Stevo and I chat about Karaoke, accordions, and alcoholic root beer. He talks about the importance of local politics and his experience being involved in the Occupy Movement in Ventura and the Westside Community Council. I wax poetic about the value of volunteerism and talk crap about goddamn Liberals. I rant about the Six Flags Flash Pass and attempt to do the math on how much time a general admission rider waits in line on behalf of people who skip to the front of the line with a Flash Pass.
My wife, Victoria, recently took our oldest kid on a two-day Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor getaway for her birthday. It was a grand time for the two of them, and I was happy to guard the home front and allow them a girl's trip. Because it was just a treat for two and not our entire brood of four kids, they splurged on Flash Passes for the two parks; paid access to shorter lines to get on rides and waters slides faster. Victoria sent me a text message in the middle of day one letting me know how many amazing rides they had managed to get on in the short amount of time they had been there. Jokingly, I warned my wife not to accrue too many hexes and bad juju from the hot and sweaty people whom they breezed by to move to the front of the line. My wife admitted to feeling like an asshole doing it.
I recall a trip to Hurricane Harbor a few years back. My kids and I stood in line to ascend one of the park's many water slides. The accent was a concrete staircase split down the middle by a metal handrail, one side packed with sweaty masses, waiting in the oppressive heat, ready to advance a single step at a time, up the multi-storey tower for the opportunity to bolt down a waterslide. The other side was empty most of the time, punctuated by the occasional group of teens who would sprint past us on their way to the top of the tower. They held Flash Passes and that allowed them to wait in a shorter line, whose members were cycled in at the top of the slide tower at a much faster rate than the people waiting in the general admission line.
I have a conversation with Rich Kleckner, who decided 6 months ago to start dressing as a woman full time. We discuss his lifelong proclivity to cross-dress and how he has dealt with the social stigma of being a stranger to the straight community and the gay community. We talk through the various terms people use to describe him and how he has found a very small community of like-minded cross-dressers who has given him insight into his obsession. We discuss cross-dressing in pop culture and world cultures. I mention the various spectra that gender identity and sexuality exists and we inventory Rich's answers to where he fits on the Genderbread Man, a graphic from ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com. Of course, no discussion about a man in a dress these days can be complete without answering the most important question in the world, apparently: Which bathroom does Rich use? I rant about the media's incuriosity about Michael Steven Stanford's failed attempt to assassinate Donald Trump.
My wife Victoria asked me if she could interview me and I said, "Of course!" My lovely wife of nearly ten years is an obsessive planner and notoriously unadventurous eater. She created a "Wheel of Brian Parra" to select topics for me to discuss. I talk about our domestic life, my obsession with Judge John Hodgman, and how I'm willing to perform self-surgery. Vic asks me to discuss how I came to be so well dressed and why I binge watch TV Shows. We discuss TV shows that are too close to our everyday lives to be watchable for us. I wonder aloud if I might be a Gladwellian super connector. We discuss whether it's possible to rekindle friendships with childhood friends and if it's weird that I go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2:Out of the Shadows with "The Guys" (It's not.) We talk about White vs. Mexican families and I recount the time we ate hot dogs for Christmas. I explain why I'm NOT moving to Tennessee to climb the corporate ladder. We drink wine. She triggers my stutter and my, "UHHHHHHs." We discuss the drag cruises we've been on together and what I expected to happen as a straight man on a gay cruise. I address the shooting at Pulse Night Club and explain why I'm so passionate about speaking out about this issue. I pay tribute to Edward Sotomayor Jr., who lost his life in Orlando. Victoria and I met him aboard the Drag Queen cruises we attended and held him in high esteem.
I have ended each of my podcasts with the words, "be kind and thoughtful." Certainly it's my intention to have people who listen to my podcast consider those words as they go about their days but I want to acknowledge that I'm saying those words to myself; I often neglect being kind and am constantly thoughtless in word and action. These days it's so easy to forget what other people go through, what others endure and so often we judge each other based on our limited assumptions of what is right for others with no consideration for their personal experience and feelings; we assume much about others based unsophisticated understandings of what their life is. I use that as a preamble to my following message; it's not related directly but in some ways should be a throughline of anything we encounter.
My heart goes out to the friends and family of the victims of the Orlando shooting at the Pulse Night Club. The pain and suffering you are going through right now is unimaginable. I'm sure every common thing that can be said about death will be said to you ad nauseum in the coming years, but there are lots of people that grieve with you, who are your allies, who will stand with you despite what may seem like the stunning silence of millions. My family and I count ourselves among those who have cried with you and in some other city, on some other day may have been in that very same club dancing with your loved ones.
I have a conversation with Neil Polzin, a board member for Camp Quest, Inc. and camp director for the Southern California session of Camp Quest West, a secular summer camp for kids of nonreligious families. He just returned from the Reason Rally in Washington D.C., a rally promoting reason and freethought to our nation's law makers. Neil spent a few days lobbying his congressional representatives about real sex education to counter abstinence-only education and talking to people about Camp Quest. We unpack all his experiences from his trip day by day where at one point, he nearly shared a stage with the Wu-Tang Clan, in front of a crowd of ten thousand. I ask Neil about his experience being ousted from the Boy Scouts when he admitted to being an atheist. I rant about my podcast post on the TNT2E Facebook page being targeted by trolls working for Donald Trump.
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