I have a conversation with Larry Mendoza of the Road to Reason TV Show and The Beltway Atheists. I ask the question, "What's Wrong with the Liberal Left?" Larry lists three issues that we only begin to discuss when he casually mentions he owns 23 snakes. We cannot help but discuss snakes (and what kind of metal Larry listens to when he's hanging with his snakes) for the next 45 minutes. Larry gives us the first installment of the segment, "I'm Not An Expert, But..." where he tells Stephen Hawking to get off his lazy tush and get cranking on figuring out the universe. I wax poetic about the meaning of love in a vast and chaotic cosmos and give a movie review of The Revenant, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, based on the true story from American history of mountain man Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who survived being mauled by a grizzly to be left for dead by his companions. The episode ends with a live (and poorly sung) recording of the song "Abraham Lincoln" by my old band, The American Cheese Band, which has a verse I wrote about Hugh Glass.
Larry mentions these bands during the podcast:
Eluveitie (Celtic folk metal hailing from Switzerland)
Inspired by a conversation I participated on FB with Jeff Sveien, I submitted a case to the Judge John Hodgman Podcast and he settled it in this episode while clearing the docket! I have a problem with restaurants who list chives on their menu but only ever serve green onions as a topping on baked potatoes. I'm looking at you Wendy's. The Honorable Judge Hodgman agrees with me and ordered me to report this to the Federal Trade Commission, ha. Listen at 36:45 to hear my case.
I'm starting a new podcast, There's No Time to Explain, a podcast with the premise that there is no premise. I wanted to do a podcast where every week I talk about whatever I happen to be thinking about with whomever I happen to be talking to. My first conversation is with noted author and historian Richard Carrier. We talk about his life as a freelance historian and traveling author and then our conversation turns to the idea that we wage war very differently depending on our cultural ideas. Yes, I meant "Kamikaze," not, "Bonzai," forgive me, sheesh. Richard offers up an obscure movie review for "The Call of Cthulhu," by the H.P. Lovecraft Society. I recorded this interview in early 2015, but I listened to every moment and it's all still relevant (Except Johnny Jihad is dead, so there's that.)
Take a listen and drop me a line here with feedback, questions, or, if you'd like to join me on my podcast for an interview or conversation about whatever, let me know! I'd love talk to you about your music, band, business, project or whatever questions you'd like to get into with me. Grab the RSS feed to catch new episodes.
Greg Daniels leads a conversation on the Simpsonesque topic, "What grinds your gears?" Mat, Megan and I weigh in about the stuff that gets under our skin. We also chat about the Birthers and Ted Cruz. Is it time to get rid of the natural born citizen requirement for president? No one knows. (Actually, a lot of people know...the answer is YES.)
Zeke Berkley's second full length album, Berkley II, is a challenging, multi-influenced jaunt around what it means to create a pop album these days. Clearly the word "pop" has lots of meanings; I use it here to refer to a particular structure of songwriting, recognizable arrangement of verses and choruses, a bridge and instrumental, familiar harmonies and chord progressions that even the most outlandish of bands find themselves returning to time and again. This sort of pop rarely hits the top of the charts these days, but the structure, with a lineage tracing back to the humble balladeer singing heartfelt songs about unrequited love, transitioned into mainstream through big band crooners, set in concrete by four part harmonies and given rock and roll credentials by the Beatles, has spawned endless iterations with each aspiring artist trying their hand at writing a pop song in the same way aspiring poets write sonnets.
So Google Hangout does this nifty thing where it slows down the video stream and then speeds it up in order to maintain continuity while buffering. Mostly great for talking but really bad for music. Keep that in mind as you watch Sin Chonies, a hard working cover band from Ventura, perform live, a podcast first for us. Obviously we suffer from some technical difficulties, but the idea is so cool, and the band was great, we're definitely gonna do it again. We chat to Alfred, Willie and Chris about the live music scene in Ventura County and what it takes to be a working musician these days. We also discuss the Trump campaign, Islamophobia, the definition of racism, and the impact of laws on culture.
Here's a thought experiment for you: Try to imagine that Donald Trump isn't the crazed, bigoted blowhard you see on TV but is instead a smart and savvy businessman who has, all his life, calculatingly managed his image and exposure for personal gain. All other facts of the 2016 Republican primary being the same, reinterpret the rise of Trump assuming he's a smart person.
It has to be granted that Trump is an impulsive egomaniac. He runs for president mostly because, financially, it's a drop in the bucket and it feeds his need to be seen and heard, which, historically has always lead Trump to more success and notoriety. Pulling the same trick in 2012 certainly panned out well for him. Being a presidential candidate forever secures your credentials as a media personality that can always be monetized ala Pat Buchanan. (Certainly that is a prime motivator for most lesser presidential candidates with no chance of winning.) There was no reason to expect that this year would be any different. Trump spends almost no money on traditional campaign advertising because his status as a celebrity means that he can call into any news show on any channel and will be put on the air immediately; He has spent exactly $0 in TV advertising.