Category Archives: Blog

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My new podcast launches tonight, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.

You matter. Let me tell you why, and then let me let you tell me why.

I have a lot of irons in the fire right now, but first and foremost is this concept that’s been on my mind for many years, and I’ve realized that perhaps the podcast format is the best way to bring it to life.

For 20 or so years, I have interviewed people. Many of them very interesting and worthy of your attention. Perhaps my favorite was Barry Manilow. Or maybe it was the late great Ray Harryhausen, whose autographed copy of “Jason and the Argonauts” I still cherish. I got to talk with Neil Gaiman about ten years before he had become the cultural and literary icon that he has always deserved to be. I have been blessed with some truly great opportunities for conversations.

I have listened to countless hours of interviews on talk radio, and watched unspeakable hours of interviews on late-night TV. I got to sit across the table from John Glenn and Russell Banks and the members of countless bands, from Kings of Leon to Hem to Dawes. It’s been a really good thing, and I have been blessed by all of it.

But do you know what all of those interviews have in common? They are always, without fail, someone who has something to sell. A new book to push. A new movie that is coming out this weekend. A new TV show they are starring in. A political campaign that needs some particular bump.

I have been wrankled by this for some time, and that wrankling (which is not a proper word, I know) has come out in the form of this podcast.

I am calling it “You Matter.” Because you – yes, YOU – matter. I know that sometimes you think you don’t, and I know that some days are far worse than others. But you still matter. The hottie guy or the sexy girl in whatever movie is opening this weekend is not any more intrinsically valuable than you are. You matter, my dear.

So, the point of this podcast is to interview “ordinary” people, but use the same level of discipline and research and professionalism that I would have used at NPR.

Because you are not ordinary. You matter. I will publish the first episode at midnight tonight. Join me?

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Wacky Friday Quiz Time: Name That Thing!

Yes, fellow babies, it’s time once again for the first installment of our beloved feature, Wacky Friday Quiz Time!

Now, below you will see a list of 20 names. Each of these names is either:

A. An independent film;
B. The name of a menu item at a trendy restaurant near you; or
C. The name of a band whose merchandise is available for purchase at Hot Topic.

Get a piece of paper, write down your guesses, and you can find the answers inside the post!

  1. Only On a Tuesday
  2. Taynt
  3. Every Rabbit is Extra
  4. I Only Wanted Europe
  5. Hillary and the Jets
  6. Paper Mascara
  7. The Teri Hatchery
  8. The Skyliner
  9. Herø
  10. Vulture Queen
  11. My Dying Prom Date
  12. Demand, On
  13. Suits Without Ties
  14. Black Tape for an Electrical Faultline
  15. Tsunami Nation
  16. The Unwed Mothers of K-Mart
  17. Taffft
  18. This Mortal Battery
  19. The 2.0s
  20. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Cheeto Dust

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The machine shoots sparks through her eggshell mind

This will not be everybody’s cup of tea, so please feel free to skip. But for some reason, tonight I’m reminded of a telephone interview I had more than 20 years ago, with the vocalist of a seldom-heard metal band. Among many other things, we talked about Karen Ann Quinlan, one of the crucial figures in the “right to die movement.”

This is not what you typically expect to talk about when you are interviewing metal vocalists, but Fates Warning is no typical band, and John Arch is no typical lyricist. Continue reading

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A Waffle House down the road from where you live, 11 P.M., Wednesday night

One of the few memories I have of my father is his years spent working as the night-shift manager at a Waffle House not far from where we lived. Most of the rest of the time he was downstairs, alone, watching television. I don’t know much of what he was watching, but I do remember two things: his love for “The Rockford Files” and the fact that he once let me watch the movie “Stripes” with him, and it was a formative experience for me as a young man because I got to see a topless woman for a few seconds.

(To his credit, he did tell me, “Hey, cover your eyes!” which I pretended to do. But I’m sure he knew I was peeking from between my fingers.)

But Waffle House. Somehow, he paid the bills and supported a family on a Waffle House manager’s salary, and some nights, he would take me with him.

Those were the best nights. Continue reading

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Marrow is one thing too much for me

I watch a lot of cooking shows on television. In fact, that’s probably how most of my leisure time is spent. In an alternate universe, I’m at the helm of a delicious and trendy food truck, delighting my public with only locally sourced ingredients. (In this universe, I’m just watching Guy Fieri again, with a bag of Fritos and a bottomless well of regret by my side.)

But as much as I love food – and I do love food, my early lunch today was four salted pita chips with a small dollop of black caviar on each, because less is more and you should eat less and taste more – I have found the line in the sand that I cannot cross.

Marrow. Continue reading

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Hardcore Henry might make you vomit – and you will love every moment of it

I don’t normally go to new-release movies. They are too expensive, there are not enough hours in the day, and my Netflix queue is already longer than my list of late-night irrational fears.

But when I saw the preview for “Hardcore Henry” (inexplicably shown during the usually sedate and calm CBS Sunday Morning), I knew I had to be there for this. Take a look:

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