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You Matter, episode 2: Meteorologist Ben Pine

For episode 2, I managed to get the very busy and very talented Ben Pine on the line for a few minutes. We all rely on Ben and his contemporaries every day, but it’s easy to overlook just how difficult and specialized a job this is. Meteorologists not only have to have a mind for and a deep understanding of science – they also have to be comfortable in front of a green-screen, without a script, and make it look effortless. So I hope you enjoy this brief conversation with Ben.

As for the podcast itself, if you’d like to nominate someone to be a future guest, please drop me an email and tell me why. Seriously. Does one of your grandparents have a great war story to tell? Is there someone in your office who is the most amazing and underrated baker or chef that you know? Is your neighbor interesting, for reasons that only you would be able to tell me? Reach out, please, or comment below. I’m recording new episodes constantly.

(Housekeeping note: I’m wrangling with the good people at Apple to get this into the iTunes podcast store. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to subscribe in your favorite podcast app, and have new episodes delivered automatically. Stay tuned …)

Next time, I will be talking with The Funny Guy. If you’ve not met The Funny Guy yet … trust me, you want to. Cheers, and you matter.

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You Matter, episode 1: Greg Erskine

For the first episode of this new podcast (which I explain more fully here), I have as my guest the ridiculously smart and talented Greg Erskine. If you’re a MeFite, you know him as GregNog. But either way, he’s a smart and thoughtful guy, and it’s always a pleasure to get to spend some time with him.

Enjoy the episode!

(Please note: As this is our first episode, there was a technical glitch and as a result, Greg’s voice has a little bit of an echo to it. We’ll have that fixed in time for the next episode. In the meantime, just pretend that Greg is from another planet or something and that explains why his voice is so swirly and otherworldly.)

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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

Continue reading

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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