This week we are posting a show that we recorded on the road. We thought of it as us "phoning it in" (as we are on a hand held mic while sitting in Los Angeles traffic), or "mailing it in" (an old time saying for giving it less than your best). We don't give you less than our best, however, as we run down a list of celebrities, other luminaries, and institutions (even a city) that have been 'mailing it in' after initial success. We go after those that you might guess (how can you not condemn the last decade of DeNiro's career), and ultimately tie it into how we might think about those times when our jobs have us down and we feel like giving it less than our best. (Speaking of 'less than our best', the audio isn't great as we weren't in the studio, but it came out better than we thought).
Since we began the show, we have had a running designation of "b sides". This is on account of the fact that Jeff and Dan tend to find deep cuts on albums to be their favorites (not to be contrarian, it's just that the deeper cuts tend to run longer and have a greater payoff). So, our b-sides, are longer conversations with folks we dig. We talk about what they do, why they do it, what they like what they like, and their story. Everyone has one, and we try to find some of the really interesting ones.
So. The furniture show! The furniture show? Yes. Tucker Kaas works at Kaas Tailored, a remarkable furniture company that takes the ideas of vocation, conservation, zen, and service to our neighbor in putting together the highest quality furniture (and you've probably sat in Kaas Tailored furniture before). Without knowing it, you may have chosen to go to certain chains because of their furniture. From Kai-Zen, to the importance of good chairs, to life management and small changes we make to create better lives for ourselves in service of others. Enjoy the show!
Click on the picture below to check out some of kaastailored designs
Seriously? We couldn't help ourselves. This Left Behind business is too ridiculous to leave alone. But we aren't just shooting fish in a barrel making fun of this hooey and applesauce. We talk about Jeff's experience going to the film, talk about our cultural fascination with the end of the world, and interview Dr. Amy Frykholm author of Rapture Culture: Left Behind in America and writer for the Christian Century magazine on Religion and Culture. Dr. Frykholm is fascinating (she has written on sexuality and Christianity in America as well as other sometimes "taboo" topics in certain circles). Enjoy the show!
Dr Frykholm's website
The IMDB site for Left Behind
Nicolas Cage on Rotten Tomatoes (check it out, boy has he made a wide range of great and terrible movies)
Jeff live tweeted some of the movie- check out our twitter page here
On today's episode we speak with Marc Thomas Voss, author of "Preventing Auschwitz From happening Again" about the nature of tyrannical regimes and genocide. We spend a good bit of our time discussing the holocaust and his digging into the subject (as a German, he admitted this caused an existential angst). We move from the holocaust, to genocide (or democide) and try to dig around the question that began Marc on his historical quest: How does mankind have the ability to put men in space, but can't keep evil regimes from slaughtering the masses? How do we think clearly about a subject that is so charged with emotion? How does Professor Voss distinguish regimes from North Korea, to ISIS to the NAZI's? Listen in as we discuss the topic, hear from Marc's research with the Harris Poll, and discuss ways to oppose evil from our own humble stations in life. You can track his work via https://www.facebook.com/regimesmuseum.
If you are interested in reading more on the Holocaust, Dan highly recommends this series of books (the link is to the first volume). Early in the show, we discuss a controversial thesis about Fukushima and fish, for another side to the argument click here.
And a final note about our numbering- this is 65b- a "b side" which means we offer a slightly longer form interview with a professional. They are not "regular shows" because we tend to dig a little bit deeper. You'll notice we have "wc" shows (Wasteland Companion: discussions about great books) as well. This is episode 85, if you're counting at home.
Nokukhanya (Noks) Shabalala shares her story and her insights into South Africa, the place of women in traditional societies, the legacy of Nelson Mandela, Yoruba religion, racism in America, coffee allergies, and college life in America. She is one of the most delightful people you will ever virtually meet. She also provides an example of a sentence in the beautiful Zulu language. Noks is a pre-deaconess student at Concordia University, Irvine.
On this freewheeling and laid back show (#84) Jeff and Dan throw around some of the macro-level ideas behind political ideologies. This show builds a bit on some ideas discussed on past shows about authoritarianism, modernism, and the ideal state. Jeff shares a bit from this TED talk, while Dan lays out (very briefly) the ideas behind Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau and the ideal state. Ultimately, how does thinking about the big picture and the essential nature of man and state of nature affect the way we think about local, state, and national politics?
We discuss Dan’s latestlistening and viewing pleasures and Jeff’s near fatal run-in with a jellyfish.
Witch hunting is an ancient, though unseemly, cultural practice. In this show, we discuss the nature of witch hunting, the Salem witch trials, the ways in which the witch trials shaped the American legal system, and the number and nature of witch executions. We also wonder why the husbands of the witch on Bewitched and the genie on I Dream of Genie didn't let their wives use their powers. We end by applying what we learned about historic witch hunts to modern witch hunts, TMZ, our lust for scandals, and our fear of outsiders. Why are witches green? Why do they ride broomsticks? Was all of colonial New England ablaze with witch flesh? We can't promise these questions will all be answered to your satisfaction, but we can promise that we will at least ask these questions before darting off in some random direction.
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SO if you've come to this page, you're likely wondering whether or not this is an episode that you would enjoy listening to (remember, the show is like a magazine, pick and choose what you like, go back and re-listen, skip things that you may not like). On today's show we decided to take on authoritarian figures in culture (and primarily in the church, and primarily after the fall of this Mark Driscoll guy).
Jeff had a lot of pent up energy due to his upbringing in authoritarian churches (and his general love of anarchy). Dan, generally less scared of authority, suggested that perhaps a (cultural, or Protestant) Pope would be helpful.
But, on a deeper level, what is the role of authority in culture and the church? Do we need self proclaimed "prophets"? What if the "prophet" is a whistleblower? In that case, we tend to like those that go against the flow. But what if the one who bucks against the system is in charge of the particular system?
Well, sometimes we see cultural prophets, whistleblowers, and jerks. Maybe the hardest part is distinguishing them. Join us as we dig around a bit (and take a self administered "authoritarian personality" quiz that you can take along with us!). Enjoy the show!
As we look forward to labor day we decided to think a bit deeper about the popular holiday we might take for granted. As we talked about it with friends and colleagues, we kept coming back to the idea of "the Protestant Work Ethic" and Max Weber. While it might sound high falutin', talking about a sociological connection between Protestantism and work in America. While we certainly do not think that protestants have cornered the market on a good work ethic, or that American prosperity is due to a set of theological beliefs, it is interesting to talk about the genesis of a peculiar socio-economic system that grew up side by side with the Protestant Reformation and English Puritans in the New World.
We talk history, politics, and ideas about work and puritanism. Dan tells a story about who really cut off Van Gogh's ear and his ill fated interview with the History channel. Jeff explains the connection between an economic system, swiss watches, and the Reformation.
Like most shows, we circle around the big ideas surrounding labor (that we celebrate in early September every year) and the sanctity of working hard for its own sake.
From Queen Elizabeth to the Puritans, Weber to Tawney, and Wealth and Capitalism join us as we dig a little bit deeper into a day that we tend to mostly mark as the end of summer (and the last day to wear white linen trousers).
"It is frequently objected to relations of particular lives, that they are not distinguished by any striking or wonderful vicissitudes. The scholar who passed his life among his books, the merchant who conducted only his own affairs, the priest whose sphere of action was not extended beyond that of his duty, are considered as no proper objects of public regard, however they might have excelled in their several stations, whatever might have been their learning, integrity, and piety. But this notion arises from false measures of excellence and dignity, and must be eradicated by considering that, in the esteem of uncorrupted reason, what is of most use is of most value."- Dr. Samuel Johnson
As we are back in our semester-ly rhythm we get the opportunity to sit down in the studio from time to time with people that are quietly, fascinatingly, and often courageously doing "everyday" work. We sat down with David Atkinson, a civil engineer whose journey, in his own words, took him "from heaven to earth". Dave began studying for the ministry, and after a "dark night of the soul" at his second seminary, decided that a "holy" calling was not for him. He went from dealing with things heavenly to things earthly. Literally. Like soil samples. Dave has a remarkable story about a career we might think rather unremarkable on the face of it. Full disclosure: Dave is our boss. But we could have easily skirted around interviewing him if we didn't think there was a great story and some really good stuff to chew on regarding practical job talk, vocation, and how he ended up partially responsible for building Orange County (and keeping us all safe from dysentery!)