What is a cult?  How do we balance tolerance and critical thinking when it comes to new religious movements?  Are their authoritarian personalties in my own, established religious community?  How are multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes like cults?  Is cult a bad word or is it a concept we need to preserve for the good of a safe and healthy society?  We wrestle with these questions and more.  We mention Jim Jones, Swedenborgianism, the Guru Maharaji, Amway, Scientology, and the FLDS. We love everyone.  Please don't sue us; we have no money and few assets, so it wouldn't be worth it.   Moreover, we are critical of ourselves and our own communities, various states that never really done nobody wrong, and the entire Inland Empire on occasion.  So it's all in good fun.  If we talk about your group, and you don't think we've represented it properly, feel free to explain where we were mistaken in the comment section.  Or, better, stage a press conference explaining why you think Virtue in the Wasteland is bad, making sure to get coverage from the major media outlets, and making sure to wear your sect's most distinctive clothing and strange hairdos, if applicable.  For the rest of you good listeners: avoid prophets with free Kool-Aid.  

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Are books always better than movies based on those books?  Can mythology have the same effect on a big screen that it has when passed on through oral tradition.

We discuss the promises and perils of making books into movies.  We focus on Steinbeck's East of Eden and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, but we also mention and/or discuss the following: Ian Flemming's James Bond stories, Michael Crighton and Jurassic Park, Steven King's Shawshank Redemption, Nick Hornby and High Fidelity, Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Cormack McCarthy's The Road, that the Cohen Brothers would be the best filmmakers to redo Huckleberry Finn, whether we should like musicals, The Last Temptation of Christ, Jungian archetypes, the value of mythology, and the importance of fairy tales.

After recording the show, we found out that Alan Dean Foster made novelizations of several popular films, including Star Wars: A New Hope.  

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We freestyle chat about the nature of the good life and the ways in which we measure life's success.  This is about vocational questions for young people looking to the future or folks who want to redirect their lives later in the game.  We mention Daoism, LeBron James and The Decision, Stoicism, and whether you might want to rethink your current path.

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This week’s show is a Wasteland Companion episode- that is, a show where we take a book and walk through its themes, history, big ideas, etc… You need not have ANY prior knowledge of the book to listen. If you do, hopefully this can jog some memories. We chose to talk about the brothers Karamazov because we both believe it to contain some of the more gut wrenching and savage attacks on human nature and God.  It also contains some of the most sincere people of faith in modern literature.  The Brothers Karamazov has been a major template for books and stories about brothers and families for over a century.  We discuss a bit of the history, a bit of the plot, a fair amount on the section you might know as the “Grand Inquisitor”, and we end up talking about the best arguments for the absence of a God, good and evil, freedom, slavery, and totalitarianism. Last week we were all parties and barbecues for the fourth of July. This week, it’s back in the wasteland as we discuss the big questions with a little help from our 19th century Russian pal, Fyodor Dostoyevsky 
“Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.” - The Grand Inquisitor
Click Here for the translation of the book we recommended on the show

On the show, Jeff mentions his favorite Orthodox friend, Tryphon, of All Merciful Savior Monastery,  who Jeff says is the embodiment of Zosima.  Trypon blogs too.  Here's an interview with him by someone else: 
The 4th of July is upon us! Are you ready for the party? No, seriously. Are you ready? We've all been to parties with terrible hosts, terrible guests, poorly thought out games or ice breakers, etc...  On today's summertime show we break from our recent heavier topics and talk about how to throw a party.  As we were discussing this idea with our friends and colleagues we realized that there are some definite party do's and don'ts.  And maybe this isn't as frivolous as we first thought.  Hosting a party can be an important event in bringing together various people and opening a camaraderie in our ever self secluding world.
If you downloaded the show before noon on Monday ,June 30th you got a version with the last minute or so cut off- it has been updated if you want to re download, or listen to the last minutes here

A year ago, when we first started delivering up these hot, delicious (and free!) podcasts we interviewed the experimental psychologist Dr. Betsi Little Van Fossen. Back then our little two-bit outfit had to Skype her in from Washington, one year later we have her with us live in studio! (The studio being Jeff's apartment). 
Being a B-side we talk all over the place, but we especially get into Betsi's work as a jury consultant, Dan's work with the OJ jury, and Jeff wearing pleated pants.
At its core, we do get into some serious stuff related to episode 51 on addiction and the war on drugs. 
We are also given a very fascinating look into how men and women fight, what ages kids are cranky and why (and when to kick your kids out of the house). I think we had as much recording this episode as any- it's a B-side! It's free! Enjoy!

Do we care enough about our neighbors to actually care about the best way to help them overcome addiction?  What if the best way to help them made you look like a vicious member of the HOA or PTA?  Would you allow your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to think you were vicious for the sake of true virtue?  Are privatized prisons ethical?  What's the history of the war on drugs? What are drugs?  What are steroids for that matter? Are some unable to just say no?  Do we answer all these questions?  No.  Do we confront several simplistic answers to these questions?  Yes.

We address the topics of addiction, rehab, alanon, narcanon, Nixon, decriminalization, cannabis legalization, cartels, virtue, philosophy, and sobriety.  We want our friends and neighbors to be free of oppressive addiction and inebriation.  But in our--most--controversial--show--yet (cue the reality show filler music), we suggest we may be doing a disservice to our neighbors by supporting the status quo related to the drug war.  

For information on alcoholism click here or for Alcoholics Anonymous click here.
For information on the war on drugs click here.
For a definition of addiction click here.  

In time for Father's Day, we chat with Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, Professor of Theology at CUI, and co-host of the White Horse Inn radio broadcast, about the importance of friendship and fathers. In the old days, we used to chat on his back deck like this without microphones.  This is not as freewheeling as those great days, but we get a glimpse of our major themes.   Joining us are many friends and colleagues, including Ted Rosenbladt and Steve Byrnes of New Reformation Press and now a new organization called 1517.  We talk about the launch of that organization too.   This painting is called "The Outsiders" by Don Spaulding, and used to hang in the Rosenbladt home in the days of the back deck.  

Apocalyptic thought isn’t just the domain of Christians obsessed with the book of Revelation.  On today’s episode we discuss the way that many have seen the end of the world coming, and how it effects the way they live in the present.

We steer clear of the “Left Behind” stuff  (for the most part) and look at current events stirring the news in Russia, and elsewhere that have the world up in arms (and talk of a new Cold War or 3rd World War).  We discuss the role of oil, the environment, and service to our neighbor as it relates to our obsession with the way the world will end (with a bang or a whimper).

We look back at some of the more fun (?) predictions that the world would end from 500 to the present.  We talk about the apocalyptic views from the Nazi’s and Marxists, the Mayans and the thoroughly underwhelming Y2K.  Dan sounds a bit like a professor for a bit talking about International Relations, and Jeff spooks us out by reading from the Dies Irae and a scary sounding part of the Hebrew Bible.  But both of us try to muffle the alarms of the extremists and keep our heads on straight in times which could get us all worked up (economically, politically, socially, etc…)

While we do discuss Christianity’s peculiar fascination with the end of the world, but try to keep it on the respectful tip- Jeff explains a little bit of theology as it pertains to larger social movements in the 20th c. and today. It was a hot day outside, and we had a good time recording in the cool of Dan’s office. Enjoy!

Thanks for your continued support of the show, feel free to comment or email with any questions and we will continue to produce shows- at least your Sunday shows (plus your occasional B sides) throughout the summer.

Check out some of the following links
Zeke Piestrup's documentary on Harold Camping (the preacher who claimed the world was going to end in 2011)
Verdi's Requiem (with the Dies Irae from the show)
Wu Tang Name Generator
Carlos Danger Name Generator

On today’s episode Dan admits that he may have skimmed a little money off the top off of a Brywood Elementary jog-a-thon in the 6th grade with his Bad Friend Larry and Jeff  bashes the Red Cross!!! 

Jeff has a reason, Dan does not. 

But, more to the point, today we discuss giving to charities and how not to get scammed. 

When tragedy strikes we find that Americans tend to be quite generous in giving. But are there ways in which organizations take advantage of this? If you want to make a difference with your dollars, how might you think about doing it? What if you don’t have dollars to give, how might you spend your time or talent helping others? 

We discuss giving back to society in our everyday life and work or how you might find a career doing charitable work. 

Check out the following links from today’s show. Also, try watching the sad Sarah McLachlan commercial without tearing up (or laughing inappropriately).

Charity Navigator 
America’s Worst Charities 
Chronicle of Philanthropy 
Sam Outlaw

The Show is available on Sunday June 1st at 5am PDT  via iTunes, Roku, Stitcher or you can get the direct link to download up in the right hand corner of the show page