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12-24-10: Special Podcast Extra : Jeffrey Rossman on 'The Mind-Body Mood Solution'

"Take Heed of that message that we're getting from somewhere deep inside of us that something needs to change..."

—Jeffrey Rossman

This Sunday, on KUSP's Talk of the Bay, from 7-8 PM PST, I'll, be doing a live, in-studio interview with Jeffrey Rossman, author of 'The Mind-Body Mood Solution: The Breakthrough Drug-Free Program for Lasting Relief from Depression,' a well-written and concise holistic approach to getting yourself in a better mood without using prescription meds.

Rossman's book is an excellent synthesis of a lot of work I've read of late, from Michael Pollan to Karen Armstrong. By including information from a variety of sources, by taking a wide view, he achieves a bracing vision of an informed lifestyle that can benefit everyone, not just the depressed.

While the book talks about and addresses depression, to my mind it's a good book to read even if you don't see yourself as depressed. The full spectrum of thought that Rossman covers is an engaging synthesis of common sense and cutting-edge medicine, with a philosophical nod to the juncture of spirituality and science.

The interview on Sunday is in a call-in show, so here are the phone numbers you can call: 1-800-655-5877, or 831-476-2800. You can hear my phone interview with Jeffrey Rossman by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

12-21-10: Nick Mamatas Reads at SF in SF Halloween Celebration, October 23, 2010

" are going to ruin zombies forever..."

—Nick Mamatas

Nick Mamatas wasted little time in his reading talking about himself. In fact, he said nothing, but immediately launched in what might have been the most off-putting preface to a reading I have ever heard a writer dare to give.

It begins, like most off-putting events, with an idea that seems irresistible. "Let's get George Romero to put his name on an imprint of zombie novels."

I'm here to tell you that idea has been tried, and I'll let Nick Mamatas tell you the upshot. Let's just say that his wildly entertaining introduction – and well as being utterly off-putting, also made his story even more compelling.

I frankly think that the plethora of zombie-every-gods-damned-thing should, in a better world, be the death of zombies. But I have had the same hope about vampires. I was sick of vampires some twenty years ago, but for every ten watered-down, pathetic, drivel-and-tripe ripoff-o-ramas, one truly outstanding novel or short story appears.

As much as I love the original Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead movies, I actually think that movies are much more likely to be the death of zombies than books. In fact, were there more readings like that of Nick Mamatas, more intelligent takes, well-performed by their writers like "The Ethical Treatment of Meat" by Claude Laumière, then we'd have a much more unkillable body of zombie literature.

In fact killing zombies in San Francisco is all of what Nick Mamatas' story is about. You get out there and drill with the best of them by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

12-20-10: A 2010 Interview with David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill

"..this young suicide bomber, I asked, 'Are you ready to die?' and he said, 'Absolutely.'"

—David Rohde

"He was literally in a foreign country and I was suddenly thrust into a whole new world; FBI agents, private security contractors..."

—Kristen Mulvihill

It was a conundrum; where and how to interview David Rohde and Kristen Mulvihill. I had studio time booked at KUSP, which isn't always or even ever easy. But I've had problems with the sound there, and just as important, the studio is quite small. Since I had inveigled Charles Kruger to come film the interview, I wanted to be sure he could get us all in the frame. In the prod studio at KUSP, that would be impossible.

I looked into filming the interview at the local Community TV studio, but the costs would have been prohibitive. So, I went with plan C, an interview at KUSP in the large, well-lit meeting room. I just set up my usual rig and put us at a corner of the table. Charles showed up professionally early, as did David and Kristen. I had everything ready, and when we sat down to talk, everything disappeared but the three of us and our conversation.

Interviewing a couple is a challenge I particularly enjoy, because it gives me a chance to create a conversation between two people who know each other well. Apparently, even though David and Kristen had been interviewed to within an inch of their lives, I found some new avenues of inquiry, and it's always enjoyable to see that happen.

What happens to me is that as I listen to what the authors have to say, any questions I might have had get quickly tossed into the trash in favor of new queries based on what I'm hearing. And for me as well, in this case, I wasn't interested getting the two of them to recap what happened in the book; I'll let my readers have the pleasure of that experience first-hand. Instead, I wanted to talk about some of the subtexts of the book that I found interesting; the spirituality that I detected underneath both of their texts, though certainly limited and understated, seemed to be important to them.

It was also fascinating as ever to hear about the challenges they faced actually writing the book. David is used to a very different sort of writing, while Kristen has spent her time in the world of graphic design. They're a great pair in this book, and I wanted to find out how they summoned a very different muse to create the book. It proved to be one of those conversations that feels more like three people getting together to talk about a book they love than a Q & A. You hear the lack of questions and the eloquence of the answers by following this link to the MP3 audio file.

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10-20-14: Commentary : William T. Vollmann Tells 'Last Stories and Other Stories' : Atlas of the Afterlife

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with William T. Vollmann : "...that's the choice we make with death..."

10-19-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 179: William T. Vollmann : Last Stories and Other Stories

10-16-14: Commentary : Alix Christie Hires 'Gutenberg's Apprentice' : Fifteenth Century Start-Ups

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alix Christie : "This was the world's first tech start-up."

10-15-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 178: Alix Christie : Gutenberg's Apprentice

10-13-14: Commentary : Maureen Corrigan 'So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures' : The Power of Re-Reading

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Maureen Corrigan : "On his death in 1940, there were remaindered copies..."

10-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 177: Maureen Corrigan : So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures

10-03-14: Commentary : Lawrence Wright ' Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David' : Suspension of Belief

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Lawrence Wright : "...peace is possible..."

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