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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


"...you 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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Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jake Halpern : "...he goes to Las Vegas to this debt-buyers' convention..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 193: Jake Halpern : Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld

01-19-15: Commentary : David Shields and Caleb Powell Assert 'I Think You're Totally Wrong' : The Power to Bicker

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with David Shields and Caleb Powell : "I read no book reviews any more; the level of discussion is really pedestrian." David Shields "I'm just saying it's a conflict of interest!" Caleb Powell

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 192: David Shields and Caleb Powell : I Think You're Totally Wrong

01-17-15: Commentary : Charles Todd Expects 'A Fine Summer's Day' : We Interrupt This Program...

Commentary : Charles Todd Engages In 'A Test of Wills' : The Politics of Passion and Policing

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Charles and Caroline Todd : "...let them be themselves and sort it out..." Caroline Todd "...it's more on a personal level..." Charles Todd

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 191: Charles Todd : A Fine Summer's Day

01-13-15: Commentary : Rosalie Parker Unearths 'The Old Knowledge' : The New Old World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker : "I thought I'd write something for fun.." Ray Russell "..there was a side of me of that was interested in the strangeness..." Ros Parker

01-12-15: Commentary : Richard Ford 'Let Me Be Frank with You' : The Default Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Richard Ford : "...most of our politicians are morons..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 190: Richard Ford : Let Me Be Frank with You

01-06-15: Commentary : Bessel van der Kolk 'The Body Keeps the Score' : Human Trauma

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Bessel van der Kolk : "...being able to see what happens in the brain really helps us to understand certain things..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 189: Bessel van der Kolk : The Body Keeps the Score

01-03-15: Commentary : Rebecca Lloyd 'Mercy and other Stories' : "You humans are practiced executioners." Zanti Leader, The Outer Limits

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Audio Review of Rebecca Lloyd 'Mercy and other Stories' : "Our knives and monsters are ever ready, and as real as we need them to be."

12-30-14: Commentary : Kathy Freston 'Quantum Wellness' : : Tipping Points

12-29-14: Commentary : Kathy Freston Embraces 'The Lean' : Series of Successive Approximations

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kathy Freston : "...visualize how you'd like your life to look..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 188: Kathy Freston : Quantum Wellness, Veganist and The Lean

12-19-14: Commentary : Mark Samuels 'Written in Darkness' : Sinkholes of Despair

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Audio Review of Mark Samuels 'Written in Darkness' : "This is an abyss that is not content to merely gaze back."

12-16-14: Commentary : Christopher Hobbs and Leslie Gardner 'Grow It, Heal It' : Natural and Effective Herbal Remedies from Your Garden or Windowsill

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Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 187: Christopher Hobbs : Grow It, Heal It

12-09-14: Commentary : Tad Williams Is Caught 'Sleeping Late on Judgment Day' : As Below, So Above

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Tad Williams : ...Heaven and Hell couldn't be an open, on-going dramatic conflict; it would be more like the Cold War."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 186: Tad Williams : Sleeping Late on Judgment Day

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