Tangentially Speaking

Organic, revealing conversation with fascinating, freaky folks.
Ever wanted to hang with a dominatrix, comedian, famous health guru, or Italian prince? Here's your chance. Tangentially Speaking is dedicated to the idea that good conversation is organic, revelatory, and free to go down unexpected paths.

117 - Chris Jaymes (second visit)

Goofy-faced motherfucker. That's me in the mirror.

Goofy-faced motherfucker. That's me in the mirror.

Chris is a native of Hollywood. He's a filmmaker, writer, and musician. His latest project is about the healing potential of dolphins. Download. Here's a video of Bootstraps playing Oh California.

115 - Tao Ruspoli (Second Visit)

Tao's back yard in Venice, CA.

Tao's back yard in Venice, CA.

Tao is one of the most interesting people I know. His father hung with Fellini, Brigit Bardot, and Dali. Tao's family tree goes back 1200 years. He got guitar advice from Keith Richards, hangs with Oliver Stone, and he was married to film/TV star Olivia Wilde. He makes films about his passions—which range from philosophy to flamenco to the nature of love and marriage. Download.

Help Tao get Monogamish into the world.

Monogamish Trailer.

My previous podcast conversation with Tao.

Tao's short profile of a great flamenco guitarist: Manuel Molina.

Flamenco: A Personal Journey.

The article I mention about "falling in love" functioning to get us out of, not into relationships.

114 - Dr. Tanya Luhrmann (Psychological Anthropologist)

Dr. Tanya Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist best known for her studies of modern-day witches, charismatic Christians, and psychiatrists. She is Watkins University Professor in the Anthropology Department at Stanford University, writes a column for the New York Times, and is the author of several books, most recently, Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry and When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with GodDownload this episode.

Vid of El Principe Gitano is here.

113 - Richard Satnick (Part II)

My pal Richard has a talent for noticing where the trends of our society are headed, which makes him a very astute businessman and investor—as well as a fascinating and thoughtful observer of larger civilizational trends. Download.

112 - Mark Wiener

Go on. Google "total assfucker" and see if you don't see an article about this week's guest. If that's not enough to impress you, Mark is a guy who's spent his life in the trenches of American politics and hasn't lost his sense of humor or optimism. Don't ask me how that's even possible, but there you go. As you'll hear, I really enjoyed shooting the shit with Mark and hope to do it again soon. Download.

111 - Steve Herman (Child sex abuse assessment)

Steve Herman consults with legal professionals to help them think more clearly about an issue that all too often blinds even the most level-headed among us with blind rage: allegations of sexual abuse of children. Precisely because these crimes are so offensive to people in our society, we tend to jump to conclusions, often hurting many innocent people in the process—including children. This isn't an easy thing to talk about, but Steve does it with intelligence, balance, and a deep sense of humanity. Download.

109 - Dan Piraro (Bizarro)

Dan is a cigar-smoking vegan, animal rights activist, atheist, NRA hating, ex-husband, father, stand-up comedian, painter, former host of FOX TV’s “Utopia,” philosophizing cartoonist who makes his living writing and drawing a new cartoon every day, 365 days a year.

If you have ever seen Dan Piraro’s critically acclaimed comic Bizarro (and you have: it is published daily in over 360 papers), you know that he doesn’t see the world like the rest of us do. His single panel gems are a unique concoction of surrealistic imagery, social commentary, and witty plays on words. Indeed, if Salvador Dali, Garry Trudeau and Oscar Wilde had an illegitimate child, that child would be Dan Piraro. Download. (Bio from Dan's site.)


108 - Peter Gray


Peter Gray is an American psychologist who currently occupies the position of research professor of psychology at Boston College. He is the author of a widely used introductory psychology textbook, Psychology, now in its seventh edition. The book broke new ground when the first edition was published (in 1991) as the first general introductory psychology textbook that brought a Darwinian perspective to the entire field. He is also author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013), and he writes a popular blog for Psychology Today magazine entitled "Freedom to Learn."

Gray is a well-known critic of our standard educational system who is frequently invited to speak to groups of parents, educators, and researchers about children’s needs for free play, the psychological damage inflicted on children through our present methods of schooling, and the ways in which children are designed, by natural selection, to control their own education. Along with a group of other concerned citizens, he has created a website, AlternativesToSchool.com, aimed at helping families find alternative, more natural, routes to education. (From the Wikipedia profile of Peter.) Download.

107 - Phil Zuckerman

PHIL ZUCKERMAN is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is an author and blogs for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. In 2011 Zuckerman founded an interdisciplinary Department of Secular Studies at Pitzer College, the first in the nation.Get Phil's book on Amazon. Download this episode.

105 - John Gowdy

Dr. John Gowdy is Rittenhouse Teaching Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. We discuss the social and economic lives of hunter gatherers, among other things. Download.

104 - Richard (Japan)

Richard has lived in Japan for a dozen years, and knows the culture and language well. Since he's particularly interested in language, food, and sex, our conversation lingers around those topics—though as always, there's plenty of meandering. Download. Richard's site. Six Feet Under scene I talked about (Nate, not Jake). 

103 - Andy Gurevich's Third Visit

You know Andy. He's my occasional Podcast Power Bottom, professor of World Religions and World Literature, and an all-around fascinating dude.


Music: Intro, Basin and Range; Guelis, by Sabah Habas Mustapha & The Jungala All-Stars; Hanapepe Dream, by Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band; I Am the Walrus, The Beatles; Smoke Alarm, Carsie Blanton.

This American Life story about the honors student who gets some weed for the new girl (who happens to be a cop). The RUN DMC story is here. The story about the guy in the flying lawn chair is here.

102 - Daniel Pardi (Sleep Researcher)

From Dan's site: DAN PARDI is passionate about food, movement, and sleep. Interested in developing low-cost, high value health solutions. Also interested in anthropology, evolutionary biology, exercise and inactivity physiology, cognition, neuroeconomics, decision making, circadian biology, epistemology, gastronomy, food culture and politics, agriculture, sustainable practices, and dogs. Activities include mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking, dancing, and long walks with my headphones. 

Music: Natty, "The King Had a Dream." Nice vid here.

Download this episode.

More info:

  1. Stanford MedX presentation - 20min (wish I had more time!)
  2. Dan's article for Kresser - How mush sleep do you need?
  3. Academic articles on GHB neurobiology and abuse liability - both real snoozers! 
  4. Twitter: @dansplanhealth

101 - Doug Fry (Anthropologist of Peace)

Doug Fry has written extensively on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution. He believes that anthropology holds important current-day lessons: “The macroscopic perspective of anthropology, with its expansive time frame and culturally comparative orientation, provides unique insights into the nature of war and holds some concrete lessons for how to develop a more safe and peaceful world.” 

Fry’s most recent edited book is titled War, Peace and Human Nature (Oxford, 2013)and contains 27 chapters by leaders in the fields of biology, primatology, forager studies, peace studies, psychology, and social cultural anthropology. His previous book, Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace, is a fantastic introduction to this material for non-specialist readers.


100 - Cacilda Jethá

Dr. Cacilda Jethá is unlike anyone you've ever met. Guaranteed. She's been my wife, friend, co-author, and partner in crime for the past 15 years. She doesn't know many lives she's saved, how many people have died in front of her, or how many babies she's brought into the world. She's part Indian, part Persian, part African, part Portuguese, and speaks seven languages—sometimes all in one very confusing sentence. She's left-handed but learned to be ambidextrous. Like a lovely shaman, she dances between her worlds with incredible grace, generosity, and humor. Download.

Music: 1. Preto e Mi. Tito Paris. 2. Down in Belgorod. Paul Winter. 3. Petit Pays. Cesária Évora.

Photos: 1. Taken of us in Amsterdam, just after Sex at Dawn was published. 2. In medical school. 3. After winning the title of Fittest Woman in Catalonia (DIR Gyms) in 2002. 4. Early troubles with technology.

98 - Rick Doblin (MAPS)

In 1972, Rick decided to dedicate his life to bringing psychedelics out of the shadows and into laboratories and clinicians' offices. His path has included a PhD from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and the founding of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). In recent years, Rick's persistence has started paying off—to the benefit of thousands of people whose suffering can be alleviated by these powerful, sacred substances. MAPS has funded research involving MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for terminal cancer patients, victims of sexual abuse, and veterans suffering from PTSD—among many other applications.  Download. Visit MAPS.