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.

316 - Alexandra Snow (Dominatrix/Adventure Seeker)

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Alexandra was a nerdy kid who grew up to be a bad-ass bombshell. No doubt. We get into it all: What it's like to be a pro-dom; Why Star Trek is important; How sex is like travel; The therapeutic aspects of dominance and submission. Music: "Vim and Vigor," by Carsie Blanton.

315 - Wednesday Martin (Bestselling Author)

Wednesday Martin is the real deal. Her upcoming book, Untrue (out in September) is a look at the emerging science of female desire and some of the most prominent women behind the controversial research.Her memoir, Primates of Park Avenue was greeted as a hilarious, touching, and insightful look into the exotic world of Manhattan motherhood. Stepmonster, a finalist for the prestigious Books for a Better Life Award, is widely considered the “go-to” source for stepmothers, adult stepchildren, therapists and others who seek a uniquely candid, interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comprehensive look at the topic. She is also the author of Marlene Dietrich, tracing the actress and cabaret performer's life, career, and impact on the image of women.

Music: "Two Sticks," by Joel Havea.

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir
By Wednesday Martin Ph.D.

314 - Wil Forbis (Musician/Author/Smartypants)

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I came across Wil's blog years ago, while researching primate penises (it was called "My So-Called Penis), and have been a fan of his insightful, comic take on life ever since. We finally got together on his back porch in San Diego a decade later. Wil has a book called Acid Logic. What more do you need? Wil's site. Download this episode.

313 - Tony Drewry (Terlingua Adventure Beer Company)

Tony was our door into Terlingua, Texas. Thanks to his quick response to an Instagram message, we met some of the good folks of that amazing little town, and ended up staying way longer than we'd planned. If you get out that way, drop in at his bar: TABC (Terlingua Adventure Beer Company), and give him a big hug from us. Download.

Follow Tony on Instagram, from where I stole that photo.

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312 - Cyrus Sutton (Filmmaker, Surfer, and Vangabond)

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Cyrus believes in creating films which promote curiosity and ecological literacy. He's been directing documentary films for fifteen years since his award-winning surf film Riding Waves in 2003. He won a Southwest regional EMMY when he was 23 and has directed hundreds of short films since (adapted from Cyrus's site). Download.

Cyrus's kick-ass Instagram

Poem: "Time," by Clay Roper.

Notes by Mike Buquicchio

 

Introduction (00:00 – 03:46)

(00:00) Update on travels and upcoming podcasts

(03:28) Introduction to Cyrus, housekeeping items

(06:45) Chris getting a finger in his ass

(08:45) SXSW and Cassie

(10:19) Song 1: Flabbergasted by Cassie

Interview: (10:46 – 1:34:27)

(10:46) Introduction banter, some van talk.

(14:49) Cyrus’ background, what he does, how he makes money.

(20:22) Cyrus’ dog, Miley, making animals happy, love.

(21:50) Talking about Cyrus’ films, polynesian farming, permaculture, surfing.

(26:15) Philosophy on modernity, civilized to death

(37:14) Cyrus’ upbringing, reinventing your world, travelling, modernity continued

(41:00) Questioning people's motives, what makes people tick.

(45:45) Advertisements, sponsorships, commercialism

(48:45) Cyrus in a Black Mirror scenario, being exiled from the surf world

(53:42) Using success to promote good things (body surfing), proliferation of culture  you’ve been promoting for years and detaching your ego from them.

(58:28) Fame (Actors vs Podcasters)

(1:00:10) DNA tests and finding out ethnicity

(1:01:29) Feeling at home elsewhere, travelling, getting stuck in Barcelona, Spanish culture

(1:10:46) Shame being an armor to keep love out, shedding shame.

(1:15:05) Backpacking to Alaska and Chris being an arrogant youngin’ and figuring out who he is. Having kids, having love flowing through your life.

(1:21:27) What's next for Cyrus?  Leaving room for spontaneity in life. Traveling in Scarlet Jovanssen and what's next for Chris.

(1:27:20) Ending banter

(1:28:00) End of Interview

(1:28:01) Outro

(1:30:15) Poem: "Time," by Clay Roper.

(1:31:58) Song 2: “Smoke Alarm” by Carsie Blanton

 

Episode Links:

Cyrus Sutton’s Instagram

Tangentially Reading

Music: Basin and Range

Music: Carsie Blanton

Support Tangentially Speaking thru Patreon

Tangentially Speaking Amazon site

Sure Design T-shirts

Discuss episodes with others on Reddit

Find TS listeners near you

 

311 - Mickey Avalon and Simon Rex (aka Dirt Nasty)

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 Painting by Mickey Avalon

Painting by Mickey Avalon

These dudes are damned smart, funny, and talented. I caught up with them on tour, after their show in San Diego. If you like to have fun, catch them when they come to a town near you! If you don't like to have fun, WTF? Download.

Tour Dates.

 Painting by Mickey Avalon

Painting by Mickey Avalon

Notes by Mike Buquicchio
Introduction (00:00 – 3:46)
(00:00) Introduction to Mickey and Rex, self-deprecation and self-awareness
Interview: (3:47 – 1:14:53)
(3:48) Introduction Banter
(7:45) Discussing Fashion, tattoos
(9:09) Adulthood, the evolution of music
(13:44) Rap music, Rex interviewing Tupac while high
(17:10) The birth of Dirt Nasty and Mickey Avalon, various other personas
(29:30) Performing Overseas (Japan, Holland, ect.)
(34:49) Mickey on starting and kicking drugs, drugs for different personality types
(38:55) Performing on drugs (Sports & Music)
(41:45) Mickeys painting career and car collection
(48:00) Mickeys parents, Rex Producing beats
(54:43) Tasting Wine, Are sommeliers full of shit?
(59:48) What's next for Mickey and Rex?
(1:03:16) Group dynamics, The Beatles, Ending Banter
(1:10:45) End of Interview
(1:10:46) Outro
(1:12:27) Song 2: “Smoke Alarm” by Carsie Blanton
Episode Links:
Tangentially Reading
Music: Basin and Range
Music: Carsie Blanton
Support Tangentially Speaking thru Patreon
Tangentially Speaking Amazon site
Sure Design T-shirts
Discuss episodes with others on Reddit
Find TS listeners near you

310 - Lisa Menna (Magician and Activist)

 From the Cause to Wonder Facebook page.

From the Cause to Wonder Facebook page.

Lisa Menna uses the wonder provoked by her magic tricks to trigger real magic: the kinds of thoughts that can make the world a better place. Having performed in over 40 countries, Lisa and her organization (Cause to Wonder) are working to show people around the world that good things come to those who respect and protect women and girls. Download

Notes by Mike Buquicchio

Introduction (00:00-07:26)
(00:00) Introduction to Lisa, Scarlett Jovansson Update.
(05:35) - Downward trajectory of US politics.
Interview (07:27-1:02:46)
(07:27) Introduction banter
(08:27) Lisa’s current and future travel plans and the idea of being nice to women.
(10:27) Using magic to influence people/the world and manifest curiosity in everything.
(12:24) Experiences using magic in Africa, creating myths to change behavior.
(15:01) The Curiosity Curmudgeon Curve - Why older people dislike magic.
(19:58) Perception and impact of Lisa’s Mozambique performances
(22:40) Did Jesus do Magic? Missionaries hating on Magic.
(27:52) Theatre, social change and spreading the message.
(31:23) How many countries has Lisa been to? How is magic perceived in different cultures?
(34:32) Using subtle cultural cues in Magic to connect to audience and teach lessons. Various tricks Lisa
has up her sleeve and poop in the water!
(37:30) Cause to Wonder non-profit, using provocative events that create curiosity to develop adaptive
evolutionary thought and other missions.
(42:35) How Lisa got into magic and evolution of performances. Powerful story from Sri Lanka. Lisa’s
experience on Shark Tank.
(48:35) Beauty in humans from different parts of the world. Mustaches.
(50:10) Work in the corporate world. Opportunities to learn in the world.
(54:38) Fear vs Hate in cultures and personal lives.
(56:24) Internet and the impact on the curiosity and creative thoughts. Discussing wonder. Ending
Banter.
(58:30) End of Interview.
(58:31) Outro
(01:00:13) “Smoke Alarm” by Carsie Blanton

 

309 - Josh Fox in New Orleans (Film-maker, Playwright)

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I caught up with Oscar-nominated director Josh Fox in New Orleans (Gasland I and II, How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change), where he's doing his Josh Fox things: writing, organizing political protests against a fracked gas power plant, playing music, creating art (paintings), and eating a lot of crawfish. His cat Sandy joins us to rub her face on the microphones. Download. Josh on Twitter.

308 - Diana Adams (Lawyer / LGBTQ Rights Activist)

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Diana is the founder of a boutique LGBTQ family law and mediation firm based in New York City and Frankfurt, Germany, serving primarily same-sex couples and non-nuclear families. Diana is about supporting  healthy, stable families, whether between same-sex couples, platonic co-parents, polyamorous families, or different-sex couples, by facilitating conversations that support the creation of clear personal agreements, as well as solid legal agreements to protect their families. Download.

Follow Diana on Twitter: @DianaAdamsEsq

307 - Jeff Leach (Microbiome Expert / Anthropologist)

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Like millions of people, I first became aware of Jeff Leach when I read about his attempt to transfer a hunter/gatherer's fecal matter to his own colon as a way to study the human microbiome. Little did I know I'd find myself sitting across the table from him in rural Texas a few years later or that he'd agree to share his insights with me on a podcast. Jeff's published in Science, Nature and everywhere else a groundbreaking researcher could dream of, but he's too busy with new projects to reflect much on past successes. Download.

306 - John Duarte (Long Distance Cyclist & Photojournalist

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Cassie and I met John Duarte at a highway rest stop in Dateland, AZ. He was riding his bike from El Paso to San Diego, which is a short "training run" for him. Join us for this spontaneous conversation in the van. #vanthropology2018 Download.

Show Notes By: Chris Mulholland

00:00 - 08:06 - Intro

(00:00) Spontaneity, travelling and podcasting/instagram recommendation

(03:15) Terlingua and Jeff Leach

(05:19) This episode’s intro on John Duarte, mega cyclist

08:06 - 59:07- Conversation

(08:06) ‘Dateland Arizona’/John’s cycling from Tucson to San Diego for training called the “border run”

(11:25) East to West (the Southern Tier) Saint Augustine FL to San Diego following the Adventure Cycling Association’s maps/soft chair = sore butt

(13:00) Does John ever question himself/no encounters w wild animals

(15:08) Only recently got into long distance cycling/more traveller than cyclist/cycling is a way to see the world/loneliness

(17:25) Cycling and “diplomatic immunity”/broke pelvis (hit by a car)/John’s advice: always be aware of your surroundings/motorbiking vs cycling

(21:19) First trip ‘Great Allegheny Passage’ on the ‘C&O’ canal from Pittsburgh to Washington DC and then Cuba, Europe and across the US.

(24:35) Around the world/other people who’d done it: Thomas Stevens in 1886 on a penny-farthing/William Sachtleben & Thomas Allen Jr. in 1890s on safety bikes and taking pictures

(28:28) Photojournalist - expedition sports photos

(29:34) Seeing different cultures + the overall homogeneity of humans

(29:57) Going to the “scary places” (not so bad)

(31:53) “People are amazingly similar”/can travel freely across the states/getting busted for camping behind a church

(33:34) Longest trip was from Cabo da Roca (Portugal) to Hanoi/Turkish & Russian/silk road tales

(44:56) Tea/learning from being on the road

(47:09) John moved to France (as a kid) and then the US

(49:48) John’s “retired”/how does the wife deal with his long journeys/tip for longlife: ‘keep moving

(55:08) Take meaning from life/social interactions w people/isolation from society can be dangerous

(59:07) Jump on John’s site jmdfoto.net and conversation finished.

Played out with ‘Smoke Alarm’ by Carsie Blanton

Episode Links:

Tangentially Reading

Music: Basin and Range

Music: Carsie Blanton

Support Tangentially Speaking thru Patreon

Tangentially Speaking Amazon site

Sure Design T-shirts

Discuss episodes with others on Reddit

Find TS listeners near you

305 - Mike Lang (My Best Buddy)

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 Prom night, 1979.

Prom night, 1979.

Mike has been my best-buddy since I was 15 years old. The Mr. Spock to my Captain Kirk, he's kept me marginally out of trouble for 40 years now. Mike's a talented musician, speaks several languages fluently, and comes out of a confluence of culture and history. There's nobody quite like him. Download.

304 - Zhana Vrangalova (Sex Educator/Researcher)

Zhana is a NYC-based sex researcher, writer, podcaster, and educator. She has a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, where she studied how different aspects of sexuality (especially casual sex/promiscuity and mostly heterosexuality) are linked to health and well-being. Currently an adjunct professor at the NYU Psychology department, Zhana teaches the first Human Sexuality course offered there in a long, long time. Download.

Zhana's Twitter. Her podcast is called The Science of Sex.

Music: "The Animal I Am," and "Smoke Alarm," by Carsie Blanton.

303 - Bruce Damer (Origins of life/Future in Space)

Bruce is Canadian-American multi disciplinary scientist, designer, and author. He collaborates with colleagues developing and testing a new model for the origin of life on Earth and in the design of spacecraft architectures to provide a viable path for expansion of human civilization beyond the Earth. He began his career in the 1980s developing some of the earliest user interfaces for personal computers, led a community in the 1990s bringing the first multi-user virtual worlds to the Internet, and since 2000 supported NASA and the space industry on numerous simulations and spacecraft designs. He has spent 25 years chronicling the history of computing in his DigiBarn Computer Museum and curates archives of counterculture figures such as Dr. Timothy Leary, Terence McKenna and others. He currently serves as Principal Scientist at DigitalSpace; Associate Researcher in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz; Associate of the NASA Astrobiology Center; Member of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life, and Founding Director of the Contact Consortium. He also served as Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington and as a member of the Faculty at Charles University, Prague. Bruce hosts a podcast called Levity Zone. Download this episode.

Music: "One of the Good Ones," by Leo DiSanto.

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A Ladies Man and Shameless

JOHN PERRY BARLOW• DEC. 10, 2001 

Das ewig weibliche zieht uns hinan.

The eternally feminine leads us forward.

                                     — Goethe

 

He who binds himself to a joy does the winged life destroy,

But he who kisses the joy as it flies lives in Eternity’s sunrise.

                                     — William Blake

 

Only connect.

                                     — E. M. Forster

 

I‘m finally ready to declare myself. I am a ladies’ man. A womanizer. A libertine. A rake. A rogue. A roué. A goddamn running loose dog. I’d admit to being a lecher, but that word implies a solipsistic predation that I hope never applies to any of my relations with the mysterious sex. This is about something more sacred than anything a drooling wanker could appreciate.

This is about worship. From the time the testosterone kicked in, I have knelt at the altar of that which is female in this world. I love women. What I love in them is something that moves and must be free to do so. I love their smells, their textures, their complexities, the inexhaustible variety of their psychic weather patterns. I love to flirt with them, dance with them, and to discourse with them endlessly on the differences between men and women. I love to make love.

The sexual fires have always burned bright in my brainstem. Priapically preoccupied, I’ve written poetry by the ream, stormed police lines, ridden broncs, thrown punches and generally embarrassed myself on countless occasions. (Actually, I suspect that history consists largely of foolish things men have done to show off for women.)

There are probably twenty-five or thirty women — I certainly don’t count them — for whom I feel an abiding and deep emotional attachment. They’re scattered all over the planet. They range in age from less than half to almost twice my own. Most of these relationships are not actively sexual. Some were at one time. More never will be. But most of them feel as if they could become so. I love the feel of that tension, the delicious gravity of possibilities.

I must also admit that for me this gravity generally increases with novelty. The New, the fresh and unknown expanses of the emotional frontier, hold a fascination for me that I wish they did not. This breeds superficiality and the appearance of a hunger for conquest. But, unfortunately, I love the voltage, the charged gap between two people that can draw across itself such huge flows of information from so many parts of us. I love the feel of human bandwidth — intercourse on all channels — and there is so much more to exchange when nothing is yet known.

Despite many clear and cosmic messages that women (and death) were meant to be the curricula of my life — my dharma — and that practically everything I’ve done has been about trying to understand them, I resisted formal matriculation into this perilous course of study until well past the age when most men have already given up and settled into monogamies as comfortable and unquestioned as their football loyalties.

And now, late in my forties, I doubt I’ll ever be monogamous again. For reasons I’ll explain, I feel strangely exiled into a condition of emotional wandering. I think my heart will travel widely. I want to know as many more women as time and their indulgence will permit me.

Even so, I also want to go on loving the women I love now — and I do love them — for the rest of my life. These are relationships that have already lasted much longer than most marriages, even though some of them had to endure the hiatus of my own previous monogamies, one imposed by society, the other by what felt like an act of God.

The Road to Hell

I tried monogamy despite feeling from the get-go that being monogamous made as much sense as declaring that I liked, say, mashed potatoes and gravy so darned much that I would resolve to eat nothing else for the rest of my life.

So I got married and stayed that way for seventeen years, attempting with some grim success to impose fidelity on myself. It was, I figured, the price I had to pay in return for a good place to raise kids. And though I loved my ex-wife, and still do, I wasn’t in love with her. Didn’t believe in it, actually. I thought being in love was a myth people had invented to punish themselves for lacking it.

Fidelity always felt like work: an act of will rather than nature. As time passed, nature gradually gained the upper hand, as she almost always does. I was never quite able to stop flirting — a form of exchange that has always felt holy to me — nor was I able to disguise from my wife my undiminished appreciation of other women. This led to sexual distance between us, and I started to get hungry. There began to be incidents of what is called, in rock n roll, “offshore drilling.”

Not realizing that women hate deceit even more than they hate infidelity — and they always know — I turned into a sneak and a liar. I became someone I couldn’t respect, and so I left my marriage.

Not long after that, I experienced the miracle of voluntary monogamy for one brief and blissful period, during which, at the age of forty-six, I did fall in love for the first time in my life. During the year that followed, it was as though there were no other women except in the most abstract sense. I still delighted in the presence of pulchritude, but it was an appreciation as sublime in its detachment as my enjoyment of nature’s other wonders. I didn’t want to do anything about these beauties, any more than I would want do something about sunsets or Bach fugues. Cynthia was the only woman. But two days before we were to be married, I put her on a plane in Los Angeles and somewhere between there and New York the virus that had been secretly consuming her stopped her heart.

The most important consequence of losing Cynthia is that I now believe in the human soul. I had to see it and, once seen, it became obvious to me. No longer did I dismiss it as a biological artifact, a kind of software that arises in the electrochemical sputterings of the squishyware and cannot run otherwise. Rather I can feel the soul as an independent though immaterial identity that wears bodies like a costume.

I finally had the answer to a question I’d been asked shortly before I met her. I’d been speaking to a bunch of kids at the New York University film school about Virtual Reality when I got the usual question about virtual sex. This was such a predictable question that I had a mental tape I always ran in response to it that went something like: “I don’t get the fascination with virtual sex. Sex is about bodies, and being in VR is like having had your body amputated. What could be less sexy?”

At this point, a very embodied young woman in the front row raised her beautiful hand. “But don’t you think,” she asked, “that when it comes to sex, the body is just a prosthesis?”

My tape stopped running. “A prosthesis for what?”

“That’s the interesting question, isn’t it.” she smiled, all sphinxy.

Yeah. That was the interesting question alright, and Cynthia, in both the way she inhabited her body and the way she remained after leaving it, answered it for me. There is indeed a hand that moves the hand, there is a kiss that lives inside both sets of lips.

At that point I decided that, whatever the pressures of society or the propensity of most women to insist on it, I wouldn’t attempt monogamy again unless and until I encountered someone who induced it in me as naturally as she did. And I like to believe that nothing would make me happier than to have that happen. To fall in love. To be singularly devoted again.

(But I have to confess to aspects of my current behavior pattern that are subconsciously designed to prevent this very thing from happening. If just once in your life you’ve put all of your emotional eggs in one basket, only to have that basket smashed almost immediately, it inclines you toward more distributed systems of emotional support.)

There is a central woman in my life, a luminous Swede who lives in San Francisco. She is the person I always call when I feel bad in the middle of the night. She is beautiful and funny, as game on an adventure as Indiana Jones; she is a sexual poet, and I love her.

That she is not the only woman in my life pains her — as will this piece — and I wish to cause her no pain. But I learned from my marriage what suffering can be inflicted by someone who tries unsuccessfully to contain himself in the service of someone else’s feelings.

And scrupulous honesty, though it requires courage on both sides, is a lot more practical than most men believe it to be. The fact that I don’t lie to her about these other encounters brings us closer rather than separating us. And sin, as Nietzsche said (and I often quote), is that which separates.

A Pariah’s Advantages

While I’ve been honest about all this to my girlfriend and the other objects of my affection, I haven’t come clean in public until now. It’s an odd omission. I’ve tried to write as candidly as possible about my other deviations from standard American morality. I’m in the lucky position of being so de-institutionalized that I can say whatever I like without fear of adverse economic consequences. Indeed, lunatic candor seems to be my primary product these days. Like Hunter S. Thompson, the badder I get, the better I get paid.

A bad reputation can set you free. After all, if you’ve already declared yourself to be a pot-smoking, acid-addled slut, your opponents are forced to oppose your ideas on their merits, rather than strategically revealing your hidden depravities. Shame is no weapon against the shameless.

In fact, part of what motivates this public revelation is a belief that I am behaving morally, despite following a course that society would generally condemn. My conscience is clear, a fact that is not simply due to poor memory or an unwillingness to examine it carefully.

These admissions are also related to the fact that I find myself a few gray hair-breadths away from turning fifty, an age beyond which surreptitious ladies’ men become pathetic in direct proportion to the uneasiness they feel with their own lascivious impulses.

The phrase “dirty old man” begins to haunt me, especially as I continue to find my pot-bellied old self attracted to the same youthful feminine specifications that put steel in my poker when I was twenty-five.

Yet that’s not all there is to it: for me, it is the combination of these two beauties, the inner and the outer, that draws me most compellingly. There are plenty of perfectly formed surfaces that have no light within them and they don’t do much for me. At the same time, there are beautiful souls within bodies that are the female equivalent of my own, and while some of these are close friends, they lack the sexual spice that really fuels most discourse between the sexes.

I thus remain convinced that there is something holy about beauty, whether attached to a woman or a waterfall, and I have the entire history of art — at least until the Twentieth Century — to back me up on this. I don’t think of beauty as being something that is part of a woman, but rather something like a mist that gathers around her that becomes more beautiful if illuminated brightly from within. The real beauty, the part that lasts, is in the soul and not the skin.

Even when one is seeking sex between souls, the “prostheses” they wear are not irrelevant.

King Dick Meets My Inner Lesbian

But ironically enough, a lot of being sexy means getting past the root-level sex drive. One of the great moments in my sexual education came some years back when Dick Caveat was interviewing Raquel Welch at the height of her va-va-voomishness. “Tell me, Raquel,” he leered, “what’s your favorite erogenous zone?”

She paused, gave him a level look that completely revised my opinion of her intelligence, and said crisply, “My mind, Dick.”

The mind, I have since discovered, is just about every woman’s favorite erogenous zone, but it is  mystical terrain and must be explored with care and time. The dick, in its youthful phase, is not big on care or time. It is the very definition of urgency. It makes non-negotiable demands of its bearer that are related to the inner nature of its target only to the extent that some knowledge of her has strategic value in getting her into bed.

Now my formerly dictatorial appendage is more like an old sidekick. A fellow veteran. It doesn’t have the same reload rate of old, but there’s no ejaculatio praecox to worry about either. The old soldier can pace itself. And if it can’t spit five shots in quick succession, it’s no longer calling my shots as it once did. Into the vacuum of its diminished authority has risen my heretofore undiscovered inner lesbian.

My inner lesbian is a wonderful accomplice, since she knows a lot about what turns women on, is more attuned to sensuality than the old in-out, and believes strongly that the journey is the reward. This doesn’t mean that she is not interested in orgasms, but she knows that one great thing about being a woman is that if you can come at all — which a lamentably high percentage cannot — you can usually come a lot and in a variety of ways. She makes it a lot easier to get away from my own sexual objectives and into the multifarious delights of the joint critter, the one Shakespeare called “the beast with two backs.”

And creating that larger organism, making the Other into the Self, merging the Self into the Other is, after all, what sex is ultimately about. And of course, the point is not to have a self at all. To be Everything.

The Infinity of Love

All said, you’re probably wondering why any woman would want to become emotionally or physically involved with a man whose promiscuity is so freely confessed. Of course, many of them don’t. I eliminate a lot of opportunity by wearing my Don Juan warning placard so visibly (even then, the hesitant don’t leave me entirely bereft).

But most of the resistance to becoming involved with a self-admitted playboy has to do with that all-important female perception of being special. It is hard to feel that knowing there are others out there. But there is an answer to this, and finding it has enabled me to feel a deeper sense of connection not only with women but with all the rest of my species.

The answer is that everyone is special. So also is every relationship. The creature that forms between any one person and another is like no other creature in the world. It is theirs and theirs alone. Furthermore, while time and space and attention may be painfully finite, love is not. Love has no quantity to exhaust. It is a quality, a living thing, that grows stronger the more it is felt. The vigorous practice of love expands the heart and opens its apertures to the world.

In other words, to love a lot of women, you have to love them, without a trace of bullshit, one woman at a time. You have to bring each of them with you into the perfectly present, creating there a private zone of space and time that can be filled with that particular love. You won’t have any of the comforting (though generally broken) social conventions to assure you that your vulnerability is safe. There are no assurances at all except for those that come directly from the feeling of  connection you can make together. You are, in effect, beating back the darkness with the light you generate yourselves.

When I judge myself, there is one question I ask: Would I want my daughters to encounter a man like me? And because I want them to be brave in their love, because I want their faith to be annealed by experience on the edge, I hope they find a few of my kind. But I hope they don’t bring too many of us home.

302 - Johann Hari (Author/Journalist)

Johann is the author of Chasing the Scream and Lost Connections -- both of which are largely about the traumas created by trying to live in a pathogenic society. He's a brilliant writer and conversationalist. In the first part of this podcast, we're in his hotel room in Beverly Hills (Thanks, Rupert Murdock!). The second part is in my car, headed south on the 405. I had a great time hanging with Johann, and hope you enjoy it, too. Download this episode.

Notes by Chris Mullholland

Introduction (00:00-15:05)

(00:00) Similarities b/w Chris (C) and Johann’s POV/Johann bio/Amazon affiliate link a go/amped about episode with Bruce Damer.

(11:00)- Played out w Simon Van Gend’s “Watermelons” from the album ‘Suffer Well’.

Interview Part 1 (15:05-1:02:28)

(15:05) Intro to Johann Hari (J)/accent suggests race in the US and class in the UK

(21:50) People miserable in expensive hotels/Prof. Richard Wilkinson’s theory of social distance

(23:10) J’s latest book, ‘Lost Connections’/Prof. Robert Sapolsky and causes of depression in humans.

(27:23) Inequality goes up, depression follows/Amish and low levels of depression.

(28:48) Rebecca Solnit’s “Paradise Built in Hell”/lives of meaning and meaninglessness

(30:12) Social mobility in the UK vs in the US

(31:17) Dramatic increase of rates of depression is the topic of J’s “Lost Connections”

(31:58) J’s experience w depression/”take these pills”

(33:00) The stories society (we) tells as opposed to the (hard/real) truths to discover

(35:23) Both of J’s books deal w “pathogenic society”/obesity as proxy/social and spiritual crisis = social and spiritual answer

(40:05) Dr Sam Everington and loneliness/reconnection w groups and the natural world

(44:00) C suggests the mismatch b/w our evolution and current lifestyles

(45:50) Ambition/”junk values”/intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation/babies know the big Maccers Golden Arches

(51:45) J’s intrinsic motive for ‘Chasing the Scream’/J rekons C is an intrinsic interviewer/the honest balance b/w intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

(59:10) External advertising banned in Sao Paulo

(59:38) Donald Trump and extrinsic values

(101:19)  J’s spiel about “Lost Connections”

End Part 1 (1:02:28)

(1:02:28) C’s interlude/another tune from Simon van Gend, “Dream Boats”

 Interview Part 2 ( 1:08:30-1:53:26) ‘the car times’ (the 405)

(1:08:30) Disconnection from the natural world/having a view of natural scenery and the mental and physical health of people in prisons and hospitals.

(1:11:30) The natural world and addiction/psychedelics, subjective intensity and curative properties/societal change

(1:16:55) Johann’s practical advice/the individual struggle/Kotti housing project/cafe anal/seemingly disparate communities coming together

(1:27:28) Home=village vs home=apartment

(1:29:42) What can people do? Change society (more than just individual change)

(1:31:23) Andrew Sullivan/rights of minorities and the struggle/the pessimism of our ability to change is a symptom of our society

(1:34:17) Optimistic? Pessimistic?

(1:37:52) C’s superorganism (institution) argument/depression is the indigestion of society (don’t medicate it away!)

(1:43:49) A social and spiritual crisis needs a social and spiritual response/Dr Brett Ford and happiness in Japan, Russia, Taiwan and the US

(1:49:12) The ipad and the reality

(1:49:40) Internet rehab centre

(1:51:21) Graceland is a North Korean shrine to Elvis

End of Interview (1:53:26)  Elvis didn’t write any songs. 

 

Episode Links:

Johann Hari, ‘Lost Connections’

Johann Hari, ‘Chasing the Scream’:

“What’s Up, World!” podcast

Musician Simon van Gend

Tangentially Speaking Website

Rebecca Solnit, ‘A Paradise Built in Hell’

301 - Steve Silberman (Author/Science Journalist)

Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology ReviewNatureSalonShambhala Sun, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Avery 2015), which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.”  Steve's Twitter handle is @stevesilberman. Download this episode.

300 - Michael Brooks (Talk Show Host and Political Analyst )

Michael Brooks is host of the Michael Brooks Show and contributing host for the four time award winning independent political talk show, The Majority Report. He appears regularly as a political and cultural analyst on outlets including Huffpost Live, SirusXM, AlJazeera English, CCTV and France 24. His writing has appeared in Al Monitor, Al Jazeera, the Washington Post, among others, and he has blogged for leading trend watch site PSFK. He is also know for his impressions of cultural figures from Donald Trump to Nelson Mandela. Download.

Music: "Promised Land," by Ed Dupas.

Michael's Twitter: @_michaelbrooks

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299 - Jamie Kilstein (Comic/Former SJW/Podcast Host)

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Jamie was a prominent stand-up comic before he drifted into political commentary, eventually becoming a leading voice among the social justice warrior crowd, with his radio show (Citizen Radio). That ended when he was accused of "inappropriate behavior" and he suddenly found himself the target of the same kinds of uncritical condemnation he'd directed at others. It's been a wild ride, but he's back on his feet, and wiser for it. Check out his podcast: Fuckuppod. Twitter: @jamiekilstein, Instagram: @fuckuppod. 

Download.

298 - David Stansfield (Arabist/Author)

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One Last Great Wickedness
By David Stansfield

David Stansfield has spent many years studying Arabic and the cultures of the Middle East. Together with his partner and wife of 42 years, Denise Boiteau, he has produced documentaries for television and written several books. He's a sophisticated, kind, and fascinating man. Download this episode. Music: "Lonely Road," by The Kind Red Spirits.

297 - David Beckingham (Singer/Songwriter)

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At the age of 12 David Beckingham moved with his family to Kenya where they lived, with rationed electricity and no phone line, for 2 and a half years. It was there that he discovered a love for the guitar and singing. This past summer, he drove down to Oregon to catch the eclipse with me. Afterwards, we hung out in the woods and on the slopes of Mount Hood for a few days, where we recorded this podcast. Download. You can find his music on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, etc.

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