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.

224 - Kelly Hennigan MacNiven (Cognitive Neuroscientist)

Kelly is a postdoc at Stanford. She's using fMRI to investigate whether cognitive processes may help predict relapse after addiction treatment. But we talk about everything from free will to hallucinogens to how the brain generates the feeling of having a mind. Download.

My conversation with Tyler (Kelly's hubby).

The most intense wedding invitation ever sent. When some thugs steal an important wedding document, a highly trained tactical team is sent in to save "the date."

222 - A. J. Leon (Misfit)

 A screen grab from AJ's  Instagram feed .

A screen grab from AJ's Instagram feed.

A.J. walked away from a corner office on Wall Street because he realized that his life was inauthentic. Since then, he's been on a roll. He founded Misfit—one of the most enigmatic, admirable hunter-gatherer enterprises around. His life is full of travel, love, passion, and positive energy. Plus, he's brilliant, good-looking, quotes Shakespeare from memory, and dances like a Cuban. Fuck that guy. Download.

Music: "Distinto," by Orishas; "Lekela Muadi," by Tshala Muana.

217 - ROMA 11

Listener's emails, mostly of the should-I-stay-or-should-I-go variety. The exquisite pain of young love. Download.

"Fuck McDonalds and Taco Bell," by Afroman.

The funniest bit of Frans de Waal's TED talk that I mention, with the cucumber and grapes.

215 - Georgina Haig (Actress)

I met Georgina on a plane. Long before the seatbelt sign had gone off, I knew I was going to enjoy chatting with her all the way to LA. Getting to know this smart, funny, candid, and quirky woman, the hours flew by. She agreed she'd appear on my podcast a few weeks down the road--once she'd finished shooting a film. I doubted she'd get around to it, but true to her word, she found some time for this wide-ranging conversation about fame, beauty, Hollywood, Australia, and what it's like to make a living pretending to be someone else.

(Conversation begins at minute 15.)

Download this episode.

Music: "Maggot Brain," by Funkadelic; "Down Under," by Colin Hay.

214 - Wade Davis (Author, Ethnobotanist, Explorer, Photographer)

 Photo: http://www.daviswade.com/

Photo: http://www.daviswade.com/

One River
By Wade Davis

Wade Davis is an extraordinary man. Follow this link to his full bio, which is pretty mind-blowing. Despite all his titles, awards, and other accolades, you'll hear that he's a very approachable guy who's having a blast living his life. Poetry seems to flow naturally from Wade's mind without effort or artifice.

I recommend all of his books, but One River and The Wayfarers are two of my favorites. The Lost Amazon is sort of a companion book to One River, featuring photographs Richard Evans Schultes took on his expeditions to the Amazon between 1941 and 1953. It's an incredible document.

Among other things, we chat a lot about our mutual friend Andrew Weil. Here's my conversation with Andrew.

Music: "The Message," by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

Download this episode.

(Interview begins at minute 34.)

209 - Josh Fox (Filmmaker: Gasland / How to Let Go of the World...)

Links to episodes with Justin Alexander, mentioned in the intro: first and second.

Academy award nominee, playwright, banjo player, dancer, rabble-rouser, and kick-ass pasta saucer, Josh Fox is a freakin force of nature. Join us as we talk about the state of the world, how Josh became Josh, and how to arrange for a great 4-day party to run itself. Download this episode.

How to Let Go of the World (and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change)

Gasland and Gasland II

Music: "So Beautiful," by Unity to Thrive; "Maggot Brain," by Funkadelic; "If I Had a Rocket Launcher," by Bruce Cockburn; "Imperfectionist Xmas Recordings for Lee- Playing to the falling snow," by Josh Fox.

208 - Deia Schlosberg (Documentary Filmmaker, Walked the Andes)

Deia makes documentary films. She has worked with troubled kids in the remote wilderness and walked from Ecuador to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, through the Andes. We recorded this one floating on a pond in northeast Pennsylvania. Hence, the "pondcast." Download this episode.


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Music: "Song in Progress," by Will Irlam: "Forest," by David Beckingham.

 Recording the pondcast.

Recording the pondcast.

206 - Tyler MacNiven (Walked Japan, Ran Iran, Wrestled Mongolia)

Tyler is a filmmaker, entrepreneur, winner of The Amazing Race, and has walked the length of Japan--then made an award-winning documentary about the experience, called Kintaro Walks Japan. He wrestled 100 Mongolians (made a film about that, too). He ran Iran. Dude is busy! Plus, he's super smart and funny. Download this episode.

West of Pecos (the restaurant in SF).

Music: "Ballad of Cher Shimjer," by Paul Pena (Genghis Blues), "Walking in Memphis," Mark Cohn.