BEST EPISODES of Marc Maron WTF PODCAST!

Catching Up

PODCASTS : Currently Listening to WTF. There is a reason why people who hate interviewers and hate interviews decide to do this show.

Marc Maron manages to be actually concerned and interested in what these people have to say, and just wants to have a conversation with them and it illicits a trust in the interviewed and the listener. And it comes across. There is a reason President Obama chose this podcast to give arguably one of the most potent public interviews/conversations a seated President has ever given.

There is something about audio that lends itself to an intimate conversation better than video. It involves the listener in the theater of the mind, and you end up actually listening to people rather than just watching the spinning plates, the stock in trade of most tv talk shows.

Airing since 2009, now in its eighth year, The first three years of the WTF Podcast it was strictly comedians. But the names became ever larger so that by the end of 2011 he was interviewing movie star level comedians.

2012 was when it really transitioned from a comedian interview show to just a great ‘whoever interests me’ interview show. And 2015 with the startling appearance of President Obama on the show is when it rocketed into the Stratosphere of world wide prominence, with now a whole new level of guests appearing.

Episode #327 from 2012 starring Jimmie Walker, was recommended by another great podcast… 11oclock Comics, and became my first introduction to Marc Maron and WTF. That episode, a brilliant show that is a wonderful history of comedy, it remains one of the best episodes, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Mark Maron’s WTF is arguably not just one of the best ‘podcast’ shows, but is orders of magnitude better than any ‘talk show’ you’ll find on TV, or cable, or streaming.

Here are a few episodes that stand out for me as, not just this show done well, but really pivotal and important additions to culture and the history of entertainment.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some of the ones that stood out to me.

Without further ado they are:

#327 JIMMY WALKER 2012 Brilliant and informative history of post 60s comedy and the comedy clubs
REMEMBERING ROBIN WILLIAMS August 11 2014 – Heartbreaking and an essential listen
#523 BOB NEWHART 2014 Excellent
#544 ANDRE ROYO 2014 Fun
#593 HENRY WINKLER 2015 Rich
#605 TOMMY DAVIDSON 2015 Engrossing
#613/614 PRESIDENT OBAMA 2015 Podcast of the Year
#621 SIR IAN MCKELLAN 2015 Riveting and charming, and a masterclass on being an actor and surviving it
#622 WYATT CENAC 2015 Compelling
#624 SINBAD 2015 I like that he stood up for Bill Cosby, as Cosby remains very much THE comedian of much of the pivotal years of the late 20th century, and remains a person I hold in high regard
#638 SIR PATRICK STEWART 2015 Genius and very open about a harrowing coming of age
#684 WILLIAM FRIEDKIN 2016 Brilliant
#761 MIKE SHANNON 2016 Unexpectedly charming and nuanced
#783 BIll PAXTON 2017 Wonderful
#804 WALTER HILL 2017 Great and Bittersweet stories. Including playing part of episode #783 at Bill Paxton’s funeral

Hear these and more here:

https://wtfpod.libsyn.com

Car News of the Day : FISKER KARMA Bankruptcy Mismanagement and Rebirth

 

2010-fisker-karma-1_1280x0w

One of the black eyes for the Obama administration was the massive expenditure of taxpayer’s money that was paid out to save a bunch of mismanaged wall street companies that should have been allowed to go under for their, in many cases, excess and greed and incompetence.

One of these notorious companies that received hundreds of millions in taxpaper funding, was Fisker Automotive. This was the company that was hawking the 2011 Fisker Karma, a $100000 eco-friendly car that was going to be TESLA on steroids, but with a Green-Peace spin. Leather that was supposedly sourced from Happy Cows, cows that were kept as pets and died naturally as opposed to being raised and slaughtered for their skin. Yeah I know, ludicrous, but that was the pitch they were spinning back in 2011.

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And the car inside and out, did look drop dead gorgeous. But the company never got past selling an image to actually producing the car.  The company consistently was somehow unable to translate not only the promised half billion dollars in tax payer money, but the millions more in pre-orders sparked by interest in the Karma, into a successful production run.

So end of the day you were left with a few people who did receive the car and were not entirely satisfied because the car would stop running or catch on fire 🙂 , many more people who did not receive the car at all, and were very unhappy, and Fisker Automotive that declared bankruptcy in 2012, a year after touting the future of electric and eco friendly cars, walking away without paying back hundreds of millions of Tax Payer Dollars.

Well that company is back in 2016, now renamed Karma Automotive, and backed by a Chinese firm. and touting a new car to be announced this July or August. Fisker Karma looks like a dream of a car, but the reality was a little bit more nightmare the last time.  And when someone has burnt the taxpayers once for hundreds of millions of dollars, I’m far less likely to want to give them another chance. No matter how they rename the company.

So I’ll leave you some images of the dream that was Fisker Karma (now Karma Automotive), a dream that TESLA seems the closest to living up to.

 

https://i0.wp.com/pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201504/fisker-aston-lawsuit_1600x0w.jpg

The 2015 concept for the THUNDERBOLT looked stellar in images, but ultimately like other touted Fisker projects ended up coming to naught. And this one very nearly had car company Aston Martin go all James Bond on them, but with a law suit rather than a PPK.

https://i2.wp.com/pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201503/2016-ford-mustang-rocket--7_800x0w.jpg

This one is a concept car called the Ford Mustang ROCKET  that Fisker did for a 2014 autoshow. Fisker is definitely very talented at customization, in building or rebranding existing cars into souped up spectacles. Where their fault may have lied was in thinking this made them an automotive manufacturer. The latter is a designation that continues to elude them.

 

For more on Fisker Automotive and Karma Automotive, read the following:

Taxpayers lose $139 million on Fisker Automotive loan

http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/18/4239700/fisker-karma-road-to-ruin-one-billion-dollars-squandered

http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/9/2857779/fisker-karma-hybrid-electric-car-breaks-down-during-consumer-reports-testing

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097079_want-a-fisker-karma-lots-of-used-ones-for-sale

http://www.topspeed.com/cars/fisker/index238.html

http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/fisker-aston-lawsuit-dropped-thunderbolt-will-not-be-produced-ar168719.html

http://www.caranddriver.com/news/2015-ford-mustang-galpin-rocket-photos-and-info-news

 

Church Shootings, South Carolina, President Obama, and Podcasts


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There is a line I quote a lot, but it’s because like many quotes, it’s a truth in it that endures, and is applicable to many. And it is definitely applicable to me.

I’ll quote it here again…

“You writers live too much out of the world.” –Graham Greene’s THE THIRD MAN.

Here’s the thing about the world, there is always some new atrocity the 24 hour news cycle is waiting to feed you. Someone’s misfortune that, with crocodile solemnity, they are eager to spread before you like some banquet, some forbidden feast, for you to put your snout in and snuffle.

I know people who make a home in-front the TV when the latest atrocity breaks, and they ‘tsk’, and ‘cluck’, and they make the expected exclamations of “horrible” this, and “what’s this world coming to” but you get the feeling it is more rote than real.

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That ‘real’ left town many atrocities ago, and they have yet to notice that what remains is something that watches for reasons less altruistic than information, and more hungry than concern.

I can’t do the 24 hour news cycle. I gave up on networked TV a long time ago and haven’t looked back, or particularly missed it. Too much of CNN or Insert News Station here, and I have to get away, I have to move, I can’t watch people suffer.

I’m old school that way.

I believe in heroes to rescue maidens, and Knights to slay dragons. And I’m fool enough to believe we can all be heroes… all of us. In small ways, and personal ways, and local ways.

But the 24 hour news cycle inundates you with a world’s wrongs, many wrongs too horrific and large and endemic for you to change.

So there becomes a war within you between the desire to change what you can, and the 24 hour news cycle that indoctrinates you, numbs you to a world beyond your time, or means, or scope to change… a news cycle that tells you “relinquish hope, relinquish the idea of days without horror, relinquish the lie of action, be a spectator, be a consumer. Live in the world we give you, the way we give it you.”

And reduce all your rebellions to a tsk here, and a shake of the head there. That’s what the 24 hour news cycle says to me if I watch it too long.

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I have to pick my battles. I have to pick my fights. I have to narrow my atrocities. And some days I have to have no atrocities at all. It’s the only way I can live without rage all the time.

I have to have the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Not being a part of the 24 hour news cycle, using the Internet to consume news in my time in my way, means sometimes, if I’m embroiled with my life, and the people in it and around it, the real news, then I may not consume another man’s definition of the news… for days on end.

I find I’m a better man for not being suckled every moment on the teat, and rage, and hate, and horror of Rome the metaphorical. I find I’m a better, calmer man, and people find me a calming, even soothing presence, and it’s because the nightly news is not on the back of my eyeballs when I look at them, I look at them without the media’s biases or fears, I do not fall asleep to Rome’s tirade, and I do not wake to her gnashing.

And that has made all the difference.

I think too many, especially the young, who not yet having learned the value of their own life much less anyone else’s, internalize Rome’s madness, drink deep and long of it, and adopt the American past time of mass murder; as if it was no more than a fashion you could put on. Killing for hates handed down to them like ill fitting suits, and reasons not understood by them, killing with no real sense.

No real sense.

Not understanding really, that killing is easy, but the hole it leaves is large, and affects so many. That every life… even the most paltry, took a million million miracles to breathe air into, and you can never know how even the most unworthy life, might, if no more than via tangential fate, give us a painter or poet or astronaut or hero. And with one bullet you can unwind innumerable tomorrows, kill innumerable tomorrows, and we are all the poorer for all those doors closed. All those lives changed. All that unneeded pain, piled upon all our souls.

We are all… by these atrocities, broken and put back together, broken and put back together, broken and put back together. But each time there is less of us, and less of us, and less of us.

Until, we are so removed from every step we took toward the light, we find ourselves mad, hopeless animals, penned in a coliseum, screaming for the fall of blood. Our souls are fragile things, that can bloom or wither, depending upon what they are fed.

So resist the 24 hour news cycle. Resist assumptions. And seek out things that will feed the better angels of your nature.

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You might find the link below, a thing for feeding your soul. I did.

I must first state I am not a President Obama apologist. As an Independent I have taken him to task for what I feel is the dismantling of Liberties, and his paying back his corporate backers by selling generations of Americans into debt, to bail out a stock market comprised of companies that should have been allowed to burn.

That said, even with those we disagree… we must find that common ground where we can, so if we can not agree with their choices, we can at least perhaps understand the making of those choices.

If we can relate to each other as more than ‘them and us’, see politics as less bloody warfare, and more people all honestly looking to make their home, their neighborhood, and their nation better… if we can see ourselves as tied by our commonalities first, then our differences become strengths rather than sticking points, ripping our nation and our world apart.

So I ask you Republican, You Democrat, You Independent, You Man, You Woman… to listen to the following pod-cast.

And take away from it, the parts that will make you better.

I was feeling such insufferable rage in the wake of the Church Shooting and what I saw in the media’s handling of it… However, I listened to the below pod-cast, and the easy grace a President of the United States brought to a moment devoid of all grace… and I could breathe again, easy deep breaths. And I could see beyond the pumping of my own rage.

A long term fix? No.

But only death is long term. In life we must take the fleeting moments of grace when we can find them. And use that grace to empower us to end atrocities one person at a time.

You might find in the below pod-cast something hopeful.

WTF_-_EPISODE_613_PRESIDENT_BARACK_OBAMA.mp3

15 May 2014 American Flag at Half Staff

So I’m walking around downtown on my brunch break and I’m noticing all the American flags are flying at half mast.

It not being a holiday or a day of mourning I find this curious. Checking with coworkers and random gawkers I find they likewise have no idea about this incident.

Doing a bit of research courtesy of everyone’s favorite non-google search engine I turn up that today is Peace Officers Memorial Day.

President Barack Obama seemingly yesterday signed into law a proclamation establishing basically a new holiday and a police week.

Now I appreciate what peace officers do as well as the next guy, however crafting a holiday out of whole cloth, with no discussion, no public input seems… wrong. There is something wrong in its overnight inundation onto the public consciousness. Using an obscure JFK era law to fashion this doctrine from on high.

It goes against the idea of representative government, to have the governed so outside the process of government. A one day turnaround, and taadaa… new holiday.

We already have a memorial day honoring the fallen of wars foreign and domestic. This new memorial while seemingly an innocuous thing, cannot be separated from the ever more paramilitary presence that law enforcement is taking on in the communities they were once tasked with serving.

An adversarial relationship between law enforcement of all stripes and the people, that has grown only more so since the Patriot Act, and President Obama’s numerous sacrifices of liberties and freedoms in his two terms.

We are not on the verge of a police state… we are well into the first tentative days of one, and this whole cloth creation of police holidays while hopefully innocuous, is tainted by the times and is hard not to see… as a dangerous sign, a steeper slide into a nation of unquestionable authority backed by flag waving propaganda.

Or it could just be a flag at half-mast. :). I leave you to judge.

BREAKING NEWS : Join EFF TODAY in defending your rights… that remain!

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Well big business is definitely getting their money’s worth out of the Obama presidency. And they are trying to squeeze out as much capitulation from Obama and the congress as they can, before his term is ended.

Namely by fast tracking a global trade agreement that not only consolidates more power in the hands of business, but also eradicates oversight and the concept of repeal. From EFF:


“Barack Obama used his State of the Union address last night to call on
Congress for a “fast track” for trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP). The pressure’s on Congress, and that means *it’s never
been more urgent* that we stop the secrecy surrounding this undemocratic
agreement.

What’s so dangerous about “fast track”? If Congress passes the bill
(HR3830/S.1900), it severely limits its own ability to review or amend
agreements. That means Hollywood won’t have to worry about our
elected representatives standing in the way of TPP and its extreme
copyright provisions. That’s why we need to stop the Fast Track
bill–to defeat TPP.

If you’re a US voter, visit StopFastTrack.com now to call and message
your elected representatives. “

You can also use EFF’s action tool to contact your representatives about
opposing this bill, and find out more HERE!

Happy Holidays, Merry Mass of Christ and Improbable Heights

‘When you strip everything away from Batman, you are left with someone who doesn’t want to see anyone die.’ — KINGDOM COME by Alex Ross and Mark Waid

When I think of humanity in general, and the holiday season in particular it strikes me that that should be our goal. The pursuit of a world, where nobody dies in vain.

But the reality, particularly in America, this time of year is that with the eyes of the media diverted; government sponsored mass-murders actually ramp up, bombings ramp up (now of the drone and unmanned variety, machines murdering men.. what an unholy road we walk), the terrorism of the rich… ramps up.

I’ll not forget the media celebrating the death of Bin Laden. Death and Murder and Torture are never things to celebrate, no matter the justification.

While I am savage enough to know that killing may be a necessary evil, I am human and moral enough to know it is never a joy, never a victory, never a cause for celebration.

Be the murdered Bin Laden, or Hitler or insert bogieman here, bringing murder to murderers is never anything less than a soiling, and a failure, necessary though it may be, it is a failure of reason. And as such is a solemn time, not a glorious one.

Because to do otherwise, to take joy from death, and celebration from degradation and horror… is to devoid you of moral high-ground, is to make you (in ways stark and true) worse than those you would revile, worse than your Hitlers and Bin-Ladens. It makes you a lynchmob, a coward, and an opportunist of carnage.

We must strive to be better than that, otherwise your protestations of Christianity, and Holy Nights, and piety are just lies, are hypocrisy and mendacity most foul, that you use to conceal your roman desire to see people bleed and suffer and die.

You become that lowest form of life, a gibbering coward among cowards, you become nothing more than a grasping claw, a rolling eye, and a screeching mouth… in the creature we call lynchmob. And there is no lower, and ultimately, more inhuman form of life.

Our goal therefore must be to reject that, to reject the easy lies and the easy hates, and work toward this wildly improbable world where no one dies in vain.

But humanity’s very existence is an improbability, so we can bend that already fanciful existence to either improbable heights of good, or improbable depths of evil. We just have to pick a direction.

‘We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. ‘ — John Fitzgerald Kennedy when imploring men into space

Here, on this holiday season, more fiction than fact, ‘goodwill to all’; look into yourself and find what is hypocrisy, what is lies, and find it in yourself to make truths, and truly believe and act on this idea…. of a time of peace.

Here endeth the lesson.

Review: TED Talk Eric X. Li on China and the US


“We live in the dusk of an era. Meta-narratives that make universal claims failed us in the 20th century and are failing us in the 21st. Meta-narrative is the cancer that is killing democracy from the inside.

Now, I want to clarify something. I’m not here to make an indictment of democracy. On the contrary, I think democracy contributed to the rise of the West and the creation of the modern world. It is the universal claim that many Western elites are making about their political system, the hubris, that is at the heart of the West’s current ills. If they would spend just a little less time on trying to force their way onto others, and a little bit more on political reform at home, they might give their democracy a better chance.

China’s political model will never supplant electoral democracy, because unlike the latter, it doesn’t pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But that is the point precisely. The significance of China’s example is not that it provides an alternative, but the demonstration that alternatives exist.

Let us draw to a close this era of meta-narratives. Communism and democracy may both be laudable ideals, but the era of their dogmatic universalism is over. Let us stop telling people and our children there’s only one way to govern ourselves and a singular future towards which all societies must evolve. It is wrong. It is irresponsible. And worst of all, it is boring. Let universality make way for plurality. Perhaps a more interesting age is upon us. Are we brave enough to welcome it?

Thank you.”— Eric X. Li’s TED talk: A TALE OF TWO POLITICAL SYSTEMS

I do not subscribe to China’s one party system, but the faults of China’s system aside, it is maintaining itself and its people, unlike the US and its western model that is increasingly about survival through annexation.

The US model is about putting off the problems of here and now, by putting effort into destroying and annexing always the next thing, the next country, the next resource.

However a country that does not resolve the issues of its own back yard before expanding and enforcing its will on other countries, is like a dog with rabies, running around the neighborhood and jumping fences and killing and mating with other dogs. It is a policy of barbarism and ultimately genocide and madness.

So while I do not think China’s system is an answer, compromised as it is by corruption and human rights violations, it is clear to me that unchecked Capitalism masquerading as Democracy, what the US and other Westernized Nations are calling Democracy… is a more compromised, more untenable, more destructive, and ultimately more evil system.

So the crux of Eric’s closing speech (quoted above)is sound, not that we should adopt China’s system, but that we should be flexible, and open to a changing and changed system, and the idea that there are a multitude of systems and solutions that remain untried.

Open to the idea that we as individuals, groups, and nations must always be looking to form… a more perfect union.

A successful nation is perhaps not an end, but a journey. And it is the things we allow a nation to do on that unending journey, in our name, that defines not just the success and the failure, but the good and the evil, of our lives.