The Blog of Young America

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Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "The Lazy Environmentalist"

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Josh Dorfman, the host of The Lazy Environmentalist (iTunes link) radio show and author of the book of the same name, is a different kind of voice in the Green Movement. There are no prophecies of environmental disasters meant to scare you into action. Dorfman says that he is wary of “doom and gloom” in environmental messages. His show radiates this cheerful, enthusiastic attitude towards changing the world. He instills in listeners a hopeful sense the world can change and that it’s not even that hard.

The podcast features short segments of Dorfman’s show on Sirius Satellite Radio. They run from five to twenty minutes long. Some shows will feature Dorfman listing the greenest options for a certain activity, such as which are the most environmentally friendly airlines to choose. Others will have Dorfman expounding on a certain subject, such as putting forth his thesis that we can indeed “shop our way to sustainability.” Their nice little tidbits that you can start your day with or use as a quick reference, say when you want to know how to get quality skin care while saving the world.

I worry that maybe the tips aren’t enough. There is the idea that we can shop our way to sustainability and indeed, consumerism can change the world. I worry (and yes, even with Dorfman’s happy tone I’m still going to be filled with worries) that just tweaking our current way of life isn’t enough. Just replacing light bulbs or picking an airline whose planes don’t use as much fuel doesn’t feel like enough change is happening. The actual infrastructure based around burning through the Earth’s resources is still there.

Perhaps hoping for a revolution is too pie-in-the-sky to be effective. Dorfman is being realistic. He does say that government regulation is important but he admits that we are still going to be living in this particular marketplace. He’s most likely right that there won’t be a major overhaul in first world life so let’s try to change what we have now. The call to change the current economy we have now can even have wide ranging benefits that go beyond the issues of the environment. I liked the show about “Green Collar Jobs” that featured an interview with Van Jones of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Jones talked about creating new work opportunities for underprivileged youth by finding them jobs such as installing solar panels. The show gave a more expansive look of why retooling the economy for a sustainable future is so important.

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "LSAT Logic in Everyday Life"

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There are few things I love more in life than Star Trek. I won’t deny that food and shelter have their charms but Star Trek lore offers me plenty of what I can’t find anywhere else. One is that thoroughly logical race the Vulcans. No matter what the situation presented in front of Kirk, McCoy and their green-blooded pal Spock you could always count on the Vulcan of the trio to asses every instance with cold hard logic. It’s not something we humans can always do but for those who take the Law School Admissions Test it is a requirement to pass the test. The Princeton Review’s podcast “LSAT Logic in Everyday Life” (iTunes link) explains the philosophy of the exam by examining current events through the lens of pure logic.

This is another “short burst” podcast like last week’s "The Lazy Environmentalist" and ”Grammar Girl’s Quick and Drity Tips for Better Writing” (you do a column enough times you start making up your own terms). The shows run six to eight minutes long. Keep in mind that the pre-recorded into and outro take up about one minute and we’re looking at a show that goes by pretty fast. Host Andrew Brody condenses the arguments and solutions of that week’s show into a tight little production. This keeps the content very clear no matter how complex the issue might be. In fact, it seems drawing out the show and delving into all the complexities and nuances of an issue would obscure the logical strategy Brody employs. I must add that Brody’s impeccable pronunciation of the English language is added a bonus for me. The guy just sounds like someone who is very familiar with the unimpassioned speech of both law and standardized tests (and I do mean that as a compliment).

The podcast doesn’t just serve those preparing for the LSAT. Brody’s decision to make the news the subject of his shows means that listeners get the chance to hear a calm and fair take on the world around us. While the rest of the media seems to be going in a very emotional to the point of shrill direction Brody presents a welcome alternative. A good example is the Sept. 23rd show. It was dedicated to a recent incident where a university student was tasered by police after asking a (frankly, ridiculous) question to Sen. John Kerrey and breaking the university’s discussions rules. Video of the incident hit YouTube and it was so intense that in no time people got into heated discussion. Brody applied LSAT logic, looking at simply the causes and effects, and came down on both sides with no bias or agenda. It was an interesting way to look at the story, one we could use more of.

As Brody says in every show to apply LSAT logic to situations around us we must distance ourselves emotionally. It’s a nice idea but, going back to Star Trek, there will always be a McCoy in us arguing our gut feeling to the straight-ahead Spock. I still find the commitment to logic something to aspire to and I hope more people learn from this podcast. Now I'm just waiting for someone to send Brody a question begging for some unforgiving logic: is there a God?

New Stations!

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I want to welcome a couple of new stations into the fold.

WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, Illinois will be running the show Sundays at 4PM. Thanks WKCC!

WVMM in Grantham, Pennsylvania has capitulated to the Pennsylvania MaxFun Mafia, and will be running the show Fridays at 5PM and Sundays at 1PM.

Don't hear The Sound of Young America yet in your local area? Lots of stations are considering carrying the show, but lots more haven't even gotten that far. If you'd like to hear the show locally, drop a line to your local station's program director by phone or email. These folks are almost universally really nice, and really appreciate hearing from listeners. Send along a link to a favorite interview you think they might enjoy. TSOYA listeners keep emailing me about really positive interactions they had with local stations.

Unlike a lot of shows, I don't have the resources to blanket the nation with with calls and mailings, so your connections really help. If you hear something back, let me know!

Podcast: JJGo Ep. 42: Portland and Much, Much More

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On this week's program, Jesse and Jordan discuss ideas on how to toughen up Portland, gourmet catnip and what teenagers really like. They also give some invaluable advice to those about to embark on college life! Not to be missed.

ACTION ITEMS:


* What should Jordan do to start a feud with the guy at G4?

* Share your entertaining dreams with us!

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* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

The Funniest Man in Chicago - We've Got Him.

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Hannibal Buress, the standup comic on our awesome live in Chicago bill, was just declared the funniest man in Chicago!

If that's not a good reason to come, I don't know what is. It's tommorow night, people!

Wanna know what gangsta rap is about?

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Listen to this Jay-Z song.

This song was recorded originally a few years ago. Beanie Sigel's verse (Beans doesn't seem to understand the irony of the song) and Jay'z little celebutante verse are new, the rest is circa Blueprint 2.

Still, those first two verses are two of the best of Jay's career. And the third, not included on this version, is also great. I used to use these in a seminar I did a few times about Jay. What's remarkable about him is how fluidly he switches between viewpoints and metaphors -- that's something that's really unique to hip-hop, and something Jay does better than anyone.

Here are the lyrics of the original:

[Jay-Z Speaking]
Y'all niggaz got me really confused out there
I make "Big Pimpin" or "Give it to Me" one of those
They held me as the greatest writer of the 21st century
I make some thought provokin' shit
Y'all question whether he fallin' off
I'ma really confuse y'all on this one..

[Verse One]
When them tops come down, chicks tops come down
When them shots come out, make cops come around
When them blocks come out, I can wake up a small town
Finish off the block then I make my mall rounds
Stares get exchanged then the 5th come out
Tough guy disappear then the bitch come out
"That's him," I'm usually what they whisper 'bout
Either what chick he wit' or his chip amount
'Cause I been doin' this since C*H*I*P*S was out
Watchin' Eric Estrada
Baggin' up at the Ramada, table full of powder
A.C. broke, 'bout to take another shower on my 25th hour
Spike Lees everywhere, game on the flight
You might see me anywhere, day in the life
Only thing changed is the tel' number on the flight
I can touch down and take off the same night

[Chorus]
I'm so bossy
Bitch, get off me, trick, get off me
You can't get shit off me
I'm so flossy, no 6s or Sprees
Laid back, Maybachs, don't even talk to me

[Verse Two]
They're all actors, lookin' at themselves in the mirror backwards
Can't even face themself, don't fear no rappers
They're all, weirdos, DeNiros in practice
So, don't believe everything your earlobe captures
It's mostly backwards, unless it happens to be as accurate as me
And everything said in song, you happen to see
Then, actually, believe half of what you see
None of what you hear, even if it's spat by me
And with that said, I will kill niggaz dead
Cut niggaz short, give you wheels for legs
I'm a K-I-DOUBLE-L-E-R, see y'all in Hell
Shoot niggaz straight through the E.R., whoa
This ain't B.R., no, this is S.C. CEO
The next Aaliyah; no, the next leader of the whole free world
And the first thing I'ma do is free Sigel, yo..

[Chorus]
I'm so bossy
Bitch, get off me, trick, get off me
You can't get shit off me
I'm so flossy, no 6s or Sprees
Laid back, Maybachs, don't even talk to me

[Bridge]
Excuse me, bitch, but fuck your name
Can I come? Gimme some brain
And when you're done, can you please get the fuck out?

[Verse Three]
I built the arch, mami, cry me a river
Blacken my heart by puttin' light liquor in the liver
Put my all in the part that spreads apart now I'm back together
Young Goldie, the mack forever
Heard they love it when I'm heard on hoes
Said a G don't give a bitch no cheese or security codes
I agree, my lady ain't no bitch, she gets whatever I own
So when you see her, understand that's me, nigga
Understand I'm the same OG, nigga
I know the difference between a bitch and a B, nigga

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah - Spooky, Scary.

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How could I have been working so hard I forgot to post WEREWOLF BAR MITZVAH, the GREATEST SONG EVER RECORDED, now in a FULL version? And downloadable to boot!

"It was a rocking werewolf zoo at Temple Beth Emmanuel."

GOD BLESS YOU WEREWOLF BAR MITZVAH!!!!! And God Bless 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan and writer Tami Sagher.

This song has surpassed "Haunted House of Rock" by Whodini and Overtime Comedy's "Dracula's Super Spooky 9-11 Candle Vigil" as my all-time favorite Halloween-themed novelty tune.

Related: Mr. Show's "Monster Parties: Fact or Fiction"

Podcast: Dan Deacon

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Show: 
Bullseye

Dan Deacon is an electronic music performer based in Baltimore, Maryland. In fact he's a classically trained composer with a Masters degree in electro-acoustic composition. From 2003 - 2006 he released no less than seven self-produced albums.

His latest offering "Spiderman of the Rings" blends his frenzied live performance electro anthems with amusing lyrics and colorful instrumentals. Dan has maintained an almost constant tour schedule but has still found the time to draw on his classical background and compose and perform for ensembles at museums and galleries around the United States.

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You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
Matmos
Kenna
Greg Saunier of Deerhoof

Any Chicago photogs?

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Anyone out there a photographer who's willing to shoot our live show in Chicago Wednesday night?

I can't really pay, but I will gladly offer you a free t-shirt, whatever seats you want in the house, and my undying appreciation. And a plug for your site here on the blog.

Anybody? Email me: jesse at maximumfun.org

EDIT: Found one! Thanks gang!

Me and my best friend Mr. Stephen Colbert

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My interview with Mr. Stephen Colbert is up now in iTunes.

If you don't have iTunes, a commenter points out that it is available on the Apple website as a video. I should be clearer: it's audio and still pictures, not a full-motion video. But the file's in a video format.

Thanks to Apple for the photo and the amazing opportunity.

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