So Important: The Interview Podcast!
Dr. Josh Angrist on WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE - AND THE IMPORTANT WORK THAT LED TO IT!

Dr. Josh Angrist on WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE - AND THE IMPORTANT WORK THAT LED TO IT!

May 21, 2022

Along with two colleagues, MIT Professor of Economics Joshua Angrist won the Nobel Prize in 2021 for their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships - or put another way, using natural experimental methods to measure trends and seeking to understand outcomes than traditional, more familiar research methods. Dr. Angrist and I had a great talk about his important work, as well as the experience of winning the Nobel Prize itself!

And I should add, we've known each other since High School - which made the conversation all the more engaging and entertaining. Yeah, we weren't the best students back then...but Josh's story is an inspirational one - from mediocre high school student to Nobel Prize recipient. So we talked about his journey, we reminisced a bit about the old times...but perhaps most important, Josh did an exemplary job breaking down his work into terms even I could understand. So enjoy our conversation, and I'll see you soon with a new episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast!

A couple cool links: 

Here's Josh's Nobel Prize lecture, and here's some background on this very impressive individual. Thank you, Josh!

 

Michael Kronenberg on THE CHANGING PERSONAS OF…THE BATMAN!

Michael Kronenberg on THE CHANGING PERSONAS OF…THE BATMAN!

March 26, 2022

Greetings friends! I had a great conversation with graphic design artist Michael Kronenberg on the various ways that Batman has been portrayed over the years. It's really interesting to track Batman's evolution, particularly in light of how his persona  evolved not only in comic books, but also in movies and other media throughout the years. This is a classic "I feel like I've only skimmed the surface" episode, but we had fun talking and I'm grateful that Michael spent some time with me. 

Michael Kronenberg is the right guy to talk to. He co-authored and designed The Batcave Companion (co-authored with Michael Eury), is a seminal collection of essays on the Caped Crusader. He is an award winning artist/graphic designer for the Film Noir Foundation and TwoMorrows Publishing, and he is the creator/designer of the boxing magazine RINGSIDE SEAT. Michael has designed magazines, books, and DVD/Blu-Ray movie releases for publishers worldwide. 

Just as an additional note, I interviewed Michael for my blog many years ago on the art of film noir. Check out the link - we had a terrific time chatting!

Thanks to all, and hope you enjoy the episode. See you soon!

Randy Schmidt on THE LIFE, MUSIC, AND TRAGIC DEMISE OF KAREN CARPENTER.

Randy Schmidt on THE LIFE, MUSIC, AND TRAGIC DEMISE OF KAREN CARPENTER.

March 12, 2022

Greetings friends. Today we're talking with Randy Schmidt, who wrote the definitive biography of Karen Carpenter who, along with her brother Richard, was one half of the immensely popular 1970s musical ensemble, The Carpenters. Everyone knows the Carpenters. For me, they were just that "pop act" that I didn't pay much attention to, and didn't really have any thoughts about one way or the other. Then I saw a video of Karen drumming...then I started listening to some of the music and realized what a golden voice she had...and I started thinking about her sad and untimely death in 1983 due to complications from Anorexia Nervosa. By this time, I had Karen Carpenter on my mind, and I wanted to know more about this truly amazing singer. 

I turned to Randy Schmidt, who has written the definitive biography of Karen, entitled Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter. Randy has written on a number of performers, but it's his work on Karen Carpenter that has struck a chord with so many, and I'm so pleased he came on the show. And...we had an AMAZING conversation. 

We talked about how the Carpenters came to be, their beautiful music that often transcended the traditional pop format with which they're often associated, and the circumstances surrounding Karen's death. I know you'll find yourself enraptured in Karen's story - just like I was. It's a special conversation, and a bif thank you to Randy for sharing his insights with me. 

See you soon with a new episode. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one.

Mike Edison, Gary Graff, Chris McKittrick, and Jim Wilson on CELEBRATING CHARLIE WATTS!

Mike Edison, Gary Graff, Chris McKittrick, and Jim Wilson on CELEBRATING CHARLIE WATTS!

January 22, 2022

It's episode 50 folks! And to help celebrate this milestone, I'm joined by four alumni of the So Important Podcast: Mike Edison (episode 28), Gary Graff (episode 5), Jim Wilson (episode 7), and Chris McKittrick (episode 23) - four great guests convening to discuss a topic near and dear to all of our hearts: the late, great drummer of the Rolling Stones, Mr. Charlie Watts, who passed away last August. It's rare for me to have more than one guest, but the conversation was well worth it. Jim Wilson is a professional musician whose solo work reflects his deep love of the band. Chris has written a book on the Stones' early days, detailing their love of New York City. Mike Edison wrote the book on Charlie - quite literally. And Gary Graff is a widely published, internationally acclaimed music critic out of Detroit. What a crowd!

We had a great time talking about a man who was one of the world's greatest drummers - celebrating his life, his music and his enduring legacy. It doesn't get better than this!

Enjoy this special episode. Share it. Go to Apple Podcasts and give the show some love. We've made it this far  and I hope you enjoy this milestone episode as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Love you all, see you soon, peace out. Thank you for your continued support!

Monte

BG (Ret) Ty Seidule on ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: UNDERSTANDING OUR PAST - TO DEFEAT RACISM TODAY!

BG (Ret) Ty Seidule on ROBERT E. LEE AND ME: UNDERSTANDING OUR PAST - TO DEFEAT RACISM TODAY!

January 15, 2022

Greetings friends!

Appropriate for the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I spoke with retired Brigadier General Ty Seidule about his remarkable book, Robert E. Lee and Me:  A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause, which was just published in paperback and which is currently Amazon's number one release in American Civil War Biographies. The book is an important history, but it's also a highly personal memoir of how one man, raised in and respectful of the deep traditions of the South, came to view the Civil War as about slavery only, and to see Robert E. in a very different light than he did as a young man. 

Ty brings a historian's perspective on what we as a nation must do to overcome racial bias in this country. And the book is all the more remarkable in light of Ty Seidule's own backstory. He is a retired United States Army brigadier general, the former head of the history department at the United States Military Academy, the first professor emeritus of history at West Point, and the inaugural Joshua Chamberlain Fellow at Hamilton College. He brings a deep appreciation and understanding of history to the story, as well as a compelling narrative about his own journey.

Thank you to Ty Seidule for sharing your story with us. It is a compelling call to action, and I appreciate your taking the time to speak with me. 

See you soon with....EPISODE 50!

Amy Edelstein on TRANSFORMING OURSELVES AND THE CULTURE WE LIVE IN!

Amy Edelstein on TRANSFORMING OURSELVES AND THE CULTURE WE LIVE IN!

December 24, 2021

Greetings friends and fans of the So Important podcast! It's the holiday season, and I thought a story of inspiration was in order. And our guest on this episode is very inspiring, to say the least. Spend a little time with Amy Edelstein, who discusses her lifelong personal journey to attain a higher level of spirituality and one-ness with the world - but also to translate her life's lessons into helping others deal with life's stresses and traumas. She has run programs for inner city youth in Philadelphia, written numerous books, and hosts her own podcast.

Amy is an award-winning author, and her most recent book, Adventures in Zanskar: A Young Woman's Solitary Journey to Reach Physical and Metaphysical Heights, chronicles her solitary, 500 kilometer trek in the early 1980s, when she undertook a months-long trip through the remote, westernmost corner of the Tibetan plateau that had just been opened to travelers. It's hard to envisage taking a journey like Amy describes; the fact that she did it in her early 20s makes her story all the more impressive and inspiring. We discuss this journey extensively and for the record, Amy's book has become my go-to gift for the holiday season!

I know you'll find Amy's story moving, elevating, and so inspiring in these often-challenging times. Thank you Amy for spending time with me, and I'll see everyone soon for a new episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast!

Suzanne Romero on THE GEORGE A ROMERO FOUNDATION - AND GEORGE ROMERO‘S LEGACY!

Suzanne Romero on THE GEORGE A ROMERO FOUNDATION - AND GEORGE ROMERO‘S LEGACY!

November 27, 2021

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Suzanne Romero, the Founder and President of the George A Romero Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA.  Suzanne established the Foundation to secure George's great legacy, and as its comprehensive website makes clear, the Foundation is accomplishing this in any number of exciting ang meaningful ways. We talked about how the Foundation is supporting independent filmmakers, its relationship with the University of Pittsburgh, where all of Romero's films are archived as part of the University's Horror Studies Collection, George's special relationship with another Pittsburgh horror icon, the great Bill Cardille - and of course, the films themselves, and their place in the cultural zeitgeist.

Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead - these are all classic films appreciated by anyone who likes a good scare. But dig deeper, and you'll appreciate the cultural and social commentary within these films, reflecting George's deeper vision and compassion for humankind.

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with Suzanne, and help share his legacy. See you soon with a new episode of So Important. In the meantime, I'm sure you'll enjoy this conversation with Suzanne!

Daniel Webster on ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

Daniel Webster on ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE

October 30, 2021

Daniel Webster is one of the country's leading experts on addressing the threat of gun violence in this country. As the Director of the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Webster focuses on the public health aspect of addressing this epidemic.  I  am grateful that Dr. Webster joined me to talk about this important topic. Dr. Webster's biography is impressive, and I've shared it below for your perusal. 

This was an illuminating, important conversation, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to share it with you. I admit, the public health aspect of controling gun violence is not one I had thought much about; it's clearly time to think about it a whole lot more. 

Thanks to Dr. Webster, and I hope you enjoy our conversation. See you soon!

 

Daniel Webster, ScD, MPH is Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where he directs the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy. Dr. Webster is one of the nation’s leading experts on the prevention of gun violence and has published widely on the impacts of gun policies on homicides and suicides, the diversion of guns for use in crime, community violence prevention, youth violence, and intimate partner violence. He is the lead editor and a contributor to Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He is a member of the Council on Criminal Justice’s Working Group on Violent Crime. Webster’s research has informed policies to reduce gun violence at the local, state,
and federal level. His awards include the American Public Health Association’s David Rall Award for science-based advocacy (2015), Baltimore City’s Health Equity Leadership Award (2016), Pioneer Award from the Injury Free Coalition for Kids (2017), and Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumni Award (2017).

Raymond Doswell on THE NEGRO LEAGUES - AND THE NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM!

Raymond Doswell on THE NEGRO LEAGUES - AND THE NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL MUSEUM!

September 2, 2021

Hello friends! I contacted Dr. Raymond Doswell to talk about the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Doswell is the museum's Vice President and Curator and brings a wealth of knowledge and perspective to the topic. We talked about the museum for quite a while - but what makes the conversation especially meaningful is that Dr. Doswell spent some time at the start of our conversation discussing the Negro Legues themselves - how they contributed to American culture, the opportunities they provided to black ball players who were shut out of the major leagues, and their enduring importance in American societal development. It was a great conversation, and I'm so pleased to have the chance to share our talk with all of you. And our conversation provided a meaningful context when we turned to discuss the Museum itself. 

Here's a link to the museum - it's a great site and worth checking out. I've gotta get to that place - it sounds fantastic!

And be sure to check out the podcast, widely available, hosted by the museum's president, Bob Kendrick, entitled Black Diamonds. It's one of my favorities. Energy and enthusiasm - and great depth of knowledge - abound!

See you soon with a new episode, and hey, get on over to Apple and give us a good rating - it's always appreciated!

Monte 

 

 

Richard Adler on THE RAMONES BEFORE THEY WERE THE RAMONES!

Richard Adler on THE RAMONES BEFORE THEY WERE THE RAMONES!

August 25, 2021

Hey gang! Had a very fun conversation with Richard Adler, who knew - and played with members of - the seminal punk band The Ramones. We talked about the early days, as the band was just getting started - and Richard has great stories to tell. He also brings a great perspective to the table. A long-time veteran of the music business, Richard tells some great stories of the early days, in particular with his good friend and original Ramones drummer Tommy Erdelyi - aka Tommy Ramone - and the Ramones guitarist, Johnny Ramone. But of course, Johnny was just John Cummings back then! 

I'm very grateful for Richard for spending some time with me; we could have talked for hours. I'm sure you'll enjoy hearing about the early days of one of the most important, and musically enduring bands, in history. 

See you soon with a new episode!

 

Monte

Chad Hermansen on THE MENTAL EDGE!

Chad Hermansen on THE MENTAL EDGE!

June 12, 2021

What's it like to be a first round pick in baseball's annual draft? What's it like to be facing incredibly lofty expectations - including from a coach who says you "walk on water" - when you're just a teenager? And what do you do with yourself when the pressure is just too much, and things just dont work out? 

Well, here's what my guest today, Mr. Chad Hermansen did: he took his experiences and developed a program to help young athletes deal wtih the mental pressures of athletics. Chad could have walked away from sports altogether, but instead he dedicated himself to helping young athletes overcome performance anxiety and handle the mental side of the game. It's an extraordinary story, and Chad was kind enough to share his story with us on this episode. His insights into how he took his personal experience and turned it into something good for so many young athletes is compelling, and frankly inspiring. 

I'm grateful that Chad spent some time with me. If you're interested in learing more about Chad's program, The Mental Edge, you can do so here; you can also e-mail Chad directly at chad@legacysportsclubhouse.com

Special tip of the hat to the guys at the Bucs In The Basement podcast. I heard Chad on their show, and I just said to myself, that's a guy I've got to talk to. If you love baseball, and especially Pirates baseball, check out their podcast. It's a good one!

See you soon, and feel free to rate and review us at Apple and other fine carriers of this podcast!

Monte

David Wilson on REENACTING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR!

David Wilson on REENACTING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR!

May 29, 2021

Greetings friends! We're rolling along...presenting our second episode since returning from a short break. And what a show it is! David Wilson is an IT consultant with the United States Agency for International Development, in Washington DC. But he is also a dedicated Revolutionary War reenactor, and that's what we talk about today. David gives us a presentation on revolutionary war reenactment, and in his presentation and our subsequent conversation, he shares his thoughts on the importance of this activity in helping us learn from, and appreciate the lessons of, this important part of history.

David is a member of the First Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line. He has thought deeply about revolutionary war reenactment as an integral method for helping us learn from history in an engaging and at the same time, entertaining way. It's a great listen, and I appreciate David spending some time with me.

See you soon with a new episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast. In the meantime, I sure would appreciatet it if you went to apple and gave us a rating and review. See you soon!. 

Dr. Brian O’Roark on SUPERHERO ECONOMICS!

Dr. Brian O’Roark on SUPERHERO ECONOMICS!

May 18, 2021

Greetings Friends! Returning from hiaitus with a terrific conversation with Dr. J. Brian O'Roark on Superhero Economics! Dr. O'Roark developed an approach to teaching economics to his students at Robert Morris University - just outside of my hometown of Pittsburgh - by relying on popular culture, and in particular superheroes, to convey complex economic ideas in ways that students and others can relate to and understand, and indeed apply in their everyday lives. Dr. O'Roark is a pioneer in this field; he has written numerous articles on the topic, including this terrific overview, edited a definitive book on the topic that is available at Amazon and I'm sure wherever economic and other academic books are sold; and is the author of Why Superman Doesn't Take Over The World: What Superheroes Can Tell Us About Economics. Dr. O'Roark has won numberous awards for his teaching, and is truly an innovater in the field of education. 

I know you will enjoy our conversation - and if you do, don't be shy about going to Apple podcasts and leave a review and a rating! It's always appreciated. And let me just note my great appreciation for Dr. O'Roark, who was so generous with his time. 

See you soon with a new epiosde of So Important: The Interview Podcast!

Bruce Pegg on CHUCK BERRY: THE MUSIC - AND THE MAN!

Bruce Pegg on CHUCK BERRY: THE MUSIC - AND THE MAN!

September 12, 2020

So pleased to chat with Bruce Pegg, who wrote the definitive biography of Chuck Berry back in 2002. The title says it all: Brown Eyed Handsome Man: The Life and Hard Times of Chuck Berry. It's available on Amazon, and wherever great books are sold. 

Chuck made some of the most important and enduring music in American  history. Yet he never seemed to recognize the extent of his own contributions; he usually toured with a pickup band hired by the club or outlet; and he just couldn't stay clear of the law. Racial incidents that he experienced in his youth seemed to scar him significantly, and while he played right up to his 88th birthday in 2014 - just three years before his death, Chuck lived in relative obscurity and  carried a huge chip on his shoulder - right to the end. 

We barely skimmed the surface here, but it was a real pleasure for me to talk with Bruce and I think you'll enjoy learning about this enigmatic, but extremely important, figure. 

Bruce's web site is worth reading; lots of great insights and the man can write. And the book is so good, I read it twice! So go give it a shot!

 

See you soon with a new episode. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

 

Michelle Dresbold on ADVENTURES IN HANDWRITING ANALYSIS!

Michelle Dresbold on ADVENTURES IN HANDWRITING ANALYSIS!

August 22, 2020

Hello friends! It's been a busy time so I apologize in the lag since our last episode...but here we are, back and fresh as ever, with my GREAT conversation with Michelle Dresbold, who is one of the world's preeminent handwriting analysts. We talk about her important work supporting law enforcement, her upcoming book, and many other aspects of her fascinating career. And...well she even analyzes me! 

Michelle has an extraordinary website - you can really experience the full breadth of her work there and it's highly recommended. And we talked about her book, Sex, Lies, and Handwriting, on the show - and you can find it right here on Amazon!

We had a lot of fun chatting, and I hope you enjoy the episode as well - and as always, if you have a minute to drop a few stars and a favorable review on Apple Podcasts, it's very appreciated!

Esman Kurum on THE AESTHETICS OF FILM NOIR!

Esman Kurum on THE AESTHETICS OF FILM NOIR!

July 5, 2020

Hello friends, and welcome to this episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast! We're talking today with Esman Kurum, an authority on the cinematography of film noir - the seedy and fatalistic movies that, during the 1940s and 1950s, were often exceptionally beautiful and expressive, with great care and attention to "painting with light," in the words of the great film noir cinematographer John Alton. We talk about Alton and the great cinematography associated with the genre, but we also talk about the music, the characters, the unique storytelling - all the things that made these movies so special. 

Esman joined me from Paris and we had so much fun discussing the aesthetics of film noir - and I learned a lot! Check out his blog and enjoy our conversation, and I'll see you soon with a new episode! And of course, don't forget to drop in on I-Tunes and give a little rating and review - it's really appreciated!

Dr. Yolanda Willis (and Marty Willis) on SURVIVING THE HOLOCAUST IN GREECE

Dr. Yolanda Willis (and Marty Willis) on SURVIVING THE HOLOCAUST IN GREECE

June 13, 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to a very special - and very personally meaningful - episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast. This is the compelling, and in the end uplifting, story of Dr. Yolanda Avram Willis, who survived the Holocaust during World War II, in Greece. The story of the Holocaust in Greece is not as familiar as the story in other parts of Europe. But in fact, almost all of the Jewish population of that country was wiped out. This is the remarkable story of how Yolanda survived, thanks to the ingenuity of her father, and the many Christian Greeks who helped the family. 

I have known Yolanda for decades and I am so glad finally to have the chance to help tell her story. I am joined by her eldest son, Mr. Marty Willis, whom I have known since the 1960s; and because we were fortunate to have Yolanda visit my Temple in 2018 and tell her story, we are able to intersperse excerpts of her talk into the conversation.

Yolanda told her story in a 2017  book entitled A Hidden Child In Greece: Rescue in the Holocaust. It is available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers. It's a compelling read and highly recommended!

Thank you Yolanda for sharing your story, and thank you Marty for your great insights and for all your help in making this happen. And special shout out to Aaron Zitner, who recorded Yolanda's talk in 2018. 

See you soon and if you find the episode to be special, please give the show a rating and good review on Apple Music. Thanks! 

Steve Hackett on HIS NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY!

Steve Hackett on HIS NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY!

June 2, 2020

Hello friends!

We're back with the great Steve Hackett, member of Genesis during that band's classic era in the 1970s, creator of well over 25 solo albums, and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to discuss A Genesis In My Bed, his long-anticipated autobiography that was almost a decade in the making. Steve talks about what led him to the guitar, his time in Genesis, his prodigious career as a solo performer, and lessons learned from a unique and fascinating life. And I'm happy to report, much improved sound from last time!

Steve's book will be published in July, but you can pre-order it here. It's also available for pre-order on Amazon.

The book is a good one! And thanks to Steve and his U.S. promotion company, Chipster PR, for all their help in making this interview possible. 

Enjoy! New episode soon!

Dr. Gayle Wald on SISTER ROSETTA THARPE!

Dr. Gayle Wald on SISTER ROSETTA THARPE!

May 16, 2020

Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A trailblazer; an exuberant and charismatic performer from the 1930s all the way to the 1970s; and a wicked electric guitar player. This amazing woman was raised in, and remained loyal to, her gospel roots throughout her entire life and career; yet she took the secular music world by storm in the 1950s - and had a major, and largely under appreciated, influence on the birth of rock and roll itself. This is her amazing story, as told by the author of the great Rosetta Tharpe biographer, Dr. Gayle Ward.

Dr. Wald's book, Shout, Sister, Shout: The Untold Story of Rock and Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, is the definitive accounting of the life, music and influence of this truly groundbreaking performer. It's available here on Amazon, and if you want to visit Gayle's informative and entertaining website, you can do so here. The book is a classic, and I can't recommend it enough!

Dr. Wald is a professor of English and the Chair of American Studies of American Studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I'm sure you will too. Thank you, Gayle, for your great generosity of time and insights!

David Montgomery on SPACE FORCE!

David Montgomery on SPACE FORCE!

May 2, 2020

Hello friends! 

In December, 2019, David Montgomery, Staff Writer for the Washington Post Magazine, wrote an in-depth article on President Trump's proposal for a new branch of the military, to be called the Space Force. In preparing the article,, which can be accessed here, Montgomery evolved from a skeptic over the value of the Space Force to a supporter.

A topic of interest to me personally, I reached out to David to talk about Space Force - how it came about, what it's intended to do, and what the international community might do to promote stability and the peaceful exploration of space. And we talked about the abiding allure of space, and the great men and women dedicated to carrying out the Space Force mission. 

Very grateful to David for his time and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I hope you do too, and see you soon with a brand new episode of So Important: The Interview Podcast!

Mitchell Nathanson on JIM BOUTON: THE LIFE OF A BASEBALL ORIGINAL!

Mitchell Nathanson on JIM BOUTON: THE LIFE OF A BASEBALL ORIGINAL!

April 21, 2020

Hello friends! Who's up for a second episode in a row...about Baseball?? I talked with  Mitchell Nathanson, Professor of Law at Villanova University and the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of baseball, about his new book on the one and only Jim Bouton, whose 1970 book, Ball Four, was a rite of passage for fellas like me! It was a must-read as a kid, known for its honest and very revealing look at the life of a major league baseball player. But it turns out Bouton's significance goes well beyond that - and that's the topic of Mitchell's book.

Mitchell was granted access to Jim's extensive archival material that supported the writing of Ball Four and got to know Jim Bouton and his family personally. The result is a book that will prove to be unique and invaluable, in what it brings to the table about an extraordinary individual.  

You can learn more about Professor Nathanson and his many books and publications on his excellent website, and you can follow Mitchell on twitter at @MitchNathanson. His book can be ordered on Amazon here.  And a tip of the hat to Mitchell - thank you so much for chatting, and I am looking forward to reading Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original!

Jeremy Newberger on HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL!

Jeremy Newberger on HEADING HOME: THE TALE OF TEAM ISRAEL!

April 12, 2020

Hello friends, 

Well, we should be deep into the baseball season by now...but life had other ideas, and here we are approaching May with no start of the season in sight. Not to worry...I've been talking with some TOP NOTCH guests to help fill the void, beginning with one Jeremy Newberger, the CEO of Ironbound Films, who talked with me about his fantastic documentary, Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel. If you haven't seen the documentary yet, you should! It is an uplifting tale of grit, and giving it everything you've got - even when the odds are conspiring against you. 

This is the story of the team that represented Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and who progressed through the tourney well beyond anyone's expectations - except their own. It is the story of how these players bonded through their Jewish heritage, and how they took the Classic by storm when everyone had dismissed them. It's a great story, as only Jeremy Newberger, who directed the film, can tell it - with passion and enthusiasm, and great love and respect for these very human players. 

Big news: The film will be released on DVD in early May - and you can preorder it right here! If you want to learn more about Ironbound Films, make sure you check out their website, and here's the official trailer for the film.

Enjoy the show, PLEASE go to Apple podcasts and give a good review and rating for the series, and I'll see you soon with a new episode! Go Bucs!

Monte

Benny Becker on HIS INVESTIGATIVE WORK IN APPALACHIA!

Benny Becker on HIS INVESTIGATIVE WORK IN APPALACHIA!

March 18, 2020

Hello friends and welcome to a new episode of So Important! My guest is Mr. Benny Becker, an investigative reporter focused on issues in the Appalachian region of the United States. Benny is compassionate, thorough, and incisive - as his many stories on the challenges faced by the towns and people of Appalachia bear out. This is the story of Benny's journey, and we also talk about some of Benny's most recent stories. 

It was a great pleasure to speak with Benny, and I urge everyone to read his stories, and spend a few minutes hearing what he has to say. Here's a link to his website, as well as a direct link to his most recent reporting on clean water issues in West Virginia. And here's a nice link to many of Benny's stories

I hope you enjoy this episode, and I am grateful to Benny for speaking with me about his fascinating, and important, work. 

See you soon with a new episode of So Important!

Steve Hackett on GENESIS, HIS SOLO WORK, AND HIS AMAZING TOUR!

Steve Hackett on GENESIS, HIS SOLO WORK, AND HIS AMAZING TOUR!

March 8, 2020

Well my friends, I notice that I tend to describe every episode as "very special," but this one is for sure. I talked with legendary Guitarist Steve Hackett, who was the guitar player in Genesis from 1971 to 1977, when they were at the height of their progressive rock powers. There is nothing like the early, pre-pop music of Genesis, and along with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins (who did ok for himself btw), Michael Rutherford, and Tony Banks, Steve was a big reason why that is the case. He has gone on to record over 25 solo albums and he continues to tour to this day. I saw him and his stellar band a couple nights ago and it was a truly transcendent experience. SEE HIM!

Special thanks to Steve for his time and while the audio quality wasn't quite as good as I would have liked, a number of audio engineers, including David Martin in the DC area and Trebor at the Audacity Windows Forum site, helped significantly to improve it - which I really, really appreciate. Ultimately there was only so much that could be done, but thanks to these guys it came out ok. And special thanks to my wife Nancy, who had to endure my obsessive work on this particular episode!

You will find a number of musical excerpts sprinkled throughout the show. With a musician as accomplished as Steve Hackett, one should look for any opportunity to let the music speak for itself. So, that's what I did. I created a special playlist for those who want to hear each of these songs in their entirety, as well as a few others curated for the show. Here's the link: 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/56ilQhAtzQI6gDXgYeWKbh?si=-mY7gEQCQ9ePGzNfuyKa5Q

Check out Steve's website, and don't forget to check for tour dates. It's an amazing show and you owe it to yourself to see a true master of the craft in action. 

See you soon with a new episode, and THANK YOU STEVE HACKETT!

Dina Gold on ATTAINING RESTITUTION!

Dina Gold on ATTAINING RESTITUTION!

February 1, 2020

In 1937, the Nazi regime in Germany foreclosed upon a building in the heart of Berlin that was owned by Dina Gold's family. They received significantly less than market value in return. This is Dina's amazing and inspirational story of all that she did to see that justice for her family was served. 

This is a story of determination, commitment, and conviction, and never giving up when the cause is just. Dina's story is an inspiration for all of us, and here it is in her own words. 

Dina's book about her effort can be found here, on Amazon, or wherever great books are sold. Dina also maintains a website dedicated to her story, and a Facebook page that is informative and always interesting.

Thank you, Dina, for spending time with me, and sharing your amazing story!

Mike Edison on WHY CHARLIE WATTS MATTERS!

Mike Edison on WHY CHARLIE WATTS MATTERS!

January 11, 2020

Hello friends! Today we're talking with Mike Edison on his new book, Sympathy For The Drummer: Why Charlie Watts Matters. Mike and I share a deep and abiding love for Mr. Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones. There are few like him in the rock and roll world, and as Mike and I agree, the world is a MUCH better place with him in it. As Keith Richards says, without Charlie Watts, there's no Rolling Stones. A point on which Mike and I heartily agree!

I love Charlie Watts, and I love this book. And I loved talking with Mike about our favorite drummer. As Mike notes, the Stones were smart enough to hire a jazz cat as their drummer - and the rest is history. I know you'll love hearing from Mike about why Charlie Watts matters!

Here's a link to the book on Amazon, and here's a link to Mike's website which has oodles of good stuff worth checking out. And for you play along at home types, here's a playlist I put together featuring some of Charlie's best songs. All the songs that Mike and I discuss - and many others - are on the playlist!

BONUS: Mike and I discuss the Stones' 2016 masterpiece, Blue and Lonesome, featuring covers of classic blues songs. Here's a playlist with all of those songs, as well as the original recordings. Enjoy every minute!

If you've got a second, please like us on I-Tunes and leave a nice review, and share the episode with your friends. All those things help and are appreciated. 

See you soon, and thank you, Mike!

Steve Pindar on ROBERTO’S KIDS!

Steve Pindar on ROBERTO’S KIDS!

December 28, 2019

All - had a wonderful conversation with Steve Pindar, the Founder of Roberto's Kids, a charitable organization dedicated to building social and community responsibility - through baseball! The organization is named, as you may have guessed, after the great Pittsburgh Pirate, Roberto Clemente. Roberto was a legendary ballplayer, and a great humanitarian as well. We talked about Roberto, how he inspired Steve's organization, and the great work that Roberto's Kids does, all around the world, to meet its mission. 

You may recall that last year at this time, we talked with Karen Struble Meyers about the Fred Rogers Foundation, and the relevancy of Fred's message to this day and age. So I thought that the time was right to find inspiration in another Pittsburgh icon, and that's what you'll hear about today. But something else also inspired the timing of this episode.

It was 47 years ago almost to this day when a small plane carrying Roberto, and loaded with supplies for the survivors of a devastating earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua, crashed and killed Roberto and the plane's crew. So the timing was right to remember Roberto, and all that he did to make the world a better place. 

Here's a link to Steve's organization, Roberto's Kids. It's worth checking out, and it's great to meet folks like Steve so dedicated to making the world a better place. 

Thanks, and see you soon. In the meantime, have a great New Years and enjoy the holiday season!

 

Monte Mallin on THE BIRTH OF THE BACKBEAT!

Monte Mallin on THE BIRTH OF THE BACKBEAT!

November 24, 2019

Hello friends, and welcome to a special thanksgiving-day episode! Little surprise here for ya - decided to talk about something interesting and important to me - the birth of rock and roll drumming!

Have some fun listening to how the backbeat - the basis of rock and roll drumming - came about. Lots of great music here...and get to know Earl Palmer (pictured), DJ Fontana, Clifton James, and many other greats who developed the feel and sound of early rock drumming. I had a lot of fun putting this episode together, and I hope you have a lot of fun listening!

And here's a playlist of full versions of all the songs played in the episode, plus a few others. Enjoy!

Don't forget to get to I-Tunes and leave a nice review, tell your friends about the show, and have a great thanksgiving! See you soon and enjoy!

 

Monte

Moshe Engelberg on THE AMARE WAVE - A NEW BUSINESS PARADIGM!

Moshe Engelberg on THE AMARE WAVE - A NEW BUSINESS PARADIGM!

November 2, 2019

Welcome friends! We're back from a short hiatus and talking with Moshe Engelberg - our first repeat guest - about his recent book, The Amare Wave: Uplifting Business by Putting Love to Work! Moshe talks about an alternative business model to what we're used to - and has the numbers to back up his arguments! It's fair to say that I've known Moshe a very long time...and I always appreciate his positive, and affirmative approach to overcoming the challenges we all face, every day. This is the ethos he brings to his subject, and I am so happy to have the chance to share his thoughts with you!

Moshe led his strategic consulting firm Researchworks, Inc. for almost thirty years. He now leads workshops, speaks regularly at both large and more intimate gatherings, provides leadership consulting to businesses looking for new ways of moving forward, and of course he is diligently spreading the word about the Amare Wave.  He's an inspiring individual, and a true friend of the show!

You can pre-order Moshe's book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere, and you can contact Moshe at connect@theamarewave.com. He's very personable!

I hope you enjoy our conversation and thank you, Moshe!

Dr. Gerson Sher on U.S. - SOVIET SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION AND LESSONS FOR TODAY!

Dr. Gerson Sher on U.S. - SOVIET SCIENTIFIC COOPERATION AND LESSONS FOR TODAY!

September 1, 2019

In the midst of the Cold War, when the United States and the Former Soviet Union had - literally - tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at each other, there were nonetheless efforts to find areas of cooperation.  One such area was Scientific Cooperation, where many of the scientists, engineers, and other experts who helped build nuclear weapons found ways to cooperate, in order to perhaps defuse tensions, keep lines of communication open, and advance scientific discovery in the name of advancing common interests. 

Dr. Gerson Sher was in the midst of such efforts for many years, and has written a truly seminal - and fascinating - book about his experience. The book is entitled From Pugwash to Putin: A Critical History of U.S. - Soviet Scientific Cooperation, and it tells an amazing story from a man in the midst of such efforts. Gerson talks about what the work was trying to achieve, some of the great characters involved in these efforts, and lessons learned for pursuing such cooperation today - a vastly different international environment. 

Gerson's book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and everywhere else that quality books are sold. I highly recommend that you check it out! 

Other news department: As many of you know, our little podcast has been expanding its reach lately. In addition to most podcast carriers, Apple, and other sources, So Important! is now available on Stitcher, Google Play, and the great Spotify! So please do subscribe and spread the word, and if there's a platform where you'd like to see us, let me know! 

Special episode in the works for episode 25 - watch this space!

Thank you for being a loyal listener, and welcome to our new ones! We talk to a variety of folks here, and we keep it short! So tune in, tell your friends, all those good things! Spread the Word!

Thank you Gerson!

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