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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!

Hello friends! Had a great conversation with Christopher McKittrick on his new book about the Rolling Stones and their career-long relationship with New York City! I thoroughly enjoyed the book and could have chatted with Christopher for hours - like me, he's a dyed-in-the-wool Rolling Stones fan. He also resides in and loves New York City, and had lots to say about the relationship between the city and the Stones. A fun talk and a GREAT read!

Christopher is a prolific writer - a good place to start is on Amazon, where you can check out his Author Central Site. His website is worth a look too - a great place to learn more about our guest. 

And hey, if you aren't familiar with the Rolling Stones and just gotta learn more...well, do a google search and if you're lucky, something might come up!

Thank you Christopher, and I hope everyone enjoys our conversation!

Monte

Greetings friends, 

I'd like you to meet Dr. Ben Canha, who has written a PhD dissertation on a critically important, and absolutely fascinating, topic: how humor can play a role in helping to treat the opioid crisis in America. Dr. Canha teaches nursing at the University of Maryland. He also spent many years working on addiction treatment issues at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Canha has observed for years how humor can play a role in helping folks deal with addictive health issues; he is one of, if not the, first to apply this to the opioid crisis specifically. I greatly appreciate Ben spending time with me, and I have great admiration for the work he is doing. I think after hearing our conversation, you will too. 

Thank you again, Ben!

NOTE: You may have noticed that I rarely spend time at the beginning or end of the episode asking you to go to I-Tunes and give the show a good review. And new listeners may note that there is no such plea at the end of this broadcast. In short, I don't want to detract from the guest. But I do want to mention how important that is, and ask that if you enjoy the broadcast with Ben, you give the podcast a good review, share with a friend or two, and pass along to those that may be interested. It's easy to share, and it means a lot. Thank you!

Well, it's Memorial Day Weekend, and that means baseball! Join me in talking with Cesar Brioso about his recent book, Last Seasons In Havana: The Castro Revolution and the End of Professional Baseball in Cuba."  Cesar is a digital producer for USA Today Sports, where he served as baseball editor from 2003 to 2004, and traces his lineage to Havana - a topic we briefly discuss at the end our conversation.

The book is an absolutely fascinating read, chronicling how the revolution brought an end to professional baseball in Cuba - but never dampened the passion of the Cuban people for the game they dearly love.

The book is filled with unforgettable characters and anecdotes, and we barely skimmed the surface in our talk - so that means, you gotta read the book! And you can purchase it on Amazon and just about everywhere. 

You can check out the facebook page for the book, and follow Cesar on Twitter at @cbrioso - a great way to keep up with Cesar's guest appearances. It's a great book, and please do check it out!

Thank you, Cesar!

And may I make a plea to listeners everywhere to follow the podcast, give it a good review in I-Tunes, all those good things. I usually don't push on all that in the podcast itself, but it's important and appreciated. Thanks!

 

 

Tom Mirenda knows orchids. He is the Chairman of the American Orchid Society's Preservation Committee and he has traveled the world investigating, and talking about, the many species of orchids that inhabit our planet. Currently living in Hawaii - a great launching point for investigating the world's orchids - Tom has been a mainstay of the Orchid community for many, many years. He worked for over 15 years as the Orchid Collection Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution, and until recently was the leading Orchid authority at the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden on the "Big Island," a locale notably lush with all manner of orchids. Tom writes extensively for Orchids magazine and other orchid-focused publications, and he has co-authored a book on orchids, entitled The Book of Orchids.

As I said, the man knows his orchids! 

Tom and I talked extensively about the beauty and attraction of the orchid, and the important work Tom is undertaking to help preserve orchids in light of climate change and other factors. It was a pleasure speaking with Tom. I learned a lot, and I hope you do as well!

In addition to the links provided above, you can keep up with Tom on his Facebook page and his book is widely available, including on Amazon. I hope you enjoy my chat with Tom - I certainly did!

Thank you Tom, and thank you everyone for listening!

Hello and Welcome! My guests today are Lisset Diaz and Miguel Comas, two members of the terrific young band, the Sweet Lizzie Project. These guys have a story to tell!

Some time ago, PBS went to Cuba to learn more about the music scene there. That led to the migration of Lisset, Miguel, and the rest of the Sweet Lizzie Project band to the United States. Here's the amazing story of how it happened!

I saw the band at a small house party about two months ago and I was instantly hooked. The band resides in Nashville, and their music uniquely reflects influences from both residences. Yet it is unequivocally and uniquely their own and I can't recommend it enough. Diaz is a powerhouse of a singer; Miguel Comas produces their music, and adds his signature lead guitar to the mix; and together they lead this young band that you need to learn more about. 

And here's your opportunity!

The songs you'll hear are Something, from the debut album Heaven, and their recently released duet with Raul Malo and the Mavericks, entitled Flower's In The Seed. Diaz is a truly unique stylist as these songs attest; but make sure you check out the entirety of the Heaven album. It's been in my heavy rotation for some time now, and for good reason! And a new album, entitled Technicolor, is coming soon!

You can find all of it on their comprehensive website. They also have a Facebook page and they're on Instagram. And check out the first rate videos for both Flower's In the Seed and Turn Up The Radio - a true classic, as we discuss on the show. Both - and many others - can be found here.

Thank you Lisset and Miguel for joining me. And to all of you who like the show, please share it, rate it, and all those good things. In the meantime, enjoy getting to know the Sweet Lizzie Project!

I had the great pleasure of speaking with Dennis and PJ Aubrey about their wonderfully unique life's work - visiting the great Romanesque and Gothic churches of Europe, and brilliantly photographing and writing about - and now also podcasting about - their efforts. What started out as a hobby has turned into a spiritual adventure for the Aubreys, who have visited over 900 churches to date. What a treat it was to chat with Dennis and PJ. 

You owe it to yourself to check out their great work. Their photography is regularly exhibited worldwide, and their website - and in particular, their blog - provide wondrous excursions to a different time, where these churches were the centerpiece of rural and urban communities alike. The photographs on their social media sites, along with the carefully crafted accompanying text, and worth checking out - though you may find yourself unable to stop enjoying all that the sites have to offer.

The Aubrey's blog, entitled Via Lucis: Photography of Religious Architecture (or, the way of light), is an essential site to check out. The Via Lucis website is a great overview of the Aubrey's work; and while you're at it, check out Light and Stone, the new podcast! All take you to a different world, in the capable and caring hands of Dennis and PJ. 

And oh yes, there is indeed a Facebook page!

I hope everyone enjoys the podcast, and thank you again Dennis and PJ!

Kat Murti is the founder and CIO of Feminists for Liberty, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading the ideals of libertarian feminism. The organization's motto is "anti-sexism and anti-statism, pro-markets and pro-choice." Kat and I talked about the organization, its objectives, and about libertarian feminism - the organization's underlying philosophy.

As listeners know, we don't talk politics on this podcast, but policy is fair game, and Kat's perspective on a number of issues is worth hearing. I appreciate that Kat spent some time with me, and I hope you enjoy our conversation. 

Kat is a media presence. Check out the Feminists for Liberty Website, as well as the organization's Facebook page to learn more about Kat and her work. And you can follow the organization on Twitter

Hope you enjoy the episode, and thank you again, Kat!

Rabbi Chuck Diamond is the former Rabbi at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where on October 27, 2018 a lone gunman massacred eleven congregants. His only rationale was that he "wanted to kill Jews." 

Rabbi Chuck joined me to share his story. He knew the slain personally, he is a native of he neighborhood where the slaughter took place, and he was a prominent spokesman in the aftermath of the massacre. He is a man of great wisdom with a unique perspective on the events in Pittsburgh, and I am very appreciative that he spent a few minutes with me. 

In 2017, Rabbi Chuck founded his own community, Khalila La La, dedicated to providing a unique Jewish experience in the Pittsburgh area. You can learn more about Khalila La La, and support Rabbi Chuck's inspirational work, here at the official website.

Rabbi Chuck also spoke at Temple Emanuel in Kensington Maryland recently, and an article in the Washington Jewish Week about Chuck's talk can be found here. 

Thank you Chuck, and thank you dear listener. 

Monte

Hello everyone, 

I had so much fun putting this episode together!  I chatted with Stacy Godfrey, a long-time fellow fan of the band Genesis, and a co-host of the terrific podcast, Tabletop Genesis. Listening to her podcast, it became obvious to me that she would be fun to chat with. Why? Well, we both came to Genesis in very different eras of the band's history (me in the progressive 1970s, Stacy in the more pop-focused 1980s). Yet both of us spent time discovering, and learning to appreciate, all of the band's music and I knew that would be fun to talk about. It  was!

And...we make some recommendations! I recommend some great Genesis songs from the 1980s that old stalwarts like me might appreciate. Stacy, in turn, highlights some of her favorites from the 1970s for those mostly familiar with the more pop-focused version of the band in the 1980s. And as a special Awesome So Important! Bonus, here's a link to a spotify playlist with almost all the songs we discussed:

Stacy and Monte's So Important Genesis Playlist!

And here's a link to the Tabletop Genesis Website as well as the Facebook Page - highly recommend you check it out!

 

Thank you again, Stacy!

Enjoy!

 

Thank you Stacy, and I hope everyone enjoys our conversation about one of the all time greatest bands in the history of music!

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