Zero Squared #18: The Temptation of Nothing

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Daniel Coffeen is the guest this week and we discuss a blog post he wrote that ended up on Thought Catalog that was entitled The Temptation of Nothing. Coffeen has a PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley where taught adjunct for many years and now works independently writing copy as well as writing about contemporary art, film, language, Deleuze, and the rest. He is a philsopher if by philosophy you mean the tendency to play with ideas.

In his blog post Coffeen wrote:

My shrink — who is of another order, another plane; he’s not a therapist per se — has been encouraging me to be that second man, to cut out all intoxicants for 90 days, give or take. Do nothing, he says, just be. And then you can drink and what have you but not because it sates but because you want to. For him, there should be no difference between sitting on the floor doing nothing and getting lit.

It’s Wednesday, May 6th 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear Hilaire Belloc’s Guide to Boring, the song Skokiaan by Louis Armstrong, some dialogue from the movie Slacker, the Professor Jon Stewart discussing Kierkegaard, Hegel, Socrates and modernity, a clip from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, an explanation of that black and blue dress, the band Focus Group performing Chordfl from their album Elektrik Karousel, and Stars of the Lid’s “Don’t Bother They’re Here.”

30 Apr 2015, 1:32am
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Zero Squared #17: The Liminalist

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Jason Horsley is the guest this week and we discuss his new podcast called The Liminalist. Jason Horsley is the author of several books including Matrix Warrior, The Blood Poets, and most recently Seen and Not Seen which came out from Zero Books in January.

Pauline Kael, the influential film critic for the New Yorker from 1968 to 1991, blurbed Horsley’s book The Blood Poets. She wrote:

This hothead fantasist offers the excitement of a wild, paranoid style. He lives in the movies, explodes them from the inside, and shares his fevered trance with us. But he doesn’t lose his analytic good sense. He’s not just a hothead, he’s a hardhead, too. . . . He’s a marvellous critic. Tackling a new movie, he’ll hang in there until he’s balanced and sound. It’s always a surprise.

Horsley was, for a short while, my co-host on Zero Squared and I was pleased to speak to him again.

In this episode you’ll hear Bob Odenkirk imitating Charles Manson, the linguist John McWhorter discussing the strange history of the plural form in English, a couple of notes from the theme for the television show New Girl, the youtube star Ralph Skip Stevens describing Structuralism, the youtube star AlanKey86 with Auditory Illusion #3, and the audio track from promotional video from Utah.com called Four Corners: Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, and Pierre Schaeffer’s Apostrophe.

Zero Squared #16: Drink the Rest of That

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Guy J Jackson is the guest this week and we discuss his collection of short stories Drink the Rest of That which came out from Roundfire Books in January. Roundfire Books is an imprint at John Hunt Publishing as is Zero Books. Drink the Rest of That is a collection of shorts meant to be read “at a rate of one per day in order to feel Zen for however many days that there are stories, or so claimed Roundfire Book’s late editorial assistant, Nils Samuels Chastain, even thought it wasn’t his place to decide that.”

Nathan Penlington is the author of “Roadkill on the Digitial Highway” and a drinking buddy with Guy. He blurbed the collection as follows:

Imagine if a Kurt Vonnegut/Richard Brautigan hybrid had written The Phantom Tollbooth and you are somewhat close to the uniqueness of this book. Drink The Rest of That is a dazzling, heartbreaking, laugh-a-loud collection that will leave you wanting more.

I’m having a difficult time imagining such a creature myself. It sounds like something out of a Cronenberg movie.

It’s Wednesday, April 22nd 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear a Christopher Knowles poem as recited by Robert Wilson, a Philip Glass style improvization by the youtube star Torley, train sounds and an excerpt from Paul Simon’s song Ordinary Child from his Rhythm of the Saints which was the album I listened to on my Realistic brand Walkman when I first travelled by train from Colorado Springs to Portland Oregon back in 1991. The music you’re listening to right now is the Soweto String Quartet’s tribute to Paul Simon’s Graceland, but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Guy Jackson and I discuss why you should drink that.

Zero Squared #15: Twerking to Turking (EDA)

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Alfie Bown is the guest this week and we discuss the book from the EDA Collective Twerking to Turking which is coming from Zero Books this month. With the tag line: “Analysing the signs of everyday life” this is the second collection by the EDA. It is a follow-up to their book “Why Animals are funny.”

Jamie Mackay, writing for Review 31, praised the EDA, writing:

It is not often that theory is this fun to read, and less often still that satire is so well versed in the language of its assailants.

It’s Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear a longish clip from Radiolab on the subject of Yellow Rain. The podcast was originally aired on September 24th, 2012, and I’ll provide links to it in the show notes. If you go to the site you’ll find an apology from Robert Krulwich wherein he apologizes for the way he aggressively questioned the Mr Eng Yang regarding reports that “yellow rain” was used on people in Laos after American forces left Vietnam. I want to make clear that, in my opinion, Robert Krulwich should not have apologized. If the oppressed of the Earth are going to find a voice that matters they will, simultaneously, have to be open to the truth and to pursuing the truth. This will require transcending their own experiences even as they act in their own collective interest.

You’ll also hear clips of Philip Glass’s Photographer, an excerpt from a documentary about Audrey Hepburn entitled “World’s Most Photographed Woman,” the comedian Godfrey Chi, Phlearn Photoshop’s “The Basics of Studium and Punctum in Photographs,” and “Got a Good Thing Going” by the Beetletown Players and Mister Show.