Pamela Ribon (BSS #67)


Author: Pamela Ribon

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ruminating upon a misinterpreted act of politeness.

Subjects Discussed: The Weird books as a franchise, chick lit, unusual stabbings, Oryx & Crake, Downtown Press, Zane, heady and passionate men, managing narrative threads, remembering a time without blogs, the origin of, selling Why Moms Are Weird, writing fiction vs. writing television, Harold Pinter, compartmentalized needs in relationships, polyamory, on being galvanized by the deadly mochas at Caffe Strada, technology, online dating vs. face-to-face contact, nervousness, shyness, inner introverts, women and clothing sizes, how blogging helps writing, Hell’s Angels in Berkeley, and how blogging provides aid to the paucity of playfulness in American culture.


Categories: People

Daniel Handler (BSS #66)


Author: Daniel Handler

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Petulant about people who use alter egos.

Subjects Discussed: Aub Zam Zam and the legendary bartender Bruno Mooshei, writing in public places, Adverbs as a novel, Nicholas Monsarrat’s Depends What You Mean By Love, how dwelling upon the thematic use of love turned into a 1,000 page first draft, connections between The Basic Eight and Adverbs, Jonathan Lethem’s binder collection, the nondescript nature of “Joe” as a character name, on writing characters within a certain age bracket, on repeating words in dialogue, bad puns, considering the literal nature of superlative sentiments, deconstructing the semantics of Dale Peck’s pugilistic review style, on being inspired by failed books, framing fiction within ornate structures, how the early stages of writing can confuse MBAs, flowcharts, Melville’s The Confidence-Man, on maintaining a cultural parallel universe, the use of pop culture in fiction, insouciant sex and reader shock in Watch Your Mouth, metafiction, John Barth, volcanos in San Francisco, and what really goes on among writers and producers in a Hollywood board room.


Categories: Fiction

Julia Glass (BSS #65)


Author: Julia Glass

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Concerned with economic developments at the Segundo Studio.

Subjects Discussed: Hinging a narrative on a piece of cake, conversations in moving vehicles, the unintended continuation of the Bank Street universe, an urban Yoknapatawpha, family and pregnancies in narrative, whether The Whole World Over is female-centric, Jane Austen, omniscient narrators, Al Green, the virtues of the color green, generational commentary, midlife essay collections, multiples in imagery, on not doing everything in life, how to talk with a politics-obsessed blowhard, 9/11 in literature, Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, the intrusion of history on the reading experience, the meaning of historical fiction, New Mexico, the tax advantages of research, Bill Richardson, water resources, character names, writing on instinct, the importance of character, memory, the patriarchal assignation of names, and whether the book contains too many cakes.


Categories: Fiction

Victor Navasky (BSS #64)


Author: Victor Navasky

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Mystified by literary columnists.

Subjects Discussed: The economics of opinion journal publishing, on running The Nation as an opinion journal that loses money, dividends vs. tax losses, the challenges of a burgeoning subscription base, Calvin Trillin, “no diddling,” responding to Matthew Rothschild’s review, Valerie Plame, The Nation as a cause vs. advertising, the problems with second-class mail, Freda Kirchwey, the break with Christopher Hitchens, Monica Lewinsky, the McCarthy period, print journalism vs. online journalism, Rathergate, thoughts on the blogosphere, and the culture class and animosity between print and new media.


Categories: Ideas, People

Segundo By the Numbers

Current Podcasts Available Online: 63

Current Interviews in the Can: 8

MacArthur Genius Fellows Interviewed: 3

National Book Award Winners Interviewed: 4

Granta “Young British Novelists 2003” Interviewed: 2

Interview Subjects Sadly No Longer Living: 1

Age of Oldest Guest to Appear on Segundo: 74

Age of Youngest Guest to Appear on Segundo: 29

Most Books Read by Our Young, Roving Correspondent to Prepare for an Interview: 5

Least Books Read by Our Young, Roving Correspondent to Prepare for an Interview: 1

Most Articles Consulted During Preliminary Research for Subject: 65

Longest Segundo Podcast: 1:17:49 (Show #32)

Shortest Segundo Podcast: 25:59 (Show #45)

Emails Asking Mr. Segundo for a Date: 2

Number of Times the Three Cheap Tenors Have Made an Appearance: 2

Longest Segundo Introduction: 3:35 (Show #54)

Public Appearances of Mr. Segundo: 1

Podcasts Without an Appearance from Bat Segundo: 20

Categories: Uncategorized

Alison Bechdel (BSS #63)


Author: Alison Bechdel

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Revealing his political idiosyncracies.

Subjects Discussed: The meaning of “tragicomic,” Nabokov, Charles Addams, on how the funeral home component of Fun Home has been overlooked, on hitting a wall with words, the advantages of “visual writing,” Michael Lesy’s Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures, Fun Home as a mystery, using maps and annotations in panels to create structure and ambiguity, the presentation of Bechdel’s father, Dykes to Watch Out For, on selling Fun Home to Houghton Mifflin, the influence of graphic novels, Maus, Harvey Pekar, uncouth forms of madeleine tea, ancient computer modems, rotoscoping, Ralph Bakshi, cross-hatching, analog vs. digital illustration, typesetting, Proust, Camus, the use of ten-cent words in comics, on posing in photographs for visual reference, Six Feet Under, Jill Soloway’s Los Angeles Times review, and literary respectability for comics.


Categories: Fiction, People

Carl Sheeler (BSS #62)


Guest: Carl Sheeler

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ejected due to the apparently “serious” nature of politics.

Subjects Discussed: Running an unorthodox senatorial campaign, Howard Dean, the similarities and differences between Whitehouse and Sheeler’s platforms, problems with Sheldon Whitehouse, on Sheeler styling himself as “the next Ned Lamont,” more problems with Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island’s status as a blue state, efforts to determine Sheeler’s positions, even more problems with Sheldon Whitehouse, universal health care, negotiating the mechanisms of the Senate, on impeaching Bush and the Democratic silence, the monies available for universal health care, the baby boomer generation, generic drugs, the economics of expired patents, placing ceilings on oil and gas, speculation on whether Our Young, Roving Correspondent is a Republican, U.S. energy policy, the Manhattan Project, the U.S. energy infrastructure, hybrid cars, James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency, alternative energy in China, the emerging middle class in India, the trucking industry, the expense of overhauling the energy infrastructure and the possible burden on the working class, Los Angeles, and the transportation grid.

[LISTENER’S NOTE: Due to a technical snafu, the final minute of this conversation was unexpectedly cut off. We apologize for this podcast’s abrupt ending.]

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interview was conducted by telephone.]


Categories: Ideas, People

Hillary Carlip & Annabelle Gurwitch (BSS #61)


Authors: Hillary Carlip and Annabelle Gurwitch

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Recovering from an unfortunate incident involving a Motel 6 valet.

Subjects Discussed: Clarifying the provenance of “queen of the oddballs,” Chuck Barris, Rex Reed’s appearance on Dick Cavett, journals and ephemera, Liesl Schillinger’s review, on balancing the serious with the comic, cultural context and memory, the many forms of confession, on getting a blurb from Paul Reubens, the Oprah Book Club, a Voxxy postmortem, applying Hal Niedzviecki’s Hello, I’m Special to oddballs, the derivative status of current pop music, the needless prejudice against juggling and mimes, on being fired, “conquering” all “fired media,” a comical anthology as a tonic, and the similarities between getting canned in the entertainment industry and the current economy.

[INTERVIEW NOTES: The interview with Ms. Gurwitch was conducted by telephone.]


Categories: People