Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Conspiracy Skeptic with beta guest interview

Karl Mamer has released a new Conspiracy Skeptic Podcast episode.  Therefore, we can all skip the next dose of Paxil and breathe a joyful sigh.

Karl's guest is a listener and Chef*, Amira.  I have been lucky enough and Amira has been kind enough to beta test a hopefully new type of post on SkepReview: the after interview of Conspiracy Skeptic guests.  The result of which is later in this post.

Amira's conspiracy was the Laurel Canyon Conspiracy.  You might be thinking: The What?  I thought the same thing, but the tale is apparently the brainchild of David McGowan, a conspiracy theorist on the Moon landings, Truther ideas, and in this case, the idea that the government was behind the 60's hippie movement.  McGowan strings together a large web of interconnections between 60's rock stars, military connections, blood lines, and liver transplants to show that the U.S. government was behind the hippie culture.  I could not quite follow why the government would do this and what was the end goal.  It is a strikingly impressive example of information pareidolia.  Amira and Karl have an easy banter.  Amira clearly enjoys this topic and enjoyed her appearance on the show.

My only disappointment in this conspiracy is that the "Paul is Dead" conspiracy did not make McGowan's cut for at least a quick discussion on the episode.  However, they do discuss how Steve Jobs, the grand pooh-bah of Apple and maker of such fine products as the iPad, the iPhone, my beloved iMac, and Macbook family of laptop computers, could be drawn into this web of hippies and 60's rockstars.  Karl and Amira do point out that Jobs is from Southern California, but they missed that like David Crosby and John Philips, he is also the recipient of an allegedly unlikely liver transplant.  Clearly, the ruthless efficiency that Jobs exhibits on Apple and Pixar Corp is also evident on the striking efficiency of U.S. government with N.A.S.A.'s return to the moon program and health care reform.   (I joke.)

Anyway, it was a brief but engaging episode clocking in around fifty minutes.  Now enjoy the interview of Amira below:

SkepReview: How did you come to be a listener on North America's favorite podcast?  Do you listen to other skeptical podcasts, and if so which ones?
Amira: I began my skeptical podcast kick about 6 months ago and I started searching far and wide for as many podcasts  as I could find. Karl's show immediately tickled my fancy. I listen to many a skeptical podcast I must admit. My favorites by far are The Conspiracy Skeptic, The Reality Check, Skeptically Speaking, Dogma Free America, Skeptoid, Rationally Speaking and Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. I also enjoy QuackCast, Amature Skeptics, Righteous Indignation (except that I find it annoying that their audio is always very tinny, maybe it's my aged ears), Skeptics with a K and The Pod Delusion. 

You were one of the listener-guests on Conspiracy Skeptic, which is a new trend on Karl's show.  If I may ask, did you email Karl about the Laurel Canyon conspiracy as a possible topic, or did you request to be a guest.  In other words, how did you come to be a guest on North America's favorite podcast, a dream come true.
I did indeed contact Karl and I suggested that the LC conspiracy would be interesting and that it would be even more interesting if I guested on his show to talk about it. Yes, this certainly was a dream come true.

In preparing for the episode did you go back and re-read McGowan's writings.  Were you up for two nights in a row living off of cigarettes and nicotine in massive cram session?  Did you fret over picking your favorite small kitchen appliance?
I don't smoke anymore but if I did, I would have smoked 2 packs on the day I did the interview. I re-read McGowan's work for the show and I did have highlighted notes up on my computer while I was being interviewed so I wouldn't screw up. The small kitchen appliance was pretty simple seeing as I'm a cook and the baby Rambo is easily the best small piece of equipment.

Were you concerned about being "creeped out" by Karl especially after Hayley Stevens appearance on his show last year which resulted in Karl has dedicating his life to her?
 Not really.. I felt that he was very sweet with Hayley. One person's 'creep out' is another's loving    attention. 

Are there any other conspiracy theories you would like to see covered on CS, or that you desire to do with Karl in the future?  What has been your favorite episode or topic of CS?
 That's a tough one; I'm sure there are many a conspiracy yet to be covered seeing as new one pops up  every day. I'm pretty sure there can be a  few interesting offshoot conspiracies related to the Laurel Canyon story like who was really behind the Manson Family and how did the CIA recruit people to manufacture and dole out free LSD to the kiddies etc. I would be more than thrilled to do another show with Karl or anyone else who would give me the time of day. I could talk about anything with Karl as long as he keeps asking me new Korean Questions.

 I really enjoyed the Jonathan Abrams episode (because I love the Reality Check podcast I suppose) and I especially enjoyed the one on the sinking of the HMS Invincible; nothing to do with you guesting on that show by the way.

On the episode Karl mentioned that you were soon to undergo a career or at least a position shift in your life.  Are you free to discuss at this time?
  Yes certainly. When I did the interview with Karl I had not yet taken my new job. Also, I had not told my friends at my previous job which was at Cirque du Soleil working as a kitchen manager, that I was planning on leaving the circus shortly. I have now officially started a new job as a chef on a luxury yacht. So basically, I ran away from the circus...I was with the Circus, traveling the world for 5 years and I was looking for something new. Hopefully I'll enjoy this new adventure yachting all over Europe, the Bahamas and Florida. 

Finally, in a battle of skeptical wits between Karl and Michael "Marsh" Marshall who do you think would triumph?
Well, there's no contest really. Michael has youth, looks, charm and stamina on his side. Karl on the other hand has the knowledge of  a sage.. hence I can only vote wholeheartedly for Karl Mamer even though I'd make Michael dinner with no strings attached and no ruffies.. I promise. 

*As a fan of Bravo's Top Chef and other television cooking/chef shows, I just realized I blew a great personal opportunity to pick Amira's brain on this non-skeptical topic with a question or two.  Perhaps next time.


  1. Youth, looks, charm and stamina? I can only assume there's a different Marsh out there that people are confusing me with... still, I'll accept said dinner, stringlessness and roofielessness - thank you!


  2. "I felt that he was very sweet with Hayley."


  3. Hrm.. I'm going to be in the UK at the end of the month; maybe I'll just make dinner for Michael and Karl and just sit back and watch them eat.. that sounds reasonably creepy enough.

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