Campfire Conversations

Sometimes the only way to make sense of the water is to talk it through with a friend, or even to yourself. That’s what conversations with and about the water are all about.

Dino

Dinosaur interviews himself
What a wonderful guest!

What’s the secret …

To a good interview?

Firelight Radio is available on Apple Podcasts and Podbean

Some would say ample research on the topic you’re trying to discuss.  Others would say having a good set of questions.  Still others would say inviting in a good guest.  But for me, the secret to a good interview starts with the host.  It isn’t so much the questions or the answers as it is the good conversation to be had.  And really, for that to occur: Is there really a need for anyone else?  Answer: I would say yes.  The caveat is you better be comfortable having a dialog with yourself first.  And that’s why in many ways this is a breakthrough interview. 

Among the topics we cover:  My new idea for a great app, new details on the Time of Great Phonelessness (i.e. Before Phones), how phones stole our memories, the difference between prescient and clairvoyant, why a ranger kept returning to the swamp and what made him stop, the difference between a tree and a large blade of grass, why cigarettes are healthier than cell phones, how banjos went viral, and more.

Ranger Days
Rudi joins Bob around the Campfire

Rudi joins Bob around the campfire …

To reminisce about the good old days.

Bob and Rudi collaborated on 12 campfire talks and three books called the Centennial Campfire Trilogy: (1) The Legend of Campfire Charlie, (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge, and (3) Final Campfire.

Hindsight as we say is 20/20. The reason? We have the benefit of seeing how the future played out. We survived the past, so it must have been good, and so seeps in the “nostalgia effect.” But make no mistake, they were good times, too. At this campfire, Bob interviews Rudi about the ups and downs and many memories of his rangering days. Bob does his part by introducing a new “experimental s’mores” recipe that Rudi doesn’t seem to like much. It could have been intentional on Bob’s part knowing that if they were too good Rudi would have ate the entire stockpile.

My home river
Pretty Boy and the Gunpowder music video

To be honest I was miffed:

How could cartographers leave the Gunpowder out?

Words and music by Bobby Angel

My response was to right this song. Yes, the Susquehanna River is the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributary, and the Potomac River is bigger too and also drains the Shenandoah Valley. But to look at a map of the drainages of the Chesapeake Bay and to leave the Gunpowder out downright irked me on too many levels to count. But what is a hydrologist to do? And who do I complain to? My philosophy: Never complain and never explain, and rather get down to the business at hand. And specifically, that means telling the story of a pretty special river that sadly people don’t know exists, or sorely misunderstand. The opening line to the song came to me while hiking the river trail just above Jerusalem Mills. I refined the lyrics in the following days in the loft overlooking a brook that feeds the river. But it wasn’t until returning to Florida that I finally put the final touches on the song, and in particularly the last two lines.

Where does this song rank in the Maryland song canon? Behind the Star Spangled Banner and Maryland My Maryland, I’m having trouble coming up with a third. That being the case, I’ll rank it 2nd since Maryland My Maryland is a knock off of Oh Tanenbaum.

bobby angel

The Tony Doctrine
And why its the new Art of War

We begged Tony before he left:

“Please write everything down.”

Bobby Angel’s exclusive interview on the song

The problem? Tony was more a man of action than long-winded with his words. The proof? As Exhibit A, I point to his farewell address. It was three sentences long. And three sentences that reverberated, too. The reason of course was that Tony spoke softly and carried a big stick, although not even that threadbare expression properly describes it correctly. The thing about Tony was that he possessed the unique trifecta of (1) leading by example, (2) never being afraid of a solo mission (no matter how perilous he always had a way of making it safe), and most of all (3) being a team player. Time spent with Tony was always time well spent. I remember many days sitting on Tony’s couch saying “yeah, we should get out there (and look at that issue) some day. “Let’s go now,” was always his predicable response. Tony knew the fine art of seizing the day whatever it took. That’s probably the core essence of what The Tony Doctrine is all about.

As for the big question: Will it ever be written down? If and when that happens, it will be the new Sun Tzu’s Art of War on my bookshelf. Check out the Bobby Angel interview in the interview above to find out more.

bobby angel

If the walls could speak
An interview with Oasis VC

Walls have a reputation for not speaking …

But if you listen closely enough they usually do.

Interview with Bobby Angel on his song about Oasis VC

The trick? You have to be very (very) quiet. That usually means that nobody (or not many people) is around, it’s just the building and you. Another must is having a long history of spending time with said wall. Even then, admittedly, it’s hard to hear, and usually you don’t fully understand what the wall is saying until a day, even a week later. The untold truth about walls is that listening is their best trait, especially in a place like Oasis Visitor Center where over the years many people have passed through. I’m not saying the wall remembers every conversation, but I have a hunch that over the decades its probably forgotten more than any of us know. Thus the reason for the wish: if only walls could talk.

Listen to the entire Bobby Angel song and interview on Oasis VC by clicking HERE.