Entertainment

What is Going On with Vatican Art?, with Eric Armusik

Catholic artist Eric Armusik joins Tim to talk about the current trend at the Vatican to embrace ugly art at the expense of so much beauty it could showcase. Eric paints classical figurative art. His work is reminiscent of the old masters. His works are inspired by grand and vivid murals that he first saw in Gothic cathedrals as a child. But what caught my attention was a social media post from Eric that highlighted something we all may have noticed but may not have thought much about, which is how the Vatican seems to have gotten away from this sort of beauty and realism in its own art.

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Is Cancel Culture Killing Comedy?, with Evan Nierman

Author and crisis manager Evan Nierman joins Tim O’Brien to talk about cancel culture and its attacks on comedians and comedy in general. Will it kill comedy as we know it? And how can you defend yourself if the “cancel vultures” attack?

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1979: City of Champions

This is a Special Edition of the Shaping Opinion Podcast called “1979: City of Champions.” In this extended episode (90 minutes), we take you to when Pittsburgh became the “City of Champions,” and how its impact went well beyond the field, or just baseball or football fans. In the end, it’s about what sports can do to bolster an entire people who are going through hard times. Guests include: Kent Tekulve, Joe Gordon, Lanny Frattare, Michael MacCambridge, John Steigerwald and Walter Iooss, Jr. This is the story of Pittsburgh, City of Champions, like you’ve never heard it before.

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Encore: The Story of a MOTH Storyteller

Storyteller Margot Leitman joins Tim to talk about the art of storytelling, and how you can be a better storyteller.  Margot is an award-winning storyteller, best-selling author, speaker and teacher and a Moth Storytelling “GrandSlam” winner. This episode was originally released January 17, 2022.

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Kent Tekulve – The Closer

If you like baseball you’ll love this interview. If you like Pittsburgh sports, you’ll love this interview. Former Pittsburgh Pirate closer and World Series Champion Kent Tekulve joins Tim in this special extended episode. Kent talks baseball, Pittsburgh, how to teach kids about sports, and somewhat about life.

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Encore: Marc Summers Remembers Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare”

Television host and producer Marc Summers joins Tim to talk about the classic Nickelodeon show that put him and the Nickelodeon cable network on the map, Double Dare. Before Double Dare, kids didn’t have their own game show and the Nickelodeon network was not as widely known as it would become after this crazy, messy, green slimy “party” that millions of millennials would rush home after school to watch. This episode was originally released on March 16, 2020.

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Encore: Mark Seal on the Making of The Godfather

Author Mark Seal joins Tim to talk with Mark about the subject of his popular new book about the making of The Godfather movie. The book is called, “Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli.” Mark has is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair where he’s covered scandals, history makers and pop culture icons. This episode was originally released January 10, 2022.

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Encore: New Years’ Traditions

Alexis McCrossen, a professor at SMU and an expert on how cultures have marked time in history, Joins Tim to talk about our New Year’s Eve traditions with a special focus on the story behind that Times Square Ball Drop. This episode was first released on December 24, 2018.

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Encore: 7 Random People’s Favorite Holiday Memories

Today is Christmas. We’re in the peak of the American holiday season, which started at Thanksgiving. So, it is with this in mind that I thought I’d take to the streets of Pittsburgh once again and talk to people about their holiday memories. That’s what this special holiday edition of the Shaping Opinion podcast is about. This episode was originally released on December 19, 2022.

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Encore: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Plan on watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation this holiday season? Listen to the film’s director Jeremiah Chechik talk about the impact that movie has had on him and on our holiday entertainment traditions. He’ll talk about the making of the film and why the Griswold Family have become a staple in holiday viewing. This episode was originally released on December 2, 2019.

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Encore: The Real Story Behind Santa Claus

Author Gerry Bowler joins Tim to discuss the story of Santa Claus. Gerry is the author of the book entitled, “Santa Claus: A Biography.” He talks about everything from Santa Claus’s birth and evolution over the centuries, to his role in modern day culture. Santa Claus the philanthropist, Santa Claus the gift giver, and Santa Claus the ad man. This episode was originally released on December 17, 2018. Parental warning: If your child believes in Santa Claus, you may not want him or her to listen.

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A Children’s Episode

This is our special Children’s Episode. It was written and produced for young listeners and was inspired by a movie that Tim recently saw. It is not designed to entertain, though it may. It is not designed to educate, though it will. It is designed to make the listener think, to question and to want to know more. As you listen, please know I can’t know what you like or don’t like, or more importantly, what your kids like or don’t like, unless you tell me. Please use the contact form on this site. That will help me plan future episodes.

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13Q: A Top 40 Radio Story

This is a Special Edition of the Shaping Opinion Podcast called “13Q: A Top 40 Radio Story.” In this extended episode (90 minutes), we take you back to when it was all about the music, when radio was everywhere. A time when it was all about the culture, but mostly it was about having fun. In this episode, we talk to the people who were behind the mic and in front of it, telling at least a part of the story of one generation. We do it by telling the story of the last big Top 40 radio station in the form of 13Q, Pittsburgh. It was around for only a short time, but its impact would be felt for decades.

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Rick Porrello: The Ballad of Danny Greene

Author Rick Porrello joins Tim to talk about his book that tells of story of the notorious and now legendary Danny Greene, who tried to take down the mafia in Cleveland in life, and may have done it in death. Rick was the chief of a suburban Cleveland police department, and over the years he has written a number of best-selling books about murder, the mafia and organized crime. The book we’re going to talk about today was even turned into a major Hollywood motion picture. That book is, “To Kill the Irishman.”

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Encore: Seth Shostak – Is There Life in Outer Space?

Seth Shostak joins Tim to talk about the serious scientific search for intelligent life beyond Earth.  Seth is the senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, which was created by NASA and is located in Silicon Valley. It is dedicated to the search for life beyond Earth. In this episode, Seth talks about what we’re learning about the potential for finding intelligent life, not only within our solar system, but well beyond it. This episode was first released on November 21, 2021.

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