Life & Style

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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Encore: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Historian and author Terri Crocker joins Tim to talk about the still remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 at the outset of the First World War. Terri wrote the book, “The Christmas Truce: Myth, memory and the First World War.” In this episode, we look at the Western Front where against all odds and their commanding officers, German and British troops, and others stepped out into no man’s land on Christmas Day for a day of peace. This episode was originally released on December 23, 2019.

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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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Robert Page: Does Weed Attack Your Heart?

Robert Page, a professor in the Departments of Clinical Pharmacy and Physical Medicine at the University of Colorado, joins Tim to talk about some new developments in determining significant cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use, regardless of the reason. He’s the lead author on a new paper from the American Heart Association that exposes major risks. We talk about his paper, some of the myths surrounding medical marijuana usage, and what it all means.

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Kashmir Hill: The End of Privacy

New York Times reporter and author Kashmir Hill joins Tim to talk about her new book called, “Your Face Belongs to Us: A secretive startups quest to end privacy as we know it.”  It’s about facial recognition tech, how prevalent it already is, and how we are leaving the age where privacy could be expected. In 2019, Kashmir wrote a story that exposed a future where anyone who shows their face in public will lose all privacy.

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Kaleb Gorman: When Your Thoughts are Not Your Own

Psychologist and author Kaleb Gorman joins Tim to talk about the way in which military psychological operations strategies have found their way into the mainstream. Kaleb is the author of an Amazon best-selling book called, “Psychwars: Self-Defence Against Psyops, Propaganda and Mind Control.”

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Encore: A Transplant Surgeon Story

Dr. David Weill joins Tim to talk about those life-saving transplant surgeries, the patients, the system for care and the challenges it faces, and what it’s like to be a doctor of second chances. Dr. Weill was the Director of the Center for Advanced Lung Disease, and the Lung Transplant Program at Stanford. Today he operates the Weill Consulting Group, where he focuses on improving the delivery of transplant care. This episode was first released December 13, 2021.

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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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Encore: Who was Christopher Columbus?

In this special Columbus Day encore episode, Professor William J. Connell, who is an expert on Italian history, joins Tim to talk about the life of Christopher Columbus. Bill is an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and holder of the La Motta Endowed Chair in Italian History at Seton Hall University. He’s also the co-editor of the Routledge History of Italian Americans.  In this episode, we’ll learn about Christopher Columbus, and as cliché as it may sound, the man, the myth, the legend. This episode was initially published on July 20, 2020.

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Fr. Vincent Lampert: An American Exorcist

Catholic priest and exorcist Fr. Vincent Lampert joins Tim to talk about his work as an exorcist, and we separate myth and fiction from reality. In 2005, Fr. Lampert was assigned to serve as an exorcist from his base in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. At the time, there were only 12 priests in America who were exorcists. Now, there are over 100. 

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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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Dr. Mark Pickering: Human Euthanasia is Here

Dr. Mark Pickering joins Tim to talk about the disturbing spread of  and interest in human euthanasia throughout western cultures, particularly in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. Mark is a general practitioner of family medicine. He focuses his work on prisons and other similarly secure facilities. In addition, he is the head of the Christian Medical Fellowship in the United Kingdom. In this conversation, we talk about the myths and the realities of assisted suicide.

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Helio Fred Garcia: Ethics & Crisis Communication

Author, professor and crisis communicator Helio Fred Garcia joins Tim to talk about ethics and crisis communications. Fred has had a long career at the highest levels advising organizations of all sizes on crisis communications and crisis management matters. In this conversation, we Fred tells his story, and he talks candidly about the kinds of ethical issues and dilemmas those of us in the crisis communications field face every day.

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