While you were sleeping …

Friday, August 26, 2016
… or working, or disrobing because you signed an "Apprentice" contract a little too hastily, this blog has merrily been serving up plenty of great listening from the archives over the last week. Now's your chance to catch up.
  • Tuesday: Memories of the Big Band era and the Watergate scandal from Leonard Garment, maybe the hippest guy in the Nixon Administration.
  • Wednesday: A chat with William Gibson, the science fiction writer who saw cyberspace coming, but didn't get an email address for years.
  • Thursday: Three (count 'em, three!)  interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and columnist Dave Barry — one in which he suggested my boss fire me.
  • Friday: An interview with one of the co-creators of "Sesame Street," Jeff Moss, recorded just months before his death.
  • Other stuff you missed before that.
Next week: Understanding Understanding Comics.
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17 minutes with 'Sesame Street' co-creator and 'Rubber Ducky' writer Jeff Moss

Friday, August 26, 2016
Jeff Moss
(Click to hear full interview)
Jeff Moss died in 1998 at the relatively young age of 56. But his legacy will last far longer.

As co-creator and first head writer of "Sesame Street," he hatched songs generations have come to know and love — including "Rubber Duckie," "The People in Your Neighborhood" and "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon."

His work won him 15 Emmy Awards and an Oscar nomination (for the movie "The Muppets Take Manhattan").

Jeff Moss joined me in 1997 — less than a year before his death, though I had no clue — to talk about and read excerpts from his then-new book of poems about dinosaur remains, Bone Poems.

But we also of course looked back to the origins of "Sesame Street," and he revealed that he was hired for the show in 1969 to write scripts, not songs — and that songwriting wasn't originally in plans for the show at all.

Hear that story and more in 17 minutes with Jeff Moss, a creative force gone from the world too soon.

Note: Before "Sesame Street," Moss worked on another beloved show, "Captain Kangaroo." Kids of a certain age may also enjoy my 1994 interview with the man behind the kangaroo, Bob Keeshan, who was none too fond at the time of Barney the dinosaur and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

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The time Pulitzer winner Dave Barry told the boss to fire me

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Click to hear
the full interview.
Of all the Pulitzer Prize winners I interviewed in my almost nine years at WNUA-FM, boogerphiliac columnist Dave Barry holds the record for most visits: Three.

So you know I like talking to him.

Our third session, in 1996, as he was promoting his book Dave Barry in Cyberspacewas memorable for lots of reasons, including:

* His funny tour of our station's then-diverse array of computers. ("DOS basically just is there to say, 'Go ahead and try to figure out how to work me.'" "Apple computers … are for your wussy, artistic, heroin-addict type of individual Communist.")

* His computer-buying advice for cyberstuds: "Go to the salesperson … and say, 'How much RAM does this have?' And, whatever he tells you … say, 'I'm going to need more RAM than that.'"

* His suggestion my boss fire mesomething that came to pass less than two years later. (I have no evidence Dave was responsible. But, if he was, I owe him thanks for the push to make my professional leap into, yes … cyberspace.)

So let's return to a time when AOL chat rooms were the rage. ("Chat with people from all over America, and find out what they have to say. Not much, as it turns out.")

Here's my cyberspace interview with Dave Barry. (Note: Stick around after the closing theme for Dave's custom promos I don't think — I can't believe — the station ever used.)

And, while we're diving into the archives, here are the previous two Barry-Meyerson sessions, including…
  • Our first encounter, in 1992, when he was promoting Dave Barry Does Japan and talked about the burdens of winning a Pulitzer; his presidential campaign; and his distinctive approach to grammar, typography and punctuation. ("I want it to look like a raving lunatic is writing.")
  • And a 1993 interview touting the paperback edition of the same book ("This weighs less, but it has fewer typographical errors … and … has a cover in which I look … even stupider") and describing the weirdness of having his work turned into a then-new TV show, "Dave's World."
Thanks for the memories, Dave.

Related listening: My interview with the author who first published the word "cyberspace," William Gibsonbefore he had an email address.

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