Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tonight's Show with Martha Frankel and Rebecca Johnson

On tonight's show you'll hear a conversation with Rebecca Johnson, author of "And Sometimes Why". The book has been described as delivering a perfectly pleasant, even enjoyable read about a sad subject: the death of a 16-year old girl.

One of the things Rebecca and I talked about was the evocative title of the book. She said:

"It's a pun on when you learn your vowels as a child A-E-I-O-U and sometimes Y...I love this phrase because it just goes to the heart of this idea that we all try to memorize the rules so that we'll understand. As it turns out there is always an exception - maybe this is our first introduction to that as children - for every rule there is an exception."

We also talked about when tragedy strikes - we all worry about what could happen - what inevitably will happen - the characters in And Sometimes Why are thrust right into tragedy. Sophie, the mother, has been waiting for this horrible day. Rebecca told me:

"I think that some people are almost genetically programmed to expect the worst. Every morning I pick up the newspaper and it's really bad news. After awhile there is something in us that is drawn to it in some way.... and the hopeless contemplation of it over and over. And yet, when a tragedy actually happens we are just genuinely unprepared for it."

Also on tonight's show is my conversation with Martha Frankel. Martha Frankel, how can I describe her? I just kinda want to hang out with her. She's refreshingly honest and direct. Her memoir about her love affair with poker and subsequent addiction to online poker "Hats and Eyeglasses" is fascinating in terms of gambling but more importantly the culture of poker/gambling that shaped her. Martha started playing poker as an adult in her 40's - started playing a weekly game. She became obsessed with it - playing games by herself - consulting with others about the nuances of the game. When she heard from a dealer at a casino "Why play here when you can stay home in your pajamas?" she said, "Something changed in me almost immediately."

She fell into a life of lying, debt and anger. Tune in tonight at 6pm, CST or online by archive afterwards for our conversation.

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