221 | Kat Rosenfield (No One Will Miss Her)

My Summer Lair Chapter #221: Are You Going To Miss Her?

Welcome back Kat Rosenfield to My Summer Lair!

The last time Kat visited My Summer Lair we discussed her novel A Trick of Light co-written with Stan Lee as one of his final projects. That was a thriller with a sci-fi bent; this time she has a thriller with a murder mystery bent. Oh snap!

Kat’s latest novel is No One Will Miss Her. The back of of the novel reads in part: “A smart, witty, crackling novel of psychological suspense in which a girl from a hardscrabble small town meets a gorgeous Instagram influencer from the big city, with a murderous twist that will shock even the most savvy reader.”

Indeed! Even M Night wishes he had a shovel because he would dig this twist.

oooooo!

A quote from Page 55 of No One Will Miss Her: “But I was too slow. Too stupid. Too innocent to understand that we live in a world where some people like to stomp on little things—and where they’d tell you afterward that what they had done was a sort of kindness.”

Oh dear. Let’s investigate Kat Rosenfield’s No One Will Miss Her; of course we’ll conduct this My Summer Lair investigation…by the book.

Kat Rosenfield @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 14, 2021 at 11:30am (EST)

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206 | Scott Howard-Cooper (Steve Kerr: A Life)

My Summer Lair Chapter #206: Are You Grateful For Steve Kerr?

From the “diary” of sportswriter Scott Howard-Cooper:

On August 10, 2019…he wrote:
“Beginning work on a biography of Warriors coach Steve Kerr, to be published by William Morrow in Fall 2020. Kerr’s journey through triumph and tragedy is unmatched anywhere — not just sports — with layers of growing up around the world, activism, overcoming adversity, constantly having to prove himself and, of course, basketball. I look forward to sharing new details of his fascinating path to becoming one of the biggest names in the NBA and giving fresh context to familiar events.”

Then on March 19, 2020 he revealed more about his Steve Kerr biography:
“What a labor of love. The twists and turns of the last year leave me more appreciative than when the project began in 2019.”

Scott Howard-Cooper’s Steve Kerr: A Life is out now. A freshtastic NBA biography.

From the back of the book: “Few individuals have had a career as storied, and improbable, as Steve Kerr. He has won eight NBA titles—five as a player and three as a coach—for three different franchises. He played alongside the best players of a generation, from Michael Jordan to Shaquille O’Neal to Tim Duncan, and learned the craft of basketball under four legendary coaches. He was an integral part of two famed NBA dynasties. Perhaps no other figure in basketball history has had a hand in such greatness.”

When you look back on your life…are there particular moments that naturally prompt gratitude?

Are there circumstances that at first seemed like darkness was setting up camp only over time they became significant moments of light?

If you read Scott Howard-Cooper’s Steve Kerr: A Life the answer for Kerr is yes to both questions. There is a relentless optimism and an undaunted joy that rings out on almost every page of this special NBA biography.

This is an inspiring My Summer Lair episode that even acknowledges the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. My hope is that you’ll make gratitude a habit in your life…not because it is easy but because it is hard (according to JFK). Kinda like resurrecting dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.

Scott Howard-Cooper @ WT F

Host Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday November 9, 2021 at 1:00pm (EST)

190 | Claire Holroyde (The Effort)

My Summer Lair Chapter #190: What Would You Do If Faced With An Extinction Level Event?

Here’s a striking image that lends itself to easy metaphor: The Effort, a sci-fi novel by Claire Holroyde begins with an 8 kilometer dark comet UD3 emerging from a blind spot hurtling towards Earth.

We never saw it coming…so as the novel unfolds humans have one year left before it hits. As the citizens of Earth grapple with the devastating news a group of scientists and nerds gather together in a Defense Effort (get it?) to avoid doom, disaster and death.

Super compelling; The NY Times listed The Effort in New & Noteworthy and I agree. It offers a number of perspectives as each member in the cast has their own hopes, setbacks and classic existential despair from a polar icebreaker to South America and lots more remarkable locations.

And sure this is a science-fiction novel and yeah it is a near-future novel but doesn’t that image also reflect our tepid responses to the environment? It’s our blind spot…often we fail to operate with a sense of urgency; with maximum effort recognizing it’s a crisis.

At least in this novel they have a clear timeframe: 1 year or else…extinction. Just like the dinosaurs.

Perhaps it’s human nature…we know we shouldn’t smoke or eat at McDonalds; we should sleep more and let friends know we appreciate them and love them and yet for all the common knowledge of all the things we should be doing and the things we’re not doing…we keep rolling on; not aware of our blind spots.

What are we overlooking?

What obvious signs have we ignored?

Like we’ve all watched Deep ImpactArmageddon and similar blockbusters offering up the same flimsy hopeful message: when the pressing issue is at hand we are galvanized.

There’s a lot going on; which is impressive considering The Effort is Clair’s debut novel. So here she is talking and exploring all these themes with me; making her debut on My Summer Lair as I give this sci-fi novel The Effort…the old college try.

Claire Holroyde @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wednesday January 26, 2022 at 7pm (EST)

189 | Michael Holley (The Big Three: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and the Rebirth of the Boston Celtics)

My Summer Lair Chapter #189: What’s Your Favourite Moment Of The Boston Big Three Era?


On July 31, 2007, the Boston Celtics traded for Kevin Garnett to solidify their Big Three. As a team they’d go on to win 1 championship while contributing to Boston’s dynasty mythology across all sports. (Though that’s mostly Tom Brady’s work.)

Written by Boston sportswriter Michael Holley; The Big Three is his 7th book having previously written about Brady, Belichick and the Red Sox.

Michael Holley is man with a Christian faith and that faith makes him an ideal sports writer.

As an analogy spiritual faith mirrors the passion and joy fans have for their NBA team. And yet for all the hope and faith and prayers—answered and unanswered—for all the preaching and teaching; the burden of prophecy and the weight of legacy: sometimes a team needs a miracle. Or two. Or three.

Miracles are spiritual surprise parties and in sports miracles are so uplifting.

And the way it all happened in this book The Big Three first with the Celtics being sold, new owners…hiring Danny Ainge…right up to the trades to assemble the championship winning team really was a miracle.

So I guess this book and this My Summer Lair conversation is the autopsy of a miracle.


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Michael Holley @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday February 18, 2021 at 5:30pm (EST)

182 | Pete Croatto (From Hang Time to Prime Time: The Birth of the Modern-Day NBA)

My Summer Lair Chapter #182: How Did The NBA Evolve From Hang Time To Prime Time?


This will be another NBA episode though not focusing so much on a team or certain players but rather the league itself.

Journalist and writer Pete Croatto has written From Hang Time to Prime Time: Business, Entertainment, and the Birth of the Modern-Day NBA. This book is delicious I consumed it whole like a python.

There’s a reason why when you go see like a Marvel movie, there’s 10 minutes of credits, right? Because there’s a lot of people who made that movie, yet what we tend to focus on or talk about is Robert Downey Jr or Kevin Fiege, or like a handful of stars in front of the camera. Yet without those 10 minutes of credits the Marvel movie is not possible.

So let’s look back to so we can look ahead: From Hang Time to Prime Time is like the NBA’s high school yearbook. Pete’s book deftly documents the corporate rise of the NBA: a league that wasn’t popular much less cool compared to the NFL and MLB. Hard to believe.

Imagine sitting down and talking to the people in those 10 minutes of Marvel’s movie credits: they made it happen. Who in the NBA should get credit for making magic happen even though most of us only know Michael Jordan?

Through many stories and many experiences and many moments Hang Time focuses on the NBA’s cultural transformation and growth especially in the 70s and 80s though thankfully unlike a yearbook there isn’t that many bad hair photos. I’m not sure how we should classify Commissioner David Stern’s mustache.

Kobe’s sudden death was proceeded by David Stern’s death: both in January 2020. Those two deaths formed fascinating bookends of the NBA that was and the NBA that is. On every tombstone you get that dash between dates but that dash can mean so so much. That tiny dash signifies a life though it fails to convey the whole story.

So let’s start there with those 2 significant bookends: Kobe Bryant and David Stern. Because we know Stern and we know Kobe and we know one of them is Prime Time and the other is Hang Time. Heh you can decide which is which.


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Pete Croatto @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 4pm (EST)

179 | Zack O’Malley Greenburg (A-List Angels)

My Summer Lair Chapter #179: If you could invest in any company with any celebrity: who would you choose?

My elevator pitch for this My Summer Lair episode.

Old School Fame…Old School Hollywood relied on hits: the longer you remained hot; the bigger you got. Which meant every project was a risk: your next movie hadda hit, or your next album hadda hit.

So yes these actors and bands and writers and directors: creators relied on the studio system or the record company system or the book publishing system as the primary generation of their riches. They were rich: not wealthy. (Elvis makes more dead than he was alive.)

Then startups and investments came along. Now it was possible to create wealth…in some cases generational wealth.

So what does that all mean?

Enter Zack O’Malley Greenburg’s book A-List Angels: How a Band of Actors, Artists, and Athletes hacked Silicon Valley.

You’ll hear us discuss Shaq investing in Google, Bono in Facebook, Kevin Durant in Postmates, Nas in Casper. Plus hear a strange Katy Perry story that took place in Rome, Jay-Z’s birthday and even Zack’s hope for the New York Knicks. (Hope and Knicks in the same sentence!)

All this matters because these celebrities ae funding the companies we use and as we’ve seen with Facebook or Google as examples we hafta figure out where we go from here. How do we deal with these companies?

What kind of future do we want?

So first we must understand how we got here.


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Zack O’Malley Greenburg @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Friday December 4, 2020 at 5pm (EST)

170 | Sarah Scoles (They Are Already Here)

My Summer Lair Chapter #170: Have You Ever Looked Up At The Night Sky And Seen An Unidentified Flying Object?

A powerful moment during his Inside the Actors Studio appearance in 2006 Dave Chappelle said: “The worst thing to call somebody is crazy, it’s dismissive. “I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy,” That’s bullshit. These people are not crazy, they’re strong people. Maybe the environment is a little sick.”

Dave Chappelle is right: “The worst thing to call somebody is crazy, it’s dismissive.” Welcome science writer Sarah Scoles to  My Summer Lair; her book is They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers. Indeed: a non-fiction scientific book on UFO culture.

I dig books and documentaries like this: curious, questioning and searching for truths. There’s no value in being right and certainty is foolishness. On page 8 she writes:

“Nestled among the unhinged conspiracy theorists and those who believe every UFO report like it’s biblical resided people I could identify with: logical, dedicated, skeptical. Many of them didn’t necessarily “believe” in UFOs at all, and most didn’t take the extraterrestrial connotation for granted. Nevertheless, in their spare time—between litigating court cases or teaching middle-schoolers or running planetariums—they scoured declassified government documents, Wayback-Machined old webpages, interviewed witnesses, and wrote up self-aware analyses of their findings. I undertook this project because I wanted to understand why these people spent so much time on a phenomenon that they weren’t even sure was a phenomenon—at least not one beyond the human brain.”

Absolutely fascinating. Our conversation convers the recent American government revelations, the distinction between aliens and UFO culture and Blink 182 front man Tom DeLonge who recently won an award for UFO Researcher Of The Year. Ummm yup.

Sarah Scoles @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Monday October 5, 2020 at 4pm (EST)

169 | Ryan North (Slaughterhouse-Five)

My Summer Lair Chapter #169: If You Haven’t Read The Book Will You Be Willing To Read The First-Ever Graphic Novel Adaptation Of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five?


Typically I write a shows notes book review combo. However this time I’ll just share what Ryan North has written about adapting Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five one of the best anti-war novels:

“I wrote this book, but I think it’s really good! And I can say that because comics is a collaborative medium, and my script was only a small part of it: Albert’s beautiful art and graphic storytelling sensibility took what was there in my script and turned it into something incredible.

And of course Vonnegut’s original prose novel is timeless and one of my favourite books of all time. The book itself is the result of all theses talents and more, and I can say without ego that it’s something really special.

If you’re curious about this version of Slaughterhouse-Five, let me tell you that our goal with it was to make it feel like it was written as a comic first, to make it feel at home in the medium. This isn’t the prose novel crammed into boxes with some pictures added, but rather a version of the same story that lives within comics, that does everything it can to tell the same story – and make you feel the same sense of sorrow and loss and hope and love – in this new medium.

If you’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five before you’ll feel at home with this graphic novel and hopefully discover something new and wonderful about the book you love… and if you’ve never read it, or Vonnegut, I can promise you that you’ll find in him a unique, powerful and above all sympathetic and humanist voice that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.”

Ryan does a better job explaining Vonnegut’s complex novel than I could. This adaptation is fantastic: get your whole face into this graphic novel.


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Ryan North @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Tuesday December 29, 2020 at 1pm (EST)

167 | Paul Vermeersch (Shared Universe)

My Summer Lair Chapter #167: When You Get Lost In The Poetic Shared Universe…Who Do You Ask For Directions?

This is more than just a best of poetry collection although it is that.

You know how Marvel movies started with Iron Man, then the Hulk followed that, Thor and then Captain America each character and their world was properly established.

Like a patient architect Marvel Studios introduced each remarkable character via a solo movie before bringing them all together in Avengers.

According to writer and poet Paul Vermeersch writing poetry follows that same process. A writer issues poems in various books and publications and it’s like an Iron Man stand alone movie or a Captain America movie.

With Shared Universe as Paul explains it he’s now bringing all his poems together: Avengers Assemble! and the result is a fascinating contrast in light of a bold yet fresh context.

He said to me during this My Summer Lair visit: “I understand that I work in an art form that has less broad popular appeal than say a superhero film. But I can certainly borrow from that genre what I think is interesting and use it as a framework for the work that I’m doing.”

Right? So dope.

Shared Universe is fun for nerds and non-nerds: the poems in this best of collection are not chronological.

Instead they’re fueled by an optimistic imagination: a space age hope for the future. Sometimes we gotta look back to look ahead.


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Paul Vermeersch @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Monday December 28, 2020 at Noon (EST)

164 | Tom Scioli (Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics)

My Summer Lair Chapter #164: Does Jack Kirby’s Real Life Reveal A Grand Design?

Welcome comic book writer and artist Tom Scioli. Based in Pittsburgh two of his recent projects recognize and explore the fantastic imagination of Jack King Kirby. 

The first project is Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics which is an outstanding Jack Kirby biography slash graphic novel that in some ways mirrors Captain America’s origins: Scrappy kid born in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, draws well (people often forget Steve Rogers was a commercial artist for a time: yes I know he’s not a real person), gets drafted, fights in World War II and comes home victorious. Only when he returns to comic books Jack Kirby was successful though not victorious. 

It’s difficult to calibrate an authentic Jack Kirby opinion: he mined his rich imagination and gifted us so many stunning visuals and enduring characters. The rich soil of the Marvel Universe from which we’d decades later would happily harvest as the MCU. But he was also work for hire which was standard at the time even though what Simon and Kirby and especially Lee and Kirby were doing was not standard.  

Which bring us to the second Tom Scioli project related to Jack Kirby: Fantastic Four: Grand Design.  As Tom astutely writes in the first issue: “The history of the Fantastic Four is the history of the Marvel Universe.” Indeed!

Like Ed Piskor’s stunning X-Men: Grand Design that preceded it…Fantastic Four: Grand Design is a seamless blending of decades of Fantastic Four continuity into one long astonishing story. That yes tells the history of the Marvel Universe. Fantastic Four introduced us to Black Panther, Inhumans and so many other characters including a giant world eater and his silver assistant with a surfboard. 

So like the Challengers of the Unknown another Jack Kirby creation let’s cannonball into these excellent projects with comic book writer and artist and supa dupa nerd Tom Scioli. 


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Tom Scioli @ WT F

Host & Photography by Sammy Younan

Recorded: Thursday December 10, 2020 at 1:30pm (EST)

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