When I graduated high school in 1988, my idea of college was equal parts Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds and The Sure Thing.So if you were going to cast the part of my freshman roommate, you couldn’t have found a better person that Norm Bowman.He had it all, a spray-painted Dodge Dart, an anti-establishment attitude, and best of all, he was old enough to buy booze.It’s not surprising he was kind of the nucleus of my circle of friends.These days he’s still anti-establishment but a bit mellowed, with lovely family in the Dallas suburbs. He has a lot to say. We cover the similarities between coffee and condoms, his atheism, his signature style of photographing himself on abandoned furniture, and more.
What can I say about Sean Sutherlin? He’s just a great guy. You’re going to love him. He has a nice soothing voice. He’s smart, he’s an English professor, he’s part of my first circle of college friends from my freshman year when I went to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas…and I was only there for one year but that group of friends, we’re still friends…and I don’t want to say much more because this is the special Christmas edition of, “Who Are These People?”
So there’s this guy named Lee Weaver who has decided to run for governor in Texas. And he’s just a normal guy, not a polished politician, and he this to say about his candidacy, “Turns out nothing clears your head quite like transplanting an enormously complicated idea from the safety and privacy of your own mind into the unforgiving wild west of the public square.”
That quote hit home with me, because it’s a big part of why I wanted to start this podcast. I wanted to take the running dialog inside my head and speak it out loud, because it does take a different shape as soon as you do. You realize that some things that bounce around in your own mind sound so easily, sound ridiculous when you try to speak it.
Which brings me to Tony Nash. Tony and I are friends, kind of at the professional level. I knew who he was because he is a frequent guest on Bloomberg, CNBC, BBC etc., here in Asia. He’s an economist and has his own company. Then it so happened that I started working at a company in a small office and Tony rented the room down the hall. So I saw him on a somewhat daily basis for about a year. So obviously we got to know each other pretty well. And Tony, as you’ll hear in this conversation, has some different political views than I do. He’s a Republican and, well, you’ll hear him describe it himself. But first and foremost he’s a very nice and friendly guy.
Even though I met him and got to know him in Singapore, he’s also from North Texas and grew up in the Hurst, Euless, Bedford area…small world.
The year that I was working there with him, happened to overlap with the 2016 presidential campaign. You can imagine as Trump was gaining in the polls, Tony was happily ribbing me, “are you ready for Trump as the next president?” I was amused and bemused and also as the timing would have it, I was at work during normal working hours, when the election was eventually called for Trump. I think Tony could sense he was the only one in a fairly wide radius who was happy about the result. I give him credit, he didn’t gloat and I think he knew that myself and others needed some space. But anyhow, that’s all in the past now…here’s my conversation with Tony Nash.
I first met Jess as Jeff Herbst back in the late 90s. We were professional colleagues. I was an editor and also in charge of all the video equipment at ZEE TV, the Indian Satellite Network’s US Headquarters in Arlington Texas. Whenever I had a technical problem I couldn’t solve on my own, I would call Herbst, the smartest, most logical video and software engineer I’ve ever met. After we did all the troubleshooting, we would invariably end up chatting about who-knows-what for an extra hour or so and became quite friendly. And since I had a lot of technical problems we met fairly often.
Flash forward about twenty years, and we reconnect on Facebook, and then last year I notice, Jeff has become Jess, and she’s also entered politics.