Thursday, December 3, 2020

Why I Need Another Podcast (Kilroy Cafe #1)

This is the script for my Kilroy Cafe podcast episode #1 recorded on 3 December 2020 (released on 4 December 2020). It may differ slightly from the final broadcast. This episode is available on major podcast platforms, including PodbeanApple Podcasts and a video version on YouTube. See the description on the YouTube version for extensive annotations, links and corrections. You can also comment on this episode there. My main website for this project is

I’m Glenn Campbell. Welcome to the first episode of my new podcast, Kilroy Cafe. This is my second podcast after Demographic Doom which I've been generating for over a year. That podcast is concerned with demographics, macroeconomics and the future of the family, and this new podcast is intended for everything else. Who needs another podcast? Well, I do. I don't expect the following on this podcast to be huge, but I need a place to download stuff from my brain to the outside world.

After two health scares in the past two years, I'm concerned more about my long-term legacy than an immediate audience. I've accumulated a lifetime of experience and hopefully wisdom, and one of my main goals now is to spew out as much as I can of it before I die.

Now I don't plan to die anytime soon. At the moment, I am at the peak of outward health, and I hope to keep it that way for decades to come. My health scare was lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, which was first diagnosed in July 2018. It was cured by the end of 2018, but it came back in March 2020. It was cured again by July 2020, and I'm once again in remission. That means that no cancer can currently be detected in my body. That doesn't mean I'm out of the woods, because this is the kind of cancer that is likely to return.

It's entirely possible that lymphoma is the thing that finally kills me, but everyone dies of something, and it's just a matter of putting off the inevitable for as long as possible. My distress about nearly dying in 2018 and 2020 is that I had a whole lot of data still to download, and this podcast is intended to remedy that.

In the past, I have had three main methods of data download: essays, videos and tweets. My written essays appear in many different forms, but the highest form of my art was a series of 69 one-page printable essays called Kilroy Cafe published between May 2008 and April 2010.

The name "Kilroy" was a meme from the World War II era. As American GI's traveled the world, they left behind graffiti of a nose and two eyes peeking over a wall, along with the caption: "Kilroy Was Here". The guy has only one hair on his head, which is one hair more than I have on mine. To me, "Kilroy Was Here" suggests travel, since this guy appeared all over Europe and the South Pacific, wherever the US military was stationed.

In 2008, when I started a new essay series, I was looking for a name for it. At the time, I could travel for free as an airline employee for US Airways. One of the places I visited was the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the town of Cruz Bay on the island of St. John, I took a photo of a local business called Kilroy's Laundry and Dry Cleaning. The sign above the door had the familiar Kilroy icon peering out from a dryer. I replaces "Laundry" with "Cafe" and had the name of my franchise.

The trouble with essays is that no one reads them. My audience for virtually all of my writings has been miniscule, which has never bothered me much in the past, but I'd like my downloads to be appreciated eventually. Essay writing is also a lot of work, because every word has to be perfect. If I misspell something or my grammar is wrong, it makes me look unprofessional. Writing is a precision medium, whereas a podcast is not. A podcast is more vernacular, just like talking to someone in person. You don't expect every word to come out perfectly so long as you get your point across.

I also put my philosophical thoughts into videos, which are also more casual than writing. I am comfortable doing them because they are just like talking to another person. The main problem with videos is that they are a lot of work and extremely time consuming. You have to select the right location and get the lighting right and spend hours in the editing process. I found that I was spending 90% of my time on the mechanics of making the video and only 10% on the content. I could produce a half-dozen essays or podcasts in the time it takes to make one edited video.

So I've settled on podcasts as my best medium for my data downloads. Unlike written essays, I can convey a lot of information in my tone of voice, and I can in theory engage the audience better. I can post my podcasts to YouTube without having to go through the production hell of generating the video component.

With a podcast, I have three output streams, each of which has its own audience: a traditional podcast, a YouTube video and a script. The script appears in my philosophy blog, philosophy dot baddalailama dot com. The podcast is based at PodBean and should be available on most major podcast platforms. The YouTube videos will appear on my Kilroy Cafe Youtube channel, which was my first YouTube account and more recently a place for unedited travel videos. These three output streams add up to a bigger audience than I would have with just a single stream.

All of my recent Demographic Doom episodes are scripted, meaning that I write them out before I record them. I expect only a portion of my Kilroy Cafe episodes to be scripted. Some of them will be off the top of my head, which works well for some topics where I have a pool of knowledge in my databanks that just needs to get out.

So what will I be covering in this podcast. It could be anything that doesn't fit into the Demographic Doom mandate, but I expect their to be three main categories: philosophy, oral histories, and life advice.

Life advice will include travel advice, based on my 13 years of intense travel since 2007. I have already recorded several videos that I call "Superficial Guides". There's a Superficial Guide to Eastern Europe and another Superficial Guide for the Alaska Highway

The idea of a superficial guide is to give you a broad overview of a place rather than too many details. You can pick up all the details you want from the internet, but it is hard to find general evaluations of a place to help you decide, for example, whether or not you should actually go there. I want to deliberately avoid pretty images in these programs, because images can distract you from the big picture. Photography and videography can actually be quite deceptive because they only show you an idealized view of a place.

So in future Kilroy Cafe episodes, I could give you overviews of, say, Western Europe or Canada. I don't have to script these episodes because they are all inside me. I just have to go from East to West or North to South and recall all the places I've been and my impression of them.

Another category I don't expect to script is oral histories. In the past 30 years, since my Area 51 era in the 1990s, I've had a lot of interesting experiences, enough to write a dozen books. The trouble is, I don't have time to write all these books, which have to be perfect just like an essay. The next best thing is to just give this guy a microphone and let him talk. I don't need a script because I can usually just go through events sequentially. I might talk about my Area 51 era, which were my 15 minutes of fame, or any of a dozen other interesting experiences.

Finally, this podcast could be the place for philosophical musings, just like the original Kilroy Cafe essays. These episodes will probably be scripted, because I need to think them through before I record them.

How do I record my podcasts? Right now I'm using a Handy H1N recorder with a furry "dead cat" over the microphone, and I'm editing on my professional video editor, Premiere Pro. My Demographic Doom episodes are heavily edited, but I hope to minimize editing in Kilroy Cafe. I don't have to edit much if I'm talking off the top of my head because you expect stumbles and mistakes.

In both of my podcasts, I'm bound to make factual mistakes, which really bother me. Whenever I detect my own mistakes, I will note the error in the description on the YouTube version of the episode. You should also check the YouTube description for relevant links to other links and resources related to whatever topic I'm talking about.

My output probably won't be too prolific, at least compared to other podcasters. Based on my past experience with Demographic Doom, I can't envision producing more than one Kilroy episode and one Demographic Doom episode per week, and probably fewer. I'm concerned with long-lasting quality, not quantity—although I imagine I'll also churn out the quantity as well.

So I think that's all you know about this podcast before we begin. Now I'll try to record a few episodes and see how it goes.


Written, recorded and edited by Glenn Campbell. For annotations, links and corrections, see the description on the video version of this podcast. You can also leave comments there. See here for all my podcast scripts on this blog (from both podcasts).