Season one of a planned biweekly podcast is currently in production. The subject of season one is, appropriately enough, “firsts.”

Your first crush. The first time you slept away from home. The first time you lied. The first time you took LSD. The first time you were betrayed. The first time you knew you weren’t a kid anymore. The first time you burned something down.

A list of 100 firsts. Each answered in turn.

The first time you saw something you couldn’t believe. The first time you regretted something you’d done. The first time you saw you ex with someone else. The first time you died. The first time you broke someone’s heart. The first time you felt beautiful.

Interviewees wanted. If you’re interested in participating, please get in touch.

The new year is upon us, so a little reflection upon past events and a little looking forward to what I hope will come to pass.

Songs include: Everything that Happens, by David Byrne and Brian Eno; Happiness, by Elliott Smith; Swimming Pool, by The Submarines; and Discs, by the Real Tuesday Weld. Voices heard in order of appearance: Ben Adair, Shoshanna Scholar, Gabriel Adair.

It’s a new year, so I’ve been thinking a lot about “hope” — not as in presidential candidates but in terms of the actual ways people find to make meaning in this world. The alternative title for this segment from the Pacific Drift archive is “The Unfairest of Seasons,” but it actually strikes me as an apt way to start the new year. Think of it as hope from the bottom up, rather than the top down. Produced by Ben Adair and Polly Striker.

From the big box of old tapes I found recently comes this gem. An original 1999 mix by DJ Rhettmatic from the Beat Junkies called “Beats, Scratches, and Eggsalad.” Here’s side one.

Getting season one of the podcast into production led me back to some old tape. And since Halloween is just around the corner, and since I really haven’t done much to earn that “explicit” tag just yet, here’s some ruminating on fear and death from a former hitman and a former Los Angeles County sheriff deputy.

Funny how they agree so much more than they disagree.

Most of us of a, ahem,┬ácertain age and working in public radio lay most of the blame on Ira Glass and This American Life. I’m no different. Only, I can get a lot more specific with my finger-pointing, aiming at people like Scott Carrier and Barrett Golding, Jay Allison and Carmen Delzell. David Sedaris, sure, but more David Isay, Davia Nelson and Joe Richman.

But when I really think about it, I should point just a bit higher on the radio distribution food chain. More than anything else, KCRW is responsible for inspiring so much of my current career, musical tastes and pop culture sensibility.

I remembered that while going through the treasure trove of mixtapes I recently found (see the blog) and came across a particularly inspired 14 minutes recorded directly from Liza Richardson’s old show, Man in the Moon.

For a few short years in the early and mid-1990s, Richardson mixed jazz, soul, hip hop, rock n roll and poetry in an amazing way — before we knew what “spoken word” was and before MTV crammed so much “Slam Poetry” down our throats and prematurely burned out poetry’s last, best effort to become socially relevant. I always wondered how she did it. For a half-hour, once a week, Richardson would turn the airwaves into magic. It always seemed an incredible amount of work to me.

(I wonder who else heard this stuff. I wonder what they’re doing now because of it.)

If anyone sees Liza, tell her thanks for me. She changed my life.

A recent visit to the doctor and a long wait in the exam room led to a series of unauthorized recordings of three heartbeats: my baby (still in utero), my wife and me. They sound weird because they’re made with an ultrasound machine and the preamps on that thing really suck.

Nevertheless, here we have a sort of symphony. Sixty-four beats of baby, then sixty-four beats of baby and mama, then sixty-four beats of baby, mama and papa. Eventually, baby drops out. Then mama too.

It’s mostly garbled and doesn’t make much sense.

I guess what I’m listening for are those moments where periods overlap so I can make some sort of statement about synchronicity and the rhythms of life, but to be honest, the noise and confusion have always been more interesting to me than falsified wisdom or extrapolated b. and s. (That’s Ben and Shoshanna, for those paying attention.)

While going through an old box of tapes, I came across this 1974 communique from the Malcolm X Combat Unit of the Symbionese Liberation Army, aka Bill Harris, Emily Harris and Patricia Hearst.

The tape attempts to explain the incident on May 16, 1974 when the LAPD ambushed the SLA’s southern combat battalion in Inglewood, Calif. The tape caused a free speech incident at LA’s KPFK, where the tape was dropped, and is a wonderful example of the power of words. Interestingly, Ruth Hirschman (now Ruth Seymour), who you’ll hear introducing the tape, is now the GM of Santa Monica’s KCRW.

There are a few obvious pauses during the recording, but it’s pretty amazing that they read this whole thing with so few flubs. Maybe because they believed so much what they were saying?

Patricia Hearst, aka Tanya, starts talking at 29:16.

Bigger and bigger, closer and closer.

Since Shosho’s blood pressure started rising a few weeks ago, the fate of the little one inside her has been our greatest concern. The doctor says everything is fine. And as long as my wife stays more-or-less horizontal, the baby will keep on cooking for weeks to come (though “months” may be too much to hope for).

And while we still haven’t figured out our approach to this whole thing, a few things are becoming clear. Joy. Confusion. Frayed nerves. And beauty emanating from unlikely and yet-to-be-imagined places.

Like a speaker attached to a stick that points straight into a gel-covered abdomen.