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The Bean Pot

Author: Adam Drinkwater

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The Bean Pot, a Podcast by Adam Drinkwater, a transplanted Pennsylvanian who made his home in the very deep American Southeast. An Ambassador, of sorts, for cultural understanding. His existential journey of self-reflection, and personal growth has led him to go further and dig deeper through the art of conversation.
9 Episodes
In the July of 2000, President Bill Clinton hosted a summit meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat. Five months later, in December, President Clinton, and the two leaders publicly announced that they had a peace agreement. But, shortly after the statements were released it became apparent that the public didn’t support the agreement and the deal fell apart.When we think about big events like this, we tend to oversimplify the groups involved into good guys and bad guys, right and wrong, black and white. But, the reality, and backstory is often much more complex and murky than we like to think. It’s easy to see why our individual support for one group over another tends to line up with what we already believe about the world. It’s a lot easier to take sides than to  dig through all the layers of complexity to reach a deeper understanding of the debate. The history of the Middle East, and the conflict in Israel is no different. The reality is that you probably fall on one side of the conflict or the other because of how you were raised, how you feel, or what you’ve heard from your favorite news outlet. Part of the problem is that when we chose sides like this, we risk invalidating the other side’s real life experiences. We risk the nuance that comes from testing our views against opposing views. We run the risk of confirmation bias.Dr. Aaron Hagler sat down with me to discuss the long, complicated history of the Middle East, and the events that have lead to the modern tensions that we see in that region today. He shares his personal journey, and the path that lead him from being a theater major to a professor of history. Then we follow the course of history from the fall of the Roman Empire, and the spread of Islam into Europe. We consider the Christian Crusades, and what that means to various groups. We talk about the Rise of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire, and how European economic interest affected the formation of the nation states we now see in the Middle East.  Dr. Hagler concludes the interview by giving his perspective on which characters are acting in bad faith and making lasting peace more difficult, and how we can educate ourselves with the valid points that are coming from both sides.Dr. Hagler’s attention to detail, and his honest, balanced approach is refreshing. I hope you enjoy the interview, and get a new perspective on this region. I’ve included some of the items we discuss in the show notes, so be sure to look at those if you’d like more information.And now, my conversation with Dr. Aaron Hagler.Dr. Hagler’s email hagler@troy.eduOne land, Two stories, by Shaul M. Gabbay and Amin M. Kazak me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
It’s hard for me to imagine a world where everyone believes the earth is basically shaped like a snow globe. That water is trapped above a dome, and it rains when windows open in the sky to let water in. That the lights in the sky rotate like a wheel. That the earth is flat and has corners. These ideas seem absurd to us modern humans thanks in part to civilizations like the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese who developed the early ideas that led to Astronomy.New ideas are continually changing the way we understand our role on this planet and our place in the universe. Take for instance the speed of light. Light travels at about 186,000 mi/s. That means we can measure how far light will travel in a minute, a month, or a year. It also means that if a star is 55 million light years away, it has taken 55 million years for the light from that star to reach us. Which also means anyone from that solar system would be seeing the light from our sun just how it appeared 55 million years ago. Think about that for a minute.I bring up that specific number because that’s the distance to the first black hole ever imaged. My friend Dr Govind Menon is an expert in Black Hole Astrophysics. He is the Director of the School of Science and Technology, at TROY University, and he chairs the department of chemistry and physics . In this interview We talk about his path into math and physics. He helps me work through big concepts about black holes and galaxies. We talk about how our solar system was formed, and why scientists think our sun is a second generation star. We talk about some of the exciting plans the university has for plastics research. We wrap up with some very helpful suggestions for parents who are interested STEM resources for their own kids.I owe much of my own interest in science and space to a teacher who was much like Govind. He was the coolest teacher I ever had, who made learning science fun and interesting. This podcast is dedicated to the memory of John Eliason, Jr., or Mr. “E” who died in 2004. He was an inspiration to me, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him.I hope you learn something from this interview, and I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Govind Menon.Find more about Dr. Govind Menon University receives $3.2 million grant for Center for Materials and Manufacturing Sciences Testimony before US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Other Helpful Links: click hereVisit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
My guest today is Stephen Stetson, who is a Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club, covering Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. The Sierra Club, is America’s oldest and largest environmental organization. Stephen's primary focus is the Beyond Coal Campaign, which focuses on retiring coal-fired power plants, and bringing clean energy and green jobs to the Southeast. And so, in this conversation, we discuss his upbringing in Alabama and how that shaped is desire to pursue a degree in journalism, and later a law degree. We talk about the things that led him to join the Sierra Club in 2017. And, a good portion of our conversation is about where our electricity comes from, why that is changing, and how it might change even more in the future. We talk about water issues that cross state lines. We touch on transportion, and what might be different for the next generation of drivers.I appreciate Stephen for taking the time to listen to my questions, and I hope you get something useful from our conversation.You can follow Stephen Stetson on Twitter @stetsonstephon.Beyond Coal - Sierra ClubVisit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
Thank you for joining me on this journey of self-reflection and personal growth. I’m enjoying making this podcast, and reflecting on the things that are important to me. I want to keep improving the podcast and you can help me do that by visiting and taking a few minutes to give me your feedback. There are few quick polls there, that are open to everyone, and it will only take a moment to answer. If you like what I’m doing, please consider supporting the show by joining one of my Patreon Tiers. Also, please subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode, and follow me on twitter and instagram @adh2o.My guest is my good friend Tori Lee Averett who is the Chair, for the Department of Theatre and Dance, at Troy Univeristy and Coordinator of the Theater Education program. She is a dreamer in the best meaning of the word. She’s the kind of friend that I can talk to for hours and totally lose track of time. She inspires me to think deeply about myself, and my place in the world. She inspires me to be creative, and to express myself.  I think she brilliant, vibrant, and fun in so many ways.I hope you enjoy this special extended episode with Tori, where we dig deep into what inspires us both about the arts. The first hour we spend talking about her humble beginnings in a small, country community in Alabama. We discuss how she fell in love with music as a child, and discovered a love for teaching others. And, we talk about how her travels took her to new places, introduced her to new people, and connected her deeper to her roots. The second hour we get deeper into what the arts mean to us as individuals and to our communities. We discuss how having the arts in our lives helps us to find meaning and purpose. And how art enriches our neighbors and gives us an opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation.Follow Tori Lee Averett on Twitter @torileeaverettVisit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
Andrew Maraniss discusses his new book Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany.This is the true story of the invention of a game, created by a thoughtful man named James Naismith. He wanted people to be the best they could be, and he believed exercise and healthy competition brought people together. And, it’s the story of evil men who used the Olympic Games, basketball, and propaganda to distract the world from the horrible things they were doing.In this interview, Andrew and I talk about the prominent role that competitive sports, and sports writers played in his own life. We discuss how he overcame the challenges of moving to the South as a teenager, in part by meeting and writing about Perry Wallace, the first African-American to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and who would later be the subject of Andrew’s first book, Strong Inside. We focus on James Naismith’s invention of basketball, and the growth of the game. That leads us into the dark, real life characters on both sides of the ocean that were behind the lies of the Nazi propaganda effort to host those Olympics. Fortunately, there are great heroes and powerful lessons that we also cover throughout of the conversation.His books are available in print and eBook. His web site is You can find him on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.Visit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
Dr. Richard Scott Nokes, professor of Medieval Literature at Troy University. In this interview we discuss his Professor Awesome persona, and how his intellectual outreach to connect his academic work to the general public lead to much bigger things. He shares his experience with science, fantasy, comic, and gaming conventions. We touch on his latest project Pop Medieval, a podcast he hosts along with a former student. That leads into the topic of his new book From A to Zombie, and the philosophical problems of Zombies. And, about halfway through the interview there is special presentation from Dr. Nokes to me. Make sure to listen to the very end when he gives us his holiday viewing recommendations. You can find him at and on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram as @rsnokes. I’ll provide links to these in the show notes. Visit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
Civil rights attorney, documentary film maker, and novelist James Radford talks about his new book “Boll Weevil", a fascinating courtroom and political drama that draws attention to life in the rural South, race relations, social justice, and economic and cultural changes. Jamie is a founding partner in Radford & Keebaugh, which you can find at He has argued before the Georgia Supreme Court, and served as a staff attorney for the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.We talk about growing up in a small town, and what lead him to go to law school. We reflect on those memories as adults, and how being a parent has changed how we view those places. We talk about his experience as a trial attorney and what it takes to pursue that career. The conversation deals with some challenging issues like racial discrimination, criminal sentencing, and some bold predictions about marijuana legalization in the Southeast.His novel is available on Paperback and digital download, you can find links here at You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Visit me at • Instagram • Twitter • PatreonSupport the show (
Adam sits down with Dr. Luke Ritter to discuss his forthcoming book “The Origins of Nativism in the Antebellum West”.  Dr. Ritter completed his Ph.D. in American History at Saint Louis University, and currently teaches at Troy University. We spend a few minutes talking about his personal journey that lead to his interest in human behavior and American History. And, since I’ve never written a book, we talk about that process a little before we get into the concept of Nativism. I think this interview really challenged my thoughts on immigration. The conclusion applies some of those lessons to our current immigration situation. I hope you’ll listen, and learn something new like I have.Tedx Talk on YouTubeTwitter @LukeRitter6Troy University profileIf you like what I’m doing here, please rate me on Apple Podcasts, five stars would be AWESOME.  You can find me at these places • • Patreon • Instagram • TwitterSupport the show (
A quick back story to the podcast by me, Adam Drinkwater, a transplanted Pennsylvanian living in the very deep American Southeast. The show's name is an analogy for my existential journey of self-reflection, personal growth, and community development that has led me to go further and dig deeper through the art of conversation.  I hope you enjoy the journey!Visit me at • Instagram • TwitterSupport the show (
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