Hawaii Vacation Guide

Erica and Jordan, creators of the website and YouTube channel The Hawaii Vacation Guide, are my guests on this Sunday, January 29, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast. We talk about getting started on planning a vacation to Hawaii with an emphasis on Maui, starting a business such as their travel website, and hearing some of their story as a couple including their experiences changing jobs and moves that included Hawaii, London, and California. It was a lively and informative conversation, and I hope you enjoy it!

Click audio player above to listen to the podcast.

Click here to link to Erica and Jordan’s website, The Hawaii Vacation Guide.

Click here to link to Erica and Jordan’s YouTube channel.

We’d love to hear from you about your Hawaii questions and recommendations. Thanks for checking out the episode!

Profit from Your Podcast

Affiliate marketing, selling products or services, working with a sponsor, crowdfunding, live events, and teaching courses are all topics in Dave Jackson’s book Profit from Your Podcast and are topics up for discussion in this week’s Sunday, January 22, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking the player below.

Profit Monetize Podcast Affiliate marketing, selling products or services, working with a sponsor, crowdfunding, live events, and teaching courses are all topics in Dave Jackson's book Profit from Your Podcast and are up for discussion in this week's Sunday, January 22, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.


Click here to purchase Dave Jackson’s book Profit from Your Podcast. Torg Stories is an Amazon Affiliate, and we do profit if you use the link to purchase.

Podcast Notes and Discussion Questions:

  1. Observation: I think we can tap into using a more direct and conversational tone that addresses you the listener. I also want to start learning who is listening. There are over 1k listeners for many episodes. Who are you all? Get in touch and tell us why you listen.
  2. Observation: we don’t do a niche podcast. I think one way to offset that is for each podcast to be about one thing: this book, Maui, Knives Out movie, The Bullet Train, college writing.
  3. We brainstorm niche podcasts for Anne to do. I think the best we came up with one called Melrose.
  4. Quote: You build an audience by creating content that inspires others to tell their friends.
  5. Question: Jackson writes about Glenn Herbert, who hosted Horses in the Morning: His audience started sending in really bad ads from people selling their horses on Craigslist. As he started reading these ads, more people started to send them in. They got so many (hundreds per week) that they made “Really Bad Ads” a segment that they saved for the last half hour of their Friday show. Can you think of ways we can invite our audience to participate?
  6. When it comes to search results, what you name the podcast file matters.
  7. Sponsorships: @GregFitzShow joked about an ad on one of their episodes. We’ll try the same joke. We’ll read any family friendly advertisement or message for $20. Send me a twitter DM @billtorg or an email William.Torgerson@gmail.com for more details.

Thank you for taking the time to check out our page and listen to the show. We appreciate you!

James Paul Gee and Primary Discourse

What was your first home like? Who did you live with? What did the people you lived with believe? How did they spend their time? What do you think you inherited from those you lived with? Those questions and more, inspired by linguist James Paul Gee and his notion of primary Discourse, on this Sunday, January 15, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories podcast.

Click above for audio. We discuss James Paul Gee and his notion of primary Discourse.

What do I mean, primary Discourse?  In the courses I teach at Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, my students and I read James Paul Gee’s article, “Individual in Community.” In it, Gee writes the following about primary Discourse: 

  • “All of us, through our primary socialization early in life in the home and peer group, acquire (at least) one initial Discourse. This initial Discourse, which I call our primary Discourse, is the one we first use to make sense of the world and interact with others.”
  • Students in my courses spend time observing, researching, reading and writing about the Discourse of their choice. This is often their chosen major, a job they want to have, or a club or team they are a member of.
  • One of the first pieces students compose as a part of their course in my classes on on the subject of their primary Discourse. One’s primary Discourse can often impact the ease or difficulty with which a person enters secondary Discourses such as a school Discourse.
This page from my scrapbook shows the role sports played in what James Paul Gee would call my primary Discourse

Readers, what do you think so far? Comments? Questions? Complaints? Here are some of the prompts I use with my students, and the ones my sister Anne and I talked through on this episode. Some of my notes about my own primary Discourse are below each prompt:

  • Describe your first “home.” What person or people lived with you? What kind of structure was it? What location in the world? (Charleston, The South, Mexico, Australia, etc).
    • Hillcrest Drive Logansport, Indiana. Three of us. College grads. Teachers. Elementary and HS. Dad: basketball, golf, mushrooms, Church, literature textbooks. Mom: all the housework and cooking, teaching. CHURCH. Dad got baptized somewhere in their early. MIDWEST. HOMOGENOUS. 
  • Tell us about the person or people you lived with beliefs and values.
    • Be nice and helpful. Go to work no matter how you’re feeling. Work hard. Meet your responsibilities. Work with young people via teams. Mom volunteer. Valued competition. Wonder where mom was with sports before she got married? 
  • Describe the identities of the first people you lived with.
    • Dad: coach. English teacher. Golfer. Mushroom hunter. 
    • Mom: a wife and mom doing everything at home and that’s a valuable thing. Reader. Hoosiers and Bears fans. 
  • Describe your first family (and that family might not be blood relation) and how you interacted with them.
    • Mom and dad were always kind to me and interested in me. They were thinking about what they could do to support me. Mom was always playing games with us, whether board games in the house or 2v1 wiffle ball in the back yard. 
  • What would you say you “inherited” from those in your primary Discourse? Sure, maybe eye color but what about things like a temper or a love of horror movies or reading or a work ethic?
    • Inherit? Teaching English / writing. Playing, watching, coaching, and finally teaching basketball. Being a reader. Consuming the news from Dad. 
    • Anne- it seems like you are the most just wanting to stay home and not talk to people, or the most withdrawn from those of your childhood. Where do you think that comes from? Is your history loving self from dad? 
  • What did the people in your primary Discourse do? How did they spend most of their time and their free time if they had any? Jobs? Stay home with you? Struggle with mental health? Always working? Read books? Watch TV? Operate a home business? As you grew up in your first years being around them and whatever it was they were doing, it probably impacted the formation of your identity. Write about that if you can. 
  • What did the people in your primary Discourse believe? Maybe hard work? Maybe not much? Maybe a god? 
  • What were the interests of those you first lived with? 
  • What language/s were spoken in your first home? 
  • What did the people you first lived with know about? Did they have a formal education? Were they experts some other way than going to school? High school grads? College? Learned the family business? 
  • Did living in The South, or the Midwest or the Northeast or any other region (whether that be in the United States or some other part of the world) shape your first identity? Maybe you consider yourself Irish or African or a Southerner? 
  • Did having money or not having money or pursuing money or not worrying about money impact your primary Discourse?
    • My kids have a lot. Mom really said she felt guilty sometimes about what we couldn’t have. Later, like in middle school, I remember trying to pick out a first day of school fit and realizing I really only had 1 or two things I wanted to wear. BUT, I think especially in elementary, it seemed like most people probably had about what we had. I don’t remember noticing much of anything in the way of lacking something, but maybe because I had enough. 
    • Later in HS, I guess things like Guess jeans or what car I drove mattered. And I think we had above average more than half. It seems like clothes and things and say what kind of phone you have matter much more now, but maybe that’s as much bigger school (1200 here vs. 400 in Winamac),
The members of my sister Anne’s primary Discourse in front of a big pine tree in the front yard of our home on Hillcrest Drive in Logansport, Indiana. From left to right: our mom Sue, my sister Anne, me Bill, and our Dad Martin

Click here for a fun introductory YouTube video I use in my classes by John Scott called “Gee: What is Discourse.” There have been 107,000 likes and 908 thumbs up for John’s video!

  • Anne, if I offered to read and leave three full comments on anyone’s drafts of their primary Discourse, think anyone would take me up on it? What would I charge? $20? Maybe include the possibility that we’d read part of the essay on the pod?

Don’t forget next week, Sunday January 23, 2023, Dave Jackson’s book How to Monetize Your Podcast.

Thank you for checking out this page and the episode of the podcast. We appreciate you!

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

With a star-studded cast including Kate Hudson, Daniel Craig, and Edward Norton, the film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is our topic for the Sunday, January 8, 2023 edition of the Torg Stories Podcast.

We’d love to hear your responses to some of our discussion questions below. Add comments to this page or drop us a note at William.Torgerson@gmail.com.

Click above for audio.

Discussion questions:

  • Would you say you are a fan of mysteries?
  • As far as the twist and turns of who might have done it, what surprised you?
  • What were some of your favorite scenes?
  • Would have these people actually been friends before Miles hit it big?
  • What did Andi need Miles for?
  • Miles owned his own island. If you were to own an island, what part of the Earth would it be located on?
  • What was your favorite scene?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • Have you seen the pandemic wove in as a subject in other film or television?
  • Did you enjoy this film? Where does it fit in when it comes to the best films you’ve seen in the past five to ten years?
  • Would you recommend this film? Who is it for?

Summary from Rotten Tomatoes:

  • Benoit Blanc returns to peel back the layers in a new Rian Johnson whodunit. This fresh adventure finds the intrepid detective at a lavish private estate on a Greek island, but how and why he comes to be there is only the first of many puzzles. Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron for their yearly reunion. Among those on the guest list are Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand, current Connecticut governor Claire Debella, cutting-edge scientist Lionel Toussaint, fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay and her conscientious assistant Peg, and influencer Duke Cody and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey. As in all the best murder mysteries, each character harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. When someone turns up dead, everyone is a suspect.
  • Click here to visit the Rotten Tomatoes Glass Onion: Knives Out webpage.

Thanks for listening to this edition of the Torg Stories Podcast!

David Halberstam book The Breaks of the Game

David Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game is the main topic for conversation on this New Year’s Day 2023 edition of the Torg Stories podcast. I also bring some of my writer and teacher self to workshopping this show’s content in the second half of the episode.

Scroll down for the audio podcast and for a list of “Golden Lines” from the book Anne and I used for our discussion.

Click above to listen to the podcast.

Click here to link to the book on Amazon.

Some background notes on Halberstam’s book The Breaks of the Game:

  • Published in 1981 and tells the story of the 79-80 Trailblazers team. 
  • Author David Halberstam won a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1964.
  • Halberstam died in 2007 age 73 and was killed in car crash. 
  • I also read Playing for Keeps, Halberstam’s book about Michael Jordan.

Golden Lines from the book:

  • “When you are discussing a successful coach,” sports psychologist Bruce Ogilvie once said, not of Ramsay but of the entire profession, “you are not necessarily drawing the profile of an entirely healthy person.”
  • Most damaging to the intensity of the game was the arrival of the no-cut contract. Given no-cut contracts, too many games, and a schedule designed to exhaust even the most physically fit young men in America, many players responded by functioning on automatic pilot, coming alive only in the playoff games.
  • In addition to just doing whatever it takes to win, I believe that I ought to coach a version of the game I enjoy watching. This line about Coach Ramsay reminds me of that: “Ramsay, for all his toughness and his obsession with winning, that believed there was poetry in the game, that it was connected to ballet, and that there was beauty and truth in it, the right movement of the right body flashing by another body to score.”
  • Whether you are coaching at a middle school, for a DII college team or in the pros, each level of competition comes with a variety of challenges: “The real question is why anyone would want to be a coach in this league. You’re always on the road, the pressure to win is terrible, the players are not conditioned by salaries to listen, and there’s simply no time to teach the kids in practice.”
  • At Watauga HS in the girls basketball program, we use visualization. Here was a description of Walton’s pregame routine: “He played his own music, from the Grateful Dead, a rock band of which he was virtually a member, and the music helped, it flowed through him and he thought about the tempo he wanted to set and how he could move. He would sit in his home or his hotel room in those hours and actually see the game and feel the movement of it. Sometimes he did it with such accuracy that a few hours later when he was on the court and the same players made the same moves, it was easy for him because he had already seen it all, had made that move or blocked that shot.”
  • “For suddenly the team went into a slump. A few defeats became, as they can in basketball, a psychological state.”
  • In the classes I teach at App State, we talk about the tension that can come with assimilating to a new group. This about Kermit Washington: “When he went home to his old neighborhood during the summer his friends teased him. ‘Kermit, what’s happened to you? You beginning to talk like a white person now, man.’ He knew he was changing, he did not think it was a bad thing to change, to want to be better. It was also important for Pat to like him. He was sure she would not like someone who could not write a sentence or make a paragraph.”
  • I grew up in Indiana rooting for Coach Bob Knight’s Hoosier teams and later trying to run a version of their motion offense. This sentence is about Coach Knight: “He once suggested to the NCAA that schools only be allowed in effect to give out only as many basketball scholarships as the number of seniors who had graduated from its program and received their degrees the previous year.”
  • The following quote is about nicknames, and it got me thinking about nicknames I’ve heard and liked. In this sentence, Earl Monroe shows up at the playground for a game: “He was wearing the most ragged shorts imaginable, terrible ratty sneakers and an absolutely beautiful Panama hat. That, Luke knew immediately, was true style, the hat and the shorts and the Rolls. The crowd had begun to shout Magic, Magic, Magic (his playground nickname, different from his white media nickname which, given the nature of sportswriters who like things to rhyme, was the Pearl). 
  • What nicknames came to mind right away for me: Sweetness, The Splendid Splinter, Chocolate Thunder, Big Smooth. The Snake, Magic, Babe, Dr. J., The Iceman and The Bus. 
  • I didn’t know this word!!!! Obstreperous meaning noisy and difficult to control. 
  • The writer describes UCLA: “For UCLA was a beautiful school, one of the loveliest in the country; its faculty and intellectual climate, as America’s power and affluence steadily moved westward, had been continually on the rise.”
  • THE LEAGUE’S PROBLEMS were not limited to its television ratings. Live attendance was bad too. It had averaged around 11,000 a game the year before and now it was down nearly 10 percent, to about 10,000. Only 6 of 22 teams showed an increase in attendance and 7 of the teams had a decline of more than 2,000 spectators a game.
  • Would have been an incredible time to buy in: “To no one’s particular surprise, he sold the San Diego Clippers to Donald Sterling, a Los Angeles realtor-lawyer, for $13.5 million, a figure far far greater than the amount he had spent to buy in. (IRV LEVIN BOUGHT BEFORE: COMPLICATED STORY BOUGHT CELTICS FOR 3.5 MILLION) 
  • The lines where the book gets its title: “In the end the club waived him but agreed to pay him for roughly a quarter of the season. It also agreed to help him in his claim against the insurance company for his disability pay. Thus did Larry Steele’s active career with the Portland Trail Blazers end. He tried not to be bitter about it. It was, he said, just one of the breaks of the game. Friends in business told him that this sort of thing happened all the time in the corporate world, especially when men reached higher career levels where salaries were greater.”

Some other background or related information I collected:

  • Billy Ray Bates is mentioned as a player who joins the team and gets off to a good start. From Wikipedia: “On January 17, 1998, Bates robbed a New Jersey Texaco station at knifepoint, slashing the ear of attendant Philip Kittel. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Bates hit bottom when he robbed the gasoline station. At the time, he was living with his wife and stepdaughter while holding two manual-labor jobs in eastern New Jersey.”
  • Click here to read the Suns sale for 4 billion dollars.

Jack Ramsay :

  • Died in 2014 at age 89. 
  • Doc of education from Penn. 
  • 1977 Ramsey won the title with Blazers. 
  • 15 nba finals for nba radio

Bill Walton:

  • He’s 70. 
  • I know him first as an 86 Celtic and then as a broadcaster now. 
  • 88 game winning streak at UCLA 
  • 4 sons with first wife, including Luke who was named after Maurice Lucas. All sons played college basketball.

Thanks for checking out this page and the podcast!