RockneCAST is a podcast by Rockne Cole focusing on the power of the liberal arts so that you can live an awesome life in mind, body, and spirit! In this podcast, I share what I have learned, what I am reading, and interview people in the liberal arts world who have aligned their passion with their purpose.
We conclude our multi-part series on one of the greatest actors, philosophers, fighters, and doers of the 20th Century, Bruce Lee. He was all of those things, but above all he considered himself an artist of life. We explore some of the last thoughts he left on paper that his daughter shared with us via her book on her father: Be Water, My Friend - The Teachings of Bruce Lee. Incredibly grateful that Shannon has shared and interpreted the gifts that her father left this world before he entered into the next dimension. Bruce Lee has definitely entered my pantheon of great thinkers: Thoreau, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Nassim Taleb, Jared Diamond, and Malcom Gladwell. I'll be reading his work for a long time to come.
I'll tell you one thing, I am also going to be watching the Enter the Dragon and will soon do a review of Enter the Dragon through the lens of Be Water, My Friend.
I am doing 15 pushups tonight in honor of Bruce Lee.
Enter the Motherf...king Dragon my friends. Enter the Motherf...cking Dragon.
In this episode, I discuss the inaugural speech, The Difference, that my Grandpa Cole gave in 1963 as President of Texan Lutheran College (now Texas Lutheran University). When I visited Texas Lutheran a couple of years ago, I obtained what I believed to be the first draft of that speech, which was originally called A Consuming Fire. I don't know for sure, but I think he might have thought that title too intense a title given the subject matter of the speech, the role of a Christian Liberal Arts in higher education in the 1960s. The essence of that speech is about our divine power within all of us to experience and absorb the powers of creation in math, science and philosophy. He changed it, but I am keeping it because it connects well with the dragon energy of Bruce Lee.
I make some what I found to be surprising connections between my Grandfather's ideas and the ideas of Bruce Lee. They both sought to connect with the consuming fire of creation within us as we connect to the divine power of the Universe, the infinite dragon energy within all of us.
I also connect a verse in the Consuming Fire to Weston Noble.
Blown away that I discovered this speech one day after doing a podcast on Bruce and Weston lighting your inner fire. Just. Blown. Away.
(Note, I have 0 knowledge about what Bruce Lee's ideas on traditional religion were. Shannon discussed some of that in her book, but that was not the focus of the book. I am not making any implication as to what they were or not. All I know for sure is that he would have kept an "empty cup" as to the mysterious power of existence and to take daily actions to connect with that power.)
Total gratitude to Bruce and Shannon for connecting me to my grandfather in this way.
We're continuing our series of podcasts on the philosophy of Bruce Lee through the book Be Water, My Friend - The Teachings of Bruce Lee by his daughter Shannon Lee. Whoa I love this book! This is podcast is a meditation on what Bruce and Weston did to discover their inner power, that is how that lit the inner fires of their souls to advance their purposes in life.
Bruce's inner fire reminded me of another incandescent soul, my choir director Weston Noble, who completely transformed and inspired so many people throughout his career at Luther College. I discuss Weston's book, Creating the Special World, a series of curated lectures by Steven Demorest, a former student of his. Weston had such a magnetic spirit who had such a clear sense of purpose in everything he did, sharing the beauty of music. He aligned his mind, body, and spirit in everything that he did to advance his life's mission. Like Bruce, he accomplished so much and left us so many gifts that continue to bear fruit even today. Grateful that both souls have touched my life in different ways.
Check out links to these books at www.rocknecole.com.
We continue our mutual journey on the life and teachings of Bruce and Shannon Lee. I am incredibly inspired by the gift that Shannon has provided through her mediations on the life and teachings of Bruce Lee. Shannon has experienced an incredible amount of pain in her life, the loss of her father at four as well as the untimely death of her brother Brandon. She wouldn't wish it on anyone and would give anything to have been able to experience the vibrant lives of her brother and father. But that pain has given her an incredible wisdom that has made her such an incredible guide to the teachings of her father Bruce.
In this episode, I explore that the growth that occurs through purpose driven pain or as Shannon calls it, "skillful frustrations" that we subject ourselves to reach our goals. Bruce called this "means," which is daily purpose driven discomfort to grow our minds, our bodies and spirits.
We also detour to the Ringo Starr of the Stoics, Musonius Rufus, a guide on the virtues of hardship in life as it reach is and conclude with Kelly Clarkson.
I hope you get the opportunity to read Be Water, My Friend - The Teachings of Bruce Lee. The book can be purchased also by clicking on the link in the Bruce Lee Show Notes at www.rocknecole.com. Love this book!!
In this first in our series on the Teachings of Bruce Lee, we explore the seemingly obvious concept of the virtue of keeping an open mind through the Parable of the Empty Cup. Whoa, Shannon and Bruce have such an intriguing way of teaching simple, yet profound concepts that we think we know, but so often ignore in our own lives. Bruce's power arose from his ability to self examine and opening his mind up to the powers the Universe while also drilling down and mastering what he really did know. This yin yang of knowledge and unknowledge is one of the many things that made him such a powerful, charismatic, and transformational figure.
For those who want to learn more, buy Be Water, My Friend - The Teachings of Bruce Lee by his daughter Shannon Lee. A portion of your purchase will help fund the show through the Amazon Associates program.
I just read an awesome book, Be Water, My Friend, The Teachings of Bruce Lee by his daughter Shannon Lee. This book is now on my essential reading list along with Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I absolutely loved it! I am going to do a series of daily episodes about various teachings in the book. I am no expert on Bruce Lee. I just read this book about three weeks ago, but whoa, this was just an awesome, good vibe, life changing book. Would love to have you join me this week for my daily exploration of the teachings of Bruce Lee and how it applies to our daily lives. Love, love, love this book!
I have included a link to the book in the show notes at rocknecole.com. If you buy through the link, a portion of the proceeds will help fund the RockneCast.
Whoa... This was probably one of my best podcasts so far. I interviewed one of the most delightful, balanced, and wise people that I personally know, Mary Elizabeth Williams. We discuss in depth, her career as an opera star, the obstacles, the triumphs, and the wisdom that she has acquired along the way.
Mary and I attended Luther College together in the mid-90s. I got to know her because we were both in Nordic Choir together for two years. At the time, she seemed destined to become an opera star, but as we discussed during this episode, that destiny wasn't always so sure. There were moments when it didn't appear so inevitable.
Gulp, at one point, she even considered becoming a lawyer!
I love being a lawyer, but the world would have lost an incredible treasure if she didn't align with her life's purpose, to impart beauty and passion to the world through charismatic personality and voice. This would have been roughly akin to Einstein considering becoming an insurance salesman prior to discovering relativity. Thank goodness she chose opera!
In addition to opera, we discussed a self care strategy, book recommendation, and we even discuss an intriguing aspect of her father's life in France during WWII, a life so interesting that I think Mary should write an inspired by real life novel about that part of her father's life.
This cast was a delightful journey for me, learning from such an intriguing and passionate soul. This was a fun one!!
In this episode, I interview Iowa City Councilor John Thomas. We discuss a recent proposal to convert Market and Jefferson Streets from one way to two ways, and also, discuss some larger urban planning trends in the late 20th and 21 centuries through the lens of Iowa City, including historic neighborhoods, walkability, neighborhood commercial, and suburban development.
We also discussed several book recommendations, all of which can be found in John Thomas Show Notes at rocknecole.com.
John is an incredibly engaging personality with a clear, elegant mind. Iowa City is fortunate to have him on our Council. We had a really fun conversation! Plug this one for your weekend walk!
My friend Brad Lund and I have a conversation about the past, present, and future of liberal arts. Brad and I graduated in the 90's from Luther College, a small liberal arts college in NE Iowa. Brad and I met about a month ago in Decorah as his son was visiting Luther College. I thought it would be fun to have him on the RockneCast. Brad is a good vibe dude! We discuss our experience at Luther, his son's current search for post-secondary college, and whether the liberal arts remains relevant amidst the increasing specialization in the modern world.
This is a great episode for all, but especially for those with high school kids trying to figure out whether a small liberal arts college makes sense for them.
In this episode, I discuss the awesomeness of Iowan Robert Waller through his essay, "The Turning of 50", an essay in this non-fiction book, "One Good Road is Enough." He released One Road in 1989, just three years before his phenomenal best seller, "The Bridges of Madison County." Waller seamlessly wove so many threads into his dynamic life: business, math, music, emotion, logic, and of course, writing, something he did on the side of his career as an academic in the business college at the University of Northern Iowa.
Waller sold over 60 million books with Bridges and made a Madison County a literary destination, much in the same way that Twain made a Hannibal a permanent stop in the American literary trail. He did that by following his passion and by living and breathing the liberal arts in everything he did.
I share a personal connection to Waller through a high school English teacher, a moment that significantly changed my life. I also discuss exuberant stoicism, the joy that comes with the acknowledgement of our mortality, the driving force to live to the fullest while we are here. I thought of Waller as the embodiment of what liberal arts means and the power it can give in helping us to weave threads into the fabric of our own lives.
Waller represents not schmaltz or sentimentality as some critics have suggested. He lived in unity with the inner voice, damn what the critics thought of him. Next week, we will be featuring Brad Lund, a master polymath, actor, lawyer, programmer, comedian, musician, philosopher, and incredibly talented life force. We will discuss the power of liberal arts and give our views on the past, present and future of liberal arts education for small colleges.
In this episode, I interview Dr. Josh White, co-founder of the Community Health Initiative along with Dr. Chris Buresh. They met at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and later co-foundered this incredible medical non-profit whose mission is to provide high quality medicine to Haitian residents. We discuss the challenges of non-profits and the learn more about the incredible Haitian people and culture. Dr. White is also from my hometown of Decorah and is a fellow Luther College graduate.
Check out Dr. White's book recommendations at rocknecole.com and the donation link for this awesome non-profit.
This was a fun one to do!!
Incredibly grateful that Lynn Begay took time to join me for an interview about his inspiring life story. In the late 1980s, Lynn and his family met a dynamic teacher named Ozzie Winger while Ozzie was coaching on a Navajo reservation in northwest New Mexico. Ozzie was an inspiring coach, cheerleader, learner and mentor to so many Navajo Youth. As he reached retirement age, Ozzie invited Lynn and his siblings to spend some summers in his and my hometown of Decorah, IA. Lynn accepted that invitation and so began the incredible story of growing up Navajo in Decorah, Iowa. Lynn was a star athlete, friend, and inspired so many with his positive example. Ozzie died in 2007. We celebrate Ozzie's life and the impact that he made upon Lynn and his family. Ozzie was a fierce defender of not only Lynn, but also Navajo culture and peoples.
We discussed Navajo language, culture, code talkers, and what it was like to grow up as a proud member of the Navajo Nation in Decorah, Iowa.
We also discussed book and movie recommendations for people interested in Native culture. You can find the links at rocknecole.com.
If you're ever in Crete, Nebraska, check out Lynn's sport bar, Elle's on Main, one of the top sport's bars in Eastern Nebraska.
Lynn is a good vibe person. You will love this interview!
In this episode, I interview my brother in law Cory Grimm about his year of transformation in Haiti. We discuss the sun, the sounds, water, Haitian recipes, books, and music from this inspiring culture.
Finally, we feature a new release from Cory Grimm!
Check out books and music at rocknecole.com.
In this episode, I interview my friends Stacy and Kevin Billingslea about their transition from Missoula, Montana to international education in Guadalajara, Mexico, Bangladesh, and most recently Singapore. They explore their decision making process in deciding to make the leap from Missoula, their challenges once they made the leap and their reflections on living abroad for almost 8 years. They also describe a trip that made with Bedouins on the Arabian Peninsula. We even discussed the great stoics Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. Finally, we discussed the power of the liberal arts in shaping their professional lives.
This one was a lot of fun to do!!
I had a ton of fun on this episode. I interviewed award winning playwright Levy Lee Simon. Currently, an actor and playwright in Los Angeles, California, Simon received his MFA from the University of Iowa Theater Program in the late 90's. During that time, he finished a play on the great Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture, who led the only successful slave revolt in the Western Hemisphere. We also discuss how he became interested in Toussaint Louverture and the other Big Three of the Haitian Revolution, Jean Dessalines and Henry Christophe.
I also was intrigued by Defile (Marie Sainte Dédé Bazile), one of the key women warriors of the Haitian Revolution. Her story will make you wanting to learn more.
I am absolutely fascinated Haiti and this interview made me even more interested in traveling to Haiti someday. I learned so much about Haiti, Louverture, and why this revolution resonates so strongly even 230 years later.
In this episode, I interview Jason Zabokrtsky, a friend of mine as well as a fellow Luther College and University of Iowa College of Law graduate.
In 2004, Jason was living a fairly conventional life as a lawyer in a small boutique law firm in Cedar Rapids, IA, but his heart wasn't in it. The Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota beckoned. Jason listened to his heart and headed North, giving up the practice and finding his true calling in the North Woods. He now owns and operates, Ely Outfitting Company, a very successful outfitting business in Ely, MN.
We cover life, liberals arts, books, dog sledding, finding a calling, and most importantly, his transition from Cedar Rapids lawyer to North Woods entrepreneur.
Jason, you are an inspiration!!
In this cast, I discuss a touching moment of support between William T. Sherman and Ulysses Grant that ultimately saved the Union. It occurred in May of 1862 after the First Battle of Corinth in Northern Mississippi. I am fascinated by both men, not because of their success or greatness, but because of their intense flaws that they both overcame to save the Union. I'll take you behind the scenes to a moment of vulnerability for Grant that nearly cost the United States the War. Sherman's friendship restored Grant's confidence and ultimately, helped win the Civil War.
For an awesome biography on Grant, read Grant by Jean Edward Smith.
Here, I talk about a seemingly boring topic, converting a one way street to a two way street. The Iowa City staff recently pulled a capital improvement project converting Jefferson and Market Streets without consulting Council, a very troubling decision that I am hopeful that Council will reverse. Ultimately, decision must be made by Council and not staff. One way streets are a relic of 1960's carbon soaked, automobile centric planning.
I will talk about the importance of two ways to produce safe streets, promote low carbon modes of transportations, and also, most importantly to reduce unnecessary law enforcement contacts, a key commitment that the City made last summer to the Iowa City Freedom Riders.
This podcast is focused on Iowa City, but people outside of Iowa City may find it useful to see how a city can reduce the need for law enforcement for traffic enforcement through modern street design and principles. I am very hopeful that Council will align itself with 21st century design principles rather than 60's era carbon soaked design standards.
One of saddest moments of American History is the Hayes-Tilden Compromise of 1877. In that Compromise, Southern Democrats agreed to accept Rutherford Hayes as President in exchange for Republicans agreeing to withdraw troops from the South. US Grant historian, Jean Edward Smith described the Compromise this way: "The rights of African Americans were sacrificed at the altar of national reconciliation." We are still reaping the bitter fruit from that backroom deal. In this Episode, I explore the events leading up to that Compromise, why it happened, and why we still feel its effects even today. I also discuss some possible solutions to finally address the failures of Reconstruction: reparations and reconciliation.
In this episode, I am discussing two great habit books Atomic Habits by James Clear, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
Resolutions are hard to keep. Clear is probably the best habit author that I have read in terms of actually implementing powerful life changing behaviors. He actually shows you how. Duhigg shows us why habits are so important and introduced the world to keystone habits, those habits that affect so many different domains. I am combining the two and calling them Micro-Keystone Habits.
We will also discuss Chris Rock's habits for prepping for comedy tours as well as discussing one Anti-Keystone habit in my life.
These are powerful life changing books that you all should be reading. I provide links to both at: https://rocknecole.com/2021/01/03/in-2021-consider-micro-keystone-habits-instead-of-resolutions.
With this episode, I am getting personal. In his book ""The Diabetes Code," Dr. Jason Fung made some significant claims regarding reversing Type 2 diabetes through intermittent fasting. Did his prediction come through for me?
On May 11, 2020, my doctor told me that my fasting blood sugar was at a Type 2 diabetes level and that my blood pressure readings were also very elevated.
I am sharing my numbers between May 11, 2020, before fasting, and five months later with numbers from my insurance physical. We will be covering my fasting blood sugars, my A1C, my weight, and blood pressure. I use the 16:8 method, meaning I have a eight hour window and drink only fluids for the other 16 hours.
Grandpa Earl and Grandma Ethel all used to do 12 and 13 hour daily fasts, which is better than snacking throughout the day and night, but to get some of the true benefits of intermittent fasting, you need to get to 16 hours. Some very important metabolic transformations happen in the 14, 15, and 16 hours of fasting. In this episode, I cover how Grandpa Earl and Grandma Ethel will help you easily get to a 16 hour fast, even though they don't have the slightest clue what fasting is or how it works. It sounds hard, but you just need to visit Grandpa Earl and Grandma Ethel to show you how to do your first 16 hours fast.
In this episode, I cover my first Thanksgiving since I started intermittent fasting. How did I do? Did I gain or lose weight? Did Thanksgiving suck from a food perspective?
Holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions can be big concerns as people consider intermittent fasting. How will fasting affect special holidays and other special events? Will the joy be extinguished by rice cakes, kale shakes, and water?
In this episode, I share my experience and cover some of the counter-intuitive aspects of fasting and feasts.
It is brass tacks truth telling from my point of view.
Musonius Rufus is one of the Big Four rock star Stoic philosophers along with Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca. Yet, he is probably the least known of these four Stoics. Musonius definitely deserves a place among the Big Four and his wisdom is just as profound as the other three more well known Stoics. Musonius deserves his day in the sun!!
In this episode, I explore Rufus' views on the benefits of voluntary discomfort and why this practical wisdom remains so important today.
Away is far and away one of the best series I have seen on Netflix. Staring Hilary Swank, it's a science fiction series about the first crewed expedition to Mars in the near future. In this episode, I describe why it is so awesome and how it inspired our entire family. We were completely blown away by the acting, the science, the drama, the visuals, the music, the plot, the ending, and so much more. You simply must watch this series. Don't be swayed by cancellation! If enough people watch, who knows what will happen. Maybe, it will be picked up or renewed!
In this second episode on Stoicism, Rockne explores the art of Stoic joy via the philosophers Epictetus, Musonius Rufus, and Marcus Aurelius. He will cover voluntary discomfort, the trichotomy of control, and living a life of service to others.
In this Episode, Rockne discusses the insights of the Roman philosopher Epictetus and his lessons on the trichotomy of control over our most valuable asset: time. This is the key to finding exuberance and improving your life. The philosophy of Epictetus will make you say, "Whoa, that's really awesome!"
In this Episode, Rockne discusses how amazing it is that intermittent fasting is completely free, especially considering the huge health benefits. It does not require classes and actually saves time. If you really want to spend money, he discusses the paid app that he uses.
In Episode 11, Rockne describes his experience with hunger and intermittent fasting. It's not nearly as hard as you think. It's not will power or how much you eat. It's all in the timing. Lose the weight and get healthy! Talk to your doc and get started!!
Rockne explores the surprisingly powerful role that habits play on our daily lives through the lens of two best sellers Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear. He will also discuss the habits that Luther College choir director Weston to build a nationally known choral program. Finally he will feature song by singer songwriter Cory Grimm. (Episode #8, 8 Aug 2020)
Join Rockne and Nora on their trip to Duluth and to Gooseberry Falls along the North Shore of Lake Superior. This Cast will inspire you to take a trip to one of the most beautiful cities in the Midwest! (Episode #7, 14 Jul 2020)
This podcast will explore Nelson Mandela's use of truth, reconciliation and forgiveness to transform one of the most tragic nations into one of the most dynamic multi-cultural nations in the world. This cast includes clips from Mandela and one from Robert F Kennedy Jr.