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To The Best Of Our Knowledge
June 15, 2019
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A Mailbag Full of Fungus 🍄

A group of Amanita muscarias (fly agaric). (Lawrence Millman)

A group of Amanita muscarias (fly agaric). (Lawrence Millman)

We've had some wonderful mail spurred by your thoughts on "The Weird, Wild World of Mushrooms" and other recent episodes. Here are just a few of them.

From Rita, a listener in Washington who heard our piece on magic mushrooms' possible role in evolution and was inspired to recall her own psilocybin evolution:

I am 66 years old and my first encounter with psychedelics happens when I was 16. ... The year was 1968. I lost count of the number of times I tripped. My experiences with psychedelics included peyote, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms, which we harvested from local cow pastures.

In 1978 I started nursing school and left all my drug activities behind.

I can honestly say that I know I am a better person because of my experiences. Cosmic consciousness is real, oneness with the universe is real and much of the significant music that was created during that time was the soundtrack of many mind journeys.

I was a fearless, adventurous, young woman, and over the last 50 years rarely look back with dismay.

Today I am volunteering at a Lutheran retreat center in Washington State called Holden Village. I was listening to this podcast and wondering if any of my fellows from those days have had similar lives.

From a Jefferson Public Radio listener in Oregon with a warning for would-be mushroom hunters:

In your show on "The Weird, Wild World of Mushrooms," aired on Saturday June 8th, you gave out incorrect information regarding amanita muscaria mushrooms...they are poisonous when fresh; they are only safe when dried.

Just to re-iterate — do NOT consume mushrooms without knowing exactly what you're getting into. In her interview, mushroom hunter Eugenia Bone describes several personal experiences eating mushrooms, including some species that can be poisonous if prepared incorrectly. Before cooking or consuming any mushrooms you might find in the wild, be sure to do independent research and understand the risks.

From Todd in Maryland, writing wanting more music from "Music Beyond Genre":

I find it ironic (in the fun, non-judgy way) that, in your episode Music Beyond Genre, you don’t list the music that you played in the episode — well, not all of it at least. I’m kind of losing my mind trying to know what the title and composer of the piano piece is at about the 1:15 mark, right after Kevin Gift talks about hearing ‘The Entertainer’. However, the piece is more like if ‘The Entertainer’ jumped over to the episode about Mushrooms. It’s part Reichian and part anxiety? If you too enjoy the song, then after you reply to this polite message, check out Daniel Brandt’s ‘Flamingo’. Wild ride in the genre train if you ask this fella. Anyhoo, I’d appreciate knowing what that tune was. It’s ripe and ready to go on my “ililiiwsmoi” list.

As Charles, who produced that hour, notes, most of the Wendel/Kevin music we played is unreleased and not available to the public.  That is the reason for not having a playlist (some of the songs don’t even have names). You can find Wendel's original compositions on the podcast he co-hosts and sound designs called "Out of the Blocks," which he's talked about on our show. We've also invited him to compose original work for our show.

Still, since our sound designer is on vacation (hope you're relaxing Joe, you deserve it!), we weren't 100% sure which song Todd is looking for. Although, Anne's pretty sure it's one of Domenico Scarlatti's 555 keyboard sonatas -- so you have a lot to listen to. Charles instead offered this musical wonderment.

Keep the comments coming!

—Mark

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