Head On Fire

What’s the best chapstick for a dead body? How much do marketers really know about us? Is there such a thing as a “minimalist table?” Join author Don Martin every other week on Head On Fire, a search for answers to life’s biggest and smallest questions. He interviews experts in overlooked fields about subjects you either think you already know everything about or have never considered. From how morticians can turn you into a coral reef to the best way to investigate a cult, he asks the questions you didn’t even know you wanted answers to.

01:04:28 2022-11-15
Everyone is scared of "The Talk". We avoid it by using phrases like "the birds and the bees" instead of proper names for our bodies. Parents hope the schools do it but don't want the schools to do it and if the schools do it anyway they want to teach kids...
00:49:29 2022-11-02
By now you're probably aware there's a new Ant-Man movie on the way in the Marvel Cinematic Universe called Quantumania. In the MCU and other science fiction media, the word "quantum" gets thrown around quite a bit.  Why can you teleport? Quantum physic...
01:19:08 2022-10-28
Everyone has those stories from their childhood that are a mix of things that happened and things that didn't happen. This is one of mine.  It is a story of death and grief and loss and how a child processes those things.  But, it is also a story of a...
01:52:20 2022-10-18
Dr. Eva Burke returns to provide an education on the value and cultural significance of horror movies.  Dr. Eva Burke is a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, and she both studies and teaches pop culture, genre fiction, crime novels, and, of course, hor...
01:22:56 2022-10-04
Poetry has a weird reputation in literature. I cannot think of a time when it felt cool to like poetry. All sorts of other genres and styles of writing have had their heyday - seriously who would've thought that "dinosaur smut" would bring in such big buc...
01:06:40 2022-09-20
When you're into crystals as a kid that - at least for me - takes the form of "rock on the side of the road pretty, must take home". When you're into crystals as an adult it comes with all this extra baggage. What's the name of the crystal in your hand? W...
01:02:15 2022-09-06
Ola Ojewumi is a force of nature. When she was nine she learned she had a rare heart condition and by eleven she was faced with undergoing kidney and heart transplants. She grew up navigating a complex world of intersectional privilege and challenge which...
01:02:48 2022-08-23
You might have at one time said something like “I think if we ever met, I’d be really good friends with Dolly Parton.” Or thought if Chris Evans happened to come into the cafe where you work, he’d definitely go out with me.  Have you ever heard ...
01:04:34 2022-08-09
We love talking about food, but we have a tough time talking about eating. For some reason we are allowed to almost fetishize food, salivating over perfectly aesthetic photos of food but the moment that food touches our lips we are judged for it. And, nat...
00:58:54 2022-07-26
Writing is a special kind of solitary torture. The only thing about it anyone ever sees is the end result, the finished, published work resting on shelves. In today's booktok culture, books are consumed at lightning speed and reviewers rush to deliver the...
01:00:56 2022-07-12
Would you make a good cult leader? If not you, then you probably know someone who would. We're fascinated by cults. It seems like every day a new docuseries is dropped on some streaming service or podcast platform about yet another cult out there in the w...
01:12:19 2022-06-30
Pre-K pause. If you’ve been online in any capacity in the last year, that phrase probably conjures up the face of Tell Williams. He was a pre-K teacher for 9 years before resigning to pursue a Master’s in social work. Along the way he accidentally fou...
01:07:32 2022-06-14
Lots of people have lots to say about the Bible. Loads of conspiracy theories exist about it. Whether it’s conspiracy theories about its creation, or lost books that didn’t make the cut, or obscure interpretations seen by a select few as prophecy abou...
00:57:16 2022-05-31
Witchcraft and magical practice has been an indelible part of the human experience throughout recorded history. Wherever there are people, there are people practicing magic. It shows up in all sorts of places: tv shows, fantasy novels, and the strange sho...
01:14:00 2022-05-17
Early mornings and late sunsets are a hallmark of the summer season. The extra warmth and daylight is a blessing for many of us that live in areas where it is cold, dark, and wet or frozen for much of the year. It is a time of year that calls many of us t...
01:10:50 2022-05-03
Do you want to see a dead body? How about two? Would you like to see 1-2 dead bodies every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the next 20, 30, 40 years? If you said yes, you might have what it takes to do the job of my guest on today's episode of Hea...
01:22:37 2022-04-19
How much does the marketing industry know about you? You, specifically. Sure, you've heard all the horror stories - or maybe you've lived it - in which you're thinking about Pop Tarts and suddenly you see an ad on social media for Pop Tarts. That's freaky...
01:09:15 2022-04-05
"Grief is a feeling made of feelings," says Mahlakai Rose, a death doula and co-founder of The House of Grief. We are all thinking about death lately. How we want to die, where and with whom we want to spend our final moments, and what we'd like to happen...
00:47:00 2022-03-22
There’s this urge to turn yourself into a brand online. No matter how specific your interests are, no matter how tiny you think the niche is, social media compels you to believe that if you want to participate in that culture you must become a copy of t...
00:52:14 2022-03-08
The last two years of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic have forced a lot of people to take stock of what is important to them. For many that has meant assessing whether they're in the right career or whether it's time to take a chance on forging a path for...
01:20:49 2022-02-22
What’s important to you? What do you value? What makes you happy?  No matter how you answered I want to know: would your answers change if you were telling your significant other? A work acquaintance? Your boss? If I were there right now with a microph...
01:14:36 2022-02-08
An all too common problem for anyone in a creative field is other people's opinions. The folks who look over your shoulder and tell you that you should've painted something blue instead of red. The folks who take years of your life's work and turn it into...
00:00:58 2022-01-07
A promotional trailer for Head On Fire.  "Seek illumination the way a man with his head on fire seeks water."  That's the ethos behind Head On Fire, a new podcast featuring deep dive conversations with experts in interesting, often overlooked fields. It...
00:57:36 2021-12-31
Goodbye.    Today is the very last episode of Inciting A Riot.   And the last time I'll be speaking to you as Fire Lyte.   Sometimes growth means putting yourself back together, and in 2022 I am going to embark on a more personal, more authentic journ...
00:54:30 2021-12-14
Queer as Folk's Peter Paige on the legacy of his career, stepping behind the camera to craft queer-centric television shows and movies like The Fosters and The Thing About Harry, casting cishet actors in queer roles, and where Hollywood goes from here. Co...
01:02:42 2021-11-30
The witch is a curious figure, existing in a uniquely liminal space of both fact and fiction, this world and the next. Many practitioners of magic walk a path that carefully stays in that middle ground, but a few heed the call to peek beyond the hedge, to...
01:01:58 2021-11-16
  When I wrote an article for Writer's Digest about witches in stories, I said that the best stories aren't about the magic but about the power. In science fiction and fantasy writing, I've found that a superpower or access to magic or a special tool tha...
00:54:00 2021-11-02
The Day of the Dead, El Día de los Muertos, is a celebration originating in Mexico. It's been gaining visibility and popularity in the United States and beyond thanks in part to films like Book of Life and Coco. However, a lot of misconceptions surround ...
01:11:32 2021-10-29
Every year around Halloween, I gather together a collection of stories, poems, and songs from around the magical world to help bring a bit of magic to your Samhain season. This year's Hallowed Riot features the following works: The Lockkeepers's Door - or...
01:39:15 2021-10-19
Being a femme presenting person in an online space is to constantly walk a minefield of harassment, intimidation, and abuse. To have your authority questioned and your opinion overlooked in favor of a man's. Things aren't better behind the screens either....
Show More Podcast