Shiny Epi People

Roland Thorpe, PhD on diversity, equity, and inclusion and being chocolate mousse

October 16, 2021 Season 2 Episode 49
Shiny Epi People
Roland Thorpe, PhD on diversity, equity, and inclusion and being chocolate mousse
Show Notes Transcript

Today, I got to enjoy an informative, hilarious, and illuminating conversation with the incomparable Roland Thorpe, Professor of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. And his newest position, which we talk about today, is as the Associate Vice Provost of Faculty Diversity. Roland also discusses his love of food and drink, Android vs. iPhone, broccoli vs. broccolini, a story of academic kindness, and more! Enjoy!

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Lisa Bodnar:

You weren't able to get a drink today, were you?

Roland Thorpe:

I did not. I wasn't... I been in meetings... I'm putting out fires, been in meetings... Do you want me to get a drink so you'll feel comfortable drinking?

Lisa Bodnar:

I want you to get a drink if you feel like Friday afternoon at 4:00 PM calls for a drink.

Roland Thorpe:

Friday afternoon at 11:00 AM calls for a drink this morning. Yes. That called for the drink. The 11:00 meeting that was unexpected today called for the drink.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. You go downstairs and get one and I'll go in my kitchen and get one.

Roland Thorpe:

All right.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

All right.

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              So let's get on to today's show today. I'm speaking with Roland J. Thorpe. Roland is professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also co-directs the DrPH concentration in health equity and social justice. Roland is a social epidemiologist whose scholarship focuses on minority aging, men's health and place-based disparities. Roland has a new position, which we talk about today on the show as the associate vice provost for faculty diversity. I hope you enjoy this chat.

              Hi Roland.

Roland Thorpe:

Hi.

Lisa Bodnar:

What do you have?

Roland Thorpe:

Just got a beer.

Lisa Bodnar:

Me too.

Roland Thorpe:

When I do drink... Beer, I'm usually doing IPAs... From the Northwest.

Lisa Bodnar:

From... Oh. What's specific about IPAs from the Northwest?

Roland Thorpe:

I find that they have more citrus flavor to them. They have more aroma... Particularly in Seattle area, slightly north of Seattle... They don't have a bite. [Crosstalk 00:04:02].

Lisa Bodnar:

Oh, okay.

Roland Thorpe:

So after you swallow that, it's dry. So I've been around doing some tastings. I flew back through Boston so I can go to this IPA thing that's right outside of Boston and have tastings there....

Lisa Bodnar:

Really? That's how serious you are?

Roland Thorpe:

I got a app and a whole... It's a group of us on the app. Of course people haven't done much since COVID...

Lisa Bodnar:

When you say you have an app, what does that mean?

Roland Thorpe:

You can log in your beers that you taste and where you are, and then you can rate them... The whole nine. That's what we do at Epi. We create patterns and we study patterns, right? And distributions and... So, yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

I think that's incredible. And that it's a social thing too. So that's even more fun.

Roland Thorpe:

So you don't feel like you are drunk when everybody else is doing... "Oh, he's drinking all this..." Cause then people are... But then people... I'm the guy that if I look at the app and you're somewhere and I've been there, I'm like, "You need to try this, you need to try that." And then I'll be like, "Oh, is Mike there, or is Belinda there? Those were the bartenders were there when I was there. Tell them I said hi, and FaceTime so we could talk..." I do all kinds of crazy stuff... "FaceTime so we can talk..." The whole nine... "Get them a drink on me..." Or something.

Lisa Bodnar:

Does your app keep track of the servers and the bartenders too?

Roland Thorpe:

No, there's a spot in there where you... They upgraded the app, so I don't know... But it used to be, you can rate it and then there's a place for notes and you can put the stuff in and there.

Lisa Bodnar:

That is so amazing and perfect. So cheers!

Roland Thorpe:

Cheers.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. So Roland, you have a new position. Can you tell us what the position is and why you decided to take it?

Roland Thorpe:

So yeah, the new position is the associate vice provost for faculty diversity at the Johns Hopkins University. I actually took the position because I have this keen desire to develop faculty, and I've dedicated my whole career to trying to understand racial socio-economic differences between African-Americans and Whites in the US. And part of that is a outlay... Outlay of that is the development of faculty. And so I think that's another disparity that's often overlooked and I just want to be a part of that and see what impact I can do there.

Lisa Bodnar:

Is this something that you've always had a passion for?

Roland Thorpe:

I always wanted to... When I was growing up, and none the wiser, I always wanted to be a... I was just running around talking about I want to be president of a college. Then once I got to grad school and I became a little more wiser, but not all the way wiser, thought that president thing might not be for me. And then as I joined the faculty and I looked around, I said, "Yeah, that president thing is not for me." And so I've always wanted to... I knew I always wanted to be in the academy, because I always want to be a faculty member. So I see myself now as a scholar-administrator and not an administrative scholar.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. What's the difference?

Roland Thorpe:

Well, it is what you lead with is where your heart lies. So a scholar-administrator is... I lead with research and then I also have administrative duties. So my administrative position is a part-time position. So I didn't want to give up my research because I think it's important for... Whenever we're trying to hire people I think it's important, as you know, we need to model the behavior of the what it is.

Lisa Bodnar:

So you're new to this, right? How long has it been?

Roland Thorpe:

Well, July 1st for the associate vice provost position. But I was a provost fellow... I've been a provost fellow since 2017.

Lisa Bodnar:

And what's a provost fellow?

Roland Thorpe:

It's a leadership training program in the provost office where you can select vice provost to work with. And so I originally wanted to be a provost fellow in the research office because I wanted to extend mentoring activities, and so I started there. And then one of the things after 2017, I actually inaugurated the provost undergraduate seminar series. So I had a speaker series for undergraduate students to give their presentations. It was outstanding... To see the future... Yeah, to see the future there and to articulate concepts that we often think are complex and to have them articulate them was outstanding.

              And then after that, they had... The provost post-doctoral program for diversity was in the shop of the vice provost faculty affairs in that... I was asked to lead that. And so that's how this whole position came about. So I ran that program for the next two years. And then after that... My fellowship ended June 30th, and I negotiated this associate vice provost position, faculty diversity.

Lisa Bodnar:

So what are you most excited about and what are you most nervous about?

Roland Thorpe:

In this position or in general?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah, what? Yeah, the position? I just... The position or was it both? Okay. So what I'm most excited about this position is the opportunity to have an impact beyond just my department. As you know, when we're faculty we're beholden to our departments, then the schools, and then the university last. One of the things that I'm really excited about is the opportunity to go out and meet my colleagues in other schools and to see how we can learn from one another and make the university a much better place, more diverse place. And diversity beyond just racial ethnicity. I'm talking about diverse along the lines of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, people with disabilities. So we can make it a more inclusive environment than it is. There's room for improvement. I think we're doing very well, but there always room for improvement.

              But one thing I think that is going to be a challenge for me is being able to go into certain disciplines where there is no diversity... The idea of diversity to them is foreign... And being able to try to educate them, my peers, on why it's important, why diversity is important for your field, although it may be... Actually, it may be almost nonexistent in your field, right? So that's the challenge that I see. I welcome it. I'm not nervous for it, but I do welcome it.

Lisa Bodnar:

How do you convince people that this is important if they're not even aware?

Roland Thorpe:

One of the things that I think is going to take place is about education, right? I think we need... Some of the people are resistant to change because they're not educated. And then there are people that are resistant to change and educated, right? We know a lot of those people, right? They're our peers, right?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

If you've been to some faculty meetings around, you may have seen some of that... But no, I think that's the biggest thing is that educating them. And then it's about when you... At least from my view... When you go in and you deal with something, deal with people like that, I think it's one... You have to start to build a relationship. You can't go in and expect that you're going to hit the home run the first time, right? We got to go in and we got to talk to them.

              Now I got to find out, what is your sticking point? If I find out what your sticking point is, I believe that half the battle is done, then I think we can start progressing and move forward. I don't think it's going to be... I don't expect it to change people's minds in one meeting or two meetings. But I think if we start making progress and we start getting more and more education and understanding, the value of it, then I think we can move forward. And then now, just quite frankly, there may be some people that it just won't ever work for. And that's part of the game. That's part of it too, recognizing that.

              First thing I'm going to start doing is I'm going to do a listening tour. So I'm going to talk to the vice deans for faculty and the vice deans for diversity and try to get a better understanding of what the schools are doing. I want to go out into the schools and see. So you can tell me you're diverse, but if I walk up and down those hallways and I keep seeing the same people... Then where's the diversity? So I want to be able to go sit down and talk to the leadership there just to learn more about their schools and build a relationship with them. Because I want them to be open about the challenges so that we can try to put together a plan and move forward.

Lisa Bodnar:

In the position where you were working with so many undergrads and graduate students and postdocs, you must have developed some really interesting relationships.

Roland Thorpe:

I think it's a complete joy. And I like to keep track of where they are. And it just makes me feel good to know that I had a small opportunity to have an impact on their life as they go create, diversify the biomedical workforce in one way or the other. And so I brag about them all the time. Don't ask me to say names, because I don't want to leave anybody out.

Lisa Bodnar:

I won't.

Roland Thorpe:

When you leave somebody out, then your email go to blow it up, text messages, and all that. They're the great... And I mean this... They're a complete joy to see them develop from the undergraduate... From day one that probably didn't know the difference between a dependent variable and exposure, to now some of them are in their last year of medical school, some of them got married... Just these things... Some of them are in law school. So I think it's just beautiful.

Lisa Bodnar:

That's wonderful. So mentoring is a major passion of yours?

Roland Thorpe:

Oh, absolutely. I have an insatiable desire to mentor. I will mentor the door knob. If somebody paid me to mentor the door knob... "Don't turn this way, turn that way. And we'll meet weekly and we'll fill out a IDP. Right? That's what we'll do. We'll meet weekly to fill out a IDP. Why? Because that's what they told us we needed to do. Right? And we'll be open only on certain times... So we'll meet, we'll do that."

Lisa Bodnar:

When Aisha Dickerson was on here, she said that you were teaching her how to be a dean.

Roland Thorpe:

Oh, she did? So that...

Lisa Bodnar:

Did you not know that? Is this news to you?

Roland Thorpe:

So that is news to me, that I was teaching her how to be a dean... Maybe because she may be observing me. And I do know that we've talked about doing things... She wanted to go into administration. And so we've had that conversation, but the notion of dean hadn't come up... But that's fine. If she wants to be a Dean... Look, if I could do a door knob, I think I can get you to dean. We can rock. I think she can do it and we can get her there.

Lisa Bodnar:

She's great.

Roland Thorpe:

You run into people whose future is so bright. They just don't know how bright it is, right? And so I run into that a lot of time with a lot of different people... And I'm sure you do too... And I think she's just one of those people. I told the undergrads this... And I typically tell them this... I wear shades the last day of graduation. I said, "Y'all know why I have the shades on?" I said, "Because your future's so bright that I need to be able to block the sun."

Lisa Bodnar:

So for me in particular, I've always thought, "Oh administration, that's something I'd never want to do." For you, this was a thing you wanted to do from the start.

Roland Thorpe:

So what's the date? 9/17. All right. So 2025, I'm going to look up somewhere there's going to be your name, such and such, some administrative position.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. All right.

Roland Thorpe:

I'm going to find where you are and I'm going to be like, "Go download the podcast and look at it..."

              No, I think for me, I really thought I wanted to be a president, but then when I found out... That's the only thing that I knew at the time, right?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

President. But then once I got into grad school and started understanding more the org chart of the university, then I started seeing there are other positions that you could do. And then I realized what the president had to do and I thought it was scary. Which was... And this is the craziest thing... I said, "I don't want to be a president because I got to raise money."

              But that's what I do for my job. I write grants and I raise money.

Lisa Bodnar:

Oh, okay.

Roland Thorpe:

We all do. We all do, right? So it's to say... It's on a different level. So as a president, I'm not sure that they're necessarily writing the NIH or... But they're going out raising money. That's what we do, right?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

Conceptually it's equivalent, right? I just said, "Ah, I don't ever want to do that." And then I was fortunate enough... The reason why I took the provost fellowship is, I want to say, is this really something I wanted to do? And it gave me an opportunity... It's non-committal. If I don't like it, it was great leadership, I put it on the CV, and I could go back and be a faculty member and move on with life. So I tipped my toe in it and I was like, "Oh, this isn't as cold as I thought." So yeah. So let's just jump in feet first. And so yeah, that's what.

Lisa Bodnar:

You mentioned to me that writing is one of the challenges that you've had in your career. You've also said that need to write grants to support some of your salary. So how do those two things go together?

Roland Thorpe:

So when I was writing my dissertation, when I finished my... I was at the end of my dissertation, we was at the defense, and one of my committee members was like, "I'm not going to sign off because Roland doesn't know how to write." Other people in the room, the other faculty members in the room was like, "I don't see that he's any different than any other student at this stage." Right? So, "If he's going on for a postdoc, that's some of the things that he..." And then dissertation writing is different from manuscript writing. And so I ended up... I was there when the conversation occurred and then my advisor was like, "Well, you don't have to sign it. And we got enough to pass. But we're not changing the sheet. We're going to deposit this sheet with the blank line on it. We're not going back and changing sheets."

              And so the next morning the guy came by the office and he signed it. He says, "You really need to work on your writing." And so when I left... I came to Hopkins for my postdoc... I happened to meet Dr. [Eleanor Simmons 00:17:53] and she became my postdoc mentor. So I talked her, I said, "One of the biggest things..." And she said, "I already know, we're going to take care of that. We want to get things under control." And she worked with me until I learned how to... She actually showed me how to write a journal article. And then, so I've been able to write a journal article ever since. And I took that to heart and I was like... In order for me to be able to do this better, learn more about the mechanics of it, I actually taught undergraduate scientific writing for a couple years. Yeah.

              And then grant writing is a whole different ballgame. As you know, it's a little different style of writing than manuscript writing. And so over the years I've... I took the barrier and I created a challenge for myself. And I think every day I get better. I think my best piece of writing is my last piece of writing. I hope it is... But don't read my emails when I'm typing it first and don't count my... Let me say scientific writing, not these Tweets and not the emails and all that. So...

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah. Yeah. I hear you.

Roland Thorpe:

But the published papers, I think that every piece... Your last piece should be your best piece, your most recent piece. So I've been able to... I think I've learned how to write papers. And I think I learned how to write grants. But I want to also continue to hone my skills. So I never stop trying to hone those two skills.

Lisa Bodnar:

How did she teach you how to write a manuscript?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah. So actually what goes in different parts of the manuscript. Right? So it's the basic... the [inaudible 00:19:22] concept, but what really goes in the different parts and how to write those parts... Because what I was doing, I think what everybody does is, okay... I learned how to write a dissertation. Well, I learned what not to do. Most of the time, you don't learn how to write a dissertation.

Lisa Bodnar:

Ah, okay.

Roland Thorpe:

Right? And so she'd start telling me why things would not belong where, and the concepts about what's in the introduction, what's in the methods, how to write the results and what goes in the discussion section. So those things... That was never taught to me in graduate school, right? I learn how to write a dissertation or... Most of the time you don't really learn how to do that. You learn how what not to do, because your advisor makes it red. You be like, "Oh, I know not to do that," but they don't really tell you what else to do. But you know not to do that. And so you're like, "That's off the list. Let me try something different. Oh, they like that? Good..." That's how, most of the time, what it is. And then you're like, "Oh, okay. All right." Then sometimes they'll sit down and go over the writing portion of it.

Lisa Bodnar:

Roland, outside of work. What do you find most exciting in life right now?

Roland Thorpe:

Right now?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

That's a tough one. Let's see. Most excited... Oh right now it's football season.

Lisa Bodnar:

Yes!

Roland Thorpe:

Football season started back in. Football season started again. So I'm watching football... Depending on the college games, whether I watch those... But I'm a huge Dolphins fan. I know we haven't won in a while, but I'm a huge Dolphins fan. We won last week, so I'm okay, right? And we'll see what happens this weekend. But no, football is what's currently... What's dominating my free time.

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah. Did you watch NFL and college football when you were growing up?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

Who did you watch with? Did you watch with anyone at home?

Roland Thorpe:

When I was growing up, it was with grandma. I watched it with grandma.

Lisa Bodnar:

Really?

Roland Thorpe:

And then afterwards... Yeah. Oh yeah. Grandma. So I'm actually from Macon, Georgia. And growing up, the market hadn't expanded. So it was only Tampa Bay, Miami and Atlanta. And we lived an hour south... Hour 15 minutes due south of Atlanta. And so grandma was not a Falcons fan. And so granddad had to go somewhere else to watch the game, because the Dolphins were going to be playing in the house. And so that's how I became a Dolphins fan. And I'm still a Dolphins fan today. So my goal with... The COVID year, my goal was to go to a home game... Because every two years I try to get to a home game in Miami. I applied for season tickets and a box this year.

              Yeah. I mean, it's Miami so I can invite people down. I don't care if you're a Ravens fans or a Cincinnati Bengals fan ... You're in a box in Miami, right? And it doesn't matter who you play, you're in Miami, right? So come down

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Well, will you invite me?

Roland Thorpe:

I definitely will. I'm on...

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay.

Roland Thorpe:

I made the short list, so it's not official yet. So this will start next year. And so this whole application process... So if my... Fingers crossed, if I make it, good. If I don't... But I was planning on going to a game, anyway. I typically go to games every other year and I just said I was going to make a concerted effort... I'm still contemplating if I can get this thing to work out. So Baltimore plays Miami in Miami on November 11th, it's a Thursday night game. So I've already looked at flights. I can leave Thursday morning, get there in time for the game and all that. So I'm thinking about doing it. I just got to figure out what I got to do on that Friday. Because it seems like it's going to just have to be a long weekend.

Lisa Bodnar:

I think so.

Roland Thorpe:

You can't go to Miami and fly the next day. That's travel rule number one. You don't go to a fun city and spend less than 72 hours in it. That's travel rule number one.

Lisa Bodnar:

Agree. So what do you like to do in Miami when you're there?

Roland Thorpe:

I am a foodie, so I will go try different restaurants and different cuisines. And so they have... Or they used to have... I think it's closed now. I can't think of the name of the restaurant... I went to this restaurant in Little Havana years ago... In the section of Miami called Little Havana... They had some of the best Cuban food. And I can't find the name. I normally take a picture of it, and I did but my pictures didn't upload... I got a Android... They didn't upload to the Google Drive [crosstalk 00:23:45]...

Lisa Bodnar:

Android! Roland! Android!

Roland Thorpe:

And I got rid of the phone... Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, what, what? Are you a rotten Apple user? Is that what I'm hearing? Are you a rotten Apple user? I'm just saying, I don't want to buy a product that every time I get a new product, I got to buy all new accessories. So you spend $900 a pop, the rotten Apples... Get these Androids... Now, you get these Androids, we're not promising you A-1 material all the time, but we're going to get it to you about 90... 85% of the time.

Lisa Bodnar:

Right.

Roland Thorpe:

And that's what I mean... You just got to deal with it. You just deal with it. But I could use my plugins from probably three series ago.

Lisa Bodnar:

Right?

Roland Thorpe:

I'm PC, Android for life. That's what I... A PC Android for life.

Lisa Bodnar:

Do you have a story of kindness in academia that you either witnessed or you were part of?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah, I think it was 2009. We were working on this paper, it was a group of us.

Lisa Bodnar:

Hold on. I didn't hear anything you just said. Come... Okay, go ahead.

Roland Thorpe:

You ready?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yep.

Roland Thorpe:

Can you hear me now?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yep.

Roland Thorpe:

So, just real quick, if those are Android earplugs you can hear, I'm just saying... That's what I'm just saying. But anyway, so in 2009 we were working on a paper... A group of us was working on a paper... And we submitted it and we got an R&R and the first author unexpectedly passed away.

Lisa Bodnar:

Oh gosh.

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah. And we were all... Everybody was devastated and like, "What happened?" And then, so we got together... All of us, the other co-authors, got together and we were like, "Hey, we're going to leave her as first author. We're just going to finish this out and we're going to change corresponding authors. We'll just finish it out." And then one of the things that I did, I said, "Well, I'll take the responses and I can go through those."

              And I took the responses, as I went through them I sent it out to the rest of the people. And I said, "I don't want to be corresponding authors because this ain't my area." So somebody else was corresponding author. And it went on... And so we wanted... That is a way of us honoring her in her work. It was probably the toughest R&R I've written... Not because it was really difficult to write. The rationale is why I was writing it. And the circumstances for which I was writing it. And we wanted to make sure that we got it right. And we wanted to use the level of rigor that she would use. And so it was very difficult.

              What's your favorite beer?

Lisa Bodnar:

I like Brooklyn Brown. I'll drink an IPA if it's not not too hoppy. I like red wine a lot.

Roland Thorpe:

What? So I'm a Cab guy, full Cab. So I could do the full Cab with the... I do the full Cab. And when I do the full Cab, it's with a rib eye. When I'm doing the full Cab, I'm doing broccoli not broccolini. It makes a world a difference and... Right, right. It makes a world of difference to me. It's the broccoli versus the broccolini. When I'm doing the broccolini [crosstalk 00:26:56]...

Lisa Bodnar:

Wait, wait, wait. Why? What's the difference between broccoli and broccolini...

Roland Thorpe:

Because... For me with the broccolini, it's a lighter vegetable. So if I get broccolini... If they have it, I'm going to get it... I want it charred and lightly drizzled in garlic. And just a little bit of sea salt over it. Just a little bit.

              And then I want my steak... I'll have to explained it to you... I want it medium rare to medium well. I want that. And then this is [inaudible 00:27:30] about medium rare. By the time I get finished with it, the parts... What I really like... Are cooked through. And it's just right where I want. And every now and then I'll have some caps of mushrooms on the top of it... Every now and then I feel... But the broccolini itself is lighter than the actual floret of broccoli. And so when I'm drinking a Cab, I already know in my mind, it's a full-bodied Cab. So the steak is full-bodied. The broccoli's full-bodied... Can you imagine doing broccolini and following it with a full body Cab? The Cab will be like, "Don't. Don't. Stop. Just order some Kool-Aid and just be done with it. Don't do me like this."

              So you got to appreciate the Cab, right? For what it is. So you want to do the full-bodied. So I'm a big Cab guy. I'll do it. And I may... Maybe, maybe... If I'm in the mood for wine or I'm at a reception or something and they got wine, they don't have the Cab... I may downgrade it to a Merlot. Maybe. I mean, every now and then I'll go out on a deep end and be like, "Let me get just a neat Basil Hayden and a burger with some aged cheddar cheese and some French fries. Let's do it." Every now and then. Or if I don't do that, I'm going to put a beer beside it. I'm not going to get the citrus IPA with the burger. I'm going to get a smoky IPA if I can. If they have it. And I'll do it then.

Lisa Bodnar:

Do you have anything that you're embarrassed to admit that you like?

Roland Thorpe:

Oh yeah. My number one weakness is Reese's Pieces, peanut butter cups. I'm not talking about... Listen, let me be clear with you... I'm not talking about this new, crazy stuff. 

Lisa Bodnar:

What? Wait, what are you talking about? What... Wait, what?

Roland Thorpe:

Peanut Butter cups. The regular ones. Not the king size. It's just the regular one that I like. They have so many variations now in the store. You got king size cups, you got cups with pretzels in it, all kinds of crazy... That. No.

Lisa Bodnar:

No.

Roland Thorpe:

That and M&M peanuts, not this M&M fudge stuff that's out... M&M peanut, regular size, not this super size bag that you try to give one per kid at Halloween... None of that, just the regular size... I don't even know that they sell the regular size anymore. I think we all moved up to king size stuff.

Lisa Bodnar:

So if you were a dessert, what kind would you be?

Roland Thorpe:

Chocolate mousse. What else?

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Why?

Roland Thorpe:

It has a texture that's not really tough. It has a texture that's not really thin. It's just right. And then it's really light. But when you looking at it, it looks sturdier.

Lisa Bodnar:

This is kind of deep.

Roland Thorpe:

And then you need to have just a little... Dress it just a little bit with... Or maybe on the top, have a dollop of Cool Whip on the top and just maybe two or three sprinkles of the sprinkles. That's what it is. That's who I am.

Lisa Bodnar:

That's you?

Roland Thorpe:

If I was a dessert that's... I just described it to you. Chocolate mousse. Chocolate mousse with a dollop of whipped cream, with two or three sprinkles on the top. And, not only is it just right, it's just sweet enough to if you drink it with some un-sweet tea, you have a great balance of flavor.

Lisa Bodnar:

Wow. Okay. Pickles... Sweet or dill?

Roland Thorpe:

Dill.

Lisa Bodnar:

Dill?

Roland Thorpe:

Dill.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Sorry. I couldn't hear you.

Roland Thorpe:

Dill.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay.

Roland Thorpe:

Let's just get it... Android, dill, salt and vinegar Utz chips, rib eye medium rare charred and a nice smooth a anejo, tequila anejo... And the mousse. That's the dinner.

Lisa Bodnar:

Is there a food that reminds you of your childhood?

Roland Thorpe:

Sweet potato pie because my grandmother used to make them all the time. Almost every Sunday... Every other Sunday... There was a sweet potato pie in the house.

Lisa Bodnar:

I've never had a sweet potato pie.

Roland Thorpe:

Oh... You can't leave this earth without no sweet potato pie. You've never had sweet potato pie?

Lisa Bodnar:

No.

Roland Thorpe:

Oh... Okay. All right. We're going to have to fix that. We got to fix that. See, you would appreciate this as a nutritionist.

Lisa Bodnar:

Yeah.

Roland Thorpe:

Food preferences or not, we have to get our food, their context, specific. Now we've probably got to go south... Middle Georgia, south Georgia and Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, to get you the right sweet potato pie.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. This is my last thing. And you tell me yes or no. Tomato juice.

Roland Thorpe:

Low sodium. Yes.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Do you like a Bloody Mary?

Roland Thorpe:

If there's a Bloody Mary bar, absolutely. And I can make it like a... Yeah, if there's a bar with the crab, the bacon, the celery, the olive. And I really want the green olive to be stuffed, but we... I'm a foodie. I told you that. I should come to Pittsburgh and we should hang out for...

Lisa Bodnar:

Please.

Roland Thorpe:

For like a brunch. And we could just have a blast. Because I know... I haven't been to Pittsburgh in a number of years... And I know they have some great brunches.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Sushi?

Roland Thorpe:

No.

Lisa Bodnar:

Sweet tea?

Roland Thorpe:

No.

Lisa Bodnar:

You lived in the south?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah. I don't like it.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay.

Roland Thorpe:

So I went for breakfast this morning and I asked for an un-sweet tea. They gave me a sweet tea and I just was like, "Ah, no people."

Lisa Bodnar:

Superhero movies?

Roland Thorpe:

No.

Lisa Bodnar:

Feta cheese?

Roland Thorpe:

Absolutely.

Lisa Bodnar:

Spicy food?

Roland Thorpe:

No. I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy food.

Lisa Bodnar:

Really?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

You're a foodie and you can't eat spicy food?

Roland Thorpe:

I don't do it. I don't... [Crosstalk 00:32:50] I don't want to eat it if...

Lisa Bodnar:

And you like going to Miami? What?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah, but I don't want to do anything where all this up in here is... I'm sweating, and then all this is burning.... I don't want be uncomfortable when I'm eating.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay.

Roland Thorpe:

Then I got to jump in the ocean to get my ears calmed down.

Lisa Bodnar:

Your ears? What do are getting spicy in your [crosstalk 00:33:09]?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah, because spicy food is burning all down... I'm like... It's a whole... It's like, no.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay.

Roland Thorpe:

No.

Lisa Bodnar:

No. Camping? I'm going to guess... Can I make a guess?

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

You're a no on camping.

Roland Thorpe:

Absolutely not. I'm a no on camping.

Lisa Bodnar:

Okay. Gotcha.

Roland Thorpe:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm a no on camping. I'm a no on camping. I'm not a big camping person. I think it's important to have balance... And so what you're learning, Lisa, a lot of people don't know.... So this podcast is going to be revealing. Because a lot of people say, "Oh, you work all the time. You do this, you do this." I said, "No, you just don't know." Right?

Lisa Bodnar:

Yes.

Roland Thorpe:

I do a lot of things.

Lisa Bodnar:

I love that you're revealing parts of you that no one knows. That's the whole point of this show.

Roland Thorpe:

It's going to be on the chat. Yeah.

Lisa Bodnar:

Roland, I'm so happy to meet you. And this is just the start of our friendship.

Roland Thorpe:

Great. Great.

Lisa Bodnar:

I haven't been to Hopkins ever. Never.

Roland Thorpe:

You haven't?

Lisa Bodnar:

Never.

Roland Thorpe:

We got to get you to Hopkins.

Lisa Bodnar:

Let's do it. I love that.

Roland Thorpe:

Yep.

Lisa Bodnar:

Thank you for doing this with me. You're a busy guy. I appreciate it.

Roland Thorpe:

It was fun. I enjoyed it.

              I think I'm going to go tomorrow for lunch and find me some chocolate mousse. See, you started this now. I haven't had chocolate mousse in like four months. And just talking about it, I need to go find some now.