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Podcasts -- Top 5

Rufus and JimmyC both referenced podcasts in the past couple of days… so it’s a good opportunity to glean some good podcast info by sharing… as we’ve done with books, movies, etc. So “Top 5” isn’t really a “Best of” it’s more my favorites over the past few months or year or two. On a related note… I am a devoted Android user so I eschew iTunes for an app I really like called Podcast Addict which suits my needs. Anyway… here goes in no particular order.

1. You Must Remember This… As it says in its description it “is a storytelling podcast about the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” If you like Hollywood history then Karina Longworth’s slightly hipster (but in a good way) snark — think Rosalind Russell in the 21st century — podcast is for you. She runs 10-12 episode themes arcs… the Manson Family-Hollywood connection, dead Hollywood Blondes, MGM stars, etc. Everyone once in a while she injects some politics into the mix, but rarely and not enough to drive me away. She clears up myths, provides all sides to any mystery and they are heavily researched.

2. MMQB Podcast with Peter King. I like Peter King of Sports Illustrated. He has access, gets the big stars and isn’t afraid to ask good tough questions. He’s a good conversationalist to boot and that is important in a good podcast.

3. BBC Radio 4’s “In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg” This is a podcasted radio show of course, but each week, with a July/August hiatus, Bragg and a panel of three academic experts delve into some topic. Just the past few months they’ve covered The Battle of Salamis, Louis Pasteur, Enzymes, The American Populists (a great episode), Purgatory, The Battle of Lincoln 1217, and the archive goes back 8 years or so. He chooses the panels well and you can tell which ones are new to radio as they find their voice and which ones have been on his show awhile. Bragg is an expert moderator so he keep the discussion conversational and lively.

4. Lore Podcast by host Aaron Mahnke. “Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction” is this one’s tagline. No shit. I had to give this one a rest after it scared the bejeezus out of Zach. Each episode covers some true crime, folklore, urban legend or myth (some well known like HH Holmes of Devil in the White City fame, many not as well known) — mostly regional so while you might recognize some from your neck of the woods you’re bound to learn things you didn’t know from other areas of the country and the world. He gives them the appropriate creep factor and also any factual evidence… but what are you to make when President Andrew Jackson — no wuss he — admits to seeing a ghost? Or some German werewolf is really a serial killer in today’s parlance? We used to listen to another called “Myth and Legend” but the host’s bass mix was painful to hear and it detracted. Mahnke reads the stories just right. This is also supposed to be a TV show on AMC or now maybe Amazon. Check it out if you like scary/creepy/historical stories. The episode on The Resurrectionists was one of my favorites.

5. Signposts with Russell Moore “Russell Moore is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.” The latest was a sit down with Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse. Moore gives a good discussion of current events from an evangelical Southern Baptist perspective. He’s a Gen Xer so he’s also well versed in the pop cultural references in jokes, etc. This is no staid sermonizing. He’s a smart guy and a great conversationalist.

Honorable Mention:
BBC 4’s Desert Island Discs — a resurrected version of the old show where the new host puts the guest on an island and they have to pick 8 pieces of music, one book (besides the Bible and Shakespeare) and one luxury item. It’s a great way to get to know someone. Many of the guests are known only to UK audience, but every once in awhile there’s a Tom Hanks, Paul Johnson, Keith Richards or some other Hollywood, U.S. figure on there.

“Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” — I really want to hate Alec Baldwin and I don’t listen to the eps where I know it’ll get political. If he could contain himself Alec Baldwin could be the Jack Paar or Johnny Carson of this generation. He is a really good conversationalist. His interview with Megan Mullaly and her husband Nick Offerman was a great listen.

Smithsonian Institute’s “Sidedoor” — great history

The Nerdist Podcast is also great when the guest is great. Christopher Hardwicke is the host and a pretty good, though foul-mouthed — conversationalist. Great discussions with Patrick Stewart, Jim Gaffigan, Mark Hamill, Tom Cruise, Metallica, William Shatner, etc., etc. When it’s on it’s really on and when it’s not meh.

Radiolab Presents A More Perfect Union” — despite the often liberal slant — they present really interesting takes on legal cases and Supreme Court cases — getting behind the legal issues to the personal stories.

I also listen all the time to “Talking Cowboys” — the Dallas Cowboys official podcast on Tuesdays (though on a break til summer camp in Oxnard in a month).

There are others but those will suffice for now. What are you listening to?

Happy Birthday, Bruce Campbell!

In honor of the great one’s birthday, here’s a video of him ministering a wedding attended entirely by zombies. Seriously.

I don’t think there’s a celebrity out there who has more fun with his fans than Campbell. Back in college, I went with a friend to a book signing he did in Seattle. The Q&A session had the crowd laughing as hard as any comedian I’ve ever seen. After that, we all lined up to get our books signed; we were nearly in the back of the very long line and had to wait for hours. Occasionally, Bruce would take a break from signing, get up, and run by the line while throwing candy at us to keep us all happy. He stayed there and enthusiastically met and signed books for every fan there, until after 1am, keeping us entertained and making us laugh the whole time.

Thursday Open Thread 

The last Cuyahoga River fire occurred on this date in 1969

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REO Speedwagon.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

This wins Best Tweet about yesterday’s Georgia election:


Georgia was supposed to be The Big Win the Democrats were looking for, the one that showed the tide was turning against the GOP. But despite the Dems’ dumping some $30 into the race and outspending Karen Handel something like 10-to-1, they still couldn’t pull out the win. Oh, and they lost in South Carolina, too.

BTW, isn’t it funny how despite the Republicans supposedly being the “party of the rich”, it’s the Dems who always seem to have bottomless piles of money to throw at these elections?

Wednesday Open Thread

I had an opportunity to post this yesterday… this photo should have won a Pulitzer Prize for studio snapshots. Bears re-posting every once in awhile. Kids… do what your Uncles Miles says — don’t suck at jazz.

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Def Leppard.

Tuesday Open Thread 

Fall of the Alamo by Robert Jenkins Onderdonk (1903)

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