Recommended Podcasts

You Look Nice Today
A combination of Gen-X nostalgia and purposefully nonsensical get-rich-quick schemes (such as a year-round Christmas tree store), YLNT is an intelligently unintelligible humor podcast.
Genre: Humor
Good: lonelysandwich, scottsimpson, and hotdogsladies have great timing and chemistry.
Bad: Irregular and infrequent update schedule, my wife has a crush on Merlin Mann (real name).
Rating: PG-13. Not a lot of swears, but they do talk about sexual awkwardness.
Updates: About every 1-2 months.
Length:20 min. - 1 hour. Normally ~45 min.
iTunes Link:

The New Yorker Fiction
A current New Yorker fiction contributor reads their favorite piece from the archives, following by a discussion of the work and how it has influenced them.
Genre: Literature
Good: Listen to T. Coraghessan Boyle read Tobias Wolff's short story "Bullet in the Brain" from February 11, 2008 and try not to get hooked.
Bad: Sometimes the arrogant intellectualism particular to TNY distracts me from what would otherwise be a great critique.
Rating: PG-13. Great literature often discusses base humanity.
Updates: Once a month.
Length: 10 min. - 40 min. Normally ~30 min.
iTunes Link:

This American Life
Podcast version of the NPR favorite. Each week there's a loose theme and about three "mostly true stories of everyday people".
Genre: Culture/Slice-of-Life
Good: The editing is great. I know it's a weird thing to notice, but they weave the parts together excellently. The stories are told first-person, and the result is intimate and interesting
Bad: The self-satisfied, tries-to-be-deeper-than-it-is presentation is extremely easy to parody. Episodes only available for free for one week.
Rating: PG. Whenever questionable material is discussed, the listener is forewarned.
Updates: Once a week.
Length: ~1 hour
iTunes Link:

Savage Love
Dan Savage is a sex/relationship advice columnist who has been featured in The Onion AV Club (the non-satirical lifestyle portion).
Genre: Self-Help/Advice
Good: Tries to un-taboo sex and promotes freedom of safe, consensual sexual and emotional expression with (almost) no judgments. Often funny.
Bad: I will never be able to call in, because my family and friends would immediately recognize my voice.
Rating: R. He deals with questions ranging from vanilla to BDSM, and doesn't try to P.C. his language.
Updates: Once a week.
Length: ~30 min.
iTunes Link:

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
Qualified (the host is an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine), interesting and funny (in a very nerdy way), the SGU "panel of skeptics" helps break down and debunk pseudoscience from astrology to vaccine paranoia.
Genre: Science
Good: Learning to recognize logical fallacies and counter some of the nuttier arguments of Bigfoot/UFO/homeopathy lunatics. The "Science or Fiction" quiz portion is surprisingly hard.
Bad: The interviews (the bulk of the show) are often of little interest to me so I skip them. Sometimes they fall completely flat.
Rating: G. They don't even swear.
Updates: Once a week.
Length: ~ 1 and a half hours
iTunes Link:

Sick and Wrong
Two friends read three news stories, trying to find out which of them is the sickest and worst, all while drinking and insulting each other.
Genre: Humor/News of the Weird
Good: They are surprisingly funny. The stories are from major news sources, so they don't reach the level found in the darker recesses of the internet.
Bad: Can be extremely offensive. They discuss sexual perversion and skirt the line of bigotry by either being a minority (one is Jewish), being related to one (one has a gay brother) or dating one (one is dating a black lady). Not for everyone, but damn is it funny to me. Some of the calls they play are stupid/annoying.
Rating: NC-17. Their sole advertiser is an online sex-toy store.
Updates: Once a week.
~ 1 and a half hours
iTunes Link:

The Moth
The favorites from the regular open-mic nights of personal stories. Participants are chosen at random and must perform without notes while adhering to that show's theme.
Genre: Culture/Slice-of-Life
Good: Maybe it's the ghost of the journalist in me, but hearing these moving, funny and melancholy stories remind me of some of the better interviews I took part in.
Bad: Not all of them will appeal to everyone. Like most of the podcasts, listening to this will make you an insufferable hipster.
Rating: PG. Could be R, but this level of honesty should never be censored.
Updates: Once a week.
Length: ~15 min.
iTunes Link:

Common Sense
The only pundit I've come across who claims to be an independent and actually is. He criticizes and praises both sides of the aisle and has remarkably brilliant (if sometimes unrealistic) ideas.
Genre: Politics
Good: He has revealed to me, and helped me overcome, an unrecognized prejudice within myself, where I'd ignore or dismiss an idea that didn't have the right party label behind it, despite its actual value.
Bad: He has the typical radio pundit/preacher intonation, whispers that build to spittle flying diatribes and fast, persuasive speech. It can take getting used to, but it grows on you. He actually addressed this in show 167 - "The Big Clip Show"  (12/20/09).
Rating: PG. Younger generations may frankly not give a damn.
Updates: Once a week.
Length: ~ 1 hour
iTunes Link:

Hardcore History
First-hand accounts, well-cited sources and an undeniable passion for history allows Dan Carlin to convey the drama and intrigue of pivotal moments of the distant past.
Good: The same bluster that may turn some off of his politics podcast brings his history discussions to life. It's like listening to an obsessed, slightly crazed professor tell you all the tawdry details about history's heroes, and of the bittersweet humanity of its villains.
Bad: Episodes don't come out often enough, and, in an unassailable need to monetize his work, older episodes must be purchased.
Rating: PG-13. The past is dirty, violent and brutish.
Updates: Once every two months.
Length:40 min. - 1 and a half hours. Normally ~1 hour.
iTunes Link:

*Please note that the "Bad" shouldn't dissuade you from taking a listen. They are minor quibbles for a podcast I wholeheartedly recommend.

1 comment:

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Have to admit - love Carlin's podcasts.