Podcasts of the Week Ending February 26


AirSpace :: Nicotine Stain

How flight attendants lead the fight against public smoking and raising awareness of the danger of second-hand smoke

Consider This :: Optimism About Case Rates, Vaccines, And Future Of The Pandemic

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Judas and the Black Messiah

This podcast series ties into the new film about Fred Hampton and explores the Black Panther leader’s life with interviews with people who knew him, as well as behind the scenes of making the movie.

99% Invisible : The Batman and the Bridge Builder

The story of how the design of a bridge in Austin, Texas lead to it becoming a center of bat conservation (featuring bat scientist Merlin Tuttle).

Throughline :: Remembering Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the March on Washington

The life of Bayard Rustin, a pioneering activist of nonviolence in the American Civil Rights and labor movements.

Up First :: Christian Nationalism & Disinformation

How white evangelical churches perpetuate the ideology that led to the Capitol Insurrection.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021

Podcasts of the Week Ending December 26


Welcome to the final Podcasts of the Week post for 2020.  Stay tuned for the Podcasts of the Year post on December 29!

Radiolab :: A Terrible Covid Christmas Special

Is Santa an essential worker? This and other questions are answered about Christmas in Covid Times.

99% Invisible :: Mini-Stories: Volume 9

Some short pieces on topics such as the process of novelizing a hit movie, Switzerland’s strange defensive measures, and ABBA’s outlandish outfits.

 

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Book Review: The 99% Invisible City by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt


Author: Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt
Title: The 99% Invisible City
Publication Info: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2020]
Summary/Review:
99% Invisible is one of my absolute favorite podcasts series. It focuses on “the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world,” which sounds like a highly specific thing but actually leads to a wide diversity of fascinating topics. This book is a hand “field guide” to the little secrets of design you find in cities around the world. It includes many of the stories previously covered in podcast episodes as well as a lot of new material. You can read it straight through like I did, hop around the book at your leisure, or even just refer to it as a reference book.

Oddly fascinating topics you can learn about include:

  • decoding the spray paint markings on pavement made by utility companies
  • electrical substations disguised as ordinary houses
  • seemingly useless architecture that is nevertheless maintained, known as “Thomassons”
  • municipal flag design
  • the Olympic history of those inflatable figures that dance outside of car washes
  • the mysteries of rotaries/traffic circles
  • boxes on the exterior of many buildings with emergency information for first responders
  • an island named for Busta Rhymes
  • synanthropes, or the animals who live among us (squirrels, fish, pigeons, racoons, etc.)
  • hostile design the specifically targets “undesirable” people
  • the story of a Buddha statue placed in an intersection to prevent littering that became a local shrine

All of this and more in this fascinating volume!


Recommended books:

 

 

Rating: *****

Podcasts of the Week Ending December 12


Planet Money :: How the Rat Blew Up

The history of Scabby the Rat, the inflatable mainstay of union demonstrations.

This Day in Esoteric Public History :: United States vs One Book Called Ulysses (1933) w/ Kurt Andersen

The history of obscenity laws in the United States.

99% Invisible :: According to Need

A series about homelessness in the United States.

Throughline :: Supreme

A history of the Supreme Court that explains how it became the final arbiter of the law in the United States.

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of (Two) Weeks Ending November 21


I’ve had bloggers block lately and I’m not keeping up with my posts.  So, many apologies for having two weeks of podcasts for today.

What Next :: How Democrats Took Latino Voters for Granted

An autopsy on one of the main reasons why Democrats failed to gain seats in Congress.

99% Invisible :: You’ve Got Enron Mail!

How an archive of emails released to the public during the Enron scandal have become a resource for researchers and developers.

The Rewatchables :: Toy Story

The groundbreaking computer-animated film classic was released 25 years ago today!

The Story Collider ::  Stories of COVID-19 

A series of personal stories of the most significant scientific event in recent history

Futility Closet :: Friedrich Kellner’s Opposition

A German opponent to the Nazi regime performed resistance through documentation.

The Tomorrow Society :: Seth Porges, Writer and Co-Director of Class Action Park

The story of the most dangerous amusement park, that thrived in New Jersey in the 1980s, get the film treatment.

Best of the Left :: The Conservative Fever Swamp is Reaching Critical Mass

Trump is leaving office but the Republican party is permanently the party of racisms and conspiracy theories.


RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending November 7


60-Second Science :: Science Sound (E)scapes

Three podcasts provide soundscapes of the Amazon: Amazon Pink River Dolphins, American Frog Choruses at Night, Head Banging and Howling in the Amazon.

99% Invisible :: The Lost Cities of Geo

A podcast near and dear to my heart because it is about web archiving, particularly the effort to save the first great iteration of the world wide web: Geocities.

Futility Closet :: Peace Pilgrim

The life and mission of a woman who dedicated her life to walking across the continent sharing her message of peace

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending October 3


99% Invisible :: The Address Book

A new back traces the history of street addresses, how different addresses have contributed to divisions in social class, and how the government assigning addresses can be seen as an imposition on individual liberties.

:: Goodnight Nobody

The story of Anne Carroll Moore, the New York Public Library librarian who invented and popularized the children’s library. She also used her position of influence what types of books would be purchased by children’s libraries, favoring escapist tales of imaginary worlds.  This is also the story of Margaret Wise Brown, who wrote a book rooted in ordinary childhood experiences that Moore absolutely detested, Goodnight Moon

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: Dress Coded

School dress codes have been a standard of educational experiences for over a century, and through all that time have particularly been used to police girls’ bodies, especially Black girls’ bodies.

Throughline :: The Everlasting Problem

The history of why the United States has eschewed single payer healthcare and how healthcare became associated with employment instead.

What Next :: The Bottom Line on Trump’s Taxes

Not only is Trump’s failure to pay much in taxes indicative of corruption and hypocrisy, but his desire to be reelected is partially because it will help him avoid paying his many debts.

RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of Two Weeks Ending September 12


AirSpace :: Me and the Sky

The story behind the musical Come Far Away which draws upon the life of one of the first women to become a commercial airline pilot, Beverly Bass, and the grounding of 38 passenger planes in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland on September 11, 2001 (a story also covered in the book The Day the World Came To Town).

The Moth :: All Together Now​: ​Fridays with The Moth​ – Caroline Hunter & Anne Moraa

I’m sharing this particularly for Caroline Hunter’s story of working at Polaroid in Cambridge, MA and discovering that her supposedly progressive company was aiding the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and how she lead the fight to stop it.

99% Invisible :: Podcast Episode

This podcast traces the rise and fall of generic supermarket products in the 1970s & 1980s through the story of the Canadian chain Loblaws.

:: Where Do We Go From Here?

The controversies over transgender people using public restrooms is only the latest issue related to toilet facilities that has split the American people.  Designers in this episode note that public restrooms are actually poorly designed for most people and introduce a new design that would address the problems faced by transgender people, disabled people, and many others.

Planet Money :: The Old Rules Were Dumb Anyway

The COVID-19 is changing many of the rules from medical practices to restaurants. This podcast episode argues that the rules should not revert to normal when the pandemic ends.

Radiolab :: Translation

Several stories that address the idea of translation and attempting to find truth and meaning.

Sound Opinions :: The Replacements & Mission of Burma

Two of my favorite bands in one podcast.  The Replacements get the biographical treatment, with the help of the author of Trouble Boys Bob Mehr, and then we hear an in-studio performance by Mission of Burma.


RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Week Ending August 29


Mortified :: How to Run a TV Network as a Teenager

This story of a man reminiscing about the fantasy tv network reminds me of my own childhood.  I had my own radio station – WLTS – which I recorded on cassette tapes with me as the DJ.

99% Invisible :: The Revolutionary Post

The United States Post Office is under attack from right-wing politicians.  This podcast explores the history of how the USPS actually created America.

Radio Boston :: Remembering Anthony Martignetti, Star Of Prince Spaghetti Ad

The star of an iconic advertisement filmed in Boston’s North End has died at the age of 63. In 1969, the North End was an ethnic enclave of Italian Americans and spaghetti was a dish not familiar in mainstream America.  How the times change in one lifetime.


RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES

Podcasts of the Two Weeks Ending August 15


I subscribe to too many podcasts while simultaneously having less time to listen to them. Forgive the interlude as I catch you up on two weeks of podcasts.

Brattle Film Podcast :: Behind the Scenes on Boston Movies

The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge had a great series on Boston Movies and all four podcasts are worth listening to, but I particularly liked this final podcast where they interview on-set dresser Adam Roffman about the behind-the-scenes production of movies in Boston and how they’ve changed over time.

Fresh Air :: Jeffrey Toobin On The ‘Tragedy’ Of The Mueller Report

How the Democrats were out-maneuvered by the Trump administration allowing him to get away with obstruction of justice.

Radiolab :: Uncounted

An episode on voting rights focuses on the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to Congress and the movement to lower the voting age to 16.

This American Life :: Nice White Parents

A public middle school in Brooklyn with a predominately non-white student body deals with an unexpected influx of white students and the effects that of white parents involvement in the school operations.  This is the first episode of Chana Joffe-Walt’s series called Nice White Parents that is both fascinating in its exploration of the changes at one school over time and cringe-inducing by the careless and clueless behavior of white parents (and the school districts who cater to their interests).  I particularly like that Joffe-Walt asks tough questions and doesn’t let people get away without answering them.

Have You Heard :: Pandemics Pods: Parents, Privilege, Power, and Politics

Speaking of Nice White Parents, you may have heard of the latest trend of “pandemic pods” where parents pool together funds to hire a teacher or tutor to educate a small group of students at home instead of returning to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. This podcast explains the devastating effects this latest form of “white flight” will have and how it opens the doors to the worst offerings of disaster capitalists.

99% Invisible :: Policing the Open Road

A century ago, the rise of the automobile as a predominant form of transportation led to an increase of policing to enforce road rules. The changes lead to a vast increase in ordinary peoples’ interaction with the police, increased police power and professionalization, and even the loss of Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures.

Throughline :: Reframing History: The Litter Myth

In the 1950s, industry leaders organized to create Keep America Beautiful that produced public service announcements against littering. The seemingly benign ads had the effect of transferring responsibility for the environment from industries that made disposable single-use packaging to the personal responsibility of consumers. This conflict in how to deal with environmental issues persists to this day, and corporations still rely on “greenwashing” to make them look environmentally responsible.

Code Switch :: Kamala, Joe, And The Fissures In The Base

If you listen to pundits, and the Democrats 2020 presidential candidate, you might come to believe that Black Americans are a monolithic voting bloc.  This myth is dispelled in Code Switch where the diversity of opinions and conflicts even within Black families over politics are strong.

Decoder Ring :: Mystery of the Mullet

The mullet hairstyle, short in front and long in back, is worn by a diversity of people ranging from macho men in rural communities to lesbian women, from hockey players to heavy metal heads. But the Oxford English Dictionary traces the use of the term “mullet” only to 1994, surprisingly late for a hairstyle identified with the 1980s.  Willa Paskin investigates this linguistic mystery.  Personally, I never heard the term mullet until the late 1990s and had heard them called short-longs prior to mullet gaining popularity.


RUNNING TALLY OF PODCAST OF THE WEEK APPEARANCES