Podcasts of (Two) Weeks Ending August 17


Sound Opinions :: Why the Ramones Matter

Breaking down the importance of New York’s great punk band.

Planet Money :: Deep Learning With Elephants

Studying elephants by recording the sounds they make and then the technology needed to break down all that data.

Sound Opinions :: The Legend of Robert Johnson

Separating the reality from the myth of the great Delta Blues guitarist. One thing that struck me is that Johnson was born after my grandparents, people I knew, making the Johnson shrouded in myth seem closer to me than I’d ever though before.

Decoder Ring :: Ice-Cream Truck

The history of ice-cream trucks in New York City, and more startling, the mob-like operation of different trucks and different companies staking out territory in the city.

Fresh Air :: Sister Helen Prejean

An interview that discusses the life of the great activist and spiritual leader.

Hit Parade :: The Bridge: Nostalgic for No. 1’s

I’ve long been a fan of Chris Molanphy’s analysis of record charts on Hit Parade and recently also began reading Tom Breihan’s column in Stereogum reviewing The Number Ones from 1958 to the present.  This show brings them together.

Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending July 27


BackStory :: Moon, Man, and Myths

The History Guys commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with an interview with flight director Gene Kranz, among other things.

Code Switch :: Chicago’s Red Summer

Another anniversary, of a grim sort, of the race riots 100 years ago in Chicago and other American cities that targeted African American soldiers returning from the World War among others.

Fresh Air :: 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

This podcast includes interviews with astronauts Michael Collins and Alan Shepherd as well as test pilot Chuck Yeager.

Hub History  :: The Cessna Strafer

A bizarre incident in 1989 when a man who’d just murdered his wife took to the air in a small airplane and fired an assault rifle at people on the ground in Boston.  This seems like a very serious crime, and yet I only learned about it a few years ago, even though I was alive and living in an adjacent state at the time.

99% Invisible :: Invisible Women

An interview with Caroline Criado Perez, author of Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, on how women are ignored in the design of just about everything, and the dangerous effects of this bias.

On the Media :: What, Me Worry?

Mad Magazine, the satire magazine enjoyed by decades of children going back to the 1950s, is going out of print.  Journalist Jeet Heer talks about the magazines importance and influence.

Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week for the (three weeks) ending June 29


AirSpace :: Rock on the Moon

Not moon rocks, but the music astronauts listened on the journey to the moon and back.

Best of the Left :: Modern Monetary Theory: We already use it, now we need to understand it

I didn’t know much about Modern Monetary Theory and it’s benefits to sociery, so I found this very illuminating.

Decoder Ring :: Chuck E. Cheese Pizza War

My grandmother took my sister and I to a Chuck E. Cheese in the 80s when we were much too old for Chuck E. Cheese.  From this podcast I learned that the audioanimatronic shows were intended for adults and that they no longer exist at Chuck E. Cheese today.  And that’s just the beginning of a lot of strange stories.

Fresh Air :: How Ordinary People Got Us To The Moon

Some great stories of the unheralded people behind the race to the moon.

Have You Heard? :: White Homebuyers, Black Neighborhoods and the Future of Urban Schools

Hub History :: Boston Marriages in Literature and Life

The history of romantic relationships between women in 19th century Boston.

Smithsonian Sidedoor :: The Worst Video Game Ever

I remember playing E.T.: The Game as a child and constantly falling into pits.  The @#*!! pits!!!!

StoryCorps :: Remembering Stonewall: 50 Years Later

First-person stories of the riot that changed the world.

WBUR News :: Should Massachusetts Change Its Flag?

Massachusetts’ flag is boring and features a racial stereotype.  We can do better.


Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week: Special New Podcasts Edition


I haven’t heard any standout podcast episodes to share with you for a while.  But, I’ve also started listening to some (new to me) podcasts.  Here are my latest discoveries:

Baby Geniuses

I subscribed to this because it’s co-hosted by Lisa Hanawalt, creator of Tuca & Bertie.  The show seems to just about sharing stuff you know.

Greater Boston

A serial audio drama set in an alternate universe Boston where, among other things, there’s an effort afoot for the Red Line to secede and become its own city.  The show started several years back so I’ve started listening from the beginning.  Quirky and entertaining, so far.

Lost Notes

A podcast series that tells obscure music stories.  So far I’ve listened to excellent episodes about how a bad recording of “Louie, Louie” became the defining interpretation of the song, the scandal of Boston’s New Edition filming a music video with the LA Lakers, and how synthesizer pioneer Suzanne Ciani explored her art in commercials.

Next Left

The Nation interviews up and coming progressive leaders.

Science Rules!

Bill Nye – the science guy -answers your questions about science.

White Lies

A serialized documentary about the murder of Reverend James Reeb in Selma, Alabama in 1965 and how no one was ever brought to justice for the crime.

And, podcast of the week episodes:

Fresh Air :: Lizzo on “Cuz I Love You,” Self-Love And Bringing ‘Hallelujah Moments’ To Stage

Lizzo is a terrific artist, as demonstrated on her album Cuz I Love You, and a terrific interview, as demonstrated with Terri Gross.

Science Talk :: Secrets of the Universe Revealed

Steven Strogatz makes calculus interesting for the lay person.

Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending April 27


Fresh Air :: Actor Glenda Jackson Is King Lear

Glenda Jackson is an experienced actor who talks about her long career.  She’s also a former Member of Parliament who spoke the truth about Margaret Thatcher after the latter’s death.  She’s now portraying King Lear on Broadway and I want to go see that now.

99% Invisible :: Play Mountain

Isamu Noguchi was a sculptor and designer with an interesting life story.  He designed an abstract playground structure for New York City but was rejected by Robert Moses, who became a lifelong enemy (and this makes me love Noguchi more).  During World War II, he volunteered for internment in order to design a humane camp for the Japanese-American internees, and then found himself both unable to influence the design and unable to leave.  Today, his legacy lives on in unique, abstract playgrounds.

More or Less :: The economic impact of mega sporting events

Proponents of the Olympic Games claim the event can bring great economic benefits to host cities, but the numbers show otherwise.

 

Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending April 21


Fresh Air :: Robert Caro

I happen to be in the midst of reading The Power Broker right now so I was postively giddy to hear Robert Caro talk about writing his extensive biographies of Robert Moses and Lyndon Johnson, and their exploration of power.


Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending March 9th


BackStory :: Oh, Bloody Hell

You ever wonder about the history of profanity in America? This podcast’s got that shit covered.

Code Switch :: When Disaster Strikes

Inequality rears its ugly head in America in many ways.  Code Switch explores how disaster aid is biased in favor of white, prosperous homeowners and against poorer, people of color who rent.

WBUR CommonHealth :: New Gene Therapy Shows Promise For Patients With Sickle Cell Disease

Gene therapy at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital is working to cure sickle cell disease.

Fresh Air :: The White House And Its ‘Shadow Cabinet’ Of Fox News TV Hosts

How Fox News has becom the state media of the fascist administration in the White House.

99% Invisible :: The Known Unknown

The Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington Cemetery is meant to represent the remains of military lost in war that cannot be identified, but in the case of the Vietnam War, the remains buried there were in fact known and only slowly revealed to the family.

60 Second Science :: Warm-Blooded Animals Lost Ability to Heal the Heart

Warm-blooded animals are able to regulate body temperature thanks to Thyroid hormone, but it also prevents warm-blooded animals from being able to regenerate heart tissue.

Throughline :: American Shadows

A history of conspiracy theories in the United States going back to the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution.


Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending January 5th


The Anthropocene Reviewed :: Teddy Bears and Penalty Shootouts

John Green reviews the history of the teddy bear and offers a solid defense of penalty shootouts in soccer games through the story of AFC Wimbledon.

Code Switch :: America’s Other Anthems

Songs that are unofficial anthems including “This Little Light of Mine,” “Whittier Avenue” by Chicano rock band Thee Midniters, and two songs called  “Fight the Power” by The Isley Brothers and Public Enemy.

Fresh Air :: ‘Punishment Without Crime’ Highlights The Injustice Of America’s Misdemeanor System

How the American criminal justice systems tangles up the poor in Kafkaesque web of debts and punishment.

This American Life :: The Room of Requirement

Stories about libraries and librarians.  I’m particularly touched by the woman is reunited with the children’s librarian who helped her when she was a homeless child.  I’m also a fan of Richard Brautigan and W.P. Kinsella, so I liked that story of the Brautigan Library.


 

Running tally of Podcast of the Week appearances:

Podcasts of the Week Ending October 20th


To the Best of Our Knowledge :: Pick Your Poison

The most stunning segment of this episode on poison regards “The Radium Girls” of Ottawa, Illinois, who were poisoned painting clock dials with radium.  It’s another example of cruelty of capitalist greed, misogyny, and indifference to human suffering.

Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Theremin

I’m fascinated by weird instruments like the theremin and the career of Bob Moog, and this podcast has a lot of both.

Fresh Air :: Don’t Be Fooled By The Talking Horse — ‘BoJack’ Is A Sadness ‘Sneak Attack’

I’ve written reviews of BoJack Horseman here stating it’s the “best show on television,” and Terry Gross’ interview with its creator is revelatory.

99% Invisible :: The Worst Way to Start a City

What if a city was born by just having 100,000 people show up at once and claim their spot?  That’s the weird story of Oklahoma City.  Listen to this just for the “Oh, Joe – here’s your mule!” part.

Podcasts of the Week Ending August 3rd


Re:Sound :: Tsunami Song

The true and complicated story of the Confederate anthem, “Dixie.”  Also, tsunamis & migraines, and Romeo and Juliet texting in the afterlife.

Fresh Air :: Documenting Hate in America

Journalist A.C. Thompson’s investigative work into the white supremacist organizations of America.

The Truth :: Bonus: Everything is Alive

This is actually a preview of a new podcast where inanimate objects get interviewed, in this case a can of generic cola.  This sounded like a one-note joke, but the story went into some very odd places.

Hub History :: Boston’s Pickwick Disaster and the Dance of Death

A building collapse at a popular Boston nightclub in 1925 causes the death of 44 people and leads moral crusaders to campaign against the dangers of dancing the Charleston.