Notes from Stonesthrow

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My Favorite Podcasts January 11, 2011

Filed under: Entertainment,Media — Greg @ 6:22 pm

Not that anyone cares, but I thought I’d share some of my favorite podcasts. It’s sort of a best of 2010 list in a way, and since I wasn’t around for the end of the year, well, here you go.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: an NPR podcast hosted by a Television Without Pity alumnus that is fun, irreverent, and provides some good discussion on hot topics of the day. Not to be missed. Oh, and very gay.

Extra Hot Great: Some more alumni from Television Without Pity (and I found about this podcast from PCHH) mixed in with a great helping of pop culture and regular bits (The Canon, wherein they induct television episodes for a hall of fame of sorts, and Game Time). Very funny and some very good analysis.

Five Hundy by Midnight: A long-time favorite, this is really only for those who love Vegas, but it’s produced by a lovely couple from Minnesota who dish on all things Vegas with wit and wisdom. Listen and you might hear me call in sometime!

Radiolab: This is not really a podcast, but it’s the only way I listen to this NPR show. Each episode deals with a particular science-y topic in a very interesting way — a way in which this humanist can understand and be interested.

NPR Story of the Day: OK, I realize I’m a little NPR obsessed, but this is a great way to hear the best story on NPR since I don’t get a chance to listen everyday to the radio.


Helping Me Understand March 20, 2009

Filed under: Media — Greg @ 5:37 pm

It will likely come as no surprise, that I’m a fan of NPR. However, since I walk to work, I don’t really listen to it that often LIVE, but I do subscribe to a few podcasts, and I just had to share a few recommendations.

Despite the shadenfreude of the Cramer-Stewart kerfuffle, it did nothing to help anyone better understand what is going on with our economy or how we got there. I think I’ve earlier recommended a This American Life episode which explained how the mortgage crisis happened; this time, they explain why the banks are all failing in simple terms that someone who has never taken an economics course can understand. It also basically explains how there are no good options for us to save the banks — capitalization and nationalization both come with serious pitfalls.

Also on the economic front, Terry Gross had NYT journalist Gretchen Morgensen on Monday to talk about AIG, and Terry did a great job of asking the questions that we need to have asked (and for me, that question most often was, “What does that mean?”), and Morgensen did a great job of explaining and also not remaining “objective”: she laid blame where it deserves to be laid and offered analysis of the responses to the crisis from the government.

Finally, I had for a long while subscribed to the podcast stream of Radiolab, based on some unsourced recommendation a long while back, but had never listened to any of them. On the way to Vegas, I finally listened to one on Musical Language. Now, I am not all that interested in science in general, much to the chagrin of my science colleagues here, whom I tease about working with worms and blowing things up. However, I was captivated and constantly annoyed Rick with, “Ooh, you have to hear this!”. On this episode, there are fascinating discussions of perfect pitch and the impact of one’s native language (that is, that people who are raised to speak languages that depend on tonal differences to make distinctions between different words — e.g., Mandarin — have a much higher propensity to have perfect pitch; in other words, it’s not just ingrained), science and the reception of The Rite of Spring. I was inspired to listen to another podcast on Pop Music, which had a great story on earworms. The last one I listened to was on Race, and it too was interesting — looking at the impossible debate about nature and culture when it comes to race, and things like DNA, athletic talent, and even drug trials.

Just thought I’d share. Now back to making sure I know all of the words for tonight’s concert!


RIPI March 17, 2009

Filed under: Media — Greg @ 4:59 pm

Today is the last print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (or P-I, as everyone calls it — which is a shame really since what else should a newspaper be doing than trying to give me intelligence, though I don’t know if the OED would look kindly on intelligence as a verb).


The P-I was always my paper, if only because it was the morning to the Times’ afternoon; and, the P-I had the NYT crossword. Also, it seemed to have a slightly more liberal bent and better Mariners coverage, thanks to the inimitable Art Thiel and others. 


I could go on and on about the troubles of the newspaper industry (though Slog and Attytood are really the best places to go for that), but it truly saddens me in general that the newspaper is going. We were a two newspaper family (P-I and the abysmal Everett Herald, mainly for the local obituaries and high school sports), and I quickly got into the habit of reading the paper before school. I let that slide a bit in college (though thankfully there was always an LA Times in the lounge, and loved the Calendar section) and grad school, but have been subscribing to the Inky for the past few years and like the tradition, the habit, and the insights. Recently, a crooked politician in Philly was convicted on corruption charges, in no small part owing to the investigations of the Inquirer. Yes, I know that blogging, etc. can do a fine job of telling me what is going on, but I fear for getting quality local news and the function that it serves in our democracy if more and more newspapers shutter. 


The P-I is supposedly not gone, only gone digital — but I worry that it and others like it will go away for good.