August 2, 2020

1. 99% Invisible - "Valley of the Fallen" There is much to learn and much that will never be known about Spain during Franco's regime in the middle of the 20th century. This episode highlights one of the physical reminders of those dark days - the dictator's gravesite - and the recent developments following the exhumation of his body in 2019. In addition to some powerful subject matter, this episode touches on the overarching context of Spain pre and post civil war and contains a great narrative of escape from a forced labor camp. 
2. Richard's Famous Food Podcast - "Duck Hunt" Richard Parks III continues to push the audio envelope with perhaps the shortest richly produced pod ever created. It's just barely 3 minutes long and features Wolfgang Puck and a conversation with Parks' mom that is both on theme and a window into the food writer/podcaster's childhood.
3. This American Life - "How to be Alone" Is it possible to find s…

July 15, 2020

1. This American Life - "The Reprieve" Don't let the title fool you - this is hardly a break from reality. Made me cry real hard whilst making dinner. The entire show is centered around the city of Detroit and it's response to surging Covid-19 numbers in April. 
2. This American Life - "Here, Again" Fly-on-the-wall journalism and podcasts are like soul mates who often can’t get out of their own way - sacrificing narrative excellence for self-indulgent editorializing. But this episode delivers a gem of the genre, with observational interviewing at a corner store in NYC against the backdrop of world-altering social and biological upheaval. Another winner in the "seize the moment in a genuine way" category from TAL.
3. Switched On Pop - "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen (with Avery Trufelman)" For years, Baz Luhrman’s only meant one thing to me. He was the man who released the Suncreen Song, which first entered my ears courtesy …

June 16, 2020

Know their names.

And it is really new this time. As a white middle class male with only a surface level understanding of social inequity, I’m not sure it’s my role to curate a list of anti-racism resources. Actually, no, I’m sure it is not my role to do any such thing. I do feel compelled to share a list of podcasts that I’ve found to be of use as the country collectively processes (some for the first time) the outrageous tragedy of George Floyd’s murder. Many of these come from shows that rarely make it into the mix here, but which are nevertheless a part of my regular rotation. 
Better Life Lab - “Crisis Conversations: Anti-Blackness in America” Death, Sex & Money - “What Do You Need To Say Right Now?” It’s Been A Minute With Sam Sanders - “Not Just Another Protest” Revisionist History - "The Limits of Power" Rough Translation - "The Global Legacy of George Floyd" Planet Money - "Patent Racism"
The Gist - "Defund the Police"
Today, Ex…

May 19, 2020

I've been trying out a lot of new stuff this past month or so, and there's no way I'm going to get to reviewing it all. So this time around you've got several shorter somethings simmering somewhere southerly.

1.Richard's Famous Food Podcast - "Truffles For The Trufelman" RFFP could rest on its experimental peeklay perfection, but with such an infrequent release schedule you might as well go for it and make an episode where Avery Truffleman tries truffles. This might seem like a lazy shtick if it were attempted by a lesser podcast, but RFFP is a greater podcast. And any chance one has to experience Avery Truffleman in some new context is a chance one must take. 
2. Everything Is Alive - "Eugene, Tattoo" This show is such a singular listening experience in the podcast landscape. The comedic angle and compact format makes for a great social listen - Everything Is Alive deserves lolz. The novelty of interviewing an object is only part of the…

April 28, 2020

When my wife and I hosted our virtual trivia night, I came up with what I thought were 10 pretty easy questions related to general podcast knowledge. Turns out my group of not-podcast-obsessed peers found it to be pretty difficult. Then I shared the quiz on a podcast listening Facebook group...and found out that apparently this is really challenging. Out of 200+ responses, the average score is 3.75/10. If you're reading this you may have insight into my listening bias and thus may have a leg up. Fancy testing your luck?Click here to check it out. Now, on to the blog. Wheeeeeee!


Rarely do I come across a podcast that leaves me giddy after listening to the initial episode, but that is indeed the experience I had after “Bone Broth” from Richard's Famous Food Podcast. I laughed out loud more than once, both as a result of the comedic content and out of gleeful anticipation at what might be around the next corner. Branding itself as “gastro comedy,” the show dishes out…

April 10, 2020

It's another week of lockdown. Time to take a look at a pod about another disaster, natch (but don't worry, if you read far enough you'll also find some latinx music history and the fascinating social dynamics of wolves - not in the same podcast). 


I lived through the time when Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath played out, but I certainly didn’t understand it. My sophomore year of high school had just started, and my main memory from the moment is that “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves may not have been the most sensitive piece of music our show choir could’ve performed. In the intervening years I’ve come to absorb the familiar beats: an overcrowded Superdome, the levees bursting, the botched FEMA response, Kanye calling out the president on live TV leaving Mike Myers to pick up the pieces. You know what I didn’t really grapple with? The human cost. Cue Floodlines, a retrospective podcast from The Atlantic that examines the disaster with the ben…

March 15, 2020

Like many of you, no doubt, I have been consumed with COVID-19 media as schools close and workplaces promote social distancing. I listened to (probably way too) many podcasts and will likely continue doing so in the following weeks, but the rapidly shifting news makes it kind of pointless to recommend any specific episodes. The featured show in this issue feels pretty timely. The latest season of An Arm and a Leg wrapped in mid-February, before the virus really hit the US, so don’t expect to encounter that here. It will, however, help promote a better understanding of the whole system, and that should hint at the ramifications a massive influx of patients may yield. Read on, and keep washing those hands!


A public radio reporter walks into a bar - but he’s self-employed, so how does he pay if he needs stitches? This bad joke is sort of the setup for An Arm and a Leg, a new indie pod about American healthcare driven by reporter Dan Weissmann. The personal motivation didn’t …