Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind...
I've created this section as a sort of catch-all for any incidental materials created for the website that don't fit in any of the other categories. Alas, it's still early days for the site, so I don't really have anything to put here yet.
Tell you what: Let's begin with this...
A BRIEF LIST OF INTERESTING PODCASTS
Downloadable audio and video files containing regularly or semi-regularly produced programs are the secret sauce of the Internet. There's a podcast for seemingly every subject and interest under the sun and it must be said: Most of them are awful. So where are the good ones? I've found a bunch, and I'm eager to share.
A hub for all your Brit-centric comedy needs, Comedy.Co.UK hosts everything from the genuinely funny panel show Do the Right Thing to the equally funny live-on-stage interview show Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast — but there's plenty of program listings to explore.
If you're at all into podcasts, you've probably heard of these guys. Launched by a group of comedians (as so many of these things seem to be), Earwolf is home to a diverse array of podcasts, one of which may succeed in entertaining you.
The brainchild of cartoonist Scott Johnson, Frogpants is a network for programs celebrating geek-culture topics such as comic books, videogames, B-movies and more. The network's crown jewel is the almost-weekdaily show The Morning Stream, a sort of Good Morning America for nerds.
You've probably heard of the Nerdist even if you've never heard of podcasts before. Chris Hardwick's mandate is much the same as that of Frogpants, but with much better financing.
Speaking of podcast networks with better financing: TWiT (short for This Week in Tech) specializes in tech news and commentary, with individual shows covering seemingly every technology niche that you can imagine, and is home to what are easily the most professionally produced video and audio podcasts to be found on the Internet. All podcasts are available in video format, and there's even a live stream for those of you who'd prefer that the Internet started acting more like television. If all the programming seems a little bewildering, start with the flagship show, This Week in Tech, which records every Sunday evening and usually runs at least two hours.
News and Information
- BBC Podcasts
Still the best of the lot: The wide variety of news programs and omnivorous international coverage makes the Beeb your first stop for news — and with the increasing drop in trustworthiness among U.S. news sources, probably the last stop, as well.
- Monocle 24
As I just noted above, I no longer trust most American news sources. Liberal and conservative biases aside, they all seem to report from the same East Coast, upper-middle-class metropolitan-dweeb set of assumptions that sound and feel increasingly like an emerging aristocracy's set of instructions for the lower orders to absorb without question. Do as you're told, pleeb, and believe what we tell you! Ugh. If I'm going to get my news from such people, I at least want the original British variety. Monocle 24 is specifically tailored to provide news and information for the Jet Set, and as such has a framework as international in scope as the Beeb, albeit with the assumption that its listeners are absurdly rich. Note that you'll need to scroll down a bit to get to the individual daily program listings, as that's where you'll find the download links.
- Daily Tech News Show
My preferred source for daily technology news, with ex-TWiT pundit Tom Merrit providing an excellent round-up of everything happening on the tech front, every weekday afternoon.
A surprisingly informative and interesting show about a seemingly obscure topic: How to find the television programs that you want online, and how to dispense with cable television altogether. It's better viewing than that description makes it out to be, really. There's an audio-only podcast, but the video version is pretty much essential.
Inside-the-beltway punditry as you expect it. Video available as well as audio. Sometimes more interesting than I've just managed to make it sound.
- Common Sense
I dig Dan Carlin. He's cynical but not paranoid, smart but not arrogant, opinionated but questioning, and understands that professional politics tends to attract the least of us regardless of political orientation. His programs don't show up online as often as do most others, but the results are always more thoughtful and considered than 99% of what's passed off as political opinion and commentary these days, and that counts for a great deal.
- Politics Politics Politics
On the other hand, if you're simply looking to bask in the ludicrous, cross-that-finish-line horse-raceness of the current political scene, you can't do better than Justin Robert Young, a smart smart-aleck who thinks a great deal about the Great American Political Circus but refuses to take it seriously. This one's fun regardless of where you come down politically. Currently produced three times a week, at least until the presidential election's over.
- The Adam Carolla Show
He's pretty much the opposite of a politically-correct liberal, and his interview subjects tend to come from the same pool more often than I'd like, but when Adam Carolla gets a good guest, the results can be quite entertaining.
- Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
One of the better programs to come out of public broadcasting: Baldwin gets good guests and knows how to hold a conversation.
- The Joe Rogan Experience
If Adam Carolla's the blue-collar loudmouth with an opinion, Joe Rogan's the surfer dude who likes politics, history and MMA, not necessarily in that order. The program draws a few too many professional fighters and comedians promoting podcasts for my tastes, but like Carolla, a good guest will make for a good, two hour+ show.
- What the Fuck with Marc Maron
This one's obvious — when the President of the United States shows up on your doorstep in the hope of talking to a good chunk of the engaged electorate, you know you've got a big fucking audience. Still Maron's good at what he does, and often has intriguing and/or entertaining guests.
History and Information
- Futility Closet
This one's new to me, but it's good: a discussion of outlandish historical events and absurd situations, which tend to sound like tall tales despite actually being true.
- Hardcore History
Oh hey, it's Dan Carlin again! As noted above, Carlin's a thoughtful and educated cat, and nowhere is this more in evidence than his long and informative trips through historical events. These programs often run for several episodes on a given topic, which can be daunting when you consider that individual episodes usually run over three hours apiece. Get them as they debut online — after a while, they move behind a paywall.
- No Such Thing as a Fish
If you aren't familiar with the BBC television panel show QI, do run a search for it on YouTube, as copies go up faster than the Copyright Police can take them down. It specializes in throwing comedians at obscure bits of information and watching the resulting chaos. It's great, big, funny egghead fun all around. The reason that I bring all of this up is this weekly podcast, in which members of the program's research crew — the QI Elves, they're called — discuss their five favorite facts. The topics range all over the map and, like QI itself, the results are both entertaining and informative.
ENTERTAINMENT AND COMEDY
- The Dana Gould Hour
Exquisitely produced, always funny and always more than an hour: I wish it came out with new episodes more than once a month.
- Doug Loves Movies
Each episode, stand-up comic Doug Benson leads a team of fellow comics and assorted media types through a series of movie-trivia games in front of a live audience. The humor quotient varies with the guests, of course, but there's almost always something to laugh at.
- FSL Tonight
It's sort of a fantasy fantasy-sports league: Each episode, our two commentators discuss the week's action in an undefined sports league, where the teams are composed of characters from various science-fiction and fantasy series. You'll have the Gallifrey Timelords up against the Cylon Raiders, the winner of which may find themselves up against Harley Quinn and her Arkham Angels. Who'll take the championship? Goofy fun for hardcore fans.
- Night Attack
Brian Brushwood (Cordkillers) and Justin Robert Young (Politics Politics Politics) get together once a week and have stupid fun with the Internet. There's an audio version, but you really want the video for the full effect. Be advised: This programs lives on more than a few in-jokes, which you'll pick up as you go.
The only live variety show available on public radio that I actually enjoy. It's got the usual mix of sketch comedy and music common to the Prairie Home Companion format, but without the folksy whimsy that makes some people want to claw their eyes out of their heads.
- Penn's Sunday School
The weekly podcast of Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) and a small circle of associates. Usual topics of discussion include magic, comedy, atheism, libertarian politics and (at the moment) weight loss. Penn can usually be counted on for a few choice anecdotes from his long and storied career.
- Weird Things
Brian Brushwood and Justin Robert Young join author/magician Andrew Mayne for a tour of the weirder parts of the world, with a special love for anything involving goblins and bigfoots. Also: obsessive coverage of billionaires with their own private space programs.