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  1. Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

    Saturday, July 25, 2009

    If the news of the day you are privy

    But you wish for delivery more silly,

    Than never you fret,

    For a more than safe bet

    You can listen to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

    Have you ever found yourself longing to have news served to you in limerick format? Tired of listening to relevant facts, when all you really want to hear about are stories involving British Television shows and wayward cats? Then plonk yourself down for an hour a week to bask in the glory that is NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Hosted by Peter Sagal with the aid of Carl Kasell, Wait Wait delivers a week's worth of news in a delightfully playful and clever game show. The show features both a rotating cast of panelists who "compete" against one another in-between callers and provide color commentary, as well as a series of games. The games include such variations as:

    Who's Carl This Time? In which Carl Kasell read three quotes from the news and the player must guess two correctly to win.
    Bluff the Listener Where a caller listens to three panelist each read a sensational story, two fictional and one real, and must choose the actual news story.

    Listener Limerick Challenge This is my personal favorite! Carl Kasell read a limerick based off of a recent news event, and the caller must supply the last phrase or rhyme of the poem.

    But not only the callers and panelists participate. One particular game, That's Not My Job, features a different guest each week that must answer trivia questions about something completely and totally unrelated to their life's work. The guests range from celebrities, singers, politicians, comedians, anyone of notoriety who is willing to take a chance.

    "Peter Sagal: According to research published in the science journal Nature, it was just 380 million years ago that two lonely sea creatures did what for the first time?
    Roy Blunt Jr.: Two lonely school teachers?

    Relevant Links:
    Download the Podcast here
    Main Website
    Wikipedia Page
    Store and Donation pages

    Content Rating: Aside from the occasional double entendre or mild vulgarity, this show is nice n' clean.

    Average Episode Length: Fifty minutes.

    Drinking Game: Drink every time a pun makes the audience groan.

    Release Schedule: An episode is released every Saturday.

    Music: Quick tidbits of songs are placed between the different games, each song relevant to the last news subject broached. Short, simple, segue-licious.

    Unintentionally Good Part: The inter-panelist bickering that breaks out when a news topic is discussed.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:
    They dared to mock my most beloved of sleeved blankets, he Slanket. The declared it was a knock-off of the cult-apparel-esque Snuggie, which is simply not true. In fairness, they did apologize the week after, but the insult to the Slanket's fleecy goodness still burns.

    Unrelated rating: Nine quips out of ten witty rejoinders.

    Now get to the listenin'!

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  2. Greetings imaginary audience,

    If you're hungry for more viddy (and I know you are), then step on over to

    There you can find the latest comic book releases, game days, and going-ons that are happening at the hottest geek corner of Alabama. I'll be dropping the occasional article, so check it out!
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  3. If you've been a nerd in the last ten years, you've had at least glancing contact with Penny Arcade. Rising from among the filthy, multitudinous hordes of video-game related comics, Penny Arcade laid claim to a golden dominion that continues to expand. Through their career, writer Jerry Holkins and illustrator Mike Krahulik (represented in the comics as Tycho and Gabe, respectively) have built a realm that now includes not only a brilliant comic, but several published collections of their work, a video game, a convention, and a charity that has raised magnificent amounts of money for sick children. The talent of Holkins and Krahulik have been sought after for creative advertising projects for video game releases (true), honored by the state of Washington (true), and encapsulated in a sugar-coated cereal (not true).

    But now the Penny Arcade empire is complete. I present to you Downloadable Content, The Penny Arcade Podcast.

    "Holkins: There is no way for us to make a comic strip where we simply name country songs and that's too bad.
    Krahulik: Yeah.
    Holkins: This is a case where we have been ham-strung by the medium we have chosen.
    Krahulik: Yeah, people are always like, "Aw man, if you want to get popular just make a comic strip about teh [sic] video games.'"
    Holkins: They don't know how we suffer!
    Krahulik: They don't know that if you're making a strip about video games you can't make a strip about country music songs.
    Holkins: We have got hot material! We have got hot, country song material. And there's no venue for it.

    excerpt from The Broodax Imperiate
    I assume the original premise of this podcast was to reveal the process through which a Penny Arcade comic is created. What has actually been brought forth is the product of what happens when you place two long-time friends in an enclosed space and force them to work towards a common goal. Usually the comic is written within the first five minutes of the podcast, the rest of the time filled with the banter of Holkins and Krahulik as they talk shop about the video game industry, share stories from their lives and insult each other only to eventually meander back to their original idea.

    It is fascinating to listen to the development of each punchline. Usually inspired by a website's headline or video game related event, one of the pair will offer a rough idea, which the other will latch onto and expand until they are able to pin down their traditional three panel procedure.

    "Krahulik: It's the juxtaposition-
    Holkins: I know about positions!
    Krahulik: Do you know about the jutx?
    Holkins: The juxta?
    Krahulik: Have you ever juxta a position?
    Holkins: Juxta'd? Yes.
    Krahulik: Cause what I'm talking about is juxting a position, in such a way-
    Holkins: Yeah you know about position.
    Krahulik: What I know about is juxting.

    excerpt from Making an Impression, in discussion of
    this comic.

    Relevant Links:
    Download the Podcast here
    Main Website
    My Favorite Comic, Ever
    No, wait, this is my Favorite Comic
    Child's Play Charity Site

    Content Rating: Explicit. You may want to point your headphones elsewhere if you cannot abide by words such as 'twat' or worse.

    Average Episode Length: Podcast length ranges from 12 minutes 52 seconds at the shortest, to one hour, three minutes at the longest. All the rest fall somewhere within these two times.

    Drinking Game: None that I can unearth via Google search. May exist in the Penny Arcade forums or a lost society's oral history.

    Release Schedule: Whenever the hell they feel like it, apparently. Do not expect regular releases. I suggest treating each new podcast much like you would a secret whispered to you by creatures most fae. Treasure them!

    Music: While actual music is non-existent, listeners are occasionally graced by the vocal talents of both hosts. Krahulik is especially talented at recreating hits from the 1980s.

    Unintentionally Good Part: Holkins and Krahulik's insatiable quest to go to lunch. They are never not hungry, unless pumpkin bars (episode In the Love Nest of the Har'akki, 1:20 mark) are involved.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:
    Should you come to enjoy this podcast, the erratic post schedule will cause you to fall to you knees and cry out mournfully.

    The Adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated. What boils down to an advertising campaign for the latest edition of Dungeons and Dragons becomes a hilarious series of actual-play recordings (games sessions recorded with minimal editing) in which both Penny Arcade creators take part in. Please, please, if you have ever had a fleeting interest in D&D, listen to these so that you may be enlightened to the experience that is Jim Darkmagic.

    Get to it! And leave me comments!

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  4. This American Life

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    "From WBEZ Chicago, it's This American Life, distributed by Public Radio International, I'm Ira Glass."

    The heretical, the sophisticated and the ridiculous. If a human can or has experienced it, This American Life is willing to explore any situation to find a good story to tell.

    Each episode of This American Life centers around a theme and is broken into several different acts that each offer a unique point of view on that week's theme. One week's theme can be entirely devoted to a current event, only for the following week to surround the mystique of comic book culture. Previous themes include: "Classifieds", "Remember Me" and one of my favorites, "Poultry Slam." For each theme, contributions are given in the forms of interviews, short stories, investigative journalism, monologue, stand-up comedy routine or any other imaginable way that a story can be passed through your ears.

    The Featured contributors run the gamut from authors such as David Sedaris, comedians including Mike Birbiglia, rabbis, bus drivers, lawyers, coaches, victims, day-dreamers and that girl you lived next to when you were in elementary school. Some contributors are erudite experts in their field, quite a few are hilarious, many are touching, all are genuine. They tell their story the way they want it to be heard, and the interpretation is left up to the listeners. When the same story is told from various points of view it becomes a strange game to try and decipher who, if anyone, is speaking the truth.

    What I consider to be This American Life's most important value is its authenticity. This podcast is simply life presented in a more interesting format. The stories are incredibly engaging; as I listen at my cubical at work, I have been forced to perform the awkward and painful "silent laugh maneuver," I have clenched my iPod in anger, shaking it as I formed retorts in my mind and I have also probably made a lot of strange faces in reaction to This American Life which have disturbed my co-workers a great deal and I really should explain but then it may be easier to just remain "that girl with the headphones" rather than "that girl with the headphones who keeps talking about pods."

    I believe you will also enjoy the dulcet tones of Ira Glass, host of This American Life. However, be aware that if a beloved author is a featured guest, you may be shocked by how they actually sound (I'm looking at you, David Sedaris). Be aware that your internal narrator's voice may be changed forever.

    Relevant Links:
    Download the Podcast here
    Main website
    Wikipedia Page
    Store and Donation pages (you just try to ignore the pleas of Ira Glass during pledge drives, ain't gonna work)

    Content Rating: Generally safe for work and all audiences with a caveat: many of the topics discussed (including religion, abortion, death, sexuality) may be considered explicit by some listeners. Also, there may be some swear words tucked into a story.

    Average Episode Length: One hour.

    Drinking Game: None yet invented.

    Release Schedule: A new podcast is available every Monday. They do not offer an accessible archive, but previous podcasts can be purchased at their store.

    Music: Non-intrusive background sound and interludes between acts, usually with some relevance to the episode's theme. I have no memory of any "bad" music occurring, and many songs played on This American Life will eventually find their way into my mp3 collection.

    Unintentionally Good Part: The feeling you get from listening to NPR.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:
    The feeling you get from listening to NPR.

    How to find your NPR name:
    "Take your middle initial and insert it somewhere into your first name. Then add on the smallest foreign town you've ever visited as your last name." - Jon Friedman [Originally found here].

    Also: I do realize that This American Life's original format is a radio show, but hey, this is a podcast blog. So shut up.

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  5. Pod What Now?

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    This is a blog about podcasts.


    Yes, podcasts.

    Um, what?

    According to almighty Wikipedia, a podcast is:
    "a series of visual or sound which allows files which are distributed over the computer by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers."
    All right, I'm listening.

    No, you're not. And that's the problem. From what I've experienced in my attempts to share information about podcasts with friends, family, and anyone too polite to tell me to go away, is that there is an overwhelming apathy surrounding podcasts. There is a wide world of alternative media at the fingertips of anyone with a decent Internet connection and no one cares. An entire spectrum of entertaining and informative content exists, but no one can be bothered. It appears that video did indeed kill the radio star, if by radio you mean podcasts, and by video star you mean cute cat macros.

    That metaphor seems to have escaped you.

    Sorry. Really, all this blog is intended for is to stir up more interest in podcasts.

    What do podcasts have to do with me?

    Take a moment and think of your hobbies, political views, your music collect, a favorite genre of books, websites that make you laugh, the stories you love to hear. Whatever you like, however you like it, there is a podcast out there that has your interests in mind.
    Tell me, what do you like?

    Oh! I like cooking!

    There's a podcast for you.

    I enjoy learning about history. And current events. And grammar!

    You've got it, nerd.


    Is this or is this not the Internet?

    Nice. So where do you come in, viddyviddy?

    I'll be providing as reviews for as many podcasts as I can shove onto my iPod. The intent of this blog is to provide both the novice and well practiced podcast afficianado alike to unique, interesting, and entertaining podcasts. Let me know what interests you, and I'll try and find a podcast that can relate! Go find a podcast you like, write up a review, and I'll post it on this blog!

    Seriously though, there are really porn podcasts?

    Stay the hell away from my computer.
    This is going to be a wonderful adventure.

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  6. Figured it out.

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    This beast is going to be about podcast reviews from now on.
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