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  1. TableTop (a Thing on YouTube!)

    Sunday, May 27, 2012

    Dear Readers,

    Let's take a bold step away from podcasts for a moment.  I know,  I'm as scared as you are.

    Hold me, reader!

    Wash your hands first, though, hygiene is critical in inter-Internet-personal relationships.

    Sometimes even I don't listen to podcasts!  Sometimes I do other things!  Especially when I'm a dumb ass and forget both sets of headphones at work.  That's when I'm forced to turn to other forms of entertainment.  Like all them moving pictures on the YouTubes!  There sure are a lot of them.  Allow me to show you one that I like in particular, won't you?

    For your consideration, I offer the board game stylings of TableTop.

    My major goal behind this site and all of my podcast reviews is to show other people things that I enjoy, in the hopes that they will enjoy them as well.  If I were a dry cleaner or a car lot, that would be the thing engraved on the elegant "Mission Statement" plaque hung up in the front lobby.  I want to promote the works of creative people who do cool things that are also awesome and fun.  Every once and a while I might step outside of podcasts to help give a signal boost to a thing I like.

    And of course, I also make sure to promote things that everybody and their mother already know about.  Like TableTop.

    Wil Wheaton, beloved nerd who is in pretty much every damn thing relating to geek pop culture, is your Tabletop host.  He provides a setting in which he can gather friends to play board games, card games, and anything that can be played on a tabletop (get it!?) together.  While Wheaton is a well practiced gamer, most of the guests on the show are what the youngins' refer to as "newbies".  The play session is recorded, and hilarity ensues.

    Content RatingClean!  Bad words are bleeped.  Might be some innuendo if that knots your delicate panties. 

    This show provides a great way for those interested in board games beyond the worn copy of Monopoly in their closet to see how a board game is played, and whether or not they'd be interested in purchasing it for their own collection.  The rules of each game are explained so that viewers can pick up the basics and their are some nice post-production effects to help you see where and why players do what they do.

    TableTop has a great feel to it as you watch.  Wheaton is delighted to introduce people to new games and his guests are raring for some friendly competition.  Most of the guests are celebrities of varying recognition and are prepared to be aesthetically pleasing to your senses.  

    Unintentionally Good Part:  How the set pieces change in the background to thematically match whatever game is being played.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  I am not there playing games with Wil Wheaton.  Boo.

    If you play table top games, if you enjoy delightful people playing board games while you watch, or if you never realized that there were board games beyond Snakes and Ladders and that Ouija board you hid under your bed from your parents, this show is for you.  I highly recommend it and think you should go check it out!

    So get to it!
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  2. The F Plus

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    The Internet:  never have there been so many crystal clear springs set next to so many filth-ridden pools of the spit poured out of those nasty cups people who chew dip carry around with them in a pathetic attempt to disguise the fact that they're spitting in the produce section of the grocery store.  For every website that attempts to light the beacon of knowledge, humor, or beauty there are about 23 that are not only producing content that is insipid, wrong, or flat-out dangerous.

    Luckily for us, a lot of those sites are also hilarious.  But who has the time or mental fortitude to pluck out the choice, laughable nuggets from amidst the sprawling sewers of the Webatrons?

    These guys.  Get to know The F Plus.  Since 2009 (dawn of the Internet, I believe) these brave souls have willingly plunged into the dumbest, foulest Internet forums known to mankind to retrieve humorous posts and display them to you, the listener, via dramatic reading.  There will be voices, there will be laughter, and there will be things that once heard, cannot be unheard.   

    Terrible things read with enthusiasm.  

    Relevant Links:
    Main Site!
    Get the podcast on iTunes!
    Get the podcast on!
     or FeedBurner!

    Join me behind the jump, won't you?

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  3. Ask Me Another

    Friday, May 11, 2012

     Beer, pop culture trivia, and those questionable bowls of Chex mix that you want to snack from, but you're not sure if the people you're sharing with washed their hands after going to the bathroom.  From what I've heard from my more socially outgoing associates, Pub Quiz Nights are a thing!  You answer questions about episodes of Friends and receive laurels and maybe free alcohol! 

    And now you can experience all that Saturday night fun in the comfort of your headphones and without the need to call a cab.  It's Ask Me Another!

    Relevant Links:
    Ask Me Another Main Site
    Ways to download it!
    Apparently a list of Pub Quiz Team Names for your perusal!

    Behind the scenes, everyone's touching things.

    Content RatingClean, but expect innuendos and such things.

    Average Episode Length:  Since there's only one episode, exactly forty-eight minutes and forty-five seconds!

    Drinking Game:  Seeing how this is fashioned after pub quiz shows, I'd better come up with something. 
    1. Think of those asinine drinking games you used to play in college.
    2. Contemplate how you now have a mortgage and student loans.
    3. Just drink as you damn well please.
    I'm a ton of fun at parties.  

    The games in Ask Me Another are clever and quick, created by Puzzle Gurus John Chaneski, Art Chung  and actor/writer Will Hines.  Host Ophira Eisenberg sets a fast pace as the questions and answers are flung about for the audience's amusement.  There are plenty of chances for witty banter and bad puns, and the guest contestants are willing to give as good as they get.

    Contestants compete in a series of single-round elimination games, where the winner goes on to the final "championship".  The games themselves are super-neat and can include singing the answer, wordplay, haiku and whatever else you can stitch together to make a puzzle. 

    There was stuff that worked and stuff that didn’t, but hey, that’s what editing is for. And really, sometimes my favorite moments of these shows are the parts that go wrong. Mistakes are the best! That’s why I make a lot of them! It’s a live audience and actual human contestants, so there’s always plenty of room for strange things to happen.
                                                                 -Jonathan Coulton writing about the podcast here

    Release ScheduleI have no idea!  There are 13 episodes for this first season, so they should all be released eventually!  Most likely a weekly release.   A new episode each week, with the release on Friday.


    So yes, there is music involved.  Coulton sings songs between the puzzles that provide clues to who the secret guest that appears at the end of the show will be.  And sometimes he just sings songs.

    Unintentionally Good Part:  This podcast is like Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me but with a higher chance of hijinks.  The host, Puzzle Gurus and Jonathan Coulton can reliably provide the wit, while the puzzles and guest contestants keep things fresh.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  Sometimes the contestants are smarter than I am and figure out the answer before I can. 

    Hey!:  Since I started writing this review, there's a new episode on the NPR site!  Let's go listen together, shall we?
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  4. Penn's Sunday School

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    I'm going to share something special with you, dear reader.  This podcast I'm about to review is from a small artist, kind of indie, that hasn't quite made his name known.  I don't know if it's humility, or a bashfulness that comes from not knowing how to market himself, but I'd love to give him whatever signal boost I can to get his work out to more people.

    Let us review Penn Jillette's Penn's Sunday School.

    Penn Jillette is, according to Wikipedia, a " Magician, illusionist, writer, actor, and inventor", not that he's going to brag about it.  He has a simple, understated approach to his public appearances and doesn't like to make a big fuss.  So far his reach has only extended to Broadway shows, Off Broadway Shows, The Simpsons, Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, films and all the books he's written.

    And now he has a podcast.  He already had a previous audio show called Penn Radio which ended in 2007, but we're here to talk about the shiny new audio show!


    Relevant Links:
    Main Site
    Subscribe via iTunes and there are plenty of other options on the main site for you to choose from Channel, where you can watch LIVE!!!
    Episode Archive

    Content Rating: Explicit.

    Average Episode Length:  A little glance at the episodes show me that they're about 90 minutes, give or take about 10 minutes either way. 

    Here's the pitch Penn's Sunday School has to offer:
    Join us as Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau, and YOU discuss the news of the week.  We'll examine religious news, talk about monkeys, and anything else that seems funny or makes us mad.   We'll also take your suggestions for things you feel like talking about.

    This translates more or less into "whatever Penn feels like" and that works surprisingly well.  Maybe there will be a guest, or a listener will chime in,  and every once and while Penn's wife calls him to let him know what happened during the day.  Topics wander as much as they stay on course, but when a subject grabs Penn's attention, the discussion to follow is interesting.  

    Co-host Michael Goudeau managed to find time away from doing this:
    To jump in with Penn on the podcast and provide another voice to Penn's Sunday School.  I like him!  He is clever and is not just a sounding board for Penn to talk at.  Both Penn and Goudeau work together very well to bring funny and interesting conversations to the fore.  Celebrity guests occasionally join the in-studio crew and add to the mayhem. 

    Drinking Game:  Take a drink each time-
    • Penn talks about Debbie Gibson
    • A magic trick is referenced
    • Someone tells a story involving bodily harm
    • Monkeys are mentioned
    • Penn gives a "seamless" segue into mentioning his advertisers

    Release Schedule:  Every Sunday.  You can watch the podcast live on a video feed via their UStream channel, if that is your kind of thing.

    Music:  There is an opening and ending theme and that's all save for some silly intros for topics.

    Unintentionally Good Part:  Monkey Tuesday.

    Unintentionally Bad Part:  If you are of a skeptic mindset, and wish for others to consider your viewpoints, this would not be a good starting point.  Penn is a gentleman and is more than willing to allow/consider/discuss alternate viewpoints on pretty much whatever, but this podcast is not a delicate place, and if he gets abrasive, it might turn people away without hearing any of your points. 

    Unrelated rating:  Three minutes of Penn's laugh out of four.

    Humor!  Magic!  Celebrities and listener contributions!  It's a cavalcade of awesome, go listen!
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