I’ve gotten quite into podcasts lately. However, some of them are just a waste of hard disk space. Here’s a rundown of some picks and pans of mine:
Great podcasts–(just search for the titles in the itunes store)
“Hey, We’re Back!” –Remember Jonathan Katz? Well, he has a lovely, witty but understated podcast. Another plus is that it’s been recently started, so it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up.
Jazz NW–from great local station KPLU here. Not too much talking, only a weekly podcast and one of the better podcasts in jazz that I’ve found.
Real time with Bill Maher podcast from HBO–Recently subscribed to this. Podcasts of his shows plus extra outtakes and footage from interviews. Quite generous, considering that I don’t have TV. I thought I knew Bill Maher before, but now I know for certain he is a genius, (at least a comedic genius if not a political one), blending politics with a smart, level-headed kind of cynicism, and a lovely anti-religion attitude that I agree with (but not as fully as he does; I am not a libertarian).
New Yorker fiction podcast: A story from the NYer, then perhaps about 10 minutes of talking about it afterwards. So far, so good, emphasis is on the story and not on the self-promotion of the magazine or how good the magazine’s literary tastes are (wisely, they’re letting that speak for itself).
Classical after 1800 Podcast from Magnatune: Again, so far, so good. Short intro followed by a nice dose of music. Outro could be a bit shorter; I don’t need a company manifesto, folks. A mention of the website is enough. And…they don’t interrupt the music to say who did what. Which is actually nice. It’s in the information panel you can see in itunes.
Frontline/WORLD (PBS): A video podcast. Videos are an average of 12 minutes long (by my guesstimate more than a calculated average). Great short documentaries about current topics around the world, i.e., mostly developing countries and the ways in which the developed nations should be helping them, but would rather be spending money on fighting endless wars on vague rogues.
Jung Podcast: A psychologist walks you through some of Jung’s major concepts. Discussions of archetypes, dreams, and more.
WOR Joey Reynolds Show–Yeah, I guess this shows my soul’s age. But he’s a gem, and can make any guest interesting, even if he’s talking to a tax attorney (which is not often, and then they’ll be talking about conspiracy theories). A way I can waste time that will leave me feeling better, even when talking about political topics that can inspire anger, Joey can do it with a gritty NY wit that puts a smile on my face.
WOR Health Talk with Dr. Ronald Hoffman–I have great respect for Dr. Hoffman and although I stopped listening to him for a time, I am glad that he has a podcast so that I do not have to be in NY to get the latest in nutritional advice and perspective. He advocates the “salad and salmon” diet (aka, mediterranean diet) and is a font of information about supplements, as well as just easy on the ears to listen to. Takes listener’s questions, like Dr. Ash below, but I’ve noticed that the people with health problems who call Dr. Hoffman tend to be younger or have more interesting problems than the people who call Dr. Ash (who tend to be older, on several medications they’re tired of taking, and have joint problems).
Health Update from the NY Times:
–firstly, Jane Brody’s writing style is both interesting and accessible, but her voice is annoying. She has a voice for newspapers, you could say. If she must have a podcast, someone should read her article snippets for her. It’s like having your really nasal mom tell you to put on sunscreen at the beach–on your computer. Unless you have a fetish for this, it’s not that enjoyable. Also, the first ~10 seconds of the podcast are some kind of commercial not only for the Times, but for the Times’ sponsor of these podcasts. You know, because the Times isn’t rich enough, and obviously needs to advertise before every article and every podcast.
–The information isn’t that interesting, just the same conventional bullshit about “health” from the corporato-pharma establishment. The same stuff you probably already know but which most Americans are too lazy to follow–you know, most Americans are shocked that eating vegetables could prevent cancer. They’d rather take a pill that causes liver damage.
IndieFeed Electronica Podcast. Good electronica, especially for people who like electronica but who have no desire or time to get to know everyone in electronica, but the intros and introeffects are pretty annoying, and sometimes there is too much talk about the album/song after the song.
WOR In the Doctor’s Office with Dr. Richard Ash–Only caveat on this otherwise excellent podcast from NYC’s WOR is that Dr. Ash is mighty repetitive (which, in a way, is good, because after about 5 of his podcasts, you’ll know his entire body-health program) and he is always promoting a certain brand of vitamins, which, though they may be more “bio-available” than other conventional vitamins, and even though he might take them himself, still makes it seem like he has stock in the company. In summary, Dr. Ash advocates integrative medicine, which means he believes in minimizing conventional bullshit like medication, antibiotics, surgery, and all those moneymakers, and emphasizes nutrition and evaluation and eventual correction of underlying issues like hypothyroidism, candida overgrowth, etc., mostly through a diet that is “more alkaline, less acidic, cut out the bread, rice, pasta, and the sugar.” Five stars on the advice, which is more than sound; minuses come only from the commercial breaks retained from the broadcast and put into the podcast. If you’re really a health nut, you’ll compare notes between him and Dr. Hoffman. Which I have. If Dr. Hoffman ever started talking about body acidity/alkalinity as a cause of disease, I would have caught on to it a long time ago.