Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Favorite Podcasts

I moved up from an iPod Shuffle to a 30GB iPod video in August and I started really getting into podcasts. At first I listed to news and political commentary, but that quickly got boring and I moved on to sports and fiction.

During the baseball season I was really into ESPN Baseball Today. Their coverage was great through the regular season and through the conclusion of the World Series. I also listened to Steven A. Smith. I’m not sure if I like his style or not, but there’s something inherently creepy that hits you after you listen day in day out to sports guys trashing black and Hispanic men. It’s nice to hear at least one non-white guy give his opinion.

ESPN Podcasts

During the baseball season I was also listening to Without A Curse, a bi-weekly podcast by 13-year-old Red Sox fan, Alex Reimer. He’s not bad for a adolescent. He has a tendency to say “sucks” too often, and since he’s only 13 he has no sense of history (thing about it – in his lifetime the Braves and Indians have had more good seasons than bad), but, like I said, he’s not bad. He even manages to get adults who know a little something (like sports editors and the like) to appear on his show and do phone interviews. His show is weekly now that the season is over, but I’m still listening.

Why do I listen to a Red Sox show, you ask? Why, because it’s so fun to hear the suffering. You’d think they didn’t win that championship in 2004. More importantly, there’s no one doing a similar Yankees podcast. What’s up with that?

When I’m not listening to sports podcasts I listen to fiction podcasts. My favorite is Escape Pod, which gives me a weekly 30 to 50 minute sci-fi, fantasy or horror fix. Escape Pod tries to supply Hugo award winners or nominees to the listeners, so the quality of the stories is good. So far my favorite Escape Pod stories have been The King’s Tail and I Look Forward to Remembering You.

I also like the Union Dues stories, which fall into the superhero genre:

EP80: Cleanup In Aisle Five
EP62: Baby and the Bathwater
EP49: Off White Lies
EP27: Glass Jaw

Escape Pod has a sister show called Pseudopod which is dedicated to horror. My favorite Pseudopod stories have been Turista and Sacred Skin.

In the superhero genre I like How to Succeed in Evil, the story of an “Evil Efficiency Expert” who helps villains maximize their potential. Unfortunately, it’s been a month since an episode has come out, so they may have run out of steam.

Last but not least, I like Retrieval Detachment, which is a podcast that reviews other podcasts, but alas, they’ve disappeared since they’re doing NaNoWriMo. What I liked about the podcast was the freeform brainstorming of the two hosts as they analyze the themes of different stories – mostly Escape Pod stories. I liked their discussion of time travel as a business. They went way beyond the idea of guided tours to the past and came up with fun ideas like kidnapping Leonardo DaVinci to teach a special one day “Master Class” at a university. LOL!

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