Friday, October 18, 2013

5 things I listened to that make headphones worthwhile (that aren't music)

It's two posts in a day, but I figured why the hell not. I haven't done anything new in almost a month.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and radio shows and the like. The comedy ones are fun, but I've sprinkled in some extremely good ones that aren't necessarily serious, but they take more serious approaches, and can be incredibly emotional. This week happened to be a particularly good assemblage of things I decided to listen to. Here's 5 of my favorite, and I hope you take the time to listen to them too.

1.) "Yes, There Is a Baby" from Babysitting - This American Life
This American Life always starts upbeat, with a fun little story about the theme, and then somewhere it takes an incredibly heartbreaking turn, before either staying that way, or leaving you with a bit of hope.
Either way, it's fantastic, and this one of the best realized of the rough formula of a typical episode. Listen to the whole thing, but the third act is ridiculous in the best possible way. It still stands as one of my favorite segments I've ever heard on the show.
This American Life - Babysitting

2.) "Henry and Jane" - Strangers
Similar in style to This American Life, Strangers operates under that single, loose theme. What happens when people encounter each other, for the first time, or in this case, re-encounter each other on a new level? Henry and Jane had been married for a while, even had kids, before Henry suffered a dibilitating stroke that left him unable to move and talk. With the help of Jane, his loyal wife, he's managed to restore some sort of humanity to himself. The question of course is, is this a life really worth living? Is everyone truly happy? You may find the answers surprising as you listen to this amazing episode:
KCRW's Strangers - Henry and Jane

3.) "Papa Was Not a Rolling Stone" from Music Lessons - This American Life
Another American Life episode, another classic. This one is all for the first act, which is the incomparable David Sedaris, reading a story about his childhood. Sedaris is my favorite modern storyteller, and his timing, eloquence, and earnestness will make you laugh and make you cry every time.
This American Life - Music Lessons

4.) "Missed Connection" from Being Invisible - WireTap
Jonathan Goldstein is incredible. He constructs the WireTap episodes as if they are This American Life episodes, with what are seemingly real interviews over the phone or in person, interrupted by interesting, quirky characters live in his studio. Everything revolves around a particular theme and this one is very interesting, with some pieces, one read by Jason Mantzoukas. This piece though, I read somewhere before I heard the audio and it's a great little short story. It's called "Missed Connections."
You can read the short story here:
Craigslist Missed Connection.
And listen to the audio (as well as the rest of the episode) here:
Being Invisible - Show Notes

5.) Culture Is Not Your Friend
And finally, I don't remember where I heard this originally, but Terence McKenna's name came up recently, and I remembered this piece. The video added to it is pretty cool, so I decided to use this version. Enjoy!