My Favorite Podcasts

twss-logoOne of primary hobbies is podcasting: listening and producing. I started a podcast for the Frat Pack Tribute back in April 2005, though the publishing schedule has been highly irregular for a little over a year now. That’s mostly due to my duties as the cohost of the That’s What She Said podcast about NBC’s The Office. The original cohost quit and after a trial period I was named the official cohost. Matt Sommer and I have a great time talking about The Office each week, and though Matt is very much the main man behind TWSS, I do some of the show editing and collecting of news and listener feedback.

But today I’m not here to talk about how big of an “iCelebrity” I am. I’m here to talk about the podcasts that I actually listen to. And given that I probably listen to about two hours of podcasts a day, it’s certainly a big part of my life and something I’ve invested a lot of time in. 

I just really love the idea of podcasts as a distribution medium. I subscribe to a bunch of audio and video shows and when the new episode is released it downloads automatically. Then I listen to it whenever I want, such as doing housework or when I’m driving in the car.

Currently I am subscribed to over fifty podcasts, but here are my top 10.  The ranking is based on how soon I’ll listen to the show after it downloads. Shows that can wait a few days are lower on the list. Shows that’ll get me to go to work early just so I can start my commute and listen to the podcast are at the top.

Audio Podcasts

  1. Filmspotting – Great movie review show from Chicago. There’s probably not a day that goes by when I don’t use (or wish I used) their catch-phrase “I hear what you’re saying but you’re completely wrong.”  I was sad when original host Sam Van Hallgren left the show (after giving me my donation-inspired Filmspotting nickname “Captain Bullseye” after Vince Vaughn’s line in Wedding Crashers). But the show has improved with the addition of Matty “Ballgame” Robinson who manages to give cohost Adam Kempenar a hard time each and every week.

    I had a good-natured war of sorts with Filmspotting back in spring 2008, as I complained about their movie marathons that were not accessible (lots of foreign directors). There’s a running gag about this in Filmspotting #202 that culminates in a great “outtake” at the end of the show.

  2. MacBreak Weekly – Leo Laporte’s show about the Mac, iPhone, etc. I like hearing the pundits talk about what’s happening with Apple. 
  3. This Week in Tech (aka TWiT) – Leo Laporte’s general technology review show. I really like hearing John C. Dvorak and regular guest Jason Calacanis.  
  4. WDW Today – a shorter show that most I listen to, running 15-25 minutes (despite the “give us 5 minutes and we’ll give you the world” tagline). Each show discusses something about Walt Disney World, and their Wednesday listener question shows are fun. There’s great chemistry with the hosts on this show. 

    The best show they ever did was called “Snack, Sip (and Sick)” – a show where they ate or drank something in each pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase. Hilarious! 

  5. Creative Screenwriting Magazine – I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to every one of these episodes. If the movie is of interest then I’ll listen. These are interviews with screenwriters of current theatrical release, and the insights are often fascinating. Host Jeff Goldsmith does a great job with this one. 
  6. Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History – This doesn’t come out very often but when it does it is riveting stuff. I’ve learned about the Romans, the cradle of mankind, and WWII.
  7. Inside the Magic – the longest running Disney podcast and though it is based in Orlando there is good coverage of Disneyland, too. Host Ricky Bregante produces an informative podcast with the latest news, features and reviews, guest contributions, and more. 
  8. The MacCast – the longest running Mac podcast is still going strong. Adam Christensen covers Mac news and answers listener questions. Lots of great information.
  9. Savage Love – Dan Savage’s sex advice column translated into audio format. I love how frank Savage is with some of this callers and of course his battles with the “tech savvy at-risk youth” who help him produce the show. More entertaining than titillating.
  10. Countdown with Keith Olbermann – the audio version of his MSNBC show. I do like “repurposed” content along with the traditional “homegrown” podcasts, so this is an example.  I don’t always get a chance to watch the show, so this is a good way to catch up.

Video Podcasts

  1. Tiki Bar TV – Often hilarious look into “drink culture” and LaLa is simply breathtaking. One of the first video podcasts and still the best.
  2. Midwest Teen Sex Show – Informative and hilarious. These guys just got a gig on Comedy Central. Should be required viewing for impressionable teens. Frank and honest advice.
  3. Cranky Geeks – John C. Dvorak’s pundit show run a crisp 30 minutes and is often insightful.
  4. Play Value – the history of video games
  5. Circuits with David Pogue – Pogue is really a funny guy and sometimes a genius at cutting through complex information 

Mothers Circus Animal Cookies Are Back!

Our long National West Coast nightmare is over!

Kelloggs came through as promised and have reintroduced Mother’s Cookies back into stores in Western States. According to their press release:

Crestfallen cookie lovers once again can enjoy the sweet symbols of so many fond memories. Mother’s(R) cookies, the long-time family favorite, are making a comeback. With the same great taste fans remember, Mother’s(R) cookies made their highly anticipated return to store shelves in the Western region of the United States starting on May 4 – just in time for the 95th anniversary of Mother’s Day as well as the Mother’s(R) brand.

The Mother’s(R) cookies returning to the Western region of the United States include:

  • Chocolate Chip
  • Circus Animal(R)
  • Cocadas(R)
  • Double Fudge
  • English Tea(R)
  • Iced Lemonade
  • Iced Oatmeal
  • Macaroons
  • Oatmeal
  • Taffy(R)
  • Vanilla Creme

I have given the new cookies a taste taste and I’m very pleased to report that these are the genuine article. They taste exactly the same as the Mother’s Circus Animals we’ve loved over the years. The packaging of the Mother’s brand is basically intact as well, with the addition of the call-out “Your Favorites are Back!” Indeed they are!

Mother's Circus Animal Cookies Are Back!
Mother's Circus Animal Cookies Are Back!

Nabisco tried to get onto the “iced animal” bandwagon with their sub-par Nabisco Classics Iced Animal Cookies but failed miserably. Now, there’s no reason at all to purchase the inferior brand!  So, get a bag of Circus Animals or whatever your favorite Mother’s Cookie is, and support this brand so they never disappear from store shelves again.

Learn More:

The Secrets of Successful Service

I recently competed in some Toastmasters speech contests. I won my club and Area contests but didn’t win at the Division level. It was a lot of fun even though my speech wasn’t the typical “inspiration” speech that is de rigor for these contests. My speech was The Secrets of Successful Service and here is a summary of my main points.

This topic was selected because we perform service all the time. Not just at work, but also at church, for an organization, home, and (especially for the target audience for the speech) Toastmasters!  All of us are in this role at some time or another.

What is this and why should I care?

What’s the most important thing I should know about the service. Make sure the most important information is right up front, and tell me what’s in it for me!  Every organization’s website should indicate what they’re about and what kind of service or benefit the website should provide.  For example, the podcast I cohost has the info right on the header of the site: “That’s What She Said” – A Podcast About NBC’s The Office.

View the service or organization with the eyes of a brand new customer

Assume I know nothing about your service or organization, so don’t start throwing jargon at me. Too many people mention acronyms or other terminology that all current members know about – but what about new members of an organization? They have no idea what this is and why it is important. So, when you’re describing an upcoming event or a service, tell people what this actually is.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself

If you don’t like something go out there and change it!  I don’t want to hear you complain. Fix it! Everyone has new and fresh ideas but it is up to you to put those ideas out there. Of course, this doesn’t mean you are stuck doing it forever. Change it, set an example, and train the next generation. Then pass on responsibility to someone else.