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Everything by Everyone

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Last summer, Nathan Kuruna interviewed me for his documentary Everything By Everyone. It's about internet media, and particularly Newgrounds, a website which hosts independent flash games. As you might guess, he didn't ask me about flash games - he asked me about the future of media, and particularly independent media. It was a pleasure and an honor to be included in the project... and now he's got a trailer! Note the appearance by internet luminary Kevin "Sprinkles" Pereira.

Conan O'Brien on 60 Minutes


Sweet beard and all.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The 404


Vital stats:
Format: mixture of tech speculation, audience participation and discussion of toys from 1990
Duration: 30m
Frequency: five days a week
Archive available on iTunes: all

Had I not found out last night about an anime-styled adaptation of The Oregon Trail for the iPhone, I would have deemed The 404 [RSS] [iTunes] the most Gen-Y product I've ever encountered. Sure, as the name suggests, it's a show ostensibly about internet and technology culture and when both go wrong. But if you're talking Gen Y, modulo the future Unabombers among us, you're pretty much automatically talking about the net and the devices that engage us with it. You're also talking about reminiscences of floppy disks, Super Soaker 100s and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Turtle Van.

The podcast is put out under the aegis of CNET, or CNet, or cnet, or c|net, whichever you prefer. Any way you type it out, I admit to never getting 100 percent clear on their mandate, function or purpose, despite having been well aware of the brand for at least 16 years. At this point, I suppose it's just one of those "online media entities" that puts out such tidal waves of — excuse the hideous repurposed net-neologism, but — "content" that you're going to periodically find yourself watching, reading or listening to output of theirs no matter what. Depending on how you count, they put out between eight and 32 podcasts. This is one of them.

It's easy to imagine a non-CNET-sponsored version of The 404. Hell, odds are a few of them exist. Hosts Jeff Bakalar, Wilson Tang and Justin Yu all act like pretty normal guys, except, instead of holding the usual forms of podcaster employment — barista, grad student, "other" — they do professional-y stuff at CNET. The trio is thus anointed with a number advantages not possessed by your average basement broadcaster. First, they're of necessity tapped way in to the tech/media flow. Second, they truly bring the energy every time, no doubt thanks to being encircled by a menacing ring of glowering bosses. Third, they can all get together in what sounds like the same New York studio with relatively atomic regularity, record, and upload about an hour later. Fourth, they have or are inentivized to gain the discipline to do it for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

The downside of this slickness is, if you like, a certain over-"clean" feeling. I'm not positive, but I'm fairly certain that the hosts can't swear and have to resort to sometimes-awkward workarounds. If that's a rule, there are probably other restraints in place too, though I doubt CNET's holding all that short a leash. The crew mixes it up with a great deal of audience involvement, though, from phone messages to contests to other recorded niceties. I'm unfailingly cracked up by one jingle, often played, that sounds as if it might have come from the voice and guitar of an enthusiastic fan: "♫ This is the 404, m-er f-ers / The show where we all sing songs ♫" Except that he really does say "m-er f-ers." Feel the glower.

But damn, it says good things indeed that The 404's fans are so into the show; it seems as if they're always sending in their jibes, their jokes, their jingles, their 'shops. The image above this review was actually one fan contribution — one of many. The very best moment I heard, though, has to have been when a black lady called in to talk about her husband's Turbografx-16, which she referred to as a "Turbo Tracks". But then one of the hosts erroneously claimed that the "Turbografx" and the "Turbografx-16" were two different consoles, and they all agreed. Can I forgive that? I'm... not sure.

[Want to hire Podthinker Colin Marshall to Podthink at your debutante's ball? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Comedy: Jordan Ranks America, May 2010: The Sound of Young America

Jordan Morris

Jordan Morris ranks what's hot and what's not in these United States.

This month:
Stock Market Lingo (new)
Analog Clocks (falling)
Almonds (rising fast)
Exercise (knocked out of top spot)
Organic Grocery Store (new number one)

Joell Ortiz f. Joe Budden - Move On


I had lunch with Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz the other day. Turns out both of them are big hip-hop fans, and we started talking about what we've been listening to lately. I had to admit that mostly lately I've been listening to Scarface's "The Fix" over and over. And also: Joell Ortiz. At first I was ambivalent about Ortiz, but the more time I spend with his music, the more I like it. Great verse on this track, which is a bit old, I know.

Lyle the Intern

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Jimmi Simpson killed it on Party Down last week. And this is just as fantastic.

Jordan Jesse Game! 2.0


Jordan, Jesse, Game! creator Dan Henrick has redrafted the much-beloved side scroller. The new version features easier and more consistent gameplay, passwords, and more. Try it!

Paul Gilmartin, Maria Bamford and Me on BBC Radio 4


Hold on! We got bumped because Gordon Brown said something weird. This'll run next week.

This evening (UK time) or afternoon (US time) you can catch me on BBC Radio 4's "The Vote Now Show." I talk with Rep. Richard Martin (R-OH), aka Paul Gilmartin, and his lovely wife Jazz, aka Maria Bamford. Paul and Maria are so amazing as these characters, and the piece is really a lot of fun.

The show runs from 3:00-3:30 this afternoon (pacific time) or 11PM-11:30PM GMT. You can catch the stream here on the Radio 4 page or in iTunes.

Jay Smooth & Maura Johnston on Nicki Minaj


A nice Morning Edition piece from our pal Jay Smooth and Maura Johnston on the rapper Nicki Minaj. The frame is exactly what one would expect ("a female rapper in sexist hip-hop?!"), but Jay and Johnston are both too smart to fall into cliche. Just as I was thinking, "I wish they would mention that she can spit," Jay said "she can spit."

The comments may be the best part. Specifically the guy who basically admits he was only familiar with Minaj because of a picture in his computer's "beautiful women folder." And then he says "we all know what that's for (can I say that?)". YES. You can say that, and you are the greatest NPR commenter ever. I mean, I love Bahamadia as much as the next guy, but her two albums came out what? Ten years ago? And I get it: Jean Grae is also a woman and she's not famous and hip-hop vs. rap and SNNNOOOOOOOOOOOZE.

Seriously: some sharp stuff from Jay Smooth and Maura Johnston.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 131: Dinosaurs with Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Dave Willis and Dana Snyder

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Dave Willis
Dana Snyder

Dave Willis and Dana Snyder of Aqua Teen Hunger Force join Jesse and Jordan for a discussion of Girl Scout cookies, cement dinosaurs and tour buses, among other things. The two are in the midst of a national tour.

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