The Blog of Young America

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you, our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you, and our lively forum community will connect you with others. About

Fun on Crackle.com with Bill Hader and Rob Baedeker

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MaxFunPal Bill Hader dropped a line to let us know about a new online project he's working on with MaxFunPal Simon Rich and SNL Superstar Seth Meyers. It's a series about waiting in line for a SciFi movie that also stars Joe Lo Truglio of The State. It's above, and very promising.

Below, MaxFunPal Rob Baedeker of Kasper Hauser recently landed the starring role in the web series "Mr. Justice and Powerful Girl," also on Crackle.com. Each week on the show, Rob, dressed as a superhero, and his kindly sidekick Powerful Girl step out into the world and try to do nice things. In the episode I've embedded below, Mr. Justice and Powerful Girl take on a subject close to my heart: bunny rabbits.

Podcast: The Explorers Club

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Show: 
Bullseye


The Explorers Club are a South Carolina-based rock band. Their music suggests the easy country-pop of the 1970s, the melodramatic pop of Phil Spector and especially the music of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. They just released their first LP, "Freedom Wind."

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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: the BenHeck.com podcast

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Last time, we ended up in Wisconsin with The Internet's Maximum Potential. I've decided to stay another week in the forgotten America where people work hard and play by the rules, thinking about one of the net's best-known Wisconsinites, Mr. Benjamin J. Heckendorn.

Heckendorn, better known as "Ben Heck", is revered as a Godhead in the classic video gaming community for his superhuman ability to build portable versions of vintage consoles. He first gained celebrity with a portable Atari 2600, but he's since portablized a Jaguar, an an Atari 7800, a Colecovision, an NES, a Super NES, a Nintendo 64, a Wii, a Genesis, a Playstation, a Playstation 2, a Neo Geo and an XBox 360. For my money, his neatest achievement is the Atari 800 computer he made into a laptop:

Sah-weet. I'd love to play me some M.U.L.E. on that. Now, if only he would build me a portable Turbografx-16. Oh wait.

Being a man of several awesomenesses, Ben Heck also makes neato movies that you can download for free and watch on your computer or iPod, the newest of which is the "action-adventure epic romantic comedy" Port Washington. But this isn't Filmthoughts, nor is it Oldvideogamethoughts; it's Podthoughts, so the Ben Heck joint we'll focus on today is the BenHeck.com podcast [iTunes link].

In the BenHeck.com podcast, Ben Heck and his buddy Jason Jones talk about many things, almost never including console portablization and rarely including filmmaking. Rather, they turn their attention instead to movies, music, technology, video games; the stuff of our culture. Which, devoted Podthinkers will note, makes this a TTWGBAC. It's no biggie that Ben and Jason are two thirtysomething white guys rather than two twentysomething white guys; while that makes for ever-so-slightly different content, it leaves the abbreviation untouched. In addition to how much they love WALL-E, how disappointed they were by the new Indiana Jones, how much Ben hates the Wii, how Blu-Ray smacked down HD-DVD, and the relative merits of Guitar Hero versus Rock Band, they also discuss conspiracy theories, Egypt, outer space and aerosol cheese. As a bonus for the listener, some episodes begin with elaborate spoof movie or game trailers (the Oblivion "Writer's Guild Expansion Pack" being particularly inspired), and others, such as their trip to the 2008 Midwest Gaming Classic [MP4], go out in glorious video.

This being a Wisconsin podcast, you can once again keep the hosts' voices straight by remembering which one sounds more like Mark Borchardt. In this case, it's Jason: he clocks in at about .65 Borchardt Units (BUs) to Ben's .2. He's also kind of an odd dude, admitting both to believing there was a conspiracy to kill JFK and to having flown on an airplane only twice in his life. There's an ever-so-subtle shade of a Ricky Gervais/Karl Pilkington relationship between Ben and Jason, though it's not as if Jason theorizes that Chinese people age overnight like pears, nor does Ben ridicule him for having a perfectly round head. Not that it wouldn't be beyond hilarious to hear that exact schtick played out in the accents of America's Dairyland.

I poke fun, but I actually prefer my podcasts to be grounded in whatever makes them unusual, be it geographically, temperamentally, intellectually, or experientially. Quite frankly, I wish the guys would talk more about local Wisconsin things, or that Ben would speak more from his unique perspective as a top-tier electronics hacker and independent filmmaker, or that Jason would reveal more things that he believes or hasn't done. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed listening in on Ben and Jason's chats — especially when I disagree with them, as when they dismissed the unimpeachable greatness of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner — but I do admit to wearying of the open-ended TTWGBAC genre. So next week I'll change it up.

Vital stats:
Format: TTWGBAC
Running since: August 2006
Duration: ~1h5m
Frequency: semi-regular, every 1-2.5 weeks

[The best thing about being freelance Podthinker Colin Marshall isn't thinking about the podcasts, it's showing everyone online he did. Reach him colinjmarshall at gmail. Discuss Podthoughts here, or submit your podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

I've got great news for you!

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Andy Kindler and The Hold Steady are friends! I love them!

Above: Friendship. Below: Rocking Out.

Podcast: Ze Frank Live in New York City

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Show: 
Bullseye


Ze Frank is the creator and... host(?) of zefrank.com, a remarkable collection of toys, ideas and vlogs. His year-long video blog project, The Show, is widely considered the pinnacle of the form. In the show, he urged listeners to dress their vacuum cleaners in people clothes, to make a sandwich out of the earth by placing slices of bread at opposite sids of the globe, and much more.

All our videos for this show were shot by Benjamin Ahr Harrison, a New-York based videographer. You can find him online at badcharacter.com. Thanks, Ben! Our audio was captured by Jeff Solomon.

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Richie Cunning on The Drum

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Folks who listen to Jordan, Jesse Go! already know about Grad School Music superstar Ashkon and his international mega-hit Hot Tubbin'. But what about Richie Cunning?

Richie's a San Francisco native -- he was Richard when he was my classmate in high school -- and he's repping hard these days, with a new track called The City that shouts out the N Judah and whatnot.

But if you're wondering if this dude can really spit, check out these tracks recorded live on KPFA's legendary hip-hop radio show The Drum with Kevvy Kev. The Drum's in its THIRTIETH year of broadcasting hip-hop to the Yay Area late Friday nights. Richie destroys two freestyles here. It's really difficult to get closer to my heart than by alluding to both Common's first album and 1989 National League MVP Kevin Mitchell in one song.

"Lemme read off the trivia card / who the ill cat still rappin' gritty & hard? / Go 'head, take a min... give up? Here's a hint: Rich C, OG from the City of Fog / Dog, I was solo smashin back when Wild 104 was 107 / Back when Jerry and Joe were Bay Area legends / Back when left field wasn't Barry, it was Kevin"


Richie Cunning live on The Drum 1


Richie Cunning Live on The Drum 2

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Holiday Special

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Everyone loves Christmas. Except Oscar the Grouch. But everyone else. Davey Rothbart from Found magazine tells us about a very special holiday budget. Patton Oswalt reveals a demonic holiday memory. John Waters explains the contents of his Christmas album, and author Chris Moore talks about his book The Stupidest Angel.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Contest Winners!

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Hello people. So. We have chosen the three winners of the Morris Day VS. A Wild Animal contest. Here they are in no particular order. Thanks to all who entered!

Jenny Whiting: Just look at this image. I know hippos are vicious, but eating a U.F.O.? Damn, that's cold. You've got skills Jenny. Skills.

Chris Vendrick: Morris Day strangling and kicking a bear in the knee. Do you see fear on his face? I don't. If you like this illustration Chris has a blog. Nice work Chris.

Ian Thompson: It looks as though this lion has interrupted Morris Day walking like an Egyptian through the park. You know what you get for that Mr. Lion? A finger in the eye. Excellent MS paint skills Ian.

Thanks again everyone. You're a talented bunch.

Duck Amuck

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As MaxFunster PlumberDuck correctly identified in the "cartoons" thread, Duck Amuck is one of the greatest things ever in the history of anything.

"Thanks for the sour persimmons, cousin."

Podcast: Jay Smooth Live From New York

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Show: 
Bullseye

Jay Smooth is the host of WBAI's The Underground Railroad, a blogger at hiphopmusic.com and the creator of the video podcast The Ill Doctrine. I talked with him at The Sound of Young America Live!, part of Sketchfest NYC at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York.

All our videos for this show were shot by Benjamin Ahr Harrison, a New-York based videographer. You can find him online at badcharacter.com. Thanks, Ben! Our audio was captured by Jeff Solomon.

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Miranda July
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