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My Brother, My Brother and Me 116: Ritter Rider


Griffin has returned from beautiful Germany and his once luminescent innocence has been replaced by a gnarled core of schnitzel. This week, watch as older brothers Justin and Travis attempt to delve into his psyche and wrest the last spark of humanity buried beneath the thick chitin of jet lag that surrounds his heart. Also: Fart jokes.

Suggested talking points: Sticky 'Bo, The Familiar Stranger, Sap Caps, Fur Kids, The Wiffenpoofs, Ritter Rider, Zynga's Latest Hit, "we were very clinical about it."

Stop Podcasting Yourself 231 - Taz VanRassel

Taz VanRassel

Taz VanRassel returns to talk about beef tongue, fake waiting, cobblers, and soccer. Ugh, are you even reading this?

Download episode 231 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by:

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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Excess Baggage


Vital stats:
Format: talk with travelers, and talk while traveling
Episode duration: ~28m
Frequency: not a going concern, but 85 episodes exist

Cultural England seems to have always loved a traveler. Perhaps this affinity lingers from the days of Empire, or maybe an island people instinctively understand wanderlust. Just behold the gallery of luminaries that is Wikipedia’s English travel writers page. If its seemingly broad definition of “travel writer” bothers you, any designation that encompasses the likes of Geoff Dyer, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Pico Iyer, Michael Palin, and Evelyn Waugh can’t go far wrong. None of them seem freighted with the same burdens which Sisyphize many of the unfortunates we regard as travel writers in America, haphazardly collecting a third of the information they need in half the time they need so as to make the word count for an “If You Go...” box. Something tells me Colin Thubron never put up with that.

A traveler like Thubron, of course, deals with challenges all his own, and you can hear about them on BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage [RSS] [iTunes]. He shows up to discuss his journey up a Tibetan mountain so sacred that the truly faithful can never ascend; they just sort of go around and around the base. [MP3] Such a story could almost have come ripped from the diary of any of the Empire’s finest, but Excess Baggage as a whole attempts to cover a width of the traveling spectrum between these forcefully soul-searching Thubronic adventures to, say, the lure of moonlight [MP3], or knitting in Iceland [MP3].

That’s the traveling spectrum, mind you, as opposed to the tourism spectrum. And yes, rarely has a jerkier-sounding sentence appeared onscreen, but this gets into a genuinely substantial philosophical, or at least terminological, question. What counts as tourism, and what counts as travel? Does there come a point when the farrago of simulacra that is tourism ends and the genuinely experiential travel begins, or do the two occupy entirely separate psychological spaces? I feel as if every trip I’ve heard the hosts and guests of Excess Baggage discuss counts as proper travel: writing thriller novels about the Philippines after visiting the country [MP3], digging through Europe to expose your own grandfather’s Nazi past [MP3], running tours of North Korea [MP3]. Even a two-part [MP3] [MP3] guided exploration through Istanbul struck me as safely out of the utilitarian, two-weeks-of-time-off touristic zone — even as I listened to it, in a somewhat utilitiarian fasion, as preparation for a possible couple of weeks there myself.

So perhaps the difference between travel and tourism actually comes to nothing, and the BBC accents on a show like this simply cut straight to the supplicating colonial at my core? But given the extent to which we tend to view standard tourism — scrape together accrued vacation days, flip through a phrase book on the flght, eat a crêpe, take pictures of your partially focused self standing before similarly focused monuments, maybe ride a boat — the smoke must lead to some kind of fire. I think back to an old David Sedaris piece remembering a childhood neighbor recently returned from a midcentury middle-class European tour: “‘It changes people!’ our neighbor had said. Following a visit to Saint-Tropez, she had marked her garden with a series of tissue-sized international flags. A once discreet and modest woman, she now paraded about her yard wearing nothing but clogs and a flame-stitched bikini.”

But does tourism change people? I’ve begun to suspect that change is exactly what tourism doesn’t effect — rarely a change more substantive, in any case, than tissue flags and flame-stitched bikinis. We might thus define travel as acts of self-displacement that do, by whatever means, change people. In this we have at least one sound reason to call Excess Baggage a travel program, though I should make it clear that it isn’t a currently running program. Though it boasts an easily accessible archive of 85 episodes, the show ended its run in April of this year. It did so with a special broadcast on “the point and pleasure of travel” [MP3], which addresses all these issues and more. So you might consider listening to that one first, not last.

Comment or suggest a podcast on the Podthoughts forum thread

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes]. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 237: Oosh Bang Tidy


Jordan and Jesse sit down to discuss subcontinental prostitutes, Turkish Delights, Paris is Burning and their trip to the Olympics in London.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 71: Probable Cos-Play

Monte Belmonte

Donald, his wife Jessie, and their son plan to attend a Star Wars fan convention that will comprise their family vacation this year. Donald and their son have been planning and executing costumes to wear for the event. Jessie says she shouldn't have to wear a costume, since she's not a big fan herself and she agreed to let the convention double as their family vacation in the first place. Will Jessie have more fun in costume? Or should she be allowed to opt out?


Throwing Shade #41 - Fifty Shades of Gay, Louisiana Teen Moms, Summer Heat

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This week Bryan and Erin sweat thru their shirts to bring you this podcast about openly gay Matt Bomer as Christian Grey, Louisiana's Delhi school's ridiculous teen pregnancy rules and the longest, most indepth "Would You Rather" that's ever been attempted. All I wanna do is zooma zoom zoom and a boom boom. Shake your rump. 
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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bob Newhart, Mister Rogers and Me, God on Sports

Bob Newhart
Christofer Wagner
Benjamin Wagner
Seth Morris
Jason Kottke

Jason Kottke Shares the Best of the Web

Jason Kottke blogs at and every once in awhile he shows up on Bullseye to tell us about the best stuff on the web. This week Kottke points us toward some of his all-time favorites: The Wire Bible and Survival Tips for the Middle Ages.

(Embed or share Jason Kottke's web picks)

Bob Newhart on Swapping Accounting for Comedy, The Phone Bit and More

Bob Newhart is an actor, stand-up and legend of American comedy. A pioneer comedian in every sense, Bob began his comedy career when he and a friend improvised over-the-phone comedy routines to kill boredom at work, and subsequently sold the bits to radio stations. The "phone sketch" would be a schtick that would last throughout Newhart's career, and featured quite prominently in the release of his 1960 comedy album debut Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The album was an unprecedented hit as a comedy recording, outselling Elvis Presley and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Its success eventually led Newhart to television, first with a variety sketch show in the early '60s, and then a pair of sitcoms: The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s, and Newhart in the early '80s.

Bob joins us to reflect on his comedy career, from how he honed his craft as a solo straightman -- leaving the wild responses on the other end of his phone conversations entirely in the minds of the audience -- to what keeps him going today when he's accomplished so much as a performer. Newhart still performs dozens of nights a year as a stand-up, while acting in both film and television. You can find him at This interview originally aired April 3, 2012.

(Embed or share this interview with Bob Newhart)

God Gets Real on Sports

Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He even care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself. The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.

David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian and Funny or Die writer Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter @SethISMorris. This segment originally aired April 3, 2012.

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The Lasting Legacy of Mr. Rogers

Christofer and Benjamin Wagner are brothers and the co-directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me, about children's television personality Fred Rogers, and the effect he had on the lives of generations of kids. For Ben -- who moonlights as a documentarian between his day-job as an executive with MTV News -- it was a project that began more than ten years ago, when he discovered Mister Rogers really was his neighbor, living next door to him at a vacation home in Nantucket, MA. Rogers' heartfelt sincerity, and his ability to truly live in the moment, compelled Ben to learn more about the man and about the countless lives he'd forever changed.

The Wagner Brothers sit down with Jesse to discuss the film, the overwhelming experience of meeting Mr. Rogers in person, and the way he helped so many grow up in ways they might not even have noticed. Mister Rogers & Me is available now on DVD. This interview originally aired April 3, 2012.

(For an EXTENDED version of this interview with Benjamin and Christofer Wagner or to share with friends, click here!)

The Outshot: Taika Waititi's Boy

On The Outshot this week, Jesse looks back on the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and finds his favorite film of the fest is only now getting the theatrical release it so richly deserves. The film is Boy, from Māori writer/director/star Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a young Māori boy named, well... Boy. Boy is given the chance to reconnect with his deadbeat father (Waititi) after years apart, as Dad's been away in jail. You can see and hear our interview with Taika Waititi and James Rolleston here.

It's a story bursting with youthful optimism, while the darkness of adulthood creeps in around the edges. It's screening this summer in theaters around the country. This segment originally aired April 3, 2012.

Got a little-known film of your own you want to spread the word about? Head on over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.

(Embed or share this Outshot on "Boy")

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Stop Podcasting Yourself 230


In this guestless episode we talk about pie, Graham's trip to London, and it's Hulk Hogan's birthday!

Download episode 230 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by:

(click here for the full recap)

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 236: Live in London with Graham Linehan

Graham Linehan

Recorded live at the Leicester Square Theatre in London, Jordan and Jesse are joined by special guest Graham Linehan.

My Brother, My Brother and Me 115: Womenade

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Hello, oldest brother Justin McElroy here. I've taken over posting duties from Griffin this week, but I don't really know the things he normally writes. Does he just try to get you excited about it? Cause man, this episode ... it's got, you know, jokes. Jokes for miles. Oh man, the goof to not goof ratio, she's just dizzying.

Suggested talking points: Oh shit, what goes here? Like, the things we talked about? Umm, there was the thing about John Candy and the Jamaican Running Team, Griffin said "straight up Christmas crazy" and then we did the Womenade thing that I mentioned before and ... I don't know, it had lots of jokes.

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