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Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 97: Thick Head of Wheat


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe believe that it never hurts to have too much wheat, even if it grows on your head.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 130 - LIVE, with John Keister

John Keister

Almost Live's John Keister joins us at Seattle's Bumbershoot festival and we talk bad tattoos and play a round of Graham's Dad Movie Reviews. (photo thanks to Sam Normington)

Download episode 130 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by: (click here for the full list of sponsors)

Elijah Wood Interview on The Sound of Young America

Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood emerged as a child star in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His first role was in a Paula Abdul video, directed by David Fincher, in 1989. Within a few years, he was a movie star, working in films like Radio Flyer and North. In his review of the 1994 film The War, Roger Ebert wrote that Wood was "the most talented actor in his age group, in Hollywood history."

Wood made the transition to adult acting gracefully - when he was 18, he packed up his bags and moved to New Zealand to star in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's also appeared in films like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Everything Is Illuminated and Sin City.

Wood is part of the ensemble cast of the new film The Romantics, which follows a group of young people from the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony of their close friend's wedding. The film will be released September 10th, 2010.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 144: War on Spiders with Sloane Crosley

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Sloane Crosley

Writer Sloane Crosley joins Jordan and Jesse to discuss the war on spiders, Travis Pastrana's inner turmoil, how kids draw the darndest racist caricatures, and more.

R. Kelly - When A Woman Loves

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Kells blows the house down on this joint. Looks like there's a new king of retro-soul.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Straight Dope


Vital stats:
Format: questions and answers about what the story is with various things
Duration: ~5m
Frequency: on average, weekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

Back in high school, I thought the archives of The Straight Dope were just about the coolest internet thing ever. Stored therein were answers to burning questions I didn’t even how I had: “Was the legendary liqueur absinthe hallucinogenic?” “What's equus eroticus all about?” “What's Kwanzaa?” Truly — and I say this as someone who writes a lot on the web — some of the most interesting reading on the web. (I also drew no small amount of enjoyment out of the site’s message board, until it started charging. I’m web 1.0 enough not to pay for a message board on principle.)

The Straight Dope actually has a long, storied history, especially by the standards of enterprises you can call “internet things.” It’s a question-and-answer column that’s run in the Chicago Reader and elsewhere for nearly 40 years. The answers ostensibly come from Cecil Adams, “world’s smartest human” — a shadowy, wisecracking figure whose existence has always been debated — and the questions from Cecil’s public, which he refers to as the “teeming millions.” Most of the millions’ inquiries take the “What’s the story with... ?”/”What’s the deal with... ?”/What gives with... ?” form, demanding explanations of often mundane but sometimes exotic phenomena that public education inexplicably fails to address.

Two qualities make The Straight Dope so compelling: the curiosity-satisfying, hey-I-always-wondered-about-that nature of the topics, and the Cecil Adams writing style. Adams (or whatever hive mind of scholars labors under the Adams banner) combines clarity, intelligence, jauntiness, and mild-to-strong disdain for the questioner, somehow winningly. Some might call it “snarky,” but I find it higher-class than that; Adams makes sport of his readers, sure, but he also takes their concerns seriously. For instance, here he is beginning to respond to a writer-in who wants to know why Shakespeare is better than Tom Clancy:
Shakespeare versus Tom Clancy, eh? I admire you, Mark. You're a bozo, but you're a bozo with brass. What's more, you raise a question that deserves an answer. Fact is, neglecting the handful of fey creatures who claim they grokked Shakespeare upon first hearing "to be or not to be," few people get him right out of the box. The obstacle is his lofty language, much of which can only be grasped with footnotes, and sometimes not then.
Here’s his opener to a column addressing a question about what kind of fart it would take a 180-pound man to achieve liftoff:
You realize, K., that this question is idiotic. However, that's never stopped us before, and there's no doubt that from a scientific perspective the subject has its points of interest. So I assigned the job to my assistant Una, a professional engineer, who quickly obtained the relevant thrust equations from NASA and got to work computing the necessary forces. While Una and I found the results enlightening, for you — assuming you're the 180-pound man here — it wasn't such a good day.
It came as no surprise when I found out The Straight Dope, like many originally text-based internet things, now has a podcast [RSS] [iTunes]. On purely formal grounds, I can’t in good conscience recommend it: it’s just some guy — not, needless to say, the mysterious Adams — reading Adams’ words out loud. (Given infinity more resources, though, I imagine it could make a killer Radio Lab-type audio spectacle.) But if you’re not much for the written word, by all means, don’t hesitate consume a column this delightful ear-style. You even still get “Slug” Signorino’s accompanying goofy illustrations — which, say what you will, I actually find really funny — albeit squished to the dimensions of your mobile audio device’s screen.

You will, however, have to deal with beer ads every five minutes. I think the genius of Cecil Adamsian prose, which I’ve long worshipped as an exemplar of high weekly-column style and which maybe works even better spoken than written, is worth it. But I’m still trying to find a way to expunge from my mind slogans about how it takes characters to brew beer with character. Beer. With character. It takes characters. To brew it. To brew a beer. A beer with character. Which takes characters.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to be the host and producer of public radio’s The Marketplace of Ideas, the blogger of The War on Mediocrity and the writer of The Ubuweb Experimental Video Project.]

Podcast: The College Years: Party Time!

Anne Libera

The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

Today's theme: Party Time!

In this episode, Jesse celebrates the legendary comedy institution, The Second City. With an alumni that includes some of the funniest people ever (e.g. Bill Murray, Bob Odenkirk, Amy Sedaris, etc.), The Second City has certainly contributed to the comedy landscape. Fortunately, this episode has a few recordings of their hilarious performances. Hear more vintage funny in The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater, a nice coffee table book that comes with two audio CDs.

Appropriately, Jesse also talks to Anne Libera, author of The Second City Almanac of Improvisation. Anne shares what distinguishes The Second City from other groups, what signs indicate a comedy star in the making, and the unique nature of improv performance. All that and more, in this episode of The College Years.

Fall Intern


Our summer intern Christian is headed back to grad school at the end of the month, and we're looking for a replacement. To intern at The Sound of Young America and Maximum Fun, you need a couple free weekdays a week (or equivalent in partial free weekdays), an interest in radio and independent media, an inquisitive mind and a reliable commitment. You also need to be in Los Angeles, for obvious reasons. Application details are here.

Big Boi f. Yelawolf - Ain't No DJ


Both Big Boi and Yelawolf (the white guy with the creepy haircut) just rip this track. Yelawolf has a big future. Andre 3000 on the beat.

Stop Podcasting Yourself Live at Bumbershoot

09/04/2010 - 13:15 - 14:15
Seattle, Washington
Venue Name: 
The Vera Project, Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival

Join Graham, Dave and special guests for a live episode of Stop Podcasting Yourself at the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival. More information on the Bumbershoot calendar here.

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