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Stop Podcasting Yourself 145 - Abby Campbell

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Guests: 
Abby Campbell

The wonderful Abby Campbell returns for our Christmas episode to talk getting engaged, Dave's dreams, and Swiss cheese dishes. Then Emmett Hall and Chris Gauthier stop by to perform a Christmas pageant.

Download episode 145 here. (right-click)

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

Judge John Hodgman Ep. 8: To Tree or Not to Tree

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This week's case, To Tree or Not to Tree.

Jason and Brandi disagree: Jason believes that Christmas decorations should not be put up before Christmas Eve, keeping the spirit of Advent. Brandi argues that they should go up in the first week of December, so that the decorations may be enjoyed longer. Only one man can settle the dispute.

To listen to this week's Judge John Hodgman podcast, subscribe in iTunes or using this feed.


Download Directly (MP3)

Discuss the ruling on our forum here.

MaxFunCon 2010 Podcast: Marc Maron

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Marc Maron got personal during his standup at MaxFunCon 2010, and here's your chance to listen to it.

Be sure to visit www.maxfuncon.com to find out everything there is to know about MaxFunCon 2011, and subscribe to the MaxFunCon Podcast to hear exciting segments from last year's MaxFunCon as they become available. In the coming weeks we'll bring you segments with some MaxFun favorites, including John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton.

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 158: Prison Tatoos with Curtis Gwinn

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Guests: 
Curtis Gwinn

Curtis Gwinn joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about movies for children and adults of all ages, crazy interviews, and more.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Freakonomics Radio

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Vital stats:
Format: Freakonomic investigations
Duration: 5m-40m
Frequency: biweekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

It’s about time for a Freakonomics podcast, fans of the book might grumble. I won’t call the complaint invalid; Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s bestseller came out half a decade ago, and even then podcasting was a thing. A podcast feels like a natural outgrowth of the Freakonomics brand, which has already racked up years in, for example, the blogosphere. I read Freakonomics back when it hit (though I haven’t made it around to the sequel, Superfreakonomics) and found myself pretty damned entertained by journalist Dubner’s description of the economist Levitt’s investigations into human behavior in such exotic, data-rich settings as sumo tournaments, Israeli daycares, and crack dealers’ moms’ apartments. So why not try out Freakonomics Radio [RSS] [iTunes]?

I recall a bunch of the grumpier economics bloggers giving Freakonomics a hard time, even going so far as to accuse it of having nothing much to do with economics. Despite having cultivated an interest in the subject, I was never quite able to figure out whether that charge stuck. (I admit that Levitt’s title, “Rogue Economist”, may oversell his distance from the mainstream.) A similar backlash met Freakonomics Radio’s debut earlier this year, though it was less about the proper rigors of social science than the proper regularity of podcast production. To their credit, Levitt and Dubner took to the mics and addressed these issues in an episode [MP3], promising more and better.

They have indeed gone on to deliver some and good. With a huge-name, massively-downloaded podcast like this, I’ve been conditioned to expect a rigid regularity of format. There’s not a lot of that here; episodes vary between a few minutes of Levitt and Dubner talking about what’s to be learned by applying the Freakonomic method to the World Cup [MP3] and a big, rich, This American Life-type documentary thing on the similarities between the suckiness of public schools and the suckiness of commercial radio stations [MP3]. They even do two-parters, including a recent one on the challenges facing a saving-incentivizing type of bank account which works like a “no-lose lottery” [MP3] [MP3]. This sometimes elaborate sound richness (as they call it in public radio) surprised me at first, but then I found out that the show isn’t just any old podcast. It’s actually an agglomeration of Freakonomically literate audio entertainments, some of which air on “real” radio — shows like Marketplace — all co-produced with WNYC, the public radio station of choice for many a public radio geek. No surprise this all took so long to come around, then.

One of the complaints Steven and Stephen quoted asked for “more Levitt, less Dubner.” Some of the the aforementioned econ bloggers have said the same. I myself have never known quite how to feel about the journalist-presents-researcher format, tried and true on the bestseller list and ridden even harder in the popular economics book boom that was Freakonomics’ aftermath. Part of me wants more direct access to a mind like Levitt’s; part of me is happy not to have it. There was a particularly fascinating 19th-century sense in which Dubner presented Levitt as something of a freak show — as it were — who finds even freakier things under the socioeconomic logs he overturns himself. The book form worked well enough for this sort of thing, but what I’ve heard so far makes me think the podcast/radio form could work even better. It grants the right kind of directness: you get to hear from the actual economic actors involved in these situations, plus you get both Levitt and Dubner’s voices discretely. Dubner was servicable as Levitt’s P.T. Barnum, but he’s better as his interlocutor.

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

The Alumni Newsletter: December 17th, 2010

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Graham Clark Uses his Beard for Good

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Our buddy Graham Clark, from Stop Podcasting Yourself, has a tremendous selection of paintings he has masterfully created with his beard. They are currently being auctioned, and SEVERAL OF THE AUCTIONS END TODAY. All proceeds go towards his friend's cancer fight.

Check out and bid on Graham's beard paintings!

MaxFunCon 2010 Podcast: Al Madrigal

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Al Madrigal performed standup at MaxFunCon 2010, and here's your chance to check it out!

And be sure to visit www.maxfuncon.com to find up-to-the-minute information about MaxFunCon 2011 and subscribe to the MaxFunCon Podcast to hear exciting segments from last year's MaxFunCon as they become available. Next week, standup from Marc Maron.

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The Dream of the 90s is Alive in Portland

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I couldn't be more excited about Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen's sketch show Portlandia. This is the first sketch they've released: it's sort of a thesis statement. It's amazing.

"Portland is where young people go to retire."

"In Portland, you can like... go to a record store and sell your CDs."

Portlandia premiers January 21st at 10:30 on IFC.

(Full disclosure: I work part-time on an IFC show.)

Prince - If I Was Your Girlfriend

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This is my favorite Prince song, and I like a lot of Prince songs.

(via The Atlantic)

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