The Blog of Young America

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WHIT Power 102 FM - Elephant Larry

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This is undoubtedly the best radio-themed humor I've ever seen. God Bless Elephant Larry.

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "Twelve Byzantine Rulers"

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Editor's note: long-time listener and freelance journalist Ian Brill will be contributing a weekly podcast review to the blog called "Podthoughts." I've decided to institute this feature because I feel there's a great vacuum of useful information about podcasts, and a lot of folks who want to make informed choices about what they download. This week, Ian covered "Twelve Byzantine Rulers," a history podcast produced by Lars Brownworth of The Stony Brook School.

Lars Brownworth announces in the introduction to his podcast that he will explain the history of the Byzantine Empire by telling the stories of its rulers. He rejects the idea that history should be told from the point of view of the common man and instead focuses on individual achievements.

I was skeptical of this approach. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read my share of Howard Zinn, but I prefer when history is told with an eye towards to daily lives of average citizen. That way that we get the temperature of the times and understand what the mindset of the general populace was. Once we realize how a segment of people in time and space chose to see the world, what they believed was right and wrong, how they saw themselves on the world’s stage, then we get a good sense of why their leaders got away with what they did.

With roughly 1,000 years of history to deal with, I see why Brownsworth, a history professor at The Stony Brook School on Long Island, New York, decided to take a different tack. With the so much time to cover it’s important to have clear markers. Granted, one of the appeals of podcasts is that there are no limits on running time. As long as your voice doesn’t give out you can go on as long as you want for as many episodes as you want. But I presume Brownsworth wants his podcast to be accessible and to appeal to the bite size chunks of information podcast listeners are used to. Profiling 12 distinct rulers is a smart way to attack this subject matter.

Brownsworth presents these podcasts in the simplest way possible. He lectures into a microphone for 15 to 30 minutes, detailing the chronological events of these leaders’ lives.

Brownsworth comes across as the knowledgeable and patient history teacher he probably is at Stony Brook. He never reads too fast and his voice is always clear. It’s effective, if a bit dry. The introduction had some liveliness to it because there was some drama in the way Brownsworth described the different approaches to history. Of course there’s plenty of drama in the life of Constantine, to whom Brownsworth devotes two installments, but the academic approach, while informative, can be a bit austere for my taste. Granted I’m the type of student who never warmed to up to just sitting in a desk and hearing lectures. If you are you’ll probably have an easier time with “12 Byzantine Rulers” than I did.

There are still moments in the podcast that fully captured my attention. The profile of Basil II includes an incredible moment of mass eye gouging. Hearing such violence told in such a clam and assured way really jolts a listener. It was actually the end of those segments where Browsworth put this leader’s life into perspective that I was most interested in. It’s there that Brownsworth’s telling of history meets that populist approach I prefer. There the big themes of power or religion are contemplated and we can apply the lessons learned on this podcast to our own lives.

Happy Birthday, Prince!

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"Take Me With You" live at the Superdome, 1985

"Automatic" live in 1983

"Computer Blue" from the same show

"Girls & Boys"

Madhouse "10 & 13"

"Fury"

Vote on the new TSOYA T-Shirt design!

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Click here to visit the forum and vote on your favorite new TSOYA t-shirt design. Also -- please share with us your thoughts on glow in the dark shirts -- tacky or awesome?

Podcast: Greg Saunier of Deerhoof

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Show: 
Bullseye

Greg Saunier is the drummer of the rock band Deerhoof. Often called "experimental," the group combines a sweet pop sensibility with surprising left turns and complexities. They've toured with Radiohead, Wilco, The Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth, among others. Their new LP is "Friend Opportunity."

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Podcast: Comedy-Copia

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UGK f. Outkast - International Players Anthem

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Underground Kings! Outkast! Touchdown!

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse Go!: Ep 25: Listener Appreciation Week

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In this week's Jordan Jesse GO!, we show some love to the people of this great country.

Introduction
Jesse and Jordan are visiting a butcher shop. They run through a few personal questions from the forum.
Jim's Not Home
Some more personal questions, and a discussion of who Jim Real, The Master of Would You Rather's roommate was in college.
Montreal
We give a listener some important advice on moving to French Canada.

Simmering Tension

A listener touches a nerve -- and offers the possibility of real headphones for Jesse's little dog woofie.
Important Life Moments
A number of listeners call in with important moments in their lives.
LaBouf v. Boof

Listeners share their opinions on the continuing battle between Shia LaBouf and Boof Bonser. Then National Public Radio's Mike Pesca offers his analysis.

Outro

We kinda rap stuff up.

ACTION ITEMS

* Pitch us a project! Jesse and Jordan are clearly on the verge of breaking up, so pick one of us and offer us a new job.


LISTENER SONG

"Extreme Croquet" by CCCC featuring Wade Word

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

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UCSC Print Sale this Weekend

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One of my favorite annual events in Santa Cruz is the UCSC Print Sale, which is coming up this weekend. Whether you live in the Monterey bay area, the south bay, or San Francisco, it's worth a trip.

Once a year, the art department at UCSC throws open their doors to sell student art. Some of it isn't to my taste, but every time I go, I come home with a few beautiful pieces. There are prints on paper, prints on fabric, block prints, lithographs, t-shirts, cards and a million other things. And the most expensive pieces are only thirty or forty dollars.

From where I'm sitting now, I can see three pieces that I bought at the print sale, and there are a few more in my closet (on clothes, of course). It's a wonderful event, and not to be missed. I reccomend driving down from the Bay Area for a morning at the print sale and an afternoon at the boardwalk or out on the beach. You won't regret it.

Below is Hopeful by Kristal Passy; above is Epic by LeeAnn Jacobs.

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