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Podcast: JJGo Ep. 67: A Donk Deferred


Jesse and Jordan discuss a disgusting donk ban, Jesse's bachelor party, getting back at the National Park Service, and much much more.

* How shall we make 30 days of hell for the National Park Service? Help us with ideas, protest sign designs, letters and so forth.
* Help Jordan figure out what to do in San Francisco for Jesse's bachelor party. Tell him on MySpace, or PM him on the message board.
* Vote in Sandwich Battle!


* 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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TSOYA: Kabluey Writer/Director/Star Scott Prendergast


Scott Prendergast trained as an improviser at The Groundlings in Los Angeles, but even during the two-year run of his solo improvisation show he had his eye on film. He wrote, directed and stars alongside Lisa Kudrow in the new feature Kabluey. His plays a young man who goes to stay with his sister-in-law in an attempt to help her keep her household together after his brother is shipped to Iraq. He gets a job as a costumed character named Kabluey, and learns quickly how easy it is to become invisible when you're wearing a three-foot-diameter blue foam head. The film is now playing in New York, and opening in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and Portland this summer.

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"The diction of the moderator should not sound like a 'valley girl.'"


From time to time, I get emails from radio listeners. Occasionally they're very, very negative. More frequently, they're complimentary. From time to time, they're critical, but thoughtful. A couple listeners have written to me about my manner of speach, and I thought I'd share one letter I got this morning, along with my response. I've left out the listener's last name in the interest of anonymity.

I’m a listener from New Jersey who catches you at least twice a month. I’m an old [63] fuddy duddy retired English and theater teacher who still enjoys new music and entertainment. What often bothers me and gets in the way of your programs is the language usage. For Blu to spout slang and “like” and “y’know” and other street language fillers is easy to forgive. He’s not a public speaker; and the poetry of his raps shows he can use the language. I’m not as forgiving of the documentary film producer/director/writer, but, again, he’s not in the busines of extemporaneous speech. However, my patience runs real thin when the interviewer/emcee uses the same diction as his subjects. Word choice and vocabulary should, of course, be appropriately casual and contemporary, but the diction of the moderator should not sound like a “valley girl.” You demean the generally high quality of your questions, analysis and guests.


Hi Guy --

Thanks for taking the time to write. It's always nice to hear from listeners, no matter what their age. You're hardly the only 60-something listening to the show -- I think the name throws people off :).

I'm surprised at your critique of my language usage. I don't know what qualifications to offer to counter it... I did get an 800 out of 800 on the verbal portion of my SATs back in high school, and I believe my mother is still tending a garden of medals from the Junior State of America and the Academic Decathalon. Perhaps those are more the qualifications of a nerd than anything else. I suppose my point is that I make my choices advisedly.

I think the difference is at least in part, generational. I might recommend Stanford linguist Geoff Nunberg's essay on the subject of "like," which is featured in one of his books (can't remember which one), and which he read on Fresh Air a few years ago. Geoff was a guest on The Sound of Young America four or five years
, and he was really wonderful.

Ultimately, I think my choices reflect the informal tone of the program. I could certainly be more formal -- I've had job interviews, too -- but the best answers come from guests who are comfortable speaking their minds, and I think an informal environment is more conducive to frankness. It's certainly more conducive to humor, which is typically the backbone of my show. That said -- I still don't think I sound like a Valley girl. I'm from San Francisco.

In any event, thank you for taking the time to write, and for your kind words about the content of the show. Thanks also for supporting WNYC. Without WNYC's brave support, I don't think I'd even be a professional broadcaster. WNYC produces some of the best shows in public radio, like On the Media and Radiolab, as well as some of the best local programming in the country, and I'm very proud to be a part
of it. You should be glad to support their wonderful efforts.


So... what do you think?

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Slate's Culture Gabfest"


I have a friend who believes there's no point in political discussion, because it's merely the playacting of fixed psychological biases. While I'm not quite to that point — I'm still pretty sure all political discussion is psychological playacting except mine — I find myself inching toward his position with each passing day, which is why I haven't made a habit of Slate's Political Gabfest. Fortunately for me, the web magazine of web magazines has started a sister podcast to that ultra-popular offering: the Culture Gabfest [iTunes link]. Sure, cultural discourse may be the circular, brain-dead expression of ossified unreason too — I should know, since I blog about it — but at least you don't have to hear about caucuses.

Mirroring its political relative, this gabfest has a panel chat about the implications of recent events and developments in culture from, as the description says, "highbrow to pop." The panel has varied a bit since the podcast's inception early in the year, but it now seems to have settled on erstwhile "Dilettante" (and my favorite member of the Slate Audio Book Club, about which more in a future column) Stephen Metcalf, film critic Dana Stevens and social (and fashion) commentator Julia Turner. For half an hour every two weeks, they trade opinions on what's goin' down in film, art, music, television, the news, mixed martial arts, and Miley Cyrus. They then cap it off with their "endorsements," recommendations from each panelist about what cultural artifact they're currently experiencing.

Penciling pros and cons onto the ledger, I find that I should by all rights dislike the Culture Gabfest. I prefer bold statements to hedged, mealy-mouthed equivocations, and boy, do these panelists ever make with the hedging; one iTunes reviewer comments that Stevens used the phrase "sort of" 36 times in the process of evaluating one film. This gives the listener next to nothing to latch on to, little to agree with, little to disagree with. I don't care if you're right or wrong, guys; just, please, make statements that can potentially be right or wrong, rather than ones nebulous and untestable against the cultural facts before us.

Discussing Barack Obama — arguably more a cultural phenom than a political one — the crew, who sound like they've thrown up in their mouths whenever a Republican is mentioned, wearily moan about how, sure, they would vote for a literate, thoughtful, candidate who admits to reading Philip Roth, but the flyover certainly wouldn't. Alas, even my iPod, a cutting-edge new model, doesn't come equipped with a "Shut. Up. Just. Shut. The. Hell. Up." button. (Disclosure: I'm from the coast too, though west rather than the east.) Also, this podcast provided my unwelcome introduction to the hideous term "booshie", as in, "to tend to one's booshie rooftop garden after reading the works of Michael Pollan."

The problem may be the lack of a deflater. As another iTunes reviewer put it, the show "needs a co-host with a functioning B.S. detector." That it does, and considering the deflationary role that Metcalf sometimes plays on the Audio Book Club — I clenched my fist victoriously when he stated, albeit in a roundabout way, that Eat, Pray, Love sucks — I'm surprised he can't bring himself to do the same here. One episode [MP3] begins with the question of whether that LeBron-James-and-Giselle-Bundchen Vogue cover was racist. The correct answer is "Who cares?" Without someone to straight-up declare that right away, the panelists only get halfway there, and they do it in a meandering fashion.

But I enjoy the Culture Gabfest nonetheless, especially when glimpses of what it might one day become shine through the haze. One example relevant to Max Funsters is their death-of-George-Carlin segment [MP3]. I'm pro-Carlin, but Metcalf admits to always having disliked him. Rather than simply attacking, though, he explains with clarity and intelligence why one might not like Carlin's stuff; he made me understand a perspective different from my own. In culture as in anything else, that's valuable. (Though, staying with that episode for a moment, Metcalf et al utterly failed to get across to me the appeal of Liz Phair.)

I've focused on negative points here only because, when they're corrected, this'll be one damn fine podcast. It's still early in the game, and, like any enterprise, it improves a little with each iteration. The idea at its core, articulate three-way conversation across the cultural spectrum, is a sound one, and I'm confident that, in time, it'll realize a good deal more of its potential. Until then, brace yourself for the occasional lapse into hand-wringing weenieism.

[Freelance podthinker Colin Marshall can be reached at his secret e-mail address, colinjmarshall at gmail. Discuss Podthoughts or suggest future ones on the forum here.]

Jesse on Weekend America


The kind folks from Weekend America were nice enough to invite me to appear on their popular radio program this week. It was interesting to be on a show where they actually edit things and make you sound better than you sounded in real life. Also, to be on a show that has a real radio studio. And producers. A receptionist, even. Basically, it was interesting to be on a real radio show.

Thanks Weekend America!

(This week Weekend America is hosted by MaxFunPal John Moe.)

It's time for a visit with Mr. Killer Mike

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Our man Killer Mike aka Killa Kill from the 'Ville has a new video, featuring Ice Cube, called Pressure. Powerful record -- there's a lot going on in the video, not entirely sure what they're shooting for with it. It certainly packs a lot of visceral punch.

Pledge Allegiance to the Grind Volume 2 is in stores Tuesday.

Below, see Mike destroy a freestyle on BET. Rare to see MCs truly freestyle on TV when they could just spit some writtens, but it's obvious that Mike is coming off the dome.

Jules Tygiel


My friend Jules Tygiel passed this week.

Jules was a cultural historian, focusing on California and baseball. He was my professor at San Francisco State University, and wrote one of my college recommendation letters. When I hastily applied to graduate school, he came through with a letter on short notice without even a hint of complaint. He was an inspirational teacher who shared his passion for both history and baseball unreservedly.

In addition to his research, Jules was a wonderful writer. I read his book "Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and his Legacy" before I'd ever met him. In my childhood and teenage years, I read literally hundreds of books about baseball, and "Baseball's Great Experiment" was one of the best. Then as now I was impressed at its combination of academic depth and lucid, exciting prose. It's certainly the best book about Robinson, and when I sold my baseball books a few years ago, it was one of the dozen or so that I kept -- my special favorites. I have often recommended it to friends, both fans and non-fans. In Jules' San Francisco Chronicle obituatary, I was moved to read that it was Rachel Robinson's favorite book about her late husband. I'm not surprised.

Jules was also a friend, particularly close with the Weinstein-Zitrin family, with whom I spent many hours as a young teenager. He and Richard Zitrin, my childhood friend Gabe's father, would engage in heated discussions of baseball subjects -- I remember Richard having particularly strong opinions on whether Jack Morris was overrated, though I can't remember which side he was on and which side Jules was on. Jules was the commissioner of the Pacific Ghost League, the first fantasy baseball league on the West Coast, which was founded in 1981. I'm sure all the owners of the PGL have Jules in their hearts today.

Jules struggled long and hard with cancer, and his illness in recent months was very severe. I will be thinking of him, and of his family. I hope they can find peace in his passing. I also want to thank Jules Tygiel for all he did for me. He will be missed.

Monsters of Podcasting: The Nightmare Continues


Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The Movies


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

In this classic episode we speak to the creator of Adult Swim's animated series "Home Movies" Brendan Small, and the directors of "Twin Falls Idaho" and authors of "The Declaration Of Independent Filmmaking" Mark and Michael Polish. Also Peter Molyneux creator of the groundbreaking games "Populous" and "Black and White" stops by to talk to us about his game "The Movies".

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

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Podcast: Blu of Blu & Exile


Blu is a Los Angeles-based MC, and half of the hip-hop group Blu & Exile. Last year they released their first album as a duo, the critically-acclaimed "Below the Heavens." Blu talks about his start as a battle MC in his Los Angeles high school, and about finding his voice as a profoundly personal rapper.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
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