The MaxFun Blog

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you and our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you. About

A note about conflict of interest...

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MetaFilter has been underwriting TSOYA and MaxFun lately (in part, anyway). I gave them a sweetheart deal because I love their site as much as they love TSOYA. It's totally non-exclusive, but you hear announcements in podcasts about it, and there's a link here on the blog.

I sometimes link to stuff from Metafilter and Ask Metafilter, especially in Blast Processing posts. I've done this since before they were sponsoring me, and will do so after (hopefully there's no after).

I realize this is a bit of a conflict of interest. Just know that they've never even asked me to link to them, the fact that I do has nothing to do with their sponsorship, etc. Honest. If this seems weird (or doesn't), let me know in the comments, because I don't want it to be.

Love,
Jesse

Ricky Gervais & Stephen Merchant's "The Golden Years"

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This is Merchant and Gervais' first TV project, "The Golden Years." Not the show with the bickering elderly women... a very clear precedent of The Office, in which Gervais plays a boorish businessman, desperate for reality show fame.

Charlie Brooker on The Wire

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Earlier this morning, BoingBoing linked to Charlie Brooker's "Screen Wipe." Brooker is a funny and vitriolic BBC4 reviewer, who by all accounts hates everything. Then MaxFunster Patrick emailed me Brookers' review of The Wire, which is funny and very accurate. It's above.

Charlie Brooker on The Wire

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Earlier this morning, BoingBoing linked to Charlie Brooker's "Screen Wipe." Brooker is a funny and vitriolic BBC4 reviewer, who by all accounts hates everything. Then MaxFunster Patrick emailed me Brookers' review of The Wire

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Ep. 26: Feast Of Patience

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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. Today, their humor is a cultural touchstone for artists as varied as Henry Rollins and The Upright Citizens Brigade.

These 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.

This week, Coyle and Sharpe treat us to a small rendition of the operetta 'Feast Of Patience'.

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If Queen Latifah comes out...

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...then I like her again.

PROVISIONALLY.

(This is based on NON-credible rumors.)

Podcast: JJGo Ep. 46: Halloween Spooktacular

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This week on the show Jordan and Jesse talk with Adam Kempenaar from the podcast Filmspotting and we hear about Jesse's new dog - basically there aren't a lot of scary things.

THIS WEEK'S ACTION ITEMS:
* What was your worst holiday ever and why? Tell us the story!
* It's the semi-final of the battle of the animals. It's Hippo vs. Bear!

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!
* Does It Hold Up? JJGo's new action item!! Tell us about the things you liked in your youth that are still entertaining in 2007! Call 206-984-4FUN!
* 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

RIP Pimp C

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RIP to Pimp C of UGK, the Underground Kings, who was found dead this morning in his Hollywood hotel room. One of the most influential and respected groups in the history of Southern hip-hop is no more.

Holiday Cheer

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Last night, my better half (she said I could call her that now that we're engaged) insisted I put on Christmas music. It worked out great. Are you in the holiday mood yet?

Here's a great way to do it...

Listen to The Sound of Young America Holiday Special!

Because of music rights issues (the Holiday Special is heavy on music), I can't podcast the show. Luckily... I've posted it on PRX.org, a really great distribution site for public radio producers.

The site works like this: producers sign up for accounts for a modest fee (this covers the site's costs). Members of the site (including producers, stations, and just plain folks who can sign up free) listen to pieces and review them. Stations license shows from the site, and play them on the radio. Producer gets paid, station gets content, system filters out the lousy stuff, everybody wins.

So, here's what you can do... sign up for a PRX account. You can do it for free, and it's very easy. Then, listen to the Holiday Special. Then review it. Then dick around the website, listening to all the awesome stuff for free. Try this hour-long Jonathan Katz special, for example.

Happy holidays! (And don't forget the holiday contest!)

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "The Bugle"

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During this WGA strike you’re probably jonesing for some of that Daily Show/Colbert Report goodness. Unfortunately Jon Stewart hasn’t started a podcast yet but for fans of The Daily Show’s British correspondent John Oliver you'll be happy to know he's still putting out great material available every week. He and his comedy partner Andy Zaltzman give us The Bugle – Audio Newspaper for a Visual World, from Times Online (iTunes Link).

The subtitle gives you an idea of what The Bugle is about. It’s not too different from The Daily Show, only from a British perspective (although Oliver does his contributions from New York). Each show has a main story that Oliver and Zaltzman attack with a real satirical bite, be it the unrest in Pakistan or OPEC summits. After that the smaller sections like sports and editorial are introduced. The show is committed to the idea of being an audio newspaper, starting off with sections that go straight into the bin (or "trash can" as we Americans would say). Zatlzman even has a crossword puzzle clue for each show. The very fact that he sticks with this, offering listeners a vague phrase every week followed by how many letters are in the answer and which direction it goes in, is very funny.

The Bugle has actually made me laugh more than any other podcast. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually had to hit pause on my iPod because I was laughing so hard and didn’t want miss what was next. I was floored, in a good way, to hear Oliver say “guns scare the British. The last time we were allowed to have guns we conquered 2/3rds of the world and induced slavery. Hand on heart, if given back guns I can’t say we wouldn’t try it again.” I was unfamiliar with Zaltzman before listening to The Bugle but I’m happy to report that he’s just as funny and quick as Oliver. “OPEC meetings are like buses. You wait forever for one and they’re useless without fuel,” might be favorite line of his.

If you’re worried about the show being too full of British and international references don’t let that stop you. There’s nothing here that a reasonably well informed American would be thrown off by. The show centered around immigration in Britain gave me some trouble (I had to look up whoever the Hell Enoch Powell was) but that was a rare occurrence. There are plenty of references to American politics and media. It’s funny to hear to British people take about baseball even if it is only because they love the name of St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. They occasionally have a segment entitled “Ask an American” where a New Jersey native answers listener questions in a hilariously arrogant way. Could that be the Trenton-raised Jon Stewart doing the voice?

Oliver and Zalztman prepare most of their pieces but are comfortable ad-libbing with each other, often making the other laugh and break their news presenter facade. When the show hits those notes it comes across as The Daily Show meets Never Not Funny, which is a bit like saying “that one awesome things meets that totally awesome other thing.”

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