Sunday, May 9, 2010

Manic Monday: Podcasts

I've decided to take a new direction with my blog and see how this works. Every day of the week will be a theme of some type, and I will try to write about a variety of things - all things that I am interested in or dealing with, and of course, scrapbook lay outs will be featured once a month or so. Mondays will be "Manic Mondays" which sort of gives me a chance to write about what ever keeps me from going insane. If I can't think of anything along the lines of preventing insanity to write about, then I may just tell you a few tidbits about the reality of my life.

In order to keep insanity at bay, I listen to my iPod Touch, particularly after "lights out" time. I discovered that listening to podcasts at that time of day helps to keep me from feeling that my brain is slowly leaking out of my ear while I wait for my children to fall asleep. ("Take your sweet time, kids. I'm listening to another episode of 'This American Life.'") Later in the evening when I go to bed, I can't turn on the lamp and read like a normal person would because it might disturb my precious kids who would wake up and start driving me bonkers again. Another important use for my iPod.

I'll introduce some of my favorite podcasts, and if you could add your own favorites in the comments, that would be so great. I always love hearing what others recommend.

First, if you are over 40, you might be wondering what a podcast is. (Hello, Mom.) Podcasts can be downloaded from the internet, mainly from iTunes, and are like radio programs. You can find podcasts that focus on pretty much any topic. There are also video podcasts which follow the same format. Podcasts are almost always free and are updated on a regular basis depending on who is putting them out.

Many podcasts are associated with a blog or web site, which means you can go directly there and enter your own comments about their shows.

Fun Ones
WTF with Marc Maron. This is a good example of a comedian's podcast where guest comedians are invited on to help him solve ridiculous philosophical issues that crop up in everyday life.

Newsy Ones
I don't personally listen to any of these currently, but there are ones made by CNN, BBC, ABC, NBC, etc. In fact, some of the morning shows do some segments specifically for their podcast audience. There are some podcasts that are more gossip oriented, so if you like celeb gossip, take a look.

Educational Ones
The Stuff You Missed in History Class
If you even mildly enjoyed History Class in high school, then this is a great way to find out even more about World History. This podcast comes from, which includes several other podcasts that center around science. I have learned surprising bits of information about everything from Michelangelo to Patty Hearst! Most of these podcasts are around 20 minutes long.

This American Life from NPR
Storytelling at its best. For me, it all started with David Sedaris, but this show is hosted by Ira Glass. He tells plenty of his own stories, but he also introduces guests storytellers who spin interesting tales about their childhood, friends and bizarre families. All stuff we can relate to on some level.

Anything Else from NPR - In iTunes, you can view all of the podcasts put out by NPR. Enjoy!

Environmental Ones
I sometimes get interested in green technology and green living, and podcasts centered around this theme are so easy to find. Just type "green enviroment" in the search box and you'll get plenty to choose from.

Specialty Hobby Ones
Paperclipping Roundtable - Currently ranked #4 in the arts and crafts category of podcasts, this one is hosted by Noell Hyman and produced by her husband Izzy. Both have their own web businesses, and her web site is called She puts out scrapbooking tutorial videos. For her weekly podcast, she invites 2 or 3 scrapbookers who work in the industry to join her and her husband as they discuss the week's topic. I am hooked on this one. Gee, I wonder why. The podcasts are funny, thought-provoking & lead to quite a discussion between the listeners on her site afterwards.

Spiritual Ones
Appleton (FVUUF) Unitarian
This is my sister's (and her family's) community to which I was introduced when Luka had his dedication ceremony there last fall. I began subscribing to their weekly podcasts around that time, and I have learned so much. They cover topics such as "domestic partnership", "parenting", "coming of age", "greek mythology", "taoism", etc. I have learned more than I can ever express from just a few months of listening. I wish I could be there to hear the real thing every week.


Helen said...

I'm (ahem) over 40, but I listen to podcasts quite a lot. I like the Canadian ones from CBC radio, and the ones I'd recommend are
Definitely Not the Opera

It's an eclectic look at people and interesting things. It isn't particularly Canadian.

A lot of people like the Vinyl Cafe Stories, but I usually don't have time to follow them as much.

Quirks and Quarks is a great science show, where the science is presented in layman's terms, and is really interesting, not like high school!

I also try and catch the news once in a while so I know what's going on "at home". Canadian news never makes it on the TV over here.

The CBC website is so you can check it out for yourself and see if there's anything you are interested in.

Hope this is of interest to you :-)

Mande said...

Awesome recommendations, Helen. I know from other Canadian friends that Canada has a whole slew of great podcasts, so I love hearing about people's favorites. I am definitely going to check out that Definitely Not the Opera one.