Podcast Episodes I Liked This Week: NPR One Edition

“There’s only so much truth you can keep in your bowl.” - Busdriver, Worlds to Run (feat. Milo and Anderson .Paak)

I consumed almost all my podcasts this week via NPR One (the app rather the website). I’ve been looking for a better podcast listening experience. I’m a relatively long-time user of Pocketcasts, and they do the best job of the different tools I’ve tried, but there were a few things that were frustrating to me, and it feels silly that there isn’t a purely lovely tool for listening considering how long this kind of audio storytelling has been around now.

NPR is heavily pushing the NPR One app, sort of. There’s been a lot of industry discussion about it. Also, in the corner of Twitter I play in:

The thing, though, that got me to download and sample the app was the opportunity to hear Pop Culture Happy Hour a day early if you’re listening via NPR One.

(if you care about the drama, Linda Holmes, host of PCHH, wrote quite a bit about it and her experience using the app for an extended period)

Then a funny thing happened, I enjoyed using the app. There are little things, like hearing radio news pieces mixed in with my podcasts which I don’t get in other experiences. There are big things, like the Explore section which is well curated and has some algorithmic logic that is getting good rather quickly at understanding what I like to listen to and suggesting them. And then astounding things, like suggesting podcasts from my local station that I didn’t even know existed.

So, here we go:

Pope Francis On Love, Marriage and Divorce, and the Art of the Car Chase

I talk about KCRW Press Play a lot. It’s my local news show. Madeleine Brand is my primary sherpa for figuring out what’s going on in Los Angeles and how we fit in the rest of the world. The April 8th, 2016 episode features seven minutes with Zoey Tur, the broadcast journalist that invented the car chase to talk about the particularly epic one we had this week.

Episode 63: Radio Free

There are sixty-three episodes of The Organist—a collaboration between KCRW and The Believer—and I had never heard of it before. How is this possible?! This episode is written by Buzzfeed Emerging Writers Fellow Niela Orr talking about LA Art-Rapper Busdriver’s new podcast and putting it in the context of the tradition of black activist radio. One of the best produced and best sounding podcasts I’ve heard in a long while.

The Years That Changed The Internet: 2010, 2005, 1999

I’m not sure I’m all in on Buzzfeed’s Internet Explorer.  It spends an awful lot of time in areas of the web I actively try to avoid and it’s hosts are engaging but not necessarily charming and, I like charm. This mini-series, though, does an excellent job of reminiscing about these individual years in surprising ways. They also pushed me to think about what I was doing on the internet (besides working) in those years.

In 2010, I was blogging much more frequently than I do now and IMing with my long-distance fiancé, Tiffany.

In 2005, I was a B or C grade blog star, editing LAist, and talking about identity blogging at SXSW.

In 1999, I ran an electronic pro-wrestling federation (hosted on Tripod) in which I would book and write shows and generate results using a text-based wrestling simulator that somebody far nerdier than I had created and shared for free online. As Katie Notopolous notes in the episode, wrestling was enormously popular at this time.

Race, class and why we don't always believe each other

We Live Here is a podcast from St. Louis Public Radio. NPR One threw this in the mix while I was listening this morning cleaning the kitchen. The question: why don’t we (the collective, societal, we) believe poor people and black people when they highlight systemic issues? The answer is well told, leads to more questions, and has me clamoring to hear everything else in this series. Also, there’s a good dig at Vox thrown in there off-handedly.

Solidarity And Revolt Aboard The Slave Ship Creole

I talked about Tripod last week. I’ll probably talk about them every week. This episode, though? I want it to be made into a movie. Also, if you ever want to understand how deep into slavery America was, consider that illegal/pirate slave traders from other countries would raise the US Flag in the 1800s to protect themselves from the British Navy who were aggressively seeking to end the trade after it was abolished in the early part of the 19th Century. It’s so deep. Plus, there's an Aaliyah song clip from her best album which is impossible to find on your favorite streaming services.

Jimmy Fallon Will Never Make Fun of You

I doubt I could listen to every episode of Alec Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing but Jimmy Fallon is such a good guest in this one—also an NPR One suggestion—that I will probably stick around for other episodes that the app recommends.

If you decide to try NPR One, let me know what you think. Also, how are you consuming podcasts beyond NPR One?

Podcast Episodes I Liked This Week: Racist Food Edition

The one thing I find I have trouble sharing to my circle these days are podcast episodes. Episodes are hard to share from within most apps. The context in which I am usually listening isn't conducive to sharing.

Hey! I have a woefully underutilized blog.

Here are some podcast episodes I rather enjoyed this week:

Is This Food Racist?

I haven't been listening to Dan Pashman's podcast as religiously as I had been. One of the last episodes I listened to sparked the current series that's being discussed on this episode of On The Media. It's a great convo but what I most like is that it validates my suspiciousness of Rick Bayless. It also got me to revisit The Sporkful.


I love bourbon. I love true crime. I love Phoebe Judge's voice. This episode of Criminal so relevant to my interests.

Crimble Bramble

Sampler Show is such a great concept: a podcast about podcasts. This edition examines a space of the podcast world I'm never in, comedy. More than that, I always enjoy hearing Reply All's Alex and PJ banter as friends and colleagues. I don't think I'll be trying any of the shows mentioned but I was entertained.

Small Batch: The Real Housewives of the Potomac

This is the one series of The Real Housewives Tiffany isn't watching (I don't think) but this brief Pop Culture Happy Hour conversation kinda makes me wanna binge watch some weekend soon. It also features Sampler Show's host Brittany Luse so, you know, synergy.

Sighting The Sites Of The New Orleans Slave Trade

I'm obsessed with Tripod. It is fascinating and infuriating and is the kind of history storytelling I wish we got in our education system. The reminder that one million people were bought and sold all over New Orleans—my second favorite city in the country—and that we rarely reckon or remind ourselves of this fact is the core of this episode. I will not forget the next time I walk by or into the Omni Hotel. And I just might sneak into the hotel pool. For the ancestors.

Your turn. What podcast episodes did you love this week?

Thank You

 "There's no righteousness in your darkest moment." — Sleater-Kinney, Sympathy

Thank you, 2015, for pushing me to go beyond what's comfortable. For giving Tiffany great work opportunities and a shake up to her routine (and mine). For London. For meaningful conversations with loved ones. For Dominique Toney on my tv. For Omaha. For 80 years of Pauline. For successful knee surgeries. For xoxo. For the creative work I was able to do around the GRAMMYs and elsewhere. For getting to highlight my mom in some of those ventures. For DC. For reconnections with old friends and acquaintances. For new friends. For Kendrick, Kamasi, and Kaiyote.  For the Force and Furiosa. And Creed. For Coates and Woodson and James and G. Willow. For being able to see myself and people who look like my friends in the pop culture narrative. For Hamilton. For biscuits. For basketball. For acknowledging the passage of time and being okay with who I am and who I'm not in this moment.

For friends. For family.

For Suzie.

For tomorrow and whatever may come.

A list of things I’m doing while my wife is away being awesome


 “I just can’t wait to get you home with me.” - Tuxedo, Get U Home

Tiffany is off to Washington DC for a few months doing good works. She’s been doing cool shit all year (ed. note: Have you bought CSS Master yet? Stop reading right now and improve your code life) but this is the first time she’s left for an extended period since our union.

It’s only been like three days but dang. The house is too quiet. Time has slowed down. And, I need projects.  


Kid President tweeted this just this morning, and I’m on board.

  • Say yes to invitations, requests for my company, requests for my service, and the like. When in doubt, Say Yes.

Things to which I have already said yes:

    21 Day Challenge

    I’m focusing on my fitness y’all. The eight or so people that actually watch my snaps with any regularity know I’ve been toying with a fitness challenge. I tried one at the beginning of October: a 30 day commitment that died on day 14 when my legs gave out. This month, I’m going to give it another go.

    • 21 Days of running or biking. At least 20 minutes. Preferably 30. No Days Off.

    I’ve also been wanting to try a meal service. I have proven over 40 years that I don’t really have the personal discipline to manage my own eating in a healthy manner and with Tiffany not here cooking regularly, the risk of lots of Chipotle and Popeye’s runs is high so…

    I just had some breakfast tacos. Not bad. Not bad at all.  

    2015-11-01 10.58.43.jpg

    Netflix and Clones

    Derrick peeped me to this chronological list for viewing the animated series Star Wars:The Clone Wars which I’ve watched in bits & pieces over the years but never consistently. It’s been much more enjoyable this way.

    I also plan to finish Narcos and finally watch Amazon’s Transparent and then get immersed in Marvel’s Jessica Jones which looks even better than Daredevil which I very much enjoyed  

    Tool Time

    There are projects around the house that need tending. I’m going to make a list of them and…probably send them to our landlord. I’m not Fix-It Felix. I may do some re-organizing, though. Sorry, Tiffany.

    Reading List

    Books and everything in my Pocket. I cleared so much out of my backlog yesterday afternoon. I felt smarter and unburdened.

    Currently Reading

    On Deck


    Oh, and writing right here on this blog. Ideally, every day.


    On Living Wisely: What are your Core Values?

    “From there I’d see all I wanted to see instead of all this misery.” - Ben Westbeech, Welcome

    What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life? How might I think about these ideas if the answers conflict with one another? - Richard J. Light, How to Live Wisely (New York Times)

    The Core Values Exercise. Pick five words that best describe your core values. How might you deal with a situation where your core values come into conflict with one another?

    This is interesting. The Times article doesn’t provide the full list of values from the class and there are a ton of crazy lists that go from twelve terms to over a hundred. In searching, though, I came across this post by Scott Jeffrey who suggests coming up with your own list so, away we go.

    After going through a bit of his process, I’ve come to this:

    • I want to be a good citizen of the world. Most essential to this are compassion and kindness.
    • I want to be a loving person. I show this through commitment and thoughtfulness and expect it in return.
    • I want to be thought of as, and surrounded by, smart. I most respect the clever and the creative.
    • I do not like feeling stagnant. Progress and change are my friends. Let’s keep it moving and let’s do it in style.

    Most often, my need for progress runs into conflict with thoughtfulness and compassion. Not everyone moves at the same speed as I do, and my natural sensibility is to go quickly towards changing what I see as a bad situation. That’s not always the most compassionate thing.

    Others may need to sit with something awhile. The situation might not be changeable. Change doesn’t always mean better. It’s not always my responsibility to Fix-It Felix.

    My heart knows this. My head doesn’t get the memo every time.

    And it’s actual conflict for me. Maybe my heart doesn’t know it. My chest swells with emotion for things I cannot change but for which my head has come up with solutions. I want things to be right. Or different. Or just in motion.

    Keep on movin’. Don’t stop. Like the hands of time.

    I know stuck exists, but I don’t believe in it.

    I hope that more often than not I let my heart lead with compassion and thoughtfulness—weird that I don’t place thought in my head, right?—and that my personal needs don’t get in the way of being a better citizen, friend, partner, fam.

    My regrets in life have come from the times I wasn’t kind, thoughtful, and selfless. I imagine that will still be true whenever I’m taking my last breaths. When I’m there, I hope you will just sit with me in that space for a moment instead of worrying about what we can change to make it better.

    I’d value that.