Some Recently Discovered Podcasts: WTF and Mission Log

I guess I am getting bored with listening to the same music on my iPhone in the car every morning. It sounds a little ridiculous, particularly since I have a pretty huge library (460GB) in iTunes to choose from, but I guess I fell into a bit of a rut. I downloaded Apple’s recent Podcasts app and started poking around and found some good stuff. There is so much out there actually it is a bit overwhelming. Then, I got to thinking a bit about the word “podcast” and was struck – once again – by the profound influence of Apple on pop culture because the word “podcast” wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the iPod. Lastly, I sometimes get the impression that, like blogging, podcasting is a bit out of style. However, seeing the enormous amount of podcasts in the app make me feel a little less dated. Tonight, I’ll talk about two of the podcasts I found and what they led me to in turn.

WTF – this broadcast from comedian Marc Maron had three superb episodes that opened my mind far more than I expected. From the episode with Tenacious D, I learned of their new album and found Jack and Kyle to be funny and interesting people even when not being “Tenacious D” or just Jack Black”. Jack mentioned having worked on the movie Tropic Thunder with Robert Downey, Jr. I’ll come back to that tomorrow. I also listened to an extraordinary episode where Marc goes to Tennessee and interviews Jack White in his studio in Nashville. I am already a huge Jack White fan and now want to head to Nashville to check out Second Man one of these days. The interview was very informative and deepened my appreciation for Jack White. Lastly, I listened to a re-broadcast of the interview with Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad from just before the last episode of Season 4. Anyone reading this blog regularly knows how crazy I am about the show. Living over here in France, hardly anyone I know has even heard of it not to say interviews with Cranston are exceedingly rare over here. Suffice it to say that I was riveted to the podcast and found Bryan to be fascinating as a person. I learned about a movie he did last year called Drive that I’ll talk about tomorrow. Overall, Marc has a unique style of being at the time in-your-face (thus the title of the podcast) and apologetic (“I didn’t really mean to be an asshole”) and yet does a damn good job of research on his guests. Definitely worth the 90 minutes for the episodes I listened to. Great stuff.

Mission Log is a relatively new podcast that started back in August of this year. Its goal is to analyze every single episode of Star Trek ever produced – quite ambitious! The podcasts last about 45min to an hour each and are very entertaining. There are two hosts who give a play-by-play for each episode and then do some plot and character analysis before determining if the morals in the episode and/or the production values still hold up almost 50 years later. They have reviewed 8 episodes so far including the two pilots and the first broadcast episode. I hadn’t realized that Roddenberry actually was rejected the first time around with “The Cage” but got a second chance a year later with “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. The whole Star Trek universe is so coherent that it is a little spooky. But don’t worry, I am not going off the trekkie deep end: no pointy ears or red shirts in my closet. I do think that I will borrow the TOS from m.poulet (a real trekkie that one!) and watch these with relish.

So, I owe you a quick review tomorrow of Drive and Tropic Thunder. Just as an added insight into my self-medicated-cure-for-homesickness-via-TV-series obsession, here’s what I am watching now: Sons of Anarchy S05, Boardwalk Empire S03, Treme S03, and after tonight Homeland S02. So somewhere between California, New Jersey, New Orleans, and Washington, I am trying to stay up a little bit with American pop culture…until tomorrow!


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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