Each week I will publish the most Delicious Ingredients of my Audible Feast … the scrumptious, delectable, savory, rich, sweet, spicy, and best podcasts that have fed my ears this week. They’re listed in no particular order. You can see what I’ve been listening to here to see the competition these shows beat out to make the best of the week.
Armchair Activist, Episode 015: St. Paul Chief of Police Todd Axtell and John Thompson, founder of “Fight for Justice” (5/4/17): What it’s about: “St. Paul, MN Chief of Police Todd Axtell and John Thompson, the founder of “Fight For Justice” (www.FFJLLC.com) discuss police union contracts, activism, law enforcement training standards, mental health concerns in law enforcement and the community, and training around implicit bias and or other cognitive biases with regards to minority populations. ” Why it’s great: I am from St. Paul, so this is why I subscribe to this and Counter Stories, a somewhat similar show also based in the Twin Cities. The podcast With Friends Like These is having these types of discussions at a little higher altitude, but I actually appreciated this discussion at a very local level between a police chief and community activist. Police Chief Axtell started his job just before the Philando Castile shooting last summer (which happened with an officer from the St. Anthony PD, not St. Paul), and Thompson was a friend of Castile’s. Axtell and Thompson have a lot of common ground in what they want for their community, and I was impressed by Axtell’s humility and sincerity about filling his police force with officers who aren’t biased – it’s a lofty goal, but at least he gets it. I also loved the discussion around what “respect the police” means. (56 minutes)
Secrets, Crimes, and Audiotape: Sight Unseen – Part One (5/2/17): What it’s about: “Amanda Houston is a beautiful, popular High School student. An amateur surfing champion and model she has the world at her feet until she loses her sight in a tragic car accident. As she tries to cope with this drastic change in her life, she experiences unexpected psychic powers and a mysterious visitor comes to be her guide on the journey through her new world.” Why it’s great: I actually want to recommend this whole series so far – there are 6 episodes to date. It started as a miniseries of Secrets, Crimes, and Audiotapes, but has recently been spun off into its own show (which means it must be doing well!). I think the show might be geared to the generation younger than me, but I still like it anyway! It’s a fun, slightly sci-fi story that might be going in the superhero direction … (41 minutes) Twitter: @sightunseenshow
First Day Back, S2 Episode 5: The Doubters (5/9/17): What it’s about: “Six years after Gerry’s death, close friends from Lucie’s past make a startling accusation. How will Lucie cope?” Why it’s great: In Season 2, the show is being produced in collaboration with Stitcher – which means it has a lot of ads. It takes away from the previously excellent sound rich nature of FDB (in Season 1), and the main character of this season killed her husband, so she’s not particularly likeable. Much of the narrative has almost normalized what Lucie did to her husband, labeling it just an accident (though she was convicted of manslaughter). So it’s taken me a bit to get into the season. BUT – this week the show turned a corner for me because it finally addressed something I’d been wondering about: how does her husband’s family feel? And what does it mean to show remorse when you’ve killed someone? Host Tally Abecassis uses pace and timing very well – she’s not afraid of dead air, and it’s very effective in this series. (20 minutes)
Read my review of season 1 of First Day Back (4 Stars, October 2015)
Varmints!, Episode 33: Komodo Dragons (5/11/17): What it’s about: “Today’s icky ol’ Varmints! episode deals with icky (but fascinating!) Komodo dragons! This is an animal with an ick factor so high, we had to put a trigger warning at the top of the episode. So, if you are a person who has trouble with goo, gore, and general ookieness, maybe check in with our Otters episode and we’ll see you next time! For now, let’s learn about the Komodo dragon!” Why it’s great: Varmints! is so enjoyable – largely due to its hosts and particularly host Donna Hume’s laugh. This episode was extra awesome because we have a Komodo dragon here in the Houston Zoo, and there was another who died a couple years ago (his name was Smaug and he was really cool-looking), and I always thought they seemed like interesting animals. Well – apparently they’re not, hahahahaha! They are really gross, they pretty much only eat carrion (dead animals), and don’t do much. Sorry Komodo dragons. But there is a phenomenal song about Komodo dragons that you’ll just have to hear to believe. Can you picture being hired to sing a song about a Komodo dragon? (37 minutes)
Here Be Monsters, HBM078: Sagittarius Has $45 (5/10/17): What it’s about: “Sagittarius has been good for the last year. That’s what he told us. He told us that the cage that Luna designed for him is working. She controls his money, his businesses, can read his email, can see his bank accounts, and can track the location of his phone. He says that the next time he messes up, Luna will leave him, and take the kids with her. Avoiding this scenario makes the cage worth it.” Why it’s great: Here Be Monsters is so icky in a great and engaging way. What’s revealed almost immediately is that Sagittarius is a sex addict, and he came to HBM in part to help himself. The questions Jeff Emtman asks him about sex addiction and the impact it had on his family, in his quiet and calm, measured voice, are phenomenal. (27 minutes)
Read my review of Here Be Monsters (5 Stars, January 2016)
The Heart: Advance (5/10/17): What it’s about: “We meet Kaitlin in her youth as she learns to navigate her first sexual experiences along with the confusion of her desires. Kaitlin learns how to decline unwanted sexual advances and the difficulty of advocating for her needs. But what is she to do when her words are ignored and her agency is taken from her?” Why it’s great: Because I’d venture to guess at least 90% of women in relationships with men have faced unwanted sexual advances – even in a relationship. This is so relatable, and I love the fact that it’s Kaitlin Prest (the show’s producer and creator) herself recounting her earliest uncomfortabilities about sex. (16 minutes)
Read my review of The Heart (3 Stars, September 2015)
This is About, Episode 013: El Turista (5/10/17): What it’s about: “In Colombia, an Australian man hops into a taxi. When a police officer stops the car and comes to the window, Dave finds himself involved in a struggle that has paralysed Colombian society for decades. While the actions of violent men will change Dave’s life forever, two mothers living on opposite sides of the globe fight back to solve the mystery of his disappearance.” Why it’s great: It’s like Locked Up: Abroad, but locked up by guerillas in Colombia and living to tell about it. ZOMG. (33 minutes)
Anna Faris is Unqualified, Episode 72: Terry Crews (5/8/17): What it’s about: “Terry Crews (BROOKLYN NINE-NINE,WHITE CHICKS) joins Anna and Sim on Unqualified this week to talk about the politics of football, the power of pride, and the importance of honesty! After Terry tackles some deal-breakers, he challenges Anna to a round of “NFL player or Real Housewife.” They then call Jacqueline, who’s worried she slept with someone she’s interested in too quickly, and Alyssa, whose brother has become progressively more vocal about his controversial political views.” Why it’s great: I haven’t listened to Anna Faris is Unqualified in a very long time, but I got a new phone so all of my subscriptions actually auto-downloaded the most recent episode. I’m at least seeing episodes of shows I haven’t heard in forever, and when I saw the name Terry Crews it was a no-brainer to listen to it. He is obviously a very funny man, but I loved how he talked about his wife of 28 years (there’s a little tender Terry in there!). I also loved the unqualified advice, especially when Terry and Anna talked to a caller about whether she slept with a guy too soon. (84 minutes)
One final note … I can’t wait for the season finale of The Karen and Ellen Letters next week! I hope a few things will be revealed – it’s getting a little dark! If you haven’t listened, go back to the beginning and start with episode 1.
All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. What else was fantastic this week? Send me a note! firstname.lastname@example.org or @audible_feast on Twitter.
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