Delicious Ingredients: The Best Podcasts for February 4-10, 2017

Delicious Ingredients: The Best Podcasts for February 4-10, 2017

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. All episode descriptions and artwork come from the linked sites. (Note: I also try to track every episode I listen to here.)

Transistor: 700 Fathoms Under the Sea (2/7/17): What it’s about: “Something unusual happens about a half mile under the sea. Ocean physics create a special zone where sound travels for hundreds, even thousands of miles. Whales use it, and cold warriors plumbed its secrets.” Why it’s great: This story originally aired in 2014, and I’m so glad Transistor replayed it. In a short eight minute package, Transistor captivates with one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard–coupled with a fascinating story about why we are even able to hear this music. (8 minutes) Twitter: @TransistorShow

This American Life, Episode 609: It’s Working Out Very Nicely (2/3/17): What it’s about: “This week we document what happened when the President’s executive order went into effect temporarily banning travel from seven countries, and we talk about the way it was implemented. A major policy change thrown into the world like a fastball with no warning. It’s hard not to ask: “What just happened? What was that all about?”” Why it’s great: If it’s not evident, it’s not “working out very nicely” for legal immigrants to the U.S. Thousands of people–asylum seekers, refugees–who had already been through rigorous vetting may now have to start the entire process over, and in the meantime remain or return to a very dangerous environment. The best “act” of this TAL hour is the highly “blurred out” interview of an agent who interviews and vets refugees for entry into the U.S. Zoe Chace’s on-location investigation of the literal immediate aftermath of the immigration ban (she reports from JFK Airport) is also excellent. Required listening. (63 minutes) Twitter: @ThisAmerLife

The Allusionist, Episode 50: Under the Covers – Part 1 (2/8/17): What it’s about: “Escape into the loving embrace of a romance novel – although don’t think you’ll be able to escape gender politics while you’re in there. Bea and Leah Koch, proprietors of America’s sole romance-only bookstore The Ripped Bodice, consider the genre; and publisher Lisa Milton scrolls through the 109-year history of the imprint that epitomises romance novels, Mills & Boon.” Why it’s great: I still wish Helen Zaltzman was my personal friend (see my 2015 review of The Allusionist here where I fawn over her and the show equally), and this episode was a perfect illustration of why I feel that way. The Koch sisters give Zaltzman an education on dub-con in romance novels and with Milton she goes back many decades to understand the reason for some of the stereotypes of romance novels. This was like learning about a genre of fiction I probably should know about, with a close friend guiding me through it non-judgmentally. Thanks, Helen! (19 minutes) Twitter: @AllusionistShow

BBC Documentary: The Colony (2/7/17): What it’s about: “Just outside Lynchburg, Virginia, there is a sprawling mental institution on a hill with a sinister history. For decades, the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, (now called Central Virginia Training Center) participated in America’s forgotten eugenics program. In a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court case of Buck v Bell, eugenics became the law of the land, and set a legal precedent for sterilising anyone deemed “unfit”. Thus began one of the darkest chapters in American history; between 60,000 and 70,000 people were forcibly sterilised across the country.” Why it’s great:  Well, I get why this isn’t taught in high school history classes in public schools in America. Holy shit. I had no idea about the eugenics program in the United States, and how recently it was stopped. This is an eye-opening documentary that I’d love to see turned into a feature-length film. (27 minutes) Twitter: @bbcworldservice

Homemade Stories, Episode 91: Back to School (2/3/17): What it’s about: “I run into an old high school buddy who invites me to our old high school to speak to the young men of Ecorse Michigan. This is my first time back to Ecorse High School in many years. I was initially attracted to speaking in front of people at this school.” Why it’s great:  Shannon Cason is raw, open, and thoughtful. In this episode he reflects on how his acquaintances and even friends almost diss his full time profession of storytelling, and how he sees that pattern repeat even though it’s a dumb macho coverup for those folks’ own insecurity. One of the things that makes Cason a great storyteller is how he weaves feelings, observations, and cultural commentary into a fairly surface level story without making you feel manipulated. The messages are there, and they’re so connected to his own life experiences, but he’s extremely relatable. (26 minutes) Twitter: @hmmdstories

Millenial, Episode 35: Alas Para Volar (2/7/17): What it’s about: “Can a woman have it all?  It’s an age-old question. But in Cuba, a country caught between a machismo culture and some of the most progressive policies in the world, the answer isn’t easy.” Why it’s great:  Oh boy, this was fascinating for me. I think there are some generational differences of what feminism means, which makes sense, and I am in that forgotten generation between X and Millenial. So I listen to Millenial with a curious ear, to see where I fit in and where I don’t. (And to find out how my future bosses are thinking and growing up.) Throw something even more interesting into this mix–Cuba–and you have a complex story to try to explain. I don’t know that the episode answered the question I quoted above, whether a woman can have it all – in Cuba – but it sure did illustrate the machismo culture and possibility for success for women. The tape of Megan being catcalled and responding to it was fantastically uncomfortable. (23 minutes) Twitter: @Millennialpdcst

Detective, Episode 3-01: Blood (2/7/17): What it’s about: “Detective Rod Demery reveals the childhood trauma that led him to a lifelong obsession with seeking justice before coming face-to-face with the murderer who changed his life forever.” Why it’s great:  I’m excited this series is back for a third season. Granted, the podcast is only as good as the detective being profiled is able to narrate his own life experience in an engaging way. Investigation Discovery has done a good job of finding storytellers, and I’d like to see them profile a woman in the future. Detective Demery’s background is complicated and will be a great profile to listen to over several episodes. If you Google Demery you’ll find a few other stories not mentioned in the first episode, so I’m looking forward to how the show addresses them. (25 minutes) Twitter: @DiscoveryID

Sooo Many White Guys, Episode 14: Phoebe and Margaret Cho Hope They Die Alone (2/6/17): What it’s about: “The comedian and activist gets real about the end of menstruation, living in a world that’s sooo white, and Tilda Swinton. Plus, Ilana apologizes to Phoebe!” Why it’s great:  Pheebs is a little more serious this season and I like it. There’s still plenty of comedy in her interviews with phenomenal not white guys, but she’s going deep with her guests. Cho is a willing participant, and Robinson isn’t afraid to ask directly about what happened with Swinton and what Cho’s reaction was to it. They also discuss whether Cho wants to have sex and if so, with whom. (35 minutes) Twitter: @dopequeenpheebs

Only Human: The Woman Behind a Secret Grey’s Anatomy Experiment (2/7/17): What it’s about: “Jennifer Jako spent a lifetime trying to explain a single mistake she made. Ultimately, it took a secret experiment in one of America’s favorite TV shows to correct the record.” Why it’s great:  This is the kind of episode Only Human started out with last year when the show began – a story about health from a regular person, and how their life was different because of a health issue. Only Human has strayed a bit over time from its initial format and I like that it’s coming back to home base. I didn’t know anything about the woman profiled, but the story is an eye opening examination of the way we stigmatize certain health issues when they’re based on very little evidence, and how we can be easily swayed to a new position because of something that happens on a TV show. (33 minutes) Twitter: @onlyhuman

Song Exploder: Dropkick Murphys – Blood (2/7/17): What it’s about: Dropkick Murphys formed in Massachusetts in 1996. For over twenty years, they’ve made music that’s reflected the culture and community they’ve come from, including their platinum single “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.” In January 2017, they released their ninth album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory, which includes the song “Blood.” In this episode, guitarist Tim Brennan breaks down how the music for “Blood” was made, and the band founder Ken Casey explains the inspiration behind the lyrics.” Why it’s great:  Hrishikesh Hirway continues to book fabulous guests for Song Exploder – people who are so passionate about creating that perfect sound for their song or their band. Dropkick Murphys are an awesome guest for this show because they have unique elements in their music – just let Tim Brennan paint the picture for you of a whole bunch of Boston guys inviting their friends to yell choruses for a Dropkick Murphys song – it’s great. (18 minutes) Twitter: @songexploder

What else was fantastic this week? Send me a note! or @audible_feast on Twitter
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