November 8, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Mase is releasing a new album for the first time in nearly a decade, which means I might have to update my Twitter profile. This is a big deal for me, guys.

• I've been thinking about moving away from the suburbs and getting a new place in uptown or maybe downtown, but something tells me I wouldn't fit in at this apartment bro-plex (although obviously $2,800 per month for the penthouse is a steal).

• There's a "Ladies Night Out" promotion for Timberwolves games in which $18 gets you a game ticket, a glass of wine, and Season 1 of "Girls" on DVD. Seriously.

• Texans coach Gary Kubiak suffering a stroke on the field Sunday night got me thinking about the worst day of my life, which I wrote about in 2003 for a non-fiction literature class in college.

• I'm saving myself for divorce, personally.

Sarah Silverman and Todd Glass goofing around with Doug Benson on "Getting Doug With High" is one of my favorite things ever.

Zach Galifianakis got real skinny all of a sudden. Must be on that baseball blogger diet.

Usain Bolt revealed that he ate exclusively McDonald's while in Beijing for the Olympics and consumed approximately 1,000 chicken nuggets in 10 days. He won three gold medals.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode I told an incredibly embarrassing story about my weekend and then the show had the worst ending in the history of podcasts.

• I'm sure Ricky Rubio is perfectly capable of singing some fantastic Bill Withers covers, but until then Victor Oladipo is my new favorite basketball player:

Having talent must be really fun.

Mike Napoli celebrated the Red Sox's title in style, and that style was shirtless and drunk.

• Not ashamed to admit that I read this entire history of the Trapper Keeper.

• As far as mash-ups go, Lorde and The Spin Doctors are a surprisingly enjoyable combination.

• I'm not delusional enough to think the Twins might actually sign any of these guys, but I wrote about them anyway.

• Old friend Matthew LeCroy was named the Nationals' new bullpen coach at age 37.

Ben Revere's honeymoon in Philadelphia was a short one.

Jon Marthaler filed his final post for Twinkie Town, which kindly put together a comprehensive best-of collection that highlights just how much fun he's been to read over there since 2007. You can still listen to Marthaler every week in his role as ringmaster on "The Sportive" podcast.

• Speaking of Twinkie Town, they're looking to add some new writers to the staff.

• I'm sad about Rusty Quarters closing because it was a great place to re-live childhoods, but I'm especially worried what it will do to the psyche of Minnesota's favorite manchild, Dana Wessel.

• Blockbuster is closing 300 stores, putting an end to what was basically the center of my universe in Highland Park for a few years in the mid-90s. I want to rent "Kids" on VHS one last time.

• At long last, a useful PR e-mail pitch: "I look forward to us starting a long and exciting wine journey together."

• My future wife is so good that she can even make me like Elvis Presley:

 Possum Plows is dominating Link-O-Rama like few others in AG.com history.

• Tuesday afternoon First Avenue announced that Dave Chappelle is coming to town to do two shows Monday night and I felt so proud of myself for snagging tickets before they both sold out within an hour. I felt slightly less proud when First Avenue later added two shows Tuesday, two shows Wednesday, and two shows Thursday because of the tremendous demand. Either way, it should be great. Shows that start at 10:30 on Monday nights are where insomniacs shine.

• Speaking of stand-up comedy, in the first step toward my goal of creating a comedy club club I'm taking a big group of people to see Tom Segura tape his new television special Saturday at the Cowles Center. If that goes well, we might have some traction on the club idea.

• This is just a really cool thing to be known for.

• Obviously this kid read my interview about Twitter dating last week and took my advice to heart.

• My texting experience is very similar to Aziz Ansari's texting experience, sadly.

• On a related note, Ansari's new stand-up special "Buried Alive" was just released on Netlix and I liked it a lot after previously being ambivalent about him. Much more personal, interesting stuff.

Jen Kirkman's quarterly appearance on "The Crab Feast" with Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler is always a must-listen.

• I've long said that Chelsea Peretti is the best and here's compelling evidence to back that up.

• I just discovered the "Hip Hop BBQ" station on Pandora and it has changed my entire life.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Aaron Gleeman recipe"
- "Aaron Gleeman over-sharing"
- "Aaron Gleeman plaid shirts"
- "Aaron Gleeman dead"
- "How to prepare yourself to starve"
- "Is 36 pounds bad if you're a 2-year-old?"
- "Bed snacks for 11-year-olds"
- "Gang dressed in orange"
- "Great player cut by Twins"

• Finally, in honor of my recent interest in changing zip codes this week's AG.com-approved music video is Susan Tedeschi doing a live cover version of "Gonna Move" by Paul Pena:


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

October 18, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Check out the name of the law office in Thursday night's "Parks and Recreation" episode. And of course the show was created by former baseball blogger Ken Tremendous/Michael Schur.

Anthony Hopkins binge-watched "Breaking Bad" by finishing the entire series in two weeks and then sent a great midnight e-mail to Bryan Cranston praising his performance.

Ridiculous Indie Rock Band Photos is just a fantastic use of the internet.

• "Twin Cities ladies you've probably dated" is pretty clever and the nice thing is that a potential "Twin Cities guys you've probably dated" follow-up article can't include "Blogger" because none of us have ever had a date.

Randball's Stu's follow-up to last week's bloggers dating parody is also a strong one: "Terry Ryan complains to Rainbow Foods cashier again."

• I've watched every episode of "Bar Rescue" because the show is such a compelling train wreck, but it doesn't surprise me one bit that Jon Taffer's help doesn't always help.

• Two weeks ago our Francisco Liriano playoff game viewing party was initially going to be held at Mortimer's before switching to The Bulldog, which may have saved a few bloggers' lives.

• It's a fortunate break for me, but I'll never get over how amazing it is that half of the population is attracted to something that looks like this.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode might have been our quietest and most low-key yet, which was a nice change of pace from our usual shouting at each other in a loud bar.

• We're recording the next "Gleeman and The Geek" episode Saturday afternoon at the Nordeast Big River Brew Fest. Details here.

• I realize the internet is a big place and things can get lost in the cracks, but how does this only have 2,050 views?

Easier to believe: This video, shot one year ago yesterday, only has 1,400 views.

Rob Neyer is even better than me at my own tweets.

• I've never really wanted to be a musician until now, because Chinese food deserves better.

• Congratulations to Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders for losing a whole bunch of weight and writing about it. And unlike me, he had the nerve to do a shirtless before and after.

• On a related note, former Vikings center Matt Birk lost tons of weight and now he's modeling.

• Twitter settings now allow you to accept direct messages from anyone rather than only people you also follow. I've been giving it a try for most of this week as sort of an "I dunno, why not?" experiment and ... it hasn't been so bad. Might try it again sometime soon.

• Remember the time David Ortiz hit a home run with a broken wrist? Tom Kelly does.

• I've linked to Canadian comedian Christina Walkinshaw's entertaining Tinder date recaps here before, but now I'm regretting not thinking of making this offer first.

• It took getting pulled over a block after leaving my driveway at 8:15 a.m. and paying $105 for a supposed $25 ticket, but I've begrudgingly joined the other 94.8 percent of Minnesota.

• Remember last week when I fell in love with a singer from New Zealand who covered Whitney Houston? Well, she just put out another video covering Kermit The Frog.

• As a longtime lover of beer and a recent lover of Korean food, I fully support this project.

• Pretty sure I'm too old to know what trap music is, but I nostalgically liked this.

• To steal a line from my blog-mate Craig Calcaterra: Dalai Lama, big hitter.

• This was actually my original idea for a podcast, but in retrospect it's better for Doug Benson:

I suppose my actual podcast is sort of like the beer-drinking version of that anyway.

• One of my favorite comedians, Tom Segura, is taping his new television special in Minnesota next month and tickets are free. We should all sign up and go.

• I saw Gilbert Gottfried at New Hope Cinema Grill last Friday night. He was very funny/weird, and while a little unusual for a stand-up comedy venue New Hope Cinema Grill was actually pretty nice. Oh, and they serve 612 Brew too. I'll definitely be back.

• On a related note, I'm seriously thinking about starting a book club-type group, but for comedy shows. It's my favorite thing and Minnesota has enough good venues (Acme Comedy Company, New Hope Cinema Grill, Mall of America House of Comedy, Varsity Theater) that top-notch comics come here on a monthly basis. I'm not sure how exactly it would work, but if anyone has any good ideas or any venue owners want to get involved let me know.

• My little-known co-worker Joe Posnanski wrote about Carlos Beltran and Paul Newman.

Kenley Jansen was a catcher in the minors and hit .229/.310/.337, so it's not too late to get that girl from high school to go out with you.

• Also on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode David Brauer of MinnPost joined the very exclusive club of people who've appeared on the podcast more than once. Determining an actual "guest" can be tricky, but here's a possibly incomplete list of people who've spoken on microphone during more than one show:

- Parker Hageman
- Nick Nelson
- Seth Stohs
- David Brauer
- Jack Moore
- Ryan Donaldson
- Lindsay Guentzel
- Kate Butler
- Joe Nelson
- Kate Agnew
- Joe Busch

Anyone else I'm overlooking (besides Random Drunk Woman's numerous appearances)?

• Catching up on some iTunes podcast reviews.

• If you're interested in drugs, Judaism, and two funny, smart people talking about serious stuff definitely check out Marc Maron's chat with Natasha Lyonne. She'd want you to.

• I have a couple openings in my "Hardball Dynasty" league on WhatIfSports and the new season begins next week. If you're interested in joining, please read this first.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Patrick Reusse born"
- "Big Papi in Minnesota"
- "Nick Punto mistake"
- "Is Justin Verlander Jewish?"
- "Ron Gardenhire cute pics"
- "Vodka drinks"
- "Who is Meatsauce on KFAN?"
- "Too fat to fly?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Mary Jane" by Rick James:


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

November 2, 2012

A podcast-obsessed podcaster’s guide to podcasts

I've always loved talk radio. As a kid I stayed up late listening to nationally syndicated sports talk and as a teenager I was so obsessed with Howard Stern that I recorded his shows on cassette while at school, later paying a New Yorker to send me tapes when he went off the air locally. As an adult I've been lucky enough to do quite a bit of radio, including co-hosting a show on KFAN, but sitting in a studio with a mic in front of me never ceases being a thrill.

Podcasts have taken that to another level, as both a listener and a talker. I do a weekly podcast of my own with co-host John Bonnes called "Gleeman and The Geek" that's been an amazing experience for 65 episodes and averages 7,500-10,000 listeners per show. Podcasts also provide the daily soundtrack to my work life, as I subscribe to more than 40 of them and listen non-stop while writing about baseball for NBCSports.com.

All of which is a long way of saying that I listen to an absurd, perhaps even unhealthy number of podcasts on a regular basis and people who read this blog or follow me on Twitter know that I also talk about podcasts constantly, recommending good episodes and pointing out new shows I've discovered. With that in mind I thought it would be worthwhile to create a guide to my favorite podcasts, so I've highlighted 15 that are absolutely worth checking out.


"WTF With Marc Maron"

I'm not sure if "WTF" is the most downloaded podcast, but it's definitely among the leaders and can probably lay claim to being the most influential podcast. Marc Maron started the show in 2009 after being fired from radio and it has turned into a 300-plus episode collection of long-form, probing, occasionally confrontational interviews with the biggest names in comedy. And in the process Maron has found the following his emotional, honest stand-up comedy deserves.

In a relatively short time Maron has become so synonymous with interesting, revealing chats that he's constantly referenced on other podcasts and many comedians seem to view going on his show as a career achievement. If you have a favorite comedian and want to know their story or what they're like in real life, there's no better place than the "WTF" archives. And along the way Maron will probably become one of your favorite comedians too.


"The Best Show On WFMU"

Tom Scharpling predates podcasting by hosting his radio show on an independent New Jersey station since 2000, but like many listeners I know "The Best Show on WFMU" as a podcast. It's hard to explain Scharpling's brilliance because his weekly three-hour show is unlike any other. He interacts with callers, monologues about music and pop culture, has comedians and musicians as guests, and does lengthy sketches with an always in-character Jon Wurster.

Scharpling's tag line for the show is "three hours of mirth, music, and mayhem" and that's just about right. It took me a while to get into the show initially, because the world he's created is often so absurd and the lines separating people from characters isn't always so clear, but now it might be my favorite podcast. Wurster's characters are great, the callers are great, the guests are great, the music is great, and Scharpling is a spectacular puppet-master and comedic genius.


"Stop Podcasting Yourself"

Here's how good "Stop Podcasting Yourself" with Graham Clark and Dave Shumka is: I didn't discover it until March and yet have already plowed through their 240-episode archive. Friends and comedians from Vancouver who make for a perfect odd couple, Clark and Shumka come across as effortlessly hilarious and endearingly silly. And they do it largely without big-name guests, relying on friends from the Canadian comedy scene who're inevitably great.


"My Brother, My Brother, And Me"

My latest "consume their entire archive like a crazy person" discovery, "My Brother, My Brother, And Me" is an advice show hosted by brothers Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy, and Justin McElroy. They field questions from listeners, some serious and some not, and dispense mostly ridiculous and silly advice as a conduit for comedy. As you'd expect from three brothers their rapport is pretty amazing and few podcasts get me actually laughing out loud like MBMBAM.


"Doug Loves Movies"

One of the first podcasts I stumbled upon and still a weekly listen, Doug Benson brings on three guests each episode to chat (ostensibly about movies) and then play a name-that-movie contest called "The Leonard Maltin Game" in front of a live audience. I often enjoy the pre-game chatter more than the game itself, but Benson is always great and books tons of well known comedians, actors, and directors on what's basically the world's most laid back game show.


"Throwing Shade"

Erin Gibson was consistently one of my favorite guests on other people's podcasts, so I was thrilled when she started a podcast of her own called "Throwing Shade" about a year ago. Along with co-host Bryan Safi they discuss pop culture, politics, and their personal lives, going from farcical to serious and back again without missing a beat. My crush on Gibson has reached epic proportions at this point--she's a must-follow on Twitter--and Safi is a fantastic foil.


"Fan Graphs Audio"

Along with Bill Simmons' show "Fan Graphs Audio" is one of two sports podcasts to which I'm subscribed, although I listen solely for Carson Cistulli's weekly chat with Dayn Perry that has nothing to do with sports. I was once a guest on Cistulli's show and loved it, but my mom listened and offered this review: "I don't understand what's funny about it." That's probably the perfect tag line for the Cistulli-Perry chats and I find them to be more or less perfection.


"Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

"Stop Podcasting Yourself," "Throwing Shade," and "My Brother, My Brother, And Me" are all part of the Maximum Fun network run by Jesse Thorn, who hosts an interview show called "Bullseye" that can be heard on public radio. I discovered Thorn by way of "Jordan, Jesse, Go!," his other, far less formal podcast with co-host Jordan Morris. Thorn's radio polish and podcast goofiness is a wonderful mix, Morris is an excellent running mate, and their guests are top notch.


"Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast"

Bill Burr is an incredible, well-respected stand-up comedian and in addition to being really funny his podcast is also unique in that it's just him. He occasionally has guests, including his hilarious girlfriend, but 95 percent of the episodes are simply Burr talking/ranting for an hour. I realize that doesn't sound particularly appealing and in most cases it wouldn't be, but Burr makes it work and the more podcasts I listen to the more impressed I am by his ability to entertain solo.


"How Was Your Week"

I could not possibly be more charmed by a woman than I am by Julie Klausner. Her book was a great read, her tweets are 140-character gold, and "How Was Your Week" is a must-listen. She opens each episode with a monologue that somehow manages to seem off the cuff while being way too amusing to actually be improvised, and then welcomes one or two guests, often from totally different walks of life, for half-hour chats that would best be described as delightful.


"The Long Shot"

Sean Conroy is the capable, sarcastically funny host, Eddie Pepitone is the grizzled comedy veteran who's equal parts lovable and bitter, Amber Kenny is the fresh-faced, sharp-witted optimist, and Jamie Flam is the awkwardly amusing punching bag. Together they form an unlikely but incredibly likeable quartet, sharing tales of complaints and triumphs in the Los Angeles comedy world before welcoming a guest to what is, if nothing else, the most crowded podcast.


"Who Charted?"

"Who Charted?" is a rare podcast with a truly unique format, as co-hosts Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack use charts as a jumping off point for hour-long chats with guests. They often stray from the format, sometimes hilariously so, but the ability to come back to a discussion about the No. 1 song in the country or the week's highest-grossing movie keeps things rolling smoothly along with their great chemistry and playful humor. Oh, and Vilaysack is a Minnesotan.


"Totally Laime"

Hosted by Elizabeth Laime and her husband/sidekick "psychic" Andy Rosen, the mix of silliness, sweetness, and occasionally raunchy humor found in "Totally Laime" is hard to resist. Each show features a guest, usually a comedian or actor, but the hour-long episodes definitely seem more like chats among friends than traditional interviews. Laime is consistently funny and charming while encouraging the guests to go as far down the silliness path as they want.


"The Joe Rogan Experience"

Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian, actor, reality television host, and UFC analyst, but his best work might be as a podcaster. Multiple times per week he and sidekick/podcast network kingpin Brian Redban welcome a guest for the longest of long-form conversation, often lasting 2-3 hours. Rogan is never short on interesting stories or weird theories and seems to genuinely love digging deep with people, which makes for consistently entertaining episodes.


"Comedy Bang Bang"

Scott Aukerman is runs Earwolf, which is home to "Who Charted?" and "Totally Laime," among other podcasts. Before all that he hosted his own show, which features interviews with comedians, actors, and musicians mixed with crazy, improvised sketches in which characters interact with those same (real) guests. It's so good and so weird that it became a television show on IFC, but the "Comedy Bang Bang" podcast remains as fun as when I started listening a few years ago.


Just missed the cut: "Your Mom's House" - "Fitzdog Radio" - "The J.V. Club" - "The B.S. Report" - "You Had To Be There" - "The Todd Glass Show" - "Professor Blastoff" - "The Champs" - "Weird Adults" - "Nerdist" - "This Feels Terrible" - "You Made It Weird" - "Bullseye" - "Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend" - "The Adam Carolla Show" - "Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident" - "Making It With Riki Lindhome" - "Call Chelsea Peretti" - "Pop My Culture" - "Fixing Joe" - "You Know What Dude" - "Mental Illness Happy Hour" - "Sklarbro Country"

And if you haven't already, please check out my podcast: "Gleeman and The Geek"