the list I almost made

two eggs in a nice looking pink bowl

As I was driving back from Kate’s house after a three-day Thanksgiving trip (as opposed to a nine-day one which is my usual MO) I was thinking of a list I’d put here. Whether I’m online or off, I’m usually thinking of lists. To do lists, reading lists, library lists, “crap to fix in my house” lists. Errand lists are a particular favorite because it’s pretty simple to cross all the things off and then, woohoo, you’ve done something! Today I got fed up with my back hallway which was where I had the “Cables to be filed” basket which was turning into a shamehole. So, I turned on a podcast I was listening to and just started untangling, filing, tossing and recycling. By the end of it, I’d learned more about cryptocurrency MLM scams and also gotten the back hall deshameified.

Oh, that was my list! I used to listen to one podcast: No Such Thing As A Fish. The episodes come out weekly. This is usually enough when I’m not traveling much but with holidaytime imminent, I could use some more. Some that I have liked are:

  • 99% Invisible – I mostly like this but Roman Mars is always bringing other people on to do their podcasts and I don’t like them as much. This is good if I pick and choose.
  • Bear Brook Podcast – sort of a complete set of how a weird crime was solved, right next door (in New Hampshire). Loved it but it’s now over.
  • Before Your Time – great little podcast about Vermont history but it doesn’t come out that often.
  • MetaFilter podcast – I am both on this and listen to it

A few I haven’t liked are the Emily Post podcast Awesome Etiquette, Marc Maron’s WTF (I did, but now I don’t) and pretty much anything by VPR/NPR (they are fine, I don’t like their podcasts). I don’t like anything with sketches, dramatizations, or people doing bits. I don’t mind interviews but I especially like to learn something. I like esoteric and hidden histories. I’m fussy about sound quality since I am often listening in the car. I like people who do their own research and prefer “deep dives” to people skimming other people’s blog posts. I don’t mind ads. I do not like TED talks. I do not want to listen to men talk about technology.

A few friends have suggested Outside Online and Heavy Weight and I will try those. Do you have other suggestions for me?

What do you think?



  1. I absolutely love “Everything is Alive.” But I will confess it’s the only podcast I listen to. For some interesting non-podcasty listening look on YouTube for Glenn Gould’s radio trilogy for CBC called, I think, the Solitude Trilogy. It is three episodes of something he called “contrapuntal radio,” in which he takes interviews and ambient sounds and makes them fade in and out in fascinating ways! Not everyone’s cup of tea but I love listening to them while on a long walk (each is about an hour long).

  2. Looking through my podcast list, I think you might like:

    * Chapo Trap House – Come for the scathing and intelligent political commentary (with lots of swearing), stay for Amber Frost.

    * Strong Songs – A musician and writer takes a deep dive into why a given song is the way it is and what makes it good (or at least interesting).

    * Underunderstood – A journalist, a videographer, a producer, and a film-maker look into questions that don’t seem to have the best answers from dead websites to urban legends to the last porno screened in New Jersey.

    * You’re Wrong About – A journalist and an author talk about pop culture topics and other “well-known” events that aren’t as well-known as we think they are. From the OJ Simpson trial to Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. They’re not looking for conspiracies, they’re trying to point out that there’s more to the stories than most people think.

  3. Given your interest in hidden histories, you might like Twenty Thousand Hertz and also the Kitchen Sisters Present.

  4. Thank you all so much, I am excited to have more stuff to listen to.

  5. I recently listened to Moonrise by the Washington Post, which gave me a whole new perspective on the space race; one I somehow didn’t have after reading tons of book about the U.S. space program. It got into politics, science fiction writing, and what was happening behind the scenes in the Soviet program. I also really love Hurry Slowly (about slowing down in our age of anxiety and resisting the attention economy) and Going Through It (featuring successful women from all different fields who talk about a major turning/decision point in their life/career).

  6. “Story Collider” has scientists talking about their lives and the scientific work they do. It’s usually interesting and doesn’t sound scripted.

  7. The History Chicks (which I found out from MeFi a few years ago, and am *almost* caught up on their archives):

    Two women who host.
    Do their own research: check
    Deep dives: check
    There weren’t ads in the beginning but the later episodes do have ads.

    Not sure how good the sound quality needs to be; I’d start with later episodes (the hosts have admitted they were newbies when they first started, and they sometimes have re-released earlier episodes after cleaning up audio).

    One of the eps that still stand out for me is the one on Sojourner Truth (… it’s a long one at about 2 hours IIRC. (CW: racism, violence, abuse because of the times)

    I learned a lot and thanks to the ep I was able to comment on that MeFi thread a while back about how how her famous speech wasn’t even accurate because in reality her first language was Dutch.

  8. Re-reading my last comment in moderation, I hasten to clarify “famous speech wasn’t even accurate” … meaning that it wasn’t an accurate representation of her, since it was rewritten in a problematic way by a white abolitionist. Nothing against Sojourner Truth as a talented orator…

  9. Revisionist History – by Malcolm Gladwell
    Planet Money – not just about money
    Hidden Brain
    Freakonomics Radio – not just about economics
    50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

    I usually really like 99pi. If you like that, you’ll probably like the ones I’ve listed.

  10. Cory Doctorow’s ‘craphound’ podcast [] is often good, but I most-enjoy the serializations of his stories.

  11. I’m late to the party, but the “In Our Time” podcast sounds right up your alley. It’s a BBC show wherein Melvyn Bragg interviews a panel of experts/professors on a different topic every episode. There’s a huge back catalogue and it’s much more informative than No Such Thing As A Fish (though without the comedy).