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Podcast Recommendations Vol. I

Tired of listening to music on your commute, run, or at work? Here are some podcasts recommendations that might help you out!

Okay, so it’s time for me to make a confession. I am a podcast junkie. I often have a 45 minute to 1 hour commute between work and my university, and I quickly got tired to listening to the same songs on my playlists over and over again. Podcasts are a great way to pass the time. If you get wrapped up in a story, time seems to pass much more quickly in bumper-to-bumper traffic. So, I thought I would share with you the podcasts that are on my radar right now (because I really, really LOVE PODCASTS – it’s like reading a book with YOUR EARS!!!). So, without further ado, here is my countdown of the best podcast recommendations I have for you right now (I’m sure there will be a Volume II in the future).

 Enjoy!

Honorable Mentions

Can He Do That?

“Can He Do That?” is a podcast created and managed by the Washington post and hosted each week by Allison Michaels and other rotating Post reporters. From the title, you might be able to guess the content of this podcast… that’s right, it examines the legality and precedent of many of President Trump’s claims and actions to see if he actually can do that (yeah, that thing and that other thing…). A few of the topics covered include: opting out of ceremonial duties, starting a nuclear war, termination of an FBI director, revealing classified information, and much, much more.

If this sounds like something that interests you, you can find the archive of episodes here, or on pretty much any platform/app that streams podcasts (I tend to use the Podcast Republic app).

Sincerely, X

“Sincerely, X” is a TED and Audible collaborative project that is relatively new. Basically, this is a platform for people to tell their stories anonymously. There are many reasons why the speakers wish to remain anonymous – some are activists, criminals, or victims. Their stories might be humiliating, or violent, or taboo, but they are able to find comfort in speaking aloud and safety in not having to reveal their identity. To give you an idea of the content, here are two of the episodes to which I have listened: “Pepper Spray” (about a public breakdown involving pepper spray that was brought about by anxiety) and “Sad in Silicon Valley” (the story of what happens when you get everything you wanted, but still aren’t happy). It is difficult to just stick to describing content because so much of what makes this a successful podcast, at least to me, is the raw emotion behind the words.

Archive of episodes here.

Deadly Manners

This podcast is really recent (at the time I am writing this, obviously), and released its first episode on September 29, 2017. I think to best set the scene, I will refer to an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly about the podcast:

“It was a dark and stormy night in the winter of 1954 and the Billings family was throwing a dinner party when a murderer strikes — and all the guests are trapped inside.

That’s the premise of Deadly Manners, a new 10-episode podcast in the style of a classic radio drama from Alex Aldea and Ali Garfinkel of the podcast production company The Paragon Collective.”

The podcast strikes me as very similar to the movie Clue (did you know there was a movie about the board game?!). This podcast has a stellar cast, including Kristen Bell, RuPaul, and LeVar Burton. Since this has a progressive storyline, this is one of those podcasts whose episodes need to be listened to in order, unlike the previous two podcasts. So sit back, light a candle, grab a glass of wine, and go on a journey to see if you can solve some murders.

Archives of episodes here.

Here Be Monsters

Like the image above says, “Here Be Monsters” is a podcast about the unknown. And I honestly think this is the best way to describe it because the episode topics are so diverse. It is hosted mainly by Jeff Emtman (a guy who had a fear of strangers and faced it by hitchhiking across the country), but sometimes other contributors also host.

This excerpt from The Guardian explains the podcast well:

“The point of the podcast is not to frighten people, though, but to help people work through their fears and come out emboldened on the other side. “What I do – and encourage the people who produce for the show to do – is take our fears and those moments of discomfort and pursue them,” explained Emtman. “You poke around until you feel repulsion and then break it down into its constituent parts and chase each of those. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve found that the fears are relatively unfounded.”

With that road map, anything can inspire an episode, even an over-sharing Facebook post with a woman holding up a placenta. “I was really repulsed by this photo,” he said. “So I just sat on it for awhile and tried to figure out why it bothered me.” As Emtman followed the trail of his own horror, he ended up in touch with a doula, who assists women in childbirth, and helped him confront his repulsion and come out with a better understanding of the human body.”

Just to give you an idea of the variety of episodes available to you, here are some of the topics: placentophagyjuggalostherapy on psychotropic drugscircumsiona clever horse named Hans, and memories of the birth canal.

You do not need to listen to these in order. Feel free to scroll threw the archive and listen to those that catch your eye. There are plenty to choose from, as there are currently 6 seasons of the show.

Archive of episodes here.

My Top 5 Podcast Recommendations (Right Now, At Least!)

Now, we can move on from the honorable mentions to my top five podcast recommendations, as of right now! As I listen to finales or lose interest with the content, I’m sure these will change over time – that’s when Volume II will debut!

5. Hello from the Magic Tavern
Podcast Recommendation: Hello From the Magic Tavern
Source: New York Observer

I think I’ll introduce this one with an excerpt from the Hello from the Magic Tavern website itself:

“Hello! I’m Arnie. I fell through a magical dimensional portal behind a Burger King in Chicago and found myself in a strange magical land called “Foon.” I’m still somehow getting a weak wi-fi signal from the Burger King so I host a weekly podcast from the tavern the Vermilion Minotaur, interviewing monsters, wizards and adventurers.

There are worlds other than our own!

(If you’re just getting started, I recommend listening from the beginning. But hey, you do you.)”

So clearly this podcast falls into the sci-fi/fantasy realm and is one of the few podcasts I enjoy that fall into this category. Many of the episodes are interviews between Arnie and the many magical creatures of Foon as Arnie broadcasts them back to our world. Here are some of the guests featured on the show: Tom the Traveler, Flower (one of my favorites and an early episode), Usidore the wizard (my definite favorite character, and a recurring one, too!), Goblins, Pimbly Nimblebottom, and traveling bards. This is definitely a comedic podcast, as it should be immediately clear to you once you hit play. Enjoy!

Archive of episodes linked above in the excerpt.

4. Limetown

YOU. GUYS. THIS FREAKING PODCAST. SO GOOD. SO SCARY. SO CLIFFHANGER…Y?

Okay, so let me try to give you some real information now. “Limetown” is a fiction podcast, but is meant to sound like it is real (think War of the Worlds). After its debut July 29, 2015, it quickly ascended the US iTunes podcasting ranks (#1 less than 2 months after debut, according to Wikipedia).

And another shoutout to Wikipedia here as I quote its superb one-line summation of the plot:

“Limetown is a fictional story told as a series of investigative reports by Lia Haddock (played by Annie-Sage Whitehurst), a journalist for American Public Radio (APR), detailing the disappearance of over 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee.”

There is only one season consisting of 6 episodes, but I am telling you – IT IS SO WORTH IT. [EDIT: There is now a season 2!!] But if you are easily disturbed by creepy content or sudden loud noises in your headphones, don’t listen at night or alone, because this gets f-r-e-a-k-y

Anyway, take a chance on this and have your mind exploded. In a good way. Here is the episode archive and make sure to listen in order!

3. The Bright Sessions

From the Bright Sessions website:

The Bright Sessions is a science fiction podcast that follows a group of therapy patients. But these are not your typical patients – each has a unique supernatural ability. The show documents their struggles and discoveries as well as the motivations of their mysterious therapist, Dr. Bright. ”

Dr. Bright tapes all of her sessions, and some things that aren’t actual therapy sessions. Listen to these tapes and meet an empath, a time traveler, and a mind reader. “Watch” as the stories of these atypical patients weave together as they find out more about Dr. Bright, her family, and their powers.

These episodes must be listened to in order and generally are around 20 minutes (although there are some mini-episodes). This is an absolutely captivating thriller/sci-fi podcast that will keep you on the edge of your seat (I binge listened to about 30 episodes in a week!). Also, this podcast is in the process of being turned into a TV show!

Archive of episodes here.

2. Oh No Ross and Carrie!

This podcast is not one that needs to be listened to in a certain order, except certain episodes are released in parts, so obviously those should be listened in order of release. Here is an excerpt from their website:

“Welcome to Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, the show where we don’t just report on spirituality, fringe science and the paranormal (from a scientific, evidence-based standpoint), but dive right in by joining religions, attending spiritual events, undergoing “alternative” treatments, partaking in paranormal investigations, and more. At Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, we show up, so you don’t have to.

Each episode of our show deals with an investigation of a religion, fringe group, or fringe science practice. Join us as we ask tough questions, explore the nature of belief, and always find the humor in life’s biggest mysteries.”

Clearly this is a show I would recommend for skeptics in general or people looking for more information on pseudosciency things. The hosts, Ross and Carrie, are hilarious and very thorough in their note taking so as to recount their experiences as accurately as possible. A few of the things they have investigated are: Scientology, anti-vaccination movements, fringe cancer treatments in Tijuana, the “healing” gazing of Braco, essential oils, and nootropics. It’s education, it’s fun, and the best part is they show up so you don’t have to.

They encourage you to contact (via email or their Facebook page) them if you see anything you think they should try. However, they are based out of Los Angeles, so keep in mind reasonable travel distance. I actually did contact them once about something they should investigate in San Diego. It took them a couple days to get back to me, but the response was long and well-thought out and they assured me it’s on their list.

Archive of episodes here.

1. Sawbones

This is the one podcast my husband and I listen to together, and have been for quite a while. I put this as my #1 because it’s the only podcast I can count on – so far – that is consistently funny and enjoyable and educational. I’ve been listening for over a year and have not been bored once yet! This podcast is about the insane history of medicine and the ways we’ve tried to heal ourselves that just may have ended up killing us. It is hosted by an actual doctor and her lovable but goobery husband who brings most of the comedy to the podcast. This podcast is part of the Maximum Fun family and all episodes tend to be around 45 minutes.

If you are interested in medicine, macabre things, or laughing,  definitely give this one a try. I have yet to have anyone tell me they have not enjoyed this podcast! I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Well that’s it for my list. I hope you enjoyed me doing something a little different and hopefully you learned something. Most of all,  I hope you found something new to listen to!

-Brianna

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