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Making podcasts skimmable since February 2018. 
#5 ·March 16, 2018 · By Michael Yessis

10 Pod Takes

1) “I don't know how to hug my mom.”

Ear Hustle: Firsts, March 14 (7:31)

  • The heartbreaking words of Adnan Khan, before greeting his mother the first time she visits him in prison. He’d been locked up for 10 years.

  • It’s the centerpiece story of an incredible first episode of Ear Hustle’s second season.


2) “It is definitely the most compelling thing I’ve heard in 2018.”

Longform Podcast: Chana Joffe-Walt, March 14 (0:53)

  • Co-host Max Linsky was so impressed by Joffe-Walt’s “Five Women” episode of This American Life he listened three times.

  • The two talk for almost an hour about the reporting and creation of the story about five women connected to one man accused of sexual harassment.


3) “I never want to forget what it's like to be 24 years old and hungry.”

The Adam Carolla Show: Brad Meltzer + March Gradness Round 1 & Hooray for Baldywood, March 15 (5:29)

  • That’s Meltzer, shouting his truth from the top spot on the New York Times hardcover fiction best sellers list.

  • Meltzer recounts his struggle rising from a rough Brooklyn ‘hood.


4) “I call her the ghost of the Russia investigation. She seems to be everywhere that Mueller is, but no one sees her.”

Trumpcast: The Ghost of the Mueller Investigation, March 14 (12:53)

  • The specter is Ivanka Trump, dubbed by guest Hannah Seligson.

  • Seligson isn’t fooled. She explodes Trump’s Instagram persona and explores her potential fate in an ever-encroaching investigation.


5) “The stories about the past are so good that they create an illusion that life is understandable. And that’s an illusion.”

Hidden Brain: Think Fast with Daniel Kahneman, March 12 (19:52)

  • And that’s Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Kahneman, whose work “laid the foundation for behavioral economics” and shifted perceptions of human behavior. No big deal.

  • A hug from a Nazi in German-occupied Paris set up a theme in his life and work: People are complicated.   


6) “We thought a show involving singing would make people happy and proud, and would defend them psychologically from al-Shabab.”

Invisibilia: The Other Real World, March 16 (11:11)

  • Says Ben Parker, one of the minds behind an effort to use a reality show to fight Islamic terrorism in Somalia.

  • The fascinating pod looks at efforts to use “American Idol”- and "Shark Tank”-style entertainment to communicate Western values.


7) “There’s something really weird about restaurants that kind of lets you buy your way into a different class for a couple hours.”

Eater Upsell: Performative Eating and Fatness with Jessica Valenti and Lindy West, March 13 (16:59)

  • So says host Daniel Geneen, talking to Valenti about food, feminism and potentially raising a bougie Brooklyn kid who occasionally craves sticky rice from Pok Pok.


8) “This is the least sweaty comedy you’re gonna see.”

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Atlanta, March 14 (6:01)

  • That’s praise from Glen Weldon for Donald Glover’s “Atlanta,” a place where an invisible car and a black Justin Bieber don’t seem out of place.

  • The PCHH crew fawns over the show’s tone. Weldon says, “The humor is never lunged at.”


9) “A shopping cart is a traveling embassy.”

Dear Hank & John: Space War Fears, March 12 (24:09)

  • Says John Green, advising his listeners not to poach the goods in other people’s carts at the market.

  • Also: WTF? Who does that?


10) “If my dad showed up on the Millennium Falcon, I’d be fucking terrified.”

The Bill Simmons Podcast: Bill Hader Live at SXSW, March 12 (1:16:38)

  • That’s Hader, with sharp insight into why his kids have problems seeing him in movies.

Got a Pod Take, a show to binge or a great guest I should consider for next week’s newsletter? Send it!

Go Deep

1) Prohibition

American History Tellers: Prohibition, Feb. 7-March 14

  • A six-episode series on America’s 13-year dry period, chronicling it in all its ugly xenophobia, anti-immigrant violence and Al Capone badassery. So much of the context of Prohibition feels familiar today.


2) “Creed”

The Rewatchables: Creed With Bill Simmons, Wesley Morris, Sean Fennessey, and K. Austin Collins, March 14

  • A 1 hour, 41 minute deep dive into Ryan Coogler’s second movie.


3) “Friday I’m In Love”

Punch Up The Jam: Friday I’m In Love, March 15

  • The Cure’s most popular song on Spotify, dissected.

  • Spoiler: “Friday” isn’t even one of the band’s best 20 songs.

Guest Appearances By...

Bausch, Richard and Beattie, Ann Bookworm

  • The writers discuss fellow writer Peter Taylor

Berninger, Matt; Doherty, Martin; and Mayberry, Lauren ID10T

  • Members of The National and Chvrches talk music and collaboration

Chang, David It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders

  • Deep dive with the chef/aspiring media mogul

Corn, David and Isikoff, Michael Fresh Air, I Have To Ask

  • “Russian Roulette” authors break down the Trump/Russia connection

Danson, Ted WTF with Marc Maron

DeGeneres, Ellen Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

Delvac, Gina The Wolf Den

  • Call Your Girlfriend producer gets meta

Dillon, Asia Kate The Moment With Brian Koppelman

  • “Billions” actor talks to “Billions” creator

Dubuc, Nancy Skimm’d From The Couch

  • New CEO of Vice shares her management style and love for her bathroom

Goolsbee, Austan Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!

  • Comedy with an economist

India.Arie All Songs Considered

  • Grammy winner elaborates on her open letter to the Recording Academy

Kessel, Amanda Pardon My Take

  • Gold medal hockey player enjoys beating Canada

Klosterman, Chuck The Bill Simmons Podcast

  • On college basketball and award shows

Mamet, David WTF with Marc Maron

  • Deep thoughts on Chicago and acting

Miller, Dennis The Adam Carolla Show

Min, Janice Here’s the Thing

  • Celebrity journalism innovator talks celebrity journalism

Mosseri, Adam If Then

  • Facebook VP tries to explain what the hell’s going on with the news feed

Nadella, Satya Freakonomics Radio

  • Convo with Microsoft’s CEO

Neal, David Planet Futbol with Grant Wahl

  • Fox Sports head previews World Cup coverage. I can’t wait.

O’Rourke, Beto Pod Save America

  • Big early victory for the Democratic candidate for a Texas senate seat: He convinced his Republican mom to vote for him

Rajskub, Mary Lynn The Joe Rogan Experience

Schumer, Chuck Recode Decode with Kara Swisher

  • Senate Minority Leader talks tech and the FCC’s “very bad leader”

Warren, Elizabeth Pod Save America

Wilson, Nancy The Bob Lefsetz Podcast

  • Heart founder gets the life and career retrospective

Yang, Jenny The Sporkful

  • The comedian gets serious about Lunar New Year on the James Beard Award-nominated pod

Pick From a Podcaster

This week's guest: Sarah Bowen Shea, whose Another Mother Runner podcast “explores the intersection of running and mothering.”

  • Adds Sarah: "My co-hosts and I joke that we're like best running friends that keep the conversation going on a run — even on the uphills."

Sarah's pick: Heaven's Gate: The Two

  • Sarah says: "This podcast tells the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story behind the Heaven's Gate religious cult. Facts are skillfully doled out and layered on by talented storyteller Glynn Washington (also host of Snap Judgment), who brings added depth to the topic via his own experience in a cult-ish religious organization. Bringing in the perspective of the daughter of one of founders of Heaven's Gate especially touched me, as I'm a mom of three kids."

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Copyright © 2018 Michael Yessis, All rights reserved.

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