It’s so dang cold outside I suggest you stick your earbuds in and listen to a podcast to get toasty. Below are a few of my recent faves; I mention different shows each week, so check the archive for more suggestions:
JOHN CLEESE COLLECTS STUFFED ANIMALS.
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, Dec. 9 episode
The comedian is full of surprises, including the fact that he and his wife share a fondness for stuffed animals, which he’d like to donate to the Smithsonian after he dies. Also in this ep, Thorn gets Chris Rock to list the five greatest rappers of all time. (He names Jay Z, KRS-One, Kanye West, Ice Cube, and Scarface.)
ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATEST CHRISTMAS ALBUMS WAS RELEASED THE SAME DAY JFK WAS KILLED.
Cool Stories in Music, Dec. 9 episode
In this fascinating installment, we learn all about A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, which is widely regarded as the best holiday album of all time. (The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson has said it’s his favorite album, period.) However, the album didn’t sell when it was initially released, in part because it came out on Nov. 22, 1963, the day of the Kennedy assassination.
INXS ONCE WORKED WITH RAY CHARLES.
Patcast, Episode 71
The latest episode of this podcast from Train singer Pat Monahan features INXS’ Andrew Farriss, who shares several stories about the band’s early days and performs a couple INXS tunes with Monahan. He fondly recalls writing a song for Charles and appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman with the legend back in the early ‘90s (above).
THE NEW JOKER WILL HAVE “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL EYES.”
Hollywood Babble-On, Episode 190
According to Kevin Smith, anyway. I enjoyed this stripped-down episode of HBO, which features no audience and quick takes on pop-culture news from Smith and co-host Ralph Garman. They also touch on Peter Pan Live!, the new Bond flick, and esteemed actors who take terrible roles late in their careers.
A MYSTERIOUS HUM IS AFFECTING PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.
Stuff You Should Know, Dec. 9 episode
Is it real, or is it urban legend? This episode explores the 2 percent of people who hear a humming sound invisible to others. Learn about the hum’s potential causes, potential outcomes (could it lead to criminal activity?) and connections to The X-Files and tinfoil hats.
THE WORD “POSH” IS AN ACRONYM.
KCRW’s Guest DJ Project, Dec. 10 episode
Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment
Bill Nye’s playlist for the show is chock full of fun facts about the science of sound and circular breathing. One of the most interesting tidbits he mentions is that the term “posh” may be an acronym for “port out, starboard home,” referring to cabins occupied by the wealthy traveling between Britain and India.
ROXANE GAY IS A NATIONALLY RANKED SCRABBLE PLAYER.
Nerdette, Dec.9 episode
The writer and professor is known for her essays and commentary, but in this Nerdette interview she admits Scrabble is her “go-to nerdery.” She also says one of her guilty pleasures is VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood (“it takes reality television and just implodes the whole idea”).