It’s time for another roundup of podcasts that were well worth my time this week—and are worth yours, too! For more ear-tingling suggestions, peruse the archive.
1. ISAAC NEWTON CAME UP WITH THE “ROY G. BIV” COLOR SPECTRUM.
I always learn something from this show, and the latest episode about rainbows doesn’t disappoint. Along with learning the history of the color spectrum, we find out how double (and triple!) rainbows are produced and why the color red makes up a significant chunk of what we see in the sky.
2. AT FIRST, SARAH JESSICA PARKER DIDN’T WANT TO STAR ON SEX AND THE CITY.
Host Alec Baldwin gets the lowdown on Parker’s acting career, which took a sharp turn from “spunky best friend” parts when she accepted the leading role on HBO’s hit series. But Parker reveals she almost forgot about the SATC pilot after she shot it, and she initially told HBO she’d rather appear in their TV movies than take on the series. (Eventually, she changed her mind.)
3. THERE ARE DISTINCT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT AND LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT.
Actor and raconteur Stephen Tobolowsky shares an insider’s perspective on appearing on the Law & Order shows (on one as a murderer, on the other as a pedophile). He says Criminal Intent is about “the aristocracy of angels,” while SVU is more about “the democracy of justice.” He manages to tie these anecdotes to his own wedding and a horseback riding accident that nearly cost him his life, and the result is thoughtful and moving.
4. NATIVE AMERICAN YOUTH PLAYED A BIG PART IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL.
I’m not a big football fan, and neither are Radiolab’s hosts nor many of its listeners, which makes its football episode especially engrossing. The first half describes how students at a Native American school helped football expand from being just an Ivy League game. In the second half, a mother talks about how she enrolled her son in an intense football league—when he was 4.
5. RELIGIOUS STATUES CAN FIGHT CRIME.
In the latest installment, Oakland, Calif., resident Dan Stevenson discusses how he was tired of seeing so much crime on his doorstep. His solution? He put a large concrete Buddha statue outside. The events that followed were surprising and somewhat enlightening.
6. NEVER TRUST AN UNTRAINED PLASTIC SURGEON.
In an emotional interview, Rajee Narinesingh, a transgender woman, talks about how her unhappiness with her appearance and lack of financial resources led her to seek illegal plastic surgery. The procedure left her and many others disfigured and devastated. Nurse practitioner Zil Goldstein also sheds light on the story and how medical providers should be more aware of issues in the LGBT community.
7. ROSE MARIE MCCOY SHOULD BE A HOUSEHOLD NAME.
As a tribute to the McCoy, who passed away last month at 92, Radio Diaries aired a 2009 profile of the influential songwriter. McCoy’s tracks were recorded by dozens of greats, including Ike and Tina Turner, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Big Maybelle, Johnny Mathis, Linda Ronstadt and Aretha Franklin. Hearing her look back on her career, it’s evident she was born with a true enthusiasm for music that never faded with age.