I’ve been away from WordPress the past couple of days playing Male Mode Me’s favorite role, “Devoted Volunteer.” But on this Sunday morning, I have just enough time to squeeze in an addition to my list of podcast recommendations. For now, this will be the second-to-last recommendation (one more will be coming up). Note, though, that I say “for now” for I’m not above adding to this list as time goes by… especially if you offer your own recommendations (the comments section is open). This will also be a recommendation about that overtly popular and perhaps most parodied subgenre of podcast — the true crime podcast.
Well I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
— lyrics from “Maggie’s Farm” by Bob Dylan
It’s almost June 2018, but there’s a leftover topic from one of my WordPress friends’ list of “June Jour” writing challenges from June 2017, a topic that I had started response to but never finished until now. I’ll start with old news from the sporting world from the very end of last June. Well, it was peripherally from the sports world, but it did involve a figure from Major League Baseball. Umpire John Tumpane was heading back to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home ball park, ostensibly to prepare for that night’s game, when he saw something strange on the suspension bridge that approaches the stadium. On the bridge was a 23-year-old woman who told Tumpane, as he would recall later, that she wanted to “get a better look of the city from this side” — that is, from the other side of the railing that separates the pedestrians from the Allegheny River down below.
Naturally, Tumpane, when noticing that the woman appeared to be very emotional and distraught and did not want to climb back over to safety, grabbed her in order to prevent her from jumping, doing so until others came to assist him in securing her better and until authorities came to take control of the situation. Tumpane has since been lauded for his actions (and deservedly so), from those in local media, to those to assisted him, to at least one mental health expert, to even the Pirates, who recognized Tumpane for his actions before that night’s game.
Time to highlight a couple of LGBT-themed advertisements that have been released this spring. Well, they’re lesbian-themed advertisements if you must be specific, but I imagine others in the LGBT+ spectrum might find something they’ll relate to in these ads. The first was released last month in Great Britain for Malteasers, a malted-milk-covered-in-chocolate candy (think Whoppers, my fellow Americans). The Malteasers ad I’ll highlight here features a quartet of women at some café or break area or whatever. One of the four, whose name is Sarah… well, I’ll let her tell her concern.
Time for another recommendation from the list of podcasts I frequently listen to. Fellow TV aficionados should enjoy this recommendation as it nicely dovetails with the season that concluded earlier this month. No, not spring (or winter here in Wisconsin [*insert mildly amusing chuckle here*]), but rather television pilot season. The gist of pilot season is this: Every year, the American broadcast television networks receive pitches for potential new series. The list of proposals is whittled down to a few proposals the networks think will have potential to develop into a weekly series. Over time, that list keeps shrinking when the networks take into consideration quality of scripts, availability of on- and off-screen talent, budgetary concerns, and the feedback of test audiences and executives. Only a very few “pilots” that start the process get formal invitations from networks to become series, a process that reaches its culmination every May when the networks announce their lineup of new shows for the following TV season.
As I write this (Friday evening in Wisconsin), polls have been closed for a few hours in the Republic of Ireland, where citizens voted on a proposal that would amend the country’s constitution and allow its parliament (the Oireachtas) to relax the country’s strict laws against abortion. Today’s vote comes three years after voters approved an amendment to permit marriage between two people “without distinction as to their sex”; it was also that same year that legislation passed allowing transgender citizens in Ireland to freely request a change in legal gender identification on government documents.
If early exit polls are any indication, today’s proposal will be approved by a sizeable margin of voters, just as the marriage equality amendment passed by a wide margin in 2015. For a country where religiously conservative viewpoints have long held influence on society and laws, it’s sure seems that progressive attitudes are starting to take root in Ireland in the past 20 years or so. But don’t think that Ireland had been a country where everyone had to strictly follow the edicts the Roman Catholic Church would pass down every Sunday regarding, say, what people should think, who people could love, or how people could express themselves. On the contrary, for the Irish are a pretty progressive lot; it’s just that the laws of Ireland have taken some time to catch up to that fact.
I want to share a thought or two that occurred to me today, and it peripherally has to do with a couple of tidbits about Alone: A Love Story, a podcast I recommended in my previous post. Alone is an audio memoir written and narrated by Michelle Parise, and reading up about the show at this link, Parise mentions her penchant for writing down details about her life as soon as they happen. She mentions that she’s has hundreds of journals in her possession, all carrying short story- and dialog-style details about her daily life. It’s the details in those journals that allows Parise to bring out specifics about this and that in Alone.
Earlier today, I listened to an episode of another of my podcast recommendations, The Debaters. By pure coincidence, one of the subjects put up for debate in that Debaters episode had to do with writing memoirs. It was a debate (and a pretty funny one, of course) considering the reasons people need to write memoirs (to leave behind insights on life and the stories to back them up) versus refraining from doing so (they can be pointless and uninspiring).
Time to add another entry to my list of podcast recommendations. The shows I have highlighted so far have ranged from shows that are informative and enlightening, to shows that provide discussions on important subjects, to shows that just make you laugh out loud. Not to brag, but that link has a pretty good selection so far.
However… say, it’s an afternoon when you don’t want to preoccupy your mind with educational stuff, discussions of great social import, or anything resembling fun and games. On top of that, your mind and hands are already preoccupied with the 9-to-5 work, and it’s not like you can just go to your living room and turn on some soap opera (yes, those shows still exist). It’s the kind of afternoon when you just want to curl up with a good book but, again, work has your attention.
Last week, I wrote about a podcast I frequently listen to and enjoy. The show is called Under the Influence, and it explores how the world of marketing and advertising influences the buying decisions and opinions the general public makes. After I published that post, I couldn’t help but think about a key word in that show’s title:
One of the definitions of “influence” is this: One who possesses the power to affect or sway one’s actions, behavior, opinions, etc. Everyone has had at least one influential person in their lives, be they positive or negative. I know I’ve had several people influence me during my proverbial journey through life. I won’t bore you with those details here, although I’ll obviously state that my mom and stepfather are two. (Perhaps I’ll dive into all that into another post.) Continue reading
You’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering what those capital letters mean. No, it’s not an amalgamation of Idaho and Tampa Bay. (I mean, really now…) Truth be told, this is a day that even I wasn’t aware of until I saw this tweet:
Naturally, my curious mind did some quick looking around and discovered the meaning of the acronym “IDAHOTB” on this specific day: This is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The day was first recognized in 2005 as the “International Day Against Homophobia,” with recognition spread to include concerns about transphobia in 2009 and biphobia in 2015.
Here’s another addition to the recommendations of podcasts that I routinely listen to and encourage you to do the same. A rhetorical question first off: Who doesn’t love a memorable commercial? I mean, who still remembers a catchy jingle or slogan from years, if not decades, ago? Or who’ll never forget the first time they saw a commercial so groundbreaking (this one, perhaps?) that it’s still discussed about decades after it was just watercooler talk? Now then, has anyone looked at a product and wondered why its shape is the way it is? Or who’s ever seen a jet plane at the airport and wondered about its color scheme?
Well, if you’ve never thought about any of that, perhaps you’re like the man I once encountered as a kid. One Sunday evening, the church my family frequently attended at the time had a guest preacher whose sermon included this personal tidbit: When he and his family sat down to watch a TV show and a commercial break came on, they turned off the set. No, not turning down the volume or surfing to another channel, it was the actual physical act of turning off the set. This preacher’s reasoning? He doesn’t care for mindless commercials telling him how he and his family should think or act. Three things ran through my mind when he said that: First, his mind must know how to count to 60. Second, is turning off a TV set for just a minute really worth all that hassle? And lastly, of all the things he could think of what’s wrong with television, is a relatively benign commercial at the top of the list?