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The Writers of The Late Show with David Letterman: Eric & Justin Stangel and Bill Scheft, an interview on The Sound of Young America

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Eric and Justin Stangel are the co-head writers of The Late Show with David Letterman. Bill Scheft is a monologue writer on the show, who started working for Letterman in the NBC days. The writers of the Letterman show have just published a book compilation of Letterman's "Late Show Fun Facts" segment. They talk about starting as comedy writers, and what it's like to work for the funniest man in America.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Chris Elliott
Life Changes with Matt Besser and Rodney Rothman
Observations with Merrill Markoe and Caleb Crain

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Remember When"


This selection comes straight from the recommendation thread on the forum. Max Funster anabur wrote of the podcast's hosts that "you can tell they do it just because it's so fun for them," which sounded promising indeed; if there's one thing that separates the podcasts that peter out before you unsubscribe from the podcasts to which your subscription peters out first, it's passion. Apologies for using such a clichéd term, but it's true. It's no accident that passion is the first of the Three Ps of Podcasting: Passion, Production and, uh... Potency.

From minute one, it was obvious that, for their subjects of geekery, Remember When's [iTunes link] Jay and Parris have passion to spare. One might say the show itself is the child of a sheer passion overflow, a spillage of excess enthusiasm. While the guys are better known for their video game podcast UncleGamer Radio, one of its episodes veered straight down the pop culture path without so much as a backward glance, prompting the genesis for a spinoff show focusing entirely on movies and television.

Unfortunately, it almost immediately became evident that, whoever this podcast is made for, that person is probably not your Podthinker. First, he hasn't viewed a narrative TV show — much less sprawling stuff like The Shield and Battlestar Galactica, two Remember When favorites — in years and years. Second, though almost any film talk piques his interest, this is a setting where The Dark Knight, Iron Man and Tropic Thunder dominate the best-of-2008 lists. For a man almost entirely unable to get with Lord of the Rings, The Matrix or Star Wars, it's a little disheartening to load up the first episode in the playlist and hear the opening strains of an intense, probing, detail-oriented discussion of Revenge of the Sith [MP3].

That said, it's obvious even to someone unstirred by the popular sci-fi, fantasy and superhero trilogies (and quadrilogies) of the late 1970s to the present that Jay and Parris know their stuff. And it's not just that repeated re-watchings embedded all the facts firmly into their brains; they also seem to care. Whether Mace Windu did or did not recieve a worthy death scene may forever remain a matter of active inquiry, but it's not because these guys are asleep at the switch. By the same token, would the Riddler fit into Christopher Nolan's Batman universe? Can the standard-issue Kurt Russell performance truly convey the character of Wyatt Earp? Which is the better Indiana Jones, Raiders or Last Crusade? If you can think of no questions more pressing than these, this is the podcast you want. (None of this is meant to sound culturally high and mighty; when Parris started talking about The Last Dragon, Krush Groove and House Party, your Podthinker could not have been more down for it.)

Remember When's most entertaining feature is a semi-regular one where Parris, evidently the more cinematically experienced of the two, assigns Jay one of his favorite movies to watch. This is usually some well-worn classic of the past couple decades like Caddyshack [MP3] or The Blues Brothers [MP3. If the opinion Jay forms is not properly worshipful, Parris threatens to hop a plane from Los Angeles, fly down to Dallas where Jay is, and regulate. All this is reminiscent of the best of Experts and Intermediates, which, if you recall, is the podcast that prompted your Podthinker to come up with the genre name TTWGBAC, or Two Twenty/Thirtysomething White Guys Bullshitting About Culture. Remember When would be the ultimate expression of the very essence of the TTWGBAC, but for the fact that Parris' non-whiteness would throw the abbreviation off. Oh well.

Vital stats:
Running since: April 2008
Duration: 50m-1h50m
Frequency: erratic
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Podthinker Colin Marshall is also beyond down for both Wild Style and Style Wars, and will discuss both via e-mail at colinjmarshall at gmail. Discuss Podthoughts on the forum here or submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

Rickey Henderson & Jim Rice on Letterman

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Congratulations to Rickey Henderson, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. And to Jim Rice, because if Jim Rice is in the Hall of Fame, Kevin Mitchell can't be far behind. Also: Willie McGee. And finally, Ken Oberkfell.

Penguin in the Pants: The Videogame


Game designer Dan Henrick took our "Penguin in the Pants" challenge on last week's Jordan Jesse Go to heart, and designed this amazing (OK, more like mildly diverting) "Penguin in the Pants" themed flash game.

The Sound of Young America Live! in San Francisco: We Have a Lineup!

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The Sound of Young America is Live!
in San Francisco
on Friday, January 23rd!

Join host Jesse Thorn and guests:

Zion I

Kasper Hauser

Sean Cullen

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

Jello Biafra

Scott McCloud, author of "Understanding Comics" and "Zot!": Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Scott McCloud is both an accomplished comics creator and critic. His books of comics criticism, "Understanding Comics," "Reinventing Comics" and "Making Comics" are classics of the form, and are standard-issue in hip literature classes around the country. His newest book is a compilation of his 1980s superhero series Zot!. He talks with us about how to read comics and how he incorporated the influences of the comics of other cultures into his own work in the '80s.

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Adrian Tomine
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Austin Grossman

Gilles Peterson's Best of 2008


For quite some time, BBC DJ Gilles Peterson has been holding it down for soulful music in the UK -- from hip-hop to new soul to broken jazz to afrobeat to whatever. His remarkable show Gilles Peterson Worldwide is the nexus for an international community of people making soul music of every stripe.

His taste, like that of his peer KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad, can sometimes run a bit loungey for me, but only sometimes. He's usually right on point, and has championed artists I really care about, like Bilal and Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Peterson also podcasts occasionally, with interviews, performances and mini-documentaries from his show.

Below is his "Best of 2008" list, which is an amazing source for great music with a different perspective (and features Seun Kuti, who was on TSOYA last year, right near the top of the list). I've been listening to an artist on Peterson's own label, Jose James, for the last 20 minutes and am absolutely loving his soulful, Gil Scott-Heron-esque jazz vocals.

Albums of the Year 2008
20) James Pants – ‘Cosmic Rapp’ (Stones Throw) LP: Welcome
19) Cool Kids – ‘Mikey Rocks’ (XL) LP: The Bake Sale
18) Eric Lau ft Rahel – ‘Let It Out’ (Ubiquity Records) LP: New Territories
17) Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Hercules’ Theme’ (DFA) LP: Hercules & Love Affair
16) Leila – ‘Little Acorns’ (Warp) LP: Blood Looms & Blooms
15) Jamie Lidell – ‘Rope Of Sand’ (Warp) LP: Jim
14) Trus’me – ‘Working Nights’ (Fat City) LP: Working Nights
13) TV On The Radio – ‘Love Dog’ (Interscope) LP: Dear Science
12) Portishead – ‘Machine Gun’ (Universal) LP: Third
11) Menahan Street Band – Karina (Dunham) LP: Make The Road By Walking
10) Roots Manuva – ‘Let The Spirit’ (Big Dada) LP: Slime & Reason
9) Raphael Saadiq – ‘100 Yard Dash’ (Columbia) LP: The Way I See It
8) IG Culture – ‘Girl You Need a Change Of Mind’ (Freedom School) LP: Zen Badizm
7) Flying Lotus ft Dolly – ‘RobertaFlack’ (Warp) LP: Los Angeles
6) Quiet Village – ‘Pacific Rhythm’ (K7) LP: Silent Movie
5) Benga – ‘Pleasure’ (Tempa) LP: Diaries Of An Afro-Warrior
Bed: Mama Milk – 'The Moon'
4) Jose James – ‘Winterwind’ (Brownswood) LP: The Dreamer
3) Seun Kuti + Egypt 80 – ‘Think Africa’ (tôt ou tard) LP: Think Africa
2) Q-Tip – ‘Work It Out’ (Universal Motown) LP: The Renaissance

Album of the Year:
1) Erykah Badu – ‘Soldier’ (Universal Motown) LP: New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)

Tracks of the Year 2008
20. Geeneus – 'Yellow Tail' (Rinse)
19. Sun-Ra – 'I’ll Wait For You' (Floating Points Remix) (Test)
18. Kid Cudi – 'Day & Nite' (Fool’s Gold Records)
17. Kjell – 'Dunnshine' (Creative Source)
16. Tribe – 'Livin’ In A New Day' (Planet E)
15. Italo Boyz vs John Coltrane – 'Bahia' (Mothership)
14. Robert Mitchell Trio – 'Teardrop' (33)
13. Katalyst – 'How Bout Us' (BBE)
12. Lil Wayne – 'A Milli' (Universal Motown)
11. Aaron Parks – 'Nemesis' (Blue Note
10. Henrik Schwarz & Amampondo – 'I Exist Because Of You' (Dixon’s Stripped Down Version) (Innervisions) 9. Jose James – 'Desire' (Moodymann Remix) (Brownswood)
8. Lizz Wright – 'This Is' (Verve)
7. LCD Soundsystem – 'Lies' (Theo Parrish Remix) (Test)
6. Erykah Badu – 'The Healer' (Universal Motown)
5. Stacy Epps – 'Floatin' (Japanubiamusik)
4. Morgan Zarate Ft Eska & Ghostface Killah– 'Sticks & Stones' (Test)
3. Afefe Iku – 'Mirror Dance' (Yoruba)
2. Black Pocket – 'You’re A Star' (Martyn Remix) (Fat City)

Track of the Year:
1. Q-Tip ft Norah Jones – 'Life Is Better' (Universal Motown)

Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 52: Underground Death Ritual


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe attempt to initiate an English gentlemen into their death cult.

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