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Yes, I know this is lame, but I'm a company man.

I'm guessing that if you are not interested in surfing and skate-boarding and such you haven't spent lots of time browsing the site for Fuel TV, the network that so generously employs me. It might surprise you that the music page houses an impressive number of live performances from some super-awesome, super-credible indie rock types. You'd think that the content of the network being what it is, you'd hear mostly bad metal and white guys playing reggae. Instead you get good schtuff from bands like Art Brut, Foreign Born, and Edward Sharpe. Here's doozy from The Hold Steady:

The Awesome Foundation: The Text Of Young America


Times are tough. People need awesome projects to divert attention away from just how difficult things can be. Awesomeness can help, but sometimes awesomeness can be costly. Well, now there’s a foundation that may provide a little assistance. The Awesome Foundation. Once a month a committee of 12 people get together to decide on which awesome idea will receive a thousand dollar grant. It doesn’t have to be profitable, it doesn’t have to be huge. It just has to be awesome. The first recipient was awarded last week. Keith Hopper, a trustee of the foundation, spoke with me about where the idea came from, spreading the awesome word, and how awesomeness is within all of us.

Chris Bowman: The Awesome Foundation! What a great idea! How did this idea come to fruition?

Keith Hopper: It’s primarily the brainchild of Tim Hwang. Although it didn’t start until the twelve, originally ten, trustees came together. But Tim’s original idea came primarily from his applications for grants. In one of his various lives, he works in academia and like many of us applies for grants and was frustrated by the bureaucracy and recognized that probably a lot of people with awesome ideas would be equally as frustrated or compromised by the grants and the grant processes, or the requirements they have. He saw an opportunity to maybe do something different.

For more on The Awesome Foundation click Read More.

Greg Kot Interview: The Sound of Young America

Greg Kot

Greg Kot is the music critic at the Chicago Tribune, host of the public radio program Sound Opinions, and has written for the likes of Rolling Stone, Details, Blender, and Encyclopaedia Britannica among others. His new book is Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. We'll talk about how the music industry got to where it is today, and what might be next.

Jordan Jesse Go Ep. 107: Shark Week

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Chad Fogland
Ron Babcock

Comedians Chad Fogland and Ron Babcock join Jordan to discuss marine life, secret dreams, and more.

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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "TEDTalks"


Odds are you've got a few friends who love them some TED. Incessantly, they tell you about the wonders of TED. Oh, the events. Oh, the luminescent minds at work. Oh, the music organized by Thomas Dolby. TED, the creator of the future. TED, the window into the greatest minds of our time. TED, the living end. Anybody who's anybody is at TED. TED, TED, TED. These friends bear the required black-rimmed glasses, tote bags, vague, self-applied titles of "designer" and "technologist," and, ultimately, at least a tinge of insufferability.

TED, for those terribly confused readers who scrolled past this post three sentences ago, is an annual conference to do with Technology, Entertainment and Design, where a bunch of people one often reads about on the internet talk about the future of 2000s stuff like smartphones, sustainable architecture and font kerning. The conferences are held in California, and you are not invited. Probably. They're by-invitation-only shindigs, which means you just have to sit around and wait for that golden ticket to arrive, much as your Podthinker is just marking time until his MacArthur "genius" grant materializes.

Fortunately, there's a quick, easy and free way to get a taste of the TED experience before you finish your long-labored-over micropayment system, thing about Helvetica or iPhone. TED happens to be an organization in strong support of short, informative lectures — they call 'em "TEDTalks" — and the TEDTalks podcast [iTunes] [RSS] can hook you up with them on the regular. Though often a bit too brief, TEDTalks' strength lies in their diversity; they're catholic, in the original sense of the word. But if it's Protestantism you're in for, they've got a lecture by Rick "Purpose-Driven Life" Warren [MP3] available for the download — as well as a rebuttal [MP3] by Daniel "Consciousness Explained" Dennett!

As far as other high-profile atheists are concerned, TEDTalks is well-stocked indeed: good old Richard Dawkins, for instance, has at least two appearances — count 'em, two — under his belt. [MP3] [MP3] And if atheism isn't your bag, well, something on TEDTalks simply has to be. Richard St. John on the secrets of life success taught to him by a lifetime of rock climbing, perhaps? [MP3] Or Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi on his perennial subject, the achievement of what they call "flow"? [MP3] Maybe MaxFun favorite John Hodgman with a semi-bizarre monologue about aliens and girlfriends will hit the spot. [MP3] And who could turn down an expostion from famed conductor Benjamin Zander (and his piano) of wherein, specifically, the appeal of the classical music enterprise lies? [MP3]

Admittedly, it's quite difficult to imagine a listener who wouldn't want to check out TED's offerings, at least in a cursory fashion. Even if you're one of those people who has only a single interest, some speaker is sure to have hit on it in the past — or they will in the future. The slick production, concise length and straight-to-the-point style keeps it easy going down, though one is always left wanting to hear more from the luminaries and far, far less from the (occasional) dolts. TEDTalks does serve those with widely varied interests best — but it serves them exquisitely well.

Vital stats:
Format: catholic (not Catholic) lectures
Running since: June 2006
Duration: 5m-30m
Frequency: ~6/month
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Questions, comments, ideas, suggestions or threats for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

Paul Rust Interview: The Sound of Young America

Paul Rust

Paul Rust has just made his big break starring in the teen romp I Love You Beth Cooper, but he's been a long time friend of the show and was named one of Variety's 10 Comics To Watch in 2008. Rust will talk about how the silliness of Pee-wee Herman remains a seminal influence and the best parts of working with a big time, earnest filmmaker like Chris Columbus.

I Love Timmy


Lately, I've been enjoying the sketch comedy doings of The Whitest Kids You Know thanks to Netflix on demand. I have fallen in love with the one called "Timmy".

Sketch comedy performance has the tendency to be crass and heartless (WKUK is no exception), but Timmy always bucks that trend by bringing sweetness, pathos and just the right amount of sadness to the scene.

When I become a Hollywood bigshot, my first order of business will be to greenlight the Timmy movie.

Charlyne Yi Interview: The Sound of Young America

Charlyne Yi

Charlyne Yi made her first on screen appearance playing the stoned girlfriend of Martin Starr's character in the Judd Apatow flick Knocked Up. Now, she's written Paper Heart, a documentary and narrative film in which she also stars opposite Michael Cera. Hear from Yi about why she doesn't believe in love, and from Paper Heart director Nick Jasenovec about the choice of casting someone else to play himself.

Trader Joe's Reviews


If you grew up going to "traditional" grocery stores, the myriad of unique products at Trader Joe's specialty super markets can be a bit perplexing. Lucky for you, I go there 6-9 times a week and I'm happy to share my thoughts on their wide array of comestibles.

Middle Eastern Flat Bread - It costs a bit more than the traditional pita pocket, but send one of these fluffy little buddies on a pre-dip ride in the toaster oven and get ready for a snack time freak-out.

Sugar Plums - I was told that these might be associated with some sort of "fairie". Well, I don't usually like to associate with "magic" or "majicks" so when I'm biting into one of these juicy little beauties, I just try to think good, Christian thoughts.

Crumbled Salem Blue Cheese - Eating this food is like a punch in the penis. I mean, like a soft, tender punch from a lover. Like an erotic punch based on trust. This is a positive review.

Banana Nut Crunch Cereal - A real cluster fuck. Of cereal.

Team Submarine: The Text Of Young America


Nate Fernald and Steve O’Brien are Team Submarine. The New York based comedy duo have recently released a CD called Correctamundo!. They’ve preformed at NYC Sketchfest, San Francisco Sketchfest, The Benson Interruption and have appeared on NPR and right here on TSOYA. They’ve got a great blog and a cool website full of videos and comedy tidbits. They are always preforming in NYC, so please check the live listings on the site. Nate Fernald was out of town, so Steve O’Brien spoke with me about origins, working in pairs, and romantic comedies. Mostly about romantic comedies.

Chris Bowman: How did you meet Nate Fernald?

Steve O’Brien: I went to high school with a guy who ended up going to college with Nate. We didn’t know each other but Nate and I moved out to Chicago at the same time, so our friend Tyler was like- every time I tell this story I feel like I’m telling the story of Nate and I being an old married couple.

For more from Steve O'Brien of Team Submarine click Read More

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