One of the great bonuses with being in education is the wonderful Winter Break that I'm in the middle of right now. For many of us, this is a time to get caught up on our reading or for audiophiles like myself get caught up on some listening as well. During these breaks, I often like to get away from the world of education to bit spend some of my time listening to other types of programs. So I thought I'd wrap up 2017 and share out some of my favorite listens that I've had over the past year that have nothing to do with education. But I guess like all teachers anytime we hear something that moves us or inspires us, it always gives us pause to consider how we can take it back to our classroom or change our overall mindset. With that being said here are my top 5 favorite episodes of non education podcast for this year. I'd love to be able to hear back from others with some of your recommendations of some episodes that really connected with you.
I've provided links to these specific episodes but I would highly encourage you to download and listen to these shows using your podcast player (for me, my go to app is Pocket Casts)
#1) Revisionist History: "A Good Walk Spoiled"
When people who've never tried a podcast ask me for a recommendations to get started I usually turn to this show Revisionist History and in particular this episode as well as my other favorite titled “The Big Man Can't Shoot”. Malcolm Gladwell is first and foremost a fantastic Storyteller and also somebody who spends time and thought diving deep into the conversations he wants to share with us. In this particular episode he was moved by his experiences in Los Angeles and how the city of such size has an alarming lack of public parks in stark contrast to a very large number of golf courses. For someone who is not a golfer and questions the sheer size of golf courses in our society today this podcast really resonated with me no matter where you stand in the debate about golf I think anyone would find this a good listen.
#2) The Way I Heard It: "Francisco's Flakes"
Growing up, I had a wide range of tastes regarding what I listened to. I had a fair amount of Flock of Seagulls and Dexy’s Midnight Runners, but also I listened to a lot of old time radio (classic mystery, suspense and sci fi shows from the 40’s and 50’s) as well as Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”. Now Paul was a conservative radio pioneer which would not label me a fan of today, but it was his Rest of The Story which I really enjoyed. A few years back NPR did a story about him which you can read here,
but I love how they described this him as “...also a delightful history teacher — with a velvety voice that turned the news into narrative and entertainment each week on his famous segment The Rest of the Story” It was in these segments where he would go into the backstory a famous person waiting only until the very end to give the reveal and offering to us that “know we know the rest of the story”.
It is this type of show in which Mike Rowe brings to the podcast world with his “The Way I Heard It”. In that same vein, Mike, tells an intriguing story, one which you will find yourself guessing who or what it is he is talking about.
I am offering up this episode called “Francisco’s Flakes” but it would spoil the finish to tell you any of what it is about. Mike is such a likeable person with a fantastic voice and you'll find yourself just wanting to dive into more and more of his episodes.
Side note: I actually have a small and funny connection with Mike Rowe. .You can check it out click on the game show section of my website and find scrolling to the video at the bottom of the page.
#3) Reply All: "Long Distance"
This description says it all:
“This week, a telephone scammer makes a terrible mistake. He calls Alex Goldman”
You will also need to hear the second part of this podcast as well.
I can’t give much of this away but you will think differently about the next scam phone call you recieve.
#4) Story and Star Wars: "Rogue One"
Anyone who is either met me or even seen my Twitter profile picture knows I'm a bit of a Star Wars Junkie. Besides just the novelty and the fun Kitsch of the movie I truly love so much about the Star Wars universe and I find myself listening and reading about this world often. This last year I discovered this wonderful podcaster named Alastair Stephens and his is one of the smoothest voices and smartest analysis I’ve heard in the world of podcasting. He dives deep into many of our most well known stories and his analysis of the Star Wars stories may be the best I’ve heard. This one on Rogue One is a must listen for any Star Wars fan.
#5) NPR Fresh Air: "Churchill, Orwell And The Fight Against Totalitarianism"
For my last pick, I will go back to an episode of Fresh Air from NPR from May of 2017. Terry Gross is the host and she is my favorite interviewer. She probes the lives of actors, authors, and politicians and when I listen I feel like I am sitting and just listening into a conversation with two people. In this episode she interviews Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Tom Ricks on his book "Churchill And Orwell: The Fight For Freedom" where says the writings of Churchill and Orwell still resonate today because they stood up against totalitarianism from the far right and left.