Broken Record

Yep, it's another podcast post! Both of these are part of the same podcast family as the previously pimped 99% Invisible, so you know they're good.

Firstly is the endearing, touching, funny, interesting and amazing Memory Palace:

The host, Nate DiMeo, does an amazing job of capturing these little stories from history you've probably never heard and giving them heart and giving the people in those stories a voice. They're not large, sprawling involved stories that you might see made into a long documentary on Netflix or The History Channel. They're little peeks into the lives of people who did something interesting rather than something epic.

I don't think of myself as something who likes "people" stories. I get bored by movies of people just living their lives or "growing up" or discovering themselves, crap like that. I am not much of a people person, but The Memory Palace makes me feel for people I'd never heard of and will probably never hear about again. It makes me ache for the small achievements and issues had by people who haven't been around for decades or centuries.

And, if this is something that matters to you, the writing is superb. Or, if there is no writing and Nate speaks off the cuff, he's exceptionally good at it because there are no wasted or repeated words. I'm a writer, possibly because I notice when people are clumsy with words. I don't mean when a person is stumbling over saying something important, but when people don't know how to convey an idea or a story without using the same phrases, words, visuals, etc. Nate's stories are smooth and I never get tripped and kicked out of the movie I'm watching in my head because of clumsy language or strange phrasing.

TOTALLY worth picking up if you have some time to kill here and there. Many of the episodes are extremely short (like, 2 minutes) so I recommend downloading a bunch and setting your player to auto-play so you can just listen and get lost in the stories.

Also worth picking up, especially if you like language and words or just listening to sarcastic British podcast hosts is The Allusionist.

Helen Zaltzman is entertaining as hell. I even listen straight through all the ads for this show because she phrases the copy funny and ends the show with a randomly selected dictionary word of the day brought to you by a sponsor. Past that, the content of the podcasts is great, too!

Helen talks about language in terms of why we use it the way we do, how we've come to use it the way we do, or how it affects our lives. My favorite episodes so far have been the episode on swearing (which, I'd say goes without specifying, is not safe for children or loudly playing while at work, unless you work with people who like hearing the c-word several dozen times in less than a minute), and probably the episode about emojis, just because it talked about little aspects of language you don't usually think about (like syntax and even the direction one reads a language!). The topic is fascinating and the host is funny. I'm sold. You should be too!


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