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The Memory Palace

Fresh Podcast Pickings

February 9, 2016

Dear Reader,

It’s really really hard to get out of bed in the morning and walk an hour in the cold. If you’re me, and you are trying to still make yourself do this instead of taking public transit to get to work, then you need some really good incentives. I love listening to podcasts while I walk, something I have talked about before on this blog. Here I want to give you a quick update on two of my favorite podcasts that you might not have had the good fortune to encounter yet.Fresh Podcast Pickings- TPIAT

The first, The Allusionist, is one I have talked about before. I mentioned it when I was talking about The Memory Palace because it was listening to the first that led me to the second. The Memory Palace continues to be an amazing storytelling experience, so you should also check that out if I haven’t convinced you of its merits in previous posts.Fresh Podcast Pickings- TPIAT

The Allusionist is all about language. Basically Helen Zaltzman takes you on a comedic journey through language’s underwear drawer. She takes on a term, or sometimes a phrase or saying, and deconstructs its linguistic routes. More recently, she has branched out to talking about the importance of language in certain facets of our lives. She has an amazing episode about a woman who provides language captioning  for the blind. Her specialty is dance films. How does one describe dance through language in a way that conveys what is happening and what it means? I never even imagined that was someone’s job, but it is and hearing her speak about it was fascinating.Fresh Podcast Pickings- TPIAT

My favorite episode is the most recent two part episode, one that caused me to write this post. In this episode Helen delves into online dating and interviews author Amy Webb about her attempt to master online dating by writing the perfect profile. Webb spent a considerable amount of time researching what specifically about the linguistic structure of popular profiles made them so popular and why, then built herself a super-profile to test her findings. She wrote a book about the whole experience called Data, a Love Story and has a TED Talk about all this. I recommend all of the above.

Helen Zaltzman’s other podcast, Answer Me This, is my second recommendation on this cold and snowy Thursday. Helen, Olly, and Martin the Soundman answer listeners’ questions, no matter how random, in an entertaining and informative way. They also sing a lot, which took me a minute to get used to, but I now find just as hilarious as the rest of it. The questions they get asked are as diverse as “Do you think my wife and I were struck by lightening?” to “Should I feel ashamed about my relationship with my dominatrix?” I highly recommend a listen. You will laugh very much out loud many times.

I hope those help with your morning commute, they are generally enough to pull me out of bed most of the time.

Gallery 742

December 30, 2015

Dear Reader,

The Memory Palace is an extraordinary podcast, one I have written about for this blog before. In case you didn’t check them out I am offering you a perfect opportunity to do so. Nate DiMeo has produced a special episode of the podcast about a new permanent installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Galery 742-TPIAT

In the Met they have these special rooms that are re-creations of famous rooms from different periods. They added a new room recently, known as the Rockfeller-Worsham Dressing Room, or gallery 742. The exhibition is open through May 1st, 2016 and the room will be there forever. I will be taking a trip this January to NYC to see the exhibit and will stand in it listening to this episode.Gallery 742-TPIATBecause… this episode is a very special creation. The Memory Palace always provides a fascinating story, a slice of American lore that is at all times disturbing, touching, emotionally overwhelming, and totally absorbing. He has a way of making big stories seem intimate and tiny stories seem massively important. This episode is a perfect example of that. He tells the story of the woman who owned this dressing room, the woman who was at one point the richest woman in America. Her name was Arabella Worsham and she was beautiful and clever and totally mysterious and Nate DiMeo brings her to life by narrating the story of her boudoir and dressing room. Gallery 742-TPIATHere is my suggestion: Go see this exhibit and listen to this episode. Stand there in her room and listen to Nate DiMeo bring her to life. If you can’t make the trip, then listen to it anyway. It is a great introduction to the podcast and a pretty lovely creation.

The Memory Palace

July 8, 2015

Dear Reader,

I like to listen to podcasts while I walk around Boston so I am always looking for some unique channels. For some time I have been listening to The Allusionist, a UK based podcast that explores the origins and influences of words. Words as diverse as bra, pride, and the c-bomb are explored every two weeks in a fifteen minute podcast. I have really been enjoying it- but two weeks is a long time to wait for a new episode when I am walking every day. So I found The Memory Palace. Helen Zaltzman, who does The Allusionist, recommended it. I am so very glad that she did. The Allusionist

The Memory Palace is a history-based podcast that presents strange and moving stories that have mostly been lost to history. How did the world react to the invention of the first ferris wheel? Did you know that someone was recruited to babysit the first ever nuclear bomb? Have you heard of the religion of John Frum or the spiritualism of the Fox sisters? Nate DiMeo will tell you. The stories are moving, strange, and occasionally glorious. And at around five minutes an episode, they are easy to throw on whenever you need a distraction. Memory Palace

I love podcasts because I always feel like I am filling up empty space in my day. Instead of just walking with my own thoughts, which tends to make me overthink those thoughts, I can listen to something new. I feel like I am packing a little more living into my time. I encourage you to check out The Memory Palace- start at any episode, as they don’t build on each other, but I highly encourage you to listen to them all.

I hope you are enjoying this July Wednesday. I am headed to a wedding this weekend in California, so I will have some great photos of NoCal to share 🙂