The 15 Favorite Podcast Shows and Episodes! Under Construction

UNDER CONSTRUCTION come back 10pm Est

Here a decade into the podcast phenomenon and the vast majority of people still don’t seem to get them or understand them or even know why they should be bothered.

As someone who has been on the podcast bandwagon since its inception, I’ll tell you why it matters. It matters because it is a realization and reimagining of that mythical Golden Age of Radio that exploded on the American airwaves in the 1920s and thrived into the 1950s with the broad adoption of television.

Much of what we still understand as how mass entertainment works, how talk shows work, how documentaries work, how drama shows work, how horror shows work, how fantasy and scifi shows work, how variety shows work, how comedy and music and empathy and humanism works for a mass audience, a 20th century audience… was defined by that golden age of radio.

It has left a long and endearing shadow, that we still are inspired by, Whether it be THE FALL OF THE CITY or COLUMBIA WORKSHOP or THE SHADOW, that early medium of Radio changed and shaped the contours of a new century.

Podcasts I feel are doing the same here in the 21st century, it is creating a delivery medium between artists and fan, between product, process maker, and audience, that creates a dialog, that because it is moderated and crafted by people who care, you get a conversation and appreciation, that you don’t get on youtube, or twitter, or facebook which often are examples of the lowest common denominator of communication and interaction.

Podcasts on the whole are by fans for fans and as such you lose the inane, uninformed and tired questioning that highlights so much of talk radio or talk television, that exists largely to use the guest to sell pharmaceuticals or cars or soda. I’m not coming down on advertizing, because that plays a role in podcasts too, but even there the advertisers are fans, so it becomes from host to hearer, about people with common loves coming together to celebrate those loves.

Freed of having to cowtow to corporate interests with no real respect for the content beyond its ability to turn a profit, Podcasts are that rarest and most noble, and fragile of things… art for art’s sake.

UNCOLLECTED CLASSICS : DAREDEVIL 126 AND 127! Favorite Comic Books!

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UNCOLLECTED CLASSICS : DAREDEVIL 126 AND 127! Favorite Comic Books!

With Netflix and Marvel Studios currently hard at work on a live-action Daredevil TV series, I thought the time was right to highlight some of my favorite Daredevil comics.

This installment is on DAREDEVIL 126 and 127, from 1975, sporting great Gil Kane covers, and a fun Marv Wolfman story with Bob Brown/Klaus Janson, it is one of my favorite Daredevil two-parters. While written for a 1975 audience of kids, it still holds up and builds to a surprisingly poignant ending.

RATING THE EPISODES : KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER Best and Worst Episodes

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Netflix On-Demand Classic TV: KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER Best and Worst Episodes

THE SENTRY episode of KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER, the last episode of the short lived series and some would argue the worst, is actually a tense, atmospheric, well paced episode. What sinks it is the laughable ‘monster’ creation.

The director does what he can to underplay the ludicrousness of the ‘monster’, showing it as little as possible. I don’t think anyone would argue the monster creation was anything other than a pathetic disappointment even by 1970s standards, that someone should have been fired for.

It is so bad it makes the bargain basement cardboard creatures of early Doctor Who look almost good. Star Darren McGavin rightly pulled the plug on this series when he saw the quality not just dipping, but plummeting.

All that said, despite the poor monster design, this particular episode still works, and is quite engaging and fast paced. As opposed to the oft praised VAMPIRE episode, which I find to be plodding. A solid GOOD, and one that using CGI to draw in a better monster could only help. Grade: C.

THE SPANISH MOSS MURDERS- This is Kolchak at his best, as this episodes mixes the cutting edge dream experimentation studies of the day, with supernatural monster lore, to create a bigfoot sized dream assassin. Quite enjoyable and fast paced. Grade: B/B+.

THE KNIGHTLY MURDERS – the opening to this one does not fill me with confidence. An out of focus suit of armor dispensing out of focus death. But with the appearance of John Dehner as an erudite and forlorn and quixotic Captain, the stock on this episode begins to rise. Add the great Hans Conried as the curator and it becomes just a fun, enjoyable, well-written episode. Really enjoyable. B/B+.

HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS – A very imaginative and smart episode. Add the murder of Jewish elderly, rats, swastikas, Hindu spirits, death that comes like a friend, and the myth of the end of the world, and you have a particularly compelling and enjoyable episode. Of all the monsters that Kolchak has faced this one may be the most insidious. B+.

VAMPIRE – Just a plodding, overrated episode. The only thing this episode has going for it is the very ending, with the audacious, and possibly inappropriate visuals of a cross burning and staking as the solution to Kolchak’s problem.

In fact watching this series all together there is a lot of questionable but reoccurring Nazi and Klan imagery throughout (swastikas in CHOPPED, HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS and burning crosses in VAMPIRE). Grade: D-.

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CHOPPED – An incredibly fake looking headless horseman helms this poor man’s version of THE WILD ONE. Like VAMPIRE this is a plodding, boring episode. Another embarrassment of a monster design. Grade: D.

You can view the episodes for yourself courtesy of ON-DEMAND or buy the DVD at a savings here:
Kolchak – The Night Stalker DVD

The DVD is worth owning just to have the episodes HORROR IN THE HEIGHTS and THE SPANISH MOSS MURDERS always at your fingertips.

Come back for more RATING THE EPISODES!

Home Improvement and arguably Life Improvement tip of the Day : Light


As we get older it’s amazing the revelations we, if not learn, finally accept and integrate into our lives. Such as staying away from high Fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch/MSG. What you didn’t get the memo? :).

Yesterday after decades on this planet, I finally switched from regular bright light or warm light light bulbs, the kind that I guess make up 99% of the type of lights most people are living or working under in America, to full spectrum/daylight light bulbs.

Great Caesar’s Ghost!!! What the heck was I waiting for??? There is a negligible price difference and the quality of the light is noticeably easier.

What do I mean by easier? There’s always the sense in the human condition that we are fighting things, ourselves, others, nature, the tools we use to do our job, even the chairs we use or the lights that keep us from the dark.

There was always a bit of strain or glare or if not discomfort, at least awareness of otherness in the artificial light you use when the sun goes down. Artificial is the word, however I accepted it as a given, and compensated with brighter bulbs or angled reading lamps, etc.

Yesterday when I stuck those 5000 and 6500 kelvin bulbs in my floor standing lamps, what I felt when I turned them on, is the tension I always keep around my eyes in preparation for the coming of the light, I felt that tension let go.

I was prepared for something to fight against, the human condition, and instead this light flowed over me like a breeze, like a hand, and the light in my house and I… were no longer at war.

Since that revelation I’ve added 6500 Kelvin lights to my kitchen, helps the plants grow, and 5000 and 6500 Kelvin lights throughout the rest of the house. I keep one room with the standard artificial light, that I spent most of my life living, and working, and breathing under, I keep that room there to remember the fight, and in its contrast to the rest of the house, it reminds me to always appreciate… the end of fighting.

Most full spectrum lights you’ll find are CFL lights (Compact Fluorescent). Just about all of us now have CFL lights in our house, but very few of us have the full spectrum daylight bulbs. As I said, it in my estimation is a no-brainer regarding full spectrum light bulbs… they are must haves. The issue with CFL’s however is the one there has always been, they contain mercury. Mercury for an element that we rely on so much, it is one of the most toxic substances to human life.

And as a guy who has used CFLs for years, they tend to blow… a lot. I have never found CFL claims of longevity to be accurate in the real world. They blow faster than incandescent bulbs in my experience. And over years of use you’re going to end up breaking your share. And even if you do manage, not to eat mercury over the cost of usage, you still have the issue of disposal, which is a big one. Because of the mercury content you cannot just toss it in the trash, it has to be taken to your local hazardous materials site or recycling site for proper disposal.

So there’s a lot of issues that become part of the mix when dealing with CFLs.

Which makes this push to LED light bulbs (Light Emitting Diodes) quite understandable. Though I have yet to find an LED that will work in the 6500K range and even the ones that work in the 5000K range, while producing that easy relaxing light, there are issues with them not truly being full-range. And depending on the brand, they also have flickering issues.

So yeah, I can definitely understand CFLs becoming less and less popular because of their Mercury issues (I would think a mercury free CFL bulb shouldn’t be an impossibility, why manufacturers have not pursued that option is a mystery) however as of today there really is no great equal or replacement for them in the 6500K Kelvin range (particularly great for growing plants).

So for the time being I use a combination of CFL daylight lights (making sure to be careful with the CFLs and properly dispose of them)and LED daylight lights, and in my house they are a hit. The light is a more pleasant experience than the harsh light that we had before, and we are better for the switch.

You just might agree as well. Try some Daylight bulbs for yourself here (and when you find the 6500K version you like, stock up as they are getting VERY hard to find):

Cree Daylight Dimmable Led 75w Replacement Bulb. Uses Only 13.5 Watts Ba19

 

“Finding Truth is difficult and the road to it is rough” –Ibn Al-Zahid. SEEKERS OF THE TRUTH

Currently Watching : A&E ROKU Channel – SELL THIS HOUSE EXTREME

SELL THIS HOUSE EXTREME
Los Angeles, CA Season 9 Episode 2
Courtesy of the A&E Roku channel!

https://www.rokuchannels.tv/aetv/

A good show, particularly for those with an eye toward home improvement, or prepping their home for sale.

Music Group of the Day : SONS OF SERENDIP

Caught this band on tv, here’s hoping they get picked up for a record deal as I like the music they produce, and would like to get some CDs.

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From their website:

“The Sons of Serendip is a musical group of four friends, who through a series of serendipitous events, came together in graduate school at Boston University. Micah Christian, a teacher from Randolph, MA, is the lead vocalist of the group; Cordaro Rodriguez, an attorney from Charlotte, NC, is the pianist and guitarist; Kendall Ramseur, a performer, cello instructor and grocery clerk from Charlotte, NC, is the cellist and vocalist; and Mason Morton, who is a teacher from Atlanta, GA, is the harpist for the quartet. They have each been playing their instruments since childhood, but recently, they came together to begin what they hope will be a long beautiful journey of creating music that touches people’s hearts. On America’s Got Talent, they hope that their music will resonate deeply with listeners and that, in some way, it will make their lives a little better – even if just for a moment.

All images copyright Shef Reynolds. All rights reserved. “

See more on their website here!

Ferguson, Missouri, Palestines in the making , Apartheid States… And how to turn it all around!


Ferguson, Missouri.

I practice an unpopular habit these days, I try not to speak till I know.

So to get a grasp on what this sleepy little town is in today’s media, I wanted to get a picture of what it was before it made national headlines.

I feel perspective give us an idea of how we got here, and where we can go from here.

According to City-Data.com The 2012 census tells us Ferguson is a town of approximately 21,135 people (no doubt a few less since the hostilities), the median age is 33.1 years, the mean of salaries was $36121, housing prices were right around $91808, and Blacks made up 64.9% of the population. As opposed to Whites being 30.6% of the population.

Add in other ethnic groups, of Hispanic, Asian, Indian, mixed (an odd designation, since few in America that would not apply to) and the total Colored population of Ferguson, is nearly 70% of that total population of 21,135 souls.

And yet a cursory glance of the news feeds coming out of Ferguson, shows a law enforcement that does not at all represent that population, does not represent that 70% of Blacks and Asians and Hispanic. Rather you see a heavily armored, virtually all White, armed response unit, prepped with the latest in federal government provided killing weaponry making a show of being ready to kill (ironically enough kill a colored population, with weapons paid for by the taxes of that same Colored population. Something wrong in that).

The news feeds and any calm examination of the facts show us Ferguson’s local Law enforcement as ,rather than an outgrowth and a part of the community… happily protecting and serving, instead an occupying army, a hostile, invasive minority trying to maintain an untenable power-base of master and slave, majority and minority. Watch the news and you see an American Palestine, an American Apartheid regime, local law enforcement as occupying armies, rather than integral peace-keepers.

And like Palestine and like South Africa, there is no way to reconcile that disparity of rule by the few. Therefore the roads open to America, the idea, and to us, the people, become few… but clear.

We can, all of us, nobly win, or meanly lose… our freedom. Lose it or win it in an embroiled conflict that will keep the mass of the population divided and wasted, fighting wars that were worthless and stupid when our grand fathers were young, while a few, laughing at these crabs in a barrel (Black, and White, and Yellow, and Red), shake their heads with mirth and win the only true war that matters… the class war. The war to define your life and to put their hands in your pocket while doing so.

So how do we win this 21st century war? First we have to learn how to fight it in a 21st century way. And that’s not by tossing rocks at tanks and helicopters and killer drones, and it is not by just marching, it’s by making a fiscal choice, have a fiscal cost.

Ferguson Government has staffed an all-White militarized police to in essence run rough shod over a mostly Black population that does most of the living and working and buying and selling and dying in Ferguson. Here’s the thing every one gets mastered, for better or worse, a society depends on codes of conduct, it depends on limitations of personal freedoms, it depends on sacrifice and responsibility, and it depends on heroes, and an understanding of right and wrong and holding that line. All of us either master and police ourselves, or we are mastered and policed.

The Black/colored population of Ferguson needs to use this incident as a wakeup call, to now put a new name up for mayor, a new name for chief of police (a step that I see, has been done by the Governor) a new name for city council. But it can’t stop there, if young people are going to be more than targets for the police, it is incumbent upon those with a sense of responsibility, to become the police for their neighborhoods; to be not an occupying army, but an integral part of maintaining the peace.

Until the person Ferguson residents call when they dial 911, is someone who respects and reflects them, bigoted and murdering police will continue to be the norm, rather than the exception.

And political and appointed offices do not live and run in a vacuum. Fiscal imperatives must drive people to do the right thing, must drive local police forces to demilitarize and be staffed by those from and representative of the neighborhoods.

The major banks in Ferguson are the UMB and U.S. Bancorp, so if you want to make people take notice of this outrage, you start there.

Get residents to close and pull all their accounts from the bank or bank that will not sign on for a petition requesting more diversity from Ferguson Law Enforcement. Same with the major schools or churches or department stores, any place where Black Dollars are consumed gladly, (which is most places), you petition them “show us you respect this population you make your money off of, sign this petition for more diversity, help us censor and change the Local Ferguson police and courts, or do without our dollars.”

Outrageous you say?

I would argue not.

We’re so removed from the age of strikes and civil disobedience, in our digital age, we forget, that the liberties most of us take for granted today, child labor laws, desegregation, 8 hour work day, were all won, not just by marching up and down meaninglessly, but were won by making bigotry and ignorance and evil… have a fiscal cost. It was won by making the cost of doing wrong, more trouble than the cost of doing right.

Ferguson, Missouri. Boycott any business that doesn’t employ people that look like you in significant positions. Create a petition, ask business to support it. Boycott the one’s that won’t. Boycott the targets, the kfcs, the mcdonalds, the walmarts, the libraries, the schools, the autoshops, the restaurants, the banks… and this doesn’t mean walk around carrying signs, you can do that if that’s your thing, but more importantly it means deny them your dollars, your patronage, YOUR RESPECT, and spread the word. The Montgomery Boycott was one of the most pivotal acts of fiscal reprisal, and we generations later are all benefiting from it.

Ferguson, it is now your turn to create your own fiscal reprisal. And by so doing, show the rest of America… the way.

Here endeth the lesson.