This week, I’m giving you the gift of podbrevity. These episodes are short, succinct, and occasionally, sweet. Wesley Morris of The EP totally wins the award for best podcast episode under two minutes. Anyone out there in the ether want to nominate their favorite podcast ep that runs under seven minutes? I’d love to hear from you.
Please email thoughts, rambles, and wisdom to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Twitter.
Track 1: The Passive-Aggressive Breakup Win
Wesley Morris talks about Adele’s “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” a song he dares to call “kind of obnoxious.” He deciphers the deep and dark “self pity, self empowerment thing” that keeps popping up in the song. Give yourself this small gift, this small podcast episode from the dear New York Times that runs just under two minutes.
Line of note: “She’s in this relationship. She’s not getting what she wants out of it. Not only is she breaking up with him. She’s making it seem like he’s breaking up with her. He’s not!”
90 Seconds: Nixed Metaphors
Over at Slate, Mary Wilson looks at changes in the editorial staff at the New York Daily News, what E.P.A. chief Scott Pruitt is up to, and how Senate Democrats are responding to the latest G.O.P. health care bill. This is a meditation on mixed metaphors emerging in Donald Trump’s America. It’s short, succinct, and a solid roundup. Check out iTunes for other episodes.
Line of note: “You know what. New rule. If you use a colorful metaphor, we’re going to make you stick to it.”
Ivanka Trump’s Landlord Is a Chilean Billionaire Suing the Government
Things you learn from the Wall Street Journal’s five minute and 18-second podcast: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner live in a house owned by Andrónico Luksic, a wealthy Chilean entrepreneur. We don’t know what they’re paying for rent, but reporter James Grimaldi digs into D.C. records and reveals the potential web of ethics violations that their lease could entail.
Line of note: “The billionaire, who owns the house, is suing the federal government over a massive copper and nickel mine that’s in northeastern Minnesota near the Boundary Waters area.”
How to Fix the Supreme Court
Damon Linker, a senior correspondent at TheWeek.com, gives us a thing of beauty: a deep historical dive into the history of the Supreme Court. This is a podcast for people who want to meditate on the ideological divides in Congress and in the U.S. legal system. What happens when and if Trump gets the opportunity to nominate someone to succeed a liberal justice? It’s a question many of us don’t want to ask, but Linker tries to imagine an institutional fix to the quagmire at hand.
Line of note: “But, the Garland blockade set a new standard for dyspeptic dysfunction.”
March 10, 2017
This episode of BBC Minute gave me a headache. Maybe you’re of a stronger mind and spirit. Maybe you can handle these monosyllabic shenanigans about the Ebola virus, The Weeknd, and the latest scandals in the United Arab Emirates.
Line of note: “Who should’ve won album of the year at the Grammys?”
History in Five Minutes
Why Did British Men Wear Powdered Wigs in the 1700s?
The answer, if you must know, involves syphilis. Journalist Michael Rank talks about the stigma of baldness, the rise of wig making and the horrors of lice. We learn some hilarious tidbits about the history of wigs. Take, for example, the fact that King Louis XIV of France hired 48 wig makers to try to save his image and reputation. Later, his cousin, King Charles II of England, went down the same road and used wigs to try to cover up his baldness—what was likely a symptom of his own syphilis. This podcast is absolutely fabulous, especially if you’ve ever found yourself wondering about big wigs, wig cleaners, wig modifiers and, I might add, wig wearers.
Line of note: “Without antibiotics, victims [of syphilis] faced all of the brunt of the disease, which included rashes, open sores, blindness, dementia, and patchy hair loss. So, baldness swept the land.”
Happier with Gretchen Rubin
Little: When You’re Stressed, Try This
What are the little things we can do to make ourselves a wee bit more sane, a little more functional each day? Gretchen Rubin talks about her inner bibliothecophile, how a small visit to the library charges her batteries.
Line of note: “It’s a secret of adulthood. When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.”
Raised on a strict diet of NPR and C-SPAN, Muira McCammon is a war crimes researcher by day and a podcast reviewer for Paste Magazine by night. She can be found on Twitter @muira_mccammon or walking about the woods of western Massachusetts. Her writing has previously appeared in Slate, Waypoint by VICE, Atlas Obscura, the Massachusetts Review, and other publications.