I have a bit of an addiction to podcasts. I named my iPod “My Sanity” on my computer, because when you work in data management (really just a fancy way of saying data entry most days) there is a lot of time where you are sitting a computer, looking a spreadsheet and not talking to anyone. To avoid going insane I listen to other people talk. Most of my podcasts I’ve been listening to for years, it has gotten to the point where I talk about the hosts as if they were my actual friends. But every now and then I stumble across something new and delightful. That happened a couple of months ago with Wiretap with Jonathan Goldstein.
A contributor to one of my other favorite audio shows This American Life, I’ve been aware of Jonathan (as I now feel I can call him since I’ve been listening to him almost non-stop for a couple of weeks) is Canadian (which is awesome, and means that the show is full of slightly adorable pronunciations of words like “sorry”) and has written a book of retellings of Bible stories. (His stories sometimes come up on his show and TAL, they’re pretty awesome.)
The show is hard to describe. It’s a collage of short stories – often about deep subjects like love or the after life – combined with interviews and conversations that Jonathan has with his parents and friends. The great trick of the show is that some of these interviews are real, and some comedy pieces that are completely invented. It’s not hard to tell the difference most of the time, but it’s fun when a conversation starts to try to guess which it’s going to be.
Here’s a few episodes to get you started:
1. Circle of Friends – Includes one of my favorite of David Eagleman’s stories about the afterlife. Also includes a good introduction to the craziness that is Howard – Jonathan’s man-child “good friend.”
2. All Lies Great and Small – Includes an adorable interview with a round table of children about whether or not it’s OK to lie.
3. Girls Gone Wild – Featuring resident party girl Cookie, who teaches us to remain party girls far out of our college years.
4. The Advice Show – Special episode the highlights the mixed up cast of the show. Jonathan assembles an advice panel featuring his father and god-daughter and an in-character Howard.
5. Lust – Part of a series they’ve been doing this year about the Seven Deadly Sins…plus it includes Dan Savage on Romeo & Juliet. You can’t go wrong.
Plus while researching this post I found out Jonathan Goldstein is a lot cuter than I initially thought: