Gen Listen Roundup - Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday, again?!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s some Valentine-themed links that you can enjoy even if you are #foreveralone:

1: NPR Valentine’s!
Do you love public radio as much as we do? Share your adoration with NPR-themed Valentine’s! You had us at First Listen.

2: Valentine’s for Journalists
My Love For You Will Go On Longer Than An Upworthy Headline.

3: Paris Confidential: The Mystery Mousse Behind The Chocolate Bar
CHOCOLATE. ‘Nuff said.

BONUS!
For you yearly dose of Sesame Street Valentine’s, check out PBS Kids’ V-Day site.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. I’m going to spend mine binge watching House of Cards.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Friday, February 21, 2014

Andy Samberg, it’s FRIDAY again. What do you say there, eh?

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Thanks, buddy. Here are some links I think you should check out:

1: Oh No! When U.S. And Canada Face Off, ‘Loser Keeps Bieber’
Please?

2: Video Streaming Is Straining, But Who Will Ease The Tension?
My thoughts on the DMV area where I live having the priciest Internet in the country - while simultaneously some of the worst service - can be surmised by one of the comments on this story (which, I apologize in advance for reading): “Does anyone really like their cable company?”

2: Dr. Seuss’s Private Hat Collection Is Quite A Sight
A hat’s a hat, no matter how small.

BONUS! You may remember the group Pomplamoose as a viral sensation from a handful of years back. Best known for their singer’s signature deer-in-the-headlights hipster dead eyes (I kid, I kid), their popularity spiked after their music was featured in a commercial for Hyundai. NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered reported on the duo in 2010.

All jokes aside, the group just released one of the most inventive music videos I’ve seen in some time. Projection mapping on physical objects, and it’s all done in one take. So good. Check it out, and have a great weekend.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I will never pass on a Wednesday Addams GIF.

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She’s the one powering this super-packed post. Let’s get it. Here are some links I think you should check out:

1: An Education Reporter Puts Himself To The (Standardized) Test
I’ll admit that I haven’t been keeping up with whatever Common Core is because I’m neither a teacher nor a parent. But even the words “standardized testing” give me the heebie-jeebies. NPR’s Cory Turner took the test and, well… There’s some work left to be done.

2: The Security Bug That Affects Most Of The Internet, Explained
A 16-year-old emo kid named this bug (not factual): Heartbleed. I like to think I know things about computers (I don’t), like how to bold and italicize things, but many of the Internet’s tubes, I just don’t get. Here’s a great, layman’s terms breakdown of what it means for you.

3: 100-Year-Old Message In A Bottle Plucked From Baltic Sea
DREAMS DO COME TRUE! ART DOES IMITATE LIFE! EXCLAMATION POINTS!

4: The Forgotten Childhood: Why Early Memories Fade
I have wondered about this for a long time, because one of those questions that crops up when you start to really get to know someone is “What’s your earliest memory?” I can’t even remember that, to be honest. In unrelated news, I’ve just upped my gingko biloba intake.

5: This Pie Chart Is Delicious And Statistically Sound
Pie, you say?

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Delightful. Throw some at my face.

BONUS! What does sound look like? Adam Cole made a visual and you need to put your eyeballs on it this instant. Why are you still here? Go!

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Monday, March 31, 2014

It’s before 10am on a Monday, and I’ve already had too much caffeine:

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I’m gonna go run a 10k before lunch, then pass out for approximately 20 hours. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, someone please hit “Send” on all my Twitter drafts. They’re excellent* jokes, I promise.

In the meantime, here are some links I think you should check out:

1: Printing Wikipedia Would Take 1 Million Pages, But That’s Sort Of The Point
Yeah, but who’s going to stop the MONSTER that keeps editing me out from the top of this album review I wrote many years ago… before this thing gets printed?!

2: She Works: Money Advice From NPR
Got some tips on how to save a couple extra bucks? Head on over to She Works to see advice from some of the smart and savvy women of NPR, and to make your own shareable sign.

3: Music Madness: A Final Four Puzzler
I grew up in Gator country and briefly went to the University of Florida, so I’m freaking out about the prospects of another national championship. But man… I really bombed on this quiz. Hope they don’t revoke the privilege of being a reptile.

BONUS! Hey, video producers! Need some ace music for your new short film? Of course you do. Look no further: Teebs’ stunning new album E S T A R A is now streaming on NPR Music’s First Listen series. Go. Be inspired.

Rad.
-alex

*questionable, if not wholly untrue
Gen Listen Roundup - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Can I get real with you guys for a minute? Before I moved to DC last September, I hadn’t ever lived out of Florida. It’s snowing again today at the mothership, and I’m just like:

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If you’re feeling generous, please send some sympathy pizza to NPR HQ. In the meantime, here are some links I think you should check out:

1: What To Do With Your Smartphone While You’re Having Dinner
Turn it off.

2: Can You Open A Bottle Of Wine With A Shoe? Yes, But It Ain’t Pretty
Yeah, but can you open a beer bottle with the crook of your forearm?!

3: Watch Two Crazy People BASE Jump From One World Trade Center
I’ve skydived before, and it was thrilling, but man… the video of these dudes (Who, for the record, were arrested) jumped off 1WTC this past September makes my palms sweaty.

BONUS! The venerable enigma himself, Adam West (aka TV’s Batman) lives in Idaho because, well… of course he does. Here’s a story of how he is listed in the local phone book. I have rarely read something as fitting and perfect.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Thursday, March 20, 2014

It’s as close to the end of the week without actually being the end of the week. So you know what that means:

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Thanks, TV’s Space Ghost. The original version of your show truly makes me wonder how nearly any concept for a cartoon got on TV back in the day.

Here are some links i think you should check out:

1: The 500-Pound ‘Chicken From Hell’ Likely Ate Whatever It Wanted
Literally, no. Any world in which 500-pound chickens run the world is a terrifying hellscape and not one I want to live in.

2: Einstein’s Lost Theory Discovered … And It’s Wrong
Battling your daily existential crisis, you Millennial you? Here’s some hope in the form of Albert Einstein’s fallible nature. Breathe easy.

3: Digging For Gold: Study Says Your Race Determines Your Earwax Scent
Digging for gold? More like headline gold. As for the piece, I’m fascinated - and yes, maybe a little disgusted - that race is one of the determining factors in what the wax that builds up in your ears smells like. Science is funducational, people.

BONUS! I’m a sucker for art installations, but this one might take the cake. Touching story, and a mind-bending idea for a memorial. Everything about this is a yes.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday had me like:

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Thanks, Baloo, for being the graphical representation moments after caffeinating. Here are some links I think you should check out, even if you’re stuck at work:

1: Think You Know How To Cook Eggs? Chances Are You’re Doing It Wrong
My whole life is a lie. Well, at least what I know about eggs. But now I’m a lot hungrier than before. Recipes!

2: Sichuan Pepper’s Buzz May Reveal Secrets Of The Nervous System
Just now realized I have two food stories in this roundup. I think my appetite is what’s writing today’s post. Have you ever eaten Sichuan pepper? You may have, and not have known it, actually. But could the tingling sensation for which the pepper is known be connected to a foot that’s fallen asleep? When will we not have to deal with that on planes?

3: Light And Dark: The Racial Biases That Remain In Photography
Here’s a tough read, but engaging insight by the folks from Tell Me More.

BONUS! Tampa! Merchandise! My home town! Field recording! Exclamation points?

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday again, Bubby?

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He’s got the right idea.

Did you know that every day this week will be the same backwards as it is forwards? [mindblown.gif]

Here are some links I think you should check out to help you get through this week:

1: Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach
This is my excuse to use the word ‘borborygmi’ again. Fascinating work by NPR’s Alix Spiegel, who patroned a supermarket I’ve actually been to. DC!

2: Could Playfulness Be Embedded In The Universe?
Please go read this story, but let me entice you a little bit: There are two very happy dogs behind that link. I’ll wait.

Why are you still here? Puppies.

3: Book News: ‘Captain Underpants’ Is 2013’s Most Vilified Book
What is this all about? It hurts my soul. My brother and I grew up on this series, Goosebumps, Animorphs, and a slew of others.

BONUS! I may be biased here because she was a fellow intern over at NPR Music last fall, but Kiana Fitzgerald wrote up the First Listen for Kelis’ new album Food, and it’s a good’er - Both the album and the article. Also, today at 4PM EST, join @NPRandB for a live chat with Kelis, using the hashtag “#AskKelisNPR”.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Friday, April 11, 2014

It’s Friday, and HOLY COLBERT!

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Here are some links I think you should check out, but seriously, COLBERT!:

1: Colbert Plans To Take Up The Late Night Mic For CBS
So I’m kind of floored by this, because not only is Stephen Colbert taking the Late Show reins from David Letterman (And hopefully only once), but according to NPR’s Eric Deggans, he’s also retiring “Colbert” as we know him to be today. That’s a tough loss. We only have 8 more months of one of the most tremendous late night figures ever. Really a bummer, but good for Stephen.

2: Songwriters Behind ‘Frozen’ Let Go Of The Princess Mythology
GET THIS SONG OUT OF MY BRAIN ALREADY.

3: How Do I Appear Knowledgeable Without Acting Like A Jerk?
Oof. Good luck, man. This week’s The Good Listener column sees Stephen Thompson try to take on elitism and minefields.

4: Nirvana Leads New Class In Rock Hall Of Fame
Okay, that’s cool and all, but after their induction, Nirvana played a show. In 2014. Nirvana. You weren’t there. They played in a bar that fit 300 people. Nirvana. In 2014. You didn’t make it to that.

BONUS! This week, it’s Drum Fill Friday: BRIDE OF DRUM FILL. I predict next week’s title will be Drum Fill Friday: Episode 7, Please Don’t Mess This Up.

Have a ridiculous weekend.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ever think it’s a later day in the week than it actually is? And you’re just like…

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Sheesh, man. Anyway, here are some links I think you should check out to combat that feeling:

1: It’s Official: Americans Are Floating In A Pool Of Ranch Dressing
I know a dude back home who won’t eat wings without ranch dressing. Just… straight up won’t do it. I hope you’re not like him, but if you are, you aren’t alone. Y’all should get together and ranch out or something.

2: In #CancelColbert, A Firestorm And A Lost Opportunity
In case you’ve missed the #CancelColbert ‘nontroversy’, a staffer at Comedy Central sent out an “easily misconstrued without the context of the full joke, which is essential because the whole point is having the context of the full joke” tweet. The Asian community (aka the offended party) were incensed. Things got ugly. Hashtag to cancel Colbert’s show ensued. Colbert was vindicated because he didn’t write the tweet (a CC staffer did) - but then couldn’t respond because both Colbert Report and The Daily Show are Monday through Thursday shows. Turns out Suey Park didn’t want to cancel the show after all, in spite of the hashtag that would suggest otherwise. Colbert then spent nearly the entirety of his Monday night show deconstructing the event, etc. etc. NPR’s Eric Deggans says everyone missed the point entirely.

3: Weekly Innovation: Turn A 3-D Printer Into A Tattoo Machine

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BONUS! The first band I ever saw live was The White Stripes. I know, I started off right. What was yours? The crew over at All Songs have a new mix this week featuring Jack White, formerly of the Stripes. It’s a ripper of an instrumental. Peep it here.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool’s Day, everybody.

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Stay vigilant today amidst the terrifying hellscape of Onion-esque horrors.

In the meantime, here are some links I think you should check out:

1: I’m Darth Vader, And I Approve This Message
I’m not playing into today’s jokes. This is a v serious headline and story, thank you.

2: An Intern At 40-Something, And ‘Paid In Hugs’
This is a touching story, but if you just looked at the headline, you might be persuaded to believe it was true. Please… please let this not be my generation’s reality.

3: Pay Attention: Your Frustration Over Smartphone Distraction
All Tech Considered's Elise Hu asked for comments over constant smart phone attachment. I'm glad to see a few responses from my generation. I try to make it a point not to be on my phone if I'm out with a group of friends - unless it's urgent, like March Madness. What do you say? Let the All Tech crew know.

BONUS! Our friends over at All Songs want to know: What album out recently will hold up the best? Tough one for me to answer, but I’m partial to both Death Grips’ Government Plates and HAIM’s Days Are Gone. How’s that for a tour? Who can I talk to to make that happen?

Seriously though, believe everything you read today. It will help you through your next existential crisis.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Friday, March 28, 2014

BILL NYE, IT’S FRIDAY!

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It’s electric. Here are some links I think you should check out… in lieu of you being mentally checked out, because we are on the very precipice of the weekend.

1: The Black Dog project, started by photographer Fred Lavy, is a “photo series started after a conversation about how black dogs have a harder time getting adopted then other dogs.” This is news to me, for sure. Levy’s photos are gorgeous, and not just for the fact that they are dogs and I will never pass on the opportunity to look at pictures of dogs. (h/t Nadya Faulx)

2:
‘WhatsAppitis’ And Other Modern Injuries
In today’s “Seriously? C’mon, millennials" news, there’s this: Someone went to the hospital because they were texting too much. Nothing is sacred, people.

3: The Thin Tweet Line: Is Twitter The New 911?
If you know anything about me at all, it is that I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I think, of any of the current social media platforms, it’s the best for communication. Facebook limits posts, Instagram is so visual… Twitter is my game. So if it can be used for a really, exceptionally good reason like the one used in this link, well… I’m all about that.

BONUS! One of my favorite music quizzes on the Intanet is back: Drum Fill Fridays! Hit them with your best shot. I got 3/5 correct - I know, I am a terrible former NPR Music intern.

Hey Shaq… have a great weekend, yeah?

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Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Thursday, March 27, 2014

TONIGHT, SPORTS ARE BACK TO WIN THE GAME!

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YEAH!

Here are some links I think you should check out:

1: Does Beaver Tush Flavor Your Strawberry Shortcake? We Go Myth Busting
I’m not going to lie to you, family: I’m only posting this one because of its headline. I guarantee that you’ve never seen ‘beaver tush’ and ‘strawberry shortcake’ in the same sentence in your life. The picture is delicious, too.

2: It Was The Best Of Sentences …
TWITTER NATION! Except that, many of these sentences, as good as they are, still wouldn’t fit in a tweet. I guess they’re okay, still.

3: How A Cold Brew Can Stop You From Checking Your Smartphone
This may be my bias coming out here because I can’t stand it when people are on their phones while out and about in the world, because this is the second “Please put your phone away!” story in the last two days here. Anyway, please put your phone away if we are drinking a beer together. Please?

BONUS! Sometimes, we get bogged down in life for any number of reasons: because of the amount of time we spend at work, not feeling fulfillment, not enough Taco Bell breakfast, etc. NPR’s Linda Holmes asked Twitter: “Tell Me Two Things Good,” and the results were touching. Go read and be happy.

Rad.
-alex

p.s. How was your Taco Bell breakfast?
Gen Listen Roundup - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hello.

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Are you wondering why Yo-Yo Ma is making a mustachio’d mannequin play that cello? I still am too, but it’s a thing that happened. Here is that link and some others I think you should check out:

1: Welcome To Yo-Yo’s Playhouse
Honestly, it’s still not the weirdest NPR Music thing I’ve seen, but it’s definitely up there. Watch this spirited performance of John Zorn’s Briel as professional musicians goof about in a props warehouse.

2: Facebook Will Acquire Virtual Reality Company For $2 Billion

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3: A Rational Conversation: Lil Jon’s History Of Turning Up
I’m so glad I can be within my work parameters when I say to you: Turn up.

BONUS! The champions over at Wait, Wait!… Don’t Tell Me tackled an MRE ‘pork rib’ for their latest Sandwich Monday. Does it stack up to the McRib? Can the McRib be stopped? Will Intern Seth appear in a picture where he isn’t grimacing? These questions and more… probably answered.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Friday, March 21, 2014

You know, life is really weird, when an entire day can be associated with a single person. I’m talking about Friday, and if you’ve been on the Internet for any period of time the last, Idk, several years, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, here’s a GIF that summarizes it being the end of the work week:

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Thanks, Shaq. Here are some links I think you (I’m talking to you, Shaq) should check out (Also you, if you are reading this):

1: Thrill-Seeking Teen Sneaks To Top Of 1 World Trade Center
This reminds me of those pictures sure to give you vertigo. “Place Hacking” is apparently a thing, so when a 16-year-old wanted to climb the 1WTC, of course he did that very thing. Kids these days. When I was 16, I think* I was still playing Xbox, not climbing a skyscraper. Please, don’t try this at home (But if you do, tweet out the pictures before your phone gets confiscated).

2: What’s The Biggest Animal Gathering Ever? (Was Rod Stewart There?)
I’m crylaughing at the headline. If you only read one story today about large gatherings of sentient objects and how Rod Stewart factors into that… let this one be it.

3: This Simple Stew Is A Battleground In A Bowl
The war for your tastebuds has never been more delicious.

BONUS! Perfect Pussy, my new favorite “potentially offensive band name but totally not offensive at all once you understand what it actually means, considering it’s actually about lead singer Meredith Graves’ cat”, played a positively blistering set at NPR Music’s SXSW 2014 showcase. Now you can watch their show in its entirety. Do that, and have an extraordinary weekend.

Rad.
-alex

*definitely was
Gen Listen Roundup - Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It’s Tuesday, and snowing again at the mothership here in DC. TV’s Daria Morgendorffer, what do you have to say about it?

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That’s what I thought. Here’s some links I think you should check out:

1: How Not To Name Your Baby
Maybe one day in the future, you’ll want to have some offspring of your own. Or maybe you won’t. That’s cool, too, man. But in case you do breed, it’s a good idea to go ahead and give that new person a name. Here’s an essay about a family who didn’t name their kids until a few days after their children were born.

2: Social Media Researcher Gets How Teenagers Use The Internet
I’ve included this, a story from today’s Morning Edition, to say one thing: No, you don’t, researcher person.

3: 6 Incredibly Accurate Predictions About TV From 1989
Television… on your PHONE? Truly, we are living in the future, now.

4: Beck’s Long Balancing Act
Also from today’s Morning Edition, this is a tremendous interview with Beck Hansen, an artist I still have not managed to see live. He’s on the short list. Elton John is too. Beck talks his new album, a return to the soul-stirring era of Sea Change.

BONUS! I’m now into my 6th month here at NPR, and I’ve been privileged to see a lot of Tiny Desk Concerts, including John Legend, Neko Case, The Dismemberment Plan, The Pixies, and a slew of others. I can say with 100% certainty that the latest one released, from a band called Brass Bed, is my favorite yet.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday again. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. TV’s Space Ghost, how should we deal?

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Just throw coffee on my face and I’ll try to absorb it, thanks. Here’s some links I think you should check out:

1: THE GIF IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE GIF!
Okay, so maybe my alternate headline for that story is misleading, but the sentiment stands. Long a source of pronunciatory controversy (a scenario I’m calling a pronunciaversy), the GIF is a cumbersome - and old - medium. In technology years, 27 is a veritable relic. So what is the future of moving images on the Internet? Is it something like what the New York Times has done with 'living video' sources like the ones seen here? Is it cinemagraphs like those seen on this NPR piece about North Dakota’s oil boom? Or is it the new(ish) HTML 5-based technology called the GFY? The definitive answer right now seems to be up in the air, but what is clear is that the pronunciation of GIF is ‘jiff.’

2: A Father Plays Call Of Duty With His Son, Watched By Thousands
Because the internet, a kid and his dad now have 120,000+ subscribers on the streaming service Twitch, broadcasting their Call of Duty tag team efforts. Please go outside every once in a while, guys.

3: Fred Armisen’s Fake Bands (And Their Real Songs)
As the former intern for All Songs Considered, I totally get where the All Things Considered staff is coming from with loads and loads of mail every day. In this age of digital streams, we still somehow managed to get hundreds of CDs every week. Glad to see they didn’t throw away music from comedian and Portlandian Fred Armisen. Cacao.

BONUS! See if you can pick out which is my anonymous vocal confession on Morning Edition. If you do, I’ll give you some of these killer chocolate-covered espresso beans I’ve got at my desk this morning.

Rad.
-alex
Gen Listen Roundup - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It’s Tuesday.

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House of Cards, guys. GUYS.

House of Cards.

Here’s some links I think you should check out:

1: Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rented in 2005
So here’s a bit of info about me, your host. I used to work for Blockbuster, back when brick-and-mortar rental service was still a thing (ah, the good ole’ days). There were times when I was annoyed with customers for keeping too long the movies or games I wanted to watch or play. But man… to be arrested for not returning Monster-in-Law? C’mon.

2: 4 Reasons Why Jimmy Fallon’s First ‘Tonight Show’ Killed It
In case you have been living under a rock for the last few years, Jimmy Fallon was tapped in 2009 to replace Jay Leno as host of the ‘Tonight Show’. Now, that transition has been made. How long before that Denim Dude makes his forceful return to television?

3: DIY Houses In The Internet Age: Some Assembly Required
I’ll admit it. I’ve never chosen the right answer on House Hunters. Not one time. But I still watch. In recent days, I’ve gotten a kick out of tiny houses, and follow all those Tumblrs with perfect interior design that I know I could never accomplish. This story’s great.

BONUS! In a special birthday event (I think), NPR Music is treating me AND everyone else on the Internet to a First Listen stream of St. Vincent’s new self-titled album! It’s as good or better than cake.

Rad.
-alex
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