Monday, June 25, 2007

The Word Nerds Podcast

Such a long time I have had to wait until I could write about my favorite podcast. The wordnerds had been away for months, but finally they are back. Unfortunately, they are not back as they used to. They used to deliver one podcast a week. At least they are back to the one podcast per three weeks -- I hope

The Word Nerds is like a radio show only so much better as it is a podcast and hence can be listened to when and where and at the speed and repetitiousness I like. It has the music, apt jingles, announcements, sound quality and jive a professional radio program has. And it is about words, language and why we say the things we do, which makes it just the right stuff for me.

Three language teachers (Latin, English, German) elegantly take on various subjects from really nerdy linguistic grammar stuff, like modal verbs, to juicy expletives and of course the returning 'rude word of the week'. In light, but to the point, banter they discuss the subject and thus produce 30 to 45 minutes podcasts that are real gems in the field. They are also very apt at using music like adding podsafe work to each edition. A great podcast especially for language lovers, but also for any interested in the sublime craft of podcasting -- what a shining example!

Virginia Oldoini according to Bob

Bob Packett is at his best when he gets to tell the really juicy details of great history. As a matter of fact, he is also at his best when he recounts the sordid affairs in small history. Maybe, Bob is always at his best; no history so small or great, or there are sordid juicy stories to tell about.

There is a whole series in his History according to Bob podcast about famous mistresses. Bob does them with great enthusiasm, that is hard to resist. The latest is about Virginia Oldoini. She roamed the courts of France and Italy in the early nineteenth century and did so, if we can count on Bob, in a very self-conscious and effective way. She strode among the who-is-who among others Napoleon III, Bismarck and Victor Emmanuel. She made heads turn and parties fall silent when she entered and she played them all like musical instruments. But for power wielding magic like this stories have no good endings. Listen to Bob and find out what was the fate of Oldoini when she got old. (if at all)

De jongens van Foppe

Ik mag me dan als internet-intellectueel onledig houden met educatieve podcasts, ik volg ook een paar sporten on-line. Daar komen dan toch een paar primaire driften naar boven en ontdekte ik en passant (zie blog en blog) dat ik heel conservatieve sentimenten heb als het op voetbal aan komt.

Daarbij wil ik wel aantekenen, dat ik meer en meer begin af te haken bij de grote evenementen. Vorig jaar was het WK een deceptie. De Tour de France is een deceptie, eigenlijk al sinds 1998. En als je nu de berichten leest over Riis dan verlies je met terugwerkende kracht nog een jaar. Ik was trouwens altijd een liefhebber van Jan Ulrich, maar die heeft er ook alles aan gedaan om dat te bederven.

Maar goed, ik wilde het over voetbal hebben. Waar het WK en de grote elftallen, elkaar in een verlammende greep hebben, zowel in de Champions League als in de competities voor nationale teams, ontdekte ik vorig jaar al een sprankeling in het U21 gebeuren. En daar werden we ook meteen kampioen. En opnieuw.

De persoon van Foppe de Haan past daar prima bij. Zoals hij prima bij Heerenveen paste, al die jaren en ons de sympathiekste subtopper bracht. Laat Foppe eerst maar eens schitteren op de Olympische Spelen. Maar als hij Oranje naar Zuid Afrika zou nemen. Zou Foppe dan sneuvelen in de waanzin van de verkramping die bij het hoogste podium hoort? Of zou Foppe de verademing zijn en ons een WK brengen om nooit te vergeten?

University Channel Podcast

The university of Princeton hosts the University Channel Podcast. The podcast delivers on a nearly daily basis lectures and forum discussion about current affairs. It is my impression that the source of the lectures is from all over the (English Speaking) world not just from Princeton itself.

For example, I have just listened to a lecture held at the Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Other lectures I recall were from the London School of Economics and so on. What a wonderful, one point of contact, for your think tank input. The supply is so large, I get to pick and choose from whatever interests me. In the past I have listened to many a lecture or discussion on the Middle East. Another issue of note was a lecture with Philip Zimbardo, who plugged his book The Lucifer Effect (as he also did in Shrinkrapradio #87).

The Vanderbilt lecture was by Douglas Schmidt on Globalization, following mostly the book by Thomas Friedman 'The world is flat'. Friedman describes the world as "flat" as to give a metaphor for the fact that competition between industrial and developing countries are leveling. Schmidt follows this with his own examples. I can connect to it for being an active internet user, a man with dual citizenship, three languages (at least) and a second career man who switched from a traditional field, to the hi-tech.