It’s been a very long time since I owned a TV. In the good ol’ days, that meant that nearly all of my entertainment and news came straight out of the radio, in my case, WNYC. (I’m talking like, the pre-Hulu, pre-Netflix streaming days, if you can recall such a thing.) I downloaded episodes of This American Life via Audible. My options were … limited. Some nights, I found myself listening to Danny Stiles, despite my irrational hatred for him. I call these “the dark ages.”
Then, sometime around 2007, I decided to check out MaximumFun.org after hearing The Sound of Young America on WNYC. I listened to Jordan, Jesse, Go! It was really weird and goofy, but hell, it was still better than listening to Danny Stiles.
Since then, I’ve watched in awe as Jesse Thorn has grown his old college radio show into a new media empire. I’ve watched The Sound of Young America evolve into the excellent Bullseye. I never miss an episode of Jordan, Jesse, Go! I’m thrilled with the new programming he continues to add, most recently The Memory Palace and RISK! And, I can feel satisfied that I too, am a part of this community via my monthly contributions.
But today is #MxFunDay, and Jesse Thorn doesn’t care about my money today, he cares about inspiring 1,000 new listeners to become contributors. So if you listen to even one MaxFun program, just that one time and you didn’t think it was terrible, I’m asking you to give. Because when you give, you give artists and creatives the opportunity to take risks and try something new. Also, when you join today, MaxFun will donate meals to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank for every new member. Come on, don’t make me Ira Glass guilt trip you here.
But #MaxFunDay is bigger than me, and bigger than Jesse Thorn, and bigger even than all the sexual things I’d like to do to Jordan Morris’s springy locks; this is about you and your commitment to independent media. Even if you are not a member of MaxFun Nation, please take a moment today to consider all of the independent media you consume and whether you are doing what you can to support the people who make the things you love.
Here’s the link again to become a member of Maximum Fun: Join
You don’t expect an interview with a major sports star to be so quietly compelling.
From Public Radio International’s Bullseye with Jesse Thorn:
R.A. Dickey is a pitcher for the New York Mets, and the only man in the majors currently throwing a knuckleball. His new memoir, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, is a story of perseverance more than anything. He had a difficult childhood marked by abuse and poverty, but found his gift in baseball. Early on in his career, the Texas Rangers offered Dickey a lucrative contract but retracted it when they discovered a physical abnormality that theoretically should have kept him from playing ball. Dickey then bounced back and forth between the major and minor leagues and says he floundered, personally and professionally. But he stuck with it, and worked on mastering the wildly unpredictable knuckleball pitch (and finally found stability and peace in his relationships with his family and friends). Now, at age 37 Dickey is just hitting the prime of his career while many players of his age have long since retired. If anything, the knuckleball means his best days may still be ahead of him.
R.A. sits down with us to discuss his search for peace from a troubled past, the art of throwing the perfect knuckleball, and exactly why he names his bats after fantasy swords. Wherever I Wind Up is available in bookstores now.
For more recommendations, comedy, and interviews about the best in pop culture every week, visit us in iTunes, our RSS feed or www.maximumfun.org.
Today’s the day.
Do me a favor?
Jesse Thorn and I are the same age. For the entirety of his adult life, Thorn has been committed to producing creative programming, while I spent much of the past decade replacing toner cartridges, blogging about cupcakes, mastering PowerPoint animations and teaching old white men about Twitter. Thorn’s unwavering dedication to [making your thing] is just one of the many reasons I admire him.
January 2012 marks the rebranding of his flagship program, The Sound of Young America, to Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. To celebrate the conclusion of TSOYA after 11 years, Thorn has released every episode – approximately 500 – in one monster torrent. If you’re not familiar with the show, I hope you’ll take some time to explore it and then subscribe to the new Bullseye feed in iTunes.
I first heard TSOYA on WNYC years ago, before iPods and Hulu, when the weekend programming on AM 820 was my fix of arts and culture for the week. It would be impossible to list my favorite episodes of TSOYA, but here are some great ones from the past year. (Torrent includes an index; all episodes are available to stream at maximumfun.org)
Working in marketing, I understand that rebranding can be difficult. No doubt the cult of fans Thorn has cultivated around his podcasting empire will follow the new venture, but I’m also hoping that this great interview program will continue to find a wider audience. Tell your friends, et al. Here’s wishing Jesse, Theresa, Nick, Julia and the entire MaxFun syndicate an awesome 2012. Thank you for the many years of great content.
Wallet is Dunhill, pen is Montblanc, watch is by Junghans, sunglasses are Persol, pocket knife is Mercer. The bear’s name is Little Bear.
I always suspected as much.
Put This On Episode 3: Work
I know as much about Men’s Fashion as I do about Women’s Fashion - which is to say nothing. This episode of PTO featuring an interview with film and television director Paul Feig has caused me to reconsider my office wardrobe. Nick Ragone pointing out that I have a stain on my shirt has also caused some sartorial soul-searching on my part.